Symka: Part 23

Copyright Sean McGinity © 2005

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

"You would do anything to get the story. Anything."

Page 1

Splash Page

The page is split in two to show two similar scenes at two different locations. Black is standing on the left side of the page in a ready stance on the ledge of a rooftop. Before him are Silver (in a naked human form, tastefully shadowed) and Gideon. On the right hand side of the page is Casino leaning against a rooftop exit on a rooftop. Unlike Black, he is completely relaxed. He doesn't look ready for a fight, but he has a strong confidence in his eyes that that is not a problem. Before Casino is El Tigre and Stick, both ready to strike.

Caption: An argument between Silver and Gideon escalated into Gideon attacking Silver. As the fight wound down, the emissary of Blue Moon called Black appeared.

Caption: Several blocks away, another agent of Blue Moon, the being called Casino appeared before Stick and El Tigre.

Caption: Both Casino and Black came bearing the message:

Casino/Black: It's time to meet Blue Moon.

Title: REFLECTIONS

Page 2

Panel 1.

Three-quarter shot of El Tigre and Stick standing at the ready, expecting some sort of attack from Casino (out of panel). El Tigre is very bitter about Blue Moon/Pitawa and everything that represents him. Stick, although somewhat better informed about Blue Moon, is not as bitter and looks almost ready to listen to him.

El Tigre (thinking): Blue Moon? Oh, I know who he really is. He's Pitawa, the evil brother of Manapatapoo, who's spent the last several hundred years murdering people.*

*Editor's Note: As El Tigre realized when he visited the astral plane after striking the tablet with his enchanted blade in Issue 12.

Panel 2.

Side far shot of El Tigre and Stick facing off against the still laid-back Casino. Stick is raising a hand to put on El Tigre's shoulder.

El Tigre: Listen, buddy, no offense but we're doing fine on our own. We have the tablet situation under control. Go tell your boss...

Stick: El Tigre... really!

Panel 3.

One-quarter shot of El Tigre and Stick. El Tigre turns his head to look at Stick. Stick has an eyebrow arched to suggest they should take him out and ask questions later.

Panel 4.

El Tigre nods in agreement.

Panel 5.

Large panel. El Tigre and Stick launch themselves at Casino. Casino straightens himself up, but still does not look worried.

Page 3

Panel 1.

Silver shapechanges into her bear form. Black watches them. Gideon is annoyed at the disturbance of his argument with Silver.

Black: Changing shapes is not necessary, Silver.

Silver: Sorry if I'm a little paranoid.

Panel 2.

She walks in front of the annoyed Gideon. Black is watching, trying to anticipate what Silver is planning. He steps off the ledge to the rooftop. Silver's face is full of conviction.

Silver: I've had my share of evil over the last few weeks and I'm not the least bit in the mood to put up with yet another would-be...

Gideon: Silver! Now's not the time or the place for your grandstanding.

Silver: Stand back. Get out of here before I tear you apart.

Gideon: Silver!

Panel 3.

Gideon pushes Silver's big bear head aside to let him step ahead of her. Black takes a step forward, ready for a fight.

Gideon: Wait... let's hear him out.

Silver: Hear him...?

Silver (telepathically): Gideon! This guy works for Blue Moon... Pitawa... He's just as evil as the master he serves. Ultimate evil, Gideon.

Panel 4.

Silver pushes Gideon aside annoyingly with her shoulders.

Silver (telepathically): I'm not going anywhere with this guy.

Page 4

Panel 1.

Silver charges Black in a large impact panel. Black is in combat stance, legs tensed, ready to leap.

Panel 2.

Silver charges through the panel. Black performs a flip over Silver using her back as a springboard (with several ghost images to show the trajectory of the flip).

Panel 3.

Black lands perfectly, just in front of Gideon. Gideon watches him. Gideon is calm. He is not impressed that Black avoided Silver's charge.

Black: She doesn't have the tablets' location. You do.

Panel 4.

Silver spins, heaving her huge frame around. She is worried about what Black may do to Gideon.

Panel 5.

