AMERIKAN ZER0 #1.5:
"THE OVAL ORIFICE!"
(work in progress)
SCRIPT by JASON SQUAMATA
CONCEPT ART by ANDREW Mc KENZIE
A completely white room with no windows and no signs of identity. No decoration. Nothing personal. Curvy modern design. There might be the stray accoutrements of a human life, but they've been bled of distinguishing features (like blank magazines full of blank pages or framed blank canvases on the walls). at the center of the room, there's a curvy (almost circular) white TV on a curvy white stem. the screen is full of hissing static. the shaved and almost featureless adam zero is sitting bolt upright in a white plastic chair, watching the screen with attentive intensity, searching the snow for a reason to be. the static ripples and there's a glyph on a test pattern background. a five-pointed all-american star with a zero in it. it counts from seven down to zero, then fades to a close-up of dr. greenbaum, in the garish red white and blue of the zero zone, oversaturated on a tv frequency. then we cut to greenbaum in the zero zone itself. there is a sprawling wall of screens in the background, displaying surveillance shots of zer0 from various angles, bald and blank, sitting still but twitching slightly in the clean room. greenbaum is a spindly and clinical figure, with a long, ageless face and a sardonic intelligence visibly at work behind oily black eyes. he's wearing the somewhat slept-in suit of a born spook. he's often smoking a cigarette and/or drinking a cup of tea.
CAPTION: and YOU are that nobody now. In between coverself A and coverself B, you gestate in a room of pure nowhere.
CAPTION: IN A CLEAN ROOM STRIPPED OF EVERY OTHER ADJECTIVE AND SCOURED FREE OF FEATURES, WHERE YOU'RE FREE TO BE NO ONE, WHERE YOU CAN FINALLY TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND WATCH SOME TV.
CAPTION: JUST THE STATIC HISS AT FIRST, THEN A GLYPH YOU FIND FAMILIAR, THEN A FROZEN FACE YOU KNOW BETTER THAN YOUR OWN, LIPSYNCHING HYPNOBABBLE ON A SHRILL BUT PERSUASIVE FREQUENCY THAT VIBRATES IN YOUR VERY VISCERA.
GREENBAUM (in electric bubbles in a clock-like radius around his hovering face on the final screen, murmuring against a churning hypnoscape):
YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE.
ZER0. ZER0. ZER0.
YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE.
ADAM ZER0 POINT ZER0.
YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE.
YOU MINUS YOU EQUALS ZER0.
PAGE TEN: ZER0 GETS DEBRIEFED IN THE ZER0 ZONE.
splash page of the zer0 zone, the mission control center from which greenbaum coordinates zer0's covert operations. it's a cross between a nasa ground zer0 set-up, no.2's surveillance hive in "the prisoner", and the impossibly sleek and hi-tech nerve centers on tv cop and spy shows. surveillance screens of various shapes and sizes are everywhere. they go on forever. there are rows of curvy switchboards manned by shaved chimpanzees with open lobotomy wounds, microchips in their brainmeat, wired into the consoles, eyes rolling back into their stubbly skulls. zero is in the foreground, still hairless, but dressed in a latex murder suit and a skimask with a "0" where his third eye would be under different circumstances. he looks disoriented. at his right is Eva Zer0, a bleach-blonde willowy fetish fantasy with a glacial supermodel ambience, dressed in a replica of his killing suit (minus the skimask). she's behind him but leaning forward as if to comfort him, handing him his beloved hoeckler and koch mark 23, which he's reaching for instinctively, despite his disorientation. behind his left shoulder , greenbaum is looking on with an unsavory parody of parental concern. the screens in their background investigate the three figures from every possible angle, in various styles and filmstocks. word bubbles could emanate from their faces on the screens.
CAPTION: those are the words that always sing you through the screen, into the zero zone, where Dr. Greenbaum manipulates what your mind is made of by remote control (pulling electromagnetic strings to omptimize your performance in the field. you, Adam Zer0, his pet project, his special agent...).
