Justice Wing, Screenplay, Superhero

⎇001JW Justice Wing Emergence: RTV Closeup on the Pentad of Guardians #1

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Justice Wing Vignettes

RTW – Rock the World Television! – and RTV NEWS presents RTV News Closeup: The Pentad of Guardians! Meet Empire City’s newest heroes and learn their secret origins! (Transcript.)


 

FADE IN

OPENING GRAPHIC: RTW NEWS

The RTW News graphic and animation plays with the musical sting and modulated “R! T! W! News!” plays.

EXT ROCKAFELLER CENTER IN FRONT OF THE FOUNTAIN - DAY

The Pentad of Guardians – green armor clad Shooting Star, gleaming yellow amazon Topaz, blue and white jetsuit wearing Jetgirl, salmon, grey, and white uniform wearing Hearth, and black and white bodysuit wearing Antonym – are standing, surrounded by people and the press, photos being snapped all around them. Royalty-free rock music plays in the background.

ANNOUNCER
(voiceover)

They’re in your face and on your street. Five heroes stepping up to defend Empire City and the world while staying in touch with their community and the world.

INTERCUT

Fast cuts from the same press conference, each one centering on one of the five Pentad members as the announcer names them. Shooting Star is tall with wavy brown hair, a deep brown skin under her armored mask, wearing green and yellow full body armor of an alien design with comet symbols on her chest. She is full figured, which the armor highlights to distinction. Topaz is eight feet tall with yellow crystal hair and glistening yellow shimmers along her skin. She is built like a fitness model just on the edge of being a bodybuilder, wearing a magenta leotard and grey hose along with a broad smile. Jetgirl has a pile of blonde hair on her head, the skin tone of a well tanned stereotypical California Girl, with her goggles looking almost like sunglasses, a grey scarf around her neck, and a blue and white powersuit which suggests feminine proportions, with heavy blue and white gauntlets and boots. Hearth’s uniform looks angular, suggesting a monk in pastels, his skin darker towards terra cotta and his eyes brown and almond shaped, with short black hair and an overly handsome smile. Antonym is the shortest at five foot four and looks petite, with a blue streak in her black hair and pale skin that suggests goth or punk or both, and is slender in build.

ANNOUNCER
(voiceover)

Shooting Star, Topaz, Jetgirl, Hearth, and Antonym are heroes from different walks of life, united by friendship, an origin story, and a driving need to protect the innocent.

INT - LA MOUFFETTE INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to the RWT logo. The interview subject is Chastity La Mouffette, noted artist and rocker, notable for her teased out platinum hair, almost glowingly pale skin with pink undertones, and new wave inspired magenta and black tiger print clothing. CHYRON READS: CHASTITY LA MOUFFETTE, ARTIST AND MUSICIAN

CHASTITY LA MOUFFETTE

Hero after hero keeps coming out of the shadows and they’re all full of mystery and this remove. I mean, you don’t expect to run into Paragon or Freya on the street. The Beacon moves at lightspeed. She doesn’t commute on the C Train. Even the Astounding Alliance live at the top of the King Kurtzberg Building and never come down to the street. And that’s all fine and good, but this is Empire City. The Pentad of Guardians aren’t standing above everyone looking down. They’re Empiricals like the rest of us. You expect to see them complaining about last night’s Eagles game while grabbing a hot dog from a cart on the Upper East Side.

INT - SINGLETON INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to the RWT logo. This interview subject is Vic Singleton, a stand-up comic and RTW veejay and common contributor to these specials. CHYRON READS: VIC SINGLETON, COMEDIAN

VIC SINGLETON

They live in Catarins. What self respecting super hero lives in Catarins? What, do they think people in Flushing Meadows or Astoria want to casually wander over to Guardians H.Q.? Midtown, sure! Bodjwick? Why not – people think Bodjwick when they think of Empire. Hudson Island? Look, everyone wants to ride the roller coaster and super heroes are part of everyone, see? But Catarins? ‘Oh, hey – I’m gonna go visit my great aunt Ida, and while I’m there maybe we’ll drop in on that nice Jetgirl?’

INT - PIKE INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to the RWT logo. This interview subject is musician and songwriter Colton Pike. CHYRON READS: COLTON PIKE, ROCK LEGEND

COLTON PIKE

Wait. What’s a ‘pentad?’

MONTAGE

Quick cuts of the different Guardians in the city – Jetgirl soaring through the air. Shooting Star landing hard and knocking over a group of hoodlums. Hearth healing injured children. Antonym throwing herself up twenty feet to hit some kind of rock monster in the jaw. Topaz laughing as she lifts an ice cream truck over her head and carries it to the other side of the street.

ANNOUNCER
(Voiceover)

No matter what their address might be, the Pentad of Guardians has already become a common sight in all of Empire’s boroughs and neighborhoods. Tonight, RTW News brings you the Pentad of Guardians up close and personal. We’ll talk to them. We’ll look at what makes them different than other heroes. And we’ll talk about what they mean for their city and for super heroes in general.

