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  4x16 - Players
 Posted: 03/29/03 18:28
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Previously on Angel:

1 EXT. SKY TEMPLE CLUB ON KIMBALL BUILDING ROOF - NIGHT

The Beast kneels on one knee, punching the floor at the center of his human square, sending a trail of fire out along the floor in the shape of the Eye of Fire symbol. A shock wave emanates from the area, knocking everyone back a few feet. The fire is tall now, taller than the beast. The Beast leaps straight up into the sky, riding the fire that he created.

CORDELIA (V.O.)

The rain of fire, even blotting out the sun—those were only the first steps to something bigger.

Cut to:

2 INT. CONNOR'S PLACE - NIGHT

Connor and Cordelia are in bed together, making love. Lying on top of Cordelia, Connor kisses her tenderly amid gentle undulations under the sheets.

Cut to:

3 INT. CORDELIA'S ROOM AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Cordelia shows her very pregnant belly to Connor.

CORDELIA

We're having a baby.

Cut to:

4 INT. LOBBY OF THE HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - DAY

Everyone stops and looks at the front door where Gwen Raiden has just entered.

ANGEL

Gwen.

GWEN

Hi there.

Cut to:

5 INT. VAULT IN CHANDLER'S AUCTION HOUSE - NIGHT

Angel is standing on the outside of the vault, separated from Gwen by the gate.

ANGEL

What are you?

GWEN

I'm a freak.

Gwen is standing away from them, looking at Gunn lying on the ground. Gwen sighs.

GWEN

Move! (goes to Gunn, shocks him by holding her hands to his chest) There we go.

Cut to:

6 INT. CONNOR'S PLACE - DAY

Everyone turns to see the Beast standing in the doorway behind them.

BEAST

(walks toward them) Angelus.

Cut to:

7 EXT. STREET BEHIND CONNOR'S PLACE

Cordelia and Connor are waiting anxiously by the car. Angel, Gwen, Gunn, Fred, and Wesley come out of the building, and Cordelia runs to them.

ANGEL

I'm telling ya. I don't know this beast.

WESLEY

But Angelus might. We need Angelus.

Cut to:

8 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

The shaman puts his hand on Angel's head, closes his eyes, and when the shaman's eyes open again, they're red.

Cut to:

9 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Angelus is sitting inside the cage.

CORDELIA (V.O.)

Angelus.

Cut to:

10 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Gunn, Cordelia, Connor and Fred are in the basement talking, guarding Angelus in the cage.

ANGELUS

There's something bigger. The Beast has a boss.

Cut to:

11 INT. CAVE

In a triangular shaped room lit dimly with two torches, the Beast prays.

Cut to:

12 INT. CORRIDOR IN HOTEL/ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Lilah's running away as fast as her wounded body will take her, but someone grabs her by the throat from one of the rooms, and pushes her into the doorjamb. It's Cordelia.

LILAH

He's gonna kill us.

CORDELIA

I know. (stabs Lilah in the neck with the knife from the Beast's offering; Lilah collapses, falls to the ground) Why do you think I let him out? (smiles)

Cut to:

13 INT. CORDELIA'S ROOM AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Cordelia's talking to Connor.

CORDELIA

Killing Angelus now is the only way to guarantee our family's safety.

Cut to:

14 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Chained Angel is mumbling to himself with Connor kneeling over him. Connor rears his hand back, revealing that he's got a stake in it. Faith grabs Connor's wrist, stopping him from staking Angel. Faith and Connor fight. When Connor lands near the cage, Angel grabs his neck through the bars.

ANGEL

Connor, it's over. It's me.

Cut to:

15 INT. LOBBY AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS

Angel turns to face the gang.

ANGEL

So, we're back.

WESLEY

It would seem.

ANGEL

Look, I know things have been—

CORDELIA

(walks down the stairs) Sorry, Angel. But if this is the speech about how the worst is behind us, you may want to save it for later.

Cordelia's wearing a trampy outfit that reveals her pregnancy to the gang.

Fade to black.

The Start Of EpisodePrologue:

16 INT. LOBBY AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Resume. Cordelia has just revealed her pregnancy to Angel, Fred, Wesley, and Gunn, who stare at her, stunned. Connor walks up to her side.

CORDELIA

(rubbing her belly) I know it's a bit of a shock. I mean, nobody's more shocked than me. (looks at Connor) OK, maybe him.

Everyone stares at her in silence.

FRED

Um, sorry to be so... but I'm, like you said, kinda shocked.

Angel walks over to the couch and sits down.

GUNN

Yeah, 'cause hasn't it only been like... Definitely shocked.

CORDELIA

I haven't been hiding, or ashamed, or anything... It's just with the Beast and his psycho master, and then Faith and Willow and all that dramarama, not to mention—

ANGEL

Angelus.

CORDELIA

Everything's just been so Clash of the Titans around here. I didn't wanna be a distraction.

LORNE

(walks in from outside, sees Cordy) Wha...? Put me on the short bus, and send me off to clueless school. A mystical pregnancy right under my beak and not even a tingle. Huh.

