Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
Kennedy folded her arms across her chest and walked away from the table to stand near the back of the room. Faith watched her with concern for a moment before turning her attention back to the group.
The sound of the ringing phone interrupted the silence. Giles reached over and hit the speaker button. “Yes?”
“Umm…Mr. Giles? There’s a man on the line that says he has the blonde and he wants to talk arrangements,” the night receptionist’s voice said.
“Put him through.”
The members huddled around the phone as they waited for the call to be transferred. “Yes?” Giles said brusquely.
“Mr. Giles, so nice to speak with you,” the deep voice said through the speaker.
Giles stepped closer to the speaker and placed his palms on the table. “You’re the one in charge, I presume?”
There was a deep chuckle. “Ah, I see they didn’t make you the main man for nothin’. You catch on quick. I like that, makes this part a whole lot easier.”
“And what part would that be exactly?” Giles asked slowly.
“Well Mr. Giles, this is what we like to call the…negotiations. You see, I have something you want, and you have something that’s already mine. I think it’s about time I get it back.”
Faith leaned around Giles. “Where is she, you son of a –”
The deep chuckle came through the phone once again. “Now, now. There’s no need for tempers. I have every intention of returning Ms. Allister. In how many pieces, well, that’s up to you.”
Another long silence fell over the group. “What do you want?” Giles finally asked.
“You have twenty-four hours to come up with the money, or I’m afraid Ms. Allister just may come down with a sudden case of decapitation,” the man said with a sneer in his voice. “One day, Mr. Giles. I’m not a very patient man, so don’t keep me waiting. I’ll contact you the same time tomorrow with a location for the trade. Oh, and Mr. Giles?”
“Yes,” Giles said in a tight voice.
“Try anything funny, and Ms. Allister will have a new definition for the word pain.”
The sound of the dial tone abruptly hummed throughout the room. Giles slowly reached forward and pressed the speaker button once again.
“I think we need the big guns on this one,” Kennedy said from her place in the back of the room. “I’m thinking one of our contacts at the FBI. I mean, they train guys just for this sorta thing.”
“We don’t have time for the FBI or their possible screw-ups. Last time I checked, they weren’t exactly taking the gold in that event. I say we go in ourselves,” Xander said with a firm nod.
Kennedy burst her way through the others to come face to face with him once again. “Yeah, you would say that. It’s not your humanity on the line here. But when did that ever matter, right?” she said angrily. “Oh send those slayers out there, who cares if they become cold blooded killers, they’re just gonna die soon anyway.”
Xander suddenly jumped to his feet, meeting Kennedy head on. “You know that’s not what I think! I…”
“All right! Shut it!” Faith yelled. “Both of you,” she added, with a warning glare to Kennedy. “This accomplishes nothing!”
“I know that voice,” Mia said, in deep thought. Then a look of realization washed over her features. “It’s that guy from the city hall meeting. Jimmy Volcano…or something like that.”
“The ‘scary dude,’ as you called him? Are you certain?” Giles asked.
“Definitely,” she nodded.
Giles let out a deep sigh. “That’s just bloody perfect. For a moment there, I actually thought we might be in trouble.”
Dark and Dingy Room – Next Morning
“So good to see you’re awake, Ms. Allister. I was beginning to worry the loss of blood may have gotten to you,” Volano said with a smile. Rowena slowly lifted her head, a fresh trail of blood running from a gash on her cheek. “Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea?”
“Water,” Rowena said in a hoarse voice.
Volano stepped forward and wiped at the blood with a handkerchief. “I just don’t know what gets into my guys sometimes. I say ‘Rough ’em up a little’ and they take it as an open invitation to rearrange your face,” he said, with a deep chuckle. “Ah…those boys.”
He threw the handkerchief in her face and placed his hands in his pockets. “I think you’ll be pleased to hear that the arrangements for your return have been made. As long as your Council comes through for you — and I know they will — you should be back in your cozy little bed in less than a day.”
Volano smiled as he pulled the cover back on a nearby table to reveal an assortment of tools undoubtedly used for torture. He picked up a long, serrated knife and brought it up to his face.
“That is, as long as they don’t decide to play hero,” he said, as he studied the blade intensely. “Then, we might have a problem.”
