Story by CN Winters
Written by CN Winters
Produced by DragonWriter17 and CN Winters
Directed by DragonWriter17 and CN Winters
Sound by CSR
Edited by DragonWriter17
Art Direction by CN Winters
Artist - CN Winters
Dark Warehouse – Night
The sound of Tyrell’s shoes clicked and echoed off the walls as he walked across the darkened room.
"Are you here?" he called out into the darkness.
From the shadows, a woman stepped out. It was Eris Pantelles, head of Department: Ares, the weapons division of Hubris, Inc.
"On time as usual, I see," she quipped.
Tyrell disregarded the jab for his lateness and continued. "What’s the status of Dr. So’s new laboratory?" he asked.
"A cut-to-the-chase kinda guy…I like that," Eris said with a smile.
"Time is of the essence here," he told her.
"Relax," Pantelles sighed. "Dr. So is set up, and his projects are on track."
"They better be," Tyrell warned. "Or it could cost you dearly."
"Are you threatening me, Mr. Tyrell?" Eris asked confidently.
"I never threaten, Ms. Panelles. Never."
Eris looked at Tyrell as if trying to size him up. "So tell me, what’s Dr. So working on that’s so important?"
"His projects are on a need-to-know basis, and you, my dear, don't need to know," he said as he began to walk away.
Eris’s eyes hardened, but she followed along.
Dark Parking Garage – Night
The sound of a baby crying and a mother trying to soothe it resounded through the concrete tower. Finally, the pair rounded the corner with the mother pushing a stroller.
"I know, Sweetie," she called down to the child bundled up inside. "It’s cold out, but we’ll be home soon, and then you’ll get to see Daddy."
The promise of the child’s father did nothing to dispel the infant’s crying. The mother opened her door and readied the car seat in the back as quickly as possible. When she reemerged to collect the baby, her eyes went wide as a claw reached out, connecting with her face.
From the rear of the vehicle, the stroller slowly rolled backward through the garage with the crying baby still inside. The mother screamed only once before she went silent.
Watchers Council – Katherine’s Quarters – Same Time
Brianna knocked and opened the door without waiting for an answer. She poked her head inside to see Katherine lying on her couch looking at the ceiling.
"A few of the girls are going to the rec room. Wanna come?"
"No thanks," Katherine answered.
Brianna walked inside, closing the door behind her. "You okay? You’ve been pretty tightlipped since you got back from the station."
"I’m fine," she answered flatly.
Brianna examined Katherine for a moment. "Look, I’m not going to say I told you so. So if you want to talk about-."
"Thanks, but no thanks," Katherine said, cutting her short.
Brianna watched Katherine’s stony demeanor a moment longer, and then she just nodded.
"Okay, but if you change your mind…"
She let the sentence hang, but when she got no response, she closed the door softly and left.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Next Morning
Giles walked into Jocasta’s office briskly. "Turn on the news net," he said.
"And a good morning to you too, Giles," she said with a grin as she reached for her controller, flicking the switch.
Lisa Lance sat behind an anchor desk talking. "So…for an organization that prides itself on eliminating magic, we’ll be examining why magical weapons have been used more and more lately within the Council. Roger, back to you."
Jocasta looked up at Giles. "How the hell did she find out?"
"A leak, I suppose. She mentioned something about internal documents," Giles answered.
"Isn’t that just beautiful? I guess that means it’s my job to lock things down?"
"Just the opposite," Giles answered. Jocasta’s face registered surprise. "Whoever is doing this is trying to undermine us, but let’s make it backfire on them."
"What are you saying, Giles?"
"I’m saying this might be just what we need to reinstate the Coven."
Jocasta said nothing at first. Then she then let out a shocked, "What?!"
End of Teaser
Guest Staring Lindsay Wagner as Velika, Jennifer Garner as Trisha Hansen, Julianne Moore as Constance Rosenberg and Abigail Breslin as young Jocasta.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Same Time
Jocasta sat behind her desk with a look of shock, shaking her head. "The Council hasn’t had a coven in nearly twenty years, Giles. I know you want to make reforms but-."
"I’m tired of waiting around and hoping the red tape will go away. It’s time to bring out the scissors, as Veronica says."
Jocasta gave him a knowing grin. "Ohh, so Veronica says."
Giles blushed and turned away for a brief moment. "The point remains the same -- she's right. We need magic reintroduced into the Council
again and soon."
Jocasta smiled smugly. "I'm glad you're finally seeing things my way."
Giles returned her smile in kind. "And I'm glad you're so enthusiastic because I want you to spearhead the Coven reinstatement."
"What?!" Jocasta replied in a repeat of her earlier exclamation.
Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time
Livia and Mira turned the corner to see some slayers sitting in a row against the walls.
From the other door a man dressed like an orderly stepped out. "Number 130," he said and a woman rose.
