Hellmouth in Lawndale,

 

Or

 

Daria (the Vampire) Vs Buffy (the Vampire Slayer)

 

By Lew. (Yes, it is my real name, thank you so very much.)

Abuse me at: lew@looksmart.com.au or lewww@ivillage.com

 

Daria trademarked to MTV, Buffy to whomever. I didnít create them; I just add the uranium to the drinking water...

 

Hi, Iím the author (obviously, I hear you groan) and youíll need a little background information before reading this fanfic.

1. Watch a few Buffy episodes (And all the Daria ones!) for the general feel of each show.

2. Read "Halloween in Lawndale" to learn how Daria becomes a vampire. My apologies to the author, who is apparently "Melissa". Thanks!

3. Approach fanfiction with an open mind.

4. Listen to the music if youíre able to, it adds to the atmosphere.

5. Stop reading if you want to see Daria & Trent go off and have babies out in the woods somewhere, I lack the literary skill to do those sort of fanfiction. I have a soul.

6. WARNING: I donít really know the rating system you have over in America (Iím an Australian, Yank) and have enough trouble comprehending our own system. (All I know is that anything R or X contains the good stuff.)

***But this Fanfic is POSSIBLY rated PGR! (Ohh, scary...)***

[Hey, donít whine; a Vampire story needs rivers of blood and sweet succulent delights. I havenít even got a trickle. Or a tickle. This rating will probably get me only limited exposure in the web-world, but that's life.]

7. This little idea bloated out into a monster. Sorry, but itís a long one...

8. This was started well before the third season came out here, so ignore the logical inconsistencies to do with the Lane duo. In this, Trent & Jane are the Lanes. In fact ignore all errors like chronological discrepancies; plot holes and a total lack of respect for the laws of physics. I'm trying to write something that will leave the reader screaming for more full-contact martial arts excitement, with big guns. [Gooo Kevvie!] IMHO, there's nothing better than watching a whole cast (30-40) of martial art experts beating the crap out of one another with rice flails, bicycles and car parts, unless there is a evil monster mastermind that runs around with half a telephone pole whacking things. Ok, deep breaths, deep breaths...

9. Okay. Anything [Like this.] is something I've thrown in and may not have any bearing on the story at all. Hey! It's how I think, and since writing is an effective way of discovering how another's mind is made up, you should feel privileged that I would like to share them with you...;)

10.As a citizen of Oz, there are some differences in spelling, unless Iíve edited to suit American sensibilities. Tough. At least I know when to and when not to use punctuation.

11. Microsoft is evil and Ronald McDonald is the Antichrist. The end is nigh!

 

PS: Desanera, thanks for the explanations, the in-depth plot analysis (Sorry, I only got A's in narrative fiction.) and a better feel of the whole Buffy/Daria thing. Scary, I've got a fan...

So, letís get it on!

 

 

 

Open To:

 

(Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer and general teen role-model, running into bushes and things in hot pursuit of a rather weedy vampiric specimen. Said vampire dodges her flying kick and grabs her, the two rolling and cursing. With a grunt, the vampire ashes and Buffy clambers up, reclaiming her stake.)

(Willow Rosenberg, Xander (Alexander Harris) and Oz come running in to help, but slow and stop when they see nothing alarming.)

Xander: Sorry, we got kinda, ah, lost.

Buffy: No sweat.

Oz: Uh-oh. (He looks around, twitchy.)

Willow: What?

(Buffy looks at them, puzzled, then sinks with a groan to the ground, clutching her stomach. Oz makes a decision, dives for Willow and they crash down. Xander is left looking bemused at the crumpled figures before him.)

Xander: Uh, guys? Buffy?

(The ground starts to shake and the camera angle does the "Richer 10" thing. Trees sway and crash, and branches rain down. Leaves are everywhere, dust billows up, all of the usual earthquake cliches. Xander falls down, hard, before the dust and leaves obscure the scene.)

 

(NOW: Typical Daria beginning; Laa-la, Laa-la, the lockers, the whistle, the volleyball, etc. Intersperse with various Buffy scenes, ie: Buffy with vampires, Buffy in school, Buffy in Hell, etc. Constant Splendoria "Standing On My Neck" title music, a bit heavier than usual (more grungy) with a finish of eerie wolf howls capping the trailing Laa-la Laa-la. The famous Daria smirk is capped with the Daria emblem, this time on a black background and the title "Hellmouth In Lawndale" in blood red Buffy script. [You know the font, all spluttery quill and gothic serifs.])

 

(Fade to Woodland scene, still lots of dust...)

Willow: Ow, Ow, Ow, OH! (Coughs.)

Oz: You ok?

Willow: (Dreamy voice, we see now that Willow is beneath Oz, who threw himself over her for protection) Ulmm, fine thanks. OH! Yes, Iím ok.

Oz: Iíll move then. (He does so, and gets up)

Willow: (Very softly) Whatís the rush?

Oz: Buffy, you all right?

(Buffy uncurls and gets up. Twigs are stuck in her hair and she still looks to be in pain.)

Buffy: Yeah, Iím ok. (Winces.) Well, nothing that a pound of chocolate and a hot-water bottle wonít fix. What the hell was that? (Willow clambers up)

Willow: Stating the obvious, an earthquake, I guess.

Buffy: The Hellmouth! Iíll get Giles! (Goes to rush off, then checks herself) Heíd have to know, wouldnít he?

Oz: Only if it ruined his nightís indexing efforts.

Xander: (On his butt, wincing.) Hello? Anyone remember me? Xander, fellow companion, braver of danger?

Willow: (Spritely.) Did you know you couldn't spell companion without P, A, I or N?

Buffy: I wish.

(They help Xander up, and totter off to find...)

 

(Giles, in Library. Music: "Black Night" - Deep Purple. [If anyone asks me who these guys are, you all die.] Some windows are broken, but the glass has already been carefully swept away. Itís looking a bit weathered, but itís gone through worse. Rupert Giles [Funny name, if youíve ever read "Rupert the Bear", or even know of it. READ a BOOK people!] is pottering on a laptop, a huge stack of books next to him and some maps scattered about.)

Giles: Buffy, over here quickly, I fear something unnatural has occurred.

Buffy: (Looks at her companions at this redundant statement in Sunnydale.) California is getting closer to island status, and heís worried. (To Giles.) Great instincts, Giles.

Giles: Did anything unusual happen on tonightís sweep?

Buffy: (Bored monotone.) There was an earthquake. Apart from that slight hiccup, there was only a single staking. And Xander fell over on his butt. Again.

Xander: I was taking cover. (He receives a few looks) So, I fell over. So?

Willow: (Thinking.) Oh, and Buffyís vamp-detector went off again, which is a bit odd, as the vampire in question had just received a stake dinner.

Buffy: Yeah, that.

Giles: Hmm, when exactly did "they" strike?

Buffy: After the staking.

Giles: (Thinking.) And there was a low, ah, "bag" tonight?

Oz: (Very Oz.) The limitless hordes of the undead seem to have dried up a little. (Holds up hands.) Not that Iím complaining.

Willow: Yes, they do seem a little thin on the ground, donít they? Instead of the usual demonic legions howling for blood, (Buffy looks at Willow.) Buffyís been bagging fewer. What gives?

Giles: Well, Iíll have to check up on a few other sources, but I think Iíve sorted out some likely preliminaries.

Buffy: Like what?

Giles: The Hellmouth has moved.

All, apart from Giles: WHAT?!

Xander: (to Oz) Iím pretty sure I understood all of the words.

Buffy: What do you mean, itís moved?

Giles: I suspect that your admirable efforts in foiling the forces of evil have caused something of an imbalance in the fabric of space and causality, resulting in a reduction of spiritual contamination, which further reinforced your efforts in a pattern of circular feedback.

Xander: Buffyís going to a concert? (They all just look at him.) I got the feedback bit...

Buffy: Translation from Watcher to Slayer...?

Willow: Your playing with the outlet tap of hell has caused a blockage! Way to go Buffy!

Giles: Itís fairer to say that her efforts have dislodged, ah, something, sufficiently to "block" the Hellmouth.

Oz: So, no more Hellmouth, no vampires, demons or other assorted bloodthirsty creatures?

Willow: Yay! On yer, Buffster!

Buffy: Gee, I might even be able to graduate. This year even. (Nothing from Giles.)

Xander: (Catching Giles.) Uhhh, guys, I think we might be living our lives a little early.

Giles: I am sorry, but I just couldnít bring myself to interrupt one of the few brief moments of happiness in your lives.

Oz: Ouch.

Xander: Ditto.

Willow: QED.

Buffy: What? Iím listening, and this had better be damn well good.

Giles: Taking Willowís imagery further, what happens if the "pipe" is blocked, and the force behind it is of unceasing growth?

Oz: Backwash?

Giles: (Flat.) No.

Xander: The pipe bursts!

Giles: ("By Jove, I think she's got it" expression.) Well done!

Xander: (Indignant.) Hey!

Giles: No offence.

Willow: So instead of a single Hellmouth in Sunnydale, what are we taking about?

Giles: Soon? A continuous fissure of, er, Hellmouths. Each similar to or larger than the one currently in Sunnydale.

Oz: (Expressionless, as usual.) How big?

Giles: Too big.

Xander: Crap.

Buffy: Right. What were you on about earlier with the Hellmouth moving?

Giles: The, ahem, pipeline, runs along in the physical world from here (on a wall map, points out a spot in California) to around here. (Points at the Northern Atlantic) Or at least, thatís how far we can detect it. (Pause.) Running water, you know.

(Silence for a while, as the group absorbs this)

Giles: (After pondering a while) Actually, it would be better to describe it as a vast scar, covering an artery of evil, and the artery has just experienced thrombosis. In any case, there is up welling of evil here (points to America) where, I suspect, a small but very powerful Hellmouth will attempt to establish itself.

Oz: ("Waiting for more" expression.) There is an "until" coming.

Giles: Until it, well, ruptures. Causing a chain reaction that will, er, split the scar covering the artery and the artery wall.

Willow: Now thereís a mental image that will put me off E.R. next week...

Buffy: Ok, what do we do then?

Xander: Wash the blood off the walls? (Cringes.) Sorry, it was the E.R. thing...

Giles: Ahem. We go to the new Hellmouth, close it and "inject" the "artery" with a cleansing agent that will seal and protect the world from further damage. This will, in turn, remove the spiritual miasma blocking the Hellmouth here.

Xander: Mixing metaphors, weíre going to bandaid the Hellmouth, just before injecting it with Draino and then we Roto-Rooter it?

Buffy: Can anyone else see how the extended metaphors are breaking down?

Willow: Whatís the "spiritual miasma" thatís doing the blocking? I thought that was Buffy?

Giles: Picture a rubber hose with a very sharp knife in it. Thatís the blockage. Now, guess what happens when you tie a knot in the hose?

The group, apart from Giles: Oh.

Giles: But, due to the recent, Ha, disruption of the local facilities, Iíve "encouraged" Principal Snyder to close the school for at least a week. (Beams)

(You can hear the paint dry.)

Buffy: (Slowly.) I think I can say this for all of us: How the hell did you manage that?!

Xander: (Babbling.) Snyder wonít, he canít.

Oz: (Thinking.) He would have to if there wasnít any power, or water, or sewer connections...

Xander: (Looking up.) The lights?

Willow: (Tonelessly, mind on something else.) Generator system. It also runs his water purifier. And he has a chemical toilet out back. (A distant horror is dawning on her face.)

Buffy: (Sweet & Innocent.) Giles, I have never felt so proud of you. (Slight pause.) How?

Oz: Worshipful. (Slight pause.) Ditto.

Xander: Awestruck. (Slight pause.) 'Fess up.

Giles: (Modest.) Well, it wasnít that difficult.

Buffy: How Giles? Before we tie you down and get out the rubber hoses?

Giles: Well, the tremors caused a lot of ground-related damage, so it was child's-play to rig a few charges where theyíd do the most effective damage and greatest inconvenience.

(Silence. Then:)

Oz: Charges? (The look on Willowís face is getting through the frozen disbelief)

Xander: Damage?

Buffy: How did you get the equipment and skills for all of these, er, interruptions? Are you hiding something from us, because I really didnít think that the Watcher syllabus covered Advanced Demolition or Urban Terrorism 101?

Willow: Iíve created a monster! [Understanding has broken through. It's not pretty.]

Oz, Buffy and Xander: Hey?

Willow: (Slowly and with great emotion.) He had to use my computer for research. Heís visited my links. Heís learnt. Heís adapted. From me. (Silence, all waiting for Willow) Donít you see? The Anarchistsí Cookbook! The Urban Terrorism Guide!

Giles: And rather breezy volumes they were too. (Pause.) Useful, but very disorganised. (Thinks on this.) Of course, that goes without saying, really...

Willow: (Self-flagellation.) Iím Victor Frankenstein!

Oz: (Dry.) Itís alive.

Willow: (Still whipping away.) Iím Pandora!

Buffy: ("There-there" tone.) Who opened the box of mankindís ills, yes, weíve all seen Xena.

Giles: (Conversationally.) Surprisingly, all of the ingredients were readily available, and quite inexpensive. (Offhandedly.) I had most on hand as reagents.

Willow: Oh, woe is me.

Buffy: Willow, chill. (Turns to Giles.) And Giles, we didnít see you, donít know you and sure as hell couldnít stop you, do you copy? Now, where the hell do we go, what do we do and how do we do it?

(Fade to black, their voices are heard as the view darkens and camera draws back.)

Giles: Well, Iíve narrowed the Hellmouth to a reasonably small area. The local geography is such so that only a single town is likely to be close. (Watcher Giles.) Hellmouths try and open near towns, there is so much more food "on the hoof", as it were.

Buffy: (Very dry.) Weíve noticed.

Giles: Itís called Lawndale. I estimate we have at least a week there, so we should be able to scout around a bit before anything drastic occurs. (Beat. Softly.) I think.

 

(Open now to Lawndale. Music: "Dracula Moon" - Joan Osborne. [Hey! No whining and get used to the music. I'll try and keep the "Boyzone" down to a minimum though, there is only so much evil and torture the average human can take...])

 

(Daria Morgandoffer and Jane Lane outside their lockers. Both are seniors, with only a few differences. Daria is more shapely, with a white t-shirt instead of the burnt orange one. Same jacket, skirt, glasses and boots. The most obvious change is that she shows more expression. Not much, but is different from the bland automation that used to inhabit Lawndale High.)

(Jane has a few more ear ornaments, but is the same height. (Daria is slightly taller.) Her wonderful "Cleopatra" bob is a bit longer, and she has on a short skirt instead of shorts. (Or are they skorts?) Same leggings. Bigger bag. Same smirk.)

Daria: Another day.

Jane: Another name.

Daria: Too many names.

Jane: Too few bullets. (Pause) You know, weíve really got to stop this, itís growing staler than one of O'Neill's old classes.

Daria: (Raised eyebrow.) Coming from someone who was bored enough to go through his "self-help and esteem-enlightenment" course? For the eighth time?

Jane: (Lofty.) Just checking on his material. (Evil Jane.) But he started to lose it when I began to mime his every word. And the video. And the self-assessment test...

Daria: (Interested.) Did he really run out, tearing off his clothes and howling for the moon?

Jane: Sadly, the nice Principal Li made us sign legal waivers before joining the class, so I cannot relive the moment for you. (Beat.) Or sue the school for mental trauma.

Daria: (Dry.) Nice to see that Li has her eye on the welfare of her faculty. (Very dry.) But I hear the pictures you sold certainly made up for the sight of his, ahem, underwear?

Jane: (Proud) Sick Sad World Online went down for almost two solid weeks before they could install a server big enough to handle the number of "hits" they were receiving. (Gloats) And mostly of people wanting to see the infamous "Leashed Manwolf of Lawndale High".

Daria: Was he really wearing...?

Jane: The studded leather collar and leash? Yes. (Beat) Below the neck, well, letís just say the photos donít do him justice.

(Silence as the walk to their art class)

Daria: Iím going to have that with me all the way through lunch, Jane.

Jane: (Contrite.) Sorry.

(They arrive at the Art room where the Art teacher, Mrs Defoe, has set up yet another still life.)

Jane: (Looks, then holds head.) Ohh, Deja vu. (The "Brain" voice from "Pinky & the Brain") Make the hurting stop Pinky! (Music: ultra-fast tinny version of the "Pinky & the Brain" theme.)

Daria: (Unsmiling.) Narf! Poit!

Mrs Defoe: Oh, good morning Daria, Jane.

Jane: Er, Yo? (Still holding her head, she sits.)

(They go to their places, noticing two new faces, Willow and Oz, who are looking interested in Jane's performance.)

Mrs Defoe: Good morning class! Today we have two new students from Sunnydale, Willow Rosenberg and Oz? (Checks the back of a card) Excuse me, what is your last name, dear?

Oz: (Affronted.) Dear? (Defoe beams at her guess)

Mrs Defoe: Okay then. (Happy.) Today, we have a still life, to examine how a textured effect can be achieved with the use of linear technique. This will entail the accurate...

(Her voice fades away, as Daria leans over to Jane, who is busy sketching a circle of skeletons surrounding a table of decayed fruit. The places where she and Daria would be are sitting empty, with polite, dust-covered signs of "Back in 5 Minutes" on their easels. Daria goes to talk, then is distracted by the work in progress.)

Daria: (Impressed) Nice. Hey Jane, isnít Sunnydale that place we see on Sick Sad World so often?

Jane: (Absently, as she hatches in some more.) Hmm? Didnít it have a "danger of dying" rating higher than that of roller-derby in a live volcano?

Daria: I'm not sure, the "diamond-drill" tones of Quinn in full whine can penetrate even my lair. And soundproofing like that doesnít come cheap; Iíve found some of the old invoices.

Jane: (Musing as she works.) Lair, you say that word so very well. It has overtones. It has menace. It drips with style.

Daria: Iím still tempted to request a refund. (Dry) But I'll need a recluse for the day..?

Jane: (Looks over. Drier.) Iím sure you could play the part of a schizophrenic shut-in..?

Daria: Actually, I was thinking of locking "Queen of the Ultrasonic" in for a few days without makeup or fashionable clothing. (Jane looks intrigued.) By the time I get around to phoning the nice fellows at "Donís Discount Medical Supplies", she should have invented some new swearwords, have daubed the walls in a variety of her own bodily fluids and have tapped a vein or two in order to write incomprehensible poetry on the cupboard door.

Jane: (Somewhat amazed.) And what scares me most is how much youíve thought about this. Was the darkness always this strong within you, or have you passed an ethereal plane through which we intellectual midgets cannot comprehend, let alone pass?

Daria: Time to lay off the oil-based media, Lane - the turpentine and varnish fumes have started to kick in without a tin being opened. Did you even read those pamphlets I gave you?

Jane: (Wickedly) The ones detailing what forms of higher-brain damage that Iíd suffer by using thinners without safety protection or adequate ventilation? Kind of, but Mr Curry, my purple tuna spirit-guide, was trying to make a point, and well, Iíd eaten them by the time heíd finished. (Daria just stares.) Hey! I was hungry, ok?

(Daria give her another look, shrugs non-commitedly, then catches Mrs Defoeís eye.)

Mrs Defoe: Yes Daria?

Daria: I think Jane has sufficient experience with pen and line Mrs Defoe. Perhaps Jane should expand into different media. (Sideways glance.) I suggest acrylics. Safe, non-toxic, acrylics.

Jane: Hey!

Mrs Defoe: (Raises eyebrow.) Excellent suggestion Daria. Again.

Jane: Excuse me? Hello? Artist in crisis over here? (Sketches madly, trying to finish off.)

Daria: (Ignoring Jane.) Since Jane is of sufficient skill and self-discipline, not to mention expertise and control, Iím sure she shouldnít have too much difficulty producing a decent work of art by, say, the end of the month? It would be a kind of class project, the inexperienced students under master tutelage, sponsored by one who understands art and itís cultural importance.

(Defoe is taken with an inner vision. She breathes, ignorant of Jane elbowing Daria, surrounded by memories of a happier life in an artistís group, all working hard towards art, rather than a grubby diploma in a second-string college. Her face is aglow with the vision displayed and she is filled with feverish enthusiasm.)

Mrs Defoe: (Speaking carefully, not quite in this world.) Yes, it is a good idea. I'll see you girls later...(She rushes off to parts unknown.)

Jane: (Duh! expression.) Oh, how clueless of me.

Daria: Enlightenment?

Jane: Kind of.

Daria: By the time she returns, and Ms Li has removed her soul by hand, the period will be over and another attempt at teaching us the linear methods that we may use to invoke texture will pass us by.

Jane: (Jedi Master voice.) The darkness grows within you. Feed it, make it strong.

Daria: Hmm?

(Most of the students, sensing that the loss of supervision is permanent, flee. Andrea Hecuba, the token Goth chick, is in the lead, already lighting up. Kevin Thompson, the Football QB with a room-temperature IQ and Brittany Taylor, the cheerleader who was made for him, approach Daria and Jane. They look confused. This is normal for them.)

Brittany: Jane! What can we do to help?

Kevin: Yeah! I like this painting stuff; itís so easy!

(He dabs crayons at a workpad. No, theyíre not pastel oil crayons. Crayons. Big, easy-to-hold, bright primary-coloured crayons. [Got the picture? Sorry, unintentional pun. -15 points from game of life.])

Brittany: (Looks) Ohh! Itís so colourful Kevvie! But (Turns to expressionless Daria and stunned Jane.) what can we do?

Jane: Uhh...(Desperate.) Search for inspiration?

Brittany: Oh, goody! Come on Kevvie, I know where weíre going!

Kevin: Cool! (He puts down his crayons and pad, and runs off with Brittany)

(Daria and Jane just exchange looks.)

Jane: If theyíre found in Kevinís car in the student parking lot, we know nothing.

Daria: No argument.

(Daria and Jane are left with Oz and Willow. They hesitantly make their way over.)

Willow: (Being Willow.) Uh, hi!

Oz: (Being Oz, but more talkative.) Hi.

Jane: (Jane being Jane.) Yo!

Daria: (Daria coming out of her shell.) Hey.

Willow: Iím Willow, and this is Oz dear.

Oz: Just plain old Oz, thank you.

Willow: So, er, what do have planned?

Jane: Nothing, that whole scheme was Dariaís, a ploy to avoid texture and line again. But I'm sorry if you havenít covered it yet?

Oz: Oh, no. We did all that last semester.

Jane: (Gathering her gear.) Well, off to the usual haunts. Wanna come?

Oz: Why not?

Willow: Uh, sure.

Daria: (Being Daria.) Which way today Batman? The staircase behind the silver cupboard, or the sliding pole behind the bookcase?

(They walk out, trailed by the Sunnydale duo.)

 

(Outside the room.)

Jane: So, what do you have next?

Willow: (Looking up a class timetable.) Social History, a Mr Demartini?

Daria: DeMartino. (Beat.) Have you ever seen someone teetering on the edge of a psychotic episode?

Oz: ("Been there, done that" expression.) Once or twice, maybe.

Jane: (Grandiose.) Prepare for an experience.

 

(Fade out to Tony DeMartinoís class. Music: "Break & Enter" - The Prodigy. DeMartino, the poster-boy for "Classic Signs of Possible Mental Instability", waits eagerly for the new batch of students to mock and ridicule. His eye pops out in anticipation and excitement.)

(Cordelia Chase, fellow Sunnydale student, fashion accessory and occasional Slayer sidekick, watches him carefully, hand on the designer mace in her handbag. She is near the exit, in case of DeMartino going postal. [And if you think this is surprising forethought on her part, please consider the Darwinian living process that interrupts Sunnydale High so frequently. Sheíd have to absorb some forms of safety-consciousness, even if by osmosis.])

(Xander and Buffy are there too, sitting apart, and even further apart from Cordy.)

DeMartino: Aha! Today we have new STUDENTS, visiting FROM Sunnydale high school while it IS BEING rebuilt. NO DOUBT sacrificing SAFETY and LEGAL safeguards in ORDER to COMPLETE the construction on time.

(If youíre wondering, DeMartino does his eye-thing and twitch every third time he stresses a word. Entertaining, if youíre not in the same room.)

DeMartino: PLEASE raise your hand as I call your NAME!

Cordelia Chase.

ALEXANDER Harris.

Willow ROSENBERG.

BUFFY Summers.

Oz, Oz...

Daria: Dear.

DeMartino: Thank you Daria. You may all sit. (Beat) Ms SUMMERS; do you know who was the first EXPLORER to reach the South POLE?

Buffy: No, sorry.

DeMartino: Ha! Ms Chase?

Cordelia: No. (Hand clenches on the mace, ready for use in an instant.)

(DeMartino smiles, and his eye twitches violently.)

DeMartino: Ms Rosenberg?

Willow: Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole, but Scott, the second-runner, ended up more famous by dying in a big way. Er, that's right, isn't it?

(Silence as DeMartino stares, his eye twitching a few times in quick succession)

DeMartino: (Softly.) Yes, it is. Thank you, Ms Rosenberg.

 

(Class fades out to the hall, and the ever-present lockers. Music: "Comfortably Numb" - Pink Floyd. Jane, Daria, the Sunnydale students, Michael Jordan MacKenzie and Jodie Landon cruise as a group. Cordelia is somewhat apart, but Jodie is threading her way through.)

Xander: (Shakes himself.) Well, that was an experience.

Jane: (Reflective, musing aloud.) I was quite impressed in there. (To Willow) Between you, Daria and Oz, I was waiting for his eye to dangle by the optic nerve.

Cordelia: Ulgh, Iím out of here. (Snaps a compact closed, and runs free to find her own kind.)

Buffy: (At the departure.) Donít let it bother you. It doesnít bother us.

Jodie: (Practising for sainthood, again.) Nice to see other valedictorians, Willow, Oz. Keep up the good work! (Goes off with Mack, who waves a goodbye. Willow looks somewhat confused at the encouraging tone and words.)

Jane: Donít worry, itís not sarcasm. Thatís Dariaís niche.

Daria: ("Documentary voice-over" tone.) What you have just witnessed is possibly the cruelest thing that parents could do to their child. Pile up all your hopes and dreams on your offspring and merrily shove them off into the path of the incoming bus of the real world. You can trust her with you life, because she doesnít have one of her own. (Looks distant, and a little angry.) Truly, truly sad.

Jane: Simply put, she exemplifies all that is pure and good. We estimate sheíll die of work-related burnout by the time sheís 24.

Daria: 19.

Jane: Sheís pretty much the best thing in Lawndale, apart from contributions to the literary world by one you may yet not know. (Jerks thumb in Dariaís direction.)

Daria: (Very dry.) What, "Melody Powers" again?

Jane: Only if you allow me to read out "Ode to a Fry" by Princess Grace beforehand as comparison?

Daria: Or shall I direct our newfound audience to the Lane Gallery?

Jane: (Indignant.) Youíve barely met them. How could you be so cruel?

Daria: Itís a gift.

(The Sunnydale students are smiling at their exchange.)

Buffy: So, what do you have next?

Daria & Jane: English.

Buffy: Great, where do we go?

 

(Cut to Mr O'Neill's old room, outside. The group approaches.)

Jane: (Conversationally) Actually, Iím interested in what poor sap they managed to con into accepting O'Neill's job. Even temporarily.

Xander: Hmm, O'Neill? (Ponders.) Where have I heard that name?

Willow: That very weird site we found Giles on, late one night.

Daria: "Sick Sad World"?

Buffy: That sounds about right.

Oz: "The Uncovered Manwolf of Lawndale High"?

Jane: (Smug) Oh yes.

Cordelia: (Coming in on the conversation.) Great, Iím really feeling better about going into an English class where the last teacher had a psychotic episode and bared his leather to the world. (Reflects for on what sheís said.) But, if thatís the worst thatís going to happen here, what am I worried about? (Strides into room. The group stops awkwardly.)

(Jane and Daria exchange a look. Then they stare at the Sunnydale students.)

Buffy: (Caving a little.) Look, Sunnydale is, weird. Itís nice to be somewhere normal for a change.

Xander: Yeah, you don't know how nice it is not to have a homeroom with a monthly "Honour Roll of the Fallen". (Oz and Willow nod their agreement.)

Oz: Shall we?

Willow: We shall.

(The remainder of the group cruise into a stalled Cordelia.)

Jane: (From the back.) Hey! What gives, sleeping beauty?

Giles: (Sitting on front desk) Hello Buffy! Ah, is that the last of you? Good, weíll start then.

 

(Inside the room. The Sunnydale students are in a state of shock.)

All of the Sunnydale students, apart from Cordelia: Oh. My. God.

Giles: (Impatient with newly bestowed authority.) Yes, weíll get to that presently. Now, please sit.

(Daria and Jane motor to their normal seats. The Sunnydale students stumble to the few remaining places. Andrea glares at Xander, who has the misfortune to be seated close to her. He shrinks under Megawattage death-stare.)

Giles: Now, Iíll only be here a short while until my school is up and running, but I intend to ram a good foundation of classical education down your throats while Iím here. Am I clear?

(Daria raises her hand)

Giles: Yes Ms (Consults a seating chart, the right one.) Morgandoffer?

Daria: Daria. May I request no more "King Lear"?

Jodie: (Following Dariaís lead.) Weíve also covered the theory of the eternal hero, and touched upon some poetry styles.

Giles: Which the previous incumbent inflected on you his own personal favourites Ms (consults again) Landon?

(Daria looks pleasantly surprised, Jodie more so.)

Giles: (Continuing.) It is a common trap to fall into, and one I would like to avoid. Please pull me up if I do.

(Kevin is looking confused at a piece of paper he has in his hand [This should go without saying, really.] and puts his hand up.)

Kevin: Uhlm, like, who are you?

Giles: Oh, my name is (Writes neatly on the board.) Rupert Giles and Iíll be filling in a while. I have 2 separate doctorates in languages, a Masters in Comparative Theology and have taught at some of you more Northern Universities. I speak 5 languages and am in this position against my better judgement. As Ms Summers and her companions know, (Nods to the Sunnydale group.) I am their school librarian, the job I was supposed to undertake here. Unfortunately, you donít seem to have a library yet, so here I am.

Kevin: (His brain hurts.) Uh, itís just that Iíve got to get you to sign this. (Waves paper.)

(Giles walks over, accepts the paper, turns it right-way up and reads it.)

Giles: Hmm. And do you usually, ahem, "get out of" English in order to study (Questioning tone.) at the "American-Football, Star Quarterback School"?

Kevin: (Happy as only he can be.) Nahh, only if Iím doing really well in the season. If I go into this, Iíll make college easy!

Giles: (At a loss.) Ah, yes, well. (Signs paper.) Anybody else? (No answer.)

Giles: Right then. (To Kevin.) I trust you know someone whoíll be able to pass on any homework or assessment that Iíll set?

(As one, the class looks towards Brittany, vacantly twirling her hair. There are no sniggers, but the class is showing the strain of such iron control. Giles studies the plan again.)

Giles: Ms Taylor? (Nothing.) Excuse me, Brittany Taylor?

(Brittany pops out of her hair-twirling, vacant grin into her happy idiot state.)

Brittany: (Squeaks.) Yes Mr Teacher?

Giles: Ah, Giles actually, but are you able to convey Kevinís homework to him, if he goes to the (Consults paper in other hand.) Quarterback School? (Replaces seating plan on desk.)

Brittany: Ohh, yes! Kevvie and I love to study evvvery niiight!

(A few, very few, hard-won snickers escape. Giles looks around.)

Giles: (With dignity.) Thank you Ms Taylor. (Jane has bitten a pencil in two from trying not to laugh. Giles looks at her curiously, then moves on.)

Giles: Now, are there any weak areas in your English? The class, I mean.

Daria: (Slowly raises her hand, and speaks with great feeling.) All. Of. It.

Giles: (Takes her at face value.) Hmm. How is everyoneís grammar? No, forget it, youíre American, after all. (Those who can spell "grammar" look hurt.) How about sentence structure? (Looks at blank faces, and the carefully expressionless features of Daria, Jane, Mack and Jodie.) Pronouns, nouns, adverbs anyone? Verbs? Doing words? (Goes on, not thrilled.) Absolutely bloody fantastic. All right. Do you have any strengths? As a class? (He adds this as Jodie, Mack, Jane, Daria, Oz and Willow raise their hands.)

Jane: (Getting in first.) Generally we watched Mr O'Neill try to teach us the syllabus from out-of-date school texts. And failing that, bursting into tears as Kevin firmly resisted any form of learning process. (She gets looks.) Hey! Itís his first day. Be kind to the guy, or does anyone want another O'Neill? (General "no" noises.) Good. (Crosses her arms.)

Giles: Thank you Ms (Chart again.) Lane. For you maturity and noteworthy vote of confidence. Hmm, how about mythology? (Looks about.) Well, itís a start.

Giles: Letís begin at the beginning. Or beginnings, as it were. Could you please give

me examples of cultures with rich mythology, including religions?

(Fade out, voices and shot.)

Giles: Ah, excellent Daria, most people neglect urban myths. Satanism? Well yes, Ms, ah, Hecuba, it does have an interesting collection of religious myths. Ms Lane? Nice to see some people havenít forgotten the Native Americans and the rich tapestry of religions and folklaw they've left to us. Thank you Ms Landon; Christianity certainly has a wide and varied system of beliefs, most with unique myths surrounding them.

(Faded view of Gilesís earnest face, still recording various oral traditions, religions and ethnic groups.)

 

(Recover to outside classes, at lockers. Sunnydale students walking along, slowly.)

Willow: Iím genuinely amazed. I never realised Giles could be so...

Xander: Good?

Oz: Skilled?

Buffy: Sure, we knew he was a good librarian, but heís taken to teaching like a duck to water.

(Daria and Jane, following.)

Jane: So, you had a good librarian/student relationship in Sunnydale?

Willow: Well, not really. I mean we did, but most of the other students (Eyes slide to Cordelia, who is checking her makeup in a compact.) think the library is an unlikely collection of letters.

Jane: (Who followed Willowís gaze.) Ah, I see there is a common denominator everywhere?

Daria: (Looking ahead.) And here it comes.

(Quinn Morgandoffer (Vice-President of the Fashion Club and Dariaís younger, truly shallow sister.) and the Fashion Club are walking along with the latest edition of "Waif" magazine. Their highlighted eyes eagerly devouring every word (all less than 3 syllables) as specifically dedicated brains try to adjust the often-contradictory "Waif" articles into their pathetic empty lives. [Yes, I have met the Fashion Club. No, it was not pretty.] Various ohs and ahs fill the air as they worship their paper god. [Sorry, Iím just venting. Apparently itís healthy.])

Oz: (Looking.) Oh, do you have them too?

(Cordelia looks over and sees the magazine. Her posture changes, until she catches sight of the cover. Relaxes again.)

Cordelia: Oh, "Waif". (She dismisses it with a wave.)

(Daria & Jane look surprised, so do the Sunnydalians.)

Cordelia: (Aware of the disbelief surrounding her.) What? Just because Iím fashionable, stylish and well appointed doesnít mean I have to subdue my personality to conform to a printed word. (Slight pause.) Willow, close your mouth, itís getting draughty.

(Sandi Griffin, President of the Fashion Club, vicious egomaniac and a card-carrying member of the fashion police, had perked her ears at the possible mention of her holy writ. She frowns at the dismissive way in which an unknown refers to Waif. She goes on the offensive.)

Sandi: Excuse me, but I donít think that someone wearing "Dusky Blue" and grey should be critical of a fashion magazine so highly regarded as "Waif". Donít you know that "Eggshell" is the current neutral?

(The Fashion Club stops as Sandi begins war. Quinn, noticing her fashion-misfit sister Daria, moves unobtrusively to the rear. After all, uncool might be contagious.)

Cordelia: (Surprised.) No, to my knowledge "Nocturne" is the colour of choice for this monthís neutral. Eggshell was, oh, 2, maybe 3 months ago. (Cocks her head.)

Sandi: Rrrealy? (Flips the pages of her Waif, and opens it to the relevant article and fashion shoot.)

(Cordelia takes the magazine gingerly. She reads a little and smiles.)

Cordelia: Oh, this is lovely. "Skorts in Style". Ha! Skorts were a brief attempt to effectively combine the freshness of neotribalism with haute corture, and quickly died an embarrassing death. Some of the more impressionable fashion houses carried a few lines, then realised they had to dispose of their mistakes somehow. (She looks down at Sandi.) And what better way than to do so through impressionable teeny style-seekers?

Daria: (To Jane, sotto voice.) Hmm, a second tiger on the hill?

Jane: (Quiet.) Bandits at 1 oíclock.

Daria: (Quietly also.) Tallyho!

Jane: (Thinks for a second.) 10 on Cordelia.

Daria: No way.

Jane: Awww.

(Xander and Oz overhear some of this, and guess the remaining content. Forewarned, they settle for a good view of an imminent deathmatch.)

Sandi: Rrrealy? (The purr she puts into this is worthy of something striped. She bares her teeth, in what could (mistakenly) be called a smile.)

Willow: (Nerd spider-sense tingling) Uh, Buffy?

Buffy: (Flat tone of voice.) I know Willow. (Falsely animated, bright and chirpy.) Cordelia?

Cordelia: Just a minute. (Waves them away, eyes not leaving Sandi.)

(Buffy to rest of the group.)

Buffy: Run. Hide. Now.

Jane: (Dismissive.) Nahh. Daria and I are indestructible. Trust us. Or use us as human shields.

(The Sunnydale people are not comforted. Willow moves slightly behind Buffy. Xander and Oz are against the lockers, out of the direct impact zone. Daria and Jane watch. If they had popcorn, theyíd be throwing it up into the air and catching it with their mouths.)

Cordelia: (Probing attack.) I mean, look at the Eggshell, for instance.

Sandi: Yesss? (The rest of the Fashion Club, although slow on the uptake, realise something is about to go messily wrong. They retreat a little, showing Sandi the support they always show her; none.)

Cordelia: Well, it was a quite popular neutral 2 months ago, but times change, thankfully for the better.

(By the way: Sandi is wearing an eggshell outfit (jeans and shirt) and they look brand new.)

Sandi: Oh? (Stinging probe not yet deflected.)

Cordelia: Yes, any style-hungry wannabe could grab an eggshell shirt and accessorise to suit, according to Waif.

Sandi: As opposed to the drab and utilitarian 50% grey? (Gestures towards the soft grey shirt Cordelia has.)

Cordelia: (False friendliness.) Ah? No, that grey is to draw subtle attention to the "Nocturne" jacket, and to offset the lengthening effect of my slacks.

(Cordeliaís slacks are pristine white, and ooze expense. Sandi doesnít draw attention to the pants, as they show off Cordeliaís legs to a good advantage, not that she needs to show them off. [I think Iíll stop now.])

Sandi: Personally, I think that Waif perfectly suits my lifestyle. By the way, did that shirt come from Goodwill? 'Cause I really think it suits you.

Cordelia: No, Ms preteen-off-the-shelf-junior-trainerbra, it is a Prada. Not that you would have seen any of the real thing, shopping as you do at Cashmans. Nice to see theyíve still got the same lines as they did 2 months ago, when I was in New York. Shopping for my Summer wardrobe. With my own credit cards.

Sandi: Well, it must be nice if youíve got it. Which you donít.

Cordelia: If you mean the urge to be constantly fashionable, yes I do not have it. What I do have, my Cindy Crawford hopeful, is style. Fashion changes, but style is timeless.

(Sandi flushes, and clenches her fists. Cordelia is on a roll.)

Cordelia: (Singsong.) I rather like that perm youíre growing out of, did you and your mommy get one together? It must have been so cute in second grade. But itís really starting to look its age. Which I donít think youíll ever be able to act. (Reflective.) People like you always try to be mature when youíre too young, and try for young when itís too late. Itís rather sad. Which describes how youíre going to look like in your early 20's, if those squint lines on your forehead are any guide to go by...

(Sandi leaps for Cordelia, red with rage, nails out to lash Cordeliaís face. Cordelia moves slightly to the side, and lets Sandi crash into the lockers behind her. Sandi is groaning at the ground, when Cordelia crouches over her. The moaning stops.)

Cordelia: (Quiet and vicious.) Oh, and you might want to put a cold compress on your face. It should reduce the bruising, but more importantly for you, it will shrink the pores. It's obvious that you need all the help you can get. (Stands)

(Cordelia moves off to the cafeteria. Stacy and Tiffany (The other two members of the Fashion Club; Stacy is the doormat, Tiffany is the yes-man.) rush over to help, Quinn coming over more slowly, enjoying Sandiís pain, and more importantly, her total humiliation in a (now) reasonably crowded hall. The others just watch, not moving, not emoting. Jane looks over to the expressionless Buffy.)

Jane: (No intonation.) Tell me, is she so usually restrained?

Oz: (Quietly, reliving the horror.) You should have seen her before the Homecoming Queen parade. It was weeks until the mace fumes faded.

Willow: (Typical Willow, all breathy goodwill.) I thought that was hair spray?

Oz: (Answers Willow.) Itís the same from an inch away.

Xander: (Knowing tone.) Just stickier.

Buffy: I'm thinking weíd better leave her alone for a while.

Willow: Iím thinking "uranium half-life" while.

Xander: That's funny, I was just thinking of moving back to Sunnydale for a few years. Nothing permanent. (He leaves in the opposite direction of Cordelia.)

Jane: And I think I can detect abject embarrassment. Let me guess, the Foo Foo Nasty and reality attack later?

Willow: (Guess the expression.) Yecch. No, they were an item, until they came to their senses. I wanted psychological counselling for Xander, but would he listen? Noooo. Now the poor chump suffers torments of the dammed, generally at her hands. (Beat.) Not that weíd encourage the suffering, you understand.

Daria: (Mildly.) Oh, of course.

Willow: Iíll just shut up now.

Buffy: Right.

(They move off down the corridor, camera fade to black.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane walking home to Janeís house. Music: "Wish You Were Here" - Pink Floyd. The sky is darkening and ominous clouds gathering.)

Jane: (Looking up, then facing Daria as they talk.) Sometimes, we have the weirdest weather. This reminds me of the big storm that hit, what, last year?

Daria: The one before or after they found LSD traces in the reservoir?

Jane: Before.

Daria: Too natural. And my shoes arenít melting through the sidewalk, like they did last time.

(Walk for a bit.)

Jane: Speaking of weird, what did you think of the Sunnydalians?

Daria: If this is one of your tangents about how the little elves watch you in you shower and write stories to alien visitors about the show, forget it Lane.

Jane: (Smiling.) You must have seen them. They were right in front of you.

Daria: Next youíll be on about underwear gnomes.

Jane: (Waving that suggestion away.) No, no, Iím all serious now. (Continuing.) I think Oz is a werewolf.

(Silence as they walk along a bit more.)

Daria: (Taking it at face value.) Okay..?

Jane: (A bit distant, remembering.) I recognised the smell from a few trips we made in Europe when the poor bastards were a bit more common.

Daria: (Jumps in.) 130.

Jane: (Slight smile.) Close: 126 years ago. (She shrugs) We left him alone, he left us alone.

Daria: (Thinking, suddenly figures something out.) Do you mean...?

Jane: Yes, itís pretty certain that they know. Itís not like diabetes or anything. (Beat.) And itís hard to explain hormone hair that extreme for 3 nights a month.

Daria: Wow.

Jane: Yeah. (Pause)

Daria: Well, if I could handle you guys being vampires...

Jane: However briefly, before joining us...

Daria: Then Ozís friends could handle a rabbit fixation for a few days a month?

Jane: (Shrugs) Píbly. Dunno. Maybe. (Beat.) You were fine. Actually, you were weirded out big time, but you remembered us. Thatís one of the best things anyone has ever done for me.

(Daria and Jane walk in the growing twilight. Daria is burning red, Jane not much better.)

Daria: (Softly.) Thanks.

Jane: Well, anyway. What about Oz?

Daria: I don't know, but I think Willow is a witch.

Jane: (Mild interest.) Oh? Did she try to talk you into joining her Wiccan support group?

Daria: No Jane. Real witch. Like real vampire. Not just Wiccan.

Jane: Pray tell?

Daria: (Explanatory.) Itís my milk.

Jane: (Surprise.) Youíre lactating? (Shock.) What in hell have you and Trent been up to?

Daria: (Blushes more fiercely.) Nothing Lane. (Pause.) My lunch milk.

Jane: Oh. (Vague relief.) It resembled dog chow. So what?

Daria: I shake my milk. It was liquid 4 seconds before Willow arrived at our table.

Jane: (Thinking hard scowl.) Hmm, she did look rather flustered when you opened it, and she just sat down after you...

Daria: Willow sits down, and my milk could just about crawl out and sing: "New York, New York."

Jane: (Ponders.) Not too often you find a werewolf in company with a practising witch...

Daria: Do you know much about..?

Jane: Witchcraft? Nah. (Kicks rock. It goes bouncing down the path.) Mostly Hollywood hype. The few witches Iíve ever met tended to be more interested in Trent, so weíd barely touch bases before having to move. (Beat.) Well, Iíd assume Trent would touch more, but since heís my brother, I wouldnít want to know about that. (Disgusted expression.)

(Theyíve reached the Lane residence. Jane goes to turn in. Somethingís bothering her.)

Daria: Any other strangeness I have to worry about next time? Before meeting them and exchanging phone numbers?

Jane: Later. I think I have to run. Just come around. (Intense.) Be here.

Daria: Sure. Just donít go all DeMartino on me like that. Itís scary.

Jane: Sorry (And looks it.) Itís just that something is really starting to bother me, and Iím not sure what it is. Weíll talk later. About things.

(Daria and Jane part company.)

