(March 23, 2006)
Written by: Masquerade
EXT. AN ARID, ROCKY LANDSCAPE SET AGAINST A BLOOD-RED SKY - DUSK
OPENING SHOT - PANNING across a cragged rock face that drops in the foreground into a steep slope. In the distance, unseen creatures screech and howl. The pan ends at a vertical fissure. A BOY OF TWELVE squeezes through it sideways and starts down the slope, his expression a scowl. A small dagger is strapped to his leather belt, but he is otherwise weaponless.
The boy continues descending. The man's voice again, closer this time -
(gravely, with a British tinge)
The boy stops. CLOSE-UP - disheveled bangs and a dirt-stained face.
Stop this foolishness.
I'm going to get it back.
CUT TO the man, who is climbing down the slope towards the boy. His hair is streaked with gray, his face weathered.
We both know this isn't about your blade.
The boy whirls around, his face a petulant snarl.
How can they steal my soul if I haven't got one?
The man reaches him and sets a hand on his shoulder. They stare at each other - face to face, father to son. The man's expression is tender and troubled.
I don't know why, or how.
But you've got one, Steven.
The boy tugs his shoulder away.
Guess I'll find out.
He turns and continues down the slope.
CUT TO - EXT. A DRY, UNEVEN PLANE
The boy lopes deftly through a blur of rising heat past stones and gnarled-branched trees. In the distance, a red, bulbous sun sinks into the horizon. Ahead of him is an obsidian-black hillside surrounded by a deep, narrow ravine. The ravine is alive with a soft hissing. The boy comes to a halt at the edge of it.
His POV, looking down - large, overlapping insect-hive cavities cover the face of the rock wall. A torturous, winding trail of gray-black dust leads to the bottom, which is slick with black oil. The hissing INCREASES.
The boy tenses and steps back.
CLOSE-UP on the dark cavities - they are not made of rock, but of something organic and fibrous. And something is MOVING INSIDE THEM.
The boy starts down the trail. Immediately, the air fills with the flapping of wings. He throws an arm over his head and tugs his dagger out of its sheath. With a determined scowl, he bolts down the trail.
CONNOR REILLY walking to classes, killing a vampire
FAITH THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, fighting in the SLAYER TRAINING ROOM with Connor
and REPORTER AIDEN WALSH, pulling his CAMERA away from his face.
INT. THE SEWERS UNDER LOS ANGELES - EVENING
CONNOR strides through a concrete tunnel, his resolute grimace framed by his mussed, damp hair.
CUT TO a TWO-SHOT - Beside him is ANGEL. His arms hang loose at his sides, his filthy trenchcoat swirls behind him. Connor is armed with his BROADSWORD and wearing gray trousers and a tan jacket. But for these differences, their identical expressions and determined gaits mark them as father and son.
Hushed voices echo in the tunnels ahead.
INT. A CROSS-SECTING TUNNEL
Connor and Angel emerge. A group is gathered around a ladder leading up to a manhole - FAITH, MISTRESS MEERNA, and a dozen Slayers, including Misha, Kelly, Stephanie, and Isabel. The Slayers are armed with swords and axes. They turn as Connor and Angel come to a halt.
Faith looks around at them all.
Okay. Here's the plan.
We've got cars parked on the street above.
We're taking them to a neighborhood on the west side.
(a glance at Connor and Angel)
We've been there before.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISION - WEST SIDE - AFTER DARK
LONG SHOT - Bungalow-style houses, manicured lawns, and cracked sidewalks under oak and jacaranda trees. Scattered children play under streetlamp-light. A car passes by. In CENTER FRAME is the familiar HOUSE with a large porch behind a railing. Number 2548.
There's a house there
that's ground zero for the Syndicate.
INT. THE TUNNELS
Once we get there, I'm gonna head down to
this mystical leaky faucet thing.
Angel gives her a perplexed look, hands on his hips.
Which is what, exactly?
Faith glances at Mistress Meerna.
A dark mystical convergence the Syndicate
has been using to fuel their power.
There's no time to explain it.
The crux is, Faith will dampen
the convergence by putting her
human blood in contact with it.
Faith chuckles nervously.
I've gotta slice my hand open and
shove it inside a damned lava-flow!
But before that can happen,
I have to get her underground
where the convergence is,
which means getting past
the mystical barrier surrounding the house.
And whatever demonic security they have.
(glancing around again)
That'll be everyone's job--slaying demons.
Just look out for civilians.
Faith throws up a hand off Angel and Connor's startled looks.
Hey, it's just a regular 'burb, you know?
There was no way of clearing people
out without tipping off the Syndicate
we know they're there.
(with a frown)
I'm betting they know anyway.
Point is, anything that looks human needs
to be handed over to the Special Ops.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - WEST SIDE SUBDIVISION
WIDE STREET-LEVEL SHOT - SPECIAL OPS SOLDIERS patrol the neighborhood dressed in jeans, t-shirts, and black berets. They wave their ID's at residents and order them indoors.
Humans are strictly their territory, not ours.
INT. THE TUNNELS
It's going to be chaos once we get there.
Take out any demons you can.
Most will get away, and we have to let them.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. SIDE YARD - SYNDICATE HOUSE - EVENING
DOZENS OF DEMONS of different species are filing down the side yard towards - LONG SHOT - the open side gate.