CAPTION: Eva, your feminized clone, is standing by like always to lick your wounds and to expertly soothe any post-traumatic stress residue. Her diamond-studded pheremones are spiced tonight with a perfume called "OBLIVION". her body language beckons and begs "Annihilate me, flesh of my flesh".
CAPTION: SHE RESTORES YOUR SENSE OF SELF BY FILLING YOUR SUDDENLY GLOVED HAND WITH THE GUN YOU LOVE ABOVE ALL OTHERS: THE HECKLER AND KOCH MARK 23 MODEL 0. DESIGNED FOR SPECIAL FORCES BUT DECOMMISSIONED...
CAPTION: BECAUSE IT MAKES A DISCREET EXECUTIVE HIT OR A DUBIOUS POLICE ACTION LOOK LIKE A COLUMBIAN DEATH SQUAD BLOODBATH.
CAPTION: OF COURSE, THAT SUITS YOU FINE...LIKE VENOM SUITS A SERPENT...LIKE A CLOUD OF INK SUITS A KILLER SQUID.
EVA: ADAM, I COULD SEE YOU THROUGH THE SCREENS. EVEN IN THAT GAWKY TEENAGE CAMOUFLAGE, YOU WERE DEATH ITSELF. A JUNGLE CAT. TRUE BRUTAL BEAUTY.
ADAM: I'D BLUSH IF I GAVE A DAMN.
GREENBAUM: THAT'S MY BOY. ALL BUSINESS. ARE YOU READY TO ACCEPT YOUR NEXT OBJECTIVE?
ADAM: I'M STILL RAW FROM THE LAST MASSACRE, DR. GREENBAUM. ANY CHANCE OF A QUIET INTERSTICIAL LIFE TO NEST AND DECOMPRESS IN?
ADAM: FOR A YEAR? FOR A DAY?
GREENBAUM: YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS.
GREENBAUM: GRANTED, YOU DID A TEXTBOOK JOB ON THAT HIGH SCHOOL HOTBED OF LATENT WHITE COLLAR TERRORISM...
GREENBAUM: BUT WHILE YOU WERE BUSY BEING A TEENAGE ZOMBIE, AMERIKA WENT STARK RAVING MAD.
PAGE ELEVEN: FIENDS ALL OVER AMERIKA.
the three figures are smaller in the frame, or maybe embedded, here and there, in a boundless expanse of screen-shots and surveillance images and case history poster images of each of zer0's arch-villains, each with a representative corporate logo.
-OSAMA BIN SABBAH, THE TERRORIST SHEIK. A YOUNG OMAR SHARIF, DARK EYES BURNING WITH INCANDESCENT HATRED. SYMBOL: A RING OF ARABIC SACRED SCRIPT AROUND A DESERT MOUNTAINTOP FORTRESS, A RADIUS OF GUNS BREAKING UP THE SCRIPT.
-BORIS BRAINCHYLDE, THE TOMORROWTRONIX GURU. A CLOCK WITH AN EYE EMBEDDED AT THE CENTER, SEVEN SPIKES OF SUNLIGHT EMANATING FROM IT. SCIENTOLOGY ON STEROIDS.
-SATORU YAMAMOTO, THE SIMULOID SAMURAI, MERCENARY COMPOSER OF SYNTHETIC MEMORIES. THREE CONJOINED THEATRICAL MASKS, ONE HAPPY, ONE SAD, ONE BLANK, REVOLVING AT THE CORE OF A RED JAPANESE SUN. OR SOMETHING TO THAT EFFECT. OR MAYBE AN ICONIC DOLL FACE WITH A RED SUN ON THE FOREHEAD.
-PSYCHEDELIKA SEXUALIS, HIGH PRIESTESS OF A BIZARRE INTERNATIONAL TANTRIC SEX CULT. AN ETERNAL TEENAGER. MANGAFIED BARBARELLA. THELEMIC SYMBOL (THREE CONJOINED CIRCLES WITHIN TWO INTERLOCKING TRIANGLES) EMBEDDED WITHIN A PINK VALENTINE HEART.
