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DeadWar: Haven 1.02 (In Depth)

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  • DeadWar: Haven 1.02 (In Depth)

    Disclaimer: All original characters are mine, but all other characters are property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

    Rating: PG

    Beta: darlas_mom

    Summary: Angel, Andrew, and their Slayers get a tip-off to a new danger operating in the Chicago area--but it doesn't pan out as they expected. Some apocalypse. Huh.

    TEASER

    INT. APARTMENT--DAY

    We open on a small apartment bedroom; the window shades are pulled shut. A narrow, unmade bed and a small table are visible in the gloom. ANGEL is sitting on the bed, frowning at a book.

    BUFFY (off-screen): I'm not in there, you know.

    ANGEL looks up to see BUFFY standing in the bathroom doorway, wearing a tank-top and shorts and leaning casually against the wall.

    ANGEL (dumbfounded): I...no, this is wrong. You can't be here.

    BUFFY steps closer to him, a pitying look on her face, and takes the book, setting it aside.

    BUFFY: Why not? Why can't I?

    ANGEL: You're...you're not real. You can't be. I'm dreaming.

    BUFFY (resting a hand on his shoulder): You won, Angel. The fight's over. If you can't be happy in your dreams, when can you be happy?

    ANGEL (pulling away; quietly): I failed you. I don't deserve this. Please, just go.

    The scene wavers as if a dream scene were about to end, then steadies.

    BUFFY (shaking her head in disappointment): I hope you're not waiting on me to forgive you, Angel. You know I don't do that. I'm the Slayer. It's not my place to forgive.

    ANGEL (confused): You're not...not any more...I...

    BUFFY leans down to kiss him softly on the cheek.

    BUFFY: I will see you again, Angel. In a realm of eternal light. Nothing's over, not yet.

    She steps away from the bed and reaches for the windowshade. ANGEL lunges forward, trying to stop her, but she's out of his reach. Daylight spills into the room, and BUFFY smiles beatifically as she bursts into flame. ANGEL grabs frantically at the shade again...

    And bolts upright in bed, clutching at the sheets. Sunlight shines harmlessly in on him through the half-open shade.

    CUT TO
    INT. BRITTANY'S APARTMENT--DAY

    ANGEL is sitting on BRITTANY's couch; she's turned her desk chair backwards to face him. She's holding a mug of coffee and looking bleary-eyed.

    BRITTANY: And you think she was actually in your dreams?

    ANGEL: I'm her grandsire. Wouldn't be the first time. Normally it only happens when they're in town, but this is Buffy. She's a few steps up from normal. I can't take it for granted that she's around. Or that she's not, either.

    BRITTANY (skeptical): Angel...think this through. You're human now. If there were any demon left in you, I could tell.

    ANGEL: Darla could still sense me when she was human. She could get into my dreams, too. Don't ask me to explain the connection, but it was real, and it could still be there.

    BRITTANY (thoughtfully): So...any vampire in your line? Drusilla, Spike, the Master, any of them?

    ANGEL (shaking his head): Within a generation or two, and usually it only works from the sire's end. Dru was able to shut me out, which was probably for the best. As for Spike....(He hesitates.)

    BRITTANY (waits expectantly for a moment, then...): Well?

    ANGEL: Every now and then. There was this one time....Um, you really don't want to know about that.

    BRITTANY (tapping her fingers nervously on the mug): Maybe I should ask Aunt Lilah about it next time she drops by. She was in on Wolfram & Hart's plan with Darla, so she must know something about how the connection works.

    ANGEL (with a harsh sigh): Brittany, I know she's your aunt, but that doesn't mean you can trust her. I don't think Lilah ever knew anyone she didn't manipulate.

    BRITTANY (lightly): You're not wrong. The difference is, I know her. I know what she wants, and she knows I know. We get along that way. I'm a little surprised the Senior Partners don't understand.

    ANGEL: Understand what?

    BRITTANY: Aunt Lilah never did anything unless it benefitted her somehow. Now that they have her in hell, she's got nothing left to gain working for them, and not much to lose. Of course she's willing to betray them.

    ANGEL (considers this a moment): Okay, that I believe. Just...don't take anything she says at face value.

    BRITTANY (laughing, she takes a sip of coffee): Please. We're lawyers. (more seriously) Angel, I'm surprised you're comfortable with the idea that you could still be linked this way. I would think, now that you're human, that there shouldn't be any part of that existence left except the memories. It doesn't bother you?

    ANGEL: Of course it bothers me. By this point I'm used to being bothered. (thoughtfully) The moment I was cured, Angelus ceased to exist. Like a light going out. He's gone. There's no other way it could work. So no matter what's going on with Buffy, I've got nothing to worry about from him.

    BRITTANY (shrugging and standing up): You're the expert.

    THEME PLAYS, CREDITS ROLL

    Theme: "Savin' Me" (second verse), by Nickelback

    Starring:
    Tom Lenk as Andrew Wells
    Jenna Edwards as November Hall
    Rachel Billings as Brittany Morgan
    Alona Tal as Michelle Foust
    Percy Daggs III as Gabriel Keller
    and David Boreanaz as Angel

    Guest-starring:
    Stephanie Romanov as Lilah Morgan
    Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
    Jared Padalecki as Phil
    Last edited by Mabus; 20-03-08, 12:37 PM.
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
    Out Now.
    Avatar by Barb
    Feedback is always welcome here.

