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William Barker Script

William Barker "A Modest Hero"

The most decorated member of Canada’s military, William Barker started out in the trenches. Longing for an escape from the filth and horror of the ground war, he quickly realized his calling was in the air.

His disregard for danger often put him (and sometimes his fellow airmen) in danger, but “Slippery Bill” Barker usually emerged from combat unscathed. Eventually, however, his antics nearly killed him in his final battle shortly before the end of the First World War.

PAGE ONE

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The patient is Major William George Barker

A WWI meatball field surgery. The doctor wears a blood-spattered smock over a drab brown uniform. The nurses are nuns with white aprons over their white and light-blue habits. The doctor leans close over a horrific wound in a young man's upper leg. A nurse dabs with a blood-soaked cloth at the ragged edges of his left arm which is actually missing an elbow. The patient is Major William George Barker.

CAPTION: GENERAL HOSPITAL, ROUEN

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The War is over

A young orderly enters the field hospital, wooden door flying open. The nurses stop to look at him. The doctor does not.

SFX: BANG!

ORDERLY: SIR? THE WAR, IT'S OVER!

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Doctor

Closer on the operating table. Nurses hug or clasp hands in joyful prayer. The doctor operates.

DOCTOR: (thought) THE HELL IT IS.

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PAGE TWO

This page charts the slow convalescence of Maj Barker in the hospital. The weather, time of day, neighbouring patients in the background, a flower in a vase, a book or glass of water on the side table, all may change to show the passage of time.

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Major Barker in the hospital, nurse prays

Barker lies flat in bed, both legs suspended in pulleys. A nurse clasps her hands in prayer over the man.

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A nurse hovers a rubber mask over Barker's face

Barker on the operating table, his eyes clenched shut in pain, the doctor at his side. A nurse hovers a rubber mask over Barker's face.

DOCTOR: GANGRENE IS THE WORRY. I'M LEAVING THE WOUNDS OPEN TO ADMINISTER DAKIN'S SOLUTION.

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Barker lies flat in his bed

Night. Barker lies flat in his bed. A nurse holds his right hand.

NURSE: SHH. SHH. C'ÉTAIT UN CAUCHEMAR.

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Barker on the operating table with two doctors

Barker on the operating table with two doctors (one old, one young) working on Barker's hip.

DOCTOR: SEE? THE RUBBER TUBING LIES IN THE WOUND TRACK. WE KEEP IT UNDER GAUZE. YOUNG DOCTOR: I SEE, THE LATERAL HOLES HELP WITH DRAINAGE...

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Barker lies flat while one man adjusts a camera on a tripod

Barker lies flat while one man adjusts a camera on a tripod at the foot of the bed and another stands by Barker's side with a pencil and a notepad.

REPORTER: HIS MAJESTY SAYS THERE'S BEEN NOTHING LIKE IT SINCE THE ENGLISH DEFEAT OF THE SPANISH ARMADA.

Barker, eyes open, does not respond.

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The doctor bends to sniff the shattered left elbow

Barker on the operating table, pale, sweating, eyes clenched in pain. The doctor bends to sniff the shattered left elbow.

DOCTOR: IT IS SEPTIC.

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Barker in bed

Barker in bed, his legs no longer elevated, his head and shoulders propped up slightly with pillows. Christmas decorations cheer up the window sills. RAF Captain Johnstone sits at his side, forage cap tucked under one arm. Johnstone laughs. Barker smiles grimly.

CAPT JOHNSTONE: HOCKEY SHOULD BE THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES. YOU NEVER COULD SKATE, OLD MAN!

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The doctor rubs the bridge of his nose under his glasses

Barker on the operating table. The doctor rubs the bridge of his nose under his glasses.

DOCTOR: THE BONE'S GONE, MAJOR. THERE'S MUSCLE, SOME CONNECTIVE TISSUE. THAT'S ALL.

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Barker sits up in bed

Barker sits up in bed. A cane leans against his bedside table. An entourage of officials and brass surrounds his bed and the general at its side. Barker looks unimpressed and uses a finger to keep his place in a small book.

GENERAL: 60-TO-1, MAJOR BARKER! A DAMNED FINE SHOW!

BARKER: I WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED AND SHOT DOWN. THAT'S IT.

GENERAL: LADS, THIS IS THE MORAL FIBRE WE NEEDED THREE YEARS AGO!

