Orientation

Act Four

Fade In:
Int.
Ethan's Apartment – Afternoon

Ethan set the picture down on the table and casually lit a cigarette. He didn't look at either youngster but seemed lost in troubled thought.

After a long silence, Shannon said abruptly, "You said to tell you."

"Hmm?" Ethan looked up, startled out of his reverie.

"You said to tell you if we saw any weird messages on anything. That counts as weird, right?"

Ethan narrowed his eyes at her. "Yes," he said seriously. "It does indeed."

Shannon and Norman waited, but Ethan said nothing more. Shannon huffed at him. "So, are you gonna tell me what's going on?"

"I can tell you that this wasn't Lorinda's handiwork," he said, motioning at the picture, "anymore than it is yours."

"I kinda figured that when I saw the message."

"You shoulda figured it before you saw the message, Shan," Norman said quietly.

"Why are you sticking up for her?" Shannon asked.

"Shannon, look…you're…my…" he trailed off with a blush but quickly added, "And Lorinda is just…she's like…all alone, y'know? She's got no friends, really. Nobody wants to hang with her. It's like she's got a disease or somethin'. And I know what that's like. People ignoring you because you're different or…in some crazy way they think they'll get sick by being around. So I've been trying to do what you did for me. I talked to her, and I-I-I tried to get to know her a little, that's all. She's not so bad. I mean, she's not so great, either, but…everyone deserves to have a friend, Shan. Maybe if Lorinda had some friends – I mean real friends, not suck-ups – then maybe she wouldn't be such a bi – uhh…jerk."

"So why do you have to be her friend?" Shannon groused.

"I don't. But I think maybe you should."

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"I hate her and she hates me, for starters. She's spent years tormenting me."

"Yeah, but you've been sorta nice to her lately. You told me that yourself."

"'Cause I thought like you did – that if we could be friends, maybe she wouldn't be so bad. But it's not workin', Norm. We just don't get along. She says stupid things, mean things, at the drop of a hat. She hates me 'cause I got the training squad and she didn't."

"You told me the only reason you went for it is because they were gonna give it to her!"

"Well, yeah."

"Well, that's the stupidest thing I ever –" Norman stopped in mid-sentence at the touch of Ethan's hand to his arm.

"Shannon is right," Ethan said, "when she says that she and Lorinda don't get along. Their sensibilities are as different as night and day. And you are right also, Norman. Lorinda is very lonely. And her behavior has more to do with feeling bad than with being bad. She doesn't know how to reach out in friendship. Some things can't be helped."

There was a long pause. Shannon's head was turned aside, but Norman could see that she was troubled.

"May I keep this drawing?" Ethan asked Norman.

"Huh? Oh, yeah. It's ruined, it doesn't matter."

"Tell me again…did it leave your sight for any length of time?"

"I only left it for a few minutes when I went to use the restroom. It was inside my folio, which was in my book bag on the bleachers out at the field."

Ethan nodded and saw Shannon staring directly at him.

"Is there something you need to tell me about that message?" she asked.

He looked squarely at her. "Not yet," he said. "Now run along and do whatever making out – er…up – that two lovebirds at your age do."

Norman looked at Shannon. "C'mon," he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "I'll buy you a hot cocoa. Extra whipped cream."

Shannon smirked then smiled. "Draw a picture of me?"

"In addition to the five hundred others I drew of you?"

"Only five hundred?" she teased as they left the room.

Ethan sighed as he stared back down at the reverse side of the ruined picture of Lorinda, a single word scribbled haphazardly in charcoal across it: Turnabout…

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Dorm Hallway – Later

The wooden door opened, releasing the thrashing sounds of some Indie band. Casey stood inside the doorway of her dorm room, a smile widening across her face.

"'allo luv, you all right?" the slayer asked as Grace stood in the hallway with a nervous grin.

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Casey's Dorm Room – Moments Later

"Sorry the place is a bit of a tip. I helped the young'uns prepare for the games a while back. Still haven't had time to clean up," Casey apologized as she turned away from the kitchen counter with two mugs of tea in her hands. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit, Missus? Don't tell me you're bailing out of the gig on Thursday, cause you're my wing-man."

