Watchers Council – Skimmer Lot – Resume
“Tyrell,” Giles said with a touch of disgust in his voice. “What are you doing here? What do you want?”
“What does it look like I want?” Tyrell said, stepping closer. “A little payback perhaps? A little revenge on the man responsible for my disgrace?”
“The only one responsible for your disgrace is you,” Giles replied.
“Don’t…push me…” Tyrell warned, his chest heaving as he struggled to breathe.
Tyrell groaned and began to cough, falling against the side of the skimmer when his knees threatened to buckle. Giles made a move for the blaster, but Tyrell recovered and thrust it forward until Giles stepped back.
“Trust me,” he said haltingly in a choked voice, “you really don’t want to touch me right now.” He straightened and stood, then pulled back his shirt collar.
Giles gasped involuntarily when he saw the darkening blackness spreading from the needle mark in Tyrell’s neck. He took a step back. Giles stared for a moment and then met Tyrell’s eyes.
“What do you want?” Giles asked Tyrell again.
“I want to help,” Tyrell answered.
Giles huffed and gave the former chairman a skeptical look.
Watchers Council Infirmary – Quarantine Zone – Later That Evening
Hooked up to various monitors, Tyrell now lay in a hospital bed in the quarantine ward of the Council’s infirmary. An armed guard stood watch outside. A nurse in a contamination suit was tending to him. She looked up when Chairman Giles entered, followed by Jocasta and Katherine. All three moved awkwardly in their suits as they headed for Tyrell’s bed.
Giles smiled through the plasticine visor of his hood and gave the nurse a nod. She nodded back and slipped from the room. Once she had gone, Giles turned to Tyrell.
“I don’t mean to be insensitive to your plight, Horatio, but I want to know what the hell is going on. Why did you come to me, and what is your connection to this-this Medusa Virus?”
“Why do you assume that I had anything to do with this virus?” Tyrell replied. “Maybe I just caught it like everyone else.”
“Fat chance,” Jocasta said, “considering the fact that it was created at Dayson Laboratory.”
Tyrell didn’t answer the accusation; he merely glared in response.
“Damn it, man, people are dying!” Giles barked. “You’re dying! I’ve got senators breathing down my neck, and the future of the Council, of-of humanity itself, is on the line here! If you’ve got answers, then you’d better start talking, now!”
“Very well,” Tyrell said finally. “But first, the terms.”
“Terms?” Giles said in surprise.
“My help isn’t free,” Tyrell replied. “I want something in return.”
“What?” Giles asked.
“To be cured of this damn virus,” Tyrell said.
Jocasta snorted at the ludicrous request, but Giles calmly asked, “And what are you offering in exchange?”
“All the evidence you need to clear the Council and to take down the real enemy: Eris Pantelles and Hubris, Inc.”
“Hubris is responsible for the virus?” Katherine asked.
“I thought Dr. So created it,” Jocasta said.
“He did,” Tyrell replied with a nod. “But Pantelles is the one who released it.”
“You’re willing to go public with everything, give an official statement?” Giles clarified.
“Yes,” Tyrell said. “But only after I’m cured.”
“Give the statement first, and then we’ll think about it,” Jocasta countered.
“Jo,” Giles said, cutting his eyes at Jocasta. She glared at Tyrell but then stepped back. Giles turned back to Tyrell. “Well, I can’t promise a cure,” he said. “We’ve barely begun the research necessary to—”
“I have the cure,” Tyrell interjected. “But it’s stashed away where I can’t get to it.”
“You have the cure?” Jocasta demanded incredulously.
“Of course! Do you think I’m a fool?” Tyrell answered, leaning up. “Do you think I would allow Dr. So to create such a thing without having the cure in hand?” Tyrell lay back against his pillow. “Unfortunately, Eris turned on us both, injected us with the virus. Dr. So is dead, but I got away, barely, and now that bitch has her strike team and Rayne after me.”
“Sean is helping Pantelles?” Katherine asked.
“Yes,” Tyrell stated angrily.
“Sounds like you’re reaping a little karmic payback,” Jocasta said snidely.
“Listen to me, you little—” Tyrell began.
