Park Near Watchers Council – Resume
“What?!” Lex exclaimed in alarm.
“How did this happen?” Jocasta asked.
“He escaped during his transfer,” Giles explained. “Apparently, the vehicle transporting him never arrived at the Council holding facility.”
Jocasta glanced worriedly at Katherine, who mirrored her look of concern.
“We all need to get back to work right away,” Giles commanded. “We’ll reconvene in Jo’s conference room in an hour.”
“Lex and I can stay and clean up here,” Antonia offered. “Then we’ll be right over.”
Jessica turned to Livia. “I can manage on my own,” she told the slayer, “since you guys obviously have an emergency situation.”
Anya perked up. “If you need further assistance, I’d be happy to–”
“No!” Jessica immediately replied. Then she softened her tone. “No, thank you, Anya. I appreciate the offer, but I’ll be fine.”
Anya pouted. As the others began leaving, she turned to find James. She looked around the gazebo, but he wasn’t there. She cocked her head in bewilderment.
Watchers Council – Detention Area – Moments Later
Giles, Jocasta, and Katherine waited to be cleared through the last security door of the detention area. When they heard the buzz, they opened the steel door and stepped through. Once inside, they went directly to the guard station.
As they neared it, Jocasta leaned over to Katherine and whispered, “I’m gettin’ a flashback to last week, how ‘bout you?” Katherine grinned.
As soon as they arrived, the guard on duty, Sergeant Stein, leapt to his feet and stood at attention. “Mr. Chairman,” he said formally.
“As you were, Sergeant,” Giles replied. The guard gratefully relaxed. “We’re here to see Tyrell.”
Stein instantly tensed up again and looked confused. “H-H-He’s not here,” the guard said. “He was transferred this morning.”
“What?!” Giles exclaimed angrily.
An expression of fear spread over the sergeant’s face, and he went immediately to his console and began calling up the relevant files. “I-I-I only came on duty a little while ago,” the guard explained nervously. “It looks like the previous shift received a last-minute order to transfer Tyrell with Rayne to the off-site holding facility.”
“Who put in this order?” Giles demanded.
Stein hesitated then replied, “Ummm…you did, sir.”
“Damn it!” Giles said as he went around the counter and looked at the screen Stein was pointing at.
“Are you sure he’s gone?” Jocasta asked.
“Yes, ma’am, Colonel,” Stein answered. “But you can take a look if you want.”
“That won’t be necessary, Sergeant,” Jocasta said, “but we may need to speak with you again.” The guard nodded nervously.
When Giles came back around the counter, the three headed out of the detention area.
“This means that they’re both gone,” Katherine said ominously. “What are we gonna do?”
“We find them and put a stop to this nonsense once and for all,” Giles announced in a determined voice.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Later
Giles sat at the head of the conference table. To his right sat Jocasta and Katherine and Livia. Willowgram stood atop her mobile processor on the table in front of Jocasta. On Giles’s left were Lex and Antonia.
Giles looked at his watch. “Where is James?” he asked in annoyance.
“I don’t know,” Jocasta replied. “You want me to call him?”
“No, I’ll do it,” Giles said. Giles activated the computer console before him and made the call to the computer center.
“Computer Center,” James answered crisply.
“James, we’re waiting on you in the conference room if you can manage to tear yourself away,” Giles said in angry sarcasm. “Tyrell and Rayne aren’t going to just turn themselves in.”
“Tyrell and Rayne escaped?!” James exclaimed in surprise.
Giles rolled his eyes. “Oh, for Christ’s sake, just get here, James!” Then Giles cut the connection in irritation.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Moments Later
James rushed into the conference room. “I’m sorry,” he said in a voice breathless from running.
“Where’s your annoying other half?” Lex asked.
James gave Lex a befuddled look.
“He wants to know where Anya is,” Antonia clarified.
“Not here, thank goodness,” Livia murmured under her breath, drawing a giggle out of Katherine.
“Oh, I’ve got her mapping the reroute for Willow,” James replied.
“All right, now that we’re all here, we can begin,” Giles said pointedly. “This is what we know. Someone used my name and clearance to order a last-minute transfer for Tyrell, so when Rayne left, Tyrell was taken with him.”
