Part Two of Three: Birds of the Flare
Comic Book Script—Plot for 22 Pages
Devin Leigh Michaels
Ral still isn’t warming up to Reger, but he has little choice in the matter as the crew is forced to take refuge in Reger’s apartment. Still, just who is Reger, and why does Lance and Casia trust him so much?
Richmond Clocktower Reference - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Street_Station_(Richmond)
Note to Letterer: All narrations are Ral's.PAGE ONE
1—Shot of Reger from the waist upward, looking at the camera like he’s a movie star, his smile kind and warm. We’re supposed to like this guy (though we try to hate him).
LOCATION CAPS— FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA
NARR(Ral): Okay, I still haven’t said why I hate Reger.
2—Full tier shot of the situation—Ral and Lance are on the ground, surrounded by various SWAT teams. Lance is relaxed now, not baiting a fight. Ral is little confused, angry. Sierra is standing before them, furious and ready to attack, sparkles twinkling across her palms. Reger and Casia are flying above. On the side, two of the overhead lights are ablaze.
NARR: Have some patience, will you? I’m getting there.
1—Ral’s glaring up at Reger like he’s the bully from high school.
NARR: So, we’re surrounded by this moshpit of robot-suited commandos and quasi-super federal agents, and out of no where—
2—Reger throws out a blue-fire hand.
NARR: —this flying blue-fire were-phoenix shows up.
NARR: Now, you’d think Casia would be going crazy.
3—Another spotlight explodes.
NARR: I mean, really, how many of these creatures can there be?
NARR: (No offense, Casia, but creature, monster, fire-breathing bird—they’re all not good names.)
4—Casia looks at Reger longingly.
NARR: But all she can say is:
Reger: I always know when you need me, Hottie.
5—Casia blinks back the tears.
NARR: I just know Casia’s going to give it to him.
NARR: They’ll be nothing left of his blue-fire ass because she doesn’t even let Lance call her “Dame.”
CASIA: Reger…I thought—I had—How could—
1—Ral shoots an embittered glare at Lance, who simply watches the exchange evenly. He has no emotion written upon his face.
NARR: Say what?
NARR: Am I the only one lost here?
2—A laser zips between Reger and Casia, who scatter and barely avoid the shot.
3—Reger whirls toward the forces, throwing a single line of blue flames toward the troops.
REGER: GO! I’ll take care of these people!
4—Sierra slaps her hands, dispersing the flames.
5—Casia retaliates with her own flames.
CASIA (linked): Lance, get—
6—Lance grabs Ral’s shoulder and thumbs backward.
LANCE: Got it!
LANCE (linked): Let’s go.
RAL: But what about—
7—Lance jerks Ral back.
LANCE: Let the birds have their fun.
1—As Lance drags Ral behind him, Ral looks back at the fight.
2—Casia and Reger fly back to back, shooting flames.
NARR: Glancing back, I only catch a glimpse of the action as methodically, Casia and Reger work through the forces.
3—Casia creates a wall of flames.
4—Lance melts the weapons in the soldiers’ hands.
5—Ral looks away sadly.
NARR: They’re REALLY good, better than Lance, Casia, and me when we fight.
6—Casia and Reger look at each other, loving smiles upon their faces.
NARR: It’s as if they know what each other’s thinking.
1—Lance and Ral jump over a small fence into a used car dealership. A banner is strung across two light poles, reading, “Clunkers for Cash.”
NARR: Real catchy.
2—Lance weaves through the cars, appraising them fast.
RAL (off): Lance?
3—Lance shakes his head at a yellow Camereo, while Ral throws up his hands.
RAL: Lance, just pick one!
LANCE: No, it’s gotta be something with…
4—Lance looks at a black silhouette, and his smile grows.
NARR: My mom has a saying.
5—A red 1990s Mustang breaks through the small fence of the lot at racecar speeds.
NARR: “Mustang drivers are insane.”
1—Shot inside the car. Lance looks like he’s high, his eyes bugged out, his smile Joker-like. He’s enjoying every second behind the wheel. Ral, on the other hand, is holding onto the seats, his face white, trying not to look scared but is really frightened.
NARR: She’s right.
2—Camera angle from behind Lance and Ral as they turn onto a main drag. Through the window, we can see Reger and Casia still working through the SWAT team.
RAL: They really should have better, get security cameras or something,
3—Lance slaps Ral on the shoulder with a charmer’s smile.