  • #2
    ACT I
    INT. ANDREW'S APARTMENT--DAY

    This is a large, airy room, painted largely in shades of white that make it appear even brighter and more open than it is. Though sparsely furnished, it does have a large sofa and the empty cabinet of an entertainment center on opposite sides. Thumping noises emanate from somewhere outside before NOVEMBER appears in the doorway holding one end of a mattress. Her hair is loose and straggly.

    PHIL (off-screen): Aren't there more important things you're supposed to be doing?

    PHIL comes through the doorway with the other end of the mattress, a dark-haired young man wearing jeans and a sleeveless t-shirt.

    NOVEMBER: Not so much when it's daylight. Not many vampires out there right now.

    ANDREW enters last, sweating and breathing heavily under the burden of a moderate-sized television, which he places cautiously on the cabinet shelf before wiping his brow. NOVEMBER and PHIL pass through another door and off-screen.

    PHIL (off-screen): But I thought Andrew said there were other demons that can go out in the sun.

    ANDREW: Yup. It's still easier for them to attack when it's dark, though. Only the really nasty ones bother people in the daytime. It attracts attention.

    NOVEMBER (off-screen): If something like that happens Angel will call, and I'll have to leave you two to finish on your own.

    ANDREW theatrically pulls out his cell phone and pretends to shut it off as PHIL and NOVEMBER re-enter the room. then staggers over to the couch and collapses as if exhausted.

    ANDREW (as if out of breath): No calls!

    PHIL: You'd think he didn't want to be alone with me.

    ANDREW: When we're done moving in, Phil. Not before!

    PHIL (shrugging): We can always take a break. We've got a mattress and a couch, after all.

    NOVEMBER: How come you guys get a better apartment than me?

    PHIL (raising his hand): I'm paying.

    ANDREW (dramatically): You might call him...my agent.

    PHIL: I help file his patents and market them to manufacturing companies. The ones that don't have an open market, like those vampire mirror-cameras, we sell on eBay.

    ANDREW: The volume was low enough I could make them myself.

    NOVEMBER: Huh. They must have cost a lot to buy.

    PHIL: Ever tried putting on makeup without a mirror? Seen guys shave without one?

    ANDREW: I wanted to bring our customers in on the loop until the market fell through.

    NOVEMBER (frowning and fiddling with her hair): Huh?

    PHIL: Apparently it's hard to get a decent job when you're undead. Andrew thought we might be able to start integrating the ones with souls into society better. (smiling warmly and putting an arm around ANDREW's shoulder) He's a genius, you know.

    ANDREW (theatrically, raising and spreading his hands): An evil genius! Muah-haha!

    NOVEMBER (checking her watch): Hey...you gonna hook that TV up? Stargate is about to come on.

    ANDREW jumps as if startled and runs over to start working on the television.

    ANDREW: Vala Mal Doran! How could I forget Vala?

    PHIL coughs and shifts his eyes back and forth uncomfortably. NOVEMBER offers him a shrug as she walks past him toward the couch.

    NOVEMBER (sympathetically, under her breath): For what it's worth, yesterday before you got here, he was muttering about missing Captain Archer.

    PHIL (quietly): Yeah, well...apparently I have a lot of competition.

    NOVEMBER (carelessly loud): qay' noywI'pu' jay'. (subtitled: Celebrities are a hassle.)

    ANDREW (looking back at her): bIlughqu'! (subtitled: They sure are!)

    PHIL looks back and forth between them, confused and a little worried. As the TV comes on, ANDREW hurries back to the couch, pulling PHIL along in his excitement. PHIL is still shifting about nervously as we

    CUT TO
    INT. WAREHOUSE--DAY

    Months or years ago, this huge room was abandoned. Here and there are stacks of crates, probably empty. At the far end is a large loading bay door flanked by two smaller personnel doors. It is abandoned no longer; sleeping pallets and bundles of belongings are scattered all around. In the center, there are dozens of people sitting in a circle around one man speaking as he slowly walks to face each of them in turn. He is wearing a white buttoned shirt and khaki slacks, as well as glasses, and has the sound of an experienced lecturer.

    SPEAKING VAMPIRE: ...There are two things that all vampires want, which are intrinsically in tension. On the one hand, we want to live.

    There is a rustling as several members of the audience whisper and move around.

    SPEAKER: Now, I don't want to quibble at this point about what exactly it is we're doing right now. We move around, we think, we learn, we eat, in a sense we even reproduce. All of those are qualities of life and we want them to continue. For some of us there may be the goal of becoming biologically alive, of becoming human, but even those of us who hate that idea want to continue our existence, which has no clear deterministic end-point and is most likely potentially eternal. On the other hand...

    MICHELLE (interrupting): Yada yada yada. I thought there was some kind of mother ship coming for us?

    The camera focuses in on MICHELLE and GABRIEL, with the latter attempting to shush her.

    SPEAKER (tiredly): There is no mother ship, and we will be consuming neither kool-aid nor pudding. May I continue, please?

    MICHELLE (angry): Why? What's the point? What are we even doing here? Doesn't anyone want--

    The SPEAKER vamps out, interrupting her in turn; in his dry, academic way he's angry too.

    SPEAKER: To hunt? To fight? To kill? Yes, we do, and thank you for demonstrating my second point, young lady.

