So, I’m back. Just until Monday.
Going to try and crank out some stuff before then, if I can.
So, in the unlikely event you were waiting for it (and unless your name’s Jonathan, you probably weren’t), here’s the conclusion to my Karnak script experiment. I rushed it a little bit, I’ll warn you — I freely admit that many (if not most) of RAB’s very sound and generous suggestions went unheeded in this last-minute dash for the finish line…but oh well, better roughly finished at the end of July than immaculately unfinished at the end of September, eh? Anyway, thanks for the comments, those who commented. Weirdly enough, I think I had a bit of a learning curve here.
Fair warning: if geeky fan-fic is not your thing, there’s no point reading further…
Okay, really ready?
Panel 1: Double panel. The street outside Gorgon’s apartments again, still deserted.
Panel 2: Double panel. The same street, only this time it’s bustling with activity some hours later. “Morning” in Attilan.
Panel 3: Karnak and Rikasa face each other over the breakfast table.
Rikasa: …A flaw?
Rikasa: What kind of flaw?
Karnak: Hmm, well…that’s just it, I can’t see it clearly. It isn’t like a block of stone. There’s nothing to look at or to touch.
Karnak: It’s just a feeling.
Panel 4: Different angle on the pair.
Rikasa: But…it’s still your gift, to have such feelings.
Karnak: But, I can’t be certain. I am part of the invisible structure of Inhuman society, too. I can’t stand outside it in order to discern its weaknesses…
Panel 1: We’re still looking at the breakfast scene.
Karnak: …And in any case, it isn’t my function to do so.
Panel 2: Breakfast.
Karnak: I’m glad you agree.
Rikasa: You misunderstand. I don’t agree.
Panel 3: Breakfast, still. We’re looking over Karnak’s shoulder at Rikasa, perhaps.
Rikasa: Black Bolt and Medusa can’t do everything, Karnak. That’s what the Royal Family is for.
Rikasa: Don’t you see? In my lifetime, our Great Refuge has survived more intrusion, upheaval, and disaster…
Rikasa: …And progress…
Panel 4: More breakfast, different angle. Looking over Rikasa’s shoulder at Karnak?
Rikasa: …Than it has in the last thousand years. But without you, and Gorgon, and Triton, do you really think it would have?
Karnak: Well, you must know it was only because of Maximus that we ever…
Panel 5: Again, again! Rikasa points a spoon at Karnak.
Rikasa: Maximus is Maximus, and Black Bolt is Black Bolt…but you are you.
Rikasa: Where would we be, if there were only Black Bolt and Maximus? Slaves to the Kree, probably, despite Agon’s great gift.
Panel 6: Last breakfast scene. Karnak fingers his chin as Rikasa finishes her speechifyin’.
Rikasa: We Inhumans rely on our Royal Family, to do what Black Bolt alone sometimes can’t. Maximus may have thought of you as mere pawns in his intrigue, true…
Rikasa: …But then, where are Maximus’ intrigues now?
Panel 1: Triple panel. Inside the Palace, there’s a meeting of bigwigs going on: in this panel, we just see Black Bolt’s forehead and antennae, maybe his eyes as well but I don’t know if that’s quite right for the effect I want, which is some suggestion of awe that goes a little bit beyond a standard film/TV close-up. I almost want Black Bolt to be like a monument or something, here, depersonalized except for the activity of his power. But in any case the antennae are the focus anyway — they’re crackling with weird energies, Kirby dots etc. Maybe the eyes would be good, I don’t know. You tell me. Yeah, you’re probably right. Anyway, Karnak’s dialogue continues in caption.
Karnak (capt.): “Yes…I confess I wonder about that sometimes myself…”
Medusa: (off-panel) Black Bolt appreciates your swift response, Lady Thena…
Thena: (off-panel) It’s just Thena.
Thena: (off-panel) And you’re most welcome. I apologize for Ikaris not being available…
Panel 2: Double panel. In a slightly darkened Royal audience chamber Black Bolt and Medusa and Thena stand in a rough scalene triangle-like formation, Black Bolt in back, Medusa somewhat in front of him and perhaps to the right-hand side, Thena in the foreground, possible with her back partly turned to us, on the left of the panel. Of course I may have got these positions exactly reversed from what they ought to be! But in any case the effect should be just a little bit reminiscent of trees standing in a forest: we’re almost looking through or between these characters, instead of directly at them.
