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DeadWar: Haven 1.03 (Disturb the Universe)

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  • DeadWar: Haven 1.03 (Disturb the Universe)

    Disclaimer: All non-original characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. We're just lucky to get to play with his toys.

    Beta: frogfarm

    Rating/Warnings: PG (violence)

    Characters: Ensemble

    Setting: Roughly two years post-"NFA", essentially ignores comics. (Note: Due to a misunderstanding about the timing of "Angel"'s seasons, some notes have referred to DeadWar being set two years post-"Chosen". The new timing is more accurate.)



    This is the lobby of Hagaanah P.I., its red "avenging demon" logo painted on the wall above. People are milling about--dancing, eating, talking. Loud, jazzy music is playing.

    MARA, the rogue vengeance demon, is sitting in one of the lobby chairs with a group of children gathered round; she is reading aloud from a book. Several of the children are wide-eyed, a little afraid. One of them has red, scaly skin and the horns of an ANOMOVIC demon.

    MARA: ...the farmer sagged down against the gigantic table leg. "We have made our bed," he said, "and now we must lie in it." But his wife answered, "If you don't like the way your bed is made, get up and make it again. We have one wish left."

    The little ANOMOVIC GIRL cheers.

    PAN across dancing people.

    ANGEL is standing against the wall, tapping his feet nervously. BRITTANY is watching him, holding a glass of something.

    ANGEL: Last time I was at an office party I ended up having involuntary mystical sex with a Child of the Senior Partners.

    BRITTANY (smirking): I heard. Sounds like it was terrible. (pause) If that's what you're afraid of, I don't think the Partners have any kids here. Is that what you're afraid of?

    ANGEL: Well, no. I just...something's going to go wrong.

    BRITTANY: They tell me you can't dance. Kind of odd, considering what a party animal you're supposed to have been back in the day.

    ANGEL (looking trapped): I was more the getting-into-fights type.

    BRITTANY: Over what? Women? People stealing your ale? Speaking of which, why aren't you drinking anything?

    ANGEL: I'm still sort of getting used to being human again. Harder to hold the beer. I had one glass a while back.

    BRITTANY: I guess that's a start. Now you need someone to flirt with.

    PAN across dancing people.

    ANDREW is dancing wildly and goofily; several people, including PHIL and NOVEMBER, are watching him go. PHIL is wearing an amused grin. NOVEMBER's attention seems to be elsewhere, though; she's frowning and staring at her canned soda.

    PHIL: I'm kinda wondering what the big deal is. These demons don't seem so bad.

    NOVEMBER (with a snort): That's the trouble. Interspecies harmony. Only, we don't get to live in the Federation. Forgettin' that doesn't do us any good.

    PHIL: Well, why can't we? Live in the Federation, I mean.

    NOVEMBER: Because come tomorrow, these guys or somethin' like 'em'll be wanting to eat your brains, or suck your blood or your bone marrow or something. It's a nice dream, but it never lasts.

    A horned RED DEMON who resembles Sweet appears from the crowd and does a series of steps. ANDREW watches closely and imitates him, then adds a flourish.

    PHIL: Uh-oh.

    NOVEMBER: What?

    PHIL: I better not have to break this up.

    The RED DEMON goes through a more elaborate version of the steps, which ANDREW matches again. The crowd begins to hoot and holler.

    NOVEMBER: See? I told you. There's no such thing as peace, not in this neck of the galaxy. vaj tlhIngan jIH.

    PHIL: There doesn't have to be a fight.

    NOVEMBER: Says who? I'm tellin' you, the only thing that can keep the peace long in a group like this is a sanctuary spell.

    PHIL: Sanctu-what?

    NOVEMBER: Not that they work that well.

    PAN across dancing people, back to ANGEL and BRITTANY

    BRITTANY: The way I see it, you're still afraid to let loose.

    ANGEL: You're the one who said I still had Angelus in me.

    BRITTANY: Angel. I'm a Slayer in a room full of demons. But the only reason I'm not on the dance floor is that I saw you standing around looking lost. You don't have to--

    HAGAANAH appears out of the crowd, leading a WOMAN in thick glasses and practical, unattractive brown slacks and blouse.

    HAGAANAH (enthusiastically): Angel! I knew I could get you out to the party! You guys were such a help last time I saw you, and I took your advice. This's Kirstin, our new human-affairs liason.

    KIRSTIN (bored and uncomfortable): It's really loud in here. Nice to meet you...Angel? November? (offers her hand to each of them in turn)

    BRITTANY: I'm Brittany. Nov's....out there somewhere. (She gestures toward the center of the lobby.)

    KIRSTIN: I really would rather get back to my work, Hagaanah. This place's giving me a headache, and I've got this paper I'm trying to write.

    HAGAANAH (disappointed): If that's what you want. Go on.

    KIRSTIN squints through her glasses at ANGEL and hurries away.

    BRITTANY: She seems like your type, Angel. You know, withdrawn, emotionally inaccessible...that sort of thing.

    ANGEL: What?! No! I'm just...tense, that's all.

    HAGAANAH: Am I interrupting something?

    ANGEL: No, no, not at all. Brittany was just going back to dance some more.

    BRITTANY: I was not!

    HAGAANAH: Look, guys, I don't want to get in the middle of this. But I wanted to tell you, Angel, Mara's picking up some unusual dimensional activity down in the subway tunnels. You were talking about being suspicious of the, the vampires who're leaving town. Had this idea you might want to take a look.

    ANGEL: Portals?

    HAGAANAH (scratching his left horn): Probably. Quite a few at that. And not on a recognized transit site. If those vamps are being scammed, I figured you'd want to know, help 'em out, right?

    ANGEL: Er... (BRITTANY elbows him in the ribs)...sure, why not? Give me a location before we leave and, uh, my Slayer can look into it.

    BRITTANY: I'm going nowhere without my Watcher. I mean, hell, who knows where those portals might lead? Someone'll have to help me look up references on demon dimensions.

    HAGAANAH (wearing a baffled expression): I had you pegged as the smart one of the pair, Britt. No offense, Ang, but I thought you did the combat thing.

    BRITTANY: Angel's just an all-around go-to guy when it comes to helping people out. Believe it or not, he's got a photographic memory. We'll go down there together, see what we find out. And if there's anyone in trouble...we'll give them a hand.

    A thrown chair goes flying between them and the camera. Close on their looks of shock.


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

    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

    Marc Blucas as Riley Finn
    Rutger Hauer as General Voll
    Jared Padalecki as Phil
    Robert Englund as Hagaanah
    Gigi Edgley as Mara
    Claudia Black as Kirstin Conway

    ACT I


    ANGEL is driving his convertible, top-down, through light traffic, with BRITTANY riding shotgun; NOVEMBER is squeezed in between them, looking sullen. ANDREW and PHIL are in the back seat; ANDREW has a bandage on his head.