Black touches Gideon with a firm grip on his shoulder and they both are starting to disappear.

Panel 6.

Silver running over to where Gideon and Black were. Nothing remains of them but a blink in the air.

Silver: Gideon?

Page 5

Panel 1.

Far shot of Silver, her head in the air, shouting.

Silver: Gideonnnnnnnnnnnnn!

Panel 2.

In an explosive charge, Stick and El Tigre smash through the rooftop exit Casino was leaning against but Casino is not there.

Fx: SMASH!

Panel 3.

Far shot. They spin to find Casino standing on the opposite edge of the roof, none the worse for wear.

Stick: How did?

Casino: I have certain... gifts.

Casino: Now... is this really necessary. I like a good scuffle as much as the next person, but now isn't really the time.

Panel 4.

El Tigre draws his blade, grim and determined.

Panel 5.

El Tigre throws the blade through the panel.

Page 6

Panel 1.

Casino moves as a blur out of the way of the blade, which impales into the ground.

Panel 2.

Stick is looking around frantically, unsure of where Casino moved to this time and a little worried. El Tigre has caught Casino's movement and is concentrating on it.

Stick: Where? How?

El Tigre: This time I saw it. He's fast. He moved out of the way.

Panel 3.

Stick shakes his head as he sees Casino on the other side of the rooftop walking casually, circling the two.

Stick: Good eyes, Tigre. I missed that.

Panel 4.

Casino moves in with a palm to Stick's chest. El Tigre sees the attack coming but is moving in slow motion. Stick doesn't even react.

Tigre: Stick, watch out!

Page 7

Panel 1.

Stick is on the ground clutching his chest and breathing heavy.

Stick: Cough! Cough!

Panel 2.

Far shot. Casino is back to circling the two. El Tigre has him tracked now and is watching his movement.

Casino: I took the liberty of knocking the wind out of Stick instead of doing something much more...

Casino: ...horrible.

Tigre: Oh, thank you. I'm touched.

Panel 3.

Stick is getting to his feet slowly. El Tigre is in a fighting stance, watching Casino move around them slowly.

Casino: Realize I have no need to kill you. If I did, Stick would be dead now.

Page 8

Panel 1.

Stick has pulled himself up to his feet. He is angry with himself for getting caught. He is ready now.

Stick: You caught me by surprise that time. I have your ticket now.

Panel 2.

Casino is casually still circling in a three-quarter shot. He looks apologetic.

Casino: Point taken, my little white knight. I am outnumbered after all and I didn't press the advantage I had. I could flee. But I think we've reached some sort of agreement.

Panel 3.

Stick looks to El Tigre, for an acknowledgement.

Panel 4.

Full shot of the three of them.

Stick: Okay. Let's finally meet this Blue Moon then.

Panel 5.

Casino smiles, and his fangs are visible.

Casino: Thank you. Let us go then.

Page 9

Panel 1.

Silver, in her bird form is flying over the city in a far shot.

Silver (thinking): Gideon? Where are you?

Panel 2.

Tighter, slight bird's eye shot. She is worried.

Silver (thinking): I'm reaching out with my telepathic abilities but I can't locate him. He's either too far for my abilities to reach or that man killed him.

Panel 3.

She lands on a chimney.

Silver (thinking): I have to assume Gideon is alive. The alternative... Where would he take Gideon to? Think, Silver think!

Panel 4.

She flies off.

Silver (thinking): I need to find Stick and El Tigre. Together we can find Gideon. I'll reach out with telepathy and search for their minds. I hope they are still in range.

Panel 5.

Flying through the skies. A telepathic nimbus is around her head, with tendrils floating over the skies.

Silver (thinking): Gideon!

Page 10

Panel 1.

Dale Turcott is exiting the NBC Studios. He is distraught and barely lucid.

Caption: Moments ago, Dale Turcott learned that an old reporter friend of his, Trish Wilby died during news coverage of Gideon, Stick, Silver, and El Tigre fighting with Bryce and his agents.

Panel 2.

Side three-quarter shot of Dale Turcott sitting in the driver's seat of his vehicle. Tears stream down his face. He looks defeated.

