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Thread: Season 8 episode transcripts

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Issue #20
    “After These Messages… We’ll Be Right Back!”


    Prologue Summary: Buffy’s had a lot to deal with lately: her sister’s a centaur; she broke the heart of a Slayer; traveled through time to battle the future Slayer, Fray, and kill her best friend; and the Slayer command center in the Highlands of Scotland has been destroyed. And yet, Buffy manages to keep her cool by focusing on her duty – protect humanity from the hidden evils of the world, even as that world turns against her. Is Twilight to blame for humanity’s distrust of the Slayers? The aggression of the U.S. government? The defection of the rogue Slayer, Simone, and her band of thieves?

    Only time will tell. Until then, it’s about time Buffy got some well-earned sleep.

    Start of Issue #20

    The opening image is of Buffy in close-up. She has her scythe drawn back behind her, ready to take a powerful swing with the axe blade on it. She nearly snarls as she threatens her enemy. She’s wearing the quasi-battle armor we’ve seen her in before.

    BUFFY: You come one more inch and… things are going to get all blechy.

    The view widens, and we see Buffy standing on a rock outrcropping in a rain-soaked, mountainous area somewhere. She leaps forward and swings the scythe threw the neck of a large, red demon that looks like it could be made of stone or clay. It’s tusked head flies off its shoulders.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: You want to know what the problem with saving the world is…?

    BUFFY: Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

    We see Buffy again, still in her battle armor, but now standing in a swamp, ankle deep in water. She’s firing a crossbow bolt into a large green demon with tentacles on its face.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: You never get *any* sleep. Not even a nappy time.

    BUFFY: Can’t say I didn’t warn *you*!

    The next image is Buffy again, but now she’s in a city, perhaps New York. The rain is pouring down and soaking her as she runs a broadsword through the stomach of a demon that looks like a large lizard.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: At this point I’d settle for twenty-eight of those forty winks everybody talks about.

    BUFFY: Can’t say I *didn’t* warn you!

    And again, we see Buffy. Now she’s diving down at a vampire, plunging a stake into its chest. It starts to dust even before she finishes her joke.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Was it always this hard? And if it was, *why* is it always this hard?

    BUFFY: *Can’t say I* – (to herself, as the vampire dusts) oh, grrr, I guess I *can*…

    The scene shifts and the sun is coming up. We see a large estate, a tudor style home in a non-specific countryside. Buffy’s voice shouts from inside.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Finally.

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) *XANDER*!

    The view shifts into the room, and from above we see Buffy lying on her stomach in a double bed. She has her legs out, claming the bed for herself. She’s still fully clothed, and the mud on her clothing is already dirtying up the whole bed. Xander stands beside the bed, hands spread helplessly as he protests.

    BUFFY: What about “don’t wake me even if there’s *another* apocalypse!” don’t you get?

    XANDER: No, got that. It’s just –

    From slightly closer, we see Xander lean over the bed slightly, placing his right hand on the sole of Buffy’s boot. He’s either shaking her gently to keep her awake or considering taking her shoe off for her. Buffy, for her part, keeps her eyes closed, determined to get some sleep.

    BUFFY: What?... is it about *Dawn*? Has she turned into something *else*? Is she a giant *monkey* now? Or a giant *robot*? Or a *giant robot monkey*?! (quietly) Although… Dawny changed into a giant robot monkey I’d like to see…

    XANDER: No, she’s not a giant robot monkey. (quietly) But I’d like to see that too…

    In close-up, we see Buffy’s dirt-caked face as she holds the pillow and pleads her case.

    BUFFY: Xander, puh-lease. I’m all stinky. I’m still in my stinky clothes. In my stinky bed. So *go away* from my stinky bed and I can get some stinky sleep!

    XANDER: (from out of the view) But… that’s just it, Buf. This isn’t *your* bed you’re making all stinky…

    In extreme close-up, Buffy is clearly already asleep even as Xander keeps talking. She doesn’t hear him. But she might hear what appears to be an alarm clock ringing out to her with a *ZZZZZZ ZZZZZ ZZZ*

    XANDER: (from out of the view) … it’s *mine*!

    The scene shifts as the alarm clock goes off. But now, everything is different. The colors are brighter, Buffy’s hair is longer and blonder. The alarm clock insists, *ZZZZZZ* as a voice shouts out to Buffy from outside the room.

    VOICE: *Buffy! Get a move on! You’re going to be late for school*!

    We see Buffy waking up, but her clothes have changed. She’s now wearing a light blue t-shirt that says “Relax”. She rubs her face groggily as she wakes up.

    BUFFY: Hmm…?

    In close-up, we see Buffy’s face, her eyes half closed and her mouth a frown. But the art is different, surreal. It’s the style of an animated television show.

    BUFFY: *mmmphlug*

    We see Buffy sit up in bed, holding her head. The curved, white bed frame stands behind her against the wall as she gathers herself a bit.

    BUFFY: Um… weird much? I swear I heard…

    As the same voice calls out to Buffy, her eyes widen in recognition and disbelief. She sits up in bed immediately.

    VOICE: Don’t make me come up there?

    BUFFY: Mom… ?

    The view widens, and we see what Buffy is seeing – she’s in her room, on 1630 Revello Drive, sitting in her own double bed. Her mother’s voice calls out again, now warning her.

    JOYCE: *Buffy! Are you listening to me*?

    BUFFY: (to herself) Okay, now we’re just being cruel…

    Buffy flips over in the bed, face down, and holds the pillow over her head.

    BUFFY: Dream, dream, go away, come again another… never.

    The view reverses, and as Buffy stares out from beneath her pillow at the wall, the silhouette of her mother fills her doorway. Another, smaller figure stands by her mother.

    JOYCE: I am not kidding, young lady.

    We see Joyce as she looked years before, dressed for work at the gallery in a calf-length skirt and a jacket. Behind her, a much younger Dawn, wearing pig tails, peaks around her mother to mock Buffy.

    JOYCE: Buffy…

    DAWN: See, mom, I toldja she hadn’t gotten outta bed yet!

    Buffy’s reaction is immediate – she all but screams in amazement as she sits up and looks at her mother.

    BUFFY: *Mom*! You’re alive!

    Joyce barely has time to start speaking before her eldest has her arms around her, hugging her tightly and smiling.

    JOYCE: Buffy, I don’t have time for joking. Can you just *please* get dressed?

    We see Buffy from behind as she faces herself in a mirror, hands on hips. Dawn looks up at Buffy, still grinning and picking at her.

    DAWN: *Yeah*, get dressed, lazy stupid head.

    BUFFY: What *is* this that I have on?

    DAWN: If you don’t want it, *I’ll* take it.

    Buffy seems to notice her sister for the first time, and hugs her as quickly and as tightly as she did her mother. Dawn, however, fights furiously against Buffy’s grasp.

    BUFFY: And Dawny! You’re not a giant or a centaur or a monkey robot! You’re just little, really really… when were you ever this little?

    DAWN: Mom! Buffy’s on drugs!

    In close-up, Dawn eyes her sister suspiciously.

    DAWN: I learned about them at school.

    We see a close-up of Joyce’s hand as she points a finger and orders her younger daughter from the room. Dawn frowns.

    JOYCE: Dawn, go finish your pop tart.

    In close-up, Joyce is smiling a little as she turns her attention back to Buffy.

    JOYCE: And Buffy –

    Buffy is already a step ahead of her. The view reverses and Buffy is already counting off the instructions before her mother can give them.

    BUFFY: – Dress. Eat. Books. School. Got it.

    Joyce turns away and looks at Buffy curiously.

    JOYCE: I hope you do.

    We see over Buffy’s shoulder as she calls out to her mother, catching Joyce before she leaves the room.

    BUFFY: Mom…?

    Joyce turns to look back, still wearing a curious expression.

    JOYCE: Hmmm?

    When the view reverses, Buffy is just smiling warmly at her mother.

    BUFFY: I really *am* happy to see you.

    Joyce reacts by worrying Buffy is sick. Buffy watches as her mother puts the back of her hand on Buffy’s forehead, checking her temperature.

    JOYCE: Are you feeling all right? You don’t seem to have a fever. But you have been out almost every night this week.

    BUFFY: Tell me about it. A Slayer’s work is never done.

    The view reverses and Joyce arches her eyebrow, raising her hand to her chin thoughtfully – she’s never heard this word.

    JOYCE: A “Slayer”…?

    Buffy looks suddenly alarmed as she realizes what she’s said.

    BUFFY: Oh. Right. You don’t know.

    Buffy mirrors Joyce’s own thoughtful gesture.

    BUFFY: Yet.

    Joyce looks truly confused now.

    JOYCE: I don’t know what? *Yet*.

    Buffy smiles as she thinks of a good cover, holding her finger up.

    BUFFY: Yet? Oh. Because I haven’t told you… I’m thinking about going out for girls’ volleyball and a *player’s* work is never done.

    We see from behind Joyce as she leaves Buffy’s room.

    JOYCE: Honestly, there are days, when I do not know what is going on in that head of yours. But, if you’re late again for school, you can kiss that *party* tonight goodbye.

    BUFFY: I won’t be late, okay?

    After Joyce leaves, Buffy’s face against looks surprised.

    BUFFY: (to herself) There’s a party?

    In a new scene, we see the front of the cartoon-like Sunnydale High. The school bell is ringing with a *RRIINNNNGGGGG*.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Okay, I admit that if you googled “weird” there’d be a picture of this day. I mean, this could all be the handiwork of some sleep demon – or maybe the ghost of *Ethan Rayne* has dragged me back into the dream space. *Again*. Whatever. I can *do* this.

    In the school, Buffy is moving through the hall, her hair in a high ponytail, wearing a jacket and Angel’s cross necklace.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: So what if I have to take algebra again? At least this time I know it’ll have zero value when I grow up.

    From behind, we see Buffy as she spots Willow down the hall.

    BUFFY: Eep!

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Willow. Alive! And all not evily. And me not having… (quieter) (… killed her thing.)

    We see Willow holding her books, smiling warmly as Cordelia and one of her Cordettes speak to her in the hallway.

    CORDY: Y’know, Willow, I was just thinking about you.

    WILLOW: Really? Why…?

    The view moves close, and we see the two of them, Cordy’s eyes narrowed a little as she “befriends” Willow.

    CORDY: Well, I’m sure you’ve heard about my big party tonight.

    WILLOW: Sh-sure, Cordelia. A bunch of us. I mean, Buffy, and Xander and I were planning –

    Cordy leans in so close that Willow actually hides part of her face behind her textbooks and eyes Cordy like a scared kitten.

    CORDY: – Yes, and I was talking.

    In close-up, we see Cordelia handling Willow’s long hair.

    CORDY: Don’t you think it’s time you tried something with your hair? Those bangs do so mucuh to hide your face.

    We see them in profile facing each other, the taller Cordelia looking down at Willow.

    CORDY: Just cutting it shorter or even giving it a perm. This way, we could see more of you.

    WILLOW: And… that would be a good thing?

    Cordy drives her joke home as she and her Cordettes walk away from Buffy and Willow with a chorus of “TEE HEE” and “HA HA HE”.

    CORDY: No, but you’d get a clearer picture of exactly how *hopeless* you truly are.

    The view shifts, and Buffy is already putting her hand around Willow’s shoulder as she approaches, and Willow smiles gratefully.

    BUFFY: No biggie, Will. Maybe someday *she’ll* be dead and you’ll be a *sorceress supreme*.

    WILLOW: Really…?

    In close-up, Willow looks sidelong at Buffy.

    WILLOW: Do I get to wear a pointy hat?

    Before Buffy can say anything, she shoves Willow against the row of lockers to protect her as Xander comes racing down the hallway on his skateboard.

    XANDER: One side, ladies!

    BUFFY AND WILLOW: *Xander*?!

    We see the two girls looking around a corner and at the floor following a *KRASH* that sends the skateboard flying. They both wince.

    BUFFY AND WILLOW: Yep. Xander.

    Xander is lying on the hallway floor looking dazed. Behind him, Principal Snyder has arrived picking up Xander’s skateboard. Xander raises his index finger in defiance, albeit groggy defiance.

    SNYDER: *Xander Harris*. That wouldn’t be a *skateboard* you’d be riding in *my* hallway, would it?

    XANDER: Technically speaking, *Principal Snyder*, “no.” I wasn’t riding the skateboard as much as it was riding me.

    SNYDER: You’ll get this back at the end of the school year.

    XANDER: But… it’s a *brand-new board*!

    SNYDER: Either *that board* or *you yourself* will be locked up in my office –

    His point made, Snyder turns to leave, as Xander looks watches morosely.

    SNYDER: – which is it going to be?

    XANDER: … Waugh.

    From above, we see Xander laying on his back, in no hurry to get up. We see over Buffy and Willow’s shoulders as they stand over him, although Willow eyes Buffy nervously.

    BUFFY: Look at it this way, Xander. Maybe someday Snyder will get eaten by a *huge ginormous snake* – and you’ll wear an *eye patch* and be in charge of *lots of womens*.

    XANDER: Really…? Like a pirate? Can I be like a *space* pirate? With an alien dog?

    WILLOW: *koff*Buffy*koff*!

    Buffy turns to Willow, remembering her friend’s old crush on Xander. Xander gets to his feet in the background.

    BUFFY: Oh. That’s right. You like… and you’re not… well, you probably *are*… but not…

    WILLOW: I’m not what?

    BUFFY: Yikes, open mouth. Insert whole body.

    In a close-up, Buffy thinks of a way to get out of the conversation. The animated world she occupies obligingly demonstrates by producing a lightbulb over her head.

    BUFFY: Hey! I bet there’s something *Giles* has for us to do…

    The scene shifts to night, and one of Sunnydale’s cemeteries. There’s a full moon in the purple sky.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Okaaayyy. So this is turning into my own private *Pleasantville*. Without the black and white and the Witherspoon. *Except*…

    The next image if of Buffy leading Xander and Willow through the cemetery. Buffy is casually twirling a stake on her finger. Xander watches her adoringly and carries his own stake. Willow has a laptop in her hands and looks at it as she walks.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: … Not exactly minding since I almost forgot what it was like to just be *Scoobies*…

    XANDER: I’ve heard they’re actually going to have a live band.

