Act 1



Cut To:


Cleveland Alley – Night

The couple, a handsome young man and a woman wearing a nice dress under an expensive coat, backed up against the dirty brick wall of the alley. The area was lit solely in a small circle from a nearby street light. The two of them were surrounded by four men, several of them with prominent tattoos. One carried a particularly large switchblade, another a metal baseball bat.

“Please,” the woman begged, “we aren’t carrying any cash, I swear.”

“Ju-just take what you want,” the man said, his teeth chattering in fear. “We don’t want any trouble.”

The woman stopped in her tracks and turned to the man. “Seriously?” she asked, her voice flat.

“What?” he asked, total confusion evident.

She gestured to the thugs surrounding them. “You’re not gonna do shit to protect me from these assholes?” She turned to the other men apologetically. “No offense.”

“None taken,” said one with a prominent gold front tooth and a facial tattoo.

“What am I supposed to do?” her date asked. “These guys are humans, it’s not like a slayer’s going to come and save us. That guy’s got a freaking bat! You want me to risk my life so you don’t have to give up your purse?”

In response, she angrily slapped him in the shoulder with said purse, hard enough to cause him to rub the spot in pain. Then the gang member with the gold tooth cleared his throat, and both members of the couple turned back to him.

“Your boy’s right, ain’t no slayer coming to save you,” he said with a shiny grin. “So let’s hand over that necklace you’re wearing, sweet cheeks. Right now.”

With a sigh, the woman reached behind her neck to work her clasp, but she stopped when one of the four assailants suddenly disappeared from view into the dark with a surprisingly high-pitched cry. Everyone froze.

“What the fuck?” one of the attackers asked.

A moment later, another attacker with the switchblade disappeared into the night, with a faint “Oh shit!” From somewhere nearby, the muffled sound of punches and groans could be heard.

Seconds after that, a black blur plowed into the assailant with the gold tooth. He tried to defend himself, swinging wildly in an attempt at a punch, but the blur grabbed him by the back of his shirt and plowed his head into the streetlight with a loud clang. He fell to the pavement, unconscious.

Then the blur stopped, just for a second, and turned toward the couple, who remained rooted to the spot. It was a woman with dark skin and short light pink hair, wearing a chunky black leather suit with purple and silver accents with a trailing purple cape. A purple domino mask framed her intense eyes.

Run!” she growled, keeping her voice low and gravelly.

Not needing to be told twice, the couple immediately sprinted away down the alley. The remaining thug let them go, instead wildly swinging his bat at the dark around him, his eyes wide.

Who are you?!?” he screamed into the void.

His voice echoed off the walls of the alley, and then silence reigned. He took several steps backward, holding his bat ready, his heavy breathing the only sound.

“I’m Slaygirl.”

With a gasp, the thug spun to find the woman hanging upside down behind him by a cable stretching up into the darkness, her face level with his. He pulled the bat back to swing, but as he did so, she released the cable and used her momentum to flip her body, kicking him in the face as she did. When she completed her spin she landed right-side up, one knee and one hand down on the pavement. She looked up at him with a steely gaze through the holes of her mask.

“What the fuck!” he yelled, and then he rushed forward with a bellow, brandishing his weapon.

As he reached her, Slaygirl grabbed his bat arm and executed a judo throw, slamming her attacker into the brick wall of the alley. As she did so, she held onto the handle of the bat, wresting it out of his hands. When he rose to continue the fight, she thrust the bottom of the bat into his stomach, making him double over. Then she spun the weapon and brought the barrel into his nose with a loud crack. The man flopped to the pavement, unconscious.

Slaygirl’s head swiveled, searching the alley for any other attackers. Finding none, she relaxed slightly, her breath still coming in gasps. She turned the final criminal over with her boot, finding that, though his nose was bleeding profusely, he was still breathing.

She sighed in relief, then said, in something closer to a normal tone, “I’ll be right back, guys.” She raised her right arm above her head and touched a button on her wrist. A grappling hook released and spun away above her. A second later, she was pulled straight up and away into the dark.

Cut To:


Outside Cleveland Police Station – Later that Night

Two police officers exited their car, having parked it on the street in front of a large city police station.

“…and so I’m supposed to take my daughter in for testing next week,” one of them continued to say as he slammed the passenger side door shut. “And I says to the wife, why are we doing this? And she says, don’t I wanna know if Kelsey’s a slayer? And I says, if she’s a slayer, I wanna put that off as long as possible. She says I’m not respecting Kelsey’s autonomy, whatever the fu– seriously?”

Both officers stopped when they saw four men lying on the sidewalk. Each of their mouths had been gagged and all of their hands and feet had been bound with wire. It was the four muggers from the alley.

One of the officers reached down to pull off a piece of cardboard taped to one of the front of one of the bound men.

You’re next, criminals! – Slaygirl,” he read out loud. He looked up at his partner with a resigned sigh. “Third time this week.”

Cut To:


Beach – Day

The lilted cries of the seagulls banking overhead rang out above the swaying fronds of towering palms, rustling in the dry Tahiti breeze. Beneath their dappled shade, on a lounger, lay a wavy dark haired woman in a red bikini, with her legs crossed. In her hands, she held a tablet. Her finger swiped the screen. In the distance, the sound of the waves rolling onto the shore was disturbed only by the sound of splashing and a small child’s laugh.

“Oh, this is the life, ain’t it?” a woman sighed to her right, wearing an incredibly large sun hat and equally large sunglasses. She set down her bag on the white sand and untied her sarong, letting it fall, before taking the lounger beside the woman in red and releasing a deep sigh as she sunk into its creaking leather straps.

“Hmm-mmm,” the woman in red replied.

Silence. Softly crashing waves.

Then, the woman in the large sun hat sat up in the lounger and looked down her sunglasses, short tussles of blonde hair dangling over the tops of the frames, toward the surf. “Yo, who’s the old guy with the kid? Should we be worried? Is he on a list?”

“That would be my guy, Ethan,” Gwen Raiden said, with a clearing of her throat, “with our son.”

The woman in the incredibly large hat stared Gwen down for a long beat, then briefly bared her teeth, and then made an “O” with her mouth.

Gwen set her jaw and her eyes narrowed, before she flicked her hair over her shoulder and returned back to her tablet.

“Damn, okay, no, yeah, sorry. Daddy issues, got it. Sorry.”