INT - ANTONYM INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to the RWT logo. This interview subject is super hero Antonym. She looks slightly annoyed. CHYRON READS: ‘ANTONYM, PENTAD OF GUARDIANS’

ANTONYM

How long did you say this was going to take, again?

OPENING MONTAGE

The opening animation, montage and music for RTW News Closeup plays, ending on a graphic: ‘RTW NEWS CLOSEUP: PENTAD OF GUARDIANS’ This is followed by ‘PART ONE: THE ORIGIN’

MONTAGE

Shots of Empire City in January – emphasizing ‘fun on the streets’ with appropriate royalty free rock playing.

ANNOUNCER
(voiceover)

At the start of this year, the four young women and one young man who became the Pentad of Guardians were already close friends, though their identities remain a secret.

INT - TOPAZ INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to a pentagon symbol in five colors, the top being green, then blue to the top left, then yellow on the bottom left, red on the bottom right, and black on the top right, with a number 5 in white superimposed over them. This interview subject is super hero Topaz. CHYRON READS: ‘TOPAZ, PENTAD OF GUARDIANS’

TOPAZ

God, I think we started hanging around together… it was a few years back. I’m sure of that. Understand, time’s a little weird for us now but still – yeah. A few years.

INT - JETGIRL INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to a pentagon symbol in five colors, the top being green, then blue to the top left, then yellow on the bottom left, red on the bottom right, and black on the top right, with a number 5 in white superimposed over them. This interview subject is super hero Jetgirl. CHYRON READS: ‘JETGIRL, PENTAD OF GUARDIANS’

JETGIRL

One way or another, all of us were thrown into a new situation. We didn’t have other friends hanging around. I was new to Empire City at that point – I’m from California.

INTERCUT TO THE FIVE INTERVIEWS WITH THE PENTAD IN RAPID SUCCESSION

SHOOTING STAR

Representing Midtown over here, pally! Empire Born, Empire Bred!

TOPAZ

Upstate New York – the Finger Lakes region. Known for our foxy wines!

ANTONYM

Let me guess – everyone’s giving you the rundown of where they’re from and crap like that. Whatever.

PRODUCER
(off camera, muffled)

Where are you from?

ANTONYM

Me? Jersey! Jersey girl right here! We work for a living!

HEARTH
(adopts a very serene, stereotypical ‘sorcerer’ expression)

As you can imagine, I was raised in a far off land, in an enclave of mystery and forbidden knowledge, known only as ‘just off Exit 29 on the Long Island Expressway.’

TOPAZ

Mind you, it takes a lot for a wine to really become foxy.

SHOOTING STAR

I think we ended up all together… maybe by chance? Although that seems weird now, after everything that’s happened.

JETGIRL

It’s weird to realize you’re lonely in a city of eight million people, but that was me. That was all of us, really. I know that Ant and Shoot ended up as roommates. Hearth knew me and Topaz, and Topaz ran into Shoot, and eventually we talked Ant into coming out with us…

HEARTH

One can coax Antonym out of her room.

TOPAZ

It started with cheap food dives.

HEARTH

All it takes is an appropriate inducement. Cheesecake, perhaps. Or corned beef. She’s a fan of corned beef.

JETGIRL

Oh my God, I never used to go out to late night diners back home! I don’t know why milkshakes taste better after midnight! They just do!

ANTONYM

We’d do a club or a movie or crap – I remember once we walked out of the place… punk show I want to say – anyway, it was sunlight out there, and we just started walking, and we found this crappy little hash shop, and they had the best omelet I’ve ever eaten in my life.

HEARTH

Different syrups work as well. As I recall, she likes boysenberry.

TOPAZ

You push forward a few years, and we’ve all successfully managed to avoid ‘real life,’ at least up until then.

SHOOTING STAR

It’s safe to say we have… ‘several’ advanced degrees between us.

HEARTH

I was in medical school. It was harder to find time to hang out, but… those four people–

ANTONYM

I was always a book rat, and that didn’t change. And I remember things I read, even when they're books about Tort Law, and that helped give me some time with the gang.

JETGIRL

My mother kept wanting to know when I’d stop going to college to become an engineer and when I’d just be an engineer, but there was always something more – something that tied in.

TOPAZ

Art and science and math and color theory – it all blends together. I don’t know how anyone could ever say they were finished with school. I’d start all over again in a heartbeat.

SHOOTING STAR

We always found a way to connect. To stay together. Can you imagine if we hadn’t? The Skyquake alone…

JETGIRL

I don’t even remember why we were hanging out the night of the Skyquake. Or what we were doing in Midtown. But there we were.

HEARTH

I don’t know how much stock I put in ‘fate,’ but I do know it was good we were there.

ANTONYM

Yeah, Doc Astonishing was going to do something crazy to space/time. And it turned out badly! I mean, seriously. Who could ever in a million years see that coming?

TOPAZ

A lot of the details are a bit hazy, thanks to the paradimensional discharge, but… somehow it was where we were supposed to be.

