C21st GODS - THE SCRIPT
1. A graphic page, as per Page 1: same dark water with blood spreading across it, same white text. But now, the tips of tentacles are probing from one corner of the page, worming their way through the blood and water.
1. CONNOR, obviously much the worse for wear, staggers out of a pub or bar. This is in one of the older, more decrepit parts of the city - but in the distance, somewhere beyond the grubby street that CONNOR's found himself in, we can see the glass and steel of the new city rising up, fearsome and imposing.
CONNOR has been drowning his sorrows in a major way, and perhaps the last dregs of his sanity as well. Tonight has been his final, sorrowful goodbye to the career he cherished. He should be noticeably more scruffy and unkempt than when we last saw him.
2. CONNOR turns back to shout something, thought we can't hear what. Spittle flies from his lips. The man is a mess.
3. CONNOR leans against a lamppost, looking as if he might be about to throw up. Behind him, the dark of an alleyway looms.
1. CONNOR lurches on into the solid darkness of the alleyway. Let's really play this up visually; we can literally see nothing of what he's stumbling into. A sober man would realise what a bad idea this is.
2. In the alley, and CONNOR finds himself cut off by two figures - MASKED SPOOK 1 and MASKED SPOOK 2. We can see almost nothing of them at this point: they're just distorted human shapes in the darkness. But the one thing we can definitely see is that their eyes glow an eerie green that leaves little trails of fire as they move. This is meant to represent the night vision goggles built into their masks (I know this doesn't make a great deal of sense in real-world terms, but it should really work in the visual context of the scene. At this point the reader, like CONNOR, is assuming he's been cut off by ghoulish monsters.)
Whatever we can see of the alley itself should be suitably grim and grimy: heaped, splitting bin bags and overflowing waste bins, broken glass, that kind of thing.
3. In the darkness, MASKED SPOOK 1 and MASKED SPOOK 2 move closer. We can see them a little better, though still not much, and now they appear to have the distorted heads of animals and weird, gangling bodies. In fact, though we won't realise it until late in the last chapter, they're wearing tight-fitting Metal Gear Solid-like stealth suits and masks similar to the full-face gas masks worn by Special Forces troops.
4. High angle, looking down. CONNOR is hemmed in. MASKED SPOOK 1 is ahead of him, MASKED SPOOK 2 behind and to the right. MASKED SPOOK 1 is leaning in close, threatening. Their dialogue - both the text and balloons - should be distorted, jagged and scratchy. This is actually representing them talking through their masks, and maybe we can use something similar later, but right now it should just seem freaky.
MASKED SPOOK 1
Did you not get the message?
MASKED SPOOK 2
Keep your nose out.
1. A similar panel to Page 25, Panel 4, though smaller and closer. It's not clear whether CONNOR knows who these guys are or whether he really thinks they're monsters, but he's not letting the question get in his way. CONNOR leans to get in MASKED SPOOK 1's face, spit flying.
Go fuck yourself!
2. Similar panel again. As CONNOR throws a punch at MASKED SPOOK 2, MASKED SPOOK 1 pulls out a cattle prod-like weapon, which glows electric blue in the darkness...
3. ...and jabs it hard into CONNOR's back. CONNOR arches his spine, as rivulets of electric blue crawl over him.
1. CONNOR goes down with all the grace of a sack of bricks, crouched on all fours, as the two MASKED SPOOKS loom close, like predators.
2. MASKED SPOOK 1 plants a kick in CONNOR's stomach. Pull back. Our viewpoint is slowly pulling up out of the alley, leaving CONNOR to his fate.
3. Pull back. MASKED SPOOK 2 jabs a hunched-up CONNOR once more with his prod.
4. Pull back. We're looking down from above the alley by this point, perhaps getting our first proper view. CONNOR is rolled into a ball on the filthy alley floor, and the MASKED SPOOKS are enthusiastically working him over.
1. A large panel, perhaps the top third of the page. CONNOR's face, brightly lit, staring back at us. His gaze is bleak and unforgiving. He's obviously taken a severe beating.
Did they think they could stop me?
2. Pale, washed-out colours, lots of white, to play up the contrast from the last page and that overexposed sense of hangover. Now we see that CONNOR is feverishly reconstructing the contents of his desk in his flat. It was probably a pretty crummy place in the beginning, but now it looks like a war zone. In true obsessive fashion, CONNOR has plastered the walls with the evidence of his crusade. This is the kind of stuff we were seeing on Page 20, and we should have a few recognisable elements from there, like the pictures of HASTUR and CARCOSA.
Furniture-wise, we'll need a couple of scruffy chairs and a coffee table for a later scene, probably with books piled on it at this stage, and let's have a big double window somewhere in there too, if there's space.
The text should be divided over the course of the panel.
