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|Genesis||IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS THE WORD. / Um, hello? / AND THE WORD WAS THE AUTHOR. / I'm ready to start my comic now. / THE PAGE WAS WITHOUT SHAPE OR LINE, A FEATURELESS VOID FILLED ONLY WITH POTENTIAL. / *Ahem.* / AND THE AUTHOR SAID: / Let there be art. / AND FROM HIS PENCIL FLOWED A PLETHORA OF LINE AND SHADE, FORMING THE STRUCTURE THAT WAS TO BECOME THIS UNIVERSE. AND HE SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD. / Sweeeeet. / AND THE AUTHOR OUTLINED IT IN INK, AND SAW THAT IT WAS EVEN BETTER. HE HAD NOT APPLIED COLOR YET, BUT HE WAS PLANNING TO IN THE NEAR FUTURE, AND, OVERALL, HE FELT THAT, AT THE TIME, THIS WOULD DO. / Man, I hope this doesn't come off as too pretentious. / THE RUDIMENTARY ELEMENTS OF HIS UNIVERSE HAD BEEN CREATED, OR WERE ABOUT TO BE, AND SOON EVERYTHING WAS IN ORDER. NOW ALL HE NEEDED WAS A STORY. / Well, here goes nothing...|
|001: The World At Large||The place: Earth! The time: Soon! / Welcome to the future! A place where cold fusion has taken the place of the alkaline battery, robots take care of all menial labor, and every person on the globe lives a life of ease! / Or do they? / Meet Walter. Walter lives in the corporate-controlled dystopia that was once the United States! He's treated like a faceless drone everywhere he goes, and he's starting to feel that he has no reason to live anymore! Isn't that nice? / Well, he doesn't think that it's nice! So he does what any rational person would do: Use up most of his life savings for a cut-rate subspace flight out to one of the satellite spaceports that orbit Earth! / After that he didn't know what to do! He felt as cold and empty inside as the wastes of space itself!! Until he found himself in the Kuiper Terminal Lounge (Gate 26A, happy hour Fr. 5 to 7 pm) where this story really starts!!! Now excuse me while I go choke on my own exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!|
|002: Somewhat Close To Social||[Scene: Kuiper Terminal Bar And Lounge. WALTER is staring at an "alien" sitting a few stools away.] / LLOYD: You're looking at my conspicious lack of mouth, aren't you? / WALTER: Uh... / WALTER: No! No! Of course not! ...Well, yeah. What's up with that? Don't you, like, eat? / LLOYD: For the millionth time that I've explained this, no, no I don't. Have you ever heard of photosynthesis? / WALTER: Yeah. Isn't it where plants turn light and... was it dirt? No, water. Light and water into food. / LLOYD: They use carbon dioxide also. But you're about right. / LLOYD: I work the same way, but with sound. There are these things in my cells, auriplasts, that absorb sound energy for use in creating simple sugars. / WALTER: Wait. Why don't you look like a plant, then? / LLOYD: Bradbury's Second Law of Science Fiction. Says all important characters must be somewhat human-shaped. / WALTER: Okay... so... why did you just tell me all this? I don't even know you. / LLOYD: Hey, you're not staring anymore, are you? / LLOYD: So what's your name? / WALTER: Walter. / LLOYD: Call me Lloyd. Any particular reason you have for being here? / WALTER: Me? No. You'll never believe me. / LLOYD: Look, I see a lot of things. It can't be that weird. / WALTER: Huh. Well, I guess you could say that the whole thing started back in Denver. I had a messy apartment, a job in a Hakky shoe repair in a mall, and a generally apathetic outlook on life. Then I had this dream...|
|003: A Little Dream Of Me||WALTER: So there I was... / IAN: HEY! / WALTER: What's going on? Who are you? / IAN: Well, you're dreaming, for one thing. Cant' you tell by the cloudy white edges of the panels? / WALTER: The pan... Wait. That doesn't answer anything. What do you want from me? What's all this for? / IAN: Hm. Since this is a dream, and I'm being pretty vague, and you probably won't remember this anyway... You're here to put on a show. To entertain the few readers I have... You're here to start shaking things up. Didn't you ever want to change things? To turn the world right-side up and see what happens? / IAN: As for me... As for me, I run your world. I created it, and I call the shots. / WALTER: Are you... God? / IAN: No. Oh, crap, no. I'm not nearly blasphemous-- or lightning-proof-- enough to even dare to call myself anything near holy. Just call me Ian. Ian Jay. / IAN: You ever been to the moon, Walter? / WALTER: No. Wait! You didn't give me any sort of help at all! Why should I listen to you? You're, what, only fifteen? I didn't ask for some kid to tell me a bunch of vague crap! Why me? WHY ME?!? / WALTER: ...And that's how it happened.|
