The Death and Life of Bruce Wayne Issue 2

I’ve finished about half of the second issue’s script. Progress is coming faster, though still at almost a positively glacial pace.

Page 1 (1 Panel)

Panel 1 Exterior shot, high angle looking down, of a decrepit building in Old Gotham.


SFX

Random fight sounds and crashes.

Page 2 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page panel, camera peering into the building through a broken window.

SFX

Random fight sounds and crashes.

Panel 2 Quarter page panel of an open doorway inside the building.

SFX

Random fight sounds and crashes.

Panel 3 Quarter page panel of the top of some stairs looking down into the stairwell.  There’s dilapidated sign on the wall saying, “Basement Access”.

SFX

Random fight sounds and crashes.

Panel 4 Quarter page panel of the wreckage of a door. Industrial gantry can be seen on the other side as well as pipes and ducting.

Page 3 (5 Panels) Interiors inside the machine room of the old building.

Panel 1 Batman throws a left jab the Shepherd has deflected, missing by millimeters.

SFX

Slap

Panel 2 Batman throws a straight right that Shepherd has sidestepped, missing again by millimeters.

SFX

Whoosh

Panel 3 Batman does a crouched leg sweep that Shepherd is jumping over.

SFX

Whoosh

Panel 4 Batman does a spinning backhand with his left that Shepherd has leaned back to avoid, missing by millimeters again.

SFX

Whoosh

Panel 5 Batman throws a big right hook that Shepherd has ducked under, but Shepherd is obviously prepared to counter.

SFX

Whoosh

Page 4 (3 Panels) Interior shot with more angles of the machine room.

Panel 1 Shepherd throws an uppercut that rocks Batman backwards.

SFX

Smack

Panel 2 Shepherd follows up with a side kick squarely in Batman’s bat symbol on his chest.

SFX

Crunch

Panel 3 Batman falls into a metal rack of some kind that spills a bunch of rusting lengths of pipe on top of him.

SFX

Crashes and clanging of pipes.

Page 5 (3 panels) Interior of the machine room.

Panel 1 Half page panel, low angle shot with Batman, half buried in pipes in foreground, looking up towards Shepherd in the background, who is disappearing into a thick smoke cloud.

SFX

Sssssss

SHEPHERD

Gotham has a new Shepherd, Batman. Don’t fight it.

Panel 2 Quarter page panel of Batman’s grapnel gun firing through the smoke.

SFX

Grapnel gun shot.

Panel 3 Quarter page panel of Batman bursting forth from the pile of pipes and flying upwards towards the gantry on the second floor of the machine room through the dissipating smoke.

Page 6 (4 panels) Interior of the machine room.

Panel 1 One-third page tall, full page width panel of Batman all alone on the gantry, the wispy remnants of the smoke dissipating.

BATMAN

Hmm…

Panel 2 Two-thirds tall, one-third page wide panel close-up showing Batman touching his temple right above his eye.  The upper half of his eye should be a green or red color (artist choice) indicating a filter is sliding into place.

Panel 3 Two-thirds tall, one-third page wide panel showing the gantry area from Batman’s point-of-view.  The whole panel should be shades of whatever color selected for the filter in the previous panel.  Various gauges, readouts, and displays should be visible around the periphery of the panel, including a compass heading display across the top.

Panel 4 Two-thirds tall, one-third page wide panel showing Batman kneeling next to the technical looking box with the antenna on it that Shepherd was standing next to at the start of their encounter.

Page 7 (6 panels) Interior of the machine room.

Panel 1 Tight shot of Batman handling the box.

BATMAN

Lucius, I’m transmitting data to you on the box the new vigilante was using when I arrived.

LUCIUS FOX (Off screen)

I’m on it.  Transmission is clear.

Panel 2 Close-up of the box.

BATMAN

No logos or other markings. Casing is made of a highly durable polymer material.  Not a lot of companies will manufacture items using it because it’s expensive and difficult to work with.

Panel 3 Batman uses a knife to scrape some of the housing material into a small vial.

Panel 4 Batman inserts the vial into a device with a screen on it.

BATMAN

Running a spectrum analysis of the material.  Run the chemical fingerprint of it through the database of known polymer patents.

LUCIUS FOX

Got it.  The database search will take a few hours.  I’ll send you the findings as soon as they’re available.

Panel 5 Standing up from the box putting away his knife.

BATMAN

I can already tell the box is shielded well enough that my field scanners won’t be able to penetrate.  I’ll be bringing it to the Batcave for further analysis.  Now let’s see what this junction box is.

Panel 6 Batman shifts his attention to the junction box on the wall.

BATMAN

Similar polymer material construction as the box. There is venting on the side. I’ll slip in a fiber optic camera.

Page 8 Interior of the machine room.

Panel 1 Tight shot of Batman inserting a thin cable through a vent on the junction box.

BATMAN

Transmitting the video feed to you as well, Lucius.

Panel 2 Camera point-of-view with a vaguely fisheye effect around the edges.  Shows various chips, capacitors, diodes and resistors and a printed circuit-board.

LUCIUS FOX (Off Screen)

Hold up, Bruce.  On the left, can you get a better view of the top of that chip?

Panel 3 Oblique angle shot of the top of the microchip. The WayneTech logo is plain as day, as well as a serial number that begins with the letters RND and a “Confidential: Property of Wayne Enterprises” stamp.

LUCIUS FOX (Off Screen)

Looking up that serial number now.

SFX

Hum (make it small)

Panel 4 Medium shot of Batman kneeling next to the junction box.

SFX

Hum (larger, more pronounced)

Panel 5 Inset of Panel 4. Batmans eyes narrow.

Page 9 (3 panels) Interior of machine room.

Panel 1 Medium shot of the junction box exploding. Batman, his back turned to the explosion, is shielding his face with his cape.

Panel 2 Shot of Batman, now standing, surveying the smoking ruin of the junction box.

BATMAN

Rigged to blow out the circuitry.  Hopefully we have enough.  I’ll put the transmitter box in a blast resistant container for transport, just in case.

Panel 3 Half page panel exterior high angle shot of Batman loading a very sturdy looking container into a compartment on the back of the Batmobile.

LUCIUS FOX (Off screen)

I’ve traced the serial number of that chip to a “failed” RND project from WayneTech skunk works.

BATMAN

Which project?

LUCIUS FOX

It’s one of your special projects, Bruce. the one we used to cover the development of the encryption and masking of the Batcomputer’s data files and transmissions.

Page 10 (3 panels) Changing exteriors.

Panel 1 Third height, page width panel of the Batmobile tearing across a bridge, the Gotham skyline in the background.

