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The Year is 530AE (After Earth)
When the Space Warp irradiated the solar system, Saturn’s moons were ‘life-formed’ by the phenomenon and – a century later – were colonized by humans leaving a DYING EARTH – dying for reasons that are explored in later episodes.
Saturn and its moons became the Persian Gulf of the solar system.
The generally held view of scientists today is that the gas giant and its satellites have vast industrial potential.
And so a new age of post-scarcity is born.
Some moons are terra-formed, others are suitable for alien life, some have their own life forms, which were awoken by the Warp, some are water- or sky-worlds. Human colonists who settle on some of the moons are ‘warped’ by them. They may become aquatic or able to fly. Or revert to a primitive cave existence. Or develop numerous genders. Some of the moons may be domed, shell-worlds, use orbital solar mirrors or internal energy for heat.
The humans who biologically adapted to these worlds are Xhumans.
In our first story however, we focus on the giant corporations who mine the fantastic wealth of Saturn and its moons.
For its diamondbergs and liquid diamonds. Its vast gas reserves. There are massive shipyards where tradeships are built to reach the outer planets and beyond.
The prime city is TITAN CITY on the Moon Titan. It’s INDUSTRIAL but also RETRO in style. As in ‘retro science fiction’, from the 1920s to the 1970s, like Amazing Stories or Wonder Stories. That rounded look to buildings that I love. And with more recent counterparts, like Blade Runner and Dark City.
For inspiration, the architects have drawn on their nostalgia for the dying mother planet.
The CEOS who run the corporations are like GODS.
Just as some corporate bosses on Earth today seem like Gods.
On the United Moons of Saturn, some of these CEOs are Alien, although they usually wear a ‘filter’ so they appear human to the people around them.
There are other regular Aliens, too, who do not wear filters.
The Aliens in this system are known as Xtra-terrestrials. Or XT’s
The police who deal with capital offences committed by Xhumans and XT’s are the Xecutioners.
The Xecutioners fulfill a similar role to Texas Rangers (‘man killers’) or Wild West sheriffs. The sheriffs were often up against corporate bosses and Xecutioners have similar targets. They have the power to execute these criminals for corporate crimes on the United Moons of Saturn.
The Xecutioners’ role is sympathetic, not dystopian. Like sheriffs, they protect frontier moons, but have to deal with strongly protected enemies.
The planet Saturn would feature on their hand-held police badges (which will NOT be on their uniforms)
Our story features a male and female Xecutioner.
They have a sparring relationship based on Dave and Joy in Read Em and Weep, (it’s not essential to read the series and they don’t have to physically resemble Dave and Joy).
They are called Chaval and Zola.
Chaval is visually inspired by Orson Welles, notably in A Touch of Evil, considerably slimmed down, but with that same grim manner. Big and menacing.
Zola should NOT be small and petite (like Joy). She needs to be also tall and powerful.
Chaval or Zola should be black or mixed heritage. I’ll leave the choice to you.
There’s any number of possible cool actors to inspire you. A young Idris Elba for example.
However, if it presents problems (we had a tough job finding artists to draw black Eve properly in Third World War), this criteria might be dropped and I’ll boost the ethnicity in one of my other stories.
It’s not a deal breaker.
Chaval’s previous partner has been killed in the line of duty, so they are in a new team-up and still getting to know each other in this introductory story.
Chaval has executed numerous XT and Xhuman criminals before the story begins.
He has a dark reputation and Zola has been appointed to ‘put the brakes on him’
Chaval believes in Justice rather than the Law.
Zola believes in the Law rather than Justice.
Chaval is motivated by pursuing the injustice of the past. Zola has also faced injustice but thinks it is better to just let it go and move on.
Her origins story will be explored in a later episode.
Their names have significance, which I can go into another time.
They WILL take their masks/helmets/hoods off – so we can see who they are and what they are all about.
The Xecutioners’ motives are mentioned here and pursued further in later episodes, as we learn more about their backgrounds, their police families and why they became cops.
Currently, I haven’t decided which of Saturn’s numerous moons they have come from and how – or if – this has affected them. They will certainly appear conventionally human.
They need to look SCARY as Hell!
In a crowded comic world of fearsome future cops our heroes need a new visual angle to look scary and different.
So they wear what seems at first to be … BUTCHER’S LEATHER APRONS.
