Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

The all new EVOKE season TWO: Air Quality in Manila

For my episode of season two, I have used Alchemy's template for the Food Security crisis as the basis of my script. I have decided to stick very closely to the format, mirroring the sequence of events and characters. The story, however, has shifted from Tokyo to Manila and the issue being tackled is Air Quality. The reason that I have decided to be so faithful to this script, and in some panels, replicate, word for word, some of the descriptions, is to reinforce the notion that this is a cycle of events. Humanity will continue to be faced with similar problems that need tackling by people with EVOKE powers. Continued collaboration is necessary in order to come up with solutions.

You may choose to view this impression of an interminable cycle of problems as a rather negative stance to take, but I prefer to see it as something positive.

The more challenges we are faced with, the more proficient at solving them the agents become. The more villains making wrong decisions we are confronted with, the stronger the network of resilience. The more obstacles we are faced with, the more creative we are forced to become.

The repetitive nature of these missions and our continual success at completing them means that ultimately, the EVOKE network will conquer all undesirable forces and peace, love and harmony will prevail on planet earth.


EPISODE 1
MANILA
United we are strong, divided we fall– Filipino proverb

PAGE 1

PANEL A

Fort Bonifacio. Sunset. There are fewer people than you would expect to see at this time of night. There are no joggers on the streets, no electric tricycles on the streets, just row after row after row of SUVs, lined up, bumper to bumper. Drivers and passengers look tired. The neon and LED billboards are on. On the largest electronic billboard is a public service announcement about face masks. It shows a family of eight, in a car, faces covered with eyes that smile. There’s a newsstand in the foreground, off to one side of the
frame.We can see the headline "Air Toxicity at an all time high."

TEXT BOX 1
Manila. April 22, 2020

OFF-PANEL 2
How much more can our lungs take?

PANEL B

A sunset panorama of Manila is spread before the silhouette of the president of the Philippines. She is smiling, seeming totally oblivious to the fact that the air is so thick with smog, her features are mostly obscured.

PRESIDENT
They say we need help, but I do not see anything wrong with this city. Look at the blue sky! They talk about corruption, but I see nothing but transparency and honest leadership. They claim that we're only a month away from fatal concentrations of toxins in the air we breathe and that city dwellers are all going to die young of respiratory diseases, but I see no threat of this.

OFF-PANEL 2
Mrs. President. You can't turn your back on this city any longer. The 40 million residents of Manila need your help. They need you to face the facts.

PRESIDENT
Nothing is wrong in my capital city. Nothing.

PANEL C
A wide shot of the President’s office. The office is large and well-appointed with an impressive desk (and a portrait of the president herself). The main feature, though, is the floor-to-ceiling window, which is covered in a drop down blind. A stream of light penetrates through the abaca, but it is the stand up lamps that provide most of the lighting in the room. The President sits at her desk, sipping a martini and mindlessly flicking through the channels on her plasma screen TV on the opposite side of the room. Her assistant paces anxiously back and forth across the room.

ASSISTANT
It’s said that a network called EVOKE was responsible for saving many cities in the world from all kinds of imminent disasters back in 2010. But they’ve never taken credit. They never do.

PRESIDENT
Ah, yes, I remember hearing vague rumours about that network, but I was too busy rewriting legislation and fixing the voting machines in order to seal what no one in the country thought possible, an extended three terms in office... Are you suggesting that we get in touch with the EVOKE network to help us with this supposed toxic air threat?

ASSISTANT
You have to send an EVOKE, Mrs. President.

PANEL D

Close up on the Assistant.

ASSISTANT
It has to come from you.

PANEL E

Close up on the President.

PRESIDENT
Is this what will keep you quiet?

[to self] Well, it does seem like a match... there is nothing wrong with the air and this network doesn't appear to be real, so, why not play along?...

PAGE 2

PANEL A

We see the message sent on the private, encrypted short message network. It is surrounded by a texture of ambient data, and layered on top of a map of the Philippines and a red locator dot over Manila.

MESSAGE TEXT: This is an EVOKE from Manila. Urgently require tactical social innovation deployment. Category: Air Quality.

