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Deadwar: Schism 1.02 (TMAYTOG--Unbetaed version)

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  • Deadwar: Schism 1.02 (TMAYTOG--Unbetaed version)

    I'm posting this precisely in the hopes of getting some constructive criticism--it probably is not the final version. Something feels wrong with it and it is difficult to tell what. Everyone was impatient for it months ago, but no one feels up to beta-ing, it seems.

    Disclaimer: All original characters belong to me. All other characters are property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy

    Summary: While Oz and Regan search for the missing Slayer, Sadha comes under attack by forces working for Roger Wyndham-Price. In her current mental state, Sadha has no choice but to depend on Dena for assistance--and Dena is far from reliable aid where vampires are concerned.

    (Subplot: The demise of Sadha's original Slayer, Shefali, told in flashback.)

    DeadWar: Schism
    Tell Me All Your Thoughts on Gog




    Camera zooms in on a small brick building with a tall plate-glass window down the front above the doors. A large sign, partly hidden by a bush from our perspective, reads "ASHWOOD ST. CHUR--", with a meeting schedule and the motto "Christ the Lord is risen today!"


    Enter on a chaotic fight scene: SADHA, DENA, OZ, and REGAN are locked in combat with half a dozen VAMPIRES in a CHURCH AUDITORIUM. The room is recognizable mostly by the pews and a lectern on a raised rectangular platform; it appears to be almost devoid of artwork, though there's a large curtain behind the lectern. Focus in on DENA, who has pinned a PUNK GIRL vampire to a cushioned pew and is pounding her brutally in the face. A vampire in a COWBOY hat seizes DENA by the shoulders and yanks her off, tossing her into the third pew back. He offers a hand to the PUNK, who looks offended by the gesture.

    OZ is being circled by a PERKY ASIAN GOTH who keeps winking at him and licking her lips. He's looking around as if expecting to find a weapon that isn't there.

    PERKY GOTH: I've never tasted a werewolf before. I hear you can be really...exotic.

    OZ: Slightly disturbing, but possible.

    PERKY GOTH: Wonder what I'd get if I turned you.

    OZ: Don't think I want to know.

    OZ picks up a book from the nearest pew and shoves it at her. She grabs it and holds it out to him contemptuously; it's a songbook.

    OZ (calmly): Oops.

    SADHA has been pressed up against the lectern by a PIMPLY NERD and a middle-aged CHURCH LADY, both of whom are fighting more skillfully than their looks would indicate. She picks up the lectern and whacks the NERD with it, knocking him off the platform and into a table in front of the aisle between the pews. With him out of the way, she seizes the CHURCH LADY and tosses her up and through the curtains to the sound of breaking glass and a huge splash. A gush of water pours out towards SADHA, who dodges out of its path. However, the CHURCH LADY then appears from behind the curtains, drenched but unharmed, and begins climbing out of the baptistry.

    SADHA (thoroughly exasperated): Don't these people consecrate anything?

    DENA dashes down the aisle to stake the NERD, who is lying amidst a pile of toppled Communion trays from beneath the table.

    DENA: I said no! Don't you remember me saying this was a bad place for a trap?

    SADHA: I suppose I didn't think you were serious. It's a church...

    SADHA picks up the lid of a Communion tray, which does have a handle shaped like a small square cross, and hurls it like a frisbee at the CHURCH LADY.

    SADHA: I was expecting a few more crosses, at least.

    DENA: This church doesn't believe the supernatural exists in the modern world. (The PUNK is coming up behind her.) At least, not get-at-able.

    She elbows the PUNK in the stomach, then tosses her over her shoulder to slam into the CHURCH LADY.

    DENA: They don't cast out demons or lay on hands or anything. It's nuts.

    SADHA manages to stake the CHURCH LADY just as the PUNK whacks her in the head from behind. She is knocked to the floor but immediately leaps up.

    SADHA: I suppose I should have done a bit more research. I don't suppose the graveyard is consecrated either?

    DENA: Nope.

    REGAN is fighting a JOGGER in sweats; he keeps evading her punches. She shrugs, looks around, and sees a pew stacked with Bibles, which she begins tossing at him. The JOGGER dodges two; when he catches the third his hands begin to steam. OZ appears behind the distracted JOGGER, shoves him to the ground, and stakes him, then picks up a Bible to look at it curiously.

    OZ: I'd ask if that move was kosher, but...

    REGAN gives him a blank look.

    OZ: Never mind.

    The PERKY GOTH appears right behind REGAN.

    PERKY GOTH (murmuring into REGAN's ear): Mmmm...Slayer blood.

