CRANK BAIT graphic novel
Look up "the formula" for writing
Black screen fading in/out
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after...
I didn't find it hard to leave at all, I felt indifferent, I'd had enough of this dump... Too run down to even be excited for what I had planned.
I'd sold off all I had, which wasn't much, but it was just enough. No real family to wish me off, no real friends. Most here would screw you over the first chance they had...
I didn't trust anyone anymore. I wasn't always this way, and I wasn't raised to be this way, but it was reality; a survival mechanism I developed.
My skills allowed me to get ahead, and it paid off in the end. All my gear, my place, and even my acquired knowledge... all my life's work, a humble fisher mans fortune really, I sold to a few old acquaintances of mine, should have gotten a lot more for it all, but it got me the magic number I needed to get off this rock.
I went straight to interstellar customs... Had to be really sneaky about it. I was far from the only one trying to get off this planet humanity calls home, and coming across an unarmed man with a loaded card like mine would be a sweet jackpot indeed. I didn't really care if I did get mugged to be honest. Like I said, I was feeling pretty indifferent with my life's recent twists and turns. Losing this card would be the final straw. At least the card provided me with an unknown. I wouldn't call it a glimmer of hope... I'd been let down too many times recently, and I knew better than to get my hopes up. Losing this card just meant it would have made an otherwise difficult decision, that much easier.
I had to be quick, it was now or never... I didn't have time to ponder my next big life decision.
As i stared at the boards, I was faced with one of the easiest decisions of my life.
Man has been working on this whole space travel thing for about 1100 years now. I guess when they initially started looking for suitable sites for the population problem, water was the main lead they followed, every time.
A gas giant, a planet called "Brackish", named due to the dark nutrient-rich waters covering nearly the entire surface of the planet, was one of the 7 options. Normally someone with an opportunity like this would pick an obvious sensible option like Priscilla 5; a highly esteemed planet with a reputation for stability and happiness. Forests all around, sunshine pretty much every day. Great for happy little families... I knew I couldn't go there... Besides, water has always been home for me.
As I read through the reviews of Brackish, I remember seeing words like "hostile", "wild", "dangerous", I also remember reading something along the lines of "barely livable", and "not for the faint of heart".
But there is one sentence I remember clearly. The closing line in this planets description read, "If you love adventure, the wild ocean, and out of this world profits, Brackish is the place for you."
Sounded like home to me.
Less than a day, that's all the time it took to get finalized. That's how desperate they are to get people off this world.
There was a standard medical to go through, to make sure you would survive cryo sleep. I've always been in shape, so I was never worried about that. Some quick paperwork, and a mandatory meeting with the authorities. Not sure what the point of that was, I didn't expect any legal trouble. I guess they weren't used to dealing with a man who literally dropped everything. There was no will, no loved ones left behind... Almost a shame really...
I wish I could say I bothered more, and educated myself on the finer details. I didn't even read the brochure. Just thought I'd fly by the seat of my pants I guess. That's how I've always been. That kind of attitude has hurt me in the past, but here I am.
I was scheduled for hyper jump that night. I would be asleep for 2 years and 5 months, along with 40 others. Odds of surviving cryo sleep for that long was 96%. No worries. I was hooked up at the station and put under within the hour. The last thing I remember was the door closing to the capsule, looking at the single picture of my late wife l had in my pocket, one of the few things I cared enough to take with me. Then I felt cold running in my upper back to my neck. Then the dreams began...
Now here I am, waking up, in considerable pain, and also unable to move... My back is killing me! And what is that sound!?
*the pod Brock is in opens up, and the line detaches from both wrists. Painfully, he gets up and walks around the shaking ship. He feels extremely heavy due to the almost double gravity pull of the large planet. He finds he has to pull himself along since his legs are numb from cryo sleep.
Everybody is still asleep. As I look out the window I realize we are entering the atmosphere. All the windows are glowing bright white light from entry, and the ship is shaking violently, probably what woke me up. How long could this possibly last, I need a medic in the worst way!
