Panel 1.1: Close up on a seven year old Hiro’s hazel brown eyes as he huddles against the back passenger side door of his Dad’s antique car: a Chevy Impala from the late 2020’s, one of the last non-autonomous vehicles mass produced in North America, the car is parked in a moonlit garage. We see Daihiro’s almond-shaped eyes, peeking up over the door to look out the car window, pupils wide with fear as he listens to the sounds of his father beating his mother in the house proper. In the reflection of the car window, distorted at a slight slant because of the slope of the glass, we see a vivid red and yellow speech bubble. The words inside the bubble read like a reflection, in reverse. The speech bubble is Dad Daitokuji taking the back of his hand to Mom Daitokuji.
(1) SFX: *PALS*
(2) SFX: *PALS*
Panel 1.2: A shot from the middle of the backseat of the chevy, looking towards the rear passenger side door/window. Hiro is tucked down against the door, pitifully wrapped in an old blanket. Above his head, through the passenger side window, we see the messy garage, and an open door, showing us the hallway leading into the house. Dad is blocking our view past the short hallway, standing in the open door, pressing Mom Daitokuji up against the wall with a broken bottle of whiskey. Dad is shorter than Mom; she’s looking straight over his head with a clear eyed expression, while he snarls threats into her neck. Dad’s wearing sunglasses, hiding his eyes, but we see the veins on his neck/forehead popping out, surging with adrenaline. A wave of partially visible dialogue streams out of Dad’s mouth, the insults weaving between and behind the couple, obscuring what is being said. Music notes blare through parts of the speech bubble, further confusing what Dad is saying. In the garage, on the wall next to the door, a large and easy to read digital clock shows the time and date.
(3) CLOCK: 11:12 PM, Nov. 11th, 2057
(4) DAD: Lies! All Lies! —– —- ——- —- —— Like A Tramp With —
———. I Swear I’ll — —– —— —- —- Your Pretty Lying
Neck — —- —- —- Take My Hand And Clamp Your Head
And Smash It, —- ——- — —- — Over and Over Till You’re
Drowning — —- — —– — —- —- —– And Laugh And
Laugh And You Can’t Stop It! No One Can Stop It!
NOTE: Dialogue box is constrained to the doorway, so it surrounds Mom and
Dad but remains mostly unreadable.
Panel 1.3: This panel is a closeup of Mom and Dad, framed by the doorway, as viewed from behind the car window. We see Dad grabbing Mom by the chin, forcing her to look down into his eyes. He’s whispering something to her, while musical notes surge around the two.
(5) DAD: Is he even my son?
NOTE: Covered up by the music notes, mostly illegible
Panel 1.4: Same view as Panel 1.3, as Dad whips up his arm and smacks Mom square in the face. Music continues to blare, musical notes cover up the *SMACK* speech bubble. At the bottom of the panel, we see the very top of Hiro’s head, as he has climbed up against the door window and is trying to stealthily watch what is happening.
(6) SFX (DAD HITTING MOM): SMACK
NOTE: Partially obscured by musical notes
Panel 1.5: Our view leaves the car and parks next to the passenger side back bumper, so we can see car door and Dad at the garage door simultaneously. In the car, Hiro is leaning against the door and has accidentally pushed it open about a foot, banging into some cans or such on the garage floor. At the house door, Dad’s head has snapped into view, as he focuses in on the source of the relatively small noise.
(7) SFX (CAR DOOR): bang!
(8) DAIHIRO: oh no
NOTE: small speech bubble leaking out from the car door
Panel 2.1: Our perspective stays at the rear of the car, standing even with the bumper, centered between Daihiro’s back passenger side door, and where Dad is standing, in the doorway to the garage. Dad is now fully visible in the doorway, and is poised to for a leap towards the vehicle, while Hiro quickly tries to shut and lock the door.
(1) SFX (CAR DOOR): SLAM
NOTE: Speech bubble also shows up as a reflection in the car window
Panel 2.2: Frame shows Dad, jumping the distance to the car, caught halfway, midair, face demented, sunglasses glinting with evil intent. Hiro’s hands are visible in the passenger side window, desperately trying to lock the door. Musical notes filter through the top of the page, leaking into the garage from the house.
Panel 2.3: Dad has slammed into the car door, knocking Hiro backwards. The frenzied man is now slamming the door open and shut, almost dancing in demented glee. The car rocks back and forth with each successive impact, Hiro jostling around inside.
Panel 2.4: Dad yanks open the door a final time, and in this cut off frame we see his hands grabbing onto the blanket wrapped Hiro, whose face is a mask of terror.
NOTE: The background/gutter of PAGE 3 is a close up of an antique tape cassette player/mixer, with each of the frames positioned as if they’re the various tape decks of the tape player/mixer: it’s Dad’s tape player, blaring music in the living room. The panels are labeled: “Deck A”, “Deck B”, etc., corresponding with the panel order. We see the tape deck buttons peeking out from behind the right of Frame F, where Dad’s fat thumb is pushing on the stop button.
Panel 3.1: “Deck A” : Same general perspective as PAGE 2, even with the bumper. Dad has pulled the kicking and screaming Daihiro from the car, and is hugging him tightly, too tight, unintentionally smothering him. Daihiro’s arms flail as he tries to get a breath.
Panel 3.2: “Deck B” : Keeping the bumper perspective: Dad has finally released his son, but is already yanking him back towards the house and Mom (unseen), who has collapsed in the hallway where Dad left her. Hiro is stuck in Dad’s implacable grip, kicking and struggling for air.
(1) DAIHIRO: GASP
Panel 3.3: “Deck C” : Same perspective as 3.2. This panel is an empty shot of the garage, as the beatings continue in the house proper. The music has been turned off, and suddenly we can ‘hear’ the screams.
(2) MOM DAITOKUJI: NO! NO!
(3) SFX (DAD HITTING MOM): SMACK
(4) SFX (DAD HITTING MOM): SMACK SMACK SMACK
Panel 3.4: “Deck D” : We see the small family re-enter the garage, all together, Dad corralling his two hostages towards the car. Dad is shoving Mom out in front him him, while he easily drags the squirming Daihiro behind him.
Panel 3.5: “Mix 1” : Half frame shot of the passenger side of the car, after Dad has slammed both the passenger side doors, and is now in the middle of breaking off the door handles. Mom is visible at the front passenger side window, and Daihiro is visible at the back, both pressed against the glass, trying to plead with Dad. (The compositions of Panel 3.5 and 3.6 are set such that Dad is back to back with himself)
(5) SFX (breaking handles): SNAP
(6) SFX (breaking handles): SNAP
Panel 3.6: “Mix 2” : Half frame shot of Dad, ambling his way along the driver’s side, whistling happily. Hiro’s terrified face is visible through the back window.
(7) SFX (DAD): whistling
NOTE: The background of Panels 4.1/2/3 are curved and blended like the front windshield of the car, and the characters are spaced in such a way as to give each frame a telescopic look, as we look down the length of the vehicle.
Panel 4.1: Perspective is in the backseat, slightly in front of Daihiro, looking forward out the front window and over the hood of the car. Dad is sitting in the driver’s seat, turned around and looking back towards his son (not shown). Dad is reaching back, towards our POV, offering the two broken door latches to Hiro. Mom is slouched in her seat in such a way that we only see her shoulder, the back of her head.
(1) DAD: Hey now, hey now. Don’t cry, guy, don’t cry. We’re just
going for a ride. Ok?
(2) DAD: Now, put your seatbelt on little guy. You remember how that thing works? Here, lemme show you.
Panel 4.2: Our POV moves backwards, to the center of the backseat. Dad is still turned around in his seat, towards Hiro, cradling his son’s chin now, talking cheerfully to him. At the right side of the frame, we see that Mom has stealthily pulled down her own seat belt. The frame captures the moment right before she clicks in.
(3) DAD: There we go little guy. We’re going for a ride now. Are you
(4) DAIHIRO: Is-is Mom ok?
(5) DAD: Oh she’s fine little guy, don’t worry about–
NOTE: Caption cut off by sound effect of Mom buckling in
(6) SFX (Mom’s seatbelt): CLICK
Panel 4.3: Similar perspective as Panel 4.2, except moved slightly to the right, centered more behind Mom’s seat, directly in front of where Hiro is sitting. In this frame, Dad has turned viciously on Mom: he’s up out of his seat and leaning directly over her, beating her savagely. Dad’s eyebrows are shooting up above the sunglasses, the veins on his neck bulging again. We see him raising his fist for just one in a series of blows on his helpless wife – she’s huddled against the passenger door, trying, and failing, to protect herself. In the foreground, we see Hiro’s own upraised arms – he’s leaning as far forward as he can, restrained by the seatbelt, trying to offer some relief to his poor Mother.
(7) DAD: SEATBELTS ARE FOR KIDS ONLY! KIDS ONLY
BEATRICE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND FRUCKING
ENGLISH? DO YOU FRUCKING UNDERSTAND?
(8) DAIHIRO: NO! DAD PLEASE!
Panel 5.1: POV slides over to occupy the seat to the left of Hiro, angled so we have a partial view of Mom in the front seat. Hiro is still restrained by his seatbelt, crying despondently to our right. The front occupants of the vehicle are mostly blocked by the car seats, but we see Mom’s raised legs, as she swung them around towards Dad to try and absorb some of the blows. Now, she seems to be unconscious, her legs twisted at an odd angle with her torso, and she’s not moving. Dad is turned forwards again, one hand playing with the center console while his left reaches up to open the garage door.
(1) DAD: Now for something on the radio…
Panel 5.2: Our perspective backs away from the car like a camera on a wire, zooming away from the driver’s side until we hit the garage wall, some six feet away. Through the car windows, in the front seat of the car, we see Dad, playfully searching the radio. Over the top of the car, we can see into the house, where all visible lamps and lights are smashed, there are holes in the wall; general signs of devastation from Dad’s rampage. Dad has started up the car, the headlights throwing haphazard shadows on the walls. Out of sight to our left, the garage door finishes opening…
(2) DAD: Something with gravity. But optimistic.
(3) RADIO: BzZzZZzzZZZzZch
Panel 5.3: Our camera zooms outside of a garage window, zooms out to get a full shot of the Daitokuji residence. It’s a modest two bedroom brick home, with a cute (if empty) fenced in garden on the side of the garage closest to us. In the garden, a stuffed bunny on a stake serves as an impoverished scarecrow. Our view is angled in such a way as to see at an angle into the open garage, to see the impala now easing out.
(4) DAD: Well, we’ll find something on the road! Just have to keep
(5) RADIO: KRSHBZzzBzzBzzBzz
Panel 5.4: Our camera speeds up and outwards, showing the surrounding neighborhood – It’s picturesque, large green spaces between the, albeit, rather modest homes. The yards are all well tended, it looks tranquil. Tall cedars and firs spring up around the houses, and a thick northwestern forest surrounds the entire development. There is no sign of movement, except for the Daitokuji car, which has pulled out of their driveway and is heading out of the neighborhood.
(6) RADIO: KRRRRSSSSSHZZZZZere’s BABA with ‘Water Doesn’t
Drain, Me Like You Do’.
(7) DAD: There we go.
Panel 5.5: Camera remains 20-30 feet above the road, centered on Dad’s car, who has stopped some ways out of the neighborhood, at a futuristic traffic sign. It’s the dead of night, only the sound of insects buzzing in the background. We see the tall trees, waving in the gentle breeze, closing in around the vehicle. We’re on Vancouver Island, amidst a small community based primarily on the tourist industry.
(8) RADIO: Don’t talk to me…like you’ve gone through me…It hurts. It’s
Panel 5.6: Dad takes a right, and we follow the car down down a windy, oceanside road. Our camera has zoomed diagonally up another 20 feet, and we can see that the road forks up ahead; to the left, it continues up the coast, along the edge of the inlet, to the right, it darts into the small town center. A large copse of trees and another stoplight separates the two paths.
(9) RADIO: Silence is best when you’ve got nothing left to say…
(10) SFX (CAR): HONK HONK HONK HONK
Panel 5.7: Camera remains 40-50 feet above/behind the Daitokuji bumper, as the car comes to the fork, and heedlessly blasts through the blinking light, barreling off to the left. On the road behind the car, we can see the swerving tire marks of the family’s wild ride.
(11) RADIO: …Beside the burning trees…
(12) RADIO: …There Waits His Destiny…
Panel 5.8:Our POV catches up with the car: we’re close up, looking at it side on, as our perspective travels parallel to the road, hovering over the water on the other side of the guardrail (Dad is driving on the wrong side of the road). On the opposite side of the vehicle, we see the forest, a curtain dark and foreboding. Dad has his head stuck out the car window, driving at breakneck speed and howling like a man possessed. Inside the car, Hiro’s mother has turned around to look at her son, her face bloody and puffy, her arm raised, pointing weakly to the seat next to her son. Hiro is pressing himself back into his seat with both hands, face frozen in fear and shock. Mom’s hair whips in gale from Dad’s open window.
(13) RADIO: We know you’re pretty denseeeee, just follow what makes
NOTE: Lettering trailing into the edge of the panel
Panel 5.9: We’re inside the car again, seeing through Daihiro’s eyes. He’s looking to where Mom is pointing, towards a small toy scroll, made from electronic infused canvas and metal, lying on the seat next to him. The scroll is a souvenir from the fair the family went to in Vancouver, earlier in the day. At the right corner of our vision, we see the terrain blurring by the front windshield. Dad is still preoccupied with howling out his window.
(14) RADIO/DAD: But we were all fools…playing by the rules…
(15) MOM: remember…
Panel 5.10: Hiro’s POV again: the boy has picked up the scroll, has it partially unwound in his lap. He’s staring without comprehension at the large capital letters printed across the partially opened scroll: we read “WDD” in big bold, somewhat overlapping font. Through the front windshield the terrain blurs further.
(16) RADIO: We gods! We throw the dice.
Panel 5.11: Same perspective, but Hiro has pulled out the scroll further: as if by magic, the letters have separated, and blocks of smaller, very tightly overlapping (illegible) letters have appeared, filling in the gaps, so we can see that ‘WDD’ is an acronym of some sort. Up front, Dad is back fully in the car. Mom is trying to shrink down into her seat, fearing another attack.
(17) RADIO: Our minds as cold as ICE…
(18) DAD: ` Ahh…thirsty again…now where’s that beer…
Panel 5.12: Same perspective, watching as Dad hunches up, tries to dig under his seat, searching for something to slake his thirst. Hiro has released the tension on the scroll, letting it roll up again, the hidden letters disappearing completely.
