Bonnie Hunt as Veronica Wyndham-Price, Harris Yulin as Morgan Travers, Emma Caulfield as ANYA, and Christopher Noth and George Dzundza as Detective Duggan and Detective Santeri
Watchers Council – Jocasta’s Office – Day
Jocasta and Katherine continued to slave over their computers, hoping to find any scrap of evidence that would support Giles’s case against Horatio Tyrell and the rest of High Command.
“I have to give Tyrell his due. Although he’s slimy, he cleans up pretty good,” Jocasta muttered. She closed a page on her monitor in irritation and rubbed her eyes before her fingers slid up to her temples in a circular motion.
Katherine glanced up at Jocasta, who was already peering intently at her screen again. Katherine opened her mouth to speak, but then quickly closed it again and turned back to her computer. Within moments, Katherine repeated the procedure, once again unable to find the words. Katherine looked at her hands, curled them into fists, and took a deep breath. Then she turned to face Jocasta.
“Jo?” Katherine prompted.
“Yeah?” Jocasta answered distantly, not looking up from the data before her.
“Umm, there’s s-something I need to tell you,” Katherine said in a soft voice.
Jocasta heard the uneasiness in Katherine’s voice and immediately abandoned her computer to look in the Slayer’s direction. Her heart began to beat faster in anticipation of whatever Katherine was going to say.
“What is it?” Jocasta asked gently.
Katherine glanced at her hands then back up again. Then, forcing herself to look squarely at Jocasta, she said, “I…I have–”
Her words were cut off by Jocasta’s phone ringing. She sighed with a look of annoyance.
“Hold that thought,” Jocasta said, putting up her index finger before answering the incoming call.
“Gray Sector. Colonel Rosenberg,” she answered crisply. After a moment, Jocasta smiled. “Commissioner Hardin, thank you for returning my call.” Jocasta listened and nodded several times. “Yes, Ma’am, I’ll contact them immediately. And thank you.”
Jocasta disconnected the call and turned back to Katherine. “That was the Commissioner, obviously. She said she appreciated my interest in the murders and urged me to contact the detectives in charge.”
“Well, it’s good to know the Commissioner is encouraging the Council’s involvement in the investigation,” Katherine noted.
“Yeah, I think she’s ready to pass the problem on to somebody else,” Jocasta added with the rueful grin of the politically experienced bureaucrat. Then she shifted gears back to their earlier conversation. “So, you had something to tell me?”
“Oh…yeah…ummm, w-w-what I was going to say was…” Katherine paused and dropped her gaze to her hands. When she looked back up, she frowned. Before she could say anything, the phone rang again. “I can’t see you tonight. I have to patrol is all. Y-You know, do the Slayer thing,” she said in a rush, trying to get it all out before Jocasta had to answer her call.
“Is that all?” Jocasta said with a grin. “You had me all worried.”
“No…it’s disappointing, but no big deal,” Katherine said, in what she hoped was a nonchalant way.
“Believe me, I understand about ‘duty calls.’ ” Jocasta rolled her eyes and pointed to the speaker box as it rang for the third time. Jocasta tapped the receive button on her headset. “Rosenberg.” Jocasta listened for only a moment before saying, “We’ll be right there.” After disconnecting, Jocasta turned to Katherine. “That was Giles,” she explained. “He’s called a meeting.”
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
Giles sat at the head of the conference table. As usual, Jocasta sat to Giles’s right. Next to Jocasta was Katherine. On the other side of the table sat Lex and James.
“We haven’t heard from Livia and Antonia, and I haven’t been able to reach them. I tried to requisition another group to go check on them, but the request was denied since it’s not official Council business,” Jocasta reported.
“Maybe instead of finding something, something found them?” James asked fearfully.
Jocasta exhaled loudly. “I can’t say if that’s true, but I’m taking the optimistic approach: they’re just busy combing the area.”
“You can’t even reach Toni on her private comlink?” Giles asked.
“No, but after that bomb of Aurora’s, it’s possible the atmosphere in the area is still too charged for a single private link to get through. The ship’s link is much stronger. However, it’s more likely that she left her comlink in her cockpit and is outside with the Slayers. There’s more flightiness to Toni than just her piloting skills, if you can imagine that.”