BATMAN

This had to be an inside job.  You and I are both too careful with the special projects for anybody to know what it was for, much less get a physical hold of a chip.

LUCIUS FOX

I’ve ordered an inventory of the skunk works prototypes archives as a precaution.

BATMAN

Keep me posted.

Panel 2 Third height, page width panel of the Batmobile speeding down a wooded road.

BATMAN

Batman to Alfred.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH

Master Bruce?

BATMAN

Have the blast resistant testing chamber in the Batcave prepped and ready for me when I get there, and the bomb disposal suit at the Batmobile’s turntable.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH

Oh dear. Sounds most serious. It shall be done, and I’ll give the staff the night off tonight as a precaution.

Panel 3 Third height, page width panel of the Batmobile heading towards the waterfall and false wall entrance to the Batcave.

BATMAN

Make sure you and Damian are at a safe distance yourselves.  I’m coming in hot.

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The Death and Life of Bruce Wayne Issue 1

I’ve finally finished the first issue and have named my primary new character. You’ll meet him near the end. Onwards to issue 2.

Page 1 (3 Panels)

Panel 1 Full Page shot of Batman crouched on a building
gargoyle peering through a pair of high-tech night vision
binoculars.

Caption Gotham City after midnight, when the worst of
the worst crawl out of their holes…

BATMAN
(Thinking)
Looks like they’re almost done
unloading, but where is Two-Face?

Panel 2 Inset shot of startled men who were offloading an
armored car from the perspective of Batman’s optics.

SFX
(Sound Effect)
CRASH

BATMAN
(Thinking)
Unexpected.

Panel 3 Inset of Batman touching the right ear of his
cowl.

BATMAN
Batman to Robin, status report.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Still observing the side entrance,
but I know what this is about, and
no, I didn’t move prematurely.

Page 2 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter Page Closeup of Batman squinting over his
lowered binoculars.

BATMAN
I don’t like it, Robin. Sit tight
and observe. We need to figure out
what’s going on now, before we
move.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Sure thing, boss.

Panel 2 Quarter Page Over the shoulder shot of Batman
viewing the street below, with large numbers of GCPD squad
cars coming towards him.

BATMAN
Robin, GCPD inbound. They could be
heading into some kind of trap.
Intercept and stop them.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Batman, you better get over here…

Panel 3 Bottom Left Thin inset of the grappling gun
firing.

Panel 4 Remainder of bottom of page shot of Batman
swinging around the building.

Page 3 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Half page aerial shot of ground beneath Batman.
Two-Face is shackled and sitting on top of a military
grade weapons crate. Several more of Two-Face’s men are
shackled together in groups of 4, their backs to each
other. Robin is standing there, staring at Two-Face.

Panel 2 Quarter Page of Batman landing next to Robin

BATMAN
Robin, I told you to…

Panel 3 Quarter Page shot of Batman, Robin, and a battered
and bloody Two-Face together.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Save it. I didn’t do any of this.

TWO-FACE
He sure didn’t, Bats. At first, I
thought it was you, but couldn’t
have been. Moved too fast, like it
was you, 15 years ago.

Page 4 (5 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter Page shot of Batman, Robin and Two-Face
from a different angle than before.

TWO-FACE
Faster than you, hit harder than
you, but shared your flair for
theatrics. Smoke bombs, guys
disappear into thin air, guys being
hung upside down by their ankles,
the works.

TWO-FACE
Hehe, looks like somebody’s
muscling in on your justice
business. Ain’t that rich.

Panel 2 Quarter Page shot of Batman and Robin

DAMIEN WAYNE
He’s not wrong. I got him on
camera. He dropped off the weapons
crate, and Dent and his boys before
grappling out.

DAMIEN WAYNE
His exit was exactly like yours in
every respect, but he’s certainly a
lot stronger than you. Look…

Panel 3 1/3rd width shot of a video display built into the
top of Robin’s binoculars showing a figure in all black,
no cape, with Dent slung over his shoulder, dragging the
weapons crate with his other arm, and a line strapped to
his back by which he’s dragging a cluster of 4 of Harvey’s
goons behind him.

Panel 4 1/3rd width shot of figure grappling away from a
now seated Two-Face.

Panel 5 1/3rd width shot looking up at Batman from Robin’s
screen’s perspective, Batman awash in the screen’s glow.

BATMAN
Hmm… possible unknown metahuman?

Page 5 (3 Panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide panel of GCPD showing up and
getting out of their squad cars.

Panel 2 Quarter page crane shot of Jim Gordon walking up
to Batman, Robin, and Two-Face.

JIM GORDON
Nice work as always, Batman. We can
take it from here.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot over Batman’s shoulder looking
at Commissioner Gordon.

BATMAN
I didn’t do this one, Jim.

JIM GORDON
What?!

BATMAN
We’ve gotta talk.

Page 6 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman over Jim Gordon’s
shoulder. Second bubble can overlap into Panel 2.

BATMAN
Robin caught him on camera. He was
here before we arrived. Took out
Two-Face and his henchman by
himself faster than Robin and I
could have done it together.

BATMAN
Strong, too. Carried Harvey on one
shoulder, the weapons crate with
the other arm and dead dragged 4
full grown men before grappling
away.

Panel 2 Quarter page closeup of Gordon looking thoughtful.

JIM GORDON
You’re thinking metahuman? If it is
he’s an unknown.  Should we contact
Star Labs?

Panel 3 Quarter page closeup of Batman looking determined.

BATMAN
Hold off on involving them. We
don’t really know enough about this
guy right now. Give me some time
and I’ll track him down and figure
out what his game is.

Panel 4 Quarter page aerial shot of Batman grappling away
from Gordon.

JIM GORDON
Be careful, Batman.

Page 7 (2 panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of the Bat Cave. Batmobile is
on the rotating platform far right foreground. Center is a
cowl-less Batman, in his handsome but graying Bruce Wayne
guise, sitting at the Bat Computer with the image of the
mystery figure’s display of strength up on screen. Upper
left we see Damian Wayne in civilian attire walking up the
stairs towards Wayne Manor. Far left, at the base of the
stairs we see Alfred carrying a tray with a domed cover
over a dish and a coffee pot and cup.

Panel 2 Half page wide shot, bracketing Alfred setting the
tray next to Batman on the Bat Computer console with Bruce
staring at the screen, lost in thought.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Who’s the chap who shares your
extreme Gothic fashion sense,
Master Bruce?

BATMAN
I don’t know, Alfred. This is the
first we’ve seen of him, and he
could have cost us the collar on
Two-Face.

Page 8 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman typing at the Bat
Computer.

