We open with Renee Montoya draped over the fallen body of Vic Sage.
“Don’t you fucking die…” she demands as she shakes him.
He slowly moves an arm and touches the smartwatch at his wrist as a cloud forms around them. With that same hand, he reaches up and removes the mask from his face.
Renee’s eyes go wide, “Vic Sage? Oh my God, that the fuck?”
“Just.. don’t,” he mutters under his breath. “I… knew… this was coming. Take the watch.” He taps another button on the screen and the screen on the watch turns red. “Take the mask. Take the earpiece.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re in danger. It’s a frame. Take them and go far away. Someone will come for you,” he breathes out.
“Someone? What someone?”
“Trust me this one time.”
Renee slowly reaches for the watch.
Sirens are getting closer to the alley as Montoya has tucked away the items requested of her. She reaches for his hand, “Why? Why did you do all of this?”
Vic Sage offers a small smile, “Someone had to. No one else would do it.”
He gives her hand a squeeze and as the sirens get closer and closer, red and blue lights begin to flash at the entrance of the alley. Finally, his hand goes limp in her as her eyes tear up. She knows there’s no way out of this so she gets up on her knees and places her hands behind her head.
Suddenly, something swoops down and snatches her off the ground and they go flying into the air. Renee starts to yell, but a woman’s voice tells her, “Quiet.”
They land on a roof nearby. The woman is wearing a black outfit from head to toe with some yellow trim and a hood. She pulls the hood down to reveal she’s wearing a black mask over her face.
“Thank you…” Renee starts to say but she’s cut off as the woman in black tells her to simply, “Run.”
“Who are you?”
The woman taps her chest, “Orphan,” then she points to Renee. “Run.” With that, Orphan runs and leaps off the rooftop and shoots a line across, and swings out of sight.
As night turns to day, we see Renee on a boat as it sails away from Hub City.
ONE YEAR LATER
My name is Renee Montoya. It’s been one year since the death of Vic Sage. One year since the entire political structure of Hub City was dismantled by the FBI thanks to the investigative work of Sage.
Surely, Mayor Fermin must be holding some sort of celebration in his honor on the anniversary of his death. I wouldn’t know. You see, I’ve been on this island for a year. I’m here because I am wanted for the murder of Vic Sage.
I didn’t do it, of course. But at some point, I will return and clear my name. Until then, I will prepare myself.
The scene opens up and we see the ocean and as the camera pans back, we see the sand and a figure sitting cross-legged as if in meditation. She wears a POLICE ball cap on her head.
For the past year, I have been learning a special martial arts technique by a specialist recommended by Aristotle Rodor. It has been hard, but I can feel the change inside of me. It will soon be time, however, for me to return to clear my name.
“Renee!” comes the voice of Rodor from the cabin.
JAN VAN DER ROOST
Montoya opens her eyes. She rises to her feet and dusts herself off before heading inside. As she pulls open the screen door and steps inside, it doesn’t look like a vacation home you would rent for the weekend, but more like a laboratory. It’s full of beakers, test tubes and electronic equipment.
“I think I finally have it.”
Rodor has been working on a new mask. He was the original creator of the faceless mask that Sage wore. The fabric he used was a special synthetic material that mixed with a chemical mixed into Vic’s cologne, sealed the fabric to his face. Rodor originally invented this fabric for military purposes but when he realized it was not going to be used in a positive way, he escaped with all his data and hunted down Vic Sage, rescued him and the two worked together to create The Question.
“Are you sure this time? Last time you nearly separated my skin from my face.”
Rodor looks up and looks apologetic, “Sorry about that. I wanted to find a way to make this work without the use of a chemical. Instead of using a chemical bonding agent to secure the mask, I threaded in nano-technology that will respond to a command given by the smartwatch. Give it a try.”
Renee doesn’t seem keen on having little robots attached to her face, “You go first,” she tells him with a grin.
GUEST STARRING: DRAKE CONNORS
Rodor rolls his eyes. “Fine.” He places the material against his face and presses a button on the smartwatch and the material seems to grab on and form to the shape of his face. “I can see. I can breathe. You can hear me. The nano-technology will hold until you give the command to release. I’m trying to work out a way to voice activate it as well to make it a little easier.”