“Hey, that’s my girlfriend you’re insulting,” Lex defended with a grin.
“And our cousin, must I remind you,” Jocasta teased. “You end up with a kid that’s got two noses, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“Getting back to business,” Giles sighed.
“Right,” Jocasta nodded. “Let’s see…We’ve got our sworn testimonies,” Jocasta began, “the surveillance video of Rayne shooting up the hangar, and the links between Tyrell and large purchases of equipment used in cybernetics. We’ve got the video of Tyrell meeting with the Hubris representatives about the storage facility, but without the go-ahead from High Command, we can’t raid it. There is the real possibility that these recent murders are related to Project 314, and I’ll be following up on that this afternoon.”
Her summary finished, Jocasta placed her hands on the table. As the others waited expectantly for more, she twisted her fingers nervously.
“That’s it?” Lex said incredulously.
“What happened to the files that Willow accessed where they laid out their plans to disband the Council?” James asked.
“They’re gone,” Jocasta replied, “along with all the other evidence Willow found that led us to Sunnydale.”
“So we’ve got no evidence here, and we’ve got no evidence in Sunnydale?” Lex rehashed sarcastically. “But we might have evidence in a storage facility that we can’t get into? And one of 314’s cyber-demons from Sunnydale might actually be in Cleveland, but we’ve got to catch him first to find out?” Lex looked at the others around the table, then added, “We’ve got squat, in other words.”
“I’m afraid so,” Giles admitted wearily.
“I’m sorry, Giles,” Jocasta said. “We tried, we really tried.”
“What about Rayne?” Lex asked.
“He’s not talking,” Katherine answered ruefully.
“What about the security video from the Progenitor Chamber?” Lex inquired.
“There is no security camera in the Progenitor Chamber,” James said. “When the High Command says no access, they mean it.”
“What about the cameras outside the room?” Lex asked. “Obviously it shows Tyrell going inside.”
“That same file shows us going inside too,” Giles pointed out. “Tyrell’s allowed to be there because he’s the Chair. We’re not. We don’t have clearance.”
“What about Willow herself?” Katherine offered. “Can’t you just call her to the stand?”
Jocasta and Giles both shook their heads. “No, a computer program is not a credible witness,” Giles answered. “The Council would never allow her testimony, no matter how lifelike she might be. And again, we broke Council regulations and got the information illegally, so bringing it up would only discredit us in the Council’s eyes. It’s not worth the risk.”
“What do we do?” Jocasta asked.
“We keep looking until the meeting is finished,” Giles said, “and hope something comes up before then.”
“What about our testimony? What do we say?” Katherine asked.
“Just tell the truth,” Giles said.
“You’re gonna tell all of it?” James asked nervously. “Even the Progenitor File part?”
“Yes and no,” Giles said. “I won’t deny that the three of us were there. Tyrell could have the security tapes of us entering the room, and I won’t get caught in a lie. But as I promised, I won’t mention your part in any of it, James. We did what was right, although the Council might take issue with it. I said that I would take full responsibility, and I will.”
“No, Giles,” Jocasta told him. “I was the only one who could access Willow’s files. Like I said that day, I’m prepared for the consequences. Tell them it was my idea, since, well, you know, it was.” She grimaced.
“I’m not letting you be my fall guy on this, Jo,” Giles insisted. “I played my part too.”
“True, but if we both fall, Tyrell might walk. Then High Command will continue their work without either of us around to keep an eye on them. So that means one of us has to be here on the inside, and I vote for you since you have more rank.”
“I realize that,” he said grimly. “But if we can find evidence to off-set how we got the information, we might escape all of this with nothing more than a reprimand.”
“But again,” Lex pointed out. “No physical evidence.”
“I know,” Giles said softly.
Everyone looked at each other in the room with nervous, uncertain expressions.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Later That Day
In the massive hall, Giles sat in a chair next to one of two small lecterns, which were positioned opposite each other and at an angle to the Chairman’s podium. Tyrell sat smugly at the end of the table reserved for the High Command. He rose confidently and took his place at the central podium. Picking up the gavel, he gave it a couple of hard raps to quiet the room.