WESLEY

How long have you known?

CORDELIA

Some time after we brought forth Angelus.

GUNN

That's a couple of weeks. Looks more like eight months.

WESLEY

The last time Cordelia was impregnated, she came to term overnight.

CORDELIA

That was a crawly evil demon thing. This is different.

FRED

Still, shouldn't we try and find out...what's in there?

CONNOR

We already know. Our baby.

GUNN

(to Angel) Well, congratulations. You're gonna have a grandspawn.

CONNOR

You don't know what it's like. How scary it is. I'm gonna have a child, and all you can do is joke 'cause you don't like me. We shouldn't have told 'em. (walks out of the lobby)

FRED

Cordelia...

CORDELIA

I know it's hard to understand. None of you have ever had a living being growing inside of you. And this— (looks at her belly) my sweet baby—we're connected. I feel what it feels. I can't explain it, but I sense its goodness, its love. (turns to walk away, looks down at her belly as the creature inside writhes visibly under her skin—clearly not a human baby; turns back to face the others) You'll see. (smiles) My baby will be here soon, and then you'll all see.

Fade to black.

Opening credits.

ACT I:

17 EXT. PARK IN LOS ANGELES - NIGHT

A man stands alone in a plaza while a fountain bubbles behind him. He looks around nervously as people walk by. When he turns around again, Gwen Raiden's standing behind him.

MAN

How'd you do that?

GWEN

I'm a thief. (walks up to the man) Got my stuff? (the man looks around nervously) Would you stop it?

MAN

Stop what?

GWEN

Acting shifty. You've never done this before, have you? (laces her arm through his, they start walking) Let me give you a tip, sugar bear. There are over eight million people in this city, and as far as anyone can tell, we're just two of 'em. Just a normal couple. Nobody's gonna give us a second look if you just stop acting shifty.

MAN

(stops walking, breaks away from her and looks her in the eyes) Look, these are very powerful people that you're going up against. If they catch you, they'll kill you—

GWEN

I know the risks, but I'm going in there with or without your help. And I'm not coming out without Lisa. (pulls an envelope out of her back pocket) So, are we gonna dance, or what? (slips the envelope into the man's breast pocket)

MAN

(hands Gwen an 9"x11" envelope he took out of his coat) That's everything. Security, blueprints, background.

GWEN

(smiles) There. That wasn't so bad, was it?

MAN

So, is it that obvious? (laughs) That I've never done—

GWEN

Trench coat. Definite rookie mistake.

MAN

So, I should... dress more like you? You know, maybe when this is all over, you and I could— (Gwen is struck by lightning and sent flying back) Holy sh—

The man runs away as Gwen lies there on the ground. She looks up and talks to him as he runs away.

GWEN

Really, I'm fine. Thanks for asking.

Cut to:

18 INT. LOBBY AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred and Lorne are sitting next to one another on the couch, talking to Wesley and Gunn who are standing around near the front desk.

FRED

Were we too harsh? (Lorne shakes his head) I was just asking.

WESLEY

No, they were bound to skulk off to neutral corners.

GUNN

(pacing) Two vampires hook up, and—for the only time in vamp history—have a kid, our boy Connor. Then Connor grows up, knocks it out with Cordelia, a part-demon former higher-being. And—quick as you can say "Easy Bake Oven"—there's a gigantic bun in hers. (shakes his head) I don't think we were too harsh.

FRED

The first time Connor tried to attack Angelus, Lorne's sanctuary spell knocked him halfway to Abilene.

WESLEY

Which means Connor is at least part-demon.

LORNE

Yeah, well that was before my spell went all Flop-a-palooza.

FRED

Having two part-demon parents might could explain the... (makes a gesture like a growing belly) woosh factor.

GUNN

Not gonna be long until woosh turns into pop.

LORNE

Speaking of "pop," don't you think our re-ensouled leader should be a part of this little confab?

ANGEL

(walks out of his office into the lobby) Easy Bake. Flop-a-palooza. Woosh. Pop. (points at Wesley) I don't skulk. I've been thinking...about the past few weeks and Angelus—

FRED

Angel, you can't feel guilty for anything Angelus did.

ANGEL

I know. I knew the risks. We all did. (looks at Wesley) And some of us paid a higher price than others. Angelus didn't kill Lilah. She was already dead, killed by the Beast.

Wesley looks pained and upset and confused.

FRED

Well, that's...less terrible.

ANGEL

(to Wesley) There's no excuse for...what Angelus did to her, but... I'm sorry for your loss. (Wesley looks down) We've got two pressing matters: figuring out what we can about Cordelia's pregnancy, and destroying the Beast's master. Lorne you're—

LORNE

Reliable as a cheap fortune cookie?

ANGEL

I was gonna say a guy with good contacts. There have to be rumblings around town about this new player. Talk to your sources. See if anyone knows anyone who might know anything.

LORNE

I'm your demon.

ANGEL

Right. Wesley, if there's experts on mystical births, we're it.

WESLEY

Uh, we'll pull all the files on Darla and her pregnancy and see what we can find.

