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DeadWar: Schism 1.03 (Rough Edges)

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  • DeadWar: Schism 1.03 (Rough Edges)

    Finally! Thanks to Kold, the next installment of DeadWar is out. Say thankya.

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

    Rating: PG

    Beta: Kold

    Summary: Regan and Oz finally locate the missing Slayer. Dena goes off on a "hunting trip" and finds someone....unexpected waiting for her.



    This small but tidy room is dominated by a wooden table surrounded by mismatched chairs, leaving just enough room to make use of the stove, cabinets, and refrigerator. In fact, the table has been shoved close enough to the wall that several of the chairs are probably not used frequently. A cheap print of a Pieta scene hangs above that wall.

    DEBORA, a middle-aged Hispanic woman in a flowered blouse, is sitting tiredly in one of the accessible chairs reading a report card.

    DEBORA (loudly): Solita?

    SOLITA enters, carrying a mathematics schoolbook and a spiral notebook. Her hair is hanging over her left eye, hiding it from view; her right hand is hidden carefully inside a jacket sleeve.

    SOLITA (head down): I know, Mama. I'm sorry.

    DEBORA: Solita, I'm not angry with you. I'm worried. Have you stopped studying?

    SOLITA: No, Mama.

    DEBORA: Then what's wrong, honey? Your grades are so bad lately, and your teachers tell me that you've been-- (She reaches out to brush the hair away from SOLITA's eye, which is bruised black and swollen.) Oh, Solita.

    SOLITA: I wasn't fighting at school, Mama. Not this time.

    DEBORA: Where did you get this, then?

    SOLITA turns away and says nothing.

    DEBORA: If someone is hurting you, dear, please...tell me. We can get help.

    SOLITA: On the way home, I...ran into someone. (She glances up at the picture over the table.) Someone bad. And...not exactly a someone.

    DEBORA peers at her, not understanding.

    SOLITA: She had....horns. a picture of the devil. And she was really, really tall.

    DEBORA: Solita, you need to tell me the truth. Who hurt you?

    SOLITA (desperately): It is the truth, Mama. She said...they...were looking for me. So I hit her, and she hit me back, and I...I....

    DEBORA (guessing): You ran away?

    SOLITA (swallows hard, frightened):

    DEBORA: What do you mean, no?

    Trembling, SOLITA holds up her right hand, letting the sleeve fall away. It's covered in something black and grimy.

    SOLITA: No....I didn't run.


    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:
    Elizabeth Pena as Debora Munoz
    Helen Mirren as Elizabeth Wyndham-Price
    Philip Hoffman as Hampton Greer
    Camille Winbush as Ugandan Slayer

    ACT I


    Open on HAMPTON GREER's face.

    HAMPTON (chuckling): You don't call, you don't text...what's a father to do?

    Camera pulls back to reveal DENA with her arms wrapped around him.

    DENA: Da-ad! It's been a couple of weeks. Nothing much going on between sessions, just waiting for fall semester to start. There's, just, nothing to talk about.

    HAMPTON: Well, I'm here to see how my girl is doing. How're you doing?

    DENA: It's Orientation. I'm supposed to be helping the new students carry in their stuff. I'm fine, Dad.

    HAMPTON: I worry about you, you know. Out here at the university, separated from your family like this, away from your church...(DENA gives him a squeeze, and he grunts.) Oof! Careful!

    DENA (laughing and letting go): Dad, you just live across town!

    HAMPTON (with a wink): And yet you don't call, you don't text....(more seriously) Your mother and I do worry about you. You should keep in touch...come visit more often.

    DENA (irritable): I'm not my brother, Dad. Nothing's going to happen.

    HAMPTON: Dena...

    DENA: I don't drink, or sleep with everything that--

    SADHA enters from another room, stopping well away from the open front door.

    DENA: I'm not like him. I'm not going to change just because I'm out of the house.

    HAMPTON nods briefly to the unfamiliar woman.

    DENA: She's a teacher here. She wanted to meet some of the students who were, uh, staying between semesters.

    HAMPTON (bluntly): You fight demons with her?