“Seriously?” Gwen snapped her head toward the woman and set down her tablet in her lap. “Who do you think you are? Wait, I don’t ca—”

“Oh, hey, no judgment!” The woman removed the large hat and exposed the pair of horns just below her hairline. “Name’s Zorgy.” She held out her hand towards Gwen in appeasement, but the thief didn’t take it. “Well, a little judgment,” she said as she dropped her hand. “I get the Daddy issues. I mean, my Dad shipped me off when I was young and it’s a whole thing, so I get that very specific part, so I’m sorry, the bad is mine, you’re just here to get some sun soooooo…Tahiti, amirite?”

Gwen shifted her weight and looked back down at her tablet, cocking her head to the side. “You’re welcome to sit somewhere else,” she said beneath her breath.

The horned woman grinned and then reached down to her bag and produced her iPhone, then began to type, furiously, the keyboard clicks sounding very much not disabled. After a few moments, Gwen’s eyes drifted from her tablet back toward Zorgy, who was utterly engrossed in her phone. Then she coughed.

Zorgy took the hint and put her phone back in her bag, then reclined back to sunbathe. “Sorry, business. You know how it is. Literally cannot take a day off.”

“Wouldn’t know, I’m freelance.”

“Wait, seriously? Nice.” Zorgy turned towards Gwen once more. “That’s, like, incredibly bizarre and such a coinky-dink. I’m actually looking for a freelancer right now.”

With a quirk of her lip in unison with her brow, Gwen replied, “Gonna say, probably not the kind of freelancer you’re looking for.”

The woman in the large hat pouted. “Aww, that’s a bummer. I was looking for a freelance electrician—”

Slowly, Gwen panned her head towards the woman.

“—with experience in security systems who can work lightning fast to install, disable, infiltrate, the whole shebang.”

Like a cat readying to pounce, Gwen edged forward, her legs swung over the lounger and toes poised in the sand.

“Do people still say ‘shebang’? I dunno, it’s been a while but, oh well, if you’re not interested ’cause you’re playing nurse to your very literal old man—” She cupped her mouth and whispered, “—that’s British for Dad, double meaning wot-wot—” She then spoke normally, hand lowered and reaching for her bag. “Truth is I know who you are. I know him. And I know your histories with the Watcher Council. There’s no love lost there. His wife dies, his battle with the bottle gets the best of him, and what does the Council do? They toss him out and into the gutter. Well, until you picked him up and dusted him off. So considerate, but that’s weird love for ya. I’m hoping their loss is my gain.”

Gwen snapped her fingers, releasing ripples of arcing electricity across her fist.

“Easy there, Storm,” Zorgy told her. “I’m here to offer work and the chance of a lifetime. Big things are a-comin’ to this dimension soon. You and the lil fam have the chance to get in on the ground floor. Bottom line, I’ll help the special contractors who help me.”

Gwen’s face showed nothing. “What do you have in mind?”

“I’ve got mages – lots of ’em – and they’re great. But for my plan I need a good electrician, and that’s where you come in. You’ll have to decide which side you’re going to be on, obvs. With the winners or the losers? And trust me when I say, if you pick the wrong side, it’s gonna be hella tough on gramps and the kid over there.”

“It’s not wise to threaten me,” Gwen replied. The electricity flared.

Zorgy smirked. “Cute. But it’s not a threat. It’s an offer. One I hope you take. Anyways, gotta dash. Connecting portal in five. Here, I’ll leave a card just in case.” She retrieved a small card from her bag and daintily tipped over and placed it atop the lounger. “Laters taters.” Then, as she strode off, sand crunching beneath her sandals, she said, “Deffo keeping Tahiti as is when this world ends. Super pretty. I’ll give it to you if you say yes.”

Tracking the woman’s every step, Gwen watched as she took to the path and then veered off into a palm thicket. Moments after, a tearing, whirling sound broke through the trees, followed by a green glow. Then it was gone.

Gwen remained seated for a long beat, then jumped to her feet and made for the adjacent lounger. She shook out her hand and the electricity crackled into nothing, seemingly back into her skin.

She picked up the card. It had a large “Z” in emerald, above various social media handles and icons.

Gwen looked up in the direction where Zorgy had disappeared. Then she looked to the ocean. A small breath escaped her.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Conference Room – Morning

Shannon sat alone in a small conference room, scrolling on her phone. After a moment, she looked up and sighed.

“Since when is the slayer the only one on time for a morning meeting?” she asked the vacant room out loud.

A moment later, doors on opposite sides of the room opened almost simultaneously. Willow stood in one doorway, Grace in the other. Neither woman looked like she’d had as much sleep as she needed. The two of them stared across the room at each other for a long beat, hands still on the door knobs. Shannon’s head swiveled between the two of them.

Finally, the slayer said, “So, we doin’ this, or what?”

Grace sighed and sat down on one side of the table, closely followed by Willow on the other, with Shannon between them.

“OK, Department Heads meeting,” the former said as she pulled several folders out of her bag. “I guess, before we get into the agenda, does anyone have anything you think we should address first?”

“You sure you don’t want to wait for Faith to get here?” Shannon asked, sarcasm clear in her voice.

Grace ran a hand over her forehead. “Shannon, I already told you, I have no intention of giving Faith your job, and Faith has said she doesn’t want your job.”

“And we all know that Faith’s word is her bond,” Willow snarked.

“She’s never lied to me,” Shannon said. “I can’t say I’ve always agreed with her, but she’s consistently been a straight shooter. Painfully so sometimes.”

“Still,” Willow continued. “You guys heard that she apparently skipped out in the middle of Buffy and Emma’s patrol group last night, right?”

Grace looked at her, but did not respond. Then she swallowed and looked back at Shannon. “I know that both of you have reservations about Faith returning to the Council–”

“So does Ro!” Willow interrupted. “So does Ken! So do a bunch of people! I was in that meeting, and I’m still not sure what she’s doing here.”

Shannon spoke next, though her voice was low. “I came to the determination that I couldn’t let my own personal biases override the fact that the majority of slayers would want me to vote yes on my mother-in-law coming back. So I did. That doesn’t mean I have to cheerlead for her.”

“Or maybe you just didn’t want to put your foot down to the boss lady on something that actually mattered when you know she’s just itching to put Miss Famous in your chair,” Willow said quietly.