ANGEL

Gunn, I want you to sit tight for now. It never hurts to have some muscle on deck. (Gunn just glares back at Angel) In the mean time, there has to be a reason why the Beastmaster wanted Angelus. I'm gonna piece together everything I know—things he said to me when he was in my head, everything he's done. Maybe something will—

GWEN (O.S.)

Strike you?

Everyone turns around to see that Gwen has just walked through the front door.

GWEN

Careful what you wish for.

FRED

(stands) Well, look who's back now that the lights are on.

GWEN

Aw, missed you too, babe.

ANGEL

Gwen, it's really not a great time for a social call. We're pretty swamped. You know, uh... apocalypse.

GWEN

Thing is, there's a girl. She's in trouble. It's what you guys do, right?

ANGEL

Well, yeah.

GWEN

So, I'm in a jam. I can't get out of it alone. I need someone suave, a guy who can handle himself in a tight spot.

ANGEL

(swaggers a moment) Gwen, I'd love to help—

GWEN

I meant him. (gestures to Gunn)

Cut to:

19 INT. ROOM AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Cordelia walks into a dark room at the hotel. Connor's sitting in a corner, thinking.

CORDELIA

I've been looking all over for you. Connor, what they said...you can't let it bother you.

CONNOR

I don't care what they say.

CORDELIA

Really? Is that why you retreated to the Fortress of Solitude?

CONNOR

(looks up) It doesn't make sense. (stands)

CORDELIA

Freaking out over pregnancy's pretty much the M.O. with the gang around here.

CONNOR

Not them. You. All that stuff you said about Angelus. And Willow...she—she didn't open a gate to evil. She put back Angel's soul. I almost killed him.

CORDELIA

But you didn't. Angel's back. Everything worked out. Everything happens for a reason, even if it doesn't always seem that way.

CONNOR

How can you say that?

CORDELIA

Think about it. You sinking Angel to the bottom of the ocean. Getting kicked out of the house. Me not knowing who I was and coming to you for help. All of those moments and a million others led to this miracle.

CONNOR

But sending me down to the basement. I had the stake. (walks up to Cordelia) What was the reason for that?

CORDELIA

I thought our baby was in danger, and all my instincts told me that killing Angelus was the only way to protect it.

CONNOR

(sighs) But you were wrong. (sits down)

CORDELIA

(walks up to Connor, kneels in front of him) What's important is that when I needed help, you were there for me. Now I know I can trust you. Completely. No matter what. See? Everything happens for a reason. (stands) Connor, before our baby comes, I might ask you to do some things...for us. (holds up a baby outfit, folds it) And I want you to remember, there's always a reason.

CONNOR

I'll remember.

Cut to:

20 INT. GWEN'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gunn is playing with small figurines from a table in Gwen's living room. Gwen's gathering some papers and the envelope that the man in the park gave her.

GUNN

So, why me?

GWEN

I told you. I need a suave guy in a tight spot.

GUNN

(scoffs) Suave? (holds the figure out to Gwen) You been collecting these for a while?

GWEN

Yeah, I get one each trip. I just brought the dolphin back from Tahiti. You collect anything when you travel?

GUNN

Uh, yeah. I, uh, I got a big ol' scar on my thigh from Boyle Heights... A piece of vamp stake I picked up a while back in Alhambra... And a couple of burn marks on my hip from Encino... Yep, name a town, I'll show you the souvenir.

GWEN

I didn't mean to...

GUNN

I'm not complaining. Hell, I've seen more here than most people've seen traveling around the world. Someday, maybe. (walks up to Gwen) So, what's so big and bad that Electro-Gwen needs my super-suave assistance? Something about a girl in trouble?

GWEN

Yeah. I did a little black-bag deal-eo for this corp. Happens all the time. Two companies vie for a contract. Company A hires me to make sure Company B's thingamabob doesn't so much bob as bust.

GUNN

And Company A gets a multi-million dollar payday.

GWEN

Right, but this time Company B fought back. (hands Gunn a picture from the envelope) They kidnapped this girl. Her name is Lisa. She's the daughter of the guy who hired me to do the dirty work.

GUNN

And nobody can go to the cops 'cause—

GWEN

Of what I did. So, you see? It's my fault. I have to save her, and I have to do it alone. (Gunn nods, then notices burn marks on the envelope Gwen's holding) Don't ask. (hands Gunn a printout from her envelope) This is everything I could get on the man who's holding her. His name is Takeshi Morimoto. He's the head honcho of the company I tanked. He's promised to kill the girl if Company A doesn't come clean about what they did.

GUNN

This dude's a serious player. (reading from the printout) Chairman Emeritus, honorary degrees, all kinds of charity work, cancer research, wildlife preservation, the Zoo Committee... (beat) Whoa, bank fraud, smuggling, money laundering—

GWEN

And now kidnapping.

GUNN

(looks up at Gwen) This guy know about you?