    MICHELLE stands up, and GABRIEL gets up as well, still motioning for her to be quiet and sit down.

    MICHELLE: Well, then, why aren't--?

    The SPEAKER is suddenly there in front of her; he seizes her by the throat and lifts. She claws at his arm, unable to do any serious damage.

    SPEAKER: I am furious with this girl, who appears in my judgement to be a fledgling and probably knows no better than to interrupt her elders. She's furious with me, too. She'd probably like nothing better than to take over this gathering and lead you in some sort of violent activity, and I'm in her way.

    GABRIEL: Look--hey--can you just put her down, please? She's not strong enough to--I can keep her under control!

    GABRIEL attempts to pry the SPEAKER's hands off MICHELLE; the SPEAKER gives him an irritated look, squeezes once, and releases her. She doesn't sit down, but growls at him deep in her throat.

    SPEAKER: I could kill her fairly easily; she seems especially weak. But any of us can die, if you want to call it that. And it's precisely the violence we want to do that puts us in danger. We moderate that violence with our rationality and our will to survive. It never seems to be enough, though, does it? We kill each other. We kill humans, and sometimes other demons, drawing their ill-will down upon us, and they hunt us in return. But until recently, at least there was a balance. If that balance is not somehow restored, every...last...one of us will die. (to MICHELLE) Do you want to die?

    MICHELLE (reluctantly): No. But what's the point of--?

    SPEAKER: Sit down and let me explain.

    MICHELLE slowly sits down, followed by GABRIEL.

    SPEAKER: If that little display didn't convince you, let me assure you--we have no hope of ever becoming part of this world's dominant human society. There is no place for us here, and never will be. But there are other worlds than this one. I can see that some of you are skeptical; call them what you will--heavens and hells, other planes of existence, different dimensional branes. It doesn't matter. They exist, and there is room for us there.

    GABRIEL (seeing that MICHELLE is about to speak again): Why haven't we left yet?

    SPEAKER: Not all of those worlds are hospitable to us. Some would kill us in an instant by their nature. Others are inhabited by beings still more hostile. Many of them also contain nothing we can consume. However, we have recently been contacted by those willing to take us in. It will not be a comfortable existence, as their world is primitive compared to ours, but on the other hand they believe we will be able to sublimate our violent urges in the struggle for survival. They also cannot accomodate us all at once; there are limitations both social and physical to their abilities.

    MICHELLE (smugly): So there is a mother ship.

    SPEAKER (exasperated): No, there i-- Not in the sense you're talking about.

    MICHELLE (to GABRIEL): I told you this whole trip was a waste of time.

    GABRIEL: Just hear him out already. Haven't you seen enough yet to at least consider the possibility? If it's not true, we'll find out soon enough.

    FEMALE ONLOOKER: Why would they want us?

    SPEAKER: From what I understand, their world is something of a shambles. Their society has recently fallen apart and they are struggling to rebuild. For that they need labor and are willing to repay us generously--in their rich natural resources as well as in honor and gratitude.

    GABRIEL: If we don't like it, we can leave, right?

    SPEAKER: I don't see why not. So far, I'm not aware that anyone has, but keep in mind what--or who, I should say--we face here. Almost anything is a bargain, comparatively speaking, and we're being offered material goods, an honored place in society, and personal challenge. If your lady friend would rather take her chances...(He shrugs.) We don't keep anyone here against their will, either. Whatever she thinks, this is not a cult.

    MICHELLE: If it were, that's exactly what you'd say.

    SPEAKER: Most likely. All I can say is, judge for yourself. As for me, I could use some rest.

    The SPEAKER stalks out of the circle, which parts for him and begins to disperse. GABRIEL and MICHELLE head for a corner of the room, where they've made pallets at a distance from the others.

    GABRIEL: I don't blame you for being skeptical. It's a lot to take in, and you're asking some of the right questions.

    MICHELLE: And here I figured you'd been taken in.

    GABRIEL: A lot's happened while you were sleeping, hon. People are looking for new answers, new ways of doing things, because the old ones don't work any more. It's the sort of situation I'd expect you to take to.

    MICHELLE: Maybe. I trust you, Gabriel, up to a point. But we're not sheep, and I won't act like one. Are we clear on that?

    GABRIEL: It's what I love you for.

    FADE TO BLACK
    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
    Out Now.
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    • #3
      ACT II

      INT. BRITTANY'S APARTMENT--DAY

      The dull rays of the setting sun barely light the apartment, at first. Then a door opens onto the gloom, bright fluorescent bulbs come on, and BRITTANY and ANGEL walk into the room carrying groceries.

      BRITTANY: You realize there's no need to help me with those, right?

      ANGEL: Of course. But it's the second time I've ever shopped for groceries. I had a good time.

      BRITTANY (laughing): That would explain why you kept picking out the most expensive food in the store.

      ANGEL: Yeah, probably. Keep in mind, most of it I've never eaten. They didn't have grocery stores in the 1700s.

      BRITTANY (heading into the kitchen): I'd say experiment on your own tab, but--

      She turns on the light to discover LILAH standing in front of the refrigerator.

      LILAH: Wondered when you two were going to get back. I don't need to tell you not to get too close to him, do I, Britt?

      BRITTANY: I'm not even attracted, so you have nothing to worry about. Excuse me.

      BRITTANY pushes past LILAH to open the fridge; LILAH moves into the doorway, watching ANGEL.