    DENA (fidgeting with her hair): ...Yeah.

    HAMPTON (reluctant): Dena, sweetheart...I'm not saying what you're doing isn't real. I've met demons. I've fought demons. I believe in spiritual warfare. But back in the nineties it was sort of a craze. You had pastors seeing demons under every doormat. I got caught up in it, and I dragged you along with me.

    DENA: Dad--

    SADHA is watching the conversation analytically and in silence.

    HAMPTON: Not everyone who's crazy, or sick, or a sinner is possessed. That isn't how the world works. Bad things happen...people do bad things...on their own.

    DENA: What I do is real, Dad. This isn't about...about kids high on PCP or something. I speak in tongues. I have...dreams, prophetic dreams. And you remember that month when I was afraid to style my hair, let alone cut it? I had a reason for that, and you know d--...very well what it was. I helped you. We worked together.

    HAMPTON: Hon...I know we did. I know better than to think you're sick in the head. But you could hurt someone...or, or you could be sued. If you make a mistake--

    DENA (folding her arms): I don't...make...mistakes.

    HAMPTON: I know you believe that. That's why I'm worried. (looking around) Do we need all these lights on? It doesn't have to be so dark in here in the daytime. (He moves toward a shaded window.)

    SADHA (putting a hand on his arm): I have a condition.

    HAMPTON (apparently accepting this): Ah. Got it. I'm sorry. Are you really a teacher?

    SADHA: I am. Have been for quite a while.

    HAMPTON (shaking his head disbelievingly): I'm sorry,'s been a while since I was really involved in this sort of thing. I've done a couple of exorcisms in the last year, that's about all. Sometimes I forget not every believer's from Texas or Alabama.

    SADHA (not correcting him): No, indeed not.

    DENA looks between them as if waiting for her father to catch on.

    HAMPTON: girl here's kind of headstrong. I know she's got good intentions, and I know what she can do, but...keep her out of trouble, okay? If you can. Don't lead her into it.

    SADHA (with a half-smile): I do my best.

    HAMPTON: Dena, what do you say to pizza? Your old man's buying.

    DENA (glancing between her father and SADHA again): That sounds good. mean, out?

    HAMPTON: Just the two of us. (to SADHA) It's not a problem, is it? I want to spend some time with my baby girl.

    SADHA (making mild shooing motions): I never It upsets my stomach. Go, enjoy while you can. They grow up so quickly, don't they?

    HAMPTON walks out. DENA hangs back for a moment, still looking at SADHA, seeming perplexed. Finally she closes the door behind her.

    CUT TO


    Open on ROGER WYNDHAM-PRICE's gloating face.

    ROGER (theatrically): Ah, stumbled upon my master plan, have you? Well, no matter. You cannot stop me...nothing can stop--

    ROGER breaks off, clutching at his chest.

    Cut to reveal ROGER is at an elaborately-set dining room table, surrounded by guests. ELIZABETH WYNDHAM-PRICE is seated next to him.

    ROGER (amused): And that's when Elizabeth put a crossbow bolt through his heart, right in the middle of his monologue. One simply cannot find villains these days without a tendency to boast about their plans, or put one in deathtraps, or some other such foolishness.

    The guests break into laughter.

    ELIZABETH: I really do think it's the time-travelers. Demons like that ludicrous Granak fellow Sahjhan, spreading these absurd modern fictional conventions. (with a chuckle) Not that it doesn't come in handy at times.

    ROGER: Of course, nowadays one normally has Slayers at hand to carry out missions like that, but back in the day there was only the one, and sometimes one had to take personal risks.

    ELIZABETH: I didn't think so much about the risk, myself. It was an adventure, actually. I admit I quite enjoyed myself. Would that I still had the stamina for such things.

    ROGER: Well, if only to keep you safe, I'm quite glad you don't. Missions like that are for the young.

    ELIZABETH (with a deep sigh): It's such a shame about Wesley. If only he'd applied himself, made some real effort, perhaps he'd be here with us.

    FEMALE GUEST (changing an uncomfortable subject): You have a Slayer working for you now, don't you? Personally, I mean?

