act 4



Fade In:
Small Airfield – Next Day

The sheer noise of the machine was deafening. The whine of a jet engine mixed with the already overwhelming whirr of helicopter blades spinning up.

Buffy stood on the tarmac of the isolated airfield, one hand on her hip and the other holding her Scythe. “It’s a jet helicopter.” She was shouting over the din.

“Yep,” Xander agreed, coming up behind her and leaning over her shoulder.

“It’s a both a jet and a helicopter.”


“That seems like overkill to me.”

Xander grinned.

Kennedy, Gwen, Ethan, Siobhan and Casey walked toward the two of them across the tarmac. Kennedy and Casey carried a few slim weapons, but overall the group was traveling extremely light. Miss Sanger, representative of Oversight, walked with them.

When the group reached them, Sanger offered Buffy her hand. Buffy hesitated before taking it.

“So we do meet again,” Sanger shouted.

“What?” Buffy asked.

“I said, so we do meet again.”

Buffy smiled a little. “Thanks for the lift.”

“No problem,” Sanger replied. “The Captain of the Erie is expecting you, but that’s about all we can do. We can’t give orders to the captain of a boat at sea on his own vessel.”

Buffy looked at her blankly.

“Maybe I should write it down,” Sanger offered.

Buffy nodded gratefully.

Cut To:
Sanger’s Limousine – Moments Later

Sanger got into the back of a limousine, slamming the door behind her. She sighed and relaxed for a short moment before speaking to the driver. “We’re meeting at the bunker,” she said.

He nodded, and the limousine pulled out. The shrill sound of Sanger’s phone ringing filled the vehicle. She answered, “What?”

After listening for only a few seconds, she flicked the phone shut and turned on a tiny television set in one corner of the limo. Rock Cartwright was on the screen.

“We have reports coming in at this hour that an arrest warrant has been issued for an additional member of the Watchers Council following what is being called a ‘terrorist attack’ on a government warehouse in Cleveland,” Cartwright announced

Several photographs came up on the television. “Andrew Wells was officially named and was last seen traveling with an unknown female, possibly of Hispanic descent, according to reports we’re getting,” Cartwright continued. “As you are no doubt aware, Council Coven High Priestess Willow Rosenberg is already…”

Sanger turned off the television, leaned back in her seat, and let out a breath. “Oh, wonderful.”

Cut To:
Ocean – Day

The water stretched, blue and unchanging, into oblivion. Then, slowly, a great metal beast rose from the depths. Whitecaps slid off the Erie‘s sleek black hull.

Out of the gray sky in the distance, the Oversight Committee’s jet helicopter approached.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Hallway – Minutes Later

Buffy’s team followed a soldier in single file down a cramped hallway. Exposed pipes, painted a monotonous gray, hugged the walls.

“Ah, yes,” Ethan commented. “The United States military. The discipline. The claustrophobia. It brings back so many wonderful memories.”

“You know,” Kennedy told him, “we do want to try our best to make a good impression here.”

“Unfortunately for you,” Ethan replied, “I am trying my best.”

Behind him, Gwen cracked a half-smile.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Captain’s Office – Moments Later

The Captain didn’t get up from his desk to greet his visitors. He had a square jaw and sharp nose and was dressed comfortably. “You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t jump for joy,” he told them.

“Hey!” Kennedy stepped forward. “We’re trying to help you here.”

The Captain looked from Kennedy to Buffy. “Do all your slayers talk back to their superior officers like this?”

Buffy shrugged. “Actually…”

“You’re not my superior anything!” Kennedy protested.

“And I don’t appreciate a bunch of civilians coming in here and telling me how to run my boat!” the Captain snapped back.

“Captain Rigg,” Xander said reasonably, “we’re not butting in on your command. We’re here to warn you about an imminent threat to your nuclear wessel.”

Silence descended for a moment. Then Casey asked, “Was that a Star Trek reference?”

“Yes,” Xander said defensively.

Captain Rigg made an exasperated noise in his throat.