BATMAN
I’m cross referencing the physical
attributes and estimated strength
levels of this person across all
metahumans cataloged over the last
year by Star Labs to see if he is
truly an unknown.

BATMAN
I’m also getting in touch with my
contacts in Asia and seeing if the
League of Assassins has trained any
new members recently possessing
great physical strength.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot looking up at Alfred from over
Batman’s shoulder. Alfred has removed the domed cover for
the dish, revealing club sandwich and fries.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Are you saying this person is an
Assassin?

BATMAN
He fights like me, and he would
have had to have years of very
specialized training. Training the
League could provide.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot of Alfred pouring coffee for
Batman.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Stronger than you and trained like
you. Sounds like this could be a
big problem for you.

BATMAN
(Off Screen)
I need to figure out his game
before I can stop it.

Panel 4 Quarter page shot of Batman sipping his coffee and
Alfred leaning up against the console of the Bat Computer

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Stop it? I was merely insinuating
he would cut into your revenge
business. What makes you think he
has nefarious designs?

BATMAN
It’s justice, Alfred, not revenge.
And if you didn’t know me and I
suddenly showed up in your
neighborhood you’d be cautious too.

Page 9 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Alfred with the seated Batman
in the foreground.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Will there be anything else before
I retire, Master Bruce?

BATMAN
No thank you, Alfred. Goodnight.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot from over the seated Batman’s
shoulder as Alfred makes his way to the foot of the
stairs.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Leave the dishes, I’ll tidy up in
the morning.

Panel 3 Half page wide shot of the Bat Cave, Alfred is
dimly lit climbing the stairs back to Wayne Manor, the
rest of the Bat Cave is dark save a spotlight on Batman,
hard at work on the Bat Computer.

Page 10 (3 panels, two page spread)

Panel 1 Two page spread of the exterior of Wayne Manor,
with Batman as Bruce Wayne and Damien Wayne sitting down
for breakfast on the veranda at an umbrella covered table.
Alfred is placing plates on the table. Damien is busy with
a tablet device.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
I found the dishes in the drying
rack, Master Bruce. Totally
unnecessary but thank you.

BATMAN
It’s only considerate.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Hey Bruce, looks like our friend
was busy last night. Check out this
article from the Gotham City
Gazette website.

Panel 2 Closeup Inset lower left of Damien’s tablet.
Headline reads “Mystery Vigilante Responsible for the
Arrests of Three of Batman’s ‘Rogue’s Gallery'”

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Off Screen)
After he grabbed Two-Face he
apparently nabbed Penguin and
Scarecrow exchanging Fear Toxin for
cash and weapons.

Panel 3 Closeup inset of Batman, in his Bruce guise, his
eyes narrowed in anger and frustration.

BATMAN
He does good work, I’ll give him
that, but that meeting wasn’t
supposed to go down until
tonight… when we were planning to
break it up.

Page 11 (Continuation of Panel 1 from previous page)

Page 12 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman standing up at the
table and handing a still seated Damien back his tablet
with Alfred pouring Damien some juice.

BATMAN
I have to go see Lucius. Get
opinion on this new vigilante and
his capabilities.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot of Alfred and Damian at the
table with Batman walking away in the background.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Guess that means normal patrol
tonight…

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Speaking of normal, eat quickly.
You need to get moving or you’ll be
late for class.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot over the shoulder of Alfred
who’s peering down at the circular driveway of Wayne Manor
as a Lamborghini followed by a BMW sedan drive off.

Panel 4 Quarter page shot of a smiling Alfred outside of
Wayne Manor, climbing into a Bentley as a couple of members
of the Wayne Manor staff wave.

Page 13 (1 panel)

Panel 1 Tilt up shot from base of Wayne Tower up to the
penthouse office far in the distance.

LUCIUS FOX
(Off screen)
Good morning Bruce! I got your
e-mail this morning but I wasn’t
expecting to see you.

Page 14 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of Lucius’ office. Lucius is
standing behind the desk as Bruce is walking across the
spacious office towards the guest chair in front of the
desk.

LUCIUS FOX
What brings you here this early?

BATMAN
This new vigilante has beat me to
the punch on two current cases. I
need to know how and why.

Panel 2 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius typing at his
computer terminal at his desk.

LUCIUS FOX
I already started digging into what
evidence the new guy provided to
GCPD to go with their arrest of
Harvey, like you asked. And kudos
to this guy, he’s as thorough as
you.

Panel 3 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius and Batman at
the desk, with Lucius having rotated his monitor so that
Batman could see it.

BATMAN
Do me a favor. Open the folder
labeled audio.

BATMAN
Hmm… the file sizes are the same.

Page 15 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page panel of Batman handing a small thumb
drive to Lucius.

BATMAN
Run a file compare with the audio
on this drive.

Panel 2 Closeup of Lucius, from desk height up, from
behind and to the side of his computer terminal. His face
looks puzzled.

LUCIUS FOX
Identical… even down to the
hidden watermark I built into the
save feature of the Bat Computer.

BATMAN
How could he get in?

Panel 3 Quarter page medium shot of Batman and Lucius at
the desk.

LUCIUS FOX
While the Bat Computer is one of
the most secure computers on the
planet, it’s not exactly foolproof.

BATMAN
Go on…

Panel 4 Quarter page medium shot of Batman and Lucius at
the desk from a different angle.

LUCIUS FOX
I built in a back door, in case
somebody unauthorized gained
control of the Bat Cave and somehow
directly hacked the Bat Computer.

LUCIUS FOX
It was a precaution against
disaster…

Page 16 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius frantically
typing at the terminal.

LUCIUS FOX
I’m accessing the back door now.
There it is.  There’s a slow bleed
signal outbound from the backdoor
as we speak. Tracing the
connection.

Panel 2 Quarter page medium shot of Batman opening a
secret door in the wall of Lucius’ office.

BATMAN
I’m heading to the sub-level.

LUCIUS FOX
(Off screen)
When you get into the car, I’ll
beam the trace signal directly to
your nav unit.

Panel 3 Half page wide profile shot of Batman in full gear
in the Batmobile from inside the cockpit, his outfit awash
in myriad colored lights from all the displays, gauges,
and readouts.

LUCIUS FOX
(Over Radio)
I’ve narrowed the location of the
signal to somewhere in Old Gotham.

BATMAN
On my way.

Page 17 (2 Panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of Old Gotham, it’s run down buildings piercing the gloomy gray sky like the bones of a long dead corpse, with the Batmobile tearing down the dirty streets.

LUCIUS FOX

(Over Radio)

The signal is coming from beneath the vacant building at 1347 East Racine Street.

