The Unknown by jizhen1947


									                        The Unknown
             Story by Dan Joslyn, Susan Carr and CN Winters
 Written by Dan Joslyn, Susan Carr and CN Winters (Additional writing
                             by Zahir al Daoud)
                  Directed by Dan Joslyn and CN Winters
                 Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
                        Editing by DragonWriter17
                      Art Direction by Robert Kidman
 Artists – Robert Kidman, Zahir al Daoud, Isis, Mattxxx, and CN Winters
                        Cover Art by Robert Kidman

Fade In:
Highway – Dusk

The hitchhiker wasn’t tall, but he looked that way because he was thin.
Very thin. Brown hair had begun looking like a mane, almost reaching
the dirty collar of his colorless shirt. Shirt, pants, and shoes all looked
worn. So did he.

Apart from a denim jacket faded from blue to dark gray, the only thing he
carried was a guitar case. It too looked beat-up and shabby, but less so
than the rest of the man’s effects. Or the man himself.

He lifted his thumb and faced each car passing his way. This wasn’t done
with much energy, but by rote. There was some hope it might work, but
no expectations. Preference, not belief.
Still, he accepted the offer of a ride when it did come.

The car that pulled up on the side of the highway was a GTO hardtop.
Hardly pretty, but sturdy and even sleek in its way. Hitchhikers know
better than to hesitate when offered a ride. A total of two seconds was all
he needed to open the door, slip inside, and then shut the door behind

Less than three seconds later, the hardtop was on its way. "San
Francisco, 175 miles" read the sign it passed.

Cut To:
GTO Hardtop – Continuous

"Thanks partner," the hitchhiker said. His voice sounded friendly. Not
grateful. Just friendly.

Beside him the driver said nothing at first. Shadows within the car
obscured his face, but the hitchhiker could still make out a dark suit.
Very dark. Not a speck of color anywhere, but also no dirt. No dust. His
hands were pale, though. And old.

"You wouldn’t happen to be headed as far as Frisco, would you?"

For a few moments the driver said nothing. Then "Your name?"


"Is San Francisco your destination?"

"Figured I’d give it a shot. Heard good stuff going on there. Free love.
Hippies. Music." The last word had a touch of reverence in it. Just a
touch, but real and easy to spot. "Got me a guitar. Thought I’d give it a

"You seem rather senior to be
what they call a dropout."

"Heh." Charlie the hitchhiker
almost laughed, almost sighed.
The sound he made was
neither, just as it wasn’t a spit.
But it had a little bit of each in
it. "Truth is, I dropped out a long ways back. Long ways."

"Dropped out of where? And where did you land, I wonder?"

Charlie shrugged. "Name it. Been there. Done that."

For several long minutes the driver said nothing. Neither did Charlie.
Miles passed on the highway while the sky darkened, the moon rose, the
stars came out. Charlie reached over to turn on the radio. He got nothing
but static at first. Fiddling the knob, he found a music station but didn’t
stop there. He found another and another, continuing his search along
the radio waves. When a particular tune came from the speakers, he
stopped and leaned back.

"Doesn't have a point of view / Knows not where he's going to / Isn't he a
bit like you and me?"

Teeth flashed in a smile. Charlie even began to nod his head to the song,
eyes almost glowing.

"Nowhere Man, please listen / You don't know what you're missing, /
Nowhere Man, the world is at your command." He sang along.

"You believe that?" the driver said suddenly.


"The world is at your command?"

Charlie didn’t answer for a moment. From the radio, the song’s lyrics
continued. "He's a real Nowhere Man / Sitting in his Nowhere Land /
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody."

"I dunno, man. Maybe. Be nice. Be real nice. Even if it ain’t true, maybe I
like to pretend, ya know?"

By now Charlie’s eyes had adjusted to the light inside the car. He got a
good look at the driver, and he couldn’t help himself. He stared. It wasn’t
the white hair or the beard—his ears looked pointed. Like that guy on
Star Trek. And something about the skin of his face, around the eyes. It
didn’t look like skin. It looked like scales. But that was impossible.

"Charlie," said the driver, his voice suddenly very old but also full of
knowledge. "You have a rare set of talents. Ones that can be sensed by—
well, someone—from miles away. Stop pretending. The time for nowhere
plans is at an end. No more nowhere man. Time to be somewhere. Time
for real plans."

"Hey, man—I don’t know what you’re on, but that’s cool, okay?"

"The glove compartment, Charlie."

"Say what?"

"The glove compartment. Open it. See what is there. Do it."

Charlie looked before him, at the latch of the glove compartment. He also
glanced back at the driver, whose eyes for a moment seemed red in the
reflected dashboard light.

"Just open it? Like that?"

The driver nodded.

"First thing’s first, man. Who’re you to start with?"

"My name is Varthrim."

"Yeah, right."

"It is, actually."

"What kinda name is that? French?"

"Narok, actually."

He considered this. "Never heard of no Narok-land."

"We aren’t a land. We are, or were, a people. I am the last of my kind. The
very last. Peoples rise and fall, Charlie. Some call it the karmic wheel, or
evolution, or simply entropy. Call it what you want. Rise and fall, ebb
and flow. But for anyone to rise, someone else must fall. My people once
reigned over much of this land mass. We forced our slaves to build cities
for us in the desert. We tortured them as a form of music, basking in
their screams as your kind sometimes listens to birds. Serene that our
power was everlasting, we grew careless. In time, our slaves rebelled,
took the world from us. Called us ‘demons’ as if that explained away our
majesty. Human animals bred like cockroaches, and we blamed each
other for their rebellion. War followed war, until we dwindled and your
kind took over."
"Dude, whatever it is you’re
on—ya got any more?"

The drive looked at Charlie. No
mistaking this time. Those eyes
were red as blood. Not
bloodshot, but genuinely red.
When he spoke, fangs glistened
from his mouth.

"Heed my revelation, human
animal. My time is past. Your time is now, but not forever." Varthrim’s
voice sounded more weary than seemed possible. "Fear and death and
pain are the companions of time. They have chosen you to be the fifth of
their number."

"Like…" Charlie swallowed. "The Four Horsemen?"

"Exactly so, Charlie."

Reaching up to touch his head, Charlie blinked. "There’s music. Where’s
that music coming from?"

"Open the glove compartment and see. It wants you to."

Slowly, Charlie reached forward to the latch. Fingers grasped the latch
and turned it. The compartment fell open, revealing what looked like a
crystal, but black. More than black. Dark. As if it were a shadow given

"It…it’s beautiful…!"

"That is what I said," Varthrim breathed, "the first time I saw it. Fool that
I was. Fool that you are."

Charlie Manson didn’t hear him. He only had eyes and ears for the dark
thing in front of him, for the visions that seemed to swim in and out of
his mind, searing his soul with pain, glorious pain, and the sweet fear it

"Yeah…yeah…I get it…yeah…"

He didn’t even seem to notice he was crying.

Fade Out.
Fade In:
Watchers Council – Media Room – Afternoon

Andrew sat at the desk before the large flat-screen monitor. Behind him,
on the couch, were Shannon and Skye, with Marsha perched on the
vampire’s shoulder. The three
were watching a movie on the
plasma television.

On the monitor, Tracey
appeared on the web cam. She
was making kissy faces at
Andrew, who blushed every
time she did.

"So what did you do last
night?" she asked.

"Well, Jeff and I did the ritual, and then Skye, Shannon, and I started a
Pacino movie marathon, and they’re still at it. Say hi to Tracey, guys," he
called over his shoulder.

"Hi Tracey!" Shannon called. Skye waved a hand above her head without
looking away from the screen, and Marsha made a small "erp" sound.

"They’re starting to drive me nuts," Andrew whispered at the webcam.

"Hoo-Ah!" Skye exclaimed.

"You’re out of order," Shannon retorted.

"No, you’re out of order!" Skye shot back.

"See what I mean?" Andrew sighed.

Tracey laughed and said, "Just chill and let them have their fun."

"So, when’s your flight?" Andrew asked.

"My flight?" Tracey’s face became still.

"Yeah, for New Year’s Eve," Andrew bounced in his seat.

"Um," Tracey hedged. "I can’t come. I don’t have enough money for a
"Tracey!" Andrew cried. "I told you I’d pay for it. Why didn’t you…?"

"Andy, I can’t keep taking money from you," she interrupted. "All my
savings are for school and living expenses. Without the part-time job I
had in Cleveland, there’s just nothing left over."

"I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card, I gonna carve him up
real nice!" Shannon sneered.

"Hoo-Ah!" Skye replied.

"I don’t care about that,
Trace," he said. "I have a good
job and plenty of money, and
what’s mine is yours…we’re
in this together, baby."

"I know, Andy, but I just
don’t feel right taking your
money," she said. "And after
all the gifts you sent for Yule, a plane ticket on top of that would be just
too much."

Andrew sighed. "Look, Tracey…I love you. I care about you and me and
us, but I don’t care about money. School is important…you have to be
there. My job is important…I have to be here, but money is not
important. There’s more to life, the universe…everything than that. Like
forty-two, for instance. Anyway, it’s not something that should keep us

"I know," Tracey sighed. "I’m sorry, I just kept putting it off, and now it’s
too late. I doubt there are any flights left."

"I’ll find something," Andrew promised.

"Attica! Attica!" Shannon and Skye began to chant. Marsha, startled,
jumped off Skye’s shoulder. She circled around a moment as she scolded
the chanting pair and then flew out of the room.

"I’ll steal the jet if I have to, but I’ll figure out a way for us to be together
on New Year’s," Andrew said, ignoring the commotion going on behind
him. "I promise you, baby."

Tracey smiled and uncharacteristically began to tear up. "I love you,
Andy Wells."
"I love you, too, Tracey Hausser," he replied.

"Make her an offer she can’t refuse, Andrew!" Shannon called over.

"Listen, I’ve got to go," Tracey said. "I’m meeting Roger for coffee before
the seminar tonight. I’ll call you later, okay?"

"What?" Andrew said, confused. "Who’s Roger?"

"One of my professors," she said. "He’s helping me with my thesis."

"Your advisor is a woman," he pointed out.

"Yeah, Dr. Fuller," Tracey answered. "But Roger’s got a few game credits
under his belt, so he’s helping me with the realities of game design, not
what’s in the textbooks. He’s been a big help."

"What?" Andrew asked. "Who is this guy? What’s going on?"

"Nothing, Andy," she said. "Look, I gotta go. Catch ya later. Bye Skye, bye
Shannon." Tracey waved at the screen and then cut the connection.

"Wait, Tracey," Andrew hit a few keys trying to regain the connection.
"Who’s this Roger guy?" Finally, he banged his hands down on the
keyboard, and the monitor went blank.

"Hoo-Ah!" Skye concluded.

Fade Out.

Fade In:
New Mexico Desert – Night

The winter night was briskly cold, and the stars glittered brightly in the
clear sky. A battered RV was parked alongside a gravel trail. A pair of
PVC lawn chairs sat next to a folding vinyl card table. On top of the table
was a flickering Coleman lantern.

From within the camper, clanging noises could be heard. The RV tilted
on rusty springs, and then a large male demon emerged from the door.
He barely fit through the door and had to turn sideways to exit due to the
horny carapace covering his back. His dark, leathery skin was reptilian,
but dry, and his face pinched forward to a large, overhanging snout,
completing the look of a bipedal tortoise. He was carrying a tray filled
with bowls, utensils, and bottles of condiments.
"Karolyn," he called over his shoulder. "Hurry up, will ya? I’m hungry!"

"All right, all right already! Jeez, what’s your rush?" The female demon
followed her husband out the door. She was carrying a large slow cooker,
which she set on the table and then attached the plug to an outlet on the
RV. "There, that’ll keep it warm while we eat," she said. "My! It is nippy
tonight, isn’t it, Bill?"

"It is," he replied, setting the table and then sitting down. "But it’s a fine
night." He spooned some of the
stew into each of the bowls and
unfolded a napkin on his lap. He
tasted the stew and closed his
eyes in appreciation. "Yum,
that’s the best turkey vulture
stew you’ve made in a long time,

"Thank you, hon," Karolyn
replied, digging into her own

After a few minutes of quiet eating, Bill put his spoon down and looked

"What’s wrong?" Karolyn asked.