“Enough!” Giles interrupted. “Let’s stay focused on what’s important here.” Giles turned his attention to Tyrell. “What exactly is in this ‘stash’ of yours and where can my slayers find it?”
Abandoned Factory – Later That Night
“I’m déjà vuing here,” Livia muttered as she, Mira, and Katherine led a team of slayers up to the abandoned factory that they had raided three months earlier in their unsuccessful search for Tyrell and Rayne. The entrance had been boarded up, but it still showed the marks where missiles had blown the door to bits.
“Yeah,” Mira agreed. “We gave this place a pretty thorough going-over the last time we were here.” She took hold of one of the boards and pulled it loose, taking care to make as little sound as possible. The slayers froze for a moment, waiting to see if the noise had drawn any notice.
“Are we sure this isn’t a wild goose chase?” Katherine asked. “Maybe Tyrell just wants to tie up Council resources.”
“More likely a trap,” Livia said. “So everyone be on the alert.”
She motioned the team to stay put as she slipped through the opening. After a tense moment, she reappeared and motioned the other slayers to follow her. One by one, they slipped into the darkness of the factory.
Abandoned Factory – Same Time
In the depths of the abandoned building, Eris’s strike team struggled to move a huge, well-rusted drill press. Clang! One of them dropped his pry bar, and the noise echoed throughout the building.
“Damn it, Jim! Watch what you’re doing!” complained one of his fellows, whose foot had narrowly been missed by the falling bar.
“Hey! I’m a trained killer, not a furniture mover!” Jim complained.
“Easy there,” Sean Rayne cautioned. “Save the bickering for when we’ve got the goods and are well away from here. There’s no use asking for trouble.”
He seemed somewhat distracted, as if his attention was directed elsewhere. His hands began to move in front of him, magically drawing strands of foxfire between his fingers, making a ghostly cat’s cradle of sorts.
“I thought you said that no one knew about this stash?” Jim questioned. “If the Council’s already checked this place out once and didn’t find anything, what’re the odds that they’re within hearing distance now?”
“Better than you think,” Rayne said with a smile.
Abandoned Factory – Same Time
“What was that?” Katherine asked as the slayer team made its way into the depths of the building. She stopped and motioned for the others to do the same as she looked around.
“What was what?” Mira asked.
“I thought I heard something,” Katherine answered. “Didn’t you?”
“Nah,” Mira said. Shrugs and headshakes from the other slayers indicated that none of them had heard anything either. They all looked to Livia for directions.
She looked at Katherine. Their eyes met, and it was as if they shared a silent communication before Livia made the call to proceed. “Eyes open, ladies. Be ready for surprises.”
Abandoned Factory – A Short Time Later
Jim grunted as they made another go at the drill press, then he looked up at Rayne. “You know, you could help instead of standing around playing with your…what the hell is that stuff, anyway?” Jim asked.
Rayne smiled. “This?” he asked, stretching a strand of ghost-light between his hands and twirling it into complex patterns that drew the eye. “Just a bit of insurance I picked up on the black market. Nothing to concern yourself over. As for me working, trust me, I’m hard at work right this moment. So, you just mind your business, and I’ll—”
“Slayers!” hissed one of the strike team soldiers, cutting off Rayne. All hands reached for their weapons.
“Easy, boys,” Rayne cautioned. “Just take it easy. I told you I was hard at work. Now just step back and watch the master.”
“Showtime,” he whispered as the light he held flared to life.
Abandoned Factory – A Short Time Later
“Okay, put your backs into it!” Livia ordered.
There were a few groans of protest, but the slayers gave a final shove, and the drill press slid aside. Hidden underneath was a cache of containers, including several marked with biohazard symbols.
“Looks like we’ve hit pay dirt,” Mira observed. She brushed rust off her hands, knelt down, and started passing the containers up to the other slayers.
“Good,” one of the other slayers exclaimed. “This place gives me the creeps for some reason. I keep feeling like I’m being watched.”
Katherine shared a look with Livia.
Abandoned Factory – Same Time
“This is freaky,” Jim said. He waved a hand in front of Mira’s eyes as she lifted the last container from the stash. “But cool,” he continued. “You do have your uses after all,” he said, looking at Rayne. He pulled his gun and aimed it at Mira. “Can we ice them now?”