All they'd done was push me further ... deeper in.
Just like all the Chief had done was set me loose.
1. Night time. CONNOR sits in the passenger seat of a car - his own, something old and beat up, if we should see the outside of it. He's looking out at a busy street scene across from him, well dressed people passing back and forth. We're in the modern part of the city now, getting our first clear look at it, and specifically we're outside the club CARCOSA, though we can't tell that as yet. Maybe we just have an impression of neon, of brightness.
Now I could go where I needed.
2. A similar panel to the above. Now CONNOR is pointing a camera through the open car window. The crowd is thinning, enough that we can make out two figures leaving the club - which we can perhaps also see the name of now, or enough detail so that we'll be able to recognise it later. The two leaving the club are HASTUR and a white-haired woman in late middle age, smartly dressed, who we should assume to be another, similarly powerful figure in the CTHULHU cult.
Do what had to be done.
3. The following three panels are a sequence of snapshots, taken by CONNOR, of the two figures. In this first, we can see them quite clearly. The WOMAN is saying something to HASTUR that, obviously, we can't hear.
Each of these three panels is more overexposed than the last, and the panel that follows the sequence will be completely white.
4. As above. Now the two figures are blurred, as though the camera's slipped.
5. As above. A car has pulled up in front of the club and the two, now mostly obscured, are getting inside.
6. Plain white panel with black text.
Or so I thought.
1. CONNOR is in the corridor outside his flat. It's grimy, dimly lit. He's realised that the front door is ajar.
2. CONNOR moves cautiously through a narrow hallway inside his flat. Perhaps we could subtly echo the scene in the mansion; once again, CONNOR is pushing blindly into danger. There are one or more doors off to the sides, and light coming from a door at the end, also ajar.
3. CONNOR enters the living room we saw on page 28, to find two government agents, HEAD SPOOK and SPOOK 1, waiting for him. SPOOK 1 is younger, and deliberately anonymous. He has a briefcase open on the coffee table in front of him.
There's something implicitly threatening about the casualness with which these two have made themselves at home in CONNOR's living room. He's the one out of place here, not them.
Ah. Mr. Connor.
4. I've put this down as a separate panel, but in fact it might work better as two or three insets over panel 3, to convey the sense that CONNOR is taking in this information all at once.
There are signs that the two SPOOKS have been going through CONNOR's stuff; spaces on the walls where pinned-up papers have obviously been removed, rifled drawers, that kind of thing.
1. CONNOR yells at the two SPOOKS. He's angry and scared.
What the hell is this...?
2. The HEAD SPOOK stands, leaving his colleague on the sofa. His expression is wry, amiable, as though their encounter is little more than a practical joke.
Well. We don't often make house calls, so maybe you should view it as a compliment.
3. The HEAD SPOOK's expression changes. He's closer in on CONNOR now, and suddenly there's something genuinely intimidating about him. He's an imposing guy when he wants to be, and he definitely wants to be now.
But, let's face it - also a warning.
The last you'll be getting, I'm afraid.
4. Some of the HEAD SPOOK's amiability returns.
Your services are not required. We have this one.
Trust us. Walk away.
5. CONNOR, contemptuous, but also genuinely thrown off by all this. He has no frame of reference for these guys.
1. The HEAD SPOOK pats CONNOR on his shoulder, like a father-in-law offering a snippet of useful advice.
You're obviously an energetic type. Why don't you apply those energies somewhere they might be useful?
2. Behind the HEAD SPOOK, SPOOK 1 half stands, closing the briefcase that's been sitting open on the coffee table. He's not looking at CONNOR.
This time, we're asking.
3. SPOOK 1 moves behind the HEAD SPOOK to hold the door open. The briefcase is in his free hand. He's half looking in CONNOR's direction now, acknowledging him at least.
If we have this conversation again...
4. The HEAD SPOOK is following SPOOK 1 out of the living room. He's looking back at CONNOR, and this time both of the sides of his personality that we've seen are there in his face, the friendliness and the threat. He's making it quite clear that, as much as he'd prefer not to, he'll get rid of CONNOR in an instant if it comes to it.
Well. We won't be.
1. A full page panel. Night time. CONNOR enters the Club CARCOSA. We should be able to clearly see the name, maybe for the first time. Clean, formal panel lines, to differentiate this page from the similar page 42, where CONNOR leaves in a very different state of mind. Also, let's have CONNOR moving away from us for the next couple of pages, into the panels.
CONNOR is scruffy, dressed in an unclean trench coat maybe, and looking utterly out of place among a crowd of crazies, perverts, and addicts, the lost and the irreparably damaged. They're queuing and crowding about, but CONNOR is striding through the middle of them as if they're not even there.