Panel 2 Half page shot of Batmobile pulled to the curb with the canopy closing and Batman standing next to it touching his right ear.

BATMAN

I’m two blocks from there now. Proceeding on foot.

Page 18 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page panel of Batman peering into the building through a broken window.

Panel 2 Quarter page panel of Batman in the shadows (with red eyes, indicating Night Vision is active) with his back to the wall standing next to an open doorway.

LUCIUS FOX

(Over Radio)

Signal has stopped. Whatever they were doing is finished.

Panel 3 Quarter page panel of Batman kneeling at the top of the stairs looking down into the stairwell.  There’s dilapidated sign on the wall saying, “Basement Access”.

Panel 4 Quarter page panel of Batman listening at a closed door that has light coming from beneath it.

Page 19

Panel 1 Thin panel, half page height, one quarter page width.

SFX

CRASH!

Panel 2 Remaining 3/4 of the half page panel. Wide shot of a two-level machine room with boiler, HVAC machinery, duct works, pipes, etc.. Narrow gantry all the way around the upper section with a dark figure standing at the far right in the foreground, holding a cable that appears to have just been unplugged from a socket in a very technical looking junction box the wall.  Other cables snake down from the junction box and run into a technical looking box with a collapsible antenna dish on the top.  BATMAN is on the far left in the background in a fighting stance in the darkened doorway, amid the smashed ruins of the basement door.

SHEPHERD

Hello Batman.

Panel 3 Quarter page panel shot from BATMAN’S point-of-view looking towards SHEPHERD who is in the opposite corner of the basement from him. SHEPHERD is facing the camera.

SHEPHERD

I’ve been expecting you.  I’m surprised it wasn’t sooner.

Panel 4 Quarter page panel shot from SHEPHERD’s point-of-view looking towards BATMAN in the doorway.

BATMAN

Whoever you are, your game ends… now!

Page 20 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of BATMAN hurling a flight of three batarangs across the basement towards SHEPHERD.

Panel 2 Inset, left-side of panel 1 shot.  Closeup of BATMAN’s snarling face.

Panel 3 Inset, right-side of panel 1 shot. Closeup of SHEPHERD’s eyes narrowing.

Panel 4 Half page wide shot with BATMAN in foreground on left with SHEPHERD in the background ducking beneath the stream of batarangs that have embedded in the wall above him while launching his own salvo of three plain chevron shaped shuriken, like batarangs but without any discernable motif.

Page 21 (3 Panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of SHEPHERD in the foreground on the right, with BATMAN dodging to the left. Two of SHEPHERD’s three shuriken are embedded in the wall behind BATMAN. The last one is embedded in the wall with a shred of cloth hanging from it.  BATMAN’s cape is torn in one spot.

Panel 2 Inset tight shot of SHEPHERD’s shuriken ripping through BATMAN’s cape.

Panel 3 Half page wide shot of both BATMAN and SHEPHERD springing off the gantry railing, hurling themselves towards each other.

Page 22 and 23 (2 Panels)

Panel 1 Two page spread of the floor of the machine room/basement.  BATMAN on the right and SHEPHERD on left, facing each other in crouched fighting stances.

Panel 2 Inset closeup of BATMAN’s face.  The jaw is starting to bruise and blood seeps from the corner of his mouth.

END OF ISSUE 1

The Death and Life of Bruce Wayne

I’ve always wanted to write a Batman story and so I’ve started.  The central conceit of the story is that with my version of Batman, he suffers from split personality disorder and that the Batman personality has suppressed the Bruce Wayne personality for so long that Bruce Wayne is effectively dead. And now, Batman faces a new vigilante who has come to Gotham, one who is at least his equal in every way and superior in some. Is this new hero a villain in disguise, or an existential threat to Batman’s reason for being? With Bruce Wayne dead, will being without purpose finish the Batman? What will come out of the wreckage?

I present to you the script for roughly the first half of issue 1.

Page 1 (3 Panels)

Panel 1 Full Page shot of Batman crouched on a building
gargoyle peering through a pair of high tech night vision
binoculars.

Caption Gotham City after midnight, when the worst of
the worst crawl out of their holes…

BATMAN
(Thinking)
Looks like they’re almost done
unloading, but where is Two-Face?

Panel 2 Inset shot of startled men who were offloading an
armored car from the perspective of Batman’s optics.

SFX
(Sound Effect)
CRASH

BATMAN
(Thinking)
Unexpected.

Panel 3 Inset of Batman touching the right ear of his
cowl.

BATMAN
Batman to Robin, status report.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Still observing the side entrance,
but I know what this is about, and
no, I didn’t move prematurely.

Page 2 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter Page Closeup of Batman squinting over his
lowered binoculars.

BATMAN
I don’t like it, Robin. Sit tight
and observe. We need to figure out
what’s going on now, before we
move.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Sure thing, boss.

Panel 2 Quarter Page Over the shoulder shot of Batman
viewing the street below, with large numbers of GCPD squad
cars coming towards him.

BATMAN
Robin, GCPD inbound. They could be
heading into some kind of trap.
Intercept and stop them.

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Over Radio)
Batman, you better get over here…

Panel 3 Bottom Left Thin inset of the grappling gun
firing.

Panel 4 Remainder of bottom of page shot of Batman
swinging around the building.

Page 3 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Half page aerial shot of ground beneath Batman.
Two-Face is shackled and sitting on top of a military
grade weapons crate. Several more of Two-Face’s men are
shackled together in groups of 4, their backs to each
other. Robin is standing there, staring at Two-Face.

Panel 2 Quarter Page of Batman landing next to Robin

BATMAN
Robin, I told you to…

Panel 3 Quarter Page shot of Batman, Robin, and a battered
and bloody Two-Face together.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Save it. I didn’t do any of this.

TWO-FACE
He sure didn’t, Bats. At first I
thought it was you, but couldn’t
have been. Moved too fast, like it
was you, 15 years ago.

Page 4 (5 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter Page shot of Batman, Robin and Two-Face
from a different angle than before.

TWO-FACE
Faster than you, hit harder than
you, but shared your flair for
theatrics. Smoke bombs, guys
disappear into thin air, guys being
hung upside down by their ankles,
the works.

TWO-FACE
Hehe, looks like somebody’s
muscling in on your justice
business. Ain’t that rich.

Panel 2 Quarter Page shot of Batman and Robin

DAMIEN WAYNE
He’s not wrong. I got him on
camera. He dropped off the weapons
crate, and Dent and his boys before
grappling out.