    BUFFY: What kind of band plays at a party in Sunnydale?

    XANDER: A sucky band?

    BUFFY: You’re going, aren’t you Will?

    WILLOW: Sure, I mean, it’s an “open party” so we could go even if we wanted to.

    BUFFY: Well, then, there’s nothing that could stop us from going then!

    The view reverses, and we see from behind the Scoobies as they find Giles standing in the cemetery. He is wearing his customary suit and holding open a book.

    GILES: Buffy. Good. You’re here.

    In close-up, Giles looks over his glasses at them, his expression very serious.

    GILES: The very fate of the world is at risk over what happens tonight!

    We see Buffy look sideways in anger, her mood highlighted by a storm cloud that appears over her head. Behind her, Willow and Xander look at each other anxiously.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Oh. Yeah. I remember *this* part. This is where *my life* gets in the way of *my living it*.

    In a close-up, Giles looks down at his book studiously.

    GILES: Now then. *The Disciples of Morgala* are fairly unique, even for vampires. Unlike most of the bloodsucking variety –

    We look down at Giles’ book, and the page has “Morgala” on it.

    GILES: – These actually worship someone or some*thing* called “Morgala”.

    The view shifts back to Giles, who frowns at the kids.

    GILES: Morgala’s exact nature eludes us and are *any* of you listening to me?

    The view shifts to the Scoobies, who clearly aren’t. Willow looks fawningly at Xander, who in turn looks fawningly at Buffy, who for her part is spinning a stake on her finger like a top and, as usual, defusing romantic awkwardness.

    WILLOW: Xander, we could walk over the party together…

    XANDER: And pick up Buffy along the way.

    BUFFY: We should all just meet there.

    WILLOW AND XANDER: (unhappily) Greatttt…

    We see Giles, grinning and holding his hand near his mouth to cover his enthusiasm.

    GILES: Oh, oh, I can’t wait. It will be such fun. What do you suppose *Harmony* is going to wear?

    Before anyone can react, we see Giles in extreme close-up, scowling now.

    The view shifts back to the kids, all properly quiet.

    BUFFY: Ulp.

    The next image shows Giles, hand raised now to lecture. For dramatic effect, lightning flashes in the sky.

    GILES: We have reason to believe that the disciples are going to complete a ritual this evening that will, how shall I put this -- *shift the balance of good and evil beyond all hope and reckoning*! Buffy, this is the exact sort of situation for which you were chosen.

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) Giles, don’t go all coronary on us –

    We see Buffy, again spinning her stake in her hand. She’s smiling with clear delight.

    BUFFY: – We’ll find these disciples of Morgan Freeman –

    GILES: (from out of the view) – *“Morgala.”*

    BUFFY: Them, too. We’ll locate their nest, and I’ll dust them like I always do.

    GILES: (from out of the view) Like you always do?

    BUFFY: Yep.

    We see Buffy’s stake fly into the air as she tosses it.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Kay, this is working for me. *Freshman year bod* with a super *Slayer brain*.

    Contradicting her, Buffy misses the stake as it comes back down and hits her in the head with a *DOINK!*

    BUFFY: *Ow*!

    We see her in close-up narrowing her eyes as she rubs her forehead. The others are silhouetted behind her.

    BUFFY: (to herself) That’s gonna leave a mark…

    The scene changes, and we see a series of images as a montage. Buffy kicking in the door to a vampire nest. In the foreground, Buffy jumpkicking and driving a stake through a robed vampire that explodes into dust. Buffy wrestling with another vampire near a large altar ringed with candles. Buffy stalking a second vampire, and spearing another with her stake. Throughout, we see inset images of Willow, Giles, and Xander as they watch Buffy work. Giles alternately smiles at Buffy’s work and frowns at Xander. Willow covers her eyes or cringes from the violence. Xander enthusiastically pretends to be providing sports commentary with a stake as a microphone.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: We found *the followers of Morgan Freeman*!

    XANDER: This is Xander Harris at the Bufflympics, and it’s a beautiful night for Slaying. Buffy cartwheeled that last coffin, and really did nicely on the dismount. Uh-oh, vamp #2 is going for the choke hold, and that’s going to cost him some points. Actually, that’s going to cost him some flesh. Two down and – the Armenian judges might take a point away for that last move, but I’d give that gal a “10”!

    Outside the crypt, we see the silhouettes of all four as Buffy strides off.

    BUFFY: So, guys, I’d say we have time to “s., s., and s.” And still get to the party.

    GILES: “S., s., and s.”?

    In a closer view, we see Xander grinning as he walks past the annoyed Watcher.

    XANDER: *Soap, shower*, and *style*, Giles. Don’t they teach you *anything* at Watcher school?

    GILES: Apparently not.

    We see Giles facing the students, who look back while he lectures.

    GILES: Now, not to put a damper on this evening’s good tidings…

    BUFFY, WILLOW, AND XANDER: Who… you?

    GILES: Ahem. While I was *most* impressed with Buffy’s Slaying capabilities – the Disciples of Morgala appear to have been worshiping *the image of a dragon*.

    The view shifts to the gang, and Buffy and Xander face each other while Willow looks in from the side as the three banter. Giles looks on from behind them in silhouette.

    BUFFY: I didn’t see a dragon. Either of you see a dragon?

    XANDER: Nope.

    WILLOW: Not me.

    We see Buffy smiling as she turns to leave, despite Giles’ frowning at them.

    BUFFY: That settles that. Let’s go, gang.

    GILES: Buffy. You have to take your role in all this more seriously.

    This gets Buffy’s attention, distracting her from the fun. She turns and looks at Giles looking legitimately offended.

    BUFFY: I’m only trying to have a little fun, Giles.

    Buffy lowers her head and rubs her forehead with her hand.

    BUFFY: Remember *”fun”*?

    Buffy reaches up in frustration and shouts.

    BUFFY: It was something I used to have lots of –!

    We see her and Giles silhouetted as they face each other. Buffy is leaning over and pointing her finger at Giles’ face to make sure he listens to her.

    BUFFY: – Before I became *”The Chosen One,”* which, believe it or not, isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

    In close-up, Buffy makes “air quotes” as she hints at her future to Giles.

    BUFFY: And someday there’s gonna be *eighteen hundred Slayers* working in ten separate squads – and *everybody* calls me “ma’am!”

    Buffy spreads her arms in frustration.

    BUFFY: So tonight I’m going to get a little taste of that fun at this party!

    Buffy storms off, Giles adjusting his glasses as he watches.

    From behind, we see Giles watching Buffy leave with Willow and Xander.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Wow. That felt good. Maybe not so much for Giles. But. Wow.

    GILES: (to himself) “Ma’am”…?

    In a new scene, Buffy is back in her room, idly fingering the cross necklace Angel gave her.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Later that same night. Hey, how often do you get to say *that*?

    BUFFY: Oh… Angel…

    JOYCE: (from out of the view) Buffy…?

    We see Joyce leaning in Buffy’s door as her daughter picks through clothes for the party.

    JOYCE: Where’s the rest of that skirt?

    BUFFY: Trust me, I’ve worn much worse.

    Buffy turns to her mother, clearly still happy to see her. Joyce looks motherly and, as usual, worried about her.

    JOYCE: Buffy, I really am trying to be understanding.

    BUFFY: Great. Can you be understanding in the morning when I’m not running late?

    JOYCE: It’s just this whole… *”party.”* Do we know anything about the people who are going to be there?

    BUFFY: Yes. They’re the people who are going to be there.

    JOYCE: You see… we haven’t lived in Sunnydale that long. I don’t want you going someplace that could be dangerous.

    This is clearly hilarious to Buffy, who knows more about Sunnydale than she might want to.

    BUFFY: Dangerous…?!

    In close-up, Joyce doesn’t see the joke. She wouldn’t, of course.

    JOYCE: I’m not sure why that’s funny.

    Buffy decides to hug her mother, to Joyce’s surprise.

    BUFFY: Oh, mom, it’s not. Actually, it’s kinda sad… there are times when I wish I could just stay and live here forever and ever… and ever… and ev –

    JOYCE: Buffy.

    Joyce pulls from the hug and smiles at her daughter, trying to reassure Buffy.

    JOYCE: You’re going to graduate high school. Eventually. Go to college. Maybe meet some nice boy. You have your whole life ahead of you. But, yes. *You can always come home again*.

    In close-up, Buffy is smiling, but her eyes look a little wistful.

    BUFFY: Right.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Sigh.

    The scene shifts, and we see Buffy walking through an alley in Sunnydale. A shadow of a man from one of the rooftops covers her, and she is looking up.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: On the way to the party, my *spider-sense* starts tingling…

    BUFFY: Whoever or *whatever* you are out there, pick another night.

    We see Buffy vaulting up the side of buildings and rooftops to investigate.

    BUFFY: I’m just going someplace, and *one* time it would be nice to get there without *vamp* dust all over my clothes.

    The next image is of the rooftop. Buffy is perched in a crouch on the head of a gargoyle and looking across at Angel. The vampire is standing on the roof, the breeze blowing his overcoat around. They watch each other as they share their customary greeting.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Dammit. I don’t need *spider-sense*. I need *Angel-sense*. Look at him. All hamdsomey. Before I knew he was Angelus. And all handsomey. Buffy, get a hold of yourself!

    BUFFY: Angel.

    ANGEL: Buffy.

    BUFFY: Well, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I have plans this evening and they don’t include you.

    ANGEL: That’s fine. More than fine.

    BUFFY: Good.

    ANGEL: Good.

    We see them in silhouette as Buffy gracefully leaps down to stand by him on the roof.

    ANGEL: I just wanted to say that word under the street that you went up against the five disciples of Morgala and took them out. Pretty impressive.

    BUFFY: No biggie.

    In close-up, Angel smiles at Buffy. A small smile, of course.

    ANGEL: No. really. Good work. Because if you hadn’t stopped them, they would’ve raised – well, that’s nothing to worry about since you did, and… that’s all I have to say about it.

    We see Buffy turning away from Angel to leave when Angel gets her attention.

    BUFFY: Thank you, Angel. And good night.

    ANGEL: I couldn’t help but notice that you’re wearing the necklace I gave you.

    Buffy quickly turns back to protest that wearing the necklace means anything – as if she really were Buffy at that age.

    BUFFY: For your information, I wore *this* necklace because it goes with *this* outfit and not for *any other reason* you might have in that undead head of yours!

    We see the two of them together on the roof, awkwardly keeping their hands at their sides or behind them.

    BUFFY: We were never really good at this. Lots of the other stuff, but not so much the talking stuff…

    ANGEL: Like… what? Exactly.

    The view moves around and we see Buffy lovingly reach her hand up to brush Angel’s cheek. Her eyes look older than his for a moment.

    BUFFY: Angel, you’ve lived for like a million years…

    ANGEL: It hasn’t been *that* long. Only a few decades… years… centuries… okay, so what’s your point?

    Buffy’s eyes looks more sad as she runs her fingers along Angel’s face.

    BUFFY: If you knew something about someone’s past… and… *future*… would you tell them?

    Angel reaches up and takes Buffy’s hand in his. He looks at her with concern as he answers.

    ANGEL: Probably not. You can’t change a person’s past. And just by telling them, you’ll change their future into who knows what.

    The two are silhouetted as they face each other, and Buffy is lowering her head as she considers his point.

    BUFFY: Yeah. Well. I gotta run. I have that party thing. Thingy.

    We see Buffy looking sad as she leaps from the rooftop. Angel’s silhouette looks on from the roof.

    ANGEL: Have fun with that.

    Buffy doesn’t land on her feet, and instead drops into a dumpster with a loud *CRASH*!

    In close-up, she rubs her head as she climbs out. Stars circle her wincing head.

    BUFFY: I’m good. Really. I’m fine.

    The next image is of Buffy walking through a neighborhood talking to herself.

    BUFFY: “So, heard you went up against the five disciples of Morgala. Pretty impressive.” Like I care what you think, “Mister-I’m-so-dark-and-mysterious-and-a-vampire-who-turns-into-the-baddiest-bad-and-makes-me-the-saddiest-sad…”

    The view widens, and Buffy slows her walk, even though the music notes coming from a nearby house tell us she’s almost found the party.

    BUFFY: Wait a second. What did he say…?

    We see a close-up of Buffy rubbing her chin thoughtfully as a thought bubble shows an image of Angel’s face. She remembers his words.

    MEMORY ANGEL No. Really. Good work. Because if you hadn’t stopped them, they would’ve raised –

    BUFFY: No. That wasn’t it.

    We see Buffy cringe as her memory of Angel tries another part of their conversation.

    MEMORY ANGEL: I couldn’t help but notice that you’re wearing the necklace –

    BUFFY: *No*!

    The next attempt to remember goes so wrong, Buffy actually waves her hand through the thought bubble to break It up.

    MEMORY ANGEL: You look very beautiful –

    BUFFY: – *He didn’t even SAY that*!

    The next try works, though, and Buffy points at the thought bubble as she realizes what it means.

    MEMORY ANGEL: Word under the street is that you went up against the five disciples of –

    BUFFY: – Stop. *Stop.* That was it. He said five disciples when there were only *three*.

    For a moment, Buffy ignores it, and we see her dancing as the music notes from the party helpfully hover around her on a yellow ribbon.

    BUFFY: Oh, I love that song. I could even dance to that song. Three. Five. What’s the diff? Maybe Angel can’t count. Maybe…

    Instead, we see Buffy scowling and mutters to herself as she leaves the party.

    BUFFY: Gah. Maybe I can get to the graveyard and back before the party’s over…

    The scene moves back to the vampire lair, and Buffy again pushes her way in. This time, though, there are two vampires inside, wearing the same robes as we saw the other disciples of Morgala wearing.

    BUFFY: I hate it when I’m right. I hate it worse when *he’s* right.

    VAMPIRE: You are too late!