ANTONYM

I don’t care if Doc sees this! I’ll say it to his face! I have said it to his face! He nearly caused a disaster. He’s lucky that so few people were affected, and even then the worst hit were just his friends and loved ones, right?

INT. CASSANDRA CARLYLE LECTURE THEATER, KING KURTZBERG BUILDING - NIGHT

File footage of Doctor Aiden Archer and his associates announcing their convergence exploration program to a packed room.

DR. AIDEN ARCHER

Every day we learn more about the universe and the fundamental forces that drive it. Since parahumanity emerged, we have learned more about the world we live in than in all the thousands of years before. And through parahumanity we have learned that there are fundamental connections between thought, science, magic, and even the gods. But even as Einstein said decades ago – there must still be a single, unified field theory that can explain it all. It is my hope – our hope – that our experiments will unify these disparate forces in our understanding.

MONTAGE

Various animations and pictures from recent scientific journals detailing the five basic routes to parahumanity, and the known alternate dimensions.

ANNOUNCER
(Voiceover)

Towards the end of January, Doctor Aiden Archer and a team of assistants which included his sister Doctor Ainsley Archer, artist David Clay, mystic and historian Cairistìona Kerr, and others were stepping up experiments that were meant to bridge the physical, temporal, and conceptual dimensions, explore the known routes to super abilities, and find the connections between them.

INT - EVAN SHAPIRO INTERVIEW - DAY

In-studio desk interview with green screen backing, currently set to the montage of scientific jargon referenced above. This interview subject is young philosopher and scientist Doctor Evan Shapiro. CHYRON READS: ‘EVAN SHAPIRO: AUTHOR – Observer Effect: Philosophical Implications Inherent In Quantum Mechanics

EVAN SHAPIRO

Our current understanding of our universe, after learning new information from different arcanists, divinities like Freya, alien cultures like the Pa’lita Ascendency, and other sources that until now wouldn’t have been seriously considered suggests that our historical timeline is the center of our reality the way the Sun is the center of our solar system. Current models suggest that there are at least seven and maybe as many as thirteen dimensions, including multiple time dimensions and dimensions that correspond to sentience. Those dimensions all together form alternate dimensional planes surrounding us – Freya’s Asgardian home, for example.

MONTAGE

Animation showing history as defined as a single line, with wire-like sheaths spreading up over it in different colors, representing different dimensional planes.

EVAN SHAPIRO
(voiceover)

These different dimensional planes each look like separate universes, be they variations of our own or something very different. And we understand that these dimensional planes might be part of the foundation of parahuman abilities. Zero point abilities, meaning inherent powers drawn from the quantum field, arcane abilities, divine abilities, and xenotechnology or xenological infusions. Add to that the achievements and drive that prosahumans bring through will, intellect, inspiration, and so on, and you have five ‘bases’ for supraexpression, whether through parahuman means or not, connected somehow to the dimensional planes that are wrapped all around us.

INT - EVAN SHAPIRO INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut back to Shapiro interview.

EVAN SHAPIRO

This is what Doctor Archer was researching. His experiments combined magical processes, divine ritual, science and engineering, alien technology and theories, and of course his own will and intellect. He wanted to find the common connection between them all – a truly unified field theory that would explain… well, essentially everything.

INT - SINGLETON INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut back to Singleton interview.

VIC SINGLETON

Look, I’m no luddite. Science makes microwave burritos possible and I am a fan of microwave burritos. But you’ve got to stop and think about this for… one second, right? Just one second. Atomic theory goes back thousands of years, all the way to the Greeks, and we’re still pretty sure we can’t handle nuclear bombs. Can you imagine if Aristotle was given a few notes on a reactor and decided ‘what the hey, let’s split some atoms and see what happens?’ Science takes time and effort and careful consideration and any time scientists decide to skip all that and jump to the last chapter of the book it’s bad! And that’s exactly what happened with the Skyquake.

INT. CASSANDRA CARLYLE LECTURE THEATER, KING KURTZBERG BUILDING - NIGHT

Footage of Aiden Archer and his associates shaking hands with reporters and scientists on the stage after Archer’s announcement, camera flashes visible throughout.

EVAN SHAPIRO
(Voiceover)

It makes a certain amount of sense that Archer would want to bring these different fields together into a universal theory of physics, but in attempting to bridge such disparate methodologies with so little groundwork to draw from, Archer was skipping the long theoretical work you would expect to predate any actual experimentation. Observing rituals or magic, testing xenotechnology against known terrestrial equivalents, taking measurements and developing hypotheses – all of these steps could have made the process safer and more successful than it ultimately was.

INT - EVAN SHAPIRO INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut to Shapiro interview.