(19) RADIO: For someone way down here…too soon, lose someones
(20) RADIO: The winner takes it ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
NOTE:Pages six and seven are complementary fan layouts, the panels starting on page six at the bottom left of the page, and traveling up and to the right, all the way through frame G at the upper right hand corner.
Panel 6.1: Our camera leaves the Daitokuji car again, coming to rest some 30 feet up and back from the rear of the car. We see there’s a blind curve up ahead, coming up very fast.
(1) DAD: Goddam it! WHERE’S MY BEERS! TURN OFF THE
Panel 6.2: Camera speeds past the car, coming to a rest above and off the road, angled downward, at the apex of the blind curve, so we can see both sides. On the right hand side, we see the Daitokuji car, veering wildly as Dad messes around under his seat/shouts at Mom. On the left hand side of the curve, we see there’s a slight upward hill. No vehicle is directly visible, but there’s a cone shaped splay of light on the road, suggesting another approaching vehicle.
(2) DAD: I SAID! WHERE’S–
NOTE: Cut off by panel edge
(3) DAIHIRO: Dad!
Panel 6.3: Similar camera placement to Panel 6.2, except our perspective has swiveled to the left, coming to rest slightly above the road (and the bottom of the page, see panel layout), as the Daitokuji car slides into the guardrail directly beneath us. The smoke of burning rubber fills the right edge of the frame: the Daitokuji car came into the corner too fast, lost traction on the back wheels and slid across the pavement. It has now bumped to a stop, the back left bumper hitting the concrete roadside barrier. Ahead of the Daitokuji car, we have a better view of the uphill portion of the road, can still see the blinding headlights of an approaching vehicle.
(4) ALL THREE DAITOKUJIS: AHHHHHHHHH!
NOTE: Dialogue trailing from the car as it slides out
(5) SFX (CAR): BUMP
NOTE: Car hitting the guardrail on the driver’s side back bumper
Panel 6.4: Frame perspective from the upper back seat of the Daitokuji car. Our view is level with the bottom of the page, while the frame is skewed, so we get a diagonal slice view out the front of the car. Ahead of the vehicle, we see the bottom half of what looks to be a very large, heavily modified segway. Instead of a rider, there’s an oversized robot, with a big display screen on its front, and a couple of large, clumsy mandibles for manipulation. The robot has a large array of lights on its forehead, one of which swings around to the side to illuminate the Daitokuji’s tire trail. In the front seat of the car, Mom has been thrown to the left, towards the driver’s side, and is awkwardly trying to right herself, while Dad is white knuckled on the steering wheel.
(6) ROBOT: Warning: Autonomous System Failure Detected. Warning.
NOTE: In digital, robotic lettering (all robots speak in the same harsh script, to
divide from human speakers)
(7) DAD: !…!…!…!
Panel 6.5: Same perspective as Panel 6.4, but a larger frame so we can see the entirety of the robot, which has now flashed on blue and red lights, starting to come towards the vehicle. In the front seat, Dad is bent over double, almost under his seat, as he searches for something. Daihiro is reaching forward, urging his Dad to leave, still restricted by his seatbelt. Mom begins crying, silently.
(8) ROBOT: Warning: Unregistered Vehicle Detected. The Authorities Are Being Contacted. Remain In Your Illegal Vehicle. The Authorities Are On Their Way. Estimated Time To Arrival:
NOTE: Robot lettering
(9) DAIHIRO: Dad…
Panel 6.6: View switches to hugging the driver’s door at the level of the window, looking straight ahead towards the slowly approaching Road Minder. Dad’s window is open. Clouds obscure the night sky.
(10) DAD: AH HA! FOUND IT!
Panel 6.7: Same perspective as Panel 6.6, but Dad is now leaning out the window, pointing and firing a glock at the robot. The robot has already taken several shots to it’s electronic screen, shorting it out. It’s lights are pointed frantically skywards, and it has turned itself sideways, as it shifts to evade the attack.
(11) DAD: STUPID FRUCKING ROBOT!
(12) SFX (GUN): BLAT BLAT BLAT BLAT
Panel 7.1: Head on shot of Dad’s driver’s side headlight, as Dad punches the car forward, towards us, aiming for the Minder. Dad is visible, still leaning out his window, still clicking the now empty gun
(1) SFX (CAR): VROOOUUUUUUM
(2) DAD: DIE! DIE! DIE!
(3) SFX (GUN): CLICK CLICK
Panel 7.2: Our view zooms out to attach behind and above the Road Minder’s shoulder, watching as the Daitokuji car charges up the small hill towards the robot, who starts to wheel backwards, and to it’s right, towards the outside edge of the road, trying to dodge the quickly approaching car.
(4) ROBOT: WARNING. WARNING. THIS IS A WARNING.
NOTE: Robot lettering
(5) DAD: DIE! FRUCKING STUPID ROBOT!
Panel 7.3: View detaches from the Road Minder and travels a little ways up the hill, so we have a good shot of the Daitokuji car ramming the Road Minder over the guardrail. The robot’s arms are flailing, as it’s shoved too far over the precipice, it tries desperately to stop itself from going over the edge.
(6) SFX (Road Minder):
NOTE: Empty, jagged sound effect bubble, sharp with the sound of the impact
Panel 7.4: A small slice, an angled view looking down from the rear at the damaged Daitokuji car, as it zooms away from the site of the incident. All of the car’s windows are rolled down, although Dad is no longer hanging outside his. Daihiro is seen at the back passenger side window, holding up his electronic scroll toy into the wind, morosely watching as it completely unfurls to it’s full length (about 3 feet). The writing on the scroll is now fully revealed, but illegible because of the way the scroll is twisting in the wind
NOTE: Page eight is a twelve panel character display, featuring most of the characters that will feature in the rest of the comic, each panel showing one or two characters, each seated at the same spartan interrogation room that will appear on page twenty-seven.
Panel 8.1: We’re seated at a harsh steel table, looking across at the dark outline of an empty chair.
(1) ANON. VOICE: Well then. What a wild ride.
(2) ANON. VOICE: As we progress in a forward manner, I thought it’d be best to formally introduce our cast of cheerful characters. Alright
everyone, tell us your names, and one thing we don’t know
Panel 8.2: Same frame, except the overhead ‘spotlight’ has been flipped on, covering the small area around the chair in blinding light. In this frame, Daihiro Daitokuji sits uncomfortably in a flawless white uniform, very different from the casual clothes we last saw him in. He’s using one arm to shield his eyes from the harsh light, while he scratches distractedly at the table with his other hand. His eyes are petulantly meeting the readers, his face mad and defiant.
(3) DAIHIRO: I don’t want to say anything.
(4) ANON. VOICE: Oh, come now Daihiro–
(5) DAIHIRO: NO!
(6) ANON. VOICE: Well then! Next!
Panel 8.3: Same scene, Daihiro has been replaced by a ‘57 Ferrin Knox, who’s sitting comfortably in his chair, looking as roguishly handsome as ever. He’s leaning forward towards us, with a conspiratorial look on his face. ‘57 Ferrin is wearing his sunglasses, but is lowering them with one hand to show us incredibly bloodshot eyes, ringed in dark purple.
(7) ‘57 FERRIN KNOX: I’m not saying my name.
(8) ANON. VOICE: Fine! We’ll just get an overlay–
(9) ‘57 FERRIN: No wait, I’ll do it. My name is Ferrin Something Knox, and I
haven’t slept in over fifteen years!
(10) ANON. VOICE: Excellent. Next!
(11) CAP: Deputy Assistant Ferrin Knox, C. 2057
Panel 8.4: Same setting, except young, handsome ‘57 Ferrin Knox has been replaced by burned, aqueous cast covered ‘74 Ferrin Knox, who’s leaning on the table with his forearms, holding a lit cigarette in one hand. With the other, he’s pointing towards his own gruesome visage.
(12) ‘74 FERRIN KNOX: No, I’m Ferrin Knox. And that young bootlicker has this to look forward to. Slainte.
(13) CAP: Warden General Ferrin Knox, C. 2074
Panel 8.5: Mom and Dad Daihiro come into the interrogation room. Dad is wearing his sunglasses and is taking up the only chair, slouched in it drunkenly, while Mom stands behind him, crammed into the space and looking severely uncomfortable. Dad’s looking up and back at her,
(14) DAD: I’m Dad Daitokuji!
(15) DAD: Isn’t that right?! ANSWER ME, BRITCH!
(16) MOM: yes
NOTE: Very small lettering
(17) DAD: BELCH
(18) CAP: Mom and Dad Daitokuji
Panel 8.6: ‘57 Steve Bosh appears in the chair, has one hand raised to wipe the sweat off his forehead. He wears a weak smile, and blinking without his glasses.
(19) ‘57 STEVE BOSH: Uhhh. I really love to sail, and dearly miss my very recently
(20) CAP: Blind Steve Bosh
Panel 8.7: Laure Bosh, looking resplendent in a black and white outfit, sitting beneath the spotlight without a drop of sweat or anxiety on her.
(21) LAURE BOSH: Good evening. My name is Laure Bosh, and I was
resurrected by mysterious alien technology, for a mysterious
alien purpose! Intrigue!
(22) CAP: The Resurrected Laure Bosh
Panel 8.8: Allen Trevail sits naked and bloodied beneath the spotlight, his compact and well muscled frame covered in bruises and vivid scratches. The table in front of him is covered in small pools of blood. He looks much older than he does when we see him later in the comic, white streaking his short hair, hunched over in pain and exhaustion.
(23) ALLEN TREVAIL: My name is Allen Trevail, Citizen, Patriot. For thirty years I
have fought what I now believe to be a malignant, alien
entity, focused on the enslavement of humanity. For reasons
unknown, the boy Daihiro Daitokuji is central to its plans,
(24) ANON. VOICE: THAT’S ENOUGH! NEXT!
(25) CAP: Soon-To-Be-Disgraced Allen Trevail
Panel 8.9: 27 now ‘sits’ in the chair, hovering over the seat.
(26) 27: I will comply with your request when I have been reassured
Allen Trevail is safe. Where is Allen? Where is Allen?
Where is Allen? Where is Allen? Where is Allen?
NOTE: Trailing off the page, unlike other robots, 27 talks in human lettering
(27) ANON. VOICE: Isn’t that an obnoxious piece of programming? Next!
(28) CAP: Annoying Servitor Robot
Panel 8.10: Ferry Lyn sits beneath the light, caught self consciously adjusting her hair, looking at us with a wide eyed expression, like a deer caught in the headlights.
(29) FERRY LYN: Hello! My name is Ferry Lyn, Chief Child Protective
Services Agent for the Greater–
(30) ANON. VOICE: Never mind about her. She dies soon, and we don’t even
get to see it. That’s how unimportant she is.
(31) FERRY LYN: Excuse me?!
(32) CAP: Unimportant – Who Cares
Panel 8.11: Another empty frame, same as Panel 8.1, except the light is on, highlighting the deserted frame.
(33) ANON. VOICE/ And this is where I’d be sitting, if I were there. Instead I’m
HARRIET CHURCH: here. With you. Isn’t that nice?
(34) CAP: Not Pictured – Doctor Harriet Church, Renowned
Psychiatrist. Founder of the Unbelievably Successful Ward
Program. Mother of All.
Panel 8.12: Exact same as Panel 8.1, looking at a dark, empty chair, the light from the previous panel has flipped off.
(35) HARRIET CHURCH: Wonderful. Ready to get back to the action?
(36) CAP: You Are Not Ready
Panel 9.1: Hours later: We’re out on the choppy ocean water, viewing a landscape perspective of a small, futuristic, single person vessel: a skinny, ten foot tall shark fin, jutting out of the water, cruising along a coastline very similar to the one we just left with the Daitokujis. The moon is full and shining, the clouds have retreated. The road is visible, far from our POV, and the shoreline ahead clears sporadically, revealing rocky beaches.
(1) CAP: 1:36 AM PST November 12, 2057
NOTE: Interposed over the frame, as if from a watch’s digital display
Panel 9.2: Waist up close up on the sail and it’s rider: a paunchy old man covered head to toe in a futuristic wetsuit. The suit comes up to cover his mouth and nose, but his eyes are covered by a pair of nightvision goggles, slim and formfitting. He’s holding up his wrist, checking a readout on the time and ocean conditions. On his right bicep there’s a foot long pouch, containing his late wife’s cherished silver knitting needles.
Panel 9.3: Blown up view from just behind the skiff, a serene shot of the rider sliding over the fickle waves. The full moon is reflecting off the waters, illuminating the area like a spotlight. Our rider is veering towards a point on the shore, a small pier, bouncing with the motion of the ocean, barely visible ahead and to the right. The pier trails into a wooden walkway, leading up to and behind a large rocky outcropping, which hides a small parking lot.
Panel 9.4: Same perspective as Panel 9.3, but focused tighter in behind the sail, as it and its rider make towards the pier.
Panel 10.1: Focused shot as the old man skims to a stop next to the pier: we catch him mid step, disembarking from the skiff. The waves gently push and pull on the pier, moving it up and down and side to side.
Panel 10.2: Large frame of the old man, now firmly on the pier, right after he has punched in a sequence on his craft. The sail is flashing in a contracting motion, folding in on itself again and again, until it’s encased in a package no larger than a briefcase.
Panel 10.3: View from the shoreside end of the pier, as the old man has picked up the briefcase sized package, and is now walking towards us, coming up the pier slowly, somewhat winded, massaging his lower back, tired and sore from his long excursion.
Panel 10.4: Long horizontal shot from the top of the rocky path to the parking lot, the trail starting just ahead of the pier at the far left of the frame, and trailing up to the elevated parking lot, shown at the far right hand side. The outcropping of large rocks, which had previously blocked our view of the parking lot, is now at the center of our perspective, so we can see that to the right, in the otherwise deserted lot, there sits a single seater, autonomous vehicle. The old man is almost past the rocks, but has bent over double, pulling down the wetsuit head covering, and taking off his augmented reality swim goggles while he catches his breath.
NOTE: The panels on PAGES 11/12 are arranged like a clock face, the PAGE 11 panels progressing clockwise, while 12 progresses counterclockwise, each panel taking up an hour slice, and each panel anchored to leading edge of the frame, not the bottom of the page, so the reader has to rotate to be even with the perspective. On PAGE 11, the 11-12 panel is blacked out.