Buffy placed a manila folder down on the captain’s desk. “We have official observer status for this…hoedown cruise?”

“Shakedown cruise,” Xander corrected.

“Hoedown cruise might be a bit more of a laugh, I expect,” Casey giggled.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Your higher-ups have ordered you to let us on board.”

“A fact which I find highly suspicious,” Captain Rigg told her. “Especially considering the fact that your organization isn’t officially allowed to exist these days.”

“Not precisely our fault, mate,” Ethan pointed out.

“It isn’t?” Rigg asked. “I’ve heard about the way you folks use magic. How do I know you didn’t magic your authorizations up from the great beyond?”

“If we were gonna stop playing by the rules, Captain,” Ethan replied, “you’d have more to worry about than a few slips of paper.” The two men stared at each for a long moment.

“Okay!” Buffy sounded way too cheerful. “Summary! We’re here to help!”

Cut To:
Wilderness Cabin Resort – Willow & Rowena’s Cabin – Day

Willow adjusted the too-stolid-looking tie around her neck. The men’s dress shirt she wore wasn’t exactly her usual look. It was still her own reflection in the mirror, however. Behind her, Rowena was still lounging in bed, her blonde hair spilling out upon the over-stuffed pillows.

“Am I doing this right?” Willow asked. “I’ve never done this from this angle before.”

“How should I know?” Rowena asked. “In case you haven’t noticed, I am also usually a girl.”

“Usually I can tie a tie,” Willow complained. “Just ask Xander.”

“Yes, I’ve heard about your formal-wear issues,” Rowena grinned. “You’re just flustered. You can’t wait to see Alex and Jen.”

“Oh Goddess, yes,” Willow nodded. She seemed to decide her tie was on well enough and turned to Rowena. “So, you ready to put on your costume?”

“As much as I’m going to be,” Rowena replied. “Besides, you’re the one who’s going to do all the work.”

Willow took a deep breath then waved her hand toward Rowena. Nothing visibly happened. Rowena craned her neck to look into the mirror, but everything still looked blonde and pouty-lipped.

“Okay,” Willow said nervously. “That time was just practice.”

She waved her hand again, but again nothing happened. She looked over her shoulder at Rowena’s reflection, then back at the bed, eyes slightly panicked.

“So,” Rowena asked, “what’s Plan B?”

Cut To:
TV Studio – Day

Rock Cartwright leaned across his desk in the direction of Congressman Thad Frasier as music wound down in the background. Televisions played various news feeds in the background, while part of the screen was taken up by a backdrop of the US Capitol.

“We’re back here once again with California Congressman Thad Frasier,” Cartwright announced. “Congressman, you are Ranking Member on the House Supernatural Relations Committee. What are your thoughts about the increasing government case building against the Watchers Council?”

“Rock, I’m going to continue to wait for all the facts to come in,” Frasier said. “We have a rule in this country, perhaps you’ve heard of it, that we are innocent until proven guilty. That applies to the Council as much as it applies to the rest of us.”

“What about the bill that just passed the House that officially shut down the Council?” Cartwright pressed. “You voted for it, didn’t you?”

“I voted for it because the bill included a time limit,” Frasier explained. “It must be reauthorized within six months to become permanent. There’s going to be a full investigation between now and then, and I want to see that investigation take place.”

“So you’re taking a cautious approach.”

“The hitherto-unsuspected threat of the supernatural to our national interests needs a full assessment,” Frasier continued. “Evaluating the Council is a natural and important part of that process. Autumn O’Mara deserves a lot of credit for making sure that evaluation is going to take place.”

“Speaking of Congresswoman O’Mara,” Cartwright said, “recent events have seemed to justify her position on the Council. Do you believe it should be permanently shut down?”

“I plan to hear what they have to say for themselves before taking that position,” Frasier said.

“Well, thank you for being here today Congressman Frasier.” Rock Cartwright turned to the camera and said, “When we come back on American Morning, more of the fallout from the shutdown of the Watchers Council.”