"Thanks," Grace said as she accepted the tea. "No, no, looking forward to the concert, and hey, who said I was the wing-man? If anything, you're my wing-man."

"Please, the day you finally see some action is the day I become frigid," she barked a laugh. Grace sniggered at the good-natured tease. "So c'mon, what is it?"

Grace took a sip of her tea and placed it on top of a pile of magazines. "Well, I've been promoted. I'm now a full-time watcher."

"Get you! Well done!"

Grace paused for a moment and then blinked. "Yeah."

"So who's your slayer?" Casey sat forward with genuine interest.

The watcher cleared her throat. "Believe it or not…you."

The smile on Casey's face dropped. "What?"

"I know. I said it was gonna be weird 'cause we're mates but –"

"I don't need a watcher. I'm a senior slayer."

"Yeah, about that. It seems that some senior slayers are being re-assigned watchers, and you've got me."

Casey's face still read a displeased look. Then as quickly as her wide smile had vanished, it came back. "This is gonna be awesome!"

Grace gulped and gave back an uneasy smile.

Cut to:
Int.
Jeff and Hope's Apartment – Day

Hope jerked up from the sofa. "Jeff!" she called out, voice breaking. She blinked and looked around her, taking a breath. Then she blinked again. Her eyes focused.

From across the room, someone knocked on the door. For a moment or two, Hope stared in that direction. The knocking continued. "Coming!" Hope swung her legs to the floor, slipped on her shoes, and rose. Still blinking hard, she made her way across the room, avoiding the coffee table and its teetering pile of books, while stepping over the vacuum cleaner. She took another deep breath before opening the door.

"Yes?"

Grace stood in the doorway, eyes huge and figure hunched in the cold of the hallway. "Hi! Sorry to bother you. Is Jeff here by any chance?"

"No, sorry."

"Oh." Grace didn't change her expression. She didn't even blink. "Darn."

"You know what? It's cold. Come on in."

"Um. Okay."

She stepped inside the apartment. While Hope closed the door behind her, Grace gave a look around. In effect, the apartment was a loft made from a large attic. A staircase led to a tiny upstairs room, which was obviously a bedroom. One bedroom. The main room, nearly the only room, held all kinds of knick-knacks and furniture. Desks. Bookcases. A sofa. The hardwood floor held a rug. Nothing matched but all of it looked comfortable. "You want some hot cocoa? Tea? Some coffee?"

"Hm. Orange tea would be great."

"Coming right up." Hope headed for the kitchen area. "Pull up a chair and park!"

"Sorry to bother you and all."

"No bother, believe me." Hope had grabbed a large glass mug and filled it with water. She popped it into a microwave oven with a bag of tea. Pressed a button. "Hooray for technology," she grinned.

"Ray," Grace nodded. "With the hoo and all. Any idea when Jeff'll be back?"

"Not really, sorry. Soon, though. Well, before too long. I'm pretty sure."

"You don't know."

"Not exactly. I was trying to catch up on some sleep and he had to go out and do stuff." She shrugged. "Watcher stuff."

Grace nodded. "That's actually what I wanted to ask about."

"Oh?" From the kitchen area, the microwave pinged. "One second!" She hurried off to get Grace's tea. When she returned, moments later, she had the glass mug atop a saucer. Both went onto the coffee table in front of a chair at present unoccupied by anyone or anything. Grace took the hint and sat down.

"Have you got any honey?"

"Just you wait!"

This time, she was back in even less time, with a jar of tea and a dipping spoon. "So. Watcher stuff? Anything world threatening this time?"

"Not the whole world."

"Good."

"I'm just – this sounds silly. The thing is – Allister promoted me."

"Really? Good for you!" A beat. "Promoted you to what?"

"Watcher."

"But you're already a Watcher, aren't you?"

"Yeah. And, no. The thing is, now she's actually given me somebody to watch. Okay, not anyone who needs much watching – which I don't mind, 'cause that's really best no matter how you look at it – but all the same, I thought some advice would be good to get. If you know what I mean." She slurped her tea. "That's good," she murmured.