|004: Less Talk, More Rawk||WALTER: So I tried to forget my dream, but there was always... kind of a little voice in the back of my mind, telling me to do something different tfor once. I hated my job, I didn't have much of a social life, and I thought, well, might as well go to the moon, right? It's not as if I have anything better to do. So I sold some stuff and came up here, only to find out that all moon shuttles have been shut down until further notice. ...And here I am. / LLOYD: Wow. That is some story. You just up and went? Left your old life behind, like in a cheap action movie? / WALTER: Yup. Though I'm no gritty antihero. So what are you here for, anyway? You haven't told me yet. / LLOYD: I'm actually here to try out for this band. Found this flyer a few weeks ago on a cargo ship and decided to check it out. / WALTER: Whoah! What do you play? / LLOYD: Little guitar, little bass, little piano, little everything. / WALTER: Dude! All I can play is guitar! / LLOYD: Well, I can't sing worth crap. And where I come from they don't form many bands. / WALTER: Dang. Well, this...space...band sounds pretty awesome. Can I come? / LLOYD: Depends. What songs do you know? / [Later, in Hangar 2. Some forgettable character is singing while making the most unearthly screeches on an array of machinery. Dextrose looks on.] / SOME FORGETTABLE CHARACTER:Transoceanic depth in this earth, in this cenotaph, lash of one thousand eyebrows clicking, counting the toll, counting the toll... (from The Mars Volta's "Drunkship of Lanterns") / DEXTROSE: Oh... kayy... no, no, you're not what we're looking for. We're looking for someone who can play music. NEXT! / DEXTROSE: Oh, great. A double act. Could you just get on with this so I can leave already? / WALTER: Look, before you put us down like that, could you just give us one more chance? / WALTER: GO! / WALTER AND LLOYD: You ain't nothing to me if you've got nothing to say! I don't know what you got that I can use anyway! Last chance, honey! This is your last chance, honey! (from Jet's "Last Chance") / DEXTROSE: ... / DEXTROSE: Yeah, all right. You're in.|
|005: One Sweet Ride||DEXTROSE: The name's Dextrose. Dextrose Vanguard. And yes, I realize that it's a weird name. Just call me Dexy for now. / WALTER: I'm Walter Jimenez. And this is Lloyd... / LLOYD: ...ah... Smith. / DEXTROSE: Charmed. / LLOYD: So, after that delightful stroll up five flights of stairs, through a service tunnel, and down a hatch inside a janitor's closet, you mind telling us where we are? / DEXTROSE: This is where I keep my ship, the Midnight Run-- the finest vessel ever to navigate the starry skies. / [A large, sleek, state-of-the-art spaceship is in the garage.] / WALTER: Oooooh! / [The new ship pulls away to reveal a tiny, rusted scrap heap of a spaceship directly behind it.] / WALTER: Ohhhh. / LLOYD: Yikes. / DEXTROSE: Isn't she a beaut? And she still smells like new!|
