Act 2



Fade In:
Council – Robin and Faith’s Apartment – Night


“The cruise ship Tropical Celebration suffered over two dozen casualties,” said the news announcer on the television screen, “including five confirmed deaths. This marks the most open act of at-sea piracy in decades, as well as the most bizarre. Passengers and crew insist they were attacked by – and I quote – a sailing ship right out of a Hollywood movie, complete with cannons and pirate flag.”

Faith’s arms were crossed as she stared at the screen. Beside her sat Robin, watching and saying nothing.

“Coast Guard officials are maintaining a quarantine around the ship,” continued the announcer, “and holding over a hundred material witnesses incommunicado. Yet rumors persist that what attacked the Tropical Celebration was, in fact, supernatural in origin. Tales of vampire pirates, the return of the Flying Dutchman and some kind of demonic kingdom within the fabled Devil’s Triangle are rampant throughout the Caribbean. Reservations on cruise ships are being canceled as fast as travel agents can manage the paperwork.”

“Damn,” muttered Faith.

“Don’t be a sore loser,” said Robin. “The fact is, by any rational standard, you’re not a loser at all.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“The only losers are the victims, the folks we’re supposed to protect.”

Faith sighed. “I got it, Ace, it’s just…” She hesitated.


“Lori. She’s gonna be so damned smug.”

“In more local news,” the announcer continued, “spokespersons for Autumn O’Mara confirm that the Congresswoman is indisposed with a severe bout of flu. She is on the mend and expected to resume her duties shortly.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Library – Same Time

Skye sat at a table across from Rowena, who had a book on her protruding belly.

“You know this was never part of the deal,” Skye said, as her shoulders moved slightly back and forth. Rowena had her feet between Skye’s legs, while the vampire massaged them. “In fact, I thought you were on maternity leave, so doesn’t this constitute work?”

“I’m doing this for fun,” Rowena told her, her eyes never leaving the page.

“Experimenting on and researching me is fun?” Skye asked. “You do realize your children are going to grow up as deranged as you.”

“That’s a chance I’ll just have to take,” Rowena said in a rather absent tone as she continued to read. With a sigh, she put the book down. She looked over to see Willow, Buffy and Dawn walking into the room.

“I see Skye’s finally being useful,” Willow teased.

“You should be the one sitting here doing this,” Skye replied. “It’s not my fault she’s got swollen feet and ankles.”

“Not my fault, either,” Willow replied.

“Yeah, but you helped from what I hear,” Skye said with a smirk.

Dawn and Buffy both smiled and turned away, while Willow blushed and took a seat next to Rowena.

“I thought you were on official leave?” Buffy asked Rowena, looking at the mountain of books around them.

“See?” Skye said, motioning to Buffy.

“I don’t feel rubbing,” Rowena replied to the vampire.

With a roll of her eyes, Skye went back to her task, then turned her head to Dawn. “The things I do for you,” she told her, motioning to Rowena’s feet with her chin.

Dawn grinned. “I make it worth it, though,” she added.

Skye thought for a moment and then gave her a sexy smile. “Yeah, you do.”

“TMI, girls,” Buffy told them, as she took a seat too. “So, whatcha doin’?” she asked Rowena.

“Trying to find out why Skye can work on her tan naturally,” she responded.

“Isn’t this Codex supposed to be chock full of info and fun vamp facts to know?” Dawn asked. She picked the book up and began to thumb through it.

“I don’t remember if I looked in that,” Rowena remarked. “God, I’m losing my mind.”

Willow giggled. “It’s true. Last night, she wanted a fork, a-and she couldn’t remember the name, so she asked for that pointy thing that stabs food.”

“Wow,” Buffy exclaimed.

“This happens to a lot of women actually,” Rowena replied defensively. “Babies suck…” She acted like she was searching for something more to say, but then gave up and said, “brain juice.”

“Actually, it’s iron-deficient anemia,” Willow added. “A woman who’s pregnant doesn’t have enough iron to fuel hemoglobin production for both.”

Rowena pitched a thumb at Willow. “Like she said. Times that by two, thanks to my mother the twin’s DNA, and there you have it.”

“So you can’t remember jack and we’re sitting here, wasting time, because…?” Skye asked.

“Like you have better things to do?” Willow replied. Skye smiled and looked over at Dawn. “Forget I asked.”

Dawn began to giggle, still looking at the book.

“What?” Buffy asked.

“I, uh, I think I found the answer,” she said reluctantly.