*Suddenly the clouds appear... Bright blue, with flashes of blue white lightening. Then the clouds break and you see a huge storm, with rolling waves as far as you can see. Some signals go off and the ship wheels around to land on the landing pad of Atoll 1. "Thud".
The thud wakes up another 5. And their pods open automatically like Brock's. Some stepping and clanging is heard, then the main door opens. Brock didn't realize he was leaning against the door, so he falls out head first out, with a bright light ending the first chapter.
As Brock stumbles out, he is met by the character Thyle. He yells "Come with me! It's really not safe for you guys to walk out here until your body adjusts to the gravity!"
"Ooof!" The minute he hits the ground he gets smashed with a huge wave that sends him against the guard rail. Thyle rushes to his side and helps him to his feet.
"Come on! You're not going to make this easy are you fish!"
Guess I should have read that brochure.
"Yeah, that's what we call fresh meat like you who are stupid enough to call this home! Why would you waste your one way ticket and come to this flooded paradise!?"
In the background, a dark figure watches. He notices that the main character Brock is awake and stumbled out of the drop pod of his own free will. This has never happened before, so he makes a mental note of this. We will introduce this character again in the auction scene, and will end up buying him at the auction.
The group of 5 are escorted along the walkway suspended about 5 meters above the sea level. Burly men basically grip onto them and throw them on a truck bed. They are driven around the perimeter to the med bay. Along the way they are looking up at the atolls structure. It's not that big, no bigger than a football stadium. The storm is strong, and the rain is drenching the giant circular saws.
*info byte on circular saws
They enter the med bay. At the med bay, Brock gets dumped roughly on a gurney, and a medical droid then explains how daily steroid/hormone treatments are a requirement to survive on this planet.
"The human body is not meant to survive under the X1.3 gravity of this planet. Daily injections of Glucocorticoids are required as long as you last on this planet. The effects are harmless, and failure to take these medications will result in hyper-gravitation sickness. Do you understand patient."
This explains the strong stature of the locals, and as the story progresses, your character will become more and more impressive in stature. Steroids (all the locals who actually take the steroids refer to it as "gear") have come along way, and the user suffers no ill effects from these sophisticated drugs.
Brock receives an injection in his arm right away from a medical droid, without him even having a chance to respond. "Gshhhh"
Brock winces in pain and let's out a grunt. Seconds later he feels much better and sits up strongly, but does not yet walk properly.
The injections have been given to the other four individuals who are barely conscious up to this point. Here we meet one of the characters, ________ from earths USA, ____ from earths Japan, _______ from earths Africa, and _____ from earths Iceland. Brock is from Canada (specifically Newfoundland area? Not sure, but would make for excellent voice acting opportunity if this GN goes to app).
Once the injections go in, the other 4 wake up, all holding their heads in pain, but breath deeply.
Conversation about planet/meet greet. Explain how it will take two days to walk uncomfortably, one week comfortably. All new arrivals are given a box full of injections, which come with free refills for as long as an individual is on the planet.
Explain the economy of the planet.
The room rumbles, and the new arrivals are instructed to look out the window. The characters see a ship flying off the launch pad. It is massive, and enters the clouds. It is explained that this is a cargo ship, carrying the meats gathered from the violent seas. Explain how there are monsters in the water, and that to survive on this planet, you will hunt these monsters. Explain the demand for sea food is still high in the galaxy, and that all the sea food comes from this planet now, now that earth is fished to the point of extinction.
Then you are shown your room, and lie down for the night, again mentioning these dreams... Which will be explained in prologue...