    ROGER: Ah, yes...the girl's a bit limited in some ways. Not much of an education, but under her circumstances it's not as though it were avoidable. She's bright enough, I suppose. Certainly she understands how to follow orders.

    CUT TO


    This darkened, filthy room nonetheless has walls decorated with carved stone sculpture. Inside, the UGANDAN SLAYER is tangling with a pair of wrinkly-faced demons who resemble Clem. One of them attempts to rabbit-punch her from behind, but she twists out of his way, pulling his companion around into the blow's path. Struck in the back, the second demon collapses.

    FIRST DEMON: Dammit, Slayer! I said you could have the stupid thing! She's not paying us enough for this!

    The SLAYER snarls something in Swahili.

    DEMON: Aw, c'mon! Don't you speak Human?

    Bringing her fist around for a roundhouse punch, the SLAYER flattens him. She pulls a scrap of paper from her jacket pocket to consult for a moment--it seems to be a crudely-drawn map, with flowing script describing certain locations--then goes to the far wall of the crypt and presses her fingers against a small sculptural relief, causing a panel to slide open.

    We can't see the object she removes.

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

  • #2
    ACT II


    OZ is seated on the couch arm, tinkering with his guitar, while REGAN paces the floor. DENA has a laptop in front of her, typing.

    REGAN: I don't think we need to wait for Sadha. I mean, what's this Slayer going to do when we show up with a vampire?

    OZ shrugs.

    DENA: The smart thing?

    REGAN: Um. Yeah, good point. Oz, do I have to agree with her when she's right?

    OZ: If you admit she's right, you've already agreed.

    A door slams; moments later, SADHA hurries into the room carrying a cellular phone. She's wearing a metal bracelet we haven't seen before.

    SADHA: I'm afraid it'll just be you and Regan, Oz. There's a problem on campus.

    The SLAYERS look at each other. OZ waits expectantly for more.

    SADHA: There seems to be kind of spontaneous social activity involving text messaging.

    OZ: Flash mobs.

    SADHA: Ah...yes, that. I've been contacted regarding a "night of mayhem" outside the library. I can only presume vampires are gathering as we speak. Individually they might not be worthy of our attention, but if they gather in sufficient numbers...

    REGAN (disheartened): Violence ensues.

    SADHA: Indeed. I don't suppose anyone here knows who "jaelsdaughter77" might be?

    There is a brief pause while OZ and REGAN glance at each other.

    REGAN: Jay-El? What, she wants people to think she's Kryptonian?

    DENA raises her hand as REGAN speaks.

    DENA: One night of mayhem, coming up courtesy of me. (grinning) Just...not on humans.

    REGAN closes her eyes and thwacks a hand against her forehead. SADHA shakes her head in annoyance. Only OZ takes the news in stride.

    REGAN: When were you going to tell us about this?

    DENA: When I left.

    SADHA: I suppose the two of us will have to nip this gathering in the bud, then?

    DENA: You're not coming with me. If I see you, I'm assuming you're there for the free snacks. Are we clear on that?

    OZ: Going by yourself?

    DENA: Like Regan'll be any help? I don't want to have to watch her back. Again.

    SADHA: Very well. Go on, then. Enjoy yourself, and don't get killed.

    OZ frowns faintly.

    REGAN: You can't just let her go. I mean, isn't this entrapment or something?

    DENA (tiredly): They're vampires. Get over it.

    REGAN: Maybe some of them have souls. You could be tempting them.

    OZ: How do you know a vampire?

    DENA: How's anyone know a vampire? Roshelle disappeared just before summer session finals. I called to check up on her, and she went into this rant about slaughtering the unworthy.

    SADHA (drily): Well. That sounds familiar. She's undead, no question about it.

    DENA (insistently): If she's not a vampire, how'd you hear about it? Anyway, I get there and find humans, I send them home.

    REGAN: Unless they're already dead.

    SADHA: Enough! Regan, she's already set her plan in motion. All we can do now is follow through. Dena, show up on time and, as I said, try not to die. The rest of us will go find the new Slayer. Good luck.

    SADHA gestures to OZ and REGAN and walks out the front door.