    BRITTANY: I can't believe you threw a chair at that guy.

    NOVEMBER: Wasn't a guy. It was an evil dancing demon. He was probably going to set my Watcher on fire.

    ANDREW: We were having a good time. Okay...maybe I got a little carried away. Say, was anyone filming that?

    PHIL: I thought you were pretty much on fire already, but that's just me.

    BRITTANY: Angel, did you hear anyone singing? About feelings or secrets, maybe?

    ANGEL (a bit startled): What? God no. There was that instrumental stuff--I'd say maybe from the seventies--but....

    BRITTANY: See, if anyone had summoned that guy to wreak havoc, there'd have been singing. He dropped by to have some fun. I heard Hagaanah helped him settle some sort of custody case. Too many wives, if you ask me.

    NOVEMBER: Wives? You mean queens. I told you--evil.

    PHIL (mild sarcasm): Do enslaved fake wives fight over custody of the kids, November? (hesitates, looking around) They don't, do they?

    ANGEL: Not that I've heard. What's this about singing and feelings?

    BRITTANY: Nothing you'd know anything about, I'm sure.

    It begins to sprinkle rain. ANGEL ignores it, leaving the top down, and makes a left.

    BRITTANY: Anyway, Nov, the long and the short of it is, you picked a fight when you didn't have to, upset our host, and nearly ruined the whole party. You're lucky Keith just asked us to leave.

    NOVEMBER: (bored) We shouldn't've been there anyway. It's one thing to work with demons when you have to. Tryin' to get along with 'em is something else. I don't get you, Britt. You're always acting like it's somethin' bad to fight what we were made to fight. We're Slayers. We slay. Might as well enjoy it.

    They've plainly had this conversation many times before. It begins to rain a little harder. ANDREW frowns and looks as if he's going to say something, but BRITTANY speaks over him.

    BRITTANY: (deadpan, perfectly reasonable) You could be right, I guess. We're killers. It's in our nature. No reason to feel guilty about killing. Hey, Angel, let's go on a killing spree with Nov. You used to like those, right?

    ANGEL: (exasperated) Don't start that "we're all killers" thing with me. You know who you sound like? Spike, before he got his soul.

    BRITTANY: Well, yeah. I'd say you were missing the point if you hadn't practically repeated it verbatim.

    ANGEL is about to say something else when the sky opens up and begins pouring cold rain into the car. Everyone shouts and cowers a little, even ANGEL, who sheepishly raises the top.

    ANGEL: Didn't use to worry about that sort of thing.

    PHIL: Don't vampires care about mildew?


    The group is making its way along the hallway towards their apartments, soaking wet and shivering. A DELIVERYMAN is waiting at the door to ANGEL's apartment with a very large package--nearly four feet tall.

    DELIVERYMAN: Would one of you people be a, Geraldo Angel?

    ANGEL: (startled) That's me. That thing's for me?

    DELIVERYMAN: (skeptical) It is if you're Geraldo Angel. (holding out an electronic pad and pen) Sign here.

    ANGEL: (signs it) Who sent me this?

    DELIVERYMAN: Fellow named Lorne Greene, apparently. He said you'd know something about a joke, and asked that it be brought to you today at this hour.

    ANGEL: (still taken aback) He, uh, gets a lot of ribbing about his name. We haven't spoken in a while.

    DELIVERYMAN: Wouldn't know anything about that, sir. Have a nice day.


    NOVEMBER: Need help getting that inside?

    ANGEL: No, I...(he looks at the package again and reconsiders)...probably do. Thanks.

    PHIL: Lorne Greene? The comedian?

    ANDREW (pretentiously): Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan, former host of Caritas, the karaoke bar. He used to be one of Angel's closest friends until they had a falling-out.

    ANGEL: He's a demon. And green. I think he figured "Lorne" was the most normal-sounding part of his name in California--didn't know anything about the comedian yet. Thus the jokes.

    BRITTANY: (trying not to laugh) In Los Angeles? He could've gone by Krevlornswath. Nobody'd have cared.

    ANGEL opens the door, and BRITTANY and NOVEMBER lift and carry the box into his apartment.


    ANGEL's apartment is almost as bare and spartan as we last saw it, but a Matisse print has been hung on the wall facing his bed. PHIL examines it as they enter; the room is a bit crowded.

    PHIL: Good taste.

    ANGEL: Thanks.

    He enters the kitchen and comes back with a knife, which he uses to open the package. He reaches in and pulls out a note.

    ANGEL: (reading) "Angelface--"

    PHIL raises an eyebrow.

    ANGEL: (reading) "--I wish I could say I regretted running out on you guys after what happened, but I don't. My being with wouldn't have made any difference, and you know it. But you've been showing up in a lot of folks' auras lately, and I think you're going to need this. Use it in good health. All my best."

    NOVEMBER lifts out a sleek piece of electronic equipment from the box.

    PHIL: It looks like some kind of sound mixer.

    ANGEL: (thoroughly confused) It's Lorne's karaoke machine.

    ANDREW: (a little excited) Hey, I think I saw this one on the Twilight Zone once. (stops, deflating) No...wait. Not really.

    NOVEMBER: Why would Lorne think you needed his karaoke machine? (She examines the microphone.)

    ANGEL: Beats me.

    BRITTANY: He read people's destinies, right? If you were in their auras, like he said, then maybe he has a good reason.

    BRITTANY plugs in the machine and checks the settings, then turns it on. The tune to the Eagles' "Desperado" begins to play. ANGEL looks blankly at the device. He reaches over and turns it off.

    ANGEL: Anyone want to dry off? Got towels.

    ANDREW: We're gonna have to go back out in the rain anyway.

    NOVEMBER: I'll bite.

    She holds out her hand for a towel; ANGEL makes as if to go get them.

    BRITTANY: We're just down the hallway. I don't want to drip all over your floor, though, so if you want me to stay a while I'll take one.

    ANGEL steps into the bathroom and comes back with a couple of towels; he hands one to NOVEMBER and begins drying off with the other. BRITTANY gives him a questioning look.

    ANGEL: Any tunes you want to listen to? Weapons you'd like to practice with? Favorite TV shows?

    BRITTANY turns on the karaoke machine again and glances at the screen; the tune begins where it left off. She begins singing softly along; though her voice is nothing to write home about, she's on key and knows how to convey a mood.

    BRITTANY (gently): ...oh, you ain't gettin' no younger; your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you on....