EXT. FRONT YARD - SYNDICATE HOUSE
They exit and fan out across the FRONT LAWN. CUT TO the STREET - With looks of horror, the few remaining children SCATTER. Their anxious and panicked parents appear in doorways and gesture them inside. Doors slam shut.
INT. THE TUNNELS
It's the Hogath and their lieutenants we're after.
(glancing over the group)
Dampening the mystical convergence should
kill the rest of the Hogath.
They're dependent on it to exist in our world.
I've got Slayer teams out right now,
tracking down their hosts.
CUT TO A SERIES OF SHOTS -
INT. CORRIDOR - LOS ANGELES TIMES BUILDING
The custodian from episode 20 parks his utility cart along the wall as TUSHKA and INEZ pass.
INT. HILL STREET SHELTER DINING HALL
RONA and BRIDGET wander among the homeless residents, looking carefully from face to face.
Their job is to sit on them until I can dampen
EXT. OLYMPIC BOULEVARD WAREHOUSE DISTRICT
THERESA and JUDY approach the three-story warehouse.
INT. THE TUNNELS
Once I do that, I'll secure the house.
DISSOLVE TO - INT. ANTHONY'S STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
In the rain-dotted back window, we can see the faint reflection of a small boy. PULL BACK to a WIDE SHOT. Eight-year-old Anthony stands staring outside, his back tensed.
And hopefully, bring down the barrier
for the rest of you.
NO AUDIO - Anthony WHIRLS AROUND, his face livid with anger. He is SHOUTING at the witch Miranda, who stands head and shoulders taller than him. Her only response is a tense nod. She DISAPPEARS in a flicker of light.
INT. THE TUNNELS
The Luna coven is working on a
way to do that.
DISSOLVE TO - INT. BACKROOM - TEMPLE LUNA
The black-robed witches of the Luna coven stand in a circle, hands clasped, chanting. In the center of their circle is a STREET MAP of the west side subdivisions. Lit candles sit at the corners of the map, which is also strewn with herbs, mystical symbols, and talismans. Off in one corner, RALEIGH MATHERS sits against the wall, watching them.
And, hopefully, they'll be able to keep
the Syndicate witches off our backs.
INT. BACKROOM - ANCIENT EYE OCCULT STORE
The SYNDICATE WITCHES stand in their own pentagram-inscribed, talisman-filled circle. MIRANDA appears beside them in a flicker of light. She exhales deeply, her face troubled.
INT. THE TUNNELS
Faith sets a foot on the bottom rung of the ladder that leads up to the MANHOLE.
Nods all around.
Wait a minute. Where's Aiden?
Faith glances at him uncomfortably.
DISSOLVE TO - EXT. LOS ANGELES RIVER FLOOD CONTROL CHANNEL - EVENING
LONG SHOT - A dry concrete riverbed. Aiden's Honda Civic is parked in the shadows under a bridge. CUT TO a CLOSE-UP of the Civic's TRUNK. The CAMERA PANS the length of the car until it reaches the windshield. We see AIDEN slumped in the front seat, eyes watchful.
He's not a part of this.
INT. THE TUNNELS
Faith hefts her sword and takes another step up the ladder.
We have a lot of work to do.
Sounds like you could use an extra fist. Or two.
Faith pauses. CUT TO a large, elevated pipe outlet. SPIKE steps down into the tunnel, hands in the pockets of his duster.
He approaches the group, his expression awkward, and stops just behind Faith.
About the last couple months.
And, the, uh....
What? Wasn't your fault.
She continues up the ladder briskly. Spike grins, then looks up after her uncertainly.
He watches as each of the Slayers in turn mount the ladder and exit through the manhole. Connor follows them. He gives Spike a brief, cool stare. Angel hangs back. HIGH CEILING SHOT, looking up - Connor's feet disappear out the manhole.
Spike frowns after him.
I don't think he likes me much.
Angel steps up to the ladder.
He can hear you.
CUT TO - EXT. THE STREET ABOVE
A quiet Hollywood side street after dark. Faith points Connor and the Slayers towards several cars parked along the curb. They fan out toward them.
INT. THE TUNNELS
Spike follows Angel up the ladder.
(with a scoff)
Not that I care, mind.
I mean, the Dru thing I can understand...
but that shag with Faith--
no sense getting ruffled over it.
Tiger's not going to change her spots.
He's worse than you when it comes to women.
EXT. SIDE STREET
Faith is standing by the manhole waiting for them. Angel heaves himself up onto the asphalt and turns to Spike as he exits after him.
(off Spike's frown)
Leopards have spots, not tigers.
Spike shrugs. Angel's expression grows serious.
(voice still low)
And maybe it's neither of those things, Spike.
You're walking around with a soul again because--
Spike nods solemnly, shoving his hands back in his pockets.
'Cause I got the glowy ball he'd meant for his mum.
But you know, the bloody thing--
Faith gapes at him. Then she casts a concerned look over at CONNOR, who is waiting beside one of the cars. He gives her a sullen glance. Faith walks over to him.
(to Angel, awkwardly)
Well...it was just a matter of time, wa'nit?
Angel nods and heads towards the cars himself.
CUT TO a TIGHT TWO-SHOT - Faith sets a hand on Connor's shoulder. He stiffens.