DAMIEN WAYNE
His exit was exactly like yours in
every respect, but he’s certainly a
lot stronger than you. Look…

Panel 3 1/3rd width shot of a video display built into the
top of Robin’s binoculars showing a figure in all black,
no cape, with Dent slung over his shoulder, dragging the
weapons crate with his other arm, and a line strapped to
his back by which he’s dragging a cluster of 4 of Harvey’s
goons behind him.

Panel 4 1/3rd width shot of figure grappling away from a
now seated Two-Face.

Panel 5 1/3rd width shot looking up at Batman from Robin’s
screen’s perspective, Batman awash in the screen’s glow.

BATMAN
Hmm… possible unknown metahuman?

Page 5 (3 Panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide panel of GCPD showing up and
getting out of their squad cars.

Panel 2 Quarter page crane shot of Jim Gordon walking up
to Batman, Robin, and Two-Face.

JIM GORDON
Nice work as always, Batman. We can
take it from here.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot over Batman’s shoulder looking
at Commissioner Gordon.

BATMAN
I didn’t do this one, Jim.

JIM GORDON
What?!

BATMAN
We’ve gotta talk.

Page 6 (4 Panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman over Jim Gordon’s
shoulder. Second bubble can overlap into Panel 2.

BATMAN
Robin caught him on camera. He was
here before we arrived. Took out
Two-Face and his henchman by
himself faster than Robin and I
could have done it together.

BATMAN
Strong, too. Carried Harvey on one
shoulder, the weapons crate with
the other arm and dead dragged 4
full grown men before grappling
away.

Panel 2 Quarter page closeup of Gordon looking thoughtful.

JIM GORDON
You’re thinking metahuman? If it is
he’s an unknown.  Should we contact
Star Labs?

Panel 3 Quarter page closeup of Batman looking determined.

BATMAN
Hold off on involving them. We
don’t really know enough about this
guy right now. Give me some time
and I’ll track him down and figure
out what his game is.

Panel 4 Quarter page aerial shot of Batman grappling away
from Gordon.

JIM GORDON
Be careful, Batman.

Page 7 (2 panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of the Bat Cave. Batmobile is
on the rotating platform far right foreground. Center is a
cowl-less Batman, in his handsome but graying Bruce Wayne
guise, sitting at the Bat Computer with the image of the
mystery figure’s display of strength up on screen. Upper
left we see Damian Wayne in civilian attire walking up the
stairs towards Wayne Manor. Far left, at the base of the
stairs we see Alfred carrying a tray with a domed cover
over a dish and a coffee pot and cup.

Panel 2 Half page wide shot, bracketing Alfred setting the
tray next to Batman on the Bat Computer console with Bruce
staring at the screen, lost in thought.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Who’s the chap who shares your
extreme Gothic fashion sense,
Master Bruce?

BATMAN
I don’t know, Alfred. This is the
first we’ve seen of him, and he
could have cost us the collar on
Two-Face.

Page 8 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman typing at the Bat
Computer.

BATMAN
I’m cross referencing the physical
attributes and estimated strength
levels of this person across all
metahumans cataloged over the last
year by Star Labs to see if he is
really unknown.

BATMAN
I’m also getting in touch with my
contacts in Asia and seeing if the
League of Assassins has trained any
new members recently possessing
great physical strength.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot looking up at Alfred from over
Batman’s shoulder. Alfred has removed the domed cover for
the dish, revealing club sandwich and fries.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Are you saying this person is an
Assassin?

BATMAN
He fights like me, and he would
have had to have years of very
specialized training. Training the
League could provide.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot of Alfred pouring coffee for
Batman.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Stronger than you, and trained like
you. Sounds like this could be a
big problem for you.

BATMAN
(Off Screen)
I need to figure out his game
before I can stop it.

Panel 4 Quarter page shot of Batman sipping his coffee and
Alfred leaning up against the console of the Bat Computer

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Stop it? I was merely insinuating
he would cut into your revenge
business. What makes you think he
has nefarious designs?

BATMAN
It’s justice, Alfred, not revenge.
And if you didn’t know me and I
suddenly showed up in your
neighborhood you’d be cautious too.

Page 9 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Alfred with the seated Batman
in the foreground.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Will there be anything else before
I retire, Master Bruce?

BATMAN
No thank you, Alfred. Goodnight.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot from over the seated Batman’s
shoulder as Alfred makes his way to the foot of the
stairs.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Leave the dishes, I’ll tidy up in
the morning.

Panel 3 Half page wide shot of the Bat Cave, Alfred is
dimly lit climbing the stairs back to Wayne Manor, the
rest of the Bat Cave is dark save a spotlight on Batman,
hard at work on the Bat Computer.

Page 10 (3 panels, two page spread)

Panel 1 Two page spread of the exterior of Wayne Manor,
with Batman as Bruce Wayne and Damien Wayne sitting down
for breakfast on the veranda at an umbrella covered table.
Alfred is placing plates on the table. Damien is busy with
a tablet device.

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
I found the dishes in the drying
rack, Master Bruce. Totally
unnecessary, but thank you.

BATMAN
It’s only considerate.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Hey Bruce, looks like our friend
was busy last night. Check out this
article from the Gotham City
Gazette website.

Panel 2 Closeup Inset lower left of Damien’s tablet.
Headline reads “Mystery Vigilante Responsible for the
Arrests of Three of Batman’s ‘Rogue’s Gallery'”

DAMIEN WAYNE
(Off Screen)
After he grabbed Two-Face he
apparently nabbed Penguin and
Scarecrow exchanging Fear Toxin for
cash and weapons.

Panel 3 Closeup inset of Batman, in his Bruce guise, his
eyes narrowed in anger and frustration.

BATMAN
He does good work, I’ll give him
that, but that meeting wasn’t
supposed to go down until
tonight… when we were planning to
break it up.

Page 11 (Continuation of Panel 1 from previous page)

Page 12 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page shot of Batman standing up at the
table and handing a still seated Damien back his tablet
with Alfred pouring Damien some juice.

BATMAN
I have to go see Lucius. Get
opinion on this new vigilante and
his capabilities.

Panel 2 Quarter page shot of Alfred and Damian at the
table with Batman walking away in the background.

DAMIEN WAYNE
Guess that means normal patrol
tonight…

ALFRED PENNYWORTH
Speaking of normal, eat quickly.
You need to get moving or you’ll be
late for class.

Panel 3 Quarter page shot over the shoulder of Alfred
who’s peering down at the circular driveway of Wayne Manor
as a Lamborghini followed by a BMW sedan drive off.

Panel 4 Quarter page shot of a smiling Alfred outside of
Wayne Manor, climbing into a Bentley as a couple of members
of the Wayne Manor staff wave.