GWEN

Nope. That's why I think we have a shot of getting to the girl. (stands, walks over to a table where she unfolds a blueprint) They're keeping her at his compound. It's gated. Armed guards, infrared surveillance, dogs, the works. If we're gonna have half a chance— (looks up at Gunn, who's chuckling) You're gonna have to stop grinning like that and share the joke with the entire class. You think this is impossible?

GUNN

No, I think it's fantastic. Listen, I spent most of this year trapped in what I can only describe as a turgid supernatural soap-opera. The fact that I have a chance to go out and really help somebody...Well, you know, it feels good to be doing good. (beat) So, how're we breaking into Fort Knox?

GWEN

We're walking in the front door.

Cut to:

21 EXT. MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

A limousine pulls up in front of a mansion. Gunn steps out, wearing a fancy suit and nice shoes. He holds out his hand to help Gwen out of the limo; she takes his hand with hers, gloved in white satin. Gwen's wearing a red silk dress that looks oriental in design.

GWEN

How're you doing?

GUNN

You tell me. I'm thinking James Bond never looked this fine. (laces her arm through his)

GWEN

I'm thinking you're right.

GUNN

Of course, I'd feel better if we were packing some of his secret weapons.

GWEN

(whispers) Charles, we are the secret weapons. Nervous?

GUNN

Nah. I've gotten into clubs with tighter security than this.

Cut to:

22 INT. SECURITY DESK AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gwen steps into a scanner that detects body heat, among other attributes. A man sits behind the computer monitor watching for anomalies as people go through. Gwen goes through without a problem. Gunn goes through it next. The guard nods.

GWEN

One down, one to go.

GUNN

Hey, how's your electro-thing gonna do with these metal detectors?

GWEN

Piece of cake.

Guards stand on either side of Gwen and Gunn, who are arm in arm. The guards wave wands over Gwen and Gunn's bodies. Gwen and Gunn walk forward. Gwen hands tickets to a man who scans them.

GUNN

Now, if we can just get out as easily as we got in— (as the guard scans the tickets, an alarm goes off) Why did I even say that?

Security guards surround Gunn and Gwen.

Fade to black.

ACT II:

23 INT. SECURITY DESK AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Resume. Security guards have just surrounded Gunn and Gwen after their tickets caused an alarm to go off.

GUNN

Uh, what...seems to be the problem?

SECURITY GUARD

The electronic imprints on your invitation's been altered.

GWEN

I can explain that. I was struck by lightning. (everyone looks at her) Really. (whispers to Gunn) See how my life sucks?

SECURITY GUARD

Step this way, please. (beat) Please don't make a scene.

GWEN

A little late for that, isn't it? What with the beeping and batons...

GUNN

(whispers to Gwen) Maybe this isn't our night.

GWEN

(whispering) Then we make it our night. This is my one shot, Gunn, and I am not leaving without you-know-who...and if that means we do it the hard way— (starts to pull off one of her gloves)

GUNN

(whispers to Gwen) Ah ah ah. Keep your mittens on, sparky. (speaks to Morimoto as he walks past) Morimoto-san. Konbanwa. (bows)

MORIMOTO

(turns to face Gunn) Konbanwa. Okoshi kudasai arigato gozaimasu.

GUNN

Sorry, didn't follow that last bit. Shot my entire Japanese vocabulary when I said hello.

MORIMOTO

The gesture is still appreciated. (turns to walk away)

GUNN

Mr. Morimoto, I'm Charles Gunn. We met at the zoo benefit last year. You don't remember me, do you? Your wife held that monkey right after my girlfriend did. Ugly little gray thing—the monkey, not my girl. (chuckles) Gwen, you remember Mr. Morimoto. We met him at the zoo benefit.

GWEN

(bows) How could I forget.

GUNN

Mr. Morimoto, in case we don't have an opportunity to speak later, please do me the honor of accepting this humble gift... (pulls a small oval box out of his breast pocket) to thank you for inviting us into your beautiful home.

MORIMOTO

You're too generous.

GUNN

(holding the box out in the palms of both hands) Please. It's just a trinket.

MORIMOTO

(opens the box revealing the small jade tiger inside; Gwen shoots a look at Gunn) It's beautiful.

GUNN

Well, I read somewhere you love tigers.

MORIMOTO

Truly exquisite. Thank you. (walks away)

SECURITY GUARD

(to Gwen and Gunn) If you'll follow me, please.

GWEN

(whispers to Gunn) OK, we tried it your way—

GUNN

(whispers) Hang on. (they watch Morimoto walk away, waiting for acknowledgement)

SECURITY GUARD

This way. Please. (Morimoto pauses, turns to the security guard and signals that Gunn and Gwen can come in) All right. Go ahead.

Cut to:

24 INT. OFFICE AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Fred and Wesley are sitting at a desk together, researching amongst piles of papers and books.

FRED

(holds a drawing of a red, spike-covered demon) That's supposed to be a kid?

WESLEY

An infant Gatbar demon. The spikes grow to full size in the womb.