    REGAN (reaching back to seize the vampire's head): Mmmm. And in church, too. A little too hentai for me, sorry. (She twists, and we hear a sharp snap.)

    The COWBOY has begun to trade blows with DENA. She promptly trips him, toppling him over the end of a pew.

    DENA: There is one thing about this place...

    SADHA (struggling with the PUNK): What would that be?

    DENA grabs the COWBOY by the shoulders, lifts him slightly, and slams him down with all her might, chest-first on the blunt raised top of the end of the pew with a great crunch.

    DENA: Lots and lots of wood.

    The COWBOY dusts.

    SADHA: Interesting.

    SADHA pulls the large knife she carries from her belt and, forcing the PUNK to her knees in front of her, she drags the knife across the PUNK's throat. As she does this, the camera closes in on her hands and....


    SADHA is cutting the throat of a young BOY with the same knife, in roughly the same position as for the PUNK.


    As the PUNK dusts, SADHA gasps and staggers off the platform, disoriented.


    Theme: "What I've Done," Linkin Park

    Aishwarya Rai as Sadha Kaur
    Ellen Muth as Dena Greer
    Erica Hubbard as Regan Stacey
    Roy Dotrice as Roger Wyndham-Price
    Ivana Baquero as Solita Munoz
    and Seth Green as Daniel "Oz" Osbourne

    Guest Starring:
    Drew Fuller as Marshall
    Callum Blue as Ravensdale
    Camille Winbush as Ugandan Slayer
    Tamanna Bhatia as Shefali
    Aryan Khan as Harsha
    Bernard White as Benoy
    Madhuri Dixit as Damini

    ACT I


    (Maroon 5's "How Far We've Come" is playing softly.)
    Wakin' up at the start of the end of the world/But it's feelin' just like every other mornin' before/Now I'm wondrin' what my life is gonna mean if it's gone/The cars are moving like a half a mile an hour and I


    DENA, SADHA, OZ, and REGAN are back at the students' home; DENA is standing near the kitchen door with a large sandwich, while the others are squeezed into the sofa, with OZ in the middle. SADHA raises a glass full of blood and sips it; her eyes seem a little unfocused.

    Started starin' at the passengers who're wavin' goodbye/Can you tell me what was ever really special about me all this time?

    OZ: Better?

    SADHA (putting the glass down on the coffee table): Better. I...thought I was done with those.

    OZ: How long?

    (Music fades out.)

    SADHA (thoughtful): It's approaching seven months now since I was ensouled.

    OZ (sounding certain): You didn't tell Giles that, did you?

    SADHA: No one's been ensouled for more than about eighteen months, except Angel, of course. And Spike. I'm as stable as Rupert can expect any of us to be.

    OZ (after a moment to consider): It wasn't something you chose.

    SADHA: No, it wasn't. The thought of confronting Buffy was...a little unnerving, but the closest she ever came to me was when she visited Beijing. My sisters and I believed the panic was excessive, and we went on with business as usual. I'd never have done this on my own. I was...content with my existence.

    REGAN (reluctantly): It must be hard. I guess you've killed a lot of people.

    DENA eats her sandwich, looking bored.

    SADHA: They aren't really things I did. I remember them, and they're unsettling. But they were never truly my actions.

    DENA: Denial much?

    SADHA: Frankly, no. It's a simple fact. I am not the creature who...committed the atrocities I remember.

    OZ: I get that. Fair enough.

    Someone knocks on the door. DENA checks her watch, then goes to answer. Standing outside is MARSHALL, a tall, brown-haired college boy in a Rice University sweatshirt. DENA pulls him close and gives him a perfunctory kiss on the lips.

    MARSHALL: We've still got time to make it to the late-night devo. You up?

    DENA (loudly): I'm outta here, guys.

    SADHA: Is that wise? I've heard that incidents of drug-related gang violence are up 300%.

    MARSHALL (looking SADHA straight in the eye): Devo's at a private house, and my date's a demon hunter. I think we'll all be fine. (to DENA) Who's this?

    DENA: She' new teacher. Sort of.

    SADHA (smoothly): I'll be joining the college faculty next semester. Comparative Religions. Dena will be one of my students.

    MARSHALL (uncomfortable): Really.

    DENA: It's...a requirement. Everybody's got to have their Humanities courses.

    SADHA: I'm interested in studying your local faith communities, to be honest. Would it be a problem if I came along?

    DENA starts to shake her head, refusing.

    MARSHALL (enthusiastically): Can't promise you won't be offended, but feel free. (with a chuckle) Jesus loves wacky liberal faculty members too.