Panel 3.

Same shot as last. Something has caught Dale's attention in the back seat.

Panel 4.

Three-quarter shot of the back seat and its occupant: Willis "Scanner" Tanchuk. His face is covered in a 5 o'clock shadow. He is haggard, exhausted and his clothes are very worn in.

Scanner: Did you forget about your friend, Scanner, Dale? I was wondering when I'd finally find you.

Panel 5.

The vehicle takes off.

Page 11

Panel 1.

Inside side shot of the vehicle and its occupants. Dale is not there mentally, focusing on something else. He is still in shock at the news of Trish. Scanner is pissed.

Scanner: I've been looking for you, Dale. You're a hard guy to get a hold off.

Dale: Willis? I mean, Scanner... Look, now's not a good time...

Scanner: Now's not a good time? When would it be a good time, Dale? When they find my body with a gaping hole seared through by some magical laser?

Panel 2.

Inside of the vehicle.

Dale: Scanner... things have gotten complicated...

Scanner: I know complicated, Dale. Ever since I met you my life has gone beyond complicated. Things didn't just go away when you left me high and dry. I've barely avoided two more attempts on my life.

Panel 3.

Same as last.

Scanner: Hi Tech Henchmen. You remember? The company you used me to try and uncover? Does that ring a bell?

Dale: Hi Tech Henchmen... has been dealt with.

Scanner: Really? Do tell.

Panel 4.

Dale is shaking some of the grief a little, giving a look to the back seat from the rear view mirror.

Dale: Scanner... I really don't have the time. I'll drop you wherever you want. I just... I just can't deal with you right now.

Scanner: Tough. I'm on you like a yuppie on Viagra.

Dale: Scanner... Willis... a friend of mine just died... a close friend...

Panel 5.

Shot of Scanner.

Scanner: You must be talking about Trish Wilby. I've seen the news reports. I know all about her and you. You see, since you haven't been returning my calls, I started doing my own little research on you... thinking maybe if I figured you out more I might be able to find you.

Page 12

Panel 1.

A younger and fresher Dale and Trish, rookies at a big news station in Chicago in a Flashback sequence.

Caption (Scanner): "You and Trish started out over 10 years ago at some rinky-dink news station in Chicago."

Caption (Dale): "She was so spunky... willing to piss off anyone to get the story."

Panel 2.

Shot of Dale reporting some story at a fire, with Trish running into the scene, too late.

Caption (Scanner): "Trish was quite the trooper, wasn't she? She made her fair share of enemies. She didn't always get the story, though."

Caption (Dale): "You too were quite competitive, and you always went that extra mile to get the story over her."

Panel 3.

Trish yelling at Dale. Dale is turning his back nonchalantly to her.

Caption (Dale): "There was this fierce competition between us. We kept trying to one-up each other. It wasn't malicious, but things went a little too far."

Caption (Scanner): "No kidding."

Panel 4.

Shot of the both of them having dinner, in the middle of this big debate.

Caption (Dale): "I lost track of her a little after one of the big exposes of mine."

Caption (Scanner): "I figured something blossomed between you two. Would explain a lot of things."

Panel 5.

Trish and Dale kissing in the rain, Dale, his famous Range Rover in the background.

Caption (Dale): "Trish... nothing ever happened between us."

Panel 6.

Two men with guns pointed at Dale. Dale with his hands up.

Caption (Scanner): "Your journalistic... what do they call that... integrity... kind of messed you up with the wrong people, didn't it?"

Page 13

Panel 1.

Shot of people beating on Dale. They are clean-cut jocks.

Caption (Dale): "My arrogance got me in a lot of trouble in those days."

Panel 2.

The people are leaving behind a battered Dale. In the distance, a video camera getting it all on tape.

Caption (Dale): "But it also got me great stories...

Panel 3.

Close-up of the camera.

Caption (Scanner): "Whatever, Dale. You were a reckless journalist.

Panel 4.

Shot of Trish and Dale walking away from one another, both sad.