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PAGE THREE

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A soldier withdraws a letter from his bicycle's mail bag

A tin-hatted soldier withdraws a letter from his bicycle's mail bag. The trench is a world of mud with wooden planks spanning many of the puddles. Doorways flanked by sandbags lead underground. Sad, dirty men sit on their rucksacks, lean on their rifles or shave out of puddles along one side. The other side of the trench bears a column of zombie-eyed men at the halt. Three men laugh while kneeling and attending to the cleaning of a Colt-Browning machine gun. BARKER and DUNCAN are young but HOWARD is avuncular and older with an impressive moustache.

BARKER: HULLO ROGER. LETTER FROM HOME?

MAIL SOLDIER: DEPENDS MATE -- YOU GROW UP IN A LITTLE TOWN CALLED "ROYAL FLYING CORPS?"

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HOWARD and DUNCAN crouch on either side of him

Night time. Will sits behind the Colt-Browning, peering down the sights. HOWARD and DUNCAN crouch on either side of him, squinting into the darkness over the Western Front's no man's land.

DUNCAN: "LOW AND SLOW" BE DAMNED, WILL. DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID.

BARKER: I'M TRAINING AS AN OBSERVER, DUNCAN. CAN'T SHOOT MUCH WITH A CAMERA.

DUNCAN: BUT THE GUNNERS CAN. BESIDES -- YOU'LL BE A PILOT BEFORE LONG,I RECKON.

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Howard and Duncan sleeping back to back

Dawn. Barker hefts a duffelbag and looks at Howard and Duncan asleep against the wall of the trench, sitting back to back.

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The full grisly horror of WWI trench warfare

This panel needs to be a nightmare. Take as much page as you can to communicate the full grisly horror or WWI trench warfare.

CAPTION: THE BATTLE OF MOUNT SORREL: JUNE 2, 1916. EVIL NEW WEAPONS CALLED FLAMETHROWERS.

CAPTION: A MASSACRE.

CAPTION: HOWARD WAS SAFE BUT COUSIN DUNCAN WAS NOT SO LUCKY. 11,000 MORE CANADIANS LIKE HIM DIED BY THE END OF JUNE RETAKING THE GROUND.

CAPTION: WARS ARE NOT WAITED, NOT ENDURED. WARS ARE FOUGHT. DUNCAN'S DEATH CANNOT BE FOR NOTHING. ALL OUR BOYS' DEATHS CANNOT BE FOR NOTHING.

CAPTION: THIS WAR HAS TO END. IT HAS TO END AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

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PAGE FOUR

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Barker's Sopwith Camel

The sun isn't up high enough yet to burn the fog or the drizzle off the aerodrome. 2Lts MALIK, FENTON and JONES stand outside the door to the Mess watching Barker'S Sopwith Camel (tail number B6313) pushed out of the hangar.

CAPTION: DROGLANDT AERODROME

MALIK: YOU... YOU GOING FLYING, CAPTAIN?

BARKER: NO. C FLIGHT IS GOING FLYING.

FENTON: WE ARE? NO ONE IS FLYING TODAY. NOT EVEN THE HUNS.

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Barker points a finger at the three junior officers

Barker points a finger at the three junior officers.

BARKER: THAT'S WHAT I'M COUNTING ON. YOU WANT THE KILLS, YOU DON'T GET TO EAT YOUR BREAKFAST, DRINK YOUR TEA OR GET TO SLEEP IN.

JONES: BUT THE Lieutenant-Colonel SAID--

BARKER: I'LL BRIEF YOU ON THE TARGET WHILE THE BOYS PRIME THE ENGINES.

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Barker shooting his Camel's guns

A whirling carnival of airborne mayhem. Four Camels against a dozen Albatross Scouts. Two distant Camels in flames. An Albatross with the wings cracking off under Barker's guns. Beneath Barker's leather flying helmet, his teeth are bared in ferocious determination.

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Barker stands at attention

The Lieutenant-Colonel's office. Barker stands at attention as the shorter senior officer berates him.

WING COMMANDER: ...RISKING MY MEN ON THESE ESCAPADES! MALIK AND FENTON LAID UP IN HOSPITAL! FENTON MIGHT NOT RECOVER!

BARKER: (thought) I DEMAND DISCIPLINE FROM MY MEN BUT I ALMOST GOT THEM KILLED. STUPID LUCK. NO WAY TO WIN A WAR.

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Barker takes off in Camel B6313

Barker taxis off in Camel B6313 with wingmen to his left and right.

CAPTION: MORE MEN. MORE BOYS. ENGLISH.FRENCH. ITALIAN. GERMAN.

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Barker lands Camel B6313 with only one shaken wingman

Barker lands Camel B6313 with only one shaken wingman, bullet holes stitch his aircraft. An ambulance pulls a limp pilot from a Camel crashed at the side of the runway.