PANEL B:

TEXT BOX 1
Dakar, Senegal

A high-tech surveillance room. Computer and video screens relay news and images from all over the world. The star display is a digital world map, covered with data. We can see that the message from the previous
panel is a small part of this map. In the foreground is ALCHEMY, in silhouette, sitting at a desk with a keyboard, a laptop, and a pencil and paper in front of him. He wears a wireless headset.

INSET PANEL C

ALCHEMY 1 (to himself – he should have a kind of smile when saying this line. He’s looking forward to the challenge.)
Hello, Manila.

PANEL D

On one screen we see a picture of Rebecca Gillman, captioned with EVOKE MEMBER CODENAME: REBECCA GILLMAN. A touch-screen button underneath her dossier says “ACTIVATE”. Alchemy is pushing it.

PAGE 3

PANEL A

TEXT BOX: Magic Farms, Bukidnon.

A community garden. REBECCA GILLMAN is in the middle of planting seeds with a group of children. They are armed with trowels and watering cans. The sky is blue, there are cows grazing in the background and the mountains can be seen on the horizon, behind the big green farmhouse.

R GILLMAN
So if we consider the ideal distance between seeds to be one hand span of an adult, how many of your hands will span the correct distance?-

INSET PANEL B
A girl comes running from the farmhouse, holding out a mobile phone.

PANEL C

Close up on R Gillman, looking at the phone.

R GILLMAN
Excuse me, children, time to go and feed the rabbits. I'll see you back here in an hour.

PANEL D

R Gillman dashes back to the farmhouse, girl in tow, and switches on her computer.

GIRL

I'll go and watch the children. I am used to this by now...

R GILLMAN
This is Rebecca Gillman

PANEL E

ALCHEMY 1 (splitscreen him in)
It’s Alchemy. There’s a problem in Manila. I’m sending you in.

R GILLMAN
Manila?!! How am I supposed to keep a low profile in Manila?! Everyone knows me there, don't you remember? Back in 2010, I was the one who...

ALCHEMY
You’ll have to be creative.

PANEL F

R GILLMAN
Is it about the air quality? Citizen X has been posting leaked government memos all over the web. Three seems to be a huge cover up operation underway.

ALCHEMY
Citizen X is an irresponsible and dangerous organization, and I don’t know why you follow them. But yes, it’s the air quality. Levels of toxins are reaching an all time high. We only have a month before life expectancy rates will fall to the age of 35 as respiratory problems will spread like the plague. No pun intended. But we’re
going to fix it.

PAGE 4

PANEL A

TEXT BOX: Bahay Kalipay. Puerto Princesa.

We are inside the inner dance hall. Suspended from bamboo frames, we can see a poster with the EVOKE logo and the tagline “It could be anyone.” In the extreme foreground is a hand pump well. The
color palette for this scene is yellow. PI, who was pumping the water, has just taken a bucket of water to the latrine. He is talking on a similar mobile phone, a laptop balanced on the stairway behind him. He looks deep in thought, but also excited, energized.

PI
Is it just Manila, or do they want us to handle the other cities, too?

R GILLMAN
We fix MANILA.

INSET PANEL B

Alchemy in his control room.

ALCHEMY
Manila will fix the rest.

PANEL C

Back in the inner dance hall. Pi has a duffle bag in his hand.

ALCHEMY
How soon can you leave?

INSET PANEL D

Close up on Pi.

PI
Give me an hour.

PANEL E

A reverse shot from overhead. Pi has the duffle in hand. In front of her is a wall bristling with tools of all kinds. The tools range from low-tech (wrenches, hammers, pliers, etc) to super high-tech
devices with graphical displays, lasers for topographical maps, RFID sensors, to precision devices like micrometers. The idea is an overwhelming juxtaposition of a variety of tools.

PI
I just need to pack up some tools.

PAGE 5

PANEL A

TEXT BOX: The Hall of Peace, Lantapan, Central Bukidnon

We are outside a forest. A simple sign identifies this location as the Refreshing Reforestation unit. A row of treeplanters tend to saplings, and we can see trees stretch out into the distance. In the distance,
workers load saplings into a truck. In the foreground is WAWAY, standing at a table with his laptop and phone out. A little ways behind him (out of earshot), an associate watches a helicopter visible in the distance. The tint for this sequence is orange.

