Lindsay Wagner as Velika Petrova, Bonnie Hunt as Veronica Wyndam-Price, Emma Caulfield as Anya, Iyari Limon as Mira,
D.B. Woodside as John West, Harris Yulin as Morgan Travers, Andrea Parker as Eris Pantelles, Katie Couric as Lisa Lance, Tzi Ma as Dr. Martin So
Watchers Council – Lobby – The Next Morning
Lex Harris moved through the entrance and walked toward the elevators. Among those waiting for the next car was John West.
“John,” Lex said, lifting his convenience-store coffee cup in greeting.
“Lex,” he returned. “I’m surprised to see you. I thought you were sick with the flu.”
“Felt like death on a stick yesterday, but Toni fixed me up,” Lex replied.
“And she let you come in to work today?”
“Eh, not exactly,” Lex admitted. “She had to take a quick day flight, so after she left, I just slipped away for a bit.”
John gave Lex a questioning look.
“I won’t stay long. I’ll get a few hours in and then head home for some more R&R. She won’t even know that I’ve been anywhere.”
As the two men moved with the others into the elevator, Lex turned to John and asked, “How did you know I had been sick, by the way?”
“Oh, you know me,” John replied. “I know just about everything that goes on around here.”
Lex shrugged as the doors slid silently shut.
Fairview Hospital – Noon
As his cameraman adjusted his focus, a male reporter straightened his jacket and cleared his throat. He looked back once at the emergency room entrance in the background then faced the camera once again.
The cameraman gave a silent count with his fingers then pointed at the reporter. The reporter instantly put on his serious face and looked directly into the lens.
“Reports are coming in from all over the city of a mysterious illness that is petrifying its victims…literally turning them into stone. There have been at least ten cases so far, and it looks like more are on the way. Local doctors have already called in the Center for Disease Control, but we have received no official word on their findings. Naturally, we will keep you posted on the latest developments in this breaking news story. This is Ron Mickson, Channel 13 News.”
Watchers Council – Giles’s Office – Same Time
Giles sighed as he pressed a button on his desk to deactivate the video screen. Jocasta bit her lip nervously as the chairman silently watched the screen disappear into the ceiling.
“There’s no indication that it’s demonic in origin?” she asked.
“None,” Giles replied. “The CDC is consulting with Dr. McClelland, and he’ll notify us of anything out of the ordinary.”
“An illness that petrifies its victims is ordinary?”
“Anything supernatural,” Giles corrected.
“Still, perhaps Katie and I should check into it?” Jocasta said. “We might be able to rule out magic as a cause.”
Giles appeared to think the suggestion over for a moment and then finally nodded in agreement. “Very well,” he said. “But don’t draw any unwarranted attention to yourselves. No strong-arm tactics, please.”
“When have we ever strong-armed anyone?” she protested vehemently.
“Hmm, let’s see. Katherine’s encounter with that reporter, your pulling rank on the Marines on the ISS…shall I go on?”
“No,” Jocasta pouted. “Fine, Giles. I promise you that Katie and I will ‘maintain proper decorum’.” This last was said in imitation of Giles’s manner of speaking.
The chairman rolled his eyes and said, “Dismissed, Colonel.”
“Aye, sir,” Jocasta smirked and stood up to leave the office.
“Oh, and Jo…” Giles said, and Jocasta turned around with one eyebrow raised in question. “Please be careful, both of you?”
“We will,” she said as she smiled warmly.
Giles nodded as Jocasta firmly strode out.
Hubris, Inc. – Dr. So’s Lab – Early Afternoon
Dr. Martin So was hunched over a lab table, his hand pressed against the neck of one of his patients. At the sound of footsteps on the cold floor, he turned to see Tyrell approaching him at a brisk walk. From the rage on Tyrell’s face, So could tell something was wrong.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Tyrell demanded angrily.
“What?” Dr. So asked, confused.
“Don’t play innocent with me, Martin. Your virus is loose in Cleveland.”
“In case you’ve forgotten, the last time my plans were hatched prematurely, I ended up being ousted from the Council,” Tyrell growled.
“I don’t know anything about it. I-I-I swear,” So stammered.
“He’s telling the truth, Horatio,” they heard a voice say.
Tyrell and So spun around and saw Eris walking towards them, flanked by Sean Rayne and two guards who were armed with blasters.
“I released the virus,” she said, grinning evilly.
