Act 4

Fade In:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – Late Afternoon

Dr. McClelland was hunched over a lab table watching a monitor as Willow sent a series of reports to his screen.

“So, the gist of it is…you were right,” Willow said. “Once everything else is eliminated, there’s really only one thing that could be causing the power loss.”

“A nanobot?”

Willow smiled and nodded.

“Yes!” Dr. McClelland shouted with elation. “Now we’re gettin’ somewhere!”

Fade out.

Fade in:


Watchers Council – Infirmary Conference Room – Night

Giles sat at the head of the table with Dr. McClelland and Velika on each side of him. Filling out the rest of the table were Jocasta, Katherine, James, and Lex. Willowgram stood atop her mobile processor in the center of the table. Mira was the last to arrive. Once she shut the door and took her place at table, Giles faced the group, ready to begin.

“Okay, let’s get started then,” Giles announced. “Dr. McClelland has some good news for us, and—”

Giles stopped when the conference room door opened again. Everyone stared in surprise when a wheelchair came through carrying Livia.

“Livia!” Giles and Velika exclaimed simultaneously.

“Hey guys,” Livia said with a small smile. Livia turned to look at her driver. “Thanks Jenn,” she told the younger slayer, who wisely slipped from the room without making eye contact with Mira or Velika.

“What the hell are you doing outta bed?” Mira demanded as she rose to her feet.

“Have you totally lost your mind?” Velika added.

“Just let it go, all right?” Livia said. “We don’t have time to argue about it. I need to be here.” When Mira crossed her arms and glared, Livia continued. “Look, you can take me right back afterwards, okay?”

Mira rolled her eyes and sighed. “Hard-headed, stubborn-assed…” she grumbled as she rolled Livia closer to the table and returned to her seat.

Katherine gave Jocasta a nudge. “See? I told you I wasn’t the stubbornest slayer in the Council.”

“Okay, second-stubbornest, then,” Jocasta corrected.

Cut to:


Watchers Council – Infirmary Conference Room – A Little Later

“A nanobot?” Mira asked. “What the heck is that?”

“A nanobot is a mechanical or electromechanical device whose dimensions are measured in nanometers,” Dr. McClelland answered.

“And…what’s a nanometer?” Mira pressed for further translation.

“It’s one millionth of a millimeter,” Lex supplied.

“Holy cow!” Mira exclaimed.

“Wait…you mean we’ve got some super-shrunk robot floating around in our brains?” Livia asked with a look on her face that was half confusion and half disgust.

“Well, it’s probably not floating, but essentially, yes,” Dr. McClelland said.

“Man…nanotechnology is heavy-duty stuff, very cutting-edge,” Lex commented. “And very expensive, particularly on a scale like this. I mean, we’re talking thousands of slayers world-wide. How the heck did they administer the damn things?”

“Vaccinations,” Willowgram reported. “The only common factor among all the unaffected slayers was that they were exempt from the required regimen of vaccinations due to allergies to serum constituents.”

“Damn!” Mira said. “Thank god for allergies.” Then she gave a shudder as if contemplating the idea of a nanobot wiggling around in her brain.

“Oh and get this. Guess who’s an expert in the field of nanotechnology?” Jocasta asked rhetorically. “Dr. Martin So.”

“The Clone Master from Dayson Laboratories?” James asked in alarm.

“Yep,” Jocasta confirmed. “The very same. Tyrell’s own little personal mad scientist.”

“So what can be done?” Katherine asked the doctor. “About the nanobot, I mean. You can take it out, right?”

“Ehhh…that’s the tricky part, I’m afraid,” Dr. McClelland answered. “You know that old joke, ‘oh, he can do that, it’s not like it’s brain surgery’? Well, this is. It’s very delicate—and very dangerous—work. What I need is…” He trailed off and paused, then finally continued. “Frankly, what I need is a guinea pig. A volunteer. Someone who’s willing to—”

“I’ll do it,” Katherine suddenly interjected.

“What?!” Jocasta exclaimed.

“I said I’ll do it,” Katherine repeated.

“You do realize how dangerous this is?” Dr. McClelland asked Katherine. “And I’m not just talking about the possibility of death. If something went wrong, you could go into a coma, or even worse, suffer a massive stroke and be paralyzed, unable to even speak or eat or take care of yourself.”

