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connor too

Maelstrom, Part 1 (airdate January 25, 2006)

Posted by masqthephlsphr on 2008.06.01 at 22:14
Current Mood: curiousinvestigating
Maelstrom

Part 1

(June 1, 2008)

Written by: Masquerade

Teaser

Previously on The Destroyer...

EXT. CITY STREET - LOS ANGELES - EVENING

STEADICAM SIDEWALK SHOT, approaching a STRIP MALL which looms to our right. Cars are parked at an angle on the street. We pass a laundromat, a pizza place, and a carpet store, then turn right up a side street.

CUT TO - EXT. ALLEY BEHIND THE STRIP MALL

IN FRAME - A utilitarian, unlabeled exterior door. It has a lock but no handle.

Alix frowns at it, then turns and takes in the alley. She spots a MANHOLE in the asphalt. She walks over to it, kneels down, lifts it, and sets it aside. It clatters dully.

CUT TO - INT. UNDERGROUND TUNNEL

She creeps through a large, ribbed metal pipe.

INT. KITCHEN - ANGEL'S FORMER BASEMENT APARTMENT

Connor sits on a bent metal and vinyl chair, brooding into space. CIRCULAR PAN past the dilapidated furniture and charred appliances. The CENTER ROOM of the apartment comes into view. Through murky shadows, we see scorched brick and sagging doors. Connor's eyes wander up, alert.

LONG SHOT of the center room. A FEMININE FIGURE slinks past open doorways, the caged elevator, and the old concrete staircase that now leads nowhere. She pauses, then turns again, heading back towards the camera. Slowly, the figure resolves into Alix.

CONNOR (O.S.)
What are you doing here?

She freezes in place.

ALIX
I was told...this is where you'd be.

Something on the debris-strewn ground catches her eye. She bends over and picks it up. INSERT - A half-burnt SNAPSHOT of Angel, Cordelia, and Wesley sitting close, smiling. Alix puzzles over it.

ALIX
So it's true.

INT. KITCHEN

She appears in the doorway, snapshot in hand.

ALIX
He used to live here, didn't he?
Your father.

The mere mention of Angel brings a surly menace to Connor's features. He sits forward as if to rise.

CONNOR
Get out.

Alix only smiles that coy, sultry smile.

ALIX
Don't you want to know who told me you'd be here?
Who told me about...him?

In the blink of an eye, Connor is SUDDENLY BEFORE HER.

CONNOR
(gritting his teeth)
I don't care.

Alix skitters back, startled, then FLAILS. LOW SHOT - She PLUNGES into the GAPING HOLE where the sunken staircase leads to the sewers below and HITS the concrete steps with a grunt. Slowly, she sits up, wincing.

Connor stares down at her.

Alix raises a defensive chin, meeting his grimace face-to-face.

ALIX
Connor Angel. Human son of two vampires.
(breathless beat)
No wonder your blood tasted like death.

Connor's stare doesn't waver.

CONNOR
Get out, or you'll taste death.

For a moment, Alix doesn't budge. Then, slowly, she eases herself up to her feet. She smirks.

ALIX
That threat gets more frightening every time I hear it.

They face off for another moment, then Alix turns and takes the steps one by one until she is gone.

BLACK OUT.

END OF TEASER
Opening Credits
The theme song plays as we see images of


CONNOR REILLY walking to classes, swinging a SWORD in a street fight,

starring

Vincent Kartheiser

FAITH THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, taking aim with her CROSSBOW at a multi-armed, blade-swinging DEMON,

Eliza Dushku

and AIDEN WALSH, sitting at a TABLE with a BOOK opened in front of him.

and

Sean Maher

Act One

with special guest stars

Rachel Leigh Cook
Indigo
J. August Richards
Juliette Landau
Catalina Sandino Moreno
Sarah Jannett Parish
Robert Blanche
Kristin Lehman
and
Amy Acker


SUPERIMPOSE:
This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons, demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their...Hell.   - Giles, The Harvest

INT. CENTER ROOM - ANGEL'S OLD APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

Connor kneels and lifts a metal TRAP DOOR. He heaves it around and lets it fall closed over the sunken staircase with a BANG. It is bent and ill-fitting now. He pivots and scavenges in the debris until he finds the padlock that once locked it and snaps it in place. He stands. With a determined expression, he strides to the doorway leading out to the basement corridor, picks up the off-kilter sliding doors one by one, and fits them back into their grooves. He closes them and brings down the bolt lock.

CLOSE-UP as he takes in the room. LONG SHOT - He saunters through splintered wood and fallen brick over to the far wall. He pauses to check the sturdiness of the cage elevator, then peers up the staircase. DISSOLVE TO -

INT. ANGEL'S OLD BEDROOM

Now Connor's, as he stretches himself over the mattress on the half-tipped four-poster bed. He stares at the ceiling for a long moment, then his eyes sink closed.


EXT. SLAYER COUNCIL OFFICE BUILDING - MORNING - ESTABLISHING

INT. SUITE HALLWAY

The front door clicks shut. A SENTIMENTAL PIANO INSTRUMENTAL starts up as FAITH strolls slowly into view, one arm still in a CAST. An overlapping series of GRUNTS, CRIES, and SMACKS draws her attention OFF-SCREEN.

INT. TRAINING ROOM

The girls are paired off, trading blows and blocks. Rona paces around them.

RONA
Stop rotating your shoulders!
You're super-beings, just punch!

Faith leans against the doorway, all grins.

FAITH
You should listen to her.
When I first met her, she telegraphed worse than Margarito.

The girls turn around one by one. A few of them share a puzzled, "Margarito who?" Rona just answers Faith's grin.

RONA
Who the hell says "telegraphing" anymore?

In an instant, the girls flock around Faith. She raises defensive hands.

FAITH
Yo, I'm just here to watch.
(she shoos them away)
So get back to it.

