My name is Vic Sage. I’m on a task to expose the corruption in this city, no matter how high it goes. Eel O’Brien and his henchmen are at the center of it and I found out yesterday that the Chief of Police may be involved. On top of it all, there’s a lady assassin out to collect a bounty on my head and if you believe her, I’ve got 48 hours to live.
So you might ask yourself, why I am perched on top of a building in the middle of the night watching a drug deal go down in an alleyway. Well, simple, The Question, that’s my other job.
I’m watching the scene unfold below me. It’s similar to the scene you have probably seen hundreds of times in the movies. Quiet street, except for some traffic. The sounding of a tugboat moving along the river. And in the alley, a single vehicle. Black SUV. Kind of cliche if you ask me. If this really were a movie, you might hear some dramatic background music. Somewhere off in the distance, the church bells signal that it’s midnight.
As if on cue, a second vehicle pulls into the alley. The script is a-okay so far. The plot is about to thicken. Congeal, perhaps.
Two men exit the second vehicle and walk towards the first. The door of the first vehicle opens and a man steps out. “You brought it?”
“Everything you asked for.”
The man in front places a suitcase on the hood of the first guy’s SUV and pops it open. “Twenty K in unmarked bills and a kilo of blow for your own personal use. This buys us a free ride from your boys and protection from competition, correct?”
We finally see the first guy is Dragon, from O’Brien’s crew. Dragon shakes his head, “I’m afraid not. What this buys you is an opportunity to just walk away now.” We see a figure coming up behind the two gentlemen. It’s Deathbolt.
JAN VAN DER ROOST
“Listen, I don’t know what you’re trying to pull but you wanna do business like this, we can send you back to your boss in a box.”
Dragon actually laughs. “I don’t know, what do you say, Death?”
The Question doesn’t normally get involved in a scuffle between gangsters, but there is that suitcase of illegal cocaine and money on the hood of the car. He sneaks down from his perch and by the time he gets to the street, the four are having an all-out brawl.
He isn’t noticed as he moves along the building up next to the parked cars and reaches for the suitcase before slipping out of sight of those fighting.
Moments later he had parked his car along the road as he steps out. Half of the suitcase has been emptied into his truck, but the other half he walks over to a food shelter. He picks the lock, slips inside, and leaves the briefcase.
A half an hour later, he is cutting open brick after brick of cocaine and dropping it into the river watching it disappear downstream.
THE CHEMICAL BETWEEN US
“What do you mean it’s gone?!?” Eel O’Brien leaps to his feet from behind his desk. He brushes past Sheila who squeaks out of his way and he approaches Dragon and Deathbolt.
“I sent you two dipshits on an easy errand. Pick up the blow and the cash and get rid of those trying to muscle in on my territory! “
GUEST STARRING: SHAWN WARSTEIN
Deathbolt tries to chime in, “Look, one minute it was there and the next it was gone. Like it was taken by a ghost.”
“Like it was taken by a ghost? Are you fucking kidding me right now? A fucking ghost wants my stuff? What’s a ghost gonna do with money and cocaine, Death? Hm? Tell me, oh wise one.”
Deathbolt scratches his head. “Well, I didn’t say it was an actual ghost, I said it was like a ghost.”
GUEST STARRING: KENZIE GARRETT
Eel runs his hand down his face slowly. He shakes his head, “Go out there and find that suitcase. Bring that shit back to me.” He turns to Sheila, “Go get the car. We gotta meeting, then we will head to the club.”
“I gotcha, Eel,” she says as she hurries out the door, snatching the keys from the table before disappearing.
GUEST STARRING: KIRA IZUMI
Eel walks over and grabs his jacket and slips it on. He turns back to the others, “I don’t care what you gotta do. Without that stash, we’re gonna have a whole lotta trouble from the fucking cops. They’re expecting it. So, get it. Don’t make me regret bringing you in on this.”
With that, he turns and heads outside.
Dragon turns to Deathbolt, “His balls are getting way too big.”
GUEST STARRING: LEX COLLINS
Deathbolt looks over at him, “Why are you looking at his balls?”
Dragon raises his hand but reconsiders, “We used to run together, but now he thinks he runs things. That’s what I’m saying.”