“Really?” Rowena responded, coming up into a full sitting position and putting her feet on the floor.

“Thank God,” Skye sighed. She began to shake out her sore fingers and rub them.

“What’s it say?” Buffy asked.

Dawn giggled again. “Well, it’s a little embarrassing actually.” She took the book over to Skye first and showed her the line. Skye read and then began to laugh softly.

“What does it say?” Buffy asked again, punctuating every word.

“You read it,” Dawn told Skye.

“No, you,” she said.

“Someone read the damn book,” Rowena told them.

Buffy pulled it over to her and Skye pointed. The slayer cleared her throat.

“The blood of an immortal can have various properties, with said properties being transfused into the vampire. Such properties may include things like imperviousness to fire, sunlight or holy figures such as holy water, crosses, blah blah blah…” Buffy looked up. “I don’t get it.”

Dawn and Skye continued to giggle. At first Willow and Rowena looked confused, but then they both began to chuckle too.

“Read it again, Buff,” Willow told her.

Silently Buffy looked at the page for a few more seconds. Then her mouth began to hang open. She quickly turned to Dawn.

“You let her drink you!” she declared angrily.

“Oh, and like you’ve never let a vamp have a nip,” Dawn retorted. “Let’s not be holier than thou, okay?”

Buffy opened her mouth twice and closed it each time until she sputtered, “That was different.”

Dawn looked at Willow and said, “It’s always different with her, isn’t it?”

Willow let out a chuckle, but she stopped when Buffy gave her a stern look.

“I can’t believe you let her drink you?” Buffy declared. “That’s just…”

“Kinky and kinda sexy?” Skye asked. Once more, Buffy was speechless.

“I’ve never seen any bite marks on Dawn’s neck,” Rowena said. “Of course, she does heal rather quickly,” she added in an afterthought.

“Sometimes it’s not always her neck,” Skye remarked dryly. A large grin then developed on her face.

Buffy’s jaw was agape again and she was unable to form a sentence immediately. “Okay, I’ve heard enough.”

Everyone at the table chuckled again.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Briefing Room – Morning

“I don’t want to say I told you so,” began Lori.

Buffy held up her hand. “Got it. You were right. Or, I suppose we really ought to say, Jason was right.”

“He usually is.”

“Hey,” said Willow, her brow furrowing. She was seated between Buffy and Rowena. “This is the same guy who came way too close to killing almost everyone in this room, y’know?”

“Are you really one to talk?” Lori leaned on her cane and met Willow’s eyes. “Miss ‘Almost Destroyed the Whole World On Purpose’ herself?”

“This isn’t getting us anywhere,” sighed Giles, on the other side of Buffy. “Cataloging every single error is both pointless and a waste of time.”

“What he said,” agreed Xander, from Giles’s left. Everyone looked at him. “All I’m saying is, there’s a time and a place for everything. Right now we’ve got what looks like a ship full of ghost pirates to deal with, attacking innocents on the high seas.” He blinked. “That sounds cool. I’m sorry. It just does.”

Kennedy shared a nod with Faith, while Lori rolled her eyes.

“And what are we going to do about it?” Robin leaned forward. “I’ll bet Miss Carew has been doing some research.”

“She’s not the only one,” said Giles. “Rowena and I also, if you’ll pardon the expression, hit the books last night.”

“Let’s start with what you turned up,” said Buffy. “Then you, Lori.”

“If we’re right,” said Rowena, “this Captain Harry Fitz-Wolf was a Th’ndi. They’re demons with two forms, one of which is identical to humans.”

Kennedy spoke up. “What’s the other form like?”

“Mostly human,” responded Giles. “Different than the first, but with yellow eyes and usually a kind of magical glyph or tattoo on their face somewhere.”

“Let me guess, they eat raw fish? Or raw humans? Both raw fish and humans?” Buffy asked.

“No more than anyone else,” Giles replied.

“Th’ndi demons are highly charismatic,” explained Rowena. “People find them attractive in the extreme, and so they’re often quite successful seducers. Casanova might have been one, for example. Other than that, though, they’re pretty much…well, people, like Vl’hurgs. Individuals might be dangerous, but as a species they’re harmless.”

“On the other hand,” said Giles, “Captain Fitz-Wolf had been a successful pirate for over a decade when he vanished. There was a sizable price on his head, for kidnapping heiresses, then ransoming them for not-so-small fortunes. He was said to have seduced over half his captives.”