Panel 11.1: Our POV is perched towards the back on top of the solitary car, looking downwards towards the right front half of the vehicle, so we can see that the door has retracted into the undercarriage. At the door, we see ‘57 Steve (now wearing his normal glasses), preoccupied with settling the briefcase skiff behind the single seat.
Panel 11.2: Same general POV, watching as ‘57 Steve unclasps the wetsuit around his midriff; the orientation of the frame has rotated forward 15 degrees, clockwise.
Panel 11.3: Same angle from on top of the car (view rotates forward another 15 degrees, now level with bottom of the page), showing ‘57 Steve now removing the top half of his wetsuit, so we get a flash of his pale, chubby, belly and chest, in all their flabby glory. From the pocket in his sleeve, ‘57 Steve withdraws the pair of silver knitting needles, looks at them lovingly.
Panel 11.4: Our view comes off the top of the car and settles in the front seat, as we see ‘57 Steve bending over to remove the bottom half of his wetsuit, leaving him in just his boxer briefs. In the space ‘57 Steve’s upper torso was occupying, we now see an extremely ruffed up child: Daihiro, standing some twenty feet behind ‘57 Steve, at the dark edge of the parking lot, staring at the old man and the car with a tense fury. Daihiro isn’t wearing a shirt either, and his left arm sags strangely, his shoulder dislocated. He’s wearing Dad’s sunglasses now, the shades a couple sizes too big for his small head, the strap the only thing holding them on.
(1) DAIHIRO: !
NOTE: Exclamation point is located where the hour hand would be at 3:33 on an
analog clock face
Panel 11.5: Side on view of the previous scene, but rotated by the page layout, so the orientation is at 75 degrees with the bottom of the page. In the frame, our camera is level with the front of the car, but centered on the passenger side. ‘57 Steve has almost finished pulling on a pair of tan khakis, but stopped in brief exhaustion. Now he’s bent over at the waist, trying to find where his shirt disappeared to in his car while he catches his breath. Daihiro is visible behind ‘57 Steve, at the left edge of the frame, sneaking up on the poor old man, a large rock in his small hand. IF ROOM IN FRAME: Through the front car windshield, we see the knitting needles, laying on the car’s dash.
Panel 11.6: POV snaps to inside the car, for a frontal close up of ‘57 Steve from the waist up, as he has found his shirt, and stands up to pull it on, raising it in front of him. Orientation is at 90 degrees to the bottom of the page.
Panel 11.7: Same general POV as Panel 11.6, but now focused in solely on ‘57 Steve, whose head is whipping forward in pain (in relation to the bottom of the page, our orientation has ‘57 Steve at 105 degrees, pointing down and somewhat to the right.) We see Daihiro’s rock, glancing off ‘57 Steve’s head to the left, angling downwards to bounce to a rest near the car’s front passenger tire.
(2) SFX (ROCK): TWHACK
(3) ‘57 STEVE BOSH: OOOPHHH!
Panel 11.8: View from the other side of ‘57 Steve’s car (the ‘driver’s’ side), looking through the window into the lit interior of the vehicle, as ‘57 Steve manages to collapse inside, slumping dramatically with his face pressed against the driver’s side window in front of us. The light from the interior of the car washes out the background, so we can’t see ‘57 Steve’s attacker outside the open door behind him. IF ROOM IN FRAME: On the dashboard, we still see the knitting needles, glinting in the moonlight.
Panel 11.9: Same view as Panel 11.8 (our frame orientation has rotated with the page, so ‘57 Steve’s head is pointing towards the bottom of the page). ‘57 Steve is still pressed against the glass, but he has managed to close the door, we see it whooshing shut behind him. We still see the knitting needles still on the dash.
(4) ‘57 STEVE: DOOR – DOOR CL–
NOTE: Cut off by the left edge of the page
(5) SFX (Door): WHOOSH
Panel 11.10: View from directly outside ‘57 Steve’s front windshield, looking in on the victimized old man (who’s pointing towards the bottom left in relation to the bottom of the page). He has grabbed his white t-shirt, and is wearily holding to the back of his head, trying to staunch the bleeding. Through one open eye, he’s surveying the outside, trying to find his attacker. ‘57 Steve has moved his left hand up to the dashboard and the knitting needles, the only weapon he has at hand.
(6) CAR: Mr. Bosh: I have detected you are injured. Would you like
me signal for help? The nearest ambulance is: Seventy
Three Minutes Away. Would you like me to signal…
NOTE: Robot lettering
Panel 11.11: Perspective passes through the front windshield, into the car, ‘57 Steve has grasped the knitting needles, but has let both his hands drop to his lap, as he takes big, deep breaths.
(7) ‘57 STEVE: Can you shut up for a second? Jesus. I–
NOTE: The perspective of the panels on PAGE 12 rotate counter clockwise, in the opposite direction as the panels on PAGE 11 (the frame’s view is tied to the left leading edge of the frame, as opposed to the right).
Panel 12.1: Top down view, hovering some ten feet above the Steve’s vehicle, with the front of the car pointing towards the top of the page. The lights from the interior are fading – we can’t see inside. Daihiro’s rock is still visible, lying next to the right front tire.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: Alright just – just get me out of here. And call 911 as soon as
we get out of the Park! I’ve been attacked!
(2) CAR: Invalid command. Command not recognized.
NOTE: Rough robot lettering
Panel 12.2: Similar top down view, but closer in, focusing on the front passenger side of the car and rock sitting by the tire. There, we see Daihiro’s little hand, snaking out from beneath the vehicle to grab the rock. The panel perspective continues to rotate counterclockwise, with the page.
(3) ‘57 STEVE: What? Take me home! Stupid–
(4) CAR: Command not recognized. Activating environmental lighting.
NOTE: Robot lettering
Panel 12.3: View snaps to directly behind the car (view is now level with the top/bottom of the page, just like Panel 11.3), cut off at the top so we can’t see the roof of the vehicle. The car’s interior and exterior lights have come flaring on, and we can see ‘57 Steve inside the car, again holding the shirt up to his head his head, and raising the knitting needles in anger. He’s looking towards his right, towards the presumed origin of the attack.
(5) ‘57 STEVE: Car! Stop! Get me out of here!
Panel 12.4: Same view from behind the car, as ‘57 Steve begins to bang on the steering-wheelless dash with both hands, the needles grasped in his left hand the and the blood stained t-shirt in his right. Frame is rotated 15 degrees counterclockwise from the orientation of the previous panel.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: Take! Me! Home!
(7) CAR: Command recognized. Activating entertainment mode.
NOTE: Rough robot lettering
Panel 12.5: Panel perspective rotates another 15 degrees, while our camera zooms around to even with ‘57 Steve’s right hand window (‘passenger side’), looking at the interior of the car. We see that the windows are already halfway rolled down, steadily going lower. ‘57 Steve is frantically grabbing the top edge of the passenger side window, trying to stop it, trying to pull it back up, while still clumsily holding onto his shirt and the needles. On the center console, small speakers have popped up, the radio begins blaring an all too familiar song.
(8) RADIO: music notes*The Winner Takes It allllllllllllllllllllll!*music
(9) ‘57 STEVE: Car! NO! STOP!
Panel 12.6: POV backs up some ten feet from the car, looking head on at ‘57 Steve and the passenger side (the frame is rotated so that the perspective is at 90 degrees with the bottom of the page). The window has almost completely disappeared into the door, with ‘57 Steve still desperately holding onto it with his fingertips. At the back of the car, the truck has popped open, and hidden disco ball has begun throwing technicolor rays. On the opposite side of the car, we barely see Daihiro’s head, peeking into the open driver side window, still wearing Dad’s shades.
(10) RADIO: THE WINNER! TAKES IT ALLLLLLLL!
(11) ‘57 STEVE: UNGGGGGG
Panel 12.7: Same view as Panel 12.6, except now both of the vehicle’s doors have retracted down into the floor, leaving with nothing more than a gentle *swoosh*. ‘57 Steve is now silhouetted in the open and vulnerable space. We see him staring with confusion down at the floor, his shoulders slumped in defeat, his hands held in the air, still holding the needles and the bloody t-shirt. Disco lights flash through the scene, and our frame orientation is the opposite of Panel 12.1.
(12) RADIO: *sudden silence*
(13) DAIHIRO: ahhh
NOTE: small speech bubble, cut off behind ‘57 Steve’s head.
(14) ‘57 STEVE: what the hell
Panel 12.8: Same POV, but ‘57 Steve has twisted his head around, looking at the open doorway behind his back. There, out of our sight, he sees Daihiro, charging at him, the telltale rock held high over the kid’s head. All we can see from our perspective is ‘57 Steve, the needles and shirt dropped hastily in his lap, the old man trying haphazardly to brace himself against the frame of the door. His old, soggy muscles are tense, covered in sweat, his bewilderment obvious.
(15) DAIHIRO: AHHHHHHH!
(16) ‘57 STEVE: Kid! What are you – NO, Drop that – NO!
Panel 12.9: View from the front of the car, looking through the front windshield, similar to Panel 11.10: Through the windshield, we see ‘57 Steve being drop kicked out of the passenger side door, his bulky frame already starting to fly through the opening. Daihiro is a blur of vicious energy, still wearing Dad’s shades, still holding tight to the rock he brained ‘57 Steve with, leading with his non-dislocated shoulder into the old man’s soggy belly. (In keeping with the page orientation, this panel is anchored upside down, the opposite of frame 12.3)
(17) ‘57 STEVE: OOOMPHHHH
(18) DAIHIRO: AHHH!
NOTE: Speech bubbles 1 and 2 clash/meld together
Panel 12.10: A side shot of the two from ground level, just outside the car, ‘57 Steve’s legs still dangle inside the vehicle. Outside, Daihiro has landed on top of the pudgy old man, and is violently shaking him by the neck. Daihiro’s sunglasses have come down in the commotion, flopping around his neck by their strap, exposing the boys bugged out, drugged out eyes.
(19) DAIHIRO: ARE YOU A FRUCKING ROBOT! ARE YOU A–
(20) ‘57 STEVE: HUUUH!
Panel 12.11: Now Daihiro has shoved ‘57 Steve down hard against the ground, temporarily stunning the old man, and has picked up his rock with his good hand; we see the kid as he’s raising it threateningly behind his head, our perspective hovering above and behind Hiro. We can’t see the boy’s expression, but we see the sweat, the blood, the dirt on his back, the painful throb of his dislocated shoulder. Beneath Hiro, we see the stunned, silent terror in ‘57 Steve’s eyes, the colors from the disco lights playing over his glasses.
(21) DAIHIRO: !!
Panel 12.12: Close up on ‘57 Steve’s stupefied face (his head pointing towards the right side of the page), his dazed eyes looking up and to his right, looking where a clock hand would be if it was pointed at twelve minutes, just above and to the right of Panel 12.12.
(22) ‘57 STEVE: laure…?
NOTE: Small, whispering lettering
Panel 13.1: Same scene as Panel 12.11, except our camera swings around, so we’re on the ground facing Daihiro, looking at the top of ‘57 Steve’s head. The same tension we saw on the kid’s back is mirrored on his front; his eyes are wide and veined with red, his mouth is open in a silent snarl, his chest is puffed out with the exertion of holding up the heavy rock in one hand. Beneath him, ‘57 Steve is lying still partially stunned, his neck straining in a dazed attempt to get up.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: unnnhhh
NOTE: Small jagged lettering
Panel 13.2: Close up on Daihiro’s face, the rage coming to a crescendo in his features, his arm upraised. It looks grim for ‘57 Steve, but there’s a twinge in the boy’s cheek, highlighting his indecision.
(2) ‘57 STEVE: …kid…
NOTE: From off frame
Panel 13.3: Angled shot of the pair, so we can see the hood of the car on the right side of the frame. ‘57 Steve and Daihiro are both looking towards the vehicle, as the hood has popped open, and the engine compartment begins to smoke. Daihiro still has the rock in his hand, but has lowered it ever so slightly.
(3) CAR: Warning! Warning! Danger!
Panel 13.4: Same view as Panel 13.3, centered further to the right, to catch a better view of the car hood. The car has mysteriously erupted in a small fire, and by its light we can see that Daihiro has dropped his rock to the side, is looking at the fire with tense confusion. ‘57 Steve is coming around, has gingerly raised himself up on his forearms.
(4) CAR: Warning! Warning! I Am On Fire! Do not attempt to save me! Warning!
(5) ‘57 STEVE: Laure! I mean, Jesus!
(6) ‘57 STEVE: …look kid, can you get off me? Please?
Panel 13.5: Another close up of Daihiro’s face: He’s still perched on ‘57 Steve, looking down at the man with sudden terrible comprehension: ‘57 Steve is a real person, not a robot. Dad’s sunglasses still dangle around his neck, and along the length of the strap we can see a clandestine wire, connected to the lenses.
(7) DAIHIRO: ‘Please’?
Panel 13.6: View from behind ‘57 Steve, close up on his dirty, naked back, as he has raised himself up onto his hands. Daihiro has flung himself around ‘57 Steve’s neck, and is sobbing uncontrollably. The boy’s sunglasses are pressed almost to the breaking point against ‘57 Steve’s neck, and both of Daihiro’s hands are flung around the old man.
(8) DAIHIRO: WAHHHHHHHHHHH!
(9) ‘57 STEVE: There, there kid, it’s ok. Are you lost? Shit, we need a car…
Panel 13.7: Ground level side shot of the pair, our POV hugging the car, looking out onto the road and the mountainous forest beyond, towards the area here Daihiro first appeared. The boy has pushed himself away a few feet, and is now resting on his haunches, rubbing his eyes, the crying fit has passed, as quickly as it came. ‘57 Steve has raised himself up to a seated position, wearily appraising the boy. Daihiro has taken off the sunglasses from around his neck, now holding them with one hand, clutching them protectively to his chest. He looks at ‘57 Steve like he’s trying to piece together a puzzle, knowing he’s missing pieces.
(10) ‘57 STEVE: Are you ok?
(11) ‘57 STEVE: Look, kid, my car it’s… Are your parents close by?
(12) ‘57 Steve: Do you live close? Do your parents have a car?
(13) ‘57 Steve: Give me something here…
Panel 13.8: Another closeup on Daihiro, who tentatively puts his sunglasses back on, taps them a couple times.
(14) Daihiro: A car…
(15) Daihiro: I…I can take you…
Panel 13.9: Frame sits between Daihiro and ‘57 Steve, focusing on the the trail of smoke that’s rising in the far distance, rising from the wreck of the Daitokuji car.