      LILAH: I was. Managed to get bitten for my troubles.

      ANGEL: You know that wasn't me.

      He begins setting groceries down on the couch; BRITTANY is putting hers away.

      LILAH: It never is, is it? I'm just saying, I find it hard to believe she's not attracted to you.

      ANGEL: That was an old man in my body. What are you doing here?

      LILAH: Sent to talk to my niece. What else?

      ANGEL: And the Wolf, Ram, and Hart don't know I'm here?

      LILAH: Sorry to bruise your immense ego, but they really don't care. In case you've forgotten, you don't matter any more. Prophecy's fulfilled, all bets are off.

      BRITTANY (pushing past LILAH again): So there's a prophecy about me now?

      She begins gathering up the bags on the couch and returns to the kitchen with them.

      LILAH: Nothing I know of. Just the usual apocalypse, and you're a Slayer.

      ANGEL: But I stopped--

      LILAH: No, you "played a pivotal role". There was nothing in there about you stopping anything. Heroes fight, heroes die, and the apocalypse rolls right on. No one cares if you're corrupted now. You're last week's news.

      ANGEL: If I didn't accomplish anything, how was it a pivotal role?

      LILAH (shaking her head): Do you ever stop reading things into what I say, Angel? Figure it out for yourself.

      BRITTANY: You wanted me to ask her about Darla, Angel. Ask away. I've got nothing to say to her.

      LILAH raises an eyebrow and tilts her head.

      ANGEL: I've been dreaming about Buffy. I was wondering if we're still connected somehow, the way Darla and I were.

      LILAH: Angel, Angel, Angel (shaking her head)...I'm a lawyer, not a metaphysician. You and your Slayer were in love once. That's all I know. I wasn't even in charge. Darla was Lindsey's project. If you're dreaming about Buffy...maybe you miss her.

      ANGEL (persistently): She said we'd meet again in a realm of eternal light. Does that mean anything to you?

      Now that the couch is clear, LILAH sits down on it.

      LILAH: You're asking me about eternal light? Think this through.

      BRITTANY (coming in to sit beside LILAH): He didn't mention that to me. It's a line from Frankenstein.

      ANGEL and LILAH (over each other): Frankenstein?

      LILAH: Now that's a twist.

      BRITTANY: "What may not be expected in a realm of eternal light?" It's supposed to be about the power of science. It's ironic. (She pauses.) It's also about Antarctica, but that's a little out of the way. Six months of sun.

      LILAH: There's your explanation. You read it, forgot the context for a while, now it's come back to you.

      ANGEL: I never read it. And it doesn't say anything about meeting.

      BRITTANY: It's a dream, Angel. Not everything has to be supernatural, or make sense.

      LILAH: Not even when you're dead, which you aren't any more. (to BRITTANY) How's Mother?

      BRITTANY: I think the new drugs have stopped working. They said it's metastasized to her liver. She still likes the room, she says. It's sunny.

      BRITTANY reaches over to grip LILAH's hand. After a moment, LILAH squeezes back, then pulls away when she sees ANGEL is watching.

      LILAH (lightly): The things we sell our souls for.

      There is a moment of uncomfortable silence.

      ANGEL: I should have known it wasn't real. I'm not him. I don't have anything to do with him. He's dead.

      LILAH: Of course you don't. (She gets up.) You know, officially, Wolfram and Hart discourages gloating as a matter of policy. But, since there's absolutely nothing you can do.... If you want to see the new face of apocalypse, check out 1358 Shelby Street. Consider it an...inducement, Britt.

      BRITTANY and ANGEL look at each other, and the camera defocuses to blur LILAH's image beyond them. There is a shimmery effect, and when they look back (and we can see the area clearly again), she's gone.

      CUT TO
      EXT. FACTORY DISTRICT--NIGHT

      The camera follows ANGEL's convertible down a cavern of a street between blocky warehouses and misshapen metal-piped factory buildings. BRITTANY is riding shotgun; ANDREW and NOVEMBER are in the back seat.

      NOVEMBER: For someone who's so sure he's completely human, Angel, this dream is really freaking you out. People dream about their pasts, and you've got a lot more past than we do.

      ANDREW: Well, technically it's not exactly his past any more. It's part of being a vam-pire. They remember a life, but it isn't really theirs, so I guess it works the other way too. Right?

      NOVEMBER: But he still remembers it. It's not even about Angelus' past. He met Buffy a long time after he got his soul back.

      ANGEL (irritable): It's not polite to talk about people when they're in the car with you.

      BRITTANY: I apologize if this is too personal, but we're all trying to help you work this out. Did you love Darla?

      ANGEL: I thought I'd explained that. When we were together, it was all about the thrill. I was too concerned about myself to love anyone. That's how vampires are.

      BRITTANY: Let me rephrase that. I can believe that Angelus couldn't love her. But I'm asking about you. After you got your soul back, did you love her?

      ANGEL: She was a monster. She'd murdered thousands of people. I had to kill her.

      BRITTANY: And at this point, the lawyer says, "Answer the question: yes or no?"

      NOVEMBER: Objection! Badgering the witness!

      BRITTANY (turning to scowl at her): You watch too much television. Angel?

      ANGEL: No! No, I didn't love her! How could I love someone like that?

      BRITTANY: I see. Tell me something. Do you think anyone's ever loved you?