    CUT TO


    OZ and REGAN join SADHA, who is walking toward OZ's van. DENA can be seen looking out the window.

    REGAN: You're just going to let her go alone?

    SADHA walks around the van and opens the door on that side, then closes it again, loudly, without entering.

    SADHA: Of course not. Good luck to the two of you as well.

    She walks off down the sidewalk, concealed from the house behind the van. OZ and REGAN glance at each other and get into the van.

    CUT TO

    ROGER is seated behind his desk, speaking quietly to a young Asian man, when the UGANDAN SLAYER bursts into the room without so much as an announcement, speaking in Swahili.

    ROGER: If you'll pardon me a moment, it appears something urgent has come up. Grant, if you don't mind?

    GRANT shrugs nonchalantly and moves over to study the bookshelves as ROGER gestures to the SLAYER to a seat in front of the desk.

    SLAYER (in Swahili, subtitled): I followed the inscriptions. They led me to a crypt beneath City Hall.

    ROGER: (subtitled): I don't suppose the Helm of Kasparov was there, or you'd have it with you.

    SLAYER (subtitled): No. I found only this.

    The SLAYER holds up a chess piece, a white pawn. ROGER stares at it for a long moment, then chuckles briefly.

    SLAYER: (subtitled): Sir?

    ROGER (subtitled): Kasparov. Sadha's taunting me. (looking at the SLAYER's puzzled expression) Kasparov is also the name of a famous chess player.

    SLAYER (subtitled): She's outmaneuvered you? She has the Helm already?

    ROGER (subtitled; slowly, considering): Whether or not it exists, I don't believe the Helm was ever here. No...the renegade has some other purpose in mind. And it involves me somehow, or she wouldn't have lured me here.

    SLAYER (subtitled): Then I will help you pack.

    ROGER (subtitled, dismissively): No, no. She wouldn't send me a message like this unless she intends to control my movements. She wishes me to believe she means me some immediate harm. But it's a bluff. It must be. Otherwise, why be so brazen about it?

    SLAYER (subtitled): What do you intend to do, sir?

    ROGER (subtitled): Why, entertain my guests, of course. Take some time off; you've earned it. I'm told "Sonic the Hedgehog" is very good for improving reaction time. If I don't take action according to the renegade's plans, she'll become nervous and make a blunder. Then we'll know what she's truly up to.

    ROGER stands up and goes over to speak to GRANT.

    SLAYER (hesitantly): Hedge...hog?

    CUT TO


    OZ and REGAN are making their way through a run-down apartment building. The paint is chipped and flaking off the walls, and many of the numbers on the doors are skewed or even missing.

    REGAN: This sucks. No one should have to live like this.

    OZ: Could be worse.

    REGAN: We've got enough money to help her family out, right?

    OZ says nothing, looking up and down the hall at all the doors.

    REGAN stops in front of a door marked 649; the middle number has vanished, leaving only a faded imprint on the wood.

    REGAN: The desk clerk said the girl who lives here's been sneaking around and coming in late, and this is the block we saw her on.... (hesitating) She might be seeing someone, or on drugs.

    OZ reaches out and knocks on the door.

    REGAN: Okay, I guess this is the best lead we have.

    There is a long silence, after which Oz knocks again, louder. Finally the door opens slightly, held by a chain.

    DEBORA (from behind the door): What do you want?

    REGAN: We need to talk to your daughter.

    DEBORA: You are not from her school. We have nothing to say to you.

    OZ: Senora, we've been looking for your daughter for a while. We can help her, if you'll let us in.

    The sound of running footsteps comes from behind the door.

    DEBORA: Solita, where are you going? (She moves away from the door, vanishing from view.)

    SOLITA (from some distance away, panicky): They're here for me!

    The sound of shattering glass echoes down the hall.

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


    • #3
      ACT III


      DENA is walking down the sidewalk, wearing a bulky jacket and carrying a sheathed sword. She turns in front of a large brick building and heads down the narrow pathway on its left side. No one is there, and after looking up into the trees for a few moments she goes on around the building. A pair of guys talking about a basketball game is behind the library, but no one else; she examines them for a moment and moves on. As she rounds the next corner DENA grimaces disgustedly. No one is here either.