FRED

Ouch. Gross factor aside, these pregnancies all seem to be run-of-the-mill demon lifecycle stuff. Nothing mystical about 'em. (sighs, rubs her head, sounds slightly ill)

WESLEY

They're just pictures, Fred.

FRED

It's the pictures in my mind that are getting me. I can't stop thinking about Connor and Cordy...hiding up in that room...imagining what they do up there. (holds her eyelids open) It's like being stuck in a really bad movie with those Clockwork Orange clampy things on my eyeballs.

WESLEY

Why imagine? Reality's disturbing enough.

FRED

Connor's Angel's son. How did he and Cordy get all...(looks away) couply?

WESLEY

They were probably as surprised as anyone. (Fred turns to look at Wesley) But they were both lost, lonely...

FRED

(scoffs) No matter how lonely I was, I would never—

WESLEY

Things happen, Fred. When you're alienated from the people who care about you, you start to look other places.

FRED

(looks away) Hm. Lilah.

WESLEY

We were fighting on opposite sides, but it was the same war.

FRED

(rolls her eyes, scoffs, turns to look at Wesley) But you hated her...didn't you?

WESLEY

(softly) It's not always about holding hands...

Cut to:

25 INT. BALLROOM AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Arm in arm, Gunn and Gwen walk into the main ballroom where the party is located.

GWEN

So, when did you become Mr. Japanese Ambassador?

GUNN

Well, you watch enough Samurai movies, you learn a couple of things about the culture. The first is Reishiki, which is a fancy way of stressing proper etiquette at all times. The other is never underestimate the value of a thoughtful gift.

GWEN

(nods) You mean that gift you stole?

GUNN

(chuckles) Yeah, sorry about that. Hope it wasn't too valuable.

GWEN

Let you in on a little secret? (opens her pocket to allow Gunn to look inside; the jade tiger is in her pocket)

GUNN

You stole it back?

GWEN

It's not like eighteenth century jade is falling off trucks. (looks around the room, then stares toward the corner)

GUNN

What? (a little Japanese girl walks up to the edge of the ballroom; she's surrounded by guards) Is that her? Shouldn't she be tied to a chair or something?

GWEN

Tied up or dressed up, she's a prisoner. Look at the muscle around her. I'm gonna go see if I can get a better look. (walks away, Gunn starts to follow, but Gwen stops her) No, keep an eye on Morimoto.

Cut to:

26 INT. ANGEL'S ROOM AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Angel's sitting in a chair in his room, drawing. There's no knock at the door, but he calls out from his chair anyway.

ANGEL

Come on in, Cordelia.

CORDELIA

(opens the door, walks in) You know, that never stops creeping me out. (closes the door)

ANGEL

(without looking up) Yeah? I'm kind of creeped out myself.

CORDELIA

Can we not do this right now?

ANGEL

OK by me. I'm kinda in the middle of something anyway.

CORDELIA

Anything coming to mind?

ANGEL

Not really.

CORDELIA

Nothing?

ANGEL

(puts down his sketchpad, stands, walks to the window) Look, to be honest, I'm almost pining for the halcyon days of the Beast.

CORDELIA

Right, 'cause it's not like he slaughtered hundreds of people with his bare hands.

ANGEL

(looking out the window) The Beast was just a flunky.

CORDELIA

Who did his master's bidding.

ANGEL

Killing Manny, stealing my soul, murdering Lilah...those were surgical strikes. Not the smash-and-trash style of the Beast.

CORDELIA

But if lava boy didn't do all that, who did?

ANGEL

(faces Cordelia) His master.

CORDELIA

I'm his master. (beat) I'm his all-powerful master, and I'm gonna break into a guarded room, steal your soul from a safe—not by ripping it open, but by using the combination—then I'm gonna hunt and kill Lilah right under this very roof. Sure. Evil geniuses live for that playing with fire stuff.

ANGEL

You don't understand. This thing was in my head. I've heard him, and he's insane enough to pull those kinds of stunts.

CORDELIA

When you say "insane," you mean, like, diabolical?

ANGEL

(chuckles) No, I mean like deluded and demented. He spoke to me in this cheezy, self-important voice. I bet he doesn't even have a master plan—he's just making it up as he goes along. (Cordelia frowns) Hey, don't worry. We'll figure it out. Come on, anybody as daredevily as this guy will slip up sooner or later. When he does, he's dead. (Cordy smiles a fake smile)

Cut to:

27 INT. BALLROOM AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

As the party continues, zoom in on a conversation between a few of the guests.

OVER-JEWELED WOMAN

Meteor showers, earthquakes, that strange thing with the sun. I find it an exciting time to be in Los Angeles.

MORIMOTO

I couldn't agree more. I can't help but feel something wonderful's coming, don't you, Mr. Gunn?

GUNN

Well, something seems to be coming, all right, just ain't so sure I'd call it wonderful. (everyone laughs; Gwen taps Gunn's shoulder; to the guests) If you'll excuse me... (to Gwen) Gwen, you're not gonna b—What is it?

GWEN

They're gonna kill her...tonight.

GUNN

Not gonna happen.

GWEN

We have to act fast. You need to get Lisa and get out.