Day two of planet meet and greet. It is explained how these creatures got here. No life existed on this planet (or any planet discovered thus far, as abiogenesis is a scientific impossibility). No life, so life was brought to the planet from earth. Multiple lines of DNA sequences from already existing animals on earth have been combined, tweaked, altered and spliced to create new creatures; creatures custom made for commercial use. Why the size? Part of having these creatures survive in these foreign oceans (and the increased gravity) simply required it to be so. Only the hardiest experiments survived (and there are thousands). During the info session, it will be explained how natural breeding of these organisms in the wild has revealed some interesting results. This will introduce the legendary fish (cliche name is Leviathan for now). This fish is impervious to attack, and few live to tell the tale after an encounter. At this time it will also be Explained how in the morning, the new arrivals will be paired up with a veteran of the planet, to show them the ropes.
The next morning, Brock is woken up by an employee of the atoll, and brought to a meeting with all the new arrivals. The meeting is to determine which new arrivals will be partnered up with which local veterans. The veterans look at the new arrivals almost like they were livestock. Also, it's usually the struggling fisherman who participate in these auctions. Once a fisherman has established himself, or becomes successful, droids can be purchased to take the place of these "deckhands". Unfortunately, droids come at a huge cost, so deckhands (or fish) are the next best thing.
When you arrive on this planet, you are simply surviving. Assuming you get picked, you must prove yourself to your "mentor" to even begin to get paid.
All the new arrivals are in line, discussing the pros and cons of being picked vs not being picked. If you do, you face danger. If not, you live in relative safety, but are basically a slave in the atoll. Brock has this discussion with _________, from Africa.
_____ from Africa gets picked first. He says to Brock "maybe we will run into each other, somewhere on this pond... Good luck man".
This scene introduces one of the main characters of the story, _______, a rough local who is a ten year veteran fishing these waters. He beats out another fisherman for Brock, the second fish to get picked, by threat of gunpoint, stating he will pull the trigger if he raises the wager one more time. He had noticed that Brock was the only new arrival to be standing on his own weight once the drop pod opened. He takes this as a sign of strong will, since that has never happened.
Once the two become acquainted, Brock finds the fisherman won't talk to him, at all, except for short responses. There is still the strict contract of boss/fish, and Brock must do as the fisherman tells him.
Brock gathers his things (which are few, a few blankets, a picture, his shots of steroids in a box, and some food rations) and walks over to the shipyard, where the fisherman's vessel is docked. It is a dark ship, rough, with two punching arms. Painted on the back of the ship is the title "Red Swan". Brock has never seen a ship like this, and asks several questions right away with limited responses. Annoyed, these questions prompt the fisherman to set out the ground rules for their relationship on the ship. In gruff voice:
"Look here boy, I'm the boss, your the fish... Don't speak to me unless I speak to you, and try not to get killed, I paid a pretty penny for you, and blew a good contact of mine in the process. Do as I say, that's it." As he turns away, Brock follows at a distance.
A very large dog, thicker than any dog Brock had ever seen in earth, starts to bark as they approach. The dog is running up and down the bough of the boat, tied by a thick chain.
"That's Loki..... He bites so be careful." Says the fisherman.
"What kind of dog is that? How did it get so big?"
"I've owned that dog since I left earth 15 years ago. He's one of my few possessions I brought here with me. Only reason he is so big is because he gets the same steroid treatment we get... he gets some of my dose."
As Brock boards the ship, the dog quiets down and allows Brock to pet him.
"Strange, he doesn't usually take kindly to new people, especially fish."
Brock receives a quick overview of the ship, and is shown his living quarters, which is a small hammock in the engine room.
"With all due respect sir, can't we sleep in one of the rooms on this atoll we are docked at?"
"Oh! Pampered back on earth as well! How soft.... Unfortunately boy, that costs money, and I've wasted enough on you already I think... "
Brock fastens a picture of his wife on the wall, and drifts off to sleep, dreaming.
He is woken up by licking on his hand. It's Loki.
"Oh hey boy". The dog whimpers and jumps with front paws on the edge of hammock. "Down", and he obeys, curling up underneath Brock as he drifts off the sleep again.