Or leather-look alike, or plastic aprons. Or lead aprons. As used by surgeons, pathologists and other medical staff.
Combined with masks/helmets/hoods, they will give a FIRST IMPRESSION of being something out of
Texas Chainsaw Massacre
So our reaction should be… WTF?!!! My God! Bloody Hell! Wow!
If it doesn’t, then we’ve fallen short of our objective.
When you look at the refs below, you’ll see that some of them have a slightly (!) avante garde look about them.
Check out Skin Two magazine on Google, that must have inspired some comic book characters.
And I could imagine some leather aprons appearing in Skin Two.
I don’t think the magazine inspired Kevin on Marshal Law – I believe it came from his own amazing imagination, but the comparison is sometimes made.
And can see how that leather look is very prominent among comic book future cops and vigilantes. I think one of the Bat women may have been inspired by this fashion approach.
So we’re drawing on this fashion but going in our own direction.
This apron look might be varied into a complete gown. As in the key radiographer reference below.
My idea of protective aprons against aliens was inspired by radiographer’s aprons and gowns.
We might even default to that complete gown if necessary.
However, the apron is the first option, because it allows our characters to have ANOTHER LOOK from the back.
Waiters who wear aprons – often with stylish straps/braces at the back in an X or Y style – can look very chic from behind.
So this is a potential ‘two-sided’ look, on which more later below.
The apron is actually a SMART APRON made from state of the art materials with built-in computer systems, etc.
Here’s a reference which tells you all about the kind of technology involved.
These cops wear these aprons to protect themselves against any amount of radiation, laser beams, bullets and shit thrown at them by Aliens – particularly when the XT’s die.
Our story WON’T be jokey like Men in Black, but you can imagine how aprons could have been useful for MiB when aliens exploded.
Our smart aprons will be self-cleaning.
They will NOT have an illuminated sign like STOP POLICE, or anything similar, which would detract from its menace. Or any other police symbols or lettering.
Unlike other future cops, this ‘uniform’ uniquely works by its ANONYMITY.
So when we first see them, we ask ‘Who the Hell are they?! They look capable of ANYTHING!’
The aprons don’t have visible utility pockets. Though they may well extract their guns and other specialist equipment from concealed pockets.
The smart apron technology is futuristic, possibly alien and so sophisticated, it’s seamless.
The aprons can wrap around to their backsides.
This ref below is pretty scary, although it is a full gown, not an apron. This is a KEY reference.
World War One, France, 1918 a Radiographer wearing… – Historical Times | Hard to Find | Pinterest | Hazmat suit, Suits and History
Here’s another early apron. The gauntlets would be necessary and I guess some arm protection.
I hope it’s butchers who are buying this apron below!!
Chef’s Leather Apron with Knife Sheath Pockets by CyclonaDesigns …
This ref below is definitely a bit dubious! But then think of Marshal Law and other future cops and vigilantes.
The two helmets worn by the radiographers above should give you some guidelines and starting points for your own design. They also have the practical task of reducing radiation and the eye vents have enhanced opticals to allow them to recognize aliens.
I thought about the obvious one – a chainsword. But I decided to rule it out because I doubt we can give it the right futuristic vibe.
It could look too 20th century. Unless you can see a way around it.
I also thought about futuristic shotguns or automatic weapons.
That’s a possibility, but I think – for now – lethal looking laser guns would be the best bet in view of what happens later in the story.
Their guns adapt to different gravity, atmospheres, moons and species.
Their aprons protect them from bullets and lasers. But these can be pierced or break down.
XECUTIONERS’ ‘CIVILIAN’ CLOTHES
They wear civilian clothes under their aprons. They are detectives, after all, not beat cops.
They could have a retro private eye look. See for example my SHA series with Olivier Ledroit on Google. The female cop Duffy in the series wears a classic PI male suit.
It is a noir world here, too; so Zola could wear trousers, maybe braces etc. A very masculine look for a very female figure.
Allow for her in a later episode to wear a retro dress, e.g. with the vibe of Rachel in Blade Runner.
They may wear hats later.
Their space vehicle/flying car would be suitably black, sinister and noir.
These visual details may be modified to suit an artist’s different style provided it is suitably effective and powerful.
