Watchers Council – Training Room – Same Time
“And this, ladies, is a P90 submachine gun,” Siobhan said, displaying the weapon to a small group of junior slayers, with Lorinda and Shannon front and center. While Shannon looked at the gun rather indifferently, Lorinda gazed at the weapon with lustful eyes. “Developed in Belgium,” Siobhan went on, “proving that the country does indeed export things other than stellar chocolate.”
Shannon leaned over to Lorinda. “Ever shoot anything like that?”
“Noooope,” Lorinda replied, sounding distinctly wistful.
“Ladies, you with us?” Siobhan looked over at them with an inclined brow and puckered lips.
“Yes,” Lorinda answered, nodding.
“Now, the P90 uses a five point seven by twenty-eight millimeter cartridge. The bullets have a greater penetrating capability, a lethal range far greater than any standard minor firearm.” Siobhan marched up to the crowd of slayers. “It’s lightweight, yet durable and easy to load. It does have a slight recoil, but we are superchicks, after all, so what’s a little kickback? It does come with a laser aiming module.” She trained the gun on the wall and pressed a small button beneath the barrel, which released a narrow red beam. Then she gave the group a sober stare. “Don’t kid yourself into thinking that you don’t need assistance, just because we slayers are so kick-arse…’cause when you’re in that mindset, that’s when you get complacent and sloppy, and y’know, that’s when you get killed.”
Siobhan pulled a scope out of her pocket and screwed it onto the sight. “The P90 can also be used as a sniper rifle. It’s an all-round winner. Before the merge, the Bureau Nine slayers had just started to adopt the P90 for use in lightly-populated areas – the poles, deserts, places of that nature. Currently, we’re looking to do the same here. Right now we’re developing extra attachments, such as a stun pulse beam and a motion detector. When these get finished, I’ll give you the rundown on how they work. So, any questions, my lovelies?”
“Yeah, just one thing, Miss Hartley,” Lorinda piped up.
Siobhan snorted. “Please, Siobhan. Miss Hartley sounds so prim and proper, something I am clearly not.” The girls giggled. “What is it?”
Lorinda waited for a beat, and then she slumped forward and grinned. “Can I hold it?”
Siobhan smirked. “Sure,” she said as she walked down to Lorinda.
She handed the P90 to Lorinda. She gripped the gun tightly and pulled it up to her shoulder, where she leaned in and looked through the sight.
Just then, the door to the training room opened, and March, followed by Xander and Lori, walked in.
“…and this –” Xander was saying when he stopped cold. “What the hell?” he exclaimed at seeing Lorinda holding the weapon.
The junior slayers all turned towards the door, as did Siobhan. Lorinda turned around with the gun pointed at Xander, Lori and March and looked down the sight. They jumped, and Lorinda immediately lowered the gun.
“What is going on here?” Xander marched over to Lorinda, snatched the gun from her and shoved it under Siobhan’s face.
“Playing Yoda to our very own band of Jedis.” Siobhan placed a hand on her hip. “And would you mind…?” She squirmed at the gun being shoved in her face. When Xander didn’t promptly remove it, she grabbed it from him and held it at her side.
“Yeah, I do mind!” he protested.
“What exactly is your problem?” Lori shouted at him. She hobbled over to him and Siobhan with March in tow. “You know, I’ve had just about enough from you today!”
“Oh you‘ve had enough? Really? Now you know that’s interesting, Lori, because if I recall, you were kinda enjoying getting all up in my face!” he barked at her.
“Only because you’ve been treating me and every other former B-Niner in the building like crap!” Lori shot back.
“Discrimination in the workplace?” March said. She produced a black flip pad from her blazer, as well as a pen. “Well, we can’t have that.” She cast her eyes down to the pad and started to scribble something down. Xander rolled his eyes.
“Look, maybe I’m just dim, but I really don’t see what the problem is?” Siobhan cut in. “The gun wasn’t even loaded! So what’s the deal?”
“Oh yeah, haven’t you heard, Siobhan?” Lori threw in. “He doesn’t do guns of any kind.”