Bill shrugged his large shoulders. "I don’t know…something’s not right."

Karolyn listened for a moment. "I don’t hear anything."

"That’s just it," he said. "It’s too quiet. There’s usually some noise around

Bill stood up and took a few steps away from the camper. Suddenly, from
over the RV, a blinding white light illuminated the area around the
camper in a wide circle. Bill held up his arms to cover his eyes while
Karolyn cried out in alarm.

"Bill! What is it?"

"Whoa!" the demon said, looking up into the sky.

Fade Out.
                             End of Teaser

                               Act One
  Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline
Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Michelle Rodriquez as Kadin Van Helsing,
 Elijah Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Steffani Brass as Shannon Matthewson,
 Thora Birch as Tracey Hausser, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Christine
      Romano as Hope Lehane, and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix

                            Guest Starring:
 Jennifer Connelly as Althenea Dimmons, Rob Nagle as Robson, Jessica
 Beals as Miss. Sanger, Jordan Lund as Bill, Jared Padalecki as Charlie
               Manson and Sir Derek Jacobi as Varthrim

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Coven
Room – Afternoon

Andrew walked through the door
wearing his priest’s robe and
carrying his Book of Shadows.
He opened his mouth as if to
speak and then closed it with a
snap as he saw the room was

"Hello?" he said to the quiet room. "Where is everyone?"

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Rec Room – Same Time

Jeff, Hope, Skye, and Dawn were sitting around a felt-covered table
covered with cards and poker chips. Skye was tossing cards towards
everyone with blinding speed. She was wearing a white hoody sweatshirt
that read, "Nunquam Lamiae Morde Me Dice."

"Slow down, will ya?" Hope grumbled. "I can’t tell if you’re cheating or
"Duh, that’s the point, Southie," Skye shot back. She put down the deck
and picked up her hand, giving an evil grin as she looked at her cards.
Hope narrowed her eyes at the vampire. "You open," Skye sneered. "If
you dare."

Hope sighed. "Five," she said and tossed a chip into the center.

Jeff and Dawn tossed their chips in without comment. Skye took another
look at her hand and said, "Five, and fifteen more."

"You’re bluffing," Hope said.

"It’ll cost ya to find out," Skye replied.

Hope threw in the additional chips and added twenty more. Jeff and
Dawn decided to toss their folded cards aside.

"Big mistake," Skye shook her head in mock concern at Hope and added
her chips. "How many?"

"Two," Hope said and exchanged two cards for new ones.

Skye put down the deck again. "I’ll just hang on to these."

"You’re cheating!" Hope accused again.

Skye shrugged and pointed a thumb at the security camera. "If you think
so, check the vid. Camera’s don’t lie."

"Don’t think I won’t," Hope said.

"Your bet, dear," Skye smiled

Hope tossed in a stack of chips.
"Fifty," she said forcefully.

"And fifty more," Skye shot

"Again, I think you’re bluffing,"
Hope said.

"Cheating, bluffing…make up
your mind," Skye said. "But as they say, ‘put up or shut up’."
Andrew, still dressed in his priest’s robe, came through the open double
doors. He spotted the group around the card table and strode over to it.
He thumped his Book of Shadows on top of the pile of chips.

"Hey!" Skye protested. "I was just about to win that."

"Did you all forget we had a ritual to perform?" he glared at each in turn.

"Willow’s on her maternity leave to spend time with Ro and the kids," Jeff

"We still have water to bless and charms to make," he pointed out.

"Didn’t you get Buffy’s memo?" Dawn asked.

"Memo?" Andrew shot a look at her. "What memo?"

"That until Willow gets back, all magic is outsourced to Althenea and the
Devon coven," she answered.

"What?" Andrew yelled, causing one of the watchers playing pool to miss
his shot. "Why did she do that? We’re perfectly capable of handling the
Council’s magical needs."

"True, but why should we have to if Al will do it?" Hope asked. "Hey, look
at it as a fringe benefit. We get a paid break."

"No!" Andrew said. "We have a sacred duty – we have slayers and
watchers to protect. This is not a paid job, this is a calling!"

Skye rolled her eyes. "Whatever…can we just get on with our game? I’m
about to scalp Jeffie’s slag here."

"Hey!" Hope protested. She moved Andrew’s book aside and threw in her
chips. "I call, vamp! Let’s see what ya got."

With a huff Andrew grabbed his book and stormed from the room.

Skye smiled evilly and laid out her hand, one card at a time. "Full house,
aces over eights."

"You bitch!" Hope reached across the table and attempted to grab the
brunette, but Jeff pulled her back. "You did cheat!"
Skye ignored the attack and raked in her chips. Dawn turned over Hope’s
cards to reveal a pair of threes. "Looks like you were the one bluffing,
Hope," she pointed out.

"Bluffing’s cool in poker," Hope replied. "Cheating’s not."

"Prove it," Skye commented as she stacked her chips.

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Buffy’s Office – Same Time

Buffy looked up from her keyboard at Andrew’s noisy entrance. She
glared at him. "Did you forget how to knock?" she asked.

"Did you forget I’m the High Priest of the Coven?" he retorted.

"What?" she blinked as if confused by his forcefulness.

"Why did you, totally on your own, decide to outsource the Coven’s magic
responsibilities to the Devon group?" Andrew stood there with his arms

"Willow’s on maternity leave…" Buffy started.

"I’m not!" Andrew interrupted loudly. "I know that Willow is, and always
has been, your Number One when it comes to Wicca, but everyone seems
to forget that I’m the High Priest, Willow’s equal in everything concerning
the Coven."

"I think that’s an exaggeration," Buffy said and tried to continue, but
Andrew interrupted her again.

"No!" he stated emphatically. "Okay, so maybe I don’t get all white-haired
and battle-crazed, fighting rogue witches fifty stories up, but she and I
stand before altar representing the Goddess and the God – she the
feminine life force and I the masculine."

Buffy made the mistake of snickering.

"See! That’s what I’m talking about!" Andrew shouted. "I have spent the
last five years training under Willow and Althenea and other respected
witches all over the world. This is all in addition to my regular duties as
housemother to a building full of rambunctious slayers and watchers. I
have earned the right of respect…from the Coven, from my peers, and
especially from you! Just because I don’t fit your definition of masculine
doesn’t mean I’m not. Tracey seems to think so…she loves me and she
thinks I’m masculine enough for her – at least she says she does, but
there’s this Roger guy and she’s so far away that I don’t know exactly
what’s going on with him or who he is and what his intentions are
towards her and I just miss her so much." He sighed and then sat down
opposite her.

Buffy was silent a moment following his outburst, then took a folder from
a pile on her desk and slid it over to him. "I’ve been meaning to talk to
you about a special project, Andrew. Ever since the Council – well – came
out, our crank-call pile has
been growing. Every
conspiracy theorist out there
seems to think we’re the right
group to act on their fears.
Probably because we’re not
connected to the government
in any way. But I really need
someone to weed through
this mess, and I think you’re
the right man for the job."

Andrew picked up the thick
folder and shuffled through it. Some of the reports were hastily scrawled
on sticky notes, and others were professionally printed dossiers.

"Um, that’s only the most recent ones," Buffy continued. "There’s more.
Joan’s been storing them in an empty office down the hall. You can use
the office while you’re working on them. It’s a nice office, has a view of
the lake."

Andrew scowled at her and continued to look through the file. "Looks like
every nut job in the world is listed here."

"Yeah, pretty much," Buffy shrugged. "Think you can handle it?"

Andrew nodded. "All right, Councilwoman, I’ll take on the X-files for you."

Buffy frowned. "That’s a dumb name."

Andrew rolled his eyes. "See, no respect!"

Cut To:
Watchers Council – Project Office – Minutes Later
Andrew, carrying the large folder under his arm, entered the empty
office. As promised, there was a view of the lake, but the piles of folders
blocked most of it, storage boxes and reports ready to tumble to the floor.

Andrew walked to the desk and put the folder he was carrying on top of
the desk. The movement shifted the balance, and a pile of folders slid off
the desk and onto the floor. Andrew sighed and got to work.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Hallway – Same Time

Robson, looking tired as he strolled down the hall, waved to another
Council member as they passed but neither spoke – just a polite gesture
of acknowledgement.

Looking to his left at an open door, he halted his steps and turned to face

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Coven Room – Same Time

Althenea sat on a stool at her workbench. An open book was in front of
her as she looked at it intensely.

"Miss Dimmons?" Robson called out from the doorframe, getting her
attention. She turned to face him.

"Good evening, Mr. Robson," she replied. "Calling it a day, I see," she
added as she motioned to the briefcase in his hand.

"Yes. I decided a clearer head in the morning would be better than
staying up all night trying to figure out this latest threat...and failing
miserably. So I’m heading home. I suggest you do the same, dear. It’s

Althenea brushed him off with a wave of her hand. "Just going over
Cleveland’s reports. Anyway, I’ve worked later before," she told him as he
walked over. He looked at the book she was reading – Side Effects of
Persephone’s Knot. He shook
his head.

"Cleveland you say?" Robson
asked knowingly.
"Okay," Althenea admitted. "It’s not just Cleveland issues. I’m looking for

He cleared his throat and said, "You’re a credit to this branch. To the
entire Council." There was a lull in the conversation for a moment, and
Robson then added, "What happened with Ms. O’Hara is not your fault,
Althenea. You were given an impossible task."

"But isn’t that what the Coven does? Make the impossible possible?"

"Bloody hell, woman," Robson told her. "If that were true, we’d all be out
of a job. The world would be as right as rain. But that’s just not feasible.
Not for one person nor an entire coven of witches."

Althenea ran her fingers through her hair. "I just can’t help thinking if I’d
done something different, then maybe we…"

"Whatever you find won’t bring Ms. O’Hara back, will it?"

"No, but it might make me a better witch in the future."

Robson got a stern look on his face. "I know you’d have traded your life
for this girl if you could have. Everyone here knows that. But there was
nothing more you could have done to release her from that spell, that
magic. So please…get some rest. Besides, don’t you have someone
arriving tomorrow to visit you?"

"Yeah, I do," Althenea replied. "I’m glad you said that. I’d forgotten."

"Well, perhaps your friend will take your mind off your troubles for a
while. Again, go home. Get some rest."

Althenea smiled. "Thanks, Robson. I will."


Althenea released a short chuckle. "Yes, I promise."

"Good girl," Robson told her with a pat to the arm. "Goodnight," he added
as he made his departure.

"Goodnight," Althenea replied before walking back to the book.

She closed it and began to walk away, but then she stopped. She walked
back and picked up the book again, putting it under her arm as she
began to leave once more.
Fade To:
Watchers Council – Project
Office – Later That Night

Not much progress had been
made on the piles of folders,
but Andrew did seem to have at
least attempted to organize the
mess. He was just picking up
another folder when Kennedy
walked past the open door and
then doubled back and entered
the office.

"Hey, Andy," she said. "Have you seen Marsha? She’s gotten out again."

"No," he said, not looking up.

Kennedy looked around. "What a mess!"

"You should have seen it before I got here," Andrew commented.

"Whatcha doing, anyway?" Kennedy said. "This looks like watcher stuff."

"I wear many hats at the Council," Andrew said haughtily.

"Yeah, I’ve seen your collection, including that stupid Sherlock Holmes
hat…what’s it called? Deerhunter?"

"Deerstalker," he said.

"Whatever," Kennedy commented and then looked around. "What is all

"The Council’s crank collection," he alliterated. "These reports are
ridiculous! There’s everything from the wereshark mafia to the
chupacabra to…aliens." Andrew tapered off and started riffling through
the files as if searching for something. He muttered something under his
breath as he read.

"Aliens?" Kennedy scoffed. "Yeah, right…just more bogus demon reports."

Andrew ignored the slayer and, taking the file with him, ran from the
"Hey!" Kennedy said as he rushed past. "Won’t you help me look for

Andrew kept running.

Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s
Apartment – Living Room
- Same Time

Rowena was holding one of
the twins as it cried when
she heard a knock at the
door. She put the baby
down in the playpen and
made her way toward the

Cut To:
Hallway Outside Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time

Becca and Liz both jumped slightly as the door to Rowena and Willow’s
apartment swung open quickly. In Becca’s hand was a suitcase.

The sound of infant screams filled the room, as Rowena stood before
them looking quite tired with her hair disheveled. The watcher tried to
tuck some wayward hair behind her ear to improve her appearance, but
Becca gently smacked her hand.

"Cut it out. You’re not at a beauty pageant," Becca told her. "Can we
come in?" she asked. She walked inside, not bothering to wait for an

Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time

"The house is a bit of a mess," Rowena told her as she closed the door.
"My vampire servant decided to
move out," she joked. "Not that I
blame her," she muttered. "Have
a seat. Can I get you—?"
"Enough. I’m not here as a guest," Becca said, stopping her and resting
the suitcase by the door. "I’m going to ask you the same thing a very
considerate woman asked me a few years ago. When’s the last time you
had a shower? Took a walk?" Rowena looked to the ceiling like she was
trying to calculate. "Not knowing immediately means it’s been too long,"
Becca replied not waiting for a response.

"Yeah, but—"

"No yeah-buts. Just hop in the tub," Becca told her as she pointed. "I
don’t want to see you for the next twenty minutes. We’ll handle things."

"Where’s Martin?" Rowena asked.

"With his dad. It’s father/son night."

Smash Cut To:
Giles and Becca’s House – Living Room – Same Time

Giles was on his stomach with a large plastic T-Rex dinosaur making
growling noises while Martin used a toy car to try to drive over the
creature. Giles made a repetitive ‘owwwing’ noise that made Martin

Smash Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Same Time

"I thought you’d need help," Becca told her. "And from the looks of
things, I was right."

"This isn’t normal," she said, motioning to the collection of baby clothes,
blankets, and burp cloths scattered around the room.

"When there’s a new baby, let alone two of them, yes sweetheart, it’s very
much normal," Becca laughed.

"Mom, can I hold the babies?" Liz asked.

"I’ll tell you what," Becca told her. "Let Aunt Ro get her bath first, okay?"

"Okay," Liz replied. When Rowena didn’t move immediately, Liz took her
by the hand and led her out of the room. "I wanna hold the babies," she
explained as she tugged Rowena along.
Rowena went with a smile on her face for the first time since Becca’s

"She sure is pushy, isn’t she?" Rowena said as they walked.

"When she knows what she wants…she won’t let anything get in her way
– not even you," Becca replied with a smile.

Rowena chuckled and then sincerely said, "Thank you," as she began to
leave the room.

"Don’t mention it, Sweetie."

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Living Room – Later

Her hair still wet, Rowena returned to the living room and was met with
silence. She looked around as if soaking up the lack of noise.

As she moved in deeper, she found the clothes, blankets, and other items
all sorted and placed in one particular chair. Liz was on the sofa next to
Becca, with Alex sleeping contently in her small arms, aided by a pillow.
In the playpen, a few feet away, Jen slept.

"Aunt Ro!" Liz said excitedly.

"Shhh," Becca said, putting her finger over her lips.

"Sorry," Liz said in a whisper to her mom and then turned to Rowena.
"Aunt Ro," she began in a tiny voice. "I did that," she said as she pointed
to the blankets that were stacked. They’re weren’t neatly folded, but it
was obvious an attempt had been made. "Mom makes me pick up my
toys. So I can pick up baby things, too," she said.

"You did a fantastic job," Rowena replied softly.

Becca reached over and motioned for Liz to hand Alex back. "Let’s put
Alex back before his sister gets lonely, okay?"

Liz nodded, and she bent down to kiss the crown of Alex’s head before
letting her mom take him away.

"Why don’t you get your coloring books?" Becca suggested.
"Okay," Liz said as she toddled off, going over to the small suitcase they

"You don’t have to stay," Rowena told her as she took a seat.

"You’re right. I don’t. But I want to," Becca told her. "You need the help,
Rowena." When the blonde watcher began to tear up, Becca modified her
comment. "Hey, that’s nothing against you. You’re doing a great job. I
mean, geez, if I had two of Liz, lord above…I’m just saying you can’t go it
alone right now and sometimes we all need help."

Rowena wiped her eyes. "I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I would
be tired. I did. But this…"

"To say it takes effort is an understatement."

"You’re not kidding."

Becca said nothing more at first. Then finally she said, "I have to
ask…Are things okay with Willow? She picked a helluva time to leave you
here with the kids."

"No, it was my idea."

"You kicked her out?"

"Nooo, nothing like that," Rowena said, amused by the thought but then
turning serious. "Althenea really needs someone right now. I’d go, but
I’ve got the milk supply," she said with a small grin. "Besides, I think Al
needs a ‘witch friend’ right now, someone who can relate that’s not
directly in her coven. I could hear how hard she was taking Jocelyn’s
death when she called me. And to be honest, Will’s got her own issues
with all of it. I figured together they could both, I don’t know, work it out.
Or find as much closure as possible, I guess."

"You’re a good wife, Rowena. And a good mom," Becca added. "Just don’t
be afraid to ask for help,
Sweetie." Rowena nodded. "So
you’ll let me stay? At least for

"Yes, you and Liz can have
Skye’s old room."

"Okay," Becca answered with
a nod. "Tomorrow I suggest
we get some other folks around here to pitch in until Will gets back:
Xander, Faith—"

Rowena chuckled lightly. "Yeah, I can see the two of them trying to
change a diaper."

"Xander will be a pro in no time…might take him a few attempts but I’m
sure he’ll get the hang of it. And as for Faith…Rupert’s told me about the
way Norm looks at Shannon, so she might be a granny sooner than she’d

"Grandma Faith?" Rowena snorted. "Now that’s funny."

"A stake in one hand and knitting needles in the other," Becca replied.

Rowena held back a laugh. "Stop, you’ll make me wake up the kids."

Becca smiled. "It’s good to see you laughing."

"Again, thank you," Rowena told her sincerely.

Becca just shrugged in response. Liz returned and placed the crayons on
her mom’s lap while she crawled up the sofa to sit on Rowena’s lap with
her coloring book in hand.

"Want to color seashells?" Liz asked. Not waiting for an answer, she
flipped through the book to a particular page and stopped.

"Aunt Ro is pretty tired, Sweetheart," Becca began.

"I think I can help with a page or two," Rowena told them. She then
looked over Liz’s shoulder to the book. "I’ll need pink and yellow, though,
for the scallop."

"This one, right?" Liz asked her as she pointed to the page.

"Yes, you remembered, huh?"

"Uh huh," Liz said as she reached over to her mom’s lap for the pink
crayon and handed it to Rowena. "Now you have to try to stay inside the
lines," she said in a way that sounded as if it were a matter of life and

Rowena smiled over at Becca, who was grinning as well. "I’ll try, but no
promises. Besides, sometimes it’s more fun to color outside the lines,"
she told Liz before giving her a quick kiss on the side of the head.
Fade Out.

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Conference Room – The Next Day

Andrew stood at the head of the large table dominating the darkened
conference room. Behind him was projected a PowerPoint presentation
showing a map of New Mexico dotted with various color-coded locations.

"So in conclusion," he said grandly, "I believe it is in the Council’s best
interests to send a team to
Artesia, New Mexico, as soon as
possible. Thank you."

All of the department heads sat
in silence for a moment, simply
staring at Andrew. Felix
glanced at Giles and then
rubbed his nose. Finally Faith

"That’s it?" she said. "You
dragged us into an ‘urgent’ meeting for some crackpot sightings of

"Okaaay, I know what you're thinking...But these accounts were
corroborated by several reliable sources," he defended.

"Reliable?" she scoffed. "You call those turtle demons reliable?"

"The Slowskys are highly respected in their community," he said. "Just
because you haven’t completely gotten on board with demon PC-ness
doesn’t mean we shouldn’t utilize them as sources. Right, Mr. Felix?"

"Um, well," Felix said and again glanced at Giles.

"Andrew, you don’t seem to realize that we’re dealing with the real world
here," Faith continued. "This isn’t some video game, it’s reality!"

"Faith, sit down," Buffy said, jumping in. "High Priest Andrew, thank you
for your presentation. I’m impressed with the work you’ve done with

Xander turned a snort into a fake cough.
"Would you mind very much waiting for a few moments outside?" Buffy
requested. "This shouldn’t take long."

"Not at all, Councilwoman Summers. Thank you for your time," he said
with great dignity and left the room.

"What the hell was that all about?" Faith stormed.

"Look, Andrew stormed into my office nearly in tears because he doesn’t
get any respect, even after all he does around here," Buffy said. "And he’s
right. We all treat him like a joke, but he is a valuable member of this
team. Anyone disagree?" She leveled an icy glare at them all.

Kennedy shifted in her seat. "No, but come on, Buffy…aliens?"

"Andrew seems to think there’s something to these reports, so let’s just
humor him, okay? Where's the harm?"

"What’s really going on, Buffy?" Giles asked. "You know you don’t need to
send Andrew off on a mission just to show him some respect."

"I know," Buffy said. "It’s just…he thinks Tracey is cheating on him."

There was uproar at this announcement.

"What?" Xander said. "No way. I’ve never seen a more nauseatingly cute

Lori gave him a sour look, but said nothing.

"It’s true," Robin put in. "Tracey has always proven loyal, and they’re very
much in love."

"Yeah, who’d of thunk that Andrew would get such a hottie," Faith

"So you think this mission will get his mind off his personal life?" Felix
put in.

"I hope so. Or at least make him feel like he's contributing. Whether you
believe in little green men or not, I think this is something the Council
should look into. It wouldn't be the first time that we've encountered
something from space," Buffy said, looking at Giles and Xander for a
moment. "So what do you all say…ready to vote?"
Cut To:
Watchers Council – Hallway –
Minutes Later

Buffy stepped out of the
conference room. Andrew was
leaning against the wall
opposite the double doors.

"Ready to go on a UFO hunt?"
she asked.

Andrew smiled.

Fade Out.

                            End of Act One

                               Act Two

Fade In:
Watchers Council – Media
Room – Morning

Faith was sitting on bar stool in
the media room looking utterly
bored while Andrew fussed with
a video camera. He was wearing
a black beret.

"Can we get on with this, please?" she asked, fidgeting with the clip-on

"Almost done," he answered while he made a final adjustment. He picked
up a movie slate and held it in front of the camera. He spoke directly into
the camera, "The Slayer and the Professor, take one."

Faith rolled her eyes as he sat in a canvas chair, which had imprinted on
it, "Andrew Wells, Director."

"Annnnnnnnnnd...action!" he belted out, pointing at her.
Faith took a breath and began to speak, "Yo, prof. Andy here needs to get
off, so let Tracey off, okay? Thanks."

"Cut!" Andrew yelled and jumped off his chair. "What the heck was that?"

"What?" Faith said. "You said her teach wouldn’t let her change her

"Yes, but you promised to help me convince him it’s for real," he whined.
"If the Great Slayer Faith says Tracey needs time off, then it’ll convince
him. It’s almost like having Mace Windu ask the Jedi master’s
permission for Anakin and Padmé to marry."

"What the hell does Tracey see in you?" Faith asked, shaking her head.

Andrew pouted. "Tracey loves me," he said.

"I know!" Faith exclaimed, waving her hands. "She’s totally into you.
According to her, you rock her world."

"I’m not that bad, Faith."

Faith sighed. "No, I guess you’re not. I’m sorry. If a cool chick like Tracey
can find you hot, I guess you are. Now, can we get on with this?"

"Okay, now remember your motivation…you’re trying to persuade the evil
authority figure into letting the heroine free."

Faith’s eyes flashed. "I’m gettin’ motivated to rearrange your face. I ain’t
Katie Holmes, you know? This is not a box office disaster we're filming,
staring yours truly."

"Okay, okay, whatever!" He waved the slate board. "Take two!"