    ANGEL turns off the machine a second time.

    BRITTANY: Think Lorne left it on that song at random?

    ANGEL: I don't need to be analyzed. Who's the Watcher here anyway?

    BRITTANY gives him an enigmatic look.

    ANDREW: We should probably, um, get going.

    He gestures at NOVEMBER and PHIL to come on and heads for the door. NOVEMBER tosses her towel onto the bed.

    ANGEL (to BRITTANY): You too.

    For a moment BRITTANY seems ready to stare him down. Then, instead, she turns wordlessly and follows the others into the hall.

    Still dressed, ANGEL turns off the lights and lies down on the bed, watching the ceiling.

    CUT TO


    BRITTANY stalks off down the hallway toward her room, while NOVEMBER, PHIL, and ANDREW trail along more slowly; we follow the latter.

    NOVEMBER: I don't get her. She broods just as much as he does, but when he does it she gets upset.

    PHIL: I thought he brooded because he was a vampire.

    ANDREW (theatrically): Our dark and mysterious hero discovers at last what he was searching for, only to find the prize...unfulfilling. Peace eludes him.

    NOVEMBER: Well, it's not like he can go back! What would he do, let someone turn him?

    ANDREW (normal voice, very slightly alarmed): That'd make him Angelus again. He'd have to be crazy to do that.

    PHIL: They couldn't re-ensoul, again?

    ANDREW: I guess. But it could fail. He'd never risk that. Besides, to give up on the hero's quest for redemption, to let go of his tortured's just not Angel.

    NOVEMBER (thoughtful): Kinda afraid you might be right.

    PHIL: You mean after a century of being tormented guy, he doesn't know what else to do? (The others look at him worriedly.) Ouch.

    ANDREW: And anyway, it's like he's switched places with Buffy. Only she's still a Slayer, too, and he's...well, not. He's basically got nothing left to fight with.

    NOVEMBER: He's got mad combat skills.

    ANDREW (shaking his head): You haven't seen her. It'd be like fighting a soul-eater, only twice as strong or more--ever seen one of those? Maybe you could do it, but not an ordinary human by himself.

    NOVEMBER: I still don't understand why we don't just turn her loose. Then we can gang up on her later when they're all dead.

    PHIL winces, and ANDREW looks uncomfortable.

    ANDREW: Dungeons and Dragons, first edition.

    NOVEMBER: I've played, but what about it?

    ANDREW: Orcs were always chaotic evil back then. Not usually, the way it's set up now--always. That way the players had something to level up against and they didn't have to worry about things like being killers.

    NOVEMBER (grinning): Sounds like the life.

    ANDREW: Didn't take long till a lot of gamers were torturing orcs. Raiding orc villages, taking everything, killing the females and the kids. Hero or villain? How to tell? Everything the orcs were supposed to be, their characters became--just against orcs instead of humans. Okay, the advancement structure had something to do with it, but....if the only difference between good and evil is who's killing who, does it really matter any more which side you're on?

    NOVEMBER (annoyed): Now you sound like Britt. Only, she doesn't talk about orcs. She just says it right out.

    PHIL: Is she wrong?

    NOVEMBER: This isn't a game. It's life. We can't change the rules. If being a paladin's gonna make me some kind of stone-cold killer--and I don't see why it has to--then that's just what'll have to happen.

    ANDREW: When they're gone--when it's you who can't be a champion anymore--will you know how to stop?

    CUT TO


    MICHELLE (closeup): I won't do it.

    Cut to reveal MICHELLE and GABRIEL in a fire-damaged apartment. A sleeping bag has been rolled out over the room's king-sized bed. A pair of duffels lies near the blackened remains of a cabinet. MICHELLE is leaning against a wall while GABRIEL sits on the bed.

    MICHELLE: I mean, am I not weak enough for you yet? You have to defang and declaw me too? You keep telling me how dangerous the world is, but you won't let me be strong enough to face it.

    GABRIEL: It's not like that! I'm...I'm afraid of what you'll do. I don't want you hurting people.

    MICHELLE (upset): Do I look like I can hurt anybody? I'm practically a wet noodle here. (She flexes a frail-looking arm.)

    GABRIEL: I know. I want you to get well, hon. I just still want other people to be safe around you when you are.

    MICHELLE: If you want me to get well, feed me something real, or let me hunt it myself. This weaksauce crap you keep bringing me doesn't cut it, Gabe, not for someone in my place. I could be like this for years.

    GABRIEL: You want to bring those Slayers down on us? They will kill you. They won't hesitate any more than you would at killing a human. To them, we're vermin. And that's not even counting what'll happen if Buffy shows up in town. I'm not afraid she'll kill you. I'm afraid she won't.

    MICHELLE (her face crumpling): Why'd you do this to me? Why'd you bring me back like this if I'm not good enough for you? I mean, hell, I'm freaking out about something I didn't even believe in before. Why's it so important to you to give me one?

    GABRIEL (very softly): I didn't love you. I left you in a coma for five years, because I didn't love you any more.

    MICHELLE (as if this had never crossed her mind): Oh. (She hesitates, then sidles over and sits down beside him.) So it's not that you're afraid I'll kill someone, or get killed. You're upset because you're afraid I can't love you. (She puts an arm around him, fingers dangling near his collarbone.)

    GABRIEL (softly): Yes.

    MICHELLE (gently): you have any idea...(growing harsher) pissed at you I am? (Her fingernails dig bleeding furrows into the front of his shoulder.) But I haven't tried to get away from you, have I? Except that first couple of times, just to eat, and you wouldn't let me. You're a smart man, Gabe, but not so smart I couldn't escape if I put my mind to it. (She bends down to suckle from the wounds on his shoulder, then looks up at him.) You do sleep, after all. If I didn't love you, I'd be gone by now.

    GABRIEL (not entirely convinced): There is that. Yeah.

    MICHELLE: Here's the deal. That Angel guy, you remember how upset he was? He was like you, and it's driving him (with a wink) batty that anyone else wants to be that way. That it's even possible, I mean. We'll talk to him about it and find out why it bothers him so much.

    GABRIEL: I heard there was some kind of prophecy about him. That's why he was saying he was supposed to be the only one. But he was also sure you needed a soul if we were going to be together.

    MICHELLE (dismissively): Prophecies now too? Maybe he's just jealous. On the other hand, maybe there's something really wrong. Maybe there's some kind of natural...or, um, supernatural law that says this soul business isn't supposed to happen. If that's how it is, you stop bothering me about it and find me someone to eat. (GABRIEL starts to protest.) Take it or leave it.

    GABRIEL: All right. You've got a deal.

    MICHELLE (grins broadly): I still want to see how he tastes.

