Symka: Part 24

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"He died a good death ... as a warrior."

Page 1

Splash Page

Dale Turcott standing at the end of the bed of Trevor Sigurdson, the reporter friend of Trish. Trevor is in intensive care. He is hooked to a variety of machines. Dale is saddened and downcast, transferring his own sorrow at Trish's death to Trevor. Dale does not know Trevor personally, but knows he must be a good man if he was Trish's cameraman. Willis is standing in the background, looking around nervously in an angled aerial shot.

Caption: Trevor Sigurdson and Trish Wilby were victims of an altercation between our heroes and Bryce Falkingham's mercenaries. Trevor is in intensive care.

Caption: He was the lucky one.

Caption: Trish died.

Caption: Dale has spent the last hour contemplating his life. He feels responsible. Dale's drive for getting the big story is what drove Trish away all those years ago, when his journalistic curiosity endangered her family's life.*

Caption: Dale recently met up with Trish. And all that's left is Trevor.

Caption: His recklessness endangered both their lives. He needed to apologize.

Title: NO TURNING BACK

*Editor's Note: Recapped last issue.

Page 2

Panel 1.

Front shot of Dale standing at the end of the bed, Trevor lying there. Dale is contemplative.

Dale (thinking): I was hoping you'd be conscious... so I could apologize. But it looks like you may not even pull through.

Dale (thinking): What happened, Trevor? How did you get sucked into this stupid competition thing between Trish and I? Did Trish drag you there on some hot story? What was she trying to prove?

Panel 2.

Side three-quarter shot of Dale over the bed.

Dale (thinking): Trevor, I was a reckless newsman. I did whatever it took to get the story. Every time.

Dale (thinking): And I couldn't care less about the aftershocks. Even if that meant people around me being endangered. Even someone like Trish.

Panel 3.

Shot of the equipment monitoring Trevor. His heartbeat is weak.

Dale (off-panel, and thinking): Trish was just as driven as I was. We were both invulnerable!

Dale (off-panel, and thinking): Or at least we thought we were. Until something happened to her sister.

Panel 4.

Slight overhead one-quarter shot of Trevor on the bed.

Dale (off-panel, and thinking): Willis filled me in. I never knew, but Trish's sister... she was seriously injured on a drive-by shooting. I thought Trish got bored with it all...

Dale (off-panel, and thinking): ...took the safer road of reporting. God... I was so blind...

Panel 5.

Tight shot of Dale's face, cut-off just below his eyes to hide some of his emotion. His lips are dry.

Dale (thinking): She got off this crazy ride she and I were on. And days after seeing me again after years... she went after another dangerous story... with Gideon and the others... after having talked with me.

Panel 6.

Full shot of Dale standing over the bed. Willis is standing impatiently behind him.

Dale (thinking): Trish lost her life because of me. And you, Trevor...

Dale (thinking): You got involved with two of the worst people in the world.

Dale (thinking): I'm sorry Trevor. You got sucked into our danger zone.

Willis: Can we go now?

Page 3

Panel 1.

One-quarter shot. Dale looks over his shoulder to Willis. Willis is looking relieved that they are going to be leaving here soon.

Dale: I suppose so. There's nothing here for me.

Panel 2.

One-quarter shot of Dale. Small panel.

Dale: Good luck, Trevor.

Panel 3.

Dale and Willis are leaving the room.

Dale: I hope you pull out of this.

Trevor: Dale Turcott?

Panel 4.

Dale spins towards the bed. He is motioning to Willis with one of his hands. Willis has a shocked look.

Dale: Trevor?

Dale: I need a nurse here pronto! Willis, get a nurse!

Willis: I'm not...

Dale: Get a freaking nurse now!

Panel 5.

Willis leaves.

Panel 6.

Tight one-quarter shot. Dale is leaning over Trevor, getting close to hear his faint voice.

Dale: Hey, buddy? You know me?

Trevor: Yeah. Independent News. Trish talked about you.

Page 4

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot of both men. Dale is relieved that Trevor is conscious, like things may be better after all. He has not, however totally overcome the death of Trish.

Dale: She did?

Trevor: Said you were driven. Always got the story.

Dale: You're going to pull through, Trevor. I just called the nurse...

Trevor: I know... I'm gonna make it... Trish saved me.

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Trevor. Although conscious he is still semi-delirious.

Trevor: Should have been me... not her... that took the blast... I know she died... protecting me... Said I had a big career ahead of me...

