Story by Zahir al Daoud
Written by Susan Carr (with additional writing by Robert Kidman and Gelfling21)
Directed and Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Sounds by CSR
Edited by Angie Wilson
Art Direction by Robert Kidman
Artists – CN Winters, Zahir al Daoud, Robert Kidman, Mattxxx and Humaira
Watchers Council – Chairwoman's Office – Morning
Buffy looked up as Faith strode into her office like a Keystone Kop busting into a gangster's lair. She threw down her pen and rubbed her tired eyes and asked, "What now?"
Faith dropped a computer printout on the chairwoman's desk. "This!" she jabbed a pointed finger accusatorily at the form.
Buffy picked it up and glanced at it before putting it back down again. "Your upcoming promotional schedule. And?"
"And? And?" Faith sputtered. "I can't go on a promotional tour! Are you nuts?"
Buffy opened her mouth to answer, but before she could her intercom buzzed. "Hold that thought," she said and pressed the button. "Yes?"
"You're needed to sign for a delivery, Ms. Summers," the voice said. "It's marked 'Chairwoman Only.'"
"I'm on my way," Buffy replied. She stood up. "Sorry Faith, this'll have to wait for later."
"No way!" the other slayer said, following the blonde. "I'm coming with."
Buffy let out a heavy sigh.
Watchers Council – Hallway – Moments Later
"You don't know what it's like, B," Faith whined as they walked side by side.
"Fan boys…and fan girls, for that matter," Faith said. "Faith sign this, Faith sign that, Faith you're my hero," she said in a sing-song lovesick voice. "It's obnoxious."
"It can't be that bad," Buffy replied.
"Oh, don't even get me started on the photo manips they want me to sign."
"What's a photo manip?"
"Photo manips, manipulations. If I see one more picture of me naked on a mechanical bull I swear," Faith sighed. "And please don't get me started on their goofy fan stories. I mean really, B…I wonder if these people have a life? Jobs?"
Watchers Council – Receiving Dock – Same Time
The wan February sunlight entered the open bay doors around the flat panel truck parked there. A bored driver leaned against the wall as Andrew chatted amicably on. A pair of lumpers manhandled the last crate out of the truck and placed it next to the half dozen others lined up along the dock. Andrew broke off his chatter to hand them a stack of bills and received a receipt in return. As soon as the two men had left, he turned once again to the driver.
Andrew grabbed a crowbar and started opening one of the crates. "I heard that you guys get paid by the mile, is that true? What's it? Five bucks a mile or something?"
"More like fifty cents," the driver replied in a strong Southern accent. "Hey guy, I'm supposed to wait for the chairwoman's signature. You shouldn't be opening that."
"Oh, it's okay…I'm Buffy's right hand man," he boasted and tapped his own chest with the crowbar. Unfortunately for him, it was a bit too hard and his face grimaced in momentary pain. "Say, don't you wish we'd switch over to the metric system? Then you'd get almost twice as much."
The driver didn't answer as two voices preceded the entrance of the top two slayers. His eyes widened in appreciation as he watched Faith follow Buffy over to where Andrew was.
"My right hand man?" Buffy glared and held out her hand.
Andrew gave a sheepish shrug and placed the crowbar in her hand. He muttered something about "darn super-human hearing."
Buffy turned to the driver who was still staring at Faith. "You have something for me to sign?" she asked impatiently.
The driver ignored Buffy and said to Faith, "You're her! Well, I'll be dipped in gator turds! How ya doin'?"
Faith rolled her eyes and turned to Buffy. "Ya see? This is what I'm talkin' about! I can't go anywhere without being recognized. I can't even slay!"
"Hey," the driver said as if they were the only two present. "Want to go get a cup o' joe?"
"No, thanks anyway," Faith said with a pseudo-smile. "I'm seeing someone."
Buffy tapped the crowbar against her hand. "The invoice?" she said.
The driver absently handed her his clipboard without even looking away from Faith. "Yeah, I saw your picture in Time magazine hugging a black dude at that slayer chick's funeral. I figure he's just a passing thing, right? Just a little jungle fever?"
Buffy paused and looked up from the paper she was signing. Andrew's mouth hung open in shock and he cringed as if in expectation of sudden violence.
Faith's eyes narrowed. "Look dude," she said quietly. "If you actually had the ability to read that magazine, instead of just looking at the pictures, then you'd know that Robin and I have been together for nearly four years now. So he's not just a passing thing."
Buffy thrust the clipboard back at the driver and hustled him in the direction of the truck's cab. "Here…now go and consider yourself very lucky."
"What? Why?" the clueless driver tried to protest, but the chairwoman just kept him moving. By the time Buffy returned, the truck was starting to pull away from the dock.
Buffy headed toward a couple of demons, but walked straight by them toward Faith and Andrew, not seeing them at all.
"Andrew, call the trucking company and make sure they never send that driver again," she ordered. "In fact, lodge a formal complaint. Intolerance like that can not be tolerated."
"Okay," Andrew said. "Want me to unpack these?"
"Not here," she answered. "Get some slayers to move the crates into the coven's workshop so you guys can inventory them."
"On it," he said and quickly trotted from the area.
"See?" Faith began as Buffy pulled the bay door closed and secured it with the industrial-sized padlock. "That's what I'm talking about, B." She motioned toward the closed door where the truck had been.
"I've had my fifteen minutes. I can't go anywhere without being recognized. I'm done! It's time for me to move out of the spotlight."
Buffy sighed and pulled the packing list from the envelope attached to the side of one of the crates. She opened it up and spread it out on the top of the crate. One of the unseen demons moved closer to read it over her shoulder.
"Look, Faith," she began. "We're all under the public eye, not just you. But you're the best spokesperson we've got right now. People love you. You are a freakin' hero, for god's sake!"
"I don't wanna be!" Faith cried, throwing up her arms in frustration. "That's gotta be some kind of cosmic joke, right? Me? Why me?"
"Isn't that what you always wanted?" Buffy asked. "To be the top slayer? Numero uno? The chosen Chosen?"
"Oh, don't start that with me again!" Faith cried. "I just want to slay, settle down with my man and maybe…just maybe pop out a couple of multi-colored brothers and sisters for Norman in the far future…all right, far, far future. I don't need all this attention and I sure as heck don't want to be a fanfic legend."
"I'm sorry, Faith," Buffy said. "I'd take your place if I could, but you're the one that the public wants and we need their support. I need your support. So please, if nothing else, will you do it for me?"
Faith sighed and nodded her head as Andrew returned with two junior slayers.
"Come on," Buffy said, putting a comforting arm around Faith's shoulder. "Let me buy you a cup o' joe."
Faith rolled her eyes and they left.
Andrew directed the girls to start moving the crates. The slayers ignored the invisible demon reading the packing slip and he finally rejoined his companion.
"The scroll is on the list, Thorm," he said in an officious tone. "I'm very pleased. This time…this time the job will go without a hitch. The scroll will be translated within a couple of days at the most! And once it is, we'll become fully corporeal and indestructible. And this time, all of life on Earth will be totally wiped out, in…oh say an hour at the most. And then…ha! Then we'll get our end-of-eon bonuses and can visit that little strip joint on Regulan IV."
The other demon continued to stare.
"Thorm? You listening?" the demon asked and then punched him when he got no response.
Thorm finally turned and said, "Hey Gredd…what do you wanna bet those two are getting it on?" He pointed his gnarly chin at the direction of the departed Buffy and Faith.
"Oh, for crying out loud. May the lords of the lower planes preserve me!" Gredd said and then pulled Thorm after the slayers carrying the crates.
End of Teaser
To Act One