Crimson Commander
Episode 01: Meet New Metropolis

Crimson Commander or Mr. Paul Matthews – (CC) – Speaks with gentleness but also authority.
Reporter Timothy Perkin – (RTP) – Speaks with innocence, sincerity, and passion for his job.
Mayor Thomas "Red" Herring – (MH) – Speaks in a confident and serious tone. Skeptical.
Sylvester Slitherton – (SS) – Speaks with a sly tongue moist with disdain. Emphasizes the "S."
Narrator – (N) – Has an exaggerating tone. States the obvious with theatrical quality.
Security Computer – (SC) – Monotone. Digitized.
Office Assistant 1 – (OA1)
Office Assistant 2 – (OA2)
Guard 1 or Pete – (G1)
Guard 2 – (G2)
Warden – (W)

(We find CC and RTP in the church offices. CC is in a suit and tie as Paul Matthews. RTP has a pen and paper out and is taking copious notes. The sounds of the city can be heard faintly in the background.)

N – Another beautiful spring morning in New Metropolis. Our hero finds himself in his daily attire as Mr. Paul Matthews and seated across from Reporter Timothy Perkin in the offices of Faith Baptist Church.

RTP – (Sincerely) Mr. Matthews, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time for this interview. The Metropolis Globe is opening a new section on heroes in our community, and I know that with all the work you do for the poor and needy that you would be the perfect fit. Here… Let me hit record before we begin (he fumbles around in his bag.)

CC – (Pleasantly) It's not a problem at all. I'm very thankful for the opportunity that the Lord has given me to serve.

RTP – (Distantly) I know I have that dumb phone in here somewhere. (To CC) I am so sorry. I can't start asking you questions until I find my phone. (Grunts in dismay as he continues searching.)

CC – Are you talking about the phone in your hand? (He chuckles) Or were you searching for your second phone?

RTP – (Pauses and sighs in frustration) That's the one alright. (Pauses.) We're all set to record. Go ahead and state your name and occupation for the recording.

CC – My name is Mr. Paul Matthews, I work for the Faith Baptist Church of New Metropolis as the Director of Community Outreach.

RTP – And this is Reporter Timothy Perkin on the job. Before we talk about what you're doing right now Mr. Matthews, let's talk about where you've been. Could you tell us a bit about that?

CC – Sure. I was born and raised in the rural north. I had a very poor childhood. We didn't have much, but we had barely enough to live off of. Right after high school I joined the military and served in several different capacities. (Emphasizing the importance of what he is about to say.) It was in the military that a friend of mine invited me to church services. I told him "no" probably a hundred times, but after a while I finally told him I would come. It was then that he "introduced me" to Jesus Christ. (Reminiscent) He absolutely changed my life. (Slight pause) Now I have been retired from the military for ten years and have been involved in serving the Lord ever since.

RTP – What specifically did you do while you were serving in the military?

CC – (Chuckling) A lot of stuff that I can't actually tell you about!

RTP – Let me guess, it's one of those "I would tell you but I would have to kill you" things?

CC – Not exactly, but you're close. (As if suggesting) I could tell you about some of my experiences in the military that helped get me to the point where I am today though.

RTP – (Excited) That'd be perfect!

CC – Well, like I said, I went straight into the military when I was just a teenager. It helped straighten me out, but it couldn't fix everything about me. I still had problems in my life; things that, on my own, I couldn't conquer. I didn't understand it. (Confidently) I was a solider! I could conquer anything! But not myself. (Pauses and softens his tone.) I had a sin problem. We all have a sin problem. There was only one person who could straighten that problem out; Jesus Christ. When my friend invited me to that church service, I heard for the first time how Jesus Christ was the Son of God. (Enthralled with the story) I heard about how He lived a perfect life, about how He performed miracles, and about His wonderful teaching. I also heard about how He was wrongly accused. I heard about how Jesus Christ was tortured and crucified.

RTP – And then what?

CC – They buried Him, but He didn't stay dead. Jesus Christ victoriously rose from the dead on the third day just like He said He would! Now, Jesus Christ is alive today! (With passion) Anyone who admits they're a sinner, believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, and confesses their sin can be forgiven. When I realized that, and decided to do it, my life changed forever.

RTP – (Pryingly) So would you say that Jesus Christ is your hero?

CC – That's a great way to put it! (With passion) He saved me from the punishment of my sin and instead took it upon himself. (Interestedly) Tell me Timothy, do you have a hero?

RTP – Doesn't everyone in New Metropolis? (Focusing) But this interview isn't about me, it's about you. Let's talk about you. After you left the military, where did you go?

CC – I came here to New Metropolis. It wasn't too hard to find work and not long after, I was being taught the Bible and learning what it meant to be like Jesus Christ.