Thena: But I’m afraid I just don’t know quite where he is, at present…
Thena: Anyway, I should really be thanking you. Although this is a…a somewhat upsetting discovery, to tell you the truth. This poor kinsman of mine…
Medusa: Kinsman to us in a way, as well. Black Bolt understands that you are familiar with the Inhuman genesis…
Panel 3: Thena’s thoughtful face, maybe a graceful hand to her chin or something.
Thena: Yes, of course. The Eternals‘ gene-matrix, spliced by the alien Kree into a tribe of ancient humans…
Thena: Ikaris told me…
Panel 4: A Sixgrid panel. Back to the “forest”, only maybe from a different angle.
Thena: …And my father Great Zuras, before him.
Thena: It must have been very painful for you, to find the body of this grim Prometheus buried below your feet. All this time…
Panel 5: Another Sixgrid panel. The forest rotates again.
Thena: And now you’ve found him, you must wonder…
Medusa: What to do with him, yes.
Medusa: You understand that of course we could never disgrace him. He is far more a victim of the Kree than even we are. We honour him…
Panel 1: Double panel. Thena’s eyes, reminiscent of our first meeting with her, only now not washed out in cosmically golden light, but with regular hair colour, skin tone, etc. Also she’s not looking straight ahead, but her gold-green eyes are wandering off to our left, as though she’s remembering something.
Medusa: (off-panel) But the problem is…
Thena: …The problem is, he’s alive.
Thena: Yes…I can feel what’s left of his mind. Fragmented. So much pain…so many pieces…
Thena: It would be kindest to kill him, perhaps. Black Bolt, you have the power…even for an Eternal’s body…
Panel 2: Black Bolt’s contemplative, compassionate face. In profile. Maybe with his head very slightly lifted. The antennae still crackle.
Medusa: (capt., top of panel) “Yes, Thena. He does.”
Medusa: (capt., middle of panel) “But do you wish him to do it?”
Thena: (capt., almost the bottom of the panel) “No…”
Panel 3: A Sixgrid panel. Thena’s face, looking at Medusa, who obtrudes into the edges of the foreground, with just nose and chin showing, and flowing, animated hair. The emotion’s in the hair, you see.
Thena: No. I will take him home. To Earth.
Thena: Where he belongs.
Panel 4: Another Sixgrid panel. Thena and Black Bolt face each other in profile.
Thena: The Eternals are grateful to you, O Black Bolt. Once again you prove the worth of Ikaris’ pact with you.
Thena: I doubted it, once. Now, no longer.
Thena: May I, from this day, count us as friends?
Panel 5: Triple panel. Out on a broad plaza in front of the Palace, Makkari and Gorgon watch over the body of the fallen Eternal. Just behind them is a large, attractive, almost spherical spaceship that Makkari has whipped up especially for the journey to the Moon. Its polished surface gleams impressively in the sun, as Medusa’s dialogue continues in caption.
Medusa (capt.): “Nothing would please my liege more, O Thena, than to consider us so…”
Gorgon: It is solemn, is it not?
Makkari: It is, one called Gorgon.
Makkari: But I’m afraid I am not well-suited to it.
Panel 1: Closer up now, we’re looking at the two perhaps a bit from the side.
Makkari: I am made more for mirth, than for melancholy. And Eternals rarely stray far from their natures, as you must know.
Gorgon: Well…I did not.
Gorgon: But, now that you say it…
Panel 2: More of us looking at the unlikely pair. From the other side, now? Makkari eyes Gorgon, friendly but interested.
Gorgon: …Perhaps we have that in common.
Makkari: Yes, no doubt. For example, I suspect your nature is one of action. Am I right?
Makkari: You must have found it fatiguing, to stand this long watch.
Gorgon: I rarely tire.
Panel 3: Black Bolt, Medusa, and Thena approach the spacecraft.
Makkari: It’s a shame, then, friend — for you won’t be able to share my glorious sense of relief, now that the rest of our band approaches.