Shannon’s eyes got wide and she held up her hands defensively. “I’m sorry…what the fuck?”

“Let’s table the Faith issue for a bit, OK?” Grace put in a little desperately. She looked down at the tablet in front of her. “Maybe go into the local branch items? Several men were found tied up in front of CPD headquarters last night, there was another note.” She looked back up at them. “Signed by Slaygirl.”

Shannon shook her head. “So dumb. Who were the men?”

Grace scrolled on her table. “Alleged muggers? They were identified by two witnesses who also saw a young woman in a superhero costume beat the crap out of them.”

“See, I’m not really seeing the problem,” Willow said. “This girl seems a little…wackadoo, but she’s stopping bad guys.”

“Human bad guys, not vampires!” Shannon protested. “She’s using slayer powers on humans! AKA the first thing we tell the girls not to do.”

Please tell me that’s not a swipe at my daughter for stopping an armed madman in a restaurant determined to kill everyone?” Willow practically growled.

“Entirely different circumstance,” Shannon said shortly. “Jen wasn’t a vigilante out seeking troublemakers. Trouble found her and she dealt with it. But seriously, how am I supposed to keep looking the girls in the eye when I tell them ‘don’t harm humans’ if this girl is out there doing whatever just because she’s into cosplay?”

“More than that,” Grace said, “she’s decided that she’s the legal system. This note is to ‘criminals’. Who the hell are the ‘criminals?'”

“I mean, the guys mugging people,” Willow put in. “If we’re starting somewhere.”

“And where are we ending?” the Chairwoman shot back. “And beyond the moral issue, I think the Council already has enough to deal with without slayers just Judge Dredd-ing it up out there. We’ve got enough on our plates.”

Willow took a deep breath, trying to collect her thoughts. “Here’s the thing. You’re making a slippery slope argument. If we don’t stop this girl, down the line all hell will break loose. In my experience, slippery slope arguments are usually wrong. We have to stop the communists in Vietnam, it’s a slippery slope. We can’t have gay marriage, it’s a slippery slope. I don’t think the slope is that slippery. It’s, like, a slope that isn’t that hard to walk on. Or we have, like, hiking boots? I’m working on it.”

“Is there a point somewhere in there, or are we just sitting here listening to your podcast?” Grace asked.

“The point is,” the witch continued, “costume or not, I think this girl is making the city a better place, and as you point out, we’ve got a lot on our plates. If the police want to take the hit with people for stopping this girl, let ’em, but it doesn’t seem like priority one here.”

“The problem is, this chick is popular,” Shannon said. “TikTok loves her…y’know, I’ve heard. So whoever takes her down is not gonna come off great. Not to mention I think a lot of slayers are mostly mad they didn’t think of the ‘be a superhero’ thing first.”

“Because it’s stupid in real life!” Grace insisted. She stopped and ran a hand over her face. “OK, how about this. I’ll have a call with Cleveland PD, see what their thoughts are, before we make any decisions. This is at least as much their area as ours. For all I know they’re about to set up a Slayer Signal on the roof or whatever.” She scrolled further on her tablet as Willow and Shannon exchanged a fleeting grin at the remark. “Next, we’ve got a request that Rowena Allister be appointed on an ongoing basis as Liz Giles’s Senior Watcher.”

“They’ve worked together before,” Willow pointed out. “I think it would be really good. For both of them.”

Grace winced and rubbed the area between her eyes. “Good, now I get to be the bad guy again.” She opened her eyes. “Ro literally told me she’s not sure she’s up for this. I mean, this isn’t just any Junior Watcher assignment. She’s Elizabeth W. Giles. You’ve met her. And you guys have numerous children and…other shit going on.”

“I know Ro, OK,” Willow said. “Sometimes she needs a push. Like when you’re teaching a kid to ride a bike.”

“Ro is an adult,” Grace pointed out, “and she knows how to ride a bike. She’s just not sure if right now she’s ready for another bike ride, and what is it with you and your metaphors? Look, are you sure this isn’t about something else? Like you needing your wife to have a new project so you can be free for…other projects?”

Willow glared daggers at the Chairwoman, and a close observer, as Grace was at that moment, might have noticed the tint of her eyes change to a slightly darker shade of green. “Are you sure that this isn’t just about your wanting to get one up on me since I went behind your back to get Liz promoted? Don’t take out whatever’s going on with us on her.”

Grace let out a long, slow breath through her nose, then said, “Do you really think she’d be any worse off with any of a dozen other people here? Why Ro specifically?”

“They already know each other,” Willow repeated evenly. “And I’m telling you, Liz is something special. She deserves a special Senior Watcher. And that’s Rowena.”

“Well, we can agree on the last bit, at least,” Grace said with a wan smile. “I’ll call the vote on this one, then. Should Rowena Allister be appointed as Liz Giles’s Senior Watcher? The Watchers’ Branch says no, for now.”

“The Coven votes yes,” Willow said edgily.

Both women turned to look at Shannon, who had remained silent on the issue so far. Finally, she said, “This doesn’t seem like it needs to be a partisan issue here. I know both of them, I’ve worked with them both, and I don’t have any reason to think they won’t work well together. That’s why I’m voting the way I am, and not a personal swipe at anybody. The slayers vote yes.”

Willow grinned. Grace blinked, once, her face expressionless. Then she looked down at her papers and made a note. “OK, next item…”

“Is this gonna be way longer?” Willow interrupted. “Some of us have actual saving of lives to get back to. We’re on the verge of opening the vaccine trials to greater numbers, it’s very exciting.”

“I’m sure it is,” Grace mumbled under her breath. Then, louder, she said, “Just a couple more things here.” She turned to Shannon. “Actually, would you mind staying and talking to me after? I’ve got an important favor to ask you. The Council might hang in the balance.”

Shannon looked at her, expression unreadable. “I mean, sure,” she said finally.

Willow looked between the two of them, suspicion evident on her face, but she said nothing before Grace moved on to the next item on her agenda.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Grace’s Office – Minutes Later

Shannon closed the door to Grace’s office behind her. “So, what’s this favor? Because if it has to do with my mother-in-law, I’m telling you right now, I’m not really in the mood for—”

“It’s not,” Grace said, as she walked around her desk to her orthopedic chair. “Look, you know how the local baseball team name used to be pretty racist, and now they’re named the Slayers?”

Shannon looked at her blankly. “I am aware,” she said.