The screen showed a silent clip of Autumn O’Mara speaking at a podium as the network went to commercial.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Living Room – Same Time

Grace, sitting on Giles couch, was watching the report. She blinked at the image of Autumn O’Mara on the screen, then looked down at the sketch of the Voice of Hell on top of the pile on her lap. She reached down and picked it up, studying it. Then she looked back at the TV screen.

“Huh,” she said finally, as CNN went to commercial. She raised her voice. “Hey, guys!?”

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Kitchen – Minutes Later

Becca cleared the dishes off the kitchen table just in time for Grace to spread a copy of The Plain Dealer across it, open to an interior page. Dawn and Grace peered over her shoulder.

“I still don’t get it,” Dawn said. “What are we looking for?”

Spread across page 13 was a large black and white picture of Autumn O’Mara speaking at a rally. “Here,” Grace said. She put the sketch of the Voice of Hell down next to the picture. She looked up at Dawn.

Dawn shook her head. “Still nothing. They’re both evil?”

“How about, they both have the same taste in ugly jewelry?” Skye said suddenly.

Grace pointed at her. “Exactly.”

Dawn took a closer look at the two pictures. Both women were wearing the Loathestone around their necks. “Son of a bitch!” she exclaimed.

“Honey, the children will hear you,” Becca scolded from the sink.

“They’re already corrupted,” Skye told her. “Sorry, but it’s true.”

“I think I should get back to that extremely large book Allister recommended,” Grace said. “I think we’re missing something about these nice ladies.”

“Nice ladies?” Dawn asked. “Heck, maybe they’re the same lady.”

“That’s unsubstantiated,” Grace tossed over her shoulder as she walked out of the room.

Dawn pointed at the pictures on the table. “It looks substantiated to me!”

Unsubstantiated,” Grace’s voice insisted from the other room.

Skye turned to Becca. “Watchers are so cute, aren’t they?”

Cut To:
Wilderness Cabin Resort – Willow & Rowena’s Cabin – Day

“But I can’t wait any longer, Ro!” Willow protested. “It’s been months since I held my kids in my arms. My arms have been baby-less!”

“And I appreciate that,” Rowena argued, standing close to Willow in their increasing claustrophobic-seeming cabin, “but the risk of going out without a disguise is just too much. What if we get caught?”

“I’ll do some bad-ass witchery, and we’ll get away.”

Rowena looked skeptical. “If you were capable of bad-ass witchery at the moment, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

“Then we’ll run really fast!” Willow insisted. Rowena just crossed her arms and gave her a baleful stare. “I miss my kids!”

“I just don’t think it’s going to work right now,” Rowena sighed.

After a moment of thought, Willow’s expression suddenly brightened. “I have an idea.”

“Does it involve running really fast?”


Rowena smiled. “What is it?”

Cut To:
Wilderness Cabin Resort – Luna & Harmony’s Cabin – Later

Rowena wasn’t smiling anymore.

This one is my favorite,” Luna announced. She proceeded to place a gigantic dark-haired wig on Willow’s head.

Willow, trying her best to get into the spirit of things, turned to Rowena and struck a pose. “How do I look?”

“It’s better than mine, I guess,” Rowena pouted. “I feel like I’m in a Heart tribute band.” Her wig was truly massive, not to mention bright red.

Harmony giggled and began a shimmying little dance. “Shooting at the walls of heartache/Bang Bang.”

Luna joined in, and the two of them stood back to back and sang into imaginary microphones. “I aaaaam the warrior-or.”

Willow watched this with a small smile on her face. She leaned over toward Rowena. “Should we tell them that’s not even remotely the right band?”

“That’s not really what I’m worried about,” Rowena sighed. “Girls!” she interrupted. “It sure is fun playing dress up, but the idea is not to call attention to ourselves.”

Harmony stuck her hands dramatically on her hips. “Choosers can’t be whiners, Watcher-lady.”

“Beggars can’t be choosers?” Rowena guessed.