Siobhan snorted. “What?” She looked at Lori, confused, then glanced at Xander. “So you’re all right with fitting these girls out with a boatload of sharp and pointies that they can lift with their pinkies, but you’re not all right with them carrying a gun? A gun that has a safety? Blimey, I’d be more worried about stabbing myself with a battleaxe on my back,” she said with a slight chuckle.
“Guns create a crutch,” Xander explained. “They make slayers less special and more like soldiers! Something which you, Ms. March…” He sharply turned his head toward her. “…didn’t want happening to these girls! Or have you changed your mind. like every other member of Oversight?”
March cleared her throat. “No, Mr. Harris, I have not changed my mind. If an ex-slayer wishes to be a soldier, that’s her decision, and should be her decision alone. However, I do not share your belief that slayers should not be trained with firearms. I believe that it is vital for them to be capable and adept in all varieties of weaponry.”
“But what if we don’t want to carry a gun?” Shannon posed to anyone who would listen. “I mean, I seem to be doing just fine with what I have now. And I know if I took a shot at a demon and missed, and I hit somebody, well, I’d feel pretty bad.”
Xander waved a hand in her direction. “Out of the mouths of babes,” he told them. “If you want to arm every slayer, you might as well just train up civilians, give ’em a rifle, point them in the vague direction of a demon lair and send them on their merry way!”
“I’m teaching these girls how to use guns for other products we have in development now. Would you rather we forgo giving them every advantage?” Siobhan asked.
“Siobhan, every advantage means training them to rely on their brains and their brawn, not a P-90 or a Glock. Our policy since day one, and our experience…” Xander’s voice rose to a higher octave. “…has been that guns cause more problems than they’re worth. Plus, they’re too indiscriminate, which, by the way, brings us back to those oh so very Perfect Dark uniforms you brought up earlier.”
“Yeah, about those. Any luck getting them in purple?” Lorinda looked to Siobhan, who shook her head and waved her and the other slayers away.
“That’s bull, and you know it!” Lori rejoined the fray. She threw her hands up in the air. “What exactly is your problem?”
“My problem is what Shannon mentioned,” Xander told her. “Guns in the general slayer population is not something we have done, or will ever do. There are just too many things that can go wrong.”
“Don’t you think your objections might have more to do with the fact that a former Bureau Nine employee is teaching the junior slayers, Mr. Harris?” March asked with a raised brow.
Xander swiftly turned to her as if to let a major rant rip, but he just clenched his jaw and enunciated, with great emphasis, “No.”
“Well, it seems to me –” March began.
“Gather around, slayers,” Xander interrupted her, essentially ignoring her. “Let me tell you a story about what a gun can do. A man used a gun once to try to kill Buffy. I watched an ambulance take her to the hospital while I was covered in her blood from trying to stop it from pumping out of her chest. She would have died from that gunshot, had Willow not been there to use magic to save her.”
“Really?” Shannon asked.
Xander nodded. “But here’s the saddest thing…when this guy fired, he did exactly what you’re worried about, Shannon.” Xander paused for a moment, looking around the room. He bit his lip for a short moment before continuing. “One bullet strayed. It went through a window and shot Willow’s girlfriend through the heart. She was dead before she ever hit the ground. And later that night, I had to watch the hospital come and put her in a body bag.” The slayers in the group began to look at one another. Xander then turned to Lori and Siobhan. “So do I have a bias against guns? You bet I do. I’ve personally watched how a gun in the wrong hands can take a life in seconds, and shatter countless others as a result. Now, you can say it was one incident, one disturbed man. That’s certainly true. But what happens if Shannon, or Lorinda, or any other girl here ends up doing the same thing by accident.” Xander began to look angry again. “How are you going to explain the incident to the family of the friendly fire victim? How are you going to deal with the guilt these girls will go through? Can you answer me that?”
Grace burst into the room. “Is everything okay? I heard shouting.” She walked over to Xander, Lori, Siobhan and March. She caught sight of the P90 on the side behind Siobhan. “Oh hey, a P90! Cool. They use them in Stargate.”