We should talk when this is over.
LONG SHOT - they all pile into the cars.
EXT. A MCDONALDS RESTAURANT ON A BUSY CITY BOULEVARD - A SHORT WHILE LATER
EXT. REAR LOT
The CARS of Faith's team are parked behind the fast food restaurant.
EXT. ACCESS ROAD - WEST SIDE RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISION
LOW SHOT - A police car thump, thumps over another MANHOLE, heading out of the subdivision. The manhole cover rattles and slips aside. Faith emerges, head and torso, and sets her forearm on the asphalt. She scans the neighborhood. PANNING - It is now eerily EMPTY and QUIET. LONG SHOT down the access road - we see the lights and passing cars of the boulevard. Near the neck of the street, the police car comes to a halt. Its engine shuts off and its headlights dim.
Faith grips the edge of the manhole and heaves herself up to sitting. She reaches down a hand. Isabel clambers out after her, followed one by one by the others. Angel is last. Faith, the Slayers, Angel, Spike, and Connor clutch their weapons and take in the neighborhood. Just then, the silence is broken by the thud, thud of APPROACHING FOOTSTEPS. Faith whirls towards the sound.
Her POV - Behind them, a residential block winds off into darkness. Out of it, several FIGURES emerge into the glare of the intersection. Each is male, bereted, and carrying a rifle.
Connor, Angel, and Spike tense at the sight of them.
One of the men, whom we recognize as the lead "gang member" from episode 21, approaches. With a determined expression, Angel steps forward. Then he sees Faith doing the same, her sword low at her side. He stops. The man's eyes graze over Faith with skepticism.
You the "Slayers"?
Faith glances back at her team.
Most of us.
I'm Captain Jimenez, Detachment Commander,
Hostile Subterrestrial Operations.
One of the other soldiers jabs a finger at Angel and Spike.
What about them? I recognize them.
Then his eyes fall on CONNOR.
And him, I don't what the hell he is.
Connor glowers back. Faith closes in on the Captain, chin raised.
They're part of my team.
So let's all get on the same page here, okay?
Faith eyes all the soldiers with a challenging glare.
THE SOLDIERS - Grudging nods all around.
The neighborhood's secure.
The civilians are all indoors.
We've got police and barricades at every access road,
and troops patrolling the local streets.
Faith looks around at the soldiers and Slayers.
Everyone knows their jobs. So let's--
Suddenly, one of the Special Ops soldiers RAISES HIS RIFLE. Faith turns to look in the direction it is pointing.
WIDE SHOT - the residential street opposite the one the soldiers emerged from. DOZENS OF DEMONS walk towards them, their clubs, swords, pistols, and rifles glinting under the street lights.
EXT. OLYMPIC BOULEVARD WAREHOUSE DISTRICT - EVENING
The VAGRANT from episodes 20 and 21 is sitting with his back propped against the wall of the three-story warehouse, clutching a bottle in a paper bag. He peers up as Theresa and Judy approach. Without warning, Theresa pulls a small VIAL out of her coat pocket and tosses powder in his face. The vagrant howls high-pitched and covers his eyes with his hands. Then, slowly, he lowers them. His irises are GLOWING GOLD. Judy backs up a step, reaching into the bag slung over her shoulder. The vagrant eyes them malevolently.
That was a mistake.
He stumbles up, unsteady on his feet. Judy yanks a dart gun out of her bag and fires at him. The vagrant lunges, then drops at their feet. His bottle hits the ground with a muted clatter and rolls away.
INT. LOS ANGELES TIMES BUILDING
Tushka and Inez stroll down a corridor, looking frustrated.
Doesn't anyone go home around here?
If the Hogath really are "protecting their assets,"
it's got to be someone in this building.
Well, we can't go around throwing demon-dust
in everyone's faces.
So we just patrol. Make sure things are mellow,
and look out for anything suspicious.
They continue down the hall.
INT. HILL STREET SHELTER BACK HALLWAY
The assistant manager MIGUEL and the Slayer BRIDGET manhandle a squirming teenaged boy from the back courtyard into the manager's office.
They toss him into a chair. RONA is standing behind it. She pushes down the boy's shoulders as he tries to stand.
EXT. LOS ANGELES CITY HALL - EVENING - ESTABLISHING
INT. MAYOR'S SUITE - INNER RECEPTION AREA
The Mayor shakes the hand of the psychic ASHMED from episode 20 and leads him back into his office. Ashmed follows, clutching a leather briefcase. His eyes flash briefly GOLD.
You come highly recommended.
Although I must admit I'm skeptical of psychics.
INT. MAYOR'S OFFICE
The Mayor sits down behind his desk and gestures at the chairs on the near side. Ashmed sits. He opens the briefcase on his lap, takes out a stapled sheaf of papers, and pushes it across the desk to the Mayor.
The Mayor glances down at the top page.
EXT. WEST SIDE RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISION - CONTINUOUS
GUNFIRE cuts across the access road.
CRANE SHOT - Slayers and Special Ops Soldiers scatter, racing across the asphalt and lawns and diving behind parked cars, thick-trunked trees, and over fences. Others, including Connor, flatten themselves to the asphalt.
Fucking shit, they've got M-16s!