GUEST STARRING: ALEX CARBAJAL
He presses the screen to the smartwatch and the fabric falls from his face to the table. “Just like that.”
Just in case you are lost, Rodor is here to help me become The Question. I cannot return to Hub City as Renee Montoya, a disgraced police detective. I can only return as someone else and that someone is going to have to be The Question. Unfortunately, I will have to take a detour.
GUEST STARRING: AMY HARRISON
Rodor walks over to his printer and takes a small stack off of it and hands it to Renee. “There are rumblings of movement recently. Missing persons. Lots of missing persons. I believe the movement, if you’ll pardon the pun, is on the move. Vic was looking into this before everything went down. He was very big on believing that most conspiracy theories are real and he was certain this was about to become a big thing. According to the “Crime Bible”…”
“The Crime Bible?”
“There is a cult out there that believes that crime is a religion. Most religions have some type of book that they follow. The Bible, the Torah, so forth and so on. The religion of crime follows the Book of the Blood or as it is also known as The Crime Bible. According to their doctrine, 2020 is the year of emergence. Sage believed they would be making their move this year. I wouldn’t ask you, except that I believe you are ready to take his place. You’ve worked hard. We have everything in place. No one else takes this seriously.”
Renee wonders if she is ready as she considers it. After a long pause, she looks up at him, “Where do we start?”
CRIME BIBLE: BLOOD AND LUST
“By my fist, bone is made into power. By my will, your blood will lubricate my path.”
The scene opens with someone wrapping their hands in white tape as a boxer would. The voice is male who speaks almost as if chanting. The man stands and we see he’s wearing only loose sweatpants, no shirt. He walks over to where a row of heavy punching bags are lined up, hanging from a chain that runs from wall to wall.
“I am the weapon waiting to be drawn.”
He begins to punch, elbow, kick, and knee these hanging bags. However, with each strike, there is a muffled scream heard.
“I am the tool of sin.”
He finishes his workout, the bags are now soiled in blood. His fists are also covered in blood. He begins to unwrap the tape as sweat drips down from his brow.
The chain is loosened and the bags fall to the floor. Several men walk over and begin to loosen the bags and one by one, bodies are pulled from inside the bag, bloody, broken, deceased. They are slowly carried from the room one by one.
“I am the rage and I am the pride. I am the lust and I am the greed. I am the envy and I am the hate.”
He stands up and walks out of the room. He steps up some stairs and walks out onto the deck of the boat. We see dead bodies are being cast into the ocean to be fed to whatever may devour them in the large body of water as he continues to chant.
“I am the rock stained red with man’s blood. Unto Cain!”
Suddenly, at those last two words, the others stand up straight and yell, “Unto Cain!” and then go back to their business.
“Now I am called forth to be his hands. Sister Shard leads until I return. She will seek the vilest perfection in all of you. The same as I would.”
A muffled groan is heard coming from the stack of broken bodies still waiting to be tossed into the ocean. The man points and a couple of minions scurry over to find the source of the sound and find a man still alive.
They drag him over to their leader who grabs the broken man on both sides of his face. A slight grin crosses the face of Sister Shard who steps up to the leader. She nods her head, “As you wish, Brother Flay.”
As we watch the amused face of Sister Shard, a grunt from Flay and the sound of something cracking before a squish is heard. Blood splatter strikes Shard’s face which causes her even more amusement as her smile widens.
Flay drops the body as it crumbles to the deck of the boat and is hauled back towards the rest of the bodies. Shard doesn’t bother to wipe the blood from her face as she addresses him. “Flay. I have concerns. If we believe the scriptures then we must also believe the parable of the faceless.”
Flay turns his back on her, “You are a monk of the stone, Shard. Not some perfumed daughter harlot of Lilith who offers up prophecies while moaning on her back. I will go forward and do the work required. What happens will be as I direct it and nothing more.”
He turns back to her and they kiss. As the kiss is broken, she says to him. “Go in sin, Flay.”
