1. Cullman rural/suburbs. Heidi and Vernon Wilder (siblings) witness a murder involving a poaching/cannibalism ring. They fight it out, their older brother Garth intervenes, tells them to just run, go to Uncle Dale's house, they run through the night, and Uncle Dale is up. They explain what's up, and he starts up the vehicle to take them to Magic City (Birmingham). On the way, along the highway, they are stopped by some cops at a roadblock. When the cops get out of the car to check them out, the cops are charged by hogs from the forest, followed by some deer. The cops draw their weapons but the stag is faster, kicks the gun out his hand, and a hog knocks him down from behind. An elephant's trunk grabs the other cop and drags him into the woods. Astonished and horrified, Heidi urges Uncle Dale to drive, and he does so, the way is now clear, the animals do nothing to interfere. A pig watches them go off into the distance, blood on his chin. Uncle Dale lowers his nightvision goggles and turns off the headlights. There are no stars, no moon, no light at all, the cloudcover so dense.
2. They take back roads to Birmingham, Heidi falls asleep. Vernon wakes her up, "You gotta see this..." An entire caravan of elephants are on the move, and Uncle Dale is explaining something to an armored bull elephant and a strange man in black ninja riot gear. A badge symbol of the ARW (animal right wing) on his chest. They are allowed to drive ahead of the elephant herd, who are moving steadily in a straight line. Uncle Dale turns to the kids and explains there's been another animal slave uprising, the animals on the road were a part of this. "I've seen this coming" and it is likely the CSA (conservative states of america) will retaliate by morning. "Why do we care, they're just animals" "They're not like us, just animals, I'm scared..." Vernon says. Heidi responds,"We can't stay in Cullman county, but what about Garth and the Pale woman, she's old and how can she make it alone?" Uncle Dale, "I'm gonna drive back in a day or so, see what's happenin. With this insurrection, country's gonna be locked down, so Idunno, we'll see what we can do..." They look back at the herd. Other animals ride on their backs, and people, too, with weapons. Floating hi-tech transports lead the way, with couriers, probably robotics, armored exosuits, floating along the magnegrav hiway.
3. In Birmingham they are checked at the city gate by guards. Statues of Vulcan flank the gates. The statues could be robots. Uncle Dale is let through and his car is directed to a parking garage. He is guided by a slightly afrofuturistic dreadlocker and a couple Honeybees (female aeronauts), geared in exosuit. Uncle Dale asks him about the caravan. The response is ambiguous, hushed up from Heidi's ears, Vernon is not paying attention, he is both amazed at the view of the Magic City, and afraid of the dreadlocker, a huge afroamerican, armed to the teeth, but totally cool. Vernon's face goes totally white when the door to the waiting room opens and the room is filled with black soldiers, and white servants. After a minute he realizes that everyone's face is painted black, and that not everyone is afroamerican, much of the group are of mixed ancestry and even whites, but all's faces are endarkened. On the walls of the waiting chamber are portraits of famous figures, including Malcolm X, James Brown, Geezer Butler, John Lennon, Sun Ra, Tu-pac... Heidi and Vernon watch from the refreshments table, the food is strange to them, but they are hungry so they eat with relish and drink. "The water is so fresh!" Uncle Dale returns to them with a female dreadlocker, "This is Pwnygyrl." "Pony-girl?" "Yes, that's right and she's going to take us to New Orleans." "But New Orleans has been under water for years!" "Yes it has, and that's why we're taking my submarine." "You have a submarine? How do you know all these people? They're all bla..." Heidi freezes, Vernon jabs her with his elbow. Pwnygyrl is unphased. "We're black but not everyone is born that way. You just don't understand yet. Maybe you will. Take your sandwiches and move your ass to your room, this way, 'little massahs'. Damn!" Uncle Dale has them all follow. They have a conversation about the world, where he's been all these years, why he came back to Cullman, and what really happened to Daddy.
"Where had you been, Uncledale?" "Well, y'all know I went away on business out West, lemme tellya bout that." "What kind of business? Smugglin with Mexicans?" "You'd be surprised. There was this one that I sold to in Little Rock, real smart feller, spoke Anglish an' everthang, haha. Helped me out in a tight spot when we was jumped by these Vikings. Yep. Owed him my life, really." "What happened in Texico? Is that where we're goin'?" "Well, my truckster broke down just southeast of nowhere, someone must have messed with my engine cuz you know me, I always kept that thang runnin' good, but there I was walkin all night long in the dark. The skies are a weird color out there. Kept walkin till sun came up, awful strange colors then too! Never seen anything like it. Got real hot, REAL hot. I mean it was so damn hot you wouldn't believe! Next thing you know, it ain't even dinnertime and I'm settin down and feeling real sick, like can't go on. It was radiation. Almost died out in that desert, for real, and them buzzers already circling overhead! I remember I could see their eyes lookin down at me, makes you think about higher powers, and you wish you had some. The next thing I knowed this here Mexican was stairin down at me, like a buzzard, with a pistol, yeah, just likea buzzard with a gun, checkin me out, I said take my wallet, which he already had, I guess, but he also took mah smugglins, so yeah, I was smugglin, but it weren't yer daddy's that's for sure. Anyway you don't need to know who it belonged to or what it was but it was a long time before I could come back to Warrior. Had to wait till things cooled off after I lost that package. I knew I'd come back, cuz ya have to have kinfolk, famly. After I learned yer Daddy died is when I reckoned y'all could use some help." "So what happened with the Mexican thief?" "Well, the way it turned out was he rescued my ass, half-baked from the sun and fallout I guess. Probably shoulda stayed in the truck, but who knows how long I'd last out there anyway. He stuck me in the trunk of his skidder an gave me some H20 and just drove. I don't even care any more about him stealin from me, cuz he ended up doin me a big favor anyway droppin me off in the next town, which wasn't really that far off, I think. I might of made it if I had just brought more water, and a Virosuit. Maybe not though, but there were these folks in town looked like they were doctors, and they helped me no problem, checked me out and gave me some stuff for my liver and kidneys and till then I didn't even know about the big ole tape worm inside me..." "Gross, Dale!" "Haha, and then it was like a week later and my teeth were growin' back and I felt great so I just took out my dentures, and dang it there's these new baby teeth just like real baby teeth in the mirror. And they WAS real teeth, see?" "Whoa!" " I was so dang happy. But by that was later after they asked me where I was headed and I said no where, less they wanted to help me get my property back but my truck was probably stole already and that Mexican feller was long gone. I ain't worried bout him. Saved my life, like I said, so I guess we're even, he can keep the truck, but really, these new folks I thought was doctors, they saved me for real. They asked me where I was headin, and I said to find that bandit done stole my property, but they wern't gonna help out with that, so I said, 'well I guess nowheres really, y'all got any ideas?' Kinda hint hint, knowhatimsayin, maybe get a free ride to wherever they come from, which was probably better than where I was goin anyway. They just kind of looked at each other then one of em said I could come with them. An that's when it all started." "What got started?" "Well we're suposta get up early so it's off to bed with ye, can't keep y'all up all night tellin' stories." "Alright, gnite granpaw, you sure must need a lot of sleep" "Gnite, Uncledale, those are some good stories, why didn't you tell us about this before?" "Well, I'll tell you the rest as we go, and I'm thinkin I'm gonna take you to see them some day." "What?" "Really, what are they like? And who..." "Gnite youngins." "Gnite Uncledale..(hug) we love you." He smiles as he turns out the light, then sits down in the chair on the other side of the hotel room by the window. He is up all night watching out the window, watching over them as they sleep and wonder around in their dreams. He looks down at the handful of cocktail swords in his hand.