Shadows

Time for a (semi-)original character and story idea post….

“Shadows”

Federal agent John Hart has stumbled upon evidence of something “big”, but he’s not quite sure what it is, and it may involve a large governmental/industrial conspiracy. After working it in his spare time for awhile, he finally gets frustrated enough to approach his boss and asks to make it an official case. His boss, however, is entirely unconvinced, tells him to “stop chasing shadows”, suggests that he is stressed out, and orders him to take a few weeks overdue vacation. Hart, of course, makes the most of the opportunity to pursue his new “hobby”.

He begins contacting various people (some of whom he vaguely knows and some of whom he doesn’t) to help him with various aspects of the investigation. He is not entirely sure why he thinks these people can help, but something subconsciously tells him that they have abilities and/or resources that will be of help. None of these people (e.g., a Senator, a writer, a city cop) are anxious to help nor think they would be of much use, but they all eventually, reluctantly agree to do what they can.

question mark - green with shadowHere’s the weird part. From time to time, Hart gets a mental flash of one or more of these individuals in some sort of superhero-like costume — either in repose or in action. The images catch him unawares and give him a headache, but, ridiculous as they seem, he subconsciously knows there is some truth to them (symbolic? literal?). Without saying anything explicit, Hart makes suggestions and hints to each that s/he may be able to do something unusual (e.g., getting inside a locked building with no apparent other means of getting inside from the ground floor; or, accessing highly-classified information on a government computer system). The individuals always suggest that Hart is talking nonsense, saying things like “How the heck am I supposed to do that? You’re crazy!” But, somehow, when Hart’s (and the audience’s) back is turned (literally or figuratively), they seem to get the job done. When they give an explanation for their success, it is sometimes vague and always unproven. When pressed, they never seem to remember any details. Of course, the truth (as will eventually be revealed) is that these individuals really are/were costumed adventurers, but no one, including them, remembers it.

Possible Explanation #1: Someone figured out a way to erase knowledge of these superhero identities and abilities from their minds. The effect may be regional or nationwide or global. Are other people affected?

Possible Explanation #2: Someone altered/diverged the timeline so that these people never developed their superhero identities and possibly didn’t learn certain skills, etc. Who might have done this?

Possible Culprit #1: A villain, perhaps even one involved with, if not responsible for, the “big conspiracy” being investigated by Hart and the others.

Possible Culprit #2: One of the heroes (Hart himself?), either accidentally or purposely (but with good intentions).

Outstanding questions: Why is Hart having these headache-inducing mental flashes? Why now? How long ago did this happen? How did he subconsciously know to contact these particular individuals for particular assignments/missions? Could it be that Hart has/had telepathic powers and/or had his mind or brain tampered with?

The scope of all of this — i.e., the dual mysteries and ongoing investigations with gradual revelations in both — is way too big for a single comic book or 2+ hour movie. It probably requires at least a mini-series (TV or comic), if not an ongoing series. The fact that we don’t actually see any superheroics (until the very end, or perhaps just infrequent visions/flashbacks) means that SFX budget would be minimal.

Who would play Agent Hart in a live-action production? I have no idea. I haven’t even decided if he should be in his 30s (at least), 40s, or (possibly) 50s. Don’t want him too young and inexperienced, but we definitely need him to be young enough and in good enough shape to be believable as an action/adventure hero. I haven’t given much thought to height, physique, or race/ethnicity. Personality-wise, Hart can’t be too much of a jerk, or he’d never be able to convince others to help him out. Nor should he be whiny or overly straight-laced. A generally stand-up guy, a few quirks, with the rest to be determined later.

So,… comments?

* All ideas copyright Christopher Harris, 2013-2015.

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