Panel 3.

Full shot. Head in hand, Dale weeps.

Panel 4.

Large panel, with Stick, El Tigre, and Gideon facing Ares, Hypnos, and Link. Ares is hungry for the upcoming battle. His gaze is strong and focused. He is waiting to see what these three will try to do. He is completely confident and eager. Hypnos is slightly annoyed by this. She too is fearless. Link is eager, much like a teenager might be. Stick is a little tentative, unsure whether to make the first move, completely unsure just how tough their opponents are. El Tigre has a shot of courage in his eyes. He is determined, the last few weeks, building a resolve with him. Gideon is standing off at the back of the group, almost skulking.

Caption: Last issue, Pitawa, Blue Moon attempted to persuade Gideon, El Tigre, and Stick to hand over the Symka tablets for safe-keeping, as their ally.

Caption: But Blue Moon's identity was revealed some time ago when El Tigre became one with a Symka tablets. They know Blue Moon is really the evil deity Pitawa, a god who murdered his own brother centuries ago. A god whose only goal is to keep the Symka tablets from ever being brought together --- as their joining will herald the return of his dead brother Manapatapoo. A god who intended to use our heroes as his own pawns.

Caption: The jig is up. Pitawa has left his enforcers behind to deal with our heroes.

Page 5

Panel 1.

Ares holds Hypnos back with one outstretched arm.

Ares: Stand back, Hypnos. The Tiger is mine. You can take the others.

Panel 2.

Ares moves slowly towards El Tigre. El Tigre stands firm, ready to fight anyone at this point.

Ares: I shall enjoy this. You piqued my curiosity when you took the draught. Let's see how well you fare against me.

El Tigre: The muscles don't impress me at all. I've taken people out twice your size.

Panel 3.

Tight side one-quarter shot of Ares. Ares has a broad smile across his face. Ares loves El Tigre's bravado.

Panel 5.

Same shot as last, Ares gets whapped across the head by the end of Stick's staff. The staff's otherworldly nature jolts Ares.

Ares: Aaaargh!

Fx: SMASH!

Page 6

Panel 1.

Small panel. Full shot of Ares almost dropping to one knee, but holding on. He is holding a hand to his injury.

Ares: What sort of cowardly attack was that?

Panel 2.

Huge panel, near splash. El Tigre drop kicks Ares to the back of the room. El Tigre's form is impeccable.

El Tigre: This kind.

Fx: SMACK!

Page 7

Panel 1.

El Tigre looks across menacingly to the other two. Stick is looking approvingly to his partner. Gideon is slipping out the door of the penthouse. Stick is twirling his staff.

El Tigre: This isn't a game.

El Tigre: Scram!

Panel 2.

Meanwhile, Gideon is slinking out of the building. He is moving quickly down a hallway, a look of determination on his face.

Caption: Gideon takes the moment to leave the fight...

Gideon (thinking): Stick and Joaquin can keep them busy while I follow Pitawa. He's the key to all this. The others can keep those goons busy.

Panel 3.

Far shot. Pitawa has exited out to the crowded streets. Gideon is just leaving the penthouse apartment complex. He has his eyes on Pitawa. Pitawa is unaware of Gideon.

Gideon (thinking): What is your game, Pitawa? Why would you leave the fight now...?

Gideon (thinking): Wait a minute!

Panel 4.

Far, far overhead shot. Host's mansion is one edge of the panel, blatantly standing out from the more modern structures around it. Gideon and Pitawa, nothing but specks in this shot are on the other side of the panel.

Gideon (thinking): Was he planning on keeping us busy while he took the Symka tablets from Host?

Panel 5.

Similar to the last shot, but a far shot of the Winnipeg Hospital. Dale and Willis are walking towards Dale's Range Rover. Overhead in a full shot is Silver in her sparrow form, some 100 feet up. Mental energies are billowing around Silver's head.

Caption: Meanwhile, Northwest of Host's mansion at the Winnipeg Hospital, Dale Turcott and Willis "Scanner" Tanchuk are making their way to Dale's vehicle...

Silver (thinking): Is that Dale down there? A small surface psychic probe will let me know for sure from this distance.

Page 8

Panel 1.

Inside the car in a three-quarter shot, Dale squeezes his eyes shut. Willis is sitting in the back seat, looking worriedly at Dale. A nimbus of psychic energy is around Dale's head.

Dale: Aargh!

Scanner: What's wrong?