Brock wakes up far too early. The day/night cycle of the planet makes for 18 hour nights, much longer than earths. Days are much longer too. It was explained to him how it would take a while to adjust to the day night cycle. Brock can't fall back to sleep, so he uses this time to wander the ship. He sees the fisherman sleeping in the captains chamber, and knows well enough to stay clear of that room. When he reaches the maintenance room, he finds a book. It is the manual of the ship. He brings it to his hammock. Brock takes several hours to read this book, and finds it fascinating.
He is feeling very tired, and takes a shot of his steroid treatment.
When day finally breaks, the fisherman fires up the boat.
"Hope you took your shot this morning" says the fisherman to Brock, "your going to need it today." He grins.
They float out to sea, not far from the atoll (2 kilometers). Brock stares out into the open ocean, and wonders at the distant storm, flashing blue lightening.
He then hears sensors/warnings going off in the captains room. He rushes over, and the fisherman is excited.
"There we go, there's a beauty."
"What is it?"
"That, little fish, will be your first encounter with a sea monster."
The fisherman leaves the room, and begins pulling levers and letting out line.
"Pay attention, this will be your job soon enough".
The ship lets out a loud bang, and the two arms fire to life, moving just slightly, as if they have had a lock released.
Some bait is assembled, and thrown into a basket, which is then dumped overboard. A large rod and reel assembly (winch) is letting out the line. All is now quiet, except for the line running out. Once the bait hits proper depth, the fisherman sits quietly, Brock is about to ask something, but the fisherman cuts him off, "shut up... I'm only going to tell you that once".
Camera then cuts to the line, and runs down the line. Waters get darker and darker, until completely black. Then several yellow eyes fire to life.
Camera cuts back to the ship, which lurches violently. Sensors go off, and the engines fire on to counter the added stress/weight of the monster. Reeling in begins. The fisherman starts singing his nervous song, with a twisted grin on his face. His way of coping I guess.
Once the fish gets closer, he let's go of the handle switch for the winch and says "keep this lever down, and follow my instructions if anything changes." Pulls lever down, continuing the reeling in process. The fisherman heads back to the control room, where he waits for the right time to release the onboard torpedoes. Scene cuts to Brock at the lever, and all Brock hears is a rattling under the floor boards as the torpedoes are released. Camera cuts to torpedoes, hitting their target, causing the monster to quicken its pace.
"Here we go!" Cries the fisherman, forgetting Brock is even there. The sensors show the monster coming closer, quickening its pace.
"Payday" whispers fisherman.
Fisherman then runs to the chair sitting in between the two punching arms. He gets locked into the chair, and what almost looks like an exo suit wraps around the fisherman. He does two practice punches with his own arms, and the two punching arms on the boat mimic his every move.
"Come on!" He says.
The monster breaches straight ahead, and Brock wonders in amazement at the sight of the creature. No words. Loki begins to bark uncontrollably, deep loud barks, like nothing heard on earth.
The monsters submerges, but leaves a wake, heading straight towards the ship. As it gets closer, one of the arms locks up due to a hydraulic leak. The fisherman is rendered helpless.
Thinking quickly, Brock let's go of the lever and runs to the arm.
The fisherman starts barking orders. Brock does not listen, grabs a maintenance kit from the panel, and climbs the arm. He tries to reconnect the hose, gets blasted with oil, then tries again and manages to make it work! There is still a safety bolt that is wedged in the arm from the break. He jumps back off the arm and grabs a harpoon head. He climbs up the arm again and heroically hammers out the safety bolt.
Both arms spring back to life, the monster lunges at the boat, revealing its terrifying mouth parts, and the fisherman plunges one of the arms daggers right into the monsters face, killing it instantly.
The fisherman stops, breathing heavily, and turns to Brock.
"Yup, that will do..." Says the fisherman.
After breathing heavily, the fisherman asks "how did you know what to do?"
"I read the manual".
"Guess your not as dumb as you look." And laughs.
They bring the monster to the atoll, get it weighed, and get paid out. The fisherman even pays Brock right away, and from then on, Brock realizes he has found favor in the fisherman's eyes.
The next scenes show Brock and the fisherman catching several other monsters of different kinds. The two become quite close, and the scenes show the joy and pride of the catches.