“I hate to say it, but she’s right,” Willow told her. “Well, sorta, anyway. We are their guests.”

“Willow–” Rowena began.

“Oooh!” Luna exclaimed, emerging from rummaging in a truly massive trunk with a bowl cut, blonde wig. “What about this one?”

“If I wanted to model for paint cans, it’d be great,” Rowena replied.

Willow sighed and put out a hand to take the wig. “It’s a start.”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Diving Hatch – Day

Two sailors chatted as they checked the seal of a diving hatch. One carried a clipboard and pen.

“I’m just saying,” said the one with the clipboard, “last I heard, she was single.”

“Yeah?” the other challenged as he fiddled with a gauge. “She could also snap you in half. Call me crazy, but that’s not my thing.”

“C’mon, a powerful woman’s not necessarily a bad thing.”

“Seal checks out,” his buddy said, while giving him a baleful look. “What’s next on the list?”

“Um…” the sailor with the clipboard hesitated as he checked something off. Then he looked up and said, “Warrant Officer Smith.”

“Midshipman Heymans!” The same sailor who had the encounter with the Voice of Hell walking toward them. “We’ve been getting some pings on the radar. Captain wants you to check it out.”

Heymans handed the clipboard to Smith, wrinkling his brow. “That’s weird,” he said.

He turned and took a few steps down the hall. He didn’t get very far before Smith brought the clipboard down on him hard. It struck him at the spot right where the head attached to the neck, and he crumpled to the floor.

“Hey!” the other sailor reacted, taking a step forward, “what are you–?”

Smith punched him hard in the nose, sending him staggering long enough for Smith to come around behind him and wrap his arms around his neck. Smith twisted, and there was a sickening crack. The sailor’s body slid to the floor.

Smith took a deep breath and then walked over to a control panel. He pulled a couple of levers and waited several moments while a loud whooshing noise persisted. Then he moved over to the hatch and rapped quickly on it five times.

Immediately, two raps came in return. Smith began turning the wheel to open the hatch. When it was finally free, a blue demon with gills poked his head inside.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Hallway – Moments Later

“I’m not kicking you off my boat,” Captain Rigg said as he walked down a tight passageway. “I’m not sure what else you want.”

“We want you to listen to us!” Kennedy piped up as she followed him. “You’re in danger.”

“Okay,” Rigg sighed, “what is it that you think is this ‘imminent threat’ to the world’s most state-of-the-art nuclear submarine?”

At that moment, alarms began to blare throughout the submarine.

“Well,” Gwen said matter-of-factly, “there’s that.”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Lower Deck – Same Time

Alarms continued to blare below decks. A muscular sailor grappled with Smith, who now made no secret of his vampire face. The larger sailor knocked Smith off-balance with his leg and threw him to the ground.

“I’m sorry, man,” he said.

A smile came over Smith’s face. “No man, I’m sorry.”

Something blue and incredibly sharp suddenly stuck itself through the big sailor’s chest. It protruded for a split second as he gaped in shock. Then, with a sound like a whip it threw him away into the nearest wall.

A tall blue demon hunched in the corridor, pulling its tail back as it extended a webbed hand to help Smith up. On its neck, obvious gills gasped at the air inside the submarine.

“Thanks,” Smith said as he got to his feet. “Let’s go.”

The pair was followed down the corridor by several other demons, all bright blue and holding their tails out behind them for balance.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Bridge – Same Time

Captain Rigg clambered into the bridge, finding the relatively large room buzzing with electronics and activity. He was followed by the group from the Council as he walked over to an African-American sailor seated at a nearby station.

“Whadda we got?” he asked.

“There’s been an attack below decks, sir,” the sailor replied.

“What?” Rigg exclaimed. “What kind of attack?”

“We’re not sure, but it appears to be intruders of some kind.”

“That’s impossible!”

“It’s not impossible,” Gwen put in. “It’s the Voice of Hell.”

Captain Rigg turned around. “So what do we do?”

“Oh, so now you’re listening,” Kennedy said, exasperated.

