D. B. Woods as John West, Lindsay Wagner as Velika Petrova, Bonnie Hunt as Veronica Wyndham-Price, Eriq La Salle as Dr. McClelland, and Maggie Grace as Brianna Knowles
Andrea Parker as Eris Pantelles, Robin Sachs as Sean Rayne, Edward Woodward as Horatio Tyrell, Katie Couric as Lisa Lance, and Billy Zane as Enzo
Jocasta’s Apartment – The Next Morning
Jocasta stood in the living room directing traffic as armloads of Katherine’s boxes were brought in.
“Put those two in the bedroom,” she called out to John and his husband, Darrin, as they came in the front door.
“You got it,” John replied, and the two tromped down the hallway.
Antonia trailed in next, groaning as she brought in a sizeable box.
“That one goes in the kitchen,” Jocasta told Antonia, who promptly headed that way.
Next, Lex limped in, struggling to carry a weapons bag and a sparring staff. Jocasta instantly moved to his side.
“Here, I can get those now,” she offered, holding out her hands.
“No, I’ve got it,” Lex insisted. “Just tell me where you want them,” he said with more than a little annoyance in his voice.
Jocasta took a step back. “Ummm…the bedroom, I guess.”
Lex turned without a word and limped toward the bedroom. Antonia joined Jocasta as they worriedly watched Lex make his way down the hall. John and Darrin stepped aside to allow Lex to enter the bedroom.
“Sorry ’bout that,” Antonia said. “He’s been really grumpy the last two days.”
“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Jocasta answered. “I’d be grumpy too if I were in his position: unable to work, being in so much pain.”
“He’s doing okay with the pain, I think,” Antonia said. “It’s the cabin fever that’s getting to him.”
“I can imagine. If I had to miss five months of work, I’d be crazy too,” Jocasta said.
“That’s because you’re a workaholic,” John told Jocasta as he and Darrin joined the group.
“Look who’s talking,” Darrin said, giving his husband a playful nudge. John smiled and gave Darrin a nudge in return.
Lex trudged into the living room, breathing hard. He put his hands on his hips and said, “Tell me again why we don’t have a band of slayers in here doing this?” He had meant the statement as a joke, but it came out as more of a complaint.
“Katie and Livia and Mira are at slayer training today,” Jocasta explained.
“They’re doing their first set of magic juries and then holding some small-group strategy sessions,” John added.
“Yeah, they’re really sorry they couldn’t be here,” Jocasta said apologetically. “Well…Katie is, anyway.”
“Honey, if you’re tired, you can—” Antonia said, putting a hand on Lex’s shoulder.
“I’m fine!” Lex snapped, pulling away. “Can we just get back to work?” At that, Lex walked out the door.
Antonia and Jocasta once again exchanged worried looks. John and Darrin gave each of the women a friendly squeeze on the arm.
“Don’t worry,” John said. “He’ll get better soon. It just takes a little time.”
The two cousins nodded their thanks.
Hallway Outside Jocasta’s Apartment – Same Time
Lex leaned against the wall, his breath coming in short pants. He rested his palms on his thighs and bent over, trying to ease the pain. When that failed, he reached into his pocket and fished out a dispenser pen. He punched the button on top of the pen and collected the tiny insta-tab as it was dispensed from the bottom of the pen. He popped it into his mouth.
He waited as the pill dissolved and then gradually took effect. When his pain subsided, his breathing finally slowed. Then he straightened up and headed back down the hallway.
Watchers Council – Slayer Command Auditorium – Same Time
On the stage of the auditorium, Velika and Katherine stood to one side as two of the MT’s, the magically-trained slayers, demonstrated a barrier spell. As Katherine narrated the steps in the process and described its effects, one slayer began to cast the spell, while the other waited to test the strength of the barrier.
In the back row, Livia and Mira sat watching the proceedings. Mira slumped comfortably in her seat, while Livia squirmed anxiously. Mira leaned over to whisper in Livia’s ear.
“You’re gonna do fine,” Mira said encouragingly.
“Shut up,” Livia replied through clenched teeth. “I’m tryin’ not to think about it.”
Mira couldn’t help grinning at her friend’s highly unusual fit of nerves. “Think about the beach, then,” she suggested. “Think about all the fun we had in Hawaii last month with Janet and Lian and Damesha.”
Livia closed her eyes and appeared to be visualizing what Mira was describing.