Rayne shook his head and rolled his eyes. “That’s the problem with you hired goons: no sense of style. You never want to take time and savor the moment. It’s always, ‘Let’s blow their brains out and get back in time for a few rounds of brewskies with the boys.’ No stopping to smell the roses.” He sighed melodramatically. “Very well then, have at it. But start with my former protégé.” He gestured towards Katherine. “She senses something. Always was too damned perceptive for my own good.”
Jim hesitated a moment, shrugged, then walked over by Katherine, and pointed his gun at her head.
Smiling widely, Rayne whispered, “Say good night, Katie. This may sting a little.”
“Good night, Sean,” she instantly replied before flashing a grin in Rayne’s direction.
Rayne froze with a look of shock on his face as Katherine, moving with almost casual grace and speed, grabbed Jim’s hand and twisted. The man screamed and dropped his gun to the floor.
Simultaneously, two of the Hubris soldiers, from their position of concealment behind a stack of crates, took aim at Katherine. They never got a chance to fire.
Livia, who had slipped behind them in their moment of distraction, slammed their heads into the crates. Then, possibly to make sure they were unconscious, or possibly just for the hell of it, the slayer slammed their heads together. The two men slumped to the floor.
Katherine lifted Jim off his feet and propelled him directly into Rayne, sending them to the ground and disrupting her former watcher’s spell.
A group of surprised slayers suddenly faced an equally surprised Hubris strike team. Some of the soldiers began firing while others dove for cover. The slayers dove right after them.
Katherine made for Rayne, who was struggling to his feet, when a burst of automatic weapons fire sent her ducking for cover. From somewhere behind a pile of debris came a burst of gunshots followed by a “Hoo-yah!” from Mira. Then one of the Hubris’s finest sailed over the crates and landed with a thud right in front of Katherine. When she looked back, Rayne was gone.
Abandoned Factory – A Short Time Later
As her slayers finished securing the area, Livia spoke into her comm unit.
“Yeah, we’ve got things buttoned up here,” she said as she waved Katherine over. “We’ve got Tyrell’s stash and a few prisoners. No, some got away in the confusion. Yeah, Rayne was one of them. Slippery bastard.”
Katherine shook her head as Livia continued. “What? Yeah, we’re all okay. Thanks to Katie.” Livia gave Katherine a grateful smile. “Things woulda gone down real bad if she hadn’t managed to see through Rayne’s spell and give me a heads-up about what was going down.”
Livia listened intently for a minute. “That bad, huh? Okay, we’ll get the stuff over there ASAP.”
“More victims?” Katherine asked worriedly.
Livia nodded solemnly as she disconnected. “Come on, let’s get outta here.”
Hubris, Inc. – Eris Pantelles’s Office – Later That Night
Eris rose imperiously from her chair and stalked over to stand before Rayne and her strike team commander.
“What?!” she exclaimed.
“We, um, we were unable to, um, retrieve the cache, ma’am,” the commander said. “We were attacked.”
“Attacked? By whom?”
“Slayers,” Rayne supplied.
“Slayers?!” Eris demanded.
“So you know what that means,” Rayne said.
“Tyrell went to the Council. Damn it!” Eris complained. She paced a few times until her eyes landed on her strike team commander. “Get out of my sight!” she told him, and he instantly scurried from the room.
Eris circled back around her desk. “That son of a bitch…” She scowled a moment, apparently deep in thought, then she smiled. “It doesn’t matter. Nothing can save him now.”
Watchers Council Infirmary – Quarantine Zone – Later That Night
In Tyrell’s room, Giles and Jocasta stood a few feet away as Dr. McClelland loaded a hypodermic with the antidote from Tyrell’s stash. On his bed, Tyrell was sweating and breathing hard, his face ashen and creased in a grimace.
“Hurry, damn it!” Tyrell said before groaning and closing his eyes as pain racked his body.
“According to Dr. So’s research, this antidote should take effect right away,” Dr. McClelland said softly to Giles and Jocasta as he injected the serum into Tyrell’s I.V. line. “The patient should feel an immediate chill and then experience a slow reduction in the level of pain as the virus is eradicated throughout the body.”