Dale: We're getting a visitor.

Panel 2.

Silver swoops into the car through the open passenger side window. Willis jumps back. Dale is rubbing his aching head.

Scanner: A bird just jumped in the car!

Dale: Silver, watch the psychic probe, will you? That hurt.

Panel 3.

Silver is sitting on the passenger side seat. Willis is watching her speak, quietly freaking out.

Silver: Sorry, still getting a handle on my telepathy and I had no time for subtlety.

Silver: Look, I need your help. Gideon's been abducted.

Dale: Abducted? You sure he just didn't run away?

Panel 4.

Close-up of Silver's bird-face. The nimbus of psychic energy builds around her head again.

Silver: I was there, Dale. I saw what happened! I need you to help me find him.

Panel 5.

Dale is holding up his hands in an attempt to block what he is suspecting Silver is about to try.

Dale: No way, Silver. Don't even think about.

Page 9

Panel 1.

Full shot, with Scanner as the unwilling viewer. Silver psychic tendrils are rooting into Dale's mind. Dale's face is pained. She is probing his mind.

Silver: Sorry, Dale, but this is taking too long to explain...

Dale: Get... out... of... my... mind!

Panel 2.

She releases him, waiting for the images she flooded into his mind get processed. Dale is angry with her.

Dale: Don't you ever do that again!

Dale: That... that...

Panel 3.

Close-up shot of Dale. The implanted memories are taking form and his brain is spiking with the energy, similar to drinking something cold too quickly.

Panel 4.

Over Dale's head is a dreamy psychic image of Blue Moon/Katharta in the background and Black in the foreground, looking menacing. Silver is shapechaging into her lion form from the bird.

Dale: Blue Moon? And this guy abducted him?

Panel 5.

In a menacing gaze, Silver's lion form looking straight into the panel.

Silver: Are you going to help me or not?

Page 10

Panel 1.

Dale is recoiling slightly. Even though he's seen Silver do this a dozen times, he still can't help but feel intimidated by her.

Dale: Okay, okay.

Dale: This guy... he said he worked for Blue Moon, right? I guess we can ask around town about Blue Moon...

Scanner (off-panel): Blue Moon... I know Blue Moon...

Panel 2.

Three-quarter shot of Willis in the back seat, completely docile.

Panel 3.

She changes to her human form. Willis is watching this transformation, unable to process what he is seeing happen in front of him.

Silver: You do?

Dale: Silver... you're naked.

Scanner: Oh my god.

Panel 4.

One-quarter shot of Silver. Her face is innocence. She needs Willis's help. She really needs his help.

Silver: What do you know?

Panel 5.

Dale is pulling off his jacket. Willis' apprehension towards Silver has subsided somewhat.

Dale: Silver, this is Scanner. The guy who helped me to investigate Hi Tech Henchmen. He's a hacker.

Willis: Please don't kill me, lady.

Page 11

Panel 1.

Averting his eyes and handing Silver his jacket so she can cover up. Dale is giving Willis a trusting look.

Dale: You can trust her, Scanner. Tell her everything you know.

Panel 2.

She closes her eyes and stretches her mind out to Scanner's. He is too frightened too resist her and the scan is easy on both of them.

Panel 3.

In a dreamy psychic image, she sees Scanner hacking into a computer at Dale's place,

Panel 4.

The same psychic image. The computer screen shows Blue Moon's address and the alias under the address: Carl Jenkins.

Panel 5.

Yet another psychic image. Machine gun fire is blasting through the windows, narrowly missing Scanner as he ducks for cover.

Page 12

Panel 1.

Finally in the last psychic image, Willis is crawling out of the house on his hands and knees.

Panel 2.

Silver snaps back to reality. Scanner has a creeped-out look on his face. She is pulling Dale's jacket tight over her naked body. The psychic tendrils are retreating back into her head.

Silver: What was that, Scanner?

Silver: At the end, I saw you being attacked... you were gathering information at Dale's house, weren't you? And some people... Hi Tech Henchmen? ...tried to kill you?

Scanner: Yes, ma'am. That's right.

Panel 3.

Silver has the jacket done up. She is giving Dale a mean look. Dale is angry in return.

Silver: Dale... you purposely endangered this man?

Dale: What do you have, Willis?

Silver: An address. 3424 Club Row. 14th floor Penthouse. Thank you, Willis.

Panel 4.

She shapechanges and flies off out the driver's window, the jacket slumping without her full body in it.