-THE BLACK LAMA, A BLACK POWER BUDDHIST GANGSTER WITH PROSTHETICS AND IMPLANTS THAT BOOST HIS CHI AND OTHERWISE ARTIFICIALLY ENHANCE HIS SIDDHIS. SYMBOL: SANSKRIT "OM" SYMBOL EMBEDDED IN A FIST OF FURY.
-THE WHITE RUSSIAN, SERGEI ONEGIN. A UKRAINIAN GANGSTER, TRAINED BY THE KGB, WITH DELUSIONS OF TSARDOM. WHITE, BLUE, AND RED WITH A CROWN EMBEDDED IN THREE STRIPES, MAYBE AN ICONICALLY BURNING MOLOTOV COCKTAIL AT THE CORE OF THE CROWN.
-PRESIDENTE UNO NUMERO, A CROSS BETWEEN IDI AMIN, MANUEL NORIEGA, AND SANTO, THE MEXICAN WRESTLER. FORMER DICTATOR OF A BANANA REPUBLIC, DEPOSED BY ZER0, IN EXILE, SOAKED IN SANTERIA AND VOODOO AND COCAINE. A SCARFACE VERSION OF ZER0 HIMSELF. AVIATOR SHADES. BAD NEWS. A MIAMI VICE SUPERVILLAIN. COLUMBIAN FLAG. YELLOW AND BLUE AND RED. AN ICON OF NUMERO'S FACE IN THE SHADES, IN THE HAT OF A GENERALISSIMO, ON THE HORIZON LIKE A SUNRISE, CROWNED BY SEVEN STARS.
-KALI-MA KALIGULA, BOLLYWOOD SUPERSTAR, CLINICALLY INSANE CULT LEADER, SELF-STYLED REPTILE GODDESS OF THE APOCALYPSE. HYPERGLAM FASHION DISTORTIONS OF HINDU SYMBOL SYSTEMS. A COMBAT STYLE BASED ON PHYSICS-SLIVERING YOGA MOVES. SHE CLAIMS TO BE THE HALF-HUMAN VECTOR OF AN ALIEN EMPIRE THAT SPANS THE OMNIVERSE. HER GLYPH MIGHT BE A SILVER SERPENT SWALLOWING ITS OWN TAIL, ENCIRCLING THE EARTH, AGAINST AN ORANGE BACKGROUND.
-mr. lonelyhearts a.k.a. Julis Desmond. an emaciated cross between jim jones and elvis in their mutual twilight. the glyph for whisperville, his secret compound, is a valentine heart on fire with a sobbing eye embedded in its core.
-Herman Toth, the mercury man, is DADDY's liaison with the advertizing dynasties. he's the frontman for the House of Mercury, a concept farm for the other dynasties. a mercury symbol with a CBS style eye in its major orifice.
GREENBAUM: THE TERRORIST SHEIK IS OFFICIALLY OFF THE PAYROLL AND PLANNING A MAJOR STRIKE ON AMERIKAN SOIL...TOMORROWTRONIX IS POISED TO COMPLETELY ASSIMILATE THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY...THE BLACK LAMA HAS BEEN ACCREDITED AND ENDORSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST COMMUNITY. HE'S TURNING INNER CITY GANGSTA PUNKS INTO NINJAS...
GREENBAUM: PSYCHE SEXUALIS HAS SET A STREET-DATE FOR ANOTHER MIND-ALTERING APHRODISIAC, THE SIMULOID SAMURAI HAS AFFLICTED THE SYNTHETIC MEMORY INDUSTRY WITH A PLAGUE OF BUGS AND VIRUSES, KALI-MA KALIGULA HAS ESCAPED FROM THE PRISON WE BUILT JUST TO CONTAIN HER ORNERY PROTOPLASM,
GREENBAUM: UNO NUMERO IS ALLEGEDLY CONVERTING HIS FLEET OF YACHTS INTO PIRATE SHIPS, ...THE WHITE RUSSIAN IS TURNING CHERNOBYL INTO A MONSTER FACTORY...THE LIST GOES ON...