"And Jeff's not here, sorry."

"The thing is," Grace continued, "I wasn't really expecting to get assigned a Slayer and all. Figured I could use some pointers, and here's Jeff, who managed to kinda/sorta tame a certain mini-psycho we all know."

Hope laughed. "That's a good way of putting it."

"I thought so. But what gets me is – how'd he do it?"

"Well," said Hope, "I can tell you what he told me."

"Hey, I am all ears."

Sitting on the sofa where she'd awoken a minute before, Hope cleared her throat. "He said he had to earn her trust, and to do that he had to show her some trust."

"Okay." Grace considered this. "He didn't go into any, like, details did he?"

Laughing, Hope shook her head. "That's what I asked. He said he couldn't because that was the whole point. She trusts him not to tell, so he won't."

"That" said Grace, "is not as useful as I'd like." She took a sip of her tea. "Yummy." Took another sip. "Or – maybe it is. Maybe. Gotta think this over."

"He's really, really good at it, being a watcher."

Grace aimed her attention at Hope. "You okay?"

"Yeah. Fine. Just some bad dreams is all. Real bad dreams."

"Make yourself one of these," suggested Grace, holding up the tea cup. "Might help, and if it don't, it'll still taste great."

Hope smiled, but didn't laugh.

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Classroom – Same Time

"Mr. Wood," a little girl called out. "Is it true there are demons that can grant wishes?" Several children perked up and looked to Robin for the answer.

Robin took a moment to gather his words. He began tentatively. "Technically, yes. But…"

He couldn't finish. The class was abuzz.

"That's so cool."

"I know some magic. Does that mean I can grant wishes?"

"Do we get to make wishes?"

"I know what I'd wish for."

Robin stood up and raised his arms. "All right, everyone settle down." He sighed. "I need to make something clear."

A little boy interrupted. "Mr. Wood, what would you wish for?"

Robin's eyebrows shot up.

Flash To:
Int.
Bathroom – Morning

Robin stepped out of the shower and reached for his towel. He covered up and moved to the foggy mirror. With a swirl of his palm he defogged the glass and looked at his reflection. With a grin he pulled off a tight shower cap to reveal a massive Afro.

Looking down at the plethora of hair care products that covered the bathroom counter, he reached for a pick and began tending the overabundance of hair that sprung forth from his scalp. Once satisfied, he gave his coiffure a quick spritz with a conditioning spray bottle and then whistled a happy tune as he exited the bathroom.

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Classroom – Resume

Robin rubbed the back of his hairless head. "I don't really think that's relevant." He took a deep breath. "W-W-What I was trying to say was that some demons do grant wishes, but rarely with the wisher's intentions in mind."

He looked to make sure he had the class's full attention. "Magic is a dangerous thing. Sometimes, it can seem like the easy way out; cast a spell, solve the problem. But if that was true, then why do we have slayers and watchers?"

A little boy raised his hand. "So we can work together."

Robin smiled. "You're exactly right." His eyes found a young girl who was to join the coven. "You asked me before if the slayers, watchers, and coven work happily together."

"You said yes," the little girl replied, her skin turning red from the unexpected attention.

"Not always happily, but certainly together. Do you know why?" He directed the last question to the class.

No one spoke.

Robin took in a deep breath. "This will be our final lesson for today…"

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Ext.
Residential Street – Night (Flashback)

Faith hit a wall. A brick wall. Very hard. Her body disappeared in the rubble.

Her attacker approached slowly. He looked ordinary, like a man out for an evening stroll. No taller than six feet, he wore dark slacks, a spotless white-collared shirt with three buttons open at the top, and brown loafers. Partially visible on his chest was a series of tattoos.

He knelt down and began uncovering Faith, one brick at a time. With slow, careful motions, he excavated her dust-covered right boot. Her foot flinched.

In a flash Faith was pulled from the rubble and thrown into the unoccupied street. She hit the ground hard and rolled to a stop with a soft moan. Her face bloody and beaten, she tried to stand but failed.