    CUT TO

    RILEY is walking down an institutionally-cold corridor. Although most of the personnel passing him are in military uniforms, he is wearing civilian motorcycle gear and appears lost in thought.

    VOLL (off-screen): Finn.

    GENERAL VOLL appears from a side doorway as RILEY pauses.

    RILEY: Yes, sir, can I help you, sir?

    They continue down the hallway.

    VOLL: I have a few concerns I'm hoping you can look into. First, the re-appearance of Hostile Alpha is problematic. Since you've encountered him on neutral terms before, I'm hoping you can meet with him and get a sense of what's going on. I don't believe for a second he's what he seems to be now; that just doesn't happen.

    RILEY: I'll see what I can learn, sir. Any suggestions on how to make contact?

    VOLL: In a moment. Second, the theft issue still hasn't been resolved. These are sensitive materials, Finn, and we need to retrieve them. I'm giving you a blank check on that.

    RILEY: I won't let you down, General.

    VOLL: Thirdly, and most importantly, we're detecting unaccounted-for dimensional activity at sewer level. We can't have hostile cultists working out how to cross between worlds on their own. Even if it's some outside party, that's too great a risk, and it might possibly be a cult faction already. It could also be the Directorate running some side op; I always said they'd turn on us eventually.

    RILEY: And we can't let them outflank us.

    VOLL: Exactly. I've been deliberately leaking information on the situation to Hostile Alpha. Given his past behavior, I expect he'll investigate these breaches. Meet up with him and keep an eye on him. (with a heavy sigh) I don't suppose you understand them, Finn. You've dealt with them up close. We know some of the hostiles aren't just animals. They're intelligent and adaptable. What compels them to attack us? Why are they always so certain they're some kind of master race?

    RILEY (after a moment's silence): I'm sorry, sir, I wouldn't know.


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

  • #2
    ACT II


    Somewhere deep under the city, an INSECTOID DEMON stalks through a makeshift nest in the sewers. We've seen its kind before--it's from the world that worshipped Jasmine. Chained to the wall are several VAMPIRES, their chests hacked crudely open.

    INSECT DEMON: Kkkk. Why silent, creatures? You obeys, I let you go. Talk for me.

    The nearest VAMPIRE, a young-looking blond man, spits blood in the DEMON's face.

    INSECT DEMON (wiping off the blood): Not time for magic. Kk. Is time for talky. You not tell me, I go gets more.

    REDHEADED VAMP GIRL (derisive): Yeah, like that'll make us tell you anything.

    BLOND VAMP GUY (sarcastic): You sure know a lot about vampires, dontcha?

    INSECT DEMON: Not expecting you tell me for that. Not talk, I make as...aesthetic sculpture of you. Find out how many heads of five-headed dead thing must cut off to kills it.

    REDHEADED VAMP: Hey, let's not get hasty, okay? I don't know where he is, but you let me go, I'll find him for ya. I swear.

    INSECT DEMON: Kkk. (tilts his head) How you do that, dead thing? Tell me. Maybe I does it myself.

    Several vampires break into pained laughter.

    ELDERLY MALE VAMPIRE: Yeah, you do that, son. Go hunt 'round in the bars. See how far you get.

    CUT TO


    ANGEL is asleep. His eyelids move as if he were dreaming, then open. Indistinct angry voices are coming from somewhere offscreen. He groans and looks at the alarm clock, which reads 10:22 AM. Almost no light is coming in through the window, though. He shakes himself awake and climbs out of bed and into some clothes, then goes to the door.


    MICHELLE and GABRIEL, holding very wet raincoats, are arguing with BRITTANY just outside the apartment. A steady patter of rain can be heard as well.

    MICHELLE: ...came out here to talk to him, and we mean to talk to him!

    BRITTANY: Well, you can do it when he's...awake...Angel. Morning. Got back from class and found these two here.

    ANGEL (mildly puzzled): It's the middle of the morning.

    GABRIEL: It's also fall in Chicago. Pouring down rain out there. You lived in L.A. too long. Anyone ever tell you you had a death wish?

    ANGEL: Don't think I have anything to say to you. Especially not her. (looking at MICHELLE)

    MICHELLE: Is being rude to vampires part of the curse, or is that just you?

    ANGEL: The curse isn't something I have to worry about any more.

    MICHELLE: Well then--

    GABRIEL: Then what was eating you the other day at the warehouse? Those people look up to you, but you couldn't be bothered to hang around or even check up on 'em.

    ANGEL: What they're looking for, I can't give them.

    MICHELLE: So you're saying it's bad that they have souls, they're not supposed to. Good, thanks, and--

    ANGEL: Well, I mean--it's a good thing for the world, I guess. Or could be, but.... Look, there was a prophecy, okay? About a vampire, one vampire with a soul, who was going to become human. I don't...I can't offer you anything like that. It's not easy, is it, Gabriel? You're still a vampire. You still want blood, you still like violence, you just feel bad about it.

    GABRIEL: You're afraid we're going to snap.

    ANGEL (shrugging) : Done that a time or two myself.

    MICHELLE: So it's better this way. (She edges away down the hall.)

    BRITTANY (cutting in and moving into MICHELLE's path): It's actually a pretty funny sort of prophecy. I mean, at least two of the sections are spells that made themselves come true, and the part Angel's talking about isn't even the main point, just sort of an epilogue.

    GABRIEL: What's the rest of it about, then?

    BRITTANY: Kinda odd...I'm not sure we ever found that out. And then there was this whole other set of prophecies that depended on that one, and it's like they both...fizzled. I mean, prophecies usually have a focal point, don't they?

    ANGEL: They didn't fizzle. There were apocalypses. Multiple apocalypses. That's what they were about. The Tro-Clon, and--

    BRITTANY: And some sort of weird aftermath thing about killing a demon named Sahjhan. And a battle with a demonic army that Wolfram and Hart didn't have any real use for, that you admitted yourself didn't touch the Senior Partners at all. I'm sort of searching for the "saving humanity" part, nope. Senior Partners still on the loose, owning the world and rebuilding their law firm.

    MICHELLE (smirking): Humanity's always needing to be saved.

    ANGEL: She has a point. I mean, there's always another apocalypse. The world doesn't just stop. Well, unless we lose.

    BRITTANY: Another apocalypse. But not the apocalypse, Wolfram and Hart's apocalypse. Or did I get that part wrong?

    ANGEL: Then why did I become human? The Powers said it outright: this is my reward.

    MICHELLE: This doesn't have anything to do with me, does it? Because if not, I can-- (BRITTANY stays in her way)

    BRITTANY: You know, that's probably the best question so far. (Her tone becomes oddly ironic.) No, it's got nothing to do with you. Angel's supposed to protect humanity, not vampires. So get lost. It's not appropriate to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs.