She motioned towards her two guards, and they immediately took position behind So and Tyrell, preventing their escape.
Eris reached into her jacket and pulled out a data rod, which she held in front of Tyrell’s doctor. So gasped as he realized what it was: the data rod that had been stolen from him months earlier at Dayson Laboratory.
“Been missing this?” she asked. “My plant within the Council found this when your escaped clone slipped away with it. I found its information very enlightening.”
She tucked the data rod back into her jacket pocket. “Once I understood the implications of your research, I procured a sample of your precious virus.” She turned and faced Tyrell. “Nobody locks me out of my own labs.”
Then she smiled and continued. “I gave the virus to my brightest team of scientists, and they perfected it. Made it contractible by physical contact and made it much more virulent. Now the virus can run its course in as little as 24 hours.”
“Are you insane?!” Tyrell asked. “That virus could wipe out this entire city, including you!” Tyrell glared at Rayne, as if asking him why he was siding with this lunatic. Rayne merely crossed his arms in defiance.
Eris shook her head. “Not me. Vaccinated. Safe as a bug in a rug. Unlike you and Dr. So.” Eris put on a satisfied smile.
Tyrell and So jerked as their guards jabbed each of them in the side of the neck with a hypodermic.
“It’ll be poetic justice, you see. The renegade creators of the virus, under the sponsorship of the Council, falling victim to their own creation,” she stated melodramatically.
Tyrell suddenly roared and elbowed his guard in his gut. As the guard doubled over, Tyrell seized his blaster and opened fire on Eris and Rayne, sending them diving behind an exam table. The other guard shoved Dr. So to the floor and returned fire. Tyrell used his guard as a shield, letting the blasts rip into his body.
As the dead guard slipped to the floor, Tyrell dove behind a counter, and engaged in a shootout with the other guard. Rayne began shooting from his location as well, pinning Tyrell down.
Dr. So scrambled desperately on his hands and knees, trying to reach the exit. With their attention on Tyrell, So slipped past Eris and Rayne. He got to his feet and ran for the door. Eris saw him, though. As Rayne stood to fire at Tyrell, she stood with him and redirected his aim to the fleeing doctor. Shot in the back, Dr. So crumpled to the floor.
Tyrell took advantage of the break and charged the other guard, who was crouched behind a gurney. Tyrell blasted the guard, grabbed the gurney, and used it like a battering ram to slam into Eris while shooting at Rayne. Before either of them could recover, Tyrell was out the door.
Rayne ran immediately to Eris. She grimaced and held her side as he helped her to her feet. Once standing, she fumbled for her comm link.
“Security!” she barked. “Horatio Tyrell is loose in the compound. I want him found, and I want him dead, now! ”
Hubris, Inc. – Hallway – Moments Later
As alarms blared, Tyrell dashed down the corridor. He stopped suddenly when he heard guards thudding towards him. He slipped into a connecting hallway and hid in the shadows of a doorway. As soon as the guards passed by, Tyrell retraced his steps and headed for an emergency exit.
Hubris, Inc. – Skimmer Lot – Moments Later
As an unsuspecting employee got out of her small skimmer, Tyrell moved in. He held the blaster to her head and forced her back into the driver’s seat.
“Start it up,” he ordered. “Now! ”
Shaking, she did as he asked, keying in her security code to the panel. “Please don’t hurt me!” she cried.
Once the frightened woman had started her vehicle, Tyrell yanked her out and shoved her several feet away. Then he jumped inside, closed the door, and lifted off.
Stolen Skimmer – A Short Time Later
Tyrell set the skimmer down in a busy lot and shut down the engines. He was breathing hard, and sweat trickled down his face. He pulled down the recessed mirror and looked at his reflection.
He was pale, and a sickly sheen covered his features. He pulled back his collar and looked at his neck. The skin around the needle puncture was already turning dark gray.
Tyrell growled and pushed his collar back into place. Then he quickly exited the vehicle, abandoning it before it could be tracked.
Fairview Hospital – Parking Garage – Late Afternoon
Katherine swooped the Council’s skimmer down in a steep arc, causing it to spin around as she deftly maneuvered it into the parking space on the top floor of the parking garage. Jocasta’s eyes opened only when the slayer had cut the engine.
“Do you always have to do that?” she asked in exasperation, prying her reluctant fingers off the arm rests.