“And they haven’t made a movie about this guy?” Kennedy said. “I’m surprised.”

“There were a couple of operettas in the eighteenth century,” said Rowena. “Not very accurate, but still.”

“Some of them are still performed at St. David,” said Lori. Both Rowena and Giles gave her a surprised look. “It’s an island that likes to bill itself as Pirate Capital of the Caribbean. Pulls in a lot of tourists. Has a pirate museum and everything. Fitz-Wolf is supposed to have founded the town. Oh,” she said almost as an afterthought, “St. David was also the last port of call by the Tropical Celebration before the attack.” She didn’t quite smile at this news.

“I knew it,” muttered Faith.

“Hush,” said Robin.

Lori handed a file to Buffy. “St. David is the name of both the town and the island. In the off-season, it tends to become the headquarters for various treasure seekers, underwater archeologists and the like. There’s a small airport.”

A buzzer on the phone in front of Buffy went off. She picked up the receiver. “Yes? Who? Uh…yeah, that’s possible, I suppose. Just a sec.” Now she looked at Lori. “Is there a Mister Nogura on the Oversight Committee?”

“Oh, yeah. He’s the deputy chairman.”

“Well, he’s in the lobby right now.”

Nobody said anything for several seconds.

“Right,” said Faith. “Like this is some kind of coincidence.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Lobby – Minutes Later

A slender older man turned as the elevator doors opened. Buffy, Giles, Willow, Kennedy, Xander and Lori emerged from the elevator, but his frown did not subside.

“You are Miss Summers?” His accent was slight, but definitely there and vaguely Asian. That he looked down his nose at her seemed a function of more than simply his height.

“That’s me,” she said, smiling and holding out her hand. He did not take it.

“My colleagues,” he said, “wish me to observe your operations in regards to the Caribbean incident. I am to inform you this bears upon our assessment of your organization.” He did not blink. “Presumably, you do have some kind of response prepared?”

“We were deciding on exactly that when you showed up. As a matter of fact,” Buffy glanced at Giles and Lori, “we think we’ve got something of a clue as to what’s behind all this already.”

“Indeed.” His face remained stony.

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” said Giles.

Buffy took a breath. “Lori,” she said, “you can give a general briefing to Mr. Nogura, can’t you? You can do it in the Command Center while Shannon, Lorinda and their watchers get their kits together. Xander, go get them, will you?”

“Sure.” Xander didn’t look too pleased, but he headed away promptly.

“Ah,” said Giles suddenly, “that does make sense, yes.”

“Shannon had the dreams,” Buffy said, “while Lorinda is obviously involved somehow. Or her family is.” She faltered, noticing the steady stare from Nogura. “When you’re dealing with signs and omens and things, it’s a pretty good rule of thumb to pay attention. That’s been my experience, anyway.”

Nogura still said nothing.

“This way to the Command Center, sir” said Lori, indicating the elevator.

“I look forward to your briefing,” he said, moving after a few moments. The others watched him and Lori go. They watched the doors of the elevator close, hiding his unblinking eyes taking in all their faces, all their words, everything about them to be seen.

“This is such a fun day to come to work,” said Kennedy, breaking the silence.

Cut To:
Garden – Night

Lorinda moved swiftly, albeit on tiptoe. She wove her way through the hedge maze, making hardly a sound as she did so. Her red hair was loose, a flowing mane around her head. Above, the moon was almost full, helping her find her way.

On the other side of the maze stood a wall. Before leaving the maze, she looked around in every direction. Then she ran to the wall, to a spot invisible from the main house, even with a telescope.

“Harry?” was her whisper.

“Here, my sweet.” A figure emerged from the shadows. He was tall and slender, with golden hair and a short, pointed beard.

Lorinda leaned against the wall and smiled a welcome. Harry drank in the sight of her.

“Tonight,” he said.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Slayer Dorms – Morning

Shannon’s eyes flew open. She blinked. She looked around. She took a deep breath.

One half second later, someone knocked at her door. A half second after that, the door opened and revealed Dawn.

“Hey,” said her watcher, “get up and get dressed. We’ve got a mission.”

Shannon blinked again. “Does this have something to do with the dreams?”

“Looks like.”


“And,” Dawn hesitated, “Lorinda’s coming along too.” Shannon sighed. Dawn smiled. “On the other hand, we’ll be going somewhere warm. That’s gotta be a plus, right?”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Command Center – Later

“I want to go along on this one,” Xander stated.