“I hereby call the Council to order,” Tyrell announced officiously into the microphone. “We are meeting today to allow Councilor Giles the opportunity to present his accusations regarding this alleged 314 Project. I believe the–” Tyrell stopped when Veronica Wyndam-Pryce indicated that she wished to be recognized. “Councilor?” Tyrell said in reluctant acknowledgement.
Veronica rose from her chair in the first ring of seats beyond the inner table. “Mr. Chairman, since the report filed by Sebastian Giles implicates you and the rest of High Command,” she said, “I feel that the interests of justice would be better served if you yourself were not presiding over these proceedings.”
A wave of agreeing voices rolled through the rings of seats behind and around Veronica. She turned to Tyrell to await his response.
“Well, before I was interrupted, I was about to make that very suggestion,” Tyrell said snidely. “In fact, I was going to ask that you, as a senior member, serve as Acting Chair—as long as I am allowed the opportunity to cross-examine…in the interests of justice, of course.”
“I would be delighted to serve,” Veronica replied with a calm smile.
Tyrell stepped aside and gestured towards the podium. Veronica left her seat in the outer ring and joined Tyrell in the center. He handed her the gavel and then sat down with the other twelve members of the High Command.
Once Tyrell was settled, Veronica turned to Giles. “Councilor Sebastian Giles, you have made serious allegations against Chairman Tyrell and the High Command. Are you ready to present your evidence?”
“I am,” Giles stated formally as he stood. Then he added, “But I have a stipulation first.”
“Yes. In the process of presenting my case, I and my colleagues may admit to actions that precipitate disciplinary hearings of their own. I request that any consequences to said admissions be postponed until I have completely finished making my case.”
Veronica looked at the others around her as if surveying their reaction. She thought for a moment and said, “Agreed.”
“I would also like to state for the record that my colleagues were acting under my direct orders at all times when such actions occurred.”
“Understood. Please proceed with your case now.”
“Thank you,” he said. “I’d like to start at the very beginning, if I may, with what set off my investigation in the first place.”
Giles punched a button on the console of the lectern, causing an image of a document to appear on the large screens surrounding the room.
“You may recall receiving this report regarding an unusual capture made by Slayer Katherine Allison…”
The Council members all looked on with a great deal of interest.
Watchers Council – Outside The Council Chambers – Moments Later
In the corridor outside the Council Chambers, Jocasta and Katherine waited anxiously to be called in to testify.
“Have you ever been inside?” Katherine asked.
“A few times,” Jocasta answered, “but only for a minute, just long enough to deliver something to Giles.”
“What’s it like?”
“Big…and perfectly intimidating,” Jocasta said.
“That’s comforting,” Katherine answered sarcastically.
Jocasta gave her a comforting smile. “And surprisingly busy,” the Colonel added. “Notaries and messengers coming in and out, Councilors scanning their screens and passing data pads. I don’t know if today will be like that or not. It’s kind of an unusual case.”
“Yeah,” Katherine said in a worried voice.
“You scared?” Jocasta asked.
Katherine nodded vigorously. “I don’t…I don’t like public speaking. It makes me nervous, and when I get nervous, I s-s-stutter, and I just end up looking s-s-stupid…See?”
Jocasta took Katherine’s hand and squeezed it. “You’re not stupid, and I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” Jocasta said with a smile.
Katherine smiled back until she heard the Council clerk call her name at the entrance to the Chambers. Then her eyes went wide with panic. Jocasta gave Katherine’s hand another reassuring squeeze. After a deep breath, Katherine pulled her hand from Jocasta’s and went inside. After the Chamber doors closed, Jocasta’s smile faded into a frown.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Moments Later
Katherine stood nervously at the second lectern as she answered Giles’s question and finished her commentary on her account of the events.
“After Eve was defeated, we loaded up the transports and we returned to Cleveland,” Katie said, addressing the entire gathering rather than anyone in particular.
“Thank you,” Giles addressed Katie before turning to Tyrell. “Mr. Tyrell, the floor is yours.”