GREENBAUM: YOU CAN GESTATE IN A COZY VACATION SKIN WHEN THE WORLD IS SAFE FOR DEMOCRACY.
EVA: BABY. YOU KNOW YOU GET CUCKOO WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE A TARGET. YOU'RE EXTRA SEXY WHEN THERE'S A VICTIM IN YOUR HEADLIGHTS.
ADAM: OKAY. OKAY. LET THE KILLING MACHINE HAVE A DAYDREAM ONCE IN A WHILE. WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA, DOCTOR?
GREENBAUM: A MEETING WITH PRESIDENT OGAMA. I'M TOLD HE INTENDS TO DECOMMISSION YOU.
PAGE TWELVE: M.O.T.H.E.R. SYNTHETIC FOETAL REPROGRAMMING.
set into a mass of screens continuing the motifs from the previous page, three big screen-shaped frames.
on the first screen: Adam, Eva, and Greenbaum bursting into peals of hysterical laughter. like the dumb joke at the end of a superfriends episode. in their background, a large oval portal is opening, leading to M.O.T.H.E.R.
ADAM: AM I GETTING TERMINATED BY THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF?
GREENBAUM: ON THE CONTRARY.
ADAM: WHATEVER SHOULD I WEAR?
a frame of their faces lit by the underwater light of the chamber M.O.T.H.E.R. lives in. (Mesomorphic Obliteration and Transformation of Human Essences through Reprogramming). they stand in awe of the dream technology she's made of.
GREENBAUM: A LOW-IMPACT, 2D IDENTITY. JUST A UNIFORM, REALLY.
EVA: WE PICKED SOMETHING OUT FOR YOU.
GREENBAUM: M.O.T.H.E.R. IS WAITING.
a frame of Zer0 walking away from them, down a catwalk that leads into her boiling psychedelic depths. she is the machine that enwombs his barely defined self and weaves a body and mand and soul for him, customized to achieve the latest objective.
GREENBAUM: TO RECEIVE YOU...TO FEED YOU...TO SING YOU TO SLEEP...TO WASH YOU AND DRESS YOU UP FOR YOUR BIG DAY...
CAPTION: IT'S WHAT YOU DO. EVERY TIME. YOU SLIP INTO THE JAMMY FOLDS OF HER SYNTHETIC WOMB AND RECEIVE THE LIQUID INFORMATIONS THAT WILL DEFINE WHAT SHE MAKES OF YOU. THIS IS THE CLOSEST YOU WILL EVER GET TO KNOWING LOVE.
CAPTION: COIL WITHIN M.O.T.H.E.R. AND DRINK HER BLACK MILK, THICK AS IT IS WITH SLITHERING FIGMENTS.
PAGE THIRTEEN: A NEW SKIN FOR A NEW CEREMONY.
at the center of the page, a shot of Adam Zer0 hanging like a damaged foetus in the fiberoptic guts of M.O.T.H.E.R. he's hanging upside down in an embryonic plastic sac of transparent jelly, tubes in his mouth and up his nostrils, clutching his gun. the interior of M.O.T.H.E.R. should have an aquatic grotto feeling, perhaps lined with a reef of throbbing circuits. vaginal folds of soft electronics. little images will bubble forth from the core of the page, in three sets...
-a burning glacier. burning, but never melting.
-an eastern diagram of the perfect man, with a zer0 star branded on each of his chakras.
-heavy industrial cityscape growing out of a curvy black heart with a red target sight at its core.
-a golden apple-shaped grenade with a "k" on it for "kallisti": for the prettiest one.
-a teddy bear with a mushroom cloud printed on its belly and a piece of circuitboard glued to its head.