“But something happened on the way to the holding facility because the transport never arrived,” Jocasta added. “And no one has seen Tyrell or Rayne or the transport guards since.”
“Lex, Toni, I want you two to check out the transportation angle,” Giles instructed. “See if you can locate the vehicle used for the transfer.”
Antonia and Lex both gave the Chairman a thumbs-up.
“Livia, Katherine,” Giles continued, “I want you two to get the Slayers out conducting a physical search.”
“We’re on it,” Livia confirmed.
“Jo, I want you and Willow to research the transfer records,” Giles said to the two redheads. “See if you can find a trail there.”
“Oh, I’ve got the protocols set, so Willow’s got full access now,” James interjected. “I haven’t gotten the rerouting done yet, but I’ll get to it as soon as Anya’s done mapping it for me. I can help Jo research, too, i-i-if you need me to.”
“No, I’d like you to stay on the Dayson break-in,” Giles countered. “I’ve got a very bad feeling about that for some reason.”
“Will do,” James replied.
“Anything else?” Giles asked the group. When no one had anything to add, Giles said, “Let’s get to it, then.”
As the group began departing, Katherine lingered to speak with James.
“So, how’re things going with your sister?” Katherine asked.
“Fine, I guess,” James answered flatly.
“Well, I was glad to see you two getting along earlier, actually talking to each other…and smiling even. It’s a good start, right?”
James looked puzzled, but before he could comment, Livia interrupted.
“Katie! Come on!” Livia called from the doorway.
Katherine gave James’s arm a friendly squeeze, then ran to join Livia.
As he watched the two slayers leave the conference room, he shook his head in confusion.
Watchers Council – Computer Center – Mid-Afternoon
James stared at his screen intently, scanning quickly through the data he had located on Dayson Laboratory.
“Hmmm,” he said thoughtfully as he perused a particular passage.
“What?” Anya prompted as she looked up from her own screen, which was covered in data routing diagrams.
“Well, it’s a Council-sponsored medical research lab and cloning facility,” he answered. “The money generated from the private-sector cloning supports the research division. The problem is…I can’t find any information on what it is exactly that they’re researching.”
“Maybe we should go in person,” Anya suggested.
James smiled and stood up. “Come on, let’s go check it out,” he told the android, whose face burst into a happy grin.
Dayson Laboratory – Lobby – Later
James and Anya entered the lobby of Dayson Laboratory and went directly to the reception area. A beautiful young woman was working the reception desk, typing away on a keyboard.
“Hi,” James said, greeting the receptionist. “I’d like to see the administrator, please.”
“I’m sorry, the administrator isn’t available,” the receptionist instantly responded, then turned right back to her typing.
Anya leaned over and whispered in James’s ear. “She’s one of the new S-line Hyperdynes. I’ve heard they’re really twitchy. You probably won’t get anything out of her.”
James pulled out his Council I.D. and set it on the desk. “Excuse me,” he said, getting the receptionist’s attention once again. “I really need to see the administrator. I was sent personally by Chairman Giles to address the recent break-in.”
“The break-in…of course,” the receptionist said oddly before pausing, seemingly considering what to do.
Anya whispered in James’s ear, “What’d I tell you…twitchy.”
“One moment,” the receptionist replied then turned and made a quick call, murmuring quietly into her headset. When she was done, she turned back around. “The administrator is on her way.”
Watchers Council – Hallway Near Red Sector – Same Time
As Antonia was leaving Red Sector, she saw James in the hallway. She flagged him down.
“Hey, James, I’m glad I caught you,” Antonia said.
James looked around as if searching for an escape route as she neared.
“Do you think you could convince Jessica to get her picture taken with me? I forgot to ask yesterday in all the excitement, and then at the picnic today, I didn’t want to intrude since you and your sister were gettin’ all bondy and everything. Well, actually, I did want to intrude, but Lex wouldn’t let me. Anyway, do you think you could?”
James’s eyes darted nervously from side to side. Then he stuck his hands in his pockets and smiled at Antonia. “Sure, no problem,” he said.
Antonia squealed with delight and gave James a big hug. “Thank you!” she cried before heading down the hallway.
Dayson Laboratory – Lobby – Moments Later
When the laboratory administrator arrived, she smiled and shook James’s hand.