    ANGEL: Now wait just a second--

    BRITTANY: Is it?

    ANGEL: You're making me out to be--I don't know what you're trying to say.

    BRITTANY: They don't write prophecies about unimportant people, Angel. Prophecies are about either saviors, or monsters. It sounds as if this one lets you take your pick. If you're uncomfortable with Bible passages, I can probably make the same point from the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita. I'm not choosy.

    ANGEL: Whatever I was supposed to do, Britt, I've done it already. I mean, I must have. I'm not denying that...we were all victims once. But I don't know what to do about that. I don't know that there's anything that can be done. I saw the way those cultists reacted to me, Brittany, and it scares me because they think I'm something I'm not. I can't help them. What exactly are you expecting me to do?

    BRITTANY: Try.

    MICHELLE: If nobody's going to say anything I can make sense of--

    GABRIEL abruptly spins and wraps an arm around ANGEL's neck from behind. ANGEL struggles briefly, then stops as GABRIEL tightens his grip.

    GABRIEL: Fine. Here's a place to start: ensoul her. Now. (No one moves.) Damn it, she hasn't hurt anyone yet! I don't want to lose her.

    ANGEL: We'd have to buy things. Candles. An Orb of Thesulah. Orbs aren't as easy to come by as they used to be.

    BRITTANY (seizing MICHELLE's arm as she tries to slip out): I don't think she's interested.

    GABRIEL: When's that ever stopped anyone? I wasn't interested either. Just do it. Do it or I bite your friend.

    BRITTANY (utterly calm): Careful. He fights dirty, and you don't want your blood to get in his mouth.

    MICHELLE (straining and rubbing at her arm): Why not? Go on and turn him, Gabriel. Think it'll make him sympathize?

    GABRIEL (shakes his head): Not from what I heard. But I will kill him. What does it take to get some help from you people?

    BRITTANY: That's another good question. From me? Let Angel go. From Angel? (dramatic pause) I got nothin'.

    GABRIEL: I'll let him go if you'll let go of her.

    ANGEL: She'll get away. Don't--

    BRITTANY: (whispering in MICHELLE's ear) Prove that ******* wrong.

    BRITTANY releases MICHELLE's arm. GABRIEL lets ANGEL loose as well. MICHELLE is poised on the balls of her feet, ready to run, but when GABRIEL shakes his head, she doesn't.

    BRITTANY: Hey, Watcher. Get yourself a raincoat and let's track down Nov and Andrew.

    ANGEL: Am I even actually your Watcher? You never do anything I say.

    BRITTANY: Wow. Now you're asking a good question. Must be a blue moon tonight.

    Without answering him, she gestures to GABRIEL and MICHELLE.

    BRITTANY: C'mon in while I get my jacket. I think you're worth helping. Doesn't mean I won't keep an eye on you.

    CUT TO

    EXT. PARK -- DAY

    NOVEMBER and ANDREW are on the edge of a large public park in poor repair; a pair of dumpsters nearby are covered in graffiti, with a great deal of trash scattered around. It's not clear how much of that was present before NOVEMBER's fight with the five SLIME DEMONS started, though. ANDREW is huddled in a raincoat and trying to stay out of the way; NOVEMBER is soaked through but doesn't seem to care. She's using an odd weapon shaped like a Klingon bat'leth but made of wood, except for a metal blade that's been set into a recess on the inside curve.

    ANDREW (shouting): Are you sure you want to try that thing out? Just because it looks good on TV--

    NOVEMBER slams the weapon forward, beheading a DEMON; its neck fountains slime as the body collapses to the ground.

    NOVEMBER: I think it works! I told you, they had real martial artists design these, and the fighting style to go with 'em!

    ANDREW: Well, yeah, but--

    As NOVEMBER tries to bring the weapon down on another DEMON, it dodges, letting the weapon slam into the dumpster. The wooden parts crack in several places.

    ANDREW (cont.): --those were made out of metal.

    NOVEMBER (in Klingon): QI'yaH!

    NOVEMBER manages to cut into the second DEMON with the damaged weapon before tossing it aside. The creature sags, leaking goo, but keeps fighting.

    NOVEMBER: What's up with all these slime demons, anyway? I mean, Mr. Giles always said they were kinda rare.

    ANDREW: Maybe something's triggered a breeding cycle?

    ANDREW is forced to run around the dumpster as the fight moves closer to him. The DEMONS don't seem to be paying much attention to him.

    NOVEMBER: Yuck. I mean, seriously--yuck!

    ANDREW: We've been getting reports around the country of them appearing in greater numbers. The books say they need to leech calcium out of people's bones. If they don't, they'll eventually just melt.

    NOVEMBER: Do they like the rain?

    A DEMON has cornered her up against the dumpster; she spots a rusty hole and jams the DEMON's hand in, severing it.

    ANDREW: I'm thinking yes!

    NOVEMBER: Any chance of you having a knife on you? Even just a switchblade?

    ANDREW: Last time I had a blade I nearly chopped my own hand off. Which, I think the Turok-Han would've been happy to let me do, if they'd noticed.

    NOVEMBER: Geez. Guess you really do need that big puffy suit.

    A DEMON manages to wrap its hands around her throat, causing a sparking energy effect.

    NOVEMBER: Ow! Dammit! Andrew!

    NOVEMBER fumbles in the mud, searching for her broken weapon, but can't find it. We see that it's lying several feet away, beyond the demons.

    Four shots ring out; on the last one, we see the head of the DEMON holding NOVEMBER explode into goo. The bullet goes right through and ricochets off the dumpster. The DEMONS all collapse, dissolving.

    PAN TO RILEY striding up as he takes off a motorcycle helmet.

    RILEY: You know, you people really should learn to use these things. (He holds up a military-issue pistol.) Sometimes they come in handy.

    NOVEMBER (breathlessly, getting up): That's not a very honorable weapon.

    RILEY: Maybe not, but it did save your butt. (He holsters the gun.)

    ANDREW (cutting in): We take your point. Hey, who are you and how do you know who "we people" are?

    RILEY: My name's Riley Finn. I thought maybe Buffy--

    NOVEMBER: You dated her and worked for the Initiative.

    RILEY: That's it, miss. Now that you know my name, would you mind telling me yours?

    NOVEMBER: I'm November Hall, and this is my Watcher, Andrew.

    RILEY (offering his hand to ANDREW): Huh. Wells? Good to meet you. I was expecting, older.