Thus you may prefer the ubiquitous black leather look of the heroes and villains in the Matrix, Dark City, Underworld etc. That’s okay, too.
The CEO in this story, who is really an alien, uses CHARISMA FILTERS to create a benign image of himself who the people – and his dumb employees in particular – will love.
The charisma filter sends out a neuro-signal so their brains are affected and they see what he wants them to see.
In his case, he wants them to see him as a classic techie nerd tycoon.
The charisma filter is an SF extension of the current reality where any number of bosses hire PR companies to make them seem like cool guys, rather than the rather sad individuals they really are.
Have jamming devices in their helmets/hoods to block out charisma programs.
They see the truth rather than the matrix designed to mislead humans into dumb obedience.
But the CEO in this story is using triple strength CHARISMA FILTERS so even they can’t see him for what he really is.
THE CIVILIAN POPULATION IN TITAN CITY
Although we won’t see much of them in this opening episode:
Charisma filters are also used by some ordinary humans to take the place of make-up.
It leads to people resembling legendary classic movie stars. Because they want others to think of them as cool like Bogart, beautiful like Marilyn Monroe etc. Or spiritual like Mother Theresa. Or heroic like classic super heroes. God help us!
This adds to the visual appearance of Titan City, particularly in a crowd scene which could look quite striking. Especially combined with people resembling aliens, real or otherwise.
It would be used for advertising, too. With people resembling absurd cartoon characters advertising products.
Today, we all go around with Nike and Coca Cola on our t-shirts: it’s only a short step to people actually looking like advertising characters or animals.
Many humans love the corporations and their bosses. The way we love movie stars. They wear their symbols proudly on their chests (no symbols that we would recognize from today). Thus one prominent advertising image is the symbolized planet and rings for Saturn One Corporation. Another corporate brand would be Warp X.
There would be regular ‘normal’ citizenry, too, for contrast.
And Xhumans as described above.
I had considered calling the city Retro City, but feel it’s a little on the nose and I want to also bring across the FUTURE INDUSTRIAL NATURE of the city.
This is like a futuristic Glasgow or Birmingham.
A touch of Lowry’s depictions of factories.
A futuristic equivalent of dark satanic mills.
Retro future images here:
As we will see, THE WARP is celebrated in this story. It’s a positive phenomena that has enabled the survivors of a dying Earth to colonize the NEW WORLDS of Saturn.
A sample STRIP sequence would need to show the main characters in action. They matter far more than the world and the backgrounds.
It can be from anywhere suitable in the story.
TOP LINE on Page One of story:
Next to reduced Space Warp symbol:
‘Dogfood the Deathnaut!’
- Main picture. Inside a control room on Saturn One orbiting gas station surrounding the gas giant. Hydrogen is is taken from the atmosphere of Saturn and used as fuel for interplanetary travel.
The two Xecutioners fire towards us at unseen enemies.
We’re looking at them and thinking: Who are they?!
They’re in a glass observation area so we can get a good view of the iconic planet outside in the background.
This pic should occupy 65 – 70% of page approx.
TITLE AND CREDITS
TEXT: SATURN ONE ORBITING GAS STATION. 530AE (AFTER EARTH)
TEXT: (official document)
United Moons of Saturn
Jay Bezeera CEO Saturn One Corporation
10 counts of Xhuman trafficking for slave labour.
3 counts of ordering the murder of Xhumans. 15 deaths.
10 counts of liquid diamond laundering.
3 counts of hiring paramilitaries to kill protestors who opposed diamond extraction from the moon Germinal. 120 deaths.
5 counts of tax evasion.
Xecution warrant served.
- Saturn One MALE employees are firing back at unseen Xecutioners, protecting their boss JAY BEZEERA who is behind them.
A couple of employees lying on the floor, already dead.
Bezeera could look handsome and iconic.
Or a complete dork.
I think it’s more entertaining to the readers if he looks like a dork.
As I’m sure you know, some social media tycoons look like they could be androids.
Tim McInnery had that unreal look when he was younger, especially in A Very British Coup and Black Adder. He was brilliant in both those series.
Rees-Mogg has a similarly small head, although he’s too ‘old fashioned’ looking for our purposes.
But that small head, a little out of proportion with the body, is suggestive that the character is unreal and this ties in with what we discover later about Bezeera.
It can and should look rather disconcerting.