The three watched nervously, seemingly counting the seconds, as they waited for Tyrell’s reaction. Tyrell groaned again, almost screaming, then his eyes flew open.
“What are you waiting for? Give me the damn antidote!” Tyrell yelled.
Dr. McClelland looked at Giles and Jocasta in confusion, then turned back to Tyrell. “We already did,” he told the former chairman.
“What?!” Tyrell exclaimed. “Give me more, maybe it takes more!”
Dr. McClelland gave him another dose, and once again, they waited, and once again, they were disappointed. The supposed antidote was clearly having no effect.
Tyrell growled in frustration. “That bitch!”
“What is it?” Giles asked.
“Pantelles!” Tyrell answered. “She said that her scientists had modified the virus, made it more virulent. They must have changed it just enough to—”
Tyrell screamed and went into a stiff buck before going still, his eyes rolling back into his head. Dr. McClelland instantly checked his vitals. After a few seconds, Dr. McClelland let out his breath and turned back to Giles and Jocasta.
“He’s still with us,” the doctor said. “But he won’t be much longer if we can’t find a cure.”
“It’s got to be something close to what you already have,” Jocasta said. “Maybe if you compared the old strain to the new, created a matrix of similarities and differences—”
“I don’t care what you do, just find a cure!” Giles commanded before storming out of Tyrell’s room.
Watchers Council – Red Sector Lab – Same Time
Lex inspected the reinstalled arm on the suit. He gave a pleased nod then gestured towards his assistant. Tom worked at the remote controls, and the arm went through a series of maneuvers.
When Lex was finally satisfied, he said, “That’ll do. Good work, Tom.”
Tom left the control panel and joined Lex by the Seraphim armor. Lex shook his head and blinked his eyes a few times. Then he wiped his forearm against his brow.
“I think I’ll head home,” Lex told his assistant. “I’m not feeling very well again.”
“You should have gone home hours ago,” Tom chided.
“Yeah, yeah,” Lex said as he headed for the exit. “Who promoted you to my mother?”
Tom laughed as Lex finally left and then returned to testing the suit’s controls. A moment later he looked up when he heard a loud thud. He quickly walked to the exit, and the doors slid silently open. Outside was the crumpled form of Lex Harris lying on the floor.
Watchers Council Infirmary – Quarantine Zone – Moments Later
Having shed her protective suit, Jocasta followed Giles as he strode angrily through the outer area of the quarantined zone. She was hard pressed to keep up with the chairman.
“Giles, wait a minute,” she finally called as he reached the entrance.
“The Command Council needs to be informed of this, Jocasta,” he said as he stopped in place, allowing her to catch up with him.
“I know, but with everything going on, do you think it’s wise to go to them before we have a viable solution?” she asked. “I mean, Travers has them one step away from a vote of no confidence, and this could give him what he needs to press the issue.”
Giles did a double take as he looked at her in surprise. “Since when have you become so proficient in politics?” he asked with a wry grin.
“Well, since my mentor became chairman, that’s when,” she answered. “I just think we need to give them something besides bad news.”
“As much as I’d like to avoid it, I just don’t see how I—”
Giles was cut off when the double doors to the quarantined area opened with a swoosh and a team of emergency medics rushed through escorting a stretcher. Giles and Jocasta moved to the side of the corridor to allow the team to pass. As it did, they could see that the patient’s face was obscured by an oxygen mask, but suddenly Jocasta let out a gasp of shock.
Watchers Council Infirmary – Quarantine Zone Waiting Room – Later
Giles leaned up against the wall, the weariness stark on his drawn features. Jocasta sat next to Antonia on the lounge, holding her cousin’s hand. The pilot’s eyes were dry, but red-rimmed with worry.
“He’s gonna be all right,” Jocasta murmured.
Antonia snorted. “Are you trying to convince me or yourself?”
“Both, I think,” she answered with a sigh.
Giles straightened up as Dr. McClelland entered the room.
“It’s just a relapse of the flu, right?” Antonia blurted out, confronting the doctor before he could even speak.
“I’m afraid not, Ms. Allister,” he said.
“It’s not…” Jocasta said, and her face fell as he nodded.
“It is,” he said. “He’s got the virus.”
End of Act Two