    The view reverses, and we see Buffy charge forward. One of the vampires turns to fight her, but the other takes a big red jewel and runs toward the altar.

    BUFFY: No. No, that’s where you’re wrong.

    In close-up, we see Buffy stake the first vampire.

    BUFFY: I *will* get back in time for the party.

    As Buffy dives at the second vampire, it reaches the wall and shoves the large red jewel into a symbol.

    VAMPIRE: Awaken, Morgala! Awaken!

    Immediately, the crypt begins to shake and crumble. The vampire is crushed under some debris.

    BUFFY: This can’t be good.

    Before she can react, the head of a giant green dragon crashes through the stone wall with a *ROOOOARRGH*, it’s jaws open and reaching for her. The red jewel is in its forehead. Buffy falls backward as she tries to dodge it.

    BUFFY: Hey. You guys don’t worship the *image* of a dragon –

    The next image is of Buffy sprinting through the cemetery to escape. Behind her, the dragon explodes out of the vampire lair and spreads its wings, chasing after her.

    BUFFY: – *You worship the dragon of the dragon*!

    As the dragon tries to bite her, Buffy somersaults away, leaping up toward the dragon’s snout.

    BUFFY: Oh, come on. Is this the best you can do? I’ve been on better rides at Disneyland – and I’m talking *teacups*!

    We see Buffy dragged up into the night sky by the dragon, its red eyes fixed on her. She is barely hanging on to its snout. On the street below, the ribbon of music notes keeps floating from the house where the party is going on.

    BUFFY: Hey! I can see my house! (quieter) And… the house with the party that I’m *missing*!

    The view shifts, and we’re at the party. Cordy is surrounded by her Cordettes, and she’s talking about Buffy. High above, the dragon and Buffy are visible against the moon.

    BUFFY: My *shoe*! You made me lose it! I’m pretty sure dragons don’t even know what shoes cost!

    CORDY: Can you believe that Buffy didn’t even bother to show up tonight? That girl is *such* a loser with a capital “L”. She is a total zero. Less than zero. I can’t think of *one* thing that she does that is even remotely interesting.

    The next image shows Buffy’s misplaced boot falling and hitting Cordy in the head. Behind her, Xander and Willow watch, with Willow making a small fist pump.

    CORDY: *Youch*!

    In the sky, Buffy has regained her balance on the dragon’s head, and has her one boot pressing on the jewel.

    BUFFY: Y’know, Morgala, you come into *my* dream when all I wanted was to forget you fuglies – but, no, you had to rise up out of the earth and make that close to impossible. Well, the time has come to make *you* close to impossible.

    In close-up, we see Buffy pushing both of her feet against the jewel, forcing it out of Morgala’s forehead.

    BUFFY: They brought you to life by putting this big ol’ jewel into the wall –

    In a wider view, Buffy kicks the jewel free.

    BUFFY: – Let’s see what happens when we take it out!

    And the dragon immediately vanishes with a *POOF*! Buffy’s face looks out at our point of view in panic.

    BUFFY: – Or… !

    We see Buffy hit a tree and bounce through the branches as she comes to the ground.

    BUFFY: Youch! Ow! Youch! Ow! That was fun.

    Suddenly, we see a yellow light pierce in, and can hear a voice. It’s Xander’s voice, repeating what he was saying to Buffy as she fell asleep.

    XANDER: But that’s just it, Buf. This isn’t *your* bed you’re making all stinky…

    And the scene shifts back as Buffy sits up in her bed. The animation is gone, the art is what we usually see. Xander is wearing his eye patch and his grey pullover. As Buffy adjusts, a voice calls out.

    XANDER: … it’s *mine*!

    BUFFY: Xander? Look at you! You’re all patchy-eyed.

    XANDER: Yes, I know. Girls find it dashing.

    BUFFY: What girls?

    XANDER: Can you get out of my bed now?

    VOICE: What smells in here?

    The view shifts, and we see from behind Buffy as she looks toward the door. The voice belongs t Dawn. The centaur woman rests her hand on the top of the door frame and the other on her hip.

    DAWN: Oh, it’s just *you*.

    BUFFY: Says the girl who’s a horse.

    DAWN: *Centaur*.

    From over Xander’s shoulder, we see Buffy sitting up in his bed. She’s smiling at him and pointing at her sister. Another voice joins as well.

    BUFFY: Hey, look at Dawny, Xander. She’s all centaury. Not even a robot centaur!

    XANDER: Buf, are you okay? Maybe you should get some more sleep. Or, *any*> You closed your eyes for like four seconds.

    BUFFY: Huh…? What’re you talking about? I’ve been out for –

    VOICE: Buffy…?

    The view shifts, and we see Willow from over Buffy’s shoulder.

    WILLOW: I know you wanted to spend some quality time down in Sleepytown… but Andrew called in and he’s in Madrid again, and… that vamp nest looks bigger than they thought. Again.

    BUFFY: Why do you keep saying “again”?

    Buffy doesn’t wait for an answer – from a wide view, we see her leap from the bed and hug her friend tightly. Xander and Dawn both jump back at the sudden movement.

    BUFFY: *Omigod*! Look at you, Will! You’re all magicky. And gay now!

    Buffy holds on to Willow as the witch gently pats Buffy’s back.

    BUFFY: I just had the strangest dream. We were back in *high school*. And you were there. And you were there. And you were there.

    WILLOW: And Toto too?

    The view shifts, and Buffy has let go of Willow. She turns her eyes away. Dawn, Xander, and Willow listen closely, though, as Buffy describes what she remembers.

    BUFFY: All I kept thinking was how nice things were back then… when it wasn’t so complicated…. And yet… it was just the same as now. Only different. I guess it doesn’t really matter… whatever it was, it’s over now and…

    The last image if of Buffy in close-up. Her eyes are wide and resigned as she looks at her friends. But perhaps no longer as hopeless as before. Behind her, we see her memory of the animated style life she remembered – herself, Willow, Xander, Giles, Angel, Cordelia, and Dawn. They are all smiling, and all together in that memory.

    BUFFY: We’ve got a world to save.

    (NARRATION) BUFFY: Maybe Angel was right. You can’t change a person’s past. And just by telling them, you’ll change their future into who knows what. But for one brief shiny-shiny… it was great to go home again…

    That’s All, Folks

    End of Issue #20

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Issue #21
    “Harmonic Divergence”


    Prologue Summary: Twilight and his goon squad bombed Buffy’s Scottish castle, and forced the Slayers to flee their high-tech palace for more modest accommodations. Now they must reorganize and continue their fight against the forces of evil.

    Unfortunately for Buffy, and Slayer legions spanning the world, the desire to protect humanity is undermined by a sudden need to hide from it.

    Welcome to the new world order.

    Start of Issue #21

    The opening image is a close-up of a woman’s face. Blonde hair, blue eyes, wide energetic smile – it’s HARMONY KENDALL, former Sunnydale high student and current vampire.

    HARMONY: *But I want in*!

    The view widens, and we see Harmony in a small pink top and black miniskirt standing at the ropes in front of a club called “Elite”, talking to the bouncer. Lines of people fill the sidewalk on either side of the doorway.

    BOUNCER: Sorry, ma’am, can’t help you.

    In close-up, Harmony frowns as she looks down as if to indicate her chest.

    HARMONY: Oh, can you really say no to this perky pair?

    The view shifts, and rather than her own chest, Harmony is referring to a pair of Pomeranians she holds in her arms. One is brown, the other white.

    BOUNCER: (from out of the view) No animals in the club.

    Harmony turns with a sad expression to walk away. Behind the bouncer, a man in a suit with floppy blond hair and glasses steps out of the club.

    HARMONY: C’mon, girls.

    As photographers snap pictures of the man and he shields his eyes, Harmony speaks in voiceover.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Ooh. Someone famous! I’ve got urine running down my leg!”

    In close-up, we see the blond man smile for a picture, waving. It appears to be comedian Andy Dick. Behind him, Harmony is holding her dogs and staring at him.

    HARMONY: Who is he?

    We see Harmony in close-up, smiling again. An idea has occurred to her.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Here’s the thing about fame. It’s good to touch.”

    From behind Harmony, we see Andy Dick notice her, smiling with interest.

    The view moves in and he is staring openly at Harmony.

    The view shifts and Andy Dick has walked over to Harmony. In the foreground, another blonde woman has arrived, drawing the attention of the photographers.

    PHOTOGRAPHER: It’s Lindsay Lohan’s mother!

    We see Harmony smile invitingly at Andy Dick.

    In extreme close-up, we see his hand take her arm.

    They’re moving so quickly, we only see one of the Pomeranian’s look surprised as Harmony and Andy Dick slip away.

    In an alley, we see a close-up of Harmony smiling up at Andy Dick, who reaches his hands up to her face.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “I’m gonna touch some fame!”

    In the background, we see flashing lights and the *KLICK* of camera’s.

    We see Harmony lift her leg up halfway around Andy Dick’s waste as she presses her lips to his neck.

    A camera goes off with a *FLASH* and we see Harmony clearly leaning into his neck as Andy Dick stares up.

    In a closer view, Harmony pulls away. We can see the bumps of the ridges of her vampire face. Andy Dick stares at her with a drugged expression. Another camera goes off with a *KLICK*.

    The next image shows Harmony turning to look. The cameras have gotten her attention. She stares back in disbelief in her vampire face. She has blood on her lips and her right cheek. Andy Dick’s neck is bleeding, and he is nearly unconscious against the wall.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Check out how hot I look!”

    We see a close-up of Harmony’s orange eye.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Sleepy Eyes. Very Paris.”

    The next close-up is of Harmony’s hair.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Tousled hair, over the S.V.F.* Exotic.”

    EDITOR’S NOTE: We think S.V.F. means “Sexy Vampire Forehead” – Editors

    The next image is a close-up of Harmony’s fangs, and the blood dripping from her lips.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Bloodstained and also plump lips.”

    The voiceovers have led us to a new scene – Harmony, wearing a tank top and sweatpants, sitting at a desk in a bedroom. It looks like a small apartment. The room is decorated with stuffed animals, unicorns, and a poster of My Little Pony. Harmony has a computer monitor with a webcam and post-it notes on it. She is using her hands to frame her own face in the photo of her just having fed on Andy Dick. She is looking into our view, where a camera is filming her.

    HARMONY: Cut *that* guy out of the thing and it’s the best darn headshot I ever had!

    The view shifts back to the image of Harmony looking at the cameras when she’s caught with Andy Dick. We see a headline with the picture now – Hot Vamp Gets Taste of A. Dick. Harmony continues her narration.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “T.M.Z. picks it up, and E.T. has it, too. Everyone’s curious about us vamps these days. I think I fingered a zeitgeist.”

    The scene shifts, and we see the outside of a large office building.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “This is C.A.A. No one knows what that stands for, but it’s a big scary building with a hole in it and it’s full of agents. They work late.”

    Inside the building, Harmony jogs down the hall to catch a stressed looking agent leaving his office. She is wearing a pink pantsuit.

    HARMONY: Excuse me, agent?

    We see a close-up of elevator doors closing.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “A lot of guys don’t know you can get bitten but not die. When they find that out, they’re all curious.”

    In another close-up, the elevator light comes on with a *DING* as the doors are about to open.

    The next image is of Harmony daintily wiping her lip with her finger as she walks away from the elevator. The agent is smiling, reaching up to the open collar of his suit and the blood on his neck.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “He agreed to set up a couple meetings.”

    Harmony’s narration goes on as the scene shifts and we see the outside of a building with palm trees around it, the MTV Network offices. It’s night again.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “This the the M.T.V. building in Santa Monica. No one knows what that stands for either, but they do reality shows. They agreed to meet after sunset.”

    Inside the building, we see Harmony and her agent sitting together on a sofa. They’re in an office, facing four young network executives, who listen with interest as Harmony excitedly pitches her show.

    HARMONY: … And you can just follow me around, and watch my life, see me with my friends who you can cast people for and I’ll mostly be biting people at wild parties and you can call it *Harmony Bites*!

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Pitching is fun!”

    In close-up, one of the MTV people rubs his chin thoughtfully.

    MTV GUY: Hmm… I dunno. Seems like it needs a villain.

    HARMONY: (from out of the view) No, see, that’s the hook!

    We see Harmony in close-up, smiling sincerely.

    HARMONY: With me, you get a hero…

    She changes into her vampire face.

    HARMONY: With a villain built in!

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “I have a television show!”

    The scene shifts, and we see Harmony playing with her dogs while a production crew works behind her.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “I have a camera crew!”

    In her apartment, the wallpaper and curtains all bright pink, Harmony sits on a coach with her feet underneath her dressing the bite wounds of a man sitting with her.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “I have a story line!”

    We see Harmony in close-up. She stares with interest at the pages of a magazine. On the magazine’s cover, we see the headline “MTV Vamping for Time; Bad Timing for Vamps?”

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “The numbers are soft, but I think we can turn it around. We’re going to put more money into promotions. I’m going to be in *People*!”

    The scene shifts, and we see Buffy reading a magazine with Harmony on the cover. The headline is “Sexiest Girl (Not) Alive”. Willow looks over her shoulder. Both wear expressions of unabashed amazement.

    BUFFY: What the hell?

    WILLOW: Pffft. She’s no Tina Fey.

    Back in Los Angeles, we see a pink billboard with Harmony’s face on it, compete with bedroom eyes. “Harmony Bites – MTV 7pm Weeknights”.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “They even give me billboards. Old media sucks but so do I, L.O.L.”

    The view shifts and we look down from in front of the billboard to the empty lot below. The shape of several people are standing together near one of the large stanchions that olds up the sign.

    The view moves in and we see a young latina woman with a pleading expression. Her name is SOLEDAD*.

    SOLEDAD: But I want out.

    The view wides, and we see Soledad hold out her hands in front of her as the silhouettes of other young women advance on her.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I finally say it on my sixteenth birthday.

    We see a fist slam forward into Soledad’s chin. The fist is covered with rings, that only make it easier to cut her face as blood sprays from her mouth.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: The other girls aren’t taking it too good.