There's a huge bouncer, all bulk and no neck, but he's making no attempt to stop CONNOR. In fact, he's moving to cut off the revellers from getting in CONNOR's way, our first intimation that something's not right with this picture.
Let's have the first text towards the top of page and the second caption nearer the bottom.
So it went even farther than I'd imagined.
There was no more time for waiting.
1. CONNOR walks through the interior of the CARCOSA. The place is sordid and strange; once again, we have a sharp contrast of the old and the ultramodern, and the result is somewhere between a near-future nightclub, a Masonic lodge, and a temple. The lighting is weird, unnatural. The crowd inside are like the people queuing outside, and although some of them are very attractive, they all have something subtly - or not so subtly - wrong with them.
However, as per page 33, let's keep the panels simple and orderly.
2. CONNOR makes his way past crowds of huddled figures. In the dim light, his perception of what is or isn't real grows muddled. Some of them look ever-so-slightly monstrous, but it's hard to tell if it's just a trick of the light or if CONNOR's hallucinating, or if there really are a few folk here who aren't quite human.
3. CONNOR aims for a particular, black-panelled door marked PRIVATE. There are robed, shaven-headed bouncers to either side of it.
4. CONNOR pushes through the door. Neither of the bouncers so much as look at him.
1. CONNOR comes out in a long hallway. Beyond the door is an apartment. It's nice, classy, lots of dark wood and rich reds, but of course it's also kind of creepy. There are recesses in the walls with statuettes set on columns, and though none of them are of CTHULHU, they're all a little off, like the denizens of CARCOSA.
2. CONNOR checks the doors. The first is ajar and, looking through the gap, CONNOR sees a plush bedroom, with a four-poster bed and nice, antique furniture. In a sense, what's most strange here is that the place is so normal, so let's play up the contrast with CARCOSA. But there also needs to be a few subtle clues, perhaps just by way of angles and such, that things are far from right.
3. CONNOR opens another door. This one contains a large kitchen, very old-fashioned, with a large open hearth. Once again, there's lots of dark wood, and perhaps a work surface that looks like stone. This room should be a little creepier than the bedroom, if only because there's something so anachronistic about it. It's as if CONNOR's stepped out of one time into another.
4. CONNOR tries the door at the end of the corridor, and as he opens it, we get a first glance at a study, as described on the next page.
1. A large office cum library. Big panel. HASTUR sits behind a desk opposite the door, upon which is engraved a large, somewhat abstract design that resembles CTHULHU's head. However, we shouldn't be able to get more than an impression of it on this page, as we'll be seeing it much more clearly towards the end of this scene.
Otherwise, the desk is clear, except perhaps for a lamp. All of the lighting in the room is from lamps and there are plenty of shadows in the corners, for reasons which will become significant later.
Asides from the desk, the only other furniture is sets of bookcases, filled with the sort of books we'd expect a CTHULHU cultist to have lying around, the sort that we've seen CONNOR reading previously - though the general tidiness here contrasts with CONNOR's own chaotic approach.
2. Closer on HASTUR, as he looks up at CONNOR's arrival.
There you are, Detective Connor.
3. Closer still on HASTUR. Now that he's gotten over any surprise at CONNOR's appearance, he's fully in control of the situation, and enjoying the fact.
Come to barter words on the advent of his rise.
1. Close on CONNOR, looking angry and confused. He knows he's not in control of this situation, but he doesn't understand why.
I've been reading up on your fucking fish god. Do you think you can scare me with some dead sea monster?
2. HASTUR, almost fatherly, talks at CONNOR as if he's a befuddled schoolboy.
Dead? I'm afraid you barely know what that word means. There are shades of death deeper than anything you understand.
3. CONNOR, growing even angrier, even more confused, trying to take back his role as cop.
Don't talk to me. This is done.
4. HASTUR reaches into an open drawer of his desk.
No. Not yet.
5. HASTUR slides what he's taken from his desk, a slim sheath of papers, towards CONNOR.
1. CONNOR puts a hand beside the papers but doesn't take them. He's curious but also suspicious.
2. HASTUR, speaking earnestly.
Everything. Everything you've been looking for.
3. CONNOR picks up the paperwork, inspects it...
4. ...and gives a slight nod. This really is everything he's been hunting.
5. CONNOR is suddenly suspicious - partly of HASTUR but also partly of himself. Is he really this willing to let himself be bought off?
This doesn't mean you get to walk away.
6. HASTUR looks down; his face is in shadow. Suddenly, he doesn't seem quite so confident.
They'll come for me tonight.
1. HASTUR looks up again, and now his manner has changed. Whatever happens to him, at least he has CONNOR hooked, and now it's time to reel him in.
So you're our eyes and ears now, Connor.
2. HASTUR speaks to CONNOR as though he's letting him in on a secret.
He loves the mad more than any of us.
