Act 2



Fade In:
– Battlefield – Resume

“Amy…?” Willow groaned.

“Forgot all about me, huh?” Amy asked. “Don’t worry. This visit is professional, not personal…well,not entirely personal. This is not about hate…it’s about power. You’ve got something we need.”

She raised a hand, and wisps of green magic extended from her palm. In moments, they had coalesced into shining silver. A sword.

Calendar saw Amy out of the corner of her eye and ducked a punch Joyce threw at her.

“Willow!” Calendar exclaimed, and ran forward. Before she could get close, she ran into something invisible that might as well have been a wall.

Cut To:
Enemy Hut – Same Time

Rowena swung a chair with all her might, sending it crashing against Wagner and knocking her to the ground.

“Not so tough when you’re powerless, eh?” Rowena taunted.

Wagner screamed and tackled Rowena by the waist, sending both of them to the ground.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“No, no, little girl, ” Amy told Calendar. “This is private. Girl stuff.” She raised the sword and prepared to bring it back down. She grinned. “Man, this is aweso–”

A ball of pure orange fire struck her from the side, knocking her over. Her hair went up, along with her clothes. She screamed and ran off into the battle, leaving a trail of black smoke in her wake.

Willow looked up, grateful to see Tara extending a hand to help her up. “Nobody messes with my girl,” she said.

Willow took her hand, a smile on her face.

Nearby, Faith and Buffy were back-to-back, weapons at the ready.

“Old times, huh?” Buffy asked.

“Not exactly,” Faith replied. “We didn’t used to fight side-by-side with our kids.”

“I meant outnumbered and near death,” Buffy said with a slight grin.

Faith snorted. “Oh, that. Yeah, you got me there. Have you seen Robin?”

Just then they caught sight of Robin. He was trying to get close to Liz and Nikki, who continued to wrestle with one another.

“For God’s sake,” Faith said, motioning to Buffy. “Fight our way over there.”

Buffy nodded and took point, but she stopped in her tracks. Faith smashed into her.

“What the hell, B?” she asked.

Oh my God,” Buffy said, shaking her head, looking straight ahead. “No-no-no-no-no. Not again, all right? Been there, done that, and I’m not going to do it again, got it? Once a year was plenty. All at once? No way!”

“I don’t think you have much choice in the matter, Slayer,” the Master told her. Standing next to him was Adam, to his right, and Glory, to his left.

“This will prove quite interesting,” Adam added.

“How can you even be here in the sun?” Buffy asked the Master.

“Your sister isn’t the only immortal in the world,” he replied.

“What have I done to karmically deserve this?” Buffy asked to no one in particular.

“Don’t worry, Sweetcheeks,” Glory told her. “I’ll let them tire you out, and then it’s our turn.”

The Master raced forward, but Faith pushed him back.

“Shove off, fangy,” she yelled at him.

He took a step back, stunned by her attitude. “Now, here’s a slayer with some fight left in her, I see. Don’t worry. I have cure for that.”

The Master charged again, this time setting his sights on Faith. Before he could get close enough, Buffy turned, her eyes wide, and she pulled Faith back.

Between Faith and the Master slithered a large snake that gobbled the Master in a single bite. It then turned and took Adam and Glory in one chomp.

“We’ve got a big snake workin’ for us?” Faith asked.

“Uhhh, not us. Just you, I think.”


“That would be Mayor Wilkins,” Buffy replied.

Faith looked over and saw Kakistos heading toward them.

“Hey, Boss? Eat him!” she said, looking up at Wilkins and then pointing to Kakistos. As instructed, Wilkins went over at lightning-fast speed.

“We’ve got to move quick,” Buffy told Faith. “He’s going to come back and…” They watched as the Mayor returned to them, his teeth wide open for Buffy. “Oh, crap,” Buffy sighed.

Wilkins opened his large reptilian jaws and reared back to devour Buffy. As he started to descend, Faith threw her arms around her, pulling Buffy into a tight, inseparable hug. Both women held on tight to each other, but when the bite didn’t come, they both carefully peeked up to see Wilkins turn his large head back and forth, examining them both.

“No,” Faith told him, as she carefully disengaged herself from Buffy, though still using her body as a shield. “Please don’t hurt her. She’s my friend. I love her, and if you ever loved me…then you’ll leave her alone.”

Wilkins lowered himself down, and Buffy scooted away. His forked tongue snaked out and touched Faith’s cheek, and she grinned slightly. “I loved you, too,” Faith told him.

Wilkins paused a moment and then reared back. Buffy took a step closer to Faith again. Within two seconds, though, Wilkins turned and worked his way through the melees again. Buffy and Faith both released the breath they’d been holding.