    The view reverses, and we see six other girls staring at Soledad in our view, all with fists raised – they’re a gang.

    From above, we see them charge her as Soledad stumbles back.

    SOLEDAD: *Ooonf*!

    One of the others in her gang shoves Soledad’s face into the concrete stanchion with a *BONG*.

    In a closer view, a white glow suddenly goes across Soledad’s entire body. She is a Vampire Slayer.

    In extreme close-up, we see Soledad turn towards her attackers. She grins her bloodied lips with anticipation.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: Well. This changes stuff.

    The view moves back out to the high overhead we saw, and Soledad is standing over the unconscious bodies of her former gang sisters.

    As Soledad leaves, she rips a hole through chainlink fence and briefly looks back at the gang.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I feel totally free.

    We see her walking alone through the graffiti covered neighborhood, her hands in her pockets.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: But I figure it won’t last.

    Some time later, we see Soledad on a different day. Her hair is up in a ponytail, and she has spotted the Slayer commercial starring Andrew and Vi in a display television in a store window.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: If I know anything about good luck, it’s that someone always shows up to take it away.

    VI: (in commercial) I can’t control my strength! And I’m having dreams that are strange and disturb me.

    We see the television in close-up as Andrew looks out into the camera.

    ANDREW: (in commercial) Dreams of being another girl, in another time?

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I’m not gonna go find them. If they want me, they have to find me.

    TIME CARD: A WEEK LATER…

    We see Soledad sitting alone on a bench in what appears to be MacArthur Park. She rests her face in her palms glumly despite the very pretty day.

    From the same view, we see Soledad look up as Andrew walks up to her at the bench, resting his hand on the back of the bench.

    ANDREW: Hi. Can we talk about your destiny?

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: Oh, crap.

    From behind Soledad, we look up into Andrew’s face as he smiles at her and raises his sunglasses. The sun is behind his head.

    ANDREW: Let us talk of the vampyrs.

    From behind the bench, we see Andrew lean in to talk to Soledad, holding up his finger in caution at her misunderstanding of vampires.

    SOLEDAD: I heard they can bite you without killing you. So what’s the harm?

    ANDREW: Oh, Señorita, you have a lot to learn.

    The view moves out, and we see them in the distance across the lake.

    ANDREW: They are without conscience! No sense of empathy, no connection to the sorrows of others! Undead soulless creatures of the dark!

    SOLEDAD: Uh-huh.

    ANDREW: They take advantage of the weak ones…

    In close-up, Soledad looks up at Andrew with her brown eyes suddenly attentive. He’s said something that resonates with her.

    ANDREW: (from out of the view) … people without protectors, people who turn toward power because they have non, and then find themselves victimized by it.

    As Soledad sits forward with her face suddenly looking resolved and eager, Andrew starts dialing on his cellphone.

    SOLEDAD: I’m in. Where are they and how bad can I kill ‘em?

    ANDREW: I’ll call Buffy. She’ll want to welcome you.

    We see Soledad holding the phone up, waiting to speak to Buffy.

    SOLEDAD: Hello?

    As Soledad listens to Buffy, it’s apparent from Soledad’s frown that she’s having trouble understanding.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: The girl talks a lot, but it’s kind of a crappy connection.

    BUFFY: (through phone) Honor… *BRFFFFF*… duty. Together… over *BZZT* death… evil candy… sometimes there are snakes… honor.

    In Scotland, we see Buffy standing in a pasture, her face looking serious as she gives Soledad her pitch. Behind her, we see Xander and Willow standing in front of Dawn. Willow is wearing overalls and looking through a book, while Xander looks on.

    BUFFY: We’ll protect you. We’ll train you. You’ll be part of a family…

    As Buffy continues the power close, we see behind her that Dawn, Willow, and Xander all suddenly look over to their left.

    BUFFY: *Togetherness! Unity! Sisterhood*!

    Back in Los Angeles, Soledad is put off, walking off and toss Andrew’s phone over her shoulder. He catches it looking completely confused by her sudden change of heart.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I understand *those* words. I’ve heard ‘em before.

    In Scotland, Buffy looks at the phone in confusion. Behind her, and completely unnoticed by her, a horse has trotted up to Dawn, who holds her arms up in front of her face as Willow and Xander try to wrangle the stallion, who clearly intends to mate with Dawn.

    BUFFY: I think she hung up.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I’ll slay the hell out of vampires. But I ain’t joining no bunch of other girls. I’m doing this alone.

    Later in Los Angeles, we see Soledad looking at the gang tattoo on her arm unhappily in the window of a clothing store.

    We see the tattoo in close-up. It’s a long dagger surrounded by two banners that say “Las Cuchillas” (Spanish for “the knives” – transcriber).

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: I don’t even like the membership card I still got.

    In a new scene, we see the outside of a tattoo parlor at night. The place is called “Do You Ink I’m Sexy”, and we hear Soledad’s voice from inside.

    SOLEDAD: (from out of the view) Can I see?

    We see her tattoo again in close-up, but now the gang name is gone, and the blade is surrounded by a large rose bush.

    We see Soledad smiling warmly as she looks at her tattoo.

    SOLEDAD: Better.

    The view shifts, and we see Soledad sitting up and looking at herself in a small mirror as the door to the tattoo parlor opens. Harmony, wearing pink slacks and a pink jacket with white fur trim, leads her reality TV crew into the shop. She leads someone else, too.

    HARMONY: Ooh! Clem! Look at this place! It’s so authentic and grubby!

    We see the demon himself, his floppy skin and ears, and a bright smile. He’s holding three of Harmony’s Pomeranians.

    CLEM: Very downward-spiral chic.

    In close-up, Soledad frowns as she looks at the new comer. One of Harmony’s crew stands next to her, leaning in to converse.

    SOLEDAD: What the pink hell is *this*?

    CREWMEMBER: It’s Harmony. You know her show, *Harmony Bites*, right?

    SOLEDAD: Um… no.

    CREWMEMBER: That’s okay. It’s probably not gonna make it. Reality show about a vampire, only nothing much ever happens.

    The view reverses and we see Harmony studying tattoo designs on the wall. These amusingly include the “Buffy” logo, Angel’s tattoo, Faith’s tattoo, and the Twilight symbol. Clem stand behind her, encouraging her. Behind them both, Soledad crosses her arms and stares.

    CLEM: Are you getting a tattoo? You should get a tattoo.

    SOLEDAD: (to the crewmember) A vampire?

    In close-up, Harmony looks indecisive as she stares at the patterns. One of her assistants points at the tattoo he likes.

    HARMONY: I dunno…

    ASSISTANT: Everyone likes a flaming flying skull.

    As Soledad continues to scowl beside the crewmember, Clem frowns as he pulls a huge section of his loose skin away, looking for a tattoo.

    CLEM: I have a little cartoon duck… somewhere…

    SOLEDAD: (to crewmember) So, um, what if I wanted to talk to Harmony alone?

    We see the crewmember in close-up as he studies his notes. Soledad is still staring at Harmony, who is obliviously looking at the patterns. Clem pulls his skin out in a different direction, apparently still looking for his duck tattoo.

    CREWMEMBER: I dunno about alone, but we shoot at a rented house, up in the hills. You can come on by if you want. We need hot extras for a party scene tonight.

    In extreme close-up, we see a small smile on Soledad’s face as she forms a plan.

    SOLEDAD: I like a party.

    The scene shifts, and we see the outside of a large mansion with dozens of party-goers walking toward it.

    The next image is of Soledad having her purse searched at the door. She’s wearing a low-cut ****tail dress, looking slightly out of place.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: Seems funny to me. Security working a party where everyone’s hoping to get bit by a monster.

    The bouncer holds up a wooden stake he found in Soledad’s purse, eyeing it and her dubiously.

    (NARRATION) SOLEDAD: But still, they’re not happy with a footlong piece of splintered lumber.

    We see Soledad walk into the party. Other young women approach her, noticing the bandage over her new tattoo.

    PARTY-GOER: Nice… that a bite?

    SOLEDAD: What? Oh, no. It’s not a bite.

    The view shifts, and we see the party-goer leaning in very close, too close to be polite, in Soledad’s face. The Slayer scrunches her face uncomfortably.

    PARTY-GOER: Oh. Maybe you’ll get lucky tonight, though. It’s fun when it happens. It’s like, you feel weaker, but you feel like that’s okay.

    As the view shifts, we see the show’s director holding a megaphone at the top of a decorative set of stairs in the mansion’s lobby.

    DIRECTOR: We’re gonna bring in Harmony and some of the major players in a little bit, but first we’re gonna shoot you guys just having a good time, okay? Now, the music’s gonna be loud until Harmony comes in, then it’ll be real soft so we can hear whatever she might do…

    In close-up of the director, we see music notes on the page to show that they’ve started filming party shots.

    DIRECTOR: … now *Party! Whoo*!

    Partygoers accommodate him, as music notes dance across an image of young men and women dance sensuously.

    The notes get smaller as the music tapers off, and in close-up, Soledad holds a drink, but looks up and around for a new weapon.

    SOLEDAD: Girl’s around here somewhere, and I need a stake…

    The next image is a close-up of Harmony and a male date with a small goatee arriving. Harmony is wearing a yellow dress and holds one of her Pomeranians.

    HARMONY: It’s my party and I can have more than one date if I want to!

    DATE: But I want to be something special to you! Come on, turn me into a vampire like you and we can be together forever!

    HARMONY: I don’t know if you deserve that.

    From the lobby floor, we see Harmony and her date at the top of the steps. The director calls out instructions from the balcony. Soledad ignores him, looking around urgently.

    DIRECTOR: Don’t look at her. Don’t look into the camera. Come on, keep dancing!

    SOLEDAD: A stake… a stake… something has to be wood.

    We see one of the production assistants taking a drink, holding one of the wooden slats used to indicate the start of a take.

    In extreme close-up, we see Soledad’s hand reach in and grab the wooden slat from the assistant.

    ASSISTANT: *Hey*!

    Soledad rips a jagged piece of wood off the filming sign with a *SKPLINTA* and looks up the steps.

    From above we see her hit the bottom of the steps running. At the top, Harmony steps back, realizing she’s under attack.

    The view shifts, and Harmony drops her Pomeranian. The dog lets out a confused bark as it falls.

    DOG: *Yiip*?

    Without breaking stride, Soledad swats the dog aside. Harmony covers her mouth.

    With a loud *GLOMM*, the dog lands on Clem’s head with a look of relief, digging its paws into his skin.

    CLEM: *Ow*!

    At the top of the steps, Soledad tackles Harmony with a loud *THOMP*. She loses her grip on her makeshift stake as she shoves Harmony’s face into the floor.

    HARMONY: *Oomff*.

    We look down as Soledad slams Harmony’s face into the floor again with a *KRAK*, drawing her fist back.

    The view reverses, and as Soledad pulls Harmony’s head back by the hair, we see she’s in game face, her face angry. Soledad is about to punch her in the back of the head.

    SOLEDAD: Dirty stinking bloodsucker. These are *kids*!

    From above, we see the TV crew has circled around the fight, snapping pictures and even holding a boom mike over them. Soledad is distracted, looking around.

    It’s what Harmony needs. She shoves her left elbow up into Soledad’s gut, doubling her over.

    From above, we see Harmony throw a back punch that knocks Soledad away from her with a *CHONK*! Soledad’s stake is on the floor in front of the vampire.

    In extreme close-up, we see Harmony’s fingers close around the weapon.

    As Harmony tries to get up, holding the stake, Soledad kicks her in the face with a *KRAK*. Blood flies from Harmony’s lips.

    Harmony breaks through the balcony rail and falls to the main floor.

    We see her fans staring up in concern.

    Harmony’s voiceover starts again as she adjusts in mid-air and lands on her feet in a crouch.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Oh, my achin’ ankles. I’m terrified. This girl is clearly a Slayer.”

    As Harmony cowers, holding the stake up in front of her, we see Soledad diving down at her from the balcony.

    The next image is an extreme close-up as Soledad’s eyes go wide in pain. She impales herself on her own stake in Harmony’s hand with a blood-dripped *SHHURK*.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “People are gonna like Slayers, right? This could really hurt my show.”

    Harmony holds the dead or dying Slayer up in front of her, and bites down on her throat as Soledad’s head hangs to one side.

    HARMONY: *Snnnrrrrl*…

    We see the same image of Harmony killing Soledad, but it’s on a monitor in a production truck, as the scene is filmed by MTV.

    HARMONY: (through monitor) *Snnnrrrrl*…

    Somewhere else, we see Andrew and a group of Slayers watching a TV, their faces all horrified.

    HARMONY: (through television) *Snnnrrrrl*…

    ANDREW: That’s not entertainment!

    In Scotland, we see the Scoobies gathered around a TV. Even Dawn is there, crouching in the center of the room. On the couch, Xander and Willow have been braiding her tail. Buffy is on the phone. All of them are watching Harmony kill Soledad on television.

    BUFFY: Oh my God.

    HARMONY: (through television) *Snnnrrrrl*…

    WILLOW: Variety.com says it’s making ratings history and setting download problems.

    The scene shifts back to the same MTV office where Harmony pitched her show. Her agent stands behind her as she sits on the couch. All the MTV people have bandages covering bites on their neck.

    MTV EXEC: *And* it made M.T.V. the highest-rated cable network last night, and second overall, trailing only *American Idol*. It’s a phenomenon! All the show needed was a villain!

    The view reverses, and Harmony turns her head into our view as the exec tells her how he sees the show. On a whiteboard behind him, four new vampire themed shows ideas are written up there – “Who Wants to Be Sired?”, “Flavor of Blood”, “Undead Chef”, and “Project Vampire”.

    MTV EXEC: And now we have thousands of them. We’re doing some investigating, but it seems like there’s a whole Slayer army. Very organized, very violent. Best villains since the Nazis! Better!

    HARMONY: *Yay*!

    In close-up, we see Harmony’s face smiling brightly.

    HARMONY: (voiceover) “Better than Nazis! Can you feel the zeitgeist? It’s all tingly!”

