Orientation

Act One

Starring:
Lacey Chabert as Skye Talisker, Gale Harold as Jim Pollan, Caroline Dhavernas as Grace Hatherley, Elijah Woods as Jeff Lindquist, Laura Pyper as Casey Pierce, Steffani Brass as Shannon Matthewson, Rachel Hurd-Wood as Lorinda Sheparton, Robin Sachs as Ethan Rayne, Laura Prepon as Lori Carew, Christine Romano as Hope Lehane and Gary Oldman as Mr. Jason Felix

Guest Starring:
Freddie Highmore as Norman Hansen, Jodelle Ferland as Virginia, Meagan Good as Karen Sturgess, Jewel Staite as Homeless Demon, Marcia Cross as Autumn O'Mara, Brent Taylor as Charles Starkweather and Sir Derek Jacobi as Varthrim

Fade In:
Ext.
Watchers Council – Athletics Field – Morning

"But Ethan, Norm's here and –"

"And wasn't it you that told me the squad's poor showing in the World Games meant they'd be worked double time?"

"Yeah, but –"

"The precious moments you're so looking forward to with Norman," Ethan said, not unkindly, "are being whittled away while you stand here arguing with me. Just think how much sooner you can be with him once you've finished working with the squad."

"Shan…go on…I'm fine," Norman said from behind Shannon's shoulder. "I'll sit out in the field and sketch for a while. Or maybe I'll go find Robin and see what's new with him."

"He's in orientation for the newbies," Shannon replied.

"Oh. Right. Well, I'll find something to do…"

Shannon huffed a sigh at both Ethan and Norman and headed out towards the slayers-in-training waiting on the athletic field. Norman smiled, shrugged at Ethan, and walked to the bleachers, where he began to pull charcoals and paper from his book bag.

Ethan watched Norman for a moment and then walked back toward the Council building. Lorinda silently passed him on her way to the field; he turned and watched her approach the bleachers. "Ah…" he mused softly to himself. "Now the fun begins."

Cut To:
Ext.
Watchers Council – Athletics Field Bleachers – Same Time

"Hi…"

Norman looked up from his charcoal drawing. "Oh. Uh…hi."

"Um…you aren't gonna hit me again, are you?" Lorinda asked.

"Hit…? Oh! You mean, when I knocked you down because you were trying to stake Skye…out in the woods that time…"

Lorinda looked away and nodded.

"I – Look, I'm real sorry about that. It's just that you were – you were really –"

"I was in slayer mode," Lorinda said, not quite apologetically. "It happens to all of us. Even Shannon…"

"Yeah. Yeah I guess."

"I'd hate to think that we…couldn't be friends because of it…" Lorinda moved past Norman and walked to the edge of the stands, looking out at the slayer-in-training squad. She said nothing, and Norman looked back down at his picture, but the flapping of Lorinda's skirt in the brisk wind caught his attention. He noticed the backs of her legs turning red from the biting cold.

"Kinda cold to be standing outside…" he said uncertainly. Lorinda turned and looked at him. He grinned sheepishly back at her. "Isn't it?" he added.

"I always come out here and watch them practice. She's good, y'know? Shannon. She can get them to do things without even trying." Softy, she added, "I don't know if I can ever do anything like that…"

Out in the field, Bailey and Madison were looking past Shannon and out toward the bleachers.

"Hey!" Shannon barked. "Pay attention!" The two girls turned their attention to Shannon, but Tyeesha and Jennifer now saw what the other two girls were looking at. They exchanged a quick glance between them as Shannon shot them a hard glare.

"What's going on?" Shannon asked.

"Shannon," Cindy said quietly, "I think Lorinda is stealing Norman." She raised her hand and pointed a tiny finger towards the stands.

Shannon turned slowly.

"Norman! That's sooo great! How did you draw it so fast?" Lorinda stood smiling, head tilted and hair falling across her mouth and jaw. "It's like I'm looking in a mirror!" she said of the quickly rendered line drawing of herself standing with her skirt flapping in the breeze.

Norman blushed and shrugged.

"It's really good," Lorinda persisted. "I can almost feel the wind in the picture!" Norman blushed even deeper. Lorinda looked at him quickly, then down again. "You know, it is kinda windy out here…Kinda cold, too…"

"Huh? Oh! Well…let's go inside."