Demons with firearms and bladed weapons POUR INTO THE INTERSECTION. A running soldier is hit. His back arches and he tumbles forward. A blond Slayer is whipped around and falls. She cries out, hand gripping her thigh. Lurking soldiers break cover to FIRE BACK at the demons. Rat-tat-tat. Rat-tat-tat. Bent low, Angel and Spike dash over to the wounded Slayer. Spike kneels beside her. She glances up at him wincing and rocking and clutching her leg wound.
CUT TO Connor, who looks up from the ground.
Angel twists around.
Angel grunts as his arm is hit by a bullet.
Connor looks on with concern. Then, gritting his teeth, he tosses his broadsword across the pavement. It skitters towards Angel, who leans down, grabs it up with one hand, and raises it--just in time to SKEWER a gray-skinned horned demon. Angel retrieves the demon's pistol and sees the Kelly passing.
He hands the pistol off to her. Kelly in turn dives into a head-tucking somersault to avoid a rifle raised in her direction, comes up on her feet, and SHOOTS her would-be assassin to the ground. Spike leaps up and wrestles a rifle out of the hands of a passing blue-skinned demon. He kneels down beside the wounded Slayer again, grinning.
I could get to like this.
CUT TO - Faith has taken a position shoulder-to-shoulder with the Special Ops Captain behind an old Pontiac Grand Prix. She grips her sword tight.
A lot of these things don't die if you shoot them.
True, but they're big and stupid and most of them
can't fit their fingers in the trigger, much less aim.
Faith glances back towards where the wounded Slayer lies, scowling impatiently.
(to the Captain)
The whole point of this is to get
me to number 2548 down on the next block.
But this is a fucking assassination squad.
Okay. Uh.... We'll cover the demons with firearms.
The manhole can only take one person at a time.
If they're smart, your girls are already
headed for the boulevard.
Faith glares at him.
Slayers aren't damsels in distress, jarhead.
CUT TO - EXT. THE INTERSECTION
The SLAYER Stephanie de-arms a rifle-wielding, bat-eared Hellion with a round-house kick, then punches it across the face. A thug-like Wainakay attacks her with an ax. A sword appears, clashing against the demon's ax and knocking it aside. Isabel grips the sword and KICKS the Wainakay, sending it flying. Stephanie grabs the rifle from the downed Hellion, then turns and aims it at a pale, scaly Moutra demon, who falls, its forehead blown away by bullets.
OVERHEAD, a police patrol helicopter swoops across the subdivision, its blades beating the air, its search light scanning the street and yards of the homes. The beam sweeps briefly over Connor, who is playing dead as a second, sword-wielding Wainakay bolts past him. With a carefully aimed foot, he TRIPS the demon, then twists around and up to sitting. He grabs at its sword. The demon scrabbles for it. Connor ELBOWS the demon in the face, then looks up to see -
A horned, wrinkled-forehead Carnyss coming at him, FINGER ON THE TRIGGER OF A PISTOL. Eyes wide, Connor abandons the sword and flattens himself on his back. He drags the Wainakay over himself.
OVERHEAD SHOT - the Wainakay SHUDDERS as it takes the bullets.
CUT BACK TO - BEHIND THE GRAND PRIX
Crouching, Faith duck-walks over to the rear of the car and takes in the sight of the battle.
Her POV - more soldiers and Slayers are reappearing from their hiding places, taking on the demons that pass them. Spike is guarding the wounded Slayer with a rifle while Angel makes his way over to Connor. Angel SKEWERS the pistol-wielding Carnyss with Connor's broadsword. Connor shoves the Wainakay corpse off himself. He takes the broadsword from Angel. Angel retrieves the Carnyss's pistol, locks the safety, and pockets it. Then he picks up the dead Wainakay's sword.
Faith looks at the Captain.
I'm heading out.
(she nods at him)
The Captain crawls over and takes point ahead of Faith. He raises his rifle. Then shakes his head.
No doing. It's chaos out there.
Faith scoots forward, shrugging his hand off as he tries to grab her shoulder. She grins.
Just the way I like it.
She reaches back and YANKS the rifle out of his hands. He gapes at her. She sets her sword on the ground in front of him.
You can use one of these, right?
Lurching up to both feet, she takes off, doubled over, across the street.
Yeah...but can you use one of those?
EXT. THE INTERSECTION
As if in answer, Faith rises to full standing and fires a THREE-ROUND BURST at a thug-like, fanged Grappler demon. She makes her way over to Spike and the felled Slayer.
The wounded Slayer groans.
I'm pretty sure her femur is shattered.
She's got the bleeding stopped. For the moment.
Get her to one of the cop cars at
the edge of the subdivision.
And any other wounded humans you see.
Spike frowns with disappointment, then grudgingly nods. Faith heads over to Angel and Connor next. She kneels down beside the still-seated Connor.
Welcome to Iraq.
How far is the house?
About halfway up that block.
Mistress Meerna's going to meet me there.
I'm going with you.
Connor lurches to standing.
I'm going, too.
Suddenly, an AX-WIELDING, TATTOOED DEMON comes at them. Angel rises and charges it, his sword tilted behind his head. Connor stands poised behind Angel, legs apart, clutching his own sword guardedly. Angel brings his sword down and around. The demon drops. Angel looks back at Connor and Faith.
