Symka: Part 20

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2004

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"This is our fight, no one else's. We started this. We need to finish it."

Page One

Splash Page

Host in civilian clothes (black tight shirt and silk pants) and Ricky (in his usual get-up which consists of skater clothes, baggy hanging pants and a shirt underneath a T-Shirt) are walking down the crowded rush-hour streets of downtown Winnipeg. They both are suspicious with eyes cast over their shoulders to verify no one is following them.

Title: ON THE CUSP OF THE LAST TABLET

Caption: Yesterday a bombing shook the city...

Caption: There were many deaths but our group of heroes, Gideon, Silver, El Tigre, and Stick were there and helped in every way they could, and in return earned the debt of Winnipeg.

Caption: Bryce Falkingham sent the mercenary Blaster to communicate to a weary Gideon that Bryce was responsible for the bombing and that all the tablets should be returned to Bryce Friday at 4PM at Freitag's Tavern.

Caption: Or Bryce would inflict another big casualty to the city.

Page Two

Panel 1.

Tighter three-quarter shot of Host and Ricky.

Caption: Our heroes relied in Host, the mystic member of the Canadian Super Team to keep the three Symka tablets in their custody safe.

Caption: Host resides in a home capable of blocking the detection of any and all magical energies. His home is the perfect place to hide any magical emanations that may issue from the tablets.

Panel 2.

Slight rear far bird's eye view shot of Host and Ricky approaching the stairs down into the subway system. The streets are fairly crowded but no one really seems to take notice of the two of them.

Caption: Until our heroes called on Host for help protecting the Symka tablets, they hid them in one of the old lead* lockers in the Winnipeg Subway system.

*Editor's Note: Lead has the ability to mask magical energies.

Panel 3.

Slight worm's eye view of Host and Ricky going down the stairs into the subway station.

Caption: With the bombing of the Diamond Emporium building, our heroes have cut all ties with Gideon.

Caption: Our heroes don't want anyone making a connection between them and Host for the safety of the Symka Tablets.

Panel 4.

Side full shot of Host and Ricky approaching a set of lockers. Host has a key in his hand and is keeping an eye behind him.

Host: Coast is clear, Ricky.

Panel 5.

Tight shot of Host's hand placing the key in the slot of one of the lockers.

Panel 6.

Three-quarter shot of Ricky pulling a backpack out of the open locker. Host is looking around. There is no one else around.

Ricky: Okay, master. Let's do the exchange.

Panel 7.

Tight shot of Host's hands. He is turning the ring on his finger.

Page Three

Panel 1.

Full narrow panel of Host. He is still turning the ring. A narrow, uneven band of magical energy has formed around Host's neck.

Caption: One of the many items in Host's possession is the magical ring of Celbos. With but the twist of the ring...

Panel 2.

Same panel size as Panel 1. The band of magical energy has progressed down Host's body below his hips. The part below the band still has Host's civilian clothes. The part of his body above the band has Host's garish costume and flowing cape.

Caption: ...he can instantly change from his civilian clothes to his magical garments.

Panel 3.

Close-up shot of Ricky handing the backpack to Host.

Caption: But the item of interest here is the cape of Canthu.

Panel 4.

Three-quarter shot of Host stuffing the backpack into his cape.

Caption: The cape has a hidden "pocket" to it. The cape is a gateway to a pocket dimension Host uses to store magical items such as his magical bow for quick retrieval.

Panel 5.

Far, far shot of Host and Ricky. Host is changing back to his civilian clothes. In the rafters of the subway station, resting atop a girder is Snapshot in full costume. He is watching them both.

Caption: But they are not as alone as they think they are.

Snapshot (thinking): Well, that's a neat twist to the story.

Caption: The mercenary Snapshot!

Panel 6.

Tight one-quarter shot of Snapshot.

Snapshot (thinking): I had a hunch following that skater punk* who was talking to Turcott's parahuman friends might yield some interesting information.

*Editor's Note: The "skater punk" in question is Host's student Ricky.

Page Four

Panel 1.

Back tight full shot of Snapshot repositioning himself on the girder. Far below are Host (now in his civilian clothes) and Ricky who are making their way to the exit. He is watching them both intently.

