Blast from the Past II: a mr. Sphinx Legacy

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Blast from the Past II: A Mr. Sphinx Legacy

Written by Dan Whiston (Email @the writer. Blah)

Page 1
Panel 1

Close-up of the face of a beautiful young woman (early 20s) with full lips and a scattering of freckles across her cheeks, but with military-style cropped hair – slight tuft at the front. Elements of Tank Girl and Halo Jones. Blood-spattered face. Features contorted in angry, pained expression. Teeth clenched. Name is stencilled on her uniform (although we may not be able to see it yet) – CARVER.
Text box:

Of Eudora Carver and her regretfully pivotal role in Spinx’s Grand Scheme, the less said, the better…”



Neroy Sphinx: Man and Myth by Andromedous Hark
Dialogue:

Carver: “My Mom used to say that bad luck always turned good.”


Panel 2

Pull back to show her sitting slouched in a padded pilot’s chair with the end of a broken-off harpoon/spear stuck in her side, which Carver is clutching at with one hand. The other hand is resting near some form of computer terminal. It should look ‘futuristic’ with touchscreen icons etc, plus some form of visible mic relatively near to her mouth, into which she is dictating a report. On the screen of the computer we can see ‘LOG ENTRY 01: RECORDING’ in huge letters plus some form of ‘mediaplayer’ icons.


At the end we will return to this scene, when it will be revealed that she is in an escape pod – but at this point that should not be obvious.
Dialogue:

Carver: “Well this time my luck’s definitely in.”

Panel 3

Cut to a scene in the past, on Earth. A teenage, long-haired version of her is having a meal in a huge, beautiful apartment with her parents. They should all look wealthy and privileged.

Text box 1: “Good luck then bad luck then good luck then bad....”
Text box 2: “Good luck: my parents were wealthy enough for me avoid the draft when what was left of EarthFed started getting desperate after Zathrosia got hit.”
Panel 4

A shaven-headed Carver in military uniform (black outfit as with previous stories, but no cap – she is just an Ensign and should look junior) sits on the bridge of the MERETSEGER. It has gone downhill since we last saw it – whilst still fully-functional, some of the equipment looks damaged and there are parts of the walls that have clearly been patched-up in haste. It should look battle-torn and lived-in.


Text box: “Bad luck: By the time they couldn’t protect me anymore, things had gotten so bad that only shitbuckets like the MERETSEGER still needed crews.”
Panel 5

Tall, statuesque female officer. Feminine but muscular. Long dark hair, tied-back. Amazonian.


Text box: “Good luck: Lieutenant Arlis takes me under her wing. No-one else likes her, but no-one messes with her either.”
Panel 6

Officers on the bridge. Close-up of Captain conferring with Arlis. He is a bald, heavyset man with facial scars. Both look angry and stressed, pointing to and discussing a huge number of dots on a holographic, radar-like screen.

Text box: “Luck-wise, that was kind of how things stood this morning. Until we were suddenly ordered to the Kumeiijm’a system under a Code Red…”
Page 2

Panel 1

Cut to a big, dramatic splash panel of a raging space battle. It is in the Kumeijma’a system, where the arterial wormhole to the Outer Quadrants has now opened to an extent that a huge Alien Armada has emerged – and is engaging a large EarthFed fleet in battle. We haven’t seen the alien ships so far in a previous story, but they are flown by the species we met in Blast From The Past #1 – so should look congruous with them in a black, chitinous, insectoid manner with mandible-like protrusions, etc.

We had a look at a wormhole in Job From Hell (but ignore the ship):

The aliens are basically savaging the (much-reduced) EarthFed fleet. A few (smaller) alien ships have been damaged, but 90% of the EarthFed fleet is getting smashed to pieces by a larger, more numerous – and far more powerful – alien fleet. The EarthFed fleet consists largely of ships like the MERETSEGER (with some variations).

Text box: “…and all hell broke loose.”


Panel 2

Cut back to the bridge of the MERETSEGER. We have jumped forward in time to a point where the battle has clearly been underway for some time – and gone badly for the ship. The bridge has suffered serious damage – electrical fires are burning in the background, emitting smoke. Some of the screens are cracked and blackened, and a few structural supports have collapsed. Dead crew are scattered around the place, some trapped under fallen debris. The only crew at their posts are Carver, Arlis and the Captain.


