Act 4

Fade In:


CNN News Feed – Evening

The graphics below Tally Atwater read “Council Hostage Crisis Continues.” She herself looked tired; the usual veneer she wore on-air had long since worn away.

“Developments are occurring very quickly here on Tenth Street. First there were reports that some here at the scene heard a series of noises from inside the building. There has been speculation that those noises were in fact gunshots. We have no further details about that situation at this time.”

“And now more stunning reports, this time that a slayer has managed a daring escape from the building. I’ve spoken to sources within the team here, and they have confirmed that one slayer did, in fact, make it out.”

She looked up from notes she had been holding in front of her and paused a moment.

“As you can see, the sun has set here in Cleveland, with still no immediate resolution in sight for this crisis. The appearance of a lone slayer throws the question up into the air once again: who is really in charge here at the scene? I’ve been told that the Council Security Director, Robin Wood, has been issuing orders. There is in fact a team of slayers already on the scene, some kind of special operations unit commanded by an Amira Aziz.”

“An interesting note here is that Slayer Aziz is actually a Palestinian national, and does in fact identify herself as a Sunni Muslim…the same sect that we believe the terrorists here today belong to. The Watchers Council is of course a highly international organization, which is one of the reasons that it will survive regardless of how events turn out.”

Tally Atwater brushed a few locks of hair out of her eyes.

“It’s been a long, strange day here at the Watchers Council. But then, things here have never been normal. For CNN, I’m Tally Atwater.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Same Time

“Can…Can I talk to you?” Faith hadn’t noticed Shannon sneaking up beside her, probably because her eyes had been closed. Faith had been leaning on the side of one of the couches, her lips moving silently. Now her eyes snapped open.

“Yeah, sure,” she said.

“I heard you were praying,” Shannon said.

“Meditating, actually,” Faith replied. Shannon looked surprised. “It’s this new thing I’m tryin’.”

“How’s it going?”

Faith sighed. “Not so good, actually. It’s supposed to get you all relaxed or whatever…”

“Hard to relax right now,” Shannon filled in. “Right?”

When Shannon didn’t say anything else, Faith ventured a guess. “Is this about Lorinda over there?” She flicked her chin over to where the girl lay still on the ground.

“I…” Shannon’s voice caught in her throat. “I used to wish she were dead, y’know? Just so she would leave me alone. But I didn’t really mean it. I didn’t!”

She snuggled into Faith’s shoulder, a tear running down her face, and Faith looked temporarily at a loss before gingerly placing an arm around Shannon and patting her a few times on the shoulder.

“She ain’t dead yet,” Faith said quietly. “We’re tough gals. We’re slayers. We’re tough.”

Shannon sniffed and pulled her face up to look at Faith’s. “This whole thing has just been so weird.”

Faith’s face broke into a smile. “Yeah,” she nodded. “It really has.”

And then Shannon was smiling too.

Cut To:


Tenth Street – Command Tent – Same Time

Illuminated by several banks of flood-lights, Amira pointed a surprisingly slight finger at a spot on the blueprint spread out across one of the tables. Robin, Kennedy, McMahon and Carli were among those arrayed around her, listening to her plan.

“We go in through the garage,” she said. “Kennedy says they are not spending as much time guarding the basement as they should. We use that. We get in the building.” She stood up straight and looked over at Carli. “We split up. Petronelli takes one squad, I take another, Grady takes a third…”

“I don’t like it,” McMahon interrupted. “You split your force up into small enough pieces, and you might not be able to take them out when you get there.”

“We must be everywhere at once,” Amira insisted, “Or they will simply begin executing their prisoners, and we will have failed.”

“Or maybe that’s what you want us to think,” Carli said darkly.

Amira’s thick brown eyebrows went up, then down, then up again.

“Petronelli, what the hell are you talking about?” Kennedy asked.

“C’mon, Kennedy, you said it yourself,” Carli argued. “They knew too much. This has to be some kinda inside job.” She gestured an arm in Amira’s direction. “There’s your insider! She’s one of them!”

“I am not!” Amira shouted.