If Bezeera is part of a future Silicon Valley-style ruling elite, he probably wouldn’t wear a suit. He might wear a futuristic gilet. Or he could have a Steve Jobs look. Or something really nerdy. He shouldn’t be scruffy like today’s social media billionaires, but have a smoother, futuristic image.
More importantly, his employees adopt exactly the same clothes – even if they’re over-weight or have different proportions. And they all have identical hairstyles.
Such is the way of yes men who want to suck up to the boss.
Bezeera smiles charismatically at his workers who are eager to obey their wonderful boss. In effect, they are MENTALLY DRUGGED by him with the psychic equivalent of Rohypnol. Although they won’t look like they are obviously drugged.
Employee: They’re wearing smart aprons! We can’t bio-hack them, Mr Bezeera!
Bezeera: Dive deep, Tech Bros. I’ve got a swoop n’ poop in Titan City. Those feds need to be uninstalled.
Employee: We’ll wung it, sir. Optimize your exit.
- Bezeera’s escape vehicle, his personal spaceship, blasts away from the gas station.
Bezeera’s voice: Awesome! Make the world a better place, Ingeneers! Zoom! Zoom!
- The still-helmeted Chaval and Zola look down at the several dead bodies of the Employees who they’ve just had to kill (off pic).
Zola: Poor devils. They’d claim they weren’t Yes men.
(2): They just … ‘absorbed the way their boss thinks.’
- They head off.
Chaval: Thanks to his charisma program. It smudged their minds.
Zola: Yeah. That’s how he gets them to die for him.
- They approach their personal spaceship/space-car. Chaval starts to remove his helmet/mask. Zola about to do the same.
Chaval: But this is one XT who’s not escaping justice. The Gods still rule us, Zola. Only they’re the CEOs of interplanetary corporations now.
Zola: May I remind you, Chaval, it is not against the Law for aliens to head corporations or to use filters to hide their true appearance in case we find them…
Chaval: …Disgusting to look at?
- Interior of spaceship. Chaval has removed his helmet/mask
Chaval: ‘The Repulsive Ones’. ‘Abominations’
(2): That’s what the Babylonians called ‘The Gods’ who brought them civilisation.
- Zola also without her mask.
Zola: And guess what, Chaval? You may prefer living in a cave, but most of us like civilisation: robo-doctors, screenless, thoughtmails and grav-ball.
(2): We owe ‘The Gods’ a great deal.
- Their spaceship lifts off from the station.
Chaval’s voice: You know the first form of writing the Gods taught the Babylonians, Zola? Tax records!
Zola’s voice: Well, that’s handy because Bezeera is also wanted for tax evasion.
- Chaval looks out at the gas station. His face troubled/sad. Zola notices his change of expression.
Zola: What is it?
2.. External view as their small ship heads away from the gas station orbiting Saturn. Saturn One logo on side of it.
Chaval’s voice: My dad worked on one of these stations. He was a scooper. There was a planetary storm. Dad tried to shut it down, but it was too late. Gas filled the scooper.
- Flashback view of happy Warp Day on Titan City in Titan. It would be like Christmas Day with a large hologram showing a stylized version of the Space Warp.
Same design as the warp you will have seen on the Space Warp site but here – uniquely – it is seen as benign.
It’s very recognizable but SMILING – like an emoji-warp.
Kids waving smiling Warp flags. See notes about civilians in Titan City.
(Each story in Space Warp comic shows a different visual representation of the Warp connected with how it changed the characters’ lives.)
Text panel: ‘He died on Warp Day. Everyone was out celebrating the Warp and how that incredible cosmic event brought Saturn’s moons to life.
(2): Everyone except my family.
(3): We were watching dad die.
- Back to bitter Chaval with Zola looking on sympathetically.
Chaval: Enquiry found the blowback was dad’s negligence. Bezeera refused to pay compensation.
(2): So mum had to bring us up on her own.
Zola: We’re here.
- Their small ship descends outside Saturn One H.Q. (Like the cop cars in Blade Runner)
Zola: You should have taken your degree in Xtra-terrestrial law. Maybe you could have nailed him.
Chaval: I know. I settled for XT history instead.
6.They approach the entrance to the HQ. They haven’t put their helmets/masks on yet.