“Why…why use Julia?” Rowena asked in a weak voice. “She’s just a kid.”
The mobster placed the knife back on the table and brought over a glass of water. He slowly knelt in front of the bound woman’s chair. He looked up into her eyes and smiled.
“Because, Ms. Allister,” he said seriously, “this is the real world, and here…everyone has their price.”
He threw the water in Rowena’s face. As she gagged and choked, he turned heel and walked out.
Julia’s Hideout – Same Time
Julia lay on a makeshift bed, staring up at the ceiling in deep thought. She reached over to the side of the bed and lifted a bottle to her lips, taking a deep swig. She was about to place it back on the table when the sudden sound of loud knocking startled her, causing her to spill the dark liquid onto the bed.
“Damn,” she muttered.
The sound of the insistent knocking grew louder.
“Yeah! Hang on a minute, would ya?!”
The slayer slowly pulled herself to her feet, dodging empty bottles and cigarette packs as she made her way to the door.
She pulled it open to reveal two very angry looking slayers, Mia and Kennedy, on the other side. Julia just smiled as she leaned against the frame with a smirk.
“Well now, I didn’t know that Council of yours made house calls.”
Mia suddenly punched the other slayer square in the face. Julia flew back into the room and landed with a hard thud.
“We don’t,” Mia said as she stepped into the room.
Julia lifted her hand to her now-bloody nose and smiled. “Damn, girl. Since when did you hit so hard?” she asked as she pulled herself to her feet.
Mia’s fists clenched by her side as she fought to hold back her rage. “Just tell me what you did with her, and you won’t have to find out.”
Julia shook her head with a smile as she retrieved a towel for her nose from a nearby pile of week-old laundry.
“Did what with who?” she asked, as she placed the rag over her face.
Mia started to charge forward, but was stopped by Kennedy’s hand on her shoulder. She turned to face her lover with a cold stare.
“Just hang on a sec, Mi. I think we both know how this has to go down.”
Kennedy slowly turned to face Julia. She let out a deep sigh and folded her arms over her chest. “How much?”
Julia dropped the rag from her nose and grinned. “If I didn’t know better, I could swear that just sounded like you trying to bribe me.”
“It did, and I am,” Kennedy said.
The rogue slayer threw the towel back into the pile and pretended to think.
“Well then…let me see. I can either stick with the original plan and walk away from this a whole lot richer and alive,” she said with a wave of her hand. “Or…I can take your offer, which is so obviously a bluff, end up with zilch…and probably dead.” She pretended to think for a few more moments before shaking her head and smirking. “I kinda like breathing, so thanks…but no thanks.”
Before either woman knew what was happening, Mia charged past Kennedy and tackled Julia to the ground. She quickly flipped to her feet and placed a boot against Julia’s throat.
“Now what was that you said about breathing?”
The fallen slayer clung to the boot with all her strength, but she couldn’t loosen Mia’s hold on her throat.
When Mia saw the slayer struggling, she pushed down harder. “I suggest you make a choice about who’s more dangerous right this second, them or me.”
Kennedy’s face paled, but then anger overcame her fear.
“Mia! Back the hell off!” she yelled. She stepped forward to pull her lover off the woman.
Mia lifted her arm up and swatted her away. “No, she’s gonna talk, because she knows…I’ll do it.”
Kennedy looked at her with a pained expression, then quietly stepped away. Mia released just slightly and Julia began to cough.
“I always knew you’d never change,” Julia said in a strangled laugh. “Same old thug…just in better clothes.”
Mia pressed her foot harder against Julia’s throat again. “I’ve run out of patience. Either you spill it…or I spill you.”
“All right, all right,” Julia said in a rasping voice.
Mia relented a little against her throat so that she could speak.
“I did help him take her, but I don’t know where. I swear.” Mia started to press down once again, but Julia raised her hand, halting her. “I don’t know where they took her exactly, but I do know the area.”
Mia raised a brow. “And that would be?”
Mia looked over her shoulder to relay the message to Kennedy, but the slayer was already gone.
Alley – Moments Later
Mia spotted Kennedy walking briskly down the narrow street and called out.
“Wait up, Ken!”
Kennedy still walked along, not bothering to look back. Mia began to jog and came up to her.
