HERE’S SOMETHING THAT I FINISHED TODAY (REAL LIFE GOT IN THE WAY) . IT’S A SIX PAGE STORY THAT I HAVE SUBMITTED TO JOHN FREEMAN OVER AT STRIP MAGAZINE. THE FORMAT WAS STIPULATED BY HIM. IT’S YER BASIC “SPACE-OPERA” THINGIE THAT WAS FUN TO WRITE. THIS WEEKEND I’M GOING TO FLESH OUT TWO MORE IDEAS THAT I CAME UP WITH AFTER AN EMAIL CONVERSATION WITH JOHN. INCIDENTALLY, I REALLY DON’T LIKE THE TITLE AND I HOPE TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING ELSE.
SO HERE GOES:
3 panel page. Panel one actually being a whole page illustration with panels 2 and 3 dropped into the bottom of the page (Damn! I’m giving layout ideas). Anyway, the whole page illo. is of an earth-like planet and above it we can see ships of various sizes engaged in combat, There are two opposing sides, Most of the larger ships are of a recognizable uniform design, the others ranged against them are a ragtag bunch in size and design, there’s lots of laser fire and explosions(this is space and as you know “in space no one can hear your sound FX”)The ships themselves should hint at naval design circa 17th/18th century, and I do mean hint, take inspiration from, extrapolated from those designs. The person drawing this could go mad with design aspects; this is a united fleet against a rag-tag bunch of corsairs.
P1: SEE ABOVE
CAPTION: HIGH ABOVE THE PLANET TUSIK. SOMEWHERE.SOMEWHEN.
P2: INTERIOR: This is the flight deck of one of the uniform ships. There are lots of people running around and doing things. A tall man who is recognizably the commander of the vessel is in the middle of this maelstrom directing his crew in their tasks where needed. he is dark with curly hair and well-muscled. He is dressed in a uniform of sorts, that should suggest a British naval uniform of the 17th/18th century(commander’s). The ratings and petty officers on the bridge ditto.He has a sword type thing strapped across his back and a gun (ray-gun based on flintlock design) on his right hip. He has knee boots, I want him to have knee boots.
JENSEN: MR. DELGADO I WANT POWER TO THE STARBOARD BATTERIES RIGHT NOW. AND GET THAT GRAVITY SHIELD EXTENDED–WE HAVE A LIFESHIP COMING UP FROM PLANETSIDE.
DELGADO: AYE AYE COMMANDER. BOSUN SWING ROUND THE RESISTORS–FULL POWER TO STARBOARD BATTERIES.
P3:EXTERNAL: We see the external of the ship close on, its name emblazoned on the prow: ALGESIRAS. Large cannon are pointing out and we can see laser pulses as the pound the enemy ships that are coming up on that side.
CAPTION: “ALL HAIL THE SHOUTING TRUMPET,
THE SURLY CANNON’S ROAR;
THE ANSWERING GUN ALONG THE DEEP,
TO THE THUNDER OF THE SHORE!”
6 panel page: Here we have a lot of cuts between ships and internal external shots which should be as dynamic as possible. I’ll describe what happens in each panel.
P1: INT: Back on the deck of the ALGESIRAS. Jensen is once again looking to the bulkhead mounted monitors he is keeping a close eye on the ships in the Confederate fleet and also at the enemy ships dogging his fighters and the lifeships coming up from the planet below. The lifeships should be canoe-like in shape and very smooth, silvery in colour with large loopy arrays at their aft. We can see some on the screens that are dotted about the bridge of Jensen’s ship
JENSEN: COMMS OFFICER OPEN UP A SHIP TO SHIP LINK AND PLACE IT ON LOUD SPEAKER.
COMMS: AYE AYE SIR, SHIP TO SHIP COMMS OPEN NOW SIR.
JENSEN: CAPTAIN AUMARY! HOW GOES THE RESCUE MISSION?
P2: INT: this is AUMARY’s ship the SCIPION, the bridge is very much smaller than Jensen’s and Aumary is disheveled, there is smoke as they have taken a hit, Aumary is leaning into the monitor as he is speaking to Jensen, his people are rushing around the bridge stemming fires and doing all kinds of important stuff.