“I’m Dr. Carilyn Byrne,” she said. “What can I do for you, Mr. Wells?”
“I’m here to investigate the recent break-in here at your facility.”
“There must be some mistake,” Dr. Byrne said sternly. “I never requested an outside investigator from the Council.”
“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” James said. “All I know is that High Command Chairman Giles asked me to look into it.”
“Well, regardless we’ve got nothing to hide,” she responded.
“What can you tell me about the break-in?” James asked.
“The night before last, the lab was broken into,” Dr. Byrne said. “One of the doctors, Dr. Martin So, was attacked and knocked unconscious.”
“What did the intruder do? Was anything stolen?”
“The only thing stolen was a data rod…oh, and a security card.”
“What was on the data rod?”
“Some of Dr. So’s research.”
“What was he researching?”
“Nano-technology, specifically its use in fighting viruses.”
“Was his research dangerous?”
“No, not at all. The only danger now is that his research will be set back,” the administrator answered. “The data stolen would be valuable, though. We suspect a rival medical group who’s conducting research the same area.”
“Can we see Dr. So’s lab?” James asked.
“I’m afraid not,” Dr. Byrne replied. “It hasn’t been officially cleared by haz-mat yet.”
“Can we see Dr. So?” James asked.
The administrator shook her head. “Unfortunately, he is still in a coma from the attack.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. well, I guess that’s it then,” James said. “I’ll be needing all of the records from your internal investigation, however.”
“I’ll have our investigator send them over right away.”
“Thank you. If you need any help with the investigation, don’t hesitate to call,” James offered.
“I doubt that will be necessary, but thank you,” the administrator said with a smile.
As Dr. Byrne watched James and Anya leave the facility, her smile faded into a scowl.
Watchers Council – Council Chambers – Same Time
For the second time in as many days, Giles stared out at the faces of his fellow Councilors.
“I’m sorry for the abruptness of this meeting, but we have a situation,” Giles announced. “As you’ve seen in the preliminary report, Council security was compromised, and…ummm…unfortunately, both Tyrell and Rayne have escaped.”
Morgan Travers leapt to his feet, a gleeful smile passing over his face. “So, less than a month into your position, you’ve managed to allow the Project 314 mastermind and his accomplice to escape from this supposedly secure facility?”
“Now just a minute–” Giles started to object, but Travers continued.
“Isn’t it true that the transfer order for Tyrell was signed by you?” Travers pressed. “How do we know that you didn’t aid these criminals in their escape?”
Giles’s face purpled with barely concealed outrage at Travers’ audacity. “I hardly think I would risk my life and career to expose Tyrell and Rayne only to help them escape now!” Giles said angrily.
Veronica, seeing her friend’s distress, stepped forward. “Mr. Travers, such accusations are baseless at this time,” Veronica said. “We still know very little about how Tyrell and Rayne were able to escape, but an investigation is underway, and Chairman Giles will keep us informed of its progress.”
“Be that as it may,” Travers countered, “since the evidence implicates Councilor Giles, I feel that the interests of justice would be better served if he himself were not supervising this investigation.”
Veronica glared, instantly recognizing that Travers was throwing her own words, once used against Tyrell, back at her.
A nearby Councilor, a known-crony of both Tyrell and Travers, stood to his feet.
“Yes, I agree,” the man said. “I move that Councilor Travers oversee the investigation into this matter.”
Another Councilor quickly interjected, “I second the motion.”
The motion properly made and seconded, Giles had no choice but to put the motion to a vote. When the votes were tallied, the motion passed easily. Giles announced the results and adjourned the meeting. After the adjournment, Travers sauntered up to the podium.
“I’ll expect a copy of all investigative materials relating to the escape to be in my box within the hour,” Travers ordered the Chairman.
Giles’s eyes narrowed, and his lips pursed tightly. Travers just smiled and walked away.
Watchers Council – Computer Center – Later
Having successfully hacked into the internal database of Dayson Laboratory, James now sat at his desk, leaned back in his chair, with his eyes glued to his computer screen. His fingers flew over the keyboard, causing the images on the screen to change rapidly. He scanned through document after document at a rate most people would be unable to follow.