-a shot of lee harvey oswald in the lotus position, a halo of handguns around his head, his shotgun deconstructed before him, its pieces hovering as if through the power of his love.
CAPTION: LET M.O.T.H.E.R. RELIEVE YOU OF THE PAIN OF BEING "YOU", THE PAIN OF HAVING A "YOU" YOU NEED TO BE. SHE LOVES HOW EMPTY YOU ARE. DRINK THIS FRAGMENTED GHOST SHE MADE TO FILL UP THE PLACES IN YOU WHERE A SOUL SHOULD BE. BE THE GHOST. FILL HIM AS HE DRINKS YOU.
-model suburban home
-happy have you seen me? photo of baby zer0.
-toddler dressed in garanimals with a black bag over his head, emblazoned with the zero logo.
-the same toddler, shaved and featureless, blank stare, a little drool, lobotomy scar on its forehead.
-little boy on a shooting range on a bright sunny day. perfect target practice.
- a prom photo of a boy and his gun.
CAPTION: SATURATE HIS MEMORIES WITH YOUR MALEVOLENT ESSENCE, TRANSMUTING THE MOST INNOCENT MOMENTS INTO BLOOD-SOAKED KABUKI PSYCHODRAMA. THROUGH YOUR SLUICING THROUGH THIS SUBMISSIVE SYSTEM, TRANSFORM A BROKEN AND BRUTALIZED CHILD INTO THE SEEDING GROUND FOR A HOTHOUSE MONSTER.
-surgical snapshots. open wounds and transplants in progress.
-flexing muscles in the fever of weight training, three years worth of workouts compressed into a momentary major operation.
-the flashing steel instruments of M.O.T.H.E.R.'s loving touch, slicing through flesh and diagrams, blades and laser torches at the tips of silver circuit-studded tentacles.
-scars sewn shut with lasers, fastening the flaps of his steve mcqueen superspy face.
-her tendrils are wrapping him in the height of black ups fashion.
-he's slapping a fresh clip in his gun.
-he's putting on his shades.
CAPTION: NOW YOU REMEMBER. NOW YOU REMEMBER TO FORGET EVERYTHING BUT THE JOB AT HAND AND THE AVATAR SHE TRICKED YOU OUT IN TO GET THAT JOB DONE.
CAPTION: YOU'RE ALL GRIM PURPOSE AND BAD BUSINESS, WITH A VERY IMPORTANT APPOINTMENT TO KEEP.
CAPTION: AMERIKAN ZER0! HELTER SKELTER!
COMING DOWN HARD ON THE WHITE HOUSE!
PAGE FOURTEEN: ZER0 AT THE WHITE HOUSE. MEETING WITH PRESIDENT BROCK OGAMA.
perhaps a collage of ovals, their arrangement suggesting the velocity of his zer0mobile racing from the Institute (wherever that is) to the White House.
on the sountrack, an angelic version of "helter skelter" performed by the mormon tabernacle choir. maybe the ovals are set against a satellite view of washington d.c., electronically isolating occult masonic designs in the layout of the city. or the scribbled-on streetmap of a schizo.
first oval. the Institute in the distance, the Zer0mobile in the foreground, racing towards us. it's a sleek little sportscar, dazzle-camouflaged in flag-warping zer0 icons.
CAPTION: HELTER SKELTER...ON WHEELS.
second oval: the white house. the zer0-mobile pulling up right in front.
CAPTION: NO MATTER HOW FAR YOUR DESTINATION MAY BE FROM THE INSTITUTE, YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO GET THERE AT THE SPEED OF DANGER.
third oval: secret service men stripping him of his many weapons in the vestibule.
CAPTION: THIS CREEPY OLD MANSION WHERE THE PUPPET LIVES, WHERE YOU MUST SYMBOLICALLY SHED THE INSTRUMENTS OF YOUR ROUGH TRADE AND ENDURE THE DISCREETLY SYCOPHANTIC WORSHIP OF BRUTAL MEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE.