LANCE: Now you’re thinking right.
4—Close-up on Ral, who’s uneasy. He doesn’t like what he’s been doing but understands the necessity of everything. In the window behind Ral, twin flashes of blue and red burn the sky.
NARR: Stealing cars, blowing up diners and drug stores, breaking and entering—yeah, my rap sheet is growing.
5—Lance and Ral look up at the roof as it dents with two loud thuds.
1—Reger appears in Lance’s window, upside down. Lance remains calms, as if he expected Reger.
REGER: I know a place we can hide. Follow me.
2—Reger and Casia take off, burning the sky before the car.
3—Soaring side-by-side, Reger moves to grab Casia’s hand, but she pulls away.
4—Reger persists, and their hands touch. From his blue and her red flames, they create purple fire.
5—Shot of Ral and Lance. Ral’s angry now, his arms crossed, his face scrunched. He’s looking at Lance, who’s leaning an elbow against the door, his fist against his head.
RAL And just like that, we follow him?
LANCE: He’s a friend of Casia, and I trust Casia.
RAL: And what they’re doing—it doesn’t bother you AT ALL?
6—Lance shrugs innocently, while Ral rolls his eyes.
LANCE: Should it?
RAL: Uh, YEAH.
NARR: It bothers me.
1—Full-tier shot of the Capitol Building.
LOCATION CAPS: WASHINGTON, D.C.
DIRECTOR (no pointer): You two think this is funny?
2— Skylar ducks a coffee mug that shatters against a sterile, white wall.
SKYLAR: No, Director, but we employed the best the agency has to offer.
DIRECTOR (off): And what did it get you?
3— A flask shatters a few millimeters before Towne’s nose in mid-air.
DIRECTOR (off): Paterson’s in the Garage, thanks to his own suit, and Sierra’s in debriefing. She said there was a fourth with LaCroux, Sterling, and Dawson.
4—Skylar sticks out her tongue. Towne arches an eyebrow.
TOWNE: Yes, a second were-phoenix.
TOWNE (linked): Agent McClaren.
5—The Director now turns from his data screen, which is nothing more than a large video monitor on his wall. It’s replaying the fight at the diner.
DIRECTOR: Agent McClaren?
OFF: Yes, sir. He’s part of the project.
1—The Director waves his hand.
DIRECTOR: Keep me posted.
2—Towne sticks out his tongue at Skylar as she rolls her eyes.
SKYLAR: Will do, Director.
3—Close-up of a shot of dark-haired head, stuck in a kitchen sink. Water is rinsing it.
NARR: The water’s so cold it burns, and Lance grants me no mercy.
LOCATION CAPS: RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, LATER
4—Mid-shot, Lance is using the hose from the sink to rinse Ral’s hair, while Ral’s hunched over. Lance effectively keeps Ral pinned to the sink, no matter how hard the boy tries to get away.
RAL: Alright, it’s all out.
LANCE: Stop squirming, or it’ll be green. Is that what you want?
RAL (linked): …no.
LANCE (linked): Then shut up and stay still.
NARR: This is so embarrassing.
5—Ral tries to kick Lance, but Lance knees him in the butt, keeping Ral pinned.
LANCE: Seriously. GREEN. Like puke green. I’m not kidding.
1—Lance throws a towel over Ral’s head; we still haven’t seen the finished product.
LANCE: Alright, NOW you’re done. Just don’t wash your hair for the next twenty-four hours.
2—Ral doesn’t move to take the towel off.
LANCE (off): Oh, just do it already.
LANCE: Least I’m not a wuss.
RAL: Don’t laugh.
3—Lance lunges and steals the towel from Ral’s head with a vicious smirk. We now see Ral’s hair. It’s blonde.
LANCE: Not a chance.
4—Ral grabs a mirror off the counter, while Lance continues to laugh, heading out the door.
NARR: It CAN’T a natural blonde color like Bon Jovi or Kid Rock. Nope, it’s Brittany Spears’s blonde.
RAL: I hate this, and I hate you.
LANCE: If it makes you feel any better, next time we’ll go red.
1—Lance exits the kitchen and into the living room. Ral follows. The living room is more or else empty save for an L-spaced couch, a coffee table, few streamlined amps, and large, velvet curtains to cover his floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s also a pricy TV across from the couch. Though not necessary for this cell, there’s a plate of cookies and cups of coffee and hot chocolate on the coffee table.