(16) Daihiro: Yes. I’ll take you to my car.
Panel 14.1: We’re looking from the sidewalk, up towards the Daitokuji garage, behind Ferry Lyn and ‘57 Ferrin Knox, who are standing about three quarters of the way up the driveway. ‘57 Ferrin is standing on the left, examining the tire marks Dad left in his haste. The garage door is still open, and we can see a disastrous disarray inside. The door leading to the house is slightly ajar, but there are no visible lights on, through there or through the front windows of the house. ‘57 Ferrin Knox looks well rested, but is wearing sunglasses himself, sipping on a cup of coffee. ‘57 Ferrin is new to his time with the US Department of Housing and Human services, and is ostensibly spending time in Canada to evaluate their active and early intervention programs. Ferry Lyn is standing a little ways up the drive on the right, looking worriedly at the car cover that was left on the garage floor.
(1) Ferry Lyn: Oh no. Oh no oh no oh no
NOTE: Text trailing off the edge of the panel
(2) ‘57 Ferrin Knox: See, this, is exactly why we banned non-autonomous
Panel 14.2: Perspective jumps to inside the house, looking out the partially shaded front windows. On the other side of the panes, we see ‘57 Ferrin and Lyn peering inside, trying to make something out in the dark.
(3) ‘57 Ferrin: I thought you said the father was on the mend.
(4) Ferry: He was! Two years! He’s been sober for two years! Why
(5) ‘57 Ferrin: But did you have to let him keep a non-auto? I knew
Canadian driving laws are lenient, but Jesus, Lyn.
Panel 14.3: View from the Daitokuji front door, looking down the length of the small front porch, as Lyn turns away from the bait, and heads down the walkway, back to her vehicle. ‘57 Ferrin is left standing by the windows, thoughtfully sipping his coffee. Parked in front of the house, we see Lyn’s government issued autonomous car, painted Canadian red and white. The car is sleek and futuristic, and has room for four passengers, unlike ‘57 Steve’s one seater, but the door’s open like traditional car doors, rather than zipping into the undercarriage.
Panel 14.4: Long horizontal frame, focusing on Lyn, sitting in the front seat of her self-driving car, holding a notepad in her lap, looking up at Knox with frustration. Knox is holding open her door, leaning against it as he talks to her.
(6) ‘57 Ferrin: Listen, I won’t put this in the official report, but you have to understand how this looks.
(7) Ferry: I know. It’s not good. But the child’s life is very likely in
danger, Deputy Assistant Knox. So I’ll kindly ask you to shove it, until we know he is safe. Peaches?
(8) Ferry: Now get in the car.
Panel 14.5: Same view as Panel 14.4, except horizontally compressed, focusing on Lyn at the center of the frame, while she stares intently at her console, navigating a digital blue display. Her tongue is hanging out of her mouth slightly, a gesture of concentration.
(9) ‘57 Ferrin: How are you going to find him?
(10) Ferry: Get in the car and you’ll find out. Or did you come all this way to go to bed early?
Panel 14.6: POV on the car roof, facing Knox, right after he has closed Lyn’s door. We get a close up of his somewhat downcast face, smiling grimly, while his sunglasses flash dangerously. Behind him, the Daitokuji house looks bleak, deserted.
(11) SFX (‘57 Ferrin): chuckle
Panel 15.1: View from the back seat of Ferry Lyn’s autonomous vehicle, staring between the two front seats, as ‘57 Ferrin gets in the passenger side and looks over at Lyn. She’s busy punching in their next destination on the dash.
(1) ‘57 Ferrin: So?
(2) Ferry: A Road Minder up on Peninsula hasn’t checked in going on
(3) ‘57 Ferrin: You think they might have run into it?
Panel 15.2: Our camera zooms out of the back of the car, looking down on the autonomous vehicle as it pulls away from the curb.
(4) Ferry: This is a small community. Doubt anyone else’s out this late.
I’ll send a pigeon out to the Park Rangers, but we’re gonna
go out there.
(5) ‘57 Ferrin: It’s your show Lyn.
Panel 15.3: Completely black, full page width panel, with only the caption visible, in stark white ink. The long black panel cuts through the top of Panel 15.4.
(6) CAP: Behind the scenes…
Panel 15.4: Large view of an enormous, single pane, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, two story tall glass window, fronting the entire visible side of a richly understated home. We’re looking at the house from inside an enclosed garden: behind us, we’re walled in by a thick, living bamboo fence. In front of us, on the first floor, we’re looking into a simplistically lavish dining room, replete with mounted horns and other hunting trophies. In the middle of the room, there’s a huge dining table, a vertical cutout from the center of a ten foot tree. High above the table, we see a chandelier, casting warm candlelight everywhere. There are two doors against the opposite wall, both leading into the kitchen. To the far right, a twisting wooden staircase leads up to the second floor. On the second floor, our perspective only allows us to see a bare minimum of the contents in what appears to be a library/smoking room. We see bookshelves filled to the top shelf, and two plush smoking chairs, pushed close to the wall/window, offering a good view of the garden.
Panel 15.5: This panel is a cut-off close up on the left-most kitchen door, as a private servitor robot, 27, pushes through carrying trays. The robot is magnetically levitating the two large, metal, covered plates out in front of it. We see the top of the table at the bottom of the frame, but it’s cut off by the bottom of the page.
Panel 15.7: Perspective switches to the right side kitchen door, same kind of cut of shot, where Trevail is coming through with silverware, glassware, and a bottle of wine. We see the robot has set its trays on the table, but the full view is again cut off by the bottom of the page.
NOTE: The cut off bottoms of Panel 15.5 and 15.6 are barely visible at the top of the page. Similarly, Panels 16.9-11 are close ups of the robot, but cut off so we can only see the top of it’s head. The frames are continued on PAGE SEVETEEN, so that Panel 17.1 is a continuation of Panel 16.9, 16.10 continues to 17.2, and 16.11 connects to 17.3.
Panel 16.1: Our POV passes through the glass window, with a long view of the two seated at the table: we see the robot and Allen, seated at opposite ends, the robot levitating slightly above its chair, Trevail seated comfortably in his. Each has a covered plate of food, silverware, and a glass of wine in front of them.
Panel 16.2: Shot from the center of the table, facing Trevail. The man is sitting there like a statue, his hands and forearms placed comfortably on the table, staring intently at the robot opposite him.
(1) ALLEN TREVAIL: Come now 27.
(2) ALLEN: Humor me.
Panel 16.3: Similar framing as 16.2, except now focused on the robot, as it hovers it its chair judgmentally.
(3) 27: This makes me very uncomfortable, Allen.
NOTE: Normal human lettering, not robotic
(4) ALLEN: Yes. Do it anyway.
(5) 27: sigh
(6) 27: recording selected
Panel 16.4: Waist-up-side-shot of Allen, our POV placed between the kitchen doors, looking out the window wall towards the garden. Allen has uncovered the tray in front of him, wafting the aroma of the food towards him with the lid. We see a delicious plate of short ribs and a pile of purple rice, but he’s looking down at it with a special sort of tenderness. 27 isn’t visible, off frame to the right.
(7) 27: Hello Allen. This is your wife, Yuna Trevail. Today is Monday, November 12th, 2057. I’m here with you baby.
Panel 16.5: Top down close up on Trevail’s plate of food, glistening under the light. Allen’s hands and forearms are visible to the sides of the plate, resting heavily.
(8) 27: Today we are having braised beef short ribs, with tangeiled jasmine rice. I love you! Forever and ever baby.
Panel 16.6: Back to a wide view of the room, this time from the window side, looking at the table and its occupants. Now the robot’s food is uncovered as well, the same array sitting in front of the nonplussed machine. Trevail is eating pointedly, face forward and looking expectantly at his dinner companion. The robot is turned slightly towards the wall (away from us), pretending to admire some of the trophies, whistling lightly.
(9) SFX (27): whistle whistle
(10) ALLEN: 27…
(11) ALLEN: Do you not like your food?
Panel 16.7: Same wide shot of the table, but from the kitchen side, so the robot is on the right, Trevail on the left. The robot exudes exasperation; 27 is looking straight ahead, a definite air of challenge around him as he surveys Trevail. Then it buckles.
(12) SFX (27): …
(13) SFX (27): SIGH
Panel 16.8: Top down shot of the robot’s plate of food. Above and to the right of the plate, we see a fork magnetically levitating, swinging down to scoop up some of the purple colored rice.
Panel 16.9: Frontal close up of 27, looking murderous, the majority of the frame cut off by the bottom of the page.
Panel 16.10: Same frontal close up of 27, looking murderous, the majority of the frame cut off by the bottom of the page.
Panel 16.11: Same frontal close up of 27, looking murderous, the majority of the frame cut off by the bottom of the page.
Panel 17.1: Close up on 27, with the top of it’s head cut off by the top of the page. At the bottom of the frame, we see 27 magnetically levitating a spoon full of rice, starting to bring it up to it’s ‘mouth’.
Panel 17.2: Same view as 17.1, the full spoon about half way up to 27’s ‘mouth’.
Panel 17.3: Same view as 17.1, except now the spoon is all the way up, hovering in front of 27’s spotless, shining chassis.
Panel 17.4: Extreme close up, as 27 pointlessly rams the spoon against the part of its frame where its mouth would be, where the spoon deflects and sends the rice flying to the right side of the panel, staining the previously flawless metal with small purple stains.
(1) SFX (27): CLANG
Panel 17.5: Back to the window side, wide view of the dining room, Trevail to the right, staring expectantly at 27, who’s still holding the now empty spoon in the air. Purple rice liters the table in front of it.
(2) 27: …
(3) ALLEN: Annnnnd?
Panel 17.6: Cut off close up shot of the robot, looking dejected and disgusted with itself.
(4) 27: Yum.
Panel 17.7: Frontal face up shot of Trevail, as he smiles widely. Behind him we see the staircase, and beyond the staircase there’s an entertainment center, a large partial dome of display surfaces, all covered in multitudes of readouts and data streams. In the top right corner of the display center, there’s a large red dot, suddenly beeping an alarm.
(5) ALLEN: I’m glad you lik-
NOTE: Speech bubble cut off by the siren
(6) SFX (Siren): BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP
Panel 17.8: Kitchen wall side shot of 27, as it covertly takes its plate and dumps the food on the floor beneath the table.
(7) 27: Incoming call from 26 for you Allen.
(8) ALLEN: Hm. I’ll take it in here.
Panel 17.9: Frame is the very top of Panel 18.1, which we see carried over at the bottom of page 17, as if it’s been accidentally printed on top, just like Panels 16.9-11/17.1-3.
Panel 17.10: Stark black console panel, only filled with white warning lettering.
(9) CONSOLE CAP: >WARNING: TRACKING ERROR DETECTED
(10) CONSOLE CAP: >AUTHENTICATING StREAM INTEGRITY
Panel 18.1: Stark black panel with white writing, similar to 17.10
(1) CONSOLE CAP: >StREAM INTEGRITY, AUTHENTICATED
Panel 18.2: Shot of Trevail from the perspective of the kitchen door, showing from him from table level up. Trevail’s attention is focused on the glass wall to his left (which extends past the edge of this panel, and continues into Panel 18.3). The display itself starts at the right edge of frame 18.2, showing a picture of the earth, as well as several soundwaves shown on the same axis. Next to the globe, we see a live stream of what ‘57 Ferrin Knox is seeing (a view which takes up the entirety of frame 18.3). Back in Panel 18.2, Trevail has pushed his food away from him and has his hands placed tensely on the table, but none of the stress he feels is present on his face.
(2) ALLEN: 26.
(3) ‘57 FERRIN/26: I can hear ya boss. I’m transmitting on a stringy pigeon
signal out here, but I wanted to check in while I can.
(4) ALLEN: You’re still in the Park? Have you found 7?
Panel 18.3: Frame 18.3 is a full frame shot of the a video feed that shows ‘57 Ferrin’s perspective, as he sits in the front seat of Lyn’s car, a paneled display like a car sunshade arranged in front of him. The sunshade screen is displaying a similar screen as that on Trevail’s wall, covered in readouts, maps, sinewaves. Lyn is visible through the front window of the vehicle, and we can see we’re in the same area where Dad ran the Minder robot off the road. Out the front windshield, we see Lyn is examining the side of the road closely, following the Road Minder’s tracks from where it was forced over the concrete bumper.
(5) ‘57 FERRIN/26: Not yet, but we’re on a solid trail. It doesn’t look good sir.
(6) ALLEN: As in dead?
(7) ‘57 FERRIN/26: As in abducted by his drunk father in an antique car.
Panel 18.4: Same shot as 18.2, except Trevail’s hands have curled into slight fists.
(8) ALLEN: I see. The authorities are involved?
(9) ‘57 FERRIN/26: No sir. My contact sent the pigeon, but I’ll disable it once
we’re done speaking.
(10) ALLEN: Contact me after you’ve found 7.
(11) ‘57 FERRIN/26: Yes sir.
Panel 18.5: Expanded shot of the same POV as frames 18.2/4. Trevail stands up from the table and goes to the window; we see him standing there with his back to us. The electronic display has been cut off, so all we see is the garden, the first rays of sunlight starting to peek over the opposite wall of his magnificent enclosure. The robot remains seated, partially visible at the very right edge.
(12) ALLEN: You said there were other ways. Without 7.
(13) 27: Yes. There are always other ways Allen.
(14) ALLEN: And the cost?
(15) 27: …
(16) 27: High.
Panel 18.6: Close up on Trevail’s back, as the sun bursts over the wall, the light shining fiercely. On the back of Trevail’s neck, we see the black obsidian bar, fused horizontally near the top of his spine, flashing malignantly.
(17) ALLEN: I see.
(18) 27: It’s time for your medicine Allen.
(19) ALLEN: I know 27. I know.
Panel 19.1: Claustrophobic forest shot of ‘57 Steve Bosh (Daihiro ahead out of sight), still using his shirt as a bandage, still carrying the knitting needles, hunched over and struggling for breath. The trees are close around him, and dark, malevolent shadows loom everywhere. At the top of the frame, small trails of smoke snake through the canopy, foreshadowing the fire ahead.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: Kid! COUGH COUGH COUGH Kid where are you!
(2) DAIHIRO: This way.