      ANGEL: Are you a law student or a psychologist?

      BRITTANY (staying calm): A good lawyer has to be a little of that too. Angel, people don't love rationally, or not only that. Sometimes they fall for people they shouldn't. And it isn't always possible to make the divisions between people that they ought to, either. Are you telling me you can always separate out human and demon and make the right decision every single time? Because I don't think I can buy that.

      ANGEL: I can make the division because I've lived it, Brittany. I know the difference between myself and Angelus. We don't have anything in common.

      ANGEL makes a violent turn down a side street.

      ANGEL: I know better than to let my feelings for a human blind me about a vampire. You just have to...shut them off, and ignore appearances.

      BRITTANY: So you're good at shutting off your feelings. That's interesting.

      ANDREW: Brittany, maybe this isn't the best time to pester Angel about his past.

      BRITTANY (overly reasonable): But it's not his past. It's Angelus' past. He has nothing to worry about, because he knows for absolutely certain the two of them are completely separate.

      ANGEL pulls the convertible over to a screeching halt. A cluster of black-suited motorcyclists roar by dangerously close.

      BRITTANY (calmly): We're not there yet.

      ANGEL: I want to know what you're trying to prove.

      BRITTANY: I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm trying to work out why you might have this dream that's bothering you so much. I thought you wanted us to help. You've said yourself that the personality of the demon does come from the human. Andrew, you're the demon expert. Does that sound right to you?

      ANDREW: I-I guess. It's not like I ever tried to summon a vampire.

      BRITTANY: So either the personality is copied--in which case, Angel, you'd still be the copy except for your soul--or it's transferred and altered. You keep trying to draw this hard-and-fast line between yourself and Angelus, and I'm sorry, but I don't think it holds up. All the more so because you're not consistent about it. You say something totally different when your guard's down.

      ANGEL (furious): If I were Angelus, you'd be dead by now.

      BRITTANY (still keeping her cool): You're not Angelus. But Angelus comes from you. Some part of you--the worst part--survived in him. And that same part still survives right now in you. I'm not telling you this to tell you what to do about it, Angel. That's up to you. I'm saying that if I'm right, then what happened between you and Darla makes sense, and so does what you think might be happening between you and Buffy.

      NOVEMBER: But if the demon was still part of him, we'd sense it. Or some Slayer would have, anyway.

      BRITTANY: Not everything supernatural is demonic. Not even for demons, I'd think. Andrew, I know you're not some great sorceror, but you know a little magic. If you do something, can Willow recognize you in it?

      ANDREW (nodding vigorously): Always. Sometimes I know what she's done, too. It's like she's rubbed herself all over...um, maybe not the best metaphor.

      BRITTANY: So if the demon taking over isn't the whole story--and it doesn't seem to be--then Darla did something huge to you, Angel. And in the process, she left her fingerprints all over your mind.

      ANGEL, a little calmer now, pulls out and resumes driving.

      ANGEL (clearly still upset): But fingerprints wouldn't carry to the next vampire in the chain.

      BRITTANY: Maybe not the best metaphor from me either. I only know this stuff academically. Till you're back in touch with Willow, I'd say talk about it with Andrew.

      Gunshots erupt from a short distance away.

      BRITTANY (pointing unhappily): And that would be our stop.

      CUT
      DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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      Feedback is always welcome here.

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      • #4
        ACT III
        INT. WAREHOUSE--NIGHT

        The warehouse is emptier now--most of the sleeping pallets have been left as they lie, but a substantial number of the vampires who bed down here seem to have gone out. Those that remain are either clustered in small groups, talking, or they're standing guard. MICHELLE and GABRIEL are sitting on a small crate near a painted-over window.

        MICHELLE: They're going to run out before it comes around to us. We should leave while there's time.

        GABRIEL: I keep telling you, the vampire population in Chicago is a lot lower than it used to be.

        MICHELLE (derisive): Because they're leaving for some alternate universe? Does having a soul make you gullible, too?

        GABRIEL: Well, either they're leaving or they're dying. Take your pick. If they're dying, then why did I keep hearing there was a safe haven here?

        MICHELLE (pausing to consider this): Propaganda?

        GABRIEL: About what exactly?

        MICHELLE: Oh, come on! You know what this is? It's just another cult. He practically admitted it. (A female vampire in a grey blouse and khakis appears behind her, vamped out and walking toward the couple.) They're trying to recruit us, and you're falling for it.

        KIM (coming around MICHELLE, who jumps): It's the truth. I've seen it.

        KIM gives GABRIEL a dismissive glance, and KIM and MICHELLE glare at each other and circle slowly, sizing each other up.

        KIM: I don't blame you for being skeptical. I was. People like your boytoy here...you're right, they're gullible. But it doesn't take a soul to know when you're about to be toast. There aren't as many of us who want to go--just the smart ones.

        MICHELLE (derisively): You've seen it.

        KIM: Looked like something off of Sliders. I didn't quite make the cutoff. They can only take so many at once, but I'm on the next flight out. You'll be lucky to get a seat. Didn't realize any of our kind lived on rat, or do you just puke it back up after you eat?

        MICHELLE: Blame it on soul boy. I'll get better. If you're so strong, why're you running like a scared human?

        GABRIEL (worried): Ahem...ladies...ah, is this really necessary?