Once again, the man was at her side. He rolled her over to find panicked eyes staring back at him. His face was a mask with no expression. "Had enough?"

A trail of blood creeping from the corner of Faith's mouth down her cheek was her only answer.

With no warning, he took her head in his hands and slammed it into the pavement. She stopped moving.

Before he could repeat the action, a brick soared from the direction of the rubble and caught him in the back. The projectile bounced off with a thud, causing no damage, but nevertheless achieving its purpose.

The man stood and turned to find Rowena, brick in hand, near the destroyed wall. She launched the second projectile, hitting the man squarely in the chest, with much the same effect of the first brick.

Forgetting Faith, he stepped toward Rowena. She barely had time to pick up a third brick before he was upon her. Grabbing her right wrist, he squeezed until she cried out in pain and dropped the weapon. He brought his other hand to her throat and lifted her up against a small intact portion of the brick wall. His grip was firm, but not enough to cut off her wind pipe…yet.

Rowena squirmed, lashing out with her left arm at his head and chest. He ignored her actions and simply examined her, his head tilted slightly to the side as if she were an interesting specimen.

She screamed and kicked but succeeded only in ripping at his shirt, which now hung open. She stopped when she saw his exposed chest.

He tightened his grip. And then he disappeared.

Rowena fell to the ground, coughing violently.

A pair of legs touched down roughly next to her. Willow dropped painfully to her knees and looked over to Rowena. "You okay?" She was out of breath and had a rather large gash above her left eye. "I lost you guys at the fork."

Rowena's eyes were still watering, and her voice was scratchy. "Y-Y-Yeah. Where'd you send him?"

Willow looked up. "About ten miles away, in the middle of the woods. I hope." She looked around. "Where's Faith?"

"Oh no!" Rowena was on her feet as quickly as her battered body would allow. "Faith!"

Willow followed her to the street where Faith was still lying, unmoving. Rowena checked her pulse and heaved a relieved sigh when the slayer took in a labored breath. "We have to get her out of the street."

Willow looked sadly at Faith's wounded form. "We need help."

Cut To:
Int.
House – Moments Later (Flashback)

"We're on our own," Willow said as she closed her cell phone and stepped into the small living room. "At least for right now."

Rowena was busy peering out a small window of the deserted one-story home. "Damien?" Her voice was still a little rough, and a deep purple bruise was beginning to form on her throat.

Willow nodded. "They've got their hands full. Giles can't send anyone right now." The witch's eyes found Faith, who was lying on the couch. Her face was badly bruised, and her eyes swollen shut. "How is she?"

Rowena looked over. "She's breathing better." The watcher moved away from the window. "Willow, I got a better look at the tattoos. I think they're a mask hiding his true form."

"You think it's one of Damien's minions?"

Rowena shook her head. "I don't think so. I can't be sure without Giles' library, but those symbols, they looked like the marks of a Chimera."

"Chimera?" Willow asked. "You mean the head-of-a-lion, body-of-a-goat, tail-of-a-snake Chimera?"

Rowena could only shrug. "I-I-I don't know. It's always been assumed that the Greek mythology behind the Chimera was somehow based on the demons of the time. But it's all conjecture. The Council's never encountered one. That I know of."

"So how do I kill it?" Faith asked weakly from the couch. She slowly sat up, trying unsuccessfully to peek through her swollen eyes.

Rowena and Willow were by her side immediately. Faith sat up, looking a lot worse for wear.

"You're not killing anything," Rowena ordered, placing a hand on Faith's shoulder. "Lie back. You probably have internal bleeding."

"I'm fine." Faith shook her head and repeated, "How do we kill it?"

Rowena and Willow exchanged a look.

"Guys, I'm fine. I've taken worse beatings than this, believe me. Now come on. We need a plan."

Rowena sat down next to Faith on the right. "We can't touch it in its human form."

Willow sat down next to Faith on the left. "I guess that's where I come in."

"Can you magic off those tattoos?" Faith asked.

"I think so," Willow replied. "Now that I know what I'm up against. But I'll need to be close."