Brock injects himself with steroids in front of the fisherman and asks "where do these meds come from anyway?"
"The corporations we supply for... A small price to pay for them. Demand for our product is so high, they know we need these meds to do our job."
Scene then shows a battle where Brock and the fisherman are reeling in an especially dangerous monster. After setting up a bunch of traps (necessary for this species) The power dies in the ship. It is a complete meltdown of the reactor, and they are dead in the water. The monster bumps the boat several times. The fisherman starts shooting the water blindly, and runs out of ammunition and torpedoes. Irrationally, he grabs a pistol from his chambers, and shoots the water, then sits down in defeat. It begins to rain, and wind picks up. The creature slowly surfaces, yet only a portion. The camera would zoom in on Brock's nervous face, which turns to anger/hunter. Motion shots of the previous trap set up going off would be witnessed, like getting the monster tangled in the lines or so, and Brock jumping around the boat to make the appropriate actions happen, using the grappling line to move quickly from one boat section to another. Only portions of the creature will be seen here. The boat is snared by a tentacle... He realizes he must get down to business right then and there, or risk losing his boat and life... The fisherman slow motion walks out to the fish, water splashing his face, and he grabs one of his giant spears sitting on the wall (Think Thorin Oakenshield, walking towards the pale orc at the end of the Hobbit). At this time, the fish monster's eyes emerge from the water and zero in on the fisherman. He begins his run at the fish. The monster comes more out of the water. The now sprinting Brock takes one massive leap, screaming at the monster as it makes one final MAJOR breach out of the water towards the fisherman, as if it is screaming back at him. You see the head of creature for a split second, and hear the bellowing roar. The camera then cuts to the fisherman, sitting defeated, covering his eyes. He opens then slowly, and rushes to the edge of the boat. He sees Brock, twisting the spear head out of the monsters head. It has sunk deep in, killing it instantly. It begins to sink, and Brock ties it off quickly.
The fisherman cannot believe his eyes, and says to Brock, "You are the true fisherman on this vessel."
When they return with their kill, all proceeds go to Brock alone. The creature brings a small fortune, and Brock now has enough to buy his own ship.
Include a scene where Brock is in the washroom of his ship. We wakes up in the morning and washes his face to wake up. He notices his forearms have become quite large, and his overall musculature is very large in comparison with the previous Brock portrayed in the first few images. From here on he is larger.
Buys his first ship, a shitty outdated vessel. As he goes to board the ship for the first time, he shakes the hand of the fisherman, and thanks him for all the lessons learned. Loki whimpers and runs to Brock's side. Brock tries to get him to go back to the fisherman but he won't go.
"That's ok Loki, he treats you better than I do anyways, I know. Go with him!"
"What are you talking about, he's yours."
"Yeah well it doesn't hurt to see him go, less of a food bill at the end of the month if he goes."
"You sure? He's been with you since day one!"
"I know, even still, I want what's best for him, I know you'll keep him safe after that last performance. No worries."
Then he goes to a further out atoll and spends time there. Brock makes good use of his shitty ship, and quickly earns enough to buy a better larger one.
Fish battle, catches sight of legendary leviathan, with one eye. The leviathan chases and destroys Brock's boat, he could not escape in time. Before the monster struck, Brock let out a bright red emergency flare high into the sky. Brock had every intention of going down with his ship (which is a huge commitment in the developed culture on this planet). The scene shows Brock locking the door to the captains room and looking out the flooded window, waiting. The leviathan smashes the sinking vessel, breaking it in two. Brock is knocked unconscious from the blow, and floats into the open ocean. He begins to float to the surface slowly. He takes in a deep breath of water and blacks out. End of chapter?
The next chapter shows a giant machine claw plunging into the water, grasping Brock out of the sea. He is brought onboard of a ship. CPR is being given to Brock, as well as a special emergency inhaler for lung surfactant repair. Brock coughs violently and opens his eyes to see African, who is slapping him in the face laughing with delight. "Fancy meeting you here". The two exchange a hand shake laughing, then head to nearest atoll.