Page 13 (1 panel)

Panel 1 Tilt up shot from base of Wayne Tower up to the
penthouse office far in the distance.

LUCIUS FOX
(Off screen)
Good morning Bruce! I got your
e-mail this morning but I wasn’t
expecting to see you.

Page 14 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Half page wide shot of Lucius’ office. Lucius is
standing behind the desk as Bruce is walking across the
spacious office towards the guest chair in front of the
desk.

LUCIUS FOX
What brings you here this early?

BATMAN
This new vigilante has beat me to
the punch on two current cases. I
need to know how and why.

Panel 2 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius typing at his
computer terminal at his desk.

LUCIUS FOX
I already started digging into what
evidence the new guy provided to
GCPD to go with their arrest of
Harvey, like you asked. And kudos
to this guy, he’s as thorough as
you.

Panel 3 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius and Batman at
the desk, with Lucius having rotated his monitor so that
Batman could see it.

BATMAN
Do me a favor. Open the folder
labeled audio.

BATMAN
Hmm… the file sizes are the same.

Page 15 (4 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page panel of Batman handing a small thumb
drive to Lucius.

BATMAN
Run a file compare with the audio
on this drive.

Panel 2 Closeup of Lucius, from desk height up, from
behind and to the side of his computer terminal. His face
looks puzzled.

LUCIUS FOX
Identical… even down to the
hidden watermark I built into the
save feature of the Bat Computer.

BATMAN
How could he get in?

Panel 3 Quarter page medium shot of Batman and Lucius at
the desk.

LUCIUS FOX
While the Bat Computer is one of
the most secure computers on the
planet, it’s not exactly foolproof.

BATMAN
Go on…

Panel 4 Quarter page medium shot of Batman and Lucius at
the desk from a different angle.

LUCIUS FOX
I built in a back door, in case
somebody unauthorized gained
control of the Bat Cave and somehow
directly hacked the Bat Computer.

LUCIUS FOX
It was a precaution against
disaster…

Page 16 (3 panels)

Panel 1 Quarter page medium shot of Lucius frantically
typing at the terminal.

LUCIUS FOX
I’m accessing the back door now.
There it is.  There’s a slow bleed
signal outbound from the backdoor
as we speak. Tracing the
connection.

Panel 2 Quarter page medium shot of Batman opening a
secret door in the wall of Lucius’ office.

BATMAN
I’m heading to the sub-level.

LUCIUS FOX
(Off screen)
When you get into the car, I’ll
beam the trace signal directly to
your nav unit.

Panel 3 Half page wide profile shot of Batman in full gear
in the Batmobile from inside the cockpit, his outfit awash
in myriad colored lights from all the displays, gauges,
and readouts.

LUCIUS FOX
(Over Radio)
I’ve narrowed the location of the
signal to somewhere in Old Gotham.

BATMAN
On my way.

Concrete: A Writing Exercise

I had one hour with the prompt to “Write about walking down a sidewalk and what you see and experience.” This is the result.

I had to get out of there. The apartment was unnaturally warm and uncomfortable, the lingering heat from our latest argument.  As usual, she retreated to our bedroom and locked the door, shutting me out both literally and figuratively. With no recourse, I threw on my jacket and walked out into the cool November night.

I skipped the elevator and took the stairs down three flights to the courtyard of the complex and took out a smoke. Pausing beneath the No Smoking sign I flicked open my zippo, not even bothering to shield the flame from the breeze.  The flame brought an angry red hue to my face as I lit the cigarette. How fitting, I mused to myself. I took a long drag and shuffled across the courtyard and out the main gate.

Hitting the street, I had two options, left or right.  Habit told me to go right, but my gut told me otherwise. Heading north towards the boulevard I became acutely aware of the sound of my boots pounding the damp pavement. The crisp “clack” of the heel, followed by the sandpaper like scraping of the soles on the weathered concrete gave an odd, percussive rhythm to my strides. I focused on the beat of my own feet, trying to let the droning cadence drown out the conversations I was having with myself. It helped briefly but was soon overpowered by the sounds of my own mind.

I played that old, familiar game with myself; coulda, woulda, shoulda. I replayed the argument over and over again, like it was my own personal Zapruder film. “Back and to the left. Back and to the left,” my mind blandly repeated in sad parody of the movie JFK. I continued to torture myself with zingers, comebacks, and points I didn’t make that would surely have won the day had I said them.

I absently hung a left onto the boulevard, pausing only to light another smoke off the nearly burned out butt of my previous one. I put my old smoke out of its misery on the side of a nearby mailbox and flicked it out into the street before shuffling onward to… where? I had no plan, no destination, no ideas…

I was aimless, rudderless, adrift in the stormy sea of my own thoughts and emotions so I decided to let their current just carry me.  I lost track of how long I’d been walking, when I was jostled out of my reverie by someone drunkenly bumping into me. They turned to apologize when we recognized each other.

“Steve?” said the other man. “God damn, it is you! I haven’t seen you in months!”

I put up my social defenses immediately, forcing a smile. “What’s going down, Roger? It has been forever.”

“No kidding! So, how are things? You disappeared right about the time you started seeing Alexis. You two still on the honeymoon?”

It was an innocent question, and I couldn’t be mad at him for it. How was he to know. But it landed. Hard. I think I visibly winced, since his face went from happy to see an old friend to “I think I just fucked up” in a split second.

“’Fraid the honeymoon is long since over on that one, buddy,” I managed to utter finally.

“Sorry to hear it, pal. Didn’t mean to poke a pain point,” Steve said remorsefully.

“Nah, man, no need to apologize. You didn’t know. And judging from your friends here, you’re out for a good time so it’s me who should apologize for being such a downer.”

Steve suddenly became aware again that he had two young women with him. He chuckled a little. “Shit, man, let me introduce you.” He motioned to the brunette on his right, “This is my friend Lisa, from work.” I reached out instinctively to shake her hand. Dead fish. “And this is Rachel, one of the bartenders from Mickey’s on 4th.” I extended my hand again. Rachel had a grip like a vice, stepping in and kissing me on each cheek.

“It’s a pleasure,” she said, with a hint of an accent. It was difficult to place but definitely European. “Steve, is it?”

The surprise wore off quickly. “That’s me!” I said with a slight laugh.

A wry smile formed on Roger’s face. “Since you seem pretty down, Stevie, why not join us for drinks? We’re on our way to our last stop on a little bar crawl and you certainly look like you can use a drink or three.”

While I could do with a few cocktails, I’m not so sure about being with people. My inner demons were fighting to keep me wallowing in my emotions. My face must have betrayed my thoughts. I felt Rachel’s hand light upon my forearm.