“It is highly irregular for someone like her to be included in an operation like this,” McMahon commented. “You can’t be sure about loyalties.”

Robin raised his hands, palms out. “Everyone, please…”

“All I’m saying is, we can’t trust her,” Carli said. “She certainly shouldn’t be the one doing the planning when we have –”

At about that point, Amira snapped. “You think I am one of them?” The tone of her voice shut everyone in the tent up. “They are murderers, torturers…they are evil. In Arabic we have a word for this: Hadad. An unforgivable crime against God. Do you have any idea how it feels to believe in something so beautiful, to devote your life to something, and then have that very thing betrayed, perverted so completely…”

The blueprint under Amira’s hand was now beginning to scrunch up and tear. She took several deep breaths, trying to pull herself together. When she spoke again, her voice was low and level.

“I am a Muslim. The people in there are not. They’re monsters. And we do not have time for me to keep explaining that.”

Everyone fell silent. After a moment, Carli said, “Your English really has gotten better.”

Robin broke the tension with an unduly cheery attitude. “Well, now that that’s settled, we can move on. Kennedy, you said that there were regular patrols down the main south hallway…”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

When Rowena was thrown down on the floor of the library, she was bleeding freely from a cut over one of her eyes. One of the masked gunmen loomed over her.

“That was not a good idea,” he shouted at her. “You have forced us into the next stage. We will begin with executing Willow Rosenberg.”

Rowena looked away from him, directly at Xander. He met her eyes, while the sound of the man yelling over her blurred and faded. And then, for the two of them, there was silence. And something passed through the silence, like a current.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Parking Garage Entrance – Same Time

There was no sound in the tunnel from the parking garage either, as the Black Ops squad ran along it. Amira was on point, wearing black armor, a plain black scarf over her hair and a shiny black automatic rifle in her hands.

A single guard stood posted at the parking garage entrance. For a moment, he looked surprised at the bullet hole between his eyes, and then he crumpled to the ground.

“Three teams, just like we planned,” Amira announced. One of the groups immediately split off, led by a small African-American girl up a staircase.

Carli waited a moment before leading her group down a branch in the hall. She turned to Amira.

“Look, I’m sorry. I really hope I was wrong back there. I just –”

Amira cut her off. “We don’t have time for this, Slayer Petronelli.”

After a brief moment of hesitation, Carli nodded and her team ran off down the hallway. Amira simply turned and ran the opposite way, and several girls followed.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

One of the four gunmen in the Coven Room grabbed his radio and received a series of brief instructions in Arabic. He gave a short, affirmative reply, then said something to his comrades. Two of them walked over to the corner where Willow was lying on a pile of mats, Dawn hovering over her protectively.

They tried to grab Willow by the shoulders, but Dawn threw them off.

“No!” she cried, getting to her feet.

“Hey, guys…” Andrew began, sitting up in his spot nearby.

Dawn poked a finger into the chest of one of the gunmen. “You want to take her again, you’re gonna have to come through me.”

One of the masked men simply pushed Dawn hard in the chest. She stumbled sideways into a set of shelves, sending a rain of magical ingredients down onto the floor. Dawn shielded her face from falling glass jars with her arms. That shelf set off a chain reaction with the next shelf, and the next, and the Coven Room began to fall apart around them.

With everyone distracted by this situation, two men each picked Willow up by one of her arms. She struggled, her shoes scrabbling in broken glass, but she couldn’t prevent them from dragging her to the center of the room.

“Whoa, hey!” Jeff called out, trying to figure out exactly what was happening. “What’s happening?”

The other two men leveled their weapons directly at Willow’s head.

“Let’s think here, guys,” Andrew said reasonably.

Jeff tried to get up, but one of the men simply grabbed him by the head and pushed him back down. With his hands cuffed together, there wasn’t much Jeff could do about it.

“Skye!” Dawn called desperately.

Skye was already trying to charge the gunmen, but with her hands bound she was only able to hit one of the intended targets. She and the terrorist both rolled to the side, the man’s weapon falling to the floor.

“Get the gun!” Andrew shouted to no one in particular.