      As she heads for the last corner, someone drops from the wall above and behind her, landing lightly in the grass. DENA hears or senses this and spins around.

      SADHA: Looking for someone?

      DENA (angry): I told you what'd happen if I found you here.

      SADHA: Ah, yes. Well, it seems you and I are the only ones here for the party. You don't suppose I might have sent out warnings of a Slayer trap, do you?

      DENA (snarling): Why the hell'd I trust you?

      DENA draws the sword hanging at her belt.

      SADHA: I'm afraid I have no idea. Is that thing really allowed on campus?

      DENA (rolling her eyes): Obviously it's a prop. No one would carry a real sword, right?

      DENA charges forward, holding the sword up, and slashes at SADHA's midsection with it; clearly it's not actually a prop. SADHA leaps backward and out of the way.

      SADHA (smiling, unconcerned): I'm a demon, after all. It's not as though I have actual priorities, or your best interests at heart. I certainly haven't told you that I'm perfectly fine with your hunting of vampires--

      DENA drives the sword at SADHA's chest; SADHA evades it with a precise movement to the right.

      SADHA: --or that I simply think you should concentrate your energies on targets of actual significance.

      DENA brings the blade down in an arc at SADHA's head. SADHA puts her hands up to catch it between them; a bit of blood trickles from between her palms, but the sword halts.

      SADHA: Kill all the foot soldiers you like, but the war will go right on. In the real world, all kingdoms crumble first from the inside.

      SADHA forces the sword away from her, then kicks DENA squarely in the stomach, hurling her backwards. She puts her bleeding left hand to her mouth.

      SADHA: Hmm. Could use a little fear. Shame I don't have any on hand.

      DENA (getting up): I'm just a soldier myself. I don't have to end the war on my own. (She thinks a moment and snickers.) You're trying to tempt me. You want me to think about my own personal glory.

      DENA lunges forward, driving her tattooed right fist at SADHA's face; SADHA catches it, and smoke quickly begins to rise from the hand.

      DENA: Sorry....not interested.

      SADHA (holding onto DENA's fist with a grimace): I'd accuse you of not caring about human casualties, but it's entirely clear that's not the case.

      Very abruptly she lets go of DENA's hand, makes a fist, and slams it into DENA's face before she can react.

      SADHA: You simply have no imagination. You don't care about ending this war--(she drives a second blow into DENA's stomach)--because you can't conceive of anything else. How pathetic. How sad.

      DENA dodges SADHA's third blow, though the punch to the gut has winded her. Crouching low, breathing hard, she retrieves her sword.

      SADHA: Your friend understands. She simply doesn't have the courage to make the hard decisions. Perhaps this new girl will serve better, especially if she's as young as Oz thinks. The young ones are...easily molded.

      DENA (coldly): I can't believe I hesitated. (Her sword comes up.) You're not even good at pretending. (She swings with all her strength.)

      SADHA (ducking low to evade): And what is it you think--

      DENA's blade drops lower as well, just a little too fast for SADHA to try something else, and slices cleanly through her neck.

      For a moment, DENA looks satisfied. There is a soft thud, followed by a second one. DENA's eyes widen in shock.

      SADHA's body lies on the ground--unmoving, but very definitely solid.

      CUT TO


      REGAN, growing panicky, shoves the door hard, and the chain bursts out of the wall. DEBORA stares wide-eyed at the intruder for a moment, then picks up a very large pair of scissors from the table and backs away.

      OZ: We only want to help you and your daughter. Regan, go find her.

      DEBORA: What are you? My Solita is a good girl. She doesn't want to--

      REGAN dodges past DEBORA and out of the room.

      OZ: I'm sure she's a good person. We're here to help her stay out of trouble. That's all. We didn't mean to scare her.

      REGAN (off-screen): Whoa! Oz!

      OZ: Busy here! What happened?

      DEBORA: What did you do to my daughter?

      REGAN (off-screen): Nothing. But she...she jumped.