(he holds a hand out for Faith's rifle)
I'll take point.
Faith trades the rifle for the sword. Angel starts forward. Connor takes up the rear. They sprint up onto the lawn of a nearby house and then start towards the Syndicate house using trees and automobiles on driveways for cover.
CUT TO THE STREET - Several demons are tracking them.
ACROSS THE STREET - From behind a shadowed front porch railing, we see the ELDERLY HOGATH WOMAN from episode 21 watching, her eyes glowing gold.
EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET - WEST SIDE SUBDIVISION - CONTINUOUS
Faith, Connor, and Angel scuttle past fences and garage doors and along the inside edges of lawns. The indoor lights of the houses are nearly all OUT. Suddenly they are stopped by Click, click - a soldier with a RIFLE.
You folks belong indoors.
The three of them step into the pool of light given off by an outdoor security lamp. The soldier raises his rifle upon sight of Angel holding his. Angel lowers his weapon. Faith and Connor follow suit with their swords. The soldier eyes them suspiciously.
You the team infiltrating Number 2548?
Angel and Connor glance at each other surreptitiously. Faith steps forward.
The soldier scrutinizes her.
Are you ready?
The soldier whirls around. Mistress Meerna saunters past him. The soldier gapes and points his rifle safely skyward. Then he lowers it again, aiming it out at the street.
CUT TO - The demons following Faith, Angel, and Connor are drawing nearer. Slayers and soldiers are trailing them.
We need to get closer.
(looking at them)
How close we talking?
FAITH AND MEERNA
Connor's grip tightens on his sword. Angel throws him a cautious look.
I don't know how you're going to do that.
That property is crawling with demons.
I only need a few seconds once we're there.
All right, then. C'mon.
He turns and takes point. Faith, Meerna, Angel, and Connor follow. CUT TO Connor, eyeing him. CLOSE-UP on the soldier as he walks. The grip on his rifle tightens.
How're you going to get in there,
GROUP SHOT - Suddenly, Connor leaps forward and SWINGS HIS SWORD. He BEHEADS THE SOLDIER in one swift arc.
What the fuck are--!
The soldier EXPLODES INTO DUST. His rifle clatters to the ground. Angel picks it up and holds it out to Connor, who shrugs at Faith defensively.
Sorry. But it was obvious.
Faith frowns. She starts forward.
Connor transfers his sword to his left hand and takes the soldier's rifle from Angel. Quickly, Angel strides ahead of Faith again. We hear the nearby rat-tat-tat of gunfire as the battle starts up again in front of the Syndicate house.
INT. LIVING ROOM - SYNDICATE HOUSE
LONG OVER-THE-SHOULDER SHOT, from the POV of a FIGURE standing in the doorway of the room - It is comfortably-furnished, with couches and chairs and a few low tables. ANTHONY stands at the large front window, holding the curtain aside.
The figure moves into the FRAME. It is the business-suited Kailiff demon MACH. He approaches Anthony and stops behind him.
They can't get in.
Anthony's expression is troubled.
There's no guarantee of that.
Miranda screwed up the spell to control them.
Mach leans in close, staring out.
This is better.
You preferred the Slayers dead anyway.
THROUGH THE WINDOW - The lawn is, indeed, crawling with ARMED DEMONS. Beyond, on the street, a large fanged Kith'harn SKEWERS a short dark-haired Slayer through the gut. She falls. A soldier cuts the demon down--rat, tat, tat--but it's too late.
Anthony watches expressionlessly.
I want all of them dead.
Except the boy.
Mach nods, then turns to leave.
EXT. NEAR THE HOUSE
Angel, Connor, Mistress Meerna, and Faith lurk behind HEDGES that line the driveway of the property next to the Syndicate house. All but Faith are peering through them. Her devastated stare is on the Slayer lying dead on the street. She tenses, rising. Angel's hand clasps her shoulder.
There's only one way to stop this now.
Connor and I will cover you.
Faith nods reluctantly, and looks at him.
Let's do it.
Crouched, Angel starts up the length of hedge, rifle in hand. Connor stows his broadsword in the foliage and follows Angel with the vamp-soldier's rifle. CUT TO the end of the hedge. Still crouched low, Angel creeps forward. He raises his rifle and then, gritting his teeth,
Rat, tat, tat
FIRES on the demons standing on the lawn. A beat later, Connor leans around him and FIRES his own rifle. Rat, tat, tat.
Demons drop, some dead, some wounded. Those remaining jump to alertness, raising their weapons. Angel and Connor FIRE AGAIN.
Rat, tat, tat. Rat, tat, tat.
You know, this is better than sex.
Connor glances at him, taken aback. Then a wan smile comes to his lips.
Even sex with a Slayer?
Now it's Angel's turn to take a double-take at Connor.
Rat, tat, tat. Rat, tat, tat.
CUT TO - Slayers and soldiers look on from the street. Those not fighting charge up onto the lawn and take on the remaining demons. Angel waves Faith forward.
Faith and Meerna rise to standing and, bent over slightly, scuttle around the hedge and race towards the house. Within three meters of the front wall, they are KNOCKED BACK by a transparent BLUE SHIMMER. Teeth gritted, Faith steps forward again and--bzzzaaapt--PASSES THROUGH IT. Meerna pushes through a beat later. The barrier crackles with electricity.