“Where the hell have you been?” Xander roared at Grace. “A watcher’s supposed to sit in on training. This is your class, right?”
She blinked and took a step back. “R-right. I-I…I had to step out.”
He blew out a sigh. “What’s the matter? Your Guild need you? Or were you scheduled for a midday raid at the Fargodeep Mines?”
“What?” Grace screwed her face up, disgusted. “No! Who do you think I am?”
“I honestly don’t know anymore,” Xander said. Then he asked, “Did you sign off on the guns?”
“Xander!” Lori shouted.
“Grace, did you sign off on the guns?” he asked again, this time with more teeth behind his words.
She nodded. “Yeah, yeah I did.”
Xander snorted a laugh.
“What? They need to learn how to use them. It’s in their training program,” Grace said in defense of her decision.
“Just whose side are you on?” Xander looked at Grace.
She let out an angry huff. “I am literally gonna be sick if I hear any more about bloody sides!” Grace raised her voice. “We are one organization now. One. The sooner you and everyone else who has a problem gets that into their heads, the better!” She waved her hand dismissively and said, in a grumble, “The way things are going lately, we might as well just divvy up and have ourselves a battle royale in the lobby! And anyway,” she said, hitching her thumb at herself, “I’m a watcher. I’m responsible for these girls, not you!”
“Oh my, how far you’ve come,” Xander shot back sarcastically. “From a whiny newbie to a total power snob.”
Grace looked hurt. She swallowed hard, sniffed, and shook her hair back behind her shoulders. “I’d rather be a power snob any day than a paranoid conspiracy-freak nut-job! And while we’re on the topic, even though I shouldn’t have to explain myself, if I feel it’s in the slayers’ best interests that they learn how to use firearms, then that’s gospel, got it?”
He smirked back at her. “No, you get this…I’m the weapons master here. So it’s not your call which weapons go out with a slayer, it’s mine. And for the record, I will be letting Chairwoman Summers know about this.”
Xander glanced back at Lori and Siobhan, then cast his eyes over to March. The older woman raised her head and looked down her nose at him. He turned back to Grace and barged past her, knocking her shoulder as he stomped out the door.
Grace steadied herself, and as she did so, she looked at Lori, Siobhan and March. Shocked and surprised, she blinked her slightly wet eyes and let out a heavy sigh.
Watchers Council – Staging Area – Same Time
A squad of slayers decked out in black, nondescript combat uniforms milled around as they waited to be given their orders. Faith and Kennedy were in the corner at the back, talking quietly in preparation for briefing the squad.
Casey gave Hadley a nudge and asked, “Any idea what this is all about?” Denise heard the question and turned to hear the answer.
Hadley leaned over and said in a low voice, “I hear Kadin’s been nabbed again.”
Denise huffed in disgust. “You know, everybody thinks Van Helsing is such a hotshot. Well, if she’s so hot, then how come she manages to get herself kidnapped once a year?”
Casey ignored Denise’s insensitive comment. “Was it those werewolf guys?” she asked.
“Ya know, we really shoulda wiped those guys out first time we heard of ’em,” Denise interjected.
Hadley shook her head. “It’s not the Knights. It’s some kinda secret military operation,” she explained, “wantin’ to make Van Helsing into their ultimate soldier.”
Casey winced. “Are they, like, doin’ experiments on her and stuff?”
Hadley nodded ruefully, but Denise just chuckled and said, “Just what we need…blue beasty soldiers.”
Denise found herself suddenly whipped around and forcefully gripped by a furious Kennedy. “Kennedy, hey, I…” she babbled, trying to smooth over the situation.
Kennedy pulled her close and stared her down. “You’re off the mission.” Then she pointed at the door. Faith stepped up next to Kennedy and stood with her arms crossed.
In disbelief, Denise looked at Kennedy and then at Faith. “Are you serious?”
“You heard her,” Faith said. “So take a hike.”
Denise made a face, then stomped out.
“Anybody else got something to say?” Kennedy challenged.
No one said a word, and most glanced away, unwilling to meet Kennedy’s fiery eyes. After a tense moment, both Kennedy and Faith moved to the front of the room, and Faith took her place at the podium.
