Watchers Council – Red Sector Lab – Resume
Lex swore and fidgeted in his seat. “This is taking forever,” he said as he continued to navigate through the mainframe much too slowly for his tastes. “There’s too much information here. We’re running out of time, and it could take all day to find anything.”
“How about,” Anya suggested, “instead of crawling along at a snail’s pace, trying to find this woman, you let me zip through the mainframe. It’ll probably take half as much time as you’re wasting right now.”
Lex gaped at Anya, while John looked equally surprised. “Anya…are you… back?” he asked.
“Hey, my brain might be fried, but I still know more than the two of you put together when it comes to the computer system. James taught me everything he knows.”
Lex and John exchanged a concerned look.
“Chop-chop, gentlemen! Time’s a-wastin’, girls are dyin’, a crazy woman’s roaming freely…”
“You can say that again,” John commented.
“Okay! Chop-chop, gentlemen! Time’s a-wastin’…”
Lex merely groaned.
Cleveland Suburb – Dark Basement – Same Time
Sonia stood at a counter full of lab equipment, examining a beaker’s contents. She smiled and set the beaker down then glanced at a data pad. There was a ring at the door to the basement. Sonia pressed a button on the wall. The ring was replaced by a buzz, and the door could be heard opening. Soon footsteps were heard descending the stairs.
Sonia turned her attention to her subject, a young girl lying on a gurney, strapped down with bonds strong enough to withstand a slayer’s strength. The girl’s pleas to be let go had ceased, so Sonia reached for the girl’s wrist. She felt for a pulse, but found none. Sonia swept a rack of test tubes off the counter, the glass exploding into shards against the wall.
“Damn it!” Sonia cursed.
“You lost another one?”
Sonia turned and huffed in annoyance as a gang of vampires entered her basement lab. She reached into a drawer and pulled out a data pad and handed it to the leader.
“Collect another subject,” she instructed sternly. “And don’t drink from this one. You weakened the last one drinking from her. I need her strong.” The vampire nodded and ordered his gang back up the stairs.
Sonia turned from the counter and looked intently at the cages behind her. Inside one, a girl whimpered in fear and backed up against the wall. Sonia smirked and approached the cage, running her fingers along the bars.
“Your turn,” she sing-songed to the girl, who responded by bursting into tears.
Disney World – Adventureland Jungle – Moments Later
When Mira and Janet arrived, they saw a path of destruction through the trees and shrubbery around the Jungle Cruise. They followed it in and found Livia and Jenn on top of a rock formation, fending off the horde of dino-demon teens while Daddy snapped at them from below.
“Over there!” Mira yelled, pointing to a possible path up the rock formation.
Then she and Janet swept around to the far side and starting climbing. At a screech from above them, they sank against the rock, just as a wounded demon came plummeting down past them. After a quick look down, they sped up their climb and finally reached the top.
Livia and Jenn had thinned the horde to about twelve, but were getting worn down by the creatures’ swift and coordinated attacks. Just when they would swat back two of the demons on one side, two or three more would attack from the other side.
Mira and Janet blindsided the attackers, quickly taking out the two demons nearest them, forcing the horde to regroup.
“Is your comm working?” Livia called out to Mira.
“No,” Mira called back.
“We need backup,” Livia said as she whacked at a lunging demon. “These guys are too strong and too fast, not to mention Daddy Dearest down there. Head back to base command and – ”
“Hell no!” Mira shot back. “I’m not leaving you here where you can be dinner for dino-demons! We can finish off the little ones together and then – ”
“Mira, I am giving you a direct order to get your ass back to command!”
“Write me up if you want, but I’m not going anywhere!”
Livia growled in frustration and turned her focus back to the attacking demons.
Watchers Council – Slayer Command – Same Time
Velika stood up straight with her hands folded behind her back. She stood in front of the gathered slayers, who stared back at her, listening intently.
“As of now, we know that the inactive slayer, Sonia Petrovich, has kidnapped and killed at least five girls. We believe that she is targeting slayers, potential slayers, and their families in an attempt to somehow restore her lost powers.”
Velika could not help but steal a glance at Lian. The slayer stared back at her commander, eyes fierce but empty. Velika continued, “At this point, I am looking for volunteers to form a strike team to retrieve any girls she may have captured and to subdue the kidnapper.”
“I’ll volunteer ma’am.” Lian was the first to step forward. Velika nodded.
“Me too.” Lian’s head jerked to the side as she watched Cassidy step forward. Eva followed close behind her, as did countless other slayers who had been training with Lian only days before.
“Very well,” Velika said, when the amount of girls was sufficient. “Prepare yourselves. We’ll leave as soon as Colonel West and Colonel Harris can provide a location. That is all.”
As she walked from the room, she stopped just long enough to offer Lian a reassuring smile and to clasp her shoulder. Lian smiled the best smile she could manage under the circumstances and left to join her team.
Disney World – The Enchanted Tiki Room – Moments Later
Having killed or beaten back most of the adolescent dino-demons, Livia and Mira and Jenn and Janet had wound their way through the Jungle Cruise, temporarily losing Daddy in the process.
As they came out of the brush and onto the paved walkway, it was clear that all four had seen better days. All were bruised and bleeding, but Janet was in the worst shape. She looked like she’d been mauled by one of the demons; she was barely conscious and was being carried between Jenn and Mira.