Deathbolt nods his head. “Might have to cut him out here if he keeps this shit up.”
Detective Renee Montoya had herself quite a dilemma. She literally watched the faceless vigilante murder three people right before her eyes. Granted, other than the three dead bodies, she had no real evidence.
What really pissed her off was that he did it right in front of her. She could accept the fact that he did save her, but to blatantly kill, that’s not what she was about.
Frustrated, she got up from her desk and grabbed her jacket and went outside. She got into her car and began to drive. It was night, snow was falling. She knew she wasn’t going to find her vigilante sitting at the precinct.
“You’ve got a new supplier trying to muscle in on Eel’s turf.”
The voice startled her so much so that she nearly swerved into a streetlight. She rights herself back onto the road, “What the fuck?!” she looks in the rearview and sees the faceless man as she slams on her breaks and pulls to the side of the road.
“Now, you’re really starting to piss me off. You know I’m supposed to bring you in. You murdered three people.” She was slowly trying to reach for her weapon as the car remained idling on the side of the street.
“They were going to murder you. They deserved what they got. Do you want the information or not?”
Her hand covers her weapon as she slowly starts to pull it out. “I’m listening.”
“I haven’t identified who but someone is trying to muscle into the city. Eel’s boys iced them and I imagine they won’t take too kindly to it. Eel is on his way right now to meet up with the Police Chief to discuss the issue.”
“It’s not bullshit. Don’t believe me, Hub Chemicals.”
“The chief has been straight his entire career.”
“You and I both know they are pushing him out. Calling it retirement. And cutting his pension in half to save money to the city. I almost don’t blame him. This city is a cesspool.”
She slowly brings the weapon up to her lap. She gets a good grip on it and then spins around, aiming her pistol, but there’s no one in the back seat. The back door is ajar. She sighs, “That little prick…”
Inside Hub Chemicals, Eel O’Brien is meeting with the Chief of Police. This plant can hardly be considered safe, but it has been vacant for years. It’s the perfect place to meet, considering no one dares go inside for fear of what may have been left behind when it was abandoned. Other than the low-level red lighting, it’s pretty dark inside.
“Look, I’ll put a couple of guys on it and see what we can find out.”
Eel doesn’t seem convinced, “These assholes aren’t yours? You trying to get rid of me? ‘Cause I feel like I’ve been pretty easy to deal with here. You want some unknown to come in here and start putting the fucking screws to you?”
The chief shakes his head, “I’m not squeezing you out. Until you just told me, I had no idea these guys even existed. I don’t need this city turning into the wild west. We have a good thing going on here and I’m not going to be the one to mess that up. I’m a year and a half to retirement and I need this nest egg.”
Meanwhile, outside the plant, Renee Montoya’s car pulls up. From the driver’s seat, she peers up at the ominous structure of metal. There doesn’t appear to be anyone inside. There are no lights that she can see. No cars parked nearby.
But then again, something doesn’t seem right.
Then she sees it.
The chain that secures the gate is unlocked.
Sheila is swiping away on her phone as the other two talk amongst themselves. She’s supposed to be looking out, but obviously whatever is happening on Instagram is more important. She glances up briefly and sees that Montoya is looking at the unfastened chain on the gate and she rushes inside.
“Not now, Sheila! I told you to stand watch.”
“I am standing watching! Someone’s coming inside. It’s a lady. Maybe a cop.”
Eel turns to the police chief, “One of yours?”
“Goddamn it. Come with me.”
The three of them take the stairs up to the scaffolding level of the plant. From there one can see the open vats of whatever liquid seems to remain inside. It’s then that they see the flashlight sweeping near the entry.
The beam of light moves around the near-empty plant as Montoya sweeps the area with her flashlight.
“Hello?” she calls out. “I’m with the Hub City Police Department.”
Suddenly, all the lights come on as if someone just flipped up the main breaker, turning everything back on. Somewhere in the plant, a radio comes on, tuned to a radio station playing 70s rock music over the loud system. Up on the scaffolding, the three up top begin to run along the scaffold moving away from the detective, but the metal is so loud that she looks up and sees them.