“Okay, listen up,” Faith announced. “As some of you have already apparently heard, Kadin’s been kidnapped, and she’s being held at some secret facility. We’re gonna bust her out. But this is no ordinary mission. We won’t be going up against vampires or Vutch demons or anything like that. We’re going up against the United States military, and that means humans. Heavily armed and well trained humans, but humans nonetheless. So that means kid gloves, non-lethal weapons only.”
“What about when it comes to Kadin?” Hadley ventured to ask. “I mean, when she changes, she’s…” The slayer trailed off and shrugged.
Faith leaned forward to emphasize her next words. “In no way, shape or form are any of you to engage Kadin if you find her. You keep your distance, and you call me and Ken. Everybody clear?”
After nods all around, Casey asked, with both concern and apprehension, “This facility, this group, what they’re doing…what are we gonna find there?”
Faith glanced briefly at Kennedy, then looked back at Casey. “We’re not really sure,” she replied, “but whatever it is…chances are it won’t be pretty.”
Watchers Council – Cafeteria – Minutes Later
Nursing a now-lukewarm cup of tea, Grace sat with her cheek propped up on her fist.
“I just can’t believe how nasty he was,” she said to an intently listening Jeff and Hope, who sat opposite her.
“Yeah, he was a little OTT, and if I‘m saying that…” chimed Lorinda, sitting beside the sullen watcher.
Jeff shook his head. “‘Shocked’ isn’t the word. Well, ‘shocked’ is the word, but isn’t there something a little more…”
“Aghast?” Hope threw in. “Funnily enough, it’s my word of the day. If that ain’t a coinky-dink.”
He nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, I think that’ll do it,” he smiled softly at his fiancé.
“Well, at least you held your own,” Lorinda added. Grace rolled her eyes. “You did,” she insisted, then sat up to look at Jeff and Hope. “You should have seen her. She was all like…” She lowered her brow and said, in her best exaggerated expression, “…’I’m a watcher, not you’!”
“Yeah, and then he called me a power snob and tossed around being the Weapons Master,” Grace said. “I mean, yeah, who doesn’t like power, but me a snob?” She shrugged her shoulders, waited for a moment, and then nodded. “Well, maybe I am a little snobbish, but was all that justified?”
“Of course it wasn’t,” Jeff piped up. “He shouldn’t be making character attacks, but I gotta say, he makes a valid point.”
“So now you think I’m a snob?”
“Say what?” Lorinda asked at the same time.
“No, not the snob thing, About the guns,” Jeff clarified.
“I can’t have a gun?” Lorinda asked.
Jeff chuckled. “Lorinda, you know I respect you as a slayer, but there’s no way in heaven or hell I’d give you a gun.”
“But they’re cool,” she said.
“And that’s why,” Jeff told her. “They’re not cool. They’re a means of protection and a last resort. Until you really understand that, I wouldn’t let you have one.”
“First, Xander, then Casey and now you,” Grace muttered.
“What’s wrong with Casey?” Jeff asked.
“Well, now she’s in the same boat as Xander. I mean, they’re both my friends. Casey’s my BFF, we even have the little necklace thingy, except it’s a little too kitsch for my taste, so I keep it in my jewelry box.” Grace sat up and rubbed her eyes. “This is all just too much. I was only doing my job.”
Jeff sighed. “Again, I kinda agree with what Casey was saying about the uniforms being too indiscriminate, but I also see what Siobhan was getting at.”
“‘Stuck in The Middle’ is playing in my head right now,” Hope added.
“Oh, and Xander laid on this heartfelt ‘guns are evil’ speech and said he’s going to tell Buffy,” Grace continued. “Talk about a hypocrite – heck, I heard Buffy took down this huge demon in a mall back in Sunnydale with a rocket launcher! Plus, the fact that slayers have used guns and do use guns. I really don’t see what the problem is. They’re just another form of weaponry in the right hands.”
“I have to agree with Ms. March. I’m guessing it’s a ‘Bureau Nine thing’,” Lorinda said, making quotation marks with her fingers.