"You don't mind?"

"Naw, Shannon's gonna be out there a while, and I can't draw when my fingers are cold. Hey, is the cafeteria open? I can get us some hot cocoa…"

"Thanks, Norman. I'd really like that."

Norman stood up quickly and upset his charcoals and book bag.

Shannon glared at Norman and Lorinda as the two picked up his charcoals, Lorinda's light laughter carrying on the wind. Norman and Lorinda left the stands and headed toward the Council building, Norman not once looking back.

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

The newest class of young slayers, watchers, and coven members slowly filed into the empty classroom, nervousness still etched upon their small faces.

"Everyone please take a seat," Robin ordered as he followed the last student inside. He shut the door, moved toward the desk at the front of the classroom, and waited as the last of the students settled in. Leaning casually against the edge of the desk, he began, "Before we get started, I'd like to get an idea of what you all think that we do here."

"My brother says we kill stuff!" called out a clearly overenthusiastic young brunette slayer in the front row.

"Stuff?" Robin questioned. "What kind of stuff?"

"Like demons," she replied. "And vampires and bad guys."

A blonde girl sitting next to the brunette raised her hand and spoke when Robin nodded in her direction. "We protect people. We're superheroes."

Robin smiled. "Well, the first part is certainly true. It's a slayer's job to protect people." He looked around the room. "What about the watchers? What do they do?"

An eager looking boy quickly raised his hand and said importantly, "We tell the slayers what to do!"

Robin half-nodded. "To an extent. The watchers do guide the slayers. Where a slayer uses strength, a watcher uses knowledge."

"So slayers are the muscle and watchers are the brains?"

"Again, to an extent, yes," Robin answered. "But slayers can be very intelligent, and some watchers are rather skilled at fighting, too." He paused. "And what about the coven?"

For a moment no one spoke. A few pairs of eyes found the girl who had made an eraser float on the bus. She guiltily raised her hand. "My mom says that we learn how to do magic. But we're not supposed to do it unless it's really important."

Robin chuckled, "Well, I can't argue with that." He stood up and moved around the side of the desk. He picked up a piece of chalk and spoke as he wrote. "Strength, Knowledge, and Wisdom." He underlined each word and then beneath them he wrote "Slayer, Watcher, and Coven."

The female coven recruit raised her hand. "So all three of them work together in a happy group?"

Smash Cut To:
Int.
Watchers Council – Meeting Room – Day (Flashback)

"Where were your girls?!!" Rowena shouted at Faith across the table.

"Taking on a 12-foot troll who was only a 6-foot troll before the Wiccas went all wonky!" Faith retorted as she pointed accusingly at Willow.

"That was not our fault!" Willow shouted back. "No one told us they had a Baccanus talisman," she said, motioning toward Rowena.

"So this is my fault?!" Rowena shouted back. "I wasn't even there!"

The women around the table all began to raise their voices. Nostrils flaring. Fingers pointing. Accusations flying.

"Ladies?" Robin asked as he watched them all sparring with each other. They all seemed oblivious to his presence, but that didn't stop his head from moving back and forth as if watching a tennis match.

"Uh, ladies?" he tried again. As their voices grew even louder, he shook his head. After not being able to break up the argument with his words, he put his fingers in his mouth and gave a loud whistle. Three sets of angry eyes now focused entirely on him, their annoyance now glaring in his direction.

Robin grinned nervously.

Cut To:
Int.
Council Classroom – Resume Present Day

"They might not always see eye to eye," Robin sheepishly admitted. "But in the end, they work things out through diplomacy and respect. Now, considering what I said a few minutes ago…should a slayer only be concerned with strength? A watcher only with knowledge?"

A few students tentatively nodded in the affirmative.

"You don't look too sure." Robin set down the chalk and resumed his position perched on the front of the desk. "It's not an easy question." Thirty pairs of eyes stared back at him uncertainly. "In fact, not too long ago a friend of mine had to decide as well. She was patrolling…"

Fade Out.

Fade In:
Ext.
Warehouse District – Late Night (Flashback)

West 6th street was unsurprisingly deserted. While normally the iconic city street attracted both townies and tourists to the bustling nightclubs and improv houses, the current downpour put a damper on any late night plans.

