For reasons that are not immediately obvious, the stacks of boxes and a rusty, paint-peeled forklift are wreathed in coils of mist. Ringing footsteps echo through the space, along with the rhythmic sound of heavy breathing.
As the camera pulls back, we discover our hero, DIRK POWER, standing amid the swirling mist, concealed by it to mid-thigh. His back is to a wall as he keeps to the shadows. Only his eyes gleam slightly with reflected light--his eyes, and a single dull line up the barrel of the gun he holds vertically beside his face.
It is not his breathing we hear. It is not his footsteps.
As he turns his face aside and slits his eyes to avoid discovery, a swirl of heavy black cloak disturbs the mist. Those same oily lights skip off reflective black armor. The footsteps grow louder, pause--and as Dirk holds his breath and begins to sweat, resume and continue on.
We follow Dirk as he pursues the enigmatic cloaked figure through the warehouse, darting from the shelter of one pile of boxes to the next. As the camera cuts in on him, we see him fumble in his pocket for a small, brightly-bound book. He flips through it, mouthing something--reads, and seems dissatisfied. Reads again, seems offended, but shakes his head and sighs and tucks the book back into his pocket.
Now the camera stays tight on Dirk as he slips around the side of a shelving unit. The rasping breaths of his quarry are punctuated by booming words, too distorted to make out plainly, but they are obviously orders. Now we hear other feet scuttling--people running to put the voice's orders into play.
Dirk closes his eyes, takes a single deep breath, and leaps around the end of the shelving unit and levels his gun.
DIRK POWER: So, Darth Continent! I have you now!
DARTH CONTINENT, the terrifying villain, is only a crouched, shadowy shape concealed by the rising sea of mist. As the camera cuts in to him we see his back-gloved hand dropping a chunk of dry ice into a bucket. Fresh waves of mist rise from the bubbling fluid within.
DARTH CONTINENT: You have nothing, Power! In fact, you might say you... were in mine!
Dirk winces. Darth tilts his head quizzically behind the mask.
DARTH CONTINENT: Page 67. Extra points for villain gloating containing puns.
DIRK POWER: That was the old edition. And what's this stuff with the dry ice?
DARTH CONTINENT: Atmosphere. Extra points for atmosphere.
DIRK POWER: Mist only counts for atmosphere if the villain is a vampire.
DARTH CONTINENT: Or it's a steampunk setting, You get me more steampunk than an abandoned industrial building.
Dirk just stares. His gun must be getting heavy. He lowers it slightly.
DIRK POWER: This is not steampunk.
DARTH CONTINENT: Besides, I have a cape. I get a presence bonus for fog with a cape.
DIRK POWER: Oh, for the love of...
He begins flipping through his book. Darth wanders over, also with a book. His has a black cover. They stand side by side, flipping.
DARTH CONTINENT: There!
DIRK POWER: ...dammit. I guess you're right. But it says here that you only get the presence bonus if you're gloating--
DARTH CONTINENT: Well, I'm the villain; I guess I have to gloat.
DIRK POWER: Shouldn't you be over there by the bucket?
DARTH CONTINENT: Oh! (He crosses) Where were we?
DIRK POWER: Gloating.
DARTH CONTINENT: Right. You gotta give me a kickoff line.
DIRK POWER: Um. 'WHERE HAVE YOU TAKEN THE GIRL?!'
DARTH CONTINENT: A place where you'll never find her! Not until her moldering corpse falls into your lap one day, and you realize to your horror that you could have saved her if you had only been smart enough to figure out my cryptic series of clues!
DIRK POWER: WHAT ARE YOU?
Even through the mask, we can tell from Darth's pained headshake that he's wincing.
DARTH CONTINENT: Nobody talks like that, Dirk. I'm not a what. I'm a who. It's such an obvious setup line for some snappy response like, oh, I dunno. 'I am the nemesis you deserve! But it's shit dialogue.
DIRK POWER: Page 375. I have to give you the opportunity to monologue. Failure to do so is a deduction for me. It's a deduction for you if you don't provide sufficient henchmen to die in unlikely ways suitable for me making bad puns.
(He crosses over to Darth and pulls out his rulebook again.)
DIRK POWER: See? Here and here.
DARTH CONTINENT: So I just have to hand you the banter points?
DIRK POWER: I have to hand you the monologue points. What do you want?
DARTH CONTINENT: You're supposed to be over there. (Points imperiously.)
Mist swirls as Dirk stomps back to his previous position.
DIRK POWER: Can we get this over with? I have a lunch date.
(cross-posted from elizabethbear.com)