Caption (Dale): "Your competition with each other suddenly stopped. Not sure what happened there, but you seemed to leave everything behind after that."

Panel 5.

Shot inside the car.

Dale: My behavior was crazy. I felt like some sort of rock star. I rose up the ranks of the press, becoming the headline instead of reporting it.

Scanner: Thank God for Trish, man. I mean she did pretty good, huh? She worked her butt off. But it wasn't as spectacular as you, was it Dale?

Panel 6.

Another Flashback. Dale standing in front of a suited man being hauled off by a group of police. The man is angry with Dale and cursing him as he reports the arrest.

Caption (Dale): "Trish took the easier road. Consistent reporting, working the trenches, making contacts. I was all about spectacle and splash. She was all about professionalism. She earned her way up to the top, while I was out there risking my life... recklessly risking my life. I rose far faster than she did."

Page 14

Panel 1.

Action shot of Dale in front of a camera while bullets are bouncing overhead.

Caption (Scanner): "You were big time, Dale. You were knocking out all these slime-dogs. You were front-page news. Trish was working the editing room at NBC."

Caption (Scanner): "You were fly, Dale... superfly. But you eventually got caught up in it."

Panel 2.

Another shot of a beat up Dale Turcott, bleeding from the mouth at the foot of some men.

Caption (Dale): "I left, Scanner. Some guy with a lot of money and influence was willing to make the story I was working on disappear. I couldn't be bought. But my station could."

Caption (Scanner): "You weren't being safe. You recklessly endangered your news station."

Panel 3.

Back inside the vehicle. Dale is looking at Scanner questioningly.

Dale: What?

Scanner: You heard me, Dale. You tried to make up some story about some businesswoman and got caught with your pants down. And your station wasn't going to back you.

Panel 4.

Shot of Dale. He is starting to break out of his reverie a little. He is passionate. Scanner is not impressed in the least with him. In fact he is disgusted with the false bravado.

Dale: There was a story there! And I was going to report it. At any cost.

Scanner: Here we go again. Reckless.

Panel 5.

Slight bird's eye view. Dale's vehicle has just parked across the street from the hospital.

Dale (in the vehicle and not visible): I decided to pursue the story on my own, without a station to back me up. If they wouldn't tell the story I would find someone who would. Independent News, a struggling news station in far-off Winnipeg offered to do the story... unedited and complete as a world exclusive.

Page 15

Panel 1.

In the car, arguing. Scanner is rolling his eyes at Dale.

Scanner: Again, Dale Turcott, famed reporter was at the top of his game, and making headlines. It didn't matter where he worked. He was the man.

Dale: I was the man. I made that station. It went from a barely there news station to a thriving independent station on the cutting edge. And they screwed me just like Chicago.

Panel 2.

Scanner is pressing his point but Dale is not backing down.

Scanner: Selfish as ever, Dale. You surprise me. For such an investigative journalist, you miss the biggest clues.

Dale: What are you talking about, Scanner?

Scanner: Oh, only the fact that you dumped Trish when you found the next story to work on. You were dangerous to be around. You would do anything to get the story. Anything. To the point of endangering her life.

Panel 3.

Dale looks confused.

Dale: What are you talking about?

Scanner: You got too close to a story and it nearly cost her. Her sister was hospitalized after a drive-by at their home.

Dale: Anita? She was shot?

Scanner: You lured me in just as you had Trish. You got me all involved and people tried to kill me!

Panel 4.

Pointing a finger in Scanner's face.

Dale: You took the chance! You! You made the decision to go deep on the Net! You stuck your hands in Pandora's Box and got caught. I tried my best to protect you, Willis.

Panel 5.

Scanner not backing down.

Scanner: Bull! You were in it for yourself and discarded me when the story moved! If I knew how dangerous this was, I would never have gotten involved... not for any amount of money.

Page 16

Panel 1.

Dale is pressing a finger and thumb into the bridge of his nose. He is tired, emotionally spent and finished with this conversation.

Dale: Willis... I need to check on Trish's partner, see how he is. I also need to know who did this... and what happened.

Panel 2.

Looking at Scanner with the deepest sincerity.