Makkari: What news, Thena? What has been decided?
Panel 4: They all meet; Makkari bows elegantly to Black Bolt and Medusa.
Thena: We will return the kinsman to Earth.
Makkari: The noble King and Queen are gracious.
Medusa: The King and Queen are thankful, Makkari, to have your help in resolving this sad circumstance.
Panel 5: Weird spindly robot-things emerge from Makkari’s ship at his command, and rather like mobile gurneys they proceed to gather up the Eternal body. The other figures are cast in silhouette, maybe, with Gorgon leaning against the ship’s hull a little way to the right.
Makkari: Well, as the Eternals know, milady…it’s rare enough that any circumstance is resolved.
Makkari: So when it is, we must all strive for thankfulness. If we can.
Panel 6: Suddenly a little extra light shines down on the scene, as they all look up at an as-yet-unseen figure above them, which is Starfox. Maybe his foot arches down into the frame from the top right. Thena in particular has snapped her head sharply up to look at him.
Starfox: (off-panel) Well, if it comes to that, Makkari, you will make me exceedingly thankful if you’ll only stop speeding to this resolution!
Starfox: (off-panel) One’s nature can also lead one into trouble, you know.
Starfox: (off-panel) Yes…
Panel 1: Two-thirds mini-SPLASH of Starfox dangling in the air above them.
Starfox: Greetings, cousin Thena. Your uncle, my father, sends his regards.
Starfox: But I’m not sure he’d want me to deliver them, if he could see what you’re about to do.
Thena: What are you doing here, Starfox?
Starfox: Please, call me Eros, cousin. And I hope I’m about to stop you from making a terrible mistake.
Panel 2: Starfox is touching down in the midst of all of them, not yet quite on the ground.
Thena: I don’t know what you think you mean…cousin…but Makkari and I have already…
Starfox: Your pardon, Thena. A moment, please.
Panel 3: Starfox kneels in ostentatious humility before Black Bolt and Medusa, head slightly bowed. Thena fumes. Makkari grins.
Starfox: Great King. Generous Queen.
Medusa: Please get up, Starfox of Titan.
Medusa: This is a very bad time, and you are not expected.
Starfox: Yes, I know it. And I apologize. But it is still a lucky chance.
Panel 4: Starfox is standing now.
Medusa: Oh? Why?
Starfox: Because as Thena knows, the solemn pact between our two fathers guarantees non-interference between the space-born Titans and the Earth Eternals…
Panel 1: Double panel. Starfox points to the body of the fallen Eternal, Gorgon just beyond it it the background, still lounging against the ship, but alert.
Starfox: …And I’m afraid that that unfortunate is a Titan!
Panel 2: Thena, irritated, faces Starfox.
Thena: What?! Nonsense!
Starfox: Not at all, dear cousin. An Eternal’s exile is forever, even in these changing times.
Thena: Ridiculous! You visit Earth every other year!
Panel 3: Triple panel, a triptych: Thena and Starfox are seen roughly from above with the others grouped generally around them and to our left…Starfox continues to point to the right, to the fallen Eternal’s body, with Gorgon beyond it. The spaceship’s curve perhaps goes right through the bottom of each frame in a smooth curve.
Starfox: And here you are, on the Moon, right now.
Thena: I am here by invitation!
Starfox: And I’m not, of course…
Starfox: …But then, we’re not talking about me.
Starfox: That poor soul was a direct party to the pact, and living or dead he can not break it. My own embassy aside, my father has not put a foot on Earth since the first Uni-Mind, and he will not…
Starfox: …But the pact must hold!
Panel 4: Starfox in the background, Thena turns to face Black Bolt and Medusa in the left foreground.
Thena: Black Bolt, I don’t know what to say. This is an embarrassment…
Medusa: Just a moment, Thena, if you would.
Panel 5: Black Bolt bows his head as if in sadness, thinking.
Panel 6: We see the assembled folks in the background, framed by Black Bolt’s hand as he holds it up, fingers apart.
Medusa: Black Bolt does not wish his visitors to become discountenanced. He urges calm.