"Great," Faith said, standing up. "Then I'll kill it."

"Faith, you can't see anything," Willow interjected. "How are you going to fight?"

"That's why I've got Blondie." Faith patted the shoulder of the person to her left. "She's gonna be my eyes."

"Faith?" Rowena called from the right. "I'm over here."

"Let's wait a bit longer for that slayer healing to kick in, 'k?" Willow suggested as she patted Faith's hand that rested on her shoulder.

"Think we've got that kind of time?" Faith asked.

Rowena sighed.

Fade To:
Ext.
Woods – Later (Flashback)

"Are you sure this is the right spot?" Faith asked as Rowena led her through the semi-thick forest underbrush.

Willow nodded, not realizing Faith couldn't see her. "We're getting close. I can feel…arghhhh!" Willow continued to scream as she spun around in violent spasms, her arms thrashing at her clothing.

"Will!" Rowena let go of Faith and rushed over.

"What's happening?" Faith demanded, her head darting from side to side. "Is he here?" No one answered, though Willow's thrashing could still be heard. "Guys!"

Willow stopped when Rowena reached her. "S-S-Sorry, guys." She brushed a few white threads from her shoulder. "I-I-I walked through a spider web."

Rowena could only laugh.

Faith stepped towards them, walking face first into a thick leafless tree branch. "I really hate the woods."

"Ditto," Willow and Rowena chimed at the same time.

The sound of crunching leaves made all three of them turn. Twenty yards away, the Chimera-turned-man stepped through the trees, walking forcefully toward them. "Faith, it's him," Rowena called.

Faith reached around for the branch she'd collided with and ripped it down with a loud crack. The newly created weapon was about the length of a baseball bat, with a sharp edge at the spot where it had separated from the tree. "Ro, get behind me. And I could use some eyes about now!"

Rowena did as she was told. "He's fifteen feet and closing. Your ten o'clock."

Faith stepped forward, closing the distance. She held the branch in front of herself defensively.

"Three feet," Rowena called. "Oh, Faith, d – !" The Chimera backhanded Faith, sending her flying off to the right with a painful grunt. " – uck."

Rolling to her feet, Faith raised the branch again. "Let's try this again."

"He's closing again. Your one o'clock." Rowena's voice took on a commanding tone. "He's attacking. Left side, high block punch."

Faith did as commanded, catching his fist with her left hand before it collided with her temple. She countered with a punch to his chest with her right hand. The blow pushed him back a few feet but did little to deter him. "Red, anytime now'd be good."

Twenty feet away, Willow was clearing on spot on the ground of leaves and branches.

"Goddess, please don't let any frogs show up," she muttered to no one in particular as she traced a circle in the fresh dirt with her fingers. She stepped inside and promptly dropped to her knees. She drew several symbols in the dirt outside the circle. She closed her eyes. "Fabula mundi, sanguis incesti, vincula solve, invisa revela." She repeated the chant.

"Right low block, side kick."

As Faith executed the kick, the Chimera stepped backwards and caught her leg. Holding it tightly, he pulled her from the ground and spun her 180 degrees into the trunk of a tree. She dropped the tree branch.

From her spot several feet away Willow continued to chant. "Fabula mundi, sanguis incesti, vincula solve, invisa revela."

Faith fell forward onto her hands and knees.

"Roll now!"

Rolling forward across her back, Faith narrowly missed being kicked in the stomach. She came to her feet and put some distance between herself and the Chimera. He followed.

"He can hear everything I'm telling you to do. This isn't working," Rowena supplied as she backpedaled away from the approaching battle.

"Ya think?" Faith replied sarcastically.

Rowena circled around behind the Chimera, toward the tree Faith had collided with. She reached down for the abandoned weapon. "Can you understand any Shodokan defensive commands?"

"Is that a serious question?" Faith said just before tripping on a tree root. The Chimera stood over her, ready to strike again.

Rowena came up behind the Chimera. "When we get home, you're learning." With all the force she could muster, the blonde watcher swung the tree branch hard into the Chimera's back. It bounced off without doing any damage. She backed up a few paces when he turned. "Faith, do you like darts?" She tossed the tree limb at the slayer's boot and took off running. The Chimera followed after her.