Grace sat down. “They’ve been pestering us for months to do some tie-in marketing blah blah blah and I just wasn’t really interested, but the PR department had other thoughts, and anyway this Saturday is now ‘Council Appreciation Night’ and I’m throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, which is apparently a thing.”

“I mean, that sounds pretty awesome,” Shannon said.

“You would say that. And I’d really like a win right now. One problem…I have no idea how to throw a baseball.”

Shannon stared at the Chairwoman for a beat. “Wait, seriously?”

Cut To:


Local News Studio – Evening

An older, male newscaster with silver hair read from a teleprompter. A graphic over his shoulder showed a cheesy photo of Christopher Lee, blood dripping from his prominent fangs, over large type reading “Vampires in Your Backyard?: Channel 3 News Investigates.

“…And if you have any more tips for our investigative hotline, call 1-888-03FANGS and let us know about vampire attacks in your neighborhood.”

The graphics behind him changed to the Council coat of arms side-by-side with another logo, a red letter C with a stake through it.

“Now, the Slayers have been winning on the diamond so far this season, but can they spread those positive vibes to the other slayers in town, the ones that do their slaying with stakes and crossbows instead of bats and gloves. Our Kelly Kinnie is live outside Progressive Field with more.”

Cut To:


Outside Baseball Stadium – Same Time

The feed cut to a photogenic female reporter in her twenties, holding a Channel 3 microphone.

“That’s right, Stan. This Saturday night the Slayers will take on the Rangers on the field and on national television. But the biggest story will be taking place before the game, as Council Chairwoman Grace Hatherley is scheduled to throw out the game’s ceremonial first pitch in front of a sellout crowd. The Watchers Council is Cleveland’s biggest claim to fame, and that will be on full display this weekend during a ceremony we are told will be designed to honor the watchers and slayers who keep us safe.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Jim Pollan’s Office – Same Time

“It is designed to honor them!” Jim Pollan yelled at the TV in his office playing the local newscast. “Why do you people always have to hedge on everything to make us sound shady?” He sighed and sat back in his chair.

The newscast moved on to footage of Grace speaking from a podium, standing next to the Prime Minister of Canada.

Hatherley has recently faced questions regarding the rollout of the Council’s new virtual watcher app, as well as her decision to cut a deal with the alleged mastermind of a scheme to–

“Faced questions!” Jim’s voice was very high-pitched. “What questions? From whom?”

The screen now showed Faith waving to cameras as she walked through the front entrance of the Watchers Council.

Most recently, the surprise return of deactivated slayer Faith Lehane to the Council has brought questions about whether Hatherley is now putting in place plans for a replacement as–

What!?!” Jim almost shrieked.

Cut To:


Outside Baseball Stadium – Same Time

Kelly Kinnie continued her report from outside the stadium gates. “Over the last few weeks, the emergence of the vigilante Slaygirl has complicated matters even further for Chairwoman Hatherley. On Saturday night, however, it’s likely that the Chairwoman will have the benefit of a friendly crowd ready to cheer her on…if she can just get one over the plate.” She smiled at the camera. “Reporting for Channel 3 News, I’m Kelly Kinnie.”

She held the smile for several seconds, then her bearded cameraman said, “We’re clear.”

Her demeanor changed instantly. “Thank you, Jesus. I can’t believe they bumped us to the second segment again. How long were they gonna make us wait?”

She walked back toward a news van with a large number three painted on the side, coiling up her microphone cord as she went. Her cameraman pulled the bulky camera off his shoulders and opened the back doors of the van.

“All part of the gig,” he said casually as he put away the equipment. “So, I was thinking of asking out Linda.”

Kelly looked at him and snorted. “Chet, you’re not in the same league with a weathergirl. You’re just not, I’m sorry.”

“I will be if you tell her what a great guy I am…or how cute my dog is,” he told her. “Maybe when we get back to the station, you can–”

“Sorry,” she told him with a smile, “I gotta run.”

“Again? Where do you need to go? I can drop you.”

“Nah, I’m good,” she said. “Thanks.” She pulled a large duffel bag out of the back of the van and closed the back doors.

Chet the cameraman watched Kelly walk away into Downtown Cleveland, the bag slung easily over her shoulder. “Why do I always get stuck with the weird ones?” he sighed.

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Evening

Faith and Nikki walked side-by-side down an empty hallway near the Council library.

Faith nervously cleared her throat. “I asked your dad and he’s OK with you staying with me, if you’re all right with it.”

“Starting when?” Nikki asked.

“Well, I was hoping tonight.”

Nikki closed her mouth and looked away, licking her lips.

“If you don’t want to, you don’t have to,” Faith said quickly. “I’d be happy to spend time with you another way.”

Nikki held her hands up, trying to stop her mom from rambling. “It’s just that Marty was gonna come over to the house to cook for us. He’s a really good cook. Like, chef good.”

Faith smiled. “Another Guy Fieri?”

“God no. I said Marty was a chef. He’s way better than Fieri.”

Faith laughed. “How about if he comes over and cooks for us?”

“You would be OK with that?”

“Absolutely. I don’t think Becca or Giles would have a problem with him coming over, either. Do you?”

Nikki smiled and shook her head.

Cut To:


Harvest Table Restaurant – Evening

Liz was distracted, searching for a pen in the pocket of her company-issue vest, when she arrived at the greeting station and said, “Welcome to Harvest Table. How many…?” She sighed as she saw her parents standing there. “What are you doing here?”

“Hopefully getting dinner,” Becca answered. “And maybe a family discount?”

“Do you have bangers and mash?” Giles asked with a playful smile. Becca giggled.

“Really?” Liz asked, sounding frustrated. “You are in Ohio! And you’ve been in this country for over 25 years! Sorry, bangers and mash aren’t on the menu. Ye Ole English Pub down the street might have ’em. Try there.”

“Actually, it’s just sausage and mashed potatoes. We could do that,” another waitress added, leaving a nearby table to walk over to them.

Liz sighed. “It’s just my family being obnoxious.”

“Ohh, your grandparents? My granddad was a joker, too.”

Liz groaned and muttered, “Yet again.” In a louder voice she said, “No, they’re my parents, who’ve come to check up on me.”

The waitress promptly blushed. “I’m sorry. I just–”

“It happens often,” Becca said reassuringly. “No worries.”