Faith looked directly into the camera. "Hello Dr. Fuller. I’m Faith Lehane.
You might know me as a slayer, but I’m also a good friend of Tracey
Hausser. Her boyfriend Andrew Wells will be traveling to Nevada on
Council business and would like Tracey to meet him there. As you know,
Council business can be dangerous, so we like to take every opportunity
we can to see our loved ones. If you can give Tracey the time off, they –
and I – would be very thankful. Oh, and don’t worry about Tracey not
completing her course work; she’s one of the hardest working people I
know. and I guarantee she will not shirk her obligations. Thanks, Dr.
When Faith stopped speaking, Andrew was silent a moment, taking the
time to wipe a tear from his eye. Then he yelled, "Cut!" He walked over to
Faith and said, "Wow, Faith, that was...beautiful. Really touching. I never
knew you were such a romantic."

"Knock it off, Andy," she said. "Are we done here?"

"Yeah, that should be great."

"Good," she pulled off the mic and jumped off the stool. "Oh and Andy…"


"If I see that footage on YouTube, I will rearrange your face," she warned,
pointing at him. "Got it?"

Andrew gulped. "Yeah, got it."

"I hope it works, kid," she said. As she left, she muttered under her
breath, "God knows you’ll be less high-strung if you get a piece."

Andrew smiled and pulled the memory card from the camera.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Coven Room – Afternoon

"Knock, knock," Althenea
heard a voice say. She
turned to see Willow in the
doorway and smiled

"What are you doing here?"
she asked as she quickly
made her way over to give
Willow a hug.

"I would have been here yesterday, but I got held up in New York because
of snow. I thought I’d surprise you."

"Well, yeah. I’m, uh, I’m surprised all right," she said almost nervously.
Willow seemed to notice the reaction. "Oh, well...Did I come at a bad
time?" she asked. At that moment a woman resembling Rowena came to
the doorway with two paper cups in her hands. Willow did a double take.

"Mary Grace?" she started.
"Wh-what are you doing here?"

Mary opened her mouth, but
nothing came out at first. She
gave up and smiled. "How’re
the twins?" she finally asked,
avoiding the question.

Willow looked at Mary for a
long moment. Then she looked
at Althenea and then back to

"Uhhhh, fine! They’re doing just fine."

"Here," Althenea said as she motioned for the cups. "I’ll take those," she
told Mary.

A small silence seemed to drag on until Mary asked, "How do you take
your coffee, Will? I’ll get you one."

Willow at first appeared like she was going to refuse, but Althenea said,
"Triple, triple. Thanks, Mary."

"No problem," she said as she turned to leave. "I’ll, uh, take my time
getting it, and you two can…" She trailed off with a wave of her hand
before walking away.

Althenea motioned Willow to follow her deeper into the room.

"What’s all this then, ay?" Willow said in a fake British accent. Althenea
chuckled. "Seriously," Willow continued in her normal voice. "Mary
Grace? You’re hooking up with the woman who took great delight in
outing Ro and me to her folks? Are you serious? Does Betty know?
’Cause she’s going to flip when she finds out the Council corrupted
another daughter. T-Tell me what did I miss here?"

Althenea continued to laugh again. "That’s too many questions to answer
at once," she replied.

"Give me the short version then."
"Well, you were busy getting married. And then the coma thing happened
and then…well, it didn’t seem worth mentioning. It was just a fling, well,
not even that really. But this time…it’s more…" Althenea paused as if
unsure of what to say. Finally, she gave up and asked, "What are you
doing here when you’ve got two babies at home?"

"My wife, oh wait, let me rephrase that. Your future sister-in-law told me
to come check up on you."

Althenea laughed some more. "I told you. This Mary thing is not serious.
But really, Will, you’ve got your own family."

"Kicking me out when I just got here, huh?" She turned toward the door
to see if Mary Grace had returned. Not seeing her, she added with a sly
smirk, "If she’s anything like her sister, I don’t blame you. I’d want me
gone too."

Althenea laughed even harder.

Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – A Short Time Later

"You’re kidding!" Rowena said into the phone.

Behind her Xander stood at the changing table holding a clean, folded
diaper in his hand. He opened it up and inspected it, turning it this way
and that before looking back at little Alex. He then inspected the diaper

"Nope, not kidding at all," Willow replied.

"No way!"

"Yes way."

"Mary Grace? You have to be pulling my leg, Will."

"I swear on my Coven I most certainly am not."

"But…How?…When?" Rowena asked, not quite able to complete a full
In the background Xander pulled off the old diaper with a look of
accomplishment. That was until a stream shot upward, and he quickly
covered it with the diaper.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council –
Hallway – Continuous

Willow stood in the hallway, off
to one side, talking on the
phone as people moved around

"After Mary came back with my
coffee, she told me she was talking to Althenea in Nova Scotia about
being curious, about us – like you and me."

"Okaaaaay," Rowena answered.

"Apparently Althenea kissed her to show her that it wasn’t much
different than what she’d done all her life with guys. One kiss led to
another, and another, and…well, even I have to admit Al is a great

"Watch it," Rowena told her.

"But you’re the best, dear," Willow said with a smile.

"Nice recovery," Rowena commended. "So…then what happened?"

"Well, nothing major, and by major I’m talking about…you know…It was
just kissy and cuddly kinda stuff. Not the naked-y, sweaty, fingernail

"I get the picture. A couple of bases, but no home run."

"Right. The short version is we showed up for the wedding, tried to get
married, the Coven went into a coma, and after that they both went

Cut To:
Willow and Rowena’s Apartment – Continuous

"But I’m guessing that’s not the end of the story."
"Nope," Willow replied. "They still IM’ed and emailed each other, and Mary
Grace planned this trip to see Al. Since the twins were here, they never
expected to see us, and well, we shot that theory all to hell, didn’t we?"

From behind Rowena, Xander gave the baby powder a shake, and a little
cloud erupted. He quickly covered the baby’s face with a burp cloth and
tried to wave the extra powder away by flailing his arms and hands. He
looked over his shoulder to see if Rowena had noticed. Seeing she was
still on the phone, he breathed a sigh of relief and went back to finishing
the diaper.

"Does my mom know?"

"Oh, no. And I’ve…well, we have been sworn to secrecy."

"You know, if I was a petty woman…"

"But you’re not."

"Yes, I know," Rowena replied, sounding disappointed. "So I guess that
means you won’t be staying long?" Rowena brightened.

"Let me put it this way. I’m sure Mary Grace has better ways of getting
Althenea to smile this weekend than I ever could." Rowena chuckled.
"However, Robson did pick my brain about a possible werewolf problem.
I’m going to call Kadin after I hang up with you to get some ideas."

"Well, take your time. Xander’s here tonight, and Faith will be here
tomorrow. Thanks to Becca, I caught up on my sleep, so I’m good to go
for a few more days."

"Don’t need me, huh?"

"Will, you know I need you. And I wish you were here, but Mary Grace or
not, I think Al does need you for a little while right now. I’m willing to
share…Anyway, tell Mary I said hello and to come see the kids."

"Actually, she’s on her way to Cleveland after she leaves England," Willow

"Great," Rowena answered. "Just take care and call me tomorrow, okay?"

"You know it. Love you."

"Love you too, sweetheart. Bye." Rowena paused a moment and then
turned around to see Xander looking quite proud.
"I did it," he said. "Took me two tries,
but I got it."

Rowena smiled.

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Watchers Council Jet – The Next

Dawn and Shannon sat hunched over a backgammon table while Skye
idly watched the game, occasionally playing with a lock of Dawn’s hair.
At the front of the cabin, Andrew was diligently drawing diagrams on the
white board.

Shannon rolled doubles and cleared her inner board of checkers and
Dawn groaned. "Not again," she said.

"Again, Watcher," Shannon crowed and started setting up her pieces for
a new game.

Skye looked bored. "Remind me again why we’re here?"

"Cuz Dawn and I drew the short straw," Shannon explained. "Why are
you, here? You didn’t have to come."

"And let my honey go on a free vacation without me? Not a chance," Skye
said. "Besides, Andrew’s team leader on a mission to find aliens? I
wouldn’t miss this for the world. This’ll make a great chapter for my

"Your memoirs?" Shannon asked.

"Yeah," Skye pointed at Andrew. "If a geek like that can make a small
mint selling a screenplay, I figure I can make even more selling my
memoirs and the film rights. It’ll be bigger than Anne Rice."

"What are you gonna call it?" Dawn asked.

"Confessions of a Vampire," Skye answered proudly.

Andrew turned away from the board, proving he had been listening to the
whole conversation. "And you call me a geek?"
"Go back to your diagramming, Fox," Skye said.

Andrew pouted at the trio and
then went back to the board.

"Am I in it?" Dawn asked.

"Oh yeah," Skye said. "You’re
the sexy ingénue who saves the
vampire from the evil clutches
of the Watchers Council."

"And me?" Shannon asked.

"You’re the perky little sister
slash comic relief," Skye said. "I figure some up and coming young star
can play you in the movie. Maybe Dakota Fanning?"

"Cool!" Shannon rolled a die and waited for Dawn to roll hers. The
slayer’s was higher, and she made her opening move.

The flight steward walked into the cabin and said, "Mr. Wells, if you’ll
take your seat? The captain says we’re on our final approach."

Andrew turned to the team and gave them an excited look. "This is it!"

Cut To:
New Mexico – Airstrip – Short Time Later

Andrew ran down the flight of steps from the jet and quickly turned on
his cell phone. After a moment, his eyes lit up, and he exclaimed to the
group retrieving their luggage from the cargo compartment, "She called!"

He speed-dialed into his voice mail and set the speaker. "Hi my love, this
is Tracey…well, who else would call you ‘love’ unless there’s something
going on with you and Jeff I don’t know about." Andrew grimaced an
embarrassed smile as the others turned to look at him. "Anyway, Faith’s
video worked, and Dr. Fuller gave me leave. I’m leaving now and
hopefully will be able to meet you guys for supper. See you soon! Love

Andrew started to jump up and down on the tarmac. "She’s coming!
She’s coming!"
"Whoop-dee-do for you, Romeo," Skye said, grabbing his arm and pulling
him back to earth. "What’s say we get this mission over with so you have
time to snuggle with your girl? Okay?"

"Okay!" he said happily and ran for the waiting rental car.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Same Day

"Ladies and gentlemen," Willow said as she entered the room, "I’d like to
introduce Kadin and Kennedy. Kadin’s what you might call our part-time
resident werewolf expert. She does a lot of work-for-hire for people
with…monster problems."

"And this time is no exception,"
Robson told Kadin. "As I told
Willow, we’re prepared to pay for
your services."

Kadin just nodded. "Willow sent
me the photos," Kadin told him.
"I’ll have to dig deeper, but it
looks like a canine attack. And
based on your descriptions, it
does sound like a wolf of some

"But not a werewolf?"

"I didn’t say that. I won’t know more until…I learn more." Kadin gave him
a grin as she took a seat at the table along with Willow and Kennedy.

"Well, we have everything in our file," a blonde female watcher said
beside Robson. "I’ll have it sent to your quarters so that you can look it
over tonight."

"Give it to me now. Tonight we’ll be hunting. We’ve only got another day
of the moon left after tonight. If this thing is a werewolf, we won’t get
another shot until next month. How many slayers can you put in the
area of the recent attacks?"

"Well, London is a big city," Robson began. "It’s filled with crowds at
"Stop right there. I asked how many girls you could spare," Kadin cut
him off. "So how many?"

"We could call in some of our slayers who are off tonight. About twenty

"Call them," Kadin told him. "The file?"

"Oh, right here," the woman said, sliding it over to her.

"Good, I’ll do some reading while you ready your slayers. We’ll meet
downstairs twenty minutes before sunset. Got it?"

"Y-yes," Robson told her. "Very good."

Kadin nodded again and motioned Kennedy to follow her. "Until then
folks," she said before leaving the room.

After she was gone, Robson turned to Willow. "Well, she’s certainly a
spitfire, isn’t she?"

Willow shrugged. "I hear she’s one of the best. I guess we’ll see…But if I
were you, I’d make sure there are twenty slayers down there like you

"Well, I didn’t promise. I simply said—"

"You might not realize it," Willow said with a grin, "but you just did, so
find a way to make it so."