RTP – When did you first start working at the church?

CC – I began by volunteering. A little work here, a little work there, and before I knew it I was doing more and more to just try and be a help. Once I had been here quite a long time Pastor Reed thought it'd be best to hire me to run the ministries I had become involved in.

RTP – (Interjecting) That is why I am here in the first place. I want you to tell me your favorite thing about helping the needy people in this community.

CC – Oh dear. I don't know. (Fumbling for an answer.) I guess I would have to say – I would have to say getting to show them the love of Christ.

RTP – (Writing furiously) Now for the most important question Mr. Matthews… (His cellphone rings, interrupting the conversation. Irritated) One second, I have to take this. Hello? (Pauses to listen) Yes, I am conducting an interview right now. Can't it wait? (Sighs in anger) Fine! I'll be there as quick as possible. (Pauses to listen again, this time grumbling under his breath.) I know, I know. We need to be the first. I'm on it. (The phone clicks)

CC – (Lightly) I'm guessing that wasn't your grandmother?

RTP – (Sarcastically) Not exactly. (Begins to furiously pack his belongings) My boss wants me down to the maximum security prison as soon as possible. (To himself) I probably shouldn't tell you this. (Ignoring himself) A tip from the inside says that Sylvester Slitherton has escaped from solitary confinement.

CC – (Shocked) Really? He's been in prison for quite a long time.

RTP – (Laughing) I guess that's what happens when you're the Crimson Commanders "arch enemy." (Standing up.) By the way, you asked me if I had a hero earlier and, like most of this city, I would have to say I do; The Crimson Commander.

CC – (Still pleasant but somewhat distant in thought.) That's good. Sorry you have to leave so soon Timothy. You know how to get a hold of me when you want to finish this interview. (Anxiously) Is your boss sure that Sylvester Slitherton has escaped?

RTP – (He opens the door to leave) He seemed pretty confident. Then again, he's always that way. He didn't say anything about Crimson Commander though. (Speculating) I guess they haven't called him in just yet.

CC – (Faintly) I guess they haven't.

RTP – Thank you for the half interview. I need to get going. (The door slams as RTP exits.)

N – Could something be amiss on this seemingly normal morning? With Reporter Timothy Perkin gone and a haunting suspicion lingering, our hero has but one option!

CC – (Pacing back and forth) Why haven't they called yet? (Hesitantly) If Slitherton is loose I can't afford to wait (arguing with himself) but I don't know he's loose. It doesn't matter! There's no time to lose. (The sound of furious typing can be heard) Command 31-6!

SC – (Monotone)Command authorized. (Latching noises) Exterior doors locked. Proceed to module. (A latch can be heard as well as the sound of a sliding door)

(Brief musical segue. Heroic.)

N – Meanwhile, in the offices of Mayor Thomas "Red" Herring, the city staff is frantically searching for answers.

(The sound of the bustling office and city can be heard in the background.)

MH – (Angrily) Can someone tell me why in the world our number one prisoner just became our number one fugitive!?

OA1 – (Urgently)Trying to contact the police station – but no luck; the line is down.

OA2 – The prison has no connection either sir. We're doing our best to confirm the details we've already received.

MH – Then send a letter or something! I want to know what's happening right now!

OA1 – I-I'll get on that sir! (Begins shuffling frantically through papers)

MH – I'm not being serious you fool!

OA2 – (Trying to kiss up.) You're absolutely right sir. A letter wouldn't be expedient enough!

MH – (Furiously) Both of you get out of my office, you useless half-brains! (The two rush out and the door slams.) Ludicrous! You can't get a moment of peace in this city. Not a single day goes by without the disruptions of some crazed lunatic! They're all a bunch of loons wrapped up in some tragic backstory! Psychopaths! Every single one of them! (He pauses and concludes his rant.) I need a vacation. (He takes a sip of his water. Dejected) Mayor of this city for eight years and the crime rate has yet to decrease. The police chief is swamped with all these cases. I'm sick of all this action, but I can't let the people see it. There's no telling how they'd react to a blunder like this. (Under his breath) Especially with the elections coming so soon. (The door quietly opens and closes. Angrily again) Didn't I tell you half-brains to remove yourself from my office!?

CC – (Gently) I don't recall being told that. Just thought I would stop by, your secretary let me in.

MH – (To himself) I'll let her know not to next time. (To CC more jovially) How can I help you Commander? We've had quite the hectic day today, but I always have time for you!

CC – I heard this morning that the city was having a small issue with security.

MH – Oh yes! You know how it is Commander! (Reassuringly) The police force has it under control though. There's no need for you to worry your little, masked head. (Quickly, trying to change the subject) By the way, how was the ribbon cutting at the new museum for, uh – what was it again?