    ANDREW: I'm fairly newly initiated into the ancient ways of the Watcher's Council, but I have been helping Mr. Giles for several years now.

    NOVEMBER: Most of the old-school Watchers kicked it, back in the year Sunnydale collapsed. You didn't know?

    RILEY: Been kinda out of the loop with Buffy for a while. I only heard about Andrew because of that thing with Spike's chip. How's he doing, by the way? He still with Buffy? I had this idea we might be able to bury the hatchet after I helped him out.

    Awkward silence ensues.

    NOVEMBER: You really are out of the loop.

    ANDREW: Spike's...dead. Again. And Buffy, she's...she's a vampire.

    More silence.

    RILEY (quietly): Damn. Just...damn. I...and nobody told me?

    NOVEMBER: Weren't you in Brazil?

    RILEY: For a while. They send the squads all over.

    ANDREW: Say, um, how did you find us?

    RILEY holds up his left hand, displaying a device worn on his wrist like a large watch.

    RILEY: It's a larger-scale version of the sensors the Initiative put in the brain chips. It can pick up some demons up to a mile away, and map them within a hundred yards radius. (apologetically) I...I guess you should know, um, November--Slayers show up out on the fringes of the spectrum. It's a weak signal, and like I said, sort of unusual. The chips never registered it. But it means--

    NOVEMBER: We know about that. Thanks for the honesty.

    RILEY: I'm just glad Professor Walsh didn't know. (after a pause) I heard that Angel was in town.

    ANDREW (nodding): He's a Watcher too, now. We're working together. Brothers-in-arms. And he's human!

    RILEY: Really? There were rumors, but I didn't really think that could happen.

    ANDREW: Hey, c'mon. You said you were out of the loop. So come with us and we'll fill you in.

    RILEY: Thanks. I think you'd better start with Buffy.

    NOVEMBER (glances at ANDREW): That's probly a good place to start.

    DeadWar: Burden of Proof
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    • #3
      ACT III


      The rain is still pouring down on Chicago, drenching the streets. In here, though, it's warm, dry, and fairly cozy. NOVEMBER, ANDREW, and RILEY are seated at a table near the window, drinking coffees.

      RILEY: You sure he got the call?

      ANDREW: I didn't even try to talk to Angel. He'd probably have managed to cut me off anyway. Britt said--

      ANGEL (from behind him): --that we'd be here in half an hour, but we got caught in traffic. Sorry to sneak up on you. I thought I'd give you fair warning.

      BRITTANY, GABRIEL, and MICHELLE enter the coffee shop.

      ANGEL (continued, quietly): We've got vampires in tow.

      NOVEMBER (annoyed): These guys again?

      BRITTANY (folding her arms): Yes, it is. They wanted to ask Angel his opinion on ensoulment. For some reason he seems less than thrilled with the idea. This is Riley?

      RILEY nods. BRITTANY takes a seat across the table from him, as far away as she can get. ANGEL tries to sit next to her, but GABRIEL and MICHELLE take those seats, leaving him next to RILEY.

      RILEY: But I thought that was what made you different. I mean, back when I was seeing.... (trailing off)

      BRITTANY: Maybe that's the problem. What do you think, Angel?

      ANGEL: It's not like that. I mean, yeah, I had that problem with Spike, but I got over it.

      MICHELLE (derisive): Angel says he's special. God made him human, or something like that.

      ANGEL: Not God. At least, not like...Doyle always called them "the Powers that Be"....

      MICHELLE: Oh. Okay, so there's more than one.

      ANGEL (continued): ...and they're not looking for worship or anything. But they're, I don't know, watching out for humanity.

      GABRIEL: But not for the rest of us, huh?

      ANGEL (trying to keep his temper): They gave Doyle and Cordelia visions about good demons, every once in a while, when it was important. I don't think they're biased or anything, it's just that demons usually don't need so much help.

      BRITTANY: Unless they're being herded into little white cells by the government.

      Everyone except GABRIEL and MICHELLE (who stare blankly at BRITTANY) glance at RILEY and then look back to BRITTANY.

      NOVEMBER: What the hell are you on about now?

      RILEY: Um. Miss Morgan? Look, I'm really sorry about that whole business. I made a mistake, a bad mistake, getting involved with the Initiative that way. I didn't ask enough questions.

      BRITTANY (flatly): A mistake?

      RILEY: I was trying to prevent them from hurting people. The military told me they were animals, just animals and that was all.

      BRITTANY: Animals that talk? Animals that beg you to let them go?

      RILEY (beginning to get upset): Animals that attack humans and kill them. I've seen what they do. I thought you must've seen it too, what with being a Slayer. Criminals are people, but sometimes you have to put them in jail. (taking a deep breath) But we did other things, too, things I wasn't expecting and that I'm ashamed I was involved with. I didn't know it would go that far, and I didn't know what Walsh and her superiors were planning. But you were going to make a point, right?

      BRITTANY: Just that the Powers that Be didn't send Angel any warning about the Initiative building a damn concentration camp for demons.

      NOVEMBER: Because they didn't have to. Buffy dealt with that. Besides, they did warn Angel about the Scourge, didn't they? Somebody had to handle that too, and it wasn't so different.

      GABRIEL: Buffy? As in, the Buffy who's been massacring and torturing demons for the past couple of years?

      NOVEMBER (hotly): No, as in the Buffy who died when somebody made a vampire out of her. The real Buffy'd never have done the stuff you're talking about.

      MICHELLE: Why? Because she was human? Give me a break.

      ANDREW: Because Buffy was a hero. The good guys don't do that kind of thing.

      RILEY: Sometimes you have to do things you wouldn't normally think of to be a hero, and you get too used to them. One day you wake up and you're not one of the good guys any more, and you don't even know for sure when you changed sides.

      ANGEL (thoughtfully):You're right. But that's not how it happened with Buffy.

      BRITTANY: Maybe not. But we're getting away from the problem at hand. I derailed the conversation, and I shouldn't have.

      RILEY: What's the problem at hand?

      ANGEL: There are dimensional gateways opening in the sewers. Some people we know think it's connected to a cult that's offering vampires a fresh start, somewhere Buffy can't get at them. And we...I want to be sure it's not some sort of evil plan. (BRITTANY gives him a surprised look.) They could be building a demonic army, or something like that.

      BRITTANY (disgusted): Or exiling them to a hell dimension.

      MICHELLE: Or just stuffing us somewhere out of the way where we don't have anything to eat but they don't have to deal with us.

      GABRIEL: Or they might even be telling the truth. I know, I know, it's a long shot. Stranger things have happened when there's a massacre going on.

      RILEY: Well, whatever it is, we might as well find out. I'm in, if you'll have me.