        KIM: Imagine. He doesn't want to see a catfight. (snickers) Are you sure he's into you? I've heard rumors about what a soul can do to a guy.

        MICHELLE (glancing back at him with a wicked but affectionate grin): No question in my mind. (She winks at him.)

        KIM: Eyugh. (shrugging) You're welcome to him. Anyway, it's not about me or how strong I am. The end's coming. I'm not planning to stick around for it.

        MICHELLE: Why so sure?

        KIM: You want the truth? Prophecy.

        Faint rumbling noises can be heard coming from outside.

        MICHELLE (a beat, then bursts into laughter): Prophecy?

        KIM: Laugh all you want. Some of the old stuff is for real. My sire was in this "Order" once, and he--

        Multiple gunshots ring out. A motorcycle crashes through one of the large painted-over windows, followed by several more. The riders are wearing black clothing and face-concealing black helmets. Angry screaming ensues.

        There is a small hole in KIM's blouse and another in GABRIEL's sleeve. KIM's eyes widen, but MICHELLE lets a breath out, relieved.

        MICHELLE: It's just--

        KIM dusts.

        GABRIEL: What the hell? (He begins clawing at his arm.)

        MICHELLE: I thought you said guns couldn't hurt us! Let me see that!

        MICHELLE shoves him behind a large crate as more gunfire echoes through the building and begins digging the bullet out of his arm.

        Motorcycles roar in the relatively confined space. A few of the vampires seem to be panicking, but most are retreating in an orderly fashion into protective niches formed out of stacked boxes, or into doorways. A noisy rock melody begins to play over the chaos.

        MICHELLE holds up a bloody object; she inserts it into her mouth and removes it clean. The bullet has a metallic core, but this is surrounded by a now-fractured cylindrical wooden layer.

        (Metallica's "Powerslave" plays: Now I am cold but a ghost lives in my veins/Silent the terror that reigned)

        GABRIEL: Damn. I knew they'd come up with something like that one of these days.

        MICHELLE: They still have to know how to shoot. Look.

        (Marbled in stone/A shell of a man God preserved/From thousand ages/But open the gates of my hell/I'll strike from the grave)

        The motorcyclists have cut off several of the vampires from escape and are circling them. Methodically, they shoot each of the trapped vampires in the heart, but some take more than one shot to dust--evidently the heart is not an easy target.

        One of the motorcyclists removes his helmet, revealing that he too is a vampire. Several of the others begin to reload. (The music goes into an instrumental interlude.)

        MOTORCYCLE VAMPIRE: You can't run from this, you morons! There's no hole deep enough to hide in! Now come out and fight for us, or we'll root you out like the deserters you are! We won't have you stabbing us in the back!

        A volley of wooden spears and arrows erupts from several of the hiding places among the crates. One spear strikes the lead vampire directly in the chest, only to bounce off with a dull metallic thud.

        MOTORCYCLE VAMPIRE: Open fire!!!

        (Tell me why I had to be a Powerslave)

        The motorcyclists raise their guns--and something strikes the loading bay door with an immense bang. It bulges inward but fails to give way, and muffled shouting can be heard from outside. The motorcycle vampires spin to cover the bay door and the smaller doors nearby with their weapons, but no one enters. The hiding vampires take the opportunity to throw more makeshift weapons, as ineffectively as before--several hit but none pierce the motorcyclists' body armor.

        (I don't wanna die, I'm a God/why can't I live on?)

        Then BRITTANY and NOVEMBER charge in through a side entrance that leads through an office, keeping low and pushing a large metal desk from that office in front of them. Several of the motorcycle vampires begin to fire at the desk; the leader hurries to replace his helmet. Some of the hiding vampires also take this opportunity to leap from cover and attack the motorcyclists.

        (When the Life Giver dies/all around is laid waste)

        The desk slams into the two frontmost motorcyclists, bowling them over. Now that the attackers are more occupied with the vampires emerging from their hiding places, BRITTANY and NOVEMBER come out from behind their cover. BRITTANY trips one of the motorcyclists and punches her in the stomach as she falls. NOVEMBER slams full-tilt into a second rider, knocking him to the floor, and attempts to stake him; once again, the stake won't penetrate a layer of armor.

        The motorcyclists begin to mount up again, apparently trying to regain the advantage of mobility.

        The VAMPIRE LEADER, who made the speech earlier, attempts to pull down one of the attackers from his cycle. Another motorcyclist shoots him in the back, and he turns to dust.

        (And in my last hour/I'm a slave to the power of Death.)

        GABRIEL: You stay put!

        He begins to charge out of his hiding place waving a broken piece of wood. MICHELLE grabs him and pulls him back.

        MICHELLE (affectionately): Moron. I'm not staying put unless you do.

        GABRIEL: If we're going to be part of this group, we need to help them out, and you're--

        MICHELLE: Not helpless, damn it!

        MICHELLE picks up a stray length of rebar from the floor behind the crates and hurls it like a spear at one of the motorcycles. SLO-MO on the rebar as it passes between the spokes of a rear wheel, jamming it. The cycle and its rider go flying.

        (And in my last hour/I'm a slave to the power of Death.)

        A passing motorcyclist clotheslines BRITTANY, knocking her off the individual she's fighting. She gets up, gasping for breath.

        One of the vampire "cultists" is clinging to a motorcycle, attempting to cut off the rider's head with a sharp piece of metal; the metallic whanging sound that results indicates some sort of neck guard is in the way.