EVAN SHAPIRO

But Archer’s methods didn’t simply rush past the groundwork. They attempted to draw off of all of these other traditions… all of these other techniques and technologies… but never afforded each path the same respect he gave to science. It was obvious that Archer believed that there was a singular, by definition scientific theory and principle that would encompass all these other elements. Clearly, he also felt that a certain amount of… superstition, I suppose is the word… clung to the mystics and priests who contributed their own techniques. That lack of respect, when one is already dealing with the very dimensions of the mind…

(shakes his head)

INT - JETGIRL INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut to Jetgirl interview.

JETGIRL

I know Doc Astonishing regrets what happened, but it was practically inevitable. I mean, I understand. I really do. If Aiden Archer believed he had a methodology that could redefine physics, engineering, even philosophy or theology… that redefinition would dominate not just science but industry and who knows what else for generations to come. If he worried that someone else was working on the same project… he may have felt like he was running out of time.

INT - HEARTH INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut to Hearth interview.

HEARTH

One thing that I’ve learned about magic has served me equally well in medicine. You take the steps, one by one, always keeping your eyes and mind open. Whether enacting an arcane ritual or setting up a course of treatment, you proceed methodically. Where intuition becomes involved you listen, but you do not leap without consideration. Aiden learned that lesson too late.

INT - SHOOTING STAR INTERVIEW - DAY

Cut to Shooting Star Interview.

SHOOTING STAR

It’s easy in hindsight to point and blame, but honestly – very few people even noticed what Doc Astonishing was doing. To most people, even in a world of Paragon, Freya, Whipporwill, and the Ancient Mariner? Work like Archer’s sounded like pseudoscience and most people ignored it. They didn’t even speak up when he announced his major experiment, setting it for January the 27th.

INT - ANTONYM - DAY

Cut to Antonym Interview.

ANTONYM

Look. Doc Astonishing is a genius. There’s no arguing that. On Leo Lucas’s bad days Doc Astonishing’s in the running for smartest guy on the planet. But we all know that feeling when you’re sure you’re right, especially when you’re the expert in the room or at least when you think you’re the expert in the room. Aiden Archer had gotten so used to either being right or being proven right when other people argued that deep down I honestly don’t think he believed he could be wrong. But he could. He was. And we don’t even know the long term repercussions yet. And that’s not even counting Doctor Guile being involved!

INT - TOPAZ - DAY

Cut to Topaz Interview

TOPAZ

Oh, God – I’d almost forgotten about Doctor Guile being there! I mean, he’s crazy at the best of times, and he’s not exactly known for prudence or conscience or… not… killing his test subjects…

INT - SHAPIRO - DAY

Cut to Shapiro Interview

EVAN SHAPIRO

We all carry a cognitive map of the universe in our minds – a map we create out of the things we believe and the understanding we create over time. When facts run contrary to that cognitive map, we tend to believe the map over reality. That’s as true for the smartest man on Earth as it is for the dumbest. Doctor Guile offered Archer certain workarounds to run the January 27th experiment on time, and Archer took them, even knowing Guile’s reputation. People around him said that Guile was using him, but Archer wore his certainty like blinders, and the experiment happened right on schedule.

INT COLTON PIKE INTERVIEW - DAY

Back to Colton Pike interview.

COLTON PIKE

Twenty-seven January. It’s a bad day. All my life I’ve had terrible things all happen on that one day of the year. I try to just take that day off and stay in bed, but this year of all years I was booked. For an ‘intimate venue.’ On a terrace. In January. In Empire City.

EXT - CHURCHYARD COURT UPPER TERRACE - NIGHT

Footage from the 27-January Pike concert. Fresh snow is on the ground and the night is still overcast. In the distance, a clear view of the iconic stainless steel terraced crown and spire of the King Kurtzberg building can be seen. The terrace itself has tables set out, each with a large silver bowl-like heater over them, with similar ones placed throughout and framing Pike, who is playing his piano.

COLTON PIKE
(Voiceover)

It had snowed most of the day, and even though it had stopped there was still snow on the damn terrace. It was bloody cold up there – it was like playing New Year’s Eve but even those concerts are on the bloody ground. We were on the sixteenth floor! So… they had these silver… like dishes, with high intensity heaters mounted under them so they’d… kinda reflect the heat down onto the stage, the tables, and all around. So all around us, there was like this red haze, like we were performing in Hell.

INT COLTON PIKE INTERVIEW - DAY

Back to Colton Pike interview, this time on an close-up of Pike’s face.

COLTON PIKE

My manager, my agent, and me? We had a little talk on twenty-eight January, I can tell you what.

EXT - CHURCHYARD COURT UPPER TERRACE - NIGHT

More footage from the 27-January Pike concert.

COLTON PIKE
(voiceover)

So we kept playing because that’s what you do. You don’t just stop because you’re not sure your hands won’t fall off. I admit I had about… six? Six shots’a whiskey in me at that point, so I wasn’t feeling the cold at all. But that sure didn’t help when the damn explosions started.

In the background, there is a sudden rumble like thunder, followed by sudden lightning flashes in red, blue, green, and yellow flaring off the spire of the King Kurtzberg building. As people begin to turn and gawk, Pike stops playing and turns, in time for a massive polychromatic discharge of energy from the crown, ripping out through the sky and causing a sudden vibration strong enough to knock glasses off the tables.