“Faith the snake charmer,” Buffy said. “Guess it’s time to add another title to your name.”

Faith grinned for a moment and then looked around the field. “Nikki and Robin,” she said.

“Right,” Buffy said, as they started off.

Meanwhile, not far away, Jen and Alex exchanged blows.

Willow’s hand went to her neck. She finally noticed that the pouch with the Loathestone was gone.

Deeper into the battlefield, the younger Joyce held the pouch’s string, dangling the pouch in front of her face.

“No you don’t!” Calendar tackled her to the ground. The empty pouch tumbled, landing several feet away. They grappled for it, thinking it was the Stone. Feet of all shapes and sizes stomped around them as the battle went on.

“Get off me!” Joyce growled. “I told you I wasn’t interested.” She scratched her nails across Calendar’s face. Calendar yelled and bit down on Joyce’s hand, making her withdraw. Both slayers sprang to their feet, swords at the ready.

“We’re more than this,” Calendar panted. “Why are we doing this?”

“Because…” Joyce replied. She attacked with her sword, but Calendar parried. “…nothing’s real except suffering.”

With resounding clangs, the pair’s swords met twice more. “I am…so sick…of that line,” Calendar said.

Anya and Hope were fighting together, setting up turtle-like demons and knocking them down.

“Go for the underside of the shells, Faith’s sister,” Anya told her. “That’s where they’re vulnerable.”

“My…name…is…Hope!” Hope growled, punctuating each word with a shot from her energy weapon.

“This is no time to argue, Faith’s sister,” Anya replied.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Vi and Heli rolled in the dust and grime, hands squeezed around each other’s throats. Their muscles strained with the effort, their mouths gulped the air soundlessly, and their eyes bulged. After several seconds, both of them lapsed into unconsciousness. Only then did their grips slacken.

Vi and Heli lay dead side-by-side, eyes open and staring, as the battle raged on around them.

Cut To:
Africa – Hut – Same Time

Tyrell pushed the door open and said, “We’re waiting on your next…order.”

He watched as Rowena rolled around on the ground with Wagner. He rushed over to them, but Rowena managed to pull a knife and slashed Wagner’s throat. The watcher then jumped up and turned to Tyrell. He put his hands up as she aimed the weapon at him.

Wagner’s eyes shot open, and she stood up, totally healed.

“You idiot,” she hissed at Rowena. “You can’t kill me!”

“I know,” Rowena agreed. “I just needed to distract you.”

Rowena smiled and threw the knife. It landed in Tyrell’s throat, sending him straight to the ground gasping.

Wagner ran toward Rowena, but the former watcher disappeared into thin air.

“Biiiiitch!” Wagner screamed loud enough to make a demon pop his head inside the hut.

“We need our orders,” the demon told her. When her angry eyes fell to him, he respectfully added, “Ma’am.”

Wagner ran her hands through her hair to calm herself.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“You don’t get it, do you?” Jen yelled into Alex’s face. Her hands were scrabbling for their own hold around his throat. “This has been coming thirty-some-years!”

He kicked out with his legs, and she pushed backwards awkwardly. Her head knocked against a rock, and blood poured from her forehead.

Nearby, Willow could see the Coven’s defensive circle collapse. Andrew and Althenea tried to work together to put up a shield, but they were separated in the crush. Tara looked around and picked up the empty pouch.

“Where’s the Stone?” she asked Willow.

They both began to look around. Tara seemed more frantic, searching the ground. Willow, however, noticed the internal battles between Liz and Nikki in the slight distance, and Calendar and Joyce only yards away, heating up.

Rowena appeared next to Liz and Nikki. “What are you doing?” she demanded of the pair.

“I know she’s got it!” Nikki screamed as she choked Liz.

“Did you call in the order while I was gone?” Rowena asked Liz, as she tried to pull Nikki away.

Seeing Liz unable to answer, Rowena apologized to Faith’s daughter. “I’m so sorry, Nikki,” she said sincerely.

The soft tone and the words distracted Nikki only for a moment, but it was enough for Liz to break free and push Nikki away.

“No,” Liz croaked to Rowena. “Comlink…broke…in fight.”

Instantly, Rowena looked concerned and disappeared.

Cut To:
Command Pavilion
– Same Time

Rowena appeared next to Shannon, making the former slayer jump.

“Call in the strike,” she told her.

“I already did,” Shannon replied.

“Everything we got!”

“I didn’t hear from Liz, so I took command. Everything is on schedule here.”

Rowena sighed in relief and then disappeared.

