“Stand Down” Week 3 – Genesis, Part 2
Scott lowers his glove a smidge, revealing a dumbstruck face. Dropping his arm, and clenching his teeth, he begins to press down on the car’s brake.
ZAIN: (through microphone) Off with the glove, too, prick.
With a pained look, Scott pulls the glove off with his thigh as he brings the caravan to the left side of the bridge-road. Zain sees this, and smiles.
Zain brings the cruiser to the bridge’s right side.
Moving quickly, Scott exits the vehicle, leaving the door open. He runs a ways to the cruiser before its door opens, and Zain steps out with a ‘clink’.
This reveals that below the neck, Zain is fully clad in this neon-pink plating.
Scott immediately begins to shout at Zain, gesturing panickedly towards the caravan.
SCOTT: Okay, you fucking have me! Just save Jordan, he’s your friend too! He’s dying, he tried to pull the arrow out and now he’s bleeding to death!
Zain begins to approach the caravan.
ZAIN: Not if he’s worthy, he isn’t.
As he walks past Scott, Scott finds that he’s being pushed along beside him, and feels a tightness around his shoulders and back. Looking towards Zain, Scott sees that his arms are by his sides. Looking to his left shoulder, he sees a huge, clawed gauntlet of the same angular shape and pink color clamping on to it. Looking to his right, he sees that this hand belongs to a hulking crystal golem, with an antlered crystal deer skull for a head. Scott’s face is reflected in its angular visage even as it is staring dead ahead.
Scott and the crystal-thing remain right behind Zain as he approaches and opens the caravan’s passenger seat door.
There is nothing in the car, save for the assorted suit parts and gratuitous amounts of blood.
Camera focus follows a drip trail of a maroon-orange substance going from the floor near the passenger seat up to the open driver’s seat door.
Zain leans down towards the caravan’s floor, and Scott sees the crystal creature fade into nothingness, seemingly floating towards Zain as it does so. Zain straightens up from the car brandishing the arrow, it’s head still covered in blood.
SCOTT: Where’d he go? What the hell?
Zain looks around, and begins to circle the caravan. As he does this, the crystal armor starts to slowly grow to obscure his neck, creating a glass-like cracking sound.
Zain turns to Scott, who is stuck to the spot, his eyes searching the car for any sign of Jordan. Zain stares at him as the crystal extends to his chin, pointing a crystal-plated finger at him.
ZAIN: Don’t try anything. My intentions aren’t bad, in a second you’ll see.
As Zain is inspecting the driver’s and passenger’s seats from the opposite side of the car from Scott, he delicately moves two black gauntlets into the back seat, along with their respective wires and bricks. Scott sees that the crystal is now enveloping Zain’s lower head, creeping up over his mouth.
SCOTT: What? What do you mean?
Getting no response from Zain, who is now checking under the driver’s seat, Scott’s eyes shift to focus on the orange substance co-mingling with Jordan’s blood at the base of the back seat. He notices that it produces a trace amount of steam, and a quiet sizzling sound.
From underneath the car, right before where Scott’s legs are, an arm emerges. It is unmistakably Jordan’s, its skin being obviously caucasian, and it’s clothing suggesting Jordan’s blue hoodie. It pokes Scott in the leg with a finger.
Scott looks down only to see the arm disappear back under the car. Where it resided previously is a series of misshapen letters, seemingly written in the same sizzling, orange liquid. The letters are arranged to spell “Get Ready”.
Scott goes stiff, and can only look down at the letters. The substance at his feet has begun to smoke. Scott’s breathing is heavy.
Zain looks over from the caravan’s other side, noticing Scott’s panic. The crystal has fully enveloped his head now, the only aperture being a small slot underneath his nose. This “helmet” takes the form of an inverted pyramid. Even through this, Zain’s eyes can be seen at certain angles, and he notices that Scott is focusing on something as he looks down.
Zain’s attention is relocated by a scraping sound coming from underneath the car. Leaning to the side and bending his knees, he crouches down to check underneath it.
The rest of his form shadowed underneath the vehicle, there lies Jordan in an army crawl position, his head upright and facing towards Zain. From the shadows appear two full arms, seemingly formed of a mixture of metal pieces and a strange yellow crust. Attached to each arm is a forearm-sized cylinder, formed of the same metal and crust, sporting depictions of chili peppers.