Snapshot (thinking): This guy... this Manice Konsil guy is keeping something for the parahumans. And he's hidden it somehow in that fancy cape of his.

Snapshot (thinking): Where the hell did that costume come from anyway? It wasn't there a second ago and now it's gone again.

Panel 2.

Snapshot jumps from the girder to another girder, using incredible athletic ability to bounce around from there back to another lower girder. Finally he does a small bounce to a wall to the top of candy machine and finally to the ground.

Panel 3.

Far shot of Snapshot grabbing a crumpled overcoat shoved behind a potted plant.

Snapshot (thinking): It would take a dummy to not figure out what is in that backpack. I know it's them tablets my meal ticket was telling me about.

Snapshot (thinking): This little job she sent me on has gotten pretty complicated. She wanted me to track down some guy named Joaquin Ramirez and take some tablet from him. I've never seen the tablet in his possession so I figured he had it in someone else's care.

Panel 4.

Back three-quarter shot of Snapshot. He has the overcoat on and is pulling the mask off his head. In front of him are Host and Ricky making their way up the exit stairs for the subway station. Snapshot's face is obscured.

Snapshot (thinking): Joaquin was spending a fair amount of time with some shrink named Val and some computer geek named Dexter. And that reporter who'd supposedly gone AWOL from the Independent News TV station, Dale Turcott. I figured Turcott had the tablet.

Panel 5.

Far, far shot of Snapshot in the distance following a nervous Host and Ricky.

Snapshot (thinking): Finally I got a break with this Manice Konsil guy. My meal-ticket wanted to know where the tablets were and report to her their location. I wonder what my meal-ticket will think when I hand her the tablets.

Page Five

Panel 1.

Bryce's restaurant, Octavian's. Inside the construction is almost done. All it requires is some paint and final touches. Bryce is there with Marrow, Blinshriek, Blaster, and Raze in a full shot.

Caption: We'll leave Host, Ricky, and Snapshot and turn our attention to Bryce and his band of mercenaries.

Bryce: Did any of you watch the news since yesterday? It seems the bombing of the Diamond Emporium building has put these shameful parahumans in the public eye.

Marrow: A horrible tragedy, Bryce.

Bryce: Yes... well, things happen.

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Bryce.

Bryce (thinking): That fool Blaster has not informed the rest of his group of mercenaries that it was he that bombed the Diamond Emporium. I like Blaster more and more. His teammates are weak. Only Blaster himself seems to have any initiative.

Panel 3.

Three-quarter shot of the group.

Bryce: But this publicity has put the parahumans in a better light with the public. Not what I would have expected. It sickens me that the public is so quick to turn a blind eye to their past transgressions.

Bryce: Even the police gave them carte-blanche during the rescue effort.

Blinshriek: They helped the humans there and saved lives. You can't blame the authorities for giving them a berth to aid in the effort.

Blaster: Who cares? Not me. We have a job to do and we're meeting these losers on Friday. I set up a meeting with them.

Page Six

Panel 1.

Marrow is pointing a finger to exclaim his point.

Marrow: I can't believe you all! This city has suffered a tragedy unlike any other and you talk like it's some sort of strategy?

Blinshriek: Marrow... this is a situation that we could not have prevented. But we can perhaps use it to our advantage. The Diamond Emporium will be saddled with dealing with this catastrophe. That will keep them away from Bryce.

Panel 2.

Marrow and Blinshriek are face to face in a one-quarter shot. Marrow is getting frustrated, Blinshriek is emotionless.

Marrow: Listen to you, Blinshriek! You're talking like some machine. Has that chip in your head made you take leave of your senses? People died here. Maybe helping Bryce out shouldn't be in our best interests now. Maybe we can help the local authorities...

Blaster (off-panel): Shut up, Marrow.

Panel 3.

Blaster is walking up to Marrow, very casual, very confidant. Bryce is in control, arms folded across his chest.

Blaster: We're mercenaries, Marrow, not some pansy-squad. It was on your lead that we did nothing about these freakin' parahumans and they put Bryan in a coma. We owe it our reputation to fix what we blew with Bryan.