One of the watchers turned to Shannon and asked, “Can all dead people zap around that quick? ‘Cause that would be cool…”

“I really don’t want to personally find out just yet,” Shannon replied. “Keep tabs on your monitor there,” she added, pointing to the screen for emphasis.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“It’s the Stone,” Willow muttered as she looked at the members of her troop fighting each other. In a louder voice, she told Tara, “All this extra demonic energy in one place, along with the Stone, is having an effect on them. We need more magical protection on the bag.”

“We need the Stone,” Tara stressed.

“No, fortify the pouch first. Get the Stone second…we need an anchor.” She looked around and saw Rowena glitter back into existence nearby. “Ro!” she shouted, motioning her over.

In the same vicinity, Alex shot to his feet and fried several demons in his way as he rushed to help his injured sister.

“Jen! Can you hear me?” he asked, coming to her side.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Liz elbowed Nikki in the chin, and Nikki stumbled backwards, rubbing her jaw. Liz yelled at her, “Stop! Think! Nikki, this isn’t you. Don’t listen to it! You’re stronger than this thing!”

I’m not Elizabeth! I’m not special, okay?” Nikki screamed, and charged at her again. 

Liz rolled her eyes, but readied herself for the confrontation.

Several yards away, Willow held one of Tara’s hands and motioned Rowena into position.

“Ro, in the middle with the pouch,” Willow instructed. Rowena stepped forward and took the small bag while Willow and Tara locked their other hands together, trapping the watcher between them. Willow and Tara closed their eyes. Their lips moved as if chanting, but nothing could be heard over the sounds of the battlefield.

Suddenly, a bright light swirled between them and then shot into Rowena, who jerked and shook slightly. As the light faded, Rowena nearly collapsed, but Tara and Willow both caught her. The bag in Rowena’s hand glowed briefly.

“You okay?” Willow asked Rowena.

“Yeah,” she answered groggily. “That was…May Day-rific.”

Willow grinned slightly as she ran her hand over the back of Rowena’s head.

Now…anybody seen that Stone?” Willow asked the duo.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Joyce and Calendar’s sword fight went back and forth. Calendar had the bigger job, because she was trying to keep the surrounding demons from killing the two of them, while also fending off Joyce.

Joyce, meanwhile, was out of control, her anger totally in possession of her, and Calendar was having an easier time with her friend’s wild swings than she might have had otherwise.

Then Joyce abruptly turned her back on Calendar and ran in the opposite direction. Calendar huffed and ran after her. As she got close, Joyce took another short run forward and actually ran up the side of the elephant-like leg of a lumbering giant. She slashed its Achilles tendon with a quick swipe as she did so. She managed a complete back flip in the air and landed on her feet behind Calendar, who could barely turn in time to beat off her strike.

“You’ll never have me,” Joyce proclaimed through gritted teeth, and she lunged forward with her sword. Calendar easily dodged and struck back with a sword thrust of her own…right into Joyce’s stomach.

“Joyce!” Calendar called out, tears suddenly in her eyes. “Oh God! I didn’t mean to, I didn’t…” She yanked her sword back.

As Joyce collapsed, Calendar noticed the wounded slayer reaching for something. It was the Loathestone. Calendar knelt down and picked up the chain carefully. She turned sharply when she heard Willow call out her name.

“Don’t touch it! Put it in here,” Willow added, as she made her way over with Tara and Rowena.

Willow opened the pouch, and Calendar let it drop inside. As soon as it was in, Willow pulled the drawstring and double tied it.

Nearby, Liz readied herself for Nikki’s cocked arm to come hurtling in her direction. Instead, Nikki blinked several times, brow furrowed as if trying to think through a difficult problem.

“Liz?” she asked, as if still slightly confused by her recent actions.

“Nikki!” Liz called out, watching her friend nearly get blindsided by a demon that ran toward her on its long arms, while reaching out with its shorter, claw-tipped legs. Nikki dodged it enough to sweep out with her leg and trip the demon. She then ran toward Liz, who was picking up a sword from the ground.

“Get behind me,” Liz ordered Nikki.

The watcher twirled the sword with expert precision before slamming it down into the demon’s chest, pinning it to the ground.

“Where’s Alex?” Liz asked Nikki, as the two of them began to look around.

Cut To:
– Moments Later

Alex continued to look after Jen. He cradled her bleeding head in his lap.

“I’m sorry,” he told her, as she started to open her eyes. “I forget you don’t have your powers anymore. Are you…?”

Jen looked up at him, blinking. “What were we…slithered?”

Alex grinned. “Yeah. I know we haven’t always gotten along, but…”

“Demons.” Jen pointed blearily over Alex’s shoulder as she sat up. He turned around and sent another magical blast into the onrushing horde. When he turned back to Jen, she was on her feet, rejoining the fight. The two of them stood back-to-back.