Zain’s words turn into yells as the cylinders are revealed to be cannons, hitting his crystalline visage with what seems to be two concentrated blasts of the same maroon-orange substance. As Zain stumbles backwards, still yelling, Scott sees from his side of the car another stream of the substance. Coming again from underneath the caravan, it is seemingly creating a path from the caravan to the police cruiser.
Moving quickly, Jordan emerges from underneath the vehicle, seemingly sliding on the maroon-orange path. He stands up, revealing his clothes haven’t been soiled at all by the substance he was just in. Panickedly, he gestures towards the caravan’s back seat.
JORDAN: C’mon, grab your shit! We gotta go!
Zain’s yells progressively cease.
Scott hurriedly grabs the contents of the back seat, turning back to Jordan holding the two gauntlets and the black biker’s helmet.
As Scott turns, he sees that Jordan is already at the cruiser, holding open the driver’s seat door and looking inside.
Looking over himself as he calms down, Zain sees Jordan at the cruiser. An elated smile can be seen on his face even underneath the crystal masking it.
The path of maroon-orange substance is letting out noticeable smoke now, alongside a loud sizzling noise. Scott is careful to avoid it as he runs to the cruiser, taking much longer than Jordan apparently did.
JORDAN: It’s not locked, the key’s still in.
Scott runs to the passenger door, throwing all of Zain’s things as they clutter the seat, and slams it shut after he gets in.
Zain shakes his head, the substance falling off the crystal carapace. It is of note that it only begins smoking and sizzling after it falls off him, and hits another substance. He starts walking towards the cruiser.
Jordan and Scott are starting up the cruiser, putting it in drive.
SCOTT: Are you all right? What the fuck was that?
Jordan pulls down the neck of his hoodie, leaning over to reveal his pectoral. There is no wound, though the chest of his hoodie still holds a large bloodstain.
JORDAN: I’m fine, let’s just go.
As Jordan slams the cruiser’s door shut, there is a shift of focus to the base of said door, where some of the maroon-orange substance has splashed on, causing the metal to smoke and corrode, seemingly being eaten away.
Spinning the wheel all the way to the right, Jordan starts to turn the cruiser around. For a brief moment, the caravan is visible through the front window, and Zain is not near it. Once the car has turned fully around, however, Zain’s fully armored form can be seen standing in the middle of the road.
Zain assumes a ready position, bending his knees and doing a “come on” gesture.
ZAIN: (echoing inside armor) Oh, this is gonna be so cool.
Jordan slams the gas pedal. The cruiser screeches as it picks up speed, moving towards Zain.
SCOTT: No, no, don’t hit him!
JORDAN: I wasn’t gonna.
Right when the cruiser is but a few feet from Zain, Jordan veers to the left. The cruiser’s nose had just passed Zain, on their right, by the time it happened.
Both Scott and Jordan see, as Zain dives towards the swerving vehicle, a gargantuan crystalline humanoid, sporting a deer’s skull as its crown jewel. Only Scott sees its whole body.
Materializing next to Zain, it proceeds to reach towards the passenger’s seat door, missing and falling back with him as he only manages to grab the cruiser’s back seat door by its handle.
Something catches Zain’s eye as he hangs on to the handle with both his hands. The area of the door’s hinges is smoking, seemingly dissolving as gouts of a maroon-orange liquid cascade out through it. Peering through the window as he hoists himself up unsteadily, with an arm placed precariously on the car’s roof, Zain sees exactly what he was hoping to.
Crouched inside the vehicle, on top of the back seat as it fires controlled spurts of the liquid at the door’s corner, a humanoid creature formed of metal pieces intersected with yellow crust absorbs all of Zain’s focus.
Zain laughs, yelling into the car:
ZAIN: Oh, HELL YEAH!
He continues to laugh even as the backseat door flies off, it’s hinges dissolved, taking him with it.
Jordan does not look back.
JORDAN: We’re home free.
Scott has been looking back the entire time, seeing Zain bounce and flip multiple times as he hits the road.