“Well,” the waitress said, “‘let’s put you in Liz’s section tonight. Follow me,” she said in a cheerful tone and motioned for them to follow her.

“Seriously,” Liz said as they all walked. “Why are you here?”

Giles said, “We dropped Marty off at Faith’s, since he’s cooking dinner for her and Nikki.”

“And don’t blame your dad,” Becca added. “I suggested we see how the new job is going.”

“Shoulda stayed at Doublemeat Palace. Sure, I don’t smell like grease, and I make more here, but my parents didn’t show up unannounced.”

“Bloody right,” Giles said. “If I had to guess, I’d say Doublemeat Palace doesn’t technically qualify as food.”

As they arrived at their table, the other waitress said, “Do you know what you’d like to drink?”

“Iced tea,” Becca replied politely.

“The same, please,” Giles answered. With a nod, the other waitress walked away.

“Look,” Liz said, “I just started here and I don’t wanna get into trouble.”

“Lizzie,” Becca began. “We won’t cause you trouble. I’ll keep Mr. Bangers and Mash in check.”

“You’re doing a fine job so far, Mom.”

Giles chuckled. “She’s so much like you,” he told his wife.

“Do you really want sausage and mashed potatoes?” Liz asked him.

“I’ll look at the menu,” he answered.

“Yes, please do,” Liz said with a fake smile. “You folks take a few moments and we’ll be right back with those drinks.”

“Smashing,” Giles said with a grin.

Liz slipped out of sight and Giles looked up from his menu to see Joe Sterling had walked into the restaurant, looking around. He put his hand up and waved to the tall demon club owner. He smiled and briskly made his way over.

“Hello Gileses,” he said to them upon arriving at their table. “I stopped by the house and no one was home, so I called Jen and she said Liz was working tonight. It’s actually her I wanted to see, but I’m glad you’re here too.”

“Is something wrong?” Becca asked with concern.

“No. Something’s right,” Joe said with a smile. “Is Liz here?”

He turned to see Liz bringing over two drinks.

“Another one?” Liz sighed. “You guys are gonna get me fired in less than a month.”

“I come bearing a proposition and great news,” Joe said, excited.

“About what?” Liz asked as she set her parents’ drinks down.

“I’d like to officially become the manager of Stoned Platypus. I don’t want an answer right now. Discuss, ask questions, etc., etc. I’m throwing it out there because, well, remember the Battle of the Bands?”

They all nodded. “Well, prior to that night, I made a few calls – one of those judges is A&R at a mid-size label. I didn’t say anything because I wanted you guys to be loose; y’know, yourselves. In addition to your win in the Battle, I gave them your demo of covers and new material. Long story short…too late, I know…”

“Joe, cut to the chase, please,” Liz begged.

He grinned. “They want to sign you guys.”

Three sets of eyes grew twice as large.

“Seriously?” Liz asked.

“Yes,” Joe said, nodding. “They want to set up a meeting, and I’ll set the meeting whether I’m your manager or not. But I see the potential you guys have – I’ve watched you for years, but you need to be comfortable with who you pick to represent you. Now, I haven’t said anything to them at this point other than I’d reach out to you guys, so here I stand. I’d like to set up a time with all the band members and the parents. If you decide you want other management, again, that’s fine. Just promise me this: once you make it big, come play a gig now and then at Sterling’s and throw ole Joe a bone. Agreed?”

He held out his hand, but Liz batted it away. Instead, she stretched up on the highest point of her tiptoes and gave him a hug. “You’ve got my vote, Joe, but I need to talk to everyone, okay?”

“You got it, girl,” he said as they pulled away. “Anyway, I’m going to leave you to your dinner, and I’m gonna work on putting together a doc to tell you what I’d expect as management. We’ll talk soon. If you’ve got any questions, just call or text. Got it?”

“Got it!” Liz exclaimed. 

As Joe began to leave, Becca and Giles both began to rise from the table and Liz hugged them both. “Can you believe that?” Liz asked.

Becca took her daughter’s face in her hands and said in a very firm voice, “Yes. I can.”

“Congratulations, Sweetheart,” Giles told her. “You’re taking your first steps in a much larger world.”

“Thank you,” Liz told them. “You know…since you built that home studio, if you really want it, I can get those bangers and mash, on me.”

Giles smiled and kissed her on the temple. “Just make wise decisions in the coming weeks, and we’ll call it even. How’s that?”

Liz’s eyes suddenly widened as if she were having a lightbulb moment, and she started to ramble, speaking almost faster than the words could tumble out. “Right. I’ll have to sit down and figure out what’s next… Shit, Marty is with Nikki tonight, and Jen is going to be on patrol later. I don’t want to talk to Alex alone on this, but I know we want to produce our own work. Damn, I’ll need to look into an attorney to review any contracts and-and would we get those before the meeting or at the meeting? Do I bring a lawyer with us? How do I find one and pay them? And I’ll have to see what Marty and the twins want in a contract and-and-and–”

Becca took her daughter by the upper arms. “Breathe,” she told her.

Liz chuckled. “Yeah. Yeah. I should finish my shift first…This is going to be the longest four hours of my life.”

Giles and Becca just smiled at each other.

Cut To:


Faith’s Apartment – Kitchen – Same Evening

Martin Giles was browning cut-up chicken thighs in a pan as Nikki looked on with apparent admiration. Faith noticed that her daughter seemed to be enchanted with the young man, but she said nothing. Instead, she just watched her daughter with a slight smile.

Martin slapped his hands together once and then rubbed them. “OK, the chicken is about three-fourths done, so now we’re gonna add in the chicken broth, the canned potatoes and the carrots. Usually, I use fresh, but this will taste good too. Nikki, can you drain out the water from the carrots and the potatoes with the can lid?”

She jumped up from her stool at the kitchen island to help, as he began to pour some broth into the chicken. When she brought him the vegetables, he asked, “Can you bring me two cups of water?” She nodded and took the measuring glass. “I don’t usually make instant rice, but again, this will do for our purposes. Besides, it’s too much work to haul my rice cooker around.”

“You’re really into this, aren’t you?” Faith asked with genuine admiration in her voice.

Martin nodded. “I started cooking when I was seven. Of course, mom and dad supervised at first. It’s one of my chores that’s not a chore at all, and everybody seems to like my food at home.”

“So you’re the family chef?” Faith asked.