The flashing yellow street lights were barely visible through the sheets of rain, and several cabbies had parked against the sidewalks, choosing to wait out the rain rather than brave the streets.

With loud splashing strides, a trio of girls ran across the empty street, heading for a large awning protecting the entrance to a vegetarian deli. A panting redhead reached the covered space first and let out a loud "whoop." She raised her arms in victory and spoke in between deep breaths.

"I win!" Vi yelled. "Thank you all for playing. You can pick up your consolation prizes in the rain soaked street."

"You didn't win because we weren't racing," Heli replied as she massaged a stitch in her side. "I was just trying to get out of the rain."

"You just don't like losing," Vi replied, receiving a sneer from Heli. "Back me up here, Kennedy."

"Don't drag me into this," Kennedy warned as she removed her denim jacket and attempted to wring out the water without much success.

"We should probably head back," Heli said as her teeth began to chatter. "Nothing is going to be hanging around in all this rain."

"Yeah," agreed Kennedy as she put her jacket back on. "Let's go home before we freeze to death."

Kennedy and Heli moved back into the street but stopped when Vi spoke. "Guys?" Her gaze was fixed across the street into an alley that ran between a bar and a nightclub, where two people were standing extremely close. "I think we've got a vamp."

Cut To:
Ext.
Alley – Same Time (Flashback)

"Does it hurt?" a girl no older than seventeen asked as she stood huddled against the wall of the alley, under the fire escape and away from the rain. She had deep bags under her eyes and wore a long sleeve shirt.

"It's worth it," said the pale boy next to her. He looked to be in his early twenties, sported a Cavaliers cap over soaked black hair, and wore a baggy, somewhat grimy, basketball jersey.

Looking around anxiously, the girl nodded slowly.

The guy smiled and took a step closer.

In a flash, he was yanked backwards and shoved against the brick wall of the alley. Kennedy's left arm effectively pinned him in place. Behind her Heli and Vi had stakes out and ready.

"Are you okay?" Kennedy asked, looking at the frightened girl.

With eyes wide, she turned and ran from the alley, avoiding Heli and Vi in her haste to escape.

"You're welcome," Kennedy shouted at the girl's retreating form as she rolled her eyes. Turning her attention back to the boy, she sighed, "Why do they never thank us?"

The guy squirmed. "Let me go, Slayer."

"I'm thinking no," she replied. "It's not really our policy when we catch a vamp…" She trailed off and looked at him curiously. Turning back to her fellow slayers, she asked, "Something feel off about this to you guys?"

Vi and Heli looked at each other and shrugged.

Using her free hand, Kennedy checked for a pulse. "You're alive." Her tone indicated her surprise as she removed her arm from his chest and stepped back.

The guy rubbed his chest and coughed once before bolting out of the alley. The girls could only stare after him in utter confusion.

"That was weird," Vi said as he disappeared from sight at the end of the alley.

Behind her Heli bent down and retrieved something from the asphalt below. She held up the small bag of grayish crystals to the light. "I think we just broke up a drug deal."

Kennedy took the bag and eyed it curiously. "Come on. Let's go home."

Cut To:
Int.
Former Watchers Council – Kennedy's Office – Morning (Flashback)

Sitting in her chair, Kennedy examined the bag of gray crystals. With a sigh she dropped it on her desk, took a sip of coffee, and picked up her phone. She punched in a familiar four-digit number and waited for the call to connect.

Ring.

Coffee.

Ring.

Sigh.

Ring.

SIGH.

"Who we callin'?" Faith asked as she wandered into the office and dropped unceremoniously into the chair opposite Kennedy's desk.

Kennedy looked up and rolled her eyes. "You, actually." She dropped the receiver back on the phone and teased, "Are you ever in your office?"

"I try not to be," Faith replied as she propped her feet up on the end of Kennedy's desk in practiced fashion and tugged at a loose thread that protruded from the seam of her tight black jeans. "So what's up?"

"Heli, Vi, and I broke up a drug deal last night."

Faith eyebrows shot up.

"Don't get too excited," Kennedy chided. "It was just a couple of kids. But I did want to ask you the policy on this. Do we call the CPD?"

"Did you get any names?"

Kennedy shook her head. "All I got was their bag of…I don't know…" She pointed to the bag on her desk. "…coke?"