“Maybe if we talk out our problems with each other, the Stone won’t be able to skunk me up as easily,” Jen called out to him.

“I don’t think that’s how it works,” Alex told her. “Someone must have done something to disrupt the influence.” Jen seemed to wobble for a moment, but Alex caught her. “Here, let me try to heal you,” he said, taking her hands.

“Yeah, since you’re the one who broke me,” Jen teased.

Alex gave her a guilty grin.

Not far away, Tara sent a thunderbolt at a demon as Calendar slashed at another approaching. Below them on the ground was Willow, her hand on Joyce’s stomach.

“Just a flesh wound,” Joyce assured her.

Willow grinned for a moment. “Just stay still.”

“Thanks, Aunt Will,” Joyce said.

“Aww, helping Summers gals is what I do,” Willow told her with a gentle pat on the shoulder. “Speaking of…” she said as she looked around.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“We can’t hold them off forever!” Buffy called out as she reloaded her crossbow. She couldn’t quite do it in time, and the next demon knocked her to the ground.

“Buffy!” Willow screamed, as she watched her friend disappear beneath the dust of the battle. She then looked around and found where Amy’s silver sword still lay in the gravel. In a split-second decision, she left Joyce’s side and took up the sword.

Then she screamed, “Dissaepio!” and thrust the sword into the ground with both hands. A transparent blue wall spread out from the weapon and threw every demon it touched backwards into the air with incredible force. In a moment, the members of the Alpha Group found themselves alone in a demon-free circle extending a few dozen meters in every direction.

Tara stood over Willow, great concern on her face. “Willow?”

Willow wiped her nose and discovered that it was bleeding. “I can’t do that again soon,” she noted, breathing hard like she’d just finished a mile run. “It’ll wear off in a couple minutes, but I’m getting weaker – too weak. We can’t stay here.”

Buffy got to her feet with a groan, hands on her injured back. “Thanks, Will!” she called. Her eyes immediately found her daughter’s blonde form, lying near the edge of the circle. “Joyce!” she cried out, her tone changing completely as she ran, oblivious of the pain in her back.

Calendar stepped closer, tears streaking her face. Willow looked with concern at her step-daughter.

Anya walked past brusquely. “Your sword is bent,” she told Calendar without stopping.

Confused, Calendar held up her sword. The tip was indeed bent totally to the side.

When Buffy reached Joyce’s side, Xander was already there.

“Is she–?” Buffy asked breathlessly.

“I’m…I’m fuchsia,” Joyce replied, blinking her eyes in surprise. “Hey, Aunt Will didn’t fix me. How did…?” She reached down to her stomach. There wasn’t any blood, just a sword-tip-shaped dent in her battle armor.

“You’ll be fine,” Xander told her. “My armor’s pretty tough. You just got the wind knocked out of you.”

Joyce tried to smile. “Thanks, Dad.”

Calendar saw this as it transpired. She looked like she was going to faint. She put a shaking hand to her mouth. “Oh, thank you Lord,” she whispered.

“No, just Uncle Xander will do. I’m not Lord quality yet,” he teased.

“I’m sorry I wigged,” Joyce told Calendar. “About…everything.”

You’re sorry?” Calendar replied. “I stabbed you.”

“Technically, no,” Anya added as she returned. “You tried and failed.”

“You seem fine now,” Dawn commented to Joyce. Then, with a confused expression, she turned to the others. “We all do.”

“It was the Stone,” Willow said. “The first pouch didn’t work very well, so we…”

“Put the double whammy on it,” Tara added.

Willow pitched a thumb to Tara. “Yeah, like she said.”

Kennedy ran into the circle, passing through Willow’s barrier with no trouble. “I made it,” she puffed. “Thank God you’re all okay. Where’s–?”

Kadin was suddenly standing right in front of her, back in human form. “Oh, Ken, you’re okay.” She wrapped her arms round Ken’s neck and planted a wet one on her lips.

Willow loudly cleared her throat, and Kadin took a step back. Kennedy’s breath certainly looked taken away, though that might have been the running.

“You get all the girls,” Kadin groused at Willow. Rowena grinned, but Willow did not look amused.

Liz sighed. “Is everyone here?”

“Everyone except…Andrew,” Rowena told her, finishing a head count.

“We were separated,” Althenea supplied. “I don’t know if he’s…”

“He’s over there,” Hope pointed. Andrew was just on the far side of the barrier, appearing to wander around aimlessly. “Andy!” she called.

Andrew looked over, perplexed, as if he needed a moment to recognize her. Then he shook his head and walked through the barrier, entering the circle.