        ANGEL enters through one of the doors near the main bay door, carrying a sword. One of the motorcyclists sees him and begins signaling to the others. Although they appear to have the upper hand, the rest of the cyclists begin to break off the attack, heading for the broken windows or picking up those who have lost their cycles.

        The music dies away. Within moments, the invading motorcyclists have vanished.

        ANGEL: Did I do that?

        CUT TO:

        INT. WAREHOUSE--NIGHT

        A short time has passed since the motorcycle vampires rather suddenly disappeared into the night. ANGEL, ANDREW, NOVEMBER, and BRITTANY are seated on a cluster of boxes, with a burly VAMPIRE in jeans and a dirty sweater sitting across from them. Many of the others are moving here and there picking up debris.

        NOVEMBER: For an apocalypse, that was sort of anticlimactic, don'cha think?

        NEW LEADER: Apocalypse? I wouldn't call them an apocalypse.

        BRITTANY: My aunt claimed we'd see one going on here.

        ANGEL: She was playing games with us. What did happen here, Jason?

        JASON: Not everyone's thrilled with the idea of letting us pack up and leave. Some of the less pleasant types think we should all stand and fight back. Me, I'm ready to head for a better world..

        ANGEL: A better world is taking vampires? Because last I heard, the only places that would do that were hell dimensions.

        JASON: Far as I'm concerned, Angel, Earth's turning into one. At least for us.

        At the name "Angel", a small cluster of vampires moves in a little closer, whispering among themselves.

        JASON (clearing his throat): Sorry about this...some of my friends here are curious about you. You're the first, you know.

        ASIAN VAMPIRE: He points the way. Angel is the future!

        JASON (uncomfortable): Well, then, back off and give the guy some space! A little respect already!

        Reluctantly, the listeners move off a little distance.

        ANGEL (loudly): I'm not anybody's savior. I had a destiny, it was mine, and I fulfilled it. It's not likely to happen again.

        ANDREW (quietly): I don't think you're going to persuade anyone that way.

        JASON: Some folks agree with you, Angel. Some o' those even think you're some kind of deserter, running off and leaving us to suffer. But, well--if it happened once, maybe it can happen again. Some people think it's what's supposed to happen, to all of us.

        ANGEL: I wish that were possible, but I really don't expect it. I'm sorry.

        NOVEMBER: Do you really think you're going to be able to escape into some other dimension?

        JASON: Raymond actually saw the portal. He was one of the few who's really been there and not gone through. Thought maybe he could help make up for what he'd done by getting us off this world and out of your hair. Most of the rest of us...well, we kinda had to take his word for it, him and the few who got bumped to the next ride for some reason.

        ANDREW: So do you know anything about it? A name, or who lives there now, or anything?

        JASON: Ray talked about somethin' called the Directorate every now and then, but I'm not sure who that'd be. There've only been a few trips so far, and he said they were still getting things organized on this side. Talked like there might be pamphlets or something to hand out next time around. There are other cells scattered 'round the city. We'll be gettin' in touch with one ourselves, so we hear about the next opening.

        BRITTANY: Why not bring everyone here?

        JASON: Kid, there ain't room here for everyone as wants to leave! Plus, the portal opens different places. Whoever's closest are usually the ones who get to go. I figure that's been part of the problem getting set up.

        Another group of vampires begins to close in, staring at ANGEL again.

        ANGEL (annoyed): So basically you don't know much of anything.

        ANDREW: Angel, hey, um--

        ANGEL: They want to leave? Let them go. It'll probably be better for everyone that way.

        ANGEL gets up and begins to stride away. The rest of the group hurry after him.

        BRITTANY: Angel, these people are scared and confused. They're looking for answers, for something to be now that they're not just monsters any more. Surely you understand what that's like?

        ANGEL: They're running away from their problems. I did the same thing, and I know the only way they're going to learn their lesson is the hard way.

        ANDREW: So if you think they're making a mistake, why not just tell them?

        ANGEL (with a shrug): Who am I to tell them what to do? I'm not one of them any more.

        MICHELLE: For what it's worth, I think you're right about them.

        Heads turn. MICHELLE has suddenly attached herself to the right side of the group. GABRIEL appears behind her.

        GABRIEL: Hon, I don't think these folks want us leaving with them.

        ANGEL: I saw you two in Hagaanah's office.

        GABRIEL: We were looking for information.

        MICHELLE: He was, anyway. (She eyes ANGEL as if he were an especially tasty snack.) I tend to agree with you. Running won't fix anything. So you were a vampire once?

        ANGEL nods, saying nothing.

        MICHELLE (incredulous): And you gave it up?

        NOVEMBER (changing the subject): What're you doing with him? (She points to GABRIEL.) I mean, he's got a soul.

        MICHELLE: You can't tell? What is it with everyone today? (She gives GABRIEL a playful nip on the neck.) I love the guy.

        ANGEL: That's not possible.

        GABRIEL winces uncomfortably and looks away. BRITTANY, meanwhile, raises a significant eyebrow at ANGEL.

        MICHELLE: He brought me back. What's not to love?

        ANDREW: Um, guys, I hate to say it, but I really don't want her with us.

        GABRIEL: That's fine. We don't need to go with you. We're staying.