GUNN

You mean "we" need to?

GWEN

No, I mean "you." I'm going over to the other side of the room to create one hell of a distraction. By the time they've figured out what hit 'em, you'll have her half-way to my place. This is our one shot.

GUNN

Like I said when I signed up, it feels good to be doing good.

GWEN

(looks toward the girl) OK, work your way over there. Wait for my signal. (walks away)

Gwen walks up to a coffee table while Gunn sneaks around behind a column near the little girl. Gwen pushes over the coffee table. Gunn grabs the little girl, putting a hand over her mouth and carrying her off.

GWEN

Oh, my God! Somebody's trying to hurt that little girl.

SECURITY GUARD

(into his radio) This is Bravo-9. We have a situation in progress.

Gwen smiles as the guard goes after Gunn. Gwen turns and walks in the opposite direction.

Cut to:

28 INT. ROOM AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gunn walks down the hallway with the little girl and ducks into a nearby room.

GUNN

(puts the girl down, shuts the door, and turns to the little girl) Hang in there, we're almost out.

Someone hits Gunn on the head, knocking him out. He falls to the floor.

Fade to black.

ACT III:

29 INT. ROOM AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Resume. Gunn's on the floor after having been knocked out.

GUNN

(stands, grunting in pain) Oh. Oh. Oh. (panting) Ah. Ah. (touches his head where they hit him, Gunn addresses the other men in the room) Now you did it. I'm gonna have to get your lame-ass blood all over my sweet new suit.

The men swing staffs at Gunn, and they begin to fight. Gunn takes the staff from one of the men and defends himself well. The little girl hides in the corner, watching them fight. One of the men grabs a sword and holds it up, staring at Gunn.

GUNN

You know, I spent the last couple of weeks whacking on a giant lava demon and more vamps than I can count. I almost forgot how good it feels to just let off a little steam. (Gunn defeats the last of his opponents, straightening his tie as the man falls to the ground; Gunn goes up to the little girl) All right, let's get you out of here. (the girl stands) It's OK. I'm here to take you home.

LITTLE GIRL

I am home.

GUNN

(confused) No, you've been kidnapped.

LITTLE GIRL

(petulantly) Get out of my house.

GUNN

(thinks for a moment) Your name's not Lisa, is it?

LITTLE GIRL

I'm Aiko Morimoto, and when my daddy finds out you tried to hurt me, (points at Gunn) he's gonna kill you.

Gunn leaves the room.

Cut to:

30 INT. STUDY AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gwen's using a stethoscope to listen to a combination lock on a safe door. Someone puts a hand on her shoulder. She gasps and turns around to see Gunn standing there.

GWEN

It's you.

GUNN

It was the scanners, wasn't it? Why you wanted me. Angel, no heartbeat.

GWEN

Security scan of a dead guy might've raised a few eyebrows.

GUNN

You know, for about five seconds, I thought you might actually care about something.

GWEN

OK, so what if I didn't tell you about my plan? And so what if I set you up for a fall? When's the last time you had this much fun? I saw your face out there—you were having a great time.

GUNN

It's 'cause I thought I was doing good.

GWEN

You were. Just not the kind that involves saving a fairy princess from an evil king.

GUNN

So Lisa doesn't exist?

GWEN

Yes, she does. (walks back to the safe) And I've liberated her from this steel tomb by now if you'd stop yapping for half a sec. It's a military acronym: Localized Ionic Sensory Activator. L-I-S-A.

GUNN

A weapon? L.I.S.A.'s a weapon?

GWEN

Not a weapon. A covert device worn by black ops. Regulates body temp, heartbeat, body chemistry. Morimoto's company designed it, and I've been hired to steal the beta test.

GUNN

God bless America.

GWEN

Actually China, or North Korea. Not really sure. Morimoto's selling it to the highest bidder.

GUNN

And who are you stealing it for?

GWEN

(walks up to Gunn) Look, there are two things that make me a good thief. I steal what I'm paid to steal, and I don't ask too many questions. (goes back to the safe)

GUNN

Well, good luck with that. (walks away)

GWEN

(calls after him) Nothing's changed, you know. Morimoto's still a bad guy. You're still a good one.

GUNN

(stops, turns to face her) You know, I can't believe I actually took time out of the apocalypse for this.

GWEN

Even the Pres. takes vacations. Besides, if they need you, they'll call. Come on. We started this together. Let's finish it the same way.

GUNN

It's not the same.

GWEN

You can keep the suit.

Gunn walks back to the safe with Gwen.

Cut to:

31 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Angel is sitting behind his desk, working on something as Fred and Wesley stand in front of him, staring at him as he works. Fred hands Wesley a cup of gourmet coffee.

ANGEL

(looks up) You know, this would be a lot easier if you two weren't hovering.

FRED

(simultaneously with Wesley) No rush.

WESLEY

(simultaneously with Fred) Take your time.

ANGEL

I think that's it. (pushes his sketch pad forward)

Fred and Wesley walk up to Angel's desk to look at the sketch pad, setting down their coffee on the desk.