Faith felt around the ground until her hand found the jagged limb. "Only when I win." She stood up. "I need a location."

Rowena led the Chimera in a counterclockwise circle around the slayer. "Twelve o'clock. I'll tell you when."

Willow's voice began to waver as she struggled with her chant. "Fabula mundi, sanguis incesti, vincula solve, invisa revela."

Faith gripped the center of the tree limb and unknowingly took aim at a large oak tree. She waited for the signal.

Rowena circled behind Faith in a ten foot arc, with the Chimera right on her tail. When she reached three o'clock she spoke. "Get ready." At one o'clock she yelled, "Now!"

Faith's throw caught the Chimera in the rib cage with enough force to pin him against the oak tree. Rowena came to Faith's side as their foe struggled to free himself. "Nice shot," she said.

Behind them Willow stood up, her eyes completely black. She extended a hand toward the Chimera and belted out the chant: "Fabula mundi, sanguis incesti, vincula solve, invisa revela!"

Rowena's eyes widened as the tattoos pulled away from the Chimera's chest. With a cry somewhere between a roar and a screech, the creature writhed even more as its body began to change. Its human head split, creating two demonic visages that looked almost animal. Its body was next – its chest and legs elongating, causing its clothes to tear around the expanding muscle. A thin coat of black fur sprung through its skin, and a snake-like tail appeared, whipping about violently as the transformation concluded.

Reaching for Faith's jacket, Rowena pulled the slayer back to where Willow was standing. Together they watched as the creature thrashed unsuccessfully against the limb that pinned it to the tree. After a moment the Chimera stilled, succumbing to its wounds now that it was exposed in its true form.

"Well," Faith said, taking a deep breath. "That sounded wicked cool. How'd it look?"

Willow and Rowena exchanged disbelieving glances and then moved away.

Faith waited a second. "Ro?" She followed after them, stumbling a bit. "Hey, I still need your eyes."

Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Classroom – Resume Present Day

The class sat silent and motionless.

Robin stood up and moved to the blackboard. He picked up an eraser and began to erase what he had written several hours earlier.

"Alone, we have strength."

He erased the word "Slayer."

"We have knowledge."

The word "Watcher" was removed next.

"And we have power."

"Coven" was the last to disappear in a smear of white dust.

"But together, we have all three."

He reached for the chalk and in a quick scrawl wrote one word: "Council."

Robin turned to face the class. "While you are here, there will be times when you feel the desire to go it alone. Opinions and ideas don't always mesh. Personalities have a habit of clashing. People clash…"

Fade To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Dining Hall – Same Time

Voiceover, Robin: "There's never going to be a time when we all get along."

Shannon stepped into the cafeteria and spotted Lorinda sitting alone at a table. She approached. "Hi."

Lorinda looked up. "Hi."

"Thanks for…for meeting me."

"Yeah."

"Look, 'Rinda, I –"

"Will you stop calling me that?"

"Huh?"

"'Rinda. Stop with the 'Rinda. My name is Lor-inda."

An awkward silence settled over them.

Shannon spoke, "Look, Lorinda…"

"Shannon, I'm sorry."

"Huh?"

"Are you hard of hearing? I said I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to…to steal your boyfriend. Okay? I-I-I know that's what it looked like. And I really did like it that Norman was bein' nice and all. Except for Jeff, nobody's ever been nice to me like that. I-I-I got a little stupid, I guess. Giggly and goofy. I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to steal him."

"Yeah. Yeah, I kinda know that."

"You kinda know it? You're never gonna trust me, are you?"

"Why should I trust you?"

"Nobody trusts me! When I'm being honest, everyone thinks I'm lying or working some kind of angle. Well, y'know, it'd be really nice – if just once – somebody could give me a break! If somebody would just stop and say to themselves, 'Maybe she means it' or 'Maybe she's just joking and doesn't mean any harm' or…"

"I get it," Shannon said quietly. "You just want the benefit of the doubt. I guess I could give you that…"

"Well, don't put yourself out."