Marrow: Do we? It wasn't my command that got Bryan hurt, it was his own...

Bryce: Quiet! All of you!

Panel 4.

Tight shot of the group, with Bryce in the center, surrounded by the others.

Bryce: Regardless of what Bryan said, he was... savagely beaten by those parahumans! They are criminals! Criminals! And they have taken something that was precious to Bryan, his pristine Tibetan tablets. All of this for a stone tablet?

Bryce: And they killed that poor night watchman at the museum*. They have a history here, people. These tablets need to be returned to their rightful owner. Maybe seeing them will help bring Bryan out of his coma.

*Editor's Note: Independent News version of the story. The night watchman was in fact murdered by some Hi Tech Henchmen goons.

Panel 5.

Bryce is putting a false air of concern. Blaster has a crooked grin on his face. Marrow is fit to be tied in anger.

Bryce: Look, it was horrible act, I agree, but convenient for us, isn't it? They will be preoccupied with this... tragic... tragic thing that happened.

Blaster: It's bloody hilarious if you ask me.

Page Seven

Panel 1.

Marrow grabs Blaster and slams him against the wall (without letting go) with such force that the wall caves under the hit. This takes Blaster entirely by surprise.

Fx: SMASH!

Panel 2.

Tight side one-quarter shot of Marrow holding up Blaster against the wall. Although hurt, Blaster is still as cocky as ever.

Marrow: Many innocent people died at the Diamond Emporium building. Innocents are never... never a laughing matter.

Blaster: Let me go unless you want to become just another 'innocent'.

Panel 3.

Marrow backhand throws Blaster across the room. He is obviously very upset about the incident. Marrow's mind is elsewhere, on the victims. Blaster smashes against the wall on the other side of the room.

Fx: CRASH!

Page Eight

Panel 1.

Blaster is pulling himself up from the floor. He winces from the pain, but is half smiling. He is challenging Marrow.

Blaster: I was wondering if you'd lost that killer instinct, Marrow. I'd hate to think our leader was weak.

Panel 2.

Blinshriek steps in between the two.

Blinshriek: Enough! Stop this right now!

Blinshriek: Blaster is right that this bombing, however tragic, works for us. We need to press the advantage, and use this to secure the tablets from Tablet Murderers.

Panel 3.

Close-up shot of Marrow's face.

Marrow (thinking): This isn't the last of this, Blaster.

Panel 4.

Full shot of the whole group of them. Bryce is stepping in the middle of Blaster (who is pulling himself up to his feet) and Marrow who still has his fists clenched. Raze is watching all of this from the edge of the room.

Bryce: It is regrettable that we gained such an advantage as Blinshriek said. But it is also an advantage against Hi Tech Henchmen. Don't forget that Hi Tech Henchmen tried to kill me as well. They are as evil as the Tablet Murderers.

Page Nine

Panel 1.

Blaster pulls up his battered body from the floor. He is battered and little sluggish.

Blaster: I sent a message out to the bum in the hoodie to meet us Friday.

Bryce: I hired you to get the tablets away from those damned parahumans. The situation is to our advantage now. I expect you all...

Panel 2.

Bryce is looking at Marrow, with a pointed stare.

Bryce: ...to press the advantage. I paid you a large sum to acquire these tablets and I have yet to see my investment pay off. This is your last chance.

Panel 3.

At Silver's apartment, a discussion has begun between Gideon, Silver, Stick, and Joaquin. They all look in pretty bad condition from the recovery effort. They are all tired and beat-up.

Silver: Blaster? One of those mercenaries protecting Bryan in New York City?

Gideon: I was too weak to do anything. He waited for the moment when one of us would be beat and unable to raise a finger against him.

Stick: Guy's a hyena.

Joaquin: He's a mercenary. They don't wait for the right opportunity to do things. It isn't about being fair.

Panel 4.

One-quarter shot of the four of them.

Gideon: That's why I think we need to keep away from Host's place for a while. With the tablets under Host's protection, we don't want to take the chance that someone might follow us to Host's and think he is keeping the tablets for us. The Symka Tablets need to remain safe.