      DEBORA (horrified): Out the window?

      OZ: How bad does she look?

      REGAN (off-screen): She's fine. She took off down the alley. Oz, I couldn't take a six-story jump without breaking something. I'm going down the fire escape.

      OZ: Go! (to DEBORA) Your daughter's very special, senora, but we need to find her. She might accidentally hurt someone.

      DEBORA: She's been fighting at school. (OZ nods.) Today she came home...she had something on her hand...she said it was a demon's blood.

      OZ: Was it?

      DEBORA stares at him as if he's crazy.

      CUT TO


      REGAN comes hurtling out of the alleyway and around the corner. SOLITA is already a couple of blocks ahead, but the sidewalks are nearly deserted, so her form is clearly visible in pools of light from the flickering streetlamps.

      REGAN (under her breath): Dammit. (louder) Look, we're not gonna hurt you! Come back!

      She takes a deep gulp of air and pours on the speed.

      We switch to viewing SOLITA, also pounding down the sidewalk at top speed, her eyes full of terror. She's fast, but as she glances back we can see REGAN gaining on her.

      Back to REGAN, as a car roars out of a side street ahead of her. She leaps into the air, her feet striking the hood only twice before she's over and past. Shouts of surprised fear and anger come from the car, but she keeps moving.

      SOLITA (winded): Go away! Just leave me alone!

      SOLITA turns to glance back at REGAN again, and as she does we can see a pickup truck speeding towards the intersection.

      REGAN (waving her hands frantically): Stop! Look--

      Braking, skidding, unable to stop, the truck slams into SOLITA head-on, tossing her down the street like a rag doll.

      CUT TO


      DENA is still staring at the decapitated Watcher when music begins to play. She jumps, but it's only a ring tone. Looking around vaguely she spots a cell phone lying beneath a small tree and, still in shock, she picks it up.

      The phone is coated in a thin layer of dust. DENA rubs her fingers through it, rubs them together, and drops the phone without answering.

      SADHA (offscreen, sounding hoarse): That was less than pleasant.

      DENA (turning): Wh--...what are you?

      SADHA is lying on the ground, propping her torso up with one hand while she massages her neck with the other.

      SADHA (hoarsely): The term is pennangalan. I'm sure you haven't heard it. At the very least, though, I'd have thought you had listened when they tried to tell you about Dracula. Or the Master, for that matter. There are...ways and means.

      DENA: What the hell is a penna--never mind. It's some way of coming back after I slay you.

      SADHA: More or less. There's a ritual, quite unpleasant, involving an extended decapitation with a magical blade. Scar tissue prevents the wounds from healing completely. Supposedly there's an additional technique the eldest know, about separating body parts and sending them flying through the air. I'd never seen it done myself--thought it a rather silly legend--but Angel told me a very interesting story recently...well, that's not important.

      DENA: So I stake you, you stay dead.

      SADHA: True enough. If I still have not convinced you there's a great deal you don't understand, feel free. As I told you before, if a vampire is of no use to you, kill it.

      DENA glances down at the cell phone, which has stopped ringing.

      DENA: You said you warned them.

      SADHA: I said I might have warned them. I didn't.

      DENA: I don't get pushed me to try to slay you.

      SADHA (with an irritable sigh): At any time, I could lose my soul, or simply fall victim to temptation, and return to my old ways. I want to be certain there is someone around who will kill me if that happens. Who will act without hesitation or guilt. I appreciate pity, Dena, I appreciate mercy, but I make no claim to deserve them. Congratulations. You pass the test.

      DENA (considering that for a moment): Not sure I trust a vampire's compliments either. What would you've done if I didn't have a sword on me?

      SADHA (shrugging): I'd have waited till you did, of course. I explained to you what a pennangalan is. Who or what is Jael?

      DENA: From the book of Judges...she killed a general named Sisera with a tent peg. To the head, not the heart, but, well...choice of weapon, y'know?

      [A metal beat begins to play in the background.]

      SADHA: Ah.

      DENA: Always loved that story.