 

(Open to the Morgandoffer residence. Daria opens the front door, turns and locks it as she goes inside. Jake Morgandoffer, Dariaís father, is back early from his consulting agency and is playing chef again. Daria looks at his earnest face, then at the sideboard contents. Looking resigned, she walks over to the pantry, opens a packet of charcoal biscuits, and places them carefully so that they are the first thing to be seen when opening the pantry door. Then she goes over to the fridge, checks for Pepto-Bismol and Mylanta. Knowing that is all she can do, she pops the top of a soda loudly. Jake is peripherally aware of Daria, so he doesnít go into convulsions or "Gah! Dammit!")

Jake: Oh, hi Daria! I got home early to begin a new recipe! Apparently, it needs time to simmer, to allow the herbs to infuse the stew with their flavours!

(He chops at the innocent herbs. Daria watches.)

Jake: So, how was school? (Heís happy doing his basket-weaving, but aware of the sharp knife. Past memories of stitches and frequent trips to the local Emergency ward help in this safety-awareness campaign.)

Daria: Met some new students. Nice people. You can ask Quinn later.

Jake: (Concentrating on herbs, itís his therapy.) Sure thing kiddo!

(Daria smiles, very slightly, and a little sadly. She thinks for a bit, stands on her tip-toes, kisses Jake on the cheek and then disappears upstairs. Too late to say something, Jake is dumbfounded, to say the least. He wonders at what he has done to deserve such a display of affection from Daria, and goes on making his casserole in a daze.)

(Dariaís room, a dismal padded cell. The TV goes on, the bag goes on one end of her bed and Daria goes on the other.)

TV Announcer: Is subliminal advertising everywhere? "Stare at the Spiral", Next! On Sick Sad World! (TV shows the Sick Sad World green "bullseye" morph into a hypnotic spiral, and rotate into nothingness. If you stare hard enough at the centre, you can see the Teletubby Po waving.)

Daria: Hmm, maybe not. I donít think I need any other strange urges towards the Teletubbies.

(She drags out her homework, and slaughters a few weeks worth quickly. For Giles, she does a short (1000-2000 words) [Trust me, compared to most of mine, the length is laughable.] essay comparing Urban Myths and their companion Classical Myths. Bored, she drags out a few books on mythology, namely glossaries of Celtic, Classical and Norse mythology. Flying through them, and occasionally making notes, she marks off some of the more interesting ones for recounting over the dinner table, especially if Quinn has a mouthful of food.)

Jake: (Downstairs) Uh, Daria! Dinner!

 

(Downstairs, the kitchen table. Everything is perfect, the washing up done [Apart from the dinner plates, obviously.] the table set and Jake has done wonders with the presentation. (Napkins, tablecloth, correct glasses, etc.) Daria looks suspiciously at the table, then at Jake.)

Daria: Dad, did you invite over someone tonight?

Jake: (Jolted out of the semi-daze heíd been working in throughout the afternoon) Nooo, I really donít think so. (He seems a bit surprised at what heís accomplished, and at the savoury smells coming from a stoneware pot.) Daria, have I, er, done something, for you, recently?

Daria: (Seating herself.) No Dad. Nothing special.

Jake: (Steeling himself.) Then why..?

(Helen Morgandoffer bursts in, closely followed by Quinn. Both are talking loudly on phones, Helen on mobile, Quinn on home portable. Helen stops abruptly at the meal presented before her, and quickly finishes her call.)

Helen: (Loud.) And tell your client never to call me at home, and that goes double for his greasy brother-in-law! There are stalking laws in this state, and believe me, you donít want to see a "mental-trauma" suit served so soon after losing their current appeal! (False sweetness.) Thank you. (Switches off phone and false friendliness. To Jake, suspicious.) Jake, is something wrong? Do we have guests?

Jake: Uh, no Helen. I just thought we could have a nice family meal.

Helen: (Looking closely at Jake.) Hmm. (To Quinn.) Ok, wrap it up sweetie, you father has spent time and effort on this. (Leaves phone on briefcase and sits.)

Quinn: (To Phone.) Ok, all right. Weíll discuss how well Sandi will be able to carry out her duties at a later time. Bye Stacy, Tiffany.

(The Morgandoffers sit at the table while Jake dishes out a delicious-looking stew. The savoury aromas penetrate even Quinn's fashion stupor, and she stops internal calculation to actually look at the food. Generally, itís low man on the totem pole to first try any of Jakeís creations, but the family actually digs in with gusto.)

Helen: (Surprised.) Jake! You did make this? And the sourdough bread?

Jake: Yes Honey! I had plenty of time and the oven was hot! (Enthusiastically.) Itís all in the simmering, the herbs...

Helen: (Reassured at Jakeís normalcy.) Thatís nice dear. Daria, how was your day?

Daria: (Flat.) I think Dad would like to finish, Mom.

(Helen is a bit taken aback. She turns to Jake, who looks quite hurt.)

Helen: Oh, sure. (Pause.) Jake?

Jake: (Quietly.) I was just going to say, it was the long simmering that allows the herbs to blend with the meat flavours, without overwhelming the meat. (Goes back to eating.)

(Helen is off-balance, and feeling a bit guilty. [Yes, she is a lawyer, but sheís at home. Hopefully there is some code of practice that makes her stop.])

Helen: Quinn?

Quinn: (Typical Quinn dictation.) Oh, some girl beat up Sandi because Sandi tried to give her a few fashion tips so we had to go and pack ice on her face so she wouldnít bruise or swell up too badly, but the nurse made us stop because we were going to give her frostbite so she wonít be coming to school for a few days until she is less black and lumpy. (Pause.) Boy, you sure do pick strange friends, Daria.

Helen: (Instant concerned mother.) Daria, whatís this about one of your friends attacking one of Quinn's friends? Is this some sort of sibling rivalry?

Daria. Sure. Sibling revenge by-proxy. (Pause.) Cordelia makes her own friends. Iím not one of them. Iím not even an acquaintance. And she didnít lay a finger on Sandi - she didnít have to. Sandi jumped her, but Cordelia moved out of the way. No way to prove assault, and there were sufficient independent eyewitnesses to prove Sandi made the first move. (Beat.) Dad, thank you for a really good dinner, but I donít feel hungry anymore. (Daria gets up, washes and puts away her plate.)

Jake: Sure Daria. (Concerned.) Going over to Janes?

Daria: (Voice over: "Disturbing: Dad has remembered Jane's name, and is actually aware of me".) Yes. (Waits a little, then, quietly, with emotion.) Thanks Dad. It was the best so far. You did a really good job. (Leaves.)

(The table is silent, until:)

Helen: Jake! What the hell is going on?

 

(Music: "Silence" - Delirium. At the Lanes, sky and scene similar to the one in "Gifted", (When Quinn is looking for a place to stay the night.) but darker. Only some of the Lane lights are on, giving the house a spooky look. Daria is oblivious to this. She raps on the door, echoes fading away into the night.)

(Silence, then the door cautiously opens, and Trent Lane, Jane's older brother, pokes his head out enough to see outside. Daria blushes as soon as she sees who has opened the door.)

Trent: Oh, hey Daria. C'mon in. (Gestures.)

Daria: Uh. (Walks in through the barely opened door that Trent is holding. As soon as she's in, she notices the really weird robe Trent's wearing. Trent blushes, as he knows Daria is looking at what he's got on.)

Daria: What's with the..? (Gestures at the robe. Think of something that Elton John would have worn in the 70's, if he was a monk. Think of a sequined "Austin Powers" nightmare.)

Trent: Oh. It's a ceremonial robe. Really stupid, isn't it?

Daria: No, it's just...

Trent: Colourful?

Daria: Yes. Yes. You could say that it is colourful. (Breaks out of her "Trent-Trance". Shakes head slightly.) Ceremonial robe? What's up? Where's Jane?

Trent: Jane's in the basement. We've had to do a few things out of the ordinary. Janey will explain it better.

 

(Cut to the basement, where the usual Mystic Spiral props have been shoved into the corners, and a huge pentagram with various occult symbols has been drawn on the bare concrete floor with marker pens, chalk, wax and vinyl paint. Jane has paint up to her elbows, and is wearing a rode similar in style to Trent, but in a rich dark red with ochre and mustard-yellow spirals faintly seen. It is patterned in what looks a cross between Celtic knotwork and Maori facial tattoos. It's rather nice.)

Jane: (Tired.) Hey. (Wipes her hands on some cloth over her shoulder.)

Daria: Hey. (Gestures at the room, with assorted magic gear.) What the hell is going on here?

Jane: Had to summon a demon. (Daria stares at Jane. Really stares.) Hey, it's ok, if you know what you're doing. Don't sweat it.

Daria: I think I'd really like to know the reason why, Lane.

Jane: I've been getting edgier this week, and something's really been bothering me. It was something unnatural, and widespread, and not nice. To cut a long story short, I eventually summoned a minor demon for some hard information. Then the little tosser tried to eat my soul, so I had to get a bit physical, in a metaphysical sense. That's that over there. (Waves over to a crumpled lectern, and deformed candleholders. Both are metal, both look melted. Above them is a black charred mark on the wall, with a lighter patch that looks the silhouette of something pretty nasty.) After slamming the bastard against the walls for a bit, he coughed up. (Wipes hair out of eyes.)

Trent: You've just lucky that you called up a small one Janey, and not the usual bruiser that you prefer.

Jane: (Irritated.) Yeah, thanks for that. (Normal.) Anyway, the reason why the little snot almost had me was that a Hellmouth has opened near Lawndale.

Daria: Hellmouth. (Voice-over: "Okaaay...") I take it that is not a good thing?

Jane: Yes, you could say that. A Hellmouth is kind of a portal between this world and a few others that I won't go into right now.

Trent: (Explanatory.) It's the sewer outlet into the swimming pool of life.

Jane: And that's the good news.

Trent: Unfortunately.

Jane: The Hellmouth is unstable, and very likely to get bigger and nastier.

Daria: Ok. (Handling this well.) How big and how nasty?

Trent: Too big.

Jane: Too nasty. As in "the world as an eternal torment" nasty.

Daria: Ok. Right. Is it acceptable to panic now? I think I would really like to panic. You know; freak out, fall over, knock head, wake up in hospital and find I'd dreamed all this?

Trent: (Frowns.) Believe me, so would I. (He remembers something and jogs upstairs.)

Daria: (Looks up after him.) Okay, so panic is not an option. (Back to Jane.) What do we do then?

Jane: Our best bet for survival would be to find the Hellmouth, and block it up.

Daria: Any ideas?

Jane: Nope. (Tired, rubs head.) We've never had to deal with this sort of thing. I mean, Trent and I have butted heads with some pretty freaky things, and occasionally disrupted some occult domination plans, but this is way beyond us. This is the work for some Paladin, or holy warrior, or a Saint.

Trent: (To Jane, from top of stairs.) I've phoned a few contacts, and they've promised me "equipment" will be arriving in the next day or two at our warehouse. Usual payment details.

Daria: Equipment? Warehouse?

Jane: Well, when Trent was in 'Nam, he made a lot of friends over there...

Daria: What? Trent was in Vietnam?

Trent: The draft. Very not fun. End of story. (Daria realises this is a sore spot, and drops it.)

Jane: And they've kept in touch. We have a few skills...

Daria: Like living forever.

Jane: I meant other than that. Look, another long story and we've gained quite a bit of capital; things like buildings, farming areas and the occasional freehold. We've got a little bunker and armory under the kiln from our more paranoid past, but this will really need more advanced gear. (To Trent.) Good thinking, what'll be there?

Trent: Dunno. I just bought up everything they had.

Jane: What!!?

Trent: Money can be replaced, eventually. You and Daria can't. (Crosses arms, and would be looking rather dignified, if he wasn't wearing the robe.)

Daria: Thanks Trent. Really.

Trent: (Smiling a little) Sure, Daria. (They both start to flush a little.)

Jane: Okay lovebirds. (Pause as the embarrassed two look away.) Daria, get over here. (Jane reaches down and rummages behind her. She hands a hooded robe to Daria, a rich green and black.)

Daria: Uh, thanks. (Holds it uncertainly.)

Jane: Just put it on, would you? (Daria does so. Jane looks at the fit.) Not bad, even if I do say so myself.

Daria: I feel like an extra out of "Lord of the Rings". What's with the cloak?

Jane: We know how recently you've become a vampire. So, you won't be able to access most of your powers or skills...

Daria: Powers? Skills? This just keeps getting weirder, Jane.

Jane: Just be thankful that we're here to help. It's hell if you have to go through it alone. (Daria's eyes widen.) Don't worry too much, it won't be that painful. Just like an incredibly bad trip. (Nods to Trent.)

(Trent walks over to Daria and catches up her hand. She blushes greatly, but walks over with him to another part of the diagram. Jane follows, and adjusts Daria's feet. Trent walks away a little, but holds Daria's hand outstretched. Jane walks over the lines until she reaches "her" spot. She shakes her wrists to limber them up a little, and stands with her legs braced. A thought strikes her and she loses the painting cloth.)

Jane: Hopefully, this will accelerate your "development". As it is, this usually hits you around 100, 150 years old. Short explanation; you get faster, stronger, more physically inclined. It's like vampiric puberty. Trent had to go through it alone, as I did. It really messes you up for a year or two, then you're ok. What I'm about to do is fast-forward the strangest part, and get you back to normal as fast as possible.

Daria: (Eyes wild.) Jane?

Jane: (Looks at Daria.) Relax. This will be all right. I promise.

(Daria barely has enough time to relax before Jane starts. With a droning chant, she sways, dips a hand into a hidden pocket and casts it across the space between them. The powder stays where it is, suspended in midair for a moment, before it shoots across to Daria. She jerks her head back involuntarily, and her mouth opens to say something. Daria sees a big flash, and after that, nothing.)

 

(The screen is black with no sound. Gradually, a heartbeat is heard. Music: "And She Was" - Talking Heads. With the "Hey!" there is a sudden white flash, resolving into familiar shapes. The view is blurry then it sharpens into super crisp focus. Daria looks to be waking up, head cradled on Trent's lap. He and Jane are holding Daria's hands and are smiling down on her. Jane's eyes are suspiciously moist)

Daria: What the hell happened? Jane? Trent! (Realises where her head is, starts to get up.)

Trent: Whoa Daria! Jane was a bit too enthusiastic. Rest a bit.

Daria: Oooh. No arguments here. (Still woozy, she relaxes as well as she can against Trent. A nasty thought pops into her head.) Jane, what time is it? Ow! Hey! My feet hurt! (Cranes her head to look, cannot see over the jacket and robe.)

Jane: (Sniffles a bit.) Less than an hour after you arrived. But I phoned your mother anyway. She's got no trouble with you staying here. As for what happened, I don't really know. One minute you where going exactly as planned, the next, whoosh! (Throws up her hands.)

Daria: Jane. Before I kill you. What happened?

Jane: You were maturing as planned, then you ran away on us. It took both Trent and I to get you back into your body, and it took a lot of his blood to calm you down.

Daria: (Horrified.) What, blood!? Did I..? (Touches her mouth.)

Trent: (Looking paler than usual.) It's ok Daria. That's why I was there next to you. We assumed that you'd need some nourishment, and Jane had to do the ceremony. Anyway, she's always been better with the magic. I tend to forget important things, like protective boundaries, stuff like that.

Jane: To be honest, that was fine. What wasn't fine was the fireball you let off.

Daria: (Flat.) Fireball.

(Jane points at the ceiling. A huge rosette of charred wood is above them. The dead single light looks melted, even the bulb looks distorted.)

Jane: About the scariest thing I'd seen for a while, especially at such close range. One minute, normal. Next second, whoosh! Next second after that, when Trent and I were just starting to freak, nothing. We had to run about and extinguish some hot spots though.

Daria: (Puzzled.) Wait, where are my glasses?

Jane: We took them off for safety when you collapsed. Here you go. (Gives the familiar round rims to Daria. Jane's "calculating" look.) Well, whatever your maturing did, it's certainly changed a few things about your body.

Daria: Well, everything looks clear, which is quite weird enough. (Tries a quick look through her glasses, everything goes blurry. Takes them off, carefully.) Okay, no more astigmatism. (Beat, then with emotion:) Wow. Cool.

(She looks as if she's coming to grips with this when a horrid thought strikes her.)

Daria: Jane, if I look down and find I have three legs, I will find it hard to forgive you.

(Pan back to see Daria still on Trent's lap. Nothing much is immediately obvious. She looks a little different from when she came in, (Think of Daria's Aunt Amy.) and her hair is maybe two feet longer, but not much changed.)

Jane: (Smiles.) C'mon Trent, you can pass out later. The girl wants to see her new look. (The Lanes carefully move Daria to a sitting position, and to a standing position. Daria holds her head.)

Trent: You ok Daria?

Daria: I'm fine, just dizzy from having to get up after lying down for so long. (She blinks a little.) And from being able to see without my glasses. (She looks down at her hands. Her fingers are longer and finer than she remembers, and her writing calluses are gone.) Where's a damn mirror Jane? (Daria shrugs off the robe. It pools at her feet.)

(Jane wheels over a covered mirror. She grins at Daria, then unveils it with a flourish.)

Jane: Ta-Da!

(Daria looks into the mirror, focussing for the first time in a long while without corrective lenses. Her eyes look bigger than before, and her lashes are now huge and well defined, as are her eyebrows. Her hair has grown and is in a real rat's nest. She notices how tall she is and groans at having to explain this to everyone. She stretches a little, feeling how cramped everything is, including shoes.)

Daria: Great. I look like I'm 25. I'm going to have fun explaining this.

Jane: (Coughs.) Look down.

(We see Daria face on as she looks down. Her expression is obvious.)

Daria: (Quietly.) I liked that bra too.

Jane: Think of it this way; Quinn wanted the same, but you didn't have to pay a dime.

Daria: Oh yeah, and the parents won't notice this? For god's sake Jane, I've grown a foot!

Trent: Six inches.

Daria: And my feet hurt.

Jane: Sorry about your shoes. We'll get you another pair...

Daria: Where?

Trent & Jane: The Mall of the Millennium!

Daria: (Dead.) Oh. Goody.

 

(Open to Buffy, having cramps next to the other Sunnydale inhabitants. Music: "Reasons To Be Beautiful" - Hole. (At reasonable background volume.) They are in a house, probably rented by Giles. Books are everywhere, a large-scale map of Lawndale is taking up most of a wall, and clothes are strung on a line running from one end of the room to the other. Buffy is on a battered couch, Xander and Willow either side. Giles is looking concerned on a wooden chair, as does Oz, leaning against a wall. Cordelia doesn't look worried: she's on a better sofa, has a robe on, moisturising facemask and cucumbers over the eyes. The headphones and the towel around her head complete her picture.)

Cordelia: (Bored.) Mystery meat? Or do we have to save the world again?

Willow: It was only last Tuesday!

Cordelia: My point exactly.

Buffy: (Abdominal clutch.) Jeez, this Hellmouth really knows how to stick it to a girl.

Xander: (Solicitous.) Chocolate? (Gets a few looks.) Ah, maybe not.

Buffy: Xander. Please, get it away. It's starting to make me nauseous. (Groans and clenches again.)

Oz: (Motions to Giles, who comes over.) This is really starting to get me worried: how can she fight evil if she's prostate half the time?

Giles: (Quietly.) Believe me, I'm worried as much as you are.

Oz: And when is Wesley supposed to get here?

Giles: I left him a note outlining my conclusions and our course of action. I assumed he'd turn up today. Maybe he's delayed by research.

Xander: (Coming over.) Most ordinary people would say "flat tyre". I assume "late because of research" is the Watcher excuse?

Oz: (Dry.) This is from the only people in the world who would accept "A demon ate my homework" as an acceptable excuse for not doing it.

Willow: (Chirpy.) Only if you gave a good description of it's appearance, habits and possible weaknesses.

Xander: (Long-suffering tone.) And then they'd send you out to hunt it down, banish it and reclaim your missing essay.

(Buffy straightens up, looking very surprised.)

Buffy: Whoa! They're gone. What give Giles?

Giles: If I had the faintest idea Buffy, you'd know of it first.

Xander: Hey I've got an idea. And it's relevant. (This is to the various looks he receives.)

Buffy: Shoot.

Xander: You know how you can kind of guess where evil is with your (gestures at Buffy's middle) you know. Anyway, how about you randomly throw something at the map (gestures at wall) and let the Slayer luck choose.

Willow: The luck that does things like resurrects long-dead demons in time for Buffy's birthday? Or the luck that preserves your life when everything goes to poop?

Xander: The last one. (To Buffy.) How about it?

(Buffy looks at Giles, who shrugs and hands her some throwing knives. She closes her eyes and starts to hurl the knives at the wall. After a bit, the group, ex-Cordelia, look at the wall.)

Giles: Hmm. Judging by the knives at the school location, it's a good thing that we're only planned to be here a week. (He walks over and we see a lot of knives stuck very close together on the wall map.)

Xander: What's with the two in suburbia, and the one sticking in the doorframe? (Nods.)

Giles: No idea, but we can check up on the suburban ones. (Starts to look around.) Does anyone have something with a larger scale?

Willow: (On phone, dialling, looking at a piece of paper.) I've got a better idea. Hello? Hello? No one home.

Oz: Who're you phoning?

Willow: Daria and Jane. They live here, so are more likely to know the town. But Jane's not home. (Dialling again.) Hello? Mrs Morgandoffer? Is Daria in?

(Splitscreen to Helen, Jake in the background, reading the paper.)

Helen: Nooo, I think she was at Jane's. Jake?

Jake: She went to Jane's about an hour ago. (Doesn't look up from paper.)

Willow: Oh, thanks. Hey, would you be able to tell us which streets the map references F2 and G3 refer to? We're, uh, trying to find our way around?

Jake: (Over Helen's shoulder.) Well, if you're using the topographical of Lawndale, F2 covers Glen Oaks Lane, where we live, and G2, umm, that's the street Jane is on, uhh, Howard Drive, I think. Hope it helps. (Goes back to the paper.)

Helen: Did you get that dear? Anyway, you're welcome to come on over and wait for Daria if you wish. We get to see so few of Daria's friends. (Coos appreciatively.)

Willow: Uh, no. It'll be ok. Thanks Mr Morgandoffer, Mrs Morgandoffer. Bye. (Hangs up. To the group.) Did you hear that? Daria and Jane live in the same streets that Buffy stabbed.

(There is a bit of a pause as they absorb this.)

Xander: Is anyone seeing a strange coincidence here? Is it that we've brought attention on them by associating with them? Or are they devil-worshippers in disguise?

Oz: Good stab of intuition, my man, but I think that it may be a trifle early to assign definite labels to them. It might be something down the road. And what about the one stuck in the doorframe? (Pause, to get the point across.) The school, I admit, does hint of something definite.

Giles: (Mostly to himself.) Nice to see logic hasn't totally deserted us.

Buffy: (Slayer hearing.) Yeah. Do you guys want to check out the school?

(General what-the-hell noises, why-nots, etc. Cordelia just grunts, and shifts a little. The scene fades out with the crew packing up the typical anti-vampire gear.)

 

(Music: "Use Once & Destroy" - Hole. Open to the "Mall of the Millennium" facing onto the car park. It is night and late, but "Welcome to the Mall of the Millennium" announcements still play. Cut to Jane, Trent and a mussed Daria who are walking quickly along the reasonably empty levels to some destination. Jane is dragging Daria along like she is some kid holding her mother's hand, and a nearby shop is giving away free sweets.)

Jane: C'mon, hurry!

Daria: (Wincing at her feet.) Hey, I'm in pain here Lane. And I'm trying to get used to a lack of glasses.

Trent: Don't worry, we're almost there.

(They come to a gigantic shoe store. [No, Al Bundy does not make an appearance.] It takes up around 3 floors and is bigger than most ordinary department stores.)

Trent: (Somewhat unnecessarily.) If it's in your size, we can find it here.

Daria: And who is paying?

Jane: I am.

Daria: (More than mildly irritated.) With what? Sidewalk chalk sketches?

(Jane whips out an American Express Platinum. Daria is somewhat nonplussed.)

Daria: Is that yours, or am I going to regret asking how and where you obtained it?

Jane: (Loftily.) Really, you would think that after a few hundred years people would stop judging on appearance alone. Let's just say the Lane pockets are a mite deeper than those of the ordinary loser.

Trent: Actually, Daria has a point. If we flash that, they might take us for card strippers. (Beat.) Better use cash.

Daria: (Offhand.) So much for voluntary simplicity. Nothing like a crisp roll of hundreds to make the good salespeople sit up and beg.

Trent: (Produces a really thick roll of bills.) Thousands actually. (Jane does the same, smiling.)

Jane: (Grabs Daria's arm.) Look at this way kid; chances are we're going to die horribly in a few days, so live life while you've got one.

 

(Daria gets dragged into the shoe store. Music: "Celebrity Skin" - Hole. (Sorry about the close number of tracks by the same group, but it suited.) Begin the shopping montage. [Sorry, but they're such great plot devices!])

 

(We see Daria being fitted boots, surrounded by discards. Cut to the lingerie section, where Jane is digging through to find the right "look" - Trent looks nervous. [If you're a guy, and you've been with anyone to a store like this, you know the expression he's got.] Daria looks wary. Cut to Trent looking admiringly at a specialist leather store [NO, NOT THAT TYPE OF LEATHER! Good Gods, do you people need medication or something??] specifically some truly wicked leather overcoats and dusters. Meanwhile, Jane drags Daria into a Beauty Centre, and then struggles to hold her down while the staff fret over her.)

(Eye shot of Daria, Camera POV draws back to show she's upside-down, hanging by her ankles with glop over her face and an army of body beauticians attending to any free part of Daria they can reach. Daria looks pissed. Trent in optometrists, looking at a massive wall of sunglasses. Change-room scene in the "ordinary" section of some store; sleeping Trent with a huge pile of packages at his feet. Wakes up when clothes are thrown over the wall and land on him. He smiles vaguely. Cut to Jane, trying to tempt Daria with expensive "fashion" clothes. Daria makes the sign of the cross with her fingers. Jane recoils, laughing. Cut to "The Goth Shop" - the shop for Goths. Jane and Daria have on quite lovely "period" dresses, all deep velvet and satin. Trent walks on in, looking like an Anne Rice refugee. The girls shake their heads.)

("Sporting Goods" section of a store, Jane is trying out the heft of a compound bow [Think of that great makeover that Milo Minderbender did for Road-Warrior II!], Daria doing same with a crossbow. Trent looks silly with a bunch of knives, none under a foot long. When Daria picks up a godawful-looking fire-axe, the Lanes face each other and look worried. Outside the "Outdoors" store, a trolley carries some of the stuff they've accumulated. Daria's hair is looking normal (round) again, just longer. Trent is pushing the trolley [Think of an airport baggage trolley.] They walk by the Doodad shop, and they restrain Trent with the (mimed) threat of deadly force. Daria hides in shame as they walk by her picture. (It's still up.) She is wearing a light green long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up somewhat, dark grey slacks and what look like forest green, 14 hole DocMartins. End montage.)

 

(Back in the blue Trentmobile. Music "La Grange" - ZZ Top. Packages are stacked in whatever space is available. Jane has a "Monica" mask on her head (pushed back) and has a cigar (unlit) clenched in her teeth. She is rummaging around in a huge brown paper bag. Trent is driving with a "Jarjar Binks" mask pushed back the same way as Jane. Daria has a big wig behind her, and is made up like Queen Amidala from "Phantom Menace". They're all crammed in the front seat, Daria in the middle.)

Jane: (Relaxing.) Hey Trent, do you have any of those lime jellybeans left? I'm out.

Daria: (Still slightly in shock.) That is the last time I ever let you talk me into anything so stupid.

Jane: The indoor paintball centre while in costume? (Smug.) Serves the bastards right.

Daria: I just think if you must hurl a tin of paint as a "pre-emptive Strategic Weapon of Naboo", open it first.

Trent: Or loosen the lid even. (Laughs/coughs.)

Daria: (Accusatory.) I've never seen so many people angry with you for a real reason.

Trent: Poor paintballers.

Daria: And no real bullets.

Jane: (Shrugs.) Ok, Ok. So the paint tin was a little over the top.

Daria: I did like the spray-can booby-traps.

Jane: They were Trent's. I really hope the janitors at the mall can get the paint off the mall walls by tomorrow. (Her cigar moves from one side of mouth to the other.)

Trent: (Laugh/coughs.) Hah, didn't think they'd be brave enough to chase you outside, Janey?

(Jane glowers at him over the cigar.)

Daria: (Calmer now.) I must admit, a blazing three way gun battle with security, irate customers and you two sure keeps the adrenalin flowing. I feel like I could go all night.

Jane: (Removes chewed cigar. Wry voice.) Actually, thatís one of the effects of your "change." We've been trying to keep you occupied so you don't start floating or bouncing off the walls. You'll crash soon and wake up fine around 10 hours later.

(Light breathing answers her. Pan to Daria, now sleeping. She gently slides to Trent's shoulder. Trent absently strokes her hair. Jane smiles at the two, then munches on more sweets.)

Trent: Will it be all right if she sleeps over?

Jane: No problem. She'll wake up later than usual, but I'll leave a message when I go to school. I take it you're not going to sleep the day away?

Trent: (Introspective.) No, I've really got to go and open up the warehouses and check on things. And warn Jesse and the guys.

Jane: About?

Trent: Just warn them. They're my friends and I really don't want to see them dead, or worse.

Jane: Gotcha.

(The atmosphere of the car becomes colder, and the only sound heard is that of road noise.)

 

(Open to Lawndale High establishing shot, then to the lockers. The Sunnydale students are looking worse for wear, red eyes, general state of dishevelment, etc. Buffy and Cordelia look to be the only ones normal and chipper. They stop as they walk along, and slightly grin at one another. When they realise what they did, they immediately look away in mutual horror.)

Willow: (Tiredly.) Well, it was a change to be chased by ordinary security guards.

Oz: I never thought a school would have so many different security systems. We've sneaked into whole vampire colonies with less effort.

Willow: We've saved the world with less notice. (Yawns widely.)

Xander: Those guard dogs were bad, weren't they? (Scrubs hair.)

Willow: (Knuckles eyes.) At least I could outrun the guards.

Oz: (Joining the conversation, while doing a wrist-stretch.) And disable the automatic security lights.

Buffy: (Making light of it.) It wasn't that bad.

Xander: (Looking wasted.) Try it without being the "Slayer". We're not built for this sort of thing. And for what?

Willow: (Looking on the bright side.) At least there haven't been any mysterious "disappearances" yet.

(Jodie comes up to the group.)

Jodie: Hey guys, have you seen Daria or Jane?

(The Sunnydale students make general "No, but if I see her, I'll tell you" noises. Jodie shakes her head, waves goodbye and wanders off.)

Cordelia: (Into the silence.) Well, judging by my experiences at Sunnydale, I expect we'll find their drained bodies sometime later today, in a suitably public and grotesque manner. (Turns and leaves in Jodie's direction.)

Xander: When she's right, I really hate it. And I am totally serious about this.

Buffy: We all do, we all do.

(Suddenly, there is a scream from the Girls Bathroom. Instant reaction from the Sunnydalians, and there is a mad rush to get into the door first.)

 

(Room seen from mirror vantage point, Cordelia has her hand at her mouth in the generic "Frightened Teen" pose. Andrea pokes her head out of the next door stall (in a huge cloud of smoke) takes one look in Cordelia's stall and reaches in to drag out Charles Ruttheimer III, aka "Upchuck", by the ear.)

Cordelia: ("Horrified/Ewww" voice.) The little pervert was in my stall!

(Andrea looks inside the stall, and holds out a black magic marker like it was something passed through a dog. The look she gives him would skin things.)

Andrea: (With quiet and absolute menace.) And what did I say I'd do to you if I ever found you in here again?

Upchuck: Er, rrowwl?

(The Sunnydale students all leave the bathroom as cries of pain and breaking fixtures are heard. Sometimes there is a noise that resembles a gong being beaten.)

Xander: (Who looks a bit sick.) You know, I really don't want to know what that noise is.

Oz: (Looking the same.) I can guess.

(Willow puts her hands over her ears, and starts to hum loudly.)

Buffy: So, you ok?

Cordelia: Ulgh. (Shudders.) If I can ever get his leering visage out of my head, yes? I'm going home. (Cordelia makes a fast exit, and the others look around a little surprised. Buffy taps Willow, to stop her humming.)

Oz: Leering visage? (He bites his tongue.)

Xander: (Xander doesn't.) Maybe it comes from hanging with Watchers for too long.

Buffy: Well, just keep an eye out for Daria and Jane. Or anything else weird.

Willow: Aye captain! (Swift change to the cafeteria with a slamming locker noise.)

 

(The cafeteria. Music: "Brown Soda: - Hole. [See, I do listen to different CD's.] Xander, Buffy and Willow are seated. Oz is still trying to get lunch.)

Willow: Well, it's been 4 hours so far without a body found. I think that's a new record.

Xander: I liked Jane's art. And Daria's stories. (After this remembrance service, he slurps down some Jello.)

Buffy: I liked their sense of humour. (Stirs food, moodily.)

Oz: (Coming to table.) I liked the way they made you guys think the worst.

Buffy: Huh?

Jane: (Coming up from behind.) Hello? Any space available on Planet Morbid? For god's sake, I was late because Daria had an accident last night, and needed some rest. Jeez, I'm gone for half a day and people think aliens have abducted me.

(An abrupt break in the conversational flow. Then...)

Buffy: Anyone else want to try for "idiot of the year"?

Xander: I think we've got it covered. What's that? (Oz looks behind Buffy, sniffing.)

 

(Music: abrupt screech cut to "No #1 Crush" - Garbage. Buffy and the rest turn to look. There is a disturbance in the distance, and some students react with laughter, quickly choked off. Various murmurs and crowd noises reach the group, but the herd won't allow the Sunnydale students a good look. Jane smiles evilly. She knows what's coming.)

Jane: (Conversationally.) She broke her glasses and is trying to make do with contacts. And if you're wondering if anything's different, donít mention it. Just look at her shoes. (To the guys.) Gentlemen? She is a bit touchy today. Treat her like yesterday and everything will be fine. And for all of our sakes, don't set her off. (Mouths "PMT" at the group.)

(Someone, who we assume is Daria, comes striding through the crowd in slow motion, ignoring the sniggers and occasional catcalls. The back-shot shows a huge, black and hideously expensive leather coat. The camera pans down to massive, metal-tipped motorcycle boots. [Think of Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix", and some of the publicity shots that were done for Airwalk at the Matrix site. Ie: All black and silver, with big metal thingys.] They hit the floor with a dominating crunch, like Arnie in T2 during the "Rosewalk" scene. Pan for a bit at shoe height, including the total annihilation of a dropped eyeliner pencil. Cut to facial shot of Brittany, obviously scared, shrinking back from picking up her makeup. Low profile establishing shot of Daria, mainly lower jaw and nose. Her jawline has changed and is more angular like Aunt Amy. The faintest sheen of lip-gloss can be seen. Camera rises up, to show the very dark sunglasses she's wearing. They are angular, and tres cool. Basically, she looks like she did in the "Future Tale" from "Write Where It Hurts" and her Aunt Amy. With bigger hair. And with a bigger chest.)

 

[NO, SHE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE BRITTANY IN NORMAL CLOTHING WITH DARIA'S HEAD. YOU ALL DIE NOW.]

 

Jodie: (Hesitantly.) D-Daria?

(Daria nods in Jodie's direction. A front face shot, and the glasses ooze menace. Her hair is in a simple braid and hangs down inside her jacket. She looks like she could run on walls and tear out hearts. Her expression indicates that it could be an imminent probability. Alone at her table in a crowded cafeteria, Andrea looks over and chokes on whatever she's drinking out of a brown paper bag. Jane waves contentedly. Daria starts to pull something out of her coat inside pocket, and half the cafeteria flinches away. She brings out a "paper bag" lunch.)

Daria: (Same voice as always, holding bag.) May I?

(The group waves her down, while staring at her. Daria opens her bag, brings out a sandwich, unwraps it and starts to eat.)

Xander: (Admiringly.) Nice outfit Daria!

(Daria stares at him behind unreadable lenses, then removes her glasses and puts them into her coat pocket. She smiles faintly and waves at Jane.)

Daria: (Very dry.) Blame "Calamity Jane" there.

Jane: (Finger on chin.) And I thought I had outgrown that one years ago. (Smiles.)

Daria: The next time I go over to your place, remind me to bring a fire extinguisher. And a torch. And spare clothes.

Jane: (Lying through her teeth.) She had to wash something, the lint filter hadn't been cleaned out of the dryer and some things went up. Being the only level headed one among us, she managed to shut of the power before my brother could electrocute himself by hosing out the flames and in doing so, broke her glasses.

Daria: (False bonhomie.) Jane, I'm going to show you how to set up a life insurance policy, and then I'm going to show you how I can collect on it.

Jane: (To the group.) I hate it when she gets all mushy and sentimental.

Willow: (Thinking aloud.) That would explain us not being able to get you guys last night.

Jane: (Vague surprise.) Hmm? Did you phone? Well, after hero-girl saved the day, we had to go to the Mall for a few things. What did you want, anyway?

Oz: Just some street names. Mrs Morgandoffer gave them to us.

Daria: (Surprise.) Mom knows how to read a map? (Beat.) That's weird. Really weird.

Xander: I think it was your Dad who gave us the info.

Daria: Enlightenment dawns. He's good with maps; too much orienteering when younger. (Beat.) What did you need them for?

Buffy: (Attempting to keep questions to a minimum.) Just trying to get around here.

Jane: (Helpful.) Just drive keeping right at 8 MPH. Eventually the traffic police will pick you up and they'll tow you out of town. Simple.

Oz: (Dry.) Ahh, she's anticipated us. (Smiles.) No, we really do have to know where we're going.

Daria: When I'm with Jane, that can be a problem.

Jane: (Wickedly.) I thought it was with Trent that you lost direction?

(Cut to outside cafeteria.)

(FX: <"Thwap!">)

Jane: (Voice distanced.) Oww, that hurt, dammit!

 

(Music: "Blue Monday" - Orgy. [It is good, very good.] Montage of Daria, Jane and the Sunnydale crew in various scenes. Daria is the big black presence obvious in all of them: Daria in Giles's class, smiling. Daria with DeMartino, DeMartino looking subdued. Daria in front of the Economics class with the teacher, Diane Bennett, who is looking quite uncomfortable as Daria points out on the blackboard some of the more basic loopholes a company should use if it wants to avoid heavy taxation. Daria at office. Daria looking totally unimpressed at gym. (Daria is not wearing her sunglasses and has changed into her ragged gym-gear.) Daria waiting her time at the rope with a few other familiar faces. Daria leaping up the rope, and dropping lightly to her feet from the top of the rafters. Daria looking totally disgusted at pom-poms, Willow the same. They share a look. The camera POV pans over to see Buffy, Brittany & Cordelia shaking for all they're worth. Camera pans back with Daria and Willow sharing another look. Jump to Daria and Willow waiting outside office. Daria painting at Art (we don't get to see it) and Mrs Defoe looking rather shocked. Daria smiling gently at Ms Li.)

(Fade to:)

 

(Music: still "Blue Monday", just run it until it ends. Jane and Daria walking home again, Daria unreadable behind dark glasses. Jane is wearing hers too. It's now overcast, but the pair ignore the weather.)

Daria: It's nice to see that one of your harebrained schemes actually worked. Everyone was too busy wondering if I was going to pull a gun to notice I'd grown a foot.

Jane: Five inches.

Daria: (Continuing.) I was called to Ms Li's office six times today, four of those to discuss the psychological tests that I had to preform.

Jane: (Interested.) So? ("Wayne voice.") Are you mental?

Daria: (Grim smile.) Well, the test results were totally different in all cases, so my psychological profile is somewhat inaccurate.

Jane: (Expansive.) Let me guess; they've got you pegged as being a sufferer of multiple-personality disorder?

Daria: I managed to catch a glimpse before Li swept them under the table. (Sly.) Although the extensive use of red pen did draw attention to some of the more juicy comments.

Jane: (Ticking them off on her fingers.) Loner, antisocial, possible sociopathic tendencies, possible history of drug abuse, possible infatuation with weapons and/or death, highly intelligent, treat with caution?

Daria: (Dry.) You forgot "Extensive devoted surveillance", but a good summary otherwise.

Jane: Just be cool. No one noticed any other of your, ahem, attributes?

Daria: Nope. (Discouraged.) I'm just waiting for Upchuck to make a comment, and then it'll all come tumbling down.

Jane: (Sceptical.) After the work-over Andrea gave him? He's lucky not to be a medical case study. (Changing subject.) How are your parents?

Daria: (Offhand.) Well, I phoned Mom to complain about the "unusual" attention being drawn to me. I must have got her at the right time...

Jane: (Can see the writing on the wall.) Waiting for an important call?

Daria: (Expressive.) Oh yeah. (Dry monotone.) From what I could overhear, even I was impressed. Mom had a fit, threatened legal action, demanded my tests be destroyed, the results disregarded, etc. (Pause.) I also got Willow off the hook, if you're wondering.

Jane: Was today really the best day to begin zero-tolerance for cheerleading exercises?

Daria: It was a moral decision. (Beat.) And if someone had given me a marching baton, I shudder to think of what might have happened. (Shrugs.) Willow was simply caught in the crossfire.

Jane: ("So...") You haven't been feeling strange today?

Daria: (Thinking about the question.) Apart from not being able to suffer fools gladly?

Jane: No, I mean strange. (Beat.) It's just that I've noticed a certain shortness of temper. Try to chill a little. From what I remember, I was easily annoyed for quite a while. By the way, nice move with the rope in gym.

Daria: (Contrite.) Hmm, sorry. I did get a bit carried away there.

Jane: ("Worldly-wise") I know how it is. Don't worry, you're miles ahead in comparison with other people I could mention.

Daria: (Raised eyebrow.) Oh?

Jane: ("Whoops" expression.) Forget it. (Comes clean.) Ok, let's just say most ordinary and well brought-up girls can't hoist a keg and chug the lot without some comment. (Daria raises both eyebrows.)

Daria: Yet another bedtime story from the Lanes.

Jane: (Smirk.) Most of which I can't legally tell you, until you're at least over twenty-one.

Daria: You have led a busy life.

Jane: Tell me about it. Most of the time we were looking for somewhere quiet to live, but noooo, there had to be a haunted mansion, or a frat party, or a nudist beach. (Sighs.) I don't know, the number of times we've had to move, it's nice to be normal, even for a little while.

Daria: Jane? I'm sorry to break this, but I don't think "normal" has ever applied to you.

Jane: (Smiling again.) True.

Daria: By the way, I'd like to pay you for the coat and the boots. Someday at least, after I've made my first million.

Jane: (Happy.) Hey, no sweat kiddo. (Catches Daria's glare.) Sorry. But really, it's fine. We had fun, weren't arrested and you spent time with Trent.

Daria: Hmm. I must admit, it was fun. And growing two shoe sizes did pose a footwear problem. But the coat? I found it with my other stuff under your rather brief note?

Jane: Thank Trent for that. (Totally evil smile.) After "La Femme Nitika", he's really on to women in big coats. He's probably dreaming about that, some stockings and nothing else on underneath.

(Walk in silence a bit. Change shot view to the girls from behind.)

Daria: It's a good thing that you're dead, or I would kill you. Right here, right now.

(Scene fades, but we can see a tide of flaming red invading Daria's ears.)

 

(Open to Buffy on night sweep, walking about looking for blood-drenched minions of evil to introduce to "Mr Pointy", her stake. Her passage takes her past the typical dense shrubbery that always seems to suit vampiric attack when the bushes rustle a little. We can see she heard this, but is making like she didn't. The bushes rustle a little again and she whirls to plant a massive roundhouse kick on Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, her "official" watcher. [ BTW: This is the "Wes" that they were waiting for earlier.])

Wesley: (On connection.) Buff... (Thud as he is knocked unconscious to the ground.)

Buffy: Oh. Great. (More bushes rustle.)

Angel (O/S.) Dammit Pryce, where the hell are you?

Buffy: (Sighs, then calls.) Over here.

(Angel, Buffy's vampiric love interest and occasional toy-boy to various plots, emerges from the bushes. He smiles at Buffy, which changes to a frown when he sees the crumpled form at her feet.)

Angel: What happened to him? (Figures it out quickly.) Let me guess, jumped out at you?

Buffy: (Laughs a little, embarrassed.) Uhh, kind of. (Bends down to check his pulse, notices Wesley's hands, which are tied.) What's with wonder-boy? Stopped for a little light bondage on the way? (Unties hands.)

Angel: (His turn to be sheepish.) Sleeping beauty didn't believe the message you left for him, and was convinced that there was some "other" explanation. To cut a long and very annoying story short, I had to kidnap him and drag his sorry ass over out here to talk to you guys when I couldn't find you. (Genuine interest.) Do all Watchers complain that much?

Buffy: It's his gift. (Changing subject NOW.) Notice anything unusual about this town?

Angel: Apart from all of the Vice Squad being men, not yet. (Catches the look Buffy give him.) Don't get me wrong, it's just that newly-minted vampires tend to go for "soft-targets", if you get me?

Buffy: (Measuredly.) So you concluded that I'd be patrolling the flesh-pits of Lawndale. I didn't know Lawndale had flesh-pits. I didn't know you knew. I'd like to know how you knew. You know? (Angel cringes.)

Wesley: (Softly.) Owww.

Buffy: (Crouches over the prone Watcher.) Hey Wes, short time, no see. Not that I'm complaining. (Pause.) Sorry about the kick, but you know about Slayer reflexes.

Wesley: Owww. (Holds head.)

Angel: I think he was just given a refresher. Look, I'll take him to your safehouse or as close to it as I can get. (Smiles at this a little.) Meet you around 1?

Buffy: Thanks. It's 24 Oakey Street. You probably won't get too close, but just make a fuss and get Cordelia's attention.