Kennedy, Faith and Jen walked up to Liz. “So, what now?”

Liz shrugged. “We catch our breath, and then–”

At that moment, Willow’s blue barrier flickered and died. With a roar, the demons once again began to close in.

“And then?” Jen prompted.

Cut To:
Command Pavilion
– Same Time

Shannon watched the lines move on the satellite map and listened to the yelling on her comlink, teeth biting into her lip.

“We have to retreat before it’s too late,” a watcher across the map told her.

“No!” Shannon looked up at him abruptly. “We’ve lost too many people already to retreat.”

“If we don’t,” he replied, “we’re going to lose everybody.”

“We’re not retreating,” Shannon told him flatly. She looked back at the map. “It’ll work…It has to work.”

Cut To:
– Same Time

The group closed in around Liz, trying to put together some sort of defensive formation.

“We need to hold the line,” Liz ordered.

“Liz, the line is broken,” Kennedy told her. “That’s what I came here to tell you. We’re surrounded.”

“Are you sure?” Liz asked.

“The game’s over,” Faith said.

“Are you positive?” Liz asked Kennedy again.

“Yes. We can’t keep fighting dead people who can’t die.”

The rush of demons hit, and the slayers on the outside went into battle mode.

“We just need to hold on a little longer,” Liz shouted.

From above them, the battle spread out through the valley. The entire Council force appeared to be surrounded by demons. The enemy troops had penetrated the line at several points, as well, meaning that the Council was cut into small, separated pockets, each fighting a losing battle.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Wagner looked down on this sight with a huge, wicked grin on her face.

“Hamalainen’s plan worked,” she said. She let loose with an overjoyed cackle. “That girl is a wonder. I understand what Lucifer saw in her.” She looked over her shoulder at Tyrell.

“Looks like my protégé, Ms. Allister, didn’t do as well as she imagined,” Tyrell replied.

Wagner smiled. “Send in the rest of the troops. Finish them.”

Tyrell nodded.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“Air support, give me your status,” Liz held her hand up to her right ear.

“You’re sandwiched in between two waves of demons from the east and west. Recommend withdrawal to the south, but you have to do it now,” the scratchy voice on the other end of the comlink replied.

“Not yet and, no, we’re continuing north,” Liz said softly.

“Saving the world again, huh?” Rowena asked from her left.

“That’s the job,” Liz replied. “Sometimes it means playing chicken with two demon armies and hoping that they flinch first.”

“Cutting it a little close, are we?” Rowena asked.

“Maybe a little,” Liz said. “The hard part about playing chicken is knowing when to flinch.”

As the final wave of demons began to appear on the horizon, throwing up a huge cloud of dust in their wake, Liz looked over at Rowena, a thin smile on her face.

“I think now’s a good time for flinching. How about you?” Liz asked.

Silently, Rowena backed away and vanished, but not before giving her a wink.

Cut To
– Same Time

Giant, lumbering demons accelerated towards a small group of slayers, their thick, muscular arms ready to pound them into roughly half their current size.

One demon in particular, long curving horns curling around his ears, dropped his head and barreled towards the slayers.

The demon on his right stumbled, then tripped and fell to the ground, a crossbow bolt stuck into his back.

The horned demon looked down, confused for a moment, when the demon on his left was similarly struck.

The demon whipped around to face backwards, just in time to receive a crossbow bolt in the center of his chest.

He looked down at the bolt for a moment, a look of stunned shock spreading across his face before he looked back up at his attacker.

Marsha gently lowered the crossbow she held in her hands, its single bolt expended. Standing immediately to her left was Chao Ahn, to her right, the elder Nikki Wood. Spread out behind them were thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of young women, dressed from every era of human existence.

A young woman wearing a gray uniform with a red arm band could be seen off to the right. Her blonde hair was beautifully tied back in a tight bun. Next to her, a larger, more muscular woman lumbered forward, dressed in the shiftiest of garments. Her long, muscular arms extended down nearly dragging on the ground as she leaned forward, nearly sitting on her feet as she accelerated forward. Behind her, a young brunette dressed in a poofy Victorian dress could be seen. she gripped a wooden stake close to her chest as she held the hem of her dress clear of her feet with her free hand.

The demon looked back down at the crossbow bolt protruding from his chest. “Son of a–” He didn’t finish; instead, he slumped to his knees then flopped over sideways.

Gabrielle stepped up next to Marsha. “Wonderful shot,” she commended. She then turned around and shouted, “On my mark, Slayers! Goooooooooo!”