Dale: So you know, it's because I feel responsible.

Panel 3.

Dale opens his jacket to reveal to Scanner a holstered pistol under his armpit.

Dale: I have things to answer for, Willis. Come with me and I'll try to get to the bottom of what happened...

Dale: ... and keep you safe.

Panel 4.

Silver is leaving Stick's apartment (still in bird form).

Silver (thinking): Thought I could find Joaquin and Dexter at Dexter's place, but no luck.

Silver (thinking): Come on, guys! Where are you? We need to find where that creep took Gideon.

Panel 5.

Flying over the city.

Silver (thinking): If I keep the telepathic channel open, I might catch one of them as I crisscross the city. Stick... Dexter! Joaquin! I need your help! Gideon's been captured!

Page 17

Panel 1.

Gideon, El Tigre and Stick coming into Blue Moon's apartment from the elevator. They are being escorted by Black and Casino. Blue Moon/Pitawa greets them with a warm invitation.

Caption: Gideon, Stick and El Tigre are escorted to Blue Moon's penthouse.

Blue Moon: Gentlemen. At last we meet.

Panel 2.

He has a hand extended to them. He has charm and it melts from his eyes. They are merely standing there before him, unsure of how to take him.

Blue Moon: It's a pleasure to finally meet you...

Panel 3.

Hand still extended, Blue Moon looks them over, questioning Black and Casino more than the other three.

Blue Moon: But... there is one missing.

Panel 4.

Close-up of Gideon. An almost sinister look in his eyes.

Gideon: She couldn't make it.

Gideon (thinking): Because I can't trust her in front of someone as evil as you.

Page 18

Panel 1.

Blue Moon, acting hurt. El Tigre is glaring at the man, the only one fully aware of who this man is.

Blue Moon: What...? Do you not trust me? I have been there for your little group, helping you along with your goal.

Panel 2.

With a disappointed and eager to change his mind look, Blue Moon looks to El Tigre.

Blue Moon: Your eyes accuse me, El Tigre, but of what crime I do not know. Please. Come in. Let us discuss business. I believe it will be amenable to you especially, El Tigre.

Blue Moon: Black? Casino? You have the rest of the evening off.

Panel 3.

He leads them into a parlor where three men are seated. The first is Ares, a muscular man in the best physical condition. He appears in his 30's. He has a beard, neatly trimmed, jet black hair and a presence with these piercing eyes. He wears a button shirt and slacks and seems uncomfortable dressed this way. Second is Hypnos, a tall woman with an uncharacteristic build. She appears in her 40's. She has crazy eyes and wild hair and seems flaky. She wears a light blue dress that does nothing for her. The last is Link, a young man in his twenties with messy short hair, expressive eyes (and eyebrows), and a lithe build. He is wearing a black long sleeve T-shirt with a stripe down the arms and khaki army pants with lots of pockets. He wears an expensive gold watch on his arm and designer sunglasses tinted a pale yellow. Stick eyes them over nervously.

Stick: Hi.

Pitawa: These are my associates, Ares, Hypnos, and Link.

Link: G'day.

Page 19

Panel 1.

Gideon looks over Pitawa's people briefly, but returns his attention on Blue Moon. Stick is looking at the others nervously. He doesn't want to be here. Something feels wrong.

Gideon: I hope you're not planning something here, Blue Moon. Especially telegraphing this mutate's powers with a name like Hypnos.

Blue Moon: You are quite perceptive, my young friend. Good for you. I'm sure it's part of the reason you've gotten this far.

Stick: I'm not comfortable here, not with all this extra muscle.

Stick (thinking): Something is wrong. These people... they have a confidence... like they have power I couldn't even begin to understand... that could crush us all like insects.

Panel 2.

Blue Moon trying to get Stick's attention, with an assuring look.

Blue Moon: Would I be safer without them? I know so little of you. How do I know you didn't plan on coming in here and killing me?

Panel 3.

Blue Moon waving a trusting hand to Ares, Link and Hypnos. Gideon is measuring Blue Moon's words.