    OZ: Regan, we still need to find that other demon hunter. Are you up for that?

    REGAN (getting up): Yeah, um...We can check the places she was seen last.

    REGAN hurries out of the room, apparently uncomfortable, leaving OZ to trail after her. OZ shrugs at MARSHALL.

    MARSHALL: It's cool. Just don't wait too long. You don't want to miss out on the Lord.

    OZ: Really not worried. (Exit OZ.)

    MARSHALL (to SADHA): You seem to know something about demons. I'm surprised.

    DENA is fidgeting, almost jumping out of her skin, but apparently isn't willing to explain about SADHA.

    SADHA: You shouldn't be. Perhaps I can teach you something as well.

    DENA: Hon, head on out to the car. I need to talk to Sadha a minute.

    MARSHALL shrugs, frowning confusedly, and leaves.

    DENA: Are you insane? Have a death wish or something?

    SADHA: Why should that bother you if I do? I'm genuinely interested in what it is you believe in.

    DENA's mouth works soundlessly.

    SADHA: You're my student, after all.

    DENA (recovering): Right. Of course. Just don't blame me if you get staked or...cast out. Is that possible?

    SADHA: I'd expect you to know. Don't you?

    DENA: Um. Of course. Yeah.

    Music picks up as SADHA and DENA head for the door.

    I believe the world is burning to the ground/Oh well, I guess we're gonna find out/Let's see how far we've come/Let's see how far we've come/I believe it all is coming to an end/Oh well, I guess we're gonna pretend...


    A large Southern manor house in good condition. The driveway is filled with cars. (The music fades again.)


    ROGER WYNDHAM-PRICE is seated behind a desk, examining some papers. Across the desk from him are RAVENSDALE and a young black SLAYER whose eyes rove warily over the study. Her hair is cropped tightly against her skull; she's wearing cheap American-style clothing.

    ROGER (in Swahili, subtitled): You understand what it is I want you to do.

    SLAYER (subtitled): Track down the renegade and test her and her Slayer. Don't try to kill her without a perfect opportunity.

    ROGER (subtitled): That's correct. I need to know what kind of protection she has. For the moment, it's important that you not get yourself killed.

    SLAYER (subtitled, lowering her head): It is my duty to die for the cause, sir.

    ROGER: (subtitled, insistent): Only if it's necessary. The world has changed. I mean for this war to be won, finally, now that we have the soldiers we need. You are too valuable an asset to expend now.

    SLAYER (subtitled): If that is your order, sir.

    ROGER (subtitled): It is. I need your protection. Remember that neither you nor your little brother is in this country legally yet. If she were to kill me before I've finished arranging to provide for you, you would both be deported back to Uganda. For you, that would be bad; for him, worse.

    SLAYER (subtitled): True. Thank you, sir.

    ROGER: (subtitled, with a casual wave of his hand): You may go now.

    RAVENSDALE: Slayer against's a nasty business, sir.

    The SLAYER leaves the room, still staring nervously about.

    ROGER: It's already happening, Ravensdale. I'm trying to keep it from being prolonged any more than necessary. And by making use of her, I can ensure both obedience and some measure of secrecy.

    RAVENSDALE: It will be a relief to have the war over, sir. Still...I must say it's hard to imagine.

    ROGER: Simply imagine that you were never a Watcher, Ravensdale. You know nothing of demons or vampires. Yet at the same time imagine yourself perfectly safe. The world that ordinary people believe they live in will become reality...once the enemy has been eradicated.

    RAVENSDALE: On a related matter, sir...Gregory wants to know your wishes regarding Rupert Giles. It seems he escaped along with his young associates before they could be properly taken into custody.

    ROGER: A pity, that. I respected the man, once. I thought he understood how to follow tradition without being blinded by it. Tell Gregory neither Mr. Giles nor his friends are a priority. If they are found, kill them, but focus on the purge of Los Angeles. (He looks down to study his papers, then abruptly up again.) If the Old One can be captured, keep it for study. I want a reliable means of killing them...just in case.

    RAVENSDALE: As you say, sir.

    Exit RAVENSDALE, leaving ROGER alone with his papers.

    Last edited by Mabus; 24-02-08, 08:28 AM.
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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    Feedback is always welcome here.

  • #2
    ACT II


    This large room of a home has been filled with folding chairs to supplement the couches and armchairs that line the walls. Something on the order of fifty students are gathered here, filling most of the seats. A COLLEGE BOY is sitting in a chair in front of and facing the others, leading a song and indifferently strumming his guitar as accompaniment. DENA and MARSHALL can be seen in the second row of chairs, while SADHA is seated in an armchair at the back wall, looking fairly bored and a bit uncomfortable.