AUMARY: IT’S BLOODY HELL COMMANDER! WE TOOK A HIT AS ONE OF THE LIFESHIPS CAME IN AND WE DROPPED THE GRAVITY SHIELD. WE’RE CLOSING UP HERE AND PEELING OUT BACK TO A SAFE DISTANCE.
JENSEN: A-OK CAPTAIN, WE’LL TRY AND GIVE YOU AS MUCH COVER AS WE CAN. I’LL SEND IN TWO DOG SQUADS TO KEEP THE HEAT OFF.
P3: EXT. We see three smaller ships peeling away from the ALGESIRAS and heading towards the SCIPION, there lasers blazing and taking down two of the enemy craft. How many are there? As many as you want.
CAPTION: DOG PACK LEADER TO DOG TWO, THREE OF THE SCURVEY SWAPS COMING UP ON YOUR PORT SIDE.
P4: INT: Of one of the dogships, it’s restrictive like a jet cockpit, these are sleek little fighters, we see the fighter in his helmet and mask his instruments arrayed around him.
CAPTION: A-OK DOG LEADER. I SEE THEM, AND DOWN THEY GO!
P5: EXT: A closer look at the DOG FIGHTER taking down the three corsair craft, lot’s of flashing lights and flame and explosions. Think of a WWII dog-fight.
CAPTION: THERE’S ANOTHER THREE DASTARDS WHO WILL NEVER RAPE AND PLUNDER AGAIN!
CAPTION: WELL DONE MR. RASHAMON. AN EXTRA TOT FOR YOU WHEN WE GET BACK TO THE ALGESIRAS!
P6: EXT. LONG SHOT: Down the hull of the ALGESIRAS(think of that panning shot of the SULACO in ALIENS), with the dogships and the corsair fighters going at each other and the ships cannon firing in all directions.
6 panel page: Here is all internal of the ALGESIRAS, but it will be the commander moving from the bridge down to the landing deck, if we could get a feeling of movement, here Jensen will be fighting as well as they have been boarded by a small group of corsairs, once again if we could keep the sailing ship feel in darker shades than the norm on these ships in SF stories (movies esp.) of whiteness and that clinical feel. It should be ship shape but nothing white!
P1: Back on the bridge of the ALGESIRAS. Jensen is standing over his navigator, showing him which course to plot. On the screen to his side a face pops up in great distress, we can see fighting going on behind him.
SECURITY OFFICER: SIR! WE HAVE HAD A BREACH ON LANDING DECK C. A GROUP OF CORSAIRS HAVE BOARDED AND WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO REPEL THEM.
JENSEN: I’M ON MY WAY SERGEANT. KEEP THEM AT BAY. WE HAVE AN EXTREMELY SENSITIVE PACKAGE COMING IN ON DECK C.
P2: Jensen is moving down the corridor of the bridge level, he takes a small ladder down to the next level.
P3: As he reaches the bottom of the ladder and turns he is met with a scream from a corsair (humanoid, but alien) who is rushing at him with a flaming cutlass like thing. Jensen pulls his sword from his back scabbard with a roar.
ALIEN CORSAIR: YAAAAAAAAAAAAARGHHHH!!!
JENSEN: YAAAH. GET BACK YE MANGY DOG.
P4: Close up: Jensen engaged in battle their electric swords (lame I know but I can’t think of a better word…unless it was Light sabers!) are crossed they are spitting curses into each others faces.
JENSEN: TAKE THAT YA SCUM SUCKING LEECH!
P5: A mid range shot from behind and a little to the side of Jensen as the alien corsair falls back a huge burned cut across his chest from Jensen’s sword.
P6: Long shot, from front and a little to the right of Jensen, he is marching to a door and pushing it open, fighting is going on around him and some corsairs are lying on the floor, the sailors are obviously winning.