COLTON PIKE
(voiceover)

I told you it was like we were performing in Hell – well right there it was like there was the shout and the thunderclap and the trump being played so Armageddon would begin. I mean, I always figured Armageddon would start during a Bob Dylan set, not one of mine. And there were these waves or surges or I don’t even know even as the shaking got worse and the thunder got louder, and one passed over and I swear it was suddenly eighty degrees, and the next one was colder than I’ve ever felt, and then one went by and it was like I could smell honeysuckle in the breeze.

EXT - KING KURTZBERG BUILDING FROM A DIFFERENT ANGLE - NIGHT

Another angle, showing the Skyquake beginning and then flaring out over Empire City.

ANNOUNCER
(voiceover)

The Skyquake hit hard, causing panic in the streets and especially in the King Kurtzberg building itself. Bystanders began to flee the area – all but five of them. Those five? Ran into the King Kurtzberg building.

INTERCUT

Fast cuts to each of the Pentad, Evan Shapiro, Vic Singleton, and Colton Pike as they talk about the Skyquake and what happened afterward.

SHOOTING STAR

People were running! It was so loud and each new wave carried so much sensation and stimulation and I can’t even describe it!

TOPAZ

We could hear screaming inside the lobby, and we knew that people were panicking. Someone had to take control but there weren’t any police or the fire department or anything. So I don’t even remember who started it but the five of us were running inside.

HEARTH

I remember Ant grabbed a fire extinguisher off the wall, jumped up on a counter, sprayed it over the crowd and up in the air and starts screaming at everyone to line up and leave in an orderly manner.

SHOOTING STAR

I still can’t believe lungs that small can make noises that loud.

ANTONYM
(rolling her eyes)

Whatever. It was all of us. Jet was shoving people away from the alley exits and towards the front lobby so they wouldn’t pile up out there with nowhere to go and get crushed. Hearth was at one of the doors to the emergency stairs, and he was shouting instructions up the stairwell and making sure people helped other people. And there was Shoot on the other side doing the same.

TOPAZ

It felt like it was a thousand years long without a break. I started wondering why there weren’t any cops showing up or anything – I wasn’t even hearing sirens. Of course, we found out later why.

EVAN SHAPIRO

The experiment had gone catastrophically wrong. Aiden and Ainsley Archer and the others had been catapulted along the different unknowable vectors of space/time, ultimately being remade into what we now know as the Astounding Alliance. But while that happened at the top of the building, the rest of the building was in a temporal flux. As people got out of the building, they pushed through a field. From outside, it looked like they were just suddenly appearing out of thin air hundreds at a time.

VIC SINGLETON

I won’t pretend I wasn’t freaking out. I mean, was this a SCYLLA attack? Was this Hecate or the Netherspati? The sky was going nuts and people were screaming and I was across the street from the King Kurtzman building and suddenly there were hundreds – thousands of screaming people just appearing. And then, there was that one huge boom, and it was like the whole world suddenly went photonegative!

SHOOTING STAR

We’d cleared the lobby. Hearth wanted to run up the stairs and see if anyone fell – but there weren’t that many people in the building at that time of night. So we made a run for the door and then the Skyquake hit.

TOPAZ

Suddenly, the whole world was just gone, and I was in a whole different place, out in the desert.

ANTONYM

For one long moment I was – you know. I was me. But I was in this giant obsidian temple surrounded by people in black togas and before I could freak out, there was… like silk spreading over me and suddenly I was in a toga like theirs and had been for what felt like my whole life.

JETGIRL

I don’t know how I knew that I was in a post apocalyptic wasteland, but I did. I remembered a war. And I remembered needing to cross a hundred miles to reach a place called Oasis. It was incredibly important. I had a hanger full of the most advanced technology, but it was in storage – in pieces. And none of it was enough to make a plane or even a car.

HEARTH

It was a hidden bastion of sorcery in the midst of a dark fantasy world, and I and my brothers and sisters of the hearth were learning and training, not to bring harm but to heal. And after the first few seconds, I couldn’t remember any other possible life I may have had.

SHOOTING STAR

When I woke up, I was on a ship orbiting the rubble that was once the Earth, and the Silbarian commander told me that my quantum signature matched their energy systems perfectly. He said that it would be risky, but if we could synchronize my metabolism and the ship’s eternus core, I could potentially warp space itself and go back in time and save the Earth.

EVAN SHAPIRO

A pentad is a set or group of five. Five triangles fit together to form a star.

ANTONYM
(scoffing)

It’s the freaking Chrysler symbol. Don’t get poetic.

EVAN SHAPIRO

In this case, while the experimenters at the top of the building had been catapulted into the realms of thought, down at the base of the building these five people had been caught in, for lack of a better term, refracted time. Each was in a different dimensional plane, living a completely different life… and in each of their cases, those alternate lives inexorably led down the five paths to supraexpression. And just like that implies, it led to five super heroes.

