Story by CN Winters (with Susan Carr and Dan Joslyn)
Written and Directed by CN Winters (with Dan Joslyn)
Produced by CN Winters
Edited by DragonWriter17
Sound by CN Winters
Art Direction by CN Winters
Artists - CN Winters, Robert Kidman, and Mattxxx
Cover Art by CN Winters
24 years in the future
Watchers Council – Hallway – Day
A very fair-skinned African American woman in her early twenties walked swiftly through the hallway. A digital clipboard was tight in her hand.
She stopped at a door and gave the knob a turn. An identification tag swung from the hem of her jacket that read, "Nikki Wood, Watcher-In-Training." She pushed the door open and went inside.
Watchers Council – Data Room – Continuous
She walked over to a man in his mid-thirties who was conversing with a blonde woman. "Any news yet, Norm?" Nikki asked. "Giles needs that report."
"Hey Nik," Norman greeted her with a smile, but the expression was only brief. "I ran the composite," he told her. He motioned for her datapad. "May I?"
"Oh, sure," she said, handing it over.
Norman plugged a wire into it and pressed a button on the console in front of him before he continued. "It’s not a demon. My guess? A disfigured man."
"A man?" Nikki asked.
Norman nodded as he unplugged it and handed it to her. "Could be a result of the magics, but confirm that with the Coven. Everything else I managed to uncover is there in the file."
"Thanks Norm," she told him before she left.
After she was gone, the blonde woman next to Norman asked, "Who’s that?"
"My sister," he said as he smiled.
Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Moments Later
"So where does that leave us?" Liz asked, waving her hand in the air in an act of uncertainty. The twenty-six-year-old watcher looked at the faces around her.
Seated at the rectangular table were Willow and Rowena, in their early to mid-fifties. Also present was Alex, in his mid-twenties, and teenagers Jake and Sophia. Near the head of the table sat Shannon, in her late thirties, and Kennedy, in her late forties. From the other side of the table a man in his early forties spoke up.
"Unfortunately, we can’t answer that at this time," he said. "The U.S. Government is still researching to uncover as much as they can within the worldwide intelligence community."
"I’m sorry, Jackson," Shannon told him. "But I don’t want to send my girls out there. Not until we know exactly what we’re facing."
Jake raised his hand looking a bit shy and Kennedy smiled just for a moment.
"Go ahead Jake," she told him.
He lowered it and said, "I know I'm new at all this but...I-I think we know what we're facing - a lunatic. The longer we wait, the more worse it might get."
"He's right," Willow said. "And I realize you just took this position of Head Slayer," Willow pointed out to Shannon, "and you might be a bit nervous to commit slayer troops."
"If you’re suggesting my inexperience here—" Shannon began.
Willow held up a finger that silenced her. "My point is the same as Jake's - it might be too late if we wait for all the details. And thousands of more girls, and civs, might die as a result." Jake said nothing but nodded his head in agreement with his mother. "Maybe hundreds of thousands. Actually, I wouldn’t rule out millions if my suspicions are true," Willow continued.
"Will, we need more than suspicions here," Kennedy told her.
"You mean you haven’t felt it?" Willow asked. "The death by fire before the destruction of Boston Harbor? And now the feeling of drowning?"
Kennedy looked away for a moment and then looked back.
"Of course, I felt it," she admitted, "but I don’t know if it’s present events I’m feeling or something that might happen in the future. Are you saying you can tell the difference? That you knew that loony bastard would dive-bomb a private plane into a tanker holding liquid natural gas and literally melt most of Boston?" she countered.
Willow began to say something at the same time that Kennedy and Shannon started to speak again. All their voices began to rise.
"Ladies, I have an idea," Althenea said from the large monitor on the wall, interrupting the argument. "Pinpointing the location of Muhammad Karim is important to connect him to his Al Shughul group. He’s already made one devastating attack on Boston, and other port cities, as you’ve mentioned. And we know, based on all intel so far, that he has plans on a much larger scale attack – something that will make these recent attacks look like a stroll through the park."