    ALL but SADHA (singing): ...Death cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Savior. He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord. And up from the grave he arose! With a mighty triumph o'er his foes! He arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever with his saints to reign...

    An OLDER WOMAN appears from a door at the back of the room, carrying a large cooler full of soft drinks, and places it to the left of the door, opposite SADHA. She removes a can, then sits down in an empty seat beside SADHA. The singing continues but its volume drops from our perspective.

    WOMAN: I'm Evelyn. Jason's my son...are you a parent?

    SADHA: Teacher. And...cross-cultural student, of a sort. I'm not familiar with your local forms of worship.

    EVELYN: Would you like a drink? Or something to snack on?

    SADHA: I've...actually, give me a cola, I suppose.

    EVELYN hands her one; SADHA opens and tastes it, then grimaces slightly.

    EVELYN: Have you accepted Jesus as your savior?

    SADHA: I think he may have been a prophet. Have you studied the Guru Granth Sahib?

    EVELYN opens her mouth, but can think of nothing to say to that. Another song has begun, and most of the students rise to their feet. A few of them raise their arms and begin swaying; DENA is among this group, her movements surprisingly sensual.

    SADHA: I'm not certain whether I believe in all its teachings any more, but many of them are wise.

    EVELYN: I...I'm not certain I know what you're talking about.

    SADHA: It's all right. I find not many Americans do. The tenth Guru--

    EVELYN (getting up nervously): I think I need to see whether the hamburgers are finished. They'll be served in a little while if you want one.

    SADHA (mildly annoyed but also amused): I think I'll pass, but thank you.

    Exit EVELYN.

    DENA abruptly says something unintelligible, but which doesn't appear to be part of the song. Several of the students turn toward her, looking variously puzzled or interested. SADHA leans forward, a look of intense curiosity and concentration suddenly appearing on her face. MARSHALL steps into the aisle and begins motioning for quiet, then gets out of DENA's way, allowing her to step into the aisle as well. The rest of the room grows quiet.

    MARSHALL (loudly): I think Dena may have a message for us?

    DENA (Gujarati, subtitled): Each of us has a role in our lives planned for us by the Lord. Stepping outside of that role would be to step out of his will.

    Her mouth continues to work for a few moments after that, but if there's more, she seems to have lost the track of it. The students look around, confused, and begin to babble excitedly.

    SINGER (loudly): Can we get an interpreter? Anyone know what she said?

    FEMALE STUDENT: They speak in tongues here? Seriously?

    2ND FEMALE STUDENT: Oh, c'mon, everyone knows that stuff is fake.

    MALE STUDENT: No it isn't, but they're supposed to have an interpreter first.

    SINGER: Ahem, ahem! Anyone? Yolanda, you get any of that?

    As the students continue chattering, the camera focuses in on SADHA, who is still sitting silently in the back of the room; her eyes have closed. ZOOM IN toward SADHA as the screen FADES TO BLACK.



    Darkness is falling on this city somewhere in India. Most of the buildings along this street seem to be made of brick or wood. A few stragglers are still hurrying up and down the road, but for the most part everyone has gone.

    SADHA and a young GIRL emerge from an alleyway and turn right. SADHA is wearing a traditional dress, fairly subdued in color, and a headcloth that covers her hair completely. She has a metal bracelet on her right arm. The GIRL's long black hair is clean but somewhat straggly, and she seems to be wearing some sort of loose greyish pants and dirty white shirt. She shifts nervously about whenever someone looks in her direction, even SADHA.

    SADHA (rubbing a hand against the hilt of the knife tucked into her belt): We need to move quickly, Shefali. Ignore vampires unless I say otherwise. There are sacrifices planned tonight.

    SHEFALI (bitterly): It would be better if the British had never come, Sadvi.

    SADHA: What makes you say that?

    SHEFALI: They give people ideas. There wouldn't be a Rakshasa cult if people were content with their place.

    SADHA: We've spoken of this before, Shefali. The lower castes are interested in British ways because the British are largely free to do as they please. They don't constrain their poor to follow caste rules.

    SHEFALI: The gods make caste law, teacher. The brahmins only handed it down to us from Lord Vishnu.

    SADHA: So they say.

    SHEFALI (insistently): Each of us has a role in our lives planned for us by the Lord. Stepping outside of that role would be to step out of his will.