Reluctantly, the girls return to their pairs. The SMACKS and GRUNTS start up again. TIGHT TWO-SHOT of Rona and Faith, looking on.

RONA
Any word from Connor?

Faith shakes her head.

FAITH
Nada.

Rona nods towards the girls.

RONA
They like you, you know.
(this gets Faith's attention)
More than that, they're fans.
You're one of the originals.
You're "Faith," man. You're a legend.

Faith's chuckle is dry.

FAITH
The fuck-up who keeps fucking up.
(she considers this)
Damn, you're right, I'm a rock star!

A soft ahem behind them draws their shared grin around to -

The Council scholar NIGEL, standing in the hallway.


CUT TO - INT. COUNCIL LIBRARY POCKET DIMENSION

Amidst the disembodied whiteness, CHAOS REIGNS - Books, folders, and scrolls are scattered across the table. Soiled paper cups and plates overflow the plastic trashcan. Over the jumbled conversations of four scholars intent in research, we hear a familiar voice -

JASMINE
In the beginning, before the time of man,
great beings walked the Earth
....

A TWENTY-SOMETHING MAN we haven't seen before hunches before Aiden's computer. His POV, on the COMPUTER SCREEN - The former Power Jasmine sits in a television studio, a like-named flower in her hair.

JASMINE
... Untold power emanated from all quarters,
the seeds of what would come to be known as "good" and "evil"
....

A male scholar we have seen before glances over at the newcomer.

MARTINS
Ferrar, you got the video playback working.

The new scholar throws him a glance.

JASMINE
... But the shadows stretched and became darkness,

MARTINS (cont.)
Aiden will appreciate that. He's had trouble with it.

JASMINE
... And the malevolent among us grew stronger.

RACHEL GREEN glances at them from the book she is reading beside the shelves.

RACHEL
(in a crisp BBC accent)
On the other hand,
he might also wonder if you're here to take over his job,

JASMINE
The earth became a demon realm....

RACHEL (cont.)
Since, until now, he's the only one who could get that
blasted machine to work.

JASMINE
... Those of us who had the will to resist left this place....

The newcomer gazes at them both blithely.

FERRAR
I'm just here to continue my studies.

JASMINE
... But we remained ever-watchful.

FERRAR
(then, to the monitor)
I'm kinda bummed I missed the whole Jasmine thing, though.
Imagine, one of the Powers that Be walking around!

FAITH (O.S.)
I heard she was a manipulative bitch.

Faith comes to a halt at the head of the table, arms crossed tight to her chest. Ferrar switches off the playback.

RACHEL
Ms. Lehane.

FERRAR
(to Faith)
Jasmine isn't exactly typical of the Powers that Be.
The fact that she found a way to Earth and interfered with
human free will is against their entire modus operandi.

FAITH
(huh?)
Modi what?
(she shrugs)
From what I hear, the "Powers That Sit on Their Ass"
are pretty useless.

FERRAR
Not "useless." Perhaps a little hand-tied--

Faith turns to Nigel, who has appeared at her side.

FAITH
So I'm here. Why am I here?

NIGEL
I felt some introductions were in order,
if you're going to be lurking about the office again.

FAITH
I don't "lurk."

Nigel gazes around the table.

NIGEL
Ladies, gentlemen, this is the Slayer Faith.
She helped recover the library with Mr. Walsh.
(he gestures at Rachel)
Faith, you know Rachel Green.

Then, pointing respectively around the table towards a man, a woman, and the newcomer -

NIGEL (cont.)
And this is Martins, Tomlinson, and Ferrar.
Ferrar is the latest Council scholar to join us,
from the Royal Ontario Museum.
His specialty is pre-history.

FAITH
"Pre-history"?

Ferrar sits up, affecting smug confidence.

FERRAR
The time before Man.
Pure demons ruled the Earth for thousands of years
before we were here. Before any animals were here.
A lot tougher than anything you've faced.

Faith stares him down coolly.

FAITH
You don't know what I've faced.

Unnerved, Ferrar focuses back on the computer screen.

FERRAR
(continuing less pompously)
The area...that's now southern California
was one of their more...populous locations.
"The lands of the god-king Illyria."

FAITH
She'd be one of the demons I've faced.

Ferrar peers up at her in confusion. The other scholars have returned to their books. Nigel strolls over to an unoccupied chair where an enormous stack of opened files waits and sits down.

RACHEL
(dismissively)
Illyria's hardly as formidable as It once was.
Returned to life in the body of a human,
and drained of Its original power?

Ferrar gapes at her, startled. He glances around at the others.

FERRAR
An Old One? Just walking around?
How the hell did that happen?
When the hell did that happen?!

His tone draws the attention of the other scholars back up. Tomlinson looks puzzled.

TOMLINSON
Two years ago.
(beat)
I'd think you'd know about it.
It's a well-kept secret, but the Watchers were informed.

NIGEL
(interrupting breezily)
"Slayer Council scholars."
We exist to serve the Slayers now, not the other way around.

Faith scoffs with skeptical disgruntlement. But the comment leaves her pensive.

RACHEL (O.S.)
How is Aiden doing, anyway?
(beat)
Faith?

Faith glances up at her.

FAITH
Aiden? Uh...still unconscious.
The doctors don't know when he'll come out of it.

FERRAR
So it won't be possible to ask him any questions
about the contents of the library, or how things are stored.

With an annoyed glare, Faith stabs a finger at the computer.

FAITH
You wanna know something? Check out that database thing.
Aiden worked his ass off on that.
You can even access it from your little cave
in the Royal Whatever Museum now.

Ferrar squares his shoulders huffily.

NIGEL
(briskly)
Not to worry, Mr. Ferrar.
The library will be moved when it's safe to do so.
Then this office can return to the exclusive business
of training Slayers.

Faith looks taken aback by this.

FAITH
Moved where?