CAPTION: MORE MEN. MORE BOYS.

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PAGE FIVE

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Barker sips tea from a tin cup and leans against B6313

Barker sips tea from a tin cup and leans against B6313, now heavily decorated with alternating white & black fuselage bands, dozens of stripes on the wing struts and a heart pierced by an arrow on the vertical tail fin. He watches a pair of ambulances race back from the runway to the hospital.

CAPTION: ITALY

A mail soldier approaches on his bicycle.

MAIL SOLDIER: MAJOR BARKER? MAIL FOR YOU.

BARKER: HMM? OH. THANK YOU.MAIL SOLDIER: AND ORDERS, SIR.

BARKER: ORDERS?

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Barker reads his orders

Barker reads his orders. His tea cup dangles at his side, pouring tea to the ground. The Mail Soldier is perplexed.

MAIL SOLDIER: BAD NEWS? THOUGHT YOU WAS GOING BACK TO ENGLAND.

BARKER: I AM.

MAIL SOLDIER: BEG PARDON -- AIN'T THAT GOOD NEWS, SIR?

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Barker and the Wing Commander talk over dinner

Barker and the Wing Commander talk over dinner. Barker is intense, impassioned, leaning forward, ignoring his plate.

BARKER: GIVE ME A MONTH. JUST ANOTHER CRACK AT THE WESTERN FRONT.

WING COMMANDER: I DON'T KNOW, WILL...

BARKER: RICHTHOFEN IS DEAD WITH 80 KILLS. I'VE GOT 45 BUT THAT'S NOTHING ON THE WESTERN FRONT. DON'T SEND ME HOME.

WING COMMANDER: YOU'RE NOT GOING HOME. IT'S A SCHOOL IN ENGLAND.

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The argument continues

The argument continues. The Wing Commander sends back a steward hovering with coffees.

BARKER: LET ME PUNCH A HOLE IN JERRY IN FRANCE. PLEASE.

WING COMMANDER: I'LL GIVE YOU TEN DAYS, WILL. TAKE THE NEW SNIPE, TRY 'ER OUT.

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PAGE SIX

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Barker sits alone at a table in the Mess

In the background, Barker sits alone at a table in the Mess. Jaded men sneer at him from their tables in the foreground. Barker ignores them.

CAPTION: FRANCE

PILOT 1: SEE HER OUT THERE? ALL PAINTED UP LIKE A TART?

PILOT 2: SO HE HAD ACTION OVER ITALY. AUSTRO-HUNGARIANS ARE A SECONDRATE ENEMY.

PILOT 1: HAD THE BLOODY FLYING CIRCUS ON US, DINT WE! AND WHERE WAS HE DURING OP MICHAEL, EH?

PILOT 2: WE'RE ALL ACES HERE. SO OW'S 'E GET TO FLY WHEN AND WHERE HE BLOODY WELL LIKES?

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MAJOR CYRIL LEMAN leans down between the pilots

MAJOR CYRIL LEMAN leans down between the pilots, an arm over each others' shoulders.

LEMAN: HERE'S HOW. DSO AND BAR. MC AND TWO BARS. HE WON'T GO HOME, LADS. I'VE FLOWN WITH HIM. NO ONE CAN MATCH HIM.

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Leman joins Barker. They shake hands warmly.

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Barker and Leman stand in the briefing room

Barker and Leman stand in the briefing room, rain pelting down on the windows. Barker, enraged, holds orders in one hand and throws his leather flying helmet down with the other.

LEMAN: WILL, YOU HAD YOUR TEN DAYS. YOU DIDN'T THINK YOU'D WIN THE WAR ON YOUR OWN IN TEN DAYS, DID YOU?

BARKER: BAD WEATHER. NO PATROLS. I JUST WANTED A FIGHT!

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PAGE SEVEN

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Will walks to his Sopwith Snipe

Will walks to his Sopwith Snipe, duffelbag slung over one shoulder.

Maj Leman waits for him at the aircraft with an engine fitter. The two sneering pilots wave good-bye as he passes by them.

PILOT 1: ENJOY JOLLY OLD ENGLAND, EH MAJOR!

PILOT 2: YEAH, WE'LL TAKE IT FROM HERE!

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Barker flies the Snipe one-handed and leans his chin on the other

At 15,000 feet, Barker is bored. He flies the Snipe one-handed and leans his chin on the other. He's moping.

CAPTION: OCTOBER 27, 1918

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Barker stretches his neck, looks up and sees a single two-seater German reconnaissance aircraft.