WAWAY
How bad is the situation?

ALCHEMY
I’m sending you a detailed brief.

PANEL B

Waway's laptop screen shows a cascade of data under the heading EVOKE 001285:

A graph showing increasing toxin levels in the capital city.
News headline:10 more newborn babies die upon leaving the hospital building for the first time. Cause: lung collapse.
Statistic on respiratory problems in Manila.
Projected mortality rates.
Internal memo on 'clean air sanctuaries' from Manila Emergency Support Dept. – watermarked with “leaked by Citizen X”

OFF-PANEL 1
You know, Manila’s also been generating its own mini greenhouse effect for decades.

PANEL C

ALCHEMY
What are you suggesting?

WAWAY
If we can get enough new plants in the ground, we might solve a few problems at once – clean the air, cool the climate and feed the people. Did you know that now the population of Manila has doubled in the last decade, there are over 60% of residents suffering from malnutrition?

ALCHEMY
Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you, Waway. Good luck.

PANEL D

The helicopter from the previous frame touches down near Waway. It has the EVOKE logo on it.
PAGE 6

PANEL A

MANILA. THE PRESIDENT'S OFFICE
A big-screen TV is flashing “INCOMING CALL.”

ASSISTANT
It’s for you, maam. It’s him.

PRESIDENT
So he really does exist?... Dammit.

PANEL B

ALCHEMY appears on the screen. That is, Alchemy’s digital avatar appears.

ALCHEMY 1
Mrs. President, this is Alchemy. You are EVOKE number 001285. Are you aware of how we work?

PRESIDENT
I’ve only heard the same legends as everyone else. [and under her breath] And I was hoping that that's all they were- legends.

INSET PANEL C

Let’s see Alchemy’s face for this line.

ALCHEMY
And that’s what you’ll keep telling people.

PANEL D

R GILLMAN takes pictures of an empty lot in a residential neighborhood.

OFF-PANEL (maybe in a text box with quotes)
Officially, we don’t exist.

PANEL E

PI works on a 3D model on his computer.

OFF-PANEL (text box, quotes?)
Our specialists will handle your air quality crisis, but everything is off the books.

PANEL F

Waway takes soil samples in a park.

OFF-PANEL (text box, quotes?)
You’ll quietly facilitate local resources and access to public land. We’ll provide the imagination.

PAGE 7

PANEL A

R GILLMAN interviews the park attendant at the only green space left in the city.

OFF-PANEL (text box, quotes?)
When we’re done, the people of Manila will have clean air to breathe. They will also have fresh fruits and vegetables every day of the year.

PANEL B

R GILLMAN making notes at La Mesa Dam.

OFF-PANEL (text box, quotes?)
We keep a 50% share in the profits. You take all the credit.

PANEL C

Waway examines trees planted on a street in Makati

OFF-PANEL (maybe in a text box with quotes)
By the time we leave, Manila will have thousands of new air quality specialists and community gardeners. So next time, you won’t have to send an EVOKE.

PANEL D

A wide shot of Manila, looking down from above.

OFF-PANEL 1 (text box? But make clear that this is the President speaking, not Alchemy)
When does the team arrive?

PANEL E

A view from even higher up, we start to see the shape of the Philippines archipelago.

OFF-PANEL 1 (text box? This is Alchemy speaking again.)
Mrs. President, we don’t waste time.

PRESIDENT

[to self] Now I will have to call a press conference and make this all sound like it was my idea. (rubbing palms together] I can then be transformed from villain to a hero in an instance. Mwahaha hahaha hahaha

PANEL F

We’re at orbital altitude, looking down on the earth and the Philippines. A small satellite (a cube-sat) is foregrounded above the Philippines. On it, we see the logo of the EVOKE network.

OFF-PANEL 1
My team is already there.

TEXT BOX
To Be Continued …

Views: 52

Comment by Thomas Bell on May 14, 2010 at 12:31pm
20 years and no change in the Philippine electoral system? More pessimistic than expected.
Comment by A.V.Koshy on May 14, 2010 at 12:38pm
nice one rebecca
i enjoyed reading it

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