Faith laughed. "You don't know? I thought you went to private school. You should be an encyclopedia of recreational drugs."

"That wasn't really my crowd," Kennedy replied with a shrug. "Besides, most people in my high school just smoked weed. I never saw any of the harder stuff."

"Yeah, I was just kidding," Faith said as she looked down at the bag on Kennedy's desk. "Well, it looks like a bag of blast." When Kennedy shot her a questioning look, Faith clarified. "It's crack."

Kennedy's eyes widened. "Crack?"

"Cocaine," Faith supplied.

"I know what crack is," Kennedy replied, somewhat indignantly. "But how is it that you can just recognize brand, make, and model on the spot?"

The look Faith shot her was response enough.

The younger slayer's brows shot up. "Oh."

Faith shrugged and looked back down at the bag. "This is pretty cheap stuff. Where were you last night?"

"Warehouse. West 6th right by Cabaret Dada," Kennedy answered.

Faith frowned and picked up the bag. "That's weird. Anyone at The Improv could afford better stuff than this." As she examined the bag more closely, a sudden recognition spread across her face.

"What?" Kennedy sat up when she saw her friend's expression change.

Sliding her feet off Kennedy's desk, Faith looked up and asked, "You said you took this off a kid?"

Kennedy nodded. "Some twenty-something."

"You're sure it wasn't a vampire?"

"He had a pulse. Why?"

Faith sighed. "I've seen this stuff before."

Cut To:
Int.
Former Watchers Council – Rowena's Office – Later (Flashback)

"Mystical? Are you sure?" Rowena asked from behind a mountain of paper work, trying her hardest to sound interested.

Kennedy looked annoyed. "Faith said it looked a lot like a drug she saw in LA. Humans used it, and then vamps fed off them."

Rowena signed a page on the large file in front of her and spoke without looking up. "Have you shown it to Willow?"

"Yeah, she couldn't identify it. At least not chemically. She did say it felt weird, though."

This made Rowena look up. "Weird how?"

Kennedy shrugged. "Just weird. Whenever she held it. Her words, not mine. Do you know anything about stuff like this?"

Rowena thought for a moment. She set down her pen and began to speak. "I've never seen it personally, but I've read enough about it to know how it works. They live out of warehouses or other large abandoned spaces. It's usually the vampires that make the drugs – two or three of them working together. The nest becomes a safe house. Other vampires pay to stay while the makers recruit humans to sell their product."

"That makes sense. Then we can't go around staking the dealers."

Rowena nodded. "Also, it opens up the day. People buying the drugs can go to the safe house at any time. It's a lot harder for us to police."

"So people go there, shoot up, and let themselves be bitten. What's to stop the vamps from killing them?

"Nothing," Rowena replied with a sigh. "They are paying for the high, not to feed. Once a person steps inside the safe house, for all intents and purposes, they become the drug. They'll be passed around for a few days until they either run out of blood or OD."

"Why would anyone do that?"

"It's a rush for the humans, too. They target junkies. It's a cheap high, but they never come back down."

Kennedy shook her head in disbelief. "So what do we do about it?"

"The Old Guard's policy was to do nothing."

"Nothing?"

Rowena shook her head. "They felt that if humans were willing to put themselves in that kind of danger, then they didn't deserve a slayer's protection."

"That's really stupid," Kennedy replied. They were both quiet for a minute before she spoke again. "What's our policy?"

Cut To:
Ext.
Sunset Club – Night (Flashback)

"So refresh my memory," Vi said as she crossed her arms outside the entrance to the club frequented by vampires. "What exactly are we doing here?"

"In my opinion we're wasting time," Heli replied as she leaned against the wall near the door of the bar. "We should be staking vampires, not using them for information."

"Well, I guess Kennedy doesn't see it that way," Vi said just before the sound of several vampires being dusted carried through the door. "Or maybe she does."

Before either of them could move, the door to the bar swung open and Kennedy emerged, brushing dust from her clothes. "You guys ready to go?"

"I take it you got your information," Heli observed.

"Yup," Kennedy replied. "I can see why Faith likes this place. Everyone's so helpful." She moved from the vampire haunt. "Come on, we're heading back to 6th street. I know where to find our dealer."