    SADHA: Do you know whether the brahmins truly speak for the gods, Shefali? Perhaps they say the things they do to maintain their power. My own teachers taught me that true gods would not separate us in this way. And anyway, where did you learn to question me like this?

    SHEFALI (lowering her eyes): I am the Slayer, Sadvi. My role is not the same as my family's. But I am only one girl. I am...a caste of my own, as you have taught me. I will be given a higher birth, next time, but I worry for you.

    SADHA: My duty is to teach you, child. That requires me--someone, at least--to violate some of the priests' laws, whether they like it or not.

    SHEFALI: We are different. But others should follow the law of their castes, not turn to the Rakshasas. Trusting them is foolish, teacher.

    SADHA: I agree with you about...shh!

    SADHA pulls SHEFALI into an alley as a pair of roughly-dressed VAMPIRES emerge from a doorway. The VAMPIRES have marked their foreheads with blood, a mockery of a traditional bindhi mark.

    SHEFALI (in a vicious whisper): Rakshasa cultists.

    SADHA (whispering): Remember not to speak with them. They aren't people, just walking corpses. Don't acknowledge them. Plunge and move on.

    SHEFALI (whispering): You have been telling me this for months. I understand already.

    SHEFALI raises a stake and walks quickly, silently, into the street behind the vampires. When she's a few steps behind, the vampires seem to hear her and turn, snarling.

    1ST VAMPIRE: Bah. A little girl. Hardly any meat on her.

    2ND VAMPIRE: I find they taste better young, myself.

    SHEFALI ignores them, driving a small fist into the first VAMPIRE's midsection. As he doubles over, she spins and kicks out at the second, knocking him to the ground. She fights methodically, silently, and before they have a chance to say anything further, she's stunned the first VAMPIRE with an uppercut and staked him.

    2ND VAMPIRE: Slayer. (chuckling) Who'd have thought it? You must have given the priests fits, girl.

    SHEFALI lashes out with her feet, kicking him in the kneecaps, then seizes him by the scruff of the neck and drives him into a wall.

    2ND VAMPIRE: Why serve them, Slayer? What have they ever done for you?

    SHEFALI ignores him, twisting his neck, and stakes him as he begins to slump forward, paralyzed. She spins as if in response to a sound, only to find SADHA standing behind her.

    SADHA: Very good. I'm pleased with you. Now we need to move along.

    She makes an annoyed noise in her throat as SHEFALI bows briefly, but deeply, to her.



    The students have apparently settled or given up the argument and returned to their seats. MARSHALL is now in front of the room, speaking. SADHA turns her head and is startled to discover DENA sitting next to her.

    MARSHALL: Don't be fooled by people telling you the Russians are good guys now, just because they're not Communists any more. According to prophecy, the nation of Russia is called Gog, and one of the first signs that the end is at hand will be when Russia and its allies throw their whole military at the nation of Israel....

    SADHA (quietly): You seem concerned for me. I'm touched.

    DENA (quietly): I was thinking it was a good time to stake you. But since we showed up here together, it'd kinda look bad.

    SADHA (quietly): Well, at least you have a worthy sense of self-preservation.

    DENA (quietly): Nah. You're still here, aren't you?

    MARSHALL: I'd like to think everyone here is saved, but my guess is at least a few of you will miss out and have to live through the coming Tribulation. Now we may not know exactly when that's gonna be, but I can tell you right now--I see more signs of demonic violence every day. I think it's close....

    SADHA (quietly): Interesting doctrine you have there.

    DENA (quietly): It's the truth. I'd think even you would know that. Or maybe especially you.

    SADHA (quietly, amused): Then why would you be surprised if I want to "flee from the wrath to come"?

    DENA (quietly, a little flustered): just can't. You don't have a choice.

    SADHA (quietly): Well. That's a shame.

    MARSHALL: If there's any of you out there who haven't got Jesus in your heart--and I know there are a couple of new faces out there--I want to urge you to accept him, tonight while there's time. There are some people who say there won't be another chance after the Rapture. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but why risk it? Why not ask while you know you have time?

    SADHA (quietly): I wonder what you'd do if I were to go forward. What is it you call it? The "altar call"?

    DENA (a little louder, scandalized): It wouldn't mean anything. You're a... (She pauses, catching herself) You wouldn't do it, anyway. I don't believe you.

    SADHA (quietly, with a shrug): Ah well. You're right, for once. I won't pretend for the mere purpose of shocking you. Still...there are people I might ask to show up here some day. (winking) If there's time, that is.

    DENA (quietly): The end of the world's not something to joke about.