Silver: Well, so what, though. He's obviously still interested and not ready to give up on them. There's still no reason for us to meet with them Friday.

Panel 5.

Gideon holds up his hand.

Gideon: There's more.

Stick: I figured they would be.

Panel 6.

Close-up of Gideon's face.

Gideon: Blaster claimed that Bryce was responsible for the bombing of the Diamond Emporium... to send a message to us.

Page Ten

Panel 1.

Full shot of the reporter's floor of NBC News studios. There are some 50 employees typing away at computers, on the phone trying to get interviews. There are also numerous televisions on throughout the floor showing the news from various other news sources.

Caption: "Trish! Trish!"

Panel 2.

Trish Wilby in a three-quarter shot, typing away at her keyboard. She only half looks up from the keyboard to acknowledge the person looking for her.

Panel 3.

Three-quarter shot of Trevor, a young 19-year-old, with shot cropped black hair. He is wearing a dress shirt he doesn't look comfortable in with the sleeves rolled up.

Trish: I need to finish this story, Trevor. I don't have time for this right now.

Trevor: I think you do. I think you will make time.

Trevor: Aren't you still trying for that Pulitzer?

Trevor: I mean, if you're not interested...

Panel 4.

Rolling her eyes, Trish stops typing. Trevor is very excited and really wants to tell Trish what he knows.

Trish: Okay, you have my undivided attention. Get to it, Trevor! What do you want?

Trevor: If I give you this I want in on it... with you. I'm still a rookie, but I need that big break.

Trish: Then do it yourself. You're a good reporter. You can carry a story on your own.

Trevor: But I don't have your polish! I need your help. This is too big for me alone.

Panel 5.

Trish is holding up her hands, a little frustrated. Trevor has just gotten more excited.

Trish: Okay, okay. What is it?

Trevor: Promise you'll keep me in on the story?

Trish: Yes.

Panel 6.

Close-up of Trevor's face with a huge grin. This will bring him to the big time!

Trevor: The parahumans are meeting with a group of mercenaries on Friday at 4 o'clock.

Trish (off-panel): How did you...?

Trevor: I overheard one of the mercenaries chatting with Gideon. He wants to do business with them."

Page Eleven

Panel 1.

Host and Ricky are walking up the stairs to Host's mansion. In the far distance is Snapshot, still unmasked and his face obscured.

Caption: Meanwhile on the other side of town, Host and Ricky reach the mansion...

Host: We made it, Ricky. Are you sure no one followed us?

Ricky: Yes. And we took enough turns and turnarounds to lose anyone we might have missed.

Panel 2.

Tight one-quarter shot of the back of Snapshot's head. He is watching the door of the mansion close across the street.

Caption: And they are still unaware that the mercenary Snapshot has followed them all the way here.

Snapshot (thinking): Nice digs, magic-man! Magic obviously pays off more than being a mercenary.

Panel 3.

Side full shot of Snapshot walking around the mansion along the sidewalk. His face is facing the mansion so his face is still hidden.

Snapshot (thinking): Hm. The security on this mansion seems to be non-existent. It should be a cinch to break into here, steal the tablets away and be back to the meal-ticket in no time. This is almost too easy.

Panel 4.

Snapshot has made his way to the back of the mansion, where a fence hides the backyard.

Snapshot (thinking): Oh this is even better. The backyard is totally fenced in. I should have all the time, under cover of night to break in through the back with no one the worse for wear.

Panel 5.

Snapshot leaps towards the top of the fence, a hand extended to grab the edge to propel him over in swift movement.

Snapshot (thinking): They should still be by the front door. Let's take ourselves a peek of the setup in the back.

Page Twelve

Panel 1.

Snapshot bounces off what appears to be some sort of force field extending the height of the fence. He is taken by surprise and already is adjusting himself ready to try and land on his feet...

Caption: The defenses of Host's mansion are not of the current inefficient modern kind...

Snapshot: What the?

Caption: ...but of the ancient mystical kind. If the mansion doesn't want someone in... then they don't get in.

Panel 2.

Snapshot lands in a 3-point stance.

Caption: But regardless, Snapshot is a professional, and he lands with a catlike grace.