Cut To:
Ext.
Warehouse District – Deserted Parking Lot – Later (Flashback)

"I don't see the dealer," Vi commented as the trio stood in the middle of the poorly lit decrepit lot on the east side. She kicked at a tuft of grass growing through a crack in the worn asphalt.

"Let's get out of sight and wait," Kennedy suggested. "Apparently this is one of our guy's favorite spots to meet new buyers."

They took position in the corner of the lot behind a large overflowing dumpster that had been pushed several feet away from an adjacent building. From that spot they were able to see the entire parking lot, while staying well hidden.

"Sometimes this job really stinks," Vi remarked as she motioned to their surroundings.

"She's punning," Heli told Kennedy in deadpan. "You promised me she wouldn't pun."

Kennedy just grinned.

Fade To:
Ext.
Warehouse District – Deserted Parking Lot – Later (Flashback)

Kennedy looked bored as she was trying to balance an empty milk carton on one finger as a means to kill time.

"Okay, this is stupid," Heli announced. "It's been over a half hour and we've seen no one – alive or undead. Why would a dealer meet someone in the middle of a parking lot where anyone could see –?"

She was cut off by "shush" from Vi. Pointing out into the lot, the redhead whispered, "Someone's coming."

Kennedy put down the carton and turned in the direction Vi was gesturing.

"It's not him," Kennedy said as a male teenager with dark hair emerged from the shadows on the other side of the lot and walked towards them. "It must be the buyer."

The young man looked about nervously, unsure of his surroundings, but continued on his path to the dumpster. "Why is he coming right at us?" Vi asked.

Heli gave Kennedy a meaningful look as the lead slayer said, "Crap. This is where they meet. The vamp said in the parking lot, not by a dumpster. I'd kill him if he wasn't already dead and I hadn't already staked him."

"If this guy sees us, he's going to bolt," Heli supplied.

Kennedy moved back a few steps. "He'll see us if we go back into the lot. We're screwed. There's nowhere to hide back here."

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

They watched from below a pile of torn cardboard boxes as the buyer stopped walking a few feet from where they had been standing. The shadows provided by the adjacent building kept them well hidden.

"We will never speak of this to anyone," Kennedy whispered forcefully. "Ever!"

"He's coming," Heli observed as the pale boy they'd seen the day before appeared, jogging towards the dumpsters. "Let's take him right now."

"Yeah," Vi agreed. "We can take him to the cops."

"No," Kennedy replied in a low, but firm tone. "He's going to have to tell the buyer where the nest is. We wait and follow him."

They watched for several minutes as the buyer and seller made the exchange. The pair parted and left in separate directions. Carefully, the slayers climbed out of their hiding place. Kennedy was quick to give out orders.

"Heli, follow the dealer. Collect all of his 'merchandise' and get it back to the Council. Read him the riot act if you have to, but let him know that the Council will not tolerate the sale of mystical narcotics by humans."

Heli nodded and followed the seller's path, jogging quickly through the darkened parking lot.

"Let's go find the nest," Kennedy said to Vi.

They followed behind the buyer, keeping to the darker stretches of sidewalk in order to stay out of sight. They weren't walking for very long before the teen stopped in front of an abandoned church. He gave the area a cautious glance to make sure he was not being watched, and then he trotted up the front steps to the entrance of the building. As he reached for the door, Kennedy grabbed his arm, pulling him back a few steps. Fishing into the front pocket of his jeans, she retrieved a small bag of grayish crystals. She tossed the bag to Vi and then whopped him up the side of the head. "Don't do drugs!" She guided him down the steps and in no uncertain tones commanded, "Go home and stay there."

Petrified, the teen took off at a run.

Kennedy looked to Vi. "Let's call it in and put this place out of business."

The pair of slayers burst through the doors to see about ten to fifteen vampires in various states of inebriation. Vi and Kennedy grinned at each other and pulled their stakes before charging in.

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

Nervously, a young man raised his hand. "Maybe I'm the only one, but…I'm not sure I get it, Mr. Wood," he confessed. The young man looked around to see a few of his comrades looking to Robin as well, waiting for an answer.

"There are two points here. Slayers need to think fast on their feet, but they also need to work with their counterparts in order to be successful."

"And the vamp nest?" one girl asked.

"History," Robin said with a grin.

Fade Out.

End of Act One
On to Act Two