[SFX]: A busy, cramped newsroom. Footsteps followed by a sharp knock at an office door.
[SFX]: The door opens.
HARRISON: Mail dump! But, uh, this package came hand delivered? Kid seemed pretty intent that it got to you directly.
SEAN: Thanks. Shut the door on your way out.
[SFX]: The envelope rips open. Contents are emptied on a desk.
SEAN: “Plug me in?” What is this, some twisted version of Alice in Wonderland?
[SFX]: A recording plays through computer speakers.
ANIKA: If you’re listening to this, you’re one of many lucky reporters about to get the scoop of the century. You’re welcome.
SEAN: Yeah, please tell me what kind of favor you’re going to do me.
ANIKA: Inside the envelope you took this drive out of, you’ll also find proof of who you’re talking to – a sick ass selfie of me in costume.
SEAN No fucking way.
ANIKA: And if you’ve been watching the news at all, you’ll recognize the outfit. But who am I kidding — you make the news! Of course you know who I am. May seem crazy, but here I am, coming to terrorize you personally through your computer screen. You guys have been running shitty, one sided stories for far too long – it’s time you got something right. And a friend of mine told me the only way to get your story out there is to bite the bullet and become a part of the narrative. So, I’m here to take you through the story you’ve all been fucking up, straight from the source to your papers.
SEAN: Holy shit.
ANIKA: It has been said that the difference between a hero and a villain is simply the way a person reacts to trauma. I’m not sure which label truly belongs to me, but I am all too aware of the one that has been assigned to me. Look, you all know who I am – this is your resident Super Villain coming at you from an undisclosed location, and I think it’s time everyone got a chance to hear my side of the story, sans news propaganda. Don’t you?
[SFX]: Anika drums her fingertips against the table.
ANIKA: So… heroes and villains. What’s in a label? The part everyone leaves out when they tell you you can be anything you want to be is that everyone has to believe you’re that thing, too. And they forget to tell you that labels are what makes you who you are, and you don’t get to pick those. High school is all about fucking labels.
[SFX]: A stack of BOOKS crashes to the ground.
ANIKA: Jesus, Bailey! Now I have to start the whole thing over.
BAILEY: And thank God for that. Do you really want to sound that melodramatic on this thing? You want people to take your side of this whole thing seriously. This is supposed to be about getting the facts out there, not just shouting about how life isn’t fair. Not about “heroes” and “villains.” Just because you like how movie stars look in spandex doesn’t mean people are going to start using the labels –
ANIKA: Fine! Whatever, we’ll start —
[SFX]: The recording clicks off. Then starts back up again.
ANIKA: The peanut gallery messing with the carefully constructed ambiance here is my best friend, Bailey. This whole suicide mission was her idea.
BAILEY: Oh, so when it’s a suicide mission it’s my idea.
ANIKA: I guess let’s start from the beginning? A few facts: we’re seventeen. None of you ever seem to get that one right. A Vanity Fair article – one of those glossy profiles on the state of morality in our universe, you know the ones – guessed that I was in my thirties which is just. I don’t know, is it cool to ask a woman’s age these days?
BAILEY: You’re getting sidetracked.
ANIKA: Excuse me for not wanting to just jump right into this whole – Sorry. I was sixteen when I had the first panic attack that I can remember. People often equate the feeling to drowning, but that’s not quite right. You know what’s happening when you’re drowning, generally can see it coming. In some way, you accepted the risk of death when you got in the water, and maybe you enjoy the rush of that, of choosing a position you just might not come out of. When the water takes you, you can’t help but accept that, on some level, you were asking for it, and you stop struggling. Panic attacks are nothing like that. You definitely don’t see them coming, and you in no way, shape, or form asked for it. It closes up your chest, convinces you that there’s not an ounce of oxygen in the room. Your vision tunnels in, everything sounds far away. It’s – well, it’s terrifying.
[SFX]: The recorder starts to short out, and items around them start to SHAKE as Anika’s breathing goes short and shallow.
BAILEY: Hey, it’s okay. Just breathe. Do you want me to turn this off?
ANIKA: No. No, sorry I – I want to finish this. Panic attacks are terrifying. And they’re not a time you’re expecting the “you’re special,” mantra your parents have repeated over the years to actually manifest. But manifest it did. I’ve always liked the mechanics of things. Taking them apart, putting them back together, figuring out what makes things tick. There’s a certain calmness that comes from running your fingers over the working parts of something, in the certainty of the mechanics. I think, probably, because things have always had a tendency to break around me. I got a gently used –
BAILEY: Read: Total piece of shit.