Blue Moon: I've shown you can trust me, but I haven't seen anything to show I can trust you. They are merely here as an insurance.

Blue Moon: If we are together on this, their presence should have no consequence.

Gideon: You've made your point. Let's get down to the business.

Panel 4.

All the people are now seated. Stick still looks uncomfortable, ready to flee at the first sign of trouble. El Tigre is brooding, looking at the change in Gideon, unsure of his friend's mental state. Gideon is all business and partially disgusted with being there. Ares raises a goblet of some drink.

Caption: Gideon, Stick, and El Tigre are seated and discussions begin between the two groups.

Pitawa: You have successfully gathered three of the Symka tablets.

Ares: A toast for that accomplishment, my friends. The powers you faced were formidable.

Gideon: Yeah. We're great.

Panel 5.

Full shot of the whole group. Gideon and Stick are paying close attention to Blue Moon's words, looking for some lie to come from him. Link and Hypnos are bored with this. El Tigre looks on at Ares. He grabs the cup. Screw it. Let's go along with this.

Pitawa: I know the location of the last tablet, my friends. But unfortunately it is located outside of North America.

Panel 6.

They are still talking. El Tigre downs the drink. Ares looks worried about that.

Pitawa: And the person who holds it knows you.

Page 20

Panel 1.

Gideon and Blue Moon seem engaged alone at this point. El Tigre's head swims a little, but he manages to shake off the strong drink. El Tigre gets a look from Stick with a "what the hell is he doing" look.

Ares: Young one. Be careful, these are not simple ales you drink.

Pitawa: This being possesses power like none that have come before you. And he expects you. A deadly combination.

Panel 2.

Gideon and Blue Moon focused on one another. El Tigre is opening his eyes wide to shake the effect of the alcohol, getting a wide smile from Ares. Link seems unimpressed with the whole thing. Hypnos is studying Stick. Stick is focusing back on Blue Moon.

Gideon: And who might this being be, Blue Moon? And how would he know us?

Stick: Enough with being cryptic. Who is it?

Panel

Close-up shot of El Tigre. A look of shock on him.

Blue Moon (off-panel): El Tigre's father.

Panel 3.

Hypnos is still studying Stick, and an invisible tendril of telepathy fingers its way towards him. Link notices it. El Tigre has been yanked into the conversation and is caught in complete surprise.

El Tigre: Wait a minute? My father?

Blue Moon: The lines of destiny are strange indeed.

Stick: So what sort of help are you offering us today? El Tigre's father is dangerous? Are you offering a way to defeat him?

Panel 4.

Link puts a hand on Hypnos and the tendril starts to disappear. Gideon watches them and is getting antsy. El Tigre is still shocked. Stick is getting uncomfortably impatient. He is swallowing hard, trying to build up his courage.

Blue Moon: I offer my help in safeguarding the tablets while you travel to retrieve the last one.

Gideon: What? This is a joke!

Page 21

Panel 1.

Gideon stands. Sparking a surprise from all. Link is coming back from boredom, excited at the prospect of some action. Hypnos is still strangely fascinated with Stick.

Gideon: I've had enough of this facade. We don't need your help and never have. We already know the location of the last tablet. Thanks for the offer of help but we're leaving.

Stick: It's over, Pitawa!

Panel 2.

Pitawa stands, looks all three of them over, surprised he has been found out.

Panel 3.

Ares, Link and Hypnos look to Blue Moon/Pitawa for the signal to kill these idiots.

Blue Moon/Pitawa: Very well. If anyone should have learned my identity it would have been you.

Panel 4.

Pitawa walks towards the door. The rest of them are waiting for someone else to make a first move.

Pitawa: Gentlemen and lady? My identity needs to be kept secret.

Panel 5.

Close-up of Pitawa with a sadistic look to him.

Pitawa: Dispose of them.

Page 22

Splash.

The three stand, ready to battle Gideon, Stick, and El Tigre.

Caption: Who are these minions of Pitawa? They must be powerful enough to deal with Stick, El Tigre and Gideon if he excused Black and Casino. What awaits our heroes? See us next issue!