NIGEL
Collections in London and Rome,
where they won't require the security of a pocket dimension.
(Faith looks away grumpily)
But you'll have ready access to them on Aiden's computer.

CUT TO - INT. HALLWAY

Faith stalks back towards the training room.

INT. LIBRARY

The computer blips and bleeps as Ferrar points and clicks repeatedly, gaze intent. Finally, he stops and stares at the screen with guarded alarm. His POV - A photograph of ILLYRIA in the former L.A. offices of Wolfram and Hart, with a long block of text beside it.


EXT. A-1 SELF STORAGE - LATE MORNING - ESTABLISHING

INT. UNDERGROUND

Connor strides the length of a sewer tunnel, gaze cast upward. He spots what he is looking for ahead, breaks into a run, and with a hop, PROPELS HIMSELF UPWARD to - TIGHT SHOT - He GRIPS the bottom rung of a hanging ladder with both hands, then reaches up and GRABS the next rung. Then the next. He swings his legs up.

CUT TO - INT. ANGEL'S GARAGE

The door hangs open. Connor wanders through the hollow shell of ashes, charred wood, and broken furniture with quiet dismay.

MAN (O.S.)
Someone meant business.

He turns. Gunn enters from outside, dressed down in a hoodie and jeans.

CONNOR
Thanks for coming.

Gunn gives the interior a cagey once-over before turning his attention back.

GUNN
Connor, what happened? Faith broke her arm,
she said Aiden was on the critical list,
and Angel got burnt somehow?

CONNOR
(gaze drooping)
He got out in one piece.
But someone caught up with him in the sewers.
Set him on fire.

GUNN
(stunned)
What?
(the wariness returns)
Where's he now?

Connor doesn't look him in the eye. He shoves his hands in his pockets.

CONNOR
Some people...came for him.

GUNN
"People"?

CONNOR
Wolfram and Hart...people.

A troubled glance towards Gunn, whose expression is now grave and disapproving.

CONNOR
(defensively)
I didn't know what else to do!
They have...demon doctors and stuff!
(then, distraught)
If you'd seen him....

Gunn nods grudgingly.

GUNN
I guess I should be glad you were there
and tried to help.

Connor scowls.

CONNOR
You sound like Lilah. Of course I tried to help.
I'm not--

GUNN
Whoa!

Gunn raises his hands to indicate "halt."

GUNN
(incredulous)
Lilah? When'd you see her?

CONNOR
She was one of the ones who came to help.

Gunn sets his hands on his hips and shakes his head.

GUNN
Trust me Connor, Lilah doesn't want to help Angel.

CONNOR
I know that. But--

Gunn raises his hands again, this time in mollification.

GUNN
I'm not blaming you, kid. You did what you had to.
But we can't leave him in the hands of Wolfram and Hart,
even if they have demon doctors.

Connor's look of guilt pinches into determined intent.

CONNOR
If he were still in the city, I could track him.
But they said they were taking him out of town.

GUNN
Leave the finding to me.
I still got connections in the firm.
I'm not sure they trust me....

CONNOR
(with dismay)
Then what do I....
(his uncertainly becomes determination again)
I'll find out who did it.

Gunn's brow knits.

GUNN
Faith's money's on an outfit called the "Enash Cabal."
The ones who blew up that warehouse a few months ago?

Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
I know. But what happened to Angel...looks like
these attacks that have been happening
all over the L.A. area the past few years.
Some kinda...supernatural burning.

GUNN
(with a shrug)
Guess that's worth looking into.
But Connor, you're not exactly in a position
to walk around asking questions.
There's a warrant out for your arrest.

Connor nods. He turns away, pacing slowly.

CONNOR
That's why I wanted to talk to you.
The Reilly's lawyer knows about Cyvus Vail's spell,
but he doesn't understand everything.
(solemn beat)
And anyway...I wouldn't ask.
I've caused them enough trouble.

Gunn scrutinizes him a moment before replying.

GUNN
I can help you.
'Cause I know your dad would ask if he could,
and, let's face it, my legal knowledge and credentials
are as manufactured as your high school diploma.
(Connor turns)
I guess we're both stuck to Wolfram and Hart.

He waits for Connor's reply, but when Connor offers none, returns to the business at hand with a pensive expression.

GUNN
I'll...uh, look into the specific charges and evidence,
see what's what.

Connor cracks a wry smile.

CONNOR
I can tell you "what's what."
Drusilla.
Last year, she messed with Cyvus Vail's spell.

GUNN
Yeah, Faith told me about that.

CONNOR
She was reversing it, bit by bit.
Angel stopped her, but...I wouldn't let him put the spell back
the way it was before she started. Not completely.
I had him leave it half-on, half-off.

Gunn chuckles.

GUNN
Well there's your trouble right there.

CONNOR
His cop friend got rid of that videotape of me
at the sporting goods store.
The police dropped the charges.

GUNN
(with a chuckle)
I'll bet Kate loved that.

CONNOR
My phony high school transcripts were gone,
but some other records created from them still existed.
So people just assumed the transcripts existed somewhere.
(he tenses, on edge)
But yesterday, for some reason, they actually checked.
Phelan High School said they'd never heard of me.
And that videotape reappeared.
I mean...reappeared where someone would actually notice it.

Gunn's brows meet again with curiosity.

GUNN
Sounds like you think it was deliberate.

CONNOR
I've been messed with a little too often lately.

GUNN
You mean, someone altering all our memories again.
And the Sahjhan thing.

Connor nods.

GUNN
(with a thoughtful shake of his head)
It wasn't Wolfram and Hart.
I know enough about Angel's contract to know that.
But I'll look into it.

CONNOR
Thanks.

Connor turns and drifts towards the raised grate leading down to the sewers. He bends down beside it.

GUNN
(puzzled)
What are you doing?

CONNOR
(glancing back)
The hospital's not too far from here.
I need to talk to Aiden if he's awake.