Lieutenant Arlis is manning the ‘radar screen’ we saw before – she is calling back over her shoulder, but we can see what’s on the screen as well. The MERETSEGER is in the middle and is surrounded by alien ship ‘dots’.
Dialogue:

Arlis: “The PENDRAGON’s gone, Captain! And now they’re closing in on us! We’re the only ones left!”


Panel 3

The Captain looks furious. His uniform is torn and he is bleeding from a head wound.


Dialogue:

Captain: “Dammit! Ensign Carver – status update!”


Panel 4

Carver is sat at a control station that is still working. She studies her holo-screens and replies to the Captain – she looks afraid, but focused.

Dialogue:

Carver: “Main engines – out. Forward lasers – out. Shields – 90% depleted. We’re dead in the water, Sir!”

Panel 5

Arlis looks at her screen again. She is startled.


Dialogue:

Arlis: “Two alien craft are docking with us, Captain! Looks like they’re after taking some prisoners!”


Panel 6

The Captain suddenly looks unnaturally calm amid the chaos.


Dialogue:

Captain: “Very well. Ship! Execute Standing Order Gamma 7-D on my authorisation.”


Panel 7

We can see that a digital countdown has begun on all of the screens that are still functional – it is for 10 minutes, and so stands at 09:59. Arlis and Carver should look shocked at the announcement. The Captain is emotionless.


Dialogue:

Ship’s ‘voice’ – this should have a ‘mechanical’ look. The speech bubble should look squarer than those of the other characters. It has no stem: “OVERKILL-LEVEL SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE INITIATED. ABORT PROTOCOLS DISABLED”


Panel 8

Arlis turns to confront the Captain. She looks confused. He remains calm.


Dialogue:

Arlis: “Shouldn’t we be giving the abandon ship order, Captain?”

Captain: “My crew are dead, Lieutenant. And I just invoked the Overkill protocol. Which diverts the juice from every system in this ship to the magazine…”
Panel 9

Small panel – head and shoulders reaction shot of Arlis looking shocked and appalled.


Dialogue:

(Captain’s speech balloon from off-panel): “…including the power from the escape pods.”


Panel 10

Small panel – identical head and shoulders reaction shot of Arlis, but her expression changes to one of snarling defiance.


Page 3

Panel 1

Arlis punches out the Captain – dramatic panel. Suggest she strikes him with the heel of her fist in a martial arts move. We can see Carver’s reaction in the background – still sat at her control station, her mouth hangs open in surprise.

Panel 2

The Captain lies on the floor, unmoving. Arlis grabs Carver’s arm to pull her up as she runs for the exit from the bridge.


Dialogue:

Arlis: “On your feet, Carver! We’re getting out of here!”


Panel 3

They stand side-by-side as the door to the bridge starts to slide open. Our perspective is behind them. Carver has a slight, waif-like build and stands in stark contrast to Arlis.


Dialogue:

Carver: “But the Captain said-”

Arlis: “No. There’s a standalone pod on an isolated circuit by the Level 3 Stateroom. God knows who set it up that way – they must have been frakking paranoid.”
Panel 4

POV below them, in front and slightly to the side as they emerge out into the corridor. Arlis looks focused and determined but Carver looks suddenly alarmed.


Dialogue:

Arlis: “Come on! It’s just-”


Panel 5

The corridor is filled with hostile aliens wielding prod-like, harpoon-spears. They stand between the women and the direction of the pod. Again, base these on the alien from ‘Cassiopian Queen’ (make them around 8 feet tall – e.g. huge, but still ‘human scale’).



Dialogue:

Arlis: “…down the corridor.”


Panel 6

Arlis steps in front of Carver and draws her sidearm. Carver looks like she is protesting at being ‘protected’.


Dialogue:

Arlis: “Get behind me.”

Carver: “No! I-”

Panel 7

Take a POV in front of Arlis as she opens fire ‘towards us’, a snarl on her lips. She is shoving Carver back and away from her with her free hand.