When there, he has discussion with _______ from Africa in a bar. Another fisherman (will remain unnamed) learns of Brock losing his ship. This unnamed man gives Brock a hard time about not going with his ship like any respectable fisherman would. _____ from Africa defends Brock by explaining how he pulled him unconscious from the water! and that he would have died if it wasn't for him. Unnamed man states "well you should just kill yourself now then", prompting an all out bar brawl scene. The authorities break into the bar and quickly end it all by threat of force. Unnamed man and his boys leave, having received the worse beating from Brock and African. The two continue talking and trading stories when Brock hears a name that sparks rage in him. Dominic -------. He is another fisherman who happens to have made a name for himself in the area. He is the fisherman that took out the eye of the leviathan, and made it out alive. The scene then cuts to Brock lying in bed that night and drifting off to sleep, not looking forward to the dreams... Finally we deal with these dreams...
Actually I don't have dreams... I have nightmares, nightmares every time I close my eyes, nightmares about the moment I opened that door...
Set the bait on the hook and wait, sit and pray for a miracle... A bite
This is what I did almost every day, it's what we all did.
The oceans rarely gave any reward anymore, not even a small prize
Times were hard, but hard times is all most of us had ever known.
*info byte about oceans drying up
It was late November, another fruitless day on the sea.
I'd had enough, so I fired up the engine and headed back home.
I wasn't looking forward to breaking the news to my wife again,
Another day, another wasted fuel cell. I'd been spinning my wheels for far too long now.
We were at our breaking point, and I knew the disappointment would bring on another fight, possibly our last... My drinking, my hard lifestyle, my frustration should have pushed her away a long time ago, guess she was as stubborn as I was.
As I walked up to the door, I knew something was up, the laundry was still on the line, not like her at all...
As I opened the door, I felt my heart drop into my gut, I almost passed out...
There she lied, dead.
Law enforcement was spread far too thin in our area to bother trying to solve a case like this, dealing with menial trash like us was just simply not on their agenda anymore.
I found out who did it, Dominic ------ , a poor excuse for a fisherman, who made his real living stealing from the more honest struggling fishermen. We had run-ins before, over fishing zones... Standard stuff.
He didn't even try to hide it really. His face showed up on plenty of the village security cameras. Turns out our place wasn't the only one hit that night.
The way her body was lying made it clear to me she was reaching for the gun in the drawer, I guess that coward caught on...
With all his new "hard earned coin" he managed to leave this shit hole before anyone could serve him the justice he deserved. I heard he paid off a guy to get him smuggled on the next ship leaving earth, to start fresh. He was smarter than he looked I guess.
Talks about revenge, new motivation for living.
Chases him wherever he can, has difficulty, leads him to dangerous waters. Brief encounter, taunts given by Dominic, escapes via some dirty method. Damages Brock's ship so unable to follow? Betrayed by his new "fish-hand" perhaps?
Chase again once able.
Locals encounter, hiding in the dense floating forests. Maybe some bs wisdom speech from their leader, that Brock pays no heed to.
Fish battle in the ice.
Learns of location of Dominic, goes there, atoll is decimated by leviathan.
Sees vessel that survived in the distance, it's Dominic's. Drive over, jump on stranded ship and fight him physically, no weapons, just man to man. Tough fight, bending metal with steroid fists kind of fight., but Brock knocks him out and kicks him roughly into the sea.
As the body sinks, the leviathan reveals himself. Brock pilots his vessel away, kills leviathan in the process, tows back it's head.
Back at the atoll, he mounts the head of the leviathan on the entrance gates. News of this spreads rapidly, and the whole planet praises him as the greatest fisherman. One of the final shots will be of Brock with the head of the leviathan behind him, but dialogue will explain he is still not satisfied with his accomplishments, and how revenge left him feeling more empty than full. Though rich and famous, he has nothing, and that is how the story will end.