TWO-SHOT - They are stopped just inside the field like fruit suspended in gelatin. With effort, Meerna raises her arm and transcribes a slow circle in the air.
(sounding like she is under water)
The circle takes on a faint gold glow which quickly dissipates. Meerna frowns and tries again.
A small GLOWING PORTAL just large enough for a human to crawl through appears. Meerna gestures Faith forward. With a nod, Faith ducks down and steps inside. Bang! A backlash FLINGS her, her sword, and Mistress Meerna clear of the barrier. The portal closes up. The barrier goes invisible again. The battle rages around them.
Damn it all!
Faith struggles up to sitting.
Open it again!
(also sitting up)
If it didn't work the first time,
it's not going to work a second time!
Faith hauls herself up to her feet, distressed. She retrieves her sword from the grass.
What the fuck are we going to do, then!?
Angel appears at her side, rifle in hand.
Meerna and Faith speak at once.
She can't transport.
The fucking thing won't work!
They stand at a loss for a moment. Then Faith sees -
MACH, standing just outside the open side yard gate, watching them.
Faith jabs a finger at him.
Yo--that guy there!
I saw him over by the Slayer Council Offices.
Mach sees them and turns into the side yard.
He's the one Kelly was talking about.
Angel and Faith trade a significant look. They CHARGE AFTER HIM. Behind them, Meerna disappears.
CUT BACK TO Connor, who has retreated behind the hedge. His rifle is now tucked underneath it, its nose bent and unusable. He rises from a crouch, sword in hand, and heads back into the battle. His POV - a hairless Garach lies on the ground, just shot down by the Special Ops soldier standing over it. The demon is starting to rise again. Connor runs over to the demon and SLAMS his foot down on its neck, breaking it. He bounces back on his toes, giving the befuddled soldier a grin. Then he looks around, his own expression puzzled.
180-DEGREE PAN of the battle, ending with - Faith and Angel heading through the side yard gate.
Connor's expression turns to determined resolve as he steps forward to join them. Then something else catches his eye - The front door of the house is OPEN. ANTHONY is standing in the doorway, calmly surveying the battle. Connor hesitates for a beat in surprise, then hefts his sword and CHARGES up the front walk. Anthony turns away and recedes into the foyer. Connor leaps onto the porch and races into
INT. FRONT FOYER - SYNDICATE HOUSE
where he pauses uncertainly. And then is GRABBED on either arm by Anthony's two Special-Ops vampire guards.
CLOSE-UP - The MUZZLE OF A GUN is pressed to Connor's temple. He freezes, his wide eyes turned up towards the weapon. We hear the door slam shut, muting the noise of the battle. One of the vampires yanks the sword from Connor's hand and tosses it to the floor. Clatter. He pats Connor down. Connor scowls. And then he sees -
ANTHONY. His irises are GLOWING GOLD.
Connor backs away. The guards grip him in place.
No magicks on him. And no other weapons.
Anthony nods and steps towards Connor, his expression cool and intent.
Y'know, I enjoy being a little boy....
Connor struggles. Anthony steps closer.
But I've been thinking lately....
(in deep Hogath timbre)
It's time I grew up.
The glow in Anthony's eyes EXPANDS, then RISES until it is a swirling GOLDEN MASS above his head. Connor's struggling grows desperate. The energy SHOOTS AT HIM. He tenses as it hits his face. It coalesces around him and sinks beneath his skin. Connor sags in the vampires' grips. Simultaneously, Anthony slumps to a faint on the tile.
Several silent seconds tick by.
Then, slowly, Connor's eyelids flutter and open. CLOSE-UP - His once-blue irises GLOW GOLD.
EXT. SIDE GATE - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Angel and Faith race inside the open gate clutching their weapons, only to be THROWN back out by the BLUE SHIMMER of the mystical barrier. They stumble to regain their footing. Their POV, through the open gateway - Mach recedes down the side yard as if the barrier isn't even there.
Angel glances around, then walks over to the side gate of the neighboring house.
Tongue tucked into the corner of his lips, Angel LEAPS UP and hops over. Faith scales the fence after him.
INT. FRONT FOYER - SYNDICATE HOUSE
The two vampires let go of Connor. The one with the gun steps over to Anthony, who is unconscious on the floor. He aims it.
(in deep Hogath timbre)
The vampires look at him. Hogath-Connor stares down at the boy.
(in Connor's voice)
I'm going to need that.
The Hogath steps over Anthony and heads back into the study. CLOSE-UP on his cold, detached gaze. One of the vampires grabs the limp Anthony up by an arm.
UNSTEADY POV SHOT looking through Hogath-Connor's eyes - we see the bookshelves, the desk, and the glass cabinet of talismans. And behind the desk, the open sliding glass door. Mach enters the room from the backyard. He scrutinizes Hogath-Connor.
(voice indistinct, echoing)
The new body suits you.
Go help Octavia. Let's finish this.
Mach nods and exits again. He shuts the door and locks it.
REVERSE ANGLE - Hogath-Connor walks over to the desk and picks up the telephone receiver. He pecks out a number, then sits down on the edge of desk, facing the room.
Octavia, it's me, Anthony.
CUT TO - EXT. FRONT PORCH - HOUSE ACROSS THE STREET
The elderly female Hogath steps forward. She has a cell phone to her ear.