We can see Carver behind Arlis, looking uncertain and starting to turn away.
Dialogue:

Arlis: “Run! That’s an order, Ensign!”


SFX:

BLAMBLAMBLAM


Page 4
Panel 1

Carver runs down the corridor away from the fighting. She should look like she’s going as fast as she can, arms pumping. She is rounding a corner taking her into a side corridor.


Text box: “Damn ship was falling apart even before we got attacked.”
SFX: BLAMBLAMBLAM
Panel 2

Carver approaches a maintenance panel. It is grilled, and looks like it opens easily. Perhaps we take her POV. There is a large numerical ‘1’ stencilled on the wall nearby.


Text box: “We all took turns on the repair crews. Plus the ducts made a great place to hide out once in a while.”
SFX: BLAMBLAMBLAM
Panel 3

Carver squats down and removes the panel, looking back over her shoulder at the sound of Arlis’ gun suddenly running out of ammo.


SFX: BLAMBLAM-KLIKT
Panel 4

Close-up head and shoulders shot showing Carver looking suddenly alarmed.


Panel 5

A mob of aliens bursts around the corner she has just run around. Clearly Arlis has been overwhelmed. Some of them wield bloody weapons.


Panel 6

An alien throws a harpoon-spear which buries itself in the floor inches away from Carver’s boot as she scurries inside the maintenance tunnel. The scale of the aliens makes it clear that they are far too large to chase her inside.

Panel 7

Shot of Carver climbing a metal ladder inside the maintenance tunnel system. She is climbing up past a control panel with a screen that shows the continuing countdown is at 07:58. There is another maintenance panel exit/entrance at that Level that she is climbing past – there is a large number ‘2’ stencilled next to it.

Her teeth are gritted in determination.
Panel 8

Carver reaches Level 3 – there’s a ‘3’ stencilled on the wall and she stops climbing up, and moves past the main maintenance panel exit, climbing instead up into a smaller horizontal side passage that intersects with the vertical shaft she has been ascending.


Text box: “The Stateroom wasn’t on the main tunnel artery, but I knew the schematics for Level 3…”
Panel 9

Small panel showing long-disused small maintenance panel exit (perhaps from carver’s POV). Dusty and dirty. Crude ‘non-official-looking’ notice reading: ‘DANGER – KEEP OUT’ plus a small, rough skull and crossbones design that someone has painted on it.


Text box: “…and there should have been an emergency access panel right next to it.”
Page 5
Panel 1

Small panel. Switch POV to the dimly-lit room Carver is about to enter, looking back at the maintenance panel from the other side. She has just given the maintenance panel a mighty kick, and we see it come flying off, leaving a square of light partly visible where it previously rested.


Text box: “Turns out I was right…”
SFX

KRANG!
Panel 2

Carver crawls through the small opening (through which she barely fits) on her hands and knees, looking pained. Vague, shadowy details can be made out.
Text box: “…well, almost…”
Panel 3

Suddenly, hidden mechanisms in the ceiling spring to life and she is trapped within a circle of lasers, forming the ‘bars of a cage’ around her. She looks startled.

Dialogue:

Caver: “What the hell?!”

Neroy (from off-panel): “Ahh! That hit the spot…”

SFX: ZZAT!
Panel 4

Carver is revealed to be in the secret store room that Neroy entered – some decades ago – at the end of the previous story. It is a little dusty, but unchanged. Her entrance has activated an automated defence system in the form of the laser cage, and a Neroy Sphinx hologram. It was recorded at around the time of the previous story, so it is Neroy’s younger self. However, although he is wearing his uniform, he has opened the collar (perhaps revealing the neck of a rather normal-looking white vest beneath it), is smoking a cigar and has an open bottle of whiskey – from which he has evidently just taken a large swig, as he is wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He is sat on a packing crate of some sort.


Little ‘electrical distortions’ and eddies in the image should make it obvious that Neroy is ‘not really there’.
The contents of the shelves should be visible – a great variety of treasures including jewels, technological artefacts, small wooden cases, bars of precious metals, even musical instruments and works of art. The Sceptre should be partly visible (and within reaching distance) at some point (but in the background) as Carver will grab it soon, and I want to slightly foreshadow it without giving the game away by making it too prominent.
Dialogue:

Neroy: “Geez, you got no idea how much of a pain in the ass it is havin’ to keep up appearances for the SOBs I gotta spend time with these days.”