      ANDREW: What about Sam? Buffy said once that you were married now.

      RILEY (hanging his head): Sam and I...had some problems last year. We're...well, separated, you might say.

      NOVEMBER: What kind of problems? (RILEY doesn't answer) Maybe we can help out.

      RILEY: Vampire problems.

      ANGEL groans and seizes RILEY's right arm, pulling back the shirt sleeve. Vampire bite scars, old and new, cover the arm.

      ANDREW (confused): I heard that was a Buffy thing.

      ANGEL (annoyed): People get addicted. The adrenaline rush...sometimes drugs the vampires want. I'm just surprised he hasn't been drummed out yet.

      RILEY: In my line of work, you get bit by a lot of things. The docs haven't asked too many questions about how I got them.

      MICHELLE: Say, if you're on tap....

      GABRIEL: No.

      MICHELLE: C'mon, I'm not going to kill him. He's obviously a popular guy, why make enemies?

      ANGEL: He's an addict. And you're better off without the human blood anyway.

      MICHELLE: Huh. Almost sounds like you care.

      NOVEMBER: Time's wasting, guys. I want to see what's at the bottom of the rabbit hole. Are we taking him or not?

      BRITTANY: Aw, hell. What harm can it do?

      ANGEL: He's not at full strength. It could get him killed.

      BRITTANY: You's amazing how okay I am with that.

      CUT TO

      INT. SEWER -- DAY

      It's very dark and cramped in these sewers. ANGEL and ANDREW are carrying flashlights, but the beams keep being obstructed by the others or forcing them to avert their eyes. RILEY studies the readouts on his watch scanner.

      ANGEL: I think Sunnydale and LA spoiled me.

      NOVEMBER: Maybe it's the weather. I mean, vampires don't have to worry about the sun as much up here, so why live in the sewers?

      ANGEL: You know, you might be right. (Something squishes as he steps in it.) I hope that was demon guts.

      BRITTANY: So in addition to detecting all kinds of demons without a warrant, that thing can pick up interdimensional energies?

      RILEY: Considering how often the two go together, I'm surprised you're surprised. Anyway, you're a Slayer. You know where demons are all the time.

      BRITTANY: It's something I was born with. I didn't ask for it, and I don't violate people's privacy unless I have to.

      RILEY: Neither do I. Now can you make any more noise?

      BRITTANY stops talking.

      MICHELLE: So you're seriously telling me these Slayers are demons too? Gabriel didn't bother letting me know that part. (shooting him a glare)

      ANDREW: Um, well, not really. Not exactly. They have just a little bit of a primordial demon essence in them. It's what gives them their powers.

      MICHELLE: Figures. Hypocrites.

      ANDREW: They didn't know. I don't think anyone knew except maybe the Watchers' Council, not till just a few years ago.

      MICHELLE: So they just figured they were ordinary human girls. Who happen to be super-strong.

      RILEY (raising his voice very slightly): The readings are getting stronger here. I think if we could talk a little louder, someone might hear us coming.

      MICHELLE (softly): Hmph.

      Everyone falls silent.


      The narrow passage opens out into a larger chamber, its walls lined with chains. The VAMPIRES we saw before, and a few more, are still shackled to the walls; the ones who were wounded before have been mutilated further, but all are still moving, clearly "alive".

      NOVEMBER: Aw, hell....

      RILEY (gesturing to scanner): There's something else here.

      GABRIEL: Y'think?

      He moves toward the nearest shackled VAMPIRE, who looks up at him, head lolling weakly. Then there is a blur of motion, and GABRIEL is sent sprawling.

      ANDREW: What the--?

      RILEY pulls out his gun, only to have it knocked from his grasp by the same blur. NOVEMBER leaps forward and manages to seize hold of the creature; as it comes to a near halt we see the INSECT DEMON. Then it throws her off, slamming her against one of the shackled VAMPIRES.

      DEMON: Not interested. Go away, humans. Not quarrel with you.

      RILEY: Like hell you're not.

      DEMON: You humans and your hell. Know nothing.

      ANGEL: It's you, isn't it? You're the one behind this.

      DEMON: Standing here in front of you. Kkk. Behind nothing.

      ANGEL: You want slave labor to rebuild your world. But humans can't live there--they can't breathe--so you're taking vampires. You're this "Directorate" I heard about.

      RILEY gives ANGEL a peculiar look.

      DEMON: Rebuild?

      BRITTANY: Rebuild?

      ANGEL: It's from the world Jasmine took over before Earth. She abandoned them and left their world in a shambles, worse than ours because she'd ruled it longer. So they want to make us help them fix things.

      DEMON: Kkk. Want nothing like that from Earth. What is directorate?

      ANGEL (baffled): Then what? Double-Meat patties? Because you should probably know--

      DEMON: All gone. All but few. Searching.

      MICHELLE: For what?

      DEMON: When god-killer is dead, world in balance. Then we end.

      MICHELLE groans and facepalms.

      MICHELLE: What is it with all these damn gods?

      NOVEMBER: Dead gods.

      ANDREW: Dead false gods. (He and NOVEMBER share a glance.)

      ANGEL: Jasmine was a rogue Power. She ate people. She wanted to take over the world. I wouldn't dignify her with the name "god".

      DEMON (harshly):! You slew her!

      ANGEL: It wasn't worth the price.

      DEMON: Find one who did it. Balance scales.

      ANGEL: She was never coming back to you.

      DEMON: Might have. When you rejected her.

      When the camera returns to ANGEL's party, RILEY has stepped out of view.

      ANGEL: She didn't give us the chance!

      BRITTANY: Angel...I don't think he cares. He wants--

      ANGEL (stepping forward): Fine. You want the god-killer? Here I am. I'm the one.

      DEMON: You? One human alone?

      ANGEL: I invaded your world to find out how. Weren't you there?

      DEMON: Kkk. World not that small, little human. Is yours?

      ANGEL: Um, no. Guess not. You said there were others looking. Call 'em. Tell them you found me. Then kill me if you want.

      NOVEMBER (horrified): Angel, are you crazy?

      The DEMON raises a hand, a shimmering bracelet around its wrist, and speaks into it in a clacking hiss, then drops it back down.

      RILEY reappears, raising his gun, and fires, but the shot goes wild as the DEMON lunges forward, knocking him down and seizing ANGEL by the throat. ANGEL lashes out with both fists and feet; his punches do no real damage, but his kicks strike the joint where the DEMON's body goes from horizontal to vertical, and the creature shouts something incoherent and drops him. Those of the chained VAMPIRES that are conscious begin to shout encouragement.

