False Dawn #16: Out of the Pan
Part Two of Five: Class Is In Session.
Comic Book Script - Plot for 20 Pages
Devin Leigh Michaels
Ral finds the real reason for his recruitment into Project: Avatar, and he's none-too-happy about it.
1—Little Ral, perhaps twelve and looking so much younger than he does now, stands before a tween girl at a packed cafeteria table. Flashback, so please make black and white.
NARR: You ever want to go back in time and change those little events you screwed up?
2—Ral looks dejected as he walks away, the kids about the table laughing hysterically.
NARR: Like the time you asked Jenny Miller to the dance, and she totally laughed at you in the middle of the school cafeteria?
3—Same-age Ral is propped up on his bike without a helmet, rolling his eyes at his mother as she holds his helmet, obviously lecturing.
NARR: Or maybe when you gave your mom some attitude you know she didn’t deserve—
4—Addy now puts the helmet on his head.
NARR: —and she grounded you until The Dark Knight was out of the theatres?
1—Small cell—top left hand corner—Close-up on Ral, aged-now, showing just how much he has changed. His eyes are darker, his face more grim. Perhaps a knick scar here and there.
RAL: What—What’re you talking about?
2—Looking at the camera is Jayden and Kainoa, while we’ll looking over Ral’s head. Kainoa’s still held captive, while Jayden’s arms are crossed. Please make their eyes noticeable—Kainoa’s ethereal blue and Jayden’s otherworldly purple. Both look formidable.
NARR: Yeah, this isn’t one of those times.
JAYDEN: Your shadow powers. They can get you in and out of the Director’s faux-office, and then you can save—
3—Door slams open behind Kainoa and just beyond the lab’s console (perhaps we can see a bit of the console on the left hand side of the screen), men in robotic suits very much like Robot Man from FD#9 rush into the room.
ROBOT MAN (yelling): Hey! You!
1—Jayden drags Ral behind Kainoa and his metal entrapment as lasers hail against the back.
2—Jayden looks up at Kainoa.
JAYDEN: We’ll be back, bud. Promise.
3—Jayden puts two hands to Ral’s forehead. Ral’s freaking a little.
RAL: Hey. HEY! What are you—
4—Ral shoots up in bed. There are no blankets on him.
5—Two tiny hands are wrapped about Ral’s hurt thigh. White fire dances about the hands and thigh.
NARR: It hurts—like Casia’s fire when she’s transporting us.
1—Now we focus on the person holding Ral’s leg—Rio with only glowing white eyes (no pupils). He has on a red jacket.
RAL (shouting, off panel) : Oww—Stop! STOP!
NARR: John Adams is killing me.
2—Rio’s eyes become regular again—dark and real and scared.
RIO: You…You stink…like the Darkness…
3—Ral then tumbles backwards but is caught by Jayden, who tucks the kid under his armpit.
NARR: Okay…that’s creepy.
4—Jayden stares down at Rio, hostile. Rio shrugs it off.
RIO: Aw, come on, Jay. I had no choice. He’s gonna to joust today.
5—Focus on Rio’s leg as it gives out.
RIO (off): If he didn’t have all his—it’s nuth—
1—Ral throws his legs over the bed and stands.
RAL: Hey, you ok—
NARR: I’m standing…without pain.
2—Rio hisses at Ral when Jayden helps him to his feet. Ral’s rolling up his pant leg.
RIO: Next time, please don’t play with lances or swords or anything this dangerous.
3—Extreme focus on leg—there’s a scar, but it’s healed.
4—The door to the room crashes open, and Sierra bursts into the room sporting a tight T-shirt and jeans from the project.
NARR: Sierra, my camp counselor.
NARR: If her face weren’t so furious, it might be beautiful.
NARR: I mean…not in a kidnapper-slash-warden type of way.
SIERRA: Rio, we’ve been looking all over for you.
5—As she takes a step forward, Jayden places himself between her and Rio. His face is hard.
SIERRA: What’re you doing in Jayden and Ral’s room?
6—Extreme focus on Jayden’s face.
NARR: Jayden says nothing, but his facial expression screams one thing.
NARR: You will not hurt him.