Livia ran over to the Enchanted Tiki Room, which was currently boarded up, and kicked open the doorway.
“Bring her in here,” Livia commanded, and Jenn and Mira did just that. “Jenn, you stay with Janet and keep trying the comm. Mira and I will try to lead Daddy away and toward command, where hopefully we can get some backup. If nothing else, I’ll get Toni to ram the son of bitch with the transport.”
Jenn nodded in compliance. Then Livia and Mira went back outside the Tiki Room, closing the door behind them. They looked around but saw no immediate sign of Daddy. They moved away from the building toward the big sign at the entrance to the Tiki area.
Council Transport Ship – Same Time
Antonia made a final adjustment to the repaired dish then stepped back. She looked over at Jocasta, who held a switch in her hand that was hard-wired into a cable.
“Okay,” the pilot said with a nod, “let’s see if it works.”
Jocasta nodded back then flipped the switch.
Disney World – The Enchanted Tiki Room – Same Time
While keeping pressure on one of Janet’s worst wounds, Jenn tried her comm link again for the umpteenth time.
“Command, this is Jenn, we need backup at the Tiki House.” Jenn waited for a moment before repeating her message, her voice choking a little on the last one. “Please…is anybody there?”
After a long wait, a voice finally came over the comm. “Jenn, this is Jo. Was that you?”
“Colonel Rosenberg, thank god!” Jenn answered. “Janet’s hurt bad, and Livia and Mira are out there alone! We need help!”
Council Transport Ship – Same Time
As he and Frank and Brianna ran up to the transport, James called out to Jocasta. “Jo! Jo! You’ll never guess what we found!”
Jocasta looked over the edge of the transport and saw the three below. “Brianna, did you just hear Jenn’s call?”
“Yeah, I’m on my way,” Brianna said before taking off again.
“Be careful!” Jocasta called out. Then she turned to James and Frank. “So, what’d ya find?”
“The source of the infestation,” James said ominously.
Disney World – The Enchanted Tiki Room – Moments Later
When they got to the sign, Livia and Mira stopped and scanned their surroundings.
“Are we really goin’ with a slap-and-run?” Mira asked.
“You got a better idea?” Livia countered.
“Maybe,” Mira said. “I figure this critter’s like Smaug.”
“What? Like the air over Cleveland?”
“No, not smog. Smaug the Dragon. You know…Tolkien, classic fantasy writer, wrote Lord of the Rings?” Livia’s expression was blank. “God, don’t you ever read?”
“Look, I don’t have time for a literature lecture! What’s your point?”
“Smaug was armored all over, no weapons could penetrate his skin,” Mira explained. “But he had one weakness, one spot that wasn’t armored, and it was under his belly. I figure maybe this guy’s the same way. If we could stab at his underbelly, maybe we could take him down.”
“Well okay then, I’ll just ask Daddy Dearest to rear up real good and stand real still while we get a good skewer in,” Livia replied sarcastically.
“You wouldn’t have to ask him if you’d use magic,” Mira replied just as sarcastically.
“Magic?” Livia asked with a bit of uncertainty in her voice.
Mira was now dead serious. “You know how you and the MTs are working on how to modify the barrier spell?” Livia nodded. “What if, instead of using it like a battering ram, you used it like a…a clamp? Just wrapped it around him and held him up with it?”
Livia seemed to be considering this. “You know, Rayne did something like that when we found him going after Katie last year.”
“You wouldn’t have to hold him forever,” Mira said. “Just long enough for me to get under and – ”
“No,” Livia said.
“Just like that?” Mira answered angrily. “You’re not even listening!”
“It’s too dangerous,” Livia insisted. “I’m not gonna – ”
A roar followed by thudding steps interrupted Livia’s refusal. When the two slayers looked up, Daddy was thundering towards them.
“Lead him away from the hut!” Livia ordered, drawing her weapon.
“It’s too late for that!” Mira replied, pulling her sword. “Do it, Livia! It’ll work!”
Livia hesitated. The demon was nearly upon them.
“Do it!” Mira pleaded.
Livia dropped her sword, lifted both hands, and spoke the incantation. Just as Daddy started to bring his head down to attack, he met an invisible shield that repelled him, making his head snap back. He attempted to step back but found his head caught in something he couldn’t see. He tried to pull away.
Livia’s face tightened into a grimace as she struggled to hold the huge beast in her force field. “I can’t hold him!” she called out to Mira.
“It’ll only take me a second,” Mira replied, quickly moving into position under the monster to make the killing blow.
“Mira, no! I can’t…”
Livia groaned in pain as Daddy started to tug harder in his effort to free himself. She gave one final outcry and fell to her knees as the beast finally overpowered her shield and pulled free.
Livia cried out to Mira, but the warning came too late. Just as Mira sank her sword into him and began to move away, the demon came down on her, raking his front claws down her back. Mira screamed and went down. Livia cried out for Mira again.
While Daddy thrashed about, raging at the sword in his gut, Mira was on her hands and knees, trying to crawl away. When she was clear of the demon, she got to her feet and stumbled toward Livia, who was just now standing herself.
Mira grinned slightly at Livia and said, “See? I told you it would – uhhhnn!”
Mira’s words were cut off as a spike suddenly thrust through her body and out her stomach, courtesy of the demon’s tail. Mira looked at the bloody spike with amazement.
“MIRA!” Livia screamed.
End of Act Six