Skye and the masked man both made a move, but he was a hair quicker, picking it up just beyond her fingertips. She watched helplessly as he stood over her and opened fire. The power of the blast sent her back toward the floor.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

Everyone around the library heard the sound of gunfire below them, coming from the Coven Room. They all looked disbelievingly at each other. The only one who didn’t look at her fellow hostages was Rowena, who had her face buried in her hands, crying.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

The masked man by Jeff barked out a single order in Arabic.

Subtitle: “Fire now!”

Two fingers tensed on their triggers. Willow winced and closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable…

There was a sound something like a sonic boom, and the two men with guns flew backwards with such force that they left holes in the wall and smashed into the opposite side of the hallway outside the room. They both fell to the ground, unconscious.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

At the same time as the blast, the library doors smashed open, and several Black Ops girls fell into place. Quickly taking stock of the situation, they opened fire, aiming high to avoid the watchers on the ground.

The masked man standing over Rowena was immediately hit through the neck. He clawed at the wound as he fell to the ground. The rest of the gunmen in the library dove for cover and began to return fire.

Screams could be heard amidst the sound of gunshots, and everyone went scrambling to find a safe spot.

Rowena and Grace found themselves under a reading table. Rowena covered Grace’s body with her own, each looking very small and scared as the gun battle raged around them.

“What are you doing?” Grace asked.

“Shut up and keep your head down,” Rowena ordered her.

Grace complied.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

Willow slowly opened her eyes, and everyone in the room slowly turned to see Jocelyn standing in the far corner, hands raised. Her wrists were sore and bleeding, and her glowing green handcuffs now lay in a heap at her feet.

The other two gunmen were too startled to react in time. Jocelyn turned and, with a flick of her damaged wrists, slammed each of them against the wall in a similar manner.

Willow opened her mouth and closed it again. A weird grin appeared on her face.

“That was awesome,” Andrew breathed.

Jocelyn looked more shocked than anyone. “What did I just do?”

“Search them,” Willow ordered. “Find the keys to these cuffs.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Same Time

Yelling in Arabic came over several radios at once in the Slayer Rec Room. Shannon raised her head from Faith’s shoulder, and Marie visibly perked up.

The gunmen in the room began to have their own shouted conversation.

Subtitle: “We’re under attack!”

Subtitle: “Execute the prisoners.”

Various slayers around the room began to get to their feet. Shannon was among them.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

This was all the excuse one of the masked men needed to point his gun at her chest.

“Now!” Faith yelled. She sprang to her feet and pushed the gun barrel away just as he pulled the trigger. The bullet slammed into a window, and a couple of nearby girls ducked.

In the resulting confusion, Marie tripped one of the gunmen and began punching him in the face once he was down. A gun went off near Denise. She ducked and screamed as a bullet-hole appeared in the wall inches from her ear.

Amidst all this, Casey hunched over Lorinda, feeling for a pulse.

“I’m losing ‘er!” she yelled.

Faith was still struggling with one of the gunmen, trying to wrest his gun away from him. The weapon went off again, and the man screamed as he was hit in the foot. Faith grabbed the weapon and brought the butt of the gun up to smack him under the chin.

At that moment, several gunshots rang out, and the remaining masked men collapsed to the floor. Carli Petronelli stood in the doorway, a tiny wisp of smoke rising from the barrel of her weapon.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time

Mia and Marissa stood, backs pressed against the wall, on opposite sides of an opening. They each held the guns they had picked up in the classroom wing in their hands.

“You ready for this?” Marissa asked quietly.

Mia nodded. “Just like riding a bicycle. One, two…”

The two women simultaneously jumped out from their hiding places and released a single shot each. The two terrorists guarding the armory fell to the ground without a sound. Red smudges appeared on the wall behind them.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

The African-American Black Ops slayer stood at the intercom unit by the library doors.

“Library’s secure,” she said over her headpiece.