1—Sparkles flicker upon Sierra’s silver hands.
NARR: The first time we met, she upheaved the ground. The earthquake only stopped because Casia was there.
NARR: I miss her.
2—Sierra takes a step forward, and Ral gets in between her and Jayden.
NARR: And I’m alone with Jayden, who doesn’t talk outside of Dream Land, and a tween who just took my pain and injury into his own body, so I can survive whatever the hell this joust is.
NARR: Whoever thought I’d be the experienced fighter?
RAL: Sierra, hey. I’m glad you stopped by.
RAL: I’d heard in the mess hall about this kid who could heal injuries, and with my leg—well, I hate crutches. Ever since I tore the ligaments in my ankles playing b-ball—
3—Sierra glares skeptically.
SIERRA: You forced him to take your pain into himself?
4—Extreme close-up. Jayden pinches Ral’s back.
RAL (off): Well, I really didn’t give him a choice.
5—Sierra’s still skeptical, and she doesn’t take her eyes off Ral.
SIERRA: Come on, Rio. Let’s get you patched you up, maybe get you some of that herbal tea you like.
6—Rio heads back, but Jayden’s hand is still attached to his shoulder.
1—Ral detaches Jayden’s hand from Rio’s hoodie as Sierra puts an arm about the boy’s shoulder.
SIERRA: Jayden, you have been warned, and do not follow his example, Ral. I’d hate to have to discipline you, too.
2—The door slams shut.
3—Ral whirls toward Jayden.
RAL: What does she mean?
4—Jayden taps his neck.
NARR: He doesn’t talk because he doesn’t want to.
NARR: He doesn’t talk because they stole his voice.
1—Establishing shot of an old section of Boston-(Sources: http://www.oldnorth.com/history/index.htm, http://www.northendboston.com/)
LOCATION CAPS: NORTH END, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS
Casia (no pointer): Are you sure about this?
2—Lance gives us a sideways glance.
LANCE: Do I have a choice?
3—Sitting against the Old North Church, Casia and Lance sip coffee. It’s dark, but dawn brightens the sky.
CASIA: Not if you want to live. Addy’ll kill you.
4—They sit silently.
5—Lance whispers, his eyes drooped, hair across them.
LANCE: …I was thirteen.
2—Same image as Page Eight, Panel Five
LANCE: They found me on a farm in Nebraska, stole me from my birth parents, and brought me to their headquarters. When I refused to follow their commands, they killed me.
LANCE (linked, whispered): I was thirteen, Casia.
3—Casia puts a hand on Lance’s shoulder. Lance looks at her, worried and not doing a good job of hiding it.
LANCE: You really think Ral’s gonna listen to them?
OFF: Do you want my professional opinion…
4—Standing on the street is Donnielle with a black void behind her, like she’s emerging from shadows.
DONNIELLE: …or was that a rhetorical question?
5—Close-up on Ral, who gulps.
RAL: I’m gonna die, aren’t I?
1—Jayden pats Ral’s shoulder. They’re standing in a state-of-the-art gym.
NARR: Jayden, of course, says nothing but patted my back in encouragement. His face speaks for him.
NARR: “Yeah, ya are.”
2—Establishing shot of the Blender. It’s an encased glass boxing ring, where the glass starts off narrow at the bottom of the ring and widens before touching the ceiling, giving some room for flying. The boxing ring isn’t a traditional one, but more of a platform on which to battle. There’s a set of stairs up to it and a little platform before the door, so a person can stand and speak to the crowd of thirty students. The students have a variety of hoodies but surrounding them like herders are adults in blue hoodies. In the very back of the group stand Jayden and Ral with Sierra behind them.
NARR: As soon as breakfast finished, the residents of Project: Avatar went their separate ways—apparently into classes or various activities.
NARR: Sierra came for Jayden and me and brought us to the Blender, as the gym’s dubbed.
NARR: To be fair, it’s elaborate like the rest of the facility with state-of-the art work-out equipment, simple mats for various routines and exercise, and a glass encased boxing ring.
LOCATION CAPS: PROJECT: AVATAR
3—Jayden stares at Ral with warning eyes.