“C’mon Steve, it’d be fun. And we could use a change of pace from Roger’s boring conversation.”

“Hey!” Roger said with feigned indignation.

“Sure, why the hell not?” I said.

A Simple Reminder

A simple reminder. A little “1” in a red circle over my Facebook notifications.  Such a small thing… and yet powerful. It was a birthday reminder for Elizabeth Ann Feldman, the late wife of my friend Ron Feldman. She’s been… elsewhere, for a little more than two-and-a-half years and I still think of her from time to time.  Today, October 2nd, 2017, has been rather rough and this reminder came at a time when introspection was inevitable.  That said, I dug through my archives and pulled up the eulogy I wrote for Annie and took comfort in that. Introspection achieved. Below I’ve posted the text of the eulogy.

When Ron asked me to write this, I must admit I was absolutely terrified.  I’ve never had to do something like this before, and I was sorely afraid I would not do Ann justice. But Ron is a friend and I promised him I’d give it some thought and see what I could do.

I thought hard about what I would say about Ann.  I started with a simple question.  What do I know about Elizabeth Ann Feldman? At first glance I was mortified by how little I knew about her.  I knew the basics, of course.  That she was a Floridian, married to my friend Ron, had a daughter named Morgan. I knew she loved games, ran a BBS, played World of Warcraft.  But this was all surface stuff.  Where was the real Ann?

In racking my brain about this I kept searching and searching for more and suddenly came to a realization.  What I was searching for came more from my own kind of jaded perspective. I was looking for what I thought was depth of meaning but it was more looking for ulterior motives.  In my search for more meaning I missed the obvious.  In life so many people we meet have an  agenda.  They’re looking for an advantage or an angle of some kind and I found myself unconsciously searching for one in Ann.  But you can’t find something that isn’t there.

Ann was truly a genuine human being, without pretense.  With her, what you saw is what you got; a caring, happy, loving individual. A lover of animals and a kind soul.  Most importantly, it was plain for all to see that she loved her daughter and her husband with all her heart.

Ann was always there with a smile and a kind word. And while I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Ann when she was her most vibrant, you could still see she was a luminous being possessed of great goodness and a wonderful nature despite the circumstances of her health. And her light still lingers among all who she touched.

Ron asked me to be there at the end, and for his and Ann’s sake I was.  Many of us here today were there as well.  It was a testament to both Ron and Ann that so many would choose to be there at such a difficult time.  When it came time to enter Ann’s room and see her for the last time, it was tough.  She seemed so small and delicate in that hospital bed, and I couldn’t help but notice how dark it was in that room. When the hospital chaplain asked each of us to share  our thoughts after we prayed over Ann, I struggled at first. But Ann’s light shone through in the darkness and suddenly I knew what I was going to say.

“Ann, I’m not going to say goodbye because I know we will see you again.”

I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.  When all is said and done, and this world is ended I know that Ann will be there and we will see her again.  Vibrant and vivacious as ever she was, shining brighter and clearer than ever.

I leave you all today with the words of J.R.R. Tolkien that came to me on the night of Ann’s passing. Ann was a big fan of fantasy, and I think she’d approve.

“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it. White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.”

Farewell, Elizabeth Ann Feldman. Rest now, good lady, in peace and quiet comfort.   We will see you again.

 

The Tholian Assembly: A Klingon Perspective

Another Klingon Academy website bit.

Very little is known of the Tholian Assembly, other that their government is known as the Assembly and that Tholians as a species are silicon-based life-forms preferring environments deadly to all known humanoid species. The Empire’s lack of information is not unique amongst the major galactic powers. The vaunted Romulan Tal’shiar and even the efficient and effective Federation Diplomatic Service are unable to uncover anything we do not already know. The Tholians are xenophobic, isolationists to the extent that they have refused all attempts at normalized diplomatic relations with any major government. Any incursions into their space are met with swift and violent retribution until all invaders are expelled or destroyed-more often the latter.

Despite their xenophobia and isolationism, they are also opportunistic. Occasional signs of political unrest can quite often veil an armed incursion. These incursions are never full?scale and are intended to seize a small amount of territory. Yet it is unclear what the Tholians do with the territory they seize or even why they seize choose system over another, as many of their targets have scant resources and of no strategic value. Once the Assembly annexes new territory, they are defended as zealously as any other system under Tholian control.

Long-range sensor probes confirm that the core area of Tholian space is a stellar nursery, a large nebula in which new stars are forming. Planetary systems we have identified are usually very young as well, with Class C, Class F, and Class H planets on the whole, all of which incapable of supporting humanoid life. Rare expeditions returning from Tholian space have reported planets rich in mineral resources, but located within a vast territory replete with an inordinate number of subspace anomalies discovered. Until a means is found to neutralize the considerable risks presented by these unpredictable anomolies, the costs of seizing their territory far outweigh the benefits.

Tholian vessels are constructed of hyper-lineated crystalline-lattice materials. This exotic materials technology affords them extremely durable hull structures, more so even than Gorn starships. They utilize phaser-like beam weapons, and have somehow managed to duplicate (either through theft, or, less likely, their own research) Klingon heavy disruptor technology. Despite the availability of such potent weapons systems, their most formidable weapon is the Tholian Web Cannon. This technology is uniquely Tholian, and scientists from both the Klingon and Romulan Empires have been unable to determine how it is created or what specific types of energy it utilizes. The affects, however, are well documented. The most effective tactic to be used against Tholian forces-specifically when encountering their web technology-is long-range slashing attacks designed to stay well out of range of the Web generators.

The Gorn Star Kingdom: A Klingon Perspective

Another blast from the Klingon Academy past.

The Gorn Star Kingdom is yet another civilization in decline. The fire that once drove them to explore and conquer the stars has gone out in their hearts, and their society has begun to atrophy as a result. This does not, however, make them easy opponents. Though they allow their territorial holdings to whither and eventually break away from their control, any overt attempts to seize their holdings by force will still result in the awakening of their military juggernaut.

The source of their degradation is a lack of strong leadership. The Gorn King is old, so old, in fact, that he has delegated the responsibilities of running the government to several vassals at odds with each other for supremacy. Well-meaning members of his own family keep the Gorn King sheltered from the political intrigues surrounding him, but this serves only to worsen the situation. Unless a strong leader emerges from their political mire, the Gorn Star Kingdom will continue its decline if it does not tear itself apart in a civil war.