Gabrielle and the gigantic tide of slayers from throughout the ages rushed forward and began to spread out. The last demon wave was now trapped between the current Council and the newly arrived dead slayer army.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Vi’s forehead collided with titanic force with Heli’s, and the Scandinavian slayer stumbled back from the force of the blow. Vi stood over her, her hands held up, balled into fists. Her teeth were clenched, and her features were hard, as if carved from stone.

“Fighting dirty?” Heli asked.

“Let’s just say that I’ve learned the value of a cheap shot,” Vi answered.

“Yeah, marsaulix venom. I understand that hurts, a lot,” Heli said, straightening up. “Of course, I think it probably compares pretty favorably with being shot twelve times in the stomach.”

“Like you didn’t deserve it,” Vi countered, swinging a hard punch across the Finnish woman’s jaw.

Heli stepped backwards, bringing her hand up to deflect the strike only slightly. “That’s up for debate,” she agreed. “Question is: what does Kennedy deserve?”

Vi hesitated a moment, just long enough for Heli to strike upwards under her chin. Vi’s head snapped backwards, and a thin trickle of blood dribbled from the corner of her mouth.

“Oh, you didn’t think of that did you?” Heli said.

“You keep her out of this,” Vi countered, her voice hard.

“The Loathestone gathers the absolute worst of humanity. What do you suppose it’ll think of someone who gunned down a defenseless, unarmed woman?” Heli asked.

Vi looked at her, blinking for a moment.

“Tell you what…you ponder that one for a little bit,” Heli said. She shrugged slightly. “Toodles,” she added playfully, before vanishing.

Cut To:
Enemy Hut – Same Time

Heli appeared in the darkened hut, a few feet behind Wagner. “We’re not going to win this,” she announced.

“You single-handedly brought the Council to its knees, I give you an army of demons, and you can’t win one battle?” Wagner asked facetiously.

“I had two years to plan that,” Heli said, “and I never planned to actually win against them…not in the usual sense of the word.”

“And you think we’re planning on winning now?” Wagner asked.

Heli looked at her for a moment, the gears grinding behind her eyes. “That’s brilliant,” she said finally.

“Thought you’d approve,” Wagner replied softly.

“All this – the demons, the attack on the council, all of it – it’s a stall tactic until you can take the area around the location,” Heli said.

“Exactly,” Wagner said. “We wear them down here, make them weak. Then our other forces can gain strength in other areas of the world. City after city will fall. All we have to do is stop them from doing the spell. With a permanent camp here, they’ll never get in.”

“So what now?” Heli asked.

“Now, we need you in Cleveland,” Wagner replied. “They don’t seem to be having much luck, and I’d like to see how many troops are remaining over there.”

Helvetti. Vittu minä,” Heli murmured under her breath as she quickly vanished.

Cut To:
– Same Time

“They’re moving in from the north and south,” called a man’s scratchy voice over Liz’s earpiece. “You’re surrounded.”

Liz turned to her father with a slight grin. “I think now would be a good time for the third wave, don’t you?”

“I see you’ve inherited my British talent for understatement,” Giles said with a smile.

“Council teams,” Liz announced. “Deploy now!”

Cut To:
– Same Time

A ring of slayers, living and dead, closed around the group of demons, sealing off every possible escape route. From the middle, the Council forces pushed the demon back. And from the air, wave after wave of paratrooping slayers landed and hit the ground running to join the battle.

Also from above, the sound of the Council air vehicles was almost deafening.

All teams to the center! Now!” Liz could be heard shouting over the radio.

The Council troops stopped their one-on-one melees and began to run at full speed away from their demon foes. The demons were left looking at each other in confusion.

At that moment the Council air support laid a line of fire through the demon circle, incinerating some on impact and sending others sprawling in various directions, trying to extinguish themselves.

Cut To:
– Same Time

Liz smiled slightly as the advancing demon horde slowed, then halted. “Got ’em,” she said softly. She released a heavy sigh and said, “Air support, clear a path for Alpha Team to the north.”

“Roger that,” came the response.

Cut To:
– Same Time

After the first wave of fire soaked the area, Vi rejoined her fellow dead slayers in battling the demons left standing. She hooked her left hand over a demon’s left wrist as she sidestepped a punch, then drove her right elbow upwards into the demon’s, forcing it to bend in the exact opposite direction that it was meant to. It flopped down with a sickening crackle and hung limply from his shoulder.

Vi skillfully manipulated the demon’s arm, dropping it downwards as she gave a hard backhanded strike at the bridge of his nose. Then she swung around, driving the dagger in her right hand into the center of the demon’s chest.

She turned quickly to see Rona, Amanda and several other young women standing there.