Grace helped Rowena out from under the table.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Slayer Rec Room – Same Time

“Slayer Wing secure,” Carli announced. “We need a medical team in the Rec Room now. Coven team, report in?” When she got no answer, she asked, “Amira? Report in?” Still getting no answer, she lowered her weapon and sighed, “Backstabbing bitch.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time

Willow herded the rest of the Coven out the front doors of the Watchers Council. The men who had been guarding the door now lay on the floor, unconscious.

Skye exited next to last, moving slowly, her shirt still riddled with bullet holes. Willow opened the door for her.

“Thank you,” Willow said sincerely.

Skye shrugged. “Eh, it was a learning experience, something else for your girlfriend’s notebook.”

“How so?” Willow asked.

“I know for fact now that bullets can’t kill me…but they sure can hurt like hell.” Skye then grinned. “Go get your sweetie.”

Willow watched as Skye passed the threshold. The next moment, she felt the cold metal of a pistol on the back of her skull. Behind her stood the leader of the terrorists, the man who had interrogated her.

“At least I can make some good come of all this,” he said.

“Don’t move!” came a shout. Amira stood at the far end of the lobby, her gun trained on the man. Her hands were absolutely steady. “Drop the gun!”

“You would choose her over me?” the man asked incredulously. “She is a Jew and a sinner. I will be a Muslim martyr!”

“You’re not a martyr,” Amira said flatly.

She pulled the trigger.

Black Out

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Lobby – Night

Robin and Amira stood next to one another near the front entrance to the Watchers Council, watching as the sheet-covered body of the terrorist leader was wheeled out the front door on a gurney.

“Why do you do it?” Robin asked.

Amira looked up at him, taken off guard. “Sorry?”

“Carli was wrong,” he explained. “You were on our side. But I’ve read your file. I know what you went through. I’m not sure I would still be on our side after that.”

Amira looked him directly in the eye. “My entire family was killed by an Israeli bomb. They wanted to break us. But if I let what they did turn me into a monster, then they’ve succeeded.”

She glanced over at the door as it swung shut behind the man’s body. “But not everyone is that strong. I wonder who he lost.” She sighed. “He thought he was going to get into heaven for this.”

Robin snorted. “Probably finding out right now he made a miscalculation on that one.”

A ghost of a grin appeared on Amira’s face. “Yeah, probably.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Slayer Dorm – Later

The sound of cheering reverberated through the hallway. Carli and Kennedy were among those riding on the shoulders of their fellow slayers, receiving congratulatory slaps on the back.

“Guys, put me down,” Kennedy said nervously. “C’mon, guys. Guys?”

Kadin was among those holding her aloft. She grinned wickedly as she cupped Kennedy’s behind.

Carli looked down in surprise when the group of young slayers holding her in the air screeched to a halt. She wore a makeshift party hat made out of notebook paper on her head.

“Nice plan,” Carli said.

Amira smiled. “Get used to this feeling.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – Same Time

“Don’t try to talk,” Shannon said.

She sat in the infirmary, next to the bed where Lorinda lay. It was much quieter there than in the slayer dorms; the only sound was the repetitive beep of the heart monitor. Lorinda herself looked very weak and pale, but she also looked decidedly alive. She was completely surrounded by blankets and pillows and wore a huge bandage around her chest and shoulder.

“They said your heart stopped for almost three minutes,” Shannon continued. “They had to use those electric shocker thingies four times, and give you a…transfixion. Something like that.”

“I’m a slayer,” Lorinda rasped. “I’m tough.”

Shannon smiled. “Yeah. We’re tough.”

Lorinda tried to glare at Shannon, but she was having trouble turning her head.

“This is all your fault, you know,” Lorinda said. Shannon’s smile vanished.

Lorinda made the effort to shift her head and looked at Shannon. “Thanks for sticking around.”

Shannon shrugged and looked away.

Cut To:


Junkyard – Night

The sound of the highway echoed in the distance, but closer was the sound of the sand and pieces of waste being crushed underfoot as a figure stalked across the depressed land.

The figure stepped into a pool of moonlight reflecting off the grubby worn body of a mechanical digger. It was Ethan.