    The next image is of Buffy, looking tense as she watches something, talking on her cellphone.

    BUFFY: What the hell is wrong with people?

    On the other end, Andrew watches a television, holding his own phone.

    ANDREW: People suck. Ooh. Anderson Cooper.

    The next image is of the CNN anchor, Anderson Cooper, in close-up.

    COOPER: *Slayers*. What is this shadowy organization? We’ve done some *digging*. They say they’re our protectors, as fighter in some grand battle against “evil”. But who decides what is evil? And, some are asking who protects us from *them*? Keeping us honest tonight, our guest, television personality Harmony Kendall.

    The view shifts, and we see Cooper leaning across his desk to talk to Harmony, who is sitting in a chair holding a white Pomeranian.

    HARMONY: You promised to introduce…

    COOPER: And her dog, Queen Puffles of Pomerania.

    In Scotland, Buffy is still talking to Andrew on the phone. Willow holds her hand up to her mouth in disbelief. Xander and Dawn just watch the television behind them. All of their faces reflect real worry over what they’re hearing.

    ANDREW: (through phone) Did you hear Anderson Cooper on the T.V.?

    WILLOW: Buffy, it seems like the world doesn’t know we’re the good guys.

    BUFFY: No. They do. They have to. Right? They can tell who’s wearing the white hats.

    The last image contradicts Buffy in truly worrying fashion. We see a close-up of Queen Puffles. She stares inscrutably, wearing a white cowboy hat.

    End of Issue #21

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Issue #22
    “Swell”


    Prologue Summary: Twilight and his goon squad bombed Buffy’s Scottish castle, and forced the Slayers to flee their high-tech palace for more modest accommodations. Now they must reorganize and continue their fight against the forces of evil.

    Unfortunately for Buffy, and Slayer legions spanning the world, the desire to protect humanity is undermined by a sudden need to hide from it.

    Welcome to the new world order.

    Start of Issue #22

    The opening image is a close-up of a man’s face. He is hanging upside-down and screaming, with blood all over his face. Behind him, we see sparks and fumes and broken glass. He’s yelling in Japanese.

    MAN: Uwa! Kaijuu da! Dare ka tasukete!

    VOICE: “What’s he yelling?”

    The view widens and we see the man is still strapped into the seat of a wrecked armored car, hanging upside down. On top of the wreck, two Slayers look down – Satsu, recognizable in her trendy clothes and with her katana across her back, and another Slayer, who crouches down to look down at the man. A crowd of people looks on.

    SATSU: “Monster. Big #%&@ing monster.”

    SLAYER: Uh… how big?

    Before Satsu can answer, we see her lifting her wrist toward her mouth to speak into a communicator of sorts – someone is calling her.

    VOICE: (through radio) *Satsu! Target acquired! Bearing north-northeast*!

    SATSU: Steer him away from the *crowds*! Force him towards *the bridge*!

    VOICE: (through radio) *Copy – UFFF*!

    We see the two Slayers leap down from the truck wreckage as they prepare to give chace.

    SATSU: Check on Ayumi. Tell her try ducking next time.

    SLAYER: What’s your plan?

    In extreme close-up, we see Satsu has drawn her blade as her answer, grinning almost viciously. The face of the other Slayer is reflected in the polished steel of Satsu’s katana, looking almost disturbed.

    SATSU: Blood. Screaming. The usual.

    The scene shifts, and we see a long suspension bridge, apparently in Tokyo. From the distance, we can see it’s full of traffic.

    (NARRATION) UNKNOWN: Oh crap…

    The unknown narrator is revealed as we see a close-up of a demon’s legs as it runs up the suspension cables on the bridge. It holds a bag by its side with the name Santorio Corp. on it.

    (NARRATION) DEMON: Oh crap oh crap oh –

    The demon’s panic is interrupted as we see a close-up of its arm being cut off with a *SSLLUPK* and a spray of green blood.

    (NARRATION) DEMON: Crap!

    In a wider view, we see the demon’s arm, which was holding the bag, flying off with a *SLIIICE* as it bellows in pain.

    DEMON: *ARRRHHHHHWWWW*!

    The view widens again, and we see it is Satsu who has attacked it, but even as the demon grabs at its stump to stop the bleeding, it swats Satsu back with its tail with a *KLUDD*.

    SATSU: *UFFF*!

    Before the demon can try to attack her again, though, we see a close-up of its face widen as its sudden electrocuted with a *ZZRA* and blue energy coming down and running over it.

    The next image shows a new arrival – another Slayer, parachuting in, with a high tech rifle/blaster similar to the one Buffy used in 8.01 in her hand. It’s Kennedy.

    SATSU: (from out of the view) Kennedy?!

    We see from above as Kennedy lands next to the unconscious demon while Satsu gets to her feet.

    KENNEDY: You see the *tail* on that thing? Momma! You should try *ducking* next time.

    SATSU: What are you doing here?

    From beside the unconscious demon we look up to see Kennedy and Satsu as the former removes her chute and the latter stands with her hands on her hips as if annoyed.

    KENNEDY: Just in the neighborhood. I thought I’d drop in and electrocute a whatever-the-hell-that-was.

    SATSU: Buffy sent you, didn’t she?

    The view moves to show them facing each other, and as Satsu crosses her arms unhappily, Kennedy opens hers sympathetically.

    KENNEDY: Satsu, you were promoted to cell leader like two minutes ago. Standard op to run a performance review. Especially since your report on the Korean incident was beyond vague.

    SATSU: If Buffy wants to review my ass, she can do it herself. Won’t be the first time.

    Kennedy drops sympathy and points a finger directly in Satsu’s face. The less-experienced Slayer slouches, as if sulking. Behind them, the demon has regained consciousness and is getting back to its feet.

    KENNEDY: Don’t be a brat, slinky. That’s my profession, and I don’t like amateurs crowding me.

    DEMON: …GRRR

    The view shifts quickly as Kennedy and Satsu simultaneously side-kick the demon away from them with a *KLUDD*. The demon is flying too suddenly to do anything but seem confused.

    DEMON: *GRRR*?

    We see the demon drop into the water from atop the suspension tower as Kennedy and Satsu resume arguing. The demon’s severed arm lays at their feet, with the bag.

    SATSU: Buffy sends the *other lesbian Slayer* to check up on me, and I’m the one you’re yelling at?

    In a closer view, Kennedy puts a hand up, in protest this time. Satsu just looks down, losing her anger.

    KENNEDY: Look, Buffy didn’t send me, okay? I volunteered.

    SATSU: Because you’re the other lesbian.

    KENNEDY: Because I wanted you to know you’re not the only fool to ever wrinkle the sheets with a straight girl.

    From above, we see Satsu immediately crouch down to retrieve the bag. Kennedy crosses her arm and watches.

    SATSU: It wasn’t just wrinkles. It was true love.

    Satsu strides down the suspension cable with the bag over her shoulder, trying to ignore Kennedy. Kennedy follows her gamely, still talking.

    KENNEDY: Yeah, yeah, everybody knows the story. Your kiss brought Buffy out of a mystical coma. But Sleeping Beauty wasn’t gay. And neither is Buffy. Despite recently taking a skinny dip in that pool.

    In a close-up, we see Satsu saucily **** an eyebrow as she refreshes the gloss on her lips – presumably cinnamon.

    SATSU: It was more than a dip. It was a plunge. A big, wet –

    The view widens again and we see the small silhouettes of the two Slayers, still halfway up the suspension cable.

    KENNEDY: You had a thing, I get it! Time to towel off and face the hetero. You, gay. Buffy, *not*. My advice? Lose the cinnamon lippy gloss you laid on her and try kissing someone who can give you their heart. Not just their body.

    In close-up, we see Satsu turn away from Kennedy, looking resolved.

    SATSU: But I really love cinnamon.

    KENNEDY: Yeah, it’s great. But there are a lot of other flavors out there. Maybe it’s time to try a new one.

    From above, we see them continue to walk down the cable as traffic goes by below them.

    KENNEDY: And that concludes the mollycoddle. I was sent here for an eval, so let’s start the uation with the obvious. What’s in the sack?

    The next image shows us a close-up of the unabashed surprise on both Slayers’ faces as they look inside the bag.

    The scene changes, and we see the Japanese villa Satsu’s cell is based in.

    VOICE: (inside the building) “It’s a what?!”

    The object they found is shown in extreme close-up – a stuffed kitten, white fur with black eyes, and little fangs sticking out of its slightly frowning mouth. It wears a black vest and cape, like a movie Dracula.

    SLAYER: (from out of the view) *A Vampy Cat*!

    In the living room, we see Satsu standing amidst several of her Slayers, now dressed casually and holding the stuffed animal. The Slayer who was with her at the beginning works at a computer. Kennedy stands between them, looking amused.

    SATSU: A who what now?

    SLAYER: Vampy Cat, the new Happy Cat variant. Pre-orders are through the roof, but it’s not supposed to hit the market until next week.

    We see a close-up of the computer screen as an ad for the stuffed toy plays. The ad says “Vampy Cat! Grrr! Argh! He’ll love you to…” etc.

    SLAYER: This one must be a prototype or something. Which explains the armored car.

    Satsu doesn’t find it funny, shaking a finger in the toy’s face as she complains. Kennedy shrugs helplessly.

    SATSU: Vampires aren’t *cute* and *fluffy*! And a *kitty cat? Come on*!

    KENNEDY: Since that idiot Harmony’s reality show took off, everybody’s obsessed with fangs and lumpy foreheads. Public’s swalling their undead bull by the handful…

    As Kennedy speaks, the scene shifts and we see a human man standing in a dark room with the demon who stole the Vampy Cat. The human’s skin is wrinkled, not by age.

    KENNEDY: (voiceover) “But why would a four-armed whatchamacallit want to steal a Vampy Cat?”

    DEMON: The Slayer bitch took the bait -- *and my hand*! (quietly) my beautiful fourth hand!

    MAN: You have done well, Gunyarr-san. And you shall be rewarded…

    The view shifts and we see the human in close-up. not only is he wrinkled, but his eyes are red. Behind him, in a door way, another demon stands in shadow, much taller. It’s eyes are also red.

    MAN: … with a quick death.

    In extreme close-up, the unfortunate Gunyarr looks up at the giant demon and whispers.

    GUNYARR: Crap.

    The scene shifts back to the Slayer base, at night. We see the Vampy Cat sitting abandoned on a bench.

    The next image shows the Vampy Cat apparently moving, looking around.

    We see the Vampy Cat jump down from the bench.

    In another room, the Vampy Cat peers in to see two Slayers talking.

    SLAYER: Ducking is just as important as hitting, Ayumi. More. Duck, don’t get hit.

    AYUMI: That thing had four arms! I ducked the first three!

    In close-up, we see the Vampy Cat power-walk through the house.

    It slides a bedroom door open, looking up at its occupant.

    We see it scramble up onto the bed.

    In close-up, we see it standing on Satsu’s shoulder as she sleeps. It’s eyes suddenly turn red and its mouth opens revealing its sharp teeth and fangs.

    The next morning, we see the sun rising over the mountains from the Slayer base. Kennedy’s voice is heard inside.

    KENNEDY: *Yawn*. Please tell me your coffee sucks less than your beds, which, b.t.w., suck – *Oh my God*!

    Inside the house, we see what Kennedy has caught sight of. She stares cod-mouthed at Satsu, who is wearing her hair up and wearing a traditional Japanese robe. Other Slayers look on, just as confused.

    KENNEDY: What the hell are you *wearing*?!

    SATSU: It’s a furisode! Girls wear them when they come of age to show they’re single and available for marriage. My parents bought it for me. Before I destroyed them with my gayness.

    In close-up, Satsu smiles too-widely.

    SATSU: Ah, they were so right! The whole kissing girls thing? *Blechh*! Girls should kiss boys and have their babies!

    In a wider view, Kennedy leans in, staring intensely. Satsu, rather amusingly, has her palms pressed together in a formal posture.

    SATSU: Mmm, *Babies*! We should *make* some like normal girls, instead of running around hitting people all the time. I mean, why are Slayers so *aggro*! With the hacking and the chopping and the staking! We should be ashamed of ourselves, bringing so much misery into the world!

    Kennedy gently takes Satsu by the shoulders and tries to lead her away. The younger Slayer frowns.

    KENNEDY: I don’t know what the geisha’s gotten into you, but maybe we oughta mosey down to your resident witch and –

    Satsu rejects that plan by backhanding Kennedy so hard it knocks her off her feet and out of one of her shoes.

    SATSU: *Take your sinking paws off me, you damn dirty Slayer*!

    We see Kennedy has broken a coffee table and is trying to stand as Satsu quickly grabs her around the throat. Other Slayers come closer, looking very worried.

    SLAYER: *Hey*! Let’s just, uh… *hey*!

    SATSU: We’re nothing but a bunch of self-righteous little ovaries! We march around playing soldier, deciding who’s evil and who’s not. *We’re* the evil ones! And we’re going to get what we deser –

    In extreme close-up, Satsu is interrupted by Kennedy’s other, still-shod foot kicking her in the face with a *KLUDD*.

    She quickly follows it with a fist thrust up through Satsu’s chin with a *WHUKK*.

    The counter-attack doesn’t slow Satsu – her now bloody face is shown in close-up, with her eyes suddenly red.

    SATSU: That the best you got, girl-licker?

    It clearly isn’t; Kennedy, back on her feet now, drives another kick into Satsu’s stomach with a *CHUD*!

    SATSU: *UFFF*!

    From behind, Satsu is bent over, and that kick has made the difference – she vomits on the floor with a *HUUARRKK*.

    In extreme close-up, Kennedy and two other Slayers look in disgust at what’s just come out of Satsu.

    We see the Vampy Cat, covered in vomit, still snarling.

    VAMPY CAT: *I am discovered, my brothers*!

    The Vampy Cat jumps up and grabs Kennedy by the hair as she recoils from it.

    VAMPY CAT: *Use what I have given! Strike at the heart of the beast*!

    KENNEDY: *Ahhhh! Get it off me! Get it* –

    We see the head of the vampy cat fly off with a *SLIIICE*.