“Is it really that bad that we can’t get along?” Hope asked, somewhat rhetorically.
“Seems that way,” Grace sighed. “Well, I guess I’m off Xander’s Holiday card list.”
Jeff swallowed his bite of sandwich and cleared his throat. “You want me to talk to him? I see both of your points here, I really do.”
Grace shook her head. “No. Last thing we all need right now is some more drama.” She collapsed forward onto the table and covered her head with her hands.
Hope looked over at Jeff and nodded toward Grace. Jeff fashioned a furrowed brow. Then Hope mouthed “movie.” Jeff’s eyes went wide, and he nodded and gave her a thumbs-up. Lorinda just looked confused.
“Hey Grace,” Jeff said. She glanced up and then sat back in her seat. “Why don’t you come out with us tonight?”
“We’re going to see a movie, and then we’re going for something to eat,” Hope said with a bright smile.
“Might cheer you up,” Jeff added.
“Hey, can I tag along?” Lorinda asked.
“Are you sad?” Jeff looked at her.
She shrugged her shoulders. “Can be if you wanna.”
Grace seemed to consider their offer. As she looked back to Jeff and Hope, she noticed his hand resting on top of hers, their fingers laced together. She let out another sigh and shook her head. “Nah, thanks for the offer, but I think I wanna stay in tonight. You know, curl up with the TV remote and die.”
Lorinda raised both her eyebrows as she sipped on her can of soda. She placed the can down on the table and turned to Grace. “I know the perfect thing to cheer you up.”
Watchers Council – Lorinda’s Dorm Room – Minutes Later
Grace stared in shock at the huge screen and the pile of DVDs on the table next to it. “What kind of allowance do your folks give you?”
“Allowance?” Lorinda snickered. “I don’t have an allowance. I have a credit card. Go over the limit, and there’ll be hell to pay, but since it’s platinum…” She shrugged.
“You couldn’t be more alien to me if you had three heads.”
Lorinda pointed a finger at her. “That’s not the way to get me to spend some of this unearned money on you, you know.”
“That is the most mercenary thing I’ve ever heard come out of anyone’s mouth. Ever.”
She shrugged. “Hey, I’m honest. Most people can’t handle it. And speaking of handling things, what you need to do is unwind. Kick up your feet, unclench that jaw, relax.”
“Is this a come-on? Are you trying to…?” Grace didn’t get any further because Lorinda exploded into giggles.
“Let’s just say, unlike half the women around here, I’m not into girls,” she said, between snorts. “I know that for certain.” The last two words had enough finality in them to make Grace do a double-take.
“Why do I feel like there’s a possibly illegal story behind those words?”
“Not illegal, exactly. Well, maybe. Technically.”
“It’s just – well, high school boys are just that, boys. Found that out the hard way last year.”
“Uh…okay. I’ll bite.”
Parking herself on the bed, Lorinda almost looked coy. “You know that high school about a quarter mile away? We keep seeing the students at the pizza place and the mall. Anyway, some nickel-back or something on one of their teams asked me to his prom. Cute, huh?”
“Actually, he was cute. Wanted to show me off. Bring a rich slayer for all to see.” She shrugged. “Hey, I didn’t mind. The thing was, he wouldn’t take ‘maybe’ for an answer. Just a little patience, I swear, but like I said, he was just a boy.”
“Oh my God, what happened?”
“What do you think?”
Grace went pale at the thought.
“Don’t worry, I didn’t break any of his bones. And that one tooth was an accident. Honest. I even did my best to keep from giving him any bruises. But I did teach him a lesson.” An almost evil chuckle followed. “I was reading up on abnormal psychology the other day, and it occurred to me that I might have actually turned that boy into a masochist. Anyway, that brings up a much nicer, if naughtier, subject – and one that you’d be well-advised to listen to, at least when it comes to relaxing.”
“I’m listening,” Grace said.