She then left the room too.

Fade In:
New Mexico – Rental Car – Late Afternoon

Dawn drove along the desert highway. Skye was sitting next to her, and
Andrew and Shannon were in the back seat. Andrew kept fiddling with
his cell phone. After a moment, he flipped it open. It made a small Star
Trek-like communicator chirp.

"Hi Tracey, this is Andrew Wells," he said after he dialed. "We’re almost to
the subjects’ location. In case you didn’t get my other fifteen messages,
we’ll rendezvous with you at oh-one-hundred Zulu time, or twenty-one
hundred local time." His voice dropped to a whisper, "That’s nine o’clock,
honey. Love you!"
Shannon hit his shoulder. "She knows how to convert time, Andy."

"I know," he said. "Just wanted to make sure. This is important."

"Why?" Skye asked from the front seat. "Gonna ask her to marry you?"

"No," Andrew blushed. "We’re not
ready for that yet."

"But you will, right?" Shannon said,
her eyes gleaming with romantic

"In time," Andrew said. "I figure if our
relationship can withstand the rigors
of a long-distance separation, we can
withstand anything."

Dawn nodded without taking her
eyes off the road. "That’s very…mature of you, Andrew."

"Thanks," he said with a shy grin. "Tracey and I might not have that
immortality thing that you and Skye have going, but I want us to be
forever, too."

Skye made a snarky snort and consulted her map. "Take the next right,

Cut To:
New Mexico – Desert – Short Time Later

The occupants of the rental car slowly looked around as they exited the
vehicle. The setting sun blazed on the western horizon, giving the desert
an unearthly glow.

The recreational vehicle they had parked next to bounced for a moment,
and a big demon slowly exited.

"Hello!" he said. "I’m Bill, this is Karolyn." He turned to find the doorway
empty. "Karolyn! Come meet our guests!"

"I’m coming, I’m coming. What’s the rush?" His wife stepped down to the
ground and approached the group.

"The Council came all this way just to see us," Bill said.
"I know who they are," she scolded. "Hello. Would you like some stew?
Bill trapped three lovely vultures just this morning."

"Er, no thanks," Shannon said and then quickly smiled.

"Look Bill – a slayer!" Karolyn exclaimed, clasping her hands together in
front of her. "How nice! What’s your name, dear?"

"Shannon," she replied.

"I’m Andrew Wells, this is
Watcher Dawn Summers and
her partner Skye Talisker. We

Bill looked at her curiously and
cocked his head. "A vampire?
But it’s still light out?"

"Yeah," Skye smirked. "Cool,

"Wonders never cease," he nodded slowly. "Just like what we saw the
other night."

"That’s what we’re here to talk about, sir," Andrew put in.

"Good," the big demon nodded. "It’s about time someone with some sense
came out here. We’ve been trying to get someone in the government to
pay attention to us for years now."

"Excuse me?" Andrew said.

"It’s true, dear," Karolyn said. "No one listens to us anymore. They say
we’re slowing down too much to pay attention to."

"We’ve filed many reports," Bill confirmed. "But not even those Project
Blue Book guys came out to check."

"How many reports have you filed?" Skye asked suspiciously.

"Hundreds!" Bill boomed. "Thousands. Ever since we came to this
dimension, but do you think anyone would listen to us? No, we’re just a
couple of old kooks living out in the desert. But this is alien central, boy.
Mark my words."
"Oh geez," Shannon muttered.

Dawn sighed. "So, sir…er, Bill…the reports we received at the
Council…were they the same as your other reports?"

"Sure thing!" he nodded.

"Okay, then I think we’ve got all we need," she said and placed a hand on
Andrew’s arm. He was staring at the contents of the folder he was

"Wait…" Andrew started.

"We’ll be in contact," Shannon said as Dawn led Andrew to the car.

"That’s nice, dear," Karolyn said. "Come by anytime, and I’ll make you a
nice grub goulash."

"Uh, okay." Shannon looked a little green.

"Wait!" Andrew tried again.

"Hey, Andy, isn’t it time to call Tracey again?" Skye said. The distraction
worked, and he dived for the car as the others followed. Dawn quickly
put it in drive and skidded back to the road.

"What nice people!" Karolyn said.

"Oh yes," he agreed. "But why do they have to drive so fast? Scares off
the buzzards."

"I know," she sighed. "I know."

Cut To:
New Mexico – Rental Car – Minutes Later

Andrew shut his phone and muttered, "Still no answer. Why didn’t you
let me question them?"

"They’re a couple of kooks!" Dawn said.

"Yeah," Skye agreed. "Better to get out of there quickly before they start
using your behind as probe target practice."
"I bet they spend all day long watching reruns of The X-Files," Shannon

"When they’re not tracking down roadkill for the evening’s entrée," Skye
added. The two slapped hands over the car seat while Dawn laughed.
Andrew ignored them and read the file.

"Okay, head over to Chalcedony Drive," he ordered. "That’s our next

"What?" Skye yelled. "Come on, Andy, this investigation’s over. Let’s just
get back to town, meet your squeeze, and after a night of hot lovin’ –
except for you Shannon, Normie has school tomorrow – we can be on our

Shannon scrunched her face up.

"I have more witnesses to interview," he argued.

"Why the hell are we even bothering?" Shannon wondered. "Come on,
Andy, even I could see they were nuts. My slayer senses didn’t kick in, so
they’re probably harmless – except to the local wildlife – but they’ve spent
way too long in the sun."

Dawn turned to look at her. "You’ve been hanging around Skye too
much; you’re starting to talk like her."

"Gee, thanks!" Skye beamed.

"Look, Tracey’s not here yet, so we have time to investigate one more
report, okay?"

Dawn sighed. "Fine," she said and stepped harder on the accelerator.

Cut To:
New Mexico – Rental Car – Short Time Later

"Are we there yet?" Shannon asked.

"Ask that one more time and I’ll…" Skye broke off as a ranch house came
into view. Surrounding the house were a dozen black SUVs with black-
tinted windows. Men wearing dark suits and glasses swarmed around
the house.
As the rental car pulled up in front of the gate, it was immediately
surrounded by the men. One of them approached Dawn’s window and
leaned down.

"Please move on, ma’am," the anonymous man said.

"We’re from the Watchers Council…" she began.

"Please move on," he repeated.

Dawn pulled her wallet from her purse and handed it to him. He closed it
without even looking at it and handed it back. "Please move on, ma’am."

"Dawn," Andrew said from the
back seat. "Go."


"Just go!" he urged.

"Fine," she said and pulled
away. She glanced in the
rearview mirror and saw half a
dozen identically dressed men
watching their departure.

"What the hell was that?" Shannon asked no one in particular.

"The Men in Black!" Andrew said with excitement in his voice.

Fade Out.

                            End of Act Two

                             Act Three
Fade In:
New Mexico – Motel Room –

Skye lay on the motel room
sheets, staring at the plaster
ceiling. "You’d think, with all the money they’ve got, the Council could
afford a better room."

Dawn sat down next to her on the edge of the bed. She flexed her neck
and began to remove her socks. "I hear this is the best place in town."

The room was small. Generic pictures of fruit hung over the beds. The
two double beds didn’t leave much floor space for anything else.

Shannon was over in the corner staring at the television’s prominent
dials. "Does anyone know how you change the channel on this thing? I
can’t find a remote."

"So, Andy," Dawn asked, "what’s the plan for tomorrow?"

Andrew was pacing restlessly near the door to the tiny bathroom. "We’re
going to have to be more careful from now on. We have the Men in Black
on our trail, and they don’t make mistakes."

Skye made an exasperated noise in her throat. "They’re not the Men in

"Yeah," Shannon added reluctantly, "Andy…I’m sure there’s a logical
explanation for all this."

Andrew looked pained. "Guys, you’re killing me here! A little support
would be—"

He was cut off by a midi-file version of the Star Wars theme. He reached
into his pocket and retrieved his cell phone. "Hello?"

"Hey Andy," Tracey’s voice came through the phone. "It’s me."

"Tracey!" Andrew exclaimed. "Where are you?"

Tracey could be heard to sigh. "Apparently, about twenty miles east of
Nowhere, Arizona. And no, that’s not an expression…that’s the actual
name of the town. My car is dead…I guess it overheated."

"Are you sure?" Andrew pressed. "Maybe if you tried it again…"

"Yeah, I’m pretty sure. Look, the garage in town doesn’t open until
tomorrow, so I won’t know more until then."

"Gotta go, I need to talk to the tow truck guy."

There was an audible click as Tracey hung up. "I love you, too," Andrew
said over the dead line.

"So, Tracey’s still held up?" Shannon asked through her toothbrush from
the bathroom.

"I don’t like this," Andrew said, getting even more worked up. "I mean,
what if she’s lying to me? What if she doesn’t want to come because
California’s so great that she never wants to leave? What if—?"

"Down, boy," Dawn told him as she walked over. "You’re making a much
bigger deal out of this than it is, okay?"

"I don’t know," Skye put in, still on the bed. "She’s probably cheating on
you. I hear there’s lots of buff guys in L.A."

Andrew made a high-pitched noise. Dawn gave Skye a pained look.

Cut To:
Dark Room – Night

Accompanied by the inexorable hum of machinery, a shiny metal
platform rose from the mist covering the floor. Tracey was spread-eagled
on the platform, wearing only her underwear. Her arms and legs were
bound with oversized metal clamps.

"Tracey!" Andrew cried out. He was knee deep in the mist, and he
couldn’t seem to get his legs to work. Around him, shapes moved in the

Tracey didn’t really look that upset, considering the circumstances. "The
aliens abducted me," she said matter-of-factly. "They’re trying to develop
a virus that will wipe out all life on Earth in the year 2012 so that they
can use the planet as a penal colony slash neutral site for intergalactic
Pictionary tournaments. It was all predicted by the Mayans."

Andrew shook his head, confused. "Okay…score one for the ancient
Mesoamericans. Tracey, what did they do to you?"

"Oh, just some experiments," Tracey replied. "Nothing much. They did
some scans, implanted a chip in my cerebral cortex that programs me as
a sleeper agent to assassinate the Pope, usual stuff. Oh, and there was a
lot of probing."
"Probing?" There was a note of panic in Andrew’s voice.

"Yeah." A wide smile spread over Tracey’s face. "That’s the best part,
right? Oh, I want to introduce you to someone."

Standing next to the platform was a short, humanoid figure. Its skin was
gray, and it had three fingers on each hand, but no nose. Its eyes were
large, compound, and bug-like. It wore a t-shirt that read "STUD" on the
front in big block letters.

"Helllllooo, bitch," it said to Andrew in an effeminate voice.

"This is Roger," Tracey explained. "My
new boyfriend."

Andrew screamed…

Cut To:
New Mexico – Motel Room – Night

...and then he was sitting up in bed,
eyes wide open, breathing hard. The
generic paintings of fruit were still on
the wall. All was quiet. Andrew took one last deep breath, then collapsed
back onto his pillow.

Cut To:
London – City Street – Same Time

Kadin looked at her watch and then pressed the button on the walkie-
talkie. "Anyone see anything? Over," she asked.

"Negative," a voice called out.

"Nothing," another added.

"Damn," she said to Willow and Kennedy as they moved closer to her.
"It’ll be daylight soon."

"We could check with Robson," Willow suggested. "See if he’s gotten any
reports of any animal attacks in the city tonight?"

Kadin nodded. "Have him check with the police on any indecent exposure
reports too."
"Huh?" Kennedy asked.

Willow grinned. "Naked people since, you know, all wolfy, no clothes."

"Right," Kennedy replied. "So are we calling it a day? Or a night I should

Kadin looked back at her watch again. "Not yet," she replied. "If you guys
wanna take off, you can. It’s officially sunrise now, but I want to sweep
the parks. That’s a popular place for werewolves to hang out."


"It’s better than being naked at a bus stop at first light," she replied with
a grin. "At least at a park you’ve got bushes to hide in." Kadin pushed the
button on the walkie-talkie. "Girls, we’re callin’ off the city search. Move
to the nearest park and start looking for anyone you might find
undressed. Over?"

