Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Elijah Wood as Jeff Lindquist, Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser, Robert Picardo as Dr. Miller, Brad Dourif as Brell and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Gillian Anderson as Gabby, Stephen Austin as Reteesk, Cameron Bright as Hugh, Zooey Deschanel as Dr. Callaway, Elisabeth Harnois as Jocelyn, Evangeline Lilly as Marissa and Michelle Rodriguez as Kadin Van Helsing
Radio Air Studio – Night
The last notes of a song faded, then cut off completely when Tracey pressed the button on the air board that turned her microphone on.
“That was They Might Be Giants with their classic ‘Don’t Let’s Start’,” she said. “You’re listening to Nerd Radio, I’m DJ Trace. I know, I kinda left everybody on a cliffhanger there with my story, but I think that maybe we need to take a step back here. For some background, if you will.”
US Army Office – Circa 1982 – Day
A relatively pretty woman sat behind a utilitarian metal desk, her dark hair barely coming down past her ears. Her attention was concentrated on her work at a typewriter in the center of the desk.
“My mother was born and raised in Dusseldorf, Germany,” Tracey’s voice said, “and when she needed some work, she got a job as a secretary at the local branch of the US military. It was the Cold War then, and there were a lot of cute young American boys being sent over to keep an eye on the Commies next door.”
“Excuse me, Miss?” said a young, blond American airman leaning over Tracey’s mother’s desk. By his uniform, he was a Captain. He held out a sheet of paper to the woman. “Could you type this up for me?”
“One of them was my father,” Tracey continued.
Tracey’s mother just stared at the man, a dreamy look in her eyes.
US Army Hospital – Circa 1984 – Night
The blond serviceman paced nervously in a hospital hallway, stealing a glance periodically through a window.
“Two years later, I was born, already a citizen of two countries, the homes of such great artists as Ludwig van Beethoven and George Lucas,” Tracey narrated.
The door to a nearby room opened, and a nurse beckoned Tracey’s father in. He entered to find his wife holding a tiny, pink, crying baby.
“I got prettier as time went on,” Tracey noted.
Plane Flying Over Atlantic – Circa 1985 – Day
Tracey’s mother looked wistfully out one of the plane’s rounded windows, her hair by now a little longer. The young Tracey dozed on her lap.
“My mother soon accompanied my father back to the United States, trading sauerkraut for French fries and good beer for crappy beer.”
Elementary School Classroom – Circa 1993 – Day
“I discovered video games at a young age,” Tracey continued.
A row of third grade students craned their necks to see their teacher chastise a young girl sitting in the back of the room. The teacher grabbed something small and box-shaped from the girl’s hand. It was a Game Boy.
“But, Miss Johnson, I was just about to beat King Coopah!”
Tracey’s House – Circa 2000 – Night
“When I grew up,” Tracey’s voice said, “I decided that I was destined to become a game designer.”
The high-school version of Tracey and somewhat older versions of her mother and father quietly sat at a candle-lit table, eating dinner.
Deliberately, young Tracey set down her fork and announced, “Mama, ich möchte Computerspiele entwerfen.”
Tracey’s mother just sighed.
Tracey’s House – Circa 2003 – Day
A few years older, Tracey tore open a letter and speedily read its contents. “Sweet,” she said, smiling.
“I was accepted into the computer science program at Baldwin-Wallace,” Tracey narrated. “It was the closest place to home, but far enough to give me an excuse to get my own apartment.”
Tracey’s Apartment – Circa 2004 – Day
Tracey tore open another letter, this time looking much less happy. At the top of the page “RENT STATEMENT” was written in block lettering.
“I needed money, so I answered an ad looking for kitchen help at a boarding school.”
Watchers Council – Kitchen – February 2004
Both Tracey and Willow’s parents ran screaming from the Council kitchen at the sight of the several small blue children standing next to Andrew.
“Things got a lot more interesting than I bargained for. I got a cool boyfriend out of the deal, though, so that worked out okay.”
“That went well,” Andrew commented to the children.
Marting Hall – Computer Lab – Day
“So you see,” Tracey said from her seat back in the college classroom, “my life experience had uniquely prepared me to be a special consultant on the supernatural to my programming prof.”
“Okay,” Dr. Callaway was saying in the front of the room, a video projector lighting her face bright blue, “that’s it for today. Remember, your final projects are due Thursday.”
As the rest of the class began to gather their things, Tracey slung her bag over her shoulder and made her way to the front.
“Dr. Callaway?” she asked.
“Yes, Tracey, what is it?” the professor replied, while at the same time checking something on her computer console.