TOPAZ

I have no idea what kind of world I was in. But out there in the desert I was hit by lightning, and as I fell forward I was caught by some kind of exotic explosion and blown back and away.

HEARTH

There were different tests to demonstrate achievement. Different lessons to be learned. And most of all, there were lessons to be unlearned. Weeks became months… I rose in the order and I learned more and more, but always with the guiding principles of peace and love behind them.

ANTONYM

We weren’t priests. We had been chosen by the priests of the Goddess Themis, incarnate spirit of justice and fair play. There were tests after tests. Challenges after challenges. Fights and puzzles and games and arguments. And one by one we were knocked out, and then it was me and this other woman, and we were having it out for the right to be named Champion of Themis.

TOPAZ

After I managed to crawl out of the vat of chemicals I tried to stagger for the door, but then the vat exploded, bathing me in… I want to say theta waves? Or is that, like, sleep? I don’t know. Screaming, I spun around and fell backwards and that’s when I was bitten.

SHOOTING STAR

It hurt like nothing I could describe, and it took weeks and months of trial and error, both to synchronize and infuse me with the eternus core’s power, and then to train me in harnessing and wielding that power. Their armoursmiths helped by forging me a combat suit that was the pinnacle of their science and art alike.

JETGIRL

I had to ration the food and water, and I worked day after day. Learning the equipment. Designing circuits and synthesizing materials. If I could mount a turbine based thruster system on a pressure suit, reinforcing it with a field-generating mesh… I could launch and cross the desert at altitude in under an hour. Of course, there were a lot of bad things out there, so I kept needing to improve the design, add weapons and defenses and flight systems…

TOPAZ

–three different radioactive spiders, a bunch of radioactive fire ants, a radioactive millipede, a radioactive coral snake, a radioactive armadillo… I mean, everything was biting me and I have no idea why.

ANTONYM

I brought my blade down hard, and her blade snapped with her block. I kicked her back out of the way and threw my own sword off to the side. She stood, we both crouched, and then and we went in unarmed.

SHOOTING STAR

The warp was almost complete, but I needed just the tinest bit of power more. I screamed and tried to force it, but it was no good… and then the Silbarian Commander blew his ship up. I begged him not to, but he and his crew were resolute. If I could get back to before the Earth’s destruction, I could stop it and save everyone, including them. And that explosion pushed it over the threshold, and then I was falling through time itself.

TOPAZ

And yeah. When I finally woke up, I was in a sealed room, breathing in both heavy water vapors and hard water vapors. Like, I could smell sulphur. So when people ask me about my secondary parahuman expression, and I tell them I had an old comic book super hero origin happen to me, they ask me “well, which one?” And I say “all of them.”

(Close up)

I had all the super hero origin stories happen to me.

JETGIRL

When I intercepted the signal from Oasis, I knew I was out of time. If I couldn’t get there and drive off the Warlord of the Reach and his mutates, there’d be no place for me to travel to. The simulations were still inconclusive. If the systems failed, I’d have to improvise or die.

ANTONYM

She slammed me back with the rock. I scrabbled back but she ran after me, rock held high to crush me, and I put my chin up and refused to hide, when suddenly I felt a surge and when she threw down the stone I leapt up, shattering it with one blow. We traded punches but were evenly matched, and she dove for my discarded sword and came up with it and ran for me, and suddenly I had like an energy sword in my hand…

HEARTH

I was able to invoke the wind of vigorance, and the townspeople began to stir. I held the spell in mind, shifting the fields of light with my hands… there was so little time and so many to save…

SHOOTING STAR

I bid the Silbarians goodbye, the world restored and the invasion driven off.

ANTONYM

By tossing my sword aside when she lost hers, I kept to the spirit of fair play. By pressing advantages, she had offended the Goddess Themis. So even though she was about to win the fight, I won the right to be Themis’s Champion – the one who evens the odds.

TOPAZ

Metro City had no heroes – they’d never heard of a real hero before that. And sure, it was all a little cartoony, but I was huge and super strong and really tough and everyone loved me! It was awesome! I was ready to be their hero forever.

HEARTH

I was prepared to take my final oaths, to bind myself to the Order and act as an agent of healing throughout that world.

SHOOTING STAR

With new threats always ready to come out of the sky, I had to stay prepared to protect the Earth. And they were incredibly grateful. It was kind of amazing.

JETGIRL

I managed to drive off the mutates with thrust-pulses and found that the factor I hadn’t accounted for was literally me and my own instincts. Oasis was saved and I was home, ready to help them rebuild the civilized world and keep them safe.

ANTONYM

Champion of the Living Goddess? A sweet gig. There was so much work to do and honestly, I felt at home.

EVAN SHAPIRO

In each of the refracted dimensions the new heroes were all prepared to embrace their new lives. The zero point empowered hero. The divine champion. The archmage of healing. The eternus empowered leader. And the ubertech genius in the flying powersuit. All taking literal years to achieve their goals, while outside of the King Kurtzberg building, less than ten minutes had passed. It was then that the Skyquake aftershock hit.