Head-to-toe dressed in black and wearing a three-quarter length trench coat, he stopped. His hands in his pockets, he shivered and scanned the darkness around the bleak sculptures

“Gwen,” he whispered. The night did not reply. “Gwen?” He turned but still saw nothing. “Gw…Gwen, ah!” When he turned back, he jumped slightly and smiled at Gwen, who was now standing in front of him.

She grinned. “Mr. Secret Agent now? Trench coat and black cat boots…makes a mama proud.” She put a hand to her chest.

Ethan still held his smile. “You okay?”

Gwen gave a nod and stepped forward into the moonlight. “Yeah, I’m good. What about the guys at the Council?”

“The situation’s over, thank god.”

“And your little red witch?”

“Alive, it seems,” he replied.

“Good. I was of two minds about going in, but with Bureau Nine on the lookout, I might have done more harm than good…” She trailed off for a moment and then pressed on. “Done some more snooping since our last, dare I say, encounter.”

“What did you find?”

“Again, not much. Gotta give ’em props really for the way they’ve been keeping their cards close to their chest, but damn do they ever make it hard work to find anything on them, even for professional thiefsters like myself,” she sighed. “What about you? I take it you’ve got something. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have turned on the Bat-Signal.”

“Indeed I have.” Ethan reached into his coat pocket and produced a nondescript folder. “I walked in on Felix as he was going over the preparations to transport the Sphere.”

Gwen blinked in surprise. “Well that’s…daring of them.”

“I know what you mean,” he continued as he passed her the folder. “But when you consider that the transport with be flanked by a heavy security convoy…”

“Meh,” Gwen shrugged her shoulders as she looked down, reading the contents of the folder.

“Meh? I say heavy security and you say…What does that even mean?”

“And you’re surprised that I say ‘meh’ in the face of their supposed security?” She looked up to Ethan, her finger pointing to the folder. “By the way, how did you get your hands on this? This is great!”

Ethan straightened up with a proud look. “I hacked into the higher-ups’ shared folder on their main server.” He did a double-take. “I have absolutely no idea what I just said.”

“Get you. You do make mama proud!” Gwen smirked.

“Actually thinking about going into the hacking circuit, seeing as it was fairly easy. Not a member of any other circuit.” His words were laced with a slight sadness.

Gwen wrapped her arms around her, the folder against her chest. She cocked her head to the side, her bright smile fading a little. “How are you doing?”

Ethan stifled a laugh. “It’s…it’s better now. Still waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat like an addict, mind you. Well, I suppose it’s not that different from going cold turkey.” He stared back at her and asked, “How are you doing?”

“Adjusting. Just got it into my head that I’d be a normal regular Joe for the rest of my life, and then…”

“What’s so good about being normal anyway?”

“You tell me.” They both shared a small smile, and a beat later, Gwen sighed. “I was a freak long before I got my chip, so it’s natural to me. It’s normal. Just gotta get used to it again. Like you.”

“We certainly are a pair.”

“That we are.”

The conversation ran dry, and silence filled the void between them, though not an awkward silence. Gwen took in a breath, shook her head and patted the folder in her arms. “The schedule’s just what I need, thanks.”

“I don’t have to tell you, but…I will anyway…take care.”

She turned and made as if to leave.

“Gwen,” Ethan stopped her. He looked at her seriously. “You’re not a freak…you’re bloody unique, and I know that there’s no one else who can steal the sphere back.”

Gwen looked up at Ethan, her eyes teary but gleaming with life. “No, you’re right; no one else can steal the Sphere back. Gotta do the honorable thing and clean up my mess.”

“It’s not your mess.”

With a pout she stepped forward, reached out with her gloved hand and gently cupped the side of his face. “You’re sweet.” She smiled and stepped back, then blew him a kiss as she backed into the shadows.

Ethan stood in the same spot and watched the darkness absently.

He let out a breath and slowly turned in the opposite direction. In front of him, nestled atop the hood of a wrecked car, was a box with a large crimson ribbon tied around it.