Silver: Keep him safe, Dale. You owe him!

Dale: Silver! Silver!

Panel 4.

Dale looks to the back.

Dale: We have to do something. Silver is going to try and get herself killed again.

Scanner: I'm not doing anything. I've already done enough.

Panel 5.

Slight aerial view. Dale's Range Rover races off.

Page 13

Panel 1.

Ares is on the ground recovering. Hypnos and Link are ready to attack.

Caption: Meanwhile at Pitawa's penthouse...

Stick: I don't think they're going anywhere, Tigre.

El Tigre: That's okay, the three of us...

Panel 2.

El Tigre looks behind. No Gideon.

El Tigre: Where's Gideon?

Panel 3.

Looks to Stick. Stick is being picked up from the ground telekinetically.

Stick: Tigre?

Panel 4.

Far shot of Hypnos, with a hand out levitating Stick. Psychic energies are billowing around Link's head and flowing towards Stick.

Link: Keep him busy.

Panel 5.

Full shot. Link is trying to get his mental energies around Stick, but Stick's staff is repelling it, unbeknownst to Stick.

Link (thinking): What? He has some sort of mental defense?

Page 14

Panel 1.

Stick flings his staff. It's rotating almost like helicopter blades.

Panel 2.

This panel joins with Panel 1, the gap between this panel and the last is the distance between Stick and Hypnos. The staff cracks across Link's head.

Fx: CRACK!

Panel 3.

El Tigre charges towards Hypnos. She raises a hand, not worried by his attack.

Panel 4.

El Tigre is suddenly hoisted up in the air telekinetically by Hypnos.

Caption: Both El Tigre and Stick are held captive by Hypnos's telekinetic abilities. They are unable to ground themselves.

Panel 5.

One-quarter shot of Stick with a determined look on his face.

Caption: But Stick is not completely helpless.

Page 15

Panel 1.

Arms flexed at his sides, Stick moves his position in the air, fighting the telekinesis, righting himself so he is pointed towards Hypnos.

Caption: Stick has the power of flight.

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Stick's face.

Caption: And determination.

Panel 3.

Close-up of Hypnos. Stick has broken through and she is admitting defeat.

Panel 4.

Stick's breaks through the telekinesis, firing off like a rocket towards Hypnos, striking her with huge impact, the momentum carrying her into the reinforced wall, shaking everything, shattering the windows, glass and other breakables from the impact.

Fx: BOOM!

Page 16

Panel 1.

Ares gets up to his feet, unnoticed in the fight.

Ares (thinking): I was taken by surprise. I felt the striped one was a worthy opponent. I am a fool to place such trust in the human race. Their cowardice knows no bounds.

Panel 2.

He moves stealthily towards Stick who is getting to his feet. Hypnos is downed at his feet. Stick is actually impressed with himself.

Ares (thinking): I am the greatest warrior that has ever existed. I can be cunning and stealthy.

Ares (thinking): And I too can play dirty.

Panel 3.

He strikes at Stick with an impressive hook.

Fx: POW!

Page 17

Panel 1.

Ares stands ready to move onto El Tigre, but holds back to watch Stick shaking his head. Ares is shocked Stick is not out.

Ares (thinking): That was a blow that would have killed a normal man!

Panel 2.

Ares is surprised, but almost happy the fight is not over so quickly.

Ares (thinking): Perhaps I was too quick to judge them. This one is the exercise I so desperately craved.

Panel 3.

Ares throws a fist at Stick, which Stick parries, recovering from the last blow just in time.

Panel 4.

And it's a flurry of moves back and forth (multiple images), Stick barely keeping up. Its obvious Ares has far more experience, he is just looking for the in. And maybe he is playing with Stick just a little.

Panel 5.

El Tigre sneaks up on Ares, blade drawn. Ares is still engaged with Stick, getting a glancing blow on him.

Page 18-19 (Double page spread)

Panel 1.

Tigre slashes at Ares, but Ares ducks the strike...

Panel 2.

...and footsweeps Tigre to the ground.

Panel 3.

Stick takes the moment to try a swing at Ares, which he deftly avoids.

Ares: The battle was over before it began. Neither one of you can ever gain the advantage over me. I am merely toying with you... stretching out this fight.

Panel 4.

Stick reaches for his staff.

Panel 5.

Ares kicks Stick's hand away.

Ares: Ah-ah! Not so fast.

Panel 6.

Ares follows through with a solid fist to Stick's face.