Buffy looked over at Casey. “We should get down there.”

“Where are the Marines?” Captain Rigg asked another sailor as he swung into action, striding toward the far end of the bridge. “I want all the affected compartments sealed off and–”

He was cut off when he was sent flying through the air, slamming into a metal wall. Several blue, long-tailed demons were entering the bridge, attacking the sailors. The slayers and Gwen jumped into the fray. Meanwhile, Ethan found himself standing right over where Captain Rigg lay against the wall.

He leaned over the captain, somewhat reluctantly. “You all right, mate?”

But Rigg wasn’t moving. The back of his head was busted open and bleeding, and his eyes stared blankly. Ethan lightly checked his pulse and sighed.

“Bloody wonderful.”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Diving Hatch – Same Time

An army of blue demons continued to stream into the submarine, all dripping wet. One hissed and waved for the others to follow him.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Lower Deck Passageway – Moments Later

Kennedy threw herself back against the gunmetal wall. Her eyes widened, and she ducked, narrowly avoiding being skewered on a large spear-like tail that effortlessly drove deep into the metal where she had previously stood.

The tail ripped out of the wall, exposing the now-dented pipes and sparking wires. It curled back beside the towering glossy azure demon.

He snarled and snapped his tail, the sound again similar to that of a cracking whip, and then shot toward Kennedy again.

Kennedy rolled out of its path and brought her broadsword up from under and neatly sliced through the appendage. The amputated section met the floor with a thud.

A guttural wail frothed from the demon’s mouth as it recoiled, thrashing his circumcised tail about, spraying a putrid yellow liquid from the wound.

Kennedy dived out of the way and had movred to deliver the final blow when she was blindsided by another demon that tackled her to the ground.

Casey pulled her katana from the torso of the felled demon at her feet, and as she turned to attack another, the right side of her face caught a lashing of the yellow liquid. Immediately, she screamed and dropped her weapon, raising both her hands to her smoldering face.

Xander swung his sword and shot a look over to see Casey flailing and crashing into the walls. His eyes moved to the sweeping hordes of demons pouring in through the various hatches lining the hallway behind her.

He raced toward Casey, passing a dual-tomahawk-wielding Siobhan, who dispatched the emasculated tail-less demon with ease. A claw swiped across her back, and she fell forward onto a junction box, smashing her head on its hard surface. Nevertheless, she recovered, pushed herself off the box, and pivoted around to throw one of the tomahawks square into the demon’s skull.

Hands above him, shielding his head, Xander reached Casey and took her in his arms, but she fought back, shaking him off.

“Casey! Calm down! It’s Xander! Calm down!”

He glanced over his shoulder at the snarling faces of an advancing group of demons. Before they could attack, however, they were blown back by a wave of purple energy.

Ethan stood, legs spread and palms out in the direction of the fallen demons.

Xander shot him a glance and nodded with a sigh of relief, but then his eyes bulged as he saw a razor sharp tail bearing down on an unaware Ethan.


Ethan spun around, but before he could counter, a pair of PVC-clad legs dropped from above and wrapped themselves around the demon’s neck and snapped it to the side.

Ethan let out a girlish yelp at the sound of the snapping bones. He glared upward to find Gwen holding onto a pipe on the ceiling. She let go and back flipped onto her feet and flicked her hair over her shoulder.

“Cutting it a bit fine, aren’t we?” Ethan groused.

Gwen shrugged. “That’s how I roll.”

Further down, Buffy danced between two demons, batting away their relentless attacks with the Scythe. She jumped back, dodging one tail flung out toward her, but as she landed, another tail curled around the Scythe, pulled it from her grasp and threw it across the passageway.

Clenching her jaw, Kennedy still grappled with the demon on top of her. A distinct clang of metal on metal to her right caught her attention. She pried her eyes away to see the Scythe, glimmering in the half-light.

Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Dining Room – Same Time

Grace let out a heavy sigh. The huge Junitic Codex sat on the dining room table in front of her, along with the sketch Norman had done from Skye’s description. From the adjoining kitchen, Giles stood by the coffee pot. He looked over at her as he poured a cup.

“How goes the research?” he asked, as he started filling a second cup.

Grace ran her fingers through her hair. “Rowena says this is the book,” she said, motioning toward it. “I did a run-through hoping I’d get lucky, but…”

“No luck, I take it?” he asked. He brought both cups over and placed one in front of her.

“None at all. If Rowena’s right, then we’re close to getting a fix on the Voice of Hell, but if she’s wrong, then I’m on a wild goose chase and wasting my time. I mean, should I keep looking in here, or do I start examining other volumes? It’s a tough call.”

“Yes,” Giles agreed. “Sometimes being a watcher feels like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.”

“I think slayers have it easier. All they need to do is kill things,” she said.

Giles grinned.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Lower Deck Passageway –
Same Time

Sans weapons, Buffy evaded the two demons’ attacks, but was flanked from the side and ended up in the tight, slimy grasp of another. The demon bared his jagged, Piranha-like teeth and lunged for her. She leaned her head back as far as she could, and as she did, she watched the Scythe slide hard against the demon’s neck.

She fell and grabbed at her throat, coughing. As the stale air filled her lungs, Buffy frowned at seeing the two demons dead on the floor, but her stare was quickly averted to Kennedy, who was being thrown about on the back of the third demon as she continued to hold the Scythe’s handle against his neck. Kennedy kneed the demon in the back, and as he fell, she took the stake end and sank it into the demon’s chest.

Kennedy tore the Scythe from the demon and tossed it to Buffy, who caught it in one hand.

“Thanks,” Buffy croaked.

“Don’t mention it.” Kennedy blew out a puff of air, scooping her hair from her eyes. She looked back to see the ensuing chaos. “We can’t win. We need to fall back and find out how they’re getting in here.”

Buffy scanned the passageway. “Right. Need to seal the diving hatches. Stop ’em getting in.” Her voice still sounded strained. “Control room should have an override.”

“We just need to get out of here,” Kennedy called back. Then she paused. “How’d you know that? You’re not a sailor.”

She shrugged. “Control room equals, I dunno, control?”

Kennedy snorted. “C’mon, you just wanna drive the sub.”

Buffy smirked, as she looked for a way to escape. Her face lit up. “Quick! Down here!” Buffy didn’t waste any time and headed in the direction opposite to the fray to a large bulkhead.

Kennedy flew around and roared, “Everyone fall back!!!

Cut To:
Niagara Falls – Willow and Rowena’s Car – Same Time

Falls Boulevard was crowded with people and vehicles.

“There’s absolutely no parking here,” Willow grumbled. “And this wig is very itchy.”

Rowena grinned for a moment, but then looked serious. “I’m just worried about being spotted.”

“In all of these people?” Willow motioned around them. “We’ll be lucky to find Mary and your mom. Speaking of which…”

“We still have an hour,” Rowena told her as she looked at her watch. “Let’s just park and then walk.”

“Where?” Willow motioned around them. “We’ve got a waterfall on one side and a grassy park on the other. Oh,” she pointed out the window at a hotel. “Right there. Let’s get a room, and then we’ll leave the car. Agreed?”

“I’m not sure if we can afford a room this close to the falls. It’ll eat up all our money for sure,” Rowena said, as Willow started to pull inside.

“If we park without a permit, they’ll tow us We’ll just hit your family up for cash once we see them.”

“Great,” Rowena grumbled. “You know how embarrassing it is to be a grown woman asking my mom for money?”

“No, but calling my mom is out of the question.” Willow pulled the car into a parking space and put it in park. She then turned to Rowena. “So what’s the solution?”

Rowena closed her eyes for a moment, as if dreading the thought. She then opened them and said, “Fine.”

Willow grinned. “Good answer.”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Bowel Deck – Same Time

Siobhan limped backward toward the compartment, now having holstered her remaining tomahawk and taken a large pipe in her hands.