    SADHA (quietly, amused): And what would you do about it, then?


    Apartment buildings line the streets here; some of the cars parked against the curb are rusty or damaged. The street lights flicker, and most of the windows have gone dark.

    OZ and REGAN come walking down the broken sidewalk.

    REGAN: There are worse parts of town, I guess.

    OZ: Yeah. Some places, you'd have already had to beat people up.

    REGAN: I don't think I could do that.

    OZ: Suddenly I feel a lot less safe walking with a Slayer.

    REGAN: I thought you were a werewolf. If you changed--

    OZ: You'd have to shoot me with that tranq gun you don't have. I can control the changes. I can't control what I'd do if I changed.

    REGAN: But me...I'm supposed to hit things.

    OZ: Yeah. If they're dangerous.

    REGAN: What if I lost control?

    OZ: If you keep bottling it all up inside, you will.

    REGAN: What?!

    OZ: Slayers get mad too. We all need an outlet.

    REGAN: You're telling me I'm supposed to kill? Because I won't. I can't.

    OZ: You did earlier tonight. But I'm not saying that. I'm saying everyone gets angry, and you need to be able to express that, without exploding.

    REGAN: I helped fight some vampires. I didn't actually dust any. Even if I had, it's not the same. You can't kill things that aren't really alive.

    OZ: Still not the point.

    Loud rustling sounds emerge from some scraggly bushes planted between the sidewalk and the nearest building.

    REGAN: Then--

    A slimy yellow DEMON comes flying out of the bushes; when it hits the sidewalk, it bounces once and rolls over. Half its face has been torn off, allowing more slime to bubble out of the wound as it lies motionless.

    REGAN: Euwgh.

    A second DEMON emerges from the bushes, followed almost immediately by SOLITA, who is largely covered in slime. She leaps on it, screaming with mixed fear and anger, and begins to pound on its chest.

    OZ: We could use some salt.

    REGAN: Huh?

    OZ: Nurgoth demon. Big humanoid slugs, basically. Harder to kill without salt. You want to help her? (He points at SOLITA.)

    REGAN: Maybe I should help it?


    Despite her words, REGAN reluctantly begins hurrying toward SOLITA and the DEMON, who is taking a pounding. OZ follows, but as they approach SOLITA looks up, spotting them. She looks back down at herself, leaps up, and runs away through a gap between buildings. The DEMON roars as it gets up, making loud snuffling noises, and launches itself at OZ instead of following.

    REGAN begins to follow SOLITA, then hesitates as she sees OZ struggling, and turns back. She grabs hold of the DEMON and begins attempting to peel it off him.

    REGAN: Ugh. You must be one of the sewer-dwellers.

    OZ: Never mind its habitat!

    The DEMON's head inverts and is suddenly facing the other way; its limbs reverse as well and begin grappling REGAN instead, clawing at her arms.

    OZ: Don't let it fillet you.

    REGAN: Okay, okay...can I scare it off?

    OZ: Sure. Make it think you're gonna kill it.

    REGAN: Fine, how do I kill it? Without salt?

    She punches it in the face, which collapses inward briefly before returning to its previous shape. REGAN is getting thoroughly coated in slime; OZ is already a mess despite his brief contact.

    OZ: Tear its hide open. Its insides will leak out.

    REGAN: You mean they haven't already?

    OZ fishes in his pockets and brings out a pocketknife, then tosses it to her.

    OZ: Nope. Try this.

    REGAN: You couldn't do it yourself?

    She stabs at the DEMON's face with the knife; when it resists puncturing, she drags the blade along its hide. Slime begins to roll out of the wound; the demon struggles a few more moments before quickly going limp, leaving REGAN and OZ standing over its deflating body.

    OZ: Not a Slayer. Was that so hard?

    REGAN: Too easy. This count as blood?

    She holds up her hands, which are coated in slime. OZ holds up his own hands.

    OZ: I didn't kill it, and look at me. (after a moment) We have an idea where she is now. Let's go get this cleaned off. We can come back later.

    REGAN: Will she be all right?

    OZ (with a shrug): She didn't need a knife.

    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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    • #3
      ACT III


      MARSHALL and DENA are walking across a grassy college quad, holding hands, with SADHA following along behind them. At this hour, the campus appears otherwise deserted.

      MARSHALL: This teacher of yours seems a little spacey, if you ask me.

      DENA (nervously): You know how it is with those new-agey types. Always trancing out.

      MARSHALL: That's a bad sign. She could be possessed, you know.

      SADHA tries not to laugh at this. A shadowy figure can be seen moving behind her.