INT. STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
CLOSE-UP on Hogath-Connor's GLOWING EYES.
Well...not Anthony anymore.
FADE TO BLACK.
CONTINUOUS - A BLACK SCREEN. And silence. Then, gradually, we begin to make out SHADOWED MOVEMENT accompanied by a SOFT SCUFFLING. We hear a panicked, still-born RASP. Then another one. The scuffling increases, turning quickly into HEAVY, WOODEN, POUNDING.
THEN the camera SHOOTS UPWARDS. We get the flitting impression of soil and rocks and grass, until -
We find ourselves in a GRAVEYARD at night. Tombstones and grave markers dot the landscape. The moon hangs overhead, three-quarters full. In the low foreground is a rectangular mound of fresh dirt. Standing over it is the boy ANTHONY, his eyes glowing gold.
CUT BACK underground. More scuffling and grunting. Scrabbling. Pounding.
Hey! I'm down here!
Slowly, another image comes into focus SUPERIMPOSED OVER the shifting, shadowy darkness. It is the Syndicate house study as it appears to Hogath-Connor.
DISSOLVE COMPLETELY TO - INT. STUDY
Hogath-Connor's POV - A bookshelf. The cabinet. The door leading out to the hall.
Let me know when it's finished.
EXT. BACKYARD - SYNDICATE HOUSE
VIEW THROUGH THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR - the study. Hogath-Connor is leaning on the desk, his back to us. He sets the receiver down and stands.
REVERSE ANGLE - the backyard proper. Rifle in hand, Angel scales the fence separating the Syndicate house from its neighbor. Faith follows. Angel starts across the width of the yard, eyes on the house. Then he STOPS. His eyes widen and his lips part. Faith regards him curiously.
Without a word, Angel BOLTS towards the house. CLAP! The blue mass of energy TOSSES HIM BACK AGAIN. He falls to the ground, then struggles up to sitting. Faith runs over to his side, then looks up to see what he is gaping at. Her POV - CONNOR is standing facing the sliding glass door, his eyes glowing gold. With a knowing smile, he reaches to one side, and, with a yank, closes the blinds.
Angel sinks his weight onto one arm and stares at the house.
INT. BENEATH - THE UNDERGROUND GRAVE
The POUNDING continues. Grunting. More pounding. And then a CRACK. Another CRACK. The soft hiss of falling dirt. A grunt. A cough. More CRACKING.
CUT TO - EXT. ABOVE GROUND - THE GRAVEYARD
SUPERIMPOSED WITH the Syndicate STUDY. Anthony strolls away from the burial mound past a large headstone carved in the shape of a winged angel. He continues out of the frame. Simultaneously in the study, Hogath-Connor turns away from the sliding glass door. He passes the desk and the cabinet of talismans and exits the frame.
The image of the study FADES until we see only the graveyard. CLOSE-UP of the loose soil of the burial mound. It starts to quiver. An indentation appears. The indentation grows larger and deeper until SOIL-STAINED FINGERS appear, grappling the dirt. Anthony stops walking and looks back with puzzled surprise.
INT. STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Hogath-Connor comes to a halt in the doorway. His hand grips the doorframe.
INT. BENEATH - THE GRAVEYARD
CLOSE-UP - The soil of the freshly-dug grave bounces and lurches. A FULL HAND appears, pushing aside the dirt. It is promptly SLAMMED palm-down by a foot.
Anthony is standing over the burial mound. His arms flail out as his foot sinks into the soil. The soil flies up around him. Another filthy hand emerges. It grapples around and then grabs Anthony's ankle. Anthony tries to tug his leg away. The grip tightens. Anthony tumbles over onto the ground. He kicks and twists as a dirt-matted CONNOR crawls his way out of the Earth, his arms wrapped around Anthony's legs.
Connor's forehead is TWISTED into the VISAGE OF A VAMPIRE. With a grunt, Anthony KICKS him away, then scuttles back crab-like on his hands and feet. Connor wriggles his dirt-matted hips above ground. Anthony plops down to sitting and laughs.
Well, look at you.
They usually stay down there a while.
Connor takes in the sight of Anthony and the graveyard through fierce vampiric-yellow eyes. Then his gaze dips. He raises his fingertips to his forehead and runs them over the tell-tale ridges there. His lips part. Anthony laughs again. Connor lowers his hand and scowls.
You're not him.
He's just a little boy.
Anthony lurches to standing.
So were you, once.
Connor yanks one dirt-matted leg out of the ground. The movement teeters him over sideways across the burial mound. Anthony laughs. He steps closer, looming over Connor.
Connor's POV, looking up - the little boy seems to stretch inexplicably taller, morphing into the image of a middle-aged DANIEL HOLTZ.
(gravely British accent)
Weren't you, son?
Gaping up through filthy bangs, Connor wriggles his other leg loose. His face returns to HUMAN FORM.
This isn't real.
It's as real as anything.
You're not Holtz, either. You're a demon!
Holtz stares down at him with those cold eyes of judgment.
And what are you, Steven?
Connor glances down at himself--pale skin caked with dirt, lying prostrate on his own grave. Holtz strolls around the burial mound.
INT. STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Hogath-Connor circles the stretch of open carpet between the desk and the door.