    As Kennedy flings the body of the thing away in disgust, we see Satsu – her katana drawn – looking around in panic.

    SATSU: *What just happened? And what the hell am I wearing*?

    The scene shifts, and we see a helicopter flying over the city. Satsu’s voice is heard from inside.

    SATSU: Oh God, my stomach…

    In the helicopter, we see five Slayers, all in tactical gear. Two are piloting the helicopter. Satsu and Kennedy talk in the back as the pilot apologizes.

    PILOT: *Sorry*!

    KENNEDY: Maybe you should have stayed behind.

    We see Satsu putting her lip gloss on again, her eyes staring ahead of her. She has a bandage over he nose from where Kennedy hit her. Kennedy watches with sisterly concern.

    SATSU: Screw that. Whole bottle of mouthwash, and I can still taste that furry little bastard. I want to hit something.

    In extreme close-up, we see Satsu’s eyes looking even more intense than at the beginning.

    SATSU: A lot.

    The helicopter arrives at the Santorio Corp. building. We see three Slayers rappel out of the helicopter to the roof.

    SATSU: Stay frosty. Anything small and fluffy movies…

    As they enter the office, Satsu’s tone changes. They are surrounded by dead humans, all wrinkled like the man from earlier.

    SATSU: … kill it?

    KENNEDY: Good thing I kicked the kitty out of you before it sucked you dry.

    SATSU: Thanks. And *ow*. Malita, get on a terminal. Fuzzy was yelling about his brothers. Find them.

    Malita, the Vampire Slayer, works at a computer terminal as the rest of the team looks around.

    MALITA: The entire Vampy Cat inventory shipped an hour ago. They’re going global.

    SATSU: Download a target manifest. I’ll notify all Slayer cells within range –

    MALITA: Oh God. Half a million of them are on a ship headed for Scotland.

    Kennedy and Satsu both instantly whirl around to look at Malita at this – both probably thinking of women they love.

    KENNEDY: *Scotland*. That’s why the little bastard climbed down your throat. To get the location of our home base.

    SATSU: Buffy. They’re going after Buffy.

    The scene shifts, and we see a container ship on calm seas, the Santorio Daikaiju.

    On the deck, we see the entire crew is wrinkled, with red eyes – all controlled by Vampy Cats.

    Elsewhere on deck, we see Kennedy and Satsu crouching together. Satsu has a hippopotamus backback.

    KENNEDY: (whispering) Sure that’s enough?

    SATSU: (whispering) If not, we’ll try Plan B.

    In close-up, we see the backback is full of explosives.

    KENNEDY: (from out of the view) What’s plan B?

    The view shifts, and we see the silhouette of one of the crewmembers standing over them.

    CREWMEMBER: Same as “A”. You die.

    Kennedy reacts by sweeping her leg out to kick the crewmember, who surprises both her and Satsu by turning to dust – he’s completely dried out – as Kennedy connects.

    We see the Vampy Cat inside the dead man turn and run back to warn the others.

    VAMPY CAT: *Slayers*!

    In a moment, Kennedy and Satsu are standing back to back, surrounded by possessed crewmembers. Their guts all begin to explode into dust as Vampy Cats burst out of them.

    VAMPY CAT: *Attack, my brothers*!

    In close-up, a small army of Vampy Cats charges the Slayers.

    VAMPY CAT: *EAT THEIR #%&@ING OVARIES*!

    The next image shows Satsu and Kennedy fighting through a swarm of Vampy Cats in the moonlight. Stuffed animal guts fly.

    In close-up, we see a couple Vampy Cats have gotten on Kennedy’s head, and her eyes widen in fear as one starts to climb into her mouth.

    KENNEDY: *Gakk*!

    VAMPY CAT: Get in her mouth! Get in her

    The Vampy Cat’s head flies off under Satsu’s blade as she saves Kennedy.

    Kennedy wipes her lip in disgust as she drives her fist through another Vampy Cat.

    We see another Vampy Cat’s guts pour out when Satsu cuts it open.

    VAMPY CAT: Get in her – *Arghhh*!

    In close-up, the wounded Vampy Cat holds its own intestines as it mocks the Slayers.

    VAMPY CAT: My death is meaningless, Slayer scum! Nothing can stop the Swell!

    We see Kennedy and Satsu both look down at the deck as it begins to shake.

    SATSU: *The what now*?

    Both Slayers are thrown off their feet as the deck plates burst up. A giant monster, apparently made entirely of Vampy Cats in the shape of one really big Vampy Cat climbs up with its fists raised, slobbering.

    MONSTER: *GARRRGHHH! We are the SWELL! We are legion*!

    The Swell looms over Kennedy and Satsu.

    SWELL: The Slayer blight will be cleansed in a sea of blood! Twilight commands it! Hail, Twilight!

    From above, we see the two Slayers staring up. Satsu fishes in her bag for a flare.

    KENNEDY: Twilight?

    SATSU: Figures a bunch of stuffed @$$holes would be working for that tool.

    In close-up, we see the Swell raise its arms to try to clobber the two Slayers.

    SWELL: *ARHHHH*! We will crush you into an annoying jelly for such insolence!

    Satsu breaks open and ignites the flare with a *FOOSH*.

    We see her stand and hold the flare in front of her. The Swell leans down, looking amused.

    SWELL: *HAHAHAHAHAHAHA*! Your think your little sparkler can abate the fury of the Swell?!

    Kennedy stands behind Satsu, looking dubious, but Satsu just hurls the flare up into the air.

    KENNEDY: Umm… giant stuffed animal monster’s got a point.

    SATSU: It’s not the sparks he should be afraid of…

    The view shifts as Satsu continues. We see the entire deck of the container ship, including the Slayers, the Swell, and the flare, through a periscope with a night vision lens.

    SATSU: It’s the fire.

    On the other end of the periscope, we see Malita looking through it on the command deck of a submarine, crewed by Slayers.

    MALITA: *Fire*!

    In the water, two torpedoes tear free of the submarine toward the container ship.

    We see them racing through the water.

    On deck, Satsu grabs Kennedy around the waist and leaps off the deck with her.

    An instant later, the two Slayers are thrown even farther by an explosion of orange flame that rips across the deck with a *BA-HOOM*! The Swell is immediately set on fire.

    SWELL: *AHHHARGHHH*…

    We see Kennedy and Sastu floating in the water as debris rains down on them.

    KENNEDY: What the hell was that?

    SATSU: Plan B.

    The conning tower of the submarine breaks through the water in front of them.

    KENNEDY: You have a freakin’ *sub*?!

    SATSU: Bunch of vamps took it from the Koreans. I took it back.

    KENNEDY: You could have mentioned that in your report.

    SATSU: Was gonna. After I got done playing with it.

    In close-up, Kennedy is grinning in delight.

    KENNEDY: Your eval’s *so* getting a smiley face.

    In a new scene, we see Buffy and Xander, both dressed casually.

    BUFFY: … all the Vampy Cat shipments have been destroyed, along with the factory they spawned from. But –

    In a wider view, we see Kennedy and Satsu standing in front of a monitor, where they are talking to Buffy and Xander by video-conference.

    SATSU: There’s a but?

    XANDER: Big buts come with the Slayer territory these days and I probably should have reviewed that sentence before unleashing it on the sensitive womenfolk. Hey, don’t we have some TiVo for these kids?

    The monitor changes to show Larry King interviewing Harmony.

    HARMONY: These “Slayers” hacked, burned, and blew up millions of fluffy stuffied kitties! And why? Because they had tiny little fangs! They hate us so much they’re killing toys now!

    LARRY KING: Well that’s just mean.

    In Japan, Satsu stares at the monitor indignantly. Kennedy stares passively, clearly more used to the propaganda already.

    SATSU: Fluffy stuffed kitties that climb down your throat! And why hasn’t someone introduced blondie to a point-head stick?

    BUFFY: (through screen) Because the last thing we need right now is to make Harmony a martyr.

    In the monitor, Buffy and Xander both look more serious.

    BUFFY: Everyone thinks we’re the bad guys. We’ll prove ‘em wrong. But until then, we keep a low profile. Like subterranean.

    We see both Satsu and Kennedy looking at Buffy in the monitor.

    SATSU: Has it really gotten that bad?

    BUFFY: We’re hated and feared more than the bloodsucking undead. And Twilight just tried to murder us all with an army of stuffed animals. It’s way that bad.

    In close-up, we see Buffy, with a little digital distortion in the image.

    BUFFY: We need to stop being whatever we’ve been and focus. Be more than human. Or the less-than is gonna win. Keep the sub handy. I think we’re going to need it.

    Without any personal interaction, the monitor switches off. We see Kennedy place her hand on Satsu’s shoulder.

    KENNEDY: Not the hey-guess-what?-you-turned-me-gay speech you were probably hoping for, huh?

    In profile, Satsu doesn’t answer, just keeps staring at the screen.

    The view shifts, and Satsu is walking out of the room, calling out to Kennedy as she does. Satsu throws something into the wastebasket as she leaves.

    SATSU: Let’s go shopping.

    KENNEDY: Shopping?

    SATSU: Buffy’s right. The world’s coming apart. It’s time to stop being who we were…

    The last image is of Satsu’s cinnamon lip gloss laying on top of the trash in the wastebasket.

    SATSU: … and get a new flavor.

    End of Issue #22

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    Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8, Issue #23
    “Predators and Prey”


    Prologue Summary: Twilight and his goon squad bombed Buffy’s Scottish castle, and forced the Slayers to flee their high-tech palace for more modest accommodations. Now they must reorganize and continue their fight against the forces of evil.

    Unfortunately for Buffy, and Slayer legions spanning the world, the desire to protect humanity is undermined by a sudden need to hide from it.

    Welcome to the new world order.

    Start of Issue #23

    The opening image shows sneakered feet running. Green Converse All-Stars. They’re Andrew’s feet, and he narrates the opening scene.

    (NARRATION) ANDREW: The thing about the Slayer organization is that we’re not just coworkers. We’re family.

    We see Andrew running full-tilt down a corridor, arms pumping, calling out for Buffy. He’s asking the two Slayers standing in the corridor, one of whom is listening to an MP3 player.

    (NARRATION) ANDREW: The bonds between us are tight and unbreakable.

    ANDREW: *Buffy! Where’s Buffy*?!

    SLAYER: She’s in the command center with Mr. Harris and Ms. Rosenberg. What’s goin –

    Instead of answering, we see Andrew in close-up looking back as he runs between the two Slayers. The one who’d spoken looks after him sharply for his rudeness, while the other drops her MP3 player in surprise.

    ANDREW: *No time!! Thank you!! I like your top*!!

    (NARRATION) ANDREW: You hurt one of us, you’re taking on all of us.

    The next image is inside the “command center” to which the Slayer referred – it’s actually a very cramped room full of much lower tech equipment than they had in the castle. Andrew bursts into the room with a *WHAMMM*! of the door and a triumphant expression. Xander, Buffy, and Willow are all engrossed in other tasks; Xander looking at a monitor and holding a printout, and Buffy and Willow looking at Willow’s laptop. Buffy doesn’t turn to look at Andrew when she rebukes him, but Willow does turn to look at Buffy, reacting to her tone.

    (NARRATION) ANDREW: It’s like our guiding principle. Nothing comes between us.

    BUFFY: Andrew, if you slam that door one more time, I will make you eat it.

    WILLOW: *Buffy*!

    The view reverses and Buffy appears to think better of it and turns in her chair to face Andrew. Xander turns to look at him as well.

    BUFFY: Sorry. That may have come out sounding harsh.

    XANDER: Forgive her. We’re up to our eyeballs, or, for some, eyeball in Harmony fallout.

    ANDREW: It’s okay. But prepare mon frère and frère-ettes, to have your day get a lot better. I just got us a lead on one Simone Doffler. *What uuuuuuup*!

    From above, we see Buffy turning in her chair as this gets her full attention. Willow sits forward in her seat as well.

    BUFFY: *Simone*? Seriously? Ever since she went rogue, she’s been off the grid. How did you find her?

    ANDREW: Not her, her lieutenant, Nisha. I usually monitor demon activity in our hot spots, and this morning I got a ping outside Milan. Seems our little Nisha’s been messing where she shouldn’t have been messing, got snared in the trap of a Ragna spider demon.

    In a closer view, we see from behind Buffy as she faces Andrew. Andrew is smiling, apparently pleased to have useful information.

    BUFFY: I’ve been wanting to find Simone. All these reports of shadowy attacks on banks, military bases, the occasional Hot Topic…

    ANDREW: Last few days, reports started coming in more frequently. Bandit gang of women, roaming the countryside, kicking people out of their homes. Vicious and cruel. But with very festive hair. Methinks ‘tis Simone.

    In close-up, Andrew’s expression turns more sober.

    ANDREW: Ragna demons keep their prey alive for thirty-six hours before feeding. Something about adrenaline being yummy. So there’s time. But there’s travel, so if we’re gonna go, I’d call it an ay-sap.

    Buffy stands, smiling, and addresses Xander and Willow while cocking her thumb toward Andrew. Xander’s expression turns doubtful.

    BUFFY: We bring Nisha back, she gives us intel on Simone’s plans before she strikes again. A win would be nice. Can you two hold down the fort while I go with Andrew?

    Xander quickly takes Buffy by the arm for a sidebar, drawing a half-alarmed look from Buffy. In the background, Andrew pumps his fist at being given the call. Willow looks on with an expression that seems almost angry.

    ANDREW: *Road trip! Sweet*!

    XANDER: (to Buffy) Buff. You sure about this? *Hours* and *hours* of travel time with Andrew? Really?

    BUFFY: Come on He’s matured. I can absolutely handle him.

    In a new scene, we see an image of a commercial airliner flying across an evening sky’s pink clouds. From inside, a voice is speaking – we’re hearing Andrew, in uninterrupted glory. We skip across his train of thought like a rock across water.