“College tutors,” said Lorinda with a wink. “Older, smarter and nine times out of ten oh-so-much-shyer. Shy enough you have to lead them by the hand, so to speak. If you insist – and I do – they’ll get their hair done up nice, wear some good clothes, take care of themselves a little bit. Swimming’s good for that, by the way. Tones up the whole body, but isn’t a team sport. Believe you me, college students offering themselves as tutors are a gold mine in the boyfriend department. Or, as I like to think of them, my boy harem.” Lorinda grinned broadly at this.
Grace’s jaw had gone slack. “Has anyone ever called you a whore?”
At that Lorinda snorted again. “I’m the one paying. If anything, they’re the whores. Only, I’m polite enough not to call them that. Anyway, I can introduce you. They’re cute.”
“I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
“Why not?” Now it was Lorinda who did a double-take. “Oh my God.”
“I think I just figured out something.”
“No, you didn’t. Let’s watch a movie.”
“Bet I did.”
“No bet. Because…I’m not talking about this. No way. No. Full stop. Forget about it. This is not something up for discussion.” When Lorinda looked at her in amazement, Grace squeaked, “I mean it!”
“You’re a virgin,” Lorinda said. “That’s it, isn’t it?”
Grace walked over to the pile of DVDs on Lorinda’s desk. She grabbed the first few. “Okay, Doctor Who. An oldie but a goodie. I like the new ones, what I’ve seen of them, anyway. Too bad about Rose Tyler. Oh, are these the third season? Cool! I’ve heard good things about it!” She stared at the cover. Then she showed it to Lorinda. There on the cover was the title of the episode: “The Shakespeare Code.” Below those words were the Doctor and his new Companion, Martha Jones. “Does that girl look familiar to you at all?”
Lorinda shrugged and ignored the question. “It’s okay, you know?”
“Cool, Doctor Who it is then,” Grace said, holding the DVD up for approval.
“No, being a virgin,” Lorinda told her. “I mean, it’s okay if you are. There’s no rule that says you have to have sex. Truth is…sometimes I wished I had waited…or at least found a guy that knew what the heck he was doing.”
Grace giggled a little at that.
“So…anyone around here look tempting? ‘Cause lord knows you don’t go anywhere but to the library on most Friday nights.”
Grace blushed, but said nothing.
“Xander? Jeff?” Lorinda guessed. “I bet it’s Jeff, huh?”
“Look, can we just watch the DVD?” Grace asked. “I’m supposed to be relaxing, remember? The Spanish Inquisition on my sex life, or lack thereof, isn’t helping.”
Lorinda smiled. “I’ll leave you alone…for now.”
Grace smiled, too, but shook her head.
Council Van – Same Time
An unmarked van was parked outside the above-ground entrance to the hidden military facility, with Willow, Buffy, Dawn and Skye inside. The four women were sitting in the back section, camped around Willow and her array of laptops. As Willow’s fingers flew over the keys of one computer, the monitor showed different images from the military’s internal camera system.
In one shot, they could see Faith and Kennedy leading their squad of slayers. The whole group looked around nervously.
Willow scanned a schematic on another computer, then moved to yet a third computer and began typing commands.
Military Facility – Same Time
Faith had her hand poised over the door. Hearing a soft buzz and then a click, she pushed the handle down and the door opened.
“Thank you, Red,” she said sweetly into her headset.
Council Van – Same Time
Willow grinned with a sense of pride as she went back to her monitors.
“You’re all clear, girls,” she replied. “Still got your map?”
“Yep,” came Faith’s reply over the laptop speakers.
“Good. As soon as you’re inside, I’m lockin’ that place down. Except for a handful o’ folks in the hallways, you won’t have to face a soul.”
Military Facility – O.R. Observation Area – Same Time
Dr. Goodell strode purposefully into the observation area, letting the door close softly behind her. When she heard the magnetic lock engage, she turned back to the door and pulled the handle. The door didn’t budge.
“What the –?” she mumbled. Then a muffled clang behind her drew her attention away from the door. She turned toward the window of the operating room.
When she looked at the large viewing pane on the wall, she noticed that the operating room was dark, except for the occasional split-second blink from a fluorescent light. The doctor cautiously moved toward the glass.