"Yes, ma’am," one answered.

"Right away," the other replied.

"I don’t think we’re dealing with a werewolf. I just don’t feel it," Kadin
said as they walked along.

"Then what are we dealing with then?" Kennedy asked.

"I’ll tell ya when I figure it out," she answered with a grin.

The three women continued down the street.

Fade Out.

Fade In:
New Mexico – Invasion Café – Morning

The diner in Artesia looked like a normal restaurant—except for the fake
crashed flying saucer half sticking out of the front. A battered sign on the
roof read, "Invasion Café."

Cut To:
New Mexico – Invasion Café – Same Time
The interior décor was more of the same. News clippings of UFO
sightings, as well as all the usual dubious photographs, were framed and
hung on the walls.

"So," Dawn began as she cut off a square of her highly syrupy stack of
waffles, "New Year’s Eve. Guess we’ll miss the party tonight, huh?"

"Oh, we’ll make our own fun," Skye grinned. She nibbled on a sausage as
she held it skewered on her fork, then nodded in satisfaction.

"Yeah," Shannon chirped, "we can order pizza and watch the ball drop
and make fun of all the horrible musical acts they trot out."

"That’s not what I had in mind," Skye noted with a raised eyebrow. Dawn
choked a little on her orange juice.

Andrew didn’t seem to notice the conversation. He sat across the table,
next to Shannon, picking half-heartedly at a pancake.

"Tourists," a voice growled from behind him. "More tourists."

Shannon turned around to find a grizzled man hunched over his coffee.
"Hey, you know we can hear you, right?"

"Came to see the sights, right?" the man mumbled. He wasn’t really
looking at them. "Post Office, old graveyard, maybe some aliens?"

"I’m sorry," Skye said. "Why is this your business again?"

"All I see around here these days is your kind," the man continued. "You
think the mysteries of the universe are a tourist trap you can blow ten
bucks on. Then you go home to
your Starbucks and your
iPhones, and you put them out
of your mind. You can’t do that
once you’ve truly seen."

Andrew visibly perked up. He
slid out of their booth and into
the strange man’s. "And you
have? Seen? Seen what?"

The man glared across at him
for a long beat.

"Andrew," Dawn began, "maybe we should…"
"I was out in the back country, maybe a year ago," the strange man said
suddenly. "I was working for the water company, prospecting for new
aquifers. Most of ’em dried up years ago. That’s when I saw it."

Andrew’s eyes were wide in rapt attention. Skye took the opportunity to
roll hers.

"I’m still not sure what it was…but I’m sure about one thing. It didn’t
come from this planet."

"And this spot, out in the back country," Andrew said, "you wouldn’t
happen to be able to give us directions…?" He pushed a napkin and a
pen across the table.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Hallway – Early Morning

Robson hurriedly greeted Willow, Kadin, and Kennedy as they walked
toward him.

"You said the police found something?" Willow asked.

"This way," he said, motioning them to follow him.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Secured Room – Seconds Later

A slayer stood guard outside a secured room.

"Any change, Michelle?" Robson asked the young woman.

"No," she replied. "They’re still screaming bloody murder. Well, the bloke
is anyway." She placed a keycard through the door lock and said, "I’m
going in, too. I heard a chair break, so he might be armed now."

As they entered, they found a young man and woman both wearing robes
and nothing else. Each person was shackled at the ankle to one wall.

The room was in disarray. A chair in the far corner was toppled over with
a broken leg, and a desk was overturned. With what slack he had in the
chain, the man moved back and forth as he shot the five of them a dirty

"Look at him," Michelle remarked. "He even paces like a caged animal."
The man stopped and turned to face them.

"I’m not an animal, and you have no right to hold us here against our

"According to the London Council charter outlined with the Metro Police,
we do have that right," Robson replied. "We have reports of a werewolf
loose in the city and—"

"What does that have to do with us?" he shouted.

Willow was intently watching the display, but Kennedy had a confused
expression on her face. Kadin smiled and shook her head.

"Were you not found naked in a park, young man?" Robson asked.

The woman seemed to blush and turned to her lover. "I told you it was a
mistake, but you had to be daring. Not to mention freezing!" She pulled
her robe tighter.

Kadin cleared her throat and
stepped forward.

"Let ’em go," she told Robson.

"But they’re—"

"Just two horny kids, or randy
as you might say," she said.
"Thought you’d be adventurous
at the park, huh?" she asked the
young man. He gave her a guilty shrug. She then turned to Robson.
"Whatever’s out there, it’s not them. Cut ’em loose." She then turned to
the couple. "You guys are free to go. Sorry for the confusion, but we’re
trying to prevent people from getting hurt. I hope you understand."

"That’s fine. We wouldn’t be here if not for him,’" she said, pitching a
thumb toward the man. "I’m so embarrassed," the young woman
muttered to her companion. "This is the last time you talk me into
something this stupid."

As Michelle began to unchain the woman, the man shot back a retort to
his girlfriend, and the lovebirds started to argue. At the same time
Kennedy, Willow, Robson, and Kadin all left the room.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Hallway – Continuous

"We thought for sure—" Robson began.

"You thought wrong," Kadin told him, shaking her head, still smiling.

"But how do you know for sure?" Robson asked.

"Am I wrong, Ken?" Kadin asked.

"No," Kennedy replied. "When I walked in, I got no slayer vibe at all. At
first, I thought they were new victims."

Kadin didn’t speak. She just motioned to Kennedy with an open palmed
gesture that clearly conveyed a ‘listen to her’ attitude.

"We were certain since they fit the profile," Robson said.

Willow, however, cut him off. "I respect you, Robson, a-and all you’ve
done here. But we just can’t go roundin’ up anyone and everyone a-and
putting them in chains because you think they’re up to no good. What
worries me, though, is that your slayer—the one standing guard—she
couldn’t tell the difference. Kennedy knew instinctively when she entered,
as did Kadin."

"Who’s your slayer division head?" Kennedy asked.

Robson looked nervous. "She had nothing to do with this. I take full

"That’s noble, but I still want to speak with her," Kennedy replied. "We’ve
got one day left. We need to make sure the girls we’re putting out there
looking for demons know how to look for demons." She then turned to
Willow. "Think you’re up for a little glamour or two?" she asked.

Willow nodded. "Sure, with Al’s help."

"Great," she replied and then faced Robson again. "Lead the way," she
told him.

Robson released a tense sigh and motioned for them to follow him.

Cut To:
New Mexico – Rental Car – Later
Andrew kept both hands on the wheel of the team’s rented Kia station
wagon, but he looked somewhat put-upon.

"I don’t like this plan," Dawn was saying in the seat next to him. "But I’m
having trouble articulating the exact flaws in it."

"I’m not," Skye announced from the backseat. "We’re going out into the
desert with only the illegible directions of an obviously crazy ex-
prospector in order to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Does
that about sum it up?"

"Uh-huh," Dawn nodded.

"Guys," Andrew said,
exasperated, "this is why we’re
here. Sure, maybe that guy isn’t
the most reliable source…"

"What was his name again?"
Dawn asked.

"I’m not actually sure," Andrew
replied sheepishly. "But, look, that’s why we’re going back to the motel,
okay? We’ll stock up on supplies, and if it’s a false alarm, we’ll just—"

"Hey, guys?" Shannon asked as she looked out the window. "What’s
going on?"

The Artesia Motel was surrounded by unmarked vans and black sedans.
As Andrew pulled up closer to their room, they could see that their door
was sectioned off with yellow tape. Men in impeccable dark suits and
sunglasses entered and exited. Some carried out small items in plastic
bags, loading them into the vans.

"Hey!" The car had barely stopped when Andrew leapt out, slamming the
door behind him. The others quickly followed. "Hey, what is this?"

One of the men held out his hands to stop them before they could get
very far. "I’m sorry, there’s been a gas leak. Very dangerous. You can’t go
in there right now."

"There’s no gas leak," Shannon said, her brow furrowed. "Hey, get your
hands off my sweater!"

Dawn produced her Council badge. "Look, it’s okay, we’re with the
Watchers Council."
The man in the sunglasses was silent.

"So…we can go into our room now, right?" Dawn prompted.

"No," the man replied flatly. "If you could please step back now…"

"I’m not afraid of you," Andrew said. He stepped forward so that he was
eye-to-chest with the well-built man in the suit. "I know all about the
Men in Black. Take it from me, secrets always come out. No matter what
you try to do, people will always be seeking the unknown. You can’t cover
up the human spirit!"

The man in the suit looked down at him, somehow managing to be
menacing behind the mirrored lenses. "You can’t come in here. So, why
don’t you head back home and go back to playing den mother for your
little Girl Scouts?"

Andrew took a step back. "How do you know about me?"

"I know everything about you, Andrew Wells," the man said flatly. "You’re
a little boy playing in a sandbox you don’t belong in. The same goes for
your friends here. The little slayer that could. The vampire who thinks
she’s human just because she can go out in the sun. The girl who thinks
she’s invulnerable just because she can’t die. You all need to leave, right

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Slayer Training Gym – Same Time

"Patricia?" Robson called out as he made his way over to the woman. She
was watching a group of slayers practicing on various mats around the

"Yes?" she asked as she came over to the arriving group, who now had
Althenea in tow.

"Some members of the Cleveland Council here have a request," he began.

Cut To:
London – Council Training Facility – Upper Level – Later

The huge open warehouse looked like a city—complete with doors,
windows, lampposts, and anything needed for a simulation-training
"This is pretty cool," Willow told Althenea. "Why didn’t you tell me you
guys had one of these? We should do this in Cleveland."

"A lot of good it’s done us, apparently," Althenea whispered
conspiratorially. "We can’t seem to tell a demon from a human."

"Robson is just scared," Willow told him. "People get worried, a-and they
go on the defensive. They look for danger at every turn, and mistakes get
made. Let’s just be thankful no one innocent was seriously hurt."

The pair sat on some bleachers, high above the maze of simulated
streets, and could see Patricia and Kennedy inside two different locations
of the mini-city.

"Well, let’s see if this works," she told her. "Ready?"

"Yep," Willow told her.

They both waved a hand, and the two
slayers below transformed into
demon forms, but stayed in their
hiding spots. Kennedy made a
clawing motion at them and showed
a set of fangs after the

For a moment Willow and Althenea
both got a look of concern. Then
Kennedy began to do a Charleston
dance before acting like a football
player who had scored a touchdown. Both women grinned in response.

Seeing everything was fine, Willow gave Kadin, who was standing below,
a thumbs-up.

Cut To:
London – Council Training Facility – Lower Level – Continuous

Kadin nodded back to Willow and then turned to their slayer apprentice,
Michelle from the security room.

"Okay," Kadin told the young slayer. "There are two ‘demons’ inside the
city – Patricia and Kennedy – neither will hurt you and your only mission
is to locate them. Our high priestesses have put a spell on them. So for
all practical purposes they’ll register as ‘demon’. Now, just put those
slayer skills to use because every slayer can sense when demons are

"Uh, okay?" she said, sounding unsure of how to complete the task.

"First, just shut out your mind for a second. Close your eyes if you have
to. Right, now don’t think of where they might be. We’re not talking about
logic here. Go with what your gut is telling you, even if it doesn’t make
any sense. Let that inner slayer lead you in the direction you need to go.
Once you feel you’ve honed in on them, go."

"Okay," Michelle repeated, this time with more confidence. She closed her
eyes for a moment, but then she quickly opened them and took off into a

Cut To:
London – Council Training Facility – Upper Level – Short Time Later

Below them, Michelle suddenly looked confused. She was only a few feet
away from finding Kennedy, but she turned unexpectedly and ran in the
opposite direction. Kadin saw what happened and threw her hands up in
the air and began shaking her head in disapproval.

"It’s good to see you doing
magic," Willow said as she
turned to Althenea. "I thought
after…after Jocelyn that you
might be, you know, afraid."

"Of course I’m afraid," Althenea
replied, not looking over. She
continued to watch the slayer
below searching vacant rooms.
"I killed one of your students.
And right now Kennedy might
be all fun and games, but I can’t say she won’t stay a demon."

