Page 1 (6 panels)
PANEL 1 – Ext. An army camp on a war-torn moon. A small group of alien soldiers stand with their heads bowed in respect. For the most part, they are all missing a limb or an organ. Many of them are missing several. Only one of them – FERMIT DRIPWOOD – appears to be unscathed. He has, through poor dieting and laziness, managed to make himself so physically useless that the army doesn’t want anything he has to offer.
CHAPLAIN (LINK TO 2): WE THANK PRIVATE SARKLE FOR HIS DONATIONS TO THE WAR EFFORT: HIS EYES, HIS NOSE, HIS KIDNEYS, HIS LEFT AND RIGHT ARMS...
PANEL 2- Reverse to an army chaplain standing over a large, impersonal metallic coffin. The coffin has the name Sarkle inscribed on it.
CHAPLAIN: WE WISH HIS BODY SAFE PASSAGE ACROSS THE GALAXY AS IT IS RETURNED TO MANDALORE FOR BURIAL AND—
SOLDIER 1 (OFF PANEL): OUT OF THE WAY!
PANEL 3 - Largest panel of the page. A group of soldiers carrying AUXELIOUS, the army’s greatest soldier, charges through the congregation towards the reader. Auxelious is an enormous hulk (think Space Rambo on steroids) who needs several people to carry him. The army has built him into the greatest war machine by attaching additional limbs and occasionally organs to give him a tactical advantage (eg. Eyes in the back of his head). As they’ve all been sourced from different people, there’s a patchwork quality about him. He’s been severely wounded; arms broken and contorted in the wrong direction, guts tumbling out of an open stomach. His eyes have also been blown out/badly damaged. Feel free to make it as over-the-top gory as you want.
Depending on how you draw the page, might suggest leaving this panel as space for title/credits.
SOLDIER 1: CLEAR A PATH! AUXELIOUS IS WOUNDED!
PANEL 4 – Wider shot of the camp as the group of soldiers carries Auxelious towards the medical tent. Grumbling, the mourners pick themselves up off the ground, listening to the campwide-announcement booming out via overhead speakers. Up to you how far back you want to show but if we can see more of the camp and the surrounding area are a largely barren landscape. There’s been so much fighting on this moon that there’s nothing left that’s worth claiming.
SPEAKER (jag): SOLDIERS, PLEASE MAKE YOURSELVES AVAILABLE FOR DONATIONS TOMORROW MORNING. AT PRESENT, WE NEED A SET OF LUNGS, THREE ARMS, TWO SETS OF EYES AND A LARYNX, BUT WE EXPECT THIS NUMBER TO RISE IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS. PRAISE MANDALORE!
PANEL 5 – Ext. Battlefield. In an earlier battle, Auxelious charges across the battlefield killing his way through a large crowd of enemy soldiers. Bombs are exploding all around them. He’s loaded up with as many weapons as possible; the closest thing to a one-man army.
CAPTION: AFTER LOSING OUR FIFTY-THIRD BATTLE IN A ROW, IT DAWNED ON THE TOP BRASS THAT MOST OF US WEREN’T MUCH GOOD FOR FIGHTING. TO STOP US GETTING COMPLETELY WIPED OUT, THEY DECIDED TO FOCUS ALL THEIR RESOURCES ON OUR ONE ABOVE- AVERAGE SOLDIER: CORPORAL AUXELIOUS GUMBO.
CAPTION: THE REST OF US ARE KEPT AROUND AS A GLORIFIED ORGAN FARM, MAKING DONATIONS WHENEVER AUXELIOUS LOSES SOMETHING IN BATTLE
AUXELIOUS: FOR MANDALORE! FOR KING AND COSMOS!
PANEL 6 – Int. Privates’ Quarters. Tight close up of Dripwood as he moves hurriedly around the room.
CAPTION: I’VE MANAGED TO AVOID MAKING A DONATION FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS BUT I THINK MY LUCK’S FINALLY RUN OUT.
DRIPWOOD: I’M OUT OF HERE!
Page 2 (5 panels)
PANEL 1 – Pull out. Dripwood is in his quarters, frantically packing up a small bag for himself. His comrade, PRIVATE BURIT VERIN sits on his bunk, eyeing him sceptically. Like Dripwood, Verin looks relatively unharmed except for the fact that he’s missing his nose.
VERIN: THEY MIGHT NOT PICK YOU...
DRIPWOOD: THE EYES, VERIN! HE’S DOWN A PAIR OF EYES AND I’VE GOT THE BEST IN THE ENTIRE PLATOON.
PANEL 2 – Ignoring Verin’s scepticism, Dripwood continues marching around the quarters, looking for the bare essentials he needs to get out of here.
VERIN: ARE YOU SURE, BECAUSE—
DRIPWOOD: FORGET THE EYES, THEN! MAYBE NOT TODAY, MAYBE NOT TOMORROW, BUT EVENTUALLY THEY’RE JUST GOING TO PICK US APART TO KEEP THAT POMPOUS GIT GUMBO FIGHTING.
PANEL 3 – Different angle. Now facing one another, the duo continue to argue.
DRIPWOOD: LOOK AT SARKLE. THERE WASN’T MUCH MORE THAN A SET OF THUMBS LEFT BY THE TIME THEY’D FINISHED WITH HIM.
LINK: AND FOR WHAT? SOME STUPID LITTLE BACKWATER MOON WE’VE BEEN FIGHTING OVER FOR THE LAST FIFTEEN YEARS.