He nodded. “Dad does okay. Mom’s not horrible. Liz can barely boil water.”

Faith laughed but then asked. “So is this like a calling?”

Martin shrugged. “I’m looking at a few colleges that have a culinary program or classes because I’d like to learn more before making the actual jump into a full-fledged cooking school.” He then turned to Nikki and said, “We’re gonna add the potatoes and the carrots in at the same time, but we’re gonna do it slow so it doesn’t splash too much. Once it comes to a boil, we’re gonna use the complete brick of the Golden Curry and not a single or double bar. It won’t be mild, but it won’t be hot either. It usually falls somewhere in the middle.”

“What do you want with the water?” Nikki asked.

“That’s for the rice, but make sure we’ve got a lid for it.”

Nikki searched in the cupboard and found what she needed.

“Turn on the water?” she asked.

“Patience, Padawan,” Martin said with a smile. “We’ll do it in a few minutes so we can try to time the rice with the curry.”

Faith continued to watch the two of them working together with a smile.

“He’s cute,” Faith told her daughter. “He cooks. He’s in a band. You better snatch him up now, Nikki.”

Nikki blushed and looked at her mother. By the expression on her face, if she had lasers for eyes, Faith would have been dead.


“Seriously. I bet you need to beat them off with a stick, Marty.”

In an exaggerated tone like Nikki just used, he turned to her and said, “Faaaaaith!” And then laughed. He turned back to his culinary creation and said with a shrug, “I do OK.” He turned to Nikki, his smile still in place. “Let’s get that rice going now. Once the water boils, you’ll put in the rice, turn off the heat, stir and then cover it for at least five minutes.”

“So, let’s gossip,” Faith persisted, her tone conspiratorial. “Is there anybody you’re interested in right now?”

Again, Nikki turned around and shot daggers at her.

“Nobody steady,” he answered. “There’s a few slayers who like to chat me up, but I’m not sure how I feel about dating a person who can throw me through a wall. Not that I’d ever give them a reason. It’s just a little unnerving.” He then nodded to Nikki as he turned off the heat to the chicken and continued to stir it. “I’ll tell you both now: if this doesn’t turn out well or you don’t like it, pizza’s on me.”

Faith looked over toward the stove. “I don’t know how it’s going to taste, but it smells delicious already.”

“Thanks,” Martin replied. “I like it because it’s one of those one-bowl meals where you can have your starch, which is your rice and potatoes, your protein, which is your chicken, and then your vegetables, which is the carrots. When you combine it with the spice of the curry, it pulls out the flavor of everything.”

“Damn, son,” Faith laughed. “Are you sure you even need to go to college? You know a lot.”

“There’s a lot to learn, actually. I’m just starting out. My favorite dishes are usually those that use sweet and savory together, because they play off of each other so well. Prime example is chicken and waffles.

“I love chicken and waffles,” Nikki added.

“Me too,” Martin agreed. “It sounds like they would not go together, but the saltiness of the fried chicken and the sweetness of the waffles and syrup merge and it’s just fantastic. It’s the reason why apple sauce goes well with seasoned pork chops or eggs benedict and potato pancakes.

“Or the ever-popular peanut butter and jelly,” Faith offered.

“Yes! Salty peanuts and sweet jelly. That convergence of flavor plays off of one another.”

“Rice looks almost done,” Nikki announced.

Martin nodded. “Let’s get our drinks at the table, along with our silverware, and we should be ready to serve here in a few minutes.”

Faith went and got some glasses, while Nikki grabbed some spoons and forks along with some napkins. They made their way into the small dining area, and Faith whispered to Nikki, “I’m tellin’ ya. Snag this one now.”

Nikki mouthed ‘stop it’ and Faith grinned.

The pair came back to the kitchen area and Martin handed them each a bowl and they got their rice and curry. As they sat down he issued his prior warning. “If you hate it, don’t eat it. I was serious about the pizza offer.”

Nikki picked up her fork, intending to immediately dig in, but Faith held up a hand to stop her. With a sigh, she set the utensil down, and both of the kids looked expectantly at Faith.

After a moment’s hesitation, Faith said, “I just want to say, I guess, that no matter what happens, I’ll always be grateful I got a chance to have this time, tonight, with you guys.”

Nikki rolled her eyes. “Mom, I’m here of my own free will. You don’t have to lay it on so thick, seriously.”

“No, I–” Faith stopped, looked at her daughter, and smiled. “You’re right, sorry. Let’s not keep Marty here in suspense any longer.”

Both took a bite and looked at each other.

Faith began to shake her head, and Martin looked concerned for a moment. “Your Aunt Buffy recently invited me to Spago in Beverly Hills. That food was not as good as this right here. Seriously.”

Nikki grinned. “You need your own restaurant someday.”

“Facts!” Faith agreed, and then looked back and forth between the teenagers. “Did I say that right?”

Martin smiled. “You said it right.”

“Yeah,” Nikki agreed. “But it’s weird when you say it.”

All three of them laughed.

Cut To:


Office – Evening

A nebbish little man peered at one of his side-by-side monitors through thick glasses. He sat in a cubicle, lit by cheap, flickering overhead fluorescent lighting, a few Far Side cartoons tacked to the walls. After a moment, he leaned back, sighed and stretched, cricking his neck as he did. He shut down his computer and then rolled back his chair.

He walked out of the cubicle, past a sign that read “Michael Page, CPA,” and past a long row of identical cubicles, all empty. The office was completely silent, his footsteps clearly audible on the cheap carpeting. Soon, he walked out past a darkened reception desk to an elevator and pressed the down button. He waited for several seconds, listening to the sound of the elevator’s gears grinding as it rose to his floor. The doors trundled open with a loud creak of protest.

Slaygirl stood in the elevator, lit only by a flickering bulb, peering at him through her mask.

“Oh fuck,” Michael said.

She launched herself out of the elevator toward him.

A moment later, Michael found himself slammed up against a wall next to the reception desk so hard that he left a dent. Slaygirl easily held him there with one arm.

“Wh-wh-wh-what do you want?” he stammered.

“You run the books for Tanner, right?” she growled.

“T-Tanner? Who’s that?”

As a reply, she pulled him forward with one hand and then slammed him back into the wall, cracking the plaster further. He groaned.

“I-I’m just a CPA,” he said. “I’m not a criminal. I keep my nose clean.”