"You know that’s not true," Willow told her.

"What part? Jocelyn or Kennedy?"

"All of it," Willow told her. "I can’t say what happened doesn’t bother me.
It hurts—a lot—but I don’t blame you, Al. Every coven, at every branch,
looked for another solution first."
There was a slight lull in the conversation until Althenea said, "I should
have let your coven do it. The Persephone’s Knot worked for them. They
helped you."

"Obviously, I was different. But I remember what it was like. I came very
close to death. It’s why Rowena hid the spell. The chances of survival are
slim to none. Lucky for me I was one of the slim. A-A-And, sadly for
Jocelyn she was one of the nones. But I don’t blame you, not at all. No
one does, not even Jocelyn’s parents – they saw what she was like.
But…sometimes people do magic, and sometimes they die. It’s an
occupational hazard, and we all have to deal with it."

Althenea began to tear up, and her bottom lip trembled. "She was so
young, Willow," she said, her voice cracking. "She had her whole life
ahead of her. At least if we died tomorrow, we can say we had a chance
to live. There’s a small bit of comfort in that. With her…"

Willow put her arm around Althenea. Her voice started to crack as well.
"I know…but if you hadn’t tried to free her of that magic, she would have
spent that life in captivity, or worse…getting free and destroying more
lives. You made the right call, a-and you did all you could."

"It doesn’t feel like it, Will," she told her.

"I won’t lie to you. Chances are it might not ever feel like it," Willow told
her. "But I can at least say you had my support then, and you still have
it now."

Althenea nodded her thanks, but she didn’t look over to Willow or speak
to her.

Kadin’s voice from below cut through their exchange when she said,

Both witches looked over to see Michelle had found Kennedy.

"Hey, I was going to go there first,"
she said. "Shoulda went with my
instinct, huh?" she asked Kadin.

Kadin dropped the clipboard and
stopwatch she was holding and
began to walk around in a circle in
"It’s gonna be a long day," Willow replied with a grin.

Althenea nodded and finally smiled again.

"Since I’m back on the horse," she began, "maybe I’ll keep this up after
you’ve gone home. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, would it?"

Willow’s arm was still around Althenea, and she gave her a pat. "No, it
certainly wouldn’t."

Cut To:
New Mexico – Desert – Later

"I’m telling you, there’s no such thing as the Men in Black," Skye said.
She and Dawn were out in the white rock and scrub of the New Mexico
desert, with no civilization in sight. Shannon and Andrew were nearby.
She was climbing a rock formation; he was poking ineffectually at the
ground with a stick. The sky was wide, cloudless, and bright blue.
Somewhere a crow cawed.

"How did they know all about us, then?" Dawn challenged.

"Maybe they watch CNN?" Skye ventured. She called out to Andrew.
"Look, there’s nothing here. Maybe we should go back to town. We didn’t
get a chance to pick up the water from the room. I can drink Dawn here,
but the rest of you guys…"

"This is where the directions led us," Andrew insisted. "There has to be
something. There just has to be!"

"I think you guys need to get over here," Shannon shouted. She was on
top of a small formation of bright white rocks that looked a little like a
giant camel.

Cut To:
New Mexico Desert – Moments Later

When Andrew made it up to the top, he was huffing and puffing. Dawn
and Skye were already there, staring.
"See," Andrew said between
inhales as he rested his hands
on his knees. "I told you."

Spread out below them was a
large, circular structure,
seemingly constructed out of
what looked like metal the color
of brass. At a minimum, it was
a hundred feet across. The
structure was covered with
strange devices of unknown
use. Some sections were flat, covered with large symbols that looked a
little like hieroglyphics.

"Aliens in space ships are real," Shannon breathed. "Did we know this?"

"No," Dawn said. "No, we didn’t."

Fade to Black.

                           End of Act Three

                             Act Four

Fade In:
New Mexico – Desert – Later

Without her digital camera,
Dawn was using her cell phone
to take pictures of the not-
currently-flying saucer. Andrew
walked around the structure
quietly, running one hand over
the dusty surface. Skye sat
nearby on a rock, absent-mindedly tapping her foot on the ground.

Shannon walked up to Dawn and motioned to one of the panels covered
in symbols. "Do you recognize that writing?"

Dawn shook her head. "No. Parts of it look Mayan, Egyptian, Ancient
Cambodian, but it’s all different…it doesn’t make sense."
Using both hands, Andrew tugged on one of the outer panels of the
saucer, and it came free with a loud clang.

"What are you doing?" Dawn asked, surprised. "That could have made it
blow up, or melt our eyeballs, or…"

"I’m just taking a look at the guts," Andrew told her. He leaned over the
open space he’d made and reached one arm in. He immediately pulled
back out. His arm was covered in dark red goo. "Apparently literally."

Dawn crinkled her nose. "Okay, eww."

Shannon held a hand over her mouth. "What…is that?" she managed.

Andrew peered at his hand, then took another peek in the open panel. "I
think parts of this thing are alive…or organic, anyway. It looks a little
like a Cylon Raider in there."

"Is anyone else’s brain exploding?" Shannon asked weakly.

Andrew turned back to look at her. "It’s okay…the designs really aren’t
that similar."

"No, I mean…flying saucers, secret government agencies," Shannon
explained, her voice rising as she did so. "It’s all coming together, you
know? What if—What if there’s an alien invasion going on, right under
our noses?"

"There are no aliens." Dawn, Shannon, and Andrew looked over to see
Skye getting to her feet. "I’m sorry, but there just aren’t."

"But…" Dawn pointed to the saucer.

"Maybe it’s an advanced military aircraft, or some kind of demonic…hell
contraption, or…whatever it is, it’s not aliens."

"Great discoveries have always had their doubters," Andrew told her.
Skye just rolled her eyes.

Shannon was shaking her head. "They’re here. I mean…they’re already
here, aren’t they? We can’t just—We have to do something. I have to do
something. I’m a slayer."

Skye raised an eyebrow. "An alien slayer?"
Nearby, Andrew was trying to shake his arm dry. "Do we have any paper

Skye looked at him covered with the dripping red goo; then back at
Shannon. "Is anyone else thirsty?"

Cut To:
New Mexico – Road Near Artesia – Later

Andrew drove the rental car back down the empty desert road toward
town. Small green and brown bushes dominated the landscape from
horizon to horizon.

"Do you think they could have replaced our leaders?" Shannon asked. "I
mean, what if, like, Autumn O’Mara was an alien, and we didn’t even
know it?"

"I doubt it," Dawn told her. "It’s more likely she’s a ro— What’s going

The road ahead had been blocked with orange and white barriers.
Several black sedans were parked just beyond. Andrew sighed, and the
car began to slow down.

"Keep going!" Shannon told him. "If we take off early enough, we can
jump ’em!"

"Shannon, this is a Kia, not a tank," Andrew said, exasperated.

"Oh come on," Skye said from the backseat with a grin. "It’ll be fun."

"For all the immortals in the car, sure," Andrew replied as he came to a

A man in sunglasses and a
seemingly freshly-pressed suit
tapped on the driver’s side
window. Andrew rolled it down
and flashed a nervous smile.

"Is there a problem, officer?"

"Step out of the car please, sir."
The man in the suit said without
changing his expression.

"Were we speeding?" Andrew asked. "Because this is a new car, and I
always take a little time to get used to—"

"Step out of the car please, sir."

There was silence for a moment.

"Okay," Andrew said. He opened the door and exited the vehicle. All of a
sudden, he was surrounded by four of the men in suits.

"You’re going to have to come with us," said the one who had tapped on
the window.

"Hey!" Shannon cried out. She was out of the car and trying to run
towards Andrew, but was held back by Dawn. "You can’t do that!"

"Shannon, it’s okay," Dawn soothed.

"No, no, it’s not okay," Shannon yelled.

"You know, guys," Skye said, poking her head out of the car, "we have
rights. Well, not me because I’m living impaired, but the rest of them
have rights."

"This way please, sir." The men in suits began to lead Andrew away
towards a waiting sedan.

"You’ll never get away with this," Andrew told them. "You can’t silence
the truth!" The men began to physically pull him.

"C’mon," Shannon pleaded with Dawn. "Can’t we make an exception to
the don’t-punch-humans rule? Just this once?"

"Power to the people!" Andrew yelled as he was being pushed into one of
the sedans. "E pluribus unum! I am Spartacus!"

Then one of the men in suits put a black hood over his head, and
everything went dark.

Cut To:
Poolside – Day
His hood suddenly removed, Andrew blinked his eyes, surprised by the
bright sunlight. It was a moment before he could focus. In front of him,
the afternoon sun glittered off the bright blue water of a swimming pool.
Lounging at the pool’s edge on a deck chair was a woman in a bikini with
cucumber slices over her eyes. She held a reflective device in order to
work on her tan.

Andrew blinked again, this time in confusion. "Miss Sanger?"

In response, she put down her mirror and removed the cucumber slices,
carefully placing them on the pool deck next to her. "That will be all
Thomas, thank you."

The man in the suit and sunglasses untied Andrew’s hands, nodded, and
then left the two of them alone.

"The Oversight Committee," Andrew realized. "It makes perfect sense.
You’re behind the Men in Black, the cover-up…We were getting close to
your secret headquarters, weren’t we?" Sanger laughed at this, and
Andrew’s brow furrowed. "Hey, it’s not time for the evil laugh of victory

She composed herself, a small smile remaining on her face. "No, Mr.
Wells. We would never place our headquarters in such a populated

"You’re calling this town populated?" Andrew asked incredulously.

"This is our company retreat," Sanger continued. "Very exclusive,
committee members only."

Andrew took this in, perhaps
stealing a peek at Sanger’s
bikini-clad body. Then he shook
his head. "But…what about the
aliens? The flying saucer? In this
scenario, I’m still Richard
Dreyfuss, and you’re the guys
who hired the French guy."

Sanger’s look grew more amused
once again. "Mr. Wells, there are
no aliens."

"What you found, despite our agents best and perhaps overzealous
efforts, was a kind of graveyard. It’s where we keep the various devices
we’ve discovered that were left on this plane by the Presidium. We have
over fifteen as large as the one you saw." Andrew was quiet for a
moment. "You didn’t think we weren’t aware of a threat as large as that
of the Presidium?" Sanger added. "We had contingency plans.
Fortunately, none of them were ever enacted…"

"I don’t get it," Andrew said finally. "Why would you go through all the
trouble of trying to stop us, not to mention kidnapping me, just to tell
me…oh Goddess, you’re going to kill me, aren’t you? Then you’ll erase all
records that show I ever existed…" His voice rose in panic.

"Mr. Wells," Sanger interrupted with a grin. "We’re not going to kill you.
We’re in the habit of saving people, not killing them. I’m able to explain
this now for a few reasons. First of all, you already found it, so there’s
not much point in hiding things now. Secondly, you showed considerable
resourcefulness and determination in discovering our storage facility, not
unlike Richard Dreyfuss."

Andrew crossed him arms. "Damn straight."

"We are now prepared to offer you our highest level of security

"Great," Andrew sighed. "I’m the last one, right?"

"No, actually, you’re the first," Sanger corrected. "Some of our members
have had reservations about a few of your superiors, but you…you’ve
proven yourself quite resourceful and dedicated."

A small, confident smile appeared on Andrew’s face. He nodded. Then he
asked, "Can I get a ride back to the motel?"

Cut To:
London – City Street – Same Time

The city was still light at dusk. Kennedy and Willow walked along with
their group of slayers, checking
out their surroundings.

"The sun goes down any minute
ladies. Anything special to report
yet?" Kadin asked over Ken’s radio.

"Not a thing," Kennedy replied after picking up the walkie-talkie. "I think
we’re on a wild goose chase here, Kad," she told her.

"Keep searching," Kadin told her.

"Aye, aye," Kennedy replied. She looked over to see Willow yawning. "You
didn’t have to come out tonight, Will. With me, Pat, and Kadin each
heading a group we might make more headway tonight."

"Turns out I can’t get any sleep no matter where I go. I figured being
away from the twins I might catch a little more shuteye, but no luck."

