TITLE: SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Splash panel. We are in a futuristic warehouse, looking over a crowd at the fighting arena of the Darwinian cage-fight – in essence, a raised stage area enclosed by a reinforced metal cage. Two creatures are battling it out in a violent struggle (think of a sort of mix between Jurassic park and a dogfight out of a Guy Ritchie movie). The Sheer – a huge reptilian creature that resembles a nightmarish blend of crocodile and silverback gorilla (like a bipedal dinosaur) – screeches in agony as it receives a bloody blow from a giant mutant spider with engorged fangs. The crowd of dodgy criminals and glamorous women go wild, the women waving batons emblazoned with the face of Darwin.
THE HISTORY OF MAN IS LITTERED WITH A THIRST FOR BLOOD SPORTS,
BUT BY FAR THE MOST EXOTIC AND DEPRAVED EXAMPLE IS ENJOYED
BY THE CRIMINAL UNDERCLASS OF THE TWENTY-THIRD CENTURY.
THE RULES OF DARWINIAN CAGE-FIGHTING ARE SIMPLE:
ANY GENETICALLY MANIPULATED CREATURE CAN BE ENTERED;
THE CREATURES FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO DECIDE THE WINNER.
Close in on the VIP seating area directly in front of the cage. Two alpha males face off to one another. Abel Scrode is the embodiment of sleaziness, repulsively fat, obnoxiously confident, and dripping with bling. He wears a white suit, smokes an obscenely large cigar and has a glamour model hanging on each arm (imagine a pimped up Bernard Manning without the hair – odious and supremely confident). He is addressing Big Reggie, a beaten up bruiser of a man, who is younger and more casually dressed. We can just make out the fight behind them.
ENTIRE FORTUNES ARE WON AND LOST ON A
SINGLE MATCH, AND ONE MAN HAS GAINED A
REPUTATION FOR CREATING FORMIDABLE OPPONENTS…
YOU KNOW, REGGIE, MOST CRIMINALS WORK THEIR
WAY UP FROM NOTHING, BUT YOU’VE ACTUALLY
WORKED YOUR WAY UP TO NOTHING.
VERY FUNNY, SCRODE. IF YOU’RE NOT MAN
ENOUGH TO TAKE THE BET, JUST SAY THE WORD.
Close in on the two men as they size each other up. Abel Scrode oozes smugness, whereas Reggie is full of surly attitude.
IT IS A SIZEABLE STAKE, REGGIE – WINNER TAKES OVER THE
LOSER’S TERRITORIES. ARE YOU READY TO RISK THAT?
ABEL SCRODE MAY HAVE BEEN A NAME TO FEAR BACK IN
THE DAY BUT YOU’VE LOST YOUR TOUCH. PLAIN FACT.
Close in on Scrode as he jabs his cigar at Reggie for emphasis, his face taking on a serious expression.
I’LL TAKE YOUR BET, REGGIE. BUT LET ME IMPART
A PIECE OF RINGSIDE WISDOM.
SEE, WE’RE NO BETTER THAN THOSE ANIMALS
IN THAT CAGE. WE’RE GUIDED BY THE SAME BASIC
INSTINCTS - KILL OR BE KILLED, SCREW OR
BE SCREWED. THE STRONG OVERCOME THE WEAK.
Scrode winks lasciviously as he delivers this piece of wisdom. The women on each arm are compliant as Scrode pulls them closer in a pervy embrace, although the girl on his right briefly reveals a distressed expression. He holds his cigar upright in a distinctly Freudian gesture.
I SHOULD KNOW. I’VE MADE HALF MY FORTUNE AS THIS CITY’S
BIGGEST PIMP, THE OTHER HALF CREATING WINNERS FOR THESE
CAGE FIGHTS. SEX AND VIOLENCE IS MY LIFEBLOOD…
…AND I ALWAYS COME OUT ON TOP IN BOTH INSTANCES, REGGIE. ALWAYS.
Wide shot of Reggie and Scrode. We can make out another figure in the frame, hovering behind Scrode as he gestures at her. Dr Griger is an unassuming woman, intelligent, pensive, and in complete contrast to the busty airheads. She looks up tentatively at Reggie.