VERIN: BUT WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO RUN TO? NO MAN’S LAND IS SUICIDE.
PANEL 4- Slinging the bag over his back, Dripwood starts marching towards the door.
DRIPWOOD: NO, SUICIDE IS STAYING HERE. AT LEAST IN NO MAN’S LAND THERE’S A CHANCE I’LL SURVIVE. OTHERWISE THE ONLY WAY I’M GETTING OUT OF HERE IS IN ONE OF THOSE...
PANEL 5 –Close up of Dripwood. He’s having an epiphany.
Page 3 (7 panels)
PANEL 1 – Int. Medical tent. Overhead shot. Dripwood stands over Auxelious’ inert body, which lies on the operating table. He’s under anaesthesia and his innards are spilling out.
CAPTION: IT COSTS A SMALL FORTUNE BUT EVENTUALLY THE DOCTOR AGREES TO LEAVE THE SURGERY FOR A FEW MINUTES.
VERIN (OFF PANEL): WHERE DID YOU GET ALL THAT MONEY?
PANEL 2 – Irritated, Dripwood glances over at Verin who’s keeping watch at the door.
DRIPWOOD: SARKLE LEFT IT FOR ME
VERIN: I THOUGHT HE LEFT THAT MONEY FOR HIS FAMILY—
DRIPWOOD: LOOK, JUST CONCENTRATE ON KEEPING WATCH.
PANEL 3 – Push in closer on Dripwood who stabs Auxelious, sinking the knife into his neck.
PANEL 4 – Similar angle, in close on Dripwood. Assuming the job’s done, he half turns to glance at Verin.
DRIPWOOD: ALL RIGHT, LET’S START LOADING—
PANEL 5 – One of Auxelious’ hands suddenly reaches up to grab his throat.
PANEL 6 – Pulling out. A semi-conscious Auxelious (with the knife still in his neck) sits up and throws Dripwood across the room.
PANEL 7 – Large panel. Pull out for a wider panel as Dripwood and Verin frantically try to wrestle Auxelious to the ground to finish him off as quickly and quietly as possible., without alerting the rest of the camp He’s already severely wounded and doped up on all sorts of drugs but thrashing around like a wild animal.
CAPTION: I DON’T KNOW WHAT DRUGS THEY WERE PUMPING INTO THAT GUY BUT EVEN AFTER WE PINNED HIM DOWN IT TOOK ALMOST A FULL HOUR OF STABBING BEFORE HE FINALLY STOPPED MOVING.
CAPTION: WE HID UNDER THE OPERATING TABLE FOR A FEW HOURS AND THEN, FOR ANOTHER SMALL FORTUNE, THE DOCTOR MANAGED TO SNEAK US INTO GUMBO’S COFFIN.
Page 4 (5 panels)
PANEL 1 – Int. Coffin. The duo, along with Auxelious’ corpse are squashed in the cramped coffin grumbling about the situation. It’s pitch dark such that we can’t really make out any of the characters.
BLN 1 NO TAIL: UGH. HE’S STARTING TO SMELL. I NEED TO LET SOME AIR IN.
BLN 2 NO TAIL: I THINK WE SHOULD JUST LEAVE IT UNTIL WE’RE SURE WE’RE BACK ON MANDALORE.
PANEL2 –Similar angle.
BLN 1 NO TAIL: WE MUST BE HALFWAY THERE BY NOW, THOUGH.
BLN 2 NO TAIL: BUT—
BLN 3 NO TAIL: LOOK, IT’S EASY FOR YOU BUT SOME OF US STILL HAVE NOSES. LET ME JUST HAVE A PEEK--
PANEL 3 –Ext. Camp. Dripwood pushes the lid of the coffin up just the tiniest smidge. To his surprise, he sees that instead of being on the transport ship home, they’re still at camp. The chaplain, standing beside the coffin, reads out a eulogy for Auxelious. (Given how much bigger Auxelious was than the average soldier, the coffin is proportionately larger). We’re looking from the crowd’s perspective at the scene and are focused in quite tightly on the chaplain and the coffin.
CHAPLAIN: ...AUXELIOUS GUMBO DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO MANDALORE, AND OVER THE COURSE OF HIS LENGTHY MILITARY SERVICE HE BUTCHERED NEARLY NINE THOUSAND KLEROVIANS. IN KEEPING WITH HIS INCREDIBLY PATRIOTIC NATURE, GUMBO REQUESTED THAT HE BE REMEMBERED IN DEATH AS HE WAS IN LIFE...
PANEL 4 – Pull out. We can see that all manner of explosives have been attached to the coffin, which has been loaded onto a catapult. A soldier stands ready to launch it.
CHAPLAIN : ...A KILLER OF ENEMY SCUM. TO HONOUR THESE WISHES, WE ARE INCLUDING HIS COFFIN IN OUR OPENING BOMBARDMENT OF THE KLEROVIANS’ SOUTHERN BASE.
DRIPWOOD: W-WHAT? WAIT—
PANEL 5 –The catapult is released. We’re up in the sky, watching as the explosive-laden coffin comes hurtling towards us. Both Dripwood and Verin’s eyes can be seen staring out of it, looking terrified as they hurtle through the sky towards their imminent demise. Far below, the soldiers cheer their fallen comrade.
SOLDIERS: PRAISE MANDALORE!