GUNN
(skeptically)
And you're taking the sewers?

CONNOR
I can walk it. I used to do it all the time.

Gunn shakes his head and beckons Connor back.

GUNN
C'mon. I'll give you a ride.


EXT. CLUB SEKHMET - NOON - ESTABLISHING

Just an aging converted warehouse in the harsh light of day.

INT. CLUB

WIDE SHOT - A smattering of patrons occupy the tables and a lone pair sit at the unmanned bar, nursing liquid lunches. TIGHT SHOT of the pair - One is the STOCKY CLUB BOY we recognize from episode 211. The other is Alix. Her attention is on -

Da Silva, who is chatting up a wrinkle-faced MOK'TOGAR DEMON IN A BUSINESS SUIT seated at a distant table.

Alix looks away with disgruntlement. She takes a quick sip of the red liquid in her stem glass. Her eyes dart over to her companion.

ALIX
So, Max, where'd you guys go Saturday night?

Max takes a disinterested slug from his pint.

MAX
Go?

ALIX
I saw you, Jimmy, and Cleo talking to Da Silva.
Then you took off.

Max shrugs.

MAX
We just left to grab a bite to eat.

Alix's fingers play around the base of her glass.

ALIX
Looked like it was more than that.
Looked like Da Silva sent you out on a job.

MAX
(with a casual shake of his head)
Nah.

ALIX
Then what'd he talk to you guys about?

MAX
Nothing. Club stuff.

ALIX
Which "stuff" is that?

Max looks at her pointedly. He slides from his barstool, drink in hand.

MAX
Do yourself a favor, Alix. Don't push this.

And with that, he traipses off. After a stunned beat, Alix tucks in her chin with controlled anger. She nudges her glass away and steps down from her own stool. WIDE SHOT - Alix stalks off towards the rear of the club. The Mok'Togar in the business suit is alone and on his feet now, approaching a forlorn-looking woman as she slumps down into one of the club sofas.

CUT TO - INT. BACK ROOM

TIGHT SHOT - Alix collapses on the chaise lounge in the second chamber, simmering with frustration. We hear soft SLURPING and MOANS off-screen.

ALIX
It's not like I care what they were doing at that garage.

Thump. Her eyes dip sideways. LOW SHOT of the couch perpendicular to Alix's. Two people are there, the face of one above camera view. The other is SLUMPED lifelessly on his side, his neck TORN OPEN and GLISTENING RED. Alix frowns. Her eyes rise.

ALIX
And you don't care about any of this.

Drusilla dabs blood from the corner of her lip with a finger and sucks on it, child-like.

Alix looks away with a sigh.

ALIX
I was always one of the ones Da Silva sent to do
crap like this!
Now, all of a sudden, not only am I not being asked,
they're lying to me about it.

DRUSILLA (O.S.)
Li'l lass has run away to the convent....

Alix peers at her again.

Drusilla sways at the edge of her seat, acting out whatever she's seeing in her mind's eye with broad sweeps of her hands. She ducks behind her slender fingers -

DRUSILLA
Cowering in the Mother Superior's chambers,
No! No!
(she presses fingertips to her temples)
Mad from the whispers in her head.

Her gaze settles on Alix. She presses a finger to her lips.

DRUSILLA
Psst...pssst.
Daddy called on her before the flames blistered.
He remembers.

Alix only heaves another, bored sigh.

ALIX
If you're going to kill some chick,
I don't know why you don't just do it.
It's your plan.
(then, grumbling)
I thought you Aurelius types did whatever
the hell you wanted.

Drusilla rises from the couch with fluid grace. She paces the space slowly, fingering the top of the Victorian banquet lamp.

DRUSILLA
It's not yet time. There are Slayers about.

She rubs dust between her fingertips and makes a face.

ALIX
(grudgingly)
Oh. Well, I guess that's....

Drusilla approaches a painting on the wall. It is a Baroque image of a woman slumped on her back across a bed, an imp perched on her belly.

DRUSILLA
The leeches lurk in the muck,
scheming their schemes and machinations.
The monsters are coming to tread in their ponds.

With a bemused expression, Alix looks again at the dead boy. TIGHT SHOT - He is a regular we've seen in the backroom before.

Drusilla turns, day-dreamy.

DRUSILLA
My Spike made me a monster once.
It was the hit of my party.
(then she scowls)
Until Angelus and the Slayer crashed.
(a pout)
I so very much wanted my monster to destroy the world.

CUT TO - Alix's skeptical gaze.

BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT ONE

Act Two

SUPERIMPOSE:
"Fanatical sect, awaiting a messiah who will usher in the end of all human life. A lot of your demons don't yak about it in mixed company, but it is a pretty popular theology in the underworld."   - Lorne, "Happy Anniversary"

INT. A CAVE-LIKE BOOKSTORE - EARLY AFTERNOON

A leather-adorned Illyria strolls through a maze of tall, overstuffed bookshelves, her ice-blue eyes scanning the book spines impassively. Finally, she emerges into a small open area, where a tiny man sits hunched behind a counter, buried deep in the pages of an ancient tome. Oil-lamp sconces flicker on the walls. He looks up, and we see he is no man at all, but a SCALY DEMON with a skull-thin face and sharp horns protruding from under the Dodgers' baseball cap on his head. Illyria halts before him.

ILLYRIA
Are you K'shan?

The demon gapes at Illyria with wide eyes and stands. He yanks the cap off and scoots around the counter.

K'SHAN
Lord Illyria.

He drops to one knee and lowers his head.

K'SHAN
I'd heard you walked among us in human guise,
but I didn't dare believe it.

Illyria stares down at him.

ILLYRIA
You may rise.

The demon stands slowly, head still tilted down.

ILLYRIA
I require your assistance.

K'SHAN
Anything, Lord.