Tyrell walked confidently to the lectern and stood right in front of Katherine, glaring at her. She found it difficult to meet his gaze.
“Do you disobey direct orders often?” Tyrell asked confidently.
“Do you believe in the sacred trust between a slayer and her watcher?”
“Yet, you betrayed that trust, didn’t you? Before the day was out, you violated that trust and deliberately disobeyed a direct order from your watcher, isn’t that right, Miss Allison?”
Katherine was too shocked to speak.
“You spoke with Colonel Rosenberg and Councilor Giles about a creature you and your watcher captured the prior night,” Tyrell went on. “A creature that your watcher asked you to keep in confidence until he learned more about it, correct?”
“Sean was being mysterious about it and-.”
“Please answer the question. Did you disobey your watcher’s direct order? Yes or no?”
“Yes,” Katherine admitted quietly.
“That will be all,” Tyrell said with a smirk.
Katherine shot Giles an apologetic look, and he shook his head slightly as if letting her know the questioning wasn’t her fault.
Watchers Council – Outside The Council Chambers – Moments Later
Jocasta paced the hallway, wishing she could see and hear what was happening inside the Council Chambers. She stopped, watched the entrance for a few seconds, then resumed pacing.
“I don’t know why the Council has to be so damned secretive,” Jocasta grumbled to herself. “Hell, even Congress televises its proceedings, and you know how crazy it can get.”
When Jocasta heard the Chamber doors opening, she turned and walked quickly back to the entrance, where Katherine was just coming out.
Katherine’s shoulders were slumped, and her face looked tired. Jocasta pulled Katherine into a warm hug, which the Slayer returned gratefully.
When they separated, Jocasta asked, “How did it go?”
Katherine shook her head in frustration. “Okay…until the end,” she replied, “when Tyrell had his turn.”
“Yeah, he made me look really bad, like I was–”
“Jocasta Rosenberg,” the Council clerk called from the doorway.
“Sorry. I guess I better go,” Jocasta said, pulling away. “Wait for me?” she asked with a hopeful smile.
Katherine nodded and smiled back. “I’ll be here.”
Then she watched Jocasta enter the Council Chambers.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Moments Later
Once Jocasta was in place at the second lectern, Giles asked her to describe what happened after her initial meeting with Katherine Allison. Jocasta explained how she had tried to research the mysterious “314” reference, only to find that all of the relevant files had been removed by the High Command.
“So when you discovered that the files were missing, what did you do then?” Giles asked.
Jocasta started to answer, but then stopped and gave Giles her are-you-sure-you-wanna-go-there look. Giles simply smiled tightly and nodded.
Jocasta shrugged lightly and then answered. “Since we couldn’t access the files that had been removed, we decided to look elsewhere.”
“And where did you look?”
“The Progenitor File.”
At Jocasta’s admission, the Council erupted in outrage. Councilors on all sides loudly declared their shock and displeasure, some even shouting and pointing angrily in Jocasta’s direction.
Veronica immediately stood and took her place at the central podium. She banged the gavel hard several times.
“Order! Order!” she commanded, continuing to slam the gavel until the Councilors had calmed themselves. “Councilors,” she chided, “I remind you that any repercussions to admitted actions will take place after these proceedings are over.” Veronica turned back to Giles. “Councilor Giles, you may continue.”
“Thank you,” Giles said before turning to Jocasta. “Please go on,” he prompted.
“Once we had bypassed security,” Jocasta stated, “you and I and Katie—er, Slayer Allison—entered the Progenitor File room. At first, Willow—that’s the personality construct of the Progenitor File program—wouldn’t give us access, so I took it upon myself to provide my DNA sample to allow her to open the file.”
“Please explain,” Giles prompted.
“Well, Willow is accessible only to the Chair of the Council or to someone of Rosenberg descent such as myself. I used my clearance.”
“Objection!” Tyrell exclaimed. “She’s giving false information. She is not cleared to view the information contained in the Willow files.”