Katherine smiled sweetly at her lover. “Yep,” she answered.
Jocasta sighed and opened the door to the skimmer. “Sometimes I think you and Toni would make a better couple,” she murmured under her breath as she exited the vehicle.
“Nah,” Katherine said, hopping nimbly out of the skimmer. “Face it, Jo,” she said, moving around and taking the watcher’s hand as they started towards the entrance. “You’re stuck with me…and my driving.”
Jocasta pretended to groan, but her eyes showed her happiness.
Fairview Hospital – Emergency Room – Minutes Later
The two women looked around the crowded emergency room.
” ‘Chaotic’ would be too calm a word to describe this,” Jocasta said.
Katherine simply nodded and looked around. Doctors wearing full protective gear surrounded patients wearing everything from simple handkerchiefs over their nose to archaic gas masks. Jocasta tried to get the attention of one of the doctors, but he simply ignored the couple and hurried down the corridor.
“Well, this isn’t working,” Jocasta said with frustration.
“Come on,” Katherine said. “I know someone we can talk to.”
The slayer led her partner through the crowded area to the administrative offices of the emergency room. She knocked briefly on the window, causing the man inside to look up sharply.
“Hey Chuck,” Katherine said as she opened the door and the two of them walked into the small office.
“Katie,” he answered, looking nervously between Katherine and Jocasta. “Sorry, but I really don’t have time right now. If you can come back later, I’d be glad to chat.” He stood up and moved toward the door, only to find his way blocked by the slayer.
“Chuck, this isn’t a social call,” she said. “We need information on the virus.”
“Why come to me, then?” he asked, stepping back and putting the desk between him and Katherine, as if erecting a shield. “I’m only a pencil-pusher.”
“We need to see some of the victims who have been already admitted,” she said. “Everyone else is too busy at the moment, and we don’t want to interfere with their work. You don’t look too busy.”
“Katie…” he began.
“I could use my Council authority to order you to help,” Jocasta finally spoke. “But I don’t think either of us wants to cause a fuss. Don’t you agree?”
“Who are you?” he asked, eyeing her colonel’s insignia.
“Dr. Charles Brooks,” Katherine said by way of introduction. “Colonel Rosenberg, head of the Council’s Gray Sector. Chuck and I became friends when I had morgue duty.”
“Pleased to meet you,” Jocasta said, taking the nervous man’s hand. “Can you get us in to see some of the patients?”
Dr. Brooks looked at them both. “The CDC has them in quarantine,” he said finally.
“Then we’re lucky you’re the hospital’s liaison,” Katherine said with a grin. “No one will question you.”
He sighed. “Come on,” he said and led them from the office.
Fairview Hospital – Quarantine Unit – Minutes Later
Dressed now in contamination suits, the three entered the quarantine ward. Various doctors, nurses, and other health care workers moved quickly in and out of the area, seeing to the needs of the nearly dozen people lying stiffly in their beds. Katherine and Jocasta immediately approached the bed of the nearest patient.
Jocasta watched Katherine through the plasticine visor of her suit. The slayer’s eyes went out of focus as she concentrated on the stricken woman. After a moment Katherine shook her head.
“Anything?” Jocasta asked.
“Nothing,” Katherine said. “No magical signature, and nothing is setting my demon-sense a-tingling.”
“What’s this about?” Brooks asked.
“We’re trying to determine if this is caused by magical or other supernatural means,” Katherine explained as she moved to the next patient. Shaking her head after a few moments, she moved on.
Jocasta watched as Katherine carefully checked each patient. Finally, she turned to Brooks and asked, “Has the CDC isolated the virus yet?”
“Not yet,” Brooks said. “They have ruled out any bacterial agents, and they’re pretty sure it’s not a prion. Does the Council have any clue?”
“No,” Jocasta said. “Which is why we’re eliminating this possibility.” Jocasta paused a moment. “It’s nice to meet one of Katie’s friends,” she said. “I mean, a friend other than her slayer friends.”
“Oh, you’re Jo!” he said, surprised. “She told me that she and Trent had broken up and that she was seeing someone new. Yeah, I’m glad to meet you, too.”
Jocasta smiled, and then they both turned as Katherine approached.
“No trace of any mystical activity,” she reported.
Jocasta nodded. “We’d best get back then,” she said.
Dr. Brooks led them out of the ward to the changing room.