Panel 19.2: Panel is a long horizontal side shot of the trail the two are on. We see Daihiro, still wearing his sunglasses, still dirtied and shirtless, arm still dislocated, dangling at his side, forging ahead. Behind him, the firs and cedars cluster closely, ahead, orange wisps of light puncture the darkness (at the right edge of the frame), There, the smoke thickens appreciably; something acrid is burning. Steve labors behind the boy, peeking out from behind Panel 19.1.
(3) ‘57 STEVE: Listen kid. COUGH We should go back to the road. Wait for
(4) DAIHIRO: Dad’s car’s just over here! Come on!
(5) ‘57 STEVE: Kid!
Panel 19.3: Another long horizontal strip, showing ‘57 Steve, just to the left of frame 19.4, hobbling after Hiro, who’s visible at the very right edge of the frame, to the right of frame 19.4, impatiently beckoning ‘57 Steve onwards.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: Kid! STOP!
(7) DAIHIRO: Almost there!
Panel 19.4: Another close up on ‘57 Steve, as he almost catches up with Daihiro, but has to stop and catch his breath, while also shoving the needles into the safety of his pants pocket. The panel is thick with smoke.
(8) ‘57 STEVE: HACK COUGH HACK HACK
Panel 19.5: Background long frame shows a wide open, bowl like clearing, the towering trees backing off from the spot where the Daitokuji car came to rest after it rammed off the road above. In this frame, the car is located behind the overlapping Panel 19.6, so we only see the brightness of the flames from the vehicle, and the weird shadows they cast. ‘57 Steve’s head is visible at the bottom left of center of the frame, as he looks on the Lord of the Flies-esque scene. On the ground around the car, there are large tire tracks, as if the Road Minders have been tramping around the car. To the right of 19.6, there are two giant holes punched through the treeline, outlines roughly the size of two Road Minder robots.
(9) ‘57 STEVE: COUGH My god…
Panel 19.6: This panel is focused on Daihiro, hunched over, standing directly in front of the annihilated family vehicle. He’s limply throwing some small branches onto the fire, apparently unconcerned with the state of affairs. The car itself juts out of the ground at a slant; the front end completely crushed and enflamed; the windshield has popped out; the back seats are crumpled into the front seats; both driver’s side doors are missing, ripped off during the crash. There are no signs of Mom and Dad, except for a substantial amount of blood, splattered around the driver’s door.
Panel 20.1: Frame 20.1 is a shot of the same clearing from the perspective of the holes punched in the forest wall by the Robots, with the Daitokuji car on the right side of the frame, Daihiro in the middle, and ‘57 Steve standing at the far left side of the frame, covered up by Panel 20.4. Daihiro is still wearing his shades and looking down at the ground, watching as an augmented reality scene plays over his lenses. On the ground, we get another shot of the dirt, churned by the treads of the Road Minders, and we see a trail of blood, leading from the driver’s side door, towards us, off into the forest, out of our view.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: Kid…Kid get back from there!
(2) DAIHIRO: ‘I gave you so many choices.’
NOTE: As if he’s reading from a script
(3) SFX: CRASH CRACK CRASH
NOTE: Road Minders approaching, robot lettering
Panel 20.2: Long vertical frame, focusing on the portion of the forest next to the Daitokuji car, as we see two modified Road Minders, military grade compared to the one we saw before, appear through the smoke. The electronic display that was so prominent on the first model is missing from these two. Instead, they’re outfitted with six additional arms, which are currently crossed in front of each robot, while the two standard arms work to break through the foliage.
(4) DAIHIRO: ‘So many choices.’
(5) SFX (ROAD MINDERS): VRRRRRR
(6) ‘57 STEVE: WHAT THE FUCK!
Panel 20.3: View from in between the Road Minders, as one veers to the right, straight for Daihiro (who is located beneath frame 20.2), and the other veers left, going for Steve, whom we see in the center of the frame, looking like he’s about to run, holding both his hands up in distress at Daihiro.
(7) DAIHIRO: ‘Now we have no chances.’
(8) ‘57 STEVE: Kid RUN!
Panel 20.4: Long vertical frame, focusing on the left Road Minder as it’s grabbed onto ‘57 Steve, is holding him up in the air with it’s eight arms, is forcing him to face Daihiro (towards Panel 20.5).
(9) SFX, (‘57 STEVE): STRUGGLE STRUGGLE STRUGGLE
(10) ‘57 STEVE: OW! LET ME GO!
(11) DAIHIRO: Now you have to watch. Watch.
NOTE: Speech bubble connected to (12) in the next panel
Panel 20.5: Frontal focus on Daihiro. The Road Minder is behind him, holding the boy up in the air, his bad arm still hanging down at his side. Daihiro is suspended painfully, the robot carefully compensating for the boy’s bad arm. Daihiro’s face is raised to the sky, screaming in pain.
(12) DAIHIRO: AHHHH
Panel 21.1: Frames 21.1-4 are long vertical shots, focusing on Daihiro’s skinny frame, and the robot that’s still holding him up. Here in Panel 21.1, we’re facing Daihiro, whose head is again turned upwards in agony, while the robot begins to move his bad arm closer to outstretched, manipulating it outside our field of view (behind Panel 21.2).
(1) DAIHIRO: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
NOTE: Larger lettering than 20.5
(2) ‘57 STEVE: STOP! LET HIM DOWN!
NOTE: Comparatively small lettering
Panel 21.2: Focus on Daihiro, but zoomed in, and rotated above the top of his head, so we’re looking down on him, and his back and the Road Minder’s are to Panel 21.3. The kid is looking straight up into the sky, straight up at us, his mouth open, his throat undulating. We see his arms stretched out to either side (bad arm pointing towards the bottom of the page, good arm pointing towards the top of the page). We see his bad arm yanked outward viciously by the robot, forcing it back into its socket. Daihiro’s eyes bulge as the mountainous pain ratchets up even higher.
(3) DAIHIRO: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
NOTE: Larger lettering still
(4) SFX (HIRO’S SHOULDER): POP
Panel 21.3: Same view but from the opposite side, so that Daihiro’s bad arm is up-page and his good arm points downwards (and the Daihiros in Panels 21.2 and 21.3 are back to back). Daihiro’s head has collapsed onto his chest, his body shivering with pain.
(5) SFX (ROAD MINDERS): BZZ WHZZZZZZ
NOTE: Robot lettering
Panel 21.4: Same perspective as 20.1, except now the Road Minder has used its eight arms to create a little hammock for the semi-conscious Daihiro. It’s holding him gingerly out in front of it, like a baby. With one arm, the robot carefully removes the sunglasses from Daihiro’s face.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: I’M COMING KID!
(7) SFX (‘57 STEVE): STRUGGLE STRUGGLE
(8) DAIHIRO: now… you have to…watch.
NOTE: Muttering, barely conscious
Panel 21.5: View from over the shoulder of the Road Minder cradling Daihiro, looking at ‘57 Steve, who’s kicking and thrashing against the robot holding him captive. ‘57 Steve’s Road Minder brings the old man closer to Daihiro, close enough for Daihiro’s RM to put the sunglasses on the old man’s face.
(9) SFX (‘57 STEVE): STRUGGLING HARDER
(10) DAIHIRO’S ROAD MINDER: Please, stop resisting Steve. You’ll only hurt yourself.
NOTE: A human voice, not the harsh lettering of the Road Minders
Panel 21.6: A side on close up of ‘57 Steve’s face, who froze when he heard the human voice coming from the robot. He’s looking straight ahead in shock, while Daihiro’s RM extends the arm with the sunglasses, pushing ‘57 Steve to put them on.
(11) ‘57 STEVE: Wait! There’s a person controlling that thing? But the Park-
(12) ROAD MINDER: My name is Allen Trevail. I need your help with a rather
extraordinary task, Mr. Bosh. Or I should say, Hiro here
needs you help.
(13) ‘57 STEVE: …
(14) ‘57 STEVE: The kid?
(15) RM/ALLEN: Yes. Put these on. They should shed some light on the
Panel 22.1: POV is glued to the bridge of the sunglasses, looking back over the frames at ‘57 Steve Bosh, who’s frightened face the sunglasses are rapidly approaching. ‘57 Steve is sweating, trying to pull away, but his RM is holding him tight. He doesn’t know what the shades mean, but he knows he doesn’t want any part of it.
Panel 22.2: Same POV, glued to the glasses, which have moved closer still to ‘57 Steve’s face. ‘57 Steve has tried to pull away in the opposite direction, twisting and squirming as much as he can (it isn’t much). The old man opens his mouth to scream, but only a croak comes out, his throat is parched, constricted.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: H-*croak* HEY!
Panel 22.3: Our POV hangs back a little ways from ‘57 Steve’s face, watches as the robot hand makes a quick, deft move upwards, knocking ‘57 Steve’s plain frame glasses off his face. ‘57 Steve swings his head in reaction to the move, but the robot hand has already adjusted its trajectory, is now inches away from sliding the shades into place.
(2) ‘57 STEVE: UGH
Panel 22.4: Background of the panel is red and yellow spikey flashes, while in the foreground, Steve is rearing up and almost out of the robot’s many handed grasp, as the other Road Minder rams the sunglasses over his eyes.
(3) ‘57 STEVE: RAUUUUH
Panel 22.5: ‘57 Steve is being held at the crest of his attempt to escape, except now he’s limp, his strength instantly zapped and his attention absorbed by what he’s seeing playing over the lenses (an augmented reality projection of his dead wife, speaking to him). We’re looking head on, as his resistance crumbles into confusion. His mouth slightly open in fear and confusion. Around the periphery, the robots almost look like they feel bad for him.
(4) SFX (‘57 STEVE): SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH, LIKE I’VE BEEN DUNKED
IN FREEZING WATER
NOTE: Very small, shivering print
Panel 22.6: Perspective zooms out, centering on the two robots, with the car fire as the backdrop. ‘57 Steve is still fully tuned into whatever he’s watching, while we see Daihiro start to stir, crying weakly in a shallow sleep. His Road Minder is rocking him, as gently as a robot can.
(5) DAIHIRO’S RM/ALLEN: There, there. There’s much more to do, Hiro.
Panel 22.7: Frame swivels around to focus on Daihiro’s face: the child has his eyes shut tight, his face scrunched up in fear, confusion, terrible grief. The light of the fire dances over his childlike features.
(6) ‘57 STEVE’S RM/ALLEN: Much, much more to do. If we’re to keep our schedule.
(7) DAIHIRO’S RM/ALLEN: Yes.
NOTE: The gutters behind Panels 23.2-4 are dark black.
Panel 23.1: This frame is a blow up of a similar perspective to 22.7, except cut off halfway by the top of the page. There’s a large pause icon, suspended over the picture, like we’re looking at a scene of a video being played back.
Panel 23.2: We zoom back from the monitor, so we get a horizontal slice of Dr. Harriet Church, sitting at so-thin-it’s-nearly-invisible computer monitor, upon which she’s apparently been watching the episode we’ve seen play out over the last several pages. Dr. Church is facing the computer panel, her back to us, sitting in a swivel chair, arms crossed in apparent displeasure.
(1) DR.CHURCH: You should know.
Panel 23.3: Dr. Church swings around in her chair to face us, and our POV narrows in a little, so we can see every disapproving line and wrinkle on her face. The display next to her fuzzes out temporarily, the image distorted by the static.
(2) DR.CHURCH: I’m watching you. Watching them.
(3) DR. CHURCH: It’s a sick little circle, really.
Panel 23.4: Perspective narrows in again, now just encompassing the back of Dr. Church’s chair, and the display, sitting on the desk to her right. On the monitor, we see a top down view of dark bedroom, a nondescript person sitting on the bed next to the only light, ostensibly reading a comic.
(4) DR. CHURCH: I wonder who’s watching us?
(5) DR. CHURCH: Hm?
(6) DR.CHURCH: Let’s get on with it.
Panel 24.1: Shot of a dark, apparently unpopulated section of the forest, the successive layers of trees blocking sight for more than twenty feet, the undergrowth thick and vibrant green, even in the twilight. We hear the Road Minders, just out of view, crashing through the undergrowth.
(1) SFX (ROAD MINDERS): CRASH CRASH CRASH
NOTE: Robot lettering
Panel 24:2: Frame has the sensation of zooming in, through the trees and towards the crashing noise. There’s a hint of the Road Minders headlights, shining at odd angles through the panel.
(2) ROAD MINDER: CRASH CRASH CRASH CRASH
NOTE: Robot lettering
Panel 24.3: Suddenly the forest opens onto a narrow game trail, and we see a side shot of ‘57 Steve and Daihiro, being prodded towards the right by the Road Minders, against a backdrop of still more trees. ‘57 Steve is a couple steps behind Daihiro, still wearing the sunglasses, and is looking back at the Road Minders, worry clear on his face.
(3) ROAD MINDER: KEEP PROGRESSING IN A FORWARD MANNER.
NOTE: Robot lettering
(4) ‘57 STEVE: Alright, alright! Don’t shove us.
(5) DAIHIRO: Stupid frucking robots, never say please…
NOTE: Small lettering, muttering to himself.
Panel 24.4: POV slides in front of Daihiro (standing on the right half on the frame), looking backwards towards the Road Minders. ‘57 Steve, now runs up on the left to catch up to Daihiro, the old man’s flabby belly jiggling with the exertion.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: Kid! Wait up!
(7) DAIHIRO: stupid frucking robots
NOTE: Small lettering, muttering
Panel 24.5: Same POV as frame 24.4, the Road Minders still prominent in the background. ‘57 Steve is walking next to Daihiro, is turned towards the kid in what he thinks is a jovial, fatherly manner. Daihiro is looking down and slightly ahead, tenderly massaging his still swollen shoulder.
(8) ‘57 STEVE: Hey kid! The thing is, er. Allen, he said your name is Hero.
Is that right?
(9) DAIHIRO: Kids call me Hero sometimes. I don’t like it.
(10) ‘57 STEVE: Oh.
Panel 24.6: Same POV, but the Road Minders have dropped back a ways, so we’re still bathed in the light from their headlights, but we can only see the tops of their heads in the background. Daihiro and ‘57 Steve are still walking side by side: Daihiro is shooting ‘57 Steve a dirty look, while ‘57 Steve is too preoccupied with the terrain to notice.
(11) ‘57 STEVE: Ok. What do you want to be called.
(12) DAIHIRO: My name is Hiro. Daihiro.