“Think about how beautiful the beach was, with the waves whooshing and the sun shining …”
Livia was noticeably relaxing at Mira’s calming words.
“…and those hunky surfers from Australia!”
Livia instantly went stiff, and her eyes flew open, just as the applause for the barrier demo ended. She fidgeted in her seat once again until she heard Velika call her name for the next demonstration. Livia groaned and got to her feet and made her way down the aisle. She went up the steps to the stage, where Katherine met her and smiled at her warmly.
When Katherine indicated that she could begin, Livia stepped to a table where a stack of stakes was sitting. Several yards away, a bull’s-eye target had been placed on the wall. She picked one of the stakes and threw it at the target; it hit right in the bull’s-eye.
Then, as Katherine explained how magic could be used to retrieve a weapon, Livia concentrated on the embedded stake, attempting to levitate it to herself. The stake began to wiggle but didn’t come out. Her brow furrowed deeper. Still the piece of wood did not emerge.
“Damn it,” Livia cursed under her breath.
Suddenly, the stake popped out of the target and flew toward Livia until she neatly snatched it out of the air. When she held it up for all to see, the room once again filled with applause, this time with a few cheers thrown in.
Livia returned the stake to the table and left the stage. As she went back down the aisle, she barely heard Velika announce that they would take a break before their small-group sessions.
When Livia got to the back row, Mira gave her a big smile.
“You did great!” Mira said. “I told ya. Didn’t I tell ya? Piece of cake!”
“Great?” Livia objected. “Did you see how long it took me to zap that stake? If I had been in the field, fighting a real vampire, I would’ve been monster meat. Pathetic, that’s what it was.”
Mira put a gentle hand on Livia’s arm. “No, it wasn’t. It looked fine to me. Really.” Mira stepped closer and reached out for Livia’s other arm as well. She moved her face to make eye contact with her friend. “I think you’re being too hard on yourself.”
Livia met Mira’s eyes for a moment, then dropped them, shrugging out of Mira’s grasp. “I gotta go,” she said. “I’m leading one of the small groups.” Then she pulled away and started out of the auditorium. Before Mira could say another word, Livia was gone.
Mira huffed in annoyance and put her hands on her hips. “Well, that was a hell of a thing.”
Watchers Council – Computer Center – Afternoon
Jocasta entered the computer center and looked around until she saw James working at a terminal, his back to the door. She walked over to him and leaned over his shoulder. James turned, opening his mouth as if he were about to speak to his assistant across the room; instead, he found Jocasta in his personal space. He blinked at her. She smiled and leaned back.
“So?” she asked. “What’s the verdict? Is Willow a free woman…uh, hologram?”
James blinked again, his brain finally catching up with him. “Oh. Well, yes. I’ve got Willowgram’s projectors set up in Giles’s office, your conference room, the infirmary, and the main library. How did the move go, by the way?”
Jocasta smiled and took the seat next to him. “Oh, it went pretty good. Now the fun part—” Jocasta’s smile gave way to confusion. “Wait a minute, did you just say ‘the main library’?”
“There will be very limited access in the library,” James explained. “Only authorized personnel will be able to consult her. Well, unless she chooses to just pop up and chat with someone.” Jocasta glared at James, and he hastily continued. “But I’m sure she would never reveal anything classified!”
Jocasta relinquished her glare and nodded in concession. “Okay then.” Then she smiled and added, “Well, I have to say, I’m impressed. I expected the rerouting to take another week, at least.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” James replied sarcastically.
Jocasta patted his shoulder. “You’re welcome. And I’m serious. With the way you were complaining a month ago, I was starting to think it was going to take years to finish.” She raised a wary eyebrow. “One would almost think you whine on purpose to get compliments when you finish ahead of schedule.”
James blushed and then leaned over to whisper conspiratorially, “Tell no one.” He straightened and continued. “Anyway, I only had to work with the junction box outside the CPU room, so it took about half the time that I thought it would.”
“CPU room?” Jocasta questioned.
“Yeah. Willowgram’s primary programming is held in a shielded room down on sub-level twenty-three. There are four security checkpoints between the elevator and the room, and you need a special code to even get the elevator to go that far down anyway. And then you need a special key to get into the room.” James shrugged as he turned back to his computer screen. “Honestly, I don’t even know who has the key anymore. No one’s needed to go in there in years. Possibly decades.” He glanced back at Jocasta with a horrified expression on his face. “The dust must be terrible.”