CORDELIA

(walks into the office) What's it?

ANGEL

The passage from Lilah's Beasty book. The one Angelus destroyed after the big boomy voice threatened to re-ensoul him.

FRED

Angel's been visualizing the text, trying to recreate it.

ANGEL

Just, you know, a little thing I can do.

CORDELIA

You think there was something in that book that high-and-spitey didn't want us to know about?

ANGEL

He's definitely hiding something.

WESLEY

I recognize the text. It's early Fallorian code system. Let's see... (translating) "The green cart-like vehicle eats..."

As Wesley translates, Cordelia places her hand next to the cup of coffee that's on the desk beside the text. She readies her finger to push the coffee cup over at any moment.

WESLEY

(translating) "I am not a bucket head."

Angel throws down his hands. Cordelia pulls her hand back from the coffee.

ANGEL

Damn it!

WESLEY

It's a tricky language. An inverted serif can alter the meaning of an entire passage.

CORDELIA

What now?

ANGEL

I try again.

Wesley, Fred, and Cordelia are still standing around Angel's desk watching him as he goes back to work. He looks up at them, and they all turn and walk away.

Cut to:

32 INT. STUDY AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gwen turns the dial on the combination safe while listening to it through the stethoscope. When she unlocks the door, she opens it to reveal yet another safeguard inside: a door locked with and electronic keypad.

GUNN

Crap!

GWEN

(smiles) Nah, this is the easy one.

Gwen takes off her satin glove, and touches her hand to the electronic keypad, shocking it. Gwen opens the safe door and takes out a small metal box from it. She opens the box to show a flat, oblong device inside.

GWEN

(starts walking away) We're outta here. We should split up in case—

GUNN

(stops walking, turns to face Gwen) Oh, no, we're not doing that again. Either we both make it out, or—

GWEN

(staring toward the door) Or neither of us do.

Gunn turns around to see Morimoto and four security guards standing in the doorway.

Cut to:

33 INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Angel sketches another page full of unusual characters. When he's done, he rips the page off of the sketchpad and hands it to Wesley.

ANGEL

Try this one.

WESLEY

(reads the page) Something about strangling poultry.

ANGEL

(sighs, throws the notepad down on the desk) That's it. I gotta get out of here. (stands)

LORNE

(walks into the room) Ah ah ah. Easy does it, compadre. No huffy exits before (singsongy) I spill the joyous news.

ANGEL

About the baby?

CORDELIA

About El Jefe?

LORNE

Uh, no and no. My sources got nothing on mystical birthin' or the big Kahuna. But Wanda—that demon you recommended—what a peach, by the way. Anyway, she sold me this cleansing abracadabra to clear my muddled mind.

FRED

You're empathic again?

LORNE

Please... (holds up a long black cloak) you think this Dungeons & Dragons cloak is a fashion statement? I got to do this whole song and dance—

WESLEY

Well, we're getting nowhere. If you need extra hands...

LORNE

Sorry, I can only take my two. Ritual has to be performed solo. Just me and my shadow, secluded in a dark, dusty nowhere land. Ugh. But the upside is, I should be "all systems go" come sunrise.

CORDELIA

Then you'll be able to read me? (smiles tensely)

LORNE

No worries, dumpling. Come morning, I will be a lean, mean, belly-reading machine.

Cut to:

34 INT. STUDY AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Morimoto and his security guards confront Gwen and Gunn after they have stolen the L.I.S.A.

MORIMOTO

Put that on the desk, and step away. Set it down now.

GWEN

No.

MORIMOTO

I don't think you realize who you're up against.

GUNN

(gestures to two of the security guards behind Morimoto) Just those two girls? I already kicked their ass once. (the guards pull out guns and point them at Gunn and Gwen) But, when you put it like that, maybe we should.

GWEN

(to Gunn) I won't give it back. I can't.

GUNN

(to Gwen) I can. I'm not dying for this.

GWEN

(out loud, to Morimoto) I'm finishing the job.

GUNN

(softly) Gwen, it's too late. We're busted.

GWEN

(glares at Morimoto) I'm not leaving without it.

MORIMOTO

Then you're not leaving at all. (to the guards) Finish it.

GUNN

Gwen, give it to him.

GWEN

(shakes her head) No, I need it.

MORIMOTO

(to his guards) I said finish it!

GWEN

(screaming) It's mine!

With the intensity of her outburst, Gwen sends out streams of blue-white electricity through the room toward the guards. This lightning-like energy emanating from Gwen's fisted hands impacts all the guards and Morimoto as Gwen tenses and screams in a desperate rage. Gunn stares at her in shock.

Fade to black.

ACT IV:

35 INT. STUDY AT MORIMOTO'S PLACE - NIGHT

Resume. Gwen is shocking Morimoto and his entourage while Gunn stares in shock. Gunn snaps into action, and charges toward Gwen, knocking her down and ending the transmission of energy from her hands. Morimoto and gang fall to the floor.

GUNN

Liar. (stands) You're not stealing it for someone else. It's for you. (helps Gwen to her feet) You think it'll fix you.