3. CONNOR looks disgusted, but also maybe a little ashamed.
I'm not mad.
4. A somewhat larger panel of HASTUR. He's growing tired of this conversation.
Then you'll pray for madness before this is done.
But either way, I think you have more important places to be.
5. CONNOR stares at the file that HASTUR gave him, in a moment of indecision.
6. Then he stumbles towards the door, clutching the paperwork HASTUR gave him. His head is turned to call back, and maybe he's pointing at HASTUR as well.
This isn't over.
1. Our view shifts to a corner of the study. This should be recognisable from the previous pages. There's nothing there but a tall plant in a pot, an indoor palm maybe, and a deep patch of shadow.
For these three very similar panels, let's use the top two thirds or so of the page, giving us three deep rectangular panels.
We hear rather than see CONNOR's exit.
2.Same as panel 1, but now there are viscous splotches hovering in the air, forming in a roughly human outline. But we can still clearly see through to the wall and the pot plant.
3. Now we can see a figure. They've been watching and waiting in the room all this time, wearing a stealth suit, which they've just turned off. It's sleek, close fitting; it's also the same thing the MASKED SPOOKS on pages 25 to 27 were wearing, and we should recognise the mask, perhaps by the glow of the eye sockets.
4. Close on HASTUR. Still sat at his desk, he doesn't look up.
Killing me won't stop what's coming.
5. The figure has moved to stand beside HASTUR. They've drawn off their mask and are holding it in one hand; with the other, they're pointing a small handgun at HASTUR's head. It's slim and high-tech, noticeably contrasting with the gun we saw CONNOR use earlier.
With their mask removed, we can recognise the figure as SPOOK 1 from pages 30 to 32.
No, it won't.
1. Close on the surface of HASTUR's desk, as described on page 36, looking straight down. We can't see HASTUR - perhaps we can just see his hands - but we can now see the inlaid CTHULHU design clearly for the first time. As creepy as it is, it's also flowing and oddly beautiful, as though it belongs there in the ancient wood.
The panels on this page represent HASTUR's death in something like slow motion, though we obviously don't realise that yet.
2. A similar shot to the above, but now blood is splattered across the desktop carving. HASTUR, still off panel, has been shot in the head.
3. We see the edge of the desk. Blood is dripping down from it.
4. A large panel, high angle again, looking down. Finally we can see HASTUR, and the rest of the room, which is now, apparently, empty. HASTUR is flopped across his desk, arms outstretched, as though he's trying to embrace it, or praying to it. Blood is splashed in a circle originating from the point where his head was at the end of page 41, in an arc over the desk and the back wall.
1. CONNOR has just left HASTUR's office - we've skipped back in time a little bit, so this is happening more or less concurrently with the last page. CONNOR is walking towards us, or rather stumbling, the folder that HASTUR gave him still clutched in one hand.
We hear the gunshot that kills HASTUR as a muted effect in the B/G, and CONNOR glances back just slightly, registering the sound.
Let's make the panels on this page oddly shaped as a nod to CONNOR's disintegrating sanity and to differentiate them from pages 33 and 34. And now, CONNOR is moving towards us rather than away.
[Gunshot - small]
2. CONNOR continues along the apartment corridor, maybe weaving a little, but obviously with no intention of going back to investigate.
3. CONNOR is moving through CARCOSA now, the door to the apartments open behind him - maybe one of the bouncers is moving to close it - and the same freakish crowd of revelers around him. This time they're watching him curiously. He looks screwed up, even by their standards.
4. CONNOR, having left CARCOSA, staggers, just slightly, puts a hand to his head as though it's suddenly begun to ache. But it's a small gesture, totally disproportionate to the weirdness he's just been through.
1. High angle. We're looking down at CONNOR, who has what we realise must be the contents of the file that HASTUR gave him spread out over a table. There's also a mostly empty bottle and a half-empty glass of whisky. It's still night, the only light coming from a single lamp, leaving the room beyond the table in heavy shadow.
Finally. The last pieces of the puzzle.
2. INT. CONNOR'S FLAT - NIGHT. CONNOR is poring over the papers that Hastur gave him.
Hastur had been right about two things. Here was everything I needed.
3. Firstly, there's a map, ancient and worn, that shows something close to the western seaboard of America. We can't read it yet, but there's a dot and some unclear, twisting writing out in the ocean, far from anywhere.
And caging the guilty was the least of my worries.
4. Close on the dot, and we can now see what must be a tiny island, and make out the scrawled writing: the single word RELEX.
Because, I knew now ... that thing was real.
1. Shifting the map aside, CONNOR focuses on sheets of star charts.
It was real.
2. He places an ancient drawing below a modern-day photograph of the night sky.
It was coming back.
3. We see clearly that the position of the stars in each correlate almost exactly.
It was coming back now.