    ANDREW: … Unless the crystal in the lightsaber is made of kryptonite, because then, sure, a Jedi could totally kick Superman’s ass…

    … which is why I always thought Vanity Smurf was kind of misunderstood…

    … but the worst part was that Lee got really fat, and Dualla was probably all, *come back, Billy*, but he couldn’t come back, because he was dead, so now she was stuck with *fat* Lee, and that was *not* what she signed on for, believe me…

    … in her prison cell, reading about how fascists took over England, and the whole story is on toilet paper, but it’s not gross like you would think, it’s beautiful…

    Andrew continues, but the scene shifts, and we now look down through the night sky at a passenger train.

    ANDREW: Giles was the only one who ever had a cleric with higher strength and intelligence than my cleric, and hey, have you talked to him lately? What’s going on there?

    … so I say if you have to do another movie, fine, I get it, but who cares about *Ahnold*, you gotta bring back Linda Hamilton, that’s who people want to see…

    See, the idea is Helen Keller becomes like a secret agent for the government, right? Which makes her Helen *Killer*, get it? *Genius*!

    … and sometimes I’m just so mad at Heath Ledger, but just for a minute, then I get sad again.

    Do you think I should start dressing like Don Draper, because I think I could totally pull it off…

    Once again, although Andrew continues, the scene changes – it’s the following morning, presumably, and we see a red sports car blowing dust across the countryside.

    ANDREW: My team and I saved this Italian count once, and he was really grateful, said I could borrow his car whenever I needed it, and he’s always offering to give me private driving lessons, which I don’t need, ‘cause look how fast we’re going!

    … and Diddy looks at all the guys and says, if you wanna be making the band, then no *bitchassness*! Actually, I don’t really know what that means…

    … but why would a Jedi be fighting Superman in the first place? They’re on the same side! *Duh*!

    (sings) Jem is truly outrageous, truly, truly, truly outrageous…

    And suddenly Daniel Craig is my new favorite Bond, and I never thought that could ever –

    The view changes instantly, and we see Buffy’s eyes in extreme close-up, breaking out of what appears to have been a thousand-yard stare.

    BUFFY: *Stop*.

    The view widens and we see them in the car through the windshield. But rather than finally exploding at him, Buffy turns in her seat, finally having something to engage Andrew with, and smiling at the subject. Andrew smiles back indulgently.

    BUFFY: You said Daniel Craig. I like Daniel Craig. I get Daniel Craig. He’s so…

    ANDREW: … Gritty and real?

    Buffy points fingers at herself as she refers to similarities between herself and Craig’s bond.

    BUFFY: Um, sure. *Oh*! And that thing where’s running on rooftops and craines? I’ve done that, and I was *still* scared for him!

    ANDREW: *Right! I know*! Gritty, real, and vulnerable.

    Buffy works her hands in the air suggestively as she compliments other qualities of the new Bond. However, to this, Andrew suddenly sobers and looks out his own window.

    BUFFY: And those swim trunks. Hello, daddy.

    ANDREW: Yeah, I have no opinion about those.

    The view moves away from the car, and we see it trail away at high speed.

    BUFFY: Andrew, are we geek-bonding? You and me? Who’d have thunk?

    ANDREW: I know. *Oooh*, what about Pierce Brosnan? Did you like him?

    BUFFY: In what? *Mrs. Doubtfire*?

    ANDREW: *AUUUGGGH*! How dare you!!

    Some time later, we see the car parked at the edge of a forest, and Andrew’s and Buffy’s silhouettes as they walk into the woods.

    ANDREW: The readings say she’s this way.

    BUFFY: Timing’s odd. Simone kicking it up a notch just as the world starts getting Slayerphobic.

    We see a closer view of their silhouettes in the woods as the continue searching.

    ANDREW: Not really. Once people found out about us, it was an opportunity for *her*. People are more likely to be afraid of her now. She takes advantage of their fears, she gets what she wants. She’s a *bully*. I’ve had some experience with bullies. Growing up.

    BUFFY: Yes. I suppose you did.

    The view shifts, and we see Buffy’s face in close-up, seeing something and being clearly impressed by it.

    ANDREW: (from out of the view) The lair should be here. We ought to be seeing it any second –

    BUFFY: Um… is *that* it?

    The view reverses, and we see what Buffy’s found. Andrew and Buffy look up into a huge, random array of steaming metal pipes – like a combination of scaffolding and water plant. At the top, a woman is suspending in a pink orb, spread-eagled and apparently unsupported.

    ANDREW: Yeah. That would be a Ragna’s version of a web. Iron, steel. And the snare at the top to trap and suspend her prey.

    BUFFY: Delightful. So let’s go get Nisha down.

    We look down from where Nisha is trapped as we see Andrew and Buffy climbing the Ragna demon’s web of pipes.

    BUFFY: She alive?

    NISHA: Yes. She is.

    Andrew and Buffy reach Nisha’s perch. Andrew strokes his chin as he takes the opportunity to mildly mock Nisha’s situation.

    NISHA: And she’s kind of not happy.

    ANDREW: Well, well, well. Nisha, I see we’ve gotten ourselves into quite a jam.

    NISHA: I’m gonna get foot into quite your ass as soon as I’m free, you tiny –

    BUFFY: Is that slang for “thanks, I appreciate the rescue”? You’re welcome.

    NISHA: Whatever. Just get me down. That thing is coming back.

    BUFFY: What thing?

    Apparently hearing something, we see Buffy and Andrew in close-up as they look down, surprised by what they see.

    BUFFY: Oh, *that* thing.

    The view reverses, and we see the Ragna demon has arrived back at its web, standing down on the grass. It is a giant spider-like monster, the size of a small car.

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) Looks like Charlotte’s heading back to the web. Andrew, help me get Nisha down before that thing gets up here.

    NISHA: (from out of the view) You losers wouldn’t have to get down if you hadn’t created this mess in the first place.

    The view shifts up as we see Buffy whirl and point at Nisha angrily.

    BUFFY: *Hey*! A little gratitude would not be out of order. If not for Andrew being on top of things and monitoring the demon situation, you get eaten. It’s not our fault you fell into a – what – a Manga trap or whatever.

    NISHA: Please. You seriously believe that? Ragna demons died out in the eleventh century. But someone spent all his free time in Italy performing recombinant D.N.A. experiments to breed them back into existence. Guess who?

    We see Buffy turn and look unhappily at Andrew. Andrew looks down, reaching guiltily into the pocket of his jacket.

    In close-up, we see Andrew’s hand retrieve a remote control, which he activates with a *CLICK WHIRRRRRRR*…

    In the next image, the pink shield around Nisha fades, and she falls out of it, still spread-eagled.

    We see Nisha land face-first with a *THUNK*. Andrew (whose wearing a blue leather jacket with the Union Jack, similar to Angel’s jacket in “The Girl in Question) stares down at her, but Buffy’s already moved on from Nisha and leans toward Andrew as she berates him angrily.

    ANDREW: So… I’m thinking, does it really matter *how* we got Nisha in custody? We got her, let’s just get her back to headquarters. Here we go…

    BUFFY: You bred a dangerous demon, and lied to me about it. I think it’s salient, yes.

    In close-up, Andrew still doesn’t meet Buffy’s eyes as he continues to rationalize.

    ANDREW: I didn’t lie! I said Nisha was in a Ragna trap. I didn’t say where it came from.

    NISHA: (from out of the view, groggy) I’m fine, by the way.

    We see Andrew turn to face Buffy, but before he can continue any conversation, a sucker punch comes from out of the view and takes Buffy on the check, snapping her head around to the side with a *CRAACCK*!

    BUFFY: *NNNNH*!

    ANDREW: *Buffy*!

    The view reverses and we see it’s Simone that’s struck Buffy. She’s wearing a frankly preposterous jacket with fringe, like a classic bandleader. Her cheek is bandaged. She smacks Andrew hard on the back of the head before he can even turn to see her.

    SIMONE: You all right, Nish? We got here as soon as we tracked you.

    NISHA: Fine. Bit of a head rush. Been upside down for eighteen hours.

    From above, we see Simone standing over the prone but conscious Andrew. Nisha and Buffy are both down but getting back to their feet.

    SIMONE: And you. Not nice, capturing one of my girls, Buff. Luckily, I got a real skilled Wiccan who was strong enough to beam one person right here to the signal. “Beaming,” right, Andrew? That’s what you *Stargate* nerds call it?

    ANDREW: It’s *Star Trek*, hag. Were you not listening to any of my lectures?

    From behind Simone, we see Buffy back on her feet, holding the side of her head and regarding the younger Slayer with disdain. Simone reaches over her shoulder and begins to pull a large gun from her backpack.

    BUFFY: Nice entrance. Look, slappy-fight’s over, Simone. Come back with us before that spider thing gets up here. We can sort out whatever’s –

    SIMONE: Come *back*?! Haven’t you heard? We’re the *bad guys* now. People think vamps are cool and Slayers are the threat. Difference between you and me?

    The view reverses as Simone holds the large gun up beside her. It doesn’t look like a firearm. Behind her, the Ragna demon is reaching the top of the metal web.

    SIMONE: I *am* a threat.

    BUFFY: Come on, Simone, you really think a gun is the way to deal with me?

    SIMONE: What? This? Please. I’m not here to shoo tyou. And if I was, I’d use a real gun, not one of these toys. Gunes I like. But this? This isn’t for you.

    Simone whirls around and we see from behind the Ragna demon as the rogue Slayer fires a burst of yellow energy at it with a *PFFFFFFZZT* that stuns the demon. Andrew and Buffy look on in surprise.

    SIMONE: It’s for her.

    From above, we see Simone pulls the still groggy Nisha up to her feet and by her side. They stand over the Ragna demon’s unconscious body.

    SIMONE: Need her calm. So I can take her with us. See ya, bitches.

    We see an orange *POP*! Of teleportation.

    The view is the same, except the two rogue Slayers and the demon have vanished.

    The next image shows Buffy and Andrew beginning to work their way back down the pipes that made the Ragna’s web.

    BUFFY: You created a killer demon just to get to Simone?

    ANDREW: I wasn’t trying to kill anyone, just catch them. I used what I had available. A giant Ragna demon wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I had to think fast.

    We look up at them as the continue to work their way down.

    BUFFY: You should have come to me.

    ANDREW: No. I had to do it myself. It was my fault she got away in the first place.

    Buffy descends more quickly than Andrew as they continue to discuss what’s happened.

    BUFFY: Simone wasn’t your fault. Rona was the one who –

    ANDREW: I was Simone’s Watcher. Maybe you don’t blame me for her going bad, but I blame myself. And I had to prove myself. We both know how far I’ve come since I met you. I feel like I’ve earned your trust. Yours and Xander’s and Willow’s. This whole organization.

    Andrew jumps the rest of the way to the ground, where Buffy is already waiting, hands on her hips.

    BUFFY: You *have*.

    ANDREW: And that’s why I’m scared.

    In extreme close-up, Andrew looks down with an expression of shame.

    ANDREW: I’ve never had this before. With anyone. Now that I know what it feels like… I didn’t want it to get taken away. What if you ended up blaming me for this someday?

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) I wouldn’t.

    ANDREW: But I had to make sure. I didn’t want you to lose faith in me. So I tried to fix it.

    Buffy begins to make her way back to the car. We see her from behind as Andrew stands still.

    BUFFY: Losing an insane, gun-loving punk Slayer isn’t the way to make me lose faith in you. Lying to me is.

    The view reverses, and we see Andrew get moving.

    ANDREW: Simone has the Ragna now. If I know her, she’ll use it against people. Civilians.

    BUFFY: Can you track it?

    We look down as they arrive back at the car. Buffy waits at the passenger door as Andrew continues to the driver’s side.

    ANDREW: I equipped the demon with some genetic modifications. Radioactive isotopes. We can track them. Ironic, right? All the work I put into breeding this demon is what made you mad, but it’s also the thing that will help us find it, so, if you think about it, yay, and, also, hmm, you don’t seem to be a fan of irony, so, yeah… it’s on an island off the coast.

    BUFFY: Good. Let’s go.

    The next image shows a small jetboat racing across the water.

    On the boat, we see Andrew in close-up looking stoic. Behind him, Buffy stares wearily out at the water.

    In a new scene, we see Buffy and Andrew standing on a pier, tying up their boat. Behind them is a beautiful Italian village. The sky is orange of evening behind the hills beyond the town. As they get their bearings, a voice calls out to them from out of the view.

    BUFFY: It’s beautiful.

    ANDREW: We should totally bring the girls here for a vacation some day. I mean, after we get rid of the evil Slayers and the killer spider demon. Obvies. Are you still made at me?

    VOICE: (from out of the view) Excuse me. You’re not supposed to go in there.

    The view shifts, and from behind Buffy we see a young girl in a simple dress walking down the pier toward them.

    GIRL: No one is supposed to go in there.

    BUFFY: You speak English.

    In a closer view, the girl looks up at Buffy with a tired, scared face.

    GIRL: Yes. They taught us in school. I used to live in this village. Before the *angry woman* came. She just arrived one day. She said she was hungry, and my grandmother fed her and gave her tea. My grandmother is very kind, she does these things. But then the *angry woman* stood in the village square and told everyone they had to find new homes, because this island was hers now.

    In a close-up, the girl’s eyes are full of tears as Buffy presses her for details.

    GIRL: My grandmother yelled at her. And the angry woman hurt my grandmother.

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) Where did everyone go?

    GIRL: Most fled to the mainland. But my grandmother and I, we have nothing there. So we stayed here. On the docks. We don’t go into the village.

    From the girl’s point of view, we look up into Buffy’s and Andrew’s faces. They look sober at realizing how Simone has taken over this whole island.

    BUFFY: We’re going to go talk to the angry woman. She can’t just take your home. Someone needs to explain that to her.

    The scene changes, and we see Andrew and Buffy as small silhouettes in a plaza in the village. The beauty from the pier was a lie; the village is in shambles, with trash filling the streets, a car wrecked on a curb, lightposts and awnings torn and fallen.

    BUFFY: Looks like Simone’s made herself comfortable her.

    From behind Buffy and Andrew, we look up at the outside balcony of what is apparently an opera house in the village.