        ANGEL: We don't need her. You don't need her either. Sooner or later, she'll turn on you, no matter what she says.

        MICHELLE looks offended.

        GABRIEL: I need her.

        ANGEL: Then find someone who can restore her soul. What you've got now--it isn't her, and you'd better remember that. A vampire ought to know better.

        ANGEL walks away, leaving BRITTANY, ANDREW, and NOVEMBER to trail after him. GABRIEL and MICHELLE stay behind.

        GABRIEL (calling after them): I'm cursed, damn it! I won't do that to her!

        BRITTANY: Angel...

        ANGEL: I've been through this before, more than once. It didn't work with any of them. Not even Darla, in the end. He'll have to learn that for himself.

        FOCUS in on GABRIEL and MICHELLE as the others leave. GABRIEL puts an arm around her shoulders. She smiles--not cruelly, not pleasantly, just a slight upturn of her lips--and turns to look at him.

        CUT
        DeadWar: Burden of Proof
        Out Now.
        Avatar by Barb
        Feedback is always welcome here.

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        • #5
          CODA

          INT. RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

          ANGEL, ANDREW, NOVEMBER, and BRITTANY are at a table in an otherwise-empty fast-food chain restaurant. The floor is messy, the tables are slightly damaged, and their food looks especially greasy. ANGEL is shoveling down french fries; the others look a bit more dubious about what they're eating. A slightly staticky radio station is playing Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul?"

          (...them, try to bustle them, try to cuss them/The cops want someone to bust down on Orleans Avenue)

          ANDREW: So much for the "current face of apocalypse".

          BRITTANY (unconcerned): I think she lied to us.

          (Another day, another dollar, another war, another tower/went up where the homeless had their homes)

          ANGEL (sarcastically): Of course not. Lilah doesn't lie.

          BRITTANY: Aunt Lilah lies whenever she feels the need, "need" being the operative word here. They know everything she does. So she told us what she thought would get us where she wanted us to go, without cluing them in.

          (So we pray to as many different Gods as there are flowers/But we call religion our friend)

          NOVEMBER: Little heavy on the trust, if you ask me. I mean, seriously, what was that supposed to be? One set of vampires killing another, no innocents in the crossfire? Big deal.

          ANDREW: What about the tactics, Nov? Didn't you tell me that fight was all wrong for what we were told was happening?

          NOVEMBER: So they were stupid vampires.

          (We're so worried about saving our souls/Afraid that God will take His toll/that we forget to begin but)

          ANGEL (interested): Wrong how?

          NOVEMBER: If they didn't want the others leaving, what was the point of that little massacre? They had the group they slayed cut off. They should've rounded 'em up, told the others where to find them, and set a trap. Or asked for some kind of ransom. Give the culties a good reason to hang around. What they did, that basically says, "Leave or else." Stupid, like I said. But that's normal.

          (Who will save your soul when it comes to the flower?/Who will save your soul after all the lies that you told, boy?)

          ANDREW: Because Lilah Morgan lies, but vam-pires never do.

          BRITTANY: You think they want other vampires to leave? But why?

          (Who will save your soul if you won't save your own?)

          ANDREW: That's the question, isn't it? My friends--the game is afoot!

          INT. COMPOUND -- NIGHT

          The motorcyclist vampires are stashing away their cycles in a dingy gray garage. A pair of guards in military fatigues can be briefly seen as the camera pans by the door.

          (Some are walking, some are talking, some are stalking their kill... Music fades out.)

          The vampires approach an interior door below a security camera; one of them removes a glove and inserts her hand into a palm scanner.

          COMPUTER VOICE: Thank you, Lieutenant Novak. Please proceed.

          The door slides open, allowing the motorcyclists into a small locker room, where most of them begin removing their helmets and black jackets. Only three of them are in vamp-face, and as we watch, the one who removed his helmet in the warehouse peels this face off as makeup, discarding it in a trash can.

          One of the remaining motorcyclists, helmet still on, walks over to a speaker and video terminal set into the wall and activates it.

          MOTORCYCLIST (voice muffled by the helmet): Reporting in as ordered, General.

          The face of GENERAL VOLL appears on the video terminal, which fills the television screen.

          VOLL (on speaker): I trust the equipment's still working properly?

          MOTORCYCLIST (muffled, off-screen): Everything checks out. Except I'm pleased to report we haven't had another opportunity to test the emergency incendiaries, sir.

          VOLL (on speaker): Well, good, good. Still no casualties, then.

          MOTORCYCLIST (muffled, off-screen): Not on our part, sir. A few bumps and bruises. I'm afraid we accidentally took out the contact.

          VOLL (on speaker): They'll find another. What matters is that we keep up the pressure. As long as the Directorate's happy, I have no complaints, soldier. Anything else?

          MOTORCYCLIST (muffled, off-screen): Sir, Ang--I mean, Hostile Alpha was on scene. At least, it looked like him. (removing his helmet) His readings were human-normal, sir.

          VOLL (on speaker): I've heard rumors regarding that. Nothing for your team to be concerned with. Formal debriefing in half an hour. Keep up the good work, Finn.

          RILEY (off-screen, voice clear): Thank you, sir.

          Video terminal cuts out.

          END

          Guest-starring:
          Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
          Rutger Hauer as General Voll
          DeadWar: Burden of Proof
          Out Now.
          Avatar by Barb
          Feedback is always welcome here.

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