Panel 5

Small panel – close up: Neroy jabs a cigar accusingly towards Carver.


Dialogue:

Neroy: “But then again, for all I know, you might be one’a them. If so – frak you…”


Panel 6

Neroy gestures towards the ceiling gizmos that are emitting the lasers. Carver looks up, open-mouthed. He has a mean look on his face.

Dialogue:

Neroy: “Anyways, DNA scan says you ain’t me – so those gizmos on the ceiling that just activated? They’re the deathrays. Heh. Wouldn’t move too quick if I were you.”

Panel 7

Neroy’s expression changes. He suddenly looks more forgiving, and maudlin.


Dialogue:

Neroy: “But, on the other hand, the AI says that over ten years have passed since I last set foot in here. Guess that means my luck finally ran out somewhere…”


Panel 8

Neroy suddenly gestures magnanimously with his free hand – and the door starts to open, the laser cage disappearing.


Dialogue:

Neroy: “So the upshot is – enjoy, buddy! It’s all yours! Defence systems – stand down!”


Panel 9

The door opens – to reveal a spear-wielding Alien standing in Neroy’s old state room (long since re-decorated in a drab style), framed by the now-open door. It has clearly seen Carver – and she has seen it – and is terrified.


A ghostly Neroy – ignored by all – fades out, eyes half-closed with a hand batting away the thanks he imagines he’s receiving.
Dialogue:

Neroy: “No – no need to thank me…”


Panel 10

In a dramatic action shot, the alien spears Carver (setting up the injury seen in the opening panels of the story).


Dialogue:

Carver: “Aarrgghh!”


Page 6
Panel 1

Reeling, Carver reaches out for something on a shelf as the alien advances towards her menacingly. Blood from the wound spatters her clothes, with some on her face as well.


Text box: “I’m still not sure where it was I ended up, but there was only one thing that looked like a weapon…”
Panel 2

Carver wields the Sceptre at it, looking terrified and with rather pathetic, defensive body language (although still defiant).


Text box: “…so I grabbed it.”

Panel 3

There is a flash of light and a burst of the alien glyphs last seen in Blast From the Past #1, and the alien reels backwards.

Carver looks totally surprised (and pained) by the glyphs – although not overwhelmed (perhaps as she is already in some measure of shock and pain from the spear).
Panel 4

Carver advances past the now meekly submissive alien, which backs off out of her way, head bowed. She is clutching the Sceptre, which is continuing to emit a comforting glow.


Text box: “I don’t know what the hell it was I’d found…”
Panel 5

Carver emerges into the corridor. There is a large ‘ESCAPE POD 003’ sign stencilled on the wall over an airlock right in front of her.


A comm screen set into the wall shows that the countdown stands at 2:09
Text box: “…but I didn’t have time to stick around and find out.”
Panel 6

External shot of a small escape pod blasting away from the ship as explosions start to rip through it.


Text: “The med facilities on this thing are non-existent, but the cryopod’s intact. And I’m fading fast, so this report’s going to have to do. For what it’s worth.”
Panel 7

Carver has limped over to a cryo-pod (a padded horizontal couch with a transparent cover that currently stands open) and is leaning on the side of it for support – with the Sceptre clutched in her other hand. Blood is dripping from her wound. We can see the discarded larger part of the alien’s spear lying somewhere, dumped after she snapped it off.


Dialogue:

(Speech balloon one is ‘aimed’ towards the computer terminal she has just left) Carver #1: “This is Ensign Carver, signing off. Save and transmit.”

(Speech balloon two is closer to the cryo-pod) Carver #2: “Computer – initiate cryo-freeze and set a course for Earth.”

Panel 8

Carver is lying down and the cover has almost completely descended as the cryogasses start to swirl around her. She is starting to fall asleep – but her eyes are still half-open.


Dialogue:

Carver: “And if there’s nothing left when we get there…”


Panel 9

Small shot of the life pod flying off into the vastness of interstellar space.


Text box: “…don’t wake me up…”
THE END





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