When she got to the window, she drew in a frightened breath. There was bright red blood covering large portions of the interior of the glass. Handprints and finger streaks were smeared through the crimson liquid, creating a twisted semblance of a stained glass window.
The operating room was eerily silent, save for the occasional pop from the fluorescent overheads. The flickers of light were too brief for her to see anything, so she moved closer, her eyes wide with fear.
She cupped her hands around her eyes and looked through the glass. With the light from the observation area, she was able to catch a glimpse of what looked like demolished equipment – and more blood, much more. She pulled back and reached for the radio on her belt.
Suddenly, a large, blood-covered hand smacked against the window in front of her, causing her to jump and drop the radio. Within seconds, she saw the surgeon’s face slam against the glass next to his hand.
“Oh my God…” Dr. Goodell whispered. She reached out toward the surgeon as his dying eyes met hers.
“We…we were w-w-wrong,” he wheezed with his last breath. “God help us…we were…” He never finished his sentence. Instead, his lifeless body slumped to the floor.
With tears streaming down her face, Dr. Goodell lifted her hand to cover her mouth, unable to take her eyes off the window. When a figure behind the glass suddenly moved in front of her, she gasped loudly and took a step back, reaching blindly at her belt for the radio that she had already dropped. There, in the faint light from the observation area, she saw a fully transformed Kadin.
The hunter’s body had turned completely blue – a dark blue, nearly black, with a slight sheen that shimmered atop hard, lean muscles. Her fingers had acquired long, razor-sharp claws, and her teeth had transformed into ragged fangs. Her eyes were as black as pitch, and they gleamed dangerously in the limited light.
Kadin locked those eyes on Dr. Goodell as she crept closer to the glass. The doctor was frozen in fear and could make no move to escape. She screamed in terror, though, when Kadin burst through the glass and into the observation room. Before she could even turn to run, Kadin was on her, wrapping her clawed hand around Dr. Goodell’s throat, choking off the woman’s desperate screams. Struggling to breathe, the doctor reached up with both hands and grasped futilely at Kadin’s wrist. Kadin’s expression darkened, and she opened her mouth in a snarl.
The booming voice caught the hunter’s attention. She turned and looked just in time to see a tranquilizer dart hurtling towards her. She watched as it collided with her shoulder, its needle snapping off the instant it hit her flesh. Then the dart fell uselessly to the floor.
Kennedy looked up from her spot behind the tranquilizer gun. “Well, that answers that,” she grumbled unhappily.
As slayers poured in and around Kennedy and began closing in on Kadin, the hunter growled and flung Dr. Goodell through the broken window behind her. Their weapons drawn, the slayers eased back from Kadin so that they could better react to her next move.
Crouching and snarling, Kadin ran her eyes along the sea of black-clad slayers. Then, with a roar, she took off, heading straight for Kennedy.
Council Van – Same Time
Buffy looked shifted in her seat uncomfortably. “This whole thing feels just way too familiar,” she said. “And not in a good way.”
Willow nodded in agreement. “Been there, done that and even got the camo fatigues.”
“Lithuania my ass,” Buffy muttered. “I bet Riley’s here, and he’ll jump out of those bushes any minute now.”
Skye’s eyebrow quirked up in curiosity. “Riley?” she asked innocently. “You mean that army guy she used to –?”
Dawn put her hand over Skye’s and just nodded.
“Normally,” Willow said, “I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but this whole thing just reeks, y’know?”
“I hear ya,” Buffy answered with a frown.
“Seriously, Buff,” Willow continued. “What if they’re up to their old tricks, and Kadin is just the tip of the iceberg?”
Buffy shrugged. “At least we know how to kill demonic Frankenstein creations if they’ve got one of those brewin’. That’s a plus, right?” she asked with a slight grin.
Willow grinned in response and opened her mouth to reply, but Skye cut her off.
“Hey look!” the vampire said, pointing to one of the screens. “Kadin’s trying to kill Kennedy.” Skye’s face lit up in a grin as she watched the hunter’s attack. “And she looks wicked cool.”
Willow’s expression fell as she looked from the screen over to Buffy and then back again.
“Crap,” the witch sighed.
End of Act Three