YOU KNOW, I PITY THE WOMEN THAT
WORK FOR YOU. YOU’RE HUMAN SLIME.
THEY WORK UNDER ME, REGGIE.
ON A RELATED NOTE, LET ME INTRODUCE MY NEW
ASSOCIATE, DR GRIGER. YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD HER
NAME ON THE NEWS – SHE’S THE TOP GENETICIST
THAT WENT MISSING SOME TIME BACK.
Reggie reacts angrily with the realisation that Scrode has brought in a high profile ringer to create his winning monster. One of his henchmen pulls him away as he lashes out. Abel Scrode beams with satisfaction, and Dr Griger is uncomfortable with his gloating.
WAIT, THE DR GRIGER? HEY, YOU CAN’T
BRING IN A RINGER! YOU’VE CONNED
ME, SCRODE! YOU’VE CONNED ME!
LIKE I SAID, I ALWAYS COME OUT ON TOP, REGGIE.
JUST THINK OF IT AS NATURAL SELECTION IN ACTION.
Close in on the Sheer (the reptilian creature) as it lunges at the rearing spider, grappling with its opponents barbed limbs.
Abel Scrode and Dr Griger sit in their ringside seats. Scrode is surrounded by his own personal harem of ladies (or, as modern parlance would have it, his beetches) all bursting out their dresses. Dr Griger has the incongruous look of a librarian at a rock concert, but there is something unshakeable in her attitude, as if she won’t be drawn by Scrode’s threats.
WELL, DOCTOR, I’M SURE I DON’T NEED TO SPELL IT OUT…
DON’T WORRY, YOU’LL GET YOUR VICTORY, SCRODE. I’VE DONE
EVERYTHING TO YOUR SPECIFICATIONS. THE SHEER IS THE
ESSENCE OF EVERY PREDATORY ELEMENT IN NATURE.
Switch to a view behind Scrode and Griger, so that they are silhouettes in front of the bloody cage-fight. The Sheer and the mutant spider are wrestling at close quarters.
I’VE COMBINED SILVERBACK GORILLA AND POLAR BEAR DNA FOR UPPER BODY
STRENGTH, A BLEND OF CROCODILE TRAITS FOR LETHAL BITING CAPACITY…
…AND A PELT THAT EXUDES A POTENT TOAD VENOM.
I GOTTA SAY, HE IS A MAJESTIC-LOOKING BEAST.
Close in on Scrode as leans over to the doctor, waving his cigar at her in a jovial manner.
IT’S A SHE. I MADE THE SHEER FEMALE TO GIVE HER A MORE
AGGRESSIVE EDGE. SHE THINKS SHE’S PROTECTING HER YOUNG.
I SUPPOSE THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL A POETIC FLOURISH, DOCTOR?
Flashback. A disused store-room. Dr Lucy Griger’s husband, sixteen year old son and twelve year old son are tied to chairs. A tearful Dr Griger is being forced to look at her husband, who has received a severe and bloody beating. Abel Scrode – without the white suit or glitz – stands over Griger threateningly. One of Scrode’s henchmen is holding a knife to Dr Griger’s husband’s throat.
‘WE HAVE A DEAL, SCRODE. YOU GET
YOUR WINNER, I GET MY FAMILY BACK.’
Close in on the cage-fight as the Sheer snaps its jaws around the head of the spider.
Pull back to include a view of the cheering crowd. The Sheer has ripped the entire head and spinal column free from the spider’s body. Blood splatters the front rows.
Scrode has got to his feet and, overjoyed at the victory, punches the air with one arm. His gang of women all cheer dutifully, with the nearest ones clutching at him. Dr Griger is not caught up in the wave of jubilation, however. She stands up with him, arms folded, face taut.
FIVE MINUTES AND AN OUTRIGHT KILL! NOW,
THAT IS A PIECE OF CAGE-FIGHTING HISTORY!
LADIES, PREPARE YOURSELVES. MY BLOOD IS
UP AND I AM IN THE MOOD FOR CELEBRATING.