Buffy raised her eyebrows. “That’s fine with me, but why?”

“Just…well, a feeling I have is all.” Xander glanced in the direction of Mr. Nogura, who watched all this from a seat at the conference table across the room. Lori, seated beside him, had her laptop in front of her and was saying something. Nogura’s eyes were on Buffy and Xander.

“Look,” Xander continued, “why’re you sending just two slayers and their watchers into this?”

“Because of the dreams. This thing has got ‘destiny-y’ written all over it.” She stumbled a little over the new and almost unpronounceable word. Then she continued in a rush. “Besides, Dawn can’t be killed, so that’s a plus. And Jeff is the Council’s Seer. Figure he’ll have an edge when it comes to prophecies and stuff. Together, he and Dawn are pretty kick-ass in the magic department, to boot.”

“Okay, since we’re flying on intuition-pilot for now, here’s my intuition – let me go, too.”

“Uh. Can you give me a little more to go on?”

“Weapons master.”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m a weapons expert. We don’t really know enough about weapons being used. That’s my job when we get there.”

Buffy looked at him. “You sure you don’t just want to get out of Cleveland in December?”

With another glance at Nogura, Xander said, “Positive.”

“Okay,” said Buffy with a sigh.

Cut To:
St. David Airport – Evening

The twin-engine plane with the Watchers Council logo came to a halt on the runway. Minutes later, the hatch opened and a party of five emerged, each with one piece of luggage.

“Okay,” Lorinda was saying, “but if we do need to get a swimsuit, then we can buy some with our Council credit cards, right?”

“Absolutely,” said Jeff with a nod. “Right, Dawn?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I think that’s a good idea,” said Shannon.

“Of course it is,” said Jeff. “All the two of you have to do is persuade Dawn and me that you actually do need swimsuits.” He emphasized the word and smiled.

“Ah,” said Dawn. Both slayers looked a little less pleased.

“I don’t know,” said Xander, “I don’t think it should be impossible for the two of you to persuade our two watchers, not on the issue of swimsuits, anyway.”

Shannon and Lorinda brightened.

Dawn looked at him. “Perv. You just want to see teenagers in bikinis.”

“And you don’t?”

She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Jeff laughed.

Cut To:
St. David Airport – Moments Later

The building was not large, but it had lots of character. Ships in bottles dotted shelves along the walls. Murals of less than average quality had been painted along most walls. Little pirate flags, as well as stuffed parrots, were on sale at a concession stand. A tiny restaurant was done up entirely in nautical themes, complete with portholes.

All five of them entered the little building and immediately noticed the public T.V. in one corner. The television itself wasn’t so noteworthy, but the dozen other people in the room clustered around it were. Slayers, watchers and Xander all caught a glimpse of the screen, showing a private yacht, or what was left of it. The sails were torn and partially burned. One mast was broken. Police were swarming over the yacht, while two people in different uniforms were carrying a body bag onto the dock, where an ambulance could be seen, waiting.

“Private yacht Cynthia had been reported missing ten hours ago,” said an unseen reporter, “and a Coast Guard cutter brought the ship into harbor just minutes ago. Although no details are yet available, this latest attack is bound to increase the number of rumors running rampant about ghost ships and zombie pirates.”

“Not good,” said Xander in a low voice.

“Well, that’s why we’re here, right?” said Jeff.

“Yeah,” said Dawn.

“I say we table all discussion of swimsuits until after this is cleared up,” suggested Shannon. “Okay, Lorinda? Lorinda?”

Lorinda didn’t answer. She was staring away from the television. Her attention was on one of several paintings along one wall. None was particularly good, but each clearly was meant to be a portrait of some famous pirate. One showed a man with wild eyes and a mane of black hair, bloody cutlass in his hand. Behind him was a ship with a red flag. The name of the ship could be clearly read: Queen Anne’s Revenge. Lorinda’s attention, however, was on the portrait beside that one. She walked toward it.

“Hey! Lorinda!” Shannon didn’t quite shout.

Jeff, on the other hand, joined her. The others followed him after a moment.

The portrait Lorinda stared at showed a handsome blonde man with a neat little beard, almost like a musketeer. The ship behind him flew a typical pirate flag, but the skull had horns. And the name of the ship, like the other portrait, was clearly visible: Lorinda’s Kiss.

“Anybody else expect to hear the Twilight Zone theme start any minute?” asked Xander quietly.

Black Out


End of Act Two

Go Back Next Act