“You know those weird problems you’ve been having, the ones you told us about? Well, um, I think I might be able to help.”
Dr. Callaway was suddenly interested. “Really? That would be great. The whole thing has just been so stressful. I’ve been drinking Slim-Fast like you wouldn’t believe.” Her expression changed to one of confusion. “Wait…what makes you think you can help?”
Tracey suddenly looked a bit apprehensive.
Reteesk’s Apartment – Day
Reteesk opened his front door to find Tracey waiting for him while grasping a brown paper bag.
“Your goat’s eyes,” she said proudly, holding the bag out for him.
“Exquisite!” Reteesk exclaimed, his tentacles vibrating in anticipation.
Marting Hall – Computer Lab – Resume
“I…have some experience with things like this,” Tracey finally said.
Dr. Callaway nodded. “Well, I’m really at my wit’s end. Anything you could do would be greatly appreciated.”
“Yeah, about that.” Tracey scratched her nose. “The appreciation, that is. I, well, I sort of was hoping that, maybe, I could get an extension on the final project. I’m not done with the rendering on some of the sprites.”
The professor looked hard at Tracey. “And in exchange…”
“I could do some investigating, try to get rid of your little haunting problem. Like I said, I’ve got experience with this type of thing. I could come by tonight.”
Dr. Callaway thought for a moment, then sighed. “All right, but only for you, Tracey. You’re my best student.”
Radio Air Studio – Night
Tracey’s face was lit up with a self-satisfied smirk. “I rule,” she said, leaning close to the microphone and drawing out the sentence playfully.
Tracey pulled back and frowned a bit. “But that morning, back at work, things weren’t going quite so well.”
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Morning
Tracey walked into a meeting that was just getting started. Her entrance went completely unnoticed by Buffy, Kennedy, Willow and Rowena.
“They never let me in on their big hoo-ha meetings,” she said toward the camera. “Nope. I’m strictly the ‘go-to gal in the galley’ around here.” Tracey leaned against the wall and crossed her arms.
Buffy opened a folder in front of her. “There’re some dead people with two fang marks on their necks.”
“Let’s kick some vampire ass!” Kennedy said, smacking her right fist into her left palm.
“Not so fast,” Rowena interrupted. “Who do we think is doing this?”
“Vampires, duh,” replied Kennedy.
“Really, Sherlock? Good job,” Rowena shot back. “What kind of vampires?”
“Blood-drinking vampires?” Kennedy said, continuing her sarcasm.
“No, Ro’s right,” Willow said. “Remember Vancouver?”
No one said anything. After an awkward stretch of moments, Buffy finally spoke. “This requires more investigation.”
Tracey rolled her eyes. “There’s a shock.”
Watchers Council – Slayer Dorm Room – Same Time
Marissa threw a stained white t-shirt into a plain green duffel bag. It wasn’t the most careful of packing jobs. She had dark circles under both eyes, looking like she hadn’t slept the night before. Marissa turned in place for a moment, vacant eyes looking around her dorm room for anything she might have missed. What few possessions the head of Black Ops had amassed during her time at the Council were now in the duffel bag. Spotting something in the corner, Marissa walked over, passing Tracey on the way.
“Rumor has it that it’s been a foregone conclusion for months,” Tracey said, “but things seem to move slowly these days at the Council. Marissa here,” Tracey gestured over her shoulder at the slayer, who was now slipping a small battleaxe into her bag, “she just officially found out that she’s been relieved of her post at the Council. She’s been kicked out. Kaput. She’s exiled. Persona non grata…”
“That’s enough!” Marissa snapped, noticing Tracey’s presence for the first time.
“Okay, okay,” Tracey backtracked, as Marissa grabbed her bag and headed for the door. “But where are you gonna go?”
“I was doin’ just fine on the street before these jackasses found me,” Marissa replied, stopping in the doorway. “I can do it again.” There was a pause as Marissa seemed reluctant to leave, looking back at her now-bare dorm room. Tracey was nowhere to be seen.
Watchers Council – Lobby – Moments Later
Her eyes focused downwards toward the floor, Marissa strode through the Council lobby, her duffel bag slung across her shoulder. As she passed the front desk, Tracey, who was sitting on the edge of the desk, grabbed Marissa’s wrist, stopping the girl in her tracks. Marissa avoided eye contact, tapping her foot in frustration as Tracey held the hand she’d grabbed up for all to see.
The knuckles were scraped and bloody, while the entire hand was covered in a white, powdery substance.
“Plaster,” Tracey observed. “Possibly from the wall of a dorm room. Just another part of the price tag when the Council parts ways with a slayer.”