Panel 7.

Full shot. Stick reels back from the blow, a little dizzy. El Tigre is moving in tentatively with his blade.

Page 20

Panel 1.

Silver comes through the window, shapechanging from bird to lion form. This stalls the fight somewhat.

Panel 2.

Ares sees Silver and is surprised by her arrival. He raises an eyebrow, recognizing her.

Ares: Eh? A shapechanger?

Panel 3.

Silver makes a charging leap towards Ares.

Panel 4.

In one move, Ares sends Silver careening past himself, using her momentum against her.

Panel 5.

Silver shapechanges into her bird form and makes an arc back towards Ares, connecting with a mental blast at him.

Silver: Take him! Now!

Page 21

Panel 1.

Ares is stunned, trying to shake off the effects of the mental blast. Stick and El Tigre are rushing Ares. Stick gets a blow at Ares' head, El Tigre slashes Ares' side.

Fx: POW!

Fx: SLASH!

Panel 2.

Ares backhands El Tigre, lifting him a few inches of the ground but keeping his focus on Stick.

Fx: SMAK!

Panel 3.

Link gets to his feet, assessing the situation. In the background of the shot, Stick is side-kicking Ares, striking him in the kidneys, and lifting off the ground slightly.

Link (thinking): That ruddy idiot! That staff of his... possessed of some sort of psionic energy. Nothing like I've ever felt before.

Link (thinking): It repelled my psionic attack against him.

Panel 4.

Link notices the staff on the ground unattended.

Link (thinking): And when he struck me with it, my own psionic energy fed back to me.

Link (thinking): Well, my little white knight. You are weaponless now.

Panel 5.

Link moves in towards the scuffle. Silver is trying to psychically hold onto Ares, while Stick launches another solid punch to the back of Ares' head. El Tigre is being mentally blasted from Link, and he is dropping.

Link (thinking): Another telepath? Where did she come from? I will need my full strength to take her on.

Link (thinking): Let's get rid of her companions first. This one is powerful, but it's Stick that I want to destroy. He hurt me with that bloody staff.

Page 22

Panel 1.

Splash. Tigre drops, with a zombie look on his face. Ares is holding up his hands against Stick. Silver senses El Tigre drop with her psychic energy. A flare of psychic energy shoots out from Link's head towards Stick.

Link (thinking): And he's putting a pounding on Ares! This likely will get me a promotion!

Silver (thinking): From the corner of my mind...

Silver (thinking): NO!

Panel 2.

Close-up shot of Silver. She is afraid and screaming!

Silver: STIIIIIIIICK!

Panel 3.

Full shot. The blast hits Stick square in the head. His head bobs to the left from the impact. His eyes are glazed.

Silver (off-panel): NOOOOOOOOO!

Panel 4.

He slumps down to the ground, like a rag doll.

Panel 5.

Silver shapechanges to her human form, running towards Stick's crumpled body. Her mental energies are flaring around her head, single tendrils reaching towards Stick's body. In the background, Ares is recovering from the attacks. He has a smile on his lips.

Page 23

Panel 1.

Silver over Stick's body. She is panicking, reaching out psionically to Stick with all her mental energies.

Silver: Stick... speak to me. You have to be all right. No little mental attack is enough to take you out. Come on, come on! I have so much to say to you... so many things...

Panel 2.

She is crying over his body.

Silver: What did you mean when you wanted me to call you by your real name? What were you trying to say? Come back and tell me.

Panel 3.

Same shot as last. A shadow is over the body. She looks up, pain and anger in her face. Tears flow unhindered on her face.

Ares (off-panel): Stand back, Link. I know this one. Give her a moment to grieve.

Ares (off-panel): He died a good death... as a warrior.

Ares (off-panel): You should be proud. And I shall offer you the same respect.

Silver: Dexter, I have something to take care of now.

Panel 4.

Large panel. The naked (and tastefully shadowed) Silver stands in a crouched stance, surrounded on each side by Link and Ares. Link is nervous, worried to match his own power against hers. Ares is wired with the victory over El Tigre and Stick. Silver is enraged, showing an anger never shown before. She is out for revenge.

Link: Enough waiting, Ares. She is powerful. We don't want to take any chances. She almost cost you this fight.

Ares: NO!

Ares: She deserves a moment. You wouldn't understand these things.

Silver: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Caption: Stick dead? Silver alone against Ares and Link? The mayhem doesn't stop here. Next issue, someone else dies.