Montoya scales the stairs and sees them on the other side. “Freeze!” she yells out. The chief turns around. “You heard her. Freeze.”
“What are you doing?” asks Eel.
“Saving my ass,” the chief says under his breath.
“You fucker,” Eel says as he lunges for the chief, but as he does, he inadvertently bumps into Sheila, sending her over the rail. She starts to fall and manages to catch herself with one hand on the scaffolding as Eel and the Chief wrestle, she begins to scream.
Eel gives the Police Chief a punch right to the face, knocking him out. He turns to Sheila and starts to help but then he sees Montoya coming after them. He pauses for a moment to consider helping his girl or getting the hell out of here.
As her fingers continue to slip, Sheila’s screams get louder as she yells for Eel to help her. He just looks down at her, “Sorry.” As he makes a run for it. Montoya hurries over and as she drops down to grab at Sheila’s hand, her fingers finally slip-free and as she squeals, she falls into the vat of liquid below.
Montoya feels for the woman, but there’s really nothing she can do as she watches the bubbles stop coming to the surface. She turns to the chief and hurries over, giving him a shake. “What in the hell, Chief? What were you doing here?” She starts to call for an ambulance, but he stops her. “I’m fine. I had chased him in here.”
She didn’t buy it, not one bit. But the other question she had was who turned on the power to the plant. To be honest, she feels like she already knew.
Outside, as Eel runs from the plant, he isn’t alone as The Question stays on his tail.
A few moments later, Montoya is helping the chief into her car and shortly after, she drives away.
Meanwhile, inside the plant, a loud banging noise is heard. It gets louder and louder as the camera follows the noise to the vat that Sheila had fallen into. As the camera pans to over the top of the vat, a hand shoots out of the liquid and clamps onto the metal top. The hand doesn’t look like flesh any longer but almost looks as if it were made of rock.
Vic enters the home of Aristotle Rodor and announces himself, “I’m here!”
“I’m in the lab!”
Vic walks through the home until he gets to the rear of it and walks into Rodor’s lab. “You wanted to see me?”
“Let me have that belt,” he says as he walks over to his safe and begins to open it up.
Curious, Vic unfastens his belt and pulls it through the loops of his pants. “What is this? A better belt?”
“You could say that,” Rodor responds as he finally gets the safe open. He takes the belt from Vic and places it inside the safe and then pulls out a small box. “I’ve decided that we need to get with the times and I have created you something that is a little fancier.”
He closes the safe and spins the dial before walking over, “Last thing I need is for this tech to get into the wrong hands.” He reaches for the small box and pops it open. Inside he retrieves a watch and offers it over, “I’ve created this smartwatch for you. In addition to all the typical features of a smartwatch, it also releases the gas for the mask, has GPS just in case you get into any trouble and,” he says, digging into the box again and pulling out an earpiece, “This will allow you to communicate with me. It’s already linked to the watch.”
Sage seems taken aback, “This is amazing. Thank you. I didn’t even know you were working on something like this. It’s definitely more convenient. But, I do have one more question…”
Rodor sits back down at his desk and looks up curiously, “Yes?”
“How’m I supposed to keep my pants up now?”
After taking the Chief to the hospital to ensure he was okay, Renee Montoya reported the death of Sheila Sorrell and sent for a hazmat team to fish her out of that toxic waste, but was basically told the city didn’t have anyone equipped to handle that.
She knew deep down that the Chief was full of shit. The problem was that she was a detective and he was the Chief of Police. In order to bring him down, she was going to need some evidence, absolutely. She also had to contend with the fact that he wants her to bring in The Question who seems to want to help.
She was exhausted. Daylight was breaking and she needed sleep. The first thing was first. Rest, then she will do what the city expects her to do. Solve crimes.
Eel rushes into the hideout. He glances around and sees no one else is around and he plops down into his chair. “Maybe it’s time to ice the Chief,” he mutters to himself as he looks around, almost paranoid. Deep down, Eel could understand the situation. Shit, he did the same thing himself.
Poor Sheila. She was his best girl.
Eel stood back up and began to pace. “Not the Chief. That lady cop, she needs to go,” he says as his eyes seem to brighten with an idea. He reaches for his cell phone and shoots off a message as the door to the hideout opens up and Dragon and Deathbolt enter.