      DENA: I, uh, I thought she might be at first too. But I haven't been able to cast anything out of her.

      MARSHALL: I'd hate to think she's got you fooled.

      DENA: Me? Fooled? Yeah, right. Anyway, she's kind of right behind us, remember?

      DENA turns back to look as she says this, and at that moment the SLAYER we saw in ROGER's office appears from behind a tree to punch MARSHALL in the face, knocking him out. DENA spins back just in time to block a second blow aimed at her.

      DENA: Speak of the devil, huh? (She throws a punch of her own, which is also blocked.) Hands off the boyfriend!

      The SLAYER rolls her eyes at the word "boyfriend" and begins a fast but methodical sequence of punches and kicks, which DENA evades or blocks with difficulty. She has trouble getting in any blows of her own, given her opponent's speed.

      DENA: Not much for the talking, are you? Got a name?

      The SLAYER shows no sign that she understands what DENA has said, merely continuing to fight. DENA finally manages to grab her left hand and punch her in the gut.

      DENA: Right, didn't think so.

      SADHA: She seems to be a Slayer; I recognize some of the combinations she's using.

      SADHA appears behind the SLAYER and attempts to grapple her but is shaken off.

      SADHA: I believe she's after me, Dena.

      The SLAYER shoves SADHA in the chest, tossing her a few yards away, and returns her attention to DENA.

      DENA: Yeah. That seems totally reasonable.

      SADHA: She thinks you're protecting me.

      DENA: Hey! Not protecting the vampire! (She points at SADHA.) Be my guest, stake her!

      The SLAYER seizes DENA by the arm and yanks, toppling her off balance, then kicks her in the gut. DENA goes flying into a bench.

      SADHA: I don't believe she understands you. Doesn't speak English, perhaps?

      DENA (getting up): Convenient. Well, if she's that determined not to fight you, we should double-team her.

      DENA begins trading blows with the SLAYER again, not waiting for SADHA's assistance. SADHA shows no sign of joining the fight. DENA looks over to see what she's doing; SADHA's eyes are glazed over.

      DENA: Uh-huh. Great.


      SHEFALI and SADHA are standing on a balcony near the top of some chamber within the earth. On the floor below them, a crowd of ragged cultists is performing a ritual chant, with those around the perimeter engaged in a whirling dance.

      SHEFALI: And if the portal opens?

      SADHA: The Rakshasa come through and end the world as we know it.

      SHEFALI: And we have to stop all those people?

      SADHA: The most critical part of the ceremony will be at the focal point, there.

      SADHA points toward a doorway at the far end of the room.

      SADHA: It will have to be a human, and working alone, whereas several of the worshippers here have become vampires. If you can distract these, I believe I can reach the focus myself.

      SHEFALI: And then we escape in the confusion?

      SADHA: With a little luck.

      SHEFALI: I see. I guess I should get to it?

      SHEFALI vaults over the railing, dropping fifteen feet or so into the midst of the chanting cultists, using their bodies to break her fall.

      SADHA (exasperated): More caution would be good.

      SADHA pulls a hood up and begins dashing down a set of stairs.


      SHEFALI's motions as she fights are methodical, even mechanical, but well-practiced and effective. She spins, kicks, punches, and stabs, with vampires falling to dust all around her and human cultists dropping, dead or seriously wounded. She cuts a path toward one of the side doors; among the milling cultists not engaged in the fight a hooded figure can be glimpsed making her way toward the focal point SADHA pointed out earlier. Most of the cultists are not only ragged--they seem skinny and malnourished, only the vampires able to put up much of a fight.

      Abruptly a space clears in front of SHEFALI, surprising her enough that she continues fighting, punching twice before she realizes no one is there to connect with. An older man and woman step forward into her path, gesturing at the cultists to stop fighting. SHEFALI's eyes widen in startled dismay.

      SHEFALI (shrinking back): Mama? Daddy?

      BENOY: Your mother and I are proud of you, Shefali. You've come far.

      DAMINI: But you don't understand, sweetness. They've lied to you, and you need to stop believing them.

      SHEFALI: Mother, the Rakshasa--

      DAMINI: Have offered us what we deserve, Shefali. They're the end of oppression.

      BENOY: Come with us, daughter. (He puts out a hand to caress her face, then offers it to hold.) Help us overthrow the high castes. Join your strength to the cause, Shefali.

      SHEFALI: No...they'll destroy everything. You're the ones they're lying to. Don't make me... (She halts, mouth open.)

      DAMINI and then BENOY vamp out.