ILLYRIA
You were employed by the Wolf, Ram, and Hart.
You gave them intelligence on the human cults
that worshipped demons.

K'SHAN
Not for several years now.
(with disdain)
I left when they put that vampire in charge.

ILLYRIA
What do you know of the Anunnaki,
or their minions on Earth?

The name gives the demon enough pause to forget himself. He looks up.

K'SHAN
I know they are your sworn enemy!

Illyria turns away with a scowl. She takes in the cramped space.

ILLYRIA
They murdered me.
I was buried in the Deeper Well for untold eons,
only to be reborn into this shell,
my world overrun with mortals who rendered me fragile as they are.

K'SHAN
Indeed.

CLOSE-UP on Illyria. Her expression turns forlorn.

ILLYRIA
And so I will get my vengeance.
It's all I have left.

K'shan shakes his head.

K'SHAN
I wouldn't say that's all you have left, Old One.
(he scurries back around the counter)
I wouldn't say that at all.

Illyria circles back. K'shan opens a small refrigerator behind the back counter and starts rooting through it.

K'SHAN
The fact that you're here, now, in this time....

He pulls out a TUPPERWARE CONTAINER, turns, and sets it on the front counter.

K'SHAN
The implications are staggering.

ILLYRIA
Speak. The Anunnaki.

With a humble glance at the god-king, K'shan opens the container.

K'SHAN
I'll do better than that.

He plucks something small, red, and slippery from it and holds it up for Illyria's inspection. CLOSE UP - It is a HUMAN EAR. Illyria's expression is impassive. K'shan turns and walks over to one of the oil-lamp sconces.

K'SHAN
My new associates...are demons who seek
to return to the old ways.
(he removes the covering, revealing a small brazier where a flame flickers)
The way the world was when you ruled this land.

TIGHT SHOT of its reflection on the demon's expression of zeal.

K'SHAN
When nightmares could be made flesh by will alone,
and the mind was a weapon to wield against one's enemies.

He begins chanting softly and tosses the ear into the flame where it SIZZLES. Then he reaches down to small bronze decanter on the back counter, opens it, dips his hand inside, and sprinkles something onto the flame. The flame dances, then grows and GROWS steadily until it EXPLODES OUT in a WASH OF LIGHT around the bookstore. When it fades, the bookstore is GONE, and Illyria and the demon are standing on -

EXT. A ROCKY, LAVA-COVERED LANDSCAPE UNDER OMINOUS DARK CLOUDS

Vegetation is sparse. Volcanoes steam in the distance; dust is carried on the wind that blows through Illyria's hair. K'shan turns to her.

K'SHAN
What you see around you is a living memory.

The ground begins to quiver with a steady thump, thump, thump. Alarmed, K'shan grasps Illyria's hand and yanks her back behind a large boulder. He peers around it, ignoring her annoyed glare. K'shan's POV - Over a ridge, a GIANT, MULTI-ARMED DEMON appears. Then ANOTHER. Then ANOTHER, in a long, snaking column. They are dressed in leathers and armed with sickle-shaped blades.

K'SHAN
(murmuring)
This is the world you knew, ruled by demonkind.
Mortal animals hid from you--weak, powerless.

CUT TO - Small, reptile-like creatures peer out at the procession from behind rocks.

K'SHAN
But the Anunnaki took an interest in them.
Gave them the means to survive. This you know.

Halfway down the column of demons, we see two carrying a STONE SARCOPHAGUS. TIGHT OVERHEAD SHOT as it passes beneath - It is pitted with crystals, and, at one end, a small round closed iris.

ILLYRIA
My funeral.

K'shan nods.

K'SHAN
After your demise,
there were none to stand against your enemies.
The mortal creatures survived and thrived.
Interbreeding occurred. Demon blood was thinned.


EXT. COUNTY GENERAL HOSPITAL - DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - EARLY AFTERNOON

ESTABLISHING SHOT - Ever see the opening credits of the soap "General Hospital"? Yeah, that.

EXT. OUTPATIENT CLINIC

Connor approaches the sliding doors, then quickly ducks behind a pillar as a SECURITY VEHICLE lolls by. After a beat, he reappears and enters the building.

CUT TO - INT. STAIRWELL

He ascends the concrete staircase.

CUT TO - INT. HIGH-DEPENDENCY UNIT - MEDICAL WARD

POV STEADICAM - Moving along a rectangular corridor past patient rooms and a central nurses' station. We veer in through one of the doors to find Kristin slumped half-asleep in a chair which has been pulled up alongside the bed. Aiden lies hooked to an IV with another small plastic tube running into his nose and taped in place. He is still unconscious. At the soft pad of feet on the linoleum, Kristin stirs and stretches her back, then comes alert.

Her POV - Connor stands quietly at the end of the bed, hands in his pockets.

CONNOR
Hey. You're spending a lot of time here.

Kristin smiles weakly, then casts a despondent glance at Aiden.

KRISTIN
I don't feel like I should leave.
What if he wakes up?
(she looks away, anxious)
Besides, whoever blew up that garage
might come back. Hurt him somehow.

Connor steps around a chair partially blocking the entranceway of the room. He sinks down in it.

CONNOR
I'm sorry.

Kristin doesn't seem to notice the remorse in his voice. But the determination that follows is hard to miss -

CONNOR
I don't know who did this, or why,
but I'm going to find out.

Another, grateful smile from Kristin. Then she shifts with discomfort and sits forward.

KRISTIN
Connor, since you're here, do you mind if I
go get something to eat?

Connor shakes his head.

CONNOR
No. Go ahead.

Kristin stands up stiffly. She gives Aiden a lingering glance, then heads to the door. After she is gone, Connor rises from the chair he is in and sits down in Kristin's. He scoots it around so it is facing the bed. His POV - Aiden lying peacefully, chest rising and falling. Connor gazes at him for a beat.