We see the sign that welcomes us to London. Rain is pouring down onto the streets. Deeper into the city, we see Flay walking in the rain with only a jacket, no umbrella as the rain pours down upon him as he walks down the street.
He seems to be following someone as he stops when they walk up the steps to a home and inserts a key into the door. The man opens the door, “Giselle? Still awake?”
A female voice is heard as he steps inside, “In the kitchen, but please keep your voice down. Antony has finally fallen asleep.” The door shuts and Flay creeps into view.
Meanwhile, in another part of London, a flashlight scans a room full of books. We see that Renee Montoya has donned the mask of The Question and is searching the room. She removes some paper from on top of the desk and finds a box underneath.
She slowly lifts the lid of the box and it makes a soft creaking noise. Suddenly the door opens and lights come on as a security guard steps into the room, “Who is here?”
He looks around, confused as he could have sworn he saw someone in here but it appears to be empty. Behind him, we see The Question standing. He reaches for the light, flicking it off again and as he turns around, she is gone.
The next morning, the sun is out and Giselle has taken Antony to the park.
“Duck!” Antony cries out.
A nervous-looking Giselle nods, “We will go see the ducks, I promise. I just need you to let mama make this stop first.”
Suddenly, the boy breaks free of his mother’s grip and runs on ahead. “Antony!” she cries after him.
“Running, mama!” and then he runs smack dab into the leg of Flay who is standing in the way. He looks down at the child, “You should listen to your mother, boy…”
Renee Montoya walks across a bridge and steps in front of a knife shop. The sign reads ‘By Special Appointment Only’. She stops and stares at the collection of knives displayed in the window before walking into the store, the bell alerting staff of someone’s arrival.
“Good afternoon! May I assist you?”
Renee walks up to the counter, “I am hoping so.”
Later that evening, Giselle walked into the room with Antony, “He’s finished with his bath. Can you read him a story? He keeps asking for the train book. I told him he would have to ask you, but he seems very tired, so probably won’t last very long, Charles.”
Charles is watching her, an almost possessed look on his face. As he raises his hand, we see him holding a pair of scissors.
“If you can get him to sleep early, perhaps we can have some alone time ourselves,” she continues.
“That would be nice.” he says as he raises the scissors high over his unsuspecting wife.
Suddenly a voice rings out, “You’re really a believer, aren’t you?”
Charles spins around to face the voice of The Question. His eyes go wide at her appearance. “The faceless!” Giselle spins around as well, “What’s going on?”
“Since we’re introducing ourselves, you are Charles Keaton. Author of a book that debunks the religion of crime but in actuality, you introduce key phrases into the book as a means to deliver your message to as many as possible. Now to create a scandal to increase sales, such as murdering your wife and your son.”
Keaton charges at her with the knife, but he has no skill against her. He is quickly disarmed of his weapon. She continues, “The scissors are a nice touch. Weren’t Peter Kurten’s victims also stabbed with scissors? He committed all murders in the name of the religion of crime. Whether you’re caught or not, you blame it on the religion. Sell more copies. Spread the message far and wide.”
“As I said, you’re a true believer.”
Suddenly, from behind Flay appears as he tries to kick her, but she blocks the move and several after.
“You see much, faceless,” says Flay as he strikes out at her once again, “yet, understand so little.”
The Question flips backward and strikes Flay under the chin, staggering him back. “Don’t I know it.”
Giselle crawls away from the action, “Charles!”
Charles is also backing away from the fighters, “It’s all wrong. All of it!”
Flay continues to battle, hitting The Question and sending her over a decorative table. “You hear the word, but resist its call.”
Giselle turns her head to the side catching a glimpse of the scissors that have fallen.
The Question leaps to her feet and kicks the table into the legs of Flay, staggering him backward. “I know enough to know that you belong to the Order of the Stone.”
Giselle reaches for the scissors.
Flay strikes down at the table, shattering it, “As you are also destined to be.”
As The Question and Flay stand off again, she quips, “I’d never join a club that would have me as a member.”
Flay is not amused, “You sin and your claim is to modesty? You have looked upon the red rock, bathed in the blood that soaks it.” They charge each other at the same time, Question kicking high and Flay kicking low and they both miss each other, but Flay is a bit quicker as he strikes her in the jaw.