EXT - CHURCHYARD COURT UPPER TERRACE - NIGHT

More footage from the 27-January Pike concert. The King Kurtzberg building shudders and with another monumental crash a burst of gold, fire red, eldritch green, enigmatic blue, and a literal field of darkness binding them together burst around the building and fired up into the sky.

COLTON PIKE
(voiceover)

It was like the death throes of the world. I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I just knew that right then – right then either we’d be fine or we’d all be dead.

INTERCUT

Fast cuts to each of the Pentad, Evan Shapiro, and Colton Pike.

EVAN SHAPIRO

The so-called Aftershock was actually Doctor Guile’s plans coming to fruition. As essentially everyone tried to warn Archer, Doctor Guile was using the experiment for his own purposes. The experimental effect had effectively created two poles of polydimensional force like the building itself had become a huge magnet. At the top was the negative pole, at the bottom the positive. Balanced between the two poles, right at the midpoint of the building, Doctor Guile had created his own locus, channeling all that energy through the focus and passing it through his own experimental subject… namely, Beatrice Guile – his own daughter.

SHOOTING STAR

We could hear what sounded like a scream after a crash. And I looked up and saw a figure in the sky, and then all around it I could see four others.

ANTONYM

So, I see this guy in pink and grey, and this woman in green and this other one who was like seven feet tall.

HEARTH

The woman in the middle was in pain but also laughing… but surrounding her, the girl in black, the armored warrior in green, the woman in the powersuit…

TOPAZ

For a long moment… I almost didn’t want to understand what I was seeing.

JETGIRL

It was like being on the edge of waking up, and I didn’t want to stop dreaming.

SHOOTING STAR

And then… then I remembered. I remembered Ant and Hearth. Topaz and Jet. I remembered them.

ANTONYM

I knew them. And I remembered the King Kurtzberg building.

HEARTH

With recognition of my friends came a realization of who I really was. Who we really were.

JETGIRL

And I knew – I knew I was supposed to be with them.

TOPAZ

This was reality, and it needed me. It needed us.

SHOOTING STAR

And suddenly… suddenly we knew we couldn’t stay. We knew we had a purpose. A destiny.

TOPAZ

The world – the universe… the multiverse needed us!

ANTONYM

I know it sounds crazy, but it was just automatic. Right then and right there. We knew that everything that had ever been was counting on us.

JETGIRL

I didn’t look back. I don’t think any of us did. I just launched for the center.

HEARTH

It was a star. We were each moving towards a star, ready to encircle and complete it.

TOPAZ

And most of all, we that we had to do it together.

SHOOTING STAR

We came together. Five as one. A pentad. A pentad of guardians. The leader and the inspiration.

HEARTH

The heart and the healer.

JETGIRL

The intellect and the will.

TOPAZ

The strong arm and the smile.

ANTONYM

And the advocate and the adversary.

COLTON PIKE

And just like that, with one last crack, it was all over. Everything was back to normal.

(he laughs)

It even started Goddamn snowing again.

SHOOTING STAR

We drove off Doctor Guile and his daughter.

ANTONYM

Oh, don’t get me started on them. I don’t want to talk about it.

HEARTH

We made it to the top of the building. And by the time we were up there… our other lives had… largely faded from memory, though the experience and abilities we had accrued remained.

SHOOTING STAR

For the record? In talking to the Pa’lita Ascendency? Apparently in the ‘real world’ there’s no such race as the Silbarians.

TOPAZ

It was easier on me – in a way, it was like I could tell that Metro City wasn’t… I mean, it was crazy, you know? Not realistic.

ANTONYM

According to what we’ve found out here… Themis never had anything like that temple, or before me any kind of a champion.

JETGIRL

It’s like we made our own origins. Like each was tailored to what we needed.

SHOOTING STAR

Getting to the top of the building, we found the tethers they were using in the experiment. Jetgirl figured out the device.

JETGIRL

Hearth created a series of wards to protect us and give the researchers something to home in on.

TOPAZ

Antonym was able to oppose the weird dark figures that were swirling around, driving them off.

HEARTH

Topaz grabbed the silvery cord which bound the researchers to our world, and pulled.

ANTONYM

And Shooting Star was able to light their path.

EVAN SHAPIRO

The Pentad of Guardians saved the researchers – well, those who survived. They ultimately became the Astounding Alliance, though most bore the scars of their creation.

INT. CASSANDRA CARLYLE LECTURE THEATER, KING KURTZBERG BUILDING - NIGHT

A press conference announcing the Astounding Alliance. On the stage are Doc Astounding, Mnemosyne, the Rasp, Obliteration, and Upsilon. The Pentad of Guardians is behind them, along with Doctor Evan Shapiro.