NARR: I can practically feel Jayden’s purple eyes burning the skin off my cheek, but what can I do?
4—Agent Towne leaps onto the platform before the Blender and waves his arm like a politician.
TOWNE: Good morning, children, and welcome our new recruits to your first day of training. I’m Agent Darnell Towne. I’m head recruiter and physical education instructor here at the project. We’re going to start with a little demonstration.
1—As if we’re Towne, we look down at the crowd to see Johnson, a thug with flattened hair and a tattoo of a dragon on his neck, wearing an orange hoodie. He has a demon’s smile.
TOWNE: Johnson, would you enter the Blender?
NARR: “Orange will kill you.”
2—Same camera angle, we’re looking down at Vinny. He’s a built kid, probably was a quarterback in high school, with spiky hair, intense, frightened eyes, and a green hoodie.
TOWNE: And…ah, Vinny Peters. Join Johnson, will you?
NARR: “Green’s against and will eventually perish.”
3—Ral shoots a glare at Jayden, who doesn’t meet his stare as Sierra wraps an arm about his shoulders to whisper in his ear.
SIERRA: Oh, don’t fret, Jayden. Vinny knew this would happen as did you.
4—Inside the Blender and from a worm’s eye view, Vinny’s hands clutch and release as he stands at odds with his opponent. Gold shimmers on Johnson’s hands.
NARR: Vinny shakes but not from anticipation. It’s from fear. His arms shake; his face tenses. Sweat and tears run as one, and I lunge forward.
NARR: Why aren’t these people fighting? Why aren’t they saving this guy?
5—Ral leaps forward, but Jayden grabs him about the torso, pulling him back.
RAL: Jayden! We have to—
6—Sierra stands with her arms crossed, cold, detached.
SIERRA: This is Vinny’s fault. Take this as your first lesson, Ral.
SIERRA (linked): FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.
1—In a flash of gold, Johnson disappears.
RAL (no pointer): Follow directions? What directions?
RAL (no pointer): Why am I here, Sierra?
RAL (no pointer): Why are any of us here?
SIERRA (no pointer): Defense.
2—Johnson reappears behind Vinny, who moves too slow. A blast of gold cuts through his shoulder like a sword.
SIERRA (no pointer): You are here to learn how to use your powers to protect the United States and her allies from those who wish to attack us.
3—As Vinny falls to the ground, Johnson dives forward.
RAL (no pointer): I’m not a soldier.
4—Small cell—Vinny’s laced fingers his fingers upon the ground.
SIERRA (no pointer): No, but you will become one.
5—The tentacles grow to wrap about Johnson’s body.
6—Back to Ral, who’s turned to the side to yell at Sierra. Her head is tilted down, and she’s somewhat ashamed. Camera’s positioned in between them, so we see the Blender fight behind them. Johnson’s gold power wilts the vines.
RAL: I don’t want to be one.
SIERRA: I’m sorry, but you don’t have a choice. NONE of us do.
7—Small cell—Ral pulls off his necklace as he cuts through the ground.
RAL (forceful): Yes, I do.
1—As Ral heads toward the Blender, we see before him Johnson break through the vines and lunge.
2—Ral thrusts his sword into the “glass” wall as Johnson straddles Vinny’s hips, his hands gold just above Vinny’s heart.
JOHNSON: …Uh, who asked you to join the party?
3—Vinny thrusts his hand on Johnson’s chest.
VINNY: I DID!
4—The gold climbs up, then down Johnson’s arms and swirl about his chest, about Vinny’s hand.
JOHNSON: Hey, hey, man, what are you—
5—The gold swallows Vinny whole.
6—Vinny’s gone, but where the gold aura about his body was—the aura’s now blue.
7—Small cell—Aura’s gone. Johnson blinks at the floor; Ral just stands there in shock.
1—A blast of gold rushes for Ral as Johnson leaps to his feet.
JOHNSON: You think you can interrupt my fun?
2—Ral deflects it with his sword.
RAL: Please. You haven’t had fun until you’ve met me!
Small cells, all the same size.
3—Ducking a shot of gold, Ral hits the hilt of his sword into Johnson’s stomach.