“What’s wrong?” Mia asked.
“What’s wrong?” Kennedy asked incredulously. “You could have killed her.”
“And what’s the better option? Letting more time slip away, while Ro gets killed?”
“Not choking her to death, that’s for sure.”
“Bribing Julia wouldn’t work. She’s right. They probably paid her a boatload of money and threatened her. She had to feel she was in real danger.”
“And was she? Was she in real danger from you?” Kennedy asked.
Mia began to walk away. “We don’t have time for this.”
Kennedy watched her for a moment and then reluctantly followed along.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Later that Day
The doors of the room suddenly swung open, catching everyone’s attention. Willow walked back in quickly, noticeably distraught, but focused nonetheless as she saw Mia and her team there.
“So, what’s the plan?” she asked.
Giles cleared his throat and reluctantly began to speak. “Well, we’ve decided to use Mia’s team to go in and pull her out.”
“You already have a location?” the witch asked, surprised.
“Yes. We received a call after you left, and I believe it is in Rowena’s best interest that we act now, before they have a chance to move her again.”
Willow slowly nodded her head. “Okay, but pull her out with what exactly? Last time I checked, stakes and holy water aren’t exactly the best tools for defeating the mob.”
“I don’t believe that is an issue, Ms. Rosenberg,” a voice said from behind her.
Willow suddenly turned to see the Black Ops drill sergeant standing behind her. He nodded his greeting before placing his hands behind his back and standing tall. “I assure you, my girls will be well prepared for the situation.”
“I’ll go, too, you know, for backup. But I won’t kill any humans,” Kennedy spoke up as she cast a disapproving glance at Mia.
The sergeant nodded his respect. “I understand you’ve killed your fair share of monsters, but I think it’s best that you stay home. This isn’t a mission for the ‘I won’ts.’ It might get messy. Any hesitation, and you’ve bought it.”
Kennedy started to retort, but was suddenly silent when her eyes caught the glint of a nearby pistol. Her face fell when she met her girlfriend’s intense stare.
Mia lifted the Desert Eagle to eye level and pulled back on the slide, chambering a round. “If I have to, I’ll paint some houses. You ready for that, Ken?”
Kennedy’s face went white, and a slight shiver ran through her.
“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that, Mia,” she said after a brief pause. “You’re not some mindless killer. That’s not what slayer means.”
“The object here is not to kill,” the drill sergeant said matter-of-factly. “The objective is to infiltrate undetected, retrieve Ms. Allister, and retreat undetected. But should these men fire first…my girls are trained to return the favor,” he said with a slight smile. “The only concern I have at the moment is if Mia is physically ready to lead this team. If the leader fails, so does the mission,” he added.
“I’m ready. I can do this,” Mia said with certainty.
“Oh yeah? What about mentally? You think you got all the screws in the right holes for this one?” Faith asked. “I mean, after all, Ro was the one responsible for your little extended vacation at the hospital not too long ago. You ready to go out there and put it all on the line to save someone who did that to you?”
“Her mentality is not an issue here,” the instructor said. “I’ve trained Mia well. She is a beyond-exceptional soldier. Her personal feelings have nothing to do with the objective at hand.”
“He’s right, Faith,” Mia said. “Besides, I have no qualms with Ro. The only thing on my mind right now is the objective.” Mia then turned to the redhead. “I’ll bring her back. I swear it.”
Willow only nodded.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Night
“We checked all three buildings that he owns down here,” Vi’s voice came in through the intercom. “We got a hit on one. It’s called The Four Aces. It’s a nightclub on the corner of Elm and Holland.”
“Thank you, Vi,” Giles said with relief. “Good job. Just sit tight and we’ll notify you when we’re ready.”
Vi acknowledged, and the call ended.
Giles turned around to see the room filled with girls in black body armor. Each one was equipped with an assortment of high-powered rifles and handguns. The only two left unarmed were Willow and Kennedy, who stayed tucked away in the back of the room.
The watcher cleared his throat and approached the group. “All right, then. It appears she’s being held in a nightclub called The Four Aces. Vi said it’s on the corner of Elm and Holland.”
The girls all nodded, and the instructor spoke up. “Chances are he’s either got her in an underground room somewhere or at the top level, so look out for a back entrance or a way inside the top floor.”