“Look, Eel,” Deathbolt begins, “We can’t find that stuff…”
Eel just raises his hand for a moment, “I don’t care about that anymore. We got bigger problems.”
Dragon is looking around and notices something missing, “Where’s Sheila?”
“Gone. She didn’t make it,” Eel says as he shakes his head, “I did my best, but she was,” he starts to say, trying to think of the best way to say this and then it hits him, “She was killed by a lady cop.”
Deathbolt and Dragon look at each other for a moment, then back to Eel, “What lady cop?” asks Dragon.
The sound coming from Eel’s cell phone causes him to ignore the question for a moment as he looks at the screen. He then shows it to the both of them, “This lady cop.”
On the screen of his cell phone is a picture of Renee Montoya and her name underneath.
In the mayor’s office, Mayor Fermin is sitting at his desk on a phone call. He slams it down, “Everything is fucked!” he yells and pushes the phone off the desk and it crashes into the floor.
“Trouble?” asks a familiar voice. We see that it’s Lady Shiva, standing idly by, her eyes on the television, though the volume has been muted.
“It’s bad enough we got vigilantes roaming our streets, but goddamnit, now we got a fucking detective trying to play the hero.”
“I can handle her, but you know my price.”
Fermin waves her off, “Eel is taking care of her. But, why haven’t you taken out that vigilante yet?”
“Patience,” she says softly, though her eyes do not move from the giant TV screen in front of her. “His time has not yet come, but it is coming. Do not worry, I know exactly who he is and where to find him.”
The mayor narrows his eyes, “You know the identity of this vigilante?”
He rises from his desk, “Tell me who he is? I’ll pay you anything!”
She raises her eyes, curious and turns to face him. “I am not a private investigator. I am an assassin. I do not get paid for information. I get paid to eliminate problems. Your problem will soon be eliminated.”
Lady Shiva brushes past him and slips out the door. He tries to run after her but as he opens the door, she is nowhere to be seen. “Goddammit!” he mutters as he walks over to his desk and reaches for his bottle of scotch.
The knocking on the door causes Vic Sage to look down at his new smartwatch to check the time. He rises from his seat to go answer the door to find Myra Fermin standing there. She leans in to peck him on the cheek as he grins in amusement, as she brushes past him and enters the apartment.
“What brings you here?” he asks.
She walks over and sits on the couch, “He has meetings all night, it seems. He never misses me when I’m gone.”
Vic laughs, “I find that hard to believe.”
She touches her nose, “Of course you do.”
He walks over and pulls out a bottle of wine. He doesn’t ask, just pours two glasses and walks over to sit down next to her. “What’s the good word?”
She reaches for her glass and settles it on her lap, “Are you asking as an investigative journalist or as my lover?”
He takes almost too long to answer that question, so she nudges him in the side with her elbow. “Ass. That detective you asked me to look into? What was that all about? Do I have competition?”
Vic gives her a hearty laugh. “There’s never been competition as far as you’re concerned.” He watches her roll her eyes, “I hear she’s been assigned to track down the city’s vigilante. I just wanted to know if she was going to arrest him or kill him.”
Myra lifts the glass to her lips and takes a swallow of the wine. “I see. As far as I can determine, she is legit. Her name hasn’t been spoken while I’m around.”
Vic nods his head, “Well, I guess we will see if she can bring him in.” He sets his glass down on the coffee table, “Staying all night?”
She grins over at him, “Depends on what you are proposing…” she teases.
“Nothing heinous, I assure you.”
She shakes her head, “That’s disappointing,” which causes him to laugh as he rises up and pulls her to her feet and leads her into the bedroom.
Renee Montoya lies in her bed, tossing and turning as her mind keeps her brain preoccupied with current events. She has come to realize that the Chief of Police, her boss, is corrupt. Now, she lies there wondering just how high this corrupt scandal goes.
She rolls over and reaches for the remote on her nightstand and points it towards the television and it flickers on, lighting up the room. She navigates to her DVR and turns on the news, fast forwarding to Vic Sage’s segment.