“I understand,” Katherine said solemnly. “Somebody’s gotta do it.” Then she shrugged and forced a smile. “Besides, I’ve already had one somebody in my head recently. I’d really rather not have another somebody in there. So, Mr. NanoRoboto’s gotta go.”

Everyone except Jocasta smiled or chuckled at Katherine’s attempt at humor. Dr. McClelland gave Velika and Giles a look and then turned back to Katherine. “Okay then,” he told her with a smile and a shrug. “You need to go home, get some rest, and be here first thing in the morning. No meds, and no food or water after midnight.”

Katherine nodded and then turned to Jocasta, who gave her a long hard look of hurt and fear and anger before finally glancing away.

Fade out.

Fade in:


Jocasta’s Apartment – Later That Night

Jocasta had been silent all the way from the Council to her apartment. That changed as soon as she and Katherine got inside the door.

“How could you do that?” Jocasta accused.

“What? Volunteer?” Katherine replied.

“No,” Jocasta clarified. “Volunteer without talking to me first.”

“Oh,” Katherine said, a look of realization coming on her face.

“My god, Katie, you’re putting your life at risk in this experimental surgery… a-a-and you don’t even talk to me about it?” Jocasta paused, looking hurt and frustrated.

“I’m sorry. I just thought that…well, Dr. McClelland needed somebody and…” Katherine trailed off.

“This was a huge, life-changing decision. You shouldn’t have made it without me.” Jocasta glanced at her hands a moment, then looked at Katherine. “I mean, I know we’re not married. Heck, we’re not even officially living together, but…we are in a relationship. We’re supposed to decide together.”

“You’re right,” Katherine admitted. “I should have talked to you first. I’m sorry.” She moved closer to Jocasta and took her hand. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. Honest. It’s just that…I’ve been on my own for a long time. Trent was a million miles away, and I got used to making decisions only for myself. It was just a knee-jerk, bad-habit reaction, and I’m sorry.”

Katherine gazed intently into Jocasta’s eyes and gave her hand a squeeze. “Do you want me to cancel?” she asked the redhead.

“Yes,” Jocasta said without hesitation. Then she added, “But I know you can’t.”

“Well, I can…”

“But you don’t want to.”

Katherine shook her head. “No, I don’t. I really think it’s the right thing to do.” Katherine gave a rueful chuckle as she dropped her gaze to the floor. “Despite the fact that it’s got me scared out of my mind.”

Jocasta pulled Katherine into a warm hug. “Oh baby, it’ll be okay. You’ll see. Dr. McClelland’s the best. If anybody can fix this, he can.”

Fade out.

Fade in:


Watchers Council – Velika’s Office – Same time

Velika looked up from her desk as Mira entered the room.

“Did you see the doctor?” Velika immediately asked.

Mira looked confused for a moment, but remembered quickly. She winced.

“Oh, my head. Uh, no.” Velika looked sternly at her, and Mira held up her hands. “But I will! Right after I show you this.”

“Okay. What have you got?” Velika replied, taking the data pad that Mira handed to her.

Mira cleared her throat and began by holding up the golden knife. “I snagged this off one of the demons that attacked me and Livia. I scanned it into the computer and did a little digging.”

Velika raised an eyebrow and forced back a smile. Mira leaned over the desk and pointed at the screen of the data pad.

“The symbol on the knife is kind of like a logo for this doomsday cult. I cross-referenced the cult with the Council’s demon database…uh, not that I broke into anybody’s files or anything…” Mira coughed and breezed ahead.

“Anyway, from what I can gather, these demons are a branch of this cult. Probably pretty new to the religion, since the references for them don’t go back very far. Basically, if you mix this knife—or one like it—with a ritual sacrifice at the right time in the right location…boom. Hellmouth opens, chaos ensues.”

Velika scrolled through the file as Mira talked, nodding occasionally. Finally, she set the data pad down and smiled at the slayer.

“I knew you had some brains hiding somewhere underneath all that brawn,” Velika said. “I assume with all the time you put into this that you’ve got an idea or two about where to start the search?” Mira nodded. “Okay. Pick your team, and you’re a ‘go’.”

Mira beamed at her commander. “Thank you!”

Velika smiled as she watched Mira dash from the room.

Fade out.

Fade in:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – O.R. Waiting Room – The Next Morning

As the orderly pushed Katherine’s gurney down the hallway, he stopped at the waiting room door, where Jocasta stood shifting nervously on her feet. Once the bed had rolled to a stop, Jocasta took Katherine’s hand in hers and squeezed it.