      NOVEMBER rushes forward again, followed by BRITTANY. NOVEMBER strikes at the body joint, while BRITTANY draws a large knife and attempts to hack at the legs. Meanwhile we see GABRIEL pull MICHELLE away from the fallen RILEY.

      GABRIEL: How many times do I have to tell you--

      MICHELLE: I didn't! Pay some damn attention!

      The DEMON kicks BRITTANY away, crashing her into NOVEMBER, and seizes hold of ANGEL by the left arm, pulling him up.

      DEMON: Take him. We take him away from here.

      RILEY aims his gun at the DEMON's head; it pulls a struggling ANGEL in front of it as a shield.

      DEMON: You hit him, not me. Kill him, good for us.

      RILEY is beginning to lower the gun when MICHELLE grabs it out of his hand. Almost faster than we can see, she raises it and fires once. NOVEMBER tackles her, yanking the gun away.

      NOVEMBER: You idiot, you can't take a shot like that!

      The DEMON drops ANGEL as it crumples, revealing a hole drilled through its forehead. ANGEL puts a hand to his ear; the hand comes away with a few droplets of blood on it. CLOSE-UP on ANGEL's just-grazed ear.

      MICHELLE: Don't tell me no vampire's ever done that before. I mean, seriously: reflexes, eyesight, manual dexterity....

      ANDREW: Usually they don't bother with guns.

      MICHELLE: Dumb-asses. Besides, I told you: I want a taste of him. Can't do that if he's dead in some alternate dimension.

      RILEY: Are we sure it's dead? Bullets don't always work on things like this.

      ANGEL moves aside, allowing GABRIEL to kick at the demon; there is a rustling and the empty husk breaks open.

      GABRIEL: Looks that way to me.

      RILEY: We should get out of here before more of them show up. I'll call in a favor, have the rest of them tracked and eliminated.

      BRITTANY (sadly): It's kind of a shame, don't you think?

      ANGEL: It's what they said they wanted. If they want to die, we might as well oblige them.

      BRITTANY: I guess.

      NOVEMBER: Break out the stakes. (She pulls one out herself.)

      ANGEL (hesitating a moment): ...No. (BRITTANY looks at him curiously, perhaps hopefully.) Let the bug demons take care of them. They can take the blame for killing Jasmine.

      NOVEMBER: Makes sense to me.

      ANGEL strides out into the passageway, and NOVEMBER, then RILEY, follow him. GABRIEL takes MICHELLE's hand and leads her after them. BRITTANY and ANDREW share a frustrated look.

      ANDREW: We could.... (trailing off)

      BRITTANY: We don't have a way to get them loose. I can't break handcuffs, at least not soon enough. Not by myself.

      ANDREW: I guess Angel's right. He can't risk them coming for Connor. (He starts to walk away.)

      BRITTANY: Who?

      ANDREW doesn't answer, and she sighs and follows him. The chained VAMPIRES shout angrily, then fade into the distance.



      BRITTANY is sitting in front of her computer, typing a long-ish document; we can see some legal terms in what is presumably a paper for one of her classes.

      BRITTANY: What you did, Angel--that really stank.

      PAN to ANGEL, sitting on the bed. He looks at his hands.

      ANGEL: Do you really think November would have helped you get them loose?

      BRITTANY (hesitating, continuing to type as she talks): No. Probably not. That doesn't make it right, though. You used them. That isn't the sort of thing heroes do.

      ANGEL (sighs irritably): They're vampires. There's nothing heroic about letting them go. I keep telling you, there's nothing I can do to help them. That's just the way the world is.

      BRITTANY: Lilah told me once that heroes don't accept the world the way it is. Ever heard that?

      ANGEL: Lilah said that to you?

      BRITTANY: Well...she said it made them crazy. But I think she was right anyway.

      ANGEL (looking away): Those things...they would have come after Connor. My son. He's the one who really killed Jasmine. Eventually they'd find him.

      BRITTANY: You have a son?

      ANGEL: Lilah didn't tell you?

      BRITTANY (shaking her head): Why would she know?

      ANGEL: It's a long story. I couldn't kill Jasmine, though. It took her father to do that.

      BRITTANY: And Connor was her father.

      ANGEL: In this world. She claimed to have arranged his birth, and Cordelia being made part-demon, and a lot of other things, just to bring herself here. I don't guess there's any way to know for sure.

      BRITTANY: Why him? Why did she need a vampire's son to be daddy?

      ANGEL: Because he wasn't natural. She needed that, needed the demonic blood as an "in" to get into this world. It...broke the laws of life and death for me and Darla to have him. Jasmine needed to use that.

      BRITTANY (stops typing): With Darla?

      ANGEL: It was part of the prophecy. The Nyazian Scrolls, remember?

      BRITTANY (quoting): "There will be no birth."

      ANGEL: That's why she killed herself. To let him into the world. He's the one who actually killed Sahjhan, not me. That's what the prophecy was about.

      BRITTANY (skeptically): After the purification or ruination of humanity, it just came down to killing a particular demon. That was all?

      ANGEL (shrugs): That's how it worked out.

      The door to the hallway opens, and GABRIEL and MICHELLE walk in with no difficulty at all. ANGEL stares at them in disbelief, but BRITTANY smiles and raises a hand in greeting.

      BRITTANY: Honestly, Angel? I think you have a lot to learn.

      CUT TO

      [Radio playing Alice Cooper's "Poison": You're poison, ah-ahhh, you're poison runnin' through my veins/You're poison, ah-ahhh, I don't wanna break these chains]

      RILEY's riding down the street of a subdivision on his motorcycle; slowing, he turns into the driveway of a small brick house essentially identical to every other on the street.

      [I hear you callin' and it's needles and pins (and pins)/I wanna hurt you just to hear you screamin' my name/Don't wanna touch you but you're under my skin/I wanna--]

      RILEY shuts off the radio at his belt, removes his helmet, and walks up to the door; he unlocks it and goes inside. He checks a small alarm panel next to the door, then pulls a metallic, rodlike device out of his pocket. It has a single button, which he presses, and a metal plate with a serial number.

      COMPUTERIZED SPEAKER: No. Unauthorized. Attempts at exit.

      RILEY smiles, satisfied. He puts the device back in his pocket and the helmet down on the kitchen table, leaving him empty-handed.

      RILEY: Honey? I'm home!

      No one answers. We pan and cut through the darkened house--the living room, the bedroom, the bathroom--all empty. Finally we pass through a closed door leading to the basement. Here, someone is sitting alone on a cot; it's so dark we can't really make out a face.

      RILEY (offscreen, a little concerned): C'mon, Sam? Dinner?

      We hear the vampire-morphing sound, and the shadowy figure's eyes flare yellow.

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