Watchers Council – Gray Sector Lab – Resume
Katherine continued to look on in fear as the slayer-vampires Brianna and Jordyn drew near. Jordyn giggled and clapped her hands rapidly, clearly pleased with herself for capturing the blonde witch.
“Let me do it, let me do it!” Jordyn said with glee.
“No way,” Brianna told her. “She’s my best friend. If anyone’s gonna turn her, it’s gonna be me.” Jordyn stuck out her lip in a pout. “Besides, I’m still pissed at you for hiding in my e.v.”
Jordyn started giggling again and gave Brianna a nudge. “Ha! Got ya good, didn’t I?”
While her captors continued to banter and tease one another, Katherine focused on trying to free herself. She whispered an incantation into the band holding her. The spell had no effect. She immediately began another one.
“Oh, don’t bother,” Brianna said to Katherine. “That’s an A-1 capture spell you’re in.” She turned to her fellow vampire. “Isn’t that right, Jordie?”
Jordyn nodded and grinned.
Brianna circled around Katherine once. “You know, Mama Cass wanted –”
“You know she doesn’t like it when you call her that,” Jordyn interrupted.
Brianna gave Jordyn a hard stare. “Is she here?” Brianna said sarcastically.
“No, but one day you’re gonna end up like Bunni. One too many times at that crack, and now she’s fodder for the robo-vac.”
Brianna scoffed at Jordyn and turned back to Katherine. “Anyway, as I was saying, Mama Cass wanted Jocasta turned. But I told her, ‘No, Katie’s the one you want. She’s the senior partner in that witchy pair, no doubt about it. She’ll be kick-ass, just like you’.”
“No kidding,” Jordyn said. “Remember the battle at the Powerhouse? She knocked the crap outta that mage’s barrier. I mean, I know she had help, but damn!”
“You’re gonna be our Powerhouse,” Brianna said, moving to stand behind Katherine. “Aren’t ya, Katie?”
Katherine started shaking her head and saying “no” until Brianna roughly grabbed her hair and immobilized her. She held Katherine’s head back slightly and tilted it to the side so that the slayer’s neck was exposed. Tears were streaming down Katherine’s cheeks, and she was breathing in hard gasps that were nearly sobs.
“Please don’t,” Katherine begged.
“Don’t worry, sweetie,” Brianna said soothingly. “It’ll all be over soon.”
As Katherine screamed “no” one final time, Brianna drove her fangs into the slayer’s neck and began to drink.
Suddenly, the door to the lab burst open, blown apart by a magical blast. Jordyn whipped around, and Brianna looked up from her feeding, just in time to see a furious Jocasta step inside the room. The watcher’s eyes burned a dark, dark crimson, and her fists glowed with eldritch power.
Jordyn growled and rushed Jocasta, sending her own energy blast directly at the redhead. Jocasta swept her right arm in front of herself, creating a shield that instantly deflected the blast into the lab’s ceiling. The lights on that side of the room exploded in a shower of sparks as chunks of ceiling crashed to the floor. Jocasta returned fire and Jordyn performed a similar deflection, destroying yet another section of the ceiling. While the two witches traded blasts several times, Brianna tried to stay out of the crossfire, hiding behind the still-trapped and barely-conscious Katherine.
When Jocasta saw Jordyn tire, she closed in and increased the intensity of her magical attack. Jordyn’s attempt to shield herself failed, and she was blasted across the room and into the far wall. She crumpled to the floor and didn’t move. Jocasta turned her attention to Brianna.
The vamped slayer shifted Katherine in the air, placing the captive between herself and Jocasta. When Jocasta took a step in their direction, Brianna whipped out a pistol and pressed the barrel against Katherine’s temple. Jocasta froze. Brianna began backing them toward the doorway.
“Jo?” Katherine croaked as she finally came to enough to see who was in front of her. Jocasta started forward again.
“Ah-ah-ah,” Brianna warned. “You stay put, or we get to see what the inside of Katie’s head looks like.”