“Oh yeah?” Jocasta challenged, losing her temper at last. “Guess what? That failsafe code is part of the original program! And it’s there for a very good reason,” she said thrusting a finger at Tyrell. “It’s so my family could protect the Council from people like you keeping secrets, clearance or not!”
Tyrell, red faced, looked as though he might leap over the podium at Jocasta, and once more the Council erupted in chaos as Veronica found herself banging her gavel to keep order.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Moments Later
The Council Chambers quiet once again, Giles stood at his podium and addressed Jocasta at hers.
“What did you learn from the Willow file about this 314 Project?” he asked.
“The project specifications called for a central control unit, to which the enhanced vampires would be linked via advanced telemetry,” Jocasta explained. “The control unit, named Eve, was a cybernetic demon hybrid with multi-command capabilities. We knew that if we destroyed Eve, the combat units enslaved to her would crumble as well. Unfortunately, Eve was designed to be completely invulnerable to all current weaponry.”
“How, then, were you able to defeat her?” Giles asked.
Jocasta hesitated. “With magic,” she finally answered.
Veronica quickly calmed the grumbling crowd so that Giles could continue.
“Thank you,” Giles told Jocasta before turning to Tyrell. “Your witness,” he told him.
Tyrell began with the same intimidating silence he had employed against Katherine. Unlike the shy Slayer, Jocasta didn’t flinch under his scrutiny.
Seeing Jocasta was not responding to his glare, Tyrell broke it off and began his cross-examination. “Miss Rosenberg,” he said, with a heavy undertone of condescension.
“That’s Colonel Rosenberg,” Jocasta corrected.
A grin, quickly covered, flashed across Giles’s face. Tyrell, however, was not amused. His eyes blazed indignantly for a moment at his impassive witness. He quickly recovered, though, and then just smiled.
“Colonel Rosenberg,” he said finally, “you freely admit, then, that you deliberately and illegally accessed the Progenitor File?”
“Deliberately, yes. Illegally, no,” she answered firmly with her head held high.
“But how can you say–”
“I used the program as it was designed,” Jocasta said quickly, cutting him short.
“You are aware that the Willow files are stored in the contained area of Progenitor Chamber, to which you are not allowed access, correct?” Tyrell said snidely.
“It’s not my error that my family’s program was placed there,” Jocasta shrugged. “That mix-up is the responsibility of the Council and the High Command.”
A few of the Council members behind Jocasta snickered at her response, and Tyrell sent them a steely gaze, silencing them.
“And you stole the file, did you not? You pulled it from the Progenitor Chamber.”
“I’m glad you mentioned that,” Jocasta said, surprising Tyrell. “In fact, it was the Willowgram that loaded herself into the mobile processing unit and asked to come with us while we cleaned up your mess out in Sunnydale. Sorry, alleged mess,” she added quickly so that he couldn’t issue an objection.
Giles pursed his lips to hold back a laugh and gave a small cough to disguise it. “Excuse me,” he said quietly as Tyrell now fumed in his direction.
Tyrell walked a few feet away and addressed Jocasta over his shoulder.
“Tell me, in your position as head of Gray Sector, isn’t it your job to investigate incidents that are suspected to be of demonic, magical, or paranormal origin?”
“Yes,” Jocasta affirmed, wondering at Tyrell’s line of questioning.
“And your studies, they prepared you well for this position?”
“Of course,” Jocasta said defensively.
“What areas did you specialize in?”
Jocasta paused, finally seeing where Tyrell was going. She drew a deep breath and answered.
“Demon biology, human cybernetics, and computer science.”
Tyrell nodded knowingly. “So, hypothetically speaking, if someone wanted to, say, fabricate the existence of a cybernetically-enhanced vampire and then electronically distribute that documentation to the entire Command Council without proper authorization, what skills would that person need? What would her areas of specialization need to be?”
“Objection,” Giles told Veronica. Jocasta didn’t answer; she just glared at Tyrell.
Before Veronica could issue a reply, Tyrell merely grinned and said, “Withdrawn. I have no further questions for this witness.”
Watchers Council – Outside The Council Chambers – Moments Later
Like Jocasta had done previously, Katherine paced the hallway as she waited outside the Council Chambers. When the doors finally opened, Katherine ran to meet Jocasta.