“There are plenty of criminals who spend their time behind desks,” Slaygirl told him sternly. “Most of the time, they’re worse than the ones on the streets. You ruin people’s lives and you go home every night and sleep well. Not anymore.”

“Please! I have a wife and kid!”

“No, you don’t. You think I haven’t googled you, Mike?”

She pulled her fist back, ready to strike. He held up both hands in front of his face defensively.

“OK! OK, I don’t have a kid. But whatever you’re gonna do to me, what he’ll do to me if I talk is way, way worse. I’m talkin’ line items for blood cleanup, OK? You’re better off walkin’ away.”

“I’m not walking away,” she said. A small smile came to her face. “And neither are you.”

Cut To:


Outside Police Station – Night

In front of police headquarters, near where the muggers had been left a few days earlier, Michael Page had been thoroughly duct taped to a lamp post. More tape ran around his mouth, quieting his protests. A file folder had been taped to the front of his shirt, its edges fluttering in the spring wind. A message had been scrawled on the folder in black marker.


Nearby, Kelly Kinnie stood in front of a camera, speaking into her microphone. “In a Channel 3 exclusive, it appears that the costumed crime fighter Slaygirl has struck again, this time targeting an alleged white-collar criminal. The Cleveland Police Department has thus far not responded to our requests for comment…”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time

Buffy looked at her watch for a second. “Emma’s as on time as always,” she sighed. Buffy turned to Faith. “Are you supposed to be with Nikki?”

“We had dinner with Marty, who, by the way, is a total crunchy muffin. He’s clever, he cooks, he’s cute. He’s the total freakin’ package.”

“Eww,” Buffy muttered.

“For Nik, not me, you perv,” Faith told her, elbowing Buffy in the side. Buffy looked back at her as she rubbed the spot, surprised at the amount of force. Faith did not seem to notice. “I ducked out so they could watch a movie in the apartment without a parental unit hovering. I tell ya, Nikki could do far worse than Mr. Giles.”

“Mr. Giles,” Buffy giggled, her side forgotten. “That makes me think of…Giles.”

“Speaking of, how is he?”

“Good. He’s retired and, like you, he still can’t seem to get away from the Council, either.”

She and Faith stopped in front of a line of TVs in the Council Lobby showing several different news channels. On one of the screens, Kelly Kinnie continued her report above a chyron reading “Slaygirl: Reign of Terror or Reign of Justice?

“Can you believe this girl?” Buffy asked. “I spend decades trying to tell people that slayers aren’t superheroes, and she throws all that out the window in, like, two seconds with her dorky costume.” She looked over at Faith. “We never had costumes.”

The dark-haired girl smirked. “Come on, B, of course we did. What else was all that leather we used to wear?”

“It wasn’t that much leather. Maybe a pair of pants.”

“And coats,” Faith countered. Buffy nodded in agreement. “And shirts too.”

Buffy paused and said, “You’re right. We did wear a lot of leather.”

“Bet you’d still fit into it, B,” Faith said as she wiggled her eyebrows.

Buffy sighed. “You’re impossible.” This only made Faith chuckle.

Cut To:


Outside Police Station – Night

“…This is Kelly Kinnie, reporting exclusively for Channel 3 News. Back to you, Tom.”

The reporter waited for a few seconds for her cameraman Chet to call “We’re clear!” and then dropped her microphone to her side and rolled her shoulders.

“You’ve really hit it big with these Slaygirl scoops,” Chet told her, as police lights started to flare in the background. “You got an inside source or somethin’? You know who she is?”

“Just lucky, I guess,” Kelly told him. “I, uh, I’m gonna head home. Long day.”

Cut To:


Watchers Council – Lobby – Same Time

Buffy and Faith turned back to each other as the report on the TV ended. “You and Emma got a big night planned tonight?” Faith asked casually.

Buffy shrugged. “Just the usual. We’re gonna run a couple swings through some cemeteries, then we’re scheduled to meet up with somebody named Jopec who supposedly says he has information on some big bad operation set to go down.”

“Oh yeah?” Faith asked, apparently very interested. “Where’re you guys meeting him? I guess I shouldn’t assume. Is it a him?”

“Why do you care?” Buffy eyed her former rival skeptically.

“Well, look, I want to pull my weight around here. I’ve got some things to take care of, but I was thinking maybe I could meet you there.”

“Uh-huh,” Buffy said, crossing her arms over her chest. “Well, if you’re free, we’re meeting him at an abandoned house over on East 98th that’s become a squat for demon refugees.”

“Ehhh…” Faith hesitated, “I’ll let ya know if I feel like literally slumming it later, how ’bout that?” With that, she pitched a thumb over her shoulder. “Sorry, gotta go, I’ll see ya later maybe.”

Before she even finished the sentence, she had turned to walk out the front door of the Council. Buffy rolled her eyes as she watched the other woman leave, then began to grumble under her breath. “I didn’t even ask for your help, you ridiculous, self-important, probably surgically-assisted dingbat.”

“All natural, baby!” Faith called over her shoulder with a wave, just before exiting out the revolving door.

Buffy’s eyes went wide and her cheeks reddened.

“All natural what?” Emma asked from behind her.

“Nothing!” Buffy said as she spun around. “Let’s just…let’s just go.”

Cut To:


Erie Street Cemetery – Night

“Explain to me why we’re here again?” Emma asked as she and Buffy walked between the headstones.

“The usual. Suspicious death, so new grave stakeout.”

“Wasn’t this, like, an old lady?”

“Sixty-five isn’t that old,” Buffy said, with maybe a hint of defensiveness.

“Says you,” Emma teased. “What is she gonna do? Gum people to death?”

Emma laughed, and Buffy couldn’t help but smile along with her.

“You know vamps of any age, even the young age of sixty-five, have vamp strength, so they’re tougher than they look. And as you also know, even the toothless can grow fangs, which is probably not her case. I’m sure she’s got teeth of some kind, since she’s only sixty-five. Point is, be ready. Don’t assume anything. At any given moment, we–”

Emma looked back when Buffy stopped mid-sentence to groan. She turned to find her watcher in a hole above a coffin.

“Shit,” Buffy sighed.

“We’re too late,” Emma added.

“I told you to be on time tonight,” Buffy reprimanded her slayer. “Give me a lift.”

Buffy held out her hand, but before she could make contact, something slammed into Emma from the side. Both Emma and her attacker came to a rolling stop about twenty feet away.