Snapshot (thinking): Damned magician! He has some sort of force field around the place. These tablets are even more interesting to me now. Now I really want them.

Panel 3.

Back full shot of Snapshot. He is brushing himself off.

Snapshot (thinking): There's more than one way to crack a nut, mystic. If I can't get in with the traditional break-in, I'll just need to be creative.

Panel 4.

Inside the mansion, tight shot of Host's hands pulling the backpack out of his mystical cape.

Caption: Inside the mansion...

Host: Thank you for you help, Ricky.

Panel 5.

Host is in full costume and walking towards a dais that already has one of the Symka tablets on it. Ricky is following behind him.

Ricky: No problem, master. Anything for you.

Host: I still can't shake this feeling I have that we were being followed, but at least here the mansion itself will protect the tablets. The mansion appears for all intents and purposes to be magic-less so no one should be able to track it here.

Page Thirteen

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot of Host, with Ricky watching behind him. Host is dumping 2 of the Symka tablets from the backpack onto the dais, along with the other tablet.

Host: The dais as well will provide some protection. That and the other natural defenses of the mansion really make this the safest place for them.

Host: I just hope that Gideon and the others can find the last Symka tablet quickly so all of this can be done.

Panel 2.

Joaquin is strolling out of a cellular telephone store, with a cell phone in hand he is looking at. He seems chipper, like his spirits have just been lifted although his face still wears a couple of scratches from the recovery effort. He also looks fatigued.

Joaquin (thinking): Watchman said I should pick up a cell phone. I've been getting too wound up with the tablets. I'm lucky enough to have a secret identity.

Panel 3.

Side three-quarter shot of Joaquin, still walking. He is flipping the cell phone shut. There are other people in the background of the panel. One woman with a frizzy spiral perm gives him the eye. He is too absorbed with himself.

Joaquin (thinking): I might as well take advantage of it. I haven't lived my life since Marisa lost the baby. I never got over her. I never got over that loss of ours.

Joaquin (thinking): Oh, Marisa, it still saddens me we couldn't work things out.

Joaquin (thinking): I haven't even thought of her much since Gideon came into my life. It was Gideon who showed me I needed to try living again.

Panel 4.

One-quarter front shot of Joaquin, deep in thought. In the background is the frizzy-haired girl, watching him walk.

Joaquin (thinking): But since the whole tablet fiasco began, I haven't had any time to even think.

Joaquin (thinking): Maybe I should try to look her up. I really miss her.

Panel 5.

Joaquin is putting a smile on his face in a three-quarter shot.

Joaquin (thinking): Yesterday really put everything into perspective for me. We did a lot of good. It was like everything was aligned or something. We were working with the authorities. We were saving lives. For the first time, what we are doing was cemented to me.

Panel 6.

Joaquin approaches the Lesnar's Gym in a full shot. Chuck Lesnar, the owner of the gym is at the door, a little upset with Joaquin.

Chuck: Joaquin, you're late.

Joaquin: Am I? Sorry, I got held up. I stopped to buy a cell phone on the way here.

Page Fourteen

Panel 1.

Side angled three-quarter shot. Chuck Lesnar is noticing Joaquin's injuries and fatigue. He changes his tone from being upset with Joaquin to concern for him.

Chuck: You don't look so good, Joaquin. You look like...

Chuck: Did you get in a fight?

Joaquin: Uh, yeah... no...

Joaquin: I was helping out in the relief effort.

Panel 2.

Chuck is questioning Joaquin as they move inside the gym in a far shot. The gym is busy with about 10 people working out on various machines.

Chuck: The bombing at the Diamond Emporium building? You were there? How did you get behind the barricades?

Joaquin: Not sure, I just did. Guess I looked like a strapping guy who could help out.

Chuck: Horrible tragedy that was. You see any of them parahumans there?

Joaquin: Parahumans?

Panel 3.

Joaquin looks at Chuck, a little worried for what he might say in a one-quarter shot of both men. They are making their way to a hallway on the other side of the gym.

Joaquin: Yes... yes, they were there.

Chuck: They sure did some good there. I don't care what anyone else says about them, they're good in my book.