Ethan curiously walked over to the box. Attached to the bow was a nametag, but instead of a name there was a red lipstick impression of a kiss. He pulled the box out from under the ribbon and opened the lid. Inside were two fine red Italian silk shirts. He ran his hand over the top shirt and then smiled.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Willow and Rowena’s Bedroom – Night

Rowena sat at her dresser, hunched forward and peering into the mirror. She gingerly touched a finger to the new set of stitches on her forehead. In the mirror she could see Willow lying on the bed behind her, staring at the ceiling.

“We’re working with the government to try and track terrorist organizations,” Rowena said, “but apparently it’s incredibly difficult. They told me that if there aren’t any credible claims of responsibility, it might be years before they know for sure who was really behind this.”

She rose from her chair and began to get into bed next to Willow.

“You want my opinion, the whole attack was just too good,” she said as she settled in underneath the covers. “Someone gave them inside information, whether they knew it or not. They knew where and when the Coven would be meeting, they knew floor plans, they knew our weaknesses…”

“Our relationships,” Willow finished. She was still staring blankly up at the ceiling.

Rowena looked down at her, hesitating in the middle of reaching over to turn off the light.

“Will, do you want to talk about it?”

When Willow failed to respond, Rowena shut off the light anyway and then lay down beside her.

After several seconds, Willow finally said, “I thought I believed in karma. The Rule of Three. But I didn’t. Not completely. Not until today.”

“I don’t understand,” Rowena told her.

Even in the dark, Willow hadn’t moved.

“I had them tie Marly to a chair and torture her,” she said, “and it came back on me…back to the people I love.”

Concerned, Rowena put her head up on one arm and looked at her lover.

“Willow, what did they do to you?”

Willow swallowed and rolled over. “I’m not ready to talk about it. Not yet.”

Rowena asked no further questions. Instead, she reached over and protectively stroked the top of Willow’s head.

Fade to Black

Fade In:


Desert – Day

Remote Saudi Arabia

A cluster of tents sat beneath a clear blue sky. Heat radiated off the yellow wasteland of sand and rock in which they stood. The air shimmered and shook beneath the unremitting rays of the sun. There were a couple of all-terrain vehicles parked near the cluster, guarded by a man holding a machine gun.

Cut To:


Tent – Same Time

In the largest of the tents a female figure sat cross-legged on a finely woven carpet, her back to the opening. She wore a blue scarf over her hair. She was quietly reading a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged when a bearded man poked his head through the entrance. He spoke to her in Arabic.

Subtitle: “We just received word from Riyadh.”

The woman did not turn to look at him when she spoke.

Subtitle: “Come in.”

The man entered, carefully closing the tent flap behind him, as if afraid of disturbing the woman. Only after he had completed this task did he speak again.

Subtitle: “They say your plan was a failure. One slayer was seriously injured, but there were no other casualties on their side. None of our demands were met. We are right back where we started.”

Very slowly, the woman placed the book down on the carpet and turned to face him.

Heli fixed the man with a steady gaze. It was enough to make him melt under the pressure and turn away. She spoke surprisingly good Arabic.

Subtitle: “I fulfilled my part of the deal. You helped me, and now I have helped you. Any fault belongs to you, not me.”

She turned back to her book before continuing.

Subtitle: “Our relationship is now terminated. I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning.”

The man immediately began to protest.

Subtitle: “But we must maintain the offensive! Our only chance of gaining from this is to –”

And then Heli was at his side. She swiftly performed what looked like a judo throw and flipped him to the ground, leaving her holding only his arm. She twisted and something snapped. The man screamed, and Heli released him. She spoke very calmly.

Subtitle: “I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning.”

He cradled his broken arm, whimpering, as Heli walked back over to her book. She removed her head scarf as she sat down, revealing her long blond hair. The next thing she said was in English.

“I have things to do.”

Black Out


Special Guest Starring:

Alicia Silverstone as Heli Hamalainen and Alexa Davalos as Gwen Raiden 



End of Lockdown


Next on Watchers…

Ethan juggles drama with the Kreswell and suspects Bureau Nine isn’t all it seems. But the only one to possibly stand against them is the Watchers Council.

Click here to read “Alluvion” now!