DOC ASTONISHING

It would be simple to blame my experiment’s results on Doctor Guile. Unfortunately, it would be a deception. In my hubris and my rush, we invited disaster, enabled Doctor Guile to do something unspeakable to his daughter, and nearly destroyed ourselves. In particular, my sister, now called Obliteration, cannot interact with the world without her retention suit. David Clay is a living statue as the Rasp. Mnemosyne has lost her identity and individuality. Upsilon is incarnate darkness. And had the Pentad of Guardians not pulled us back, none of us would have survived.

EVAN SHAPIRO
(voiceover)

Doctor Aiden Archer had become Doc Astonishing, and his assistants, friends, and even his sister had been transformed just as completely. But without the Pentad of Guardians, they wouldn’t have even survived this way. And without their experiment, the Pentad of Guardians themselves wouldn’t exist.

INT - SHAPIRO - DAY

Cut to Shapiro Interview

EVAN SHAPIRO

Whether or not the Pentad of Guardians really is destined to protect all of reality – and I admit it sounds perhaps grandiose at best – it is unquestionable that they have embraced their heroic role… and much, much more.

MONTAGE

Graphics going out to commercial, ending on the RTW News Closeup logo.

ANNOUNCER
(voiceover)

When we come back – the Pentad of Guardians gets a base. And we learn more about Empire City’s newest heroes – when RTW News Closeup continues!

Fade Out to Commercial

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4 thoughts on “⎇001JW Justice Wing Emergence: RTV Closeup on the Pentad of Guardians #1”

  1. …..Does Antonym have any expressions other than “various degrees of annoyance?”

    I feel like, if Rodent gave away this much information about herself, she’d be neck deep in supervillains 30 seconds after it aired.

    All I have to say is that there’s a reason we don’t do dangerous science in the middle of large inhabited cities. Or at least that we shouldn’t do it.

    So, Doc Astonishing is a jerk here. Good to know. I’d been wondering.

    Getting involved with Dr. Guile is just…a bad idea.

    …..Oh. Well, hello there Dr. Shapiro. You pop up in some unusual circumstances.

    Question, does this whole interview take place before or after Excelsiors?

    Being certain you’re correct is probably the worst problem a scientist can have, because that leads to so many of the other scientific sins, like cherry picking data, hasty experimentation, failing to look for other possible reasons, and even outright fudging data.

    Colin….. Why did you need to have this guy performing then? Outside?

    Why does Doc Astonishing get to be a hero after this?

    …….Huh.

    And now I’m imagining a villain who’s origin is that they were one of the people who was saved by that group…. and felt cheated later because they didn’t get to have a cool origin story and gain superpowers.

    ………I wonder who the woman who didn’t get to be the champion was.

    Ok, Topaz? Are you just messing with us now? Because it sounds like you’re just messing with us now.

    Jetgirl gets things done. Unlike SOME people I could name, she doesn’t need to break the laws of physics to get somewhere important on time.

    …..Ok, now I’m honestly HOPING she’s messing with us.

    I’m actually concerned that those alternate universes are missing their heroes now.

    Ah. Well, there you go then. We knew he had an evil plan.

    ……Wait. Her real name is literally Bea Guile. Well, that explains the evil. Too much teasing will give you a complex.

    Jetgirl is many things, including “awesome” and “not going skiing.”

    Hell yeah Antonym is the Advocate.

    ………

    Oh come on Ant, we really do want to hear your half hour profanity filled rant about the Guiles. (I am actually serious here)

    Really, why does Doc Astonishing get to be a hero instead of in jail/sued into oblivion?

    This was great. Looking forward to the rest of it.

    1. A few responses (and thanks for the comment!)

      Question, does this whole interview take place before or after Excelsiors?

      Quite a few years before. At this point in the timeline, Mierra McCall hasn’t even hit primary parahuman expression. (I’m not positive her Good Foster Parents are dead yet, even.)

      …..Does Antonym have any expressions other than “various degrees of annoyance?”

      Yes. She also has ‘smug,’ ‘I-told-you-so,’ and ‘oh-my-god-is-that-bacon-I-smell.’ There are rumors that she occasionally smiles and even has a ‘sultry’ expression, but they’re far from confirmed.

      Ok, Topaz? Are you just messing with us now? Because it sounds like you’re just messing with us now.

      Hey man, when you get bitten by a radioactive armadillo? You’re done messing around.

      Oh come on Ant, we really do want to hear your half hour profanity filled rant about the Guiles. (I am actually serious here)

      Antonym looks up. “Seriously?” She snorts. “You know who I rant about with artistic uses of profanity and more than a little poetic imagry?” She leans closer. “People I care about.”

      She leans back. “And I care about everyone. Ask anybody. I’ll rant about just about anyone. But the Guiles?” She snorts again. “No fucking comment.”

  2. I feel like, if Rodent gave away this much information about herself, she’d be neck deep in supervillains 30 seconds after it aired.

    You’d be right. There’s reasons why they’re not worried about outing their pre-Skyquake lives (at least not by name). There’s a notes post that just came out — that’ll go over it.

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