Story by Dan Joslyn
Written by Dan Josyln
Produced and Directed by CN Winters
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sounds by CSR
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – Robert Kidman, CN Winters, Zahir al Daoud, Isis, and Mattxxx
Fourth Bank of Pennsylvania – Morning
TITLE: "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania"
A black-scaled demon with two twisted horns jutting from its cheekbones rose up to its full height, a wet growl rising in its throat. The sound was cut off suddenly when a small green hole appeared in its forehead. The creature fell stiffly to the floor.
Smoke rose quietly from the tip of Amira’s rifle as she stood in one of the teller windows. She lowered her weapon and spoke into her earpiece.
All around the bank, people rose from the floor, relieved smiles on their faces. One wrinkled old woman with white hair was directly next to the Amira.
"Is it dead?" she asked.
Outside Fourth Bank of Pennsylvania – Later
Robin stood on the concrete front steps of the bank, surrounded by a pack of microphones and cameramen.
"We’re happy to report that the situation has been resolved," he said in his best spokesperson voice. "All of the Lorkakis demons that were involved in the situation are now deceased. After the Watchers Council was called in, there were no further casualties."
Bank Parking Lot – Later
Carli, a tall, thin girl with long, dark hair draped behind her Black Ops uniform, stood behind the black Watchers Council van. She high-fived another Black Ops girl as she walked past.
"Nice shot," the other girl said.
Carli grinned. "Did you see the way the back of his head just exploded?"
The other girl just nodded as she secured her gun in the van. Carli pulled herself up onto the back bumper of the vehicle and sat back, her feet scraping the pavement.
"Damn, it’s a good feeling," Carli said. "Everything going according to plan, I mean. I could get used to it."
It was a command, and Carli instinctively jumped to her feet and brought herself to attention. The other girl that had been with Carli was suddenly nowhere to be seen. Amira walked forward and stood directly in front of her subordinate. She also wore full Black Ops gear, along with a small black scarf over her hair. Amira brought her face very close to Carli’s.
"I do not know if you realized," Amira said slowly, "but someone died in that bank. A man. Three children."
"Ma’am, that was before we even…"
"Did I give you permission to speak?!" Amira snapped. Carli set her jaw and glared straight ahead. "It does not matter what happened. Our job is to save lives. It is never the plan to fail. Do not get used to this feeling. That is all."
Carli relaxed as Amira took a few steps away from the van. Then Amira stopped and turned back to look at Carli.
"It was a nice shot," Amira said. Carli gave her a strange look as she walked off.
Robin, who was walking by, caught Amira’s arm as she neared the entrance to the bank.
"You about ready to head back?" he asked. "I think the circus is starting to pull down the big top."
Amira gave him a blank look.
"The media, they’re like a circus," Robin explained. "Sorry."
"I am still learning," Amira said. "And yes, I am almost ready. I only need a minute."
"Okay," Robin nodded. He watched Amira as she walked up the steps.
Bank – Moments Later
Amira’s shoes echoed on the floor as she walked across the lobby of the bank. The clean-up crew hadn’t gotten there yet; the place was empty except for three demon bodies on the floor. Amira stepped around the corpses on her way to the door of a small office. It turned out to be unlocked.
Bank Office – Continuous
The room was bare, but functional, with a brass nameplate and a family picture on the desk. Amira stood in the center of the office. She took a deep breath and cracked her neck a few times. She whispered to herself as she thought something out; then she walked over to one of the walls.
She made a short recitation in Arabic, then struck the wall with both hands, palms open. She then rubbed her hands together, running them over her face, as well. Then she repeated the process and ran her hands over her arms up to the elbow.
Then Amira walked to the center of the room and turned to face a certain wall. She began to speak in Arabic.
"Bismillāhir rahmānir rahīm: Al hamdu lillāhi rabbil 'ālamīn."
Subtitle: "In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful: Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe."
Unknown Location – Same Time
A security guard lay on the floor behind his desk, arms tied behind his back. A figure dressed all in black, with a dark green ski mask covering his face, smoothed out a piece of duct tape that had been placed over the guard’s mouth. He nodded to several other, similarly-dressed figures who were standing nearby, and they all took off down a rather non-descript hallway.
Voiceover, Amira: "Ar rahmānir rahīm. Māliki yawmid dīn."
Subtitle: "The most gracious, the most merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment."
There were ten figures in all. They each carried some kind of firearm as they moved speedily through the building. The hallway ended, and the group had a choice of two directions. Two of the figures whispered to each other. One put his hand on the other’s shoulder. A security camera loomed in one corner, until one of the figures skillfully used a pair of wire cutters to shut it off.
Voiceover, Amira: "Iyyāka na'budu wa iyyāka nasta'īn. Ihdinās sirātal mustaqīm."
Subtitle: "You alone we worship, You alone we ask for help. Guide us on the straight path."
The two men separated. One nodded swiftly, and the group split into two halves. The new groups set off in opposite directions, leading with their guns.
Voiceover, Amira: "Sirātal ladhīna an'amta 'alayhim ghayril maghdūbi 'alayhim walād dāālīn."
Subtitle: "The path of those whom You have blessed, not of those who have earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray."
One of the groups passed by a black directory board with white block lettering. At the top of the board was written "Council of Watchers." Below that it read "Cleveland Branch."
Voiceover, Amira: "Amin."
To Act One