SCOTT: Jordan, are you psychic all of a sudden? What the hell’s going on?
Focus shift back to Zain, picking himself up off the ground. He is seemingly completely unscathed, save for a few minute cracks in his crystal exoskeleton.
Zain watches as the cruiser turns a corner in the distance, then turns back towards the middle of the bridge, where the caravan and his collected knick-knacks lie. As he makes his way over to it, he lifts up an encrusted hand, looking at it. In a moment the crystal on it shatters, clattering harmlessly to the ground. He reaches down to his side, where a patch of crystal on his outer thigh cracks and slides off, revealing his pants pocket. He digs into it with his freed hand, bringing out a small phone.
The camera jets over to where Jordan and Scott are, in a side-street five blocks away from the bridge. They ditch the cruiser in a parking shed, getting out and beginning to run. Mid-run, as the two near a corner-store plaza, Scott hears a buzzing from his pocket. Taking his phone out, he sees that it’s Zain. Peering over, confused as to why Scott’s stopped, Jordan sees this as well.
JORDAN: Don’t answer it! Didn’t you see all that police shit he had? He might be able to track us!
Scott lets out a frustrated huff.
SCOTT: I need an explanation.
Scott answers the phone, putting it on speaker for both Jordan and himself to hear. At first, neither Jordan or Scott say anything.
ZAIN: (through phone) okay, let me just make it clear I was only coming after you guys for the arrow. That thing at the end, with the car, was just me being a crazy prick.
SCOTT: Okay, but–
ZAIN: And, see— Jordan’s fine! The wounds this arrow leaves heal completely if one’s worthy!
JORDAN: Zain, you sound like a fucking crazy person. And sure it healed, but that hurt like a bitch!
SCOTT: Yeah, and what if he wasn’t “worthy”, Zain?! Any one of us could’ve died because of your crazy schtick!
ZAIN: Guys, guys– it’ll all be worth it in the end. Hell, it’s probably worth it already, with what I’ve seen from Jordan.
JORDAN: I didn’t ask for that shit, Zain!
ZAIN: And, that’s just it, Jordan. I helped you there. I helped you there, and now we can be untouchable. With what we have now, whatever it is, we can have–take–whatever we want.
SCOTT: You’re insane, Zain.
ZAIN: Well at least I look the part, Scott, courtesy of your very own friggin’ light blasters.
Cut to Zain, close-up on his burnt face. His crystal helmet has now broken apart to free his mouth and reveal this face, taking the rough appearance of a roman helmet. He is walking on the bridge’s sidewalk, a black duffel bag slung over his shoulder.
ZAIN: You goin’ home, now, Scott? I’m guessing Jordan’ll be going with you.
Cutting back to Scott and Jordan, they are both silent. They look up towards each other, unsure whether to give away their destination.
ZAIN: Well, you should. Wouldn’t want just anyone stumbling upon your parents.
Scott immediately brings the phone up to his mouth
SCOTT: What’ve you done?! They better be okay!
ZAIN: They’re fine, Scott. Comfortable, too. I’ve essentially cocooned them onto their bed. There’s a point at the center of that cocoon with a needle sticking out of it. Push that down, and the entire thing’ll fall apart. Funny thing about what I can do, now, Scott; I can generate these crystals however I please. Swords, spears, whatever, though it takes a while. Matter of fact, you guys ever heard of Silicosis?
Neither Jordan or Scott respond, not counting a confused noise Jordan makes.
ZAIN: It’s this lung condition miners get after breathing in too much silicone dust. It’s essentially tuberculosis, what it gives you. Now, imagine that, but what the guys are breathing is a bunch of crystals made smaller than they would ever occur in nature, or as the result of percussion, designed specifically to tear up their lungs. Wouldn’t they just go down like building-blocks? Go to your house and see.
SCOTT: You fucker.
ZAIN: And that, I can make as fast as I want, Scott.
Scott hangs up the phone, and he and Jordan continue running.
Cut back to Zain, looking nonplussed at his phone. The setting sun is refracted in his crystalline armor.
ZAIN: Hello? Aww, dammit.
Zain’s face goes from disappointment to a smile.
ZAIN: (to himself) Oh, hey! Ian called! Isn’t that convenient.