Medusa: We will wait one day, and allow the two parties to confer. Tomorrow…
Panel 1: Triple panel. The Fantastic Four (minus Reed), lounge around a spacious and comfortable apartment, cooling their heels. Johnny makes fire-shapes in the air, bored beyond belief. Ben is reading a book. Sue is standing by a window, looking out. Medusa’s dialogue continues in caption.
Medusa (capt.) “…Tomorrow will be soon enough to seek our conclusion.“
Johnny: This sucks.
Johnny: Where’s Reed?
Johnny: I don’t remember them ever cooping us up like this before. What do you think’s going on?
Johnny: What do you think Reed’s doing?
Ben: Whaddaya think he’s doing, match-head? He’s prob’ly got his nose buried in a test tube or sum’pin.
Ben: S’why I allus bring a book along with me now.
Johnny: Well, I’m bored.
Ben: An’ that’s how come the book.
Johnny: Well, I’m…
Panel 2: Double panel.
Sue: Oh, for heaven’s sake, Johnny. Crystal’s coming back any minute now. Can’t you just wait?
Johnny: You know, I’m really tempted to fly out that window, take a look around…
Ben: Me, I’m kinda tempted ta throw ya out of it.
Johnny: Har har.
Sue: I put force fields up around all these windows ten minutes ago, by the way…
Panel 3: Johnny’s eyes light up as he hears a knock at the door.
Johnny: Finally! Hope she brought those sandwiches…
Panel 4: Johnny opens the door, his back (mostly) to us, so we can’t see who’s there. It’s Karnak, of course.
Johnny: Hey, Crys! We were starting to think you…
Panel 5: Surprise!
Johnny: Oh, uh…hi, Karnak.
Karnak: Human Torch.
Karnak: Am I interrupting?
Johnny: Uh…no. No, of course not. Come in, come in!
Panel 6: Karnak enters in front of Johnny as Sue walks over to greet him, and Ben looks up from his book.
Karnak: My thanks. Is Dr. Richards with you, by chance?
Sue: Reed’s not here, Karnak, but can we help you?
Panel 1: Karnak moves further into the room, hesitantly, as Ben gives him the once-over.
Karnak: I’m…not sure. I had hoped to speak with him in private…
Ben: Haw! They all say that, short-stuff, but if there’s one thing the FF ain’t, it’s private!
Ben: But, waitaminute…
Panel 2: Ben, in close-up, gives Karnak the once-over again.
Ben: …Am I nuts, or is this the first time we ever seen ya all on yer lonesome, Karnak?
Ben: Seems ta me, ya usually got a couple other guys hangin’ around…
Panel 3: Karnak sits down on the couch, Sue behind him, Johnny to the left, Ben to the right foreground.
Karnak: That is true, Ben Grimm.
Karnak: But I fear my fellow Inhumans would not understand what I have come here for today.
Ben: Izzat so? They’re kinda judgemental types, huh?
Sue: Ben, hush. Let Karnak speak.
Panel 4: Sue comes around the couch, faces Karnak.
Ben: (off-panel) So who’s stoppin’ ‘im? Yeesh…
Sue: What is it, Karnak?
Karnak: A matter of the very keenest importance, Fantastic Four, and yet of the greatest delicacy and danger, too…
Panel 5: Double panel. Karnak’s face is surrounded by (is placed in the middle of) montage-y images, left to right: Maximus’ laughing big-Kirby-toothed face through his dungeon’s bars, Medusa sobbing into her hands in front of Reed, Black Bolt’s inclined profile from his meeting with Thena, Gorgon’s upturned face out of the earlier Eternals escape scene from “Mirror And The Lamp”, Triton’s turned face and clenched fist from the Vitruvian Eternal discovery, and finally Crystal looking ruefully out over the lake at the Kree excavation on Earth.
Karnak: …For I have just now realized that Black Bolt’s mad brother Maximus once again schemes to conquer the Inhumans…
Karnak: …Only this time, I myself am to be his TROJAN HORSE!!
BOTTOM OF PAGE: “Next Issue — Black Bolt Speaks, Gorgon Visits The Watcher, And Prime Eternal Ikaris Comes To The Moon! Tempers Flare, Powers Are Matched, And Secrets Are Revealed, In A Tale We Could Only Call…SNOW LEOPARD! Miss It Not!”