      Demon Hunter's "Storm the Gates of Hell" begins. Wake the lifeless/Die to fight this

      DENA turns and begins walking toward the concrete path. After a moment, she looks back. SADHA has gotten up and is following.

      Stand beside me/Storm the gates of Hell/Storm the gates of Hell

      Music fades.

      CUT TO


      The truck that hit SOLITA has come to a crooked halt a few yards from her. The DRIVER is out of his vehicle, crouching over her and talking frantically on his cell phone.

      DRIVER: --Yes, yes, I know, it's my fault, just get someone out here...

      REGAN comes racing up.

      REGAN (winded): Is she breathing? How bad is it?

      DRIVER (babbling): She just ran out in front of me, I tried to stop....

      REGAN (a little harsh): It's not your fault! Now how bad?

      DRIVER: I don't know! She's breathing, but--

      SOLITA's eyes open. She lifts a hand to her head before anyone can think to stop her.

      SOLITA: Ow.

      REGAN: Don' shouldn't move. Why'd you run? I told you, we don't want to hurt you.

      SOLITA: Esta...I...that's what she said. The monster...

      REGAN (quickly): Guess she has a concussion.

      SOLITA looks at REGAN as if REGAN is out of her mind.

      OZ and DEBORA finally come running up. DEBORA immediately falls to her knees on the ground next to her daughter and begins to cry softly.

      OZ: Regan.

      REGAN (quietly): I don't know. I've never been hit by a car. She looks bruised up pretty bad. There should be an ambulance here soon.

      OZ tilts his head in the direction of SOLITA and her mother.

      SOLITA is sitting up.




      DEBORA is sitting beside SOLITA's bed, holding her hand. SOLITA is bruised, more so than when she came home, but smiling and looking strong. Several DOCTORS are in one corner of the room arguing quietly. Finally one of them separates from the group and walks over to the bedside.

      DR. WORTH: I can run some more tests, but I can tell you right now what they're going to say. Serious bruising, one cracked rib, no damaged organs or broken bones. I've seen cases something like this before, especially in children--they're a bit more resilient--but not to this degree. I don't know how to explain it, other than to say you have one incredibly lucky daughter.

      DEBORA: So then what will you do with her?

      DR. WORTH: We should keep her till tomorrow for observation--situations like this are very unusual, and sometimes there's damage we didn't see immediately. But...assuming nothing happens...I don't see any reason you can't take her home.

      CUT TO


      REGAN, OZ, SADHA, and DENA are all here--DENA is pacing, but the rest have settled comfortably, if uneasily, into chairs. There has been some attempt to create a pleasant atmosphere with appropriate colors and a few paintings, but this is clearly not a top-of-the-line hospital.

      REGAN (quietly): I still don't get anything from her. I can feel her there, if she's close, but that's about all. I should be able to tell she's a Slayer, at arm's length, maybe further, but....there's nothing.

      DENA: She was hit by a truck--nice going, by the way, Regan--and nothing's broken? That's...I don't even know what that is.

      SADHA: She is a Slayer.

      REGAN: If I were hit by a truck--hell, if I jumped out a sixth-story window--I'd break a leg or something.

      SADHA: You're faster and more sensitive than Dena. Dena is stronger than you. Not all Slayers are exactly alike, even accounting for their backgrounds. Solita must simply be extremely resilient, even for a Slayer.

      DENA: She's so young.

      SADHA: It's not unheard of.

      OZ: It's not as though she was decapitated.

      SADHA (cracking her neck): That was very unpleasant. And it's not a terribly useful ability if you're alone and your opponent knows what to expect. Please let's not discuss it openly. Though I could use something to..."wet my whistle".

      DENA: I....guess I can't blame you.

      SADHA: Of course you can.

      OZ studies SADHA appraisingly.

      CUT TO


      ROGER is examining the wooden chess pawn the SLAYER brought to him beneath a magnifying glass. There's a fine seam along the base. Peering at it, he frowns and gives it a twist.

      The base pops free, revealing a thin strip of paper rolled inside.

      It reads: "Watcher to Watcher--we really should talk."

      ROGER sneers, pulls out a lighter, and holds the message over a small glass tray to set it ablaze.

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