RAL: Drew Barrymore red in Charlie’s Angels, right?
LANCE: Hey, be kind, or it’ll be Carrot Top red.
2—In one of the windows, framed by curtains, Casia and Reger talk on the balcony. Tears sizzle as steam off Casia’s cheeks as Reger cups her hands in his and then pulls her head against his chest.
3—Watching them, Ral looks disgusted.
RAL: Who the hell is this guy?
1—Looking over the spine of the couch, Lance also clicks the remote. His legs are crossed on the coffee table.
LANCE: You know how Casia spent her first fifty or so years a captive of the Skadoian Warriors, right?
2—Ral sits on the coffee table, next to Lance’s legs.
RAL: Yeah, before she escaped and made her way to New Jersey where Mom and Connor took her in.
LANCE: Reger was another captive. He sacrificed himself, so Casia could escape. She thought he was dead.
3—Ral takes a cookie and a mug.
RAL: No such luck, huh?
4—Lance points a finger at Ral.
LANCE: We’ve all lost people we love. Casia just got one back. Give her some lee—
5—The door to the balcony creeks open, and Casia comes in, her fingers laced with Reger’s.
CASIA: Hey, Ral, Lance. I’d like you to meet Reger McClaren.
CASIA (linked): Reger, this is Lance Evans and Ral Dawson.
1—Reger puts his hand out to Lance, who doesn’t even look up from the TV.
REGER: LANCE EVANS, huh? Even I’ve heard of you.
NARR: His silky voice is a mixture of Brad Pitt’s and George Clooney’s.
LANCE: WHO hasn’t? Hey, look, Ral. You haven’t hit Nancy Grace yet.
2—Casia touches her forehead, exasperated, before leading Reger to Ral (who is now standing). Reger shakes Ral’s hand.
CASIA: Reger, Ral’s mom and uncle were the ones who took me in after I escaped from the warriors.
REGER: Well, I see you’re returning the favor, but I am still indebted to your family.
NARR: His handshake is strong and firm but not too hard as if to intimidate.
3—Ral scrutinizes Reger; Lance glares up from the couch.
RAL: Uh…what happened to you, y’know? Being with the warriors? And please do not say you don’t want to talk about it.
LANCE (chastising): RAL!
NARR: Hey, I’m doing YOUR job, Lance.
4—Reger smiles smoothly.
REGER: No, no, it’s fine. I understand his curiosity, especially with HIS PARENTS currently being held captive by them.
NARR: Yeah, sure, whatever. TOTALLY not the point.
1—Flashback—Eight-year-old Reger is held in a small metal entrapment, e.g. a metal dog cage one sees at a pet store. He’s in a dark, cavern-like room, huddled with his knees to his chest. He’s completely soaked from head to toe, and he’s shivering. Colorist, can we make this cell black and white to illustrate the flashback?
REGER (no pointer): They tortured me, held me for a long time in a dark, dank cage, so my fire wings couldn’t even be spread. If the cage ever dried enough where I could burn, the warriors’ shadows ate my fire.
2—Ral crosses his arms. He’s not buying this guy’s story.
RAL: How’d you escape?
NARR: Why do I want to punch holes in this guy’s story?
3—Flashback—One of the Skadoian Warriors moves away from the cage and up a long staircase, and Reger doesn’t look as soaked. In his hands, a tiny, red flame begins to glow. Colorist: Can we make the fire the only color in the cell?
REGER (no pointer): A warrior left his post for too long, and he missed one of my watering sessions. The cage dried, and I melted the bars and escaped.
4—Reger holds Casia’s hand in his own, and Casia leans into him, her head fitting naturally under the older man’s chin.
REGER: I eventually found my way here and was taken in by my own set of saviors.
CASIA: Reger’s going to show me where he escaped from the warriors.
5—Ral’s still angry, his arms crossed the same way as in cell 2.
RAL: Maybe Reger should show all of us.
6—Reger lets go of Casia’s hand.
REGER: It would be too dangerous. Even the light of one were-phoenix might be too much.
RAL: Then maybe no one should go.
1—Casia steps in between Reger and Ral, a hand on Ral’s chest.
CASIA (linked): Reger says there’s a way to get into Skadioa unnoticed.
CASIA (linked): If so, maybe we can get in and find Addy and Connor.
2—Lance never glances at her, only waves. Ral’s alarmed.
LANCE: Take your cell phone in case you need us.