CONNOR
I am sorry.
I don't know...whether what happened was
because of me or not,
but I am not going to let anyone just hurt my friends.

He leans forward, resting his forearms on his knees.

CONNOR
I think...whoever attacked my dad--and maybe you guys--
is the same person who went after Julia Moore and
those other people you found.

QUICK-CUT to Aiden, who has nothing to say on the subject.

Connor compresses his lips with frustration.

CONNOR
I wish I could talk to you about this.
I'm trying to put it all together,
but you have some of the pieces.
(then, pensively)
What I know....
Julia was killed at UCLA.
I don't know if she was there that night to
see Professor Roth or not, but I do know Julia went to see her,
hoping she'd help her find a magical cure.
But Professor Roth is really down on using magic that way.
(his mouth twists in thought)
Before that, or after maybe, Julia went to Sekhmet.
There are demons there that...look for people like her.
Desperate people, like Alix's "friend" Hernando,
who was in trouble with drug dealers or something.
The demons...offer people whatever they need in exchange for...
(he shrugs)
whatever demons need.

A tired beat; he rubs his fingers over his eyes and forehead.

CONNOR
...And one of them's a group called "the Anunnaki."

WOMAN (O.S.)
What the hell are you doing here?

Connor startles, looking towards the door.


CUT TO - EXT. A DESERT LANDSCAPE UNDER A HARSH SUN - DAY

A fierce, primitively-dressed YOUNG WOMAN appears over a ridge, armed with a spear. She freezes, tensed. Her eyes scan the area. Hiding behind a ridge at the base of a nearby hill are K'shan and Illyria.

K'SHAN
(still narrating)
The Anunnaki taught mortals magicks once the province
of demon kings alone.
But humans were more clever than they bargained for,
and used those magicks to imbue one of their girl-children
with the essence of demonkind.

ILLYRIA
The Slayer.

QUICK-CUT between a series of SHOTS -
Young girls of various ethnic origins BATTLE DEMONS. As the scenes progress, we see the evolution of human culture through the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages, ending finally in a young Native American girl wielding THE SCYTHE in a battle against hulking demons three times her size.
K'SHAN (VOICE-OVER)
How many demons fell, thinking her and her successors easy prey,
before the war against them began in earnest?

DISSOLVE TO - INT. A CAVE. It has no floor; it is a CYLIDRICAL CHASM carved out of rock. Descending into its depths are stacks of CASKETS, one atop the other. Illyria and K'shan gaze down on it from a catwalk.

ILLYRIA
The Deeper Well.

K'SHAN
Your resting place grew fathomless, body upon body,
until humans learned to unlock the gates to other realms,
and drove the remaining demons of pure blood
into hells unimaginable.

Their surroundings DISSOLVE TO - EXT. A THICKET OF CHAPARRAL AND PINE TREES. Ahead of them, the Native American Slayer forces her demon opponents over a cliff, where they PLUNGE into the undulating maw of a DIMENSIONAL PORTAL and DISAPEAR. A NATIVE SHAMAN behind the girl raises his hands and cries out to the sky. The portal SEALS ITSELF.

Illyria looks on, angry and troubled.

ILLYRIA
I cannot abide this.

With a gesture of his hand, K'shan transports himself and Illyria into - EXT. A MURKY DARKNESS. We hear indistinct whispers around them. Suddenly a FLASH above Illyria makes her look up. A STREAK OF LIGHT like a plunging meteor cuts through the darkness. Then another.

K'SHAN
(low, beside her)
In their anger, the truest of the pure cast the Anunnaki
into a wretched prison dimension from which they could not escape,
and from which they were powerless to act on the mortal plane.

ILLYRIA
(with tightly controlled anger)
They should have been utterly destroyed.

K'SHAN
Perhaps. But it was thought they should
have the chance to undo what they had done.

Illyria gapes at him.

ILLYRIA
"Undo"? How can they undo what occurred if they
have no power on the Earthly plane?

K'SHAN
The curse that binds the Anunnaki in their prison
is tied to the fate of humanity.
The weaker humanity becomes due to its own folly,
the stronger the Anunnaki will be.
Some day, they will be strong enough to escape that place.
It has been very...motivating.

DISSOLVE TO - INT. A RENAISSANCE-ERA CASTLE. A man we recognize as WILLIS stands dressed in the robes of a Hermetic magician, chanting over a steaming cauldron. Beyond the table where he is working, a swirling DIMENSIONAL PORTAL appears, blowing his hair, and the hair of Illyria, who is lurking behind a pillar with K'shan. Willis enters the portal. It closes.

K'SHAN
Humans eventually found their way into the Anunnakis' realm,
and the Anunnaki, in turn, made them their agents on Earth.
They seek any and all opportunities to send humans
willingly down the path to their own destruction.
(beat)
And those less than willing...
they seduce with their deepest desires into a
thrall from which they cannot return.

CUT BETWEEN a SERIES OF SHOTS -
A young man sits at a desk in an office cubicle, watching an attractive young woman going about her work, unaware of his attention; A blond starlet sashays down the red carpet at a movie premiere, waving at adoring fans; A man and woman stand distraught over an incubator where their premature infant struggles for life amidst tubes and wires.
K'SHAN
As humans would say, such justice is not unpoetic.

ILLYRIA
It is inefficient.

K'SHAN
Quite.
But this was meant to be an atonement.

Illyria paces the castle chamber, brooding darkly, barely noticing as - INT. K'SHAN'S BOOKSTORE appears around her. She almost walks into a bookcase and pivots abruptly.

ILLYRIA
Nevertheless, the Anunnaki may very well succeed,
and be strong again. That I will not allow.
(to K'shan)
What if humanity is destroyed before that time
in a manner that is not due to their own folly?

K'shan smiles broadly.

K'SHAN
Then the Anunnaki will rot in their prison, forever.
(earnest beat)
Lord, there are demons on Earth struggling
for that cause as we speak.