(13) ‘57 STEVE: ‘Die’? ‘Die Hero’? Oookkk…
Panel 24.7: Same POV as frames 24.4-6, except now the Road Minders are almost completely out of view in the rear, the light from their headlights barely reaching the pair ahead of them. Daihiro has stopped walking a couple of feet behind ‘57 Steve, who is pictured in the foreground, partially turned towards Daihiro and the back of the frame, looking confused. Daihiro looks resolute, his eyes narrowed and dangerous.
(14) ‘57 STEVE: What’s wrong Die-
(15) DAIHIRO: Give me back the sunglasses now.
(16) ‘57 STEVE: What!? Listen kid, there’s some big, adult stuff going on
here, and I think it’s important that the adult–
NOTE: Lettering cut off by the frame wall
Panel 24.8: Same POV as frames 24.4-7, except now Daihiro has run, jumped, snatched the sunglasses off Bosh’s face, flying forward in the frame, while the old man stands there in shock, too startled to even react. Freed from the sunglasses, ‘57 Steve squints hard, near blind without the sunglasses or his regular glasses. Daihiro is looking straight ahead at the camera, already making his escape.
(17) DAIHIRO: !!
(18) ‘57 STEVE: !
Panel 24.9: View from far behind the two, as ‘57 Steve comes back to his senses and starts to run after the boy. We’re looking over the shoulders of the two Road Minders, who are going to self destruct, their task complete. As they switch off their lights, they leave the forest, and Steve Bosh, in the dark.
(19) ‘57 STEVE: Hey! Hero! Get back-
NOTE: Panel background is interspersed with pseudo egyptian characters, typed out like machine code in bone white ink, behind and between the panels against a dark black background. Frame 25.10 is the gutter space to the right of frames 25.3/6/9.
Panel 25.1: Cut off frame, showing a partial view of the following: We’re back on a rocky beach, looking up at the tree line, where we see only the dark silhouettes and shadows. Halfway between the water and the trees, there’s a small rock outcropping, just large enough to conceal a body, propped up on the other side, completely hidden from our current perspective.
Panel 25.2: Same view as frame 25.1, but we’ve moved forward, half the distance to the rock, at level with the top of it, so we still can’t see the body secreted on the other side. At the treeline, Hiro appears, and he instantly fixates on the (concealed from us) body, like a bloodhound scenting a bird.
Panel 25.3: Our POV comes to rest on the top of the rock, in such a way that we still can’t see Dad’s corpse, pushed into a seated position against the rock below. We do see Hiro, standing in front of the rock, looking down at his Dad with a mixture of disgust, sadness, horror, grief. He has unconsciously bought his hand up to his sunglasses, the last ‘gift’ Dad ever gave him.
(1) SUNGLASSES: it’s not real
NOTE: Very very small print, right next to the sunglasses, like it’s coming from a
radio receiver (human lettering)
(2) SUNGLASSES: it’s a robot Daihiro
NOTE: Same print, on the other side of the sunglasses
Panel 25.4: Cut off frame, but same shot as 25.3, except we see Hiro dashing off to the right, looking purposeful.
Panel 25.5: Same scene as 25.3, except now we see a beleaguered ‘57 Steve in the background, emerging from the treeline at roughly the same spot Hiro did. He also sees the body instantly, starts running for it, mistaking it for the kid, as he no longer has his glasses.
(3) ‘57 STEVE: Hero!
Panel 25.6: ‘57 Steve comes up level with the rock, and we see him bent over to check out the body, which is in extremely rough condition, but not obviously dead. Our perspective comes a little bit up and over the edge of the rock, so we see the corpse’s legs, wearing the same shoes/pants Dad was wearing. ‘57 Steve’s face is concentrated, worried.
(4) ‘57 STEVE: Now who the hell?…
Panel 25.7: Cut off frame, view shifts lifts up again on top of the rock, no longer showing anything of the corpse. We see ‘57 Steve standing on the right half of the frame, no longer looking downwards, now looking to his right, looking for Hiro.
(5) ‘57 STEVE: Shit. Shit shit shit-
Panel 25.8: Same view as 25.7, perched on top of the rock, but ‘57 Steve is now facing his left, looking in the direction we saw Hiro run off to. The old man is suddenly raising his hands in terrified defense, a deju vu moment from when he was attacked in his car. ‘57 Steve is terrified by something we can’t see – Hiro charging in with another big rock.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: SHIT! HERO NO!
Panel 25.9: Same as 25.8, except now we see Hiro leaping in from the right side of the frame, bringing a trusty rock down in one swift motion on Dad’s dead head, blood flying up in smooth, visceral arcs. ‘57 Steve has fallen back and to the left, tripping over the corpse’s feet in his haste to get out of Hiro’s way. We see him mid fall, face horrified and partially covered by his upraised hands, as he’s sprayed with gore.
(7) ‘57 STEVE: ACK
(8) DAIHIRO: STUPID FRUCKING ROBOT STUPID FRUCKING
Panel 25.10: An elevated portion of white horizontal text, hovering over the black background and stark white hieroglyphics.
(9) CAP: >CAIRO ENCRYPTION LAYER DETECTED
NOTE: Letters running down the page vertically, overlaying the fake Egyptian
(10) CAP: >DECRYPTION: COMPLETED
Panel 26.1: Shot from the other side of the rock, the treeline side, looking back towards the scene at ground level, so the rock towers in the center of the panel. Propped up against the boulder, we see Dad, what’s left of him. With just a couple blows Daihiro has done major damage, the head is unrecognizable, a messy, bloody pulp. Dad is only truly identifiable by his clothes, which are also covered in streaks of viscera. To the left of the corpse/rock, Daihiro is hunched over, gasping for breath, his bloody weapon dropped at his feet, On the right, ‘57 Steve is just untangling himself from Dad’s legs, cradling one arm after his rough fall.
(1) SFX (DAIHIRO): GASP GASP GASP GASP
(2) ‘57 STEVE: Hero…he was already dead…
Panel 26.2: Close up on Hiro from the waist up, silhouetted against the dead of night sky, the moon illuminating the ocean behind him. Hiro is looking up at the sky, still breathing hard, but looking relieved. We can see tear streaks, running down his cheeks.
(3) ‘57 STEVE: Hero, look at me. Did you know this man? Was he rela–
(4) DAIHIRO: He was a robot.
Panel 26.3: View at an angle on Hiro’s back, from the waist up, as the kid puts his hands on his hips, feeling vindicated, victorious. He looks extremely young in this shot, his youth exaggerated by the adult stance, the moonlight falling on his chest and shoulders, the top of his head, shining with his father’s blood. He’s looking over his shoulder at us, grinning like a shell shocked veteran, the smile too tight on his face, not reaching his eyes.
(5) DAIHIRO: It’s ok. You don’t know about the robots. Or the aliens! You
don’t even know about the aliens!
(6) DAIHIRO: You know. Allen is an alien.
Panel 26.4: Waist up close up on ‘57 Steve’s pained, somewhat fearful face.
(7) ‘57 STEVE: Kid. Listen to me. We need to stop this now, go back to the
road, and get serious help. Adult Help.
Panel 26.5: Same angled close up, but in this frame Hiro is holding the sunglasses up in front of ‘57 Steve, tempting the old man to take them. ‘57 Steve looks even more afraid, afraid of what he’ll see if he puts the sunglasses on, even more afraid of what he’ll miss if he doesn’t.
(8) DAIHIRO: No. You need to put these on. Now.
(9) SUNGLASSES: steve. I’m here steve.
NOTE: Same small, human lettering, coming from the sunglass frames.
Panel 26.6: Straight on close up of ‘57 Steve’s face, Hiro holds the sunglasses up in front of the old man, not forcing him like the robots did, but offering them. ‘57 Steve examines them, helplessly seduced by what they promise. The old man still looks concerned, but it’s tinted around the edges with something like greed, or lust.
Panel 27.1: Same view as 26.5, except ‘57 Steve has grabbed the sunglasses, is holding them as if they’ve defeated him.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: sigh
Panel 27.2: Perspective backs up a bit, so we see ‘57 Steve’s legs, and Hiro, standing at the very bottom left of the frame. ‘57 Steve is gingerly holding the sunglasses out in front of him, in both hands.
(2) ‘57 STEVE: No, Die Hero. I don’t know what these things are, but they
aren’t real. It may be able to make a- a projection of my
wife, but it can’t bring her back. Nothing can.
NOTE: Speech bubble covers up Daihiro’s head and the sunglasses
Panel 27.3: POV stays the same, except Hiro’s head jumps a bit, as ‘57 Steve cracks the sunglasses in two, neatly down the center, digital blue sparks flying everywhere.
(3) SFX (SUNGLASSES): CRACK CLICK CLICK FZZZ
Panel 27.4: Frame expands to include Daihiro’s upper half, caught in the middle, the ‘head’ of Dad’s corpse at the far left, and ‘57 Steve, looking down and looking contemplative as he delivers a little monologue, stationed on the right. The rock behind the corpse takes up most of the upper left of the frame, blocking our view of a new guest, approaching from the beach. Daihiro is the only one in the frame aware of the new arrival.
(4) DAIHIRO: Hey-
(5) ‘57 STEVE: No Hero, listen to me. The dead don’t come back to life. I
don’t know what you saw when you put these on, but it
wasn’t real. I don’t think any of this is real, not your ‘robots’,
not ‘Allen the alien’, not-
Panel 27.5: Same perspective as 25.4, but moved a little up and to the right, so our view extends up and over the rock, where we see Steve’s wife, Laure, looking resplendent in a flowing white blouse and black silk trousers. Steve suddenly becomes aware of her mid sentence, shock and disbelief coloring his stance.
Panel 27.6: Our camera zooms to the other side of ‘57 Steve, a little ways back towards the treeline, and settles halfway between Laure and ‘57 Steve, covering a waist up shot of both. The top of Hiro’s head is again visible to the left edge of the frame – he’s hiding, putting ‘57 Steve between himself and this stranger. ‘57 Steve, for his part, is standing slackjawed, completely unable to process what he’s seeing (Laure standing close enough that he can make her out without his glasses). Laure stands at the right edge of the frame, looking absolutely stunning, if a little self conscious.
(6) ‘57 STEVE: My wife.
(7) LAURE: Why hello. Was I supposed to come without a shirt?
Panel 28.1: Interrogation room panel, exactly like those on PAGE EIGHT, except the overhead light has flickered out momentarily, leaving the table and silhouetted figure sitting at it in complete darkness. The figure at the table has the same outline as Steve Bosh, but hunched over on himself with age; we’re looking at a Steve Bosh twenty years and many tragedies later.
(1) CAP: 3:43 AM, December 19th, 2074
(2) SFX (LIGHT): flicker flicker
(3) ‘74 STEVE: You know, people often wish to talk about the most
extraordinarily boring things.
(4) ‘74 STEVE: The weather. Sports. How I lost my eyes.
Panel 28.2: Same POV as frame 28.1, but the singular overhead light has flicked back on, showing us the extremely old Steve Bosh, some twenty years in the future from when we last saw him, now in his late seventies. The table he’s seated at is covered in crisscross scratchmarks. ‘74 Steve is collapsed in on himself, much skinnier now, with posture just as bad as it ever was (older, but clearly recognizable as the man from the beach). He keeps his face downcast, his eyes wrapped in strips of jet black linen, his body wrapped in a contrasting, stainless, white robe
(5) SFX (LIGHT): flick
(6) ‘74 STEVE: Usually I fabricate. I tell my interrogators I fell, or squirrels
stole them, mistaking them for nuts.
Panel 28.3: A wide shot of ‘74 Steve, still hunched over, face still downcast, casting a shadow on the table, but his arms are now upraised, in a kind of self-deprecating shrug. We see his hands are also wrapped in linen, dark black, to contrast with his plain white robes.
(7) ‘74 STEVE: I’ve been a prisoner for some ten years. You have to keep
yourself entertained somehow.
Panel 28.4: This frame takes place behind frames 28.1-3, with the overhead lighting shining down behind those panels, filtering around them, illuminating ‘74 Steve at the center of bottom of the this panel. ‘74 Steve is suddenly standing, bracing his frail body against the table, head raised, so we see trails of bloody tears streaming down from behind the already blood soaked black bandages. He’s smiling at us, but the ‘tears’ are running into his mouth, staining his teeth red. We can’t see ‘74 Ferrin, ‘74 Steve’s counterpart, in this frame.
(8) ‘74 STEVE: But you, Warden General Ferrin Ullay Knox, you I’ll tell the
truth. If you ask for it.
(9) ‘74 FERRIN: Tell me. How–.
Panel 29.1: Waist up close up of Dr. Church’s back, sitting in front of her monitor, waving her hand in frustration. On the monitor, we see the lit interrogation room scene.
(1) DR. CHURCH: Stop!
(2) DR. CHURCH: There’s no point in doing a jump-cut for context if you come
in too late.
(3) DR. CHURCH: Play that back, starting from Knox’s entrance.
Panel 29.2: Long horizontal frame, featuring stacked images of ‘74 Steve sitting in the lit room, moving through the arm gestures he uses in the subsequent frames, but in reverse: we’re watching the feed as it’s being rewound. Half way through the frame/s, the light switches off, so that the right end of the frame is in darkness, like Panel 28.1. (There are also long background “rewind” frames behind Panels 29.3/4/5 and 6/7/8)
Panel 29.3: Perspective settles on an earlier frame, catching the moment Knox opened the door. ‘74 Steve’s silhouette is perked up at attention, all his senses (at least, the ones he has left) focused on the new person in the room. It’s dark, but we see ‘74 Steve’s smile, white stained red, shining.
(4) SFX (DOOR): CREAAAAAAAAAAAAK SLAM
(5) ‘74 STEVE: Why, Warden General. It must be December 2074.
(6) ‘74 FERRIN: Bosh. I don’t have long. Do you know why I’m here.
(7) ‘74 STEVE: Yes General. You came so I could tell you how to save the
Panel 29.4: The barely visible ‘74 Steve has raised one had to scratch the top of his head, adjust the bandage over his eyes.
(8) ‘74 FERRIN: Not how I would put it. The decoy I left in your cell won’t last
long. Don’t play games with me. Not now.
(9) ‘74 STEVE: I assure you I’m taking this very seriously. God told me you
would have questions for me. I can answer some. Not
(10) ‘74 FERRIN: Where is the heart of WDD loc-
(11) ‘74 STEVE: Wrong, General! Try again.
Panel 29.5: Same dark frame, ‘74 Steve’s silhouette is leaning forward, listening politely, his features unreadable, leaning to the left side of the panel as if he can see the large speech bubbles on the right.