CC – The Children's Museum of Practical Science? It went well. I loved being able to see all those children so eager to learn.

MH – Oh! Wonderful! The whole city loves you Commander! Yes they do! It's such a help that you are willing to appear in so many places and keep smiles on everyone's face. (Concerned) Was there anything else you needed? I am a very busy man after all.

CC – No. (Slowly) I thought maybe there was something that you needed Mayor Herring.

MH – (Gritting his teeth) I assure you that everything is under control my dear Crimson Commander.

(Both stand for a moment with the background noises continuing. Tension arises.)

CC – (Solemnly) Sylvester Slitherton has escaped from solitary confinement. Is this true?

MH – (Laughing it off) I have confidence in our police force to handle the issue, if it even is an issue anymore. They probably already have it under control!

CC – Slitherton is escaped and you're trying to pad your own reputation by allowing the police force to handle this? (Sternly) Mayor Herring, this isn't the time for politics.

MH – (Taking a deep breath in. Speaking in a calculated manner.) My dear Commander, I want nothing more than to allow our competent men in uniform to handle this unfortunate mishap.

CC – (Calmly) I understand that, but I am here to lock these villains away not just be a public fixture.

MH – (Angrily) And what good does that do us Commander!?

CC – (Calmly) What good? We can stop the rampant crime in this city. The harder we work the more good there will be. Truth can win this fight Mayor.

MH – You can win this fight Commander! Everyone in this city knows who you are! But that doesn't help this city become more secure! (Challenging him) What happens when you're gone? What then?

CC – (Still calmly) All the more reason for me to work as hard as I can now. I may be nearly invulnerable but time still takes its toll on my body. (Tactfully) I'm beginning to think this is less about the city and more about you. With elections coming up, I know you would rather have your police force capture Slitherton, but they won't be able to before damage is done.

MH – (Offended) I would never utter something like that! Me? Mayor Thomas Herring trying to pad his own reputation?

CC – Mayor, I could hear you before I came into your office.

MH – (With worry) That's preposterous! That door is sound proof and so are all of these walls.

CC – (Reminding him. Lightheartedly) I have sonic hearing. Remember?

MH – (Gritting his teeth) Of course you do. (Pauses. Curiously) What are my aids talking about right now?

CC – (Kindly) I believe they're talking about you sir.

MH – (Indignant) What're they saying?

CC – I'd rather not say.

MH – Fine! (Grumbling. Holding back his anger) Maybe you are right Commander, but don't forget that I am still mayor of New Metropolis. I call the shots!

CC – (As calmly as possible) I'm only asking if I can help. Sylvester Slitherton is a dangerous man with malicious intentions. I know him well.

MH – And he knows you well! (Trying to prove his point) All the more reason to keep you out of this manhunt! (Picking up the phone) I'm going to call the police chief immediately and – the phone lines are still down.

CC – Mayor Herring, let me help you. Let me help this city like I always have.

MH – (Grumbling) Do you truly think you can single-handedly save this city Commander?

CC – (Frankly) No, but I know someone who can save every man, woman, and child in all of New Metropolis.

MH – (Cutting him off) Oh! Not this again! I appreciate your noble deeds, but let's not talk about your Jesus Christ again! You know I don't believe in that stuff.

CC – I know you don't. (Changing the subject) Let me help in the search for Slitherton, Mayor. We have no time to lose!

MH – (Sighing heavily) I suppose I will allow you to investigate this crime. (Authoritatively) But you will report your findings directly to me! Do you understand Commander?

CC – Absolutely. I'll leave for the prison straightway and assist the men in their investigation.

MH – (Sarcastically) Great. Thank you for stopping by Crimson Commander.

CC – (Sincerely) Thank you for allowing me to help this city Mayor Herring. (The door opens and closes. The bustling office resumes in the background.)

(Brief musical segue. Dastardly.)

N – Our hero arrives at New Metropolis State Prison not a moment too soon. The prison yard is in an uproar and the guards are frantic to contain the mayhem! Mischief runs rampant!

(A prison alarm sounds quietly in the background. The indiscriminant jeering of prisoners occasionally is heard.)

W – (Yelling)Back in your cells! Back in your cells!

G2 – (Frantically) Cellblock 3 is finally secured. What now?

W – I'll finish up here. (Yelling again) Back to your cells! (Talking to G2) Get to Pete! I don't know what happened to him! See if he's alright.

G2 – Where is he?

W – Over there on the floor! He's been a spastic mess ever since our pal Slitherton escaped.

G2 – (Stepping to him) Pete? Pete. Big fella', are you okay?

G1 – (Frightened) I-I d-don't know.

G2 – How long has he been curled up on the ground like this?

W – (Disgusted)Ever since the break this morning! Maybe three or four hours.