“I have it on good authority that this corruption may lead as high as the Chief of Police and maybe even higher. As I promised when I first began this job, I plan to speak the truth and uncover the unjust taking place within our city. Those you entrusted to serve your interests are only serving their own. Tomorrow night, I will air significant footage that proves just how corrupt the city’s government has become. This is Vic Sage.”
She flicks the TV off and lies back against the headboard. “Does he really have evidence?”
“I don’t care what you have to do, find her!” the Mayor is screaming into his phone. “If she doesn’t get to him before that newscast airs tomorrow, we are all done. And what in the fuck is this evidence he claims to have? What do you know?”
He apparently doesn’t care for the answer and slams the phone down on his desk. A scan about the room finds his scotch glass embedded into the television set as he picks up the phone, “Gladys, I need a new television.”
Eel sets down his cell phone, having just got an earful from the Mayor. “He’s pissed at you,” he says over to Lady Shiva.
“That doesn’t concern me.”
“You gonna let Sage go on the air tomorrow?”
“He will not make his appearance. His time is slowly coming to an end.”
Eel doesn’t seem to be convinced, “Why are you stalling, lady? It’s obvious you can just snuff him out whenever you like. What’s the fucking deal here?”
She considers his question, “The time has not come.”
“Well, that doesn’t tell me jack shit, lady. But, if he makes that broadcast, we are all done for, you hear me?”
A slight smile appears on her face, just barely. “That doesn’t concern me. Whatever evidence he may have, doesn’t implicate me in the slightest. If you think you can do a better job getting rid of him, then you should have done so already. In my line of work, timing is everything.”
It’s late at night, most of the buildings in the area of Hub Chemical have gone dark for the night. It’s one of the areas in the city that has been neglected since the plant shut down. Whatever streetlights do remain, flicker on and off all night long.
The sound of something scraping along the ground is heard, as well as a deep guttural groan. As we look at the locked, gated entrance to the chemical plant, the gate is suddenly rocked completely off its hinges as the metal crashes across the street.
Slowly stepping into view is the monstrous form of Sheila Sorrell. Her clothing has been tinted a green-blue color as has her hair. Her skin is what’s most noticeable as it appears to have turned to stone. As she walks out of the gate, her left foot seems to drag behind her.
She walks toward the camera, her stone fingers flexing, scraping against each other as she disappears out of view, her gravelly voice can be heard calling out, “Eel. Eel. Eel.”
On top of a rooftop, the wind is picking up as Lady Shiva looks on. The wind begins to blow harder as her hair whips to the side but she remains stoic as she looks straight ahead.
We finally see the direction that she is looking is right into the window of the apartment belonging to Vic Sage. She doesn’t move, just stares and as we get a glimpse of her face, the corner of her lips curl up into a slight grin as her cell phone begins to ring.
She slowly pulls it out and places it against her ear.
She listens as someone else speaks on the other end. Finally, after a long moment, she answers, “I understand. It will be done.”
As she returns the phone to her jacket pocket, the camera pans back, looking down on her at the roof.
We see a shot of Vic Sage, fast asleep next to Myra Fermin.
We see a shot of Renee Montoya, finally asleep.
We cut to the entrance in an alleyway as the scraping sound from earlier is heard and stony Sheila Sorrell walks into view and stands in front of the door. With a single kick, the door flies off the hinges and she walks into the doorway.
Inside Dragon and Deathbolt have been startled away as they scramble for guns and point them towards the door. It’s Dragon who notices first, “Sheila?”
We view again from the alley as she is standing in the door. She takes a few more steps inside, disappearing from view as we hear the voices of Dragon and Deathbolt as they begin to plead with her as the scene fades out.
TO BE CONTINUED
VIC SAGE/THE QUESTION Kendrick Kross
RENEE MONTOYA Mariah Lopez-Robinson
MYRA FERMIN Samantha Hamilton
ARISTOTLE RODOR Jan Van Der Roost
LADY SHIVA Q
CHIEF OF POLICE Bruce McLeod
EEL O’BRIEN Shawn Warstein
DRAGON Kira Izumi
DEATHBOLT Lex Collins
SHEILA SORRELL Kenzie Garrett