|006: Kinda Like Summer Camp, Only No Bugs Or Vomiting||[Scene: On the Midnight Run.] / LLOYD: So where are we going? / DEXTROSE: Out to Allied Vectors HQ. I got a few things to take care of there. / LLOYD: You work for AV? What do you do? / DEXTROSE: Well, actually, I... it's kind of a... sort of... an all-over thing. It involves a lot of travel. / LLOYD: So why are we here? How does the band figure into it? / DEXTROSE: Don't worry about it. Just make yourself comfortable. / LLOYD: Ohhh... kay... / [Lloyd goes over to one of the bunk beds installed in the side wall, or hull, or watever, of the spaceship. (I just tell the story, people. I'm not a rocket scientist, or in this case, designer.)] / [Walter shoves Lloyd out of the way.] / WALTER: I CALL TOP BUNK! / LLOYD: Hey! I SO called dibs earlier! / WALTER: You snooze, you lose, my slow-reflexed companion. / Later... [at whatever passes for night on the ship] / LLOYD: Mmm. Man, is it warm down here. Good thing I got a bunk on the bottom, near all the nice hot grav-coils. Geez. Y'know, I'm actually kind of hot. I wish i could open a window or something. How are things up on top, Walter? Oh, that's right... / LLOYD: ...cold. / WALTER: ...s-sh-shut up-p.|
|007: Not A Morning Person||[It's still night.] / RADIO: *CLICK* Hey hey hey! It's the top of the hour here at 102.8 WQXZ: Rock Central! Classic, heavy, punk, art, we got it! / RADIO: It's a beautiful day here on New Antwerp Trans-Tel, and we're gonna start our day off with an uninterrupted half-hour-long block of classics from the '70s! But first... / RADIO: ...we're makin' a shout-out to every band in the greater galactic area to remind you that the 28th annual Pan-Cosmic Battle Of The Bands is comin' up! With a cash prize SO HUGE we can't tell on the radio! / RADIO: So get back to practice, losers! Ha ha. You know I jest. And now to Steve with the traffic. Steve? / [Walter falls out of bed.] / WALTER: Ow. / [Dextrose walks out of the ship's head. ("Head" is a fancy ship term for the bathroom. It's great to learn... 'cos knowledge is power!)] / DEXTROSE: Well, well, well. Looks like Sleeping Beauty finally decided to join us. / WALTER: G'morning to you too... / DEXTROSE: Mmm. I'm done in the bathroom. Don't use up all the hot water. / WALTER: Dang, this thing is small. I wonder if it has any... / WALTER: Yeaaaagh!!! Oh, God! It's like a wave of pain! Let me out! / [Walter steps out of the head, fully clothed and dripping wet.] / WALTER: For future reference... / LLOYD: Yeah, we know, the shower's automatic. Want some breakfast? / OMNI-CONST: WELCOME TO OMNI-CONST 305-A: THE FUTURE OF CONSUMABLE DESIGN. / WALTER: All I want is a waffle. Is that too much to ask? / OMNI-CONST: YES. / [The Omni-Const (it's a thing that turns little packets of nutrients into regular food) spits out a sickly-looking pile of glop.] / WALTER: The future tastes like stale onions and Right Guard. / LLOYD: You'll get used to it. / WALTER: Really? / LLOYD: No.|
|008: An Informal Reception||DEXTROSE: This is it, guys. Allied Vectors HQ. Situated right on top of the first nexus put into issue. It's a real thing of beauty. ...Okay, not really. It looks like a tire with a shoebox stuck in the treads. But it's the only way we're going to get out of this corner of the galaxy without becoming geriatrics. [OhNoRobot readers: A nexus is, essentially, a place that's two places at once, a little sewn-together spot in the fabric of space. Humans have harnessed them as toll roads for deep-space travel; they're quicker than cold fusion, easier to access than hyperspace, and don't invove all of that messy spaghettification business you get with wormholes.] / DEXTROSE: Now, I've got to get some supplies for the ship. I want you two to try to get an appointment with the C.E.O. / LLOYD: Oh, yeah. They're really going to like that. Us barging in there and demanding to talk to the boss. / DEXTROSE: Just do it. Heck, I don't see why they wouldn't let you in. / [Scene: Executive reception office for Allied Vectors. Walt and Lloyd are futilely arguing with a receptionist. ("Futilely" is a word, right?)] / RECEPTIONIST: Sorry. You can't go in. / WALTER: What? Why not? We're on important business! / RECEPTIONIST: Sorry, but he isn't taking any appointments at this time. / WALTER: But it's really important! For all you know it could be a matter of life and death for the entire company! / RECEPTIONIST: Like what? / WALTER: I... don't... know... But it's probably some sort of important message about... space...pirates or something! / LLOYD: Would you let us in if we said that we were in a band? / RECEPTIONIST: Oh really... you have a band... well, isn't that