    ANDREW: Signal’s coming from this place. The opera house.

    We see a close-up of the two as Andrew carefully pushes open the outside door.

    Inside, we look down as Buffy and Andrew cross the lobby toward the house doors. “Slayers rule” is spray-painted across the entrance to the seating.

    ANDREW: Can I just point out that I was just trying to do the right thing?

    BUFFY: Seriously? This seems like the time? When we’re about to walk in there?

    The view moves down as Andrew leans against the door for a second, compelled to unload the things on his mind. Buffy stares off the side, a little impatient or anxious.

    ANDREW: We might not come out of this alive, and I want to make sure I’ve said everything I need to say to you. And now I have. Wait, no, also, now that I’ve met Angel, I have to say, Spike was so much edgier. You definitely traded up, I’m totally Team Spike. Also, I know I’m in the minority, but I liked it when you cut your hair. There. Now I’ve said everything.

    We see an image of Buffy simply staring speechlessly at Andrew.

    In the same view, Andrew breaks up the awkwardness and gestures to the door again.

    ANDREW: Well, she should be inside, in we go.

    We see Andrew and Buffy go in side by side, Buffy giving quick instructions.

    BUFFY: If we’re gonna find this thing, we’ll need some –

    The view reverses, and all hope of going unnoticed is gone. The house lights are up, and a dozen or more Slayers are scattered through the rows of seats. Up on the stage, Simone sits with a leg over a prop throne. Nisha and a few others stand nearby, her personal “court”. At least one of the Slayers holds a shotgun. Buffy and Andrew drop their arms to their sides, deflated.

    BUFFY: – lights.

    SIMONE: Nice of you to make it. Some of the girls were getting concerned about you. But I told them nothing would stop the *great* and *powerful* Buffy from riding up on her great steed. Or, as the case may be, her pathetic lap dog. I knew you couldn’t resist following me. Counting on it, really. Because here…

    In close-up, Simone sneers victoriously.

    SIMONE: … I’ve got my muscle with me.

    The next image shows Buffy and Andrew having been led up to the orchestra pit in front of the stage. Simone comes out of her throne, holding a fencing foil, probably another of the theatre’s props. Buffy doesn’t give an inch, despite being outnumbered.

    BUFFY: Give us back the Ragna demon, Simone.

    SIMONE: I don’t want to fight you, Buffster. Don’t have anything against you. Truth is, I admire you. You’re just outdated is all. That vampire stunt on T.V. proved it. Way I see it, now there are two kinds of people in the world.

    From above, we see Buffy stand arms-crossed as she listend to Simone continue to lecture from the stage.

    SIMONE: The ones who fear us so much, they hope someone kills us all… and the ones so stupid, they want to be the ones to try. I don’t have much use for either.

    BUFFY: So you think the answer is to take over an island.

    From a side view, we see Simone flex the blade of her foil by pressing the point into the stage. Buffy continues to stand, arms crossed, unimpressed. Andrew stands behind her, looking less confident.

    SIMONE: I’m powerful. Isn’t that what powerful leaders do? They annex things? I’ve claimed this place as Slayer territory. Our base of operations. From here, we can launch our attacks. They wanted us to live under their rules, now we make them live under ours. We can bring our oppressors to their knees.

    The view shifts, and from behind Simone we look down at Buffy and Andrew, and the two Slayers guarding them. Buffy’s face turns from indifference to anger as Simone continues to rant.

    SIMONE: We can be the agents of change and fear we were meant to be. *It’s who we are*.

    BUFFY: It’s not who *I* am.

    SIMONE: You know I’m right. And guess what? Andrew’s little spider friend can help. Breed a few more, we got ourselves a weapon, everyone falls in line.

    In a new image, we see a close-up of the Ragna’s expression-less face through the bars of the cage its being kept in.

    The view shifts back and we see Simone walk down the steps off the stage towards Buffy. She still has her foil in hand, but takes no hostile action. Buffy’s hands are on her hips.

    BUFFY: You’d kill innocent people.

    SIMONE: It’s a war. No such thing as innocent.

    BUFFY: I’ll stop you.

    From behind Buffy, we see Simone gesture behind her with her thumb, toward the caged Ragna demon.

    SIMONE: I’m sure you’ll try. Look, arachnophobia here is just a plan B anyway. We’re taking over, we don’t need her to do it. You want her back, you can have her.

    In extreme close-up, Simone’s eyes gleam and her expression turns cruel.

    SIMON: Just give me Andrew.

    In close-up, we see Buffy’s face looking surprised, apparently on several levels. Andrew looks no happier.

    BUFFY: *What*??!?! You’d give back the demon… for just… *Andrew*? (to Andrew) No offense.

    ANDREW: None taken.

    From the side, we see Simone lean down, showing frustration and anger now. Buffy holds her posture, hands on hips. One of Simone’s Slayers covers their prisoners with a shotgun.

    SIMONE: Yes. Come on! Someone like *him*? Was in charge of someone like *me*? In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not a fan of authority to begin with. And he’s kind of a drill sergeant, which, you know… piss off. I want my payback. Also, he’s incredibly annoying.

    BUFFY: Yeah, well, that part you get used to. But you’re not taking him.

    In a burst of movement, Buffy kicks out to one side and takes one of Simone’s Slayer in the gut, knocking her off her feet. At the same time, she reaches to take another of the fencing foils next to the stage. Andrew jumps back in surprise.

    We see a close-up of Buffy’s hand grabbing the hilt of one of the foils.

    From the side, we see Buffy leap up to engage Simone, who’s had enough time to be ready. She looks eager for this fight, despite claiming not to have a problem with Buffy. Nisha grabs Andrew from behind and pulls him away.

    ANDREW: Hey*MMMMMPHH*!

    In extreme close-up, we see Buffy’s and Simone’s faces as their blades cross with a *CLANG!* Buffy’s face is serious, Simone’s looks eager to fight.

    SIMONE: Things just got exciting. Everyone keep your distance. Buffy’s mine.

    In consecutive panels, we see Buffy and Simone parry each other’s attacks low. In the next, Simone drops to her back as Buffy slashes across where her chest would have been. Then we see Simone block forward as Buffy leaps into the air.

    We see Buffy grab a low-hanging chandelier after her jump. Simone mocks her from the ground.

    SIMONE: (from out of the view) Does that feel precarious? It *looks* precarious. And it looks like you’re trapped.

    In silhouette, we see Buffy make her next move; she uses her weight to swing the chandelier.

    The next image shows Buffy flipping clear of the light. She slashes the cable holding the chandelier as she jumps free, and we see it starting to fall as Buffy spears her foil into a stage curtain. She uses it to slow her fall to the stage with a *RRRIIIIPP* as one of Simone’s Slayers calls out to her to warn her about the chandelier.

    SLAYER: *Simone! Watch out*!

    On the floor, we see Simone jump free as the chandelier crushes several seats with a *SMASHHHH*!

    In the next image, Simone was too slow recovering; Buffy is already on her, smiling as she holds her blade point at Simone’s throat.

    BUFFY: I’ve done this longer than you. Which means I’m more experienced, so you’re done.

    SIMONE: And I’m younger than you. Which means I’m faster, so you’re f*@%ed.

    The next image continues with them in the same position, dividing their upper and lower bodies, and shows that it was Simone who was faster. Buffy has her at blade-point, but Simone has a semi-automatic pistol drawn by her hip, trained on Buffy’s heart.

    SIMONE: This one is a real gun.

    From above, we see Buffy throw aside her foil as Simone relaxes, holding Buffy at gun point with her arm straight. Nisha still has an arm around Andrew’s throat.

    BUFFY: I’m really not a fan of guns.

    SIMONE: And here I thought we had so much in common, philosophy-wise. This is still so easy. Just give me the loser. You get the demon. No one has to get hurt. Well...

    From behind Buffy, we see Simone reach across her body to yank on Andrew’s hair with a mean expression, gun still on Buffy.

    SIMONE: Almost no one.

    BUFFY: No.

    ANDREW: Buffy…

    In a closer view, Andrew’s face relaxes as he tries to convince Buffy to leave. We only see the back of Buffy’s head.

    ANDREW: The demon is what matters. I’ll stay, and everyone will be safe. I need to do this.

    BUFFY: She’s got you all twisted around, thinking you’re to blame for what she did. I told you: it wasn’t your fault.

    The view reverses, and Buffy’s expression turns a little impatient as Andrew continues to insist on trading him for the Ragna.

    ANDREW: I’m not twisted around. It’s simple logic. She’ll hurt countless people with the demon. I’m just one. The needs of the many outweigh the needs –

    BUFFY: Andrew. I’ve been hanging out with Xander for eight years. I’ve geek-bonded with him, too, and I’m familiar with the book of nerd quotes. I’m not moved.

    In close-up, we see Buffy’s face from beside the barrel of Simone’s gun. Buffy gestures at herself with a thumb for emphasis.

    BUFFY: Simone? Keep the demon, don’t keep the demon. I don’t care. I’ll find a way to stop you. But Andrew comes with me. I don’t walk away from my people. Because that’s who *I* am.

    We see Simone in close-up with her gun raised, and her Slayers standing behind her. But as she gloats, a voice calls out from out of the view.

    SIMONE: That’s a shame. See… it’s my sixteen Slayers to your *one*.

    VOICE: (from out of the view) I think you miscalculated, Simone.

    The next image shows a group of Slayers entering the theatre – they are armed with the more conventional weapons of a Slayer, but they clearly have Simone outnumbered. We see Andrew’s face as he turns and recognizes them. He is smiling proudly.

    ANDREW: *Italy squad! It’s Italy squad*!

    SLAYER: Mr. Harris said Mr. Wells was going to engage Simone, and we weren’t about to let him do that alone. He’s our Watcher. Where he goes, we go.

    From behind, we see the lead Slayer of the group holding one of Simone’s pistol-armed Slayer with a sword at her throat. Simone keeps her gun on Buffy.

    SLAYER: Mr. Wells comes with us.

    BUFFY: (quietly, abashed) Um, I’m actually here, too.

    SLAYER: … and Buffy also comes with us.

    As Andrew’s team moves through the theatre to cover more of Simone’s, we see Buffy from behind as she starts giving orders. One of the rescuing Slayers interrupts her from on stage, though.

    BUFFY: Good work. If we need to fight ‘em to get back control of the island, we can –

    SLAYER: Ma’am. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Even with the numbers on our side, there are still weapons at play. If just one of Simone’s people breaks free, we get a firefight.

    We see Buffy’s face in close-up as she addresses one of the new Slayers. She looks angry, although it’s unclear if she’s angry at being countermanded, or at the inarguable facts she’s been given.

    BUFFY: I promised I’d get the villagers back their home.

    SLAYER: All due respect, Ma’am. I suggest we get the remaining villagers to the mainland and live to fight Simone another day.

    From above, we see Buffy snatch the gun from Simone’s hand effortlessly, looking disgusted.

    BUFFY: Fine. You can keep the island.

    From behind, we see Buffy turn and point the gun straight into Nisha’s face. Her style or not, she’s forceful enough that Nisha looks certain she’ll shoot if she has to. Andrew, also no fan of guns, still smiles as though it’s the coolest thing he’s seen her do.

    BUFFY: Now give me back my nerd.

    In the next image, Buffy turns the gun back on Simone. Her expression is cold, and she still looks willing to shoot. Simone is clearly trepid about the situation for the first time. Andrew watches with concern even as he moves up the aisle.

    BUFFY: Andrew, get the Italy squad out of here. Nice and slow.

    SIMONE: I thought you don’t like guns.

    In a wide view, we see Buffy fire once past Simone’s head with a *BLAM*! In the foreground, we see the padlock on the Ragna’s cage shatter.

    BUFFY: It’s not for you. It’s for her.

    In a close-up, we see the Ragna’s face again as it forces the cage door open.

    We see Buffy in close-up; she’s retreated up the aisle with her people and is closing the theatre door.

    BUFFY: Maybe I can’t stop you myself. But I can make sure you get stopped. Or at least slowed down. You want the Ragna? You got her.

    As the door shuts, we see Simone and all her Slayers panic as the Ragna rears up in front of them.

    SIMONE: Well, *s#*%*.

    In a new scene, we see Buffy and Andrew from behind where they stand on the docks with the girl and her grandmother. The village, at a distance, looks beautiful again in the setting sun.

    GIRL: But that was our home! Where are we to go now?

    BUFFY: I don’t know. I just you’ll be safer somewhere else.

    GIRL: Everyone in our lives has changed. It isn’t fair.

    BUFFY: I know.

    In another new scene, we see a close-up of Andrew’s face, looking morose. Buffy calls out to him from out of the view.

    BUFFY: (from out of the view) You’re allowed to take a night off, Andrew.

    The view shifts, and we see past Andrew’s face as he glances toward Buffy. She’s standing in his door, leaning casually against the frame and smiling gently.

    ANDREW: I’m just collected all my information about the Ragna. If we’re ever forced to fight her, I want us to know her weaknesses.

    BUFFY: I’m sure Simone and her crew took care of her, which is… truly non-comforting.

    Buffy steps into Andrew’s room with her hands open as he looks back down at his papers.

    BUFFY: Look, Andrew. You were willing to sacrifice yourself to save innocent people. For a greater good. That’s huge for you. You should be proud.

    ANDREW: But you were right. I lied to you.

    We see Buffy turn to leave while Andrew is still looking down, but she’s smiling as she gives him one more bit of advice about the life he’s chosen.

    BUFFY: Yeah, you’re part of the family. Get used to screwing up for good reasons. It’s what we do. Swing by when you’ve got the specs written. We’ll take a look.

    We see Andrew in close-up, looking stunned as he looks up after Buffy’s left.

    The image stays the same.

    With the same expression, Andrew asks a question aloud, even though Buffy has already left.

    ANDREW: I’m part of the family?

    The last image is of Andrew’s expression soften into a smile of relief and gratitude.

    End of Issue #23

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  5. #25
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    Does anybody have plans to write out the remaining issues of season eight? I really want to read more.

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