SECRET SERVICE GUY: I'M A GREAT ADMIRER OF YOUR WORK, SIR.
ADAM ZER0: FUCK YOU.
CAPTION: THEY CAN KEEP THE GUNS. OPEN A MUSEUM, MAYBE. PEOPLE CAN PAY TO TOUCH THEM, LIKE YOUR BULLETS ARE HOLY RELICS. THIS ISN'T THAT KIND OF APPOINTMENT. ALL YOU NEED FOR A PRESTIGE GIG LIKE THIS IS THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE AND A SHARP ENOUGH PENCIL.
fourth oval: adam zer0 sitting across the big desk from President Brock Ogama, who, of course, looks exactly like Barack Obama. the fAmous windows in the background. ideological opposites squaring off in the Oval Office.
CAPTION: THE MAN HIMSELF. COOL AND TELEGENIC. WANTS TO MAKE SOME CHANGES. HE DOESN'T GET UP. HE'S GREEN ENOUGH TO THINK YOU'RE WORKING FOR HIM.
ADAM ZER0: MR. PRESIDENT.
OGAMA: GOOD AFTERNOON. I'M ON A TIGHT SCHEDULE SO I'LL BE BRIEF, AGENT...ZER0. I THINK WHAT YOU DO IS THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING THIS COUNTRY IS SUPPOSED TO STAND FOR. I REALIZE THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION GAVE YOU GREAT LICENSE AND DEPENDED ON THE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL NATURE OF YOUR METHODS AT A CONFUSING MOMENT IN OUR HISTORY. I APPRECIATE THE HORRIBLE THINGS YOU'VE DONE FOR THIS COUNTRY, BUT I CAN'T ENDORSE THEM, BY OVERT OR IMPLICIT COMPLICITY.
I'M RELIEVING YOU OF YOUR DUTIES, ZER0. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.
ARE YOU FINISHED...ASSHOLE?
PAGE FIFTEEN: KUNG-FU BATTLE IN THE OVAL OFFICE.
this is it. the brutal/elegant kung-fu ballet between the great black hope and the amerikan zer0. oval office as a backdrop and source of page design motifs.
in the upper left corner, an image of Ogama's steely gaze, eyes locked on Zer0's. unwavering.
OGAMA: EXCUSE me?
ZER0: THE FACT IS, MR. PRESIDENT...i'm here to decommission YOU.
a frozen moment of silence between the two warriors.
then, the frenetic explosion into frenetic kung-fu chaos.
maybe an iconic image of their combat taking up most of the page, framed by a strip above and a strip below of miniature frames of the two of them in silhouette kung-fu poses.
CAPTION: you go into Zer0 mode at the bat of a stainless steel eyelash.
you're a black and white blur of trajectory projections, combat schematics, blows evaded and blows delivered with pre-programmed precision.
CAPTION: NO SAFEWORDS. NO MERCY.
CAPTION: Ogama never really stood a chance, of course, but there was a delicious microsecond of friction when he almost held his own.
CAPTION: the President had some martial arts training, it seems.
CAPTION: NOT ENOUGH.
PAGE SIXTEEN: CANNIBALIZING OGAMA IN THE BATHROOM.
a bird's eye (or chandalier's eye) view of a bathroom that obviously adjoins the oval office. indicative insignia on towels, the wallpaper, the bathmat. there's a huge bathtub with a bar above it from which one would hang a shower curtain, which has been torn from its hooks. in the bathtub, we see the bloody mess of Ogama, still alive, writhing in agony. the tub is about half full of water. all of Ogama's limbs have been broken. his eyes are bruised. his nose is bloody, his teeth are broken, as if by pliers.
zer0 has his jacket off. it's neatly folded on the floor. he's leaning over an open silver briefcase. inside, we see various chemicals in powder and aerosol form and flawlessly polished pieces of fearsome cutlery. every knife bears his monogram on the handle. there are empty spaces in the case for the chemicals that have already been added to the bathtub brew. open cannisters. powder on the tiles. the bathwater clearly bubbling and olored strangely.
zer0 is holding a big butcher's knife aloft, as if he's checking his reflection in it.