Zola: You mean XT mythology? None of what you claim happened on Earth thousands of years ago can be proved.
Chaval: I can prove the XTs were responsible for destroying life on Earth.
Zola: And we’re next? I don’t buy your crazy theories, Chaval.
1.Within the HQ.
Jay is working with two or three engineers on a KILLER ROBOT DEATHNAUT.
Google Darpa robots for possible inspiration and a useful starting point.
The robot needs to steal the show in the last three pages! He needs to be really spectacular and evil.
(A Deathnaut also features in SF1, but there doesn’t have to be any visual continuity between the two. They can be two completely different Deathnaut models.)
The engineers could also dress like Jay and one of them could be a boy genius. No more than 13 or 14 years old. Another one could be overweight.
Jay: Zoom! Zoom! Pick it up, Tech Bros. I want this Deathnaut operational before the Xecutioners arrive.
Engineer: We need more time, Mr Bezeera.
Jay: Do I need to find the certificate that says I’m the boss to stop you arguing with me?
- Jay Bezeera scowls at his team as the robot swivels around
Engineer: We haven’t completed its trials, sir.
Jay: I’m sorry. Did I take my stupid pills today? Is that why I’m hearing your bonehead excuses? Not cool. At Saturn One, excellence is a pass grade and you are failing. If I hear ‘can’t’ again, I’m gonna have to kill myself. Now…
- Jay orders the menacing robot into action
Jay: Dogfood the Deathnaut!
SUMMARY OF REMAINDER OF PAGES FOUR, FIVE AND SIX.
(Story may go to SEVEN pages, but I can cut some story element out if six pages is your limit)
The robot opens fire on the Xecutioners who have entered WEARING THEIR HELMETS/MASKS.
The Deathnaut has become Jay’s robot gunfighter. The CEO shelters behind it.
Jay: Protect your Silicon Daddy, Deathnaut. Uninstall them!
The Xecutioners’ aprons withstand the initial devastating gunfire, but Chaval’s apron starts to malfunction and Zola has to leap in front of him to save him with her own apron.
But as the Deathnaut advances to finish them off, exposing the CEO, Chaval’s eyes lock onto Jay’s.
Chaval: Time to get real.
His hatred of Saturn One is so great, it breaks down the charisma program.
Zola: His filter’s failing!
For the first time the engineer see their boss as he really is. The scales have dropped from their eyes.
The most hideous alien ‘toad-like’ amphibian imaginable.
See these refs below:
The first ref is particularly horrible, but the other more authentic Babylonian Gods are also worth considering.
A Closer Look at The Amphibious Alien – Halloween Costume Ideas
Sumerian Gods and Goddesses – Anunnaki – Crystalinks
Truthism.com – Your #1 Source for the Truth
Zola identifies the creature as an XT from a planet in the Sirius star system.
Engineer: It’s repulsive. A money-worshipping toad!
Engineer: Why are we taking all this crap from this … Abomination?
They switch the Deathnaut off.
The hideous Bezeera smiles at the Xecutioners nervously.
‘Toad’: I guess I’ve shot off both my feet, huh? But I’m sure we can sort this out. Name your price, officers. I can afford it. I’m a member of the five commas club.
Chaval and Zola open fire in unison.
Their lasers carve a GIANT BURNING ‘X’ on the alien’s body.
Chaval revolted as – from off pic – the alien ‘vomits’ all over his apron as it dies!
Chaval: Eugh! It’s baarfed all over me!
Zola: If you’d paid more attention to the Sirians’ Xobiology, Chaval, you’d know they have a frontal as well as a rear rectum for rapid evacuation and flight.
Chaval: Ah, great!
Voice of Chaval’s smart apron: Cleaning in progress.
Chaval: (his apron clean, the shit has slid off his apron) looks down at the dead body of the hideous alien
Chaval: You got your compensation, Dad.
They exit and may well remove their helmets now. So we can see their expressions. But let’s see what works best for you.
Chaval: Now we got to bring the rest of the ‘toads’ to justice before they destroy Titan, too.
Zola: Chaval! Can I remind you what William Gaddis once said?
‘Justice? You get justice in the Next World. In this one you have the Law.’
Grim, powerful final image of Chaval.
Chaval: But this is the Next World, Zola. It’s not about the Law any more.
(2): It’s about Justice.