BARKER: (thought) HEH. MAYBE ONE FOR THE ROAD.

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Barker watches the twoseater break apart

SFX: ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK-ACK!

Barker, below and behind, hammers the guns and watches the twoseater break apart, one parachute billowing free. Mesmerized, he does not see the German D.VII climbing behind him.

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bullets rip through the fuselage

SFX: ACK-ACK-ACK!
Barker feels the pain as bullets rip through the fuselage and punch through his right thigh!

BARKER: GAH!

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Barker's Snipe enters a spin

Barker's Snipe enters a spin.

PAGE EIGHT - (1 Panel)

Barker recovers from his spin and sees a squadron of Fokker aircrafts

Barker recovers from his spin and sees...a squadron of Fokker aircraft heading straight for him!

BARKER: (whisper) UH-OH.

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PAGE NINE

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Sepia-toned flashback

Sepia-toned flashback. Will at fourteen shoots a wild chicken on the wing from the back of a horse.

BARKER: UNCLE HOWARD, UNCLE HOWARD! I GOT IT!

HOWARD: AMAZING! YOU COULD BE A TRICKSHOT FOR THE CIRCUS, WILL!

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Barker sprays bullets at two Fokkers closest to him

Barker yanks and banks, spraying bullets at two Fokkers closest to him. Both break apart and spin down out of control.

SFX: KER-RACK!

SFX: ACK-ACK-ACK! ACK-ACK-ACK!

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Bullets stitch through the left side of Barker's aircraft and shatter his left hip

Fokkers are all around him. Bullets stitch through the left side of Barker's aircraft and shatter his left hip.

SFX: ACK-ACK-ACK!

BARKER: AGH!

Barker's eyes roll back and he passes out at 15,000 feet.

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Barker opens one eye and recovers his aircraft

Barker opens one eye and recovers his aircraft. Blood spatters everything. A Fokker is on a collision course a mere 10 yards away.

BARKER: NOT YET, YOU BASTARD!

He fires his guns.

SFX: ACK-ACK-ACK!

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The German Fokker breaks up in flame as Barker flies straight through

The German Fokker breaks up in flame as Barker flies straight through, pale with blood loss, unflinching.

PAGE TEN

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A bullet smashes Barker's left elbow

German bullets criss-cross all the space his Snipe has to fly through. A round smashes Barker's left elbow.

BARKER: ARGH!
Again, he faints, his head falling back. His aircraft dives into another spin.

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Another sepia-toned flashback

Another sepia-toned flashback. Young Will stands on the bottom rail of a fence and stares mouthagape like a baby bird. He watches a biplane barnstormer flying aerobatics during an exhibition flight in Winnipeg. The biplane flies by then crashes in a field.

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Barker picks up wood and canvas from plane crash

In the background, several grown men hoist the dazed and shaken pilot from the wreckage as Will in the foreground picks up a small shard of painted wood from the plane's crash.

BARKER: ALL THAT... FROM WOOD AND CANVAS...

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12 more Fokker aircrafts

Will lifts his head. His eyes are dazed. His left arm hangs useless. He's just flown into another flight of 12 more Fokker aircraft.

BARKER: ...SURE... WHY NOT...

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Barker flies into the thick of the Fokkers

Barker flies into the thick of the Fokkers so closely that we see the terror on the face of at least one German pilot as they scatter.

SFX: ACK-ACK! ACK-ACK!
With sleepy eyes, Barker thumbs his guns from only a few yards. The German's plane catches fire.

SFX: WHOOMPH!

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Barker's guns firing one short burst after another

Will banks hard to chase the thick of them, his guns firing one short burst after another.

SFX: ACK-ACK! ACK-ACK!

Yet another eight Fokkers appear.

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PAGE ELEVEN

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Barker dives through the cloud of enemy aircraft

Bullets are everywhere. Barker dives through the cloud of enemy aircraft but he's so close that they can't shoot without risking hitting each other. One German pilot shakes a fist at another as two more in the background narrowly miss a mid-air collision. It's a maelstrom. Chaos in the air. Barker's Snipe hedge-hops towards a flight of British observation balloons.

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LT. FRANK WOOLEY holds a hand to his eyes as a visor

Down on the ground, LT. FRANK WOOLEY holds a hand to his eyes as a visor. Barker's Snipe is limping in.

WOOLEY: HEADS-UP -- WE'VE GOT A WOUNDED BIRD DROPPING IN.

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Barker pushes forward on the stick

Eyes half-closed, face pale with shock and blood-loss, Barker pushes forward on the stick and drops the Snipe into the mud at a sick angle.