“Whatever,” Marissa said, frustration evident in her voice. “Can I go now?” With a sigh, Tracey nodded, releasing her hand.
Nearby, Faith and Xander were sitting in the seats on the far side of the lobby. “The good part about losin’ my job is that now I have a lot more time to watch afternoon TV,” Faith was saying.
“Really?” Xander asked skeptically. “That’s a good thing?”
“You’ve got a point,” Faith admitted. “Maybe I’m trying a little too hard to look on the bright side. You can only watch so many episodes of Tyra where people have a fear of pennies and Styrofoam before your brain turns to Jell-O.”
“Yeah but everyone always has room for Jell-O,” Xander assured her. “Probably safer for everybody just to lay low right now.”
“Yeah,” Faith agreed unhappily. “Everybody’s a little on-edge lately, like they’re just waitin’ for me to start stabbing people or somethin’.”
“Nobody thinks that,” Xander said. “Now, on the other hand…” He nodded towards Marissa as she walked toward the front door. Faith said nothing as she watched Marissa exit. In the doorway, the slayer bumped shoulders with a nervous-looking girl who was entering.
Andrew ran into the lobby, looking somewhat put out. “Xander, could you take a look at room 304 in the slayer dorms? It’s kinda…destroyed.”
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Jocelyn O’Hara stumbled backwards into the Council lobby, looking fearfully at the slayer now moving quickly away from the building. The young woman pulled the strap of her purse back onto her shoulder and turned around.
Jocelyn gazed around the room anxiously until she saw Faith. Her eyes grew wide, and she looked back at the door, as if considering a hasty retreat. Instead, she turned back to Faith, swallowed and headed toward her. Unnoticed by Jocelyn, Tracey walked right along beside her.
As Jocelyn was just about to reach Faith, she cleared her throat and started to speak.
“Excuse me…” she began. Just then, her shoe inexplicably got stumped on a spot on the floor, causing her to trip. Faith reached out for her, but Jocelyn managed to catch herself and stay on her feet. Tracey rolled her eyes.
When Jocelyn had righted herself, she addressed Faith. “Hi. I, um, I’m Jocelyn,” she said, wringing her hands. “Jocelyn O’Hara.”
Faith gave her a “who?” look.
Jocelyn forced a smile. “You, um, y’know, sorta broke into my house, thought I had some kinda bomb or something?”
Faith’s face registered recognition. “Oh yeah. The girl with the zit problem. I gotcha. What can we do for ya?”
Jocelyn reached into her purse and pulled out a Council business card. “Well, Jeff gave me this card and said if I needed any help…”
When the teenager didn’t elaborate, Faith said, “Just have a seat and I’ll get Jeff.”
As Faith moved to the telephone at the reception desk, Tracey looked over Jocelyn from head to toe, shaking her head in disapproval.
“This girl is a disaster waiting to happen,” Tracey announced toward the camera.
Dr. Callaway’s House – Living Room – Late Afternoon
Dr. Callaway led her best student through her front door and into the living room. When they entered, they found the television blaring.
“What the devil?” Dr. Callaway said loudly over the television as she made her way over to the coffee table. She picked up the remote and switched the television off. “Now, I swear that I did not leave that thing on. Do you see what I’m dealing with?”
“You could be dealing with a ghost,” Tracey theorized.
“How do you know?” Dr. Callaway asked.
“Poltergeist,” Tracey muttered to herself. “Can we take a look at the basement?” she asked her professor.
“Why do you want to go into the basement?”
“Because…if you’re looking for creepy stuff, the basement’s always a good place to start.”
“Well, all right,” Dr. Callaway said, “but the lights don’t work down there.”
“Of course, the lights never work in the scary basement,” Tracey said to the unseen camera, before turning back to her professor. “That’s fine. Just give me a flashlight, and I’ll be set.”
Dr. Callaway’s House – Basement – Moments Later
As Tracey descended the basement stairs alone, she scanned the area ahead of her with her flashlight.
“You know, it’s times like these that make me wonder whether I’m really sane,” Tracey shared with her audience. “Do I really have friends from another dimension? An ex-super-villain for a boyfriend? Superheroes who eat my cooking daily?”
A sudden scuffling stopped Tracey’s pondering. She froze in place and flashed her light in the direction of the sound. She drew in a surprised breath when her light illuminated the figure of a young boy huddled in the corner.
Tracey hurried down the stairs, keeping her light fixed on the boy. She crept slowly toward him. When she got to him, he turned to face her. Tracey gasped. The boy appeared to be made of shiny plastic.
Radio Air Studio – Night
Back in her studio, Tracey gave a small smirk, then leaned into her microphone.
“See what I mean?”
End of Act One