Wesley: Owww. (They share a look over his prone form.)

Angel: Hmm, maybe I should leave him here. (Beat.) I think he'd be safer.

Buffy: Unfortunately, no. (Pause.) At least his mortal soul will be safer with her.

Wesley: Owww. (They share another look.)

Angel: Hmm...

Buffy: Ok, maybe not. But it's the best we can do.

Angel: Right. (Hoisting Wesley onto a shoulder like a sack of potatoes.) See you at 1. (They don't kiss.)

Buffy: Bye...

(Angel fades into the night, while Buffy continues her lonesome sweep.)

 

(Lane Household. Music: "Lonely" by Merril Bainbridge. [No, there are no lesbian scenes.] Jane is painting a drop-jawed Trent looking at Daria whose open coat revels nothing to us; her back is towards the observer. Daria is lying on her back on Jane's bed, hair fanned out, the infamous "Something gnawing at soul?" position. She has on black jeans, and a grey marl long-sleeved button-up shirt. The sleeves are turned up, and the shirt is done up 3/4. [No, you don't get to see any T&A in this fanfic, so don't even bother.])

Daria: You had better destroy that before Trent looks in here.

Jane: Re-lax. The last time Trent made it past the door, the paint fumes had overwhelmed him and I had to phone an ambulance.

Daria: (Sceptical.) Really?

Jane: (Honestly.) Uh, no. He borrowed some money, then tickled me until I cried.

Daria: Now the truth is out. (Flat, unfriendly.) Burn it.

Jane: (Hurriedly changing topic.) Anyway, the fumes don't affect us. I thought you noticed that?

Daria: (Flat.) I just thought you had developed a resistance to brain-destroying chemicals.

Jane: And when did I start looking like Quinn?

Daria: (Shrugging.) A valid point.

(A strange muffled noise is heard. Daria looks about while Jane wipes her hands on a rag and kicks over a big pile of "room contents" to get to her walkabout phone.)

Jane: Yo!

(Splitscreen with Trent/Jane.)

Trent: Hey. Could you or Daria drive me back home?

Jane: What's wrong with your car?

Trent: It's at home. The guys had the "Tank"; so I just grabbed my stuff and the warehouse keys. I've finished up here, and wouldn't mind some transport...

Jane: Sure.

Trent: ...Considering all of the times I've willingly driven you places...

Jane: Ok, I'm gone already. (Hangs up. To Daria.) Sheesh, you think my brother would actually trust me once in a while to get things done for him?

Daria: (Worried.) What?

Jane: (Dunks brushes into a liquid-filled container.) Come on girl, we get to play in the Trentmobile!

Daria: Oh god. Why?

Jane: (Shrugging.) My brother needs a lift.

Daria: Something I'm going to regret, Jane?

Jane: Nope.

 

(Open to the Trentmobile, Jane driving. Music: "Going the Distance" - Cake.)

Jane: Wanna bet I can take out that letterbox and Trent won't know the difference?

Daria: He will when I tell him.

Jane: (Southern-dame voice.) Aww, you're no fun at all, young lady!

Daria: Just drive - whatthehellisthat!?

(Jane stomps the brakes and swerves in time for a thrown Buffy to narrowly miss being sideswiped by the Trentmobile. She stops and slumps against the car. Jane is already out of the car while Daria is still unclasping her seatbelt.)

Jane: You OK?! (Her head swivels to where Buffy was hurled. Eyes narrow. She turns back and yells.) Daria! Get help! Vampires! (Corrects herself.) No! Get out of here! Now! Go!!

(She gets Buffy to her feet, and tries to drag her along when a group of Vampires emerge out of the roadside shrubbery. They look to be the usual living-impaired ugliness: basically a cross between Hulk Hogan and a trilobite. They all do the "Hah, we've got you now" look.)

Head Vampire: Hah, we've got you now! Oh, and she's got us a dessert?

Jane: (Voice low, hissing and dripping with menace.) She's mine. Back off. (Shot to Janes' hands: they flex and the nails go "claw-like". Quick cut to Jane's lower face; needle fangs slide out.)

Head Vampire: I don't think so - and who the hell are you to tell us to "back off"?

(A crossbow bolt flies across the space intervening the Vampire group and the still-running car, burying itself in the chest of the Head Vampire. He has enough time to look surprised before he ashes. The car door is kicked open (narrowly missing Jane & Buffy) and Daria steps out, effortlessly re-cocking the crossbow that they bought at the "Sporting-goods" store last night. She slots in another quarrel.)

['Cause he's going the distance, he's going for speed...]

Daria: Her friend. (Gives Jane the crossbow. Reaches in behind her to drag out the fire-axe we saw in the Mall montage.)

(The Vampires charge, growling and hissing but a little more slowly than usual. [Wouldn't you against some weirdo with an axe?] Jane ashes another of the group with the crossbow and an even half-dozen are left.)

(Daria meets the first with the axe on the upswing, sharp pointy spike leading. She impales the vampire, and on the downswing, uses him (still attached and screaming) to swat another vampire away. Jane pulls a nasty serrated knife from her boot and lunges up to bury the knife in a vampire's ribs, using her momentum to throw the screaming vampire way over her shoulder.)

(Daria's lost her "inhuman shield' and spins on her heel to gain a bit of momentum. The blade edge of the axe turns to scythe out, and a vampire on the periphery loses her head. While the "headless wonder" is making like garden fertiliser, Jane manages to avoid Daria's flailing axe, and halts another female attacker by the simple expedient of a boot to the face. As she does this, she yells to Daria.)

Jane: (Through a mouthful of fangs.) Daria, stab 'em in the heart with wood, or behead them!

Daria: Gotcha. (She does that little tight smile and reverses her axe in a loop to fatally surprise a vampire who thought he was going to get to her while she tried to recover the axe mid-swing. She cuts upwards (two-handed) in a tight arc and beheads the guy by removing it via his upper torso.)

(Buffy is coming back into things and throws "Mr Pointy" to stake the female vampire keeping out of reach of Jane's knife. It's a good shot, and she ashes. Jane turns and drags the Slayer to her feet, pushing Buffy into the car. She slings along the crossbow. Buffy is given a quick glimpse of Jane's teeth. Buffy recoils. Buffy scrabbles for the crossbow quarrels.)

Jane: (Doesn't really care if Buffy saw.) Here! Load This! (Slams the door.)

(Daria sees the two she swatted aside earlier. They've got metal poles from somewhere, and look incredibly ticked. The other vampire Jane stabbed comes into view, holding a letterbox as a club and a garbage can as a shield. He doesn't look any happier than the other two.

Letterbox-wielding Vampire: I'm gonna cut her four ways, the bitc...

(He cuts off as the sound of a car window being wound down penetrates his rage-clouded intellect.)

Jane: (Teeth gone: to Daria, as they stand aside for Buffy who shoots the letterbox-wielding vampire neatly in the chest.) Nice.

Daria: (Oddly calm.) Let's go.

(Jane throws her knife into the vampire on the left. As he staggers about screaming, Daria rushes to meet the other Vampire and his metal pipe midway. The impact shocks the two back onto their heels while Jane scrabbles around for the stake Buffy used. The axe swings down for a sneaky ankle-lopping move, but the pipe beats it into the ground, causing a few sparks. Jane has the stake now, but the injured vampire rips the knife out in a spray of blood and furiously hurls it in the general direction of Jane. She ducks and it passes over to bounce noisily off of the Trentmobile. Buffy can't clear a shot with the crossbow as the girls are in the way.)

(Daria feints out at the injured vampire on his damaged side, managing to sidestep a skull-crushing blow of the pipe from his buddy. The injured vampire starts at an apparent attack from another quarter, and turns to track Daria. He realises this is a mistake when Jane shoves the stake through the side of his chest into his heart, and neatly takes the metal pipe as he stiffens and ashes. On the downswing, Jane picks up the momentum in a hammer-throw spin to launch the pipe at the last vampire.)

(Busy fending off a head blow by Daria, he cannot escape the hurled length of metal, and it hits him square in the crotch. A truly brutal, end-on hit. Daria ignores the pipe that has fallen from the vampire's nerveless fingers and swings out the axe in a flashy, one-handed showman's finish. As the vampire helplessly bends over, Daria twirls the axe so the wide and blood-splattered edge swings down and beheads the attacker. It is a wicked cut and the axe continues down to bounce noisily off the road surface. Daria catches it with her other hand and grounds the head. Jane bends over to recover Buffy's stake. They turn to the Trentmobile, and an amazed Buffy.)

Jane: Yo! Buffy! Safety-catch?

(Buffy starts, and unloads the crossbow. Jane & Daria get out of the way before she does this. Jane continues over to recover her knife, lying beside the wheel. Daria wanders over, carrying the weighty axe.)

Buffy: (Gets out of the car, sans crossbow. Bright and bubbly, hiding her unease.) Well, that has got to be one of the most impressive rescues I've ever seen. Uh, Daria, are you a Slayer?

Jane: (Suddenly expressionless.) No. But if you are, it certainly explains a lot.

Daria: Slayer? I'm assuming we're not talking about the band?

Jane: (Flat, absolutely no emotion in face or voice.) A girl born with the strength and skill to hunt vampires and other deadly creatures, bound to find them where they gather and to stop the spread of their evil - the swell of their numbers. There is only one, and when she dies, another is chosen to act as the protector of mankind.

(Daria looks at Buffy and Jane, a little worried. Buffy looks at Jane, a little shocked.)

Jane: (Goes around to the driver's side.) C'mon Daria. (Levelly, to Buffy.) Buffy, If you want a lift, get in. We have to pick up my brother, so it might be a tight squeeze after that. (She opens the door.)

Buffy: Uh, no. I have to meet someone around here. Soon. Ah, look, who are you?

Jane: No one in particular. (Jane throws the rest of the crossbow bolts in their quiver at Buffy's feet. The crossbow follows, as does "Mr Pointy.") I'm sure you can find a use for these. Daria?

(A rather uncertain Daria slips past Buffy, avoids the spilled quarrels, awkwardly replaces the axe behind the seats and gets in.)

Jane: Good luck, Slayer.

(The two drive off, and leave Buffy looking into the red taillights.)

 

(After a bit, Angel bursts in through the bushes with a roar, brandishing a broken guide rail post. He slows when he sees Buffy alone and stops short when he sees how Buffy doesn't react.)

Angel: Buffy? Uh, honey? You ok? Buffy?

(Buffy turns to him looking puzzled. Her eyes follow the heavy lump of wood held above head-height, then drop to catch Angel's eyes.)

Buffy: (Distant and worried.) Something very strange happened tonight. And I'm not sure I know what.

 

(Music: "Garden Of Eroticism" - Alchemist. The Trentmobile: an edgy Daria and stony-faced Jane.)

Daria: Ok, what the hell just happened?

Jane: We scooped this year's good deed award, and it's just blown up in my face.

Daria: How?

Jane: The last contact I had with a Slayer didn't go well. I've spent the last century or so ensuring it won't happen again, and then one splatters on my windscreen. Great, absolutely frigging great. Well, it certainly proves that there is something rotten in the town of Lawndale, and goes a lot to explaining the behaviour of the kids from Sunnydale. And Sunnydale itself, for that matter. Damn, damn, damn and thrice bedamned to bloody hellfire!

Daria: Jane. Explain.

Jane: In a little. Trent's along here. (She indicates, hits the off-ramp and goes through a warehouse district. After a bit, she slows and stops in front of a building like the rest, but lit up. The door opens and Trent is revealed in the light cast by the entry. He fiddles with something in his hand, then shuts up the warehouse. The lights go off inside, and he walks over to the car.

Trent: Hey.

Jane: In.

(Trent looks at Jane and Daria, and can guess something is severely wrong. [Gee, it might be the bloody axe behind the seat, I don't know.] He gets in, squishing Daria close to Jane. As soon as he is buckled, Jane takes off in a screeching U-turn, and speeds out of the estate.)

Trent: ("Whoa!" expression.) What's up?

Jane: (Almost toneless.) Vampires. And a Slayer.

Trent: ("Crap!" expression.) Oh. (Beat.) Not like...?

Jane: (Looking very careworn for a second.) No, not like Morocco. The suckers jumped someone we knew in the middle of the road. Daria and I went to save her. Turns out she is the current Slayer.

Trent: (Winces.) Ouch.

Daria: (A bit at sea.) Could I have some more information?

Trent: (Intones deeply, much like Giles does.) The Vampire Slayer is the chosen one, a girl born to fight evil...

Daria: (Calmly.) I know that bit.

Trent: (Looks to Jane.) It's not really my story to tell. (She shakes her head.) And it won't be told tonight. Anyway, we were hunted for a few years by vampire slayers, until we finally moved here and lost them.

Daria: (Incredulous.) Moved to Lawndale?

Jane: (Flat.) America.

Trent: (Explanatory.) We kinda got a bad rap for something that wasn't our fault, and had to vacate the locale.

Jane: (Flat.) Europe.

Daria: ("Right-o" expression.) Ok, I've another question. What was with the Klingon Honour Guard beating up on Buffy? I haven't seen anything that ugly since... (Ultra-fast flashback to Highland High, just five seconds of Beavis and Butthead laughing.) Ulgh! (Shivers.)

Trent: (Concerned.) You ok?

Daria: Yeah, just old memories. (Rubs arms to make the hair go back down.)

Jane: (Tired.) Daria, there are as many form of vampires as there are of disease. What you saw were typical Middle-Europe types. The Chinese, Native Americans, god, everyone, has their own particular weird-ass variants, often with different strengths and weaknesses. The ones you took down are susceptible to religious symbols, holy water, sunlight, fire, garlic and a stake in the heart. Some don't like silver bullets either. (Bitter now.) Apart from that, they are virulent. They tend to make more as they go, feeding enough so that a new vampire is made from what was prey.

Trent: (Reassuring.) We're nothing like them. (Beat.) Well, apart from the blood thing. And having to avoid sunlight once a year.

Daria: (Flat, semi-joking.) Totally dissimilar.

Jane: (Not joking.) Yes. Like it or not, we still remain the people we were when we lived. When one of those is reborn, only traces of their personality remain, usually in a debased form. They feed upon their loved ones, children, parents, husbands, wives. I won't tell you of the time I saw a bastard "turn" a mother for fun, and laugh as she ate her kids.

Trent: (Looking at Daria, who is not looking healthy.) Jane, enough.

Jane: (Looking at the others, really torn up.) Sorry Daria. It's just that, that...Gnaaarrrrgh!

(With that, Jane stomps the brakes again, and slides to a gravelly-halt next to the road. She turns the car off, pillows her head in her arms on the steering wheel and bursts into tears. Daria is shocked, to say the least. Trent looks really sad and very careworn. Her takes Daria's hand, ignoring her flinch, and gets out. Daria follows.)

Trent: (Walking away from the car. Speaking softly.) She needs to have some space. You can tell me what actually happened.

Daria: (Uncertain.) Ok. (Funny "Uhlunk" noise.) Oh, hell. (This is a bit distorted, as if Daria is trying to hold 2 pencils in her mouth and talk.) [If you're wondering, the pencil thing is easy to try. I do it all the time. Carry things in my mouth, that is.]

Trent: Huh? What's up Daria?

Daria: (Levelly.) I think I have a problem. Uh, how do you turn these off?

(We see Daria turn, now with neat little vampire fangs. She is "burning red" embarrassed, even by the sparse illumination of unseen streetlights. Even worse than when she was getting a belly button ring in "Pierce Me". He smiles a little.)

Daria: (She even sounds embarrassed, if that's believable.) I don't know how. It's never happened to me before. (She looks very cute.) I'm talking, and the next thing I know I'm trying to avoid a tongue piercing.

Trent: (Smiles slightly.) It's fine Daria. You haven't needed them, so it's pretty involuntary at the moment. You've got some new teeth connected to a bunch of different facial muscles. They're able to slide out and lock into place (Demonstrates, scaring Daria.) if you want them to, kind of like your arm moving. But if you're stressed out, it's kinda involuntary, like the pushing away motion you do if someone throws something at your face. (Takes Daria's limp hand. Moves it to her top lip.) Feel here? Ok, that's what you have to relax. Don't bite your tongue with them either, it really hurts.

(The expression on Daria's face is that "inwardly-concentrating" one she sometimes gets. It changes to one of surprise as her fangs retract. She moves her hand away, and tries again, squinting the first few times. They slide in and out without problems. She smiles at Trent, fangs purposely left out.)

Daria: Thanks. Mom has spent enough on dentistry to give Dad a coronary, I didn't want to do the same. (Back in again.)

Trent: It's fine.

Daria: (Looking about. Very serious voice.) What's with Jane?

Trent: We've lost some good friends over the years. One of the best grew up and had kids, and...(Shrugs.)

Daria: God. (Pauses, thinking.) That's probably the most awful thing I've ever heard.

Trent: Jane was very... upset. She disappeared for a few months, and came back covered in old blood. I think she killed every vampire she could find during that time in ways I donít want to think about. Whatever she did, it kept a whole vampire population silent and running scared for years afterwards. (Pause.) She still has bad dreams about it; you know, if she could have stopped things?

Daria: How did she cope?

Trent: Badly. But time does heal things, and we've got plenty of that. (He does the "Stares out into the night, filled with angst" thing.)

(There is an uncomfortable silence. Daria tries to develop a different topic.)

Daria: So, anything else you had better tell me before I embarrass myself?

Trent: (Thinking.) Ok, don't order rare steak if you're distracted. Fangs are a big social indiscretion, and if you're not thinking, they come out at the worst moments.

Daria: Catastrophic date blunder? (Mentally kicks herself.)

Trent: (Thinking back, he doesn't notice her expression.) Ooh yeah. You really don't want go there. (Thinks some more.) And avoid getting hit in the face; those "fang" muscles are strong, but they really hurt if someone decides they don't like the way you're looking at their girlfriend, and start throwing punches.

Daria: Ok; avoid macho rednecks and the places where they congregate.

Trent: Er, it was a girl who punched me...

Daria: Oh. (Pause.) Then I'll try to avoid attracting women.

Trent: Good luck. (Daria looks at him really oddly. He doesn't notice, looking up at the night.) And you can easily dislocate your jaw. (Daria glances over to Trent, who shrugs.) It doesn't hurt us, but it feels really strange. I don't know why we can; I don't swallow my food whole. Oh, and you'll be able to smell, hear and see better...

Glassless Daria: (Dry.) I think I've discovered the last one.

Trent: (His cough/laugh.) Sure. But you'll be able do some other things too.

Daria: I've noticed I have better balance...

Trent: (Continues.) Like being able to punch your way through a brick wall.

Daria: I was thinking of something more subtle. (Can't help herself.) Was this another date?

Trent: (Remembering.) Thank god, no.

Daria: Should be see if Jane's ok?

Trent: (Looking back.) I think she might...

(As they turn, the car comes on, as do the headlights. Jane beeps the horn.)

Jane: (O/S, into the night.) C'mon, we're wasting daylight!

(Daria and Trent look, shrug and get in. The car explodes off the gravel into the night.)

(Fade out.)

Jane: (O/S, sniffles, then bright tone.) So, did you two have a nice chat?

Trent & Daria: (O/S) Drive.

 

(Open to the Slayer safehouse. Music: "Deuce" - The Cardigans. Everyone is looking a bit frazzled [What do you mean, you don't know what frazzled means? It's obvious!] apart from an edgy Buffy, the dark and brooding Angel and the officious Wesley.)

Buffy: And to sum up tonight's latest disaster, Jane is a vampire. And I think Daria knows, or is one as well.

Xander: Oh. Great. (Walks off.)

Oz: Yeah. (Discouraged.) This whole saving the world thing really bites when you lose people you know.

Willow: (Hopeful.) Might it be another Jane, a double, you know, from a parallel universe? (Buffy and Angel look at her.) Hey, it happened to me!

Giles: (The voice of reason, again.) I think we can safely conclude that was a once-only, Willow.

Buffy: (Expanding her tale.) The way those two took out the bloodsuckers was pretty scary. I admit I wasn't too cluey at the time, but they just waded into them. Nobody does that. (Giles shoots her a look.) Well, not anymore.

Angel: And after seeing what was left, let's put it this way: I wouldn't like to try stop them.

Wesley: But we must stop them! Buffy, discover where they live and we'll attack them!

(Various looks of tired annoyance from the surrounding group.)

Oz: Someone remind me again why he got to be Watcher?

Xander: Even I know attacking a vampire at night should be a last resort.

(Giles looks at Wesley. Doesn't say anything, just looks.)

Wesley: Oh, yes. (Beat.) Anyone for tea?

Giles: No, I think it would be best if we all go to bed. And there is the off chance that they know something about the Hellmouth. Any luck yet, Willow, Wesley?

Willow: Nope. It has a kind of aura though, I have to find out how to trace and track it.

Wesley: Er, I have some of the formulae ready, but a lot of the incantation escapes me.

Giles: We'll work on it in the morning.

(Fade out.)

Giles: (O/S) Damn, I still have two periods of marking to finish!

 

(Llaaaawndaaale High. Establishing shot of the front of the school, it is quite bright and sunny, but it looks to be very still. Music: "Invisible Sun" - Sting and Asward.)

(Interior, next to lockers. The Sunnydalians are talking.)

Xander: Ok, no one was at the Lanes - big surprise there - and the Morgandoffers say Daria has been staying at Jane's house for the last two days. I'm assuming everyone can see a connection here?

Oz: You've made the point, Xander.

Willow: And the Lane basement was packed with big wicked mojo. I'm talking "summon demon, force him to obey your sick whims, then make it bake cookies and serve coffee after" magic. I don't know what exactly happened down there, but it was around 2 days ago.

Buffy: (To no one.) This mental imagery thing keeps getting stranger.

Xander: Maybe that was the thing that was giving Buffy cramps?

(They all stare at him. He flushes, and turns to close his locker door.)

Buffy: Hey, no, it's fine Xander. (Puts a hand to his shoulder.)

Willow: (Voices the group's thoughts.) It's just that you made a pretty good intuitive guess.

Buffy: (Lightly.) And that is scary enough in itself.

Xander: (Waves off their praise.) Please, no more compliments; my personality will start to disintegrate. I'm feeling a bit undone right now.

Oz: (Flat.) Trouble. [Why is he always so alert?! Gooo Cujo!]

(Begin "One Inch Man" - Kyuss. Quietly, then increase volume.)

(They turn to find Cordelia running towards them.)

Cordelia: Uh, Buffy. Problem. You know how you said Jane is, you know, er, like that?

Buffy: (Lightly, "we're at school" expression.) You don't get teeth as big as that naturally.

Xander: (Bright.) Except in some southern states.

Oz: (Matter-of-fact.) After extensive sister marriage.

Cordelia: (Very worried.) Then who are they?

(She points towards the open doors at the end of the corridor. Two figures are seen against the glare. By the silhouettes, it is Jane and Daria. Music gets very heavy.)

Willow: ("There's got to be a rational explanation...") Uh, sometimes vampires can survive indirect sunlight before it gets too much for them? Uh, right Buffy?

Cordelia: (Exasperated.) They walked across the football field, taking their time, in the sun. And they waved at me.

Oz: (Quietly.) Nah, that can't be right.

Xander: (Same volume.) Yeah, who'd want to wave to Cordelia?

Oz: (Same again.) Good point.

(The Sunnydalians group out into a kind of blockade of the corridor. The approaching two don't look worried. They're just walking along. They both have a large sports bag and their usual school bags. Daria's hair is normal again (roundish) and she has on grey cut-down cargo's and a black t-shirt. Her jacket is green - but itís a hip-length leather jacket and it's not done up. She has on green 14 hole Docs. Jane is not as flashy; her simple red jacket, 3/4 length black cargo pants, black V-neck with white collar. Her normal "grey" boots.)

(Then Upchuck comes up.)

(Music: instant changeover to chorus.)

Upchuck: (To Daria and Jane.) Laaadies? Would you care to relax and break in the new homeroom chairs? Perhaps after a relaxing foot rub? Because your feet must be tired, as you've been running through my head all day!

Oz: (Cut to Oz, closeup. Looks very worried.) Ohooh, do I have a bad feeling about this...

(Jane and Daria stop and look at Upchuck, both totally blank-faced and unreadable behind respective sunglasses.)

Xander: (Closeup. Worried.) Ahhh, how bad?

(Upchuck tries again.)

Upchuck: (Terrible British accent.) Or do you fancy a shag then? (Normal voice, but his eyes are glued to Daria's chest.) Hmm, Daria, I don't think I've ever seen you looking so...

(Daria grabs him by the front of his shirt and, one-handed, hoists him up into the air.)

Willow: (Flat statement.) Oh. He's gonna die. (Buffy starts to run towards the three.)

(Daria smiles. Upchuck takes this as an encouraging gesture. Buffy is still too far away to do anything to save Upchuck.)

Upchuck: Yesss! I know that some women like to be in charge, and it's all right by me!

Daria: Goodbye Upchuck. (As he starts to look confused, she pivots on her left foot and with a grunt of effort, turns/throws Upchuck like a javelin down the corridor. Her large bag slips off of her shoulder, and hits the floor with a muffled clank. Upchuck flies headfirst and screaming down the corridor for at least twenty feet, then lands and starts to slide along his belly. He rolls to a painful stop, and pants, hurt. A terrifying shadow looms over him.)

(Quick camera POV pull-back to see that it is Ms Barch, the psycho black-widow teacher, whose bitter divorce has left her with a permanent and vicious hatred of the male species.)

Ms Barch: (Hands on hips.) Well Charles, it seems that you have been rejected again. Or have you been offering young ladies improper suggestions? We call that sexual harassment now. You didn't sexually harass Daria Morgandoffer or Jane Lane, did you? (Frightened beyond words, Upchuck is white and sweating. His head shakes "No" in a spastic tic.)

Ms Barch: Why don't I believe you, MAN? (Calling down the corridor.) Daria? Jane?

Daria: (Loudly, so everyone can hear.) Why, yes Ms Barch!

Jane: (Gloating.) Charles asked if Daria would like a "shag"! (Daria glares at Jane.)

(Cut to Mack and Jodie, who are watching from further down the hall. Mack's mouth gapes open, like it did in "I Don't", when he was thought to be Kevin's bride.)

Jodie: (Shocked.) I didn't think Daria would unleash Ms Barch!

(Cut back to the Sunnydale students.)

Cordelia: (Puzzled.) What's the big deal about the teacher?

Oz: (Hollow, distant.) Oh, you don't have Ms Barch, do you?

Xander: ("Nick Diamond" voice from Celebrity Deathmatch.) Good god! That's inhuman!

Oz: (Still distant. To the world at large.) Do you remember Anya? And her hatred of men, distilled over a few thousand years as a demon?

Xander: (To Cordelia.) She has got nothing on Barch.

Oz: (Agreeing.) Nothing.

Willow: (To Oz.) He's going to die? Isn't he?

Oz: He should be so lucky. (He and Willow hold hands for comfort.)

 

(When Ms Barch drags a kicking and screaming Upchuck into the classroom she came out of, the waiting students run away in a silent effort to be anywhere else but inside. The door slams shut, narrowly missing Upchuck's fingers. His fingernails had gouged their way through the doorframe paint in strips, trying get a hold and save himself. Daria and Jane turn from this to watch the (now) slowly approaching Buffy. Music: "Hey Man, Nice Shot" - Filter. Heavy bass on the wicked guitar start.)

Jane: Enjoy your jog? (Puts away her sunglasses.)

Daria: Excuse me. (She reclaims her bag. They go to walk past Buffy.)

Buffy: Going somewhere? (Her arm shoots out to the lockers, blocking the way. Daria stops.)

Daria: Actually yes. (From looking straight ahead, her head turns so she can look Buffy in the eye. Daria has on different shades from yesterday; little round dark mirrored sunglasses.)

Buffy: (Flat.) Where?

Daria: (Flatter.) To my locker, and then to my class.

Buffy: (Even more flat.) You owe me some answers.

Daria: (Flattest.) If I recall, it's you who owe us.

Jane: (Smiling/distant/remembering pose, finger on chin.) Now, what was it again? Oh, that's right. (Pats Buffy, who doesn't flinch.) Enjoy the nice day now.

Daria: (To Jane.) Of course, if she wants to know where we'll be during class, she can just get her tame witch and pet wolf to report back during lunch. (Nods towards Willow and Oz still holding hands. Buffy looks a little off-kilter. Her arm goes down.)

Jane: (Sweetly.) Oh, and Buffy? Could you please let us know if you've found the Hellmouth?

Daria: It'd be neighbourly.

Jane: We do live here, you know. (They drift by Buffy, not touching. Other students part to let them go by. We can see the Fashion club, minus Sandi, walk by the two in the opposite direction. Quinn does a massive double take when she sees Daria and forgets herself.)

Quinn: Daria?

Jane: (Genuine surprise.) It speaks!

(Daria and Jane stare at the apparition before them.)

Quinn: Uhurm, er, oll, uhm... (She walks away, followed quickly by Stacy and Tiffany.)

Jane: Weird. (Pause.) Did she really follow you home from the circus?

Daria: My sister, the circus freak. (Considering.) It has a nice ring to it... (Beat.) Nah.

(They shrug and go to their respective lockers. They clear up enough space inside them for the mysterious sports bags and dump them in. Daria is left with a massive pile of books and Jane with a good collection of art supplies. They get out two strong nylon bags, and place their respective loads in them. This is done with eerie synchronicity, something noted by the watching Sunnydalians.)

Xander: (More than slightly worried.) Oh, yeah. Spooky.

(Giles comes up from a side corridor.)

Giles: Sorry I'm late, it was the second period's marking. I wish some people would actually read what I set them. (He's speaking to the clump of Sunnydale students, who are staring at Daria and Jane.) Did you have any luck with... (Catches sight of Daria & Jane. Totally different tone.) ...that's rather unexpected.

(Buffy arrives from the other end of the corridor.)

Giles: Er, Buffy? (Nods gently towards Daria & Jane.)

Buffy: Giles, guys? A word? (She leads them into the nearest classroom, happily empty.)

Oz: Well?

Buffy: Don't ask me how, but they know that Willow is a witch, and that Oz is a werewolf. And they know about the Hellmouth, but don't know where it is. (Thinking silence after this.)

Xander: Okaaay...

Cordelia: So, are they vampires? Do you kill them? When? (Taps watch.) I have a class in 3.

Buffy: (Helplessly.) I don't know. Everything I have that even resembles an instinct screamed for me not to push things, but no "Hello, I'm a vampire!" warnings. (Turns to her voice of wisdom.) Giles, please tell me you know of sun-loving demons that rescue Slayers?

Giles: Er. (Polishes glasses.) Offhand, no.

Willow: (Flustered Willow.) Like, how did they know that I'm what I am, and that Oz is how he is? Was it something that we said, or did, or something that wasn't done?

Buffy: ("Chill, petal" voice.) They didn't offer any hints Willow. (Pause.) They did happen to remind me about last night, as if I needed it.

Oz: (Thinking aloud.) That could be considered a discrete hint not to pry.

Xander: (Same.) I'd hate to see a blatant one.

Giles: (Intense.) Buffy, can you remember exactly what they said about the Hellmouth?

Buffy: Yeah; that it would be the "neighbourly" thing to let them know where the Hellmouth was once we found it. They "live" here.

Giles: (To himself, replacing specs.) Odd to know that a Hellmouth has opened nearby, but not be able to detect it.

Willow: (Catching his mutter.) We can't.

Giles: (Explanatory.) We've just arrived. If they are demons risen by the opening Hellmouth, it would be logical to assume that they would know where to find it.

Cordelia: Or if they had already lived here for a while, maybe they aren't the product of the Hellmouth and can't find it for reasons we don't know. Or whatever. (To the stunned looks she receives.) Hey! Class? Remember?

Giles: (A bit slowly.) Thank you Cordelia. Uh, Willow, could you please check into the local police reports about missing persons, disappearances, and the usual vampire indicators? And would it be possible to investigate the Lane and Morgandoffer households? Discreetly? I'll contact Wesley, and see if he find anything of use. Are there any other suggestions? No?

(Cut to outside corridor.)

Giles: (O/S) Everybody? Try to act normal around them. We don't want them upset and interfering in our plans. Oh, and there is a regularly scheduled Parent-Teacher night on Friday, so chances are that something particularly nasty will occur.

Willow: (O/S, resigned.) Always did, in Sunnydale.

Xander: (O/S, puzzled.) Er, what plans?

Buffy: (O/S) Come on Xander.

 

(Other side of the corridor, walking away from the room. Daria and Jane pause in their journey to class.)

Jane: Did you get that? (Rotates an earring.)

Daria: Yep. (Beat.) Would they really try to kill us?

Jane: (She shrugs, philosophical.) It's happened before, it'll happen again. But I think these jokers will at least stop for a quick discussion before they whip out the pointy wooden things.

Daria: So, what to do?

Jane: Get through today, then we'll drag Trent over and have a chat.

Daria: Oh, joy.

 

(Open to "Red Right Hand" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. [For those who have lived under a rock until now, it is a mighty song. Play it long, play it hard, but above all, play it loud.] Daria and Jane walking home again, in time to the wicked bass line. Sky is darkening early. No sunglasses this time. They look pensive.)

Jane: I say we find where they live, kick down the door and threaten them with dire torments until they tell us where the Hellmouth is and how to plug it. (Waves arms to stress points.)

Daria: (Dry humour poking through.) Sorry, Quinn is on a date tonight.

Jane: Damn! (Smacks fist into other hand.) There goes my "dire torment" idea!

Daria: (The voice of reason.) We find Trent, pick his brain for ideas and then knock politely on their door?

Jane: (Thinks a little.) Reasonable, but most Vampire Slayers tend to freak if their prey turns up on their doorstep at night. (Beat.) Trust me, I've been there.

Daria: (Idle curiosity, with absolutely NO romantic intent...) Where is Trent anyway?

Jane: Unloading and unpacking whatever he bought from our "underworld" contacts. He left a message on my voice-mail. (Jane has an evil smirk.) Why? Hankering for some more "hands-on" instruction in vampirism? (Arches eyebrows archly.)

Daria: (Flat, cold.) Simple curiosity, Lane.

Jane: (Impressed.) Ohh, you get all dark and shadowy when you use that tone of voice! Great effect!

Daria: (Thinks Jane is joking.) Forget it. Anyway, I have to go home before anything else.

Jane: Oh?

Daria: (Lightly.) I have to drop off some of my books and reassure my parents that I'm fine. Considering that the last time I saw them was Monday, I'm surprised that Dad hadn't phoned Search & Rescue.

Jane: (The realist.) Yet.

Daria: (Quietly.) Walk with me?

Jane: (Realising that Daria is scared of going home, she smiles gently.) Sure thing kiddo!

(Daria glares.)

 

(Outside the Morgandoffer home. Daria is slightly ahead of Jane, and takes a deep breath before entering.)

(Inside the home, Daria quietly closes the door after Jane comes through. Daria looks nervous. She quickly walks upstairs, leaving Jane in the Lounge. Jane looks around interestedly. She sees the remote. Close up on remote. Hand grabs it, "On" button is pressed.)

TV Announcer: What happens when "man's best friend" changes sex? Screwy pooches tell all tonight, on Sick Sad World!

Jane: Hmmm... (Eyebrow raised.) Quality TV, et tu Brute?

Daria: (Coming down the stairs.) Jane, I'm done. (Quiet.) Someone has searched my room.

Jane: (TV off.) How can you tell?

Daria: (Explanatory.) There isn't much in there, so it's always been easy to see what's changed.

Jane: (Using Ockham's razor.) Could it be your mother delivering laundry?

Daria: In my bookshelf?

Jane: Ok. So someone searched your room. (Replaces remote.) Could it be Jake, worried about your mood-swings, checking for signs of possible drug use?

Daria: No, Mom and Dad are messier. (Thinking.) Whoever did this has a neatness fetish.

Jane: (Smirk.) That rules out Princess Grace. I've experienced her room.

Daria: Which leaves?

Jane: (Reasonably.) The people who have followed us from school.

Daria: ("Queen Daria" voice.) We Are Not Amused.

Jane: (Seriously.) I'm not joking. If you check out the side window (Points.) you'll see a man with glasses trying hard to look inconspicuous in next-door's bushes.

Daria: That Giles guy that Buffy was talking with? Our English English teacher?

Jane: No, but the differences are so slight it's scary. There is big weirdness around here. I keep getting this feeling that the pod people are about to come and take me away.

Daria: (To herself.) And not before time. (To Jane.) What now?

Jane: We walk casually to my place, drive out to the warehouse, get Trent and make like Jehovah's on the Slayer doorstep.

Daria: Isn't that a bit cruel? And what about the lurker in the bushes?

Jane: (Shrugs.) Slip a knife down your boot if you want to. Once we get to my place, we drive the rest of the way. I think that two kick-ass vampires like ourselves can deal with pretty much anything this town will throw at us. Maybe we're in luck, and he's a flasher.

Daria: (Surprised.) A flasher? In luck?

Jane: (Very evil smile.) When you're older, you'll see what I mean.

Daria: (Opening door.) Nothing permanent Lane, or anything else that could cause me to have to wash arterial spray off of the house.

Jane: (Following Daria out.) Gotcha.

(Outside, the sky makes it look almost night.)

Daria: Lovely weather for a walk.

Jane: Don't complain, it could be worse.

(Big lightning crack and thunder, spots start to form on the sidewalk.)

(Daria looks at Jane, then they start to run.)

 

(Inside the Lane house, the front door opens to a very wet duo. Jane slams the door shut.)

Jane: (Calls as she disappears up the stairs.) Wait in the car, I'm getting something!

(Cut to the blue Trentmobile in a dark garage. Daria is in shotgun, waiting and dripping. Jane jogs around the car, throws in a large wooden case and slams the door.)

Jane: (Really bad Adam West impression.) Ready Robin?

Daria: (Expressionless.) Quick! To the Leather Room, Batman! We haven't got much time!

Jane: (Taken aback.) What?

(Daria raises an eyebrow. Jane shrugs and turns forward.)

(Jane hits the remote control under the dash, fastens her seatbelt, starts the car then revs the hell out of it. Daria looks unimpressed. Jane thumbs the "door close" button and leaves two smoking streaks of rubber on the floor of the garage. Coming out of the Lane garage like the old "Thunderbird 2" aircraft [Smoke, cheesy SF/X. - gods, how I loved that series!] onto the road sideways, she fishtails it a bit before speeding out into the storm.)

(The wet and pathetic form of Wesley Wyndam-Pryce emerges from behind an inadequate bush, looks to where they car has sped off and tiredly trudges away in the opposite direction.)

 

(Slayer house. Buffy, Willow, Oz, Xander and Giles are waiting on the furniture. There is a tired knock at the door. Xander opens it and a soaked Wesley is seen in the doorway. The group looks at him, then start to heft various bags and anti-vampire equipment.)

Giles: (You can tell he loves times like these.) I assume you followed the two?

Wesley: (Comes in.) No, I simply enjoy the rain. (Beat.) I also felt the need for a bracing walk.

Giles: Right then. (Professional voice.) Willow has found a warehouse owned by the Lanes and we strongly suspect that they'll be there tonight. I've readied the van for tonight, but we'll wait until you changed and gotten something warm in you.

Wesley: (Affronted.) I am not a child, I am a Watcher! Duly appointed... (Sneezes - and it's a big one.)

Buffy: (O/S, Background.) ...And still dripping on the carpet.

Giles: (Goes on, his back to Wesley, probably fiddling with something.) Cordelia has expressed her, hmm, displeasure at accompanying us on our excursion, so she'll be looking after the house while we're gone.

(Wesley now goes into a coughing fit. He waves weakly at the group.)

Oz: (O/S, background.) Okay, everyone in the van.

Giles: If you like, we still need the Hellmouth incantation properly enunciated. And Cordelia would, presumably, like someone to talk to? (Turns to face Wesley again.)

(General wheezes from Wesley. He seems to be trying to say something.)

Willow: (O/S, background, conversationally.) I've never heard it being described as "talking" before.

Xander: (O/S, background, macho.) I'll take that. (Pause.) Buffy, would you like to take that?

Giles: Anyway, good luck with the incantation and have a good night.

 

(Music: The power chords of "Naughty Boy" - The Mavis's [Crank it!] The Trentmobile pulls up in front of the warehouse, the only one lit. It's still raining pretty heavily. The car runs a little, and the lights go out. Two car doors are heard slamming, and then there is an "Oouf!" as someone runs into something solid. It is very dark. Vague shadows represent the scene.)

Jane: (O/S) Dammit Trent, open the door! (Kicking metal noise.)

Daria: (O/S) I don't think he can hear you.

(There is no noise apart from the rain for a bit, then the familiar chords of "Icebox Woman" float out into the night.)

Jane: (O/S) Damn! If he's been practising, he won't be able to hear us.

Daria: (O/S) Or anything else, apart from the ringing in his ears.

Jane: (O/S, amused.) You're slipping, that was almost a joke. (Beat.) You got a light?

Daria: (O/S) And when did I start smoking?

Jane: (O/S) Oh. Yeah. Damn. I hope I've got the right keys. (Fumbling keys noise.)

Daria: (O/S) Hang on, I've got a feeling about...

(Big "Fshoomp!" noise.)

[If you have ever had cause to ignite a highly flammable liquid with a saturated atmosphere, ie: paint thinners on a hot day, you'll know all too well how this sounds. Just don't ask me how I know. Let's just say that my eyebrows eventually grew back...]

(A weird blue/white flickering light is seen from the camera POV, which is high up like a security camera and almost vertical from the action plane. The tiny portico that Jane and Daria are sheltering under is lit up like an emergency flare by this light.)

Jane: (O/S) WHOA!! (Totally different voice from her usual sexy rasp, loud and clear.) WOW! GOD! Holy...how in hell did you do that?!! (Her voice is clearer when it is louder.)

Daria: (O/S and tightly controlled.) I have no idea. Wait a little...

(Exterior camera POV - the bright flare-light pulses and diminishes to a bare flickering.)

Jane: (Closeup - head and shoulders. She's squinting and her pupils are the smallest pinpricks.) I haven't seen anything like that before! How didja do it?

Daria: (Same viewpoint for her. The light colours her strangely and she's squinting too.) I don't know yet, but I'll try to find out in the nice, dry warehouse.

(Camera viewpoint changes again to the "security-cam" POV.)

Jane: (O/S, fainter.) Good point. (Keys jangle.) Here it is.

Daria: (O/S, same volume.) Hold on a bit. (Door opening noise. The light goes out, leaving only the warm yellow of the warehouse lights and the whiter light from the open door. The door slams shut.)

 

(Inside the warehouse. The walls and floor are concrete tilt-panel and the roof is corrugated steel. Series of big halogen lights are present, hanging from the roof, but only one in six are on. The other end is better lit with some portable floods, and that's where Mystic Spiral are jamming. The Spiral are Trent Lane (Lead Vocals & Guitar), Jesse Moreno (Vocals & Rhythm Guitar), Max Tyler (Drummer) and his bother, Nicholas (Bass Guitar).

Trent: (Singing.) I'm waiting my turn, oh, when will I learn? My poor heart, you're giving it freezer burn... Yeah... (Horrid guitar thrash.)

(Jane banging her wooden case against the metal door is sufficiently loud enough to interrupt the band mid song. She looks ticked-off.)

Jane: (Shouts.) YO!

(Without the band, it is surprisingly quiet in the warehouse. The rain is a soft "swish" on the roof, and Daria flushes as everyone else looks down her end of the building. Traces of Jane's "Yo!" echo about.)

Trent: Oh, hey Janey.

Jane: (Chill.) Nice of you to let us in, Trent.

Nicholas: Oops, sorry.

Max: (To Nick.) Man, I told you to leave the door a little open.

Nicholas: (Calling out.) Sorry Jane, I left it open, but it must of blown shut.

(Jane and Daria are walking along to the other end of the warehouse, leaving wet footprints as they go. They have the funky wet hair seen in "Monster" when they accepted a lift from O'Neill. Daria looks almost normal with it. Along one side of the wall there are metal shipping containers, an adapted forklift for moving the containers and a whole bunch of crates. Camera POV changes and we see the girls approaching from the front, and we can see "The Tank" over Jane's shoulder next to the big roll doors. Camera swings around and we have a side-on view. They come up to the area where the Spiral have been practicing, we can see they have a kind of stage about a foot off of the floor, seemingly made out of the same wood as the surrounding crates. A few power tools and power leads are on the nearest crates.)

Jane: We have been busy. Trent?

Trent: (Looking slightly red.) Uh, there was a lot of spare wood, so I kind of made something to jam on safely.

Jane: (Aside to Daria.) This is from the same man who jumped from two stories to crowd-surf a mosh, then fell over when he got out of the pit and broke an ankle. (To Trent, loudly.) Trent, considering your luck, you are far more likely to hurt something falling off that edge (Points.) than off the Zen roof. Anyway, how long will you be?

Trent: Uh, we'd kind of finished a little while ago, but the acoustics in this place...

Jane: (Flat.) You sounded like Silverchair with a sick Vox.

Trent: Uh, yeah. (A bit crushed.)

Jane: (Tiredly.) It's fine Trent. But we would like to talk to you. Tonight.

Trent: It's cool.

(The Band goes back to adjusting for the next set. Suddenly, there is a loud banging at the door, and some shouts. Everyone looks at each other, then they all jog over to the door.)

Daria: (Musing on the way.) Who knocks without?

Max: (Bewildered.) Without what?

Nicholas: (Explanatory.) The door.

Jane: (Amused.) Knocking without the door? That's a Zen thing, isn't it?

Trent: Huh? I thought the next gig was Wednesday week?

Daria: (Rubs her forehead.) Never mind.

(They reach the door, where someone is severely wanting in. Trent and Jane share a look and station themselves next to the door, lurker-fashion. They motion Daria to open the door.)