(12) ‘74 FERRIN: Damnit Bosh! That’s the only question I have!
(13) ‘74 STEVE: Yes, and it’s a question I can’t answer. Ask it another way.
(14) ‘74 FERRIN: …
(15) ‘74 STEVE: Come Ferrin. What’s the real question.
(16) ‘74 FERRIN: Are the Demons here to help us or hurt us
(17) ‘74 STEVE: Yes! Now that’s a Question!
Panel 29.6: Same scene, same darkness. ‘74 Steve steeples his hands, leans back in his chair meaningfully.
(18) ‘74 STEVE: I’d ask you to turn on the lights. I hate talking in the dark.
(19) ‘74 FERRIN: How do you know the lights are off?
(20) ‘74 STEVE: How do you know there is air in the room? You breathe.
You feel it.
Panel 29.7: Same scene. ‘74 Steve puts both hands on the table, leans forward, willing ‘74 Ferrin to open up to him.
(21) ‘74 STEVE: The ‘Demons’ aren’t here to help us. They aren’t here to
hurt us. They are here for a purpose beyond my ability to
(22) ‘74 FERRIN: That’s not an answer.
(23) ‘74 STEVE: No, but it should make you feel better. Next question? And,
(24) SFX (LIGHTS): flick
Panel 29.8: Same focus on ‘74 Steve, but the blinding overhead light has come on, revealing his grisly features and dress. ‘74 Steve is ‘looking’ up into the source of the light, luxuriating in the rays.
(25) ‘74 STEVE: Ah, thank you General. Next?
(26) ‘74 FERRIN: I’m thinking.
(27) ‘74 STEVE: I know, I can practically hear it.
Panel 30.1: Same frame as 28.1, with the lights flickering off and on, so that Steve is lit but the background is dark again.
(1) SFX (LIGHTS): flicker flicker
(2) ‘74 FERRIN: Alright. What do you want me to ask you?
(3) ‘74 STEVE: Ha! You know, it’s funny-
Panel 30.2: A long horizontal fast forward frame, matching 29.2, but in reverse, as we skip ahead to the end of Panel 28.4. All subsequent frames have the light on.
(4) DR. CHURCH: Yes yes, no need to watch all that again. Fast forward fast
forward fast forward…
(5) DR. CHURCH: and…there we are. Go.
Panel 30.3: Almost the same frame as 28.4, taking place slightly after it. Steve is still standing up at the table, but now he’s looking up at the ceiling in religious ecstasy, one hand raised up to heaven, momentarily looking like a much younger man.
(6) ‘74 FERRIN: –did you lose your eyes.
(7) ‘74 STEVE: Yes! Yes! Yes Yes Yes! Thank You Jesus!
Panel 30.4: ‘74 Steve is in the process of sitting back down, looking again like the fragile old man he is, his one hand still raised, but this time offered in apology to Knox.
(8) ‘74 STEVE: Forgive me, General. I’ve been waiting for you to ask that
for a long time. Since 2057, in fact. November 11th, 2057…
Panel 30.5: ‘74 Steve is again seated, looking down wistfully as he remembers that fateful night.
(9) ‘74 STEVE: It was late at night, but I couldn’t sleep. Laure, my wife, had
passed, not long before. My bed felt empty. Dead. I had to
get out of the house. I called for a car and loaded up my fin,
thinking I’d exhaust myself on the water.
Panel 30.6: ‘74 Steve absentmindedly scratches his bandages, remembering the last night he had use of his sight.
(10) ‘74 STEVE: The ocean calmed me, exhausted me. By the time I made it
back to the pier I was near collapse. And that’s when I found
Panel 30.7: ‘74 Steve leans back in his chair again, holding up a corrective finger in amusement.
(11) ‘74 STEVE: No, I should say, he found me. Attacked me, really. Hit me
with a rock! I didn’t fault him for it. He was scared. Alone.
Lost. Injured! I would have called for help, but we were in a
Park. No Net coverage, you see.
(12) ‘74 FERRIN: You’re not talking about Van-
(13) ‘74 STEVE: Shhh, don’t interrupt.
Panel 30.8: ‘74 Steve again leans forward, conspiratorially, speaking soft so Knox has to lean in to hear.
(14) ‘74 STEVE: I would have taken him for help, but my car broke down.
Caught on fire, if you’d believe it! But the boy said he had a
car. That it was close. I was dead on my feet, maybe slightly
concussed. I followed the strange boy, with his strange
(15) ‘74 FERRIN: Sunglasses…
Panel 31.1: Background frame is a top down view of the parking lot from PAGES ELEVEN/TWELVE, viewing the scene right as Daihiro and ‘57 Steve are about to make their way into the forest, going for Daihiro’s car. Steve’s car is still on fire, burning almost cheerfully, the fire throwing shadows, the full moon high overhead.
Panel 31.2: Back in 2074 in Steve’s cell, the old man is looking down, towards the car shown in 31.1, as he remembers the scene.
(1) ‘74 STEVE: What was already a strange night quickly became stranger.
Panel 31.3: Same focus on old Steve, as he pulls a small, withered apple out from some hidden pocket, begins to shine it on his robes.
(2) ‘74 STEVE: Forgive me – dinner was ages ago.
(3) ‘74 STEVE: We walked for some time, miles perhaps, until we came to
the boy’s car.
Panel 31.4: Old Steve is mid-bite, apple juices running down his cheeks.
(4) SFX (‘74 STEVE): CRUNCH
(5) ‘74 STEVE: Of course, when we got there, the car was a complete
wreck. It had been run off the road, crashed into the forest.
Quite unhelpful. Explained the boy’s rough appearance
Panel 31.5: ‘74 Steve puts the half eaten apple down on the table, rubs the apple juice off his hands.
(6) ‘74 STEVE: That’s when the robots appeared. The Angels.
(7) ‘74 FERRIN: Robots?
(8) ‘74 STEVE: Yes, Road Minders I believe. But heavily modified. Extra
arms. All terrain treads. Heavily modified.
Panel 31.6: ‘74 Steve picks up the half eaten apple, holds it out to Ferrin, offering the rest.
(9) ‘74 FERRIN: You were off the road at this point? How were the Minders
(10) ‘74 STEVE: Yes. How indeed. It was a question I didn’t dwell on at the
time, but what entity could have possibly been bypassing
(11) ‘74 STEVE: Apple?
Panel 32.1: Background frame is an aerial perspective on the Daitokuji car scene, the two Road Minder’s present, holding Daihiro and ‘57 Steve, at the point where the robot is putting Daihiro’s sunglasses on ‘57 Steve.
Panel 32.2: Interrogation room, but a side shot of the table, so the only thing we see of ‘74 Steve and ‘74 Ferrin is their arms – ‘74 Steve’s still holding out the apple, ‘74 Ferrin is waving it away politely.
(1) ‘74 STEVE: We didn’t have to wait long to find out what the Minders
wanted – they started speaking to us. In a human voice. A
voice that identified itself as one ‘Allen Trevail.’
Panel 32.3: Same perspective as Panel 32.2, but Ferrin is leaning forward into the frame, as he leans forward aggressively, disbelief and rage evident on his face.
(2) ‘74 FERRIN: NO! You’re lying!
(3) ‘74 STEVE: And the boy’s sunglasses. It was when I put on the
sunglasses that I realized how far in over my head I was.
When I put on them on–
Panel 32.4: Same side on table perspective, but Ferrin is now standing up, leaning far over the table, practically spitting in ‘74 Steve’s face.
(4) ‘74 FERRIN: YOU LIE!
(5) ‘74 STEVE: –it was then that I saw my dead wife, heard her voice in my
ears. Laure, my love. She told me–
Panel 32.5: Side perspective: ‘74 Ferrin has calmly grabbed ‘74 Steve by his shirt, is shaking the helpless old man. The Deacon continues to tell his story, unperturbed.
(6) ‘74 FERRIN: STOP LYING DAMN YOU!
(7) ‘74 STEVE: She told me she could be with me again. Could come back
to me. If I had but faith–
Panel 33.1: Background frame, an aerial view of the scene by the rock and Dad’s corpse, right after Daihiro has smashed Dad’s head. ‘57 Steve and Daihiro are standing by the corpse, while Laure is visible coming up from the water. There, at the water’s edge, we see a futuristic, pure white coffin/submersible, the vehicle by which Laure made it to the beach.
Panel 33.2: Side shot of the interrogation room, ‘74 Ferrin is still grasping onto ‘74 Steve, but his head is hanging down in shame, flooded by emotions that he buried with the death of his family, his loved ones. ‘74 Steve is ‘looking’ tenderly at the broken man, raising his hand to hold onto Ferrin’s shoulder, to strengthen him.
Panel 33.3: Same shot as Panel 33.2, ‘74 Ferrin sagging down even lower, crushed by the realization that, not only has his mentor has been playing him for decades, but the vivid hallucinations he’s been having of his dead lover might actually be real, not just products of the many drugs he takes.
(1) ‘74 STEVE: So I followed the boy, followed him from the car to beach. I
was not without doubt, but I followed.
(2) ‘74 FERRIN: no…
Panel 33.4: ‘74 Ferrin’s head collapses into his hands, his grief overwhelming him. ‘74 Steve has both hands on ‘74 Ferrin’s shoulders, his head bowed in what might be prayer.
(3) ‘74 STEVE: And lo and behold. There she was. My wife. My everything.
God had given her back to me.
Panel 33.5: Close up on ‘74 Steve’s eyeless face, his features scrunched up in what might be pain, might be regret.
(4) ‘74 STEVE: But this gift was not without cost. I–
NOTE: Cut off by the edge of the panel
Panel 34.1: POV switches to over ‘74 Steve’s shoulder, looking towards ‘74 Knox, and, behind him, the room door. There, a young cadet (Ward Opnmyer) is standing, already halfway through opening the door, but still looking off to her side, so she doesn’t yet see ‘74 Knox and ‘74 Steve sitting in front of her. Opnmyer’s carrying a falstik in her hands, a sleek body length staff tipped with what looks like octopus tentacles, complete with suction pods. The tentacles are limp for now, but can string to life in a blink. From what we see of ‘74 Steve, he’s unconcerned by this turn of events. Knox has instantly collected himself, is looking over his shoulder with slight displeasure.
(1) WARD OPNMYER: I’ll sweep center wing, then–
NOTE: Talking to her squad mates down the hall, to her right
Panel 34.2: Similar perspective: Ward Opnmyer pulls the door fully open (outwards, so it’s blocking the squads sight of her), and begins to take a step inside. We see her as her head has come around, ‘locking eyes’ with ‘74 Steve. Her face is surprise and shock, her training taking a second too long to kick in. ‘74 Knox is already halfway to his feet and the door, has knocked his chair to the side.
Panel 34.3: Side shot of the space between ‘74 Ferrin and Ward Opnmyer, as ‘74 Ferrin rapidly closes the distance between them. He’s coming in fast and low, his hands out in front of him, ready to intercept or deflect the Ward’s falstik. For her part, Opnmyer has reflexively brought her staff forward for a jab, thrusting the wetly jiggling tentacles towards ‘74 Knox’s face.
Panel 34.4: Face on shot of ‘74 Knox (as if from Opnmyer’s POV), as he has dodged the blow towards his head, Opnmyer’s falstik now jutting out in the empty space above his shoulder. Knox’s face is grim, but borderline bored, as he raises his two hands to grip the shaft of the weapon.
Panel 34.5: Long horizontal shot of ‘74 Steve, sitting with his hands pressed hard against the table, grinding his teeth for fear of saying anything, fear of disturbing the flow of events he knows must come to pass. Where before there were trickles of blood coming from his eyes, now there are floods, his cheeks lined in vivid red, his previously flawless white clothes covered in crimson splotches.
(2) WARD OPNMYER: Oh–
NOTE: Speech bubble connecting/continuing into Panel 34.6
Panel 34.6: Shot from close behind ‘74 Ferrin’s back, as he stays low and quickly turns to his left, ripping the falstik out of the young ward’s hands. Above ‘74 Ferrin’s spinning head, we see that Opnmyer is thrown off balance, stumbling forward a foot, falling the rest of the way into the room/out of the hallway, before awkwardly catching herself.
(3) WARD OPNMYER: –biscuits!
Panel 34.7: ‘74 Ferrin has spun around 180 degrees, so he’s facing us and ‘74 Steve, the falstik balanced perfectly out in front of him, parallel to the ground. The move oozes gracefulness, as ‘74 Ferrin expertly activates the weapon, the octopus tentacles springing to sudden rigid life.
Panel 34.8: ‘74 Ferrin is three quarters of the way through his spin, now facing to the right side of the frame, while bringing up his arms to level the falstik with Ward Opnmyer’s poor, poor head. ‘74 Ferrin is looking over his shoulder, in the Ward’s direction, to best judge his shot, but in front of him the falstik tentacles have sprung into an open configuration, like a flower in full bloom. Ward Opnmyer is in process of recovering her balance, leaning backwards, but her head is still down, she’s still oblivious to the incoming death blow.
Panel 34.9: Side shot of the pair, but from the opposite side (on Opnmyer’s right), looking towards the fatal duo. ‘74 Knox has spun all the way back around, is again facing Opnmyer, and has jammed, with one hand, the falstik against the Ward’s head. The falstik tentacles have wrapped around the Opnmyer’s melon completely, so you can only see stripes of her features (notably her eyes and mouth) peeking out from underneath.
(4) WARD OPNMYER: OH–
Panel 35.1: Close up shot of Ward Opnmyer’s squeezed face, as the falstik tentacles push inexorably inward, squeezing Opnmyer with extraterrestrial force. The doomed woman’s words last words deform, the same way her skull does.
(1) WARD OPNMYER: BISCSHUIIIII
(2) SFX (W. OPNMYER’S HEAD): SPLAT
Panel 35.2: Wider shot of the interrogation room, our POV hugging the wall, capturing the scene but seconds after Opnmyer’s head has burst like ripe fruit. ‘74 Knox is still holding the falstik in the air, the tentacles dripping with viscera, while the corpse crumbles to the ground, the neck topped with nothing but pulpy strands. ‘74 Steve is sitting at the table, now clasping his hands firmly in front of him, nearly shaking with the impact of the moment.
Panel 35.3: Shot from directly behind Knox’s back as he stands fully, holds the falstik calmly at his side.
(3) ‘74 FERRIN: There will be more coming.
(4) ‘74 STEVE: Yes. Leave. Now.