The redheaded Watcher stomped out of the doorway, her fists clenched tightly at her sides. Katherine lifted her eyebrows in surprise; she’d never seen Jocasta this angry before.
“That’s not the look of a happy watcher,” Katherine observed lightly.
“That Tyrell! He actually tried to make it look like I made up the whole thing!” Jocasta complained. “Grrrrrrr…he’s just lucky I don’t know any good vengeance spells. You don’t happen to know any, do you?”
“Jo!” Katherine chided, with a scandalized grin.
“Okay,” Jocasta whined petulantly.
The Chamber doors opened again, and Councilors came pouring out, the meeting apparently adjourned for the moment. Several Councilors glared as they passed the Watcher and Slayer. When Tyrell himself approached the two women, he smiled and then sauntered confidently by them.
“Grrrrrrr,” Jocasta growled to herself as she watched the Chairman walk away.
After most of the Councilors had exited the Chambers, a weary-looking Giles finally appeared and joined his two witnesses.
“Giles, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have let him–” Jocasta started to say, before Giles lifted his hand and stopped her apology.
“Jo, it’s all right,” Giles said. “There was nothing you could have done—either of you. We knew Tyrell was going to be an able adversary, and he’s proving to be just that. You told the truth, and I have to believe that the truth will prevail. Besides,” he said with a proud grin, “you had your moments.”
“And the truth shall set you free?” Katherine quoted with a small smile.
“Yes, well, let’s hope so,” Giles replied.
“It better, or else we’re all looking at a very long stay in the Council’s correctional system,” Jocasta stated.
“Is there any news from James?” Giles asked.
“No, but he and Lex and Anya are still at it,” Katherine said. “I spoke with him while Jo was testifying.”
“What about Livia and Antonia?” Jocasta asked.
Katherine shook her head. “James said he hadn’t heard anything from Sunnydale, but maybe that’s a good. Maybe they found something.”
The three became quiet for a moment as they contemplated the seriousness of the situation. Jocasta eventually broke the heavy silence.
“Giles, are you going to need me and Katie again today?” Jocasta asked.
“Oh, um, no, I don’t believe so,” Giles answered. “We’re taking a short break and will resume the meeting afterwards. I’m going to present our additional evidence and then request an adjournment until tomorrow. Hopefully, I can buy us some time.”
“Well, in the meantime, Katie and I are going to follow up on these strange murders,” Jocasta said. “At this point, they may be our best chance to get some physical evidence.”
Cleveland Police Station – Homicide Division – Later That Day
Jocasta and Katherine threaded their way through the maze of desks in the Homicide Division of the Cleveland Police Department. Not sure how to find the detectives they were looking for, they stopped someone and asked. The uniformed policeman pointed towards the back where the conference room was located. They thanked the officer and moved quickly towards their destination.
When they entered the conference room, they found two detectives hunched over the long table, peering at a spread of color photos. A long bulletin board behind them was covered with other photos and documents. The man on the left was tall and fit with black hair; the other was shorter, almost pudgy, and balding, with reddish brown hair.
When the detectives noticed them, the taller one crossed his arms tightly and glared at the two intruders. The shorter one smiled and immediately came around the table.
“Colonel Rosenberg?” he said, offering his hand.
“Yes,” Jocasta replied warmly, shaking the detective’s hand. “And this is my associate, Katherine Allison.”
“Ms. Allison,” the man said with a nod. “I’m Detective Duggan, and this is my partner, Detective Santeri.”
As Jocasta and Katherine smiled politely in Santeri’s direction, the black-haired detective looked away and raised his hands. “I am not doing this!” he said angrily before abruptly leaving the room.
Duggan shrugged sheepishly. “Sorry ‘bout that. Robbie’s not too keen on the Council bein’ called in on this one.”
“It’s okay,” Jocasta said, “I’m used to it by now.”
“It’s just that, well, we figured it was just some looney, ya know?” Duggan said. “Another wacko serial killer who likes takin’ trophies from his victims.”
“Well, it could very well be just that,” Jocasta said, “but this might fall under our jurisdiction. That’s why we’re here.”