Mia nodded her understanding and turned to face her group. “All right, girls. I want a clean in and out sweep. We acquire the target…at all costs,” she paused, then continued, “In and out. I don’t want any itchy trigger fingers. You get me?”
“Yes, Ma’am!” the room echoed in sync.
Mia nodded with a grin. “Perfect. Let’s do this!”
As the girls started to file out, Faith sneaked up behind Kennedy and grabbed her by the arm. The younger slayer turned at the touch.
“You sure you can handle this, Slick?” she asked in a low whisper. “I mean, if it’s just a matter of keeping them in check, I’m more than willing to be the safety slayer on this one.”
Kennedy turned to face her fully and let out a deep breath. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “I wanna do this. I have to.”
Faith opened her mouth to protest, but Kennedy silenced her with another shake of her head.
“Black Ops or not, Mia’s still a slayer,” she responded. “And my girlfriend,” she added in a tiny whisper. She lifted her eyes to her lover across the room. “I gotta be there to watch her back. Something tells me she’ll have other things on her mind.”
Kennedy slowly turned back to face the other slayer with a deep look of fear and desperation in her eyes.
Faith just nodded and placed a gentle hand on her back. “Okay, Slick,” she relented. “But you just make sure you watch yours too.”
The Four Aces Nightclub – Later that Night
A slew of black-armored bodies surrounded the building. The most recent members remained near the back, as Mia and the most experienced slayers took the front line.
A sudden movement inside the club caught Mia’s attention. She lifted her fist and pointed up with her index finger. When the figure emerged into the light, she pointed for the first line to sweep around the back.
A line of girls fell into step as they began to weave their way to the back of the building. Once in place, one slayer, Janet, lifted her fist, signaling they were in position.
Mia turned to the girls directly behind her and made a few hand movements before nodding towards the building. The girls nodded and headed for the other side.
Mia was about to follow when she suddenly stopped and looked straight ahead.
Kennedy was leaning against the nearby fence, her eyes filled with hurt and confusion.
Mia continued the stare-down for a moment before she sighed and followed behind the other girls.
Kennedy watched the retreating form of her girlfriend, but was suddenly jolted out of her reverie with a gentle hand on her shoulder. She turned to face the comforting smile of her ex-lover.
The slayer managed a slight smile of her own and nodded to Willow before pulling away from the fence and motioning towards the nightclub.
“Come on. We better go,” she said in a low voice.
Willow nodded and watched Kennedy as she headed down the hill. The witch stared for a few short moments before sighing uneasily and following after her.
The Four Aces Nightclub – Back Entrance – Moments Later
Janet stopped dead in her tracks and lifted her fist to signal a halt. The girls behind her stopped instantly. She carefully leaned against the brick wall and peeked through a crack in a painted-over window.
The operative peered into the dark room and her eyes suddenly widened. She lifted her right wrist to her mouth. “I’ve got her,” she whispered into her sleeve, smiling.
The Four Aces Nightclub – Rear Wall – Same Time
Mia dropped her hand from the com on her ear and brought her wrist to her lips.
“Good job, Janet. Hold your position,” she whispered. “I’m on my way.”
The Four Aces Nightclub – Back Entrance – Moments Later
Janet’s team was waiting patiently by the door as Mia and her team arrived, followed closely by Willow and Kennedy.
Janet pointed to the window and Mia took a quick glance inside. Mia nodded and then pointed towards the door, placed her finger over her lips. She slowly pulled the door open and quietly slipped inside.
Janet nodded and signaled for her team to enter.
The Four Aces Nightclub – Moments Later
As the girls continued to file in, Mia swept around the nearest corner and swiftly fell back. She lifted her fist and the team clung tightly to the walls, hiding their forms in the darkness.
Kennedy and Willow eased their way up to Mia.
“What’s the situation?” Kennedy asked in a quiet whisper.
Mia indicated the door beyond the wall. “Guards. Two of ’em.”
Kennedy nodded and peered around the corner. After a few short moments, she pulled back with a smile. “Like taking candy from a baby.”
Mia smiled for the first time that night and motioned towards their targets. “Let’s do this.”
End of Act Two