Giselle raises the scissors this time, high in the air.
“Deceit, lust, greed, murder.” As they continue fighting. Flay then announces, “Now, Giselle.”
She screams, “This crime I render unto Cain!” and drives the scissors repeated into the back of her husband as he cries out in pain and falls to the ground, blood pouring out his back.
As Flay holds The Question at bay, he cries, “And now your son! Go!”
She makes a dash across the living room with the bloody scissors in hand.
“Oh, fuck no,” says The Question as she drives a knee right into Flay’s groin. She runs past him as she sees Giselle running up the stairs towards her son’s room. “Giselle! Stop!”
Inside the room, the child has sat up in his bed at the commotion and sees his mother running into his room covered in blood with scissors raised high. “Momma?”
She looks at him with a deranged look as she gets closer. She raises the scissors a little higher, ready to plunge them into her son when a hand grabs her wrist. “He’s your son!”
Struggling, Giselle responds, “And thus I shall give his blood to Cain!”
Having no other choice, The Question twists Giselle’s arm and it snaps, “No. You won’t.” The scissors fall to the carpeted floor as Giselle screams out in pain.
The Question takes the child into her arms as Giselle and her deformed arm scoot back against the wall.
Downstairs, the front door is open and Charles is lying on the floor dead.
Red flashing lights are outside of Charles and Giselle’s home. Charles is wheeled out and placed into the back of an emergency vehicle. Giselle is lead out, arm in a sling. A social worker carries out Antony. From a distance, Renee Montoya is watching.
“I should have seen that.” She’s obviously angry with herself, “I could’ve stopped it.”
Further down the road, Flay is watching Renee. He heard her talking to herself and responds softly to himself, “Liar.”
MARYLAND – ONE WEEK LATER
Renee Montoya seems to be at some sort of fancy party. Everyone seems to be dressed in their very best. It was a risk returning to the United States but the trail of the Crime of Religion leads here according to Rodor.
“Renee Vasquez? I’m Abigail. This is my home.” The woman approaching Renee is actually Sister Shard. “Your referral from…”
“Isabella Cordoba, from Barcelona.”
“Right, Ms. Cordoba. Everything checked out. Welcome.” Shard reaches for a couple of glasses of champagne as the server walks by and hands one to Renee, “You’re with the state?”
Renee shakes her head, accepting the glass, “Foreign service. FS-6.”
Shard nods her head, “Madrid.”
“Yes. I was at the consulate.”
Shard clinks her glass against Renee’s, “Oh, of course. Well, if you’re familiar with the house in Barcelona then you’ve done all this before. Let’s see if we have what you’re looking for.”
They begin to walk through the crowd of people together, Renee is looking around, “I don’t know. This is quite a bit fancier than the house in Barcelona. Not sure I can afford it if I’m completely honest.
They walk through a doorway and down a long hallway, “You don’t need to worry. Civil service has its perks. And believe me, you’ll find us far more accommodating than Isabella in Barcelona. Have you seen anything you like?”
Renee almost seems nervous, “I was just thinking I’d just spend tonight…” her eyes wander and pause on something, “… looking around, you know and… Um…”
We finally see who she is looking at as a young blonde is sitting on a table speaking with someone. Renee has stopped talking altogether and Shard doesn’t fail to notice.
“Ah. Elicia. She is quite exquisite, don’t you think? Believe it or not, you are just her type.”
As she says that, Elicia turns her head and makes eye contact with Renee.
A door opens to a room, sending a little light into it. The look of the screen tells us that it’s on some sort of monitor as if there were a camera in the room.
The light comes on inside as Elicia turns on the switch, “You can hang your jacket in the closet, if you like. If you need another drink or anything, just let me know and I can call down for you.”
We move away from the monitor view and into the room as Renee walks in behind Elicia holding her champagne glass, “Still working on this one, but thanks.”
“I’m here to fulfill all of your desires, so do not hesitate to ask if there’s anything you need.”
Renee hangs her jacket on the chair and shakes her head, turning back to Elicia, “Really, I’m good for now.”