“Touch her again, and I swear I’ll –”
“You’ll do what?” Brianna spat. “Nothing, that’s what. Not as long as I got Katie in my clutches…”
As Brianna continued taunting Jocasta, Jordyn regained consciousness and got to her feet. She shook her head, then began to creep closer to the watcher. She raised her hand to cast another spell.
“Jo, look out!” Katherine screamed.
Jocasta turned just in time to deflect the blast Jordyn had sent her way. The redhead instantly returned fire and sent the slayer crashing into the wall again. Brianna took advantage of Jocasta’s distraction and ran for the door. Jocasta was faster, though, and cast a shield over the door. Brianna ran directly into it and bounced right back into the room.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Jocasta asked Brianna.
Before Brianna could answer, Jocasta called up a fireball and hurled it at the slayer, incinerating her. Jocasta turned to Jordyn, who had once again gotten to her feet. With fear in her eyes, Jordyn started to inch along the wall, away from the watcher. Exhausted but determined, Jocasta stepped closer. Jordyn made one final magical attack and then ran for the door. Jocasta shielded it again and fired, incinerating her as well.
As the glow in her eyes faded, Jocasta swayed unsteadily on her feet before finally falling to her knees. When she looked up, she saw the binding spell dissipate and drop Katherine to the floor.
“Katie!” Jocasta cried out, crawling to where Katherine lay. She touched Katherine’s face and looked into her eyes. “Are you okay?” she asked her in a shaky voice.
“Jo…” Katherine whispered before simply falling into Jocasta’s arms and letting the sobs come.
Jocasta held her tightly. “It’s okay,” she said reassuringly. “You’re okay. I’ve got you.”
Cleveland Club – A Little Later
Mira unhappily ran the olive across the top of her martini before sighing and biting it off the toothpick. The music thrummed on behind her, and the dance floor was packed. Mira glanced up at the mirror behind the bar. She saw Finola sandwiched between two men, dancing wildly with one for a few moments before turning and dancing with the other. She sighed again and looked for the bartender.
“One more please,” she asked when he came her way.
As he began making her drink, Mira turned and scanned the club. Finola was still dancing. Everyone looked like they were having a good time. Mira scowled and shook her head. Just as she was about to face the bar once more, she caught a glimpse of a familiar brunette passing by.
“Livia?” she said, reaching out for the woman’s arm.
The dark-haired woman stopped and looked at Mira. It wasn’t Livia at all. “Excuse me?” she asked.
“Sorry,” Mira said, releasing the woman’s arm. “I thought you were…a friend of mine.”
The woman nodded and walked away. Mira turned back to the bar, where her drink was waiting for her. Just as she reached for her martini, her comm link went off.
“Mira,” she answered.
“You’re needed at headquarters, code red,” came the voice over the comm.
“Understood,” she replied before quickly paying for her drink and searching the crowd for Finola. She saw the Irish slayer at the edge of the dance floor, speaking into her comm link and nodding sharply.
“C’mon, let’s go,” Mira told the redhead when she reached her. They strode out of the door of the club, leaving the deafening beat of the music behind.
Watchers Council – Conference Room – A Little Later
At one end of the table, Katherine stared straight forward, a blank expression on her face and a large bandage on her neck. Jocasta sat next to her, holding her hand tightly. Willowgram stood atop her mobile emitter in front of Jocasta, looking on sympathetically. Lex and John filled the next two seats, while Veronica and Velika sat across from them. Sitting opposite one another at the other end of the table were Livia and Mira. The two slayers avoided direct eye contact, but couldn’t help stealing nervous glances at each other.
After ending a call, Giles took his place at the head of the table. “The Council has officially gone into security lockdown,” he announced as he settled into his chair.
“I don’t understand,” Velika said gravely as she turned to Jocasta. “Who did this?”
“I-I don’t know,” the redhead replied.
“Mama Cass,” Katherine said hollowly. “That’s what Bri called her. Mama Cass. She’s the one who did it.”
“Ah!” Willowgram interjected eagerly. “‘Mama Cass’ Elliot. Born Ellen Cohen. 1960s singer from the group ‘The Mamas and the Papas.’ Commonly believed to have choked to death on a ham sandwich. Actual cause of death, heart failure.” She stopped and frowned. “Wait. That doesn’t sound right.”
