By Chris Denton
1) We open with a medium shot showing the upper part of a large marble statue depicting TUDOR J GATES, quite a short and thin looking man, somewhere in his mid to late twenties. He is wearing a full military dress uniform (think Prince Charles on Remembrance Day) and saluting, his chest puffed out, covered in medals. The expression on the statue’s face is one of pride mixed with confidence.
Behind the statue is the night sky, full of stars and perhaps even a comet or two.
CAPTION: LEAGUE OF PLANETS HQ.
CAPTION: WE CANNOT IMAGINE IT NOW, BUT THERE WAS A TIME BEFORE OUR OWN GREAT GALACTIC CALM.
2) Close on the face of the statue, exactly as proud and confident as before, as you would expect.
CAPTION: THE LEAGUE’S PEACEKEEPERS BROUGHT ABOUT THIS WONDROUS CONTENTMENT, AND THE GREATEST PEACEKEEPER OF ALL WAS TUDOR J GATES.
CAPTION: THIS IS HIS STORY.
3) This is a very, very wide shot. In fact, it depicts about half of a planet.
We can see the surface of Karnsmite, from space so it is curved. The planet is primarily an unhealthy grey, with many patches of poisonous smog and two or three mushroom clouds poking through.
CAPTION: INITIALLY POSTED TO THE HELLWORLD OF KARNSMITE, THE ABILITIES OF UNWILLING CONSCRIPT P.C.S.O. GATES WERE FAR FROM APPARENT.
4) Now we’re in a petrified forest. The actual flesh and blood Tudor is advancing stealthily in the company of another peacekeeper, CORPORAL ELDER. They are both wearing conventional day-to-day military uniforms and holding vaguely futuristic laser-blasters. Their heads are protected by bright-blue helmets, as is usually the case with peacekeepers. Each man has his surname displayed on his chest.
Elder is a much bigger and broader man than Gates, and older too. He’s clearly a grizzled and experienced campaigner.
The densely-packed forest itself is lifeless and threatening. There are no leaves on the trees, just bare branches and long, sharp thorns.
CAPTION: THIS WAS BECAUSE IN A TIME WHEN HEALTH AND SAFETY PERFECTION HAD BEEN ACHIEVED, THE SIGHT OF BLOOD OR GORE WAS RARE INDEED.
ELDER: TRY NOT TO GET IN THE WAY, GATES!
5) Medium shot of Elder, determinedly pushing through some thorny branches. His left hand is cut open by a particularly nasty looking thorn. Tudor is just behind him, completely pale, looking appalled.
CAPTION: CONSCRIPTS LIKE TUDOR WERE UNABLE TO COPE WITH EVEN A HINT OF BODILY LIFE-FLUID. THERE WERE STRICT RULES ENSURING THAT NO PLATOON HAD MORE THAN ONE SUCH SOLDIER
GATES: ELDER, YOUR HAND!!
6) Close on Tudor, kneeling on the ground, throwing up into his helmet.
CAPTION: THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE KNOWN AS THE PEACEKEEPING COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPERATIVE (PCSO) BUT WERE MOST USUALLY CALLED
CAPTION: THE SQUEAM
1) This panel depicts a large vidcall screen displaying the upper body of the EMPEROR OF THE PYROTINES. Pyrotines are a vaguely humanoid race, but with a broader frame, bigger eyes and no apparent noses. They are also purplish in their complexion. The Emperor himself looks very angry and aggressive. I suspect a clenched fist is being waved. He is wearing a very impressive Imperial costume, with lots of gold chains, a crown and a flowing cape.
CAPTION: AN UNPROMISING START, CERTAINLY, BUT EVENTS WERE ABOUT TO THRUST GREATNESS UPON TUDOR…
EMPEROR: THIS INVASION BY THE LEAGUE OF PLANETS IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. YOU MUST LEAVE OR DIE.
2) This is a wider shot revealing that the Emperor is talking to MAJOR FINE-STYLE, the leader of the Peacekeeepers. Fine-Style sits in front of the vid-screen, wearing the officers’ version of the uniform (eg a blue peaked cap in place of the helmet) and trying to look placatory.
This is a small vid-conferencing room, part of the Peacekeepers base on Karnsmite.
FINE-STYLE: WE ARE ONLY HERE TO POLICE THE CEASEFIRE, AS YOUR WORSHIP KNOWS. SURELY WE CAN NEGOTIATE TERMS?
EMPEROR: PYROTINES DO NOT NEGOTIATE. PREPARE TO BE SLAUGHTERED!!
3) Outside the base, Major Fine Style stands in front of Corporal Elder, surveying the defences with a critical eye. Behind them are a row of large spikes and part of a tall metal building beyond.
CAPTION: WITH WAR DECLARED, EVERYONE READIED THEMSELVES FOR BATTLE.
FINE-STYLE: THEY HAVE GENE-GIANTS, ELDER. TWELVE FEET TALL WITH HIDES LIKE TARMAC.
ELDER: WE’LL SHARPEN THE SPIKES, SIR!
4) The same location, a little later. Tudor is carrying a large, round a large tray, upon which there are many mugs of tea. He is offering the tray to Elder.
CAPTION: WELL, NEARLY EVERYONE.
TUDOR: TEA, ELDER?
ELDER: THANKS, SQUEAM.