(Oz and Xander burst in on top of each other, falling at the band's feet. Daria shuts the door again.)

Xander: Thank god! Do you have a phone...?

(They are hoisted without effort by Trent holding their jacket collars from behind.)

Oz: (Looking around and sees some familiar faces.) Oh...

Xander: (Finishes the thought.)...Crap.

Jane: (Weight on one leg, hips kilted.) Hola! And what can we do for you?

(Xander and Oz are twisted so that Trent can see them. He does his little smile.)

Trent: Hey. What's up?

Xander: Uh, hi.

Oz: Hi.

Daria: (Dry.) Now that we've all proven our sparkling conversation skills?

Xander: Uhm...

Jane: (Enjoying this.) There must be some reason why you gentlemen were beating down our door?

Xander: (Truthfully.) Ah, we didn't know it was your door.

Daria: (Suggestive.) Any port in a storm?

Oz: Something like that.

(Said door suddenly explodes with thuds and creaks as something makes a determined effort to bash it's way inside. Trent throws the two Sunnydalians to the rest of the band, who catch them with difficulty and nods to Jane. Daria goes to the lock again. The thudding is more regular now, as someone is obviously trying to shoulder-barge the door down. During a lull, Daria flings open the door, and a big bruiser of a Vampire unexpectedly gains entry.)

(It doesn't help him. Instead of finding the two fleeing Sunnydalians, he comes against a bunch of Trent's knobbly knuckles to his throat and a horrid groining from Jane. As he starts to go down, Trent and Jane grab his arms and throw him into the wall holding him there to receive another groining from Daria's boot. Trent catches the vampire on the way down again with a knee to the head; Jane elbows his temple sideways on the way up. It is a fast, brutal and very effective takedown. The vampire has no hope of resisting, with Trent and Jane holding him in place, and Daria ready to sink in the boot again. She does so; simply stomping his diaphragm like you would if kicking down a door. The vampire collapses onto the floor with a wheeze and a crack. Jane's boot-knife is in her fist again and Trent puts his sandshoe-clad foot on the Vampire's neck. The band looks on, amazed. Daria shuts the door.)

Jane: (To Oz and Xander.) Someone you know? (The knife disappears, again.)

Oz: ("Wow" expression.) Not a close personal friend.

Xander: (Same expression.) Just another "somebody chasing us".

Daria: (Tired voice.) Look, just tells us why?

Xander: Uh, we were following... (Cops a mental elbow from Oz.) Anyway, our van stalled, and the next thing we knew, his friends were all over us. I think the others made it to a building and were barricading themselves in. We were outside, so we went to get help.

Oz: (Dry.) Actually, we were running for our lives and saw a building with the lights on.

Jane: Lucky you. Yo, Max? (Max looks up from staring at the vampire, whose face is typically distorted.) Toss that over, would you? (Gestures to a wooden crate slat.)

(Max shrugs, and tosses it over to Jane, who catches it one-handed. As the vampire stirs a little, she cracks it upside the head with the slat as you would with a golf club. It subsides.)

Jane: (To the band.) Watch. (She twists the slat between her hands, and she's got two jagged chunks of wood. She throws one to Trent, and they stake the prone vampire without ceremony. It does the "Arched-back, last-gasp", and ashes.)

Jesse: Wh-oa!

(Max gulps.)

Nicholas. Wow.

Jane: (Gestures with the makeshift stake.) Now, you are probably wondering what just happened. It's pretty straightforward; that was a vampire and we shoved a wooden stake into his heart. Questions?

Oz: (Been there, done that.) Now what?

Jane: (Matter of fact.) You tell us where you left the rest of your friends, and we go and save them.

Daria: (Aside, sotto.) Don't believe much in complexity, do you?

Jane: (Sotto.) It slows me down.

Nicholas: (A bit spooked.) Uhh, Trent? What do we do?

(Trent looks at Jane, and they make an unspoken decision.)

Jane: Ok, Trent will stay here with you guys. (Various complaints and moans.) Shut up. (The band does, surprisingly.) We don't want you guys to be hurt, and Trent will make sure that you aren't.

Max: (Indignant.) We aren't babies!

Nicholas: (Sighs.) Max, don't be a moron. They're running a plan, and we're obviously not part of it. Trent?

Trent: Thanks Nick. I'm gonna need you guys to help me a little in some unpacking. You willing?

Jesse: (Nods.) Cool.

Nicholas: Ok. What to do?

(The band goes off and starts to break open some crates. Trent fires up the forklift, and takes down a container that is stacked higher than the rest. He jumps off, and removes the padlocks holding the container shut. He disappears inside, and drags out a lot of shapeless objects. He throws a few to the band members, and gives the rest to the people standing at the door. Jane sorts out hers quickly, and puts it on.)

Daria: (Holding it uncertainly.) Uh, Jane?

Jane: Body-armour. You know, kevlar? Here - (She sorts it out, and shoves the vest and assorted accoutrements onto Daria, whose head pops out slightly mussed. Jane tugs it down like a wetsuit, and checks straps. She spins Daria around, plants a knee into her back and does some tightening there too. Trent helps Xander, while Oz does a pretty good job figuring it out. While Jane checks out the rest of the armoured group, Trent disappears again.)

Jane: Daria, tie your hair back. (Hands Daria a hair-tie.) Heh, you look like Gabrielle!

(As Daria promises divine retribution via her boot, Trent comes back loaded with guns. He tosses some to Oz and Xander, who hold them with great uncertainty. Jane gets a big one, and Daria a pair of Uzis.)

Oz: Uh, Trent? I'm not too sure about this...(Holds out what looks like an AK-47.)

Jane: Look. Even though bullets won't kill vampires, it'll punch them out of the way. These aren't loaded with ordinary bullets.

Oz: Hollowpoints?

Jane: Worse. Black Talons. (At the puzzled looks.) They were withdrawn from the market a few years ago. Really horrid internal damage, shreds insides like a rapid dog, leaves exit wounds bigger than a melon.

Xander: Yecch.

Daria: You got that right. (She looks really uncertain.)

(Trent is passing out webbing. Jane has hers on and adjusted before everyone else. She and Trent go around adjusting and packing ammunition. Xander & Oz have AK-47's; Daria has 2 Uzis and Jane lumbers up an enormous auto-shotgun, the kind SEAL and Special Forces types call a "Streetsweeper.")

Jane: (Pumped.) Ok Trent, how about sidearms? And grenades, I really want some grenades.

(Trent rolls his eyes long-sufferingly. He tosses over a bandolier of grenades for Jane to fuss over, and passes over some holstered pistols. He gives them to the guys, but stops when it comes to Daria. Both blushing red, Trent straps on the pistol-belt to Daria, and ties a leg string to keep it straight.

Daria: (Trying to ignore Trent.) Jane, all joking aside, I don't even know how to use a gun.

Jane: It's like a camera, point and shoot. (Typical Jane dark humour.) But the results tend to be apparent without an hour's processing. (Takes an Uzi off Daria.) See this? (Points to the safety.) This is the safety. Armed (Click.) and it will shoot. Safe (Click.) and it won't. The AK's are easier. Hold your (Takes gun from Xander.) thumb here. This is the safety. Flick, full-auto. (Click.) And single-shot. (Click.) Shoot till you run out. Eject empty. (Takes out the magazine, hooks it back in.) Take another from your webbing. (Does so from Xander.) Replace it. Cock it, ready to go. Daria, you have to pull yours out after pressing the release. (Shows her how to.) Take another, slide it back in, cock it, ready to go.

Trent: Here. (Shrugs.) Might be useful. (Holds the compound bow and arrows that were bought a few days ago. Xander awkwardly hooks it over his back, along with the covered quiver.)

(The group looks like they've gone to a suburban gun-show, and bought it out. The guys look silly, Daria looks very worried. Jane looks like she wants some more guns. Apparently ready, they file to the door. Trent opens the battered and dented metal, flicking on all of the warehouse lights as an afterthought. They go on through, Jane leading, Daria last.)

Trent: (Stops Daria.) Good luck.

(Daria looks into his eyes, and they blush furiously again. Everyone out, he shuts the door and walks back to the band, who are still trying to figure out how to wear the webbing over the body-armour.)

 

(Outside walking through light rain. Music "Got the Life" {D.O.S.E. Woollyback Remix}- Korn. Jane has point, mainly for the fact that if she lets loose, the narrow road they're walking along will become an instant charnel house. Daria is walking along, an Uzi held at a 45-degree angle to the road, folding stock extended, hair tied back. Xander and Oz have the AK's aimed at the ground and are breathing heavily.)

Jane: Ok, how far away are they?

(Distant screams, breaking noises.)

Oz: Not that far.

 

(Open to Jane edging around a building wall and what's-his-name from Korn swallowing his tongue. [Thatís what it sounds like...] We see maybe thirty rag-clad vampires pounding at the barricaded doors of a narrow three-story building, milling around in front of it and a few bonfires that are lit for some reason. The building looks to be very old, and made out of red brick. [If you remember the "Zen" shot from "Ill", it could be it's sister-building.] Jane checks out the approach, and looks behind to buildings next to it. They are all one-story ex-shops, and a few vampires have climbed them. They scatter suddenly, and one who wasn't fast enough cops a brick in the head, knocking him off the roof. Jane smiles and edges back.)

Jane: Ok, Daria, Oz, Xander? You have to climb up the wall here, and get to the balcony on the three story building there. I assume that is the one you guys saw. (They nod.) I'll get a diversion thing going, while you guys get there. Then you cover me, so I can get in. Got it?

Daria: Ok.

Xander: Sure.

Oz: Right.

Jane: Hold it. (She checks the guns they're carrying.) Don't climb when the safety is off, but remember to release it when you want to shoot.

(Jane and Daria go to a store wall where they won't be seen, and crouch to boost the other two. Oz and Xander look puzzled.)

Xander: Uh, shouldn't we be doing that?

Jane: (Tiredly.) I'm a vampire Xander. I could throw you into the balcony from here. This is safer. Now stop wasting our time and get up here!

(Xander puts his foot awkwardly in Jane and Daria's cupped hands. A hand is on Jane's shoulder, the other ready to grab the edge of the roof.)

Daria: Ready?

Xander: Yep.

(Daria and Jane straighten and throw Xander way up. He goes flailing into the air, and lands on his ass on the roof. Noises of pain drift down. )

Daria: Hmm, less heft this time. (Jane nods in agreement.) Oz?

(Oz gets into position and they throw him cleanly on to the roof, where he lands on both feet. He helps Xander hobble out of the way. Downstairs, Jane braces herself for Daria, who's walked away for a run-up. She turns, sighs and jogs to Jane. She jumps onto Jane's cupped-hands, and is flung high up onto the roof. She lands with no noise, Uzi's ready.)

Jane: Go, Go!

(The rain slackens off as Jane runs around the corner. The rest jog along the roofs until they see the brick building and start to run. Various shouts indicate that they've been seen. A vampire suddenly looms from behind an air-conditioning framework. Daria just points and shoots, foot-long muzzle-flash reaching the vampire. He spins and is thrown back.)

(Meanwhile, Jane casually walks around the corner and butt-strokes a gawping vampire that's distracted by Daria's shots and watching the roof. Still acting casually, she shrugs off the bandolier of grenades, strips the pins and ducks into a sunken staircase, after she throws the grenades into the thickest concentration of bloodsuckers she could see.)

(The explosion is huge, knocking Xander and Oz off of their feet. Daria lifts them up and they avoid debris pattering down. Another vampire rolls over the edge of the building parquet to receive a lengthy burst from Daria's Uzi. He twitches and rolls into a ball; not dead but feeling much pain. A brick lands over to her left and smoking stuff start to rain down.)

(Jane is grinning like a fool as she walks out, streetsweeper ready. At least half of the attacking vampires are nowhere to be seen, and a lot more are staggering about a crater, trying to put out clothes on fire or to simply trying to stand upright. With a roar, the streetsweeper opens up to knock down a few of the more collected vampires.)

(Daria has reached the red brick building, discovering a total lack of handholds. Xander and Oz hit the wall, then turn to cover themselves. Xander pulls the trigger and nothing happens. Oz flicks the safety, and pours a magazine in to a vampire trying to climb over the edge of the flat roof. The vampire leaves an arm, and lands with a thud.)

(Jane has no problem with the vampires left on the ground, just mowing down opposition, often beheading them at close range. One jumps for her, and the barrage she lets off blows him into chunky kibbles, the largest ones ashing mid-air.)

(Daria takes a good look at the big featureless wall, then at a small bricked-up window. She takes a little run up and smashes into it. The bricked entrance cracks noticeably. A few more of these, and there are bricks sufficiently loose enough to kick an entry. She does so.)

(Jane is in trouble now. A band of reinforcements have come around the corner holding whatever cover they could rip up and carry - mainly car bits, doors and rubbish bins. She ducks and her streetsweeper cuts under the carried protection to drop the first of the vampires, yelling and screaming. But the rest come on slowly, protecting themselves.)

(Daria's kicked a hole big enough so that she can tear out surrounding bricks. There is frenzied swearing noises as Oz searches his webbing for another magazine. Xander has obviously found the safety, and lets off a few bursts to discourage climbers. Finally, the hole is big enough so that someone can get though. Daria recovers her Uzi hanging by a lanyard, [A rope fastening a tool to your body, landlubber.] fires the rest of her magazine into the darkness to see what's in there and to discourage any ambush. Satisfied, she jumps in. There is a loud crash as she lands.)

 

Daria: (O/S) Dammit, get in here!

(Oz and Xander look around, then at the hole. Xander nudges in Oz first.)

Daria: (O/S) Just jump! It's safe enough!

(Oz takes a deep breath, and drops through the hole.)

Daria: (O/S) Ooof! There, walk there. Good. Xander?

(Xander takes a worthy pot shot at a big ugly coming towards him, doesn't slow him, panics and so dives in ala "Han Solo down the garbage chute". There is a crash, and some more swearing noises.)

Daria: (O/S and not impressed.) Ow! Watch it with the gun!

Xander: (O/S) I'm sorry! I didn't know you were going to catch me!

(The vampire Xander managed to annoy sticks his head in through the hole.)

Vampire: Grarrawol!

Xander, Oz & Daria: Yahh!

(There is that big "Fshoomp!" noise again, and the weird blue-white flickering light glares out of the hole in the bricks. The vampire screams, holding his eyes. Suddenly, a big spear of wood makes an appearance out of his back, raising the scream an octave higher, before the ashes drift down.

Xander & Oz: (O/S) ARGH! WHOA! HEY!

Xander: (O/S, just after.) Ow, my eyes!

Daria: (O/S) Sorry. (The light goes out.)

Oz: (O/S) Uh, Daria, we can't see anything now. Um, not that we mind...

Daria: (O/S, heavy sigh.) Here. Hold my hand.

Xander: (O/S) Sorry!

Daria: (O/S) Apologise to Oz.

Xander & Oz: (O/S, shuddering.) Ulgh. (A few more clatters as someone falls over.)

 

(Meanwhile, Jane is running low on ammunition in the streetsweeper's drum magazine. She unstraps her pistol, and starts punching chunks out of the makeshift armour that the vampires carry. Whatever she's loaded with is quite effective, blowing BIG holes through the ragged protection, and the vampires cowering behind it. The bricks are starting to come down again; really annoying the vampires who are trying to avoid Jane.

 

(Fast cut to upstairs, a little attic office.)

Buffy: (Surprised.) Hey, I think that's Jane down there! (Grunts as she throws a brick.)

(It's a reasonably small room; the only way out is piled high with broken desks, rusted filing cabinets and assorted heavy debris. There is a massive, drawn-out crash on the other side of the door. Giles and Willow look up from tearing out bricks for Buffy-throwing to the pile of rubbish blocking the door. They trade glances.)

Willow: Uh, help?

Giles: Unlikely.

(There is a sudden banging on the other side of the door, and unintelligible shouting. Giles and Willow rush over, arming themselves with sharp and heavy bits of wood. Suddenly, a hand punches through to reach a chair that makes part of the barrier. Willow yelps, and Giles pours a lot of holy water onto the hand. [He's a Watcher; they never leave home without it, duh.] It doesn't do anything, so a more practical Willow smashes it with a lump of wood. The hand disappears with a yell, to punch through again, this time grabbing Giles by his tie and dragging him in close.)

Oz: (O/S) Wait! Willow, Buffy, Giles, it's us!

Xander: (O/S) And could you not hit anything?

(Buffy keeps by the window, hurling bricks from a broken balcony. The occasional cry of pain warbles up, signifying that a vampire growling at Jane has been distracted again. The hand releases Giles, leaving the two to hurriedly work at disassembling the barricade enough so that they can open the door. Before they can, it is half-kicked out of its frame; heaped office furniture knocked aside by the blow. A dusty Oz clutches the now exposed interior frame, and heaves himself out. A cautious Giles sprinkles some of the holy water on him.)

Giles: (Noting no "vampire-positive" reaction.) Well done!

(Xander is thrown into the room, arms flailing, headfirst and bouncing off the half-opened door on the way. After he lands on some of the more unyielding objects, the water comes out and makes a muddy appearance. His gun is thrown up after and Oz is dragged away by Willow.)

Willow: You're safe! How did you manage to get through?

(There is a grunt, and the door is kicked further in, another grunt, and an Uzi is thrown inside, bouncing off various chairs and upside-down tables. Finally, Daria manages to vault her way up through the wreckage using only a single hand. Before anyone can stop him, Giles manages to splash a lot of the remaining holy water over Daria.

Oz & Xander: Nooo...!

(Slow motion scene; the water cascading towards a tired Daria (looking up), ready to splash her full on the face. Xander & Oz rushing to stop Giles, and failing. Giles realising what he has just done, close up on his shocked face. Close up of Willow looking distraught.

Daria: (The water impacts.) Ulgh! (Blows it out of her mouth, and wipes her face. She glares around and sucks a battered hand.) Do you mind?

Giles: (Looking as if the wrath of god is about to fall on him.) Uhm, ah, er...sorry.

(Daria gets up, trying to wipe the rest of the water from her face, making a big mud-smear from the brick-dust. She's lost the hair-tie, and her hair is getting in the way.)

Daria: (Very irritated.) I manage to get your two lost lambs up here so you can smash my hand and throw water in my face. (Pause.) God, no wonder Jane isn't too happy about Slayers...

Xander: (Weakly.) Hi guys.

Willow: (Collecting Oz's AK-47, and holding it curiously.) Ah, where did you get these?

Daria: (Shortly.) Friendly neighbourhood watch. (Walking by, Daria takes it off her and throws it back to Oz, who barely catches it.) Xander? Oz?

(Daria strides to the window, recovering her thrown Uzi on the way. She reloads, drops the empties on the floor and drags out her other Uzi, throwing it to a very surprised Buffy. Daria leans out and lets loose.)

(The vampires had got within a few yards of Jane when the line holding their protection wavers and collapses when gunfire rakes their unprotected heads. Oz and Xander quickly join in, adding their output into the vampires behind. Buffy has figured out the gun, and fires single shots to do the most harm. Daria is simply in full-auto, drops her empties and reloads. When Buffy clicks dry, Daria holds out another magazine, and they start again. Giles has recovered somewhat from his surprise and is now throwing bricks. Willow picks up the compound bow that Xander had been carrying (and somehow managed not to break). The bowstring snaps onto her wrist as she tries to draw it.)

Willow: Yow! Hurt! Pain!

Giles: (Calling out into the night.) Take that you miserable sod! Yes, you! (Flips two fingers at an unseen vampire. He capers up and down, then throws another brick.)

Willow: (A bit wary, to Giles.) Uh, wanna swap?

Giles: (Instant urbanity.) Of course. (He collects the quiver, nocks an arrow and draws past the resistance point. He holds it there a little, then lets loose.)

(A vampire pretty close to a blood-spattered Jane goes down screaming with an arrow in his thigh. Jane hauls it out, and gives it back through the heart. [No, we only get to see this from behind, sorry.] She has her pistol in one hand and the arrow in the other, her big gun slung across her back. After she does the vampire, she waves at the group above, obviously a gesture for them to come down.)

Buffy: Ok, now what? (In a totally different tone.) Empty. (Daria hands a magazine over.)

Giles: (Noticing how the vampires are starting to draw back, how some are simply slipping off into the night.) We could get down there and help her?

Oz: (Reloading.) Uh, can't get down the staircase. It kind of, ah, collapsed.

Willow: Then (Grunt, throw brick.) how did you get up?

Xander: (Reloading.) Daria carried us up.

Daria: (Totally expressionless.) And I almost dropped them, when someone decided to tenderise my hand. (Her long burst cuts off any reply.)

(Willow looks over at Daria. Daria suddenly turns, shoves the smoking Uzi at Willow and snaps off some webbing.)

Daria: Here! (She goes back inside, and there is a sharp crack. she comes out with a big lump of wood, maybe 6 foot long and 3 inches square. One end has been broken off into a jagged point.)

Willow: Uh?

Daria: (To the rest of the group.) Look, once I get down there, jump and I'll catch you. Ok?

Buffy: (Looks up from reloading.) Uh, no?

Willow: What?

Giles: How?

Xander & Oz: Right.

(The rest of the Sunnydalians look at Xander & Oz, who shrug.)

Oz: She managed to carry us up here.

Xander: So we're guessing that she can catch us.

Willow: (Not reassured.) But how are you going to get down?

(Daria throws the wood out into the vampires. A few screams indicate that this offering did not impress. She breathes a bit, calming herself. She runs, jumps onto the protective balcony and leaps out into the air. Everyone stops what he or she are doing to watch, apart from Jane who manages to stake and slash a few vampires otherwise distracted.)

(As Daria flies out, it becomes obvious where she's heading. There are powerlines on the other side of the street, and she may have enough forward momentum to carry her across. As she gets close to the lines, she stretches out and grabs at the outside line. Using that to swing and slightly slow her, she drops, avoiding the touch of another line. She lands heavily on her feet on the roof of a battered car, springs/bounces and rolls to impact on a concrete wall. Jane runs over, kicking an injured vampire out of her way.)

Jane: Wow Supergirl! You ok?

Daria: Apart from having gravel-rash along my entire left side, I'm fine. (Holds up a hand.)

Jane: Really? (Helps her up.)

Daria: No. (Rubbing arm.) God I hurt!

Jane: Heads! (They look up and Jane fends off a leaping vampire with a knife in the chest. She slams the female vampire upside down against the wall Daria just vacated. Daria kicks the bloodsucker in the head using her uninjured foot and Jane finishes off with the arrow she still clutches.)

Jane: We are so good. (Drops the arrow and casually pistols down another vampire. He screams and falls. She reclaims the arrow.)

Daria: Ok, cover my back while I catch the others.

Jane: Huh?

(Daria runs out to a reasonably clear patch of road, and waves.)

 

(Upstairs.)

Oz: (To Xander.) I was first last time. (Nudges him.)

(Xander sighs, shoulders the rifle, and carefully climbs over the edge.)

Buffy: Move Xander, you're blocking my field of fire!

(Xander hurriedly ducks and while doing so, slips.)

Xander: Woo -YaaaaaaaaaaahuHUGHH! (Big loss of breath.)

Daria: (Holding him in her arms.) That wasn't so bad, was it? (She lets him get to his feet. As he staggers a little, Jane jogs over, relieves him of his AK-47 and sprays the legs of some vampires running towards them. They go down screaming. Jane runs off with some magazines from his webbing and the rifle held at head height on full-auto.)

Jane: (Xena yell.) Yiiyiiyiiyiiyiiyiiyiiiiii! (Staccato bursts.)

Daria: She'll be no use to anyone after this. Here. (She gives Xander her pistol.) Make like John Wayne and I'll catch the rest. (Xander fumbles out his own pistol, and realises that the safeties are on. He gets them armed and fires wildly, managing to knock a few stirring vampires back down and away. Daria is waving at the people left on the balcony.)

Oz: (O/S) Coming throoooooooUGH!!

(Daria catches him handily, and lets him down. Oz drops down on one knee, and fires to blow back some of the more robust vampires. Jane runs back and stakes two vampires (who were downed by Oz) with some wood. She butt-strokes another vampire not as injured as the others, and stakes him too. She then runs over to Xander.)

Jane: Ammo, gimme! (She's stripping some more of the readily-accessible magazines from his webbing, reloads and runs off again. Echoing gunfire and screams follow her from around the corner.)

Daria: (Calling up.) C'mon people, jump!

Giles: (O/S) Catch!

(Daria catches the bow in one hand and the quiver in the other, and carefully puts them down.)

Giles: (O/S) Ready?

Daria: (Calling up again, warningly.) I'm easily bored!

Giles: (O/S) Right. Here goooooooooes!

(Again, a perfect catch, Daria sinking down to cushion the impact shock. [Giles is bigger than Xander and Oz, after all.] She lets him to his feet, and shoves the bow and arrows at him. He stands aside, getting things sorted out. Oz and Xander are discouraging any vampires approaching with a hail of bullets, while the occasional shots and distant screams for mercy indicate Jane is still going strong.)

 

(Upstairs.)

Buffy: (Points.) You go Willow.

Willow: No you. Uh, take this too. (She gives the Uzi to Buffy like it was something oozy.)

Buffy: You sure? (Hangs the Uzi over her shoulder and makes sure both safeties are on.)

Willow: (Anxious.) Just go. I'm not real good with heights. Or long goodbyes.

Buffy: (Smiles, then calls down.) Coming down!

Daria: (O/S) Jump!

(Buffy disappears from view, and Willow looks over the balcony.)

Daria: Uhh! (Catches Buffy. Lets her get to her feet. Aside to Buffy.) Stay with the guys and try to aim them in the right direction. (Yells up.) Willow, move it!

Willow: (O/S) I'm coming! (Beat.) Yahh!

(Willow hurtles out, closely followed by a vampire that must have climbed up the inside of the building. Something odd seems to have happened with Willow though. Instead of plummeting (ie: like the aforementioned vampire) she is floating gently down, a blue nimbus of light wrapped around her. Daria and Giles look up and stand aside for the vampire to impact. It is rather messy, and noisy. Xander and Oz cringe and move out of the way. Buffy stakes where his chest was, and something ashes.)

Willow: (Exultant, wrapped in the blue light.) Yes! It works! (Looks for the rest of the group.) Whoa, long way down.

Buffy: (Stressing mightily.) Willow, come on! Giles, what is she doing? And how is she doing it?

Giles: (More than a bit stunned.) I'm assuming it's one of her spells. By its appearance, I'd assume "Featherfall".

Xander: Uh-oh. (Just imagine the look...) Does anyone remember when she set her bedspread on fire?

(The blue nimbus flickers and is no more. Gravity re-asserts itself, and Willow falls.)

Willow: What? Oh, shii...Uhf!

Daria: (Who catches Willow quite neatly.) Hi there. Ready to walk?

Willow: (Swallowing her tongue.) Oh. Yes.

(Daria deposits her onto the brick and debris-littered road, and gets the attention of the rest.)

Daria: Ok everyone, time to get out while we can. Buffy, you and Giles finish off anything that looks malignant, we'll cover you two, and then we make our way out to Jane.

(Buffy tosses an Uzi back to Daria, and Willow goes to give Daria the webbing belts. Daria shakes her head, and motions Willow to follow closely, carrying the belts and running ammo when needed. The boys get behind, and cover the flanks. Buffy and Giles run about, stabbing anything that holds still long enough; Buffy claims the more "active" undead, while Giles goes for the weak and injured with the big dod o'wood that Daria threw out earlier. It's a good system, and they've managed to stake a lot of damaged vampires before Jane pokes her head around the corner.)

Jane: (Shouts.) Hey, don't shoot, I'm a friendly!

(The group aims the weapons somewhere else when Jane jogs over. She is liberally splattered in blood and less readily identifiable fluids.)

Jane: (Explanatory.) I'm down to nothing. (To Oz.) What have you got?

Oz: ("Man, me battle.") Four magazines, five with what's in here. (Slaps gun.)

Jane: And Dirty Harry over there?

Xander: (Panicked expression.) Uh, no idea. (Pats himself.) Not much though.

Jane: (Makes a decision.) Ok, we're gone. Daria, grab as much ammo as you can carry; you're on flank. I'll cover rear and Buffy will keep everyone else aimed in the right direction. (Gestures Buffy to take point.)

Buffy: (Nose out of joint.) Ok, where too?

Jane: My warehouse. You know the one; you were going to place it under surveillance?

Willow: Er, we might have had a very good and valid reason for coming out here, not related to any warehouse.

(Jane spins and really ruins the day for a vampire on the opposite roof.)

Jane: Let's hear it then. (Said vampire slowly falls and impales himself on a wooden fence.)

Xander: Oooh...(Winces.) [Don't watch kids!]

Oz: That's gotta hurt.

Daria: Come on. Let's just go before they realise we're running.

(The group makes it's way out of the old shopping section and turn the corner headed for the Lane warehouse. Bickering voices echo back and fade with distance.)

Buffy: (O/S) Ulgh!

Willow: (O/S) Gross!

Daria: (O/S) Jane, is this yours?

Jane: (O/S) Hey, only some of it is my mess! And don't look at me that way, he started it!

Oz: (O/S, curious.) How can you recognise him?

Xander: (O/S, thoughtful tone.) He'd be taller for a start.

Jane: (O/S) Look down.

(Beat.)

Willow: (O/S) Oh.

Giles: (O/S) Ahem. Well, we've all seen them before. Now let's get on, shall we?

Buffy: (O/S) Speak for yourself Giles. I for one have never seen anything that big...

Willow: (O/S) What about that site? The one I... (You know they are looking at her.) Eep!

Jane: (O/S with a slight grunt. There is a distant scream and ashing noise.) Well. He won't have to worry about male fertility problems at least. Maybe I should take a few souvenirs...?

All, apart from Jane: (O/S) Ulgh!

Jane: (O/S) Hey, I'm joking, all right! (Fading.) God, no sense of humour, any of you.

 

(Open to the group coming close to the Lane warehouse. Music: "Cool to Hate" - The Offspring. It is ablaze with lights and construction noises.)

Jane: (Outside door, drizzling.) Welcome to one of my humble abodes. (Kicks the now severely dented door.) Trent! YO! TRENT!

Trent: (O/S, voice crackling.) Hey Janey. Didn't you see the intercom?

(The group all looks down, and there is an intercom freshly attached to the wall next to the door. The "on" light is red. Jane shrugs and thumbs the send key.)

Jane: Nope. (Lets the key up.)

Trent: (O/S over the intercom.) Ok. I'll have to move some things out of the way. Hang on.

(Jane stands back, arms crossed. We can see the group a little better now. A tired Willow has on shreds of the ammo webbing, Daria is covered in mud, Oz and Xander have gunsmoke streaks on their faces, a tattered Giles has maybe two arrows left in his quiver and Jane is looking wet, tired and unhappy. There is a crunching noise from behind the door and Jesse opens it.)

Jesse: Hi.

Jane: (Smiles at him. Turns to everyone else.) C'mon people. (She trudges inside.)

(Inside the warehouse. There is a container blocking the access door, moved so that the door will only open enough for entry. The group files in and around a few other containers, and walk out into an open space now covered by fixed machine guns. The Sunnydalians are taken aback at this killing zone.)

Xander: Whoa.

Oz: Yeah.

Buffy: (Moody, ie: "Where's Angel?") What do you do for an encore, strip search us?

(Jane leers suggestively at Jesse, eyebrow raised.)

Daria: Jane. Please. (Rubs eyes.) I don't have the strength.

Jane: Heh. Pity. (Calling out.) Trent! Yo, Trent!

Trent: (O/S, faint calling out.) Coming. (Forklift noises.)

(Trent rolls into view with a welded gun-rack carried by the forklift he's driving. He quickly plants it reasonably close to where the group entered. He reverses, places the forks under the barricade container and shoves it back against the door. He switches off, and gets out.)

Trent: (Waves a little.) Hey.

(Xander and Oz wave back, then cut off when the rest of the Sunnydalians stare at them. Jane dumps her streetsweeper and Xander's AK in the rack. Daria follow with her Uzi.)

Jane: Introductions all around then. (Sing-song.) As you can guess, I'm Jane Lane. Please meet my brother, Trent Lane, and his friend Jesse Moreno. He and Trent, along with Max Tyler and his bother, Nicholas, have a band. (Slight pause.) Trent, like Daria and myself, is a vampire. Any questions? (Jane strips off her webbing, kicks it along the floor. It leaves bloody streak marks on the cement. She stretches with some cracking noises.)

Jesse: (Surprised.) You a vampire Trent?

Trent: (Embarrassed.) Uh, yeah.

Jesse: (Shrugs.) Cool.

(Max and Nick walk up, wiping their hands on some rags.)

Nick: (Sarcastically.) At last, Trent's sleeping habits are explained!

Jane: (Semi-seriously.) Actually, I think the boy just likes to sleep.

Trent: (Uncomfortable.) Uh, the "boy" is here.

Nicholas: Hi, I'm Nick, this is Max. He's the drummer. (Max waves.) I can think. (Max scowls.)

Giles: Oh, yes. (To Jane) Uhm, do you have any reason in particular in telling us that you're vampires?

Jane: (Shrugs.) Saves time and trouble. Plus I don't like strange people hanging around my house.

Willow: Huh?

Daria: (Explanatory.) Looked a bit like Giles there. (Points.) But weedier.

Jane: And wetter. (Pointedly.) Know him?

(The Sunnydale group exchange glances.)

Buffy: Fair is fair. (Sighs.) Giles was my first Watcher. (Jane and Trent look knowledgeable; the rest of the Lawndale people look confused.) But to make a long story shorter, the Watcher council released him and I had to have another Watcher. That's Wesley.

Jane: (Smiling.) Wesley?

Oz: Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Watcher of Vampire Slayers. Duly appointed by the Council of Watchers...

Daria: Watcher?

Willow: Uh, a Vampire Slayer (Nods to Buffy.) has a Watcher to look out for her, help train her and keep her alive.

Xander: Not to mention suffer some truly awful puns.

Giles: Thank you Xander. It is good to see that my years of training and self-sacrifice have enabled me to accept your poor witticisms without having to resort to violence.

Buffy: (Proud daughter kind of way.) He's kind of grown on us. (Indicating Giles.)

Oz: Unlike Wesley, who has also grown on us.

Xander: (Brightly.) Think of athletes-foot. Or ringworm.

Jane: Ohh, I'm seeing some tension here.

Buffy: Look. What is it that you want?

Jane: I know that a Hellmouth has opened in or around Lawndale somewhere. Trent and I have had some pretty weird and dammed freaky experiences, but we are simply not strong enough in the right areas to stop a Hellmouth. Satisfied?

Buffy: Why do you want to stop the Hellmouth? I thought your kind would enjoy having a direct pipeline to hell?

Trent: Hey! (He looks more than a little annoyed.)

Daria: Excuse me? OUR kind?

Jane: Let me make it simpler, so that you can understand. (Slowly.) Daria, Trent and I are vampires but don't drink innocent blood, want to destroy the world or seduce the unwary.

Trent: (Smirks, on another track.) Yeah, right Jane.

Jane: Hey, he was of age! (To Buffy, and the rest of the Sunnydalians.) And before you get all knowledgeable about vampires and the evil that we (A gesture indicates herself, Trent and Daria.) are supposed to represent, lets just say that I've lived a helluva lot longer than you, and enjoy the world without demons and whatnot running about.

Trent: I agree.

Daria: Life is hard enough without more bloodthirsty killers on the streets.

Buffy: Apart from you.

Jane: (Cold.) Trent, open the door. I think that little Miss Muffet here would like to go talk to some nasty vampires and convince them that they're evil.

(Buffy readies the Uzi, aiming it at the Lawndale group. Most of the Sunnydale groups look uncertain or pained.)

Jane: (Light, chill.) She must have read "7 Great Ways to Make Friends & Influence People."

Trent: (Unconcerned, to Jane.) What now?

Jane: Hmm. (Rubs chin.) You protect the guys; I'll make sure she has that thing on "safe".

(As Buffy instinctively checks that the safety is off, Trent and Jane literally blur into action. Trent moves so fast that he is nothing more than a visual smudge that knocks down Daria and the rest of the noncombatants. Jane's indistinct shape knocks Buffy's Uzi across the warehouse and the rest of the weapons follow it. She and Trent stop, holding Buffy spreadeagled against the metal wall of the container barricade. Jane's boot knife is in her hand again, and is pushing against Buffy's throat, forcing her to stand on tiptoes.)

Trent: (Eyes cold.) Hey.

Daria: (Getting up.) I'm impressed. What now?

Jane: (Cold, knife ready to seriously inconvenience Buffy.) Even though I'm tempted to handcuff her naked ass to the school flagpole, cover her in Hershey syrup and take polaroids, the high numbers of vampires about here make that option unacceptable.

Daria: Where do you get such fun ideas? (She walks over.)

Trent: College frat-house movies. (The band members find their feet. Max collects the scattered weapons and with a nod from Jesse, racks them.)

Giles: Ahem. (Trent blurs over to where Giles is. Giles is now uncomfortably aware of Trent's hand loosely holding his throat, and Trent's other hand on his shoulder. He swallows.) I realise that what Buffy may have indicated would be distasteful to you, but in our experiences, we've come to, ah, be wary of...

Daria: Vampires bearing gifts?

Willow: Uh, yes. (She stands back a little as three glares fix her.) Look, I know that we've been a little circumspect, but with some of our experiences, we tend to err on the safe side.

(Quick cut to an overhead skylight. Angel bursts through and glass rains down. He lands roaring and starts to run towards Jane. Daria reacts. She spins, arms raised.)

(With a loud crack, something hits Angel with terrible force, smashing off the corner of a nearby wooden crate on its way and slamming him against a metal shipping container. The impact is such that he dents it. Cut to Daria, who lowers her hands with a very surprised expression on her face.)

(Pretty much everyone stands with his or her mouth open, including Daria.)

Jane: (Into the subsequent silence.) Daria, you have got to tell me how you do that. (Conversationally to Buffy.) Is he a friend of yours? (Relaxes knife a trifle.)

Trent: (To Jane, in shock.) Uh. Want me to take care of it?

Daria: (Waves him back.) I think I've got it. (She walks over to the gun rack, collects her Uzi and makes ready with it. She walks over, her footsteps echoing across the warehouse floor.)

(The warehouse is silent with her approach. Buffy is straining to see who it is, mindful of Jane's knife. The rest of the groups crane to see what's going on in front of them.)

(Angel is in a heap on the floor in front of the container, groaning. This is quickly shut off when Daria's shadow reaches him. He tries to tense and get up.)

Daria: (Flat emotionless voice.) I don't think so.

(Something grabs Angel again and throws him towards the metal container where Buffy is held. Before catastrophic impact, he halts, shuddering.)

Daria: (O/S, conversationally.) Did you know that the most damage to the brain during a moment of impacts occurs when the brain experiences high deceleration against the interior of the skull? (Her footsteps echo back to the rest.)

Angel: (Soft, in pain.) B-Buffy?

Jane: (Light.) So, he knows your name. Is this unusual?

Buffy: (Past the knife.) Angel? (Goes to touch his face, but the knife is suddenly higher than before, and Angel is moved smoothly away from her by Daria's mysterious power.)

Jane: Angel. Another sidekick? (Considering tone.) Not bad. (Holding Buffy easily as she ties to hit.) Ohh, I think I've hit a sore spot here.

Trent: (To Giles.) Well?

Giles: Ah, Angel is a vampire, over 240 years of age. For the moment he is suffering the effects of a gipsy curse, which returned his soul. He's been helping us when he can...

Jane: (Sweetness & light.) Aw, and slayer girl has got the hots for him. How cute! (Colder than ice to Buffy.) Don't struggle dear, or the first thing he will see when he wakes up is me gutting you.

Daria: (Looks around for something.) Someone got some water? Hang on, don't worry. (Giles jacket opens and his half-empty flask of holy water floats over to Angel, opening as it goes.)

Willow: No, don't!

(Xander and Oz echo her exclamation.)

Daria: Why, it's just water? (She floats it over to herself, and before anyone can do anything, takes a drink.)

(Various gasps of horror from the Sunnydale group. Small smiles from Trent and Jane.)

Daria: What? Should I have boiled it first?

Willow: Umm, er, uhlm...

Daria: What's up with them?

Trent: Hey, over here Daria. (Daria blushes, and the flask sails over to Trent. He takes a healthy swig, and tosses it over to Jane. She catches it with one hand, and takes a drink.)

Jane: Catch! (Throws it to Daria.)

(The flask stops about two feet away from Jane, and floats in midair. It rotates so that a cheesy label is facing Daria.)

Daria: Oh. It's holy water. (Pause.) Jane, I assume you knew what I was doing?

Jane: Nope. But don't worry, you won't go by the old "Wicked Witch of the West" route.

Trent: (Laughs.) Hey, Janey. Do you remember that time we tricked that big vampire slime demon into drinking a bucket of that stuff?

Jane: The look on his face...

Willow: ("Willow remaining calm" voice.) Well, ok. Considering how many vampires we've turned into screaming piles of ash with it, I would say yes, holy water doesn't affect you. At all. (To the rest of the Sunnydale group.) This is really scary.

Giles: (Fascinated.) Garlic?

Jane: (Distracted.) It's better on pizza.

Oz: Religious images, symbols?

(Jane spies the little silver mirror crucifix that Buffy has and holds it out. No effects. Angel twitches a little. Jane notes his reaction, then puts it back.)

Xander: Uh, running water? Sunlight?

Jane: No. And I think you know the answer to the last one.

Buffy: Ok. (Exasperated.) Then what the hell are you?

Jane: What we said, vampires. (Her teeth are suddenly in evidence. Everyone draws back, apart from the other vampires. Daria and Trent because it's fine with them, Angel stays where he is because he has not yet regained consciousness.) Just because we are vampires, it doesn't mean that we're evil. Or power-hungry. Or bloodthirsty. (Pause.) Well, maybe the last one.

Trent: But only within reason.

Daria: Jane told me recently that there are as many types of vampires as there are disease. We're Sickle-Cell Anaemia. Others are probably Malaria, or Ebola.

Jane: (To Daria.) Nice. You've always been good with examples.

(Daria shrugs. Suddenly, Angel's face is slapped around, reasonably gently.)

Angle: (Slap.) Uh. (Slap.) What? (Slap.) Hey. (Slap!) Quit it! (Slap!) I'm awake!

Trent: Hi. (Angel opens blurry eyes.)

Jane: Yo. (Angel makes the connection.)

Daria: Hello. (Angel struggles against the invisible bonds holding him a foot above the floor.)

Jane: (Dry.) Be good, or we'll let Daria make a crash-test dummy out of you.

Trent: And that's no idle threat.

Angel: Ok, you've got me. (Shakes his head, trying to clear some dizziness.) Now what?

Daria: I have an idea. (Buffy and Giles are gently plucked from their respective captors. They float over to join Angel. He and Buffy reach out to hold hands.)

Jane: How sweet! (Fangs retract. To Trent.) Got a camera?

Trent: (A bit surprised.) No. Should I?

Daria: Don't worry. (Glares at Jane.) Your sister is being a pain.

Trent: Oh. That's normal, I guess.

Daria: It's simple. We combine forces, find and close the Hellmouth. After that, you go home and we live our lives in peace and obscurity.

Buffy: And if we don't?

Jane: We throw out to do the best you can. We're vampires. We could survive an open Hellmouth, but we wouldn't enjoy it. Of course, the rest of the word would like it less, but we could survive.

Trent: Always have, always will.

(Little chill silence.)

Daria: We (her gesture encompasses Trent and Jane) have not lost our humanity. We are the same people we were before we became what we are now.

Jane: And all joking aside, Daria is right. We are not the lonely demons of the night. We are just another alternate suburban population, ready to create, uplift and enlighten with word, art or song. We don't want a Hellmouth, but you need us far more than we need you.

Giles: (Looks at Buffy. It's her decision to make.) Buffy?

(Buffy stares at an impassive Daria, and at Jane and Trent backing her up.)

Buffy: Ok, alright. (They drop to the floor, but are held up so that they can regain their feet. Daria holds out her hand. Buffy looks at it.)

Daria: I won't break my word Buffy. Will you shake on it?

(Buffy looks pained, then she takes Daria's hand and shakes it.)

Buffy: Done. And we never see your faces around Sunnydale, ok?

Jane: (Smiling.) If you ever do, it will be for totally legal and normal reasons.

Trent: (To Angel.) Hi, I'm Trent, this is my sister Jane and our best friend Daria. (Daria's ears prick at this.) The guys over there are Jesse, Max and Nicholas. (The band waves, dazed.)

Willow: (Coming over to Trent, followed closely by Oz and Xander.) Uh, hi. I'm Willow, Buffy's friend and Wicca. This is Oz and Xander. Uhm, Oz is in a band too.

Trent: (Interestedly.) Really? Cool.

Jesse: (Interestedly.) Cool.

Max: (Interestedly.) Cool.

Nicholas: (Interestedly.) Cool.

Trent (To Oz, his voice fading as we pan to Jane, Daria, Buffy, Giles and Angel.) What do you play?

(Oz's reply is intelligible.)

Giles: (To Jane and Daria.) What now?

Jane: Had any luck finding the Hellmouth? (Knife away again.)

Giles: Not yet. Ah, Angel?

Angel: (Free hand still rubbing head, other hand is holding Buffy.) Huh? No, I haven't seen anything as obvious as a portal to Hell with a big pink neon sign pointing to it.

Buffy: What about the school?

Daria: (Thoughtful.) I admit that it does have a negative side...

Buffy: No. Look, trusting so-called "Slayer luck", I threw a bunch of knives into a map of Lawndale and most of them ended up in the school. Statistically, that's as likely as Willow becoming a man.

Jane: (Aside to Giles.) She obviously doesn't watch Sick Sad World.