"It’s that most wonderful time of the year," Livia sighed as she approached the dispenser and pulled out two tickets, giving one to Mira.
"The yearly physical’s not that bad," Mira answered.
"Yeah, well, you don’t have to get all those vaccinations, thanks to your allergy."
"No, but I still have to get naked and in the stirrups," Mira replied.
"Makes you sound like Lady Godiva," she snorted. Livia grinned as they both took a seat. Before Mira could reply, Livia looked over to the entrance and saw Katherine come in. "Look at what we’ve got here," she muttered to Mira.
"Give it a rest, Livia," the other slayer told her.
Katherine walked over and pulled a ticket before taking a seat across from Livia.
"So...Katie," Livia called over to her with a touch of acidity in her voice. "How goes it?"
"It goes," Katherine answered flatly.
A small silenced passed between them until Livia spoke again. "I got a question," she began.
Livia began to smirk. "Is there anyone left up there in Gray Sector that I can sleep with to get a plum assignment?"
"Knock it off," Mira told Livia before turning to Katherine. "Ignore her."
"No, I really want to know," Livia insisted. "I mean, after all, that’s how you got the station gig, right?"
Katherine sighed. "No, it’s not. Chairman Giles was the one who asked me to accompany Colonel Rosenberg."
"Ahh, but I'm sure she put in a special request to him," Livia jabbed.
"Well, if she did, she won't be doing it anymore," Katherine answered.
"Oh, yeah," Livia replied, "I heard you two were splitsville. Didn't hear why, though." Livia grinned and waggled her eyebrows."Guess if I want to get further ahead, I better go bring the colonel some flowers and candy then."
Katherine shot toward Livia with so much force that her chair fell to the ground. The dark haired slayer jumped to her feet. Without a second to spare, Mira managed to step between the two women, pushing both of them away from each other.
"Enough!" Mira yelled. "Livia, sit down! Katie, you too!"
As the enraged women continued to stare at each other, looking like two tigers ready to pounce, the orderly peeked around the corner.
"Is there a problem out here?" he asked sternly.
"No, no problem," Mira answered. "Everything’s fine."
Mira led Livia back to her seat as Katherine turned around and righted her chair. The orderly slipped back around the corner again. Mira leaned into Livia’s ear. "Don’t get yourself thrown into the brig over this."
Livia didn’t answer. Instead she continued to lock eyes with Katherine across from her – neither woman flinching.
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Same Time
"I can't do this without you," Giles insisted.
"Whoa, hey! Not to poop on the party here, but...why me?" Jocasta said uncertainly.
"I thought this is what you wanted?"
"It is," Jocasta agreed. "At least the magic reintegration is. But me...heading the whole thing...reinstating the Coven? That’s a pretty tall order."
"Jo, you're the top researcher here," Giles insisted. "You have access to any information you want, and we both know it – if not officially then unofficially if you catch my drift."
Jocasta released a heavy sigh. "Yes, I can find some back doors to research the history on magic within the Council, but…do you realize what an undertaking this is?"
"Yes, and you’re the only one here that I trust enough to do it properly."
Jocasta groaned and ran her fingers through her hair. "One of these days I’m going to learn how to say no to you."
Giles gave her a smile. "Thank you. I’ll be by a bit later. I have something for you to aid in your research."
"Now, now," Giles chastised playfully. "You’ll never get anywhere in the Council with that attitude."
"Bite me." Her serious expression dissolved into a grin, and she watched Giles wave as he made his exit.
Watchers Council – Slayer Debriefing Room – Later That Day
Velika stood before her troop leaders discussing the latest demon problem.
"We’ve had two attacks by Braccus demons, and five possible civilian sightings, in the area in the last two weeks. The police found one mutilated body, and our patrol found another just yesterday."
"Are we sure they’re Braccus?" one of the slayers asked.
"We called in Gray Sector at our scene, and they analyzed the hair and nail fragments found on the victim. The mother’s body was recovered, of course, but the baby’s was not. Braccus demons enjoy eating young human flesh, so that means they target young women and children. The good news – which will make our jobs a bit easier – is that the demons will be coming to us," she said as she showed a slide of the demon to the group.
"Why? It’s not like any of us’ll be swinging a baby on our hip while we’re patrolling," Livia spoke up.
"You will now," Velika said, holding up a doll. "Congratulations, ladies. You’re gonna be mommies," she said with a smile. "This design is as lifelike to a real child as possible. There are vocal and scent receptors inside, too, so that the demon thinks it’s human."
As Velika spoke, her aide handed out babies from a box to all the slayers gathered present. Katherine accepted hers with reluctance. Livia picked hers up by the leg and looked at it before letting it fall in her lap with a sigh. Suddenly, it began to cry, and she looked around nervously.
Velika appeared amused. "Livia here is going to demonstrate," she said waving the slayer forward.