Watchers Council – Red Sector Lab – Same Time
Lex and his assistant carried the heavy metallic arm of the Seraphim suit over to the work table and gently laid it down. The assistant quickly removed a panel on the underside, exposing the inner circuitry.
“There,” Lex pointed at one of the many microchips embedded on the circuit board. “The fault is in this one. Replace it.”
“How can you tell?” the assistant asked.
Lex tapped his cheek under his metallic eye. “This is not just a part of my pretty face, Tom,” he laughed. “Get to it.”
The assistant nodded and set about removing the faulty chip. Lex’s attention was drawn to the vid display that another technician was watching. He walked over to her.
“Nothing better to do, Sara?” he asked when he saw that she was watching the news net.
The woman looked around guiltily, but nodded at the display. “Some kind of new disease…watch.”
Fairview Hospital – Same Time (on-screen)
Reporter Ron Mickson was standing outside the emergency room of the hospital, obviously talking to the anchor back in the newsroom.
“Jerry, none of the doctors we were able to speak with were able to give us any more information on the source of this disease,” Ron reported, “which is already being called the Medusa Virus, or MV for short.”
Channel 13 News Studio – Same Time (on-screen)
“All right, Ron,” said Anchorman Jerry Kingsley as he turned back to face the main camera. “To recap, people are flooding the ERs of the city’s hospitals complaining of strange symptoms that appear to be a slow progression of petrifaction. You heard correctly: the victims’ bones and tissues are apparently turning into stone. How far the ailment will go, no one knows. If you have any unusual symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.”
Watchers Council – Red Sector Lab – Same Time
As the weather report came on, Lex turned to Sara. “Man, and here I thought having the flu was bad enough.” When Sara nodded in agreement, he gave her a playful nudge with his elbow. “Now get back to work!”
The woman turned off the news net and went quickly back to her computer terminal.
Fairview Hospital – Quarantine Waiting Room – Early Evening
Now outside the quarantined area, Jocasta and Katherine watched as Dr. Brooks hurried back to his office, leaving the two women to find their own way out of the hospital.
“Well, this trip was a total bust,” Jocasta pouted.
“Not really,” Katherine said. “At least we know what it’s not.”
“True,” Jocasta said. “But I just got this feeling…”
“The spidey-sense tickling you now?” Katherine teased.
“Kinda,” Jocasta replied. “I just feel like this thing’s not natural, and if it’s not magical or demonic, then…”
“…it’s caused by a human agent,” Katherine finished.
“Yeah, and it’s bad enough when we have vamps and evil demons to fight, but—”
“Wait a minute,” Katherine said, holding up a hand to stop Jocasta as they reached the waiting room set aside for the family and friends of quarantined victims.
They stepped inside the doorway as the tinny sound from an overused, institutional video screen blared over the noise of distress and worry. The room seemed to quiet a fraction as a breaking news report came on.
Channel 21 News Net Studio – Same Time (on-screen)
Lisa Lance had a grim expression as she faced the camera. In the background, a screen displayed a picture of Fairview Hospital and a headline that read “Medusa Virus Exclusive Update.”
“Just days before Congress is expected to award the Human Defense Treaty contract to the Watchers Council,” Lance reported, “evidence has surfaced, linking the deadly petrifaction virus to Dayson Laboratory, a research facility subsidized by the Council itself…”
Fairview Hospital – Quarantine Waiting Room – Moments Later
Jocasta and Katherine looked at the vid screen in shock as Lisa Lance finished her news break and the station switched to a commercial. They turned to each other, their faces showing the same surprise. Katherine started to say something, but then they both seemed to realize that the room had become deathly silent. As one, they turned and saw the crowd staring at them with growing anger and suspicion. Jocasta and Katherine looked down at their Council uniforms and then looked back at the crowd.
“Come on,” Katherine whispered. Then she grabbed Jocasta’s hand and quickly led her from the room.
“We need to talk to Giles,” Jocasta said urgently as the two women dashed down the corridor.
Watchers Council – Skimmer Lot – Same Time
As Giles exited the Council HQ, he glanced again at the strange message from Jocasta that was showing on his pager.
It read, “Meet me at your skimmer. Now. I’ll explain when you get here. Jo.”
Giles put his pager away and hurried to his skimmer. He stopped short when he saw Tyrell step from behind it, holding a blaster in his hands.
“Hello, Sebastian,” Tyrell said.
End of Act One