Renee turns her back to Elicia and looks at a painting on the wall as Elicia continues to speak, “A lot of first-timers like to start with a massage, something to break the ice. I’m trained. We could start with that, if you like?” Elicia seems to be trying very hard here to get Renee to relax.
Renee continues to keep her gaze elsewhere, “I’m good. Thanks.”
Elicia is starting to get a little flustered at being rebuffed, “Renee. Tell me. What do you want?” She drops her jacket to the floor, wearing lingerie underneath.
Renee turns at her name being called and her eyes go wide.
“There has to be something I can do to make you happy.”
Renee’s eyes linger for a few moments, then she turns away, “I’m just a little nervous, I guess.”
Elicia smiles at her, “Such a beautiful woman like you? You don’t have to worry. You don’t have to hide who you are from me.” Elicia sits down on the couch behind her and crosses one leg over the other. “Come sit.” She pats the ottoman in front of her.
Renee chews on her lip and then turns around and sits down in front of Elicia who then reaches out and begins to massage her shoulders. “Oh, that feels so good,” she murmurs under her breath.
“I’m sure it does. Lean back, your shoulders are as hard as a rock. Were you in an accident or something?
Renee opens her palm away from Elicia’s view and a little pill rolls out of her sleeve and into her hand. She drops the pill into the champagne glass. “Nothing like that.”
“It’s like working on the shoulders of a prizefighter,” Elicia comments, “There’s got to be some way to get you to relax.” Once the pill dissolves, Renee takes a drink. “Perhaps we can…”
Suddenly, Renee pulls away and leans over the edge of the couch and retches, as we hear her puke splatter onto the carpet. Elicia’s eyes go wide. “Oh my god! Are you okay?”
Renee sits up, wiping at her mouth, “I… I made a mess on the carpet…”
Elicia is up quickly and heading to the door, “Don’t worry. I’ll have that taken care of. Wait here and I’ll be right back.”
As soon as Elicia leaves the room, we see that Renee’s nervousness was just an act as she gets a more serious look on her face.
We go back to the monitor view of her sitting on the couch and then suddenly, static hits the screen, and then the screen goes out completely.
Back inside the room, Renee places the mask on her face and hits the button on her smartwatch and the mask fastens itself to her face. She walks to the door, peeks around the corner and heads out.
She walks down the hall and pauses at each door and then stops when she hears some voices. She can only make out a few words for each phrase spoken.
Then she hears voices down the hall and looks for a place to hide and as she leans against the wall a door opens and she ducks inside.
The scene opens, we are looking inside one of the rooms in this house. As we pan back, we see there’s a window there and a camera on a tripod aimed into the room.
The Question sees “Abigail” inside the room with a man and another woman who is just buttoning up her shirt.
“I could give a fuck about your pictures or your video. Send them to my wife, I don’t care. I won’t be blackmailed.”
Though the voices are muffled, the words can be made out.
“I could do that, I suppose. Or, I could send a copy to General Park and let him know just how seriously you take the military’s morals clause found in the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.”
Shard then takes the pictures she has in her hands and tears them in half. “But I won’t. Ruining you is the furthest desire in my heart, Colonel.”
The Colonel smirks, “And what is it you expect from me for this piece of bullshit charity?”
She hands the torn pictures to him, “Just your patronage to our establishment. I delight in seeing you arrive. I want the continued satisfaction of seeing that your every desire is met.”
Now the Colonel is confused, “I don’t get it.”
Shard sits down on the bed next to the Colonel, who is now between the two women. “You’ve only tasted a sampling of what we can offer you. There’s an entire feast waiting. There is nothing, absolutely nothing we cannot offer you.”
The brunette on the other side, reaches to turn the Colonel’s face towards her and as the two begin to make out, we see The Question watching on from inside the hidden room.
A few days later, Renee has returned to the house.
“I was afraid we wouldn’t see you again after you disappeared last night.”
Shard and Elicia are standing next to each other facing Renee who appears to be embarrassed, “I was just feeling ashamed to need… well, you know. After puking on the floor.”
In Elicia’s room, Elicia is lying on her side on the bed in different lingerie while Renee sits on the edge of the bed.
“Pretend I don’t understand why you came back,” Elicia asks.