Panel 35.4: Same perspective as 35.3, but Knox has turned around, facing ‘74 Steve, who’s still out of our sight.
(5) ‘74 FERRIN: I could take you with me.
(6) SFX (‘74 STEVE): smiling sadly
(7) ‘74 STEVE: They have me imprinted here. I will never leave.
Panel 35.5: Same POV, but ‘74 Ferrin is now crouching in the doorway, stealthily peering down the hallway, watching as more troops come.
(8) ‘74 FERRIN: I won’t be able to make it back. Not after this.
(9) ‘74 STEVE: Then Goodbye General.
(10) ‘74 FERRIN: Goodbye Deacon.
Panel 35.6: Same POV, but ‘74 Ferrin has darted out the door and slammed it shut behind him, leaving us to look at nothing but Opnmyer’s slowly draining body. Outside the door, we hear the muffled sounds of ‘74 Knox’s retreat, and the approaching reinforcements.
(11) SFX (DOOR): SLAM
(12) REINFORCEMENTS: STOP! INTRUDER!
(13) SFX (REINFORCEMENTS): thudthUDTHUDTHUDTHUD
NOTE: Font size starting small and gradually increasing in size, matching the
sound of the approaching footsteps
Panel 35.7: Same shot as 34.5, table level looking at ‘74 Steve, who is perked up, listening intently as the soldiers chase after Knox, ignoring the room. The blood flow from his eyes has returned to its normal slow trickle.
(14) SFX (REINFORCEMENTS): THUDTHUDTHudthud
NOTE: Font starting big and gradually decreasing in size
(15) ‘74 STEVE: Ah. I pain for Knox. He progresses forward, into hell.
(16) ‘74 STEVE: But we’re still here, aren’t we? I was telling this story for
your benefit too, you know. What was I saying?
(17) ‘74 STEVE: Ah yes! The sacrifice.
(18) ‘74 STEVE: The cost.
Panel 36.1: Full page length vertical frame, a close up on the left half of ‘74 Steve’s face as he’s still seated at the table, our view capturing his eye, half his nose/mouth. He’s speaking solemnly, but with obvious excitement; he’s been looking forward to this moment for as long as he’s been in captivity.
(1) ‘74 STEVE: When Laure appeared, there on the beach, I didn’t question
it, not for a moment. I knew it was right. This was the reason
I couldn’t sleep that night. This was why I’d met Hero. This
was why all of these impossible things had happened. I
hadn’t known, but I knew. I knew it was real. God had given
Panel 36.2: Large background frame (mostly covered by frames 36.3/4/5/6), but visible on the right hand side of the page. There, we see a behind the back shot of Daihiro, Laure and ‘57 Steve Bosh, huddled closely together and holding hands (‘57 Steve standing in the middle), standing in front of the dark treeline, approximately where ‘57 Steve and Daihiro first emerged onto the shore.
(2) LAURE: Do you still carry around my knitting needles, love?
(3) ‘57 STEVE: Of course! I take them everywhere, they’re right in my
pocket, I- Biscuits!
(4) LAURE: You’ve lost them?
(5) ‘57 STEVE: It must have been by the car, in all the–
(6) DAIHIRO: Yes. Let’s go back to the car. And I’ll tell you about the
Panel 36.3: An uneven frame, split down the middle and raised on the left: the panel is a table level shot of ‘74 Steve in the interrogation room, centered in the frame, but tilting his head a little up and to his right (to dodge the frame skew), as he continues his recollection.
(7) ‘74 STEVE: The feeling of seeing someone you were sure you’d never
see again…it’s a full body high, a painkiller, a stomach
tightener. And it keeps on going, rebounding and
ricocheting, building on itself, resonating deeper and deeper.
You feel the tears well one moment, find yourself laughing
uncontrollably the next.
Panel 36.4: Same uneven perspective, but ‘74 Steve is leaning forward now, earnestly, trying to fully convey the gravity of that moment.
(8) ‘74 STEVE: And to touch her! I couldn’t stop touching her, smelling her,
listening to her, even to only hear her breath. I pray that one
day you’ll feel what I felt that night. Maybe that’s the only
way to understand; why I was so willing to give my eyes. I
would have given more. I would have given anything.
Anything she asked of me.
Panel 36.5: Behind the back shot of the trio, Daihiro and Laure standing in front of the car fire, which has blazed even higher, engulfing the entire vehicle. Piles of sticks and branches on the mangled hood of the car suggest that someone or some robot has come back to tend the flames since we last saw them. ‘57 Steve is kneeling in the dirt between Daihiro and Laure, bending down to pick up something on the ground.
(9) ‘74 STEVE (NARRATION): We made it back to the car, still aflame. I found Laure’s
needles, lying in the dirt. I gave them to her. She accepted
them sadly. Cleaned them on her blouse.
Panel 37.1: Waist level shot of ‘74 Steve sitting at the table, raising one hand to his bandages as he remembers the sensation of losing his eyes. He smiles slightly, enjoying the morbid nostalgia. The blood flow from his eyes is increasing again, slowly building over the next few frames.
(1) ‘74 STEVE: Laure explained it to me gently. I was sick. There was
something in my head, hurting me. Even if I didn’t feel it.
Soon, it would kill me.
(2) ‘74 STEVE: What do you do when your dead wife tells you you’re dying?
I believed her. Maybe I should have gotten a second
Panel 37.2: Perspective snaps back to the trio at the burning car, ‘57 Steve still kneeling in the dirt, holding the knitting needles up for Laure. Laure and Daihiro are both looking down at ‘57 Steve with something approaching pity, both have a hand on his shoulders. ‘57 Steve is looking at Laure, lovingly and attentively, while she explains to him what she has to do.
Panel 37.3: ‘74 Steve sitting at the table, but now he’s raised his other hand to his bandages as well, begins to search for how to take them off. He’s looking down, preoccupied.
(3) ‘74 STEVE: She couldn’t – and I can’t – explain the details. But I can
Panel 37.4: ‘74 Steve sitting at the table, unwinding the surprisingly long (and blood soaked) bandage from around his eyes, awkwardly using his bandaged hands.
Panel 37.5: Uneven panel, looking down at a face up shot of ‘57 Steve, laying on the ground before the fire, shadows racing his face, his eyes wide and fearful.
(4) ‘74 STEVE (NARRATION): It’s not that I wasn’t afraid. But I had no context for things I
had seen that night. The things I was experiencing…
NOTE: Speech bubble traveling through the bottom of the panel to connect 37.5
Panel 37.6: ‘74 Steve at the table again, as he bends his head down to pull off the last of the bandage, even as the blood flowing from his eyes reaches a crescendo, the drops flowing down to pitter patter on the table.
(5) ‘74 STEVE: A part of me was convinced I had died. That this was
Heaven. Or Hell.
(6) ‘74 STEVE: What could I do, but what I was asked?
Panel 37.7: Tight close up on ‘57 Steve’s wide, frightened eyes. He’s looking above and slightly over his face, where Laure has the needles poised to strike (either we see the rapidly approaching needles reflected in ‘57 Steve’s eyes, or poking in from the top of the panel, driving downwards.
Panel 38.1: Panel is a vertical frame extreme close up of ‘57 Steve’s eyes, taking up the entire left side of the page. We see right at the moment that Laure has jammed the needles in, and tilted them ‘upwards’ (towards Panel 38.4) to try and dig out the gooey orbs.
(1) ‘57 STEVE: GAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
NOTE: Text oriented sideways, like our POV, the text arcing up and above ‘57
Steve’s eyes, passing behind Panel 38.2, behind the needles, and behind
Panel 38.2: ‘74 Steve sitting at the table, holding his head in his hands, the bandage now off and sitting soggily in front of him. We can’t see the wreckage behind his hands, as ‘74 Steve plays a grim game of peek-a-boo.
(2) ‘57 STEVE: It hurt. Quite a bit. I’m not saying it didn’t.
Panel 38.3: Table shot with ‘74 Steve but zoomed in closer than Panel 38.2, covering Steve from the shoulders up. He has raised his head, but still has both hands covering his eyes, waiting for the big reveal.
(3) ‘74 STEVE: But Laure was right. I was sick. I am sick. But at least I can
still play peek-a-boo.
Panel 38.4: Panel is a mirror of frame 38.1, an extreme vertical close up on ‘74 Steve’s eye sockets, as he lowers his hands, revealing gaping black holes, ringed by oozing black fissures, covered in crusted and flowing blood.
(4) ‘74 STEVE: Now I see you!
NOTE: Oriented sideways, in keeping with the perspective
Panel 39.1: Page is a dark, inky black, swirling with darker red, matching the cancerous rings and sores around ‘74 Steve’s eyes.
(1) DR. CHURCH: Well…
NOTE: Small white lettering, contrasting heavily with the background.
Panel 40.1: Frame shows Dr. Harriet Church, sitting again at her desk. The console monitor behind her shows the black scene of PAGE THIRTY-NINE.
(1) DR. CHURCH: Do you think he was talking to me?
(2) DR. CHURCH: Or you?
Panel 40.2: Same general frame, but zoomed in a little, catching Dr. Church as she takes off her glasses to wipe them clean. As we watch her, she fuzzes a little bit, like a paused or skipping recording.
(3) DR. CHURCH: No, I don’t fool myself. I’m not really here you see.
(4) DR. CHURCH: But, then again, neither are you.
(5) COMPUTER MONITOR: O.O
NOTE: Surprised emoticon displayed on monitor.
Panel 40.3: Same frame, zoomed in a little bit more, tighter on the suddenly empty chair, the computer monitor displaying another message.
(6) DR. CHURCH: You better run Hero.
(7) COMPUTER MONITOR: THEY ARE COMING FOR YOU
NOTE: Taking up the entire screen
NOTE: PAGE 41 is a debrief sheet, Knox’s report to Trevail on the rap up to Project Series Double pick up Stiks.
Panel 41.1: Frame is completely black, covered in a tight computer script. At the top of the page, there are a number of file headers, labeled PS 1 – PS 7, with more leading off the page. Tab 6 is highlighted, it’s contents displayed on the page.
(1) CONSOLE: >Project Series 6: DpS. Project Subject: 26,7. Project
(2) CONSOLE: >26: Check.
(3) CONSOLE: >73: Check. What’s 7’s status?
(4) CONSOLE: >26: Safe. In my custody.
(5) CONSOLE: >73: And your status?
(6) CONSOLE: >26: I’ve commandeered a hacked auto, currently en route
to meet the twinwing.
(7) CONSOLE: >73: Full report, from the time of your last check in.
(8) CONSOLE: >26: Sir. Ferry Lyn and I searched Peninsula road, came
upon the Daitokuji crash site at near sunrise. From the tire
marks, they had flipped sideways over the guardrail,
probably going around forty MPH.”
(9) CONSOLE: >73: You said the boy was safe.
(10) CONSOLE: >26: Sir, the boy survived the crash, I would say
miraculously unharmed. There’s a little inflammation around
one shoulder, maybe a slight concussion. I’ve already
applied a plus patch.
(11) CONSOLE: >73: Continue.
(12) CONSOLE: >26: The vehicle slid off a short, rocky embankment, and
came to a stop some thirty yards off the road. When Ferry
Lyn and I arrived, the car was on fire, and Daihiro was
laying in the dirt nearby. He was shirtless, but apart from the
injuries I’ve already described, intact. There was a large
amount of blood splattered nearby.
(13) CONSOLE: >73: His parent’s?
(14) CONSOLE: >27: I made a sizeable search, but saw no other sign of
them. My guess is that one or both was thrown some
distance from the car. Or maybe they both survived,
perhaps wondered off in shock.
(15) CONSOLE: >73: That’s a rather large loose end.
(16) CONSOLE: >26: Yes. If I hadn’t been forced to leave the area for fear of
discovery, I would have looked longer.
(17) CONSOLE: >73: What about Ferry Lyn?
(18) CONSOLE: >26: After I confirmed that Daihiro was alive and in no
immediate danger, I disposed of her, put her in her vehicle,
and sent it off the same part of the road.
(19) CONSOLE: >73: Interesting. There’s no record of your correspondence?
(20) CONSOLE: >26: It’s being wiped as we speak.
(21) CONSOLE: >73: You’ve been given clearance to land at Plateau
Sendaeu. Contact me when you get there.
(22) CONSOLE: >26: Yes sir.
Panel 42.1: PAGE FORTY-TWO shows the lyrics for the hit BABA song “Water Doesn’t Drain, Me Like You Do”, interposed over a shoot of the band (four members on the stage) playing a futuristic Red Rocks.
(1) SONG TITLE: “Water Doesn’t Drain, Me Like You Do”
(2) LYRICS: “Don’t talk to me,
Like you’ve gone through me.
It hurts. It’s over.
Silence is best when you’ve got nothing left to say.
The water takes it all. Me, I’m standing small,
Beside the burning trees! That’s his destiny!
He was in your arms. Wanting to belong there.
We’re know you’re pretty dense.
Just follow what makes sense.
Follow what you know.
We’re thinkinking you’ll be strong there.
Yet, we were all fools. Playing by the rules…
We gods, we throw the dice. Our minds as cold as ICE…
For someone way down here…will lose someones dear…
The winner takes it all! We losers have to fall.
I feel so simple. I feel so plain.
But tell me, can I kiss you, like she used to kiss you.
Does it feel the same, when I call your name.
Inside, I miss you.
There’s nothing left to say.
NOTE: PAGE 43 is a promotional ad for an as yet undetermined sponsor. The panels outlined below are examples of possible content.
Panel 43.1: Monster Energy Knitting Needles! Panel shows a close up of Laure’s silver knitting needles, which we can now see are engraved with the Monster Energy Logo, outlined in their vivid green. The top of the page, behind the knitting needles, there are piles of unused, dark black thread, scatter with silver glitter so it looks vague like a dark night sky. The thread feeds into the needles, and at the point there’s a dark stretch of ocean, being ‘knit’ together by the moving needles. Contrasting white text floats over the water:
(1) CAP: WHEN THE NEED TO KNIT ISN’T ENOUGH TO KEEP
YOU UP ALL NIGHT!
Panel 43.2: Sushi Garden Magic Magnetic Scrolls! A children’s toy that can store and display a variety of messages and pictures. The background is awash in scrolls unraveled to various lengths, showcasing the diverse display features of the toy.
Panel 43.3: Augmented Reality Sunglasses, (sponsor undetermined). Sunglasses display fun overlays and minigames on top of the normal world. Some explicit content involved, must be 18+ to purchase.