"But we’re not sure what that is or where in the world he’s at right now," Jackson added.
Nikki walked into the room. "Got it?" Liz asked her quietly. She gave a nod and handed the pad to Liz.
"Norm thinks it’s a man," she whispered, trying not to interrupt Althenea as Liz plugged the pad into a wire.
"What was that you said, Miss Wood?" Althenea asked Nikki.
She nervously cleared her throat. "Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt."
"That’s okay, Sweetie. You said something about a man?" Althenea asked. "Repeat that please."
"My brother says the images in the latest vid release aren’t a demon. And he’s drawn enough of them to know. He believes it’s a disfigured man and thinks it might be something magical."
Suddenly, the image came up on another screen on the wall.
"Liz, run a comparison profile with Muhammad Karim," Althenea told her.
"Already on it," Liz told her as she continued typing some keys. Seconds later the image of Muhammad Karim and the demon appeared in separate boxes. They came together, superimposed on each other. Liz stood up to get a better look.
"The eyes match according to the retinal program," she said as she pointed to the bottom of the screen where some font type was located, "but…what happened? Did someone curse him or something?"
"Magics," Willow said to no one in particular.
"Black magics," Althenea added. "And from the look of his features he’s been practicing a while now…I fear things might be worse than we expected. Muhammad Karim doesn’t have a demon working for him, at least not that we know of anyway."
"He is the demon," Jackson muttered.
Willow turned to Kennedy. "And you were saying…?" she asked sarcastically.
Kennedy looked away and ran a hand through her graying hair.
"I still don’t like the idea of sending our girls into God knows what," Shannon said. "Jackson? Liz? For God’s sake, Ro? Someone give us something to go on here."
Liz looked at the photo for a moment longer and then turned to Rowena. "What do you think?"
Rowena gave a slight grin. "I think you’re the Head of the Watcher Division this week. It’s your call."
"Can I outlaw all vacations for staff members during my short reign?" Liz asked with a grin.
"Sure, if you want to be lynched," she answered seriously and then grinned.
"This had to happen on my first week, didn’t it?" Liz sighed.
"And welcome to the Watchers Council," Kennedy replied, making the group give a nervous chuckle.
"Where the hell is Grace?" Liz asked.
"On her way back," Jackson answered.
"How?" Willow asked. "All air flights are suspended."
"Not all," Jackson answered with a coy grin. "We’ve got connections."
Liz turned to Althenea. "You say it’s black magics, Al, so that means we need the coven to face this threat, first and foremost, correct?"
"Yes, I wouldn’t be remiss in suggesting that our main covens unite in one location," she said. "Others will stay behind for backup."
"What other support do you feel you need?" Liz asked.
"Although I know Shannon and Kennedy are against it, I’d like slayer support. I wouldn’t be opposed to a bit of research from your more astute watchers."
"Fine," Liz replied. "Let’s take a vote. Mr. Jackson and Mrs. Rosenberg?" Jackson and Rowena both nodded and said, ‘Yes’ at the same time. "Watchers Division votes yes to the coven merge and the slayer support."
Willow looked across the table to her children, who nodded. "Aye, from the coven," she said.
"Damn," Shannon muttered before turning to Kennedy. "This democracy crap sucks."
"Again, welcome to…" Kennedy began as Shannon joined in to add, "the Watchers Council."
Unknown Tropical Location – Same Time
Armed men and a few demons stood outside a building that was surrounded by lush vegetation. They looked vigilant and nodded as a man in a similar looking uniform moved past them to walk inside.
Unknown Tropical Location – Building – Continuous
The man stopped in front of a desk and stood at attention. Slowly a chair swiveled around to reveal Muhammad Karim.
"Report," Karim told him.
"The major world news networks have picked up the feeds now, Sir," he replied. "Are you ready for your next address?"
Even though Karim’s features were disfigured, the hint of a smile could be seen appearing on his face.
Fade to Black.
End of Teaser
To Act One