RAL: Hey, waitaminute—
3—Casia smiles at Lance appreciatively and snatches Reger on the way toward the balcony. Ral glares at Lance.
RAL: C’mon. You have got to be—
4—Casia and Reger jump into the night sky.
1—Ral shakes his head and retakes his hot chocolate mug.
RAL: I’m totaling missing something here.
2—Lance snorts, clicking the remote.
LANCE: You know what the news networks say about that battle? ‘An army training exercise gone array.’ Can you believe it?
3—Camera set behind Lance as he frees his cell phone. Ral retreats to the kitchen, his back already to Lance.
RAL: I can’t believe you.
4—Lance’s cell phone clicks on and a blue map with a red dot blinks upon the screen.
5—Close-up—Lance sighs, worried.
1—Casia and Reger fly past the clock tower on Route 95 in Richmond.
2—Reger smiles back at her, enchanting and inviting.
3—She smiles back, reserved.
CASIA: What happened to your flames?
4—Reger doesn’t even look back.
CASIA: YOUR FLAMES.
CASIA (linked): They used to be red—
5—Casia shivers, holding her shoulders.
CASIA (whispers): —and warm.
1—They fly toward a garden surrounded by four other houses, all seemingly built in the 1880s. For reference, they are at the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia. For reference, please see Web sites on bottom.
REGER (linked): The warriors—they experimented on me. They wanted to duplicate the blue flames that light their world.
2—Casia lands next to Reger. Behind her is a bust of Edgar Allen Poe.
CASIA: Through you? Why?
3—Reger turns his back to her. Casia looks away. They aren’t so lovey-dovey as they seem.
REGER: Because the were-phoenixes originate in Zenith’s Rise, and it’s through them that the light is created.
4—Casia cocks her head.
CASIA: In ZENITH’S RISE? Where’s that?
5— Reger motions toward the bust of Poe by the garden wall.
REGER: It’s one of the three realms connected by the Crossings.
REGER (linked): Zenith’s Rise, Skadoia, and Knightsdale.
1—Casia walks toward the bust.
CASIA: So the Crossings are here? At the Poe Museum in Richmond?
2—Reger walks toward her back, and Casia’s not looking at him.
REGER: Hey, dude was depressing and scary as hell. He probably met some beings from Skadoia or at least was influenced by the darkness there.
3—Casia lights a flame upon her hand to lighten the dark garden.
CASIA: So where are we? Knightsdale?
4—Reger draws the blue fire about him, an evil smile upon his face.
REGER: Tonight, you are in HELL.
5—Inside Reger’s apartment, the TV fuzzes with snow.
LANCE (off): What the—?
6—Lance slowly sits up, his teeth clenched.
ROBOT MAN (off-panel): Hello, Mr. Evans. The project wishes your readmission.
LANCE: Like Hell.
1—The Robot Man from last book is on the screen.
ROBOT MAN: Oh, I’m sure it’ll be just LIKE it.
2—The TV explodes.
3—Ral’s going through the pantries, looking for food. They’re mostly empty. Some rice cakes, a few canned goods, a bag of bird seed.
NARR: Man, for a guy who’s really well-to-do, Reger certainly doesn’t like to fill his pantries.
4—Ral looks at the window over the sink and screams.
RAL (screams): AHHH!
NARR: Really wish that wasn’t so girly.
5—Staring at Ral through the window over Reger’s pristine sink is Sierra from the diner. She’s smiling sweetly.
NARR: Is she…She HAS to be flying. We’re over fourteen stories high.
SIERRA: Hello there, kitten. You gonna be a good bloke?
6—The window shatters.
1—Blue flames scorch Casia’s body as her red wings grow.
2—She suddenly lunges, her red-flamed hand scratching Reger across the cheek.
REGER: You ungrateful—
3—Reger grabs Casia by her wing and tosses her against the garden wall.
4—As she collapsed to the ground, she huffs as exhaustion grips her being.
5—Reger smirks and stalked forward.
REGER: Because while you were taken in by the Dawsons, I was taken in by Project: Avatar.
6—He bends down to be at her level and lifts her chin with his blue-flamed hand.
REGER: Do you know what Avatar truly means?
1—Blue flames engulf Casia as Reger stands over her, the blue flames engulfing him as well.
REGER: It means, ‘a GOD in bodily form.’
REGER (linked): You are WAY out of your league.
TO BE CONTINUED…