Renee looks down at her champagne glass, “You want me to say it? Fine. I came back to see you.”
“Am I a doll that you come to look at?”
“I just like spending time with you.”
“Now you’re being evasive.”
Elicia moves in closer to Renee, “We could be doing so much more.”
Renee shakes her head, “No.”
Elicia sits up and reaches for Renee’s hand, “You know you want to do more.”
Renee doesn’t pull her hand away, “Maybe wanting is enough for me.”
We see Shard looking in on the room and she doesn’t look happy.
A couple of weeks later, Renee returns to the house and Shard approaches. “We’ve missed you.”
Renee smiles, “Out of town. Work.”
Renee is looking around, “I was looking for Elicia…”
Shard shakes her head, “I’m afraid she’s with another guest tonight. But Taylor here is available,” a redhead walks up and is presented to Renee.
Renee shakes her head, “If you don’t mind, I’ll wait.”
Shard nods her head, “It could be a while.”
“I’ll wait.” Renee takes a seat.
Shard turns away, a big grin crossing her face.
A couple of weeks later, Shard is sitting in her office when Elicia steps into the doorway, “Miss Abigail? You asked for me?” Elicia is dressed in a t-shirt and jeans as it’s the middle of the day.
“I wanted to inquire about one of your regulars. Renee. She’s been here eight times and not once have you gotten anywhere with her. Either she has remarkable self-control or you are not doing your job.”
Shocked at the accusation, Elicia steps closer, “I try every week to make progress with her, but she just will not.”
“Are you repulsed by her?”
“Not at all! Just the exact opposite, in fact.”
Shard narrows her eyes, “Do you want her?”
Elicia crosses her arms in front of her, “I desperately want her. She’s all I think about…” she stops herself.
“You have feelings for her then.”
Elicia drops her head, “Yes, ma’am.”
“It certainly seems she may have feelings for her. You do remember the scripture, do you not?” Shard asks, “What you name virtue, I call weakness. For you lust heartily but have not strength nor courage enough to act.”
Elicia responds, “Thus is her word.”
Suddenly, Shard backhands her hard right across the face, sending Elicia to the ground, then repeats, “Thus is her word.”
Later that evening, Renee enters Elicia’s room, “I thought I’d have someone bring me up instead of making you come down…”
Elicia is sitting on the bed in her lingerie. On her face is a large bruise from where she was struck earlier in the day. Elicia gets to her feet and walks over and kisses Renee, hard.
After a moment, Renee pushes Elicia back from her, “Slow down…”
Elicia interrupts, desperately pleading, “Make love to me.”
“Please! I can’t wait anymore! I want you so much!” She tries to reach for Renee again but Renee grabs her wrists.
“Just slow down.” She then sees the bruise on her face, “Elicia. Who did this?”
As Renee inspects the bruise, Elicia whispers, “It’s nothing…”
Renee gets serious, “Tell me who hit you, Elicia. Now.”
Elicia puts her arms around Renee and hugs her to her and whispers into her ear, “She did. You don’t understand. They have been watching. They always watch.” Elicia places a hand on the side of Renee’s face, making it look as if she’s kissing the side of her face, “If we don’t do it, she will know.”
Elicia moves her mouth down to Renee’s neck, “I have to keep you here tonight.”
“Why tonight?” Renee whispers back.
“There’s an initiation. It’s why you keep coming here, because of what they do here, right?” She pulls back and now their lips are just barely apart. “You don’t want me. You never did.” Elicia pulls further away, hurt in her eyes.
“You’re wrong.” Renee moves in and kisses Elicia on the neck. We see they are being watched on a screen somewhere as we look at Flay, who is watching them, the light of the monitor flickering against his face.
Over the speaker, we hear Elicia beg, “More…” as Flay continues to watch, a sly grin spreading across his face.
TO BE CONTINUED
RENEE MONTOYA/THE QUESTION Mariah Lopez-Robinson
MYRA FERMIN Samantha Hamilton
ARISTOTLE RODOR Jan Van Der Roost
FLAY Drake Connors
SHARD Alex Carbajal
ELICIA Amy Harrison