“Whoa, wait a minute,” he said to himself as he sat up straight in his chair.
He sent the screen back a few documents. He leaned closer, running his finger across the monitor, reading carefully.
“Holy cow!” he exclaimed.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – Late Afternoon
“Well, there’s no sign of Tyrell or Rayne anywhere in HQ,” Livia reported.
“We were able to confirm that the vehicle transporting Tyrell and Rayne never arrived at the holding facility,” Lex added. “We did find it, though.”
“Oh?” Katherine inquired hopefully.
“Yeah, in Lake Erie,” Antonia answered glumly.
“Oh,” Katherine replied in a disappointed tone.
“You didn’t happen to find Tyrell and Rayne still in it, did you?” Willowgram asked with a smirky glint in her holographic eyes.
“Unfortunately not,” Lex said.
“Damn,” Willowgram complained.
“Willow!” Jocasta chided.
“Well, Tyrell did try to shoot us once,” the hologram defended.
“Let’s put the past aside,” Giles said. “Jo, what did you find out about the transfer request?”
“Well, it looks like someone set up a shadow account that mimics Giles’s,” Jocasta said. “I can prove that the transfer request came from the shadow account and not from Giles, but so far, I haven’t been able to figure out who set up the account in the first place.”
“Good. Be sure to forward your findings to Travers, and then keep at it. Travers is looking for any evidence that he can use against me,” Giles said to Jocasta.
“Travers?” Jocasta asked.
“He got control to oversee the investigation since my name was on the release.”
“That son of-,” Jocasta muttered. Before she could finish Giles turned to James.
“James, I’m not sure if it has anything to do with Tyrell and Rayne’s escape, but what have you been able to discover about the Dayson break-in?” Giles asked.
“Well, the official story is that the facility was broken into,” James began, “but my theory is that it was actually broken out of.” When everyone looked confused, he continued. “See, according to the laboratory administrator, an intruder broke in and stole a data rod belonging to Dr. Martin So, one of the researchers there. But according to their internal correspondence, the data rod isn’t the only thing missing. A clone is also missing.”
“A clone?” Antonia asked. James nodded in the affirmative.
“An actual activated clone?” Willowgram inquired curiously. James nodded again.
“So you suspect that it’s the clone who stole the data rod and then broke out with it?” Giles asked.
“Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” James said. “The clone wasn’t named. It was mentioned only by code number. There are more files concerning the clone and the research project, but they are deeply encrypted for privacy. I haven’t been able to crack them yet, but I will.”
“What else?” Giles prompted.
“After I returned I tapped into their logs and did some reading. The Dayson people are worried sick about finding this clone,” James said. “They’re afraid that their entire operation will be compromised. They mentioned me specifically and how my presence complicated everything although they were polite upfront when I was there.”
“You must have really shaken them up when you went over there,” Lex said, giving James a playful punch in the arm.
“I must have,” James continued, “because they mentioned in at least one memo that they needed an operative in Council HQ right away.”
“An operative?” Livia asked worriedly. “What do they need an operative for?”
“Maybe they want to keep an eye on James’s investigation,” Katherine suggested.
“Or maybe they think the clone will show up here,” Jocasta countered. “Perhaps to turn over the data rod and expose their operation…whatever it is.”
“We’ll need to alert security,” Giles noted, “and tell them about the clone and the possible operative.”
“If Dayson does send an operative, he’ll have a headstart on us,” Livia added.
“What do you mean?” James asked.
“The operative will know what the clone looks like,” Livia answered.
The group exchanged worried expressions.
Watchers Council – Hallway Outside Conference Room – Moments Later
The meeting now broken up, Livia and Lex followed Antonia and James as they made their way towards the elevator. Antonia fell into step beside James.
“So when can I get that picture with Jessica?” she asked with a grin.
“What picture?” James replied, confused.
“You said you’d talk to Jessica about getting her picture made with me.”
“I never said that,” James stated defensively as they reached the elevator. James punched the button angrily then stepped back a few feet.
“Yes you did,” Antonia said, putting her hands on her hips. “It was this afternoon in the hallway near Lex’s office!”
The elevator door opened.
“I don’t know what you’re talking abo–”
James froze in place as he came face to face with himself.
End of Act Three