ANIKA: Gently used car that I love dearly, for my sixteenth birthday.
BAILEY: We could barely drive down the block without the thing choking on its own exhaust fumes.
ANIKA: Which is why I was trying to fix it when… well, when the panic attack hit. Here’s where the special part came in: the engine, the car, all the moving pieces just came right apart, hanging in midair as if awaiting direction. And that’s when you start to wonder if you’re going insane. You’re sitting there, surrounded by hovering car parts that you don’t even notice at first because your chest is constricted and the world is clearly ending because you can’t breathe or see or anything you’re supposed to be able to and – when you come out of it, your garage looks like it has been ransacked, and the car you’ve spent a solid month rebuilding is in pieces, hovering above you. If you wouldn’t freak right out, you’re a stronger woman than me.
BAILEY: Or man.
BAILEY: Stronger woman or man, than you. Just saying, be inclusive.
ANIKA: From my research –
BAILEY: Our research!
ANIKA: From our research, we’ve found that panic attacks can be caused by a number of things. Left over reactions to a traumatic event, severe stress, ate something that didn’t agree with you. It’s not a science, and it’s not exactly like I can run and tell my story to some shrink and be diagnosed or anything. And none of the articles had much to say about cars taking themselves apart and hovering midair, so I guess the why isn’t really that important. It’s happening, it happened, it’ll keep happening.
BAILEY: You’d be surprised what comes out of a good old fashioned Google search. There’s something on the web for everything – most of which you don’t want to know about. But Web MD has answers, my dudes. Take it seriously.
ANIKA: Bailey, you’re skipping ahead!
BAILEY: Oh, come on, I want to get to the interesting part. Where I come in.
ANIKA: Fine! Alright, so, I’ve just discovered sometimes, when I freak out, I can make shit come apart. No big deal right?
BAILEY: Correction: Very. Big. Deal.
ANIKA: Right. So, I did what anyone would have done. I snuck out to the biggest nerd I knew and let her put those Boolean Operators to work.
BAILEY: Say what you want. My mad Google skills have saved your ass more times than you can count. There’s no articles that start with “So your best friend has super powers,” but you better believe I looked for one. This girl stumbles into my room at three in the morning and she’s like, “dude, I’ve got super powers.”
ANIKA: That’s not at all how it happened.
BAILEY: I’m paraphrasing. In the interest of time. Anyways. My best friend stumbles through my window and spews some garbage about having super powers. At first, I think I’m dreaming… but then she freaks out so hard that my limited edition, worth a whole bunch on Ebay, Leia Organa alarm clock –
ANIKA: I said I was sorry.
BAILEY: Blows to high hell. So, I guess she was right. We went back to the basics of research – lists, lists, lists. I googled everything you can think of, discovered a lot of weird porn, maybe got a teensy bit distracted. But honestly? There’s not really a precedent for this one. The only thing we could come up with were a few weird National Enquirer articles and conspiracy theory blogs. Turns out, there’s been weird shit happening under our noses for ages.
ANIKA: I’m sure you were hoping this package came with answers to all the questions you might have. How’d my sweet, teenage soul get us to where we are now? Hundreds injured, a few dead, lots of destroyed property.
[SFX]: Police sirens approach, closer and closer, before speeding past the apartment.
ANIKA: Sorry for the background noise. We can’t exactly be picky about where we record, or where we sleep. All we can do is hope to stay safe for another night. Look, I’m not trying to reason with you guys, or make you feel sorry for me, or something. But, you get that suddenly not having any control over your body or what it does totally sucks, right? It can have some ill effects on a person’s outlook on life, something like that. Might even make them a bit villainous.
[SFX]: Anika SLAPS her hand over BAILEY’s mouth.
ANIKA: I know doing this won’t change anything. I’m not sure that there was anything that could have been done to stop how it all played out, or if this whole thing was inevitable due to my… condition. I don’t know about fate, or free will, or destiny. What I do know is that this isn’t how I saw my life going. Seventeen, countless amounts of blood on my hands, the sounds of people screaming waking me up at night, only to find myself surrounded by broken parts of my alarm clock, or my computer, or anything that seemed harmless when I went to bed.