CAPTION: YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU ARE. YOU'RE AN AMERIKAN ZER0.
CAPTION: AND AFTER YOU'VE SUBDUED A WORTHY ADVERSARY, WHEN YOU'VE FELT THAT FLEETING FRICTION THAT INDICATES A DEFECT IN YOUR LETHAL EFFICIENCY...
CAPTION: THERE'S A MEAL YOU LIKE TO MAKE.
CAPTION: THE RECIPE IS COMPOSED MOSTLY OF CHEMICALS SYNTHESIZED FROM SPICES KNOWN AND GROWN BY OBSCURE CANNIBAL CULTS IN THE CONGO. THE VICTIM IS YOUR BLEEDING FEAST AND YOUR UNIVERSITY.
CAPTION: LIKE A WHITE KNIGHT EATING THE HEART OF A SLAIN DRAGON, YOU CONSUME THE FLESH OF YOUR ENEMY. YOU THEREBY ASSIMILATE HIS FIRE...AND HIS FIGHTING SKILLS. INFUSING YOUR REPERTOIRE WITH NEW MOVES IN A VISCERAL AND "PRIMITIVE" FASHION.
OGAMA: what...what is this?
OGAMA: is this a coup?
OGAMA: you won't get far, Zer0. this isn't some banana republic you can take over on your summer vacation. there are things you don't know...
OGAMA: things i won't tell you.
ZER0: we know EVERYTHING, "mr. president".
ZER0: we always HAVE.
ZER0: we always WILL.
ZER0: you're not being interrogated.
ZER0: you're being MARINATED.
towards the bottom of the page, a shot of the two secret service men from page fourteen. standing side by side. arms folded. standing guard at the doors of the oval office. Ogama's tortured screams reverberate through the corridors of power. maybe indicated by a graphic sound effect, maybe a
in a font reminiscent of the "hope" poster.
CAPTION: question: how many undamaged, good-natured, all-american boys have grown up to hear the president screaming all night long?
CAPTION: the answer is ZER0.
there are frames on both sides of the secret service guys. frames shaped like postage stamps but sized a little bigger, at the lower left and right hand corners.
on the left: the brutalized face of Ogama from the bathtub shot. positioned beneath his battered face (tinted, like the famous poster, with a slab of white and a slab of off-blue). the word: HOPE?
on the right, the grinning, ecstatic face of Adam Zer0 in shades, gore splattered on his face, taking a break from his victory meal, smoking a cigarette lasciviously. the word: FEAR!
PAGE SEVENTEEN: SUNRISE. THE GENERALS. OGAMATRON 5000.
Zer0 in the distance, stepping into the oval office through the doors that lead to the bathroom, wiping a little blood from his mouth with a stylized flag-colored handkerchief. in the background, teams of people in skintight hazmat suits emblazoned with the zer0 logo are putting the room back in order, cleaning it thoroughly like cleaners do. there might be a couple of agents with a bodybag ready, waiting for Zer0 to be finished with his feast. in the foreground, an executive g-man type in a suit (holding a clipboard) and two five-star generals are standing with a replica of Ogama, a perfect likeness except for the face, which has been removed, exposing sinister circuits. one of the silver-haired war-horse generals is holding the face, about to replace it. with his other hand he smokes a fat cigar. the light splashing through the big windows indicates a time around sunrise.
OGAMATRON: yes we can...bzzzt...yes we can...bzzt...yes we can...
ZER0: SORRY TO KEEP YOU WAITING, CITIZENS.
GENERAL A: just as well, zer0. the Ogamatron 3000 needed some tuning up, anyway.
G-MAN: minor glitches.
OGAMATRON: yes we can...bzzt...yes we can...