G2 – Aw Pete. We need to get you to the hospital.

G1 – (Manically) Hospital? No, no, no. I need help. Yes, yes, yes. Hospital? No, no, no.

(There is a pause in dialogue as the sounds of the locking cellblock are heard. The men shuffle around getting G1 to his feet.)

CC – (From a slight distance) Warden! Guards!

G2 – Commander! So glad to see you! (To W) We've had quite the day haven't we?

W – (Meanly) It's been a day alright. Glad to see you Commander.

CC – Where's the police force? Have they already finished their investigation?

W – Police force? (Laughing) They haven't even showed up! First thing that happened when Slitherton escaped; he threw the prison cells open and cut the phone lines. (Amazed)I don't know how he did it. He must've been planning this for months.

G2 – (Interjecting) Pete was there! He was there when it all happened! But he's a mess right now. (G1 is heard quietly babbling in the background) We can't figure out what's wrong with him.

CC – (Solemnly) Mental manipulation.

W – What's that?

CC – Slitherton has the ability to manipulate people's minds. (Almost as a warning) The very first time you submit to his lies he can begin to make you do whatever he wants. This is just a side effect.

G2 – (In fear) Are you telling me that this lunatic has mind control?

CC – Not mind control. He's extremely manipulative. Was there any damage incurred on the cell when Slitherton escaped?

W – None at all. That's what's so strange. (Bewildered) It's almost like the guy just up and left.

CC – That's exactly what he did.

G2 – (In disbelief) What do you mean? We had him on lockdown. There's no way!

CC – Pete let him out. (Pauses as G2 and W mumble to each other) It's not his fault though. Slitherton got into his head and toyed with his mind. By the time Pete was releasing Slitherton he probably didn't even know who he was anymore.

G1 – (Laughing as he speaks) Who? What? Why? No, no, no.

CC – This man needs to get to the hospital, and I need you to take me to the closest telephone.

G2 – (With urgency) Yes Commander! (He exits)

W – Right this way Commander. (The two begin their walk. Dialogue ceases while sound effects guide the journey. Footsteps, doors, locks, and buzzers can be heard.) This is my office. The phones on the desk but…

CC – (Cutting him off) Thank you Warden. I'm going to call the Mayor and let him know the situation.

W – (Hesitantly) Commander, the phone lines have been down since the escape.

CC – Then how did Slitherton make a call out of the prison?

W – (A long pause) What? Slitherton couldn't have made a call from the prison.

CC – There's a young reporter who came to this scene before I was even called. The police haven't been here, you aren't even certain what is going on, but the Metropolis Globe knows all about it. The media is on your doorstep. Slitherton tipped them off.

W – Well, (Begins to stutter and stammer at the realization) how can you be sure?

CC – (Somberly) If there's anyone who knows Sylvester Slitherton it's me. He has an appetite for this kind of thing. He loves to feed his ego and the constant chatter of this city is his buffet. (The sounds of phone buttons can be heard) Let's see if we can get through.

W – I'll leave you to it. (Opening the door) I need to double-check the cellblocks.

(A ringing signal is heard over speaker phone. CC waits patiently. The phone clicks on as if someone answered. CC waits for a moment in silence.)

CC – (Unsure)Mayor, this is the Crimson Commander. I want to update you on our situation.

SS – (Over the phone. Slowly, with emphasis on every "s" sound) So nice to simply hear the sound of your voice, my dearest Crimson Commander.

CC – (Calculated) Slitherton? Is that you?

SS – (Over the phone.) Maybe you are questioning the interception of this phone call. I assure you I sent my best wishes to the Mayor already.

CC – (Demandingly)Where are you Slitherton?

SS – (Over the phone. Laughing slightly) On the other side of the phone you simpleton! I'm relishing my freedom dearest Commander. I certainly wish the Mayor could say the same.

CC – (Powerfully) There's no way you'll escape from that building without being spotted Slitherton. The police force are going to catch on very quickly.

SS – (Over the phone. Playfully.) If only the police hadn't received an anonymous tip that Sylvester Slitherton was stowing himself away in a warehouse on the east side of the city. (Chuckling) What a shame it is.

CC – (After a slight pause) What do you want Slitherton?

SS – (Over the phone) Misery my dearest Crimson Commander. I only wish this city to experience my misery. (Disgustedly) You wouldn't understand. You are so disgustingly filled with hope my standard practices will not succeed on you. You are an arduous adversary to face. (Playfully again) I hope to see you soon my dearest Crimson Commander; very soon. (The phone clicks off and the line returns to being dead)

N – What next for our hero!? With New Metropolis tossed to and fro by this chaos and Sylvester Slitherton on the loose, how will the Crimson Commander fare? Find out next time on Crimson Commander!

(Music plays. Heroic)