I just want you guys to have a shot at telling the whole story, instead of this shiny, happy go lucky shit that sells papers and magazines. You know the ending, and now you know the beginning. If you want to count the steps in between… you don’t know where to find me, but I know where to find you. And Bailey kept a record of everything, like a huge nerd. ‘Till next time.
BAILEY: Literally so rude –
[SFX]: The recording clicks off.
[SFX]: Sean storms through the busy newsroom.
ANDREA: Come on, Sean, not again! You know you can’t just storm into her office without an appointment.
SEAN: You know damn well I can. She’s not busy.
ANDREA: She’s the Editor-in-chief of the most successful news outlet in town that, against all odds, still manages to put out a print edition every day. She’s always busy.
SEAN: She’s never too busy for a story.
[SFX]: Office door opens. Soft, amateur jazz music plays through computer speakers.
SEAN: Heather, we need to –
ANDREA: I’m sorry, I tried to stop him.
HEATHER: It’s fine, Andrea. We both know how he can be. Hold my calls for a few, will you?
ANDREA: Yes, ma’am.
[SFX]: Andrea closes the door behind her and exits. Heather clicks off the jazz music.
SEAN: What was that? It’s nice.
HEATHER: It’s yours. From college, I think.
SEAN: Are you drinking?
HEATHER: Did you think the bar cart was just for decoration?
SEAN: It’s barely noon, Heather.
HEATHER: You come in here to interrogate me or to pitch me something?
SEAN: This was hand delivered to me today, like on a silver platter, Heather. I know the Super shit isn’t really my beat, but. Well, just listen.
HEATHER: Sean –
SEAN: Sorry, hang on. God, I hate these computers. We’re a major media outlet, and we can’t even get computers that work.
HEATHER: Sean, seriously –
SEAN: Wait – there we go.
ANIKA: I didn’t ask for any of this. I’m not even really asking for your attention right now. I know I don’t…
HEATHER: Sean, you need to turn this off.
SEAN: There’s a story here, Heather. A real one that we could get the jump on.
HEATHER: Sean, stop.
SEAN: Think about it. An exclusive profile on the world’s biggest super villain. Not another shitty fluff piece blowing smoke up those heroes’ asses, but a piece of hard hitting journalism that –
HEATHER: SEAN. I said turn it OFF.
[SFX]: She slams his laptop shut.
SEAN: Heather, come on, this is a real story –
HEATHER: I said no, Sean.
SEAN: We need to get on this before someone else does.
HEATHER: On what? Someone delivers you a flash drive with a couple of teenagers claiming to be super villains, and you want to run with that?
SEAN: That’s where the reporting part comes in.
HEATHER: And even if it is real and certifiable, we’re not using this news outlet as fodder for gossip for a self-proclaimed mass murderer. I have worked too hard to maintain the integrity of this publication to even entertain stooping so low as to take this seriously.
[SFX]: Sean walks across Heather’s office. He makes himself a drink from her bar cart.
HEATHER: No, please. Help yourself.
SEAN: What’s yours is ours, baby. Cheers. You really don’t want to know what she has to say?
HEATHER: I really don’t.
SEAN: She says she’s just a kid.
[SFX]: Heather pours herself another drink. Turns the jazz music back on.
SEAN: So you’re not even going to let me take a shot at this?
HEATHER: I don’t know why you’d even want to.
SEAN: This could be something, Heather.
HEATHER: Not at my paper it can’t.
SEAN: You’re really going to let your emotions get in the way of the biggest story out there right now? Heather.
HEATHER: Get the fuck out of my office, Sean.
SEAN: See you at home.
[SFX]: Sean SLAMS Heather’s door on the way out.
[SFX]: As the door slams behind Sean, the loud chaos of the newsroom takes back over.
ANDREA: Might’ve gone better if you’d made an appointment.
[SFX]: Sean slams his office door closed.
SEAN: Seventeen years old.
[SFX]: The door opens.
HARRISON: Sean! Oh, my God, sorry, sorry.
SEAN: You get another one of these envelopes, you bring it to me. No one else. I hear anyone even knows that padded envelopes exist as a concept, that’s your ass. You got it?
HARRISON: Uh. Yeah. Sure, Mr. Wilkes.
SEAN:Great. Thanks, kid.
[SFX]: The door shuts in Harrison’s face. Sean taps at his computer.
ANIKA: If you’re listening to this, you’re one of many…
END OF EPISODE 1