Buffy: Huh? (Angel stops his rubbing.)

Daria: Most?

Giles: Ah, one knife landed in your street, and the other in Jane's. Another landed well off the map, and we haven't worked out where it would have gone. I estimate that it was around 104 miles southeast of the Lawndale town centre.

Daria: Hmm...(Thinks.)

Jane: (She's got that look again.) A hundred miles away?

Daria: Jane, Trent and I were at the Mall of the Millennium Monday night. (Jane smiles)

Jane: Daria? Always avoid alliteration. Always. (Daria cringes.)

Giles: ("Aha, a reasonable explanation" voice.) That might explain it. And your houses. Since you live there, your physic imprint would be left, and that's what "directed" the knives there.

Jane, Daria and Angel: Huh?

Buffy: Since I can detect vampires, now it looks as if I can find out where they are. Wow.

Jane: Wouldn't that indicate that there was a huge vampire population at the school then?

Buffy: (Face falls.) Ah.

Giles: Well, it was a good thing while it lasted.

Angel: (Dry.) And it would have saved so much walking.

Daria: Don't worry, you're just too specific. (Explanatory.) If you detect a "psychic imprint", obviously there is a big "something" to imprint the school. It may be that there are no vampires at the school, just something as dangerous that sets you off. Or normal dislike.

Jane: (Interestedly.) Cool.

Daria: (To Jane.) You've been around the band for far too long.

(The rest are pondering this theory.)

Giles: It fits.

Angel: Quite well.

Buffy: Too well.

Jane: So?

Buffy: Ok, we check out the school. Again.

Daria: Tomorrow, right? I'm a bit wasted. (Yawns.)

Buffy: (Aside to whoever's listening.) So much for tireless creatures of the night.

Giles: A rest and regroup would definitely be in order after tonight's efforts.

Angel: Sorry, I was checking out likely haunts, found nothing. What did you guys run into?

Giles: Ah, I don't know exactly how many vampires were slain...

Buffy: Upwards of fifty, minimum. (Backhanded.) And that's not counting Jane's "playtime".

Angel: (Professionally.) If that were so, it would indicate a huge breeding population.

Jane: (Satisfied tone.) Not anymore.

Buffy: (Professional Slayer voice.) But where did they come from? Does Lawndale have a big missing person's problem, strange disappearances, bloody murders or things like that?

Jane: No, but if you think a little, you'll figure it out pretty soon. (Stretches some more.)

Buffy: (Annoyed.) And if we're not good at guessing games?

Daria: (Explanatory.) The vampires are attracted by the "malign" physic energy output by the potential Hellmouth, just like Jane is. (Beat. Normal Daria.) So, diabolical things will be sniffing around Lawndale, ready to jump in and claim their own choice slice of hell, or simply bring it here.

(Everyone looks a little sick at this.)

Jane: (Thinking-measured voice.) So, pretty soon we are going to be knee deep in the undead. (Beat.) Great. (Turns and calls out.) Trent! Get out the BIG guns. And plenty of ammo! We're gonna have ourselves a war soon! (To the group close by.) Good thing he thought ahead to stock up. Judging by past experiences, Lawndale is going to be hit by the biggest plague of evil that you don't EVER want to see...

Daria: I'm thinking "Night of the Living Dead"?

Jane: Not even close. It'll be more along the lines of "Starship Troopers." You know, masses of things running along, making McNuggets out of anything that slows them down? (To Giles.) Better stock up on the anti-monster goodies when you get home.

Giles: Hmm, yes. What will you do?

Jane: Restock, recover and ratify. We're crispy-fried.

Trent: (Walking over from an in-depth discussion of chording.) Oh, yeah. We've got your van if you guys were wondering about transport. Max opened up the engine, but all you had was vapour-lock, apparently.

Giles: (Vague.) We did wonder how we were to get home...

Buffy: How did you find it? Last I saw it was being trashed.

Trent: Easy. I had the guys tool up and we drove the "Tank" out to where the tracks led. We found the van, dragged it back here. Didn't see a single soul. I'm not saying it wasn't damaged, or anything, but you'll be able to drive back. (Beat.) I think.

Angel: Uh, thanks. (Curious.) How old are you, anyway?

Trent: Me?

Jane: (Tired.) No Trent, he means the other goateed vampire whose name is also Trent.

Trent: Oh, 264. (Beat.) I was... (Breaks off and waves hands, embarrassed.) ...you know, in 1735, I think. Is that a problem?

Angel: It's nice not being the eldest on the block, that's all.

Trent: I dunno.

Jane: Of course, if you took into account the time he spent asleep, he'd only be 36.

Trent: Funny Jane. And if I remember right, we had to move houses twice because you set them on fire with the heat generated by the candles on your birthday-cake.

(Daria raises her eyebrows.)

Jane: (Defensive.) It would have been fine if you had splashed out on a bigger cake.

Trent: (Flat.) They were the biggest the bakers could bake. One of them cracked the floor.

Jane: Dammit, it's not as fun without all the candles.

Daria: Yes. Just think of the spontaneous "wax sculpture" possibilities.

Trent: I just like to eat some of the cake. (Beat.) Without wax.

Jane: It's the best bit. It's so colourful!

Giles: Hmm...

Daria: Point taken. I think the plan for now is to get some sleep. Ok everyone?

(The Sunnydalians collect themselves, a heap of portable weapons from some of the more easily accessible crates and pile into the black transit that Giles has rented. It was new, now it looks worse than the Tank. Trent opens up the main roller door and the van motors out into the wet night. The passenger-side window rolls down and Buffy sticks her head out.

Buffy: See you tomorrow?

Daria: Sure.

Jane: If we're not eaten.

(Jane looks at Trent as the van drives off.)

Jane: Or otherwise engaged.

(POV to Trent: who is snoring gently against the side of the main door, standing upright. Scene fade to black.)

 

(Music: "Quake: Music Track 1" - Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. [Kids, drive your parents insane by listening to it all hours of the night, at a volume so that they can just hear it.] Cue "Buffyesque" montage of evil things afoot, and of dark doings.)

(Lawndale High at night; shadows move across walls without anything to cast them. A Mall; tattered figures are seen breaking into shops and removing clothes. A walkie-talkie is seen lying on the floor, bloody outstretched hand lying close to it. The hand is removed from the shot, by the sound, with the body being dragged away. Lawndale cemetery; some gravestones move, a mausoleum door creaks open, slowly. On the highway, dark shapes, vaguely doglike, tear and worry at something by the side of the road. Pan to the right and we see an Animal Control van lying in the roadside ditch, driver's side door open. Jump to another open car door, POV pans upward to a pizza delivery car, pizzas steaming on the passenger seat, fade out with screams in background. Generic woodland scene; red eyes stare down from branches high up in trees, eyes that aren't human on things that make quiet "chirring" noises. Green eyes stare out from the darkness underneath Lawndale, the POV moves up and we see an open manhole above. Drift back to the school again, the shadows are racing over the walls, heedless of light shining in from outside sources. They mix and writhe, coalescing into a darkness that falls away from the wall, then disappears...)

(End music.)

 

(Open to the cheesiest sunrise/morning shot imaginable. <FX: Birdsong> Pan over the quiet streets, the dewy morn, the streaming surprises that dogs have left on lawns and the red-brick monstrosity that is the Morgandoffer residence. Cut to the master bedroom. Jake is snoring softly on his back; Helen curled in a foetal position, gradually stealing the blankets. Beside her on the bedside table is a pile of legal documentation. Drift over (through the wall) to Quinn, sleeping soundly. She looks quite unkempt and generally mussed. She sighs gently (in the Quinn voice we know so well) and rolls over, displaying a big "panda-eye" problem, lipstick smeared over her cheek and a "makeup face" on the side of the pillow that she's been sleeping on.)

(Finally, we cut to Daria's room where a rumpled lump in the blankets indicate that she did go home, but is not there now. The curtains are drawn and misty light seeps in through the cracks. Her digital clock goes from 5:59 to 6:00, and there is a slight click and a humming from underneath her bed. The camera POV quickly moves to beneath the bed, where a time-delay switch is plugged into the wall socket. It is now "on" judging by the red light glowing by the "on" label, and the camera follows the connecting lead. It directs the POV along the wall, and connects to another cord, this time fatter and grey. Following the cord again, we see it enter the back of something very big and black.)

(Pan back and we can see a monster stereo system, now on. The massive speakers are moaning with random electronica, indicating that the volume is up very high. Suddenly, the CD stacker (empty apart from one CD) rotates into pickup with a whirr, the sole CD is placed over the laser and spins up. Closeup on the LED display; play time and title of the track.)

(Music "Sweet 69" - Babes In Toyland. Oddly enough, this is the same displayed by the system.)

[For those who don't know it, it has a little "cowbell hit" before powering into Thrash Grrrl Power Rock. This means you've got two and a half seconds to turn it down before it blasts out onto unsuspecting eardrums.]

(No one turns it down.)

(The camera drifts out for an exterior shot. When the music hits, windows shake, dogs bark and leafs drift off trees.)

Jake, Helen & Quinn: (O/S) Argh! What! Jake! WhaaaGH! Helen, what is that!!? (Etc.)

(Cut to inside the house, where a door slams open, something causes an unseen crash and we see a dazed Jake stumbling along the hall to where the music originates. Daria's door is bouncing along with the beat and monstrous guitar. He stared muzzily at it, then starts to bash the door, trying in vain to shout over the noise.)

Jake: Daria! DARIA! Turn it down! TURN IT DOWN! DARIA! (He wrenches at the doorknob, and falls inside. From a bedside vantagepoint (ie: from Daria's bed to the door) we see Jake clutch his head at the sudden noise overload and try to crawl to stop the music. Things in Daria's room are vibrating in sympathy with the output, and the brain and heart bounce off their respective places to hit Jake.)

Jake: Arragh! (Screams louder when the noise hits his unprotected ears again. Hands on his head, he rolls and hits a few other things on her floor. He's still trying to make his way over to the stereo, but it is obvious that his head will explode if he tries.)

(The song is cut off mid-screech, and a strange kind of silence fills the air, broken only by the sound of distant dogs going insane. Jake cautiously uncurls from his protective ball, and looks around. A hand on his shoulder makes him start.)

Jake: Arragh! (He jumps up, whirls around and stumbles, only a delicate hand stopping him from crushing the fallen heart. [Hey, how is that for a deep statement, hmm?])

Daria: (O/S, mature Daria voice.) Dad? You ok?

Jake: (Uncertain.) Uh, sure kiddo. HEY! (Now winding up again.) What's the meaning of the... (His voice trails off as his gaze wanders from the heart he narrowly missed to his eldest's slippered feet. It goes up the now shapely legs, hits a sky-blue bathrobe and blurs onto her eyes. Framed by her long lashes, they widen slightly when she notes his stare.)

Daria: Yes? (Camera POV pullback. Daria is wearing the blue robe and a big blue towel wrapped around her head. It is looks like she's had a shower. She moves past Jake and towels her head dry. She replaces a remote next to her bed. He turns to track her.)

Jake: Uhh, it's about the music... (Daria throws her towel on her bed and stretches her back. You know, hands clenched, trying to separate vertebrae. Music: "Freak On A Leash" - Korn.)

Daria: Sorry, someone must have left it too loud. It won't happen again. (As she's saying this, she turns to the wall closet, opens it and throws out something black and green. It lands on the bed, revealing cut-off black cargo pants and a small green shirt. A black sports bra follows, accompanied by black panties. Jake hurriedly turns to face the door.)

Daria: (O/S) (Assorted dressing noises.) Was there anything else Dad?

Jake: (Really uncomfortable.) Uhh, no, not really. Say Daria, where did that come from?

Daria: (O/S) What? (Zipper noise.)

Jake: The, ah, stereo? (Rustle-rustle noise from Daria.)

Daria: (O/S) Oh, Jane needed space in her room, so we moved it into here for a while.

Jake: And hey! What time did you get in here last night, young lady? (Belt noise.)

Daria: (O/S) Around 3:30am. (Pause.) You can turn around now.

Jake: WHAT! 3:30 am! (Jake turns, veins bulging.)

Daria: I was going to sleep over at Janes again, but an all-male band decided to stay over as well, so I decided that I would be better off in my own room. (Daria is dressed neatly, tight green shirt defining her chest, as seen in "Quinn the Brain". She is sitting on her bed, pulling on her big black boots, the ones last seen in the school cafeteria. After she does them up, she stands, now almost at eye level to Jake.)

Jake: Oh. Oh! (His mind is following the typical "Must protect daughters at all cost" mindset. For those who haven't noticed, Daria is playing him like a Gameboy.) That was good thinking...Daria. (Finally notices her height.) Uh, did you get a haircut?

Daria: (Goes for the easy option.) Yes. (He looks uncertain.) I'm also wearing my contacts.

Jake: Oh, ok kiddo! (He knows that women are sensitive about their appearance, possibly even Daria. He decides on the safest option.) Looks good! See you at breakfast! (Happy that he's been observant enough to notice such a subtle change in his daughter, he trots off to bed and away from any awkward questions like "Does this make be look too fat?" [Remember that this man is married to Helen. Notice how he avoids answering any of her questions?])

(Daria shakes her head, picks up and shrugs on the vast black leather coat. She slaps her pockets a few times, looking and finding various items. As she walks out of her room, fastening on a big black watch, Quinn staggers out of their shared bathroom, wiping sleep out of her eyes. They fasten unsteadily on the dark presence that is now Daria.)

Quinn: (Using the voice that can bend metal.) Da-ri-ia!

Daria: Yes, O Queen of the Panda Eyes?

Quinn: (All thoughts about Daria torment gone in a flood of fashion terror.) What? Oh no!

(As Quinn runs back into the bathroom, we can clearly hear water rushing and Quinn berating herself about not cleaning up before anyone could see her.)

Quinn: (O/S) Stupid! Stupid! What if somebody important saw you? Ulgh!

(Daria smiles (barely) as she walks away from the open door. She descends the steps, opens the front door, whips out a funny-looking mobile phone and speed dials a familiar number. As she reaches the road, the "Tank" screeches to a halt in front of her. Jane sticks her head out of the driver's side.)

Daria: (Slightly surprised.) Wow. That's service.

Jane. Hop on in and turn off the damn phone already. I know you need a pick up. (A faint ringing is heard inside the Tank when Daria open the door. It ceases when Daria stops the call. She gets in and belts up.)

Daria: (Interested.) How did you know that I'd be up this early?

Jane: Please. (Waves off amateur interaction.) Who's had the most practice at this?

Daria: ("Fair enough" expression.) Well, what to do today? And why do you have the Tank? (Yawns.)

Jane: Pretty simple. (Pinches bridge of nose.) We're going to go over to the warehouse, load up on sharp pointy things that go "boom", and go to school. In the Tank.

Daria: (Mid yawn.) The hey? Why the Tank?

Jane: (Smiling into the windscreen.) It's pretty simple Daria. Like the "sweaty-band" ambience or not, we'll need the Tank to get around. And since there is a very good chance that major nastiness is going to make an appearance today, I don't like the "ass hanging in the breeze" feeling of weaponlessness.

Daria: (Dry.) Interesting word.

Jane: Thanks. So, we now have own APC. (Pats the dash.) Good Tank.

Daria: Right. (Vague concern.) Then what is the band going to use? As transport?

Jane: (False distain as she drives off.) Please. Trent's got a warehouse full of automatic weapons, explosives and god-knows what else?

Daria: (Raised eyebrow.) Oh. (Questioning.) Boys and their toys?

Jane: (Tired.) You have no idea. You couldn't get them out of there without resorting to whips. For them, it's like the "Cave of Wonders" with unlimited rubs on Aladdin's Lamp. (Beat.) And it's a good thing you didn't stay over last night. The last I saw, they were role-playing every tough-guy Rambo-wannabe movie using what they brought with them. I won't tell you how many times they had to watch "Aliens".

Daria: Aliens?

Jane: (Reciting from memory.) "We are the ultimate badasses. State-of-the-Badass-art"?

Daria: Oh yeah. I remember now.

Jane: And they keep running around calling themselves "Hicks", "Hudsen" and "Vasquez". I had to persuade Trent not to make a motion-tracker out the microwave.

Daria: (Helpful.) I can see how that could prove annoying.

Jane: It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't seen the movie so many times. (Beat.) And if Trent hadn't thrown that facehugger model at me when I was feeling delicate this morning. (Annoyed.) I thought I'd burnt the bloody thing. (Happy.) Anyway, did your parents freak?

Daria: No. But I would like to know who rigged the stereo. Any hints?

(Jane smirks.)

Daria: Remind me to post your vital statistics and phone number at the "Sick Sad World of Lonely Hearts" page.

(Camera POV, chasecar view. The Tank swerves violently, then recovers.)

Jane: (POV: inside again. Jane looks shocked.) You wouldn't! That's inhuman! There are people there that make eternity with Upchuck seem an attractive proposition!

Daria: I won't ask how you know, but don't push it, or you'll find out how they really are...

Jane: Ohh, you are a twisted one, aren't you?

Daria: Just drive, Tank girl.

(Music: "Shove" - L7. [C'mon, I had to include it!] Scene dissolve to...)

 

(Lawndale High establishment shot. Pan to the car-filled student parking area. The Tank screeches into the student lot, narrowly missing Upchuck, and pulls into a vacant space. The music rolls out from the Tank.)

Jane: (O/S, inside the van.) Damn!

Daria: (O/S, consoling tone.) Better luck next time.

Jane: (O/S, inside the van, hopeful.) Maybe if I reverse?

Daria: (Gets out and locks passenger door. Warning tone.) Jane. (Music off.)

(Upchuck looks over to Daria's voice. He looks very white and is sweating heavily. He pales further when he sees Daria, and lopes away in a funny, crouched posture.)

Jane: (Eyes following Upchuck's escape.) Hmm. Been here for 20 seconds and you're a social outcast...

Daria: What can I say?

Jane: (Big fat grin.) You're gifted.

Daria: Will the Tank be ok?

Jane: Unless it gets hit in the rocket attack, it'll be fine. (They walk away towards school.)

(They wave at Jodie, who is stripping off a crossing-guard's cap and vest as she makes her way towards the main entrance. She kind of waves back, or it may be that she is trying to shrug off the fluorescent-orange vest without dropping the pile of books she has.)

Daria: Well, I hope you've got your art outline ready for Mrs Defoe. (Still walking.)

Jane: Whaa? (She turns, shocked.)

Daria: Don't you remember? The stunt I pulled to get out of texture?

Jane: (Lofty.) I have some vague recollection concerning events of which you speak..?

Daria: (Flat.) It backfired. (Pause.) Defoe used the "U" word in Commandant Li's hearing...

Jane: ("WHAT?" tone.) "Unto", as in "honour unto"? As in "Bringing honour unto Lawndale High?"

Daria: (Semi-apologetic.) Yes. So you now have a direct order from up on high to produce a class masterwork, or face voluntary community service.

Jane: (Rather put out.) Yet another fine mess you've gotten me into, Stanley.

Daria: Sorry. But Mrs Defoe wanted a project outline so that the costs and material resources could be allocated...

Jane: (Very dry, arms crossed.) ...Out of the Art Department's yearly budget by Ms Li?

Daria: Correct. (Passes over a few papers to Jane.) These are my preliminaries. You'll want to change them.

Jane: (Perusing the sheets. Thoughtful tone.) Hmmm...

Daria: Something wrong?

Jane: Apart from being dragooned into an artwork not of my choosing? It's pretty scary, but you've really outdone yourself this time.

Daria: Ok, where did I screw up?

Jane: (Smiling at her.) You didn't. This is brilliant. Inspired even.

Daria: Eh? (More than a bit surprised.)

Jane: (Reading as she walks along.) This is a pretty inclusive wish list Daria. (Waves hands to empathise points.) Air-compressor, paintball guns and I see that you didn't neglect to include the safety equipment requirements? Great, we can sell the respirators and make a profit on the whole deal. Ohh, and you've got a lot of paint. (Checks again.) Hmm, what media platform?

Daria: No idea. Are you sure I wrote that? Give it here. (Checks list out.) I don't know what this is. (Frowns.) It must have been in the printer queue.

Jane: Brilliant! (Tucks paper away in coat pocket. Rubs hands together.) Ohh, I'm gonna have fun with this lot. (Cackles a little. Daria looks askance at Jane.)

Daria: Easy Jane, easy.

Jane: You know that this is the first time that I can really cut loose in the school system?

Daria: Uh-oh. (Begins to look wary.)

Jane: (Close up.) Oh yes. The time has come. And I'm gonna get paintball guns...

Daria: (Only half-joking.) You're scaring me.

Jane: (Extreme closeup, eyes only. Devilishly angled.) I haven't begun to scare...

(Fade to...)

 

(Blackboard of Giles's English room. [I can feel a bad pun coming on.] Cut shot to the doorway where the class is filling with the usual suspects, ie: nose-chain boy, flax hair over face girl, the blob with the walkman, named characters; Andrea, the Sunnydalians, Daria and Jane. Kevin and Brittany are there too. [I don't know why, maybe he too stupid for da football school, or somethin.] Giles comes in hurriedly, balancing a pile of papers, books and other teaching paraphernalia.)

Giles: (While setting down his load.) Now, today I'm setting an assignment that many of you may find difficult. Please don't get me wrong, it is just that since the school library is not yet finished...

Daria: (Aside to Jane shot.) ...Or started.

Jane: (Close up POV.) Those sniffer-dogs really like to chow down, don't they?

Daria: (Eyes aside POV.) I blame the security companies for taking advantage of Ms Li.

Jane: [Do I have to spell out the POV?] Don't. They saw her coming...

Giles: (Camera back to Giles.)...Most of the information that you'll need will simply not be accessible. So to further your education, I have brought along some of the more likely texts that will aid you in the completion of this assignment. (Looks out into the class.)

(Class viewpoint from Giles; a blank and shallow sea of apathy.)

Giles: (Turns back to the chalkboard.) The topic for your assessment is...(Writes on the board, he's obscuring it.)...Myths, and how to combat them.

(Giles turns to see the class again. It looks as if the sea is developing ripples of interest.)

Daria: Excuse me? (Jane looks intrigued.)

Willow: (Aside to Xander, the same way it is done with Daria & Jane.) If he's trying to do what I think he's doing...

(Andrea's listening in, but no one notices.)

Xander: He's lost me. (Brightly.) And you're doing the same, "Wonder Willow"!

Buffy: (O/S, Coming in from front.) What's up?

Willow: ("Can't they see it?" expression.) Can't you guys see it?

Xander: All at sea here. (Camera drawback so the three can be seen.)

Buffy: Aye-aye!

Giles: (O/S, from in front.) Admiral Summers, would you care to turn and pay attention to the topic at hand? Ms Rosenberg, Mr Harris?

Willow: Whoops. ("Hey, you were caught, Babe." look from Kevin. Brittany glares.)

Buffy: (Ignores the idiots, holds up a hand.) Ah, Giles, what exactly will this report entail?

Giles: (Cut to Giles again.) It's pretty simple Ms Summers. Using the examples of cultures and mythology we discussed earlier, you are to research typical myths and examine the traditional weaknesses, strengths and foils that they may possess. If you are feeling up to it, I would like to see a dissection of how some myths seem interwoven with various beliefs, or locales, and how some jump all boundaries to be part of the "common dread".

Kevin: (Class shot.) Huh?

Jane: (Same shot.) Kevin, he wants us to research how to kill monsters.

(The class does the "Whoa!" thing, and rock back on respective chairs. There are varied noises towards Jane, mostly of surprise and admiration. Daria raises an eyebrow. Xander looks as if he's accidentally swallowed a goldfish. Willow knows she is going to blitz this one. Buffy is obviously coming to grips with the knowledge that she will actually be able to accomplish an in-depth assignment on a topic she knows. Generally, the class looks amazed.)

Kevin: (Confused.) So, does this mean like, vampires and werewolves and mummies and demons and devils and stuff?

Giles: (Still getting used to Kevin.) Ah, yes?

Kevin: You mean like, in the horror movies? You know, bat knocking on the window, big puff of smoke and someone screaming? And the garlic necklaces?

Giles: (Becoming acclimatised to the stupidity.) Yes Kevin.

Kevin: You mean the assignment is on monsters?

Giles: (Acclimatisation complete.) Yes Kevin.

Kevin: Oh.

(The class is looking quite carefully at Kevin. Something uncharacteristic seems to be happening. Kevin is staring into his football. Sweat gathers on his forehead.)

Kevin: (Very slowly, forcing the words out.) So. Like. We. Can. Do. Mon-sters. That. Are. In. Horror. Movies?

Giles: Yes Kevin. (Gives Kevin a list, and a stack of paper to a surprised Buffy, who is hurriedly urged to pass around the list by other members of the class.) But the ones on the list would seem to be the best choice for you.

Kevin: Oh? (Looking at the list in front of him.) Oh. (Looks again.) Ohh. (Smile lights up.) Ohh-YEAH! (Jumps up and down, paper in his hand. He is ecstatic) This is IT my friends! YES! The DAY has COME for the QB! (Pause, bigger smile.) I'm the QB! YEAH!

(He grabs Brittany by the hand and hauls her bodily out of the class, overturning their desks on the way. As he runs out of the doors, you can hear his progress (whoops and hollering) echoing along the corridors for quite a while. The whole class is silent throughout all of this, listening.)

Giles: Well...

Oz: ...That was unexpected. (Willow, Xander and Buffy share a look.)

Xander: (To Oz, concerned.) Come back to us, dear friend, we're beginning to miss you...

Buffy: (More to the point.) Oz, you're scaring us...(Willow just looks very worried.)

Giles: (Ignoring the rising murmurs.) Well, you all have a copy? Good. Well, please examine these books for possible information. I will be sitting (Looks around, decides to re-right Kevin's desk.) here. No questions? Good. Well, set to it! (Sits.)

(The class moves to the front of the room, and begins to paw at the books. Andrea sidles past and grabs a few, withdrawing to her chair. She gives anyone approaching her a dirty look and a hiss if they try to take her books, or even ask her anything. Daria and Jane haven't moved.)

Daria: (Slight state of shock.) I can't believe this is happening.

Jane: Vampire hunting, demon banishing and monster removal? Looks as if Giles has done the impossible and set the class it's first assessment for Slayer 101. (Pause.) I'm impressed.

Daria: (Agrees.) Very.

Jane: (Packs and gets up, Daria hastily follows her.) Personally, I'm going over there to pick some brains.

Daria: Let's go, Igor...

Jane: (Smirk.) Yeassss massterr.

(Camera fades out to Daria & Jane going to sit close to the Sunnydalians. The rest of the class is pouring over the books on Giles's desk.)

 

(Open to Daria and Jane, getting into the Tank. They look uncharacteristically happy. Music: "Sweetness And Light" - Itch-E & Scratch-E. [If you're not Australian, E-mail me if you've heard of them! Triple J rules OK! Yeah! I'm not the QB! Yeah!])

Jane: (Unlocking the doors.) I simply cannot believe that Li authorised that list!

Daria: (Slightly happy because of Jane's reactions.) Did she even read it?

Jane: (Grateful.) Thanks to your timely intervention, no. (Intrigued.) And how did you know that Kevin was running a non-stop horror-movie fest in the Audio-visual rooms?

Daria: (Matter-of-fact.) Once I saw him jogging in that direction with his arms filled with "Evil-Dead" movies, it was child's play.

Jane: (Interested.) Was that showing too?

Daria: Eh?

Jane: Oh, nevermind. (Gets in. Camera POV to inside the Tank.) But what was the big deal about watching horror movies in class time?

Daria: Two hints: "Dusk to Dawn" and the eagerly watching football team.

Jane: Hmm, messy? (She throws her pack into the back of the Tank. Camera POV moves to the back of the Tank, lingering on the stacks of guns, the heaped belts of ammunition, the boxes of grenades and the body armour hanging off the walls.)

Daria: Let's just say that no vampire would be stupid enough to attack the team in their current state of battle frenzy. Kevin is running around with a bunch of garlic necklaces and has had to be separated from Andrea at least twice. Only the timely intervention of Brittany's compact mirror had saved her the last time. (Cut to Daria trying to close the Tank glove box.)

Jane: (O/S) Hmm. Kevin realised that since Andrea has a reflection, she can't be a vampire? (Daria notices that something is blocking the mechanism of the glove box, jamming it.)

Daria: No. (Matter of fact.) Andrea saw the mirror flicker of Brittany checking her makeup, lay in wait for Kevin and kicked the urge out of him. (She reefs open the glove box, removes a brace of really big handguns and a porno magazine. Daria looks at it briefly, throws the mag over her shoulder and replaces the guns. The glove box closes quite smoothly now.)

Jane: (O/S, intrigued.) Sounds painful.

Daria: Not to mention permanent. (Shifts in her seat, digs out a big knife, looks at it, shrugs then slides it under her seat. There is a dull "thud". She ignores it.)

Jane: (Back to Jane, sick fascination in her voice.) And how did the human pudding take this?

Daria: (Frontal "Windscreen" view, both seen.) Not well. But she can listen to reason when it is sitting on her head and yelling loud enough. Unfortunately, she took her boyfriend's homicidal tendencies quite seriously, but has encouraged him to hunt for more easily recognisable fiends.

Jane: (Jokingly.) God help any bandaged plastic-surgery patients in Lawndale today?

Daria: (Deadpan.) Didn't I mention "The Mummy" was also showing?

Jane: (Into the silence.) It's a good thing that Andrea didn't put him in hospital then..?

Daria: The possible carnage doesn't bear thinking about. (Pause. "Upbeat" Daria voice.) But a few good things have come out of this.

Jane: Like what? (Starts Tank.)

Daria: (Same Daria voice.) The, hmm, how shall I put this? (Makes a moue.) [Look it up!]

Jane: Situation? Climate?

Daria: (Normal Daria.) I was referring to the neanderthalitic, jello-brained, mouth-breathing, cattle-like members of our school.

Jane: Ah? (Put the Tank into gear, drives forward out of her park and into the parking lot.)

Daria: The aforementioned school element is now sufficiently hyped to give us advanced warning if anything, ah, untoward, occurs.

Jane: Aha, cannon fodder! (Arched eyebrows.) You lost me when you used da big words.

Daria: Anyway, lunch? (Jane pulls out smoothly onto the school access road.)

Jane: God, yes. (Waves fist.) And this Tank is going to undertake a siege most perilous.

Daria: I recognised the distant Arthurian reference, but you've really lost me now.

Jane: Onward to "Cluster Burger", Daria! And dammed be he that cries "Hold! Enough!"

Daria: Hmm. Shakespeare now? (Realisation dawns.) The guys phoned ahead, didn't they?

Jane: Oooh yes. And they crave sustenance. (Vague.) I can hear them still: food, food...

Daria: (Interrupting.) So, you are going to do what I think you are going to do?

Jane: (Waggles her eyebrows.) Shall we?

Jane and Daria: Drive-thru! [*Beavis & Butthead reference from "Work Sucks."*]

 

(Cut to the Cafeteria. Music: "Not My Idea" - Garbage. Jodie and Mack are sitting at a table together. They are looking a bit wild around the eyes.)

Jodie: (Slowly.) So, Have the football team calmed down yet?

(Mack looks at Jodie. We see a "flesh-coloured" Band-aid stuck to one side of his face.)

Mack: (False lightness.) Well, Kevin has stopped threatening Andrea, which goes a long way towards saving his life, if you believe the eyewitness reports. But the team are currently searching the school's cemetery...

Jodie: But, Lawndale High doesn't have a cemetery!

Mack: (Normal Mack.) And do you think that this would stop them? (Rubs his arm.)

(Cut shot back a little. You see Jodie and Mack sitting at a table with their tray lunches, but now you can see some of the surrounding cafeteria. It is less populated than usual, and there is a badly painted sign above the checkout line boldly declaring "Vampies Out!" (Sic.) Jodie and Mack turn to watch as Kevin and assorted footballers run by. All have lumps of wood that are vaguely stake-like, and they all have the "Garlic necklace" of all true vampire hunters. If they could get away with it, it looks like they would have the flaming torches of an angry mob. We get to see Kevin come back to Mack.)

Kevin: Hey Mack Daddy! See any vampires? (We can see that Kevin's necklace of garlic is actually made of Spanish onions. Mack smacks Kevin's head. Hard.)

Mack: (Furious.) Kevin! What have I told you about calling me that?

Kevin: (Frowning, slightly.) Uh, Not to do it? (Realises what he said.) Ohh, sorry bro! But like, have you seen any vampires? (Looks eagerly for a positive response.)

Jodie: (Slow.) Kevin, if there were any vampires, which there aren't, do you think that they would be at Lawndale High? During the day?

Kevin: (Thinking expression.) Uhh, no? (He sounds uncertain of his answer.)

Jodie: Good Kevin. (Points to his neck.) And those aren't garlic, they're onions.

Kevin: Ohh Man! (Worried.) Hey Bro! Can you tell me where I can find some garlic?

Mack: (Holding right hand with left.) Must. Restrain. Fist. Of. Death.

Jodie: (Hurriedly.) Kevin, you can go get some from the local supermarket. Now.

Kevin: Great! Thanks Jodie, Mack Daddy! (Trots off. As he does so, Mack narrowly misses swiping him with a chair. Mack resumes his seat, trying not to catch Jodie's eye.)

Mack: I know it wasn't a smart idea attacking Kevin. (Fuming.) It's just that he gets me so...

Jodie: (Smiles unexpectedly.) Oh, I wouldn't worry. (She's looking over Mack's shoulder.)

Kevin: (O/S, excited.) Vampire! ("Oops, my mistake" voice.) Oh, sorry Andrea...OW! (Crashing noises, some screams and we see an upended chair slide to a halt next to their table.)

Andrea: (O/S) And take your filthy onions with you! (Particularly loud breaking noise.) Die!

(Mack is seen relaxing as the cries of pain and urgent sounds of escape reach a crescendo behind him. Jodie looks at him curiously. A few people run past.)

Jodie: Aren't you even going to watch? (The whole cafeteria is running to catch the carnage.)

Mack: (Hands behind head.) Don't need to. (His toothy smile, and the sounds of Kevin's latest blunder remain for a little as the scene fades to black.)

 

(Music: "Pleasure And Pain" - Divinyls. Open to the Lawndale High lawn, where Xander, Buffy and Willow are discussing the latest insanity to manifest itself at their school.)

Buffy: And I thought Sunnydale was weird.

(She breaks off as a few "team members" run towards the school bearing lengths of wood.)

Xander: Well. (Watching where they go.) It's not every day you get to see an anti-vampire mob form up and run around the school waving wooden stakes, let me tell you.

Buffy: (Back to the group again.) Nice change though?

Xander: Oh yeah.

Willow: (Spritely.) It's great not being oppressed because of your beliefs, or values, or the fact that you can turn people into rats.

Buffy: [Apropos of the above comment, not about Daria's Aunt Amy.] How is Amy?

Willow: (Disappointed.) Still racking up major "Frequent Runner" miles on her wheel.

Buffy: Ok, where is the Oz-man?

Xander: Yeah, I though you and he would be enjoying the lack of bloodthirsty monsters?

Willow: (Shrugs.) He had to run interference for Giles.

Xander: Oh. (Thought strikes him.) Getting blueprints of the school off Li?

Willow: (Not giving away anything.) No, it's just that since Giles is "New Man On Campus", he's been fending off some unwanted advances.

(Just imagine Xander and Buffy's expressions.)

Buffy: Lightning will strike me down for asking this, but: "unwanted advances?"

Xander: Will-ow? (They hunch forward.)

Willow: It's no big secret. (Grins.) You know Ms Barch, the school's "Black Widow"?

Buffy & Xander: (Incredulous, they rock back.) No way!

Willow: Way. (Evil Willow grin.) She likes nice, quiet, submissive men...

Xander: (Expanding the gestalt.) So his stuffed shirt, tea drinking, Britisher librarian act is...

Buffy: (Finishing the thought.) ...driving her hormone-driven, man-hating feminist ass crazy with suppressed desire.?

(Silence.)

Buffy, Xander & Willow: Ulgh. (They shudder.)

Xander: (Far into the horror.) That is...

(They shiver a few more times, and generally try to purge themselves of the images their minds have thrown up at them..)

Willow: (Desperately changing the topic.) Any news on Daria and Jane?

Xander: Well, Jane said she had to run lunch to her brother, so she'll see you guys later in Art. Oh, And she gave me these. (Rummages in his bag, drags some boxes out.) She said give them to you guys when I saw you next. (Looks closer.) Hey, this one has my name on it!

(Buffy and Willow share the "look". Buffy Fans; "the look" is seen a lot in "Teacher's Pet.")

(Xander takes "his" box, and they find the respective boxes for Buffy and Willow.)

Willow: So, who's going to be the first to open?

Oz: (O/S) Open what? (Comes into view behind Willow, puts his hand on her shoulder.)

Willow: (Melting at his touch.) Uhh, Jane left some presents for us, with Xander. (Xander holds up "his" box. A thought strikes him, and he digs around in his bag.)

Xander: Here you go. (Gives another box to Oz.)

Oz: Cool. (Removes hand from Willow, who looks heart-broken, to tear open the "gift". He pops the unwrapped box open, and recovers something that looks like a mobile phone with a weird antenna. He digs around for further instructions in the box, reads them and presses a few buttons. The screen lights up.)

Oz: Hmm. Fully charged. (Reads the back of a sheet of paper. Close up of a finger on the speed-dial and "1", then the "send" key.)

 

(Cut to Jane at the wheel of the Tank. Music: "The Ballard of Betty Coltrane" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. [It's probably the best feminist song I've ever heard. Great for parties. Personal note, the most fun feminist song has to be "Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses", by CWA. Write me!] Jane's phone rings. Daria looks for her phone, then taps Jane's arm to get her attention.)

Jane: Mmm? Oh. (She plugs in a headset to the mobile, wrestles it onto her head and answers it using the hands-free. Daria is looking worriedly at the road.)

Jane Yo!

(Splitscreen cut to Oz and Jane.)

Oz: Uh, hi.

Jane: (Smiling.) Got your new toys then? (Indicates, swerves. Distant horns are heard.)

Oz: Uh, yeah. (The background shot for him is now filled with paper flying, followed closely by cardboard. The other Sunnydalians hold their phones aloft like some primitive, sun-worshipping, heart-removing religious group.) The other have theirs out now.

Jane: Good, tell them to do the same thing as you did. (Oz mimes "On", speed-dial "1" and "send". Jane's phone makes a funny bleep, and she presses a button on it.)

Jane: As those who can hear me can probably guess, we're now in conference mode. Neat?

Buffy: (O/S, on phone.) It is, kinda.

Xander: (O/S, on phone.) What's this do?

(Awful squeal, then a "crackle-crackle" noise. It is cut off with a "Bleep!")

Jane: THAT was the scramble encrypt. Xander, read the instructions next time? Please?

Xander: (O/S, faint over Oz's phone.) Sorry, my bad.

Jane: Now, I'm sure you guys are mature enough to realise that these phones have a particular use in mind?

Buffy: (Including her in the shot, splitting the screen.) I'm assuming that it's not for phoning perfect strangers in Albania.

Jane: Correct! They're for communication in the combat sense, if you get my meaning.

Willow: (Now in the shot too.) We're jacked in and good to go!

Jane: Not yet, kitten. (Swerves again, Daria has hands over her eyes. Distant swearing is heard, briefly, then Jane floors the Tank.)

Willow: Excuse me? Kitten?

Daria: (Camera includes her as well, splitting the screen into quarters. She now has a headset on.) That was Jane's attempt at humour. (Beat.) After a few years, you develop a partial immunity. (Pause.) But if you want give each other codenames, be my guest...

(Cut to Oz and background. Oz has the "I'm only going to give this back to you if you're good" expression and is waving Xander quiet with the hand holding Xander's phone. Xander looks happier at Daria's statement, but is still trying to reclaim his phone from Oz.)

Jane: (Continuing.) ...It's just that if you take into account the NSA's routine sampling of every mobile call for words of interest, like "heroin", "pornography" and "prostitution", don't you think that the use of codenames may invite "unwanted attention"?

 

(Scene jump to a dimly-lit room. Cue ominous mood music (Woodwind, Moog & strings - something "Mark Snow-ish".) POV close-up, we can see the last of Daria's conversation being transcribed in glowing green letters on a black background. A figure comes over, examines it briefly and then moves on. The camera angle pans back, until we see a room so large it doesn't seem to have walls, all filled with the same type of screen and shadowy figures checking the outputs.)

Shadowy Figure 1: She's good. (We hear a "scritch" noise, then a wooden match flares briefly before its light is swallowed by the enveloping darkness.) Do we have a file on this one?

Shadowy Figure 2: (Silhouetted, smoke drifts from his mouth.) Soon. (Pause.) Very soon.

 

(Scene jump back to Lawndale. Ominous music ends.)

Oz: I think that you may be suffering from some severe paranoia and total mistrust of authority, but I'm fine with the "no codenames" thing. (Xander looks rather disappointed.)

Willow: (Jumping in.) They're a bit too "Batman". You know, "Quick, Boy Wonder!?"

Daria: (Same tone as Willow, but very dry.) "Where are the Trojans?!"

Trent: (Head pops in the multiview, in a centre circle.) Good one, Daria. (Laugh/coughs.)

(In the van, Daria burns bright red. Jane looks over, but hurriedly looks forward again as Daria grabs the wheel and swerves to avoid something catastrophic. The Tank screeches a little, rocks, then settles down again.)

Jane: (Into the silence.) Trent, how long have you been on, you perverted little voyeur?

Trent: Long enough to know that you haven't got our burgers yet, Janey.

Jane: (Cut to her, head and shoulders.) Well, we've just arrived. (Pause.) Uh-oh, line up.

(Cut to Trent, warehouse. In the background, it's looking industrial with various crates, guns and some chains hanging from the ceiling beams. He's leaning against a wooden crate.)

Jane: (O/S, from close up of Trent's phone.) Goddammit! I want service! NOW!

(Trent winces, and moves the phone as far from his ear as he can.)

(An airhorn is heard.)

Jane: (O/S, fainter.) Come on! SERVICE! (Pause.) DON'T make me come out there!

(Cut scene back to Jane and an incredibly embarrassed Daria. Jane has grabbed an airhorn [Probably from the back of the Tank, everything else is back there...] and is being obnoxious with it. Daria is hiding her face.)

Trent: (O/S, from Jane's phone.) Ow. Later Janey. (Hangs up.)

Jane: (Squinting out into the parking lot. Speculative voice.) Hey Daria? Could you grab the '79 back there and a couple of CS rounds? (Gives the airhorn another squirt. Cars are hurriedly moving out of the way.)

Daria: (Wary.) A 79? (Even more wary.) And what the hell are CS rounds??

Jane: CS? It's a riot gas. And the M79 is used to launch them. (Waves hand vaguely towards the back of the Tank.) It should be back there, I threw in at least two this morning.

Daria: Uhh, Jane? Do you think that tear gas attack at the Lawndale Cluster Burger would be a good thing? Remembering for a moment that we live here?

Jane: (Whiny.) Ms. Morris and Evan are in there! (Disappointed.) Look! (Points.)

Daria: ("Complete the Mission" voice.) We have to get the food first, Jane.

Xander: (O/S, back on phone.) Good point.

Jane: (Frustration in every syllable.) They're so close! (Pounds wheel.)

Oz: (O/S, on phone.) Jane; picture a calm blue river, flowing into the deep blue sea...

Willow: (O/S, on phone, continuing the exercise.) Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

Jane: All RIGHT! I'll choke my overwhelming rage, and make my purchase...

Oz & Willow: (O/S) Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...

Buffy: (O/S) Whoops! Later guys, authority figure. ("Bleep" noise from Jane's phone.)

Willow: (O/S) Yeah! Sorry, gone, bye! (Same "bleep".)

Xander: (O/S) Ditto! ("Bleep!")

Willow: (Can hear slightly over Oz's phone.) Hey, that was fun! Do you think...?

Oz: (O/S) Later Jane, Daria. ("Bleep!")

(Oz's phone is off now, so the conference light goes off when Daria does the same. She removes the headset, and carefully hangs it on an adhesive hook now stuck to the fold-down windowshade. Jane simply tugs hers off her head and tosses it behind her. She thumbs off the phone. She looks pissy.)

Glassless Daria: Uh, Jane. Did you notice that they are at the same table?

Jane: Don't remind me. (Waves hands.) A perfect shot, wasted! (Waves hands.) Two birds with one stone! Argh! (Drops head onto Tank horn. It lasts for about two seconds, then dies humorously.)

Jane: (Head still on the wheel.) Got to tell Max about the horn on this thing...

Daria: (Calm & collected.) Jane, Evan is sitting with a teacher. In public.

Jane: (Slightly muffled.) So?

Daria: (Emotion seeping through usual impassiveness.) He seems to be enjoying himself.

Jane: (Muffled.) Some people are naturally sick.

Daria: (Worried, but remaining calm.) Jane.

Jane: (Muffled.) Wot?

Daria: (Urgent.) Jane. They have just kissed. Evan and Ms. Morris have just kissed.

Jane: I didn't quite get that. (Clearer now.) It sounded like you said "they just kissed"?

Daria: (Losing cool.) Jane, tell me you have a camera in this thing.

(Jane dives over the front seat of the Tank, leaving it to stall in the drive-thru line. A few vests are thrown over the seats, as is the flesh mag, a heavy box of ammunition, one of the missing M79's, a helmet, a baseball bat and a headless Barbie tm.. Jane reappears, madly trying to operate an expensive-looking video camera.)

Jane: Drive! Daria, drive! I'll get them when you do the ordering!

(Daria awkwardly clambers over the assorted debris and baseball bat to get into the driver's side. She winces, gets up again, tosses the Barbie out of the window [Into a bin, for those more ecologically-minded of us.] and starts the Tank. She drives carefully to the accursed microphone, where orders are garbled, mixed-up or just plain forgotten.)