“Basement Girls thought you might need some help,” Rona said. “But I see you’ve got things well in hand.”

Vi smiled. “Don’t worry. There’s more to go around.”

Cut To:
– Same Time

The dark-skinned woman with a painted face pounced on the demon before her. Her arms swung in wide arcs, striking at the demon’s jaw. She pounced upon him, almost feral in the ferocity of her attacks. The weapon in her hand seemed to be carved from bone, and she used it skillfully.

Ducking under a roundhouse punch, she sliced the demon’s right thigh, buckling his muscular leg.

She spun around in a wide circle, slashing across his abdomen, causing him to bend over automatically. She continued her spin, ripping across his throat and dropping him to the ground.

Elsewhere, another dark-skinned young woman danced back and forth from foot to foot, moving to a beat only she could hear. As the demon before her drove forward, she spun around, pivoting on the ball of her right foot. The heel of her left foot swung around in a wide arc, catching the demon across his jaw. She rolled forward under a punch, then balanced upside-down on her left hand. Her right foot lashed out, catching the demon on the crown of his head.

With a smooth, efficient motion, she brought her right hand to the ground. Still balancing on the palms of her hands, she twisted her body, hooking her knee under the demon’s chin. With a brutal snapping motion, she wrenched her hips, bringing the demon down with a sickening crunch.

Cut To:
– Watchers Council – Same Time

The sheer volume of the amassing demon horde was deafening. They were in the hundreds, if not thousands, completely surrounding the Council tower.

Atop the roof of a grounded hover car stood Heli. Her cold piercing eyes locked firmly on the tower. “Continue fire!” she shouted to a line of troll-like demons, who relentlessly summoned balls of energy and tossed them straight into the Council’s shield. It rippled like water with each impact.

“Heli…Heli…” A male vampire pushed through the crowd and came to rest at her feet. “Council’s shut down tight…we’ve tried…there’s just no way past that shield.”

“Shields, hover cars, holograms…not been a hundred years and the things that I’ve missed.” She glanced down at him. “Dig if you must, but we will breach the Council.” She looked back up at the brazen Coat of Arms plastered at the top of the tower. “We will.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council
– Command Center – Same Time

“The bitch…” Grace grumbled under her breath, watching Heli on the main view screen. “Vaughn, report,” she ordered from the central podium, which overlooked a team of about thirty sitting at various stations below.

“Shield is holding. No fluctuations.” Vaughn looked from one monitor to another. “Primary, secondary, and tertiary ablative armor bulkheads are in the green. They ain’t getting in.”

Gwen piped up. “Laser grid defense is active throughout all subterranean levels.”

Sophie entered the command center from the door behind Grace. “The wards are in place. Unless the dead are on the guest list, they aren’t gonna party here.”

Grace quirked a smile. “Good.” Then she tapped her Council pin on the lapel of her jacket. “Amira, report.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council
– Lobby – Same Time

Amira pressed her Council pin. “Squads of five slayers at each entrance and exit. Security are patrolling each floor and restricting access between departments for non-essential personnel. Deployed the Tactical and Defense Drones to the crawl spaces. The rest of our defenses are bolstered here down in the lobby. We’re good,” she said confidently.

Cut To:
Watchers Council
– Command Center – Same Time

“Yeah, well, let’s not speak too soon.” Grace tapped her pin once again. Then she sighed as her eyes darted between the main view screen and the surrounding sub-screens.

“The big chair,” Dianna said, walking up behind Grace. Her daughter turned to her with a frown. “It suits you.” She gave her a sincere smile.

Grace stifled a laugh. “With great power comes…a great headache.” She tipped her head and rubbed the back of her neck.

“But you manage.”

“Because I’m your daughter, right?”

“Because you’re you.” Dianna’s eyes gleamed. “I can’t tell you enough, Grace, just how proud I am of you. How far you’ve come…from a self-proclaimed glorified donut-runner sci-fi nerd to a bold and beautiful leader of men and women.”

“Hey! Still very much a nerd, thank you.”

“That’s the truth,” Mercy muttered. She was looking at a teen magazine while she and her brother Michael sat in the briefing room off to the right.

Dianna chuckled.

“I know now why you did what you did. Bureau Nine. Grooming me to be a watcher. You wanted the best for me, like I want the best for them. Thank you.”

Dianna stroked the side of Grace’s wrinkled face. “I love you, Grace.”

Grace looked genuinely shocked.

The Guardian weapon is charged and ready,” Amira’s voice sounded across the command center.

Grace smiled and pressed her pin, her soft expression quickly vanishing into resolve. “Fire at will.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Guardian Weapon Room – Same Time

A man standing at a control terminal said, “Copy that, Councilwoman.”