Once, when you were a boy,
you strode right into a Lohesh nest....
Hogath-Connor's voice BLENDS with the voice of Holtz as we DISSOLVE BACK TO -
INT. BENEATH - THE GRAVEYARD
...Daring those soul-killers....
...To leave you be.
The star-flecked night sky above them morphs into a SKY OF SWIRLING, ANGRY CLOUDS the color of obsidian and crimson. The air comes alive with hissing and the flapping of wings. Connor lets out a strangled cry and heaves himself up to crouching on the burial mound.
GROUND-LEVEL SHOT - the air above the burial mound is swarming with FLYING CREATURES--large, black four-winged insect-bats.
Then the ground around him morphs into an obsidian-black ravine. Connor is in animal hides and crouched on a dusty trail, thrashing against the creatures, SCREAMING. Their stingers and claws dig at his flesh. Keeping his head low, he half-crawls, half-drags himself across the dusty trail, one hand lashing out blindly over his head. Inch by inch, he draws perilously close to the edge of the trail that cuts down into a STEEP, ROCKY EMBANKMENT.
Then his scuffling hand runs out of ground.
With a cry, he TUMBLES HEAD-FIRST over the edge. His head strikes a stone and he is cast into the thick, oily black muck at the bottom of the ravine. TIGHT SHOT of the muck. Lids at half-mast, Connor sinks beneath the surface. The Lohesh SWARM AROUND HIM, screeching and hissing.
INT. STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Hogath-Connor smiles languidly, eyes glowing gold.
EXT. BACKYARD - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Faith kneels beside a stunned Angel, her hand on his shoulder.
Connor knows how to fight a Hogath
from the inside. And he will.
With a worried but resolute expression, Angel rises to his feet. Faith's hand slides off his shoulder.
What about the Luna coven?
Can they get me--us--inside?
Faith pulls out her cell phone and stabs at the buttons with her thumb.
EXT. AN OBSIDIAN-BLACK RAVINE UNDER A RED-AND-BLACK-STREAKED SKY - NIGHT
A blanket of black squirms over the pool of muck. Between the shrieking, clawing creatures, we can just make out Connor's oil-streaked face. His eyelids are closed. A SILVER THREAD OF ENERGY is rising from his parted lips and dissipating over the demons.
Connor's eyelids flutter. He flails weakly against the Lohesh with a filthy arm. Then, gritting his teeth and grunting, he thrashes out at the creatures again. They screech and dart away.
CLOSE-UP ON his arm - a pock-marked bronze blade has appeared, strapped to his forearm.
Connor struggles to standing, his skin blotched with BLEEDING WELTS. With one arm protecting his face and the other cutting a path with the blade, he trudges through the muck towards the embankment, then starts up the rocks. the Lohesh hiss and dive and jab. Connor dodges and grunts and ducks. The creatures persist, screeching. Finally, with an irritable scowl, he thrashes out at them again. His face GOES VAMP.
WIDE SHOT - lightening-quick, he clambers up the embankment towards the trail.
CUT TO a CLOSE-UP of the edge of the trail - a filthy hand clamps the dusty rock.
INT. STUDY - SYNDICATE HOUSE
Hogath-Connor sways in place, eyes wide. Then a determined look comes to his face.
INT. BENEATH - THE RAVINE
The red-and-black-streaked sky MORPHS into the star-lit heavens of the graveyard again. The obsidian-black ravine of the Lohesh becomes a six-by-eight-by-four dirt-walled hole--a freshly-dug OPEN GRAVE where the burial mound had been.
CLOSE-UP - Connor's hand is gripping the top edge of the grave. A heavy SHOWER OF DIRT hits him in the head. He falls into the grave on his back. Thud. Fling. Thud. Fling. More soil rains down on him. His face goes HUMAN again.
CUT TO above ground. We see the legs of the person busily shoveling dirt into the grave.
IN THE GRAVE - Connor sputters and shields his face against it. He sits up, then slowly lurches to crouching.
You...(cough)...don't belong here!
ABOVE GROUND - The camera PANS UP over legs and hips and torso until we see CONNOR himself, with eyes of HOGATH GOLD. He smirks, leans on the shovel, and stares down at himself.
I like it here.
(he throws out a hand)
I'm young, I'm strong.
The future has my name written in it,
and I'm not going to spend it whining
because my parents were murderous monsters.
Connor stares up at him grimly.
Because you're a murderous monster!
Hogath-Connor taps his chest.
Look who you're talking to.
And with that, he picks up the shovel, digs it into the soil, and brings it back up.
Connor's POV, looking up from inside the grave - dirt rains down on him.
Connor sputters and tumbles to his knees. He catches himself with his hands.
ABOVE GROUND - Hogath-Connor continues shoveling.
I'm inside you, and I'm not leaving.
So there's only two ways this can go....
More soil rains down. CLOSE-UP - Crouching again, Connor DIGS the balls of his toes into the ground.
You can stay buried,
or you can embrace me....
Switching into GAME FACE, Connor CATAPULTS himself up out of the grave, landing face-to-face with the Hogath. The Hogath blinks and steps back in surprise. Connor stares him down, his vampire face wicked and feral. The Hogath smiles knowingly.
...And embrace your own power.
Part 2 (click here)