Despite the Kingdom’s political weakness, the Gorn military machine is well maintained, well disciplined, and a worthy adversary. Gorn vessels are designed for speed and survivability. Though they tend to have weaker shields than Klingon or Federation vessels, their hulls are capable of withstanding enormous amounts of punishment. Gorn vessels are equipped with a variety of weapons, many of which are based on modulated gravimetric field technology, which is a science the Gorn appear to have perfected. Through independent research, the Gorn have created homing torpedoes extraordinarily similar to Romulan designs. Gorn plasma torpedoes have a slightly higher nominal yield than Romulan medium plasma torpedos, but are less stable over time so their effective range is less. The Gorn also use their mastery of gravity in such weapons as the Quantum Carrier-wave Beam, the Gravitic Harmonic Resonance Cannon, and their Graviton Density Distortion Sphere. All of these weapons are exceedingly short ranged, but the great speed of the Gorn vessels greatly mitigates this limitation.

Because the Empire has very little contact with the Gorn Star Kingdom and their internal political strife keeps them well removed from intra-galactic affairs, they are considered a secondary enemy. However, since they do have some political ties to the United Federation of Planets, it is conceivable that they may side with the Federation in the event of a major interstellar conflict. All commanders would best keep this possibility in mind in the event of a future war.

The Romulan Star Empire: A Klingon Perspective

This is a little something I wrote 17 years ago for the Klingon Academy website.

The Romulan Star Empire was first encountered by Klingon vessels in 1600 IR, an encounter that lead to the first of many battles. Up until 1643, little was known of the Romulans, other than they are treacherous and fight dishonorably from the shadows. That changed when we entered into an alliance and technical exchange program with the Romulans. The alliance-formed as a response to the ever-burgeoning political and economic strength of the Federation-ushered in an era of relative peace between our two Empires.

We learned much from our new allies, as did they, and that has become the source of political strain on the alliance. The Romulans are a proud people who are in the same situation as we. Sorely lacking resources, they must expand or perish. Often, their need to expand has resulted in armed incursions into Klingon space. This has led to many clashes even after the alliance was formed, yet the overriding threat of the Federation has prevented the escalation of hostilities and the alliance remains tenuously intact. Their need to expand, compounded by their devious, secretive, and dishonorable nature, has led to mistrust between our two governments. Agents of Klingon Imperial Intelligence monitoring the Romulans, have recently reported the Romulans are running dangerously low on dilithium. More ominous still, the Romulan Imperial Navy has conducted numerous secret research projects in violation of the technology exchange treaty between both Empires. Imperial Intelligence has yet to discover the exact nature of these projects, but efforts to do so continue.

As with all potential enemies, analysis has been done on Romulan technology and tactics. They have similar technology to our own, including warp drive, impulse engines, transporters, and the like. They perhaps have slightly inferior warp drive capability, but is an intended result of out-dated schematics and data given to them in the technological exchange.

Particular to the Romulans is plasma torpedo technology. A very powerful seeking weapon with the considerable drawback of degraded performance at medium and long ranges. This is principally due to the torpedo steadily degrading charge after initial launch. The exact cause of this charge degradation is not entirely understood by Klingon science, and obviously not by the Romulans, otherwise this limitation would have been ameliorated by this time.

This fundamental limitation in their main weapons system has actually guided the development of Romulan starships and the tactics they employ. Because these torpedoes take a long time to arm and they are most effective at close range, the Romulans use their cloaking devices for “hit-and-run” tactics. They approach as close to an enemy as possible under cloak, decloak, then launch a volley of all their weapons, cloak again to move away and recharge. This tactic has lead to the Romulans forsaking strong shields in favor of armored hull plating since the cloaking device negates the use of shields. They also favor a high degree of maneuverability to bring their weapons to bear quickly after decloaking.

Because of the design limitations of their weapons and warships, Romulans by necessity fight without honor, they constantly hide their face from their enemies. It is generally accepted among scholars that this fundamental flaw in their warrior’s code, combined with their rapidly increasing isolationism and lack of resources, is turning this once honorable and worthy race into a devious, deceitful, and disgraceful shadow of their former selves. There are those within the Empire who believe their decadence is not merely a sign of their cultural decline, but a social contagion. This belief has fostered a growing movement to dissolve our alliance with them lest their sickness spread across the border and start to decay the moral foundations of our own Empire.

The United Federation of Planets: A Klingon Perspective

The following is a bit I wrote for the Klingon Academy Website, many, many moons ago.

The United Federation of Planets is an interstellar alliance of various planetary governments and colonies ostensibly united for social, economic, scientific, and defensive cooperation. But since its founding in the Terran year 2161 (1536 IR), the Federation has in truth been continuously on the move to subvert nearby civilizations into joining their alliance, absorb their technologies and wealth, and all the while stamping out their cultural individuality, replacing it with Federation imperialist dogma.

Membership in the Federation hinges on several requirements, such as a unified planetary government (which is easier to manipulate than a balkanized planet), and equality for all their citizens (which allows the weak and fearful to hold positions of power). Even when the world in question is not up to their membership criteria, the Federation often imposes blockades around these star systems, preventing their development by “outside influences” under the guise of their fraudulent “Prime Directive”. All the while, covert Federation operatives quietly observe these civilizations, and secretly subvert their primitive governments, paving the way for eventual assimilation into the Federation hegemony.

Federation government is made up of a Council of representatives from their member worlds, presided over by the office of the Federation President. This is their key weakness, as it renders their government inefficient and bureaucratic. Council decisions must be ratified by a majority of its membership whose disparate viewpoints rarely coincide with the best interests of the state. Further crippling governmental powers, the Federation President is rendered ineffectual by the series of “checks and balances” imposed upon this office by the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets. Subsequently, the decision-making power of the president is too limited to be effective, and the few areas within his direct influence are subject to veto by the Council. Clearly, they lack the unified leadership necessary for survival in any kind of sustained conflict.

The military authority of the UFP is Starfleet Command, which is responsible for the defense of the Federation, as well as seeking out new resources to exploit and new civilizations to undermine and control. To this end, the Federation equips Starfleet with well balanced starships, with the very latest technological advances. Federation starships are well suited to their dual roles of exploration and defense, with a good balance of speed, defensive shielding, hull strength, and offensive weaponry. However, the captains of these starships are limited with various constraints imposed upon them by the Federation Council through Starfleet Regulations. Adherence to these regulations make Starfleet commanders predictable when challenged and reluctant to fight, ultimately rendering them ineffective warriors despite the formidable tools provided them.

Because the Federation has blocked off most of the Empire’s access to resources in the Alpha Quadrant, war is inevitable. The Empire must expand into these territories if it is to survive. This coming war is what the industrial might of the Empire has prepared for throughout the past 70 years, and the Klingon people shall prevail.