After opening the second bulkhead, Buffy turned at hearing the screams behind.

“Xander!” She rushed over to him. He still had his arms around Casey, dragging her along. “Wha-what happened?!” She went to take Casey’s other arm, but was pushed away by the injured slayer.

“I don’t know,” he said as they continued forward.

Buffy stood back and seemed thrown for a moment. Then she looked over at Siobhan and ran to help her.


Cut To:
USS Erie – Bowel Deck – Same Time

On the other side of the second bulkhead, Xander propped Casey up against a vertical pipe and struggled with her to keep her steady. “Casey! It’s me! It’s Xander! It’s okay! Lemme help! Lemme see!”

Xander managed to pry her hands away from her face, but when he did, he took a nervous step back, aghast.

“Oh God…” he whispered.

The dim light concealed much of it, but he gently turned her face to the left to see that all down the right side was completely burnt. Welts rose up from under her bright red cracking skin, blisters and sores wept and her eye was completely white.

“I…I can’t…I can’t see!” she bleated.

“Just stay calm,” Xander said in a soft voice.

Go! Go! Go!” Kennedy belted, standing just inside the compartment beyond the first bulkhead. Once Gwen backed into the compartment, Kennedy raced toward the second bulkhead.

Ethan followed, firing shockwaves into the onslaught of demons.

Now over the threshold with the others behind her, Kennedy screamed at Ethan. “Ethan! Move it!

“‘Fraid I’ve got my hands a bit full, missus,” he replied irritably, leaning his head back just slightly.

Kennedy glared back at him.

“Well,” he muttered, “if you insist…” He waved his right hand, which threw the first bulkhead door back, sealing it shut. However, the demons on the side quickly began to spin the lock wheel.

“This bulkhead needs to be sealed now if we’re to have any chance,” Siobhan said, wincing as Buffy applied a compress to the slashes on her back.

Gwen’s eyes narrowed. She took in a deep breath and then took off through the second bulkhead into the compartment.

Gwen!” Buffy cried, futilely grabbing out with her spare hand.

Hearing Gwen’s name called out, Ethan hastily turned to see her fist connect hard with his face. As he stumbled, she grabbed his arm and spun him around and pushed him through the second bulkhead.

He fell into the other team members standing inside, and she ran forward and slammed the bulkhead shut before they could act, spinning the lock wheel as fast as she could.

Kennedy pushed off Xander, jumped to her feet, and raced to the sealed bulkhead. “Gwen, what are you doing?!” she shouted, her voice muffled behind the thick glass porthole.

“Ain’t got a hope in hell of making it through this with those overgrown goldfish,” Gwen kicked up a discarded metal pole from the floor into her hand and then rammed it through the lock wheel. “But this way, you guys’ll get a head start before the ones I can’t take out reach you.”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Next Compartment – Same Time

Kennedy screwed her face up. “What?!”

Buffy stepped around a dazed Ethan, who was being helped up by Siobhan. She gripped the wheel, trying with all her might to open the bulkhead.

“Open the door!” Buffy shouted. “Gwen, open the door!”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

“Sorry, Buffy,” Gwen said, now standing over a large red valve beside a pipe, the opening covered by a metal grill. She grit her teeth and managed to fully turn the valve, and as she did, a huge jet of water shot out, knocking her off of her feet.

Aided by a nearby pipe, she struggled back to her feet and waded through the rapidly rising water to a second valve.

Gwen!” Buffy slammed her fist on the glass.

As she opened the second valve, the first bulkhead swung open, but the entering demons were washed back by the raw surge of water.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Next Compartment – Same Time

“What-what’s going on…Gwen!” Ethan shrugged off Siobhan’s support, barging through the group and shoving Buffy out of the way to stare through the porthole. “GWEN!”

Cut To:
USS Erie – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

With the water now up to her waist, Gwen pushed against the current and stood at the porthole. Drenched, she just stared back at Ethan while he frantically bashed on the glass.