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The Snipe crashes in the mud and ends up on its nose

The Snipe crashes next to one of our balloons and ends up on its nose. Men from 29 Kite Balloon Section chase the carnage, gunners covering them from the retreating cloud of Fokkers.

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Barker is a mess and unconscious

Barker is a mess and unconscious. Wooley cuts open Barker's Sidcot aviation suit, reveals a blood-soaked tunic with a rack of medal ribbons.

WOOLEY: (whisper) JAYS-US...

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Wooley supervises loading Barker into the back of a truck

Wooley supervises loading Barker into the back of a truck.

WOOLEY: THE HOSPITAL AT ROUEN! GO!

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PAGE TWELVE

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Barker sits up in bed, slurps soup with his right arm

Barker sits up in bed, slurps soup with his right arm. Another pilot, BILLY BISHOP sits at his side and muses over a chessboard.

BARKER: I'M A FARMER'S SON, BILLY. CAN'T WE JUST PLAY CARDS?

BISHOP: NAH. YOU MIGHT WIN. HOW MANY ANYWAY?

BARKER: TIMES YOU'VE BEATEN ME?

BISHOP: SURGERIES.

BARKER: ...

BISHOP: HOW MANY?

BARKER: SEVENTEEN.

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Bishop moves a pawn in chess game

Bishop moves a pawn. There aren't a lot of pieces left on Barker's side of the board.

BISHOP: CHECK. I READ YOUR ACCOUNT."I WAS SEVERELY WOUNDED AND SHOT DOWN." READ THAT IN FOUR DIFFERENT DAILIES.

BARKER: IT'S TRUE.

BISHOP: TRUTH. -SNORT- NONE OF THEM CAN UNDERSTAND THIS. ANY OF THIS.

BARKER: WE CAN.

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Bishop scoops all the chess pieces back into the box

Bishop scoops all the chess pieces back into the box.

BISHOP: THIS IS MAUDLIN. LET'S GET YOU DRESSED.

BARKER: I'LL TAKE MAUDLIN OVER EMBARRASSING. I WON'T HAVE YOU HELP ME DRESS, BILLY.

BISHOP: GOD NO, I WAS ABOUT TO SUMMON ONE OF THOSE PRETTY NURSES. GOT TO LOOK GOOD FOR THE KING.

BARKER: THEY'RE NUNS.

BISHOP: STILL...

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Bishop hands Barker a cane and a dressing gown

Bishop hands Barker a cane and a dressing gown.

BISHOP: WILL? WAR'S OVER. YOU FOUGHT IT AND IT'S OVER.

BARKER: YEAH? SO?

BISHOP: IT'S PEACETIME. WE'RE PILOTS AND NOT MUCH ELSE. WHAT DO YOU SAY WE GIVE LIFE A TRY?

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Barker leans on his cane

Barker leans on his cane and Billy Bishop.

BARKER: IT'S SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT WHILE I'M TALKING WITH THE KING.

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This episode produced entirely by students of Assiniboine Community College Web Design Program (2008-09)

Credits

Artist and Director

Curt Shoultz

Producer

Derek Ford

Lead 3D Modeller

Stacey Rose

3D Modelling Unit

Katelyne Boille
Andrea McDougald
Stanley Leung

Texturing Unit

Cassy Little
Stacey Rose
Katelyne Boille

Lead Animatic Technician

Stan Leung

Compositing and Animation Unit

Katelyne Boille
Rhett Borton
Mindy Brown
Christian Bull
Tyler Cameron
Stanley Leung
Cassy Little
Kaila MacDonald
Tyler Magee
Andrea McDougald
Kulani Nkuna
Keith Otto
Stacey Rose
Cali Saban
Robert Tardiff
Stacy Yeomans

Lead Colour Designer

Mindy Brown

Water Colouring

Kaila MacDonald
Katelyne Boille
Christian Bull

Lead Digital Corrections

Tyler Magee

Digital Corrections Unit

Tyler Cameron
Kaila MacDonald
Andrea McDougald
Stacy Yeomans
Mindy Brown

Ink Assist

Samantha Routhier
Jeff Joye
Brady Penner

Research

Stacy Yeomans
Kaila MacDonald
Tyler Magee
Katelyne Boille
Mindy Brown

Photographer

Greg Sherris

Sound Designer, Recorder & Mixer

Scott Enns

Sound Supervisor

Scott Enns

Writer

Ryan Fitzgerald

Special Thanks to

Health & Human Services
Damon Roth
Dan Choy
John Jameson

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