GENERAL B: those tech trolls will work out the kinks. main thing is, our special agent here has neutralized an instrument of change. we're replacing that instrument...with a TOOL.
OGAMATRON: bzzzt...yes we can...bzzzt...yes we can....
three small circular frames at the bottom, maybe,
1. punching in close on Zer0 leaning in and scrutinizing the Omagatron 3000, whose face is now in place.
ZER0: NO YOU CAN'T...NOT ANYMORE.
OGAMA: bzzzt...SIR, YES, SIR.
2...zer0 staring the Ogamatron into submission. he's searching for flaws in the recreation. he's anticipating future problems. the pentagon is an accident factory. he did this as a favor.
GENERAL A: ZER0?
ZER0: YES, GENERAL?
3. Zer0 looking away from the Ogamatron and staring at his own right hand, which he's holding up. the general is also staring at Zer0's hand. little lightning bolts might be shooting from it, old school radio style.
GENERAL A: I THINK YOUR KILLING HAND IS VIBRATING.
PAGE EIGHTEEN: GREENBAUM IS MISSING.
three circular frames at the top of the page, each presenting zer0's killing hand palm up at dead center.
1. he has a fiberoptic version of the zer0 icon tattooed on his hand. it's glowing. radio lightning bolts.
EVA (radio bubble, emanating from his hand): ADAM. BABY. PLEASE PICK UP.
2. he seems to have a palm full of static (projected by the tattoo). maybe a wavering/staticky celphone-type image of Eva's face.
EVA: THE NANOCAMS GOT EVERYTHING. I SAW WHAT YOU DID. THE TWO OF YOU, LIKE JUNGLE CATS...
3. a more clearly defined celphone-cam version of Eva's face in the palm of his hand.
EVA: I GET WET JUST THINKING ABOUT THAT PENCIL IN HIS NECK. YOU'RE A MONSTER, BABY.
on the next tier, a frame of Zer0, head and shoulders, facing us, talking to the hand. maybe General A looking over his shoulder.
ADAM: I DON'T HAVE TIME FOR YOUR NYMPHOMANIACAL NONSENSE,
EVA. PUT DR. GREENBAUM ON.
EVA: HE'S NOT HERE, BABY. HE SAID HE NEEDS TO SEE YOU, THOUGH. HE SAID HE'D SEE YOU IN THE SUMMERLAND.
the same shot, basically, but Zer0 has clenched his fist and he's staring coldly into the middle distance, like something momentous has been asked of him.
his fist says "BZZZT!"
ZER0: i have to go.
GENERAL A: WE CAN TAKE IT FROM HERE, ZER0. I THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRIOTIC ATROCITY. THE WHOLE COMPLEX THANKS YOU.
ZER0: i guess. whatever. game over.
the rest of the page is like a car commercial for the Zer0mobile, leaving DC behind, handling every curve perfectly, racing at the speed of terror. a red line beaming across a marked-up roadmap, leaving life behind and driving deep into the woods.
finally, a shot of the zer0mobile parked at an electrified fence, rimmed with barbed wire on top. zer0 is climbing out of the car. sign on the fance says "KAMP SUMMERLAND", with the logo. beyond the fence is what looks like a derelict epcot center.
CAPTION: YOU FOLLOW THE DOCTOR'S ORDERS WITHOUT FLINCHING AND THAT'S WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE.
CAPTION: HE'S HAD YOU DO THINGS THAT JOHN Q. PUBLIC WOULDN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT. THINGS THAT WOULD BE CRIMINAL IN EVERY SENSE IF THEY WEREN'T DONE FOR THE GOOD OF THE NATION.
CAPTION: THIS IS THE FIRST COMMAND THAT HAS EVER EVEN BRIEFLY GIVEN YOU PAUSE.
CAPTION: D.A.D.D.Y. WANTS YOU TO GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
TUNE IN NEXT TIME for AMERIKAN ZER0! #2: "THE MAN FROM D.A.D.D.Y.!"
HE'LL KNOW IF YOU DIDN'T.