CAPTION: COMMANDER JENSEN WAS SOON TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF ONE OF THE GREATEST MYSTERIES IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE
5 PANEL PAGE: I’m going to have to describe the layout of this one as it’s a bit specific. Whole page of the landing deck, we can see the lifeship that has landed it’s door has opened and several people are coming down the gangway, the bulkhead doors are open (there’s a gravity shield remember), we can see the arse-end of the corsair ship that managed to break through and land on the deck and many crates and a lot of equipment. There is also a giant monitor screen to the left of the open bulkhead doors; it takes up a good portion of the wall space. Towards the front of the lifeship is a group of 4 people dressed in long robes, one’s definitely female with three older males. The other 4 panels are dropped into this panel in whatever manner you feel is effective.
P1: see above
P2: CLOSE UP: on the small huddle from mid torso up, there is a beautiful woman whose only clue to her alienness(?) is the largeness of her eyes which are very round, almost manga-like, she has an almost bald head with a long flowing lock of hair reaching to her waist and tied off in a scalp-knot. She seems very young, but definitely very female, waif-like and dressed in diaphanous clothes; she is very tall as are indeed her companions. These are three old “men, also with bald heads and scalp-locks, though their hair only comes down to the bottom of the back of the neck. They also have the large eyes, two have long “fu-manchu’ moustaches and one has a white, goatee-like beard but no moustache, their skin is a little darker than the woman’s, if this in colour they would have a greenish tint, whereas the woman’s would be slightly golden. They have turned looking towards the direction that Jensen is coming from. The female is ZIN-ZIN SALAH the holder of “The Key of Life“. The man on the right of her is HAFTAR NOO’TAN and the First man on her left is QLUKSTAR AS-LOOF, whilst the final man is RAJ-RAJ SKNIB.
HAFTAR NOO’TAN: AHHH! COMMANDER, AT LAST YOU JOIN US, YOUR PRESENCE IS MOST WELCOME.
ZIN-ZIN: CURB YOUR SARCASM ADVISOR HAFTOR. THE GOOD COMMANDER IS HERE TO HELP US.
RAJ-RAJ: BUT WHAT OF LANSAAR, RANEX ZIN-ZIN? HE STILL HUNTS YOU.
P3: A MID-RANGE SHOT: this is of Jensen arriving at the group, he is bowing as he arrives.
JENSEN: RANEX ZIN-ZIN–GENTLEMEN. I AM MORE THAN PLEASED TO SEE THAT YOU HAVE ARRIVED SAFELY ON THE ALGESIRAS. AND WE WILL DO OUR UTMOST TO SEE THAT YOU ARE PROTECTED.
QLUKSTAR: LANSAAR QUONZIQ AND HIS CORSAIRS HAVE LAID WASTE TO ALMOST THE ENTIRE PLANET COMMANDER; BUT ALL THAT MATTERS IS THE RANEX AND THE KEY OF LIFE SHE CARRIES.
P4: This is a close up shot of the group; they are looking towards the open deck door and what has just happened in that direction. If this can be from our angle looking slightly up towards the group.Jensen has whipped round to see what the kerfuffle is and ZIN-ZIN has a frightened look in her eyes, the three counsellors have looks of shock on their faces.
JENSEN: WHAT THE BLAZES?!
P5: WIDE SHOT: This is from above and to the right as we look down into the landing deck. The Massive screen beside the bulkhead doors has sprung to life and we can see the head and shoulders of the ugliest bugger you have ever seen in your life, he is humanoid but barely, pustules erupt from his skin and whatever hair he has is in sparse clumps over his scalp. His eyes are heavy-lidded and cunning; he has pendulous jowls and a bulbous nose. His lips are heavy and sensuous (very reminiscent of Charles Laughton…or am I showing my age?). his head and shoulders fill the screen. This is LANSAAR QUONZIG the corsair leader.
LANSAAR: greetings confederacy maggots. i am lansaar quonzig and you are going to give me the ranex or die–hmmm!
6 PANEL PAGE: This one is flipping between EXTERNAL and INTERNAL shots again.
P1: A mid-range shot from the front, once again from a slight up-shot angle at the group of TUSIKIANS and Commander Jensen as they are looking up at the screen.
LANSAAR: (OP) SO WHAT IS YOUR ANSWER COMMANDER–HMM? SHALL I HAVE TO GET HEAVY-HANDED IN MY DEALINGS WITH YOU? RANEX–YOU KNOW THE CONSEQUENCES IF YOU RUN.