Joaquin (thinking): I wonder what Chuck would say if he knew I was one of those "parahumans"?

Panel 4.

Side angled shot (with a friendly hand from Chuck on Joaquin's back).

Chuck: What I wanted to say, Joaquin, was that if you were going to be late, you should have just called.

Joaquin: I'm sorry, Chuck. I guess I was a little scatter-brained on the way over. Won't happen again.

Chuck: Look I have a special job for you. You heard about the movie in town?

Panel 5.

Reverse angle of the last panel. They are walking down the hallway.

Joaquin: Not really, but someone's always filming here.

Chuck: Look, the cast needs a place to work out. And they need personal trainers to get them in shape before filming starts.

Joaquin: That's great, Chuck! Great business for the gym! I'll help out in any way I can. You know that.

Panel 6.

Conversation continues. Chuck is opening the door at the end of the hall.

Chuck: Some of the people on the film want personal... private trainers. If we had some of the higher caliber actors here at the gym, the place would be a zoo with reporters and fans.

Chuck: So we're going to do some off-site training. Seems you have a bit of a reputation here at the gym and someone asked for you by name... to train one of the leads in the movie.

Joaquin: Really? Well, I'm flattered. Hopefully I won't let you both down.

Jane Murphy (off-panel and coming from the other side of the door): Hello, Joaquin.

Page Fifteen

Panel 1.

Large panel. Joaquin is shocked to see Jane Murphy there. She is wearing workout clothes and is surrounded by two very burly bodyguards.

Jane: How good to see you again so soon.

Joaquin: Jane... Jane Murphy?

Panel 2.

Chuck has the biggest smile on his face. He has an arm extended to each of them, as if they were family.

Chuck: You, ah, you know each other? Great!

Jane: I expect you at my place tomorrow morning at 7AM. I need to shape up and put on a couple of pounds. People are saying I'm anorexic. I want to come into this movie with a buff killer bod and show them all.

Chuck: Training will include diet and exercise.

Panel 3.

Joaquin is pleading with Chuck. Jane is enjoying watch Joaquin squirm.

Joaquin: This is nice and good, Chuck, but... but what about my other clients? Herman Dukes? Savannah George? Chris Elliot?

Jane: Mr. Ramirez... I am going to be paying $2000 a week for your services.

Panel 4.

Tight one-quarter shot of Jane and Joaquin.

Joaquin: $2000?

Panel 5.

Shot of all three of them.

Chuck: For 5 to 10 hours a week. That will still leave you free for all your other clients.

Joaquin: $2000 a week?

Jane: See you tomorrow at 7am.

Page Sixteen

Panel 1.

Silver is storming down the street followed by Stick (out of costume). People are watching them, because Silver is freaking out in anger.

Caption: Meanwhile, Silver has had enough...

Silver: Of all the stupid... Arrogant...

Stick: Calm down, Silver!

Silver: Why does Gideon want to meet Bryce and those mercenaries?

Panel 2.

Stick stands in front of Silver, using his body to block her movement. She's a little surprised by him.

Stick: Silver... Val... keep it down. People are watching.

Panel 3.

He closes in on her in a one-quarter shot.

Stick: People are listening.

Panel 4.

Silver looks in a far shot as the people watch her.

Panel 5.

Tighter shot of the last panel. She smiles nervously at them.

Panel 6.

She calms down a bit and leans into Stick in a quieter voice.

Silver: Why should we even meet with these people, Stick?

Panel 7.

Close-up of Stick and Silver. Stick has a look of trust and love in his eyes.

Stick: Val... it's Dexter. My name is Dexter.

Page Seventeen

Panel 1.

One-quarter shot. She looks at him confusingly. Stick is tender.

Stick: You've never called me Dexter.

Stick: Val, I'm... I'm scared. And I need you to know you give me the courage I need to go on after what I've done.

Panel 2.

She smiles, making the connection for the first time. Does Stick care for her? Does he love her?

Panel 3.

One-quarter shot. A confused look on Silver's face as Stick gingerly holds Silver's arms to keep her focus on him.

Stick: Gideon's taken this personal.

Silver: What?