4—Ral knees Johnson in the groin.
6—Johnson whimpers on the ground in the fetal position, Ral’s blade just under his chin.
RAL: Let’s party like it’s 1999.
1—Applause erupts from the crowd, and Ral looks out at the ground a little dazed.
2—Entering through the “door” Ral created, Towne comes toward him, clapping.
TOWNE: It’s been a while since we’ve had a student who could beat Nicholas Johnson, Mr. Dawson.
3—He pats Ral on the back.
TOWNE: You have promise. I like that. Sierra! Get the boy a blue hoodie.
4—Johnson’s eyes glow gold as he stares up at the camera.
5—Ral’s eyes flash open as he lays on a couch swing.
JAYDEN (off): A blue hoodie! How the hell did he get himself a blue hoodie?
1—Camera positioned over Ral’s shoulder—Ral’s sitting on a Southern porch with Jayden across from, Rio to the right, and Kainoa to the left. They all sit in straw chairs, and in the middle of the them is a table with sweet tea. To beyond the porch are dirt roads and marching soldiers. They’re in 1860s Savannah.
KAINOA: Calm down, T.J. We’re figure this out.
JAYDEN: The point was for him to save you, Will. Not the other way around.
RIO: I thought the point was to save all of us.
JAYDEN: Good luck with that.
2—Jayden raises his ice tea.
JAYDEN: Ah, there’s the idiot of the hour.
3—Ral smiles and rubs the back of his head nervously.
RAL: So…anyone want to give me Cliff Notes?
Small cells as we focus on each member of the group.
KAINOA: First thing’s first. ‘Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.’
NARR: A hint of a Japanese accent?
5—Rio, smiling, young.
RIO: ‘Genius is sorrow’s child.’
NARR: His voice squeaks.
6—‘Be polite with all but intimate with a few.’
NARR: And I swear Jayden’s from Boston. There are no r’s.
7—The three stare at Ral expectantly.
RAL: Um…Named must be your fear before banish it you can.
1—Kainoa laughs again; Jayden hits him in the shoulder.
KAINOA: Yoda is now one of the Founding Fathers, huh?
JAYDEN: And Will Rogers is?
2—Kainoa shrugs and looks at Ral.
KAINOA: To some people.
KAINOA (linked): We quote the Founding Fathers, so we know that we don’t have a spy in our midst. You’re Ben Franklin, but if you want to go with Yoda…they actually look a lot like each other. Bald, big-eared, made comments no one really gets, right, Jayden?
4—Kaiona waves him off.
KAINOA: We can’t be any more secure. You’re dream-walking. I’m manipulating the time period. And we’re screwed now anyway.
5—Ral sits up in his chair.
NARR: First dream-walking. Now manipulating the time?
RAL: What the hell is going on here? And just who are you?
6—Ral shoots a look at Rio.
NARR: And how did you steal my pain?
1—Kainoa sips his tea calmly.
KAINOA: How do you make shadow tentacles?
2—Cannonballs fall a little ways away on the dirt road and explode.
3—Dirt rains down upon the group.
4—Ral wipes his face.
RAL: And just where the hell are we?
5—Kainoa ruffles his blue hair.
KAINOA: Welcome to 1860s Savannah. I’m sure you’ve heard of Sherman’s March to the Sea?
NARR: I’ve been here before. I’ve puked right over there—when there was pavement and cars and a Paula Deen tour.
RAL: Uh, Civil War, right? Doesn’t he burn down Savannah? We really should—
2—Ral’s getting up, but Kainoa puts a hand on his arm.
KAINOA: You’re thinking of Atlanta. Sherman spares Savannah for President Lincoln.
RAL: How do you know all this stuff…and why does it smell like poop?
3—From the porch and behind the boys, we see the Union Army march down the road.
NARR: Is that the freakin’ Union Army?
KAINOA: Right now your mind is actually in 1860s Savannah. I thought Jayden explained this to you.
1—As if we’re Ral, Kainoa’s looking up at us. His eyes glitter blue sparkles.
KAINOA: My names Kainoa Ryder, but to time deceivers, I usually go by Destiny.
To Be Continued…