NOT SO FAST, SCRODE. YOU NEED TO DELIVER YOUR
SIDE OF THE BARGAIN. I WANT MY FAMILY BACK.
Close in on Scrode and Griger. Scrode has removed a handheld mobile-like device from his pocket. He has a thumb pressed down to activate it, generating a holographic image of her family in the store-room. Her oldest son has broken free from his chair and wrestles with the guard, trying to pull free the gun he is holding in his hands.
OH RIGHT, THE FAMILY… SEE, WE HAD A LITTLE PROBLEM
THERE, DOC. NOT MY FAULT. YOUR OLDEST BOY TRIED TO BE A HERO.
MY MEN HAD TO DO WHAT THEY HAD TO DO. YOU KNOW HOW IT IS…
Same as previous frame, although the holograph shows the outcome of the struggle; the entire family has been gunned to death. Dr Griger is instantly traumatised, her face crumpling, her hand clutching the side of her face, tears stinging her eyes.
…SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
YOU’LL GET THEM BACK, JUST NOT ALIVE.
OH GOD. OH GOD, NO…
Wide shot. In a ferocious show of strength, the Sheer bursts through the bars of the metal cage that encloses the fighting arena. The first few rows of punters scatter in panic.
IT’S LOOSE – !
Close in on Scrode as he turns in shock to the rampaging creature, the women surrounding him shrinking back in fright. In contrast, Dr Griger is the only person not to react, her head having slumped down at the news of her family’s demise.
HOLY SHIV! WHAT THE HELL IS IT DOING?
The Sheer stomps through the crowd toward Scrode and Griger. In the scrum of punters desperate to escape, Scrode is unable to flee. Dr Griger is weirdly still and passive.
IT’S HER NATURAL INSTINCTS. SHE THINKS HER CHILDREN HAVE BEEN TAKEN.
WELL, DO SOMETHING AND DO IT FAST, OTHERWISE WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
The Sheer towers over Scrode, bearing down on him. It is gargantuan in size to Scrode. His composure is gone and he has a fierce, desperate look as he faces the creature. His cigar hangs limply from his lip. Dr Griger lifts her tear stained face to address Scrode – the creature is completely ignoring her.
CONSIDER THIS MY INSURANCE POLICY, SCRODE.
THE SHEER IS INSTINCTIVELY SEARCHING OUT
THE NEAREST ALPHA MALE – YOU.
YOU CRAZY BITCH, YOU’VE SET THIS THING UP TO KILL ME?
Same as previous panel, although the Sheer leans its grotesque head down to Scrode’s face, its tongue flicking across his cheek. It has an amorous glint to its eye.
NOT EXACTLY. SHE THINKS SHE’S LOST HER YOUNG SO
SHE’S LOOKING FOR A MATE TO BREED WITH.
SHE’S GOING TO DO TO YOU WHAT YOU HAVE SPENT
YOUR ENTIRE LIFE DOING TO OTHER PEOPLE…
The Sheer has pushed Abel Scrode to his knees. Its tongue has wrapped round his neck and one of its hands have grabbed at the edge of his trousers. Scrode is staring at the Sheer with mounting horror. Dr Griger walks away.
…AND THEN AFTER SHE’S HAD HER WAY – THANKS
TO SOME PRAYING MANTIS GENETIC TRAITS I
PATCHED IN – SHE’S GOING TO EAT YOU ALIVE.
BUT…THE SIZE OF THAT THING! YOU’VE
GOT TO STOP IT! YOU’VE GOT TO HELP!
From Scrode’s POV, Dr Griger looks back at him. A group of bystanders have gathered behind her, made up of the women in Scrode’s harem (particularly the two girls he was groping at the start of strip). They are all holding up their mobile phones to record the horrible and degrading acts visited upon their former boss, provoking a mixed response of smirks and appalled gasps from the women. Scrode’s discarded trousers are tossed over the heads of the crowd
YOU KNOW HOW IT IS, SCRODE – KILL OR
BE KILLED, SCREW OR BE SCREWED.
JUST THINK OF IT AS NATURAL
SELECTION IN ACTION!
DTP: THE END