ILLYRIA
Your "associates"?

K'SHAN
Yes, Old One.
The Gathering fight against the forces of the status quo--
the Slayers, champions of the Powers that Be--

ILLYRIA
The Wolf, Ram, and Hart.

K'shan chuckles with irony.

K'SHAN
Yes, and the Wolf, Ram, and Hart.
They are no friend to the human race,
yet their "apocalypse" depends on them;
they won't help us.
And they're very powerful.

ILLYRIA
There was a time when that wasn't so.

K'SHAN
(nodding)
When the Wolf, Ram, and Hart were young and weak,
they cast their fate with the mortal races.

ILLYRIA
(scowling)
And so they should die with them.

K'SHAN
(with intensity)
The Gathering grows stronger with each passing day.
With you to guide them--

ILLYRIA
Tell me about them.


INT. AIDEN'S HOSPITAL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

Faith enters and snaps the privacy curtain closed behind her. She turns and is stopped briefly short by the sight of Aiden unconscious on the bed. Connor eyes her casted arm from his bedside.

FAITH
Vaughne told me what happened to you. And Angel.

She grabs the chair Connor first occupied when he entered the room and drags it one-handed over to the bed.

FAITH
And I thought, "the only reason Connor didn't
tell me himself is he's somewhere hiding out."

She plops down in it. Connor offers her an apologetic look.

CONNOR
I was hoping Aiden would be awake.
I've...I've been trying to figure out what to do.

Faith chuckles.

FAITH
Aren't you supposed to talk about that stuff
with your friends who are actually conscious?

A brief, reflexive smile.

CONNOR
I did talk to Gunn.
He's gonna try and find out where Angel is,
and...what's going on with the charges against me.

Faith gives him a gentle back-handed smack to the arm.

FAITH
Connor, if you've got Gunn on the clock, lay low.
Poindy here's got plenty of company.

Connor shifts his attention back to Aiden. He gazes at him for a moment. Then, with a soft, pensive chuckle -

CONNOR
When I lived in Quortoth, I used to hunt sometimes
by lying down in the bushes and waiting. For hours.
Holtz used to call it....
(the sound of the name gives him pause)
He called it..."lying low."
(beat)
I don't know if I know how to do that anymore.

Faith nods and gazes at Aiden as well.

FAITH
After I ditched the cops in Sunnydale,
I high-tailed it to L.A.
(a pained grin)
Shit, I didn't know the meaning of the words, "lay low."
(a wry smile from Connor)
I ran around causing as much trouble as I could.
Not 'cause I wanted the cops to catch me--
I gave them more shit than anyone else--
But 'cause...I wanted your dad to.
(solemn beat; Connor's eyes are on her)
And he did. I hid out at his place.
(she looks at him)
Eventually, he convinced me to turn myself in.

Connor's eyes dip.

CONNOR
I probably deserve to go to jail for what I did.
I just don't think it's the smartest thing right now.

FAITH
I get that.

CONNOR
(looking her in the eye)
And I don't want to put you in danger of it, either.
The only reason you're not in prison is 'cause
someone waved a magic wand.
(beat)
Well, my magic wand got broken,
and I don't want the same thing happening to you.

Faith scoffs.

FAITH
Thanks, Junior, but I think that's up to me.

Connor offers her a grateful smile, then rubs his hands on his thighs and stands up. Faith tracks him as he veers around the chairs and over to the privacy curtain. He pauses, hand on the curtain to push it aside.

CONNOR
You're not going to see much of me
until I get this worked out.

Another, surprised scoff.

FAITH
At least tell me where you're staying.

Connor glances back.

CONNOR
My dad's old apartment, before the hotel.

FAITH
In that basement?
(Connor nods)
"On-the-lam" central. Gotcha.
(then a look of concern)
You going to be all right? What are you doing for food?

CONNOR
(with a shrug)
I'm pretty good at taking care of myself.
I've done it before.
(he pauses to consider)
But...if you see Vaughne,
tell her I need a vamp de-invite on the place.

FAITH
Sure.

Connor nods, pushes the curtain aside, and slips out the door. Faith stares after him.

FAITH
You be careful.


INT. DEMON BOOKSTORE - CONTINUOUS

K'shan wanders around the counter.

K'SHAN
The Gathering is made up of demons of all kinds.
Demons who realize that a time of change is near,
for good or ill.

Illyria approaches him from the other side, her expression curious.

ILLYRIA
"A time of change"?

K'shan sits down on his stool.

K'SHAN
There is a human prophecy which predicts that
sometime in the present century,
all demon life will be driven from the Earth.
None shall remain, not even the vampire.

ILLYRIA
(impassively)
A Slayer prophecy, I presume.

K'shan nods hesitantly.

K'SHAN
A Slayer is mentioned. One.
But none of this was taken seriously until,
a few years ago, the Slayer became more than one.
She became legion.

ILLYRIA
(troubled)
I am aware of this.
The shell I inhabit was once told the story.

Her gaze turns distant and pensive. K'shan's voice fills with fervor.

K'SHAN
Fear spread through the underworld.
Demons far and wide united with one goal--

ILLYRIA
(murmuring)
"Fred"....

K'SHAN
--To prevent that occurrence,
and restore the world you once knew.
The Gathering has been building its forces,
testing its mettle against its most formidable enemies--
Slayers, champions--
slaughtering each of them with their own
nightmares-made-flesh.

Illyria ponders this. She scrutinizes K'shan.

ILLYRIA
Do you think it wise to tip your hand that way?
Going after your enemies individually?
(K'shan looks uncertain)
Humans are clever.
The struggle you describe seems to require a
broader-based attack.

K'shan's doubt melts into a broad smile. He stands.

K'SHAN
This is why we need you, Lord.
We need focus. Leadership.

TIGHT SHOT of Illyria, considering his words.