Giles ignored her and turned to Katherine. “What else did Brianna say?” he asked as gently as possible.
“She said that this ‘Mama Cass’ wanted me to ‘join the family’, that it was part of some big plan of hers,” the blonde slayer replied.
“What kind of plan?” Veronica asked.
“I’m sorry, I just don’t know,” Katherine said.
“It was unfortunate that Brianna and Jordyn were not taken alive,” Giles mused aloud.
“I did what was necessary,” Jocasta said defensively.
“Of course you did,” Giles assured her. “It would have been helpful, that’s all I’m saying.” He leaned back in his chair. “Whoever this ‘Mama Cass’ is, she’s managed not only to turn multiple slayers, but to infiltrate them into the Council without detection.”
“Guess we know why so many people were ‘out with the flu’,” Lex pointed out.
“I didn’t think that was even possible,” Velika said. “Aren’t there wards and protections in place for this sort of thing? Shouldn’t my slayers have been able to sense their presence?” Livia and Mira nodded in agreement with their commander’s questions.
“In theory,” Willowgram interrupted again. “However, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.”
“What do you mean?” John asked.
“In the year 2005, one of the members of the Coven, Skye Talisker, was turned. Using a heavy-duty glamour provided by the Big Bad of the day, Ms. Talisker was able to re-enter the Council and live there undetected for several weeks before her true identity was discovered.”
“They must have been using something similar,” Katherine said. “I’ve worked with Bri all week, and I never even…” She bit down on her lip but said nothing more.
Giles regarded Katherine sympathetically then said, “Clearly, we must test all personnel on the premises. Ideas regarding testing?”
“We can use medical sensors to measure body temperature and heartbeat,” Lex offered.
“And mirrors to check for reflections,” Livia added.
“Definitely mirrors,” Willowgram noted. “That’s how Ms. Talisker was discovered.”
“There are magical tests we can do,” Jocasta said, “but they require advanced skills, and there are only a handful of us that could do them.”
“Sensors and mirrors…works for me,” Mira said. “They’re easy and don’t require magical training.”
“We’ll need a way of verifying clearance, a special I.D. card or something,” John said.
“What about all the people who are not on site right now?” Jocasta mentioned.
“They’ll need to be ordered in, as soon as possible,” Giles replied.
Mansion – The Ballroom – Later
Cassandra stood before a group of ten newly-vamped minions. All ten wore Watchers Council I.D. cards around their necks. Though her petite size made Cassandra look dwarfed by the group, her demeanor and posture clearly demonstrated who was in charge.
“The spell I’ve cast is completely effective,” Cassandra lectured. “You needn’t worry about being caught when you return to work. Not even if they test you.”
The minions shuffled about nervously until a brave one in the front raised her hand. Cassandra turned her gaze to the woman and nodded her permission to speak.
“This spell seems really, really dark…like way darker than most demons are used to,” the woman said. “I’m just wondering ’cause, well, in the demonic hierarchy, vampires aren’t exactly high up the ladder when it comes to power.”
Cassandra’s mouth twitched into a small smile for a moment, but then it quickly vanished. “That is about to change,” she told the woman. Then she faced the whole group. “Everything will change,” she assured them. “Forever.”
Most of the minions grinned and laughed, obviously pleased with that idea. The curious woman started to raise her hand again to ask another question, but Cassandra stared her down, and she wisely remained silent.
Watchers Council – John’s Office – Later That Night
John leaned back in his desk chair and turned to his video phone. He reached over and quickly dialed home.
“Hey there,” Darrin answered with a smile. Then his smile faded. “You look tired.”
“I really am,” John replied, leaning his head against his arm and yawning.
“All the more reason for you to come home.”
“Believe me, I would love to.”
“So what’s keeping you?”
John sighed. “Something’s happened. We had to go into security lockdown.”
“What happened?” Darrin asked, frowning.
“I can’t tell you that.” John sighed as he watched his husband’s frown deepen. He added, “You know I would if I could.”
“I know,” he said. “So when can you come home?”
“God only knows,” he said. “Most of us will be working through the night. Those that won’t be have gotten rooms in the guest quarters.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell the kids…something.”