Stick: Gideon feels responsible for the deaths from the bombing. And I think he wants to stop Bryce because of it. He wants to stop Bryce once and for all.

Silver: What are you saying?

Panel 4.

Side shot of the both of them. Silver is still a little confused by Stick, but shaking herself out of it.

Stick: He needs us. We need to make sure he doesn't cross the line. I think he wants us there to make sure that doesn't happen.

Panel 5.

Close-up of both of them.

Silver: Stick... Dexter... this is supposed to be about the tablets. We have one more tablet to get. The evil after these tablets... Gideon's father... demons...

Silver: We need focus here, Dexter. I don't know how much time we have before all these forces converge on us...

Panel 6.

Silver hugs herself. Although engaged in the conversation she is bummed that Stick didn't follow through with whatever unsettled her.

Stick: Believe it or not, Bryce is one of those forces. If Gideon got his facts straight, Bryce is responsible for the Diamond Emporium bombing. Before we go after another tablet, we need to do something about Bryce and his mercenaries before they pull something else.

Silver: Then why not just let the authorities take care of them?

Stick: Val, we took this on for a reason. This is our fight, no one else's. It's the four of us. We started this. We need to finish it. And that means doing something about Bryce.

Page Eighteen

Panel 1.

Gideon is with Dale Turcott in Dale's apartment. An argument has started here. Full shot of both men.

Caption: At Dale's apartment...

Gideon: Why are you still with us, Dale? What is your game here?

Dale: My game?

Panel 2.

Gideon is sticking a finger in Dale's chest.

Gideon: You've been trailing us for weeks now, living with us. You've done nothing for us but slow us down. You haven't done this story... this vindication piece on the Tablet Murderers.

Dale: What are you talking about? I put my neck on the line for you... for all of you when that news piece aired.

Panel 3.

Tight one-quarter shot of Gideon, simply fuming in anger.

Gideon: A news piece that called us murderers! Don't forget that!

Panel 4.

Dale slaps Gideon hand aside in a one-quarter shot.

Dale: That wasn't my piece. I told you, they took my footage and did their own voiceover...

Gideon: You condemned us, Turcott! It was your story that made us wanted by the authorities.

Panel 5.

Dale crosses his arms, sure he's about to win the argument.

Dale: I think I've fixed things, or haven't you been watching the news?

Gideon: ---

Dale: The help you provided to the victims of the bombing...? I got it all on film. I pulled a favor with someone from NBC News to run the story. Public opinion has changed.

Panel 6.

Gideon is opening the door of Dale's apartment.

Gideon: So, you've vindicated us. Even if it mattered, that doesn't stop the police from wanting us for murder. You got your story, Dale, now why don't you leave us?

Page Nineteen

Panel 1.

Front one-quarter shot of Gideon walking away from Dale's apartment, the door slamming behind him.

Gideon (thinking): Hated to be so harsh with Dale, but his life is in danger the longer he stays with us. With my father dead, Katharta Inc. is directionless and one lone reporter isn't going to be of any importance to them. I needed to break Dale off now to keep him safe.

Panel 2.

Dale stares at the door.

Dale (thinking): He thinks I don't know what's happening? He thinks I don't see what he is trying to do? Well, Gideon, the story isn't finished. I'm not done with you.

Panel 3.

Freitag's Tavern. Trish and Trevor are seating themselves at a table at the pub. Trevor is shoving the camera under the table.

Caption: Friday. 3PM. Freitag's Tavern.

Caption: Trish Wilby and Trevor Sigurdson have arrived early for a good seat of the meeting between Bryce and the parahumans...

Trish: Are you ready, Trevor? This is it. If you're right about the information, this is going to be a huge story for you.

Trevor: For us, Trish.

Panel 4.

Bryce walks into Freitag's with Blaster, Marrow, and Raze. Bryce has a swagger to him. Marrow and Blaster are arguing. Raze is silent as always. People are watching them in their costumes and the loudness. They all wear headsets.

Caption: 3:50PM. Bryce and his mercenaries arrive. Blinshriek has remained behind monitoring the situation via hidden cameras and microphones and a high-speed internet connection.

Marrow: You will keep those guns covered, you hear me?