Daria: Uh, Jane. (Turns around.) What did the guys want, anyway?

(Cut to Jane, who is punching a hole in the side of the Tank with a knife. A BIG knife.)

Jane: (Hunched over her work.) The list is on the dash. (Muttering to herself.) Heh, heh...blackmail me, will they? Heh, heh, heh...

(Daria raises her eyebrow, then drives forward so that she can talk into the burger-shaped microphone. She gets assorted papers from off the dash and sorts through them.)

Daria: Hey, Lane. The only thing that has burgers on it starts with "A dozen Super-Cluster-Combo meals with the extra-large drink option."

Jane: (Straightening up from her surgery.) Does it have "three dozen chicken nuggets with the Honey-chilli dipping sauce"?

Daria: (Looks down list.) Mmm, yes. It's here.

Jane: (Satisfied.) That's the one. Oh, you had better order yours too. The list only covers the band and I.

Daria: (Slightly amazed, looking at the paper.) This is pretty sick, Jane. (She turns the paper over, and reads the other side.)

Jane: (Head cocked to one side, thinking.) No, pretty sick is what we'll be after we've eaten. (Gets to work with the knife again, in a different location.)

Daria: (Waiting for service.) Uhm, do you think Max is gonna be annoyed when he finds out that you've been cutting holes in the side of his van?

Jane: (Settling back on her heels, fitting camera to a hole. She sounds very satisfied.) Not when I buy him another one. And if "they" are doing what I think they're doing, it will be cheap at the price... (The scene fades into black, with Jane's very evil grin remaining for a few seconds longer.)

 

(Music: "Snakedriver" - The Jesus and Mary Chain. [Come on! It's vamp fan fiction and I can't include "The Crow" soundtrack? Get real.] Cut to Giles, walking along with Oz, Buffy, Willow and Xander. He is trying to unwrap his "present" and walk at the same time. They are heading towards the school, an excellent time to get a sneak peek of the school entrance and hall infrastructure.)

Giles: Now, you say this came from Ms Lane? (Stuffs packaging in one of his copious pockets. [The tweed has its advantages.])

Buffy: Yes Giles. (Pause.) And you could probably call her Jane; she's hip with the twentieth century...

Xander: (Being subtle.) Unlike some?

Buffy: (Ditto.) Read the instructions, encrypto-boy.

Xander: (Mimes false pain.) That hurts.

Giles: (Has the phone out, reading instructions.) And the numeral "1" is pre-programmed with Ms Lane's number? Most useful. I wonder if I could persuade the Watcher council...

Buffy: Forget it Giles.

Xander: That bunch is so conservative, they've only recently started to use fire.

Giles: As a member of the Watchers, I resent...(Beat. Wry. ) ...Hmm, you have a point.

(Music screech cut off. The group stops for a few seconds, then moves on, shaken.)

Willow: (Giving voice to their fears.) Giles has just agreed with a Xander statement. We all know what that means...

Xander: (Scared.) Ohh, yeah...(Music's on again, very softly...)

Oz: (Not so lightly.) Sign of the impending apocalypse?

Buffy: On the 1-10 sliding scale, a big fat 7.

Willow: I'm scared. (Thinks.) No, I'm terrified.

Giles: Now really, don't you think that you are all taking this hyperbole a bit far? (Catches a few of their looks. Slow.) You don't think so?

Buffy: Look Giles, to us it's a clearer sign of impending doom than ye olde "boiling seas", "two-headed sheep giving birth to lizards" and "rivers of blood" warnings.

Xander: (Thinking out loud.) Well, when you consider what with vampires, the earth is already giving up its dead...and why do I get the feeling I shouldn't have said that?

Willow: (Quickly.) I don't know, but I have this sudden urge to go write a will.

Oz: You mean you haven't?

(Pause as they try to fit this information into their preconceptions of Oz.)

Buffy: Xander. (With feeling.) Please don't talk.

Xander: No arguments. (Goes to play with his phone.)

Giles: If everyone is agreeable, I would like to see you after school to organise tonight's sweep and the defensive plan for Parent-Teacher night. Xander, are there more of those mobile phones to hand out?

Xander: (Getting his meaning.) We have a big "Yes", to Cordelia and to Wes. And it looks like Jane's left us with some spares. (He digs in his bag, and holds up about half a dozen wrapped boxes. Looks closely at one.) Hey, this one says "Jodie".

Willow: That was the girl who knows Daria and Jane?

Giles: (Looking up.) Speak of the devil. (To Buffy, quickly.) A metaphor.

(Jodie & Mack are making their way outside, taking their time after the Kevin Vs Andrea battle closed the cafeteria. Jodie is a bit wary of the sudden interest directed at her.)

Buffy: Ah, Jodie?

Jodie: Yes Buffy? (Pause.) Did you want to join the debating team after all?

Xander: (Pure Xander, all the way.) I'll just jump in here with a "highly unlikely" on behalf of Buffy. (Beat.) No, it's just that Jane wanted to give this. (Gives her a box. To Mack.) Ahh, You're Michael Jordan MacKenzie, aren't you? (Digs in his bag.)

Mack: (Not too happy.) If you want an autograph, forget it.

Xander: (Looks up from his bag, another box in hand.) Huh? No, Jane wanted you to have one of these too. (Gives it to a bemused Mack. Looks at another box.) Uh, do you know who Andrea is?

Teacher Giles: Andrea Hecuba. Black hair, dark grey dress. She wears a great deal of white makeup and black lipstick. She sits reasonably close to you in English.

Xander: Oh. (Pause.) That's Andrea. (Holds up box.) Ok, volunteers? Please?

Oz: (Genuinely curious.) Why?

Xander: (Shrugs, embarrassed.) Look, she just gives me the willies, ok?

Jodie: She tries. (Smiles.) I'll deliver it. (To Mack, wry.) After all, detention is on the way.

Giles: Detention?

Jodie: ("Talking to teacher" mode.) Didn't you hear, sir? Kevin was, ahem, enthused by the assignment that you set, watched a whole bunch of horror movies, and then whipped the football team into the anti-monster mob that is currently roaming the corridors.

Giles: Oh dear, I hadn't heard that at all. (Explanatory.) You see, I was waylaid in the common room by...(Stops just in time. To the eagerly-listening students.) So, what does Ms Hecuba have to do with this?

Jodie: (Breaking it gently.) Ahh, you've been teaching Kevin for a little while haven't you, sir? Have you noticed anything about him?

Xander: (To the point.) Apart from having the uptake of a retarded banana?

Giles: (Ticks points off on his fingers.) He reads "Ratboy" comics in class, is totally incapable of anything resembling thought and jumps to the closest conclusion that forms an association with his short-term memory. (Looks up.)

Jodie: Hold onto that thought, imagine Kevin watching "Interview with a Vampire" and guess what happened when he saw Andrea?

Buffy: (Fascinated, as are the rest of the Sunnydale crew.) Okay, I'm assuming that he yelled something like "Die, evil undead!" and waved a cross in her face?

Mack: (Flat.)Yes.

Giles: (Thinking about the situation.) And Ms Hecuba didn't like this. Well...

Jodie: Kevin barely made it the first time, and only because he surprised her. The second time, he was lucky and escaped death. The third time, Ms Li had to close off the cafeteria.

Oz: (Looking for the bright side.) I haven't heard any sirens, so no crime scene?

Mack: Barely.

Giles: (At a loss of words.) Well...

Buffy: (To Willow.) Don't you just love the range of noises he can make when surprised?

Willow: It must be the tea and tweed. (Happy Willow.) You know, aids in the inscrutability?

Giles: Yes. (Glares at the errant duo.) Well, thank you Jodie. (Thought strikes him.) Have you seen Ms Chase around today?

Jodie: The last I saw of her, she was practicing with the rest of the cheerleaders. (Explanatory.) Ms Li kind of allows "leeway" when it come with football, or other activities that could bring (Copies the "Li" cadence.) "Honour Unto Lawndale High."

Xander: (Musing aloud.) What is it with Principal Li, and that phrase?

Mack: (Warming to Xander.) You know, that's what we've always wondered...

Giles: (Distracted again.) I seem to remember something along those lines during our introduction...

Buffy: (Waves hand, breaking Giles's trance.) Giles? Find Cordy, get ready for tomorrow night?

Giles: (Back again.) Hmm, yes...

Jodie: (Surprised.) You mean that you actually prepare for Parent-Teacher night at Sunnydale? (Shocked.) I thought that I was the only idio-, ah, person to volunteer...

Oz: (Jumps in.) You'd be surprised at how many times we've had to do this.

Jodie: Well, good luck and I'll see you all later.

(Jodie departs with Mack, and Andrea's boxed phone. Buffy looks to Oz with great gratitude.)

Buffy: Thanks. I wasn't sure I could pass off anything believable. (Beat.) Quickly enough.

Willow: (She's been thinking.) Since we're only going to be here a week, why is Cordelia acting "cheerleader" for a team that she'll never see play?

Xander: And since when has logic applied to Cordelia?

Giles: (Filling the silence that follows this.) I will be strong.

Willow: (Agreeing.) It is too easy.

Xander: What? What?

Buffy: Right, let's get a move on, people to do, things to kill.

(Scene fades as they collect themselves and walk off.)

 

(Open to the warehouse, where Daria and Jane are watching in amazement as the band plows through a pile of junk fodder. Music: "Buy Me A Pony" - Spiderbait. [Eat a horse, get it? Oh god, why do I bother...] Daria has the "Cluster-Burger" equivalent of a "Happy-meal" and Jane has a chicken nugget container the size of a shoebox in front of her, along with many opened packets of dipping sauce.)

Daria: They are human, right? (In awe as Nicholas inhales a burger.) But they're not choking? How?

Jane: I think they've had surgery, to prevent that from happening... (Nicholas balls the wrapper and throws it behind him to land perfectly in an industrial bin.)

Daria: I just never thought I'd see someone finish off three packets of fries at once. (Raises voice slightly.) Hey Jesse? Impressive.

(Jesse looks away from the three packets that he is holding to his mouth. He waves.)

Jane: (Smiling.) And if he coughs a fry out of his nose, it will be like old times with Trent.

Daria: (A trifle sad.) Or Dad.

Jane: (Interest roused by Daria's tone.) Childhood memories coming back to haunt you?

Daria: (Surprise.) What do you mean, childhood? It happened a week ago. Twice.

(Jane raises an eyebrow at this, then looks at her watch.)

Jane: Damn! (Gets up. "Hail-fellow-well-met" voice.) Come then, fellow demon of the night!

Daria: (Looks away from Trent, who has three thickshake straws in his mouth.) Hmm?

Jane: Sorry to drag you away from our wildlife study, but school?

Daria: Ok. What's after that?

Jane: I thought we could liase with Buffy & Co. The guys seem to have the place in reasonable order.

(She waves her hand at the warehouse. It now has containers stacked neatly along the walls, acting as walk-in stockpiles for various ammunitions. Weapons are racked neatly, there is an army of clothes-dummies that support various types of body-armour, a wall has had spikes driven into it and more items of personal protection are hanging off these. Machine guns have been fixed to cover various sectors of approach and the stage is pushed back to the end wall. Some guns are in the middle of being stripped-down and cleaned, and the warehouse looks a lot tidier than it first did. Spray-painted signs are everywhere.)

Daria: Better than the back of the Tank, anyway. (Remembering.) How was the video?

Jane: (Rubs her hands in fiendish glee.) Mmm, so-so.

Daria: For some strange reason, I don't believe you. Why is that? (They dump their rubbish in the industrial bin.) And where is it? I thought you would have it playing non-stop through lunch?

Jane: You know that pit stop I made? (Start walking back to the Tank.)

Daria: Joe's Audio-Visual Magic?

Jane: (Waves Trent over to open the main door.) Yes, anyway, Joe's dad is deaf and can lip read. (Trent trots over with two shakes, and a burger in the other hand.)

Daria: And? (Trent hits the "Open" button, and the door rolls up.)

Jane: Simple. I'm getting him to sub-title the conversation. (They get in the Tank.) Joe's going to make a few hundred copies, and then I think I'll have a select showing. (Beat.) I'm thinking to about half the school.

Daria: And you claim not to be evil? (Jane starts the Tank. Trent comes over, swallowing as he walks.)

Trent: Hey, Daria, Janey. Thanks for lunch, don't bother with goodbyes, they won't hear it. (Waves towards the Spiral.)

Jane: We kind of figured that. Anyway, we've got to get back to school. Anything else?

Trent: (Absently slurps the shakes.) Nope. Oh, what about the "Old" armoury?

Jane: (Surprised.) You really want to bother with that stuff?

Trent: Whatever it takes Janey. Whatever it takes.

Jane: (Shrugs.) Fair enough. I'll hire a trailer and U-Haul it the hell over, after school.

Trent: Right. Later Daria.

(Scene fades as the Tank drives out of the warehouse, Trent waving.)

 

(Open to the Fashion Club, sitting outside at a covered table. Music: "Dead Eyes Opened - Longplay Studio Edit" - Severed Heads. [I'm not going into details, I'd prefer to spare you that, of how Mahan dismembered the dead woman; it's too horrible...Hey, it's a fun song!] They all have sunglasses on, and Sandi is covered in thick concealer. Some blotches are visible though, spurring her irritability to new heights. Everyone is on edge, given Sandi's "unique" view on things. Stacy is about to burst into tears, flinching from any interaction with Sandi. Tiffany is oblivious as usual [Does anyone notice how very slow she is? I'm thinking lead paint during childhood. Any toxicologists out there, what do you think?] but Quinn, Daria's sister and VP of the Fashion Club, is receiving the worst of the verbal sniping.)

Sandi: So, has Quinn lead us into any other fashion blunders?

Quinn: I'm not quite sure what you mean by fashion "blunder", Sandi. The revised "Waif" issue (Holds up said 'zine of evil.) clearly states that a typesetter had neglected to include the latest news from...

Sandi: I don't care what some fashion misfit menial claimed to have done, or neglected to have done. I want to know if you have inflected upon the Fashion Club any errors of judgement!

Quinn: Er, no. (The expression on her face: "Oi! What's hangin out yor ass, Sunshine?") [Atrocious rural Oz slang. So painfully descriptive, it's fun! Hello icky mental image!]

Sandi: It's good to know that even though I was "unavoidably-detained" for a whole school day, that nothing happened to affect the Fashion Club?

Stacy: (Forgets herself.) Yes. But Sandi, you were only gone for a day...(Shrinks under the glare.)

Tiffany: (Using "Tiffany" cadence. [Ie: get out a sandwich and a good book]) Really. Nothing happened on the day that you were not here. It was a school day, how could anything important happen?

Sandi: (Vicious.) It was a school day when I was brutally attacked.

Quinn: (Losing her balance.) But, you weren't attacked, that girl...

Sandi: Really? Where did THESE bruises come from THEN? (Goes a bit DeMartino.)

Quinn: (Worried at the tone. And at the twitching...) Ahh, are you feeling all right Sandi?

Sandi: Why Quinn? Do you think that I need a fashion sabbatical? (Nervous tic.)

Quinn: Why, that's a great idea! You can let those bruises heal and research fashion trends!

Tiffany: It is a good idea Sandi. That way you can concentrate more fully on fashion and not have to worry so much about the Fashion Club. (Sandi is momentarily struck dumb at this unexpected "ambush".)

Stacy: Great idea Sandi! [Oh, dear, if only she kept her mouth shut...]

Sandi: (Who has gone white under her concealer.) You...

Stacy: Huh?

Quinn: What?

Sandi: (Stunned.)You, you all, you're all on her side...

Tiffany: (Interested.) Whose side, Sandi?

Sandi: Hers! (Shaking hand quivers in Quinn's direction.) You're all against me...

Quinn: (Trying to laugh it off, like all of the other times.) Don't be silly, Sandi. Why would I want to be against you?

Sandi: (Thinking Quinn is cementing the usurpation of the throne.) No! You can't!

Tiffany: (A bit exasperated.) Wh-at?

(Sandi, stands, pushes Quinn of the bench seat, and runs off.)

Quinn: Oww! Sandi, what did you do that for? Sandi?

(Sandi is a dark spot, accelerating towards the horizon.)

Tiffany: That was we-ird.

Stacy: Er, Quinn?

Quinn: (Standing, rubbing her butt through her "Nocturne" slacks.) Yes, Stacy?

Stacy: What do we do now?

(FX: Bell ringing.)

Quinn: Go to class, I guess. (Pause as something hits her. In her "taking charge" voice.) We will discuss this further; in the meantime, not a word to anyone about Sandi's "little accident".

Stacy: Okay!

Tiffany: Sure.

(Fade out. Music: "And as the head of Emily K. lay upon the floor, the dead eyes opened...<mocking laughter>")

 

(Cut to Jane and Daria, opening their lockers. Music: "Vow" - Garbage. They both look at the sports bags inside, shrug, smile at each other sheepishly, and close up. They mooch off to class.)

Jane: (Conversation as they walk.) Hmm, noticed anything, odd?

Daria: We're on time aren't we? (The corridors are pretty deserted.) So, we're not late?

Jane: (Smirks.) After my driving efforts?

Daria: (Glances.) Your driving is worse than mine is. And that's saying a lot.

(Two footballers, dressed for practice, are walking along when they notice who are coming towards them. They do an abrupt about-face and quickly head down a side corridor.)

Jane: (Looking ahead.) Did you see that?

Daria: (Looks up, but she didn't.) If it was an underwear gnome, you are going to be...

Jane: (Interrupts.) No, look at our fellow student's reactions.

(As they walk along, the few students who do see them make way for them hurriedly, or get the hell out of their faces.)

Daria: (Uneasy.) Hmm. I've always wanted to be admired and loved...

Jane: (Finishing the feeling.) ...But this is ridiculous?

Daria: (Decisive.) We need information, starting with what exactly has been going on here.

Jane: Good idea. (Eyes fasten on a likely victim. Evil throaty "demon" voice.) Hhhim...

(Upchuck is drinking out of a water fountain when two sinister shadows block out the light. He looks up into his own reflection, cast by Daria's little mirror sunglasses.)

Upchuck: (Flinching.) Eep!

Daria: (Her voice is very "undeniable".) Come with us.

(Jane takes a hand palsied in fear. They look around, then quickly frog-march Upchuck into the female toilets. Daria nudges opens a stall with a boot, and they sit Upchuck down on the seat for a quick interrogation.)

Jane: (Looking in. False happy.) Ok Ralph, we're going to play a game...[Good cop...]

Daria: (Blocking the doorway.) It's called "Questions and Answers." [Bad cop...]

Jane: We ask the questions. [...Good cop.]

Daria: (Very flat.) You answer. [...Evil cop.]

Jane: (Kicking things off.) What's happened since lunch started?

Daria: (About to start kicking.) And why is everyone treating us like rabid plague monkeys?

Upchuck: Er, Andrea almost killed Kevin...

Daria: ...Interesting, but not what I want. More.

Upchuck: (Flinches away from Daria.) Uhh, Sandi was deposed as Fashion Club president...

Daria: ...Don't stop.

Upchuck: (Resigned to his fate.) And you are rumoured to be devil worshipping vampiric lesbian yakuza.

Jane: (Stunned.) Excuse me?

(Daria grabs Upchuck by the shirt and hauls him upright again.)

Daria: And from where did such slander originate? (Quick-cut to the floor. Upchuck's feet are dangling off it ala "Darth Vader".)

Jane: Before we kill you and drink your blood? (At this, the terrified Upchuck's eyes roll back in his head and he faints. Daria looks disgusted.)

Daria: Great...(Her arm sags down, Upchuck's slumped form dangles like that of a rag-doll.)

Jane: Sorry, I thought..? (Shrugs helplessly.)

Daria: As the "Good" cop, you were doing fine until the last one. (Sighs.) I'd better drag him out of here so Andrea doesn't find and dismember him. (Hoists him up again.)

Andrea: (O/S) For what reason? I know why he's in here.

(They whirl to see Andrea leaning on the opposite wall. When they turn, Daria absently bangs Upchuck's head on the stall wall. Andrea's got "her" phone out.)

Andrea: (At their expressions of surprise, quickly stifled.) Don't worry too much, it seems as if some of the stupider members of the Lions kept on watching those movies that Kevin brought in. Right now, anyone that does not conform to their narrow standards of "ordinary" behaviour is viewed with suspicion. Y'know, rumours?

Jane: Oh.

Andrea: And as they do, the rumours got rapidly out of hand. (Beat.) Unless, of course, you really are blood-sucking, rug-munching, leg-breaking worshippers of the devil?

Daria: (Dry.) Not since lunch, no.

Andrea: I didn't think so.

Jane: (Pumping for information, while the tap is open.) But what's with the fear?

Andrea: Let's just say that some of the tales being passed around the campfire are getting pretty scary. And detailed. And notice, no mention about Daria's unleashing of the beast?

Daria: (Puzzled.) What beast... (Enlightenment.) Oh, Mrs Barch, right?

Jane: ("So...") What's with the sudden increase in conversation skills?

Andrea: What's with the sudden case of flamboyant generosity? (Points with phone.)

Jane: (Shrugs.) Thought you might have a need for it sooner or later. (Beat.) You're a sensitive, right?

Andrea: (Very flat laugh.) First time I've been called it, but yeah, maybe.

Jane: (Hmmm!) Noticed anything unusual about Lawndale recently?

Andrea: Ah, let's see. (Pause.) Well, I saw two hellhounds last night on the way home, I noticed that the cemetery is starting to become the most popular part of town, and vampiric activity has skyrocketed. (Places phone in pocket.)

Daria: (Dry.) Not your usual night then.

("Andrea stare".)

Jane: (Tentative.) I think that we might be able to share some information. (Looks to Daria.)

Daria: (Shrugs.) Don't see why, it's not as if people are actually going to listen to us.

Andrea: I'm listening.

Jane: Ok. ("How shall I put this?" voice.) Lawndale is now a nodal area for mystic energy...

Daria: (Curious.) Nodal?

Jane: (Absently.) Central point in a system...

Daria: I know what a "node" is, I just didn't know in what way you were using it. The way it sounded, it could have been something in the back of your throat.

Andrea: (Tapping foot.) Yes?

Jane: (Quickly, so the scorn can arrive sooner.) And the probable reason for this is a "dimensional portal" may be trying to establish itself. (At Andrea's lack of reaction.) Here. In Lawndale.

Andrea: Yes?

Daria: (Wonderingly.) You don't seem to be surprised.

Andrea: So, what Jane is tapdancing around is a possible Hellmouth, right? And it's here in Lawndale?

Jane: (A bit lost for words.) Uhh, yes. Or so we think. We haven't found it yet...

Andrea: It's unlikely that you would; it's like an impacted boil, it's pretty hard to reach until it forms a head. And I'm assuming that you guys are going to lance it?

Jane: ("What tha?" expression.) Uhh, yes. With some help...

Andrea: That Slayer chick, Buffy?

Jane: (Mouth gaping open.) Uhh...

Daria: (Weakly.) So, you're reasonably up to date with events. (Pause.) May we ask how?

Andrea: I might not like to interact with my fellow cattle, but I do have eyes and ears...

Daria: And "Hellmouth"?

Andrea: (Toneless.) I had a friend who used to live near Sunnydale. She'd pass along some pretty freaky gossip and since we didn't lie to each other, I'd have to accept it as gospel. So when a bunch of students come from the "Unexplained Death Capital of America", some pieces tend to fall into place.

Jane: How is your friend?

Andrea: (Same voice as before.) She died of a "neck rupture" before she could talk her parents into moving out.

Daria: Eh? (Thinks for a little.) Oh.

Jane: Sorry.

Andrea: (Cold, dead voice.) I went there once, for her funeral. And to keep a promise.

Jane: Let me guess, it involved something wooden?

Andrea: (A little surprised.) Yes. She made me swear to "make sure" if she went in a way that could be considered "suspicious".

Daria: (A bit shocked.) Whoa.

Jane: Well. At least you know what's likely to happen.

Andrea: "End-of-the-world" portents, the living dead, evil arisen?

Jane: Yep. You drive?

Andrea: I can.

Jane: (Jots down an address on a slip of paper fished out of her backpack.) Come here later on, we've got a bunch of "supplies" that you may find useful.

Andrea: (Pockets the paper.) It may take a bit of talking to get a car, but okay.

Jane: (A bit off-balance.) Ahmm, anyone else you think would be likely to believe us?

Andrea: Jodie, but you've got her covered. Michael too. Could try some of the teachers..?

Jane: (With great honesty.) I think that they might have to wait a little.

Andrea: Good point. So what are you, exactly? I get "impressions" off everyone, generally, but you two seem almost shadowy.

Jane: It's a long story (Catches Daria's eye. She nods.) but weíre vampires.

Andrea: (Easing off the wall, her hands free.) And you're not going up in flames because...?

Daria: We're unusual. And good, in that we aren't evil.

Andrea: Ok. (Suddenly pulls out a cross. The girls are unfazed.) Are you sure?

(Jane smiles. Fangs are in evidence, then they disappear again.)

Andrea: Er, yes. (Looks at Daria, still holding Upchuck.) You too?

(Daria nods, uncertainly.)

Andrea: Hmm, ok. (Looks at the girls again, right in the eye.) Seeya. (She walks off.)

Andrea: (Under her breath.) What is the world coming to? Vampires in daylight...

(Andrea departs, muttering. Jane looks over to Daria, who neatly drops Upchuck into the stall. Daria gently closes the door, and wedges it shut using Upchuck's foot.)

Jane: (A bit amazed at Andrea, but finding balance in everyday tasks.) Finished?

Daria: (Ditto.) Yeah, almost. (She fishes out a bottle and a cloth, and wipes down the door.)

Jane: Fingerprints?

Daria: I admit, not too clever, but at least the prints inside can be more likely to be explained away as a "natural occurrence".

Jane: (Raised eyebrow.) Someone's been thinking. What about the bugs?

Daria: I fried them a week ago, then tied the remaining system into the boys next door.

Jane: (Shakes her head as they leave.) All of these skills that I knew naught about...

Daria: I just wanted to try out something I saw in "Popular Mechanics". It's surprising what you can find if you scratch the surface.

Jane: (Fading out.) Assuming that there is a substance beneath that surface.

Daria: (Conceding the point.) True. So very true...

 

(Music: "Black Bugs" - Regurgitator. Scene opens to the Art room, Jane looking interested while leafing through a paintballing magazine. Her finished work, the one with the skeletons, is before her drying under a coat of varnish. As she flicks the pages, Daria finishes inking in a large study of an orange, capturing the powdery blue of a mould beginning to rot the orange from within. Pan over to Willow, who is doing the typical "happy" (Bright colours.) representation of the assorted fruits. Over to Oz, who is using brown sepia for the entire picture. He is quite technically proficient. Over to Andrea, who is painting something negative and very dark. Over to Brittany, who is using colours that have absolutely no bearing on what's in front of her. Instead of using textural effects, her still life is composed of flat areas of pinks, yellows and greens. Mrs Defoe comes up behind her.)

[What's at the end? What's at the end? What's at the end of Satan's rainbow?...Go the 'Gurge!])

Mrs Defoe: Brittany, I'm not sure that you understand the actual direction of the lesson.

Brittany: Huh? What?

Mrs Defoe: (Tired.) Just see me after, would you?

Brittany: (Typical Brittany.) Uh, okay!

(Mrs Defoe rubs her forehead. She sighs and walks away to a blank canvas. She looks at it curiously, still massaging her forehead.)

Mrs Defoe: Excuse me, but does anyone know where Kevin is?

(Most of the class looks towards Andrea, who doesn't stir from her painting.)

 

(Cut to the school infirmary. Kevin, wrapped in bandages, ice everywhere. He's so lumpy, he looks like the social experiment he played in "Too Cute." He groans, looking towards the nurse's station. No one is there, and the "Back By" hands of a cute clock point to 2:45.)

Kevin: (In pain, squinting.) Uh, big hand on the 2, uh...(Lapses into unconsciousness.)

 

(Back to the Art room. Andrea is still painting. Mrs Defoe looks like she's about to ask Andrea something but winces at something painful.)

Jane: (Looking up from her reading material.) Headache, Mrs Defoe?

Mrs Defoe: (Looking towards Jane.) Uh, yes Jane. (Obvious twinge.) I think I'm having my first migraine. (Massages temples, then bridge of nose.)

Jane: (Looking at Brittany, and where Kevin would be. Raised eyebrow.) Your first?

Mrs Defoe: (Smiles.) I'm a pretty healthy person, usually. This week though...(Winces.)

Daria: (Helpfully.) Look on the bright side, it could be a brain tumour.

Mrs Defoe: (Wry.) Thank you, Daria. (Smiles/winces at Daria's view on life.)

(Andrea looks over, frowns, gets up, fills a glass with water from a side sink and gives it to Mrs Defoe.)

Mrs Defoe: (Not just slightly amazed.) Ahh, thank you, Andrea. (Takes glass thankfully, sips as she watches Andrea.)

(Andrea shrugs non-commitedly, then goes back to her easel. The class follows her with their eyes, then flick back to Mrs Defoe.)

(Cheesy bell ring. Mrs Defoe cringes at its raucous noise. The class packs up, and Jane goes to stand over next to Daria.)

Jane: (Sotto.) Andrea knows something that we don't.

Daria: (Same.) Apart from where to buy eyeliner in bulk?

Jane: Look at Mrs Defoe.

(Daria does so while she collects her gear. Mrs Defoe is tiding a little, sweeping up clay fragments. Suddenly, she straightens with a wince, clutching her forehead. As she does this, Andrea almost drops something, but pulls a quick recovery.)

Jane: Looking at Andrea?

Daria: (Amazed, but keeping her voice low.) Did I just see that?

Jane: What do you think? (They share a look, then go to follow Andrea.)

(Willow and Oz come over, but Jane waves them off. Oz looks surprised. Jane scowls, nods towards Andrea, taps her watch, holds up three fingers and points to the main entrance. Oz nods and walks away with a confused Willow.)

 

(Music: "Change the World" - The Offspring. Female toilet, Daria and Jane walking to the last stall. Daria knocks politely. Pointy boots are in evidence.)

Andrea: (Raspy.) Occupied.

Daria: (Polite.) We know that.

Jane: (More to the point.) It's why we're knocking.

(The door racks to unlocked, then opens. Andrea is on the seat, rubbing her head.)

Andrea: (Obviously sore.) Whoop-da, you found me. (Winces.) Got any aspirin?

(Jane wordlessly hands out a little bottle. Andrea accepts it and swallows a handful, dry.)

Daria: (To Jane.) And why do you carry around a bottle of aspirin?

Jane: (Gets the bottle back, tucks it into her bag.) I live with Trent, remember? The party animal?

Andrea: Anyway, I assume you're here because of our reactions?

Jane: (Dry.) Although I do acknowledge the headache potential of Brittany to a teacher, I didn't think you'd be affected.

Andrea: (Obviously knows what Jane is on about.) I think she's a sensitive...

Daria: (Lost again.) She? You're not talking about Brittany?

Andrea: Defoe.

Daria: What exactly is this "sensitive" thing you guys seem to know so much about?

Andrea: (Shrugs.) A bunch of stuff.

Jane: (Ticks things off with her fingers.) Empathic, telepathic, able to see auras, can pick up impressions just by touching objects...

Andrea: (Breaks in.) Empathy here, maybe some psychometry.

Jane: Eh?

Andrea: (Sore and not in the mood for explanations.) I'm able to determine past associations from things, places. I get "impressions" off of people too. Mostly feelings.

Daria: And?

Andrea: Something is seriously wrong with our world. (Pause.) Big time. (Beat.) I haven't felt this sick since O'Neill made us watch "Sound of Music". (Group wince.) By the by, I've always had my suspicions about Mrs Defoe, but it looks as if she doesn't really know what she is. It's amazing how many people don't. (Shrugs.) Anyway, I know how to shield myself a bit, but it still hurts six ways to hell. Putting it simply, anyone with the slightest trace of "sensitivity" will have a monster headache.

Daria: (With total and absolute certainty.) Quinn will be safe.

Jane: Anything else you can tell us?

Andrea: Yeah, nine pizza delivery guys went "missing" last night.

Daria: What? You've really lost me now.

Jane: (Explanatory.) Sort of a modern-day vampire thing; order a pizza, eat the driver.

Andrea: Oh yeah, avoid the woods. Something "different" is hanging around. I don't think it's human. Or friendly.

Jane: And how do you know that?

Andrea: I like it out there, it gives me some peace when things get too noisy. (Taps head.) Anyway, sitting there meditating for hours on end give you a pretty good indication of what the ordinary background noises are. People disturb things, but the background goes on.

Daria: And?

Andrea: No birdsong, no crickets, no frogs. (Beat.) Strange "chirring" noise though, like a soft flapping/rubbing noise, but really fast. It did not feel "nice". To be honest, it feels like the woods are scared. (Shrugs.) I didn't go in, just walked by. (Looks up.) It was enough.

Jane: Ok, I can respect that. (At Daria's wondering look.) If she says the woods are scared, they're probably scared. (Shrugs, echoing Andrea.) I can't argue about what I don't know.

Daria: Right. (Looks at Andrea.) See you later?

Andrea: Yeah, right, whatever. (Rubs head.)

Jane: (To Daria.) Better meet up with the Wicca and Oz. (To Andrea.) How about you?

Andrea: (Flat stare.)

Jane: Good to hear it.

 

(Shift to Jane and Daria walking out, coming up to Willow (Plaiting grass.) and Oz (Whistling tunelessly under his breath.) who are seated near the main entrance.)

Jane: Let's go. We'll fill you in on the way.

Willow: So, ah, it's not too bright for you outside?

(Jane and Daria look at her.)

Oz: No?

Daria & Jane: (Flat.) No.

(Willow struggles up, assisted by Oz. They get their stuff together and stroll to the other building.)

Jane: (Keeping it casual.) We've got some conformation on "bad things" that have happened about the place.

Oz: Ayup. (Taps his head, and they realise that he has a Discman on.) We've got fifteen "disappeared" security guards, all from the Malls - mainly clothing shops have been hit. We also have a very dead and partially eaten Animal Control officer, that was nasty; and some missing Pizza delivery personnel.

Daria: So, while we were whaling on the vampire population, things got ugly in town?

Oz: It's beginning to look like it.

Willow: Any reason why "they" would be hanging around the industrial estate?

Jane: (Does the "looking out into the day, filled with angst" thing.) Pretty simple. Lawndale has an estate too big for it; during past slumps a lot of companies moved out, mothballed or just folded. What it has is an expensive and well-maintained sewer and conduit sub-system.

Oz: ("Been there, done that" tone.) Deserted buildings and sewers, not a good combination.

Willow: Why maintain something like that? The building and sewers?

Daria: (Shrugs.) Maintenance is cheaper than having to destroy and rebuild, so I assume they'd keep things up and running while looking for buyers.

Oz: Logical and inconvenient.

Jane: Maybe not. (Thinking.) Lawndale proper has a pretty crude system on a different line. The industrial system is new, only around fifteen years old, and needed a bigger processing plant, and since it's cheaper to run the two plants unconnected, that means the old Lawndale system is in frequent use, ie: full, and the industrial system doesn't reach the city.

Daria: I'm waiting for the "but".

Jane: (Looks at Daria. The group turns in to the teaching block.) Ahem. On the electrical side, that system has some pretty extensive tunnels leading everywhere. Good news; they're narrow and cramped. Bad news; they're in good repair and are going to be the undead highway.

Daria: Oh. Joy.

Jane: You don't have to be that happy.

Daria: I was meaning that. (She points. They've reached the DeMartino room, and listen to some particularly incoherent noises emanating from inside.)

Oz: (Agrees.) Not a good class for worrying about saving the world.

(They take a collective breath and walk in. Music: "Mindfields" - The Prodigy. DeMartino is in mid-harangue, but he breaks off when he sees who has walked in.)

Mr DeMartino: A-HA! And WHAT pathetic excuse do you PLAN to offer me in elucidation of your TARDY ARRIVAL!!?

Willow: (Casual.) Held up.

Oz: (Non-committal.) Traffic.

Jane: (Taking her seat.) We walked.

Mr DeMartino: SO, do you not DENY your belated entrance?

Daria: (Seated.) Excuse me?

Mr DeMartino: WHAT is IT, Ms Morgandoffer?!

Daria: When, during the last semester, has this room's clock ever worked?

(The class looks at the clock. Close up; the second hand isn't moving, and if you look close enough, a spider has make it's web on the minute hand.)

Mr DeMartino: (Rubs chin.) Hmm. An EXCELLENT observation Ms Morgandoffer! I have OFTEN complained of the SHODDY upkeep of the school's PROPERTY! (His anger seems to have been successfully diverted.)

Mr DeMartino: STUDENTS, a CHANGE of PLAN! (Class shot; apathy turns into fear of the unknown.) Instead of noted EXPLORERS and their EFFECTS on CIVILISATION, today we will DISCUSS how long a civilisation will LAST without the necessary infrastructure to ENSURE its SMOOTH RUNNING! (Pants.) Can ANYONE give me an ESTIMATE of how LONG OUR civilisation would survive WITHOUT the necessary INFRASTRUCTURE!??

(Daria raises her hand, to get things over with.)

Mr DeMartino: DARIA?

Daria: I've heard quotes maintaining that we are "three meals and twenty-four hours away from barbarism".

Mr DeMartino: EXCELLENT ANSWER Daria, although a trifle OPTIMISTIC for my LIKING. (Suddenly clutches head.) ARRghhh!

Jodie: (Concern.) Are you all right, Mr DeMartino?

Jane: (Close-up. General aside.) There's optimism for you.

Mr DeMartino: (Holding head.) I SEEM to have DEVELOPED a sudden MIGRANE, which is quite ODD, CONSIDERING that KEVIN is in SICKBAY!

(Jane looks, frowns, fumbles with her bag, walks up, places the bottle of aspirin on the desk and walks back. Mr DeMartino squints, notices what is in front of him, pops the top, gobbles a few and swallows with the aid of a bottle of mineral water obtained from his desk. [Well, assume its water. It could be Vodka, or Gin...] He sits back a little, then straightens.)

Mr DeMartino: JANE, even though it is IMPROPER of me to accept ANY FORM of MEDICATION from one of my STUDENTS...(Jane looks up again.)...Thank you.

(Jane shrugs.)

(DeMartino sits/slouches back on the desk, rubbing his head.)

(Daria suddenly looks to have realised something and turns to Jane. Jane nods in conformation. When Daria jerks her thumb towards Mr DeMartino in disbelief, Jane spreads her hands, indicating "What else could it be?")

(Fade out scene with the look on Daria's face.)

 

(Open to the bell ringing and the class departing DeMartino's abuse session. Music: "Channel Z" - The B52's. Clumps of student depart the room; the camera POV follows the Lawndale Duo and the Sunnydalians.)

Jane: I assume you've heard the happy news?

Buffy: Just being filled in by our social gadfly. (Indicates Xander.)

Xander: (Looking around.) Just keeping my ear to the ground. (Beat.) Of course, screams tend to carry, so it might be a better idea to look up once in a while.

Daria: Anyway, while we were busy last night, some "things" were even busier?

Xander: A pithy summary.

Buffy: ("Me Slayer, take charge!") So, for tonight's efforts, I say we split into teams and...

Jane: ("Me Jane, 'nuff said!") ...Roam the streets of Lawndale, looking for trouble?

Daria: (Smirk. "Me Daria. I'm with Jane.") I'll go get my Droogs.

Jane: (Smiling.) I, for one, am always in the mood for some ultra-violence...

Buffy: (Rolls her eyes.) But?

Jane: Instead of roaming on foot, may I suggest the convenience of vehicular transport?

Oz: Logical.

Xander: And handy. (Beat.) Er. I'm assuming you have the transport? (Daria looks over.)

Willow: (Explanatory.) Giles had to return the van this morning. They weren't impressed. I don't know why, some bodywork and a new paint-job, it would have been fine...

Oz: (Reasonably.) Well, it was brand-new...

Buffy: (Reining in the localised insanity.) Back from this morning's fascinating topic, what's on hand and what's available?

Jane: Daria and I have the "Tank" here, and Trent has a car, but I'm sure I can get my hands on anything that you need by tonight.

Buffy: Some sort of anonymous transport, not stolen. And we might need another van.

Jane: No problem. Where do you want them?

Willow: Uh...(She can see a problem coming up.)

Buffy: 24 Oakey Street. (Willow's expression: "D'oh!")

Jane: Gotcha. (Writes on her hand.) See you at five?

Willow: Uh...(Willow's expression: "Problem has occurred. Now, how to solve it?")

Buffy: ("That's that" tone.) Right.

(Daria and Jane stroll off towards the student carpark. Willow is obviously wants a word with Buffy, but waits until they are obviously out of earshot.)

Buffy: (Patiently.) Yes Willow?

Willow: You just gave out our secret hideout! (Xander grins.) How could you?

Buffy: Well, do you want to walk around a town that will soon make Sunnydale look normal?

Xander: And anyway, I gave them our address when we first met them, remember? (At the various looks of surprise.) I'm pretty sure I told everyone. Or at least, I think I told someone...

Oz: (Lets Xander off the hook he's about to be impaled on.) Well, we may as well get a move-on. If past experiences are a guide, Giles will have us sharpening stakes 'till dark...

Buffy: (Has Daria's "Oh, God." expression.) Oh. Much joy.

Xander: ...Except for Buffy, who will be forced to prove her "Slayer-worthiness" in an annoying series of obstacle courses. (Pause, small voice.) I should really shut up now, shouldn't I?

 

(Open new scene, black. Music: "Loving the Alien" - David Bowie. There are some scratching noises, like someone walking on gritty fragments.)

Jane: (O/S, vexed.) I'm pretty sure it's around here somewhere.

Daria: (O/S.) Hold on.

Jane: (O/S, gritty footsteps go in a different direction.) What? Found something?

Daria: (O/S, in a pretty good imitation of Giles's voice.) Yes, The binding of this book does not match that of the other books on the shelf. By Jove! Watson, I think I've found a clue!

Jane: (O/S, flat.) At this point, I think you're abusing sarcasm.

Daria: (O/S) You'd think that you'd mark an emergency bolthole a little better than this.

Jane: (O/S, lofty.) There's always room for improvement...

Daria: (O/S) More importantly, room for a "Vax". When was the last time you cleaned up in here?

Jane: (O/S, distracted.) I don't really know, what year is it?

Daria: (O/S, slightly worried.) I really hope that was meant to be hyperbole, and not the product of heavier-than-air gases pooling down here with us...

Jane: (O/S, triumphant.) Got it! I always fall for the old "false kiln support" lever.

(There is a loud grinding noise, and the screen develops a rectangular crack of light. The groaning stops. Shadows make the rectangle flicker and fade from view.)

Jane: (O/S) Hmm, give us a hand here?

(The groaning starts again, but more slowly.)

Jane: (O/S) Almost there, jerk it...now!

(The groaning disappears, only the sound of footsteps and a whisper of movement remains. The rectangle widens into golden light, obviously a doorway. Dust motes dance in the electric sunbeam cast by an overhead bulb.)

Jane: (O/S) Easy, easy...(Heavy dull "thunk"!) Nice, no chipping this time. I took me ages to carve this thing.

Daria: (O/S) It looks like a cast concrete slab to me.

Jane: (O/S, but you can hear the shrug.) Cast, caved, same difference.

(Daria comes into the shot, silhouetted in the doorway. Jane joins her.)

Daria: So, do we have to worry about a huge ball rolling down on us, or just the snake pit?

Jane: (Coming through the door, and reaching around the side.) With Trent? He'd set off any booby-traps the first time he opened the door. (She flips on a light switch. Long-unused fluorescent lights flicker into being. The camera comes around to the girls' POV. They are looking into a short concrete passage, which leads down some spiral stairs.)

Daria: And how are we going to get anything up those stairs?

Jane: Later, I want to see if we've got any water damage.

(They walk down the stairs and come to another door, this one made of dull metal. It has one of those wheel-lock mechanisms that throw bars into the top, bottom and sides of the jam. Daria looks at the door.)

Daria: I'm not going to find Michael Keaton in a big cave down here, working on his latex underwear, am I?

Jane: Hardly, boy wonder. (Spins open the lock, and cracks the door. Cold dry air rushes out.) Good, it kept the seal. (At Daria's look of inquiry.) Positive pressure, allows atmosphere to escape, keeps what's inside intact. (She throws open the door and it <bongs> slightly against something on the other side. Jane reaches around again and more lights flicker to life.) Behold, my cave of wonders...(Jane salaams Daria inside.)

(Music: "Quake Music Track 7" - Nine Inch Nails. It is a cluttered concrete room, maybe twenty yards a side. Racks of weapons are wrapped in oilcloth and there are large cupboards on the far side of the room. Jane is checking something by the side of the door and looks up, satisfied. A light by the door flickers annoyingly. She rotates it and the flickering stops.)

Jane: (Taps a thermometer and humidity-gauge.) We also keep important documents in here, that's why the air's so dry. (She walks over to a rack and removes some covers. She and Daria, wander about, looking at things.)

Daria: (Wandering over to the cupboards, nods towards them.) What's in there?

Jane: Various things that go bang - ammunition, explosives, stuff like that.

Daria: And over there? (Nods towards a dark area of the room, where the lights don't reach too well.)

Jane: That is the remnants of the old armoury. (She walks over to the wall again and flips a few switches. (Big hot mercury-vapour lamps slowly blaze into being.)

Daria: (Impressed.) Whoa.

(At the far wall are armours of various types, from the double-ringed chainmail of the Vikings, to a suit of full 16th-Century plate. Axes, swords, maces, morningstars, anything sharp, pointed or just plain deadly line the walls in neat array. Wall-points hold some scabbarded swords, while halberds, pikes and other long pointy things are in an angled rack. Basically, it looks like the inside of Giles's locked library cupboard, only more so.)