interesting... / RECEPTIONIST: Because I myself can play a MEAN set of keys! CHECK IT! / [The receptionist flips open the top of his desk to reveal a keyboard.] / RECEPTIONIST (with Walt adding backup): Vey superstitious! Writing on the wall! Ver-ry-su-per-sti-tious! Ladders 'bout to fa-all! 13-month-old bay-bayy broke the lookin' glass! Seven years of bad luuuck! The good things in your pa-a-ast! When you believe in things you don't understand... Then you suffer... ah aah ah.. Superstition ain't the wayyy! (From Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" / WALTER: Man. That was great. / RECEPTIONIST: Sure was. You ain't half bad yoruself. / WALTER: So, uh, can we go in now? / RECEPTIONIST: Not gonna happen.|
|009: Now That's What I Call Character Development||[Dextrose returns.] / DEXTROSE: Hey. Did you get in? / WALTER: Yes. Yes, that's right. I'm only standing out here trying to make heads or tails of a ton of paperwork because I want to. / DEXTROSE: Really? Then you have blander tastes than I thought? / WALTER: No! I... look, you'll just have to talk to Mister Boss Man some other time. / DEXTROSE: Oh, really? Well, I think that I need to talk to him now. / DEXTROSE: And lucky for us, I've got just the sort of clout around here to get in that office anytime. Kevin, you mind? / RECEPTIONIST: What? Oh... oh, snap! It's you! I can't believe you made it back! Hold on. I'll get the CEO out here right now. Man! You... I am so sorry about this. / [The doors to the CEO's office open wide. A figure, Ambrose Vanguard, is silhouetted in the doorway.] / AMBROSE: Now, what's with all the ruckus out here? How's a man supposed to run a business with all this infernal racket? / DEXTROSE: DAD! I missed you so much! / AMBROSE: Aaaat's my girl. How've you been. / DEXTROSE: Just great. I started a band. / AMBROSE: You haven't been getting yourself into any sort of trouble, have you? / DEXTROSE: Of course not, Dad. Why would I? / [Walter is staring at this new revelation, agape.] / [Walter's still standing there.] / [Yup, he's still there. Lloyd walks up, draped in AV merchandise.] / LLOYD: I'm back from the gift shop. What'd I miss? / WALTER: ...nnnnothing...|
|010: Office Space||[Walter, Lloyd, Dextrose, and Ambrose walk into Ambrose's office/study.] / DEXTROSE: So, how's business? / AMBROSE: Not as good as it used to be. You'd think that I'd gain more experience as I got older, right? / DEXTROSE: I thought you were doing fine right now. / AMBROSE: Well, fine isn't good enough these days! We're losing a lot of patrons to those dastardly upstart companies! / DEXTROSE: Dad, relax. AV'll be okay. / AMBROSE: Allied Vectors isn't what it used to be. We were once the cutting edge of interstellar travel, but now... / AMBROSE: Now we're just a curiosity, an old relic left to rust. Here, watch this commercial that just came out from Bee Industrie. / [The commercial starts. On the screen is a freshly raked field of gravel.] / VOICE-OVER: Be. The state of existence. / [Next, a spiral stairwell.] / VOICE-OVER: The convergence of reason and passion. / [Next, a unicycle.] / VOICE-OVER: When the ideal... becomes real. / [Next, the company logo.] / VOICE-OVER: Bee. The state of perfection. / AMBROSE: You see? We don't do that? We're just too old-fashioned to even compete in today's market! It's pathetic! ...Oh, if only we had some fresh blood in this company to help bring ourselves out of this backwater! / DEXTROSE: Ask him for a job. Otherwise he'll never shut up. / WALTER: Uh... we'd like to work for you, sir. / AMBROSE: CAPITAL descision, my boy! Welcome to the team. I'll just get the paperwork and have my techies suit you up. Glad to have you! / [Ambrose speaks into an intercom sticking out of his floor.] / AMBROSE: Thornton? Whirlypants? Get into my office right now! / THORNTON: Right away, sir. / WHIRLYPANTS: SCIENCE!!! / WALTER: [filling out a job application form for Lloyd] Okay... any allergies? / LLOYD: Death metal. Makes me break out in hives. / WALTER: Previous career? / LLOYD: Well...|
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