Cut To:
Watchers Council
–  Same Time

The triangular plates on either side of the tower began to slide open. Inside of each, a large cannon was housed. At full extension, the sound of the housing locking into place echoed throughout the streets below.

Both the cannons began to glow.

Heli’s eyes were wide and fixated on the increasingly radiating cannons. She grunted. “Screw this.”

She closed her eyes and tilted her head to the sky, inhaled and vanished from the crowd of demons, much to their surprise.

The glow of the cannons suddenly stopped. Then two bolts of golden light shot out from them and straight into the hordes of demons on the ground, exploding on impact – disintegrating the ones closest and sending the ones further back flying.

The cannons rotated, repositioned their aim, and fired again.

Cut To:
Enemy Hut – Moments Later

“The Council isn’t going to fall,” Heli said from behind Wagner. “I guess they’ve learned a thing or two since I left.”

“It doesn’t have to,” Wagner replied. “It just needs to be busy until we secure this area.”

“We need more troops, now,” Heli said.

“Relax,” Wagner told her. “We have things well in hand.”

“We have trouble.” A demon appeared at the far end of the hut, blue blood dribbling from countless cuts all over his body.

“See?” Heli told Wagner.

“The whole Council wasn’t there at first,” he continued. “Just a few of them, with more waiting in the wings.”

“How many more?” Tyrell asked.

The demon looked reluctant. “Thousands.”

“How many thousands?” Wagner asked.

“Maybe tens of thousands,” he admitted. “If I had to guess…I’d say much more than the Cleveland Branch is here.”

“I’m growing impatient. How many branches?” Wagner asked through gritted teeth.

The demon swallowed hard in growing fear. “I’d say every branch in the world.”

Every branch?” Wagner asked.

Heli began to laugh enthusiastically, which earned her a nasty look from Wagner.

“You find this funny?!” she asked.

“I find this deliciously devious. To think that Giles had the cunning, and the nerve, to send in everyone…it’s just…stupendous and borders on the insane. Of course, genius often does. You have to give the girl her due. She knows how to roll the dice and load them at the same time.” Heli began to chuckle again. “Well, fearless leader, now what?”

“Plan B,” Wagner said.

“There’s a plan B?” Heli asked. “You know, some people would just have made a better plan A.”

The demon shuddered slightly. He looked nervous.

“It’s time,” Wagner reassured him.

“Wait…he knows what plan B is, and I don’t?” Heli asked.

“Trust me, you want him to do this,” Wagner said.

“What’s he going to do?” Heli asked her.

“Start calling in the cavalry,” Wagner replied as the demon vanished. “Odds are he won’t survive after he does. So if Liz Giles wants to gamble, I think we show her what it means to lose.”

“I thought this wasn’t about winning?” Heli teased.

Wagner’s eyes bored into her. “It is now…and at any cost.”

Cut To:
– One Side of Hill – Minutes Later

The demon stood on a sandy plain, speaking to unseen listeners.

“An old enemy of yours is waiting, just over the hill,” he said. “With one fell swoop, you can end this. All of it.” He was turned slightly away from the listeners, ready to bolt at the slightest warning.

“They’re trying to stop this. They’ve been trying to stop you for centuries. Just think of that. In all that time, the one force that’s been trying to keep you in check is right over that hill, and you can crush them,” he added, forcibly injecting as much confidence into his voice as he could.

Cut To:
– Other Side of Hill – Same Time

Liz’s team began to climb up the mountain as the battle continued below them, the Council obviously with the upper hand, judging by how few demons were left standing.

“You sure this is the right way?” Faith asked Willow.

“Due north. I’m sure,” Willow insisted.

“And you’re sure we can do this?” Faith asked.

“I said I was sure already, sheesh,” Willow said. “We bent the laws of physics to get this far, remember? Anything’s possible.”

“Okay, but if we die, I’m so telling Buffy,” Dawn said.

“How much further?” Faith asked.

“Just over this hill,” Willow told her.

The group careened to a halt as they topped the hill and looked down on the plain before them. They stood on the rim of a deep, round depression in the ground, yet the beings, which stood at its center towered far above them.

The huge beings would have blocked out the sun, had it not been for the fact that the sun, at that moment, was behind Willow, Dawn and the others. The Council team, by comparison, did very little to shade the sun from the beings’ eyes.

Faith’s eyes widened as she looked up at the gigantic creatures. “Jesus H. Christ,” she murmured.

“It’s the Old Ones,” Willow said softly. “They’re here.”

Faith looked up at them, still stunned, before she spoke again. “So, what was plan B?”

Black Out


End of Act Two

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