“Well, here I go,” Katherine said in a quavering voice, “off for my nanobotectomy.”

They both laughed a little. Then Katherine gave a hint of a sob.

“God, I’m scared, Jo,” Katherine said.

“Oh, don’t be, honey,” Jocasta assured her, stroking her face gently then planting a kiss on the back of her hand. “It’ll be just fine. They’ll go in, they’ll get the little nano-thingee, they’ll get out, and you’ll come home to me, safe and sound and all full of slayerness.”

Katherine smiled, and so did Jocasta. Then the orderly gave the redhead a nod, indicating it was time. She turned back to Katherine.

“I love you,” Jocasta said, looking deeply into Katherine’s eyes.

“I love you, too,” Katherine replied.

Jocasta gave the blonde slayer a passionate kiss then said, “I’ll see you in a little while, okay?”

“Okay,” Katherine said.

As the orderly pushed the gurney down the hall toward the operating room, Jocasta watched and gave a final wave before Katherine disappeared into the O.R. Then she entered the waiting room where the others were gathered and sat next to Lex. As she leaned against his shoulder, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.

Cut to:

Series of Shots – Katherine’s Surgery

— Katherine being put to sleep and positioned on her side

— Dr. McClelland inserting a large needle into Katherine’s spine at the base of her neck

— Dr. McClelland attaching a tiny hose-like device to the needle

— Dr. McClelland moving to a complicated joystick with a monitor in front

— Dr. McClelland manipulating the joystick, watching the monitor, and then saying, “I’m in.”

Cut to:

Series of Shots – The Waiting Room

— Jocasta pacing in the room

— Lex looking at his watch multiple times

— Giles bringing some coffee to the now-seated Jocasta

Cut to:

Series of Shots – Katherine’s Surgery

— Dr. McClelland still manipulating the joystick

— A nurse wiping Dr. McClelland’s sweating brow

— Dr. McClelland looking at the O.R. clock

Cut to:

Series of Shots – The Waiting Room

— Jocasta doing more pacing and hand-wringing

— James and Anya bringing snacks and sack lunches

— Lex banging the television monitor when it goes on the blink

— James and Anya thumb-wrestling in the corner

Cut to:

Series of Shots – Katherine’s Surgery

— Dr. McClelland saying, “Okay, I’ve got it. Coming out.”

— Dr. McClelland squinting his eyes and saying, “Damn!”

— Assisting doctor yelling, “She’s hemorrhaging!”

— Dr. McClelland yelling, “I know!” then desperately doing multiple manipulations of the joystick.

Cut to:

Series of Shots – The Waiting Room

— Jocasta talking intently with Brianna

— Velika pushing Livia in her wheelchair into the room

— Livia and Jocasta seemingly having a heart-to-heart talk

Cut to:

Series of Shots – Katherine’s Surgery

— Dr. McClelland relaxing momentarily and saying, “Hemorrhaging stopped.”

— Dr. McClelland doing a few final moves with the joystick

— Dr. McClelland saying “I’m out.”

Cut to:

Series of Shots – The Waiting Room

— Jocasta sitting by herself looking despondent

— Antonia entering, still in her flight suit

— Jocasta running to Antonia and crying on her shoulder

Cut to:


Watchers Council – Infirmary – O.R. Waiting Room – Late Afternoon

A very weary Dr. McClelland entered the room and was immediately mobbed by its inhabitants. Jocasta looked up from her crying and ran to the doctor’s side.

“Doctor! How is she?” Jocasta asked.

Dr. McClelland sighed and smiled and said, “She’s doing just fine. We had a little scare, but otherwise everything went great. I removed the nanobot intact, so it’s ready to be studied. Katie should be back to her old self in a day or two.”

Everyone let out a whoop of exultation as the hug fest began.

Cut to:


Abandoned Church Cemetery – Same Time

Mira sat on the ground behind a crypt. She peeked around the edge and ducked quickly back. Further into the cemetery, a crowd of furry, bat-eared demons stood in a circle. A deep chant emanated from the group, floating out over the graveyard. Mira peeked again, but couldn’t make out what was going on in the center of the circle.

“Damn. I can’t tell how far into the ritual they are,” she whispered. The slayer beside her shrugged and pointed at a nearby copse of trees. Mira nodded and activated her link.

“Bravo leader, this is Alpha leader,” she whispered.

“This is Bravo leader. Go ahead.”