Blaster: Yeah, yeah, mommy.

Headset (with an electronic word balloon): We don't want to raise any alarm here. Keep it quiet!

Panel 5.

They are all seated at a table. The people around them are no longer really concerned about their presence. Bryce is fuming.

Caption: 4:00PM.

Bryce: Is that it then? They aren't going to show? I thought you told Gideon to bring his crew here?

Blaster: I did. The cocky little braggart probably thinks we aren't worth his time.

Panel 6.

Close-up of Bryce's face. He has a toothy, sinister grin.

Bryce: Well, we'll see about that, won't we, Blaster? The bombing of the Diamond Emporium building wasn't enough to show them we mean business? Then I think we need to take this up a notch.

Page Twenty

Panel 1.

Marrow is in Bryce's face. Blaster is looking off towards the entrance (off-panel).

Marrow: What? The bombing? What are you saying, Bryce?

Bryce: I guess Blaster never filled you in, did he?

Blaster: Needed to be done, Marrow.

Marrow: Needed to be done? Are you saying that you murdered those innocent people? What the hell...?

Blaster: Hold on! They're here!

Panel 2.

El Tigre, Stick (with Silver perched on his shoulder in her eagle form), and Gideon with his hood drawn walk into Freitag's. Instantly everyone is watching them. People are worried this means something is about to happen.

Panel 3.

Side three-quarter shot of the group walking towards Bryce's crew (off-panel). Some people in the restaurant are getting up; others are running out of there. Everyone is noticing them.

Panel 4.

Overhead shot, to give an overview of the patrons of the restaurant and our heroes position in relation to them and everyone. Most of the restaurant patrons are running out. Only about 5 patrons seated at three tables, the rest are fleeing. Trish and Trevor are seated to the far left of our heroes. Trevor is reaching under his table for his camera. Bryce and his mercenaries are at their table. Blaster stands up. The rest remain seated.

Panel 5.

Our heroes are seated.

Gideon: This ends today, Bryce.

Bryce: Brave words, boy!

Bryce: You forget one thing.

Bryce: I'm in control here! Stick here hurt the only thing that mattered to me, my business partner.

Bryce: You've made this personal! I will stop at nothing to collect all four tablets. I will go to any length. I will take as many lives as necessary to make you co-operate.

Panel 6.

Stick bows his head in shame.

Bryce (off-panel): This was Bryan's dream. I want those tablets in my hands so I can use them to pull him out of that coma. I need that power!

Page Twenty-One

Panel 1.

Marrow is sitting uncomfortably in his seat, biting his tongue. Stick raises his head. The anger is in his eyes. El Tigre looks over to Stick concerned that Stick is going to put Bryce in a coma too.

Stick: That's it? That's what you want? That's all this power is for?

Panel 2.

El Tigre puts a forceful hand on Stick's shoulder. Gideon is taken by surprise with Stick here. He's going to ruin everything! Bryce stands up angry.

El Tigre: Calm down, buddy.

Stick: I am sorry for what happened to your partner, Bryce, but you murdered people...

Bryce: And I will keep going until you hand over what I want, to make you pay for what you did to Bryan!

Panel 3.

Bryce strikes Stick across the face.

Fx: SMACK!

Panel 4.

Stick with his head to the side.

Panel 5.

Stick turns it back, gritting his teeth, anger in his eyes.

Page Twenty-Two

Panel 1.

Gideon stands and double blasts both Raze and Blaster with magical energy, sending Blaster across the room. Raze is unhurt and the blast deflects off of him. Stick pushes El Tigre's hand away from him.

Stick: Let me go, Tigre. I'm in control of myself.

Fx: ZZOT!

Fx: ZZOT!

Panel 2.

Stick points a finger in Marrow's face.

Stick: You know the right thing to do is turning this bastard in. Now either step aside and let me do it or get ready for a beating for defending scum like him.

Panel 3.

Raze points both arms at Stick, ready to take him out yet again. Stick is flat-footed.

Panel 4.

El Tigre charges into Raze before he can shoot and they are tangled up.

Panel 5.

It's the end of the issue. We had to stop here but we will pick it up right from here next issue. More shocks next issue!