(Daria picks up a six-foot oak staff, topped with a long, gracefully curved blade, metal face plate and bound with rings of some alloy, probably brass. She looks at Jane.)

Jane: (Not looking, poking around in a large chest.) Naginata, Japanese, probable 14th Century construction. (She holds up something wrapped in greasy cloths.) Aha!

(Daria comes over to see what Jane has uncovered. The oily rags are thrown aside and Jane whirls around with...)

Daria: (Jumping backwards.) Yahh!

Jane: (Evil grin.) Like it?

(She has got a gleaming silver gauntlet on her hand, one that has curved foot-long bladed protrusions attached to the fingers via an intricate cats-cradle of springs, rods and bindings. She moves her fingers and the blades snick shut with barely a whisper.)

Jane: 19th Century, from the South China Seas. (Flexes her fingers again, letting the blades open and close.)

Daria: (Looking annoyed.) Don't tell me, Edward Scissorhands was going for a swim and you hooked him while trolling for marlin?

Jane: (Looking away from her fascinating hand.) More like Freddy Kruger. (Reaches in the same box, and drags out another glove-thing, this one of an almost black metal with insert highlights the colour of age-darkened bronze. She reverses it and gives it to Daria, who takes it gingerly.)

Jane: (Nods to the one Daria is holding.) That's the original. This (Holds up her hand.) is a copy I got made using that one as a model. (Shrugs.) God knows who originally designed it, but it wasn't made for "ordinary" people, that's for sure. (Daria stops working her fingers into the glove. She looks up.)

Daria: (Carefully.) Why?

Jane: (Noticing Daria's stillness.) Well, nothing human could operate it; the springs are way too strong. Go on, try it. (Urges her on.)

(Daria fits the glove and hold it away from herself. Jane takes a few steps backwards and ducks for cover. Daria doesn't look amused and Jane comes out again. Daria winces and the blades move, slightly. They suddenly spring out, then close again.)

Daria: Well, it takes a bit of getting used to...(Looks up, Jane is hiding behind a chest again.) Oh yes, very funny. (The hand-claw flexes open and shut again.)

Jane: Hey, when that thing came open, I wanted as much protection in between us I could get. (Points to her left.) Try it on Arthur.

Daria: Arthur?

(She and Jane walk a little over to a battle-scarred wooden dummy, fixed to the floor.)

Jane: This is Arthur. (Pats the head section.) Whip him, bite him, beat him, he still comes back for more.

Daria: (Wry.) You should call "him" Upchuck, then.

Jane (Grins and removes her gauntlet.) Arthur was another Upchuck. (She walks backward out of the shot.) Go wild girl!

Daria: (Genuinely puzzled.) What?

Jane: (O/S) You know, hack, slash, grrr? (Clanking noise from where she is.)

Daria: I feel stupid enough without attacking a wooden dummy, Jane. (Pause.) Kevin, maybe...

Jane: (O/S) Think of it as a stress-management exercise.

(Daria turns to the wooden figure again and raises her hand to strike. The fingers flex slightly. The turns to Jane again.)

Jane: (Camera cuts to her, she's hefting a double-bitted axe.) I'm not even looking; go play already? ("Sharp edged tool hitting wood" noise, then a dull wooden "thunk".)

Daria: (Look of surprise on her face.) Whoa...

Jane: (Looking proud.) Funky, hey?

 

(Open to outside 24 Oakey Street. Music: "Quake Music Track 9" - Nine Inch Nails. The house looks like an uneasy cross between the Morgandoffers and the Lanes, but is painted a dull green. There is a little portico with steps at the front door, and a small veranda [Porch.] Buffy and Oz are waiting on the steps. Xander is balancing on the porch railing, kicking his heels, while Willow reads a weighty tome while wrapped around one of the supporting poles. Giles comes out of the front door, followed closely by Wesley.)

Giles: (Obviously continuing a conversation from inside.) No, I really don't think the incantation would call for the blood of a Virginian. (Pause.) And when you consider that the text you obtained that reference from was written before the discovery of the Americas...(Looks to the people waiting.) No luck yet?

Xander: Five past five and no show. (Looks to the almost-dark sky.)

(Music, very faint: "Wherever I May Roam" - Metallica. It gets steadily louder as some vehicles make their way up the street. By the time it gets to outside the "Slayer Hideout", Metallica have moved onto the second part of the song and it's at a deafening volume.)

[...And the earth becomes my throne, I adapt to the unknown, under wandering stars I have grown, by myself but not alone, I ask no one...]

(As Daria gets out of the Tank, her music stops, but the music still comes from the other vehicles. Daria's dressed in her "Trinity" gear - [Guess who loved "The Matrix"?] big black boots, big black coat, black shades. Jane stops the black transit (that was last seen being driven by Giles) and hops out too. Same music decrease. Jane is wearing similar black leather gear, but has a big silver belt-buckle. The final vehicle, a beat-up ex-ambulance, comes to a smooth halt, but shudders at the sheer level of noise coming from inside. The music is cut off and Trent gets out of the driver's side. He's wearing his usual garb, grey pants with a hole in the knee, green/tan/grey shirt, dazed expression. He rubs the back of his head, and slips on his sunglasses. The three Lawndale vampires walk together as a group towards the waiting Sunnydalians. Xander jumps down from the porch railing. Willow marks her place and unwinds herself from the pole. Buffy and Oz stand.)

Trent: (Waves) Hey.

Giles: Ah, yes, hello. (Looks at the other transit.) Is that..?

Jane: (Smiles.) It was cheap for some reason. (Looks at the Gilesmobile. Slowly.) And if you drive in that thing, you're braver than I thought...

Xander: (Makes "no" motions with his hands.) Ixnay on the Pop culture referenceay.

Daria: (Dry and unreadable.) That wasn't a quote, that was an honest compliment. (Looks at Wesley, who is slightly behind Giles.) And this is the other Watcher? (Wesley flinches.)

Jane: Hi, we haven't been formally introduced. (Walks forward.) I'm Jane Lane, this is my brother (Nudges Trent to wake him up.) Trent, and our friend and companion, Daria Morgandoffer. (Daria nods.)

Wesley: (Faintly.) Oh, hello.

Jane: (Frowns.) Where is Cordelia? Doing her nails?

Buffy: (Dry.) Funny of you to mention...

Trent: (To Jane.) Another one?

Jane: So, I assume that she will not grace us with her presence?

Xander: Assumed rightly.

Jane: Well then. (Nods.) You guys figure out who is going to ride with whom. (Goes to the back of the black transit. The Sunnydale population looks a bit confused, but Buffy [Who else?] takes charge.)

Buffy: Right. Giles, I want you in a van, store the usual "stuff" in there. (Looks at Jane struggling with something in the back of the black transit.) I assume that you can take that one...(They see Jane dig in her pockets and eventually throws over the keys. Buffy snatches them out of the air, and gives them to Giles.) Xander, Oz, any choices?

Oz: With Willow. (Unseen, Willow melts.)

Xander: (Almost at the same time.) I'm easy. (They share a look and shrug.)

Buffy: Willow, do you want to come with me? (Willow nods.) Ok, that leaves...

Trent: Daria and I will take the Tank. (Shrugs.) It's kinda temperamental. (Fleeting look of horror on Daria's face, it disappears quickly, leaving bland composure in it's place.)

Buffy: Which leave me in the conspicto-mobile... (She has an "Oh, joy" expression.)

Giles: Er, what about? (Nods in Janes direction, she obscured by the opened Transit doors.)

Jane: (O/S) I'm fine. (She emerges, walking a monster road bike, taken from the back of the Transit. She reaches back and snags a black helmet. As she wheels it over, you can see the male "mechanical" lust thicken the air.)

Xander: (Plaintively.) What is it? (He's is in love, Giles is not much better.)

Jane: (Setting the stand.) Ducatti. And very fast. (Beat.) I'll be acting as roving backup for you guys. I assume you have your phones? (Various bulges are tapped or indicated to.) Good. (Connects a com cable to the base of her helmet, settles the helmet on her head and sticks "things" into various scabbards on the bike.) See you later, call me on "1". (With that, she flips down the visor, starts the bike, kicks it forward and drives sedately off.)

Buffy: Funny, I was waiting for a howling skid, at least.

Trent: On those tyres? (Turns to Daria.) Well, here we go. (Walks over to the Tank, Daria jogs a little to catch up. They get in and belt up. The Tanks growls a few times, then steadies into its normal rumble. Trent drives off, waving, but does a sudden U-turn to the curb.)

Trent: (Calling out.) The keys are in the ignition! (Drives off.)

(The Sunnydalians stare a little, shrug and start to load the vehicles with various anti-monster equipment.)

 

(Open to Jane cruising down a highway, the road deserted. Music: "Zero" - Smashing Pumpkins. There is a steady bleeping noise, and Jane reaches down to press a button on her phone. As an afterthought, she turns down the CD she's playing. "Zero" gets quieter.)

Jane: Yo!

Daria: (O/S) Hey Jane, noticed anything yet?

Jane: (Disgusted.) Nope, but I have been pulled over about 7 times by bored doughnut-munchers. I've been keeping below 50 but you'd think that I was escaping a police chase, the number of times they've decided to try and bring me in.

Daria: (O/S) So, an expensive motorcycle wasn't the most low-key method of transport?

Jane: (Semi-seriously.) But it is the most fun. (Pause. Her voice is pure malicious torment.) So, how are you going? Hmmm?

Daria: (O/S, whisper.) Jane, when I get my hands on you, there is going to be...(Normal voice.) No Trent, there isn't anything wrong, apart from Jane attracting every Highway Patrol and Law-Enforcement Officer in Lawndale.

Trent: (O/S, Faint.) Cool

(Jane is laughing so much, she has to slow the bike down.)

Daria: (O/S, low voice again.) I'm going to kill you. Horribly, painfully, slowly.

Jane: Promises, promises. (Changing subject.) Where are you?

Daria: (O/S) Where the rest of the undead go to hang out.

Jane: (Grinning.) The "Better Days Nursing Home"?

Daria: (O/S, amused.) No, the undead, not the living dead. (Pause.) We're at the cemetery. It's been quiet, although that is a pretty redundant statement in Lawndale.

Jane: Stay frosty.

Daria: (O/S) We're getting hungry, so we'll take a short break, cruise a little and visit the local purveyor of fast-food.

Jane: Wow, you've really got you life mapped out, haven't you?

Daria: (O/S) Later, dead girl.

Jane: (Gushy.) She likes me! (Normal) Later.

(Phone bleeps and Jane disconnects.)

 

(Open to Giles and Xander, cruising in the (now) beat up black transit. Xander is reading a manual of some description, Giles is on the lookout for anything that will necessitate the use of deadly or arcane force. He glances over to Xander.)

Giles: You know, if you stopped reading that, we'd double our chances of finding something?

Xander: (Not looking up.) I'm sure that you will let me know if you've found something, and I'm positive that I really want to know how to use this when the time comes.

Giles: It's a car radio, for god's sake!

Xander: So?

Giles: ("Hurried, must get message across" voice.) Xander, phone somebody. Now.

(Xander doesn't even bother to look up, just dials as quickly as he can. Then he looks up.)

Xander: Oh.

Jane: (O/S, from phone.) Yo, Jane here.

Buffy: (O/S, from phone.) Tell me good things Xander.

Angel: (O/S, from phone.) Here.

Giles: (Grabs and fiddles with his hands-free headset, finally just grabbing the mike.) We've just spotted a Hellhound at, uhm?

Xander: (Readying something over his side.) Halfway down Johnstone Way.

Jane: (O/S, from phone.) Do you need backup?

Giles: (O/S, from phone.) Er, I don't think so...

Jane: (O/S, from phone.) Good, I'm way across the town from you. Anyone else?

(Something heavy lands on the roof of the Van. It rocks a little with the impact.)

Angel: (O/S, from phone, wind noise.) I'm there.

Xander: (Looks up at the roof, then to Giles.) Er, should we stop?

Angel: (O/S, from phone, wind noise.) No, I'm fine. Just keep it in sight, they're fast.

Xander: I was more worried about being seen with someone on the roof of our van.

Angel: (O/S, from phone, wind noise.) Good point. (Beat.) Could whoever is in the passenger side move? Please?

(As Xander moves into the back of the van, Angel worms his way through the window. It's a tight fit.)

Buffy: (O/S, from phone.) Just keep us informed, hey? Be careful.

Angel, Xander & Giles: You don't have to tells us. (They look at each other, surprised.)

Daria: (O/S, from phone.) Nice harmony, so you don't need a hand?

Xander: (In the back of the Van.) Trust us, you'll know if we need help, just follow my screams.

Giles: Ah, yes. Be assured that you'll hear from us if we need assistance.

Daria: (O/S, from phone.) I'm off.

Jane: (O/S, from phone.) Ditto.

Buffy: (O/S, from phone.) Keep safe.

Xander: Thanks. (Angel looks over, but doesn't say anything.)

 

(Open to Trent and Daria, cruising along in the Tank. Music: "Stolen Car" - Beth Orton. [It's good, really good.] There seem to be numerous "Burger World" packets scattered around. Daria's obviously uncomfortable with something, and Trent turns to look over to her.)

Trent: Hey?

Daria: Yes?

Trent: (Splitting his attention between Daria and driving.) Uhh, is anything the matter? You're looking kind of, um, distracted.

Daria: (Her voice a little more highly-pitched than normal.) No, I'm fine Trent.

(Trent looks to the road again, then indicates, slows and pulls up into an old carpark. They're obviously patrolling the Industrial estate, probably on a kind of rotation with everyone else. Once the vehicle has halted, her turns to Daria.)

Trent: Daria, I know that something is bothering you. I'd really like to know what.

Daria: (Looking annoyed and embarrissed.) Ok, fine. How did you and Jane become Vampires?

Trent: (Looking surprised.) Uh, we got bit. Not much else to tell.

Daria: Ok, that's a certainty. But how come when Angel became a like us, he had to drink the blood of a vampire to "turn"? And I only needed to drink the god-awful serum? And why don't we crispy-fry in the sun like he would? Not to mention the whole garlic and holy item thing.

Trent: (Makes an open hand gesture that could indicate anything.) Different strokes for different folks Daria.

Daria: Ok, Trent. But you're still not telling me all of what you know... Oh.... (She dives into the back of the van and starts to rummage around.)

Trent: (Into the phone,.) Uh, ok people, we're in the industrial estate and there's a group of familiar faces coming around from , uh, everywhere, I guess.

(Cut to outside view of van. Dark and shabby figures are popping up from behind old walls, overgrown shrubbery and dark corners. They are seen to slowly converge on the Tank, currently in the middle of the carpark.)

(Cut back to the interior of the van, Trent accepting something from Daria as she organises something unpleasent.)

Jane: (O/S, worried.) Need help? (Disgusted.) I'm in the middle of nowhere.

Trent: Ahh... (Looks over to Daria, she shakes her head gently at him.) I think we'll be all right. (He turns off the phone and wrenches at the M16 that Daria threw at him. Daria clumsily readies an AK-47 in her other hand, loaded and ready for action. She flips over a shoulder-holster and a bunch of magazine pouches to Trent, who catches it easily and hurriedly shrugs it on. He nods to Daria.) No armour?

Daria: (Tightly, while looking out of the dirty window in the side of the Tank.) No time.

(Trent's door is thrown open by a vampire who had sneaked along out of direct sight of the driver's side. At the same time, other vampires haul open the sliding door in the side of the van.)

(A hail of bullets strongly discourage the vampires reaching in for Daria, as shocked uglies fall back and down, she leaps out of the van, gun blazing. Trent had to butt away the first set of groping hands, but after kicking the door into the face of a thick-set vampire, he's enough room to follow Daria's lead and take the fight to the enemy.)

Trent: (O/S) Címon! Yeah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea: (Bouncing back.) Well, as freaky as your bedtime stories get, what does it mean to us?

Wesley: That something far nastier than anything we've seen hunts vampires, and I suspect that it is currently engaged in Lawndale.

(There is a slow, sarcastic clap from the other end of the warehouse. The gathering turns, and recoils, shocked. Jane walks into the light, dragging Mrs Defoe and Upchuck, who still look unconscious. Willow and Xander edge into the light too, they're covered in old blankets, torn curtains and are hobbling on sore feet. Jane is too, but she's also covered in blood, as in still-dripping, not-yet-clotted blood. Bloody footprints trail after her.)

Jane: Lovely recital, but I just walked in without so much as a "boo" from the rest of the people in here. (Fixes a blue-eyed gimlet glare at the ersatz leader.) I know, it's daylight, but get some people out on the perimeter, or I'll do something unpleasant. (Looks around.) Max, Nicholas, Axl, Monique, you're mobile, grab a few guns and look nasty. (Jane places Mrs Defoe gently on the floor, apart from Upchuck.) Andrea, Defoe is totally drained from doing whatever she does, could you check her out? And Mrs Bennet, Upchuck got a whack on the head, make sure he doesn't swallow his tongue, would you? (People jump to her commands.)

(Jane sits down on a box, blood still streaming off her. It makes little pattering noises as it rains down on the cement floor. Wesley looks at it in horror.)

Jane: (Closing her eyes as she leans back.) Wesley, do something useful and find Xander and Willow some clothes? There'll be some uniforms or something over there. (Waves her hand. Blood speckles over a wide area.)

Wesley: You don't need medical attention?

Jane: (Still not opening her eyes.) If you piss me off further, you will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 6 Thursday: School is starting to lose its interest as all hell starts to break loose. Evil is starting to come out onto the streets, and the Morgandoffers, the Landons, the Griffins, basically everyone is there. They manage to get to the Gym roof, and form a barricade to prevent the undead from gaining further access. Jane is door gunner, Daria same while Trent pilots the revealed Huey into range for an airdrop of munitions and supplies. They do this a few times, before they have to stop with the Huey going down in a big way. (Tail rotor sheared off.) They rest while the Sunnydale crew find the Hellgate and get the right spell ready.

 

Day 7: Friday. Showdown. The Tank is in operation, along with more guns than necessary. The hellgate is beneath the school gym, and they must free the survivors in order that they might destroy the Hellgate. The Gang come across like the avenging gods, slaughter the legions of the undead, and generally kick ass. Sandi is now a thing of evil (No brains there. I wonder if that happened before or after she lost her soul?) destroyed by Daria. Big showdown. Mr O'Neill comes back to save the one he loves. DeMartino and Jake scythe throughout the undead, as does Brittany. Kevin is attacked by the Zombies, but "No Brains". Ms Barch is death on legs. "Take that, you MAN!"

 

Day 8: Saturday. Aftermath. Picking up the pieces.

 

Bug things in woods

Staff-wielding undead mage (Lich.)

Hell Hounds

Zombies

Vampires

Hell-knights

Slime-Demons

Undead Sandi & Tiffany - Their little undead army.

 

 

Andrea's outstretched hand is flung towards the dropped staff. She squints, grits her teeth and her hand goes claw-like from the effort of concentration and stress on tendons. Behind the approaching corpse, the staff twitches, then flies towards Andrea. On the way, it takes out the zombie's head in a spray of bone fragments, rotted brain and ichor. The Lich's staff gently settles in her hand while the now-headless zombie crumples to the ground.)

(Using the end of the staff as a lever, she twists open the staple holding her to the wall, then hurdles over fallen undead. Running over to the rest of the captured group, she wipes away a runnel of blood from a nosebleed and batters the zombie about to munch on Oz, crushing its skull. She stands back and twirls the staff like a pro.)

Buffy: Andrea! (Kicks away some cadavers that are approaching the unconscious Willow.) I need to get loose! (Fruitlessly, Buffy works at the stable holding her other arm to the wall, but it appears to be much sturdier that it's counterpart. She kicks away another zombie.)

(Andrea suddenly stops dead with a blank expression on her face, her hands running over the staff. Her fingers move gently over the inset "Puzzle" on the shaft. The undead take this as an invitation for feeding time, and stagger close, moaning eagerly.)

Buffy: Andrea! (She can't reach a zombie about to get to Willow.)

Andrea: (Knowledge hits her. Exultant.) Oh YEAH!

(Andrea falls into the classic "Vengeful Wizard" pose and clicks something on the staff. It moves some of the "Puzzle pieces" and the staff abruptly re-forms into something less ornate and more avant-guard. An orange glow forms at one end.)

(Whirling, glow foremost, she unleashes a torrent of blindingly arcane energies on anything that moves. The approaching wall of undead flashes into calcined skeletons as the brilliant stream of focused magic runs over them. The orange inferno scours the scum off of the walls with a flash, and turns to instant crispiness the zombies who were missed during the first blast. While the rest of the team cringes and duck away in an urgent search for any sort of protection, Andrea cleans up the underground cistern, weaving a deadly web of potent magiks. When the last undead is cremated, Andrea shuts off and lets the silence flow. An orange glow fades from the tip of the staff.)

Buffy: (Blinking away flash-blindness.) Well...

Oz: (Same.) Wow.

Andrea: (Fiddling with the staff again.) Hang on.

(It morphs into something blue-metal and spiky. Those still attached to the wall duck back and close their eyes. She raises the staff with both hands and miniature lightning arcs blow off the restraining shackles. They fall to the floor, smoking. Willow slumps to the floor, and Oz jumps over to check her. He looks up, reassuring Buffy.)

Oz: She's fine, just still knocked out by...that. (Waves at the staff Andrea holds.)

(Andrea moves some more of the "puzzle pieces". The staff abruptly morphs into a simple, rough-cut quarterstaff. She leans on it and wipes away some more of the nosebleed.)

Andrea: (Blood on her teeth too.) Oh yeah. That was fun.

 

Stacy comes over to warn Quinn, they barricade the house against Sandi, Tiffany and her mini-horde. Hero Ted Dewitt-Clinton saves Stacy

Mr DeMartino: Goes positively postal. Has a heart attack, is brought back from the dead to unleash on his attackers a world of hurt.

Mrs Barch: Wades into the "Male" undead. Hideous carnage ensues.

Ms Li: Possessed by evil spirits. Kill to cure.

Brittany: Goes into Ninja-militant mode, much death. Saves Kevin (approx) every 4 seconds.

Kevin: Staggers around in his football gear, whacking things with a fire-axe. Saved by Brittany many times.

Jake: Goes into "Monster-mash" overdrive when Quinn and Helen are threatened.

Jodies parents: Dodge the wild swings of Jake, Barch and Tony, complain, and kill.

Helen: On phone most of the time. Saves Quinn, Jake and really pisses off a big nasty demon.

Mrs Bennet: Manages to escape with Axl and Monique in the Tank.

Axl: Evil overruns Degas Street, he takes cover in the 'Zen with Monique

Monique: In the midst of getting "something" pierced when some bloody lumbering zombie walks in waving a fresh arm. Quote: Things like that can scar a girl. After pulling up her pants, she manages to flee with Axl.

O'Neill: Staggers through the ranks of the undead, part man, part wolf. Howling Janet, Janet, and killing anything that gets in his way to her.

Mrs Defoe: Tries to escape with Xander, Upchuck and Willow into the woods. Notable quote: Willow: God Xander! You and the bugs, what gives? Running through the woods, the tide of icky insects is about to overrun the valiant heroes when they stumble over a dropped munition crate from the Huey overflights to the besieged school. They make a mighty stand, setting fire to a great deal of the surrounding countryside. Defoe surprisingly makes an effective leader, and blows a bug off Xander with her mind alone (sensitive, remember?) Falls in a faint, Upchuck and Xander manage to drag her to safety while Willow lays down a steady stream of cover-fire.

 

Nick and Max and Andrea: In the APC with the BIG guns. Cause much damage, cruising the streets, killing and maiming

 

Axl, Monique and Mrs Bennet: Escape in the Tank. - End up in warehouse.

 

Defoe, Xander, Upchuck, Willow in the woods.

 

Daria, Jane and Giles go to rescue Quinn.

 

Trent and Buffy run over to the Slayer household, manage not to be staked by Wes & Cordy, fight off horde of vampires.

 

Angel and Oz, running around in the school, trying to avoid being eaten by shadows. Meet Pavlov (the Custodian.) and manage to survive until they meet up with...

 

Daria, Jane, Jodie and Mack- -Wielding chainsaws and making right nuisances of themselves.

 

 

(Music: "Music Tracks 9, 10, 20 & 21" - Mechwarrior: Mercenaries. Something huge and lumbering is approaching the besieged gym. Various spotlights glare down from the vehicle, lighting up the brown and grey sea of the undead. Behind it, other vehicles, including a Monster-truck follow. They've got lights everywhere, lit up like Christmas displays. Red targeting lasers stab out from various vehicles, running over the shifting crowd of corpses. The moaning increases as the dead sees targets that they can reach.)

Monique: (O/S, amplified.) On my mark!

(Various noises clatter from the approaching relief force. The undead's moans increase with intensity.)

Monique: (O/S, over the moans.) Fire at will!

(During the rather depressing overture of "Track 10", the rescuers open up. A curtain of flame sprays out from the front of the lead vehicle, now recognisable as the Snowplow that the Band had scavenged. The first rounds from an automatic grenade-launcher land among the shifting sea, blowing open holes like raindrops in dust. A huge roar overwhelms the zombie's moaning as numerous mini-guns hard-mounted on the Snowplow add their weight to the firefight. There is an additional chattering as the mounted heavy machine-guns open fire in support. The flame units on the front of the plow light up the scene again, most of the front line of the dead are fiery torches, burning with unnatural intensity.)

Axl: (O/S, from the lead vehicle.) Keep up the momentum! All weapons, NOW!

(Sparkles of light from all vehicles, hand-carried weapons are being fired into the sea. The zombies are being thrown back, but there are too many. Some reach the other vehicles, and have to be fought off. Any zombies trying to do so with the Snowplow are simply sucked into the intakes and thrown out as compost behind. The odd LAWS anti-armour missile streaks from the smaller beleaguered reinforcements, to keep open avenues of escape.)

(The sheer amount of firepower directed into the undead is knocking them back, but if the vehicles become entrapped, the zombies will simply pull each one down when the ammunition runs out. More flame units come into play, as desperate vehicle crews ensure they can escape.)

Monique: (O/S, amplified.) Dammit! All retreat, NOW!

Max: (O/S, really worried, amplified.) ALL VEHICLES, RETREAT! I'm gonna launch the Napalm! (Somewhat off-mike.) Button up and get us the hell out of here!

(The faster-moving teams clear the way for their slower companions and a bulldozer shoves aside piles of smouldering debris for a smoother escape. The last to go is the Snowplow, mini-guns not letting up for a second. The drifts of unmoving figures lie as evidence for the effectiveness of the attack, but it wasn't enough to break through.)

(Inside the hastily armoured cabin of the Snowplow, Monique looks over Axl's shoulder at the various screens they've got hooked up to image-enhancement equipment.)

Monique: Everyone gone?

Axl: (Hands on joysticks, directing the streams of fire into oncoming waves of undead.) I really hope so.

Nicholas: (Over radio.) Monique! Everyone's clear except for you guys. We'll lay cover.

Monique: (To Axl.) Do it? (Places her hand on a big lever.)

Axl: (Not looking up.) Do it. (Monique pulls the lever. Outside, there is a dull "thunk" and a big "whoosh" of something moving away quickly. Into radio.) Launching!

Max: (Over radio.) Copy! It's away, move your asses!

(Monique stomps on the gas, and the Snowplow makes it's way out, Axl still not letting up on the mini-guns and grenades.)

(There is a dull "Crumsth" noise, followed immediately by another. All the image-enhancement screens white-out, the few view-slits that remain light up like it's day.)

Nicholas: (Over the radio.) A hit! A palatable hit! (Axl's guns click dry.)

Monique: (Into a headset she's dragged up.) We're dry! We're dry!

Max: (O/S, shouting from outside.) It's ok, we've got you covered!

(Monique grabs a sawn-off pump-action shotgun, and cracks the hatch now set in the ceiling. She pops it open and jumps out, ready to inconvenience anything that even looks at her strangely. Nicholas is waving from the battered monster-truck, its headlights awry. Monique scans the other side, and Max pops open the hatch from the APC.)

Monique: (Yells to Max.) Duck!

(Max disappears down the hatch like a rabbit down a hole, lid slamming afterwards. Monique pumps a few rounds into the Zombie that managed to get a hold of the APC access ladder. (Welded on the front of the vehicle.) She eventually blows the head off. It falls and is crushed by the APC. The rest of the zombie follows.)

Monique: (Grabs headset.) Max, it's safe now, you just had cling on.

Nicholas: (Calls out, remarkably dry.) I just thought it was your homicidal tendencies coming into play!

Max: (Over radio.) Nick, remind me to run my keys down the side of that thing you're driving.

(Monique looks over at the formerly immaculate Monster-truck.)

Monique: Too late.

 

Jane: Hey Trent? (Burst of gunfire from Jane.)

Trent: Yeah Janey?

Jane: Ah, how was I in Morocco? (Wet thump from Trent's direction.) Really?

Trent: Pretty scary. (Witchting! noise, another wet thump.)

Jane: Okay. (Pause.) How scary? (Explosions, heavy weapon noise as Jane arcs up, changes abruptly to another weapon as she re-loads the exhausted magazine of the original.)

Trent: Zero to ten?

Jane: Whatever. (Rapid pistol shots.)

Trent: (Grunt.) A good eight and a half, probably a nine.

Jane: Ok. Cool. (Wombat-gun noise, big explosion.) How about Daria?

Trent: (Chainsaw noise and various screams. Double shotgun blast.) Uh, same scale?

Jane: Yeah. (Thump, Crack!)

Trent: Huh. (Chainsaw noise again, loud.) An easy thirty or forty.

Jane: Oh.

Trent: Yeah. (Boom, chachunk, Boom, chachunk.)

Jane: Kinda makes you glad she's with us.

Trent: Yep. (Multiple explosions.)

 

Daria: Quinn has been wondering how I can eat anything yet not gain a pound. I told her it was my metabolism, and that she'd get one as soon as her personality came back in from repairs at the auto-shop.

 

Jane: Weeell, if you felt an unpleasant gaze on your naked soul...

Daria: ...Upchuck would be there with his handicam and a wad of tissues?

Jane: You frighten me.

 

Daria: Something is looking for us, I can tell that much. (Beat.) But it's more malicious than evil. And if I thought that there was nothing more smug than the "Fashion Club", I know now for certain that it simply isn't true.

Jane: (Surprised.) Damn, but you're good girl. I couldn't read the ether like that until I was at least seventy.

 

Oz: Smooth.

 

Daria: How is your sense of direction?

Jane: Yelling at me to run, not walk, out of here while I still have legs.

 

Willow: Ow, it's like a sound in here!

 

(Cordelia, Buffy and Willow come out, looking mean, lean and deadly.)

Jane: Designer Slayers? (Beat.) Xander, style hint: open mouth = not good.

 

Quinn: (Miming along with great gusto.) Hold me down , feel the noise, let them know it's a vibe, pick it up, it's alive...

Stacy: (Actually singing!) Move over, yeah, Don't do it over, yeah (Yeah, Yeah.) 'Cause it's over, Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Quinn & Stacy: Take the heat, feel the flow, 'cause you're ready to burn, and we're ready to go! Take the heat, feel the flow, 'cause you're ready to burn, and we're ready to go!

 

Flame-thrower:

Minmimi's: 5.56mm (200 or 30 mags.)

 

Shotgun models:

Mossberg 590 security (20 inch barrel.) 12-gauge 2-3 magnums.

M79-wombat gun.

M72-laws.

20mm grenade launcher

 

 

 

 

 

Giles: I can see that it is going to be a long night.

 

Daria: (Sighs.) Blood is thicker than water.

Jane: (Playing "Devil's advocate".) So is soup.

Giles: (Vaguely distracted, scanning the horizon.) Winston Churchill.

Daria: (Glares at them both.) You're not helping here.

 

Jane: Ha! I bet you aren't half the man your mother was!

 

Jane: Here today?

Daria: Gone Gomorrah.

 

Daria: At last! We're finally the people my parents used to warn me about.

 

Jane: Ok, the family that basket weaves together, stays together...

Daria: I'm with stupid.

 

Jesse: Whooa!

Max: Waycool!

 

Andrea: Feel my Wrath!

Mrs Barch: Feel my WRATH!

<BOOM, BOOM, CHACKA-OOM!>

Daria: Ow! Death in stereo?

 

Jane: (Quiet.) Hoo boy. This is gonna hurt.

 

Giles: Something dreadful has happened!

Jane: We're out of booze?

Willow: (Gives Jane a funny look.) Er, No. But someone has stolen some of the books Wesley was using.

Jane: What's wrong, hadn't he finished colouring them in yet?

Daria: (Aside to Jane.) You really don't like him much, do you?

Giles: This isn't helping.

Jane: But it's fun!

 

Buffy: So, let me guess. (Nods at Ted.) He eats the green eggs and ham?

 

Buffy: Come on, the earth needs a hand!

Jane: And you have two.

 

Jane: (Opens her eyes.) Well. That was something to tell the grandkids.

Buffy: (Hauls herself upright.) Only to scare them into submission.

 

Jane: Ooo, big gun.

Buffy: I'm scared.

Xander: (Ducks for cover, O/S.) Get in the queue.

 

Jane: (Brightly.) Hi!

(Nothing, then...)

Guard Vampire: (Horrible scream.)

Buffy: So much for subtle.

 

Jane: Oooh, fire...

Willow: What?

Jane: Sorry. Years away.

Daria: If you even think of saying something about "I like the pretty lights", it will go hard with you, m'girl.

 

(A huge, lumbering machine comes to a stop. Max is waving from the enclosed cabin.)

Buffy: And what the hell is that?

Trent: Snowplow. We've just removed the protective ducting. (BIG fan blades move lazily with the slight wind. They look really unsafe. And sharp.)

Xander: (Admiringly.) When you people want something done, it's never by halves.

Trent: (Shrugs.) We did something similar with a combine harvester...

Xander: I'm impressed, but why a harvester?

Jane: (Coming up.) Let's just say we had to get out of a town that made "Children of the Corn" look like "Pink Fuzzy Bunnies go to Happy Elfland".

 

Oz: Not good?

Trent: Extremely not good.

 

Vampire 1: Get them!

Vampire 2: Kill them!

Buffy: My middle names! C'mon, run!

 

Willow: Ok, sounds good. Let's go!

 

Vampire 1: Why fight it? You know that we were better than you when lived. Dead, there's no comparison.

(Daria kicks in the door. She's got a chainsaw. A BIG chainsaw.)

Daria: Right! I've had just about enough of this crap! (Drop-starts chainsaw. [A miracle, it starts first-time.])

Vampire 2: Huh?

Daria: Now, who want's a piece of me? You? (Revs it.) You want a piece of me? C'mon tough guy, afraid of a little 'bitty chainsaw?

Vampire 1: Err...

Vampire 2: Yes. (They exit through the opposite door, leaving the weeping Upchuck.)

(There is a sudden noise increase outside, followed by screams. Daria smiles grimly.)

Daria: Then you shouldn't have run out there. (She stops her saw.)

(Jane, Jodie and Mack come in. They've got similar saws. With pretty obvious bloodstains. Jane and Mack's are now off.)

Jodie: Well. That was something I don't want to do every day. (Shudders and shuts hers off too.)

Mack: (Supportive.) If you're lucky, it won't get onto your permanent record.

Jane: What permanent record? The last I saw of those files, a big fat nest of slug demons had set up shop. (Pause.) And you don't want to know how messy their living habits are.

Jodie: (Suspicious.) And how did you notice this?

Jane: (Smirks.) Who do you think set fire to the slug demons?

Jodie: (Wide smile.) Jane, do you mind if I kissed you?

Daria: (Dry.) Mack might.

Mack: (Grinning.) Hey, if my records are up in smoke, I want in.

Daria: (Smiling.) You may now smooch, or throw money.

Jane: Actually, I was leaning towards the "kissy" thing.

Daria: You have got to tell me why your libido goes haywire whenever you cause mayhem.

Jane: (Loftily.) It's a personal thing.

Daria: All I'll say is that Jesse had better look out when you get back.

Jane: Fine, what about Trent then?

(Daria drop-starts the chainsaw.)

Jane: (Backs away.) Okay, no more "Trent" digs for tonight?

(Daria revs the chainsaw.)

Jane: Point taken. (Daria shuts if off again.)

Mack: She does have a way with words, doesn't she?

 

Cordelia: Hello? See, pointy stake?

Trent: Oh. (Pause.) Not a good thing then.

 

Xander: Fall down, go boom?

Oz: If he did, we'd have to get a crane to lift the carcass.

Jane: Oh come on! I've blown up whales smaller than he is! How do you expect us to stake the Pillbury Doughboy?

Willow: Blown up whales?

Jane: It was dead on a beach. Do the math.

 

Xander: Who be bad!? ("Smash! Whack!") Who be BAD!!? ("Crack!")

 

Trent: Whoa! No more coffee for you! (Over at the "kitchen" area, Nicholas sniffs the pot suspiciously, takes a sip and eventually shrugs. Max wanders over, does the same and drinks from it direct.)

 

Cordelia: Do the words "Crack" and "Pipe" mean anything to you?

 

Quinn: God! Do they have a name for what's wrong with you?

 

Oz: In one word: "Ritalin".

Xander: Three words: "Lots of Ritalin".

Jane: Hmm, could I go with: "Chainsaw massacre"?

Giles: And I'd prefer: "Not dying any time soon". Now, how about we get out of here while we still can?

Xander: He's still got it!

 

Boca Del Infierno -- roughly translated, "Hellmouth"

 

Andrea: You want to eat me? Goddammit! You're gonna DIE!

 

Vampire: Ha, eat me!

Andrea: Eat this!

<Boom!>

Oz: (Ducks fragments.) Looks like someone still has hostility issues to work out.

Willow: At least she didn't have to use a pencil. Oh, that was a pun! That was a pun!

Giles: We're doomed.

 

Willow: What happens if I... (Click.) Uh, oh. (Bleeping noise.)

Buffy: That, I take, is not a good sign?

 

Giles: We've really escaped the restraints of common sense this time.

 

Buffy: Cordelia, chill. Wes, chill. Bad guys coming through door.

 

Xander: We're gonna to share some pain!

 

Buffy: Oh sure. Smiting foul creatures of the night with a splintered lump of 4x2 beats the action-packed mission of discovery that is finding out what the local PBS has to offer.

 

Daria: (Faint.) B?

Jane: She's fine Daria. Actually, she's not, but she is breathing much better than you and doesn't have massive foreign object trauma to her chest.

 

Jane: Hmm... (Interested.) How does this work? (Examines it closely.)

(Giles gets up and gently directs the staff away from the group.)

Giles: Quite well, actually. Please, just point it down there when you're holding it. Good. Thank you.

 

Jane: (Kicks open the door and brandishes her shotgun.) ALLRIGHT! Everybody get down and suck floor!

(It's an empty room. The group just looks at her.)

Jane: (Sheepish.) Sorry, I've got a kind of "shining" thing happening with... (Indicates gun.)

Daria: Jane, just don't start to wear your pantyhose on your head. That's all we can ask.

 

Daria: I can't believe that we're still out here, chained down by the holiest collection of garlic the world has ever seen.

Jane: (Looking for the silver lining.) We won't have to worry about people finding us here?

Daria: Only because the smell would drive them away.

Jane: Be more positive Daria!

Daria: Ok. I'm positive that I will kill you quite soon, if only to satisfy my own sense of justice. How about that?

Jane: You don't have to be too positive.

 

Jane: Did I ever (Click.) tell you (Snick.) how good a shot I am? (Wait for response.) No? Watch and learn.

(<Bang! >)

(They look out over the edge of the roof.)

Jane: Damn, sometimes I impress myself!

Daria: "Reach out and touch somebody"?

Willow: Indeed.

Giles: Ah, Jane?

Jane: (Reloading.) Hmm?

Willow: It's just that if we behead a vampire, we tend to use edged weapons, not hollowpoints.

Jane: It worked didn't it?

Daria: (Dry.) Finesse girl, finesse.

 

(Music: "The Eve of the War" - Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds".)

The Voice of Richard Burton [The Journalist.]: No one would have believed, in the last days of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed we were being scrutinised, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us. (Cue dramatic chords of "The Eve of the War" by Jeff Wayne.)

Oz: Oh. Jeez

Buffy: Talk about mood music.

Xander: Hey, it's scaring me.

 

Daria: "Portrait of Madame de Pompadour", Maurice Quintin de la Tour.

O'Neill: Life study (Reclining nude, with areas strategically hidden.)

Kevin: Crash test dummy, waving.

Brittany: "Trailer-trash" Barbie tm.

Willow: Glinda the Good.

Jesse: Centaur with bow.

Andrea: As Vasquez, wielding the smartgun from Aliens.

Jake: The Monty Python Lumberjack. [I'm a lumberjack, and I'm ok...does anyone else remember how the rest of the song goes?]

Quinn: Poultry-processing line worker. Bloody, in unflattering blue plastic apron.

Helen: Stevie Nicks. (During the '70s. You remember, dressed in lace and spiderwebs?)

Ms Li: Ming the Merciless (From the 70's Flash Gordon Movie. Or was it 1980? I forget.)

Daria: "Catherine Howard" Hans Holbein the Younger.

Trent: Leatherface, from the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

Jane: "Napoleon crossing the Alps" Jacques-Louis David.

Daria: "Death on a Pale Horse", William Blake.

Xander: Wedge Antillies, flying an X-Wing, Rebel Alliance.

Angel: "Charles I on Horseback", Anthony van Dyck.

Mack: The Man in Black, arms crossed. He's holding a gun, still smoking.

Giles: Flash Gordon, complete with cape, helmet and dodgy ray gun. (30's radio serial era.)

Jake: Peter Pan.

Wesley: "Crocodile Dundee" (With his BIG knife.)

Jane: Roman floor mosaic of tiny tiles. Smirk evident.

Max & Nick: The Gunsmith Cats. (Back to back.)

Oz: Chewbacca.

Helen: Tinkerbell. [Ok, ok, I was thinking Captin Hook...]

Mrs Barch: A butcher, pushing sausages into the slicing machine. (Her expression is chilling.)

Ms Li: Independence Day alien, Tentacles waving.

Mrs Defoe: As Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens", with the BIG guns. Screaming firefight pose.

Cordelia: "Birth of Venus" (Venus arising from the waves.) Sandro Botticelli.

Max & Nick: Jake and Elwood Blues, dancing in the chapel.

Andrea: Winged Victory of Samothrace (~200 BC.) wielding scythe instead of sword.

Willow: Bondage Queen. [Yes, I know I need help, stop interrupting me.]

Sandi, Stacy &Tiffany: "The Judgement of Paris", Rubens (Including the three J's as Paris.)

Mrs Bennet: Scrappy-Do. [Don't ask why, I don't really know.]

Trent: "The Thinker", Rodan.

Quinn: Strapped in a centrifuge, dressed in a pressure suit, face looking "interesting". [I'm thinking 7-9 G's. Any aerospace engineers out there want to comment?]

Buffy: "Monna Vanna", Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Jodie: "The Light of the World", Holman Hunt

Mr DeMartino: Brandon Lee, from "The Crow."

Sandi, Stacy & Tiffany: The three Gorgons of Greek myth, adjusting their hair.

Cordelia: Coal miner, totally black, except for her eyes and teeth. [E-mail me for a totally disgusting coal miner joke!]

 

Jane: I shouldn't wish to attract attention.

 

Andrea: Make my day and come closer! (Hefts the scythe.)

 

Daria: Knowing facts doesn't cure stupidity!

 

Jane: Well, clothes do make the villain...

 

Jake: Better over the edge than under it!

 

Xander: (Stares then shakes his head.) Same planet, different worlds.

 

Trent: And a big hello to all intelligent lifeforms out there!

 

Willow: Ooh, I'm good at these. Ahh, red sky at night, the city's alight?

 

Jane: Huh, and when the axe came into the forest, the trees said, "the handle is one of us"...

 

Daria: Now, if someone or something doesn't tell us what we need to know soon, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Racks back the slide.)

 

Jane: We carry in our hearts the true country, and that can not be stolen...

Trent: We follow in the steps of our ancestry, and that can not be broken.

 

Daria: And as God is my witness, if anyone thinks of calling me "Velma", they're gonna wish they'd died as a child.

 

Jane: Hah! Daria, you're cynical enough to watch wrestling for the plot, what gives?

Jane: Hah! I've seen neater strokes in an old people's home! Who taught you to use a sword? Fonda and her "Buns of Steel"?

 

Oz: Asleep?

Jane: (Aside.) Must be the company she's keeping.

Wesley: I resent that.

 

Jane: I'll tell you this much; right now, I'm in the mood for some extended genetic cleansing.

 

Cordelia: Crush, kill, destroy?

Jane: (Shakes her head.) Fall down, go boom.

 

Daria: I canna change the laws of physics captin!

 

Jane: Oh, hell.

Daria: (Worried.) What?

Jane: Uhm, you remember that vampire puberty thing?

Daria: (Really worried.) What?

Jane: Ok, let's just say that some certain, individual, traits tend to manifest themselves, umm, spontaneously.

Daria: (Bewildered and worried.) What?

Jane: (Sheepish.) Well, it's like this. (There is a booming crack, and a big leathery wing shoots out and extends across the remaining space.)

(Daria stares with her mouth open at the wings that unfurl behind Jane.)

Jane: (Clutching her chest, flushed) You have no idea how embarrassed I am. (The wings move lazily, stretching tendons and working blood back into long-unused membranes. Daria's mouth is still open. Jane avoids her eyes, and absently-fondles the hem of her black shirt.) Jane: And I really need another shirt; this one is now officially "paint-rag".