"You could have stayed at Althenea’s."

"No, Mary is there, and I don’t want to cramp Althenea’s style. And as for
the slayer dorms, the ones off duty get a bit rowdy. Either way, I’m not
sleeping, so I might as well be here."

After a brief silence Kennedy said, "I gotta ask…Don’t you think it’s odd
that Al’s with a woman who’s a dead ringer for Ro?"

"What do you mean?" Willow asked.

"You can’t see the resemblance?"

"No, well, yeah I do see it, but I’m not sure why that matters," Willow

Kennedy stopped walking, but Michelle from their group continued.

"I’m going to check out this alley," Michelle said.

Kennedy nodded her approval and then turned to Willow.

"Well, let’s say that Faith had a carbon copy sister. I mean someone who
looks even more like her than Hope does," Kennedy started. "I just think
it would be…I don’t know…weird to date someone that looked like my
best friend since I don’t have the hots for Faith. Every time I’d kiss her, it
would feel like I’m kissing Faith, ya know?"

"So you’re saying that Al has a thing for Ro, and since she can’t have her,
she’s dating her sister?" Willow asked.
Kennedy shrugged. "Have you ever asked Al why she’s with Mary? I know
one of the first things I’d ask is, ‘Why are you dating someone who’s
identical to my wife?’"

"You’re crazy," Willow chuckled.

"Okay, then why is she dating Mary?" Kennedy asked as she put her
hands on her hips, waiting for an answer. "Al’s a beautiful woman. She
could have any lesbian in London, so why pick bi-curious Mary all the
way from Canada?"

Willow opened her mouth and then closed it. Finally, she replied, "I don’t
know," as if she were thinking about it. "She didn’t really say, actually."

Cut To:
London – Alley – Same Time

Michelle led the team down the alley. She looked around like she was
sensing something.

"Awww," she heard a slayer say behind her. "Hey, little guy. Are you

Michelle turned around to see one of the slayers picking up a stray rag-
doll kitten. Suddenly, her eyes went wide. "Put that thing down!" she

"Why?" asked the slayer who was holding the baby cat in her hands.

Suddenly, it began to grow quickly in size, and morph, as she dropped it
on the ground.

"Backup," Michelle said into the walkie-talkie. "We need backup!"

Cut To:
London – City Street – Same Time

"Plus," Kennedy continued, "you said Al’s never really had a steady girl.
So why is she still single after all these years?"

Again, Willow considered it. "I don’t know," she repeated.
"I do," Kennedy replied. "She’s got a thing for your wife." Kennedy began
to walk again when she heard Michelle call over the radio. She and
Willow raced toward the growing commotion in the alleyway.

Cut To:
London – Alley – Same Time

The slayers began to form a circle around the creature that now
resembled a were-wolf, but in a much smaller form, like the size of a
large dog.

"Where did that come from?" Kennedy asked.

The slayer who picked it up shook her head. "Bloody hell if I know. It was
a kitten, and then bam – we got a wolf."

Kennedy raised her gun and tried to take aim, but she didn’t want to fire
for fear of hitting the slayers behind it.

"Move!" Kennedy said, motioning them away so she could take the shot.

As the slayers moved away, Kennedy took aim. She squeezed the trigger
just as another figure leapt down from the building above them.

"Owwwww," Kadin yelled as she fell forward on top of the wolf. She pulled
out her silver-tipped stake and drove it into the wolf’s heart, killing it

"Kadin!" Kennedy yelled. "Someone get the medic!" she ordered as they
raced over to Kadin, who was now lying on her stomach in the alley.
Kennedy fell to her knees. "Kadin, can you hear me? Stay with me,

"Son of a bitch!" Kadin yelled. "You shot me in the ass!"

"Where?" Kennedy asked as she began to feel up Kadin’s upper leg.

"Owww! Stop it!" Kadin said, batting her hand away. "I can’t believe you
shot me in the ass."

"What the hell!" Kennedy yelled
back. "Who do you think you
are? Spiderman? You just fall
out of the air in front of me
when I’ve got a gun. What in the world did you expect?"

"I expected to kill the were-kitten, that’s what," Kadin replied, looking
over her shoulder.

"Here," Kennedy said, reaching for her shoulders. "Let’s get you up."

"I’m perfectly uncomfortable right here, thanks," Kadin told her. "If I roll,
I’ll be on my butt and in more serious pain…Damn, this is going to be a
long plane ride home with a sore ass." Kennedy began to chuckle and
tried to hide it with her hand. "Yeah, keep laughing, Ken. Let me use
your butt for target practice and see how you like it…Son of a bitch," she
swore again.

"A were-kitten, huh?" Michelle said. "I thought they only came in human
form," she added.

"No," Kadin said through gritted teeth. "Like a vampire, any creature can
be turned into a demon of the ‘were’ variety. Kittens too, but they usually
don’t survive the attack." She turned to Kennedy. "And, although you’re a
bit trigger-happy, it’s good you looked down this alley."

"Michelle came here," Kennedy said. "I had nothing to do with it."

Kadin turned her head back to Michelle. "Then good work, kid," she told

"Thanks!" Michelle said proudly.

The medics arrived, and one of them asked, "What happened?"

"My girlfriend’s causing me a pain in the butt, literally," Kadin told them.

"I kinda shot her...a little," Kennedy admitted.

"A little?" Kadin replied. "How do you shoot someone a little?"

"It was an accident," Kennedy replied and then turned to the medic.
"Think you’ll be able to save her butt?"

"Oh, funny, Ken," Kadin replied.

The medic smiled. "We’ll do our best," he answered.

Cut To:
London Watchers Council – Hallway Outside Infirmary – Later

Willow and Kennedy sat next to each other as the doctor came out. Both
women got to their feet.

"She’s going to be fine," he said. Kennedy sighed in relief, and Willow
grinned. "If the bullet had gone elsewhere, well…let’s just be thankful it
didn’t. She’ll be sore for a while but with antibiotics to ward off infections
she’ll be all right."

"Can I see her?" Kennedy asked.

"Certainly," he replied. "She said she’s not done teasing you yet."

Kennedy grinned and held out her hand, "Thanks, doctor." She then
turned to Willow. "I’m going to…"

"Go on," Willow told her. "Give Kadin my best. I’m going to try to find a
place to sleep…finally."

As Kennedy walked into the room, Willow saw Althenea rushing toward
her down the hall with Mary following behind her.

"Oh, thank God," Althenea said. "Robson told me someone got shot on
your patrol, but he didn’t have any more details."

"It's okay. Kadin took a silver bullet in the keister thanks to Ken, but
she’ll be fine," she said with a smile.

"Oh, good," Althenea said short of breath.

"Have a seat?" Willow said as she motioned to the sofa.

"Everyone’s okay?" Mary asked as she arrived, taking a spot next to

"Yep, just a little sore," Willow told her. "Nothing too serious."

Willow then stared at Mary for a long moment.

"What?" the woman finally asked, nervous under the witch’s stare.

Willow grinned and waved her hand. "Nothing. I was just noticing how
much you resemble your sister," she said before turning to Althenea.
"Speaking of which, we’re all heading out tomorrow."
"Then come stay with us
tonight," Althenea told her.

"You guys are busy," Willow
waved her off again.

"Willow," Althenea began. "You
took time out of your busy life
to see me. You left your wife
and kids to see me."

"Again, not that I don’t love
you, but it was my wife’s idea."

"It doesn’t matter how you got here. The point is you did, so give me…"
She paused a moment and continued with a wave to Mary and said, "give
us at least one night here."

"I’m really tired, guys," she admitted.

"A cup of hot cocoa and off to bed? How’s that sound?" Althenea offered.
"Then in the morning we can grab some breakfast before you leave."

Willow grinned. "It’s really hard to say no to you. Do you realize that?"

Althenea smiled as she stood up. Mary followed.

"It’s part of my charm," she said, putting her arm around Willow and
taking Mary by the hand. She started to lead them both down the hall.

Cut To:
New Mexico – Motel Room – Later

Andrew strolled through the open doorway of the team’s motel room and
was met with a crushing hug by Shannon. "Andrew!" she exclaimed.

"Can’t…breathe," he gasped.

"Sorry." She let go. "I thought
you were dead."

"We were really worried," Dawn
agreed. She was sitting on the
edge of one of the beds; Skye
was lying down behind her and
once again staring at the ceiling. "We were just about to come to rescue

"I wasn’t," Skye put in.

"From where?" Andrew asked.

"That’s what I told them," Skye agreed.

"We hadn’t worked that out yet," Shannon said. "What happened?"

"Yeah, where did they take you?" Dawn asked.

Andrew opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by a knocking
on the open door frame behind him. He turned to see Tracey standing
there, suitcase in hand.

"Hey," she said. "It’s me. And it’s not even completely dark yet on New
Year’s Eve."

Andrew couldn’t say anything just then.

Cut To:
New Mexico – Desert Near Artesia – Night

Tracey drove her car, its convertible top pulled down, out over a dirt road
in the middle of the scrub. Andrew sat in the seat next to her, silent. He
wasn’t quite looking at her, though occasionally he would steal glances.

After a while, Tracey pulled the car off the road. She craned her neck
upwards, looking towards the sky.

"I grew up in the city," she said. "I love it…well, I know I love that there
are malls, movie theaters, all-night convenient stores, all within a ten
minute drive. But…the stars in the city are never this bright. It’s like,
transcendent, or whatever." She suddenly turned to face Andrew. "So,
what’s the deal?"

"What?" Andrew asked,

"You’ve been totally weird since
I got here," Tracey said. "At
first I thought you were just
basking in my beauty,
but…something’s bothering you, and you can tell me."

Andrew looked up at the stars for a moment, then back at Tracey. "I’m
not sure if I can do this."

"Do what?" Tracey asked, a hint of exasperation showing through in her

"This," Andrew repeated, pointing between him and Tracey. "Or, more
specifically, all the parts other than this, where we’re a thousand miles

"Andrew," Tracey began, "long-distance relationships can be hard, but it
doesn’t mean—"

"I know about the other guys," Andrew butted in.

Tracey’s mouth fell open in shock.

"You know," Andrew continued, "Roger. He’s probably not the only one, is
he? I mean, it makes sense; you always were more involved in that kind
of stuff than I was and…"

"Andy," Tracey interrupted. "It’s been a really rough couple of days. I
have been on the road for most of it. It’s late, and I’m tired…and I am not
cheating on you. Who…who told you that?"

Andrew looked at her for a long second. Then he ran his hands over his
face and sighed. "I—I don’t know. I just can’t stand being away from you
so much. It’s like when a vampire doesn’t get enough blood, and he gets,
you know…insane."

Tracey smiled a little. "So, in this analogy I’m blood?"

"I’m not thinking straight right now," Andrew told her.

Tracey reached out a hand and rested it on Andrew’s knee. "I feel that
way sometimes, too. I’m used to knowing what’s going on with you all the
time. Now I get home from class and wonder who I’m going to talk to
about stuff."

"You can always call me," Andrew assured her. "We have the

"Yeah, but I don’t want to be stalker girl," Tracey told him.
"I really don’t mind," Andrew said.

"I know." Tracey leaned over and gave Andrew a lingering kiss on the
mouth. When she pulled back, she glanced at her watch. "Two minutes
to midnight, we’re early. Oh, well." A wicked smile appeared on her face,
and she pulled open her shirt in a brisk motion. "Now get in the back
seat, and do me."

"Ma’am, yes, ma’am!"

Cut To:
New Mexico – Desert Near Artesia – Moments Later

Andrew and Tracey moved together
in the back seat of the car, covered
by a blanket against the night chill.

"Happy… New Year… Andrew,"
Tracey managed between gasps.

"Happy New Year, Tracey," Andrew

They were too busy to notice the
three strange balls of light that moved towards them with incredible
speed. The balls of light passed through the sky directly overhead,
bringing a sudden brightness for a split second before passing on into
the night.

Fade to Black.

                        Special Guest Stars
 Renée Zellwenger as Mary Grace Allister and Seth MacFarlane as Roger
                              the Alien.

                         End of The Unknown

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