Buffy pushed against Ethan to share the porthole and caught Gwen’s eye. Gwen flashed a small smile.

After a moment, Buffy began to quickly shake her head. “No…no, Gwen, you can’t…”

“Gwen, get out of there!” Ethan barked at her. “Don’t play the martyr! You’ve nothing to prove!”

“Just doing my part,” she told him, as the demons screeched over her shoulder. She pivoted around, grabbed under the water, and produced a pistol. She fired accurate bullets into the heads of the nearest demons. Their bodies blocked the passageway and slowed up the ones behind.

“Get to the control room!” Gwen glanced back and knitted her brow at the sight of the rammed metal pole shaking. She reached out, held it in place and looked up at Ethan. The water was now at her chest. Her eyes glistened, and with a sudden breath she said, “Be seeing you.”

Ethan looked at her with a mix of horror and disbelief. She pressed her fingers to her lips and then to the porthole before turning away and firing her pistol again.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Next Compartment – Same Time

Gwen!” he screamed, slamming his palms against the glass. “Gwen!

He stepped back and threw out his hands, making the wheel fight against the lodged metal pole to turn.

Kennedy grabbed Ethan, snapping him out of his concentration and pinning him against the wall. “Open the bulkhead and we all die!

“You’re on your own, slayer! She lives. That’s it. End of,” he shot back fiercely, his eyes locked in battle with Kennedy’s.

“We all die,” Kennedy repeated with quiet intensity, “including you and Gwen.”

Ethan then looked at Buffy. “You can’t do this to her. You can’t leave her to die,” he said, motioning his head toward the area in which Gwen had trapped herself.

Buffy was speechless.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

The magazine was empty, and Gwen tossed the pistol aside. She cast a single look down to the water now lapping against her chin.

Gwen kept her head back for as long as she could, taking in deep breaths, but as the water reached the ceiling, she took in a final breath and went under as the compartment became fully flooded.

With the pressure leveled off, the demons found their feet and locked their glossy black eyes on the perfectly still Gwen. They began to glide through the water toward her with frightful speed.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Next Compartment – Same Time

Ethan’s stare finally broke when a purple burst of energy shot out from his chest, throwing Kennedy off him and into the wall opposite.

He marched forward, and Buffy stepped out in front of him.

“Kennedy’s right,” was all she said.

Ethan didn’t say a word. He sent her hurtling back against the wall with a look. He stopped at the bulkhead, and his eyes went wide at seeing the demons heading for Gwen.


Cut To:
USS Erie – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

Bubbles rose from her mouth and nose, and as the demons were nearly upon her, she closed her eyes.

V.O., Gwen: “Flame on.”

Gwen’s eyes flung open, and an almighty blue light erupted from her body.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Next Compartment – Same Time

The light filtered through the small porthole, illuminating the aft compartment, forcing Ethan and the others to shield their eyes.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

Gwen held her body taut as huge spikes of electricity coursed from every inch of her being, darting through the water and entangling the demons. Their bodies began violently seizing.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Lower Sub-Deck – Same Time

Racing toward the battle, a large horde of demons rounded the tight corner. They stopped abruptly when they saw one of their own open a hatch to the deck below them.

The demon was struck by a violent rush of water that sparked with glowing electricity, which snaked from the water to the pipes and along the metal interior of the passageway. The demon’s body shook as it was fried by Gwen’s blast.

As the charged water moved toward the horde, they turned and scrambled back the way they’d come.

Cut To:
USS Erie – Bowel Deck – Connecting Compartment – Same Time

Suddenly, Gwen doubled over. Her eyes swelled as she began to convulse and choke. She grabbed repeatedly at her throat with both hands as if she were trying to push down the fleeting air.

The arcs of electricity shooting out of her body began to flicker until they finally petered out with a crackle of thunder.

She went limp. Her eyes were wide open, but not fixed on any discernible point. Her body hung suspended in the murky blue, surrounded by the bobbing corpses of the demons.

Black Out



End of Act Four

Go Back Next Act