“What the hell?” Emma cried out.

She looked up from the cemetery grass to see an older lady getting to her feet. The woman hissed at her and morphed into full vampire face. Then she began to move toward Buffy, who was still trapped in the grave. As the vampire closed in on a wide-eyed Buffy, Emma pulled a nearby, cast iron flower holder from a grave and threw it at the vampire, connecting with her head. It didn’t drop the vampire, but the distraction bought Emma enough time to arm herself with a stake from her boot and charge at the demon. When she raised her arm to deliver the final staking, she was surprised when the woman knocked her flat on her back with a roundhouse kick to the chest.

For her part, Buffy was still scrabbling with her arms at the edge of the hole, trying to get enough traction to pull herself out. Finally, she succeeded, but only made it about two steps before the earth around her gave way, sending her back down again. Emma watched as the vampire stood in a defensive martial arts stance, waiting for her to arrive.

“I’m not here to do Karate,” Emma told her.

“It’s Judo!” Buffy and the vampire both yelled at her.

“Thanks for noticing,” the older lady told Buffy. “I’m an instructor, or was an instructor.”

“It shows,” Buffy said, her tone congratulatory. “But you know she’s gonna stake you now.”

“She’ll try I’m sure,” the vampire said. “But you’re gonna watch her die.”

Emma and the vampire charged at each other, and this time the vampire hooked Emma between the legs and brought her to the ground with such force that Emma dropped the stake she was holding. It rolled away, just a few feet from the grave. Buffy began to try to again scramble up from the grave with no luck.

The vampire had pinned the unarmed slayer and began to bear down on her throat when Emma rolled them both so that she was on top. She elbowed the vampire in the nose and raced back toward the grave and stake. Buffy was almost out of the hole, with the stake within reach, when she saw Emma racing toward her.

Instead of getting out, Buffy grabbed the stake and tossed it up to Emma, which meant she lost her hold and tumbled back into the hole. By this time, the vampire was running toward Emma. She was so focused on reaching the slayer that she didn’t notice when Emma spun around and threw the stake with precision directly into her heart.

The vampire looked down at the wood sticking out of her chest. “Not fair,” she said before she turned to dust.

Breathing hard, both women relaxed a moment before Emma reached down and helped Buffy out of the hole. The watcher tried to brush the dirt off herself.

“Yeah, this isn’t workin’. I’m gonna have to change before I go home. If Xander sees this, I’ll get another lecture about how I’m a mom now, I need to stay out of harm’s way, yada yada yada.”

“You shouldn’t have to keep secrets just to keep him,” Emma said as she helped dust her off.

“Good advice, but right now, I do,” Buffy said. “He’s just getting adjusted to being a new dad. I had some practice with Dawn. For him, though, this is his first time, so he gets worried. Changing an outfit to avoid giving him stress works for everyone.” There was a silence between them and Buffy cocked her head. “What’s wrong, Em?”

At first, she said nothing. “You were right. I should have been here earlier or, you know, on time. I put you at risk.”

“Hey, nothing a little dry cleaning won’t fix,” she said with a grin.  When Emma’s mood didn’t improve, she continued. “Emma, look at me.” When the slayer met her eyes, she said, “You’re a wonderful slayer. Among all the slayers in history, I know you’ll find your special place, because you are special. Believe me – you will do great things. But here’s something to remember. You’re not perfect. No one is. So cut yourself some slack. Besides, we’re both above ground and the vamp is dusty. It was a good hunt. You saved people by taking out that vamp, including me.”

Emma had begun to grin slightly when they heard what sounded like a scuffle and raised voices in a nearby alley. The two women looked at each other and broke into a run. Emma hopped the brick fence without any issues, while Buffy looked around and found a slightly lower wrought iron fence that she carefully climbed, slowly putting over one leg and then the other. By the time she cleared the fence, she could see Emma fighting with two men. She also saw a woman nearby drop her large bag, seemingly to join the fight. Before Buffy could make it there, Emma already had one vamp on the ground. The other vamp charged the woman, who reared back her arm and staked him through the chest, properly dusting him. Emma immediately did the same to her vampire, and soon the three women came together in a small huddle.

“Here,” Buffy said, reaching for the duffle bag. She tried to pick it up, but she strained a moment.

“I got it,” the woman quickly replied. “I know it’s heavy. It’s why I work out. Anyway, thanks for showing up. I listen to the Council by making sure I’m always packing wood…sounds naughty, doesn’t it?”

Emma smiled, and Buffy did too until she looked closer at the woman. “You’re Kelly Kinnie,” she said. “I saw you earlier tonight.”

“Oh, you’re that reporter who does all the Slaygirl stuff,” Emma said.

“Actually, I was done filming and on my way home when, well, you saw. Can’t seem to go anywhere lately without some kind of demon activity. Off the record, I’m glad you Council folks are around. You have a good night.”

“You too,” Buffy and Emma both said as Kelly began to walk away.

“She’s right, you know?” Emma said.


“Lately you can’t go anywhere without seeing demons. More than usual…It’s something to do with Vor, isn’t it?”

“Not a bad theory, Em, but one for later…I really need to take a shower.”

“Come on now,” Emma said as they began to walk. “I hear dirt and vamp dust is all the rage at Paris Fashion Week. You’re in style, Summers.”

Cut To:


Cleveland Street – Night

Duffel bag still slung over her shoulder, Kelly walked up the front steps of a townhouse on a side street. After a moment’s fiddling with her keys, she opened the door and entered.

Cut To:


Kelly’s House – Same Time

Kelly walked into her small kitchen and tossed her keys onto the table, along with her jacket. Then she opened a nondescript white door, revealing a set of stairs leading down into a basement.

Still carrying her duffel, Kelly descended the stairs and flicked on a switch on the wall at the bottom. The basement lights illuminated a room full of computers, screens and various work benches. One wall had a cork board with photographs of several men, connected with string. Another displayed several weapons and complicated gadgets.

She threw her duffel down on a table and unzipped it. She pulled out a grappling gun and placed it in an open spot on her weapons wall. Then she pulled Slaygirl’s costume out of the bag. She noticed a small reddish spot on the front and rubbed at it with one finger, then sighed.

“Goddammit, I’m gonna have to wash this thing again.”

Black Out


End of Act One

Go Back Next Act