      BENOY: We have the strength we need, now. We've spent long enough being trampled underfoot. It's our turn to do the trampling.

      DAMINI: I understand that you're afraid, daughter. But nothing has changed. Your father and I still love you, and your brother too. We always will, forever. There's nothing to fear.

      SHEFALI's expression is cold and hard; only the tears that begin to roll from her eyes show that she feels anything at all.

      BENOY crumbles into dust.

      DAMINI: No! Sh--

      SHEFALI drives the stake into her mother's heart, not even waiting for her to dust as she spins and runs for the focal door, pausing only to shove cultists from her path.


      A small BOY is sitting, chanting, in front of an altar, above which a sullen red portal is slowly expanding. The child is just as thin and underfed as the rest of the cultists have been so far, and probably older than he appears. A robed figure appears in the doorway behind him.

      SADHA seizes the boy by the hair, drawing her knife. SHEFALI emerges from the doorway.

      SHEFALI: Sadvi, stop! Harsha!

      SADHA drags the blade across HARSHA's throat; blood spills out, and he collapses. The portal collapses in on itself and vanishes. SHEFALI drops to her knees, lifting HARSHA, and begins to weep openly.

      SADHA: I had no choice, Shefali. The portal--

      SHEFALI: He whole family, Sadvi!

      SADHA (startled): Your...Never mind that. We have to leave here, Shefali, while we still have a chance.

      SHEFALI: Why? Why should I go?

      SADHA (sternly): Get up, girl. You will have the chance to mourn them later. I am sorry, but move!

      Angry cultists begin to swarm into the room.



      MARSHALL is helping SADHA to her feet.

      MARSHALL: You've got problems, ma'am. What's the demon chick want with you?

      SADHA: Good question. Shame I can't give you an answer.

      DENA is still fighting with the UGANDAN SLAYER--it looks as if only a minute or two has passed. DENA turns halfway and high-kicks the other SLAYER in the face, knocking her down.

      DENA (half-singing, amused): ...For the Lord is with the righteous, he is their strength and song...

      The SLAYER rises up on her hands, then kicks both feet upward, knocking DENA to the ground as well, then flips to her feet. She takes off running, leaping a row of ornamental shrubs. DENA gets up and starts to race after her, then turns back toward MARSHALL, looking between her boyfriend and the vampire.

      DENA (coming back toward them): I think she got away.

      SADHA (displeased): I'm sure she'll be back.

      DENA: Let's get home before that.

      MARSHALL: Seems to me like a bad night to be out. I second that idea.

      SADHA: Can't hurt, I suppose. Let's get the boy home, at least.

      MARSHALL: Er, yeah...the boy wants to go home. Not much of a physical demon fighter.

      DENA (putting an arm around his shoulders): C'mon, you.

      They walk quickly off into the night, leaving SADHA to follow them again.

      SADHA: Hmph.




      The kitchen of DENA and REGAN's rental house is crammed full of people--DENA and REGAN are making sandwiches for themselves, while OZ eats his. SADHA leans idly in the doorway. REGAN's hair is wrapped in a towel.

      REGAN: I thought we just had one extra Slayer to deal with.

      SADHA: I believe we still do. I think the extra is working for Wyndham-Price's faction. She's been sent here after me.

      DENA: You keep saying that. She attacked me, not you.

      SADHA: Some people understand a topic of study known as "strategy"--you might have heard of it some time or other. She was testing you, Dena, but you weren't her objective, or she would have remained to fight you.

      OZ: You might want to stay out of the action, Sadha.

      SADHA: Is that what you tell your Slayer? I'll be cautious, Oz, but I will adjust. Believe me, I have no desire to depend on Dena for protection.

      DENA shoots her Watcher a small, smug grin.

      SADHA: Perhaps one day she will learn to trust me. A little, at least.

      DENA: If I didn't trust you a little, you'd be circulatin' in the AC by now.

      REGAN (looking a bit annoyed): I killed a demon tonight, Dena. I'd think that'd put you in a little better mood, that I'm doing what you like.

      DENA (bored): Congratulations. You did your job for once.

      OZ: I tried to call Giles about your problem, Sadha. I couldn't reach anyone.

      SADHA: Thank you for looking out for me, then. I'd say I'm sure nothing is wrong in Los Angeles, but I believe I know better. This is the way of war, after all. It's entirely possible the vampires have killed them all. We will simply have to hope otherwise.

      REGAN: That's optimistic of you.

      SADHA (flatly): Yes. I suppose it is.



      A pair of small feet, dangling in the air.

      SADHA, standing in the doorway, looks down and away.

      DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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