John nodded. “Thanks.”
“Take care of yourself, all right?”
“I will.” John leaned forward in his chair and offered Darrin his most apologetic smile. “I love you.”
Darrin smiled and said, “I love you too.”
Watchers Council – Guest Quarters – Same Time
Freshly showered and in her pajamas, Jocasta came into the small bedroom, where Katherine was already under the covers and waiting. A news net program was playing on the video screen, but Katherine wasn’t really watching it.
Jocasta gestured at her jammies. “Good thing we keep overnight bags stowed in my office, huh?”
“Yeah,” Katherine replied flatly.
“Do you need another bandage?” Jocasta asked.
Katherine lightly touched her neck. “No. Thanks. It’s fine. Slayer healing.”
Jocasta turned off the video screen and the lights then climbed into bed. She held out her arms, and Katherine immediately snuggled into them.
Jocasta held Katherine for the longest time, but when it was clear that the slayer hadn’t really relaxed very much, she broke the silence.
“Wanna talk about it?”
After a long moment, Katherine let out a shaky sigh. “Remember the nightmare curse that Sean cast on me?”
“In one of the nightmares, I saw Miss Dimmons.”
“Yes. She had been turned, and she tried to turn me.”
“Oh, Katie…” Jocasta hugged Katherine tighter.
The slayer’s voice became very small. “And tonight…it was like the nightmare. Only worse because it was real.” She began to cry but forced the words out. “It was real, and it was Brianna, and now she’s gone, and I couldn’t stop it, I couldn’t stop it…”
Jocasta cut off Katherine’s words with an earnest kiss. “It’s okay,” she whispered. “It’s okay, it’s okay…”
Watchers Council – Special Meeting Room – The Next Morning
“Please. Please!” Giles raised his hands for quiet, and the cacophony of the arguing werewolves and congressmen simmered to a low mumble. Veronica stood at his side.
“We have important business to get back to,” Senator Dalgren complained. “You can’t keep the entire Supernatural Relations Committee here against our will.”
Reese barked something in return.
“What did she say?” Veronica asked with a sigh.
“She said that werewolves do not like to be held prisoner,” Oliver Worth translated angrily.
“No one is being held prisoner,” Giles insisted. “We have been experiencing a…security situation, but we have it under control, and we hope to end the lockdown as soon as possible.”
A murmur ran through the crowd. “And may I inquire as to the nature of this ‘security situation’?” Senator Cregg asked. “Our safety here was guaranteed, Mr. Chairman.”
“And that guarantee still holds,” Giles assured him. “As for the situation…it appears that several of our slayers, and possibly other personnel, were turned into vampires without our knowledge, and somehow managed to infiltrate the headquarters. We’re still looking into the source of the turnings.” He sighed and took off his old-fashioned glasses. “It looks like the conference will have to be put on hold for now.”
Senator Dalgren was the first to speak. “Perhaps your investigators are looking in the wrong place, Mr. Chairman. I find it unlikely that the timing of this attack is a coincidence. They need look no further than inside this room for suspects.”
The two attendees in wolf form snarled in anger. So did Oliver, despite being in human form. “That is a lie!” he proclaimed. From there, the situation quickly degenerated into yet another shouting match.
“Everyone, please!” Giles yelled, and things died down slightly. “We are all professionals here, so let’s at least try to act that way. Thank you for your help, Senator Dalgren, but I am sure my investigators are considering all the possibilities. In the meantime, everyone here at the Council is undergoing vampire testing. And that will include everyone in this room. There is little for you to do at this point except cooperate.”
There was a lot of grumbling, but order seemed to have been restored as the senators began to file out of the conference room. Oliver pulled the chairman aside.
“I understand the need for public diplomacy,” he said, “but surely there is no need for our delegation to remain here if the conference is postponed. Werewolves, after all, cannot be turned into vampires.”
“Really?” asked Veronica, who had been eavesdropping on the conversation. “I’ve never heard that. Are you sure?”
“That seems like something my top watchers would know,” Giles challenged Oliver.
“It certainly –” Oliver was cut off by Anita Devereux’s hand on his shoulder.