"See! That's why nobody likes you! Why don't you just say, 'Okay, thanks'?"

Lorinda's lower lip trembled, and her eyes filled with tears. "I don't know…" she said meekly.

Voiceover, Robin: "But, it's important to remember that we are all in this together. The slayers, the watchers, and the coven are in this together. Don't forget that."

Shannon sighed. "Look 'Ri – Lorinda…I don't think you and me are ever gonna be…y'know…like friends or anything."

"No," Lorinda said, regaining her composure. "I don't think so."

"But…we gotta have each other's backs. We're slayers. Whether we like each other or not, we have to rely on each other. We have to be ready to…to take a fall for each other. We can't do that if we keep on fightin' all the time, or one-uppin' each other. So maybe we could kinda stop doin' all that and just work together."

Lorinda huffed. "Like A-Rod and Jeter."

"A-Rod and…?"

"Yeah, you know…the Yankees…right? They don't like each other. But they work real well together 'cause they're on the same team…"

Shannon smiled. "Yeah. Yeah, that's what I mean…Yeah, we can do that. You know, I was thinking…I could use another slayer to help me out with the squad. Sometimes I wanna show 'em stuff, but I need someone else who knows how to do it so they can see how it works. Ken and those guys are too busy, so I was thinkin' maybe you could help me out…if you want to…"

"Yeah. Yeah, okay. Thanks."

"Okay. Cool…

"And Norman can draw a picture of it…" Lorinda said. She waited for Shannon to turn angry eyes on her, then smiled. "Gotcha."

To both their surprise, Shannon grinned and gave a short laugh.

Voiceover, Robin: "Class dismissed."

Fade to Black.

Fade In:
Int.
Washington D.C. – Autumn O'Mara's Office – Evening

"…the man who was later identified as Cleveland-born Linus Calhoun was found early this morning on the steps of the Capital," a somber blonde anchorwoman reported through a large flat screen television set in an elegant looking cabinet. "At this hour it is not known why the Ohio transplant chose to take his own life."

A woman, no older than thirty-five with long dark brown hair tied back in a tight chignon, watched as the screen flashed an image of the deceased man. She stepped to the center of the office and crossed her arms over her dark colored business suit. Were it not for the demonic golden glow of her eyes, she would have appeared human.

The anchor went on. "According to family, Calhoun worked as a janitor at the BP America Building in downtown Cleveland, the site of terrorist actions by former Watchers Council student Jocelyn O'Hara one month ago. No suicide note was found. Joining us now is behavioral psychologist Luke Mendleson, author of 'When the Walls Close In: Overcoming Post Traumatic Stress.' Luke?"

The TV flickered off before Luke could speak. Placing the television remote gently on a small glass table in front of an overstuffed sofa, the brunette moved toward Congresswoman O'Mara's desk. She took a seat in the large leather chair behind the desk and began scanning through a stack of mail. An unmarked manila envelope caught her attention. She stared down at it with a blank expression on her face.

The intercom chirped. "Ms. O'Mara?" called the congresswoman's assistant. "Your mother just called. Should I transfer her to your private line?"

In less than two seconds the brunette's body transformed into that of an older, and much perkier, red head – Autumn O'Mara. She pressed a button on the intercom. "Janice, would you tell her that I'll call her back?" She thought for a moment. "Also, please find out if Senator Cyer received my updated notes on Proposition 7-30."

"Yes ma'am."

"Thank you, Janice." She let go of the intercom button and looked back at the envelope. Her tight smile began to fade. With a slightly trembling hand, she pulled open the envelope and slid its contents onto her desk.

She stared down at the rough black stone. Ever so slowly, Autumn's whole body began to shake. Her mouth moved of its own accord as she began mumble incoherently under her breath. Tears streamed down her face, and she shook her head back and forth. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, she let out a bloodcurdling scream.

Fade to Black

Special guest stars
Alicia Silverstone as Heil Hamalainen, Felicia Day as Violet Joston, and Morena Baccarin

End of Orientation

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