JENSEN: THE CONFEDERACY DOES NOT RESPOND TO BLACKMAIL YOU QUILASHIAN SCUM!
P2: EXT: We are looking at Lansaar’s ship, as it hovers over the north pole of the planet below, the other ships of the corsair fleet are ranged around it. If the ALGESIRAS was a Brigantine then the RANGER is a Frigate.
CAPTION: “Give not thyself up, then, to fire, lest it invert thee, deaden thee; as for the time it did me. There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness.”
P3: INT/ALGESIRAS: There are all kinds of people running around the hangar now, Zin-Zin is huddled with her advisors and Jensen is staring up at Lansaar on the screen, he has his hands clasped behind his back and his feet planted firmly on deck and slightly apart, the two foes are facing one another trying to stare each other out.
LANSAAR: AHH COMMANDER; I SEE YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE THAT SEEKS TO TOE THE COMPANY LINE. THINK SIR, THE TUSIKIANS ARE BUT A SMALL CONCERN IN THE NATURE OF THE UNIVERSE.
JENSEN: YOU MAY suppose SO SIRRAH. BUT MY SUPERIORS THINK NOT. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS “KEY OF LIFE” IS AND I DON’T NEED TO KNOW–THOUGH YOU THINK IT IMPORTANT ENOUGH.
P4: We are looking from behind JENSEN his head and shoulders making a silhoutte on the screen that is filled with the face of LANSAAR.
LANSAAR: so. you leave me little choice then commander–once again lansaar quonziq must bloody his hands through no choice of his own.
P5: A MID RANGE SHOT: Zin-Zin has come to Jensen’s side, she is a little taller than he, and she has caught hold of his upper arm and is looking quizzically at him.
ZIN-ZIN: WHAT DOES HE MEAN COMMANDER? WHAT IS THE FATE OF MY PLANET?
JENSEN: I FEAR IT MAY MEAN THE WORST RANEX–COME WE MUST MAKE READY TO LEAVE THE SYSTEM.
P6: Jensen is leaving the deck the TUSIKIANS are in a bewildered huddle as he is shouting out orders to the bridge.
JENSEN: HELM–PLOT A COURSE OUT OF THE TUSIK SYSTEM, GET US AS FAR AWAY FROM HERE AS POSSIBLE AND RECALL ALL SHIPS AND DOGS.
NAVIGATOR: (OP) AYE AYE COMMANDER SIR.
5 PANEL PAGE: there should be in the top left hand corner of the page is one panel with no borders that is showing the confederacy fleet moving away from the planet and in the bottom right hand corner is a shot once again with no borders of the Confederacy fleet moving towards a bright star in the distance the other panels can be dropped in wherever is appropriate.
P1: SEE ABOVE
COMMS: COMMANDER WE ARE READING HIGH LEVELS OF NEUTRINO RADIATION BUILDING UP IN THE RANGER’S HOLD.
P2: JENSEN has stopped in his tracks Zin-Zin is behind him; there is a look of intense fear on her face.
JENSEN: OH! BY ALL THAT’S HOLY, HE WOULDN’T
ZIN-ZIN: WHAT COMMANDER? WHAT IS THIS? IS IT WHAT I THINK IT IS? WHAT IS IT COMMANDER?!
P3: Jensen has turned back and is running back onto the landing deck, we can see the planet receding behind them and a stream of light, The RANGER has obviously skedaddled out of the way, but Lansaar doesn’t seem too worried about his own people. Zin-Zin has fallen on the floor, her ADVISORS and people are rushing to her aid.
JENSEN: NO! NO! NO!
ZIN-ZIN: MY PEOPLE! OH MY POOR, POOR PEOPLE!
P4: The planet exploding in all its glory, I will allow for a SFX here if you like, just to add a bit of drama.
P5: SEE BEGINING OF PAGE.
“Our souls are like those orphans whose unwedded mothers die in bearing them: the secret of our paternity lies in their grave, and we must there to learn it.” -Herman Melville;Moby Dick.