Uncertain, Livia moved up to the front of the room, carrying the crying doll by its arm and swinging it as she walked.
"Now, all you have to do is put it on your shoulder and pat its back." She nodded to Livia, and the slayer rolled her eyes.
"You’ve got to be kidding me?" she asked.
"Go on," Velika insisted.
With a sigh, Livia put the baby up on her shoulder and patted it for a few moments as it continued to cry. "Isn’t there a shut-off switch?" she asked. Suddenly, the baby stopped, and Livia started to grin. "Hey, it worked."
"You’ll want the baby to cry, of course, to get the demon’s attention, but should you need to stop it for any reason, that’s all you need to do." Velika motioned Livia back to her seat.
"I’m not so bad at this mother stuff after all," Livia teased Velika before she walked back to her chair. A few of the girls in the room gave her a chuckle.
Velika smiled briefly before looking serious again. "Our concern, however," Velika explained, "is the number of sightings. They indicate that we could have a pack setting up shop in the city." She clicked to another slide of the same demon. "In addition to our normal patrolling of vamp lairs and demon haunts, look in locations that women and children might frequent – parks, the waterfront, stores, places of recreation, and such. The last attack happened in a shopping center garage, so check those types of areas too."
A slayer raised her hand in the group. "Are they day or night dwellers?"
"Either, although based on their appearance as you can see, they prefer night. They don’t have the ability to shape shift, so that works in our favor. What you see is what you’ll get, girls, but be aware they have enormous strength. That’s why we want you to double up your teams – no less than four girls to a group, but we prefer to have eight. You’ll have one slayer as bait and the others as unseen backup. So that’s where we are, ladies. If there are no further questions, you’re dismissed."
As the chairs began to scoot and move, Velika’s voice called over the din. "Hansen. Allison. Front and center please."
Both women, with babies in hand, didn’t look too pleased as they headed towards the podium where Velika stood.
"Ma’am?" Katherine asked.
"The infirmary tells me there was a bit of trouble today. Want to tell me what happened?"
Katherine and Livia looked at each other. After a bit of silence Katherine said, "No trouble."
"Are you sure? Several witnesses said Livia provoked you with comments she made. According to the slayer handbook, any slayer responsible for making derogatory remarks to another slayer is subject to punishment by Council law. You have the option of filing a formal complaint."
"I know," Katherine nodded. "I don’t want to do that."
Velika looked between both women for a moment. "All right, Allison. You’re dismissed."
After a slight bow of respect, Katherine turned and left the room without looking at Livia. Once the door closed, Velika began to shake her head with a slight grin.
"I always said you had a good slayer temper, Livia. So much like your mother sometimes."
"Yeah...too bad I didn’t really get the chance to know her," Livia remarked dryly.
"Well, I can tell you, she didn’t earn her spot as the Slayer Council Advisor for just her good looks." Velika had a far-off look in her eyes as she continued. "She was strong and quick. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another slayer that could move like she could. I really looked up to her. And when she asked me to be her aide and leave patrolling with Giles, I couldn’t say no."
"And the point is?" Livia sighed, sounding bored.
Velika smiled and shook her head. "You have all those same qualities, Livia, and you also have her temper. You’re just damn lucky that Katherine isn’t filing a complaint. You realize that, right?"
Livia shrugged. "It wasn’t a big deal."
"You’re right. It wasn’t a big deal. But we’re not talking about the same thing. This ‘assignment issue’...it’s not as huge as you’re making it." Velika let out a sigh of frustration. "Don’t screw up your chance for bigger missions because this one got away. I realize you’re passionate and you love being a crew leader, but you need to realize you can’t do it all."
"Yes ma’am," Livia answered.
Velika put a hand on each of Livia’s upper arms. "As a mentor, not as a supervisor, I’m asking you…let this go and make peace with Katie. Okay?"
Livia’s expression softened. "Maybe it’s my motherly instinct kicking in," she said as she held up the baby, "but I’ll try."
"Thatta girl." Velika smiled.
Suddenly, the baby began to cry.
"Oh brother," Livia sighed as Velika chuckled.
Watchers Council – High Command Board Room – Same Time
Travers paced in front of the members of the High Command. "We have an image problem that needs to be addressed immediately. That awful Lance woman and her anti-Council reports are damaging us in the public eye, and we don’t need any more negative focus on us right now."
"I have someone working on it at this very moment," Giles answered.
"And who might that be?" Travers asked sarcastically. "Colonel Rosenberg?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," he answered. "Who better than the head of Gray Sector, our investigative branch?"
"Did it ever occur to you that she could be the one who leaked the documents?" Travers asked incredulously.
"Come now," Giles said with a grin. "For all we know, it could be someone in this room – someone who might be trying to get even with Colonel Rosenberg for her part in Tyrell’s departure."
"Are you making accusations?" Travers countered.