“Why don’t I give you a run-down on the case so far?” Duggan suggested.
“Sounds good,” Jocasta agreed.
Duggan led Jocasta and Katherine around the table to the bulletin board on the other side. Now closer, they could see the board was divided up into sections, one for each victim. Duggan stood at the far left side and pointed at a photo of an armed serviceman.
“Victim #1, Vincent Seger, 23 years old, corporal in the armed services, newly discharged, in prime physical condition,” Duggan explained. “And yet the killer did this to him.” Duggan pointed to a graphic picture of the soldier’s mutilated body. “Ripped his spine right out of him.”
Duggan moved to the second section of the board. “Victim #2, Stephano Grimaldi, 46 years old, history professor, with a rep as a player, usually a different student each semester. Castrated. And, if you can’t tell from the photo, not with a knife.” Duggan grimaced a little before moving quickly to the next section.
“Victim #3,” Duggan continued, pointing to the third section. “Michael Fargo, 61, ruthless corporate VP, hated by employees and colleagues alike. Gutted like a fish and his stomach removed.”
Duggan moved to the fourth section. “And this is the latest one, #4. Richie Brockman, 32 years old, perennial college student and frequent volunteer in local charities. The killer cracked his chest and took his heart.”
“That’s the one we saw on the news net,” Katherine pointed out.
Jocasta nodded. “His girlfriend was with him, right? She’s the one who described the attacker as ‘partially robotic’?”
“That’s right,” Duggan confirmed.
“Has she added any details since her first interview?” Jocasta asked.
Duggan shook his head. “On the way to hospital, she lapsed into a coma and hasn’t regained consciousness.”
“So he didn’t kill her; he was only interested in her boyfriend,” Jocasta mused.
“She was just in the way?” Katherine offered.
“Looks that way,” Duggan answered. “Except for being male, we’ve found no other connection among the victims. What makes this odd is that most serial killers target women. Not all o’ course, but most go for a victim they can easily overpower. Whoever’s doing this is strong, because they’re using their hands. We’ve seen no evidence of a blade.”
“Fingerprints?” Jocasta asked.
As the three mulled over the case in their minds, the phone on the wall near the door rang. Duggan went to answer it. “Detective Duggan,” he said formally. He listened a moment, and then his face tightened. “Damn it. I’ll be right there,” he spoke into the receiver.
Duggan turned to Jocasta and Katherine, his face grim. “We might have #5, ladies.”
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – At The Same Time
Giles punched the button on the lectern’s console, ending the video that showed Tyrell’s meeting with the representatives of Hubris, Inc.
“As you can see,” Giles commented, “Tyrell’s actions are highly suspicious. It is my belief that the warehouse rented from Hubris contains evidence critical to these proceedings, evidence that was removed from the remains of the Sunnydale facility. I therefore request permission to search this warehouse for–”
“The High Council has already denied this request,” Tyrell interrupted patiently. “The warehouse contains exactly what I said it contained: volatile experiments, which must now remain undisturbed. Unless Councilor Giles can establish just cause for such a search, the High Command will continue to deny his request.”
Veronica started to object, but then chose not to, knowing her authority as Acting Chair did not extend that far. Instead, she turned her attention back to Giles.
“Councilor Giles,” Veronica said, “do you have any more evidence to present, any physical evidence whatsoever of this cyber-demon army that Tyrell supposedly raised via this 314 project?”
Giles cleared his throat and shifted nervously in place. “Well, actually, at the present time, I–”
“I got your physical evidence right here!” a voice interrupted, booming from the doorway of the Council chambers.
All heads turned to the back of the room, where a bruised and battered Livia held a shrouded figure tightly in her grip. As all eyes watched, Livia dragged the figure to the area between the two lecterns.
“You want some physical evidence?” Livia addressed the Council. “Take a look at this!”
Livia ripped off the sack that was shrouding her captive. When the Council members saw what was underneath, they gasped and shrieked, jumping from their seats, readying themselves for flight.
The uncovered cyber-vamp hissed and growled, struggling against its restraints and against the firm grip of the Slayer.
End of Act One