Jocasta laughed. The two grew silent as James finished the last bit of code and began setting up for a test run. Jocasta clasped her hands over her lap and regarded James with an unreadable expression.
“So, have you heard anything about Anya?” she asked suddenly.
James’s hands froze on the keyboard. “Um, no. Not yet. I guess the government’s not done with her.”
Jocasta watched his shoulders tense, then relax when he cleared his throat.
“I think we should test Willow’s multi-tasking abilities first,” he said. “I want to make sure all of the projectors are working properly.”
Jocasta paused before answering, watching James’s focused expression. Finally, she nodded.
“Good idea. I’ll head over to Gray Sector to check that one. Have her visit the infirmary too. I’m sure Dr. McClelland could use the company,” she said with a smirk.
James shook his head and chuckled as Jocasta left the room.
Lex’s Apartment – Same Time
Antonia led the heavily limping Lex into his bedroom and to his bed.
“Okay, here you go, honey,” she said amiably as she helped him sit down on the edge of the mattress. When Lex groaned in pain, she added, “I wish you hadn’t pushed yourself so hard. You’re still weak and—”
“I’m not weak!” Lex snapped. “I’m just…tired, that’s all.”
“Okay, okay,” Antonia agreed as she sat beside him. “Here, let me help you get undressed and into bed.” When she reached for his shirt, Lex roughly shoved her hand aside.
“I can do it!” Lex replied hotly. “I’m not helpless, you know.”
Antonia’s expression was a mixture of surprise and hurt. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to…of course, you’re not helpless. I was—”
“Just…leave me alone, all right?” Lex interjected. “Stop babying me!” he yelled.
Antonia’s face showed first shock, then deep sadness, and finally anger. She got to her feet.
“Fine!” she snapped back. “I guess you don’t need me anymore.”
Without another word, Antonia turned on her heels and stormed out of the room. Lex’s angry expression quickly gave way to one of regret and then to one of frustration. He growled unhappily and slammed his fist into the mattress. He pulled out his dispenser pen and clicked one into his hand. He examined it for a moment and then clicked out two more before he popped them in his mouth.
Watchers Council – Slayer Command Meeting Room – Same Time
In between slayer training sessions, Livia and Mira sat with Janet and Lian and Damesha, chatting over snacks. Mira and the others were vividly rehashing their group vacation, sharing stories and laughing. Livia was quiet, forcing a laugh on occasion, but not really participating.
“Livia, when are you going to come out of this funk of yours?” Damesha teasingly asked. “You were like a stone wall the whole time we were in Hawaii, and here you are, making like a rock again. What’s up with you?”
“Yeah, really Liv,” Mira added. “You were so out of it…you didn’t even notice when that fine Aussie was making eyes at you.”
“What was his name?” Lian asked. “Oh yeah, Jack. He wanted you. Big time. You coulda had him like that!” she said, snapping her fingers.
“Or if not him, the cocktail waitress,” Janet added. “Did you even pay for a single drink that night?”
Everyone turned to hear Livia’s explanation. She shrank a little at the sudden inquisition, but quickly shrugged it off. “Nah, I just wasn’t interested.” When the other women stared at her as if she were crazy, she said, “You guys, nothing’s wrong. I’m fine.” The others seemed completely unconvinced. “Really,” Livia insisted.
A huge grin spread over Damesha’s face. “I know what it is,” she said in a sing-song voice. “Somebody’s got a crush.” All eyes turned to Livia expectantly.
“I do not!” she instantly denied.
The four slayers looked at Livia and then each other. “Definitely a crush,” they agreed simultaneously.
Livia growled and walked away in a huff as her friends continued to giggle behind her.
Watchers Council – Giles’s Office – Late Afternoon
James poked his head into Giles’s office. “You wanted to see me?”
Giles motioned him inside without looking up from his work. “James, I’m glad you’re here. A package arrived just now that I thought you’d like to see.” He waved a hand at the long crate sitting on the grav-lift beside his desk.
James gazed at the box with wide eyes. He turned and looked hopefully at Giles. The chairman finally looked up and broke into a smile.
“Yes, it’s her,” Giles said. “Go on and open it.”
With a squeal of glee, James tore open the person-sized crate while Giles looked on indulgently. When the packaging was pulled aside, James froze. The excitement fell from his face, and he looked up at Giles with anger. Surprised, Giles stood and looked into the box.
“Oh, James. I’m so sorry. I had no idea…”
Inside the box, Anya lay in pieces.
End of Act One