Mira scooted lower so that she could look around the crypt with less chance of being spotted. “I don’t have a direct line of sight, Jenn. What do you see?”

When there was no immediate response, Mira tapped her link impatiently. It crackled slightly before Jenn’s voice came on again.

“One human. Female. Still alive,” she said. “Though it looks like that’s gonna change real soon.”

Mira nodded and gave a hand signal to her partner. “Copy that. Move on my order.”

The two slayers pulled up into crouches and readied their weapons. Mira held up a hand and began silently counting down. Five fingers, then four, then three. Before she could get to two, the demonic chanting was suddenly broken by a loud, mechanical roar. A rush of air blew Mira’s hair into her eyes and knocked her slightly into the crypt. Distantly, she heard the demons screeching.

“What the hell?!” Mira cried over the din.

“Look!” her partner said, pointing at the sky above the demon clan.

There, lowering slowly to Earth, was a fighter in a very large, somewhat familiar-looking battle suit. Mira pushed her hair out of her eyes and squinted up at the machine.

“Is that a seraphim suit?” she asked her companion. “Who the hell is that?”

The slayers stared at the unfamiliar warrior for a moment as he began to fire at the quickly scattering demons. Mira cursed and leaped to her feet.

“Now!” she screamed and charged at a fleeing demon.

Two more teams of slayers emerged from the surrounding area and rushed the demons. The fight didn’t last long. Most of the demons fell underneath the superior weaponry of the battle suit, and the ones that didn’t were too stunned to be much of a challenge for the slayers. When the demons had been eliminated, Mira looked up just in time to see the ritual victim being pulled to the safety of a skimmer emblazoned with the logo of Hubris, Inc. Another skimmer, parked several feet away from the Hubris vehicle, was being leaned upon by a sharply dressed woman standing next to a Channel 21 cameraman.

Mira’s shoulders slumped. “Oh, fu—”

“Mira!” Jenn came trotting up to her. “All the demons are accounted for, and we’ve confiscated the ritual materials.”

“That’ll have to do, I guess,” Mira said. “Let’s head home.”

Jenn nodded and hurried off. Mira glared directly at Lisa Lance and her cameraman before turning to join the rest of the slayers.

Fade out.

Fade in:


Ruins of Demon Bar – Late At Night

Giles crept carefully through the remains of the entrance to the burned-out demon bar. He held onto a beam for support, only to have it drop away, sending ash and debris falling. Giles coughed and kept moving.

Once inside the main part of the bar, he looked around the room. Thankfully, the bodies of the demons who had been killed were no longer there; they had already been removed for incineration. Giles sighed and ran his hand through his hair.

Suddenly, he heard a sound behind him. He turned to see what it was and found the blue-skinned bartender climbing out of the back room. She was carrying a box of salvaged items. When she saw Giles, she scowled.

“What are you doing here?” she asked angrily.

“Syri, I’m…I’m so sorry,” Giles said. “I never meant for this to happen. You must know that I didn’t order the attack.”

“Doesn’t matter, does it?” Syri replied. “It’s done.”

“Please, I want to help. Let me—”

“I think you’ve done enough,” Syri said coldly. “So just head on back to the Council where you belong. Mr. Chairman.”

Giles looked at Syri for a moment, then sadly turned and left the bar.

Fade out.

Fade in:


Washington, DC – The Senate House – The Next Day

Senator Townsend slowly made his way to the podium. He placed a data pad onto the wooden surface, cleared his throat, and then looked up at the sea of reporters and camera crews in the audience.

“In light of recent events, the Sub-Committee for the Human Defense Treaty has made a recommendation to the Senate, which was just approved by a majority vote this morning,” the senator announced.

“Effective immediately, the monopoly on the contract for the Human Defense Treaty, which has been held by the Watchers Council for the past twenty years, is now lifted.”

Gasps of amazement and shock burst from the audience, and camera flashes went off in a flurry. When the furor died down, Townsend continued.

“The Human Defense Treaty contract is now available for open bidding from any corporation within the territories of the American Conglomerate and of the other signatories of the HDT. Details on the bidding process and its deadline are available from my office. Thank you.”

As Senator Townsend moved away from the podium, reporters bombarded him with questions. He ignored them all. Instead, he settled his eyes on a figure in the back of the room. He gave a barely noticeable nod to Eris Pantelles, who smiled wickedly then sauntered from the room.

Fade Out


End of Uncertain Futures


Next on Watchers: Restoration