“We will stay and help the Council in any way we can,” she told Giles. “I will be tested first, if that will be of any assistance.”
“It may,” Giles agreed. “Thank you, Clan Leader.” Anita nodded as the two watchers walked away.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Oliver asked Anita quietly.
She smiled. “We wouldn’t want them to think anything was amiss, would we?”
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
Jenn and Finola escorted the werewolves down a long hallway back to their quarters. Finola couldn’t help but stare at those in wolf form. They were large and furry as they loped down the corridor before stopping at the elevator.
“Don’t know how you can stand to look at them,” Jenn said quietly as they neared the group. “They make me nervous.”
“I don’t think so,” Finola replied. “They’re real beauties, they are.”
“But they’re monsters,” Jenn argued. “I mean, what kind of person would rather be an animal than a human?”
“I dunno,” Finola said. “I feel more like an animal me-self sometimes.”
“Yeah, well, that’s ’cause you’re a – HEY!” Cooper had come up behind Jenn and goosed her rear end with his nose. Finola giggled as Jenn turned around angrily. “Do you have any idea how rude that is?” Cooper yipped in reply, and Jenn growled in frustration.
“Naw,” Finola laughed. “He’s just a wee bit frisky. Listened to us nattering on, and knew you could use a kick in the knickers.”
She turned back to Cooper. He ran forward, brushing his head under her hand. In return, Finola rubbed his neck a little. Jenn did not look pleased.
Watchers Council – Lobby Testing Station – Same Time
“How’s it going?” one of the testers asked after returning from a short coffee break.
“We haven’t caught anyone so far, not at any of the testing locations,” the other tester replied, motioning for Monique to step forward to be tested.
With armed slayers and guards watching, Monique placed her hand on the scanner. Her heartbeat immediately registered, and her body temperature read as normal. The tester held a mirror up to Monique’s face. When he looked at her reflection, she stuck out her tongue at him and grinned.
The tester laughed and said, “You’re cleared.”
As a final step, he ran a neon-colored bracelet over a device, which gave a requisite beep. Then he placed the bracelet on Monique’s wrist. She looked at the gaudy color and rolled her eyes, then went on her way.
The tester turned back to his partner and whispered, “There have been a lot of no-shows, though.”
“Really?” the partner said. “Do they not get the meaning of ‘report back immediately’ or what?”
“Hey, if they’ve got nothing to hide, why should they be afraid?” the tester replied. His partner nodded gravely and motioned the next employee forward.
Watchers Council – Tower Hangar Testing Station – Same Time
“Was anyone hurt?” Antonia asked the tester as he placed the brightly-colored bracelet on her wrist.
“Um, I think so,” the tester said uncertainly. “I don’t know who, though. Somebody. That’s how they found out, I guess.”
A worried look came over Antonia’s face, and she dashed away from the station, headed for the elevator.
Watchers Council – Red Sector Lab – Moments Later
As Lex tinkered with a device on his work table, Antonia burst into the lab. She ran directly to Lex and grabbed his arm. When she saw the “cleared” bracelet on his wrist, she wrapped him into a big hug.
“Oh, thank god, you’re okay,” she said before kissing him soundly.
“Good to see you too,” Lex said with a smile. “That’s some kind of hello. I like it!”
“I was so worried,” Antonia said. “When they said someone was hurt, I just…I was so scared it might be you.”
“Well, it wasn’t,” Lex assured her. “I’m totally and completely one hundred percent vamp-free. As my lovely accessory proves.” He held up his wrist to show off his bracelet. Antonia laughed and held up her own wrist. “Oh look!” Lex said. “We’re twins! People will think we’re already married.”
Antonia visibly stiffened at Lex’s statement.
“Or not,” Lex amended when he saw Antonia’s reaction. “They might just think that, by sheer coincidence, we both have incredibly bad taste in jewelry.”
Antonia took a step back. “Yeah, right. I, um, I need to get back to the tower. I didn’t even check in at the office before I came down here. So, I’ll catch you later, okay?”
Before Lex could even respond, Antonia turned and hurried from the lab. Lex just stood there with a confused look on his face.
End of Act Five