(Then Willow and Cordelia walk in.)

Willow: Hey guys, Buffy wants to know where you keep those silvered bullets (Not a pause or change in tone.) and, hey, nice wings.

(Cordelia has her mouth open, rooted to the spot, not saying a word. Daria's shut her mouth.)

Willow: Uhh, do you need some time alone, because we can probably come back in a little while?

Cordelia: (Mouth works a little before blurting:) How can you be so calm standing there! She's got wings! Big leathery bat wings! With, ick, claws!

Willow: (Looks at Cordelia, pityingly.) If we spent all of our time trying to fit into the usual order of things, we'd be dead a few times over by now. (Goes on.) And if I think about Jane having wings for too long, I'll probably fall over or something, so I'm not thinking about those big, black, leathery, clawed...I think I'll sit down now. (She sits on a bench.)

Daria: It's pretty dammed, I don't know, impressive? How the hell...?

Jane: Look, I don't know either. Apparently they fold into my back...

Cordelia: Fold into your back! (Looks blank for a second.) Urck. I really have to sit down. (Shoves Willow over and puts her head between her knees.)

Jane: (Looks over, not amused.) I'm not too sure about the actual physics of it either. And to tell you the truth, it scares the living hell out of me. But there they are, big a life and twice as nasty. And could someone get me a shirt, please? If it's not too much bother?

(Now Wesley and Giles walk in, followed by Buffy and Oz.)

Jane: (Under her breath, disgusted.) Aww, for fu-- (The rest of her sentence is cut off by the various gasps of surprise by the others. Daria makes her way out of the room.)

Giles: Well!

Oz: Whoa.

Jane: (Makes a mocking bow, her wings making an elegant counterpoint to the move.) Come one, come all, to see the marvellous Jane Lane, winged freak and minion of evil!

Wesley: (A bit shrill.) See, she admits it out of her own mouth!

Jane: (Just imagine the tone.) That was sarcasm, not a confession.

Buffy: Uhh, are you ok?

Jane: Not really, thanks for asking.

Giles: It is rather fascinating...

Jane: No, I don't know how I've got them, how they are stored or why they come out to visit. I do know that when they do, it tends to destroy my shirt (Bows again, holding shirt to chest.) and makes me feel slightly uncomfortable.

Oz: Ok, I'll bite.

Jane: How uncomfortable? Think of your entire body, spread out over a tennis court and suffering pins and needles.

Oz: Not fun.

Jane: Right. (Daria comes in, with one of Jane's black shirts.)

Daria: Here.

Jane: Thanks. (Looks over to the male population of the room.) And if I could have some privacy? (They hurriedly make their way out, stumbling and apologising.)

Daria: Need a hand?

Jane: Oh, yeah. (Jane's face screws up a little, then she sees Daria looking puzzled.) Just trying to remember how to use the bloody things. (A wing rises up suddenly, then furls, withdraws and retracts back to Jane.)

Cordelia: Uhh, I gotta get out of here...(Jogs off.)

(We can't see much now, the other wing is in the way. There is some frenzied swearing, and a cutting-cloth sound. Willow comes over to lend a hand, as does Buffy.)

Jane: (Hidden by wing.) Yeah, almost there. Get the tip in. Good. (The "furled" wing expands again, but only to a fraction of what it was before.)

Buffy: (O/S) How about...?

Jane: (O/S)Yeah, you've got the right idea. ("Thwap!" sound and the other wing almost disappears.) Ready?

Willow: (O/S) Uh, yeah. (Jane grunts.)

Jane: (O/S) Let's see if I can do this right? (There is a big "Thwop!" sound as both wings fully unfurl, taking up a lot of space, before they shift, move slightly and fold slowly.) Good, no snags yet. (Loud rustle noise. Jane cranes her head back.) Good, just stay like that. Good.

(There is a final rustle, then everything is unobscured again. Jane, instead of having giant wings, now has wings that have furled into the most minimal space possible.)

Jane: God, that's better. You don't know how easy it is to snag these.

Daria: What now?

Jane: (Absently rubbing her back.) Well, it's fine because I can move around quite well with these, and they act as another set of hands. ("Claw" fingers set into the leading-edge of her wings flex when she squints a little.) Well, they will, once I get used to things again.

Daria: You ok now?

Jane: Nahh, kind of. (Seesaw motion with hands.) It's just really awkward, that's all.

Willow: I can't imagine.

Jane: Well, I can do things that you can't. (Tugs shirt down.)

Daria: Like cast the bat-signal?

Jane: Ha, ha, very funny. (Her wings wedge into the room corners, and Jane is suddenly lifted up a couple of metres.) I can kind of get around on these. And I can hit wicked hard.

Buffy: But where did all that muscle come from? You know, for movement and similar?

Jane: If I knew, I'd be happier, let me tell you.

Willow: Uhh, back to what I was doing earlier, where are the bullets?

Jane: (Smiles a little.) Ohh, over (drops to the floor, extends wing and points.) there.

Daria: (Ducking said wing.) Nice to have you back.

Jane: It's nice to be here. Nice.

 

"Venus" - Bananarama

"Shout" - Tears for Fears

"Age of Reason" - John Farnham

"He's Gonna Step On You Again" - Party Boys

"Slice of Heaven" - Dave Dobbin

"Funkytown" - Pseudo Echo

 

 

 

Daria: (VERY Daria voice.) Okay. The Zen is now a vampire haven.

Oz: (Very Oz.) As if things couldn't get any worse...

Jane: I dunno, maybe we could be hit by a giant, radioactive meteor? (Willow looks up.)

Buffy: (Weakly.) Jane? Don't say things like that. Please?

Trent: Ok, Janey, Daria? Plan of operation: we get inside, scout around, get in touch with you guys (Nods and touches phone.), organise the attack and then we go kick some undead ass.

(Jane & Daria look to each other.)

Jane: I wish I could think of something better, but he's got me.

Giles: Although direct, it would seem to have the best chance of success. As, ah...

Trent: Vampires.

Giles: Yes, you're already "members of the club", as it were.

Daria: You've lost me.

Jane: Well, as vampires, we won't be immediately eaten, like these guys would be if we were to walk up to the heavies outside. And we can't drag anyone along, as the hired help would probably want a taste, and we haven't got a mean enough reputation to force respect when it would be useful.

Willow: (Remembering something.) Umm, how would they recognise us if we went?

Trent: It's a "smell of fear" thing. And blood. (Explains.) In a club full of vampires, you'd stand out like a "Happy-Meal" in a refugee camp.

Oz: (Also remembering something.) So, in a club full of frightened people, she'd blend in quite well?

Trent: (Thinks.) Hmm, yeah.

Buffy: We really lucked out that time...(Lawndale people look puzzled.)

Willow: (To those from Lawndale.) It's a long story. And for me, it just got a whole lot scarier.

Jane: Okay...?

Daria: Ah, Trent. (She looks very uneasy.) I'm not sure about the whole "undead" thing.

Trent: It'll be cool, Daria. Anyway, Jane and I will be right with you.

(Jane looks at the barely concealed panic on Daria's face. She makes a decision.)

Jane: Trent, you go get goodies from the Tank. (He nods and wanders off. Jane to the rest.) Excuse me, Daria and I need to talk.

Buffy: (Watching as the vampiric members of their rescue party disappear into the night.) Ok, now what?

 

(Daria and Jane, around the corner. Daria is so nervous she's upset, Jane is trying to reassure.)

Jane: Look, it will be ok, Trent and I will be right next to you in the thick of things.

Daria: Jane, apart from the abject terror of humiliation I suffer when with Trent in public, I'm scared.

Jane: Hey, you think I'm not?

Daria: Put it this way. (Takes a breath.) You've had, what? A hundred, two hundred years getting used to the idea of evil undead, and killing them enough so they won't pop back in a few week's time. I've only recently figured out that I have fangs for god's sake! It took Trent to show me how to put them away! (Beat.) I'm scared, not because of the really good chance I have of dying very painfully, but because of what's in there. (Waves towards Zen.)

Jane: Oh.

Daria: (Flushes, turns to the wall.) I'm sorry that you've had to find out I'm such a huge coward right before the big rescue, but it's who I am and how I'll be. (Beat.) Sorry.

Jane: (Hand on Daria's shoulder.) I'm sorry Daria. I forgot how awful this could be for you.

Daria: I don't need your damn sympathy, Lane.

Jane: Even though you deserve it? (Pause to let this sink in a little.) I've been with Trent for so long I've forgotten how dammed scary things can be. Let me guess, you did fine with the "Buffy rescues" because you didn't really have time to think about what could happen? (Daria flushes further with this.) And the other guys are so blasť about whaling on the forces of darkness because they have to every other Friday night. But your worries didn't sink in until now. (Jane forcibly turns Daria around.) Could I get some eye contact here? (Daria looks up. Barely.) Thanks.

Jane: (Continues.) Daria, your fear is the perfectly normal product of a few generations of common sense and lots of bad horror movies. It probably won't make you feel better, but the first time, I was so scared that I had to get another set of bloomers afterwards. (Blushes a little, turns away then looks directly at Daria.) If you tell anyone that, you are DEAD. (Goes on.) You have done better that either Trent or I, and I think you are selling yourself way short if you think you are going to shrivel up and blow away when the first "nasty" leers and dribbles slime at you. (Beat.) And they will try. When they see you, they'll immediately think "Yum, strawberry sundae" and try to suck you up with a straw. (Intense Jane voice.) The Daria Morgandoffer I know of old has blown off every authority figure, parental unit and general annoyance that I can think of, usually in front of me, or other members of the public. (Driving the point home.) You have already faced the worst Lawndale had to offer you, and if any of the tales that you've told me of Highland are true, you've confronted evil a hundred times worse than what is currently in the Zen. Just stride in there, don't take no crap, and we cut loose when we have to. (And then she give Daria a big hug.)

Daria: (Muffled.) Wha??

Jane: (Stands back, actually wiping away a tear.) Sorry.

Daria: Jane. (Jane looks up from wiping.) Thanks. (She hugs Jane.)

Jane: (Muffled, NOT joking.) I love you too, kiddo. (Grunts with an "Ouff") Hooey!

Daria: And that's for the "kiddo". (They stand apart. Daria's a bit embarrassed.)

Jane: Ok, I can respect that. (Evil grin.) But pucker up! (Camera POV draws back and they become distant figures in the drifting mist.)

Daria: (O/S) What nowww...? Whoa! (Muffled noises. Then panting.) GODDAMMIT!

Jane: (O/S) Mmm, sweet! ("Thwap!" noise...) Hey!

Daria: (O/S) Don't you ever do that again!

Jane: (O/S) Relax; think of it as a "good-luck" kiss.

Daria: (O/S, loud.) Not with THAT tongue action!

Jane: (O/S, proud.) That was tame. (Curious.) Do you want to see tongue action? And how do YOU know what tongue action is? Hmmm?

Daria: (O/S, and very sincere.) You have no idea how much I hate you.

Jane: (O/S) You can show me when you change out of those clothes.

(Dead silence at that.)

Jane: (O/S) That came out all wrong.

Daria: (O/S and very serious.) I really hope so.

Jane: (O/S) I meant to say that most vampires tend to go the "Anne Rice" look. (Singsong now.) Or evil "Florence Henderson". Or a perennial favourite, "Becky Bondage!" So, you'll have to dress the part. (Gestures to Daria's fav green jacket and dark bottom combo.) Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I've got something, suitable...

Daria: (O/S, flat.) Oh how do I hate you? Let me count the ways...

Jane: (O/S) Shakespeare, right? Gotta watch out for those chick writers...

 

(Cut to The Sunnydalians, talking quietly. Trent strides up with a few heavy weapons and some wooden cases. He's got ammo draped all over him.)

Trent: Someone want to keep an eye on these when we go in?

Buffy: (Eying the hardware.) Nice to see that you'll use some restraint.

Trent: (Trent looks at her.) Buffy, right? (Explanatory.) Buffy, when you've come close to slaying as many evil, undead and demonic creatures as I have, then you can criticise my methods. In the meantime though, these are for you guys. When you are as undermanned as we are now, it pays to kick it to them as hard as possible, first time, every time.

Buffy: (Flushing.) Ah, yeah. Sorry.

Trent: Don't sweat it. (Looks around.) Where are the girls?

Willow: They went...

Jane: (Coming out of the alley.)...This way for a while. Hey Trent? We need to go change, so how about you show the nice people what you've spent money on while we go do that?

Trent: Uh, sure. (Looks around again as the girls go off.) Hey, English guy?

Giles: It's Giles. Rupert Giles, actually. (Their voices fade as the shot pans away.)

Trent: Ok Rupert, cool. Do you know what a Nitro Express is?

Giles: Ah, yes. I think so.

Trent: Ever fired one?

Giles: I have never found myself in front of a charging elephant, so "no".

Trent: (Laughs/coughs.) Good one. Well, get ready for an education...

 

(Dark entrance of the "Zen", Three big bruiser vampires are making like doormen. A bare overhead bulb lights the scene. Music: "Enter Sandman" - Metallica. [Look, there is NO way I'm doing an Ex-Beavis-&-Butthead-character fanfiction without some Metallica. N'uff said.] Three pairs of footsteps come up to the demonic doormen. The camera POV remains on the vampire bouncers throughout the scene.)

Doorman One: Someone's out there. (Looks out into the mist.)

Doorman Two: (Looks up too.) Fresh meat?

Doorman Three: (BTW, biggest one there. He is also picking his teeth.) Good, I'm getting hungry. (They straighten themselves up, practise looming.)

Trent: (O/S, flat.) Hey.

Doorman One: (Bored, he can smell them.) Ok, what are you?

Jane: (O/S, flat.) If you're lucky, you won't find out.

Doorman One: Great, comedians. (Cracks knuckles.)

Doorman Two: (Bored.) Come out where we can see you.

(Footsteps again, only two pairs.)

Doorman Three: Talk about lowering standards...

Doorman Two: (To the other bouncers.) Yeah, where do people get off? (To Jane and Trent, bored.) Ok, fine. You're in. Just don't cause trouble, don't break up the furniture and don't hog the food. We've only managed to get a hold of what was in here, so far.

Doorman One: If you want more, ask the staff, and we can probably organise something.

Doorman Three: Wait! There are three of you, where is the other? (The bouncers do the usual "Getting ready to kill" posturing.)

Jane: (O/S, worried tone.) Ah, mistress?

(We hear a Daria sigh, and then footsteps crunch towards the Zen.)

(Looks of surprise on the bouncer faces, then they crack up.)

Doorman Two: You have got to be the funniest thing I've seen for at least forty years!

Doorman One: Where do you shop?

Doorman Two: "Pathetic 4 You"?

Daria: (O/S, in a quiet normal voice to Jane & Trent.) A little room, thank you.

Trent: (O/S) Right. (Can hear Jane & Trent moving out of the way.)

Doorman Three: We do have some standards. Especially in your case.

Daria: (O/S, in that quiet voice.) Move aside.

Doorman Three: Ok, I'm bored.

Doorman One: (Knows a cue when it's that subtle.) Wanna see how far we can kick them?

Doorman Two: (Laughs.) Sounds good. (Music suddenly cuts off, dead.)

 

(Inside the Zen, two vampires are at a table together. (Music starts again: "Poison" - The Prodigy. In front of them is a bottle of vodka, what looks like a beaker of blood and some dirty glasses. They are just sitting there, working on their brooding.)

(There is a funny "Spiffpt!" noise from outside.)

Table Vampire One: (Looks up from contemplating the blood beaker.) What was that?

Table Vampire Two: (Also looks up.) Don't know. (Sniffs.) Hey, you smell blood?

Table Vampire One: (Sniffs too.) Now that you mention... (Sniffs again, frowns.) Lots of it...

(They look towards the closed doors of the Zen, and we can all see a slowly spreading pool of something dark coming in under the doors. A few faint "plopping" noises are heard outside, over the rapidly decreasing room volume. The various conversations are starting to die down, as the vampire-filled club looks around to the familiar smell.)

(The doors swing silently open, and three people walk in. The doors close quietly, which is kind of strange, considering no one touched them...)

(POV, floor. The leader's boots are big and black, and were spotless before striding through the pooling blood, and leaves dark footprints on the scarred floor. The other two walk through the pool, and the group leave behind a triplicate of bloody prints. Camera POV pans up and we get to see a lot of boot leather before running into a serrated skirt, also black leather. A tooled dark green leather vest covers a pristine white shirt, and the whole ensemble is cloaked by a huge black coat. [Anyone want to guess what it's made of?] The leather overcoat is merely worn on the shoulders, drawing attention to the feminine figure so nicely delineated by the tight vest. The camera pans up further, so we can see Daria wearing her little round mirror sunglasses.)

Daria: (Walking towards the corner bar, not looking at the Zen's contents.) Charming...

(Jane and Trent back her up from behind. They are wearing roughly similar gear to Daria, but Trent has a scabbarded sword belted to his waist, balancing a holstered Uzi on the other side. His coat is open, showing off the matt black leather pants, armoured boots and dull green shirt. A shoulder holster harness is easily visible, but the gun is hidden under the coat. Jane is a striking contrast, in a deep red velvet coat with a split tails. It is done up to her neck, showing a button-up white silk shirt. Her hands are hidden. Both are expressionless. Both are wearing own sunglasses, black Ray-Bans.)

(Daria reaches the bar. The barman has a face like boiled meat. [Heh, heh. Spot the reference?] He looks up from polishing what look like surgical instruments. More are lying on the bar towels.)

Daria: (Expressionless.) Three bottles of vodka, two whole lemons and a glass of Diet Coke.

(There is pretty much total silence in the Zen, apart from the barman finishing his polishing, and replacing something bright, sharp and shiny on the bar in front of him.)

Barman: (Looks up, slowly.) Say what?

Daria: Three bottles of vodka, two whole lemons and a glass of Diet Coke. (Beat.) Please.

Barman: (Ignoring the order for a minute, he looks out into the night through the now opening doors. Not much can be seen, apart from the dark pool in front of the doors.) Firstly, where are the bouncers?

Daria: (Expressionless, chill voice.) Indisposed.

(Something goes "Plop!" from the ceiling quite loudly into the pool at the doorway. It is reasonably recognisable as a hand. There are a few gasps at this. Something blobby and irregular is sliding down one of the doors, leaving behind a dark streak. The entire Zen population are watching the proceedings at the bar, now.)

Barman: (Looks quite calm.) They were quite expensive.

Daria: (Barely interested.) Oh? (Ponders a little.) Stupidity is always costly.

Barman: One of them is my brother. He's my only surviving kin.

Daria: (Flat.) Get to used to being an only child.

Barman: Ok. (Same tone.) What exactly are you?

Daria: Thirsty.

Barman: (Drags out a big pitcher of blood from underneath the bar.) It's fresh.

Daria: That's nice. (Beat.) Three bottles of vodka, two whole lemons and a glass of Diet Coke. (She puts one hand on the bar.) Please. (She's tapping her nails on the counter.)

Barman: (Replaces pitcher.) I'm not sure about the lemons.

Daria: (The nail tapping stops.) Then oranges will do.

(There are some snickers at this. The Lawndale trio don't react.)

Barman: Oranges I can do.

Daria: We will be waiting over...(Looks around, sees a reasonably large table with only one vampire sitting there.)...There. (She turns to go and sit there.)

Barman: Wait! (The Lawndale trio stop where they are.)

Daria: (Very flat.) Yes?

Barman: Ice in that Diet-Coke?

Daria: Only a little. Oh, and ice buckets for the vodka. (Walks away.)

Jane: (To Daria, very sotto.) You're doing well, keep up the attitude.

Daria: (Sotto also.) What attitude? (She walks ahead.)

Trent: (Extremely sotto.) I'm scared.

Jane: (Extremely sotto.) Me too.

(They arrive at the table, where there are four seats, one taken up by a big spiny-headed thing. [For all you Buffy freaks out there, it closely resembles Kulak, of the Meequak clan, lately slain in the "Homecoming" episode.] Daria sits opposite it. Jane and Trent wait behind her.)

Spiny-head: This is a private table.

Daria: Yes. (Spiny-head mulls this over a little.)

Shuklar: I am Shuklar, of the Rorduen Clan.

Daria: (Polite interest.) Yes?

Shuklar: Who do you be? (Raises a bloody cup, drinks.)

Daria: (Jane & Trent shrink back from her a little, as if in terror.) Daria. (She smiles slightly at their feigned reaction.)

Shuklar: I had not heard of you. (Carefully replaces cup.)

Daria: Fame is not, and never has been, my ally.

Shuklar: Oh? (The barman arrives, delivers the sizeable order. Jane & Trent make no move towards it. Daria reaches across and drinks from the Diet-Coke.)

Shuklar: Then may one ask what you are doing here at my table?

Daria: (Sipping Coke through straw.) Waiting.

Shuklar: For what?

Daria: (Takes off her glasses, places them inside a coat pocket and smiles a little.) To be honest, I don't really know. (She turns towards Jane & Trent.) Lanes? (They straighten to attention.)

Jane & Trent: (Flat, dead tones.) Mistress?

Daria: (Looking ahead.) Why exactly am I in this establishment?

(The Lanes go to answer, when the Zen doors open wider. In walks Angel, in vampire mode.)

Angel: Ok, where is the doorman?

Barman: (Doesn't look up.) Ahh, indisposed.

Angel: Fine. Food?

Daria: (To Shuklar.) Excuse me, I think I've found my reason. (Puts her fingers to her mouth, and lets out a whistle.)

(Angel turns around at the unexpected noise and does a massive double-take when he sees Daria, Trent and Jane. He waves off the barman, who is filling a glass with something red, and walks over holding the glass.)

Daria: (Smiles.) Fancy. (Waves a hand at the wreckage.) Meeting you in a place like this.

Angel: I was going to say something similar. But more original.

Daria: Why bother? (Takes a sip of the Coke.)

Angel: Indeed. (Takes a drink of the blood.)

Daria: So, what brings you here?

Angel: Something similar to your reasons, I'd hazard.

Daria: Really? And how is our mutual friend?

Angel: Friend?

Daria: Acquaintance.

Angel: Ahh, recovering.

Daria: It is good to know he is helped.

Angel: It is always good to know.

Daria: Hmm. (Turns to Shuklar.) Would you care if my, acquaintance, sits here?

Shuklar: (Somewhat amused.) Now you ask?

Daria: It was not necessary, before.

Shuklar: (Frowns, tries to figure what she means.) And now?

Daria: It is desirable.

(Shuklar looks up at Angel, obviously a vampire. He waves at him to sit.)

Angel: Thanks, I think. (Sits. To Daria.) Er, what is he?

Daria: (Flat intonation, before Shuklar can get a word in.) Shuklar of the Rorduen Clan. I am waiting at his table.

Angel: (Cutting Shuklar off.) Waiting? If I may be so bold, what for?

Daria: You, it seems.

Angel: Oh? For what?

(Daria goes to speak, but before she can, the Vampire's Sandi and Tiffany walk in with a few more of the undead.)

Sandi: Ulgh! Doesn't anybody clean up around here?

Tiffany: Oh, blood...shoes.

Sandi: It's bad enough having to shop at night without the use of natural light, but it really annoys me when...(She stops when she's just inside the door.)

Sandi: You! (Her tame bloodboys mill around her.)

Daria: (Ultra calm.) Lanes? Get back. (Nods at Angel.) Take him too, would you?

(Trent and Jane grab Angel, then run towards the back of the Zen, aiming for the female toilets. They drag Angel along with them until he regains his feet and can make his way under his own power.)

(Shuklar looks up at Daria, then shoots his chair back when he realises that she's not standing, but floating under her own power.)

Shuklar: Your table now. (Jogs to the male toilets.)

Daria: (Absently.) Thank you. (She gets up to float gently about an inch above the floor. Her skirt flutters with an eldritch ripple of wind, but her coat remain still. She puts on her sunglasses. And then she smiles.)

Tiffany: (Slow Tiffany-speak.)You're that girl, from, peer counselling.

Sandi: I don't care who she is, doesn't she know the leather look is sooo dead?

Daria: (Smile stays.) You know, funny of you to say that...

Sandi: Yes, ah, Quinn's cousin, or whatever?

Daria: Oh, don't worry. (A vodka bottle behind her creaks then breaks in the bucket, the vodka having frozen. Another bottle dissolves in the ice, while the last bottle melts through the ice, the bucket and partway through the table underneath. One of the oranges shrinks to the size of a pea in a spray of juice, while the other slowly peels itself on the table. Some of the more alert monsters are making their way towards the chained emergency-exit, others are walking towards the door, but out of the Daria's direct line of fire.) It's nothing personal...

(Cut to across the street, where the Sunnydalians are waiting for their signal. They have their phones out, and are listening for anything. The phones ring. Buffy is first to hit the "Accept" button, and presses "Conference".)

Buffy: Yes?

Jane: (O/S, from phones.) Do not come in. I repeat, do not enter the building.

Giles: Why?

Willow: What's up?

Angel: (O/S, from phones.) Ahh, we might have a problem here.

Buffy: Angel? How did you...

Angel: (O/S, from phones.) Xander is fine, if you call being left with Cordelia fine. I left them at a safe place, and made my way here.

Jane: (O/S, from phones.) Where Daria was doing great...

Trent: (O/S, from phones.) Until that chick walked in.

Jane: (O/S) Yeah. Buffy, remember that girl who jumped Cordelia?

Buffy: Uh, not really well.

Oz: We were never fully introduced.

Jane: (O/S) Anyway, she seems to be a pretty newly minted vamp, but very strong, judging by the group of bloodsuckers hanging around her.

Giles: Ah, was that the group that just walked in?

Trent: (O/S) If some of them are still milling about outside, yes.

Willow: (Cranes her head to get a quick look.) Yep. (Ducks again.)

Jane: (O/S) She and Daria have some bad blood between them, if you'll excuse the pun.

(There is a "Bleep".)

Andrea: (O/S, on phone.) Hey.

Jane: (O/S) Hey Andrea! We're a bit busy right now...

Andrea: (O/S) I'm next door.

Jane: (O/S) WHAT?! (Movement in stall noises.)

Andrea: (O/S) Keep it down! I'm in the men's. I was here when the first blood-drenched sumbitch decided to make the Zen a meat market. (Beat.) And if I heard your voices echo through the ducting system, so can something else, so knock it off!

Jane: (O/S, quieter) Okay, sorry. (Beat) Wait, why were - I won't ask.

Andrea: (O/S, dry.) All the female toilets were occupied.

Willow: That's logical.

Buffy: How did you escape?

Andrea: (O/S) Would you believe that they didn't bother to check the toilet ceiling for vents?

Trent: (O/S) Sloppy.

Andrea: (O/S) Uhh, ok. So I've been standing on this seat for the last hour and a half when this big spiky thing ran inside and smashed his way through the wall. He was in a hurry; he didn't even bother to chase me down. (Beat.) Now, I'm assuming that since these guys drink, urk, blood, that a wooden stake will kill them?

Buffy: Yep, stake 'em in the heart. Or chop off some heads. A cross is handy too. And garlic.

Andrea: (O/S) Good, because I've seen things tonight that I never want to think of again. And being huddled defenceless on a toilet seat was not my idea of a good time.

Giles: Getting back to the matter at hand...

Andrea: (O/S, fainter.) <Crack!> Hmm, sharp and pointy...

Jane: (O/S) Anyway, Daria told us to take cover.

Trent: (O/S) So we did.

Andrea: (O/S, louder again.) Daria? She's out there?

Giles: (Ignoring Andrea.) Why?

Angel: (O/S) She was levitating at the time.

Willow: Oh.

Andrea: (O/S) Daria is levitating?

(There is a dull "Cruphtstch!" over the phones.)

Giles: What was that!

Trent & Angel: (O/S) Beats me.

Jane: (O/S) Can't see a thing in here. Lights are out.

Andrea: (O/S) No idea either. (We hear scraping, and some metallic noises.) I'll be in the vents.

Willow: (Pops her head up, looks. We see what she's looking at, and the bricked-up Zen is dark, no lights showing at all. Some of the streetlights are still on, but nowhere near the entrance.) Ahh, guys, the Zen doesn't have any lighting.

Jane: (O/S, dripping with sarcasm.) Really? (Quieter.) Watch the sword, Trent.

Oz: But the other buildings do, so whatever's got the Zen, is concentrating there.

Andrea: (O/S) And that makes me feel so much better.

(The "Bleep!" noise again.)

Daria: (O/S, tired.) Hey.

Jane: (O/S) Daria! You ok?!

Daria: (O/S, slightly irritated.) Yeah, I'm fine. I wouldn't be talking to you guys if I wasn't.

Giles: What happened? The lights are out!

Daria: (O/S) I know this. Oww! Damn table.

Buffy: So, do you mind telling us what's happened?

Daria: (O/S) Vampires here, vampires no more.

Willow: Er, excuse me?

Angel: (O/S) Yeah, what Willow said.

Daria: (O/S) What I'm saying is that the Zen is safe for the time being. Although I'm gonna need a lot of firestarters pretty freaking soon.

Jane: (O/S) I'm going to regret this, but why?

Daria: (O/S) We're going to have to burn it down. The Zen.

Buffy: Why?

Daria: (O/S) Too much vampire blood for comfort.

Jane: (O/S, flat.) Oh, crap. (Pause.) Anyone, there is a box underneath the front passenger seat of the Tank. Bring around would you?

Oz: Gone. (He takes an assault-rifle, and trots off into the night.)

Trent: (O/S, "Oh, crap" tone.) You didn't do what you did to the bouncers out front, did you?

Daria: (O/S) Ah, yes.

Andrea: (O/S) What did she do!?

Daria: (O/S) Andrea?

Andrea: (O/S; irritated.) Yeah. What did you do to the guys out front?

Daria: (O/S) Uh, anyone seen "Akira"?

Willow: Right here.

Daria: (O/S) Do you remember when Tetsuo busted out?

Willow: Uhm, ok?

Daria: (O/S) The second time?

Willow: Why? (Shocked.) Ohh...

Andrea: (O/S) Hmm. You a TK'er now Daria?

Daria: (O/S) Eh?

Willow: Telekinetic. Think of Carrie. (Beat.) Or maybe that isn't a good example.

Daria: (O/S) Er, not right now, no. (Squelching noises.)

(Everyone waiting outside winces.)

Jane: (O/S) So it's safe to come out?

Daria: (O/S) Not unless you've got waders.

Angel: (O/S) Whoa!

Buffy: What?

Angel: (O/S) The blood smell just hit me, that's all. (Amazed.) What did you do out there?

Jane: (O/S) Hey, keep those things inside your mouth!

Angel: (O/S) Uh, sorry, but I don't really have much in the way of control at the moment.

Andrea: (O/S) Ah-huh. (Pause.) I'm really not liking what I'm hearing.

Jane: (O/S) It's cool.

Giles: It is all right, Ms Hecuba. Angel is on our side. (Under his breath.) For the moment.

Andrea: (O/S) Angel? On your side? Is that a name? What kind of sissy name is that? And is that my English teacher out there? The "Dusk to Dawn" thing was bad enough, please don't tell me we've gone post-apocalyptic as well?

Giles: (Can't help himself.) Pardon?

Andrea: (O/S) I have to say it, but you would be the last person on my list to survive a vampire attack. Who's been covering his ass, anyone?

(Absolute silence, the Sunnydalians are all avoiding Giles's eye.)

Daria: (O/S, totally dry.) You probably won't hear anything else out of them now, they'll be too busy avoiding eye-contact.

Andrea: (O/S) Ok, spill. Daria; how did you do, whatever it was, you did? (Dull "thud", "clank".) Don't sweat it people, I'm just getting out of the stall. ("Thud!") It looks as if I can get out through the hole the spiky thing left in the wall. ("Slither, crunch".) Jane, if you're still on, great phone.

Jane: (O/S) Thanks. Watch yourself out there.

Andrea: (O/S, faint.) Oh crap. Too late...(Hissing, footstep noises and a big crash.)

Jane: (O/S) Andrea! Dammit, get off me! (Door being torn off hinges noise.) OW, thanks! Now get off my hand! (Crashing around in total darkness noises.) Ulgch! What the hell is that!? Oh, great...

Andrea: (O/S, soft.) Hey. (Louder.) I'm fine. (Puffs a bit.) I think.

Buffy: What happened?

Andrea: (O/S) You know that big pointy-headed thing?

Jane: (O/S) Lying in wait? (Quieter.) Yecch, errk, ullgh...

Andrea: (O/S) Yeah. You could say that. Although it would be more accurate to say that he was in the middle of a snack when I interrupted. (Beat.) I think I'm gonna hurl. (Squelching noises, footsteps through something sticky.) Nice with the "turning to dust thing" though. Whoo, where are the rest of you guys? Hang on. (Dull drumming noises.) Someone's in there.

Buffy: (Hurriedly.) Don't open it until we're there to back you up.

Andrea: (O/S) Frosty.

Daria: (O/S) Jane, Trent, Angel? I'm going to open another way for you guys to get out.

Angel: (O/S) Should we ask why?

Daria: (O/S) As Jane has probably found out, a few tried to escape in your direction...

Jane: (O/S) I see that you've managed to retain your gift for the understatement Daria. It's hip deep in the dead out there, and there is no way I'm going to dig through that lot.

Willow: Ohh. Does anyone else feel a little woozy?

 

(Pan back to a shot of the alley that Andrea is waiting in. It's the same one Daria used to escape when she developed that rash in "Ill". Andrea has on her usual gear, with a nasty-looking stake and is holding the phone to her ear. Without warning, the wall about twenty-feet in front of her explodes out in a hail of bricks and dust.)

Andrea: Holy!

(Couching figures stumble out of the dust. They eventually appear to be Trent, Jane and Angel. They stagger to the wall opposite the Zen.)

Angel: God, I feel like I've sat inside the world's largest stereo, at full volume.

Trent: What?

Andrea: (Hefts stake.) Ah, hey?

Trent: Hey. (Helps up Jane.) I'm Trent.

Andrea: I know. This Angel? (Indicates said being.)

Angel: (Back to normal. Dry tone.) Pleased to make your acquaintance.

(Daria walks unsteadily out of the dark hole in the side of the Zen. Oddly-enough, her boots are clean. The rest of the team come running around the corner, weapons everywhere.)

Daria: Hey. (Winces, clutches head.) Someone got aspirin? (Puts her phone away.)

Giles: Everyone all right?

Jane: (Hands on her knees.) Yeah, seems so. (Put a hand out to stop Oz from going back into the Zen.) Nope, too dangerous. The smallest cut in there, and you'll be halfway done. (To Giles.) I mean it.

Giles: (Moving awkwardly away from the hole.) Ahh, yes?

Oz: (Holds up a wooden box.) Stuff here. (Taps it. Everyone flinches.) That wasn't too smart, was it?

Trent: Not really. (Takes the box, cracks it open and starts laying-out various items of destruction.) But it's ok, these things are pretty safe if used properly.

Andrea: Things?

Jane: Explosives.

Andrea: Oh, vampire blood, right?

Trent: Got it in one.

Angel: What now?

Daria: Nuke the Zen as best we can, then get the hell out of dodge.

Angel: Good plan.

Andrea: Anyone interested in the door over here?

(Everyone who is not busy scrambles over to a metal-bound door. It is pretty secure, with chains, padlocks, etc. Dull thumpings are heard from inside.)

Buffy: Ok, weapons out. (Various instruments of destruction are wielded, or made ready.)

Daria: (To Angel, about to rip off a few chains.) I'd stand back, if I were you.

(Angel moves hurriedly backwards. Daria stares at the door for a few seconds, and a chain snaps off with a "Crack!" A few pieces whine away.)

Daria: (Looks behind her.) Everyone ok?

Trent: (O/S) So far.

Daria flushes, and goes to staring at the door harder. Under her glare, the padlocks melt off, the chains slither away like epileptic snakes and the main bolt flies up, ready to shoot open.)

Daria: Ready?

Willow: Ahh, looks like it. (She's got a stake. A rather small one.)

(The bolt is slowly drawn across. The door slowly open inwards. Giles has his torch out, and is shining it into the darkness. We get to see a bunch of frightened, confused faces.)

Buffy: Anyone alive in there? Don't worry, we're not going to hurt you.

(Silence from the prisoners. They don't seem to be the trusting types.)

Jane: Excuse me. (She drops her makeshift stake and grabs Buffy's crucifix.)

Buffy: Hey! (Jane drags it over her head.)

Jane: As needs be. (She walks into the opening, crucifix obvious.) Ok, I'm assuming that you people in there can see this, so what are the chances that I'm not a vampire? Get the hint?

Monique: (O/S) That you Jane?

Jane: Hey, Monique. (Calls out to Trent.) Trent, move your ass!

Monique: (O/S) Trent, you out there too? (Trent walks into the shot.)

Trent: Hey Monique. It's safe out here. (Reflects on what he said.) Well, as safe as it can be.

 

(Giles reads on, his voice in "recital-mode".)

Giles: In the diaries of Ledividicus, a vampire of surprisingly literary bent, he describes how something started to hunt the "Great Undead". (He looks up.) They were the so-called "Vampyr Lords" that terrorised much of Europe, from the Dark ages to midway through the Nineteenth century. (Looks down and resumes his narration.) In the chronicles, starting with the death of a particularly active vampire, Ivarnsson the Dark, no fewer than 17 of these "Great Undead" were destroyed utterly, along with assorted hangers-on, and any power they had accumulated in the "real world" evaporated with their demise.

Xander: "Real world", we're talking HBO, McDonalds and school, right?

Giles: Ah, in a way, yes. (Clarifying the point.) But in those days, it would be more along the lines of mercenary companies, debauched priests, corrupt official figures, things of that nature. (Goes back to the book.) This started during the late 1830's, Ledividicus is a bit hazy on the details, but this "Reign of Terror" lasted for a little under a year, and was estimated to have involved as many as two thousand undead.

Willow: (Uncertain.) On the killing side of things?

Giles: On the dying side. (The group looks impressed.) And even though this is figure assumed to be grossly exaggerated, if you takes into the account this killing spree covered Europe, some of the near east and parts of northern Africa, whatever agency that accomplished this had to have been moving very quickly from city to city, town to town, presumably only staying long enough to do whatever it had to do, then moving on.

Oz: And it wasn't a Slayer?

Giles: According to Ledividicus and early Watcher records, no. (Looks down at the book, and shuts it.) It is not without a sense of irony that, after recording the destruction of the "Great Undead"; Ledividicus seems to have suffered the same fate. (Opens another book.) We know this from some of the earliest Watcher diaries that still exist. (Holds it up.) Sir John Rathbourne, this is from one of his.

Giles: (Reading from the diary.) "After a sparring, and a vexing session of trying to educate Miss Emily," (Giles looks up.) Emily Peel was the Slayer at the time. "I retired to a tavern of some familiarity to me. There, while nursing my aches, the barkeep came and told me of a man who waited by the door for me. I was well-know to the barkeep, and he also informed me that this man had a strange air about him, one that did not sit well. I thanked him for this warning, and settled various items around my person. When the tavern had emptied, I went to see this man. He was waiting at the mouth of a narrow lane, and was holding a wrapped object. My suspicions already high, I asked him who he might be. He replied, "A man already dead." Naturally, I brandished my cross and made ready with my holy water, but the man showed no fear of the blessed crucifix, and ignored the water, merely stating that he had a tale for me, and that one he had to tell. By this time I had surmised that he was not a daemon, but a menial engaged with a task. Keeping my crucifix (And my pistol.) close to hand, I bade him speak. He said, "I had a name once, but that is lost to me now. I was once a servant of the devil, Ledividicus." This made me start, as I had heard the daemon's name aforetimes, apparently one whispered at night by lesser daemons, to scare others into submission. Miss Emily had reported it to me many-a-time before, but had not seen hide of the creature, it preferring to hide away and send minions to do dark deeds. The man continued. "Ledividicus, may he burn with a fate so richly deserved, boasted of his great age and powerful magiks, but only kept (The man swallowed.) men close by, hating the company of other devils. Last night, he was..." The man broke off to look about him. I've seen fear many times before, but never have I seen it destroy a man so utterly. He looked as if death would be welcome if he would no longer have to fear. What made it worse was the man had all the hallmarks of an educated and privileged background, a man that could have been one of my colleagues, and not the red-eyed wreck before me. "He was boasting about past accomplishments, a pastime he was inordinately fond. Suddenly, all of the lights he kept about him went out, and a pair of eyes glowed in the darkness. There was a strange hiss, and something terrible stuck me. I was thrown against a wall, and lay there, stunned as whatever creature that had struck me attacked Ledividicus." The man then went on to describe the fight, and the terrible things done to the vampire. I will not darken these pages with his details; I find it difficult to banish them from my own imagination. (Giles pauses and looks up. The crew are hanging on his every word.) After this, the man said, "When Ledividicus finally expired, the creature came over to me, regarding me with what seemed astonishment. In the darkness, a voice more terrible than anything I have ever heard demanded my story, of how a living man served a daemon. I told it everything, of the damming acts I had preformed, of the sacrifices I had participated in, all of the evil that I had done, and that was done to me. I was powerless to stop, it's blue eyes drawing all thought of falsehood from me. After I finished, it regarded me with that same gaze. It said in that terrible voice, "You stand dammed by your own words and actions. You will die, as will the others who have served in this dark place, but after you have shrived your souls and made your peace." A few of the other servants cried out in terror, and tried to run. (The man shivered.) They did not escape. The rest wait now, for me to finish my tale, and to give you this." He held out the wrapped bundle, now recognisable to me as bound books. "The creature bade me give you a message," The man closed his eyes, and his voice changed, sounding totally unlike that in which he gave his account. The man said, or, I surmise, was forced to say, " John Earnest Rathbourne, Watcher for Emily Ann Peel, the black diaries of the daemon will reach you, presently. These books (The man shook the bundle.) were too dangerous to entrust to one not bound as the soul before you, for they are grimoires and repositories of fell magiks, used countless years by the vampire, Ledividicus. Learn from the horrors described within his chronicles, and teach others to learn, for there will always be evil in this imperfect world. (The man stopped, looking as if something was trying to force a message out, to make sure I understood.) But, by the strength of the Slayer and the wisdom of her Watcher, there may be less, in time. Pray for this one's soul, your own and that of your charge. God's bless you." After finishing this recital, the man swayed on his feet but managed to open his eyes. He started, then roughly shoved his burden into my arms. He looked at me in a new fashion, the ravages of fear having left him as soon as I accepted the bundle. With great surprise he said, "I remember, my name is McAndrews, Paul McAndrews." Then he ran into the alley, leaving me stupidly holding a bundle that would not allow me to pursue in the close confines." (Giles looks to the silent group.) Sir Rathbourne made it home safely with the books of magic, which he verified were powerful beyond his experience, and had forty trunks, all filled with the diaries of Ledividicus, delivered to his door the following afternoon. (Giles shuts the book.) The Slayer, Emily, had, by the end of the week, verified that no vampires were left in the city, and they moved on. (Giles picks up another tome.)

Giles: I have here one of those niggling details that make Watchers uneasy. (Finds where he wants in the book.) Ahh, yes. "Later, after we had departed, I was told of a group of men found dead on a remote dock, with no marks of violence upon them. Consulting some maps I had handy, it was discovered that the particular dock was located in such a way that it would be the first to have the new day's light fall upon it." So, from this account, and what passed for a police report back then, we can surmise that whatever killed Ledividicus let these dammed souls enjoy a final sunrise before dispatching them

Willow: Whoa.

Oz: That shows a certain attention to detail that I'd like to avoid.

 

Xander: Is it just me, or is there a funny smell in here? 
Tamaris: It's just you. 
Buffy: (Mostly to herself.) Too easy. 
Xander: You know, I'm REALLY beginning to dislike Vengence Demons. 
Tamaris: Only dislike? Damm, I must be slipping. How about I torture your little 
piggy ass for a couple of years, then let you get back to me with the whole "dislike" 
thing? 
Xander: No need, my opinion has changed dramatically. 
Tamaris: (Hurdling some rocks.) If I was in any way interested in your opinions, 
that'd be nice to know. 
Xander: I'm hurt. 
Tamaris: No, me torturing you is _hurt_. 
Buffy: KNOCK it off, you two! 
Tamaris: Blondie, if I was going to knock something off, it'd be the goodwill refugee 
next to me. 
Xander: (Clutching his tattered clothes around the shreds of his dignity.) Coming 
from someone who thinks "hygine" is a greeting, I think that's pretty amusing! 
Tamaris: Right, that's it! Before I eat your liver, what is with this whole "smells 
bad" thing!? 
Slug-Demon: <Brrrrarp.> 
(Silence for 2 seconds then.) 

Xander: My mistake.

 

 

(The scene opens to a sunbeam shining through the collapsed wreckage. Billowing dust makes everything seem uncertain and the only sounds are made my shifting debris. A large lump of reinforced concrete moves slightly, then a few gasps are heard from underneath. Jane wriggles out and staggers to her feet. She seems to be trying to yawn away the concussive deafness caused by the explosion, but stops when she sees her blood patter onto the dust by her shoes. Looking unsteady, she sits back down on the lump she'd wiggled out from under. Patting herself, she finds the wide gash on her head and winces at the now-obvious pain. Looking around, she then shrugs and tears a bandage from her tattered clothing. The effort causes the blood flow to increase, but she quickly wraps the wide gash in her forehead and wipes away the worst of the flow. She absent-mindedly cleans her fingers on her shirt, then uses the least-dirty hem to wipe at her face. The bandage rapidly grows red, but it seems to have slowed the flow. Trent staggers up from behind a collapsed support column.)

 

He and Jane lock eyes, then both turn to look of Daria. They don't bother to call out, knowing that she'd be a deaf as they are.

 

Music: "Possession" - Sarah McLachlan. As the first bars start, slowly,