K'SHAN (cont.)
The hand of destiny has brought you to this time and place,
over the eons--
the most formidable king to ever rule demonkind!

Illyria raises her slender human chin.

ILLYRIA
Take me to your "Gathering."


EXT. TRACY'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DUSK - ESTABLISHING

INT. BEDROOM

Shadowed, save for the light spilling in from the hall. Tracy enters, tosses a pair of sneakers on the bed, and turns to leave. The shadows on the wall by the door split. A HUMAN FIGURE appears. With a gasp, Tracy dances back. CLOSE-UP of the curves and planes of a brooding face.

TRACY
Connor, Jesus!
What are you doing here?!

CONNOR
(still in shadows)
I have to talk to you.

Tracy steps over to the door and SNAPS ON THE OVERHEAD LAMP. She turns. Connor's hands hang loose at his sides. His expression is wary.

TRACY
Connor, what is going on?
I've had police at my door asking about you,
but they won't tell me why!
Your roommate said the same thing happened to him!

CONNOR
Asking what?

Tracy scrutinizes him, arms crossed.

TRACY
Well, about high school, for one.
If I knew you there.

CONNOR
What'd you say?

Tracy throws her hands out with frustration.

TRACY
I didn't know what to say, so I told them I did!
My mom and dad don't remember differently.
Then the police asked me all these questions about it,
like they didn't believe me!

Connor eyes an armchair in the corner wearily, walks over to it, and sinks down on the edge.

CONNOR
Things are messed up.

TRACY
(taking a few steps in his direction)
Just tell me what's going on.

CONNOR
(after a beat)
It's the spell. The one that set this all up.
I think someone's messing with it.
Stuff about my past is...coming out.

TRACY
(guardedly)
You did something, didn't you? Back then.

Connor nods. Then he deflates off Tracy's expectant expression. After a long moment, he licks his lips.

CONNOR
I...my whole life...was a lie. All of it.
That's what I thought.
(beat)
So I hurt people.
I guess...I just wanted to see if anyone cared.

TRACY
"Anyone"?

CONNOR
(grudgingly)
My dad.

Tucking her hair behind one ear, Tracy sits down on the end of the bed nearest Connor's chair.

TRACY
What happened?

Connor's gaze is distant, but a wry smile forms on his lips. Tracy gapes with stunned realization.

TRACY
That's when he had the spell done!

After a beat, Connor nods. Tracy's face brims over with fury.

TRACY
That is so messed up--your memories, your life!
(exasperated beat)
He had you "re-written"!

Connor doesn't respond for a moment. Then he shakes his head.

CONNOR
That's not important now.

TRACY
I think it is!
(a shrug)
So you had problems.
That meant "you" weren't good enough?
How is that "caring"?

CONNOR
(not meeting her gaze)
Trace...I know what you're saying. But it's over now,
and I have enough trouble with the past
coming back to bite me.
(the blue eyes finally rise)
I just came to tell you you won't be seeing me
for a while.
(Tracy appears taken aback by this)
I mean, if you even want to see me at all.
I have things...I need to take care of.

TRACY
"Take care of"? How?

CONNOR
It's a long story.

Tracy lays an I've-got-time look on him.


EXT. BAROQUE MANSION - GRANADA HILLS - DUSK - ESTABLISHING

The formidable house of gray stone we've seen before.

INT. VAST, VAULTED ROOM

WIDE SHOT - Flames rise from the braziers, reflecting off the tall stone wall carvings. A LARGE CROWD fills the space, facing the altar where a SCOURGE DEMON with its patch-work skin and skull-like face paces back and forth from one end of its audience to the other.

DEMON SPEAKER
They think they can drive us from this planet completely!
(boos and jeers)
Their prophets comfort them with the notion,
so they feel safe in their beds!
(sinister beat)
But this Earth was once a living hell, and hell it shall be again!

CUT TO the front entrance. ROARS OF APPROVAL drown out any sound the door makes as it opens. K'shan enters, followed by Illyria. A bulky guard at the door halts them briefly, then waves them in. The speaker continues to address the crowd as TIGHT TWO-SHOT - K'shan and Illyria take in the room. Illyria looks disappointed.

ILLYRIA
Half-breeds, all of them.
Dreaming of a world none of them can imagine.

K'SHAN
(encouragingly)
But the key to bringing the pure back to the Earth.
(he extends out his arms to the room)
This could be your temple, Lord, and these demons, your army.
All you thought lost, restored.
(expectant beat)
It's yours if you have the strength to take it.

Another corporate roar of enthusiasm fades into silence as the speaker, finished, withdraws. K'shan seizes the opportunity and plunges into the crowd, prying the demons apart with his arms.

K'SHAN
My friends!

Startled demons separate to create a path for him.

K'SHAN
Some argue the time has not yet come for our fight.
I say differently!
(he turns back around, extending an arm)
Behold.

He beckons Illyria forward. The demons turn to see what appears to be a SMALL, BLUE-HAIRED HUMAN walking boldly in their midst. Angry, confused murmurs start up, and rise.

DEMONS
What is this, some kind of joke?

Who is this girl?

Illyria stops in the center of the crowd and surveys them.

ILLYRIA
I am not a girl.

A demon ATTACKS. Illyria FLINGS IT AWAY with a swat of her arm.

DEMON
It's a Slayer!

Another demon closes in, puffing up menacingly.

TOUGH DEMON
We kill Slayers.

K'shan raises conciliatory hands.

K'SHAN
(anxiously)
My friends! Do you not recognize your king
when It stands in front of you?

They apparently do not, as their angry scowls attest to. But Illyria faces them down without blinking.

ILLYRIA
I am Illyria, god-king of the Primordium!

Now they just laugh. TIGHT TWO-SHOT as Illyria turns to K'shan.

ILLYRIA
They require proof. I shall give it to them.


BLACK OUT.


END OF ACT TWO

Part 2 (click here)



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