Gwen and Gunn leave the room in a hurry while the guards are still passed out.

Cut to:

36 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Lorne walks into the dark basement and pauses by the door.

LORNE

Oh, fudgicle.

Lorne takes out a flashlight and walks forward through the still dark room. He sets up white candles on a table and lights them. Unseen by Lorne, Cordelia is watching from a catwalk.

Cut to:

37 INT. GWEN'S PLACE - NIGHT

Gunn puts the jade tiger back in Gwen's collection.

GUNN

Back where he belongs. I got to give you credit—you are stubborn.

GWEN

I know what I want. (sits in a cushy chair)

GUNN

I get that. At least, I used to. Things aren't always so clear anymore.

GWEN

You seemed pretty clear tonight.

GUNN

Adrenaline rush—when I was trying to save that girl.

GWEN

I meant when you were saving me.

GUNN

(smiles, then shrugs) Hey, I'm just the muscle.

GWEN

Don't knock the muscle, buddy. Makes the girls go all knocky in the knees. But if that's all you were, we never could've gotten into that party tonight.

GUNN

(walks toward Gwen) Oh, you would've gotten in. Of course, the damage would have been significantly higher.

GWEN

Thanks to your brains-over-brawn approach.

GUNN

(sits across from Gwen on the edge of a table) Well, not so much brains as too many movies.

GWEN

Man, they have done a number on you. You really believe this "I'm the muscle" crap.

GUNN

This your version of a pep talk?

GWEN

Could be. Need one?

GUNN

Nah.

GWEN

Good. (laughs nervously) It's not my area of expertise. So, why do you stay if that's all they see in you?

GUNN

I'm a fighter. Born and raised. (beat) You love being a thief?

GWEN

(holds up her gloved hands) I'm a freak. Being a thief makes me a part of something—and not a part at the same time. Tonight? (grins) Yeah, I kinda loved it.

GUNN

You know, for someone loving life, you seemed awfully willing to die for this. (holds up the L.I.S.A.)

GWEN

What you saw tonight, that's as bad as it gets, but even at its best... That thing might let me be—(sighs) well, not normal—but...hold hands, maybe. (nods) So, yeah, guess I was willing to die, or even— (looks away, shakes her head) you wouldn't understand.

GUNN

Sure I do. Brainy, remember? (looks at the L.I.S.A.) You want to show me how this thing works?

Cut to:

38 INT. BEDROOM AT GWEN'S PLACE - NIGHT

Standing in front of her bed, Gwen slips her dress off of her shoulder, leaving it gathered around her waist. She pulls her hair forward over her shoulder, exposing her back, and lies across the bed. Gunn walks up to the bed and sits on the edge. He opens the L.I.S.A. and takes it out of the box.

GUNN

(looking at the device) How do you fire it up?

GWEN

It's not an X-Box. Just put it on.(Gunn holds the L.I.S.A. over the small of Gwen's back) Careful.

GUNN

(reaches out and touches Gwen's skin, but gets shocked) Ow.

GWEN

(rolls her eyes) Like I said... (Gunn places the L.I.S.A. on Gwen's back) It's chilly.

Gunn leans over Gwen to observe the L.I.S.A. in action. Text scrolls across the tiny screen as soon as it touches her body. Four small wires come out of the body of the device and touch her skin. Lights on the side light up. Six needle-like probes come out of the sides of the device and insert themselves under her skin.

GWEN

What's it doing?

GUNN

You ever seen one of those body-snatcher movies?

The probes continue moving into Gwen's body under her skin. They form a circuit design pattern under her skin for a moment before fading away.

GUNN

Feel any different?

GWEN

Yeah. Not so much. (tentatively, Gunn reaches out to Gwen's back, touching his fingers to her skin) Think it worked. (Gunn runs his hand down her back) It feels good.

GUNN

So...if you couldn't touch, guess that means you've never—

GWEN

(sits up quickly, holding her dress to her chest) Nope. Nope. Anyway, thanks for turning me...off.

GUNN

(chuckles) Anytime. Thank you.

GWEN

For what? The guards? The suit? The almost dying?

GUNN

The most fun I've had...(leans forward toward Gwen) since... (kisses Gwen on the lips)

GWEN

(kisses him back, then pulls back suddenly) You know, um...that device, um, it's a prototype. It might not hold.

GUNN

Well, you've already killed me once. If it happens again, you know where my battery is.

Gunn leans in to Gwen and they kiss.

Cut to:

39 INT. BASEMENT AT HOTEL / ANGEL INVESTIGATIONS - NIGHT

Lorne is preparing potions and incense at the candle-lit table in the basement. He pulls the hood of his cloak over his head and picks up a hymnal. Lorne sings a song that sounds vaguely like a Gregorian chant, except that it has no words, only humming and ooing. Cordelia sneaks silently down the stairs, holding a knife in her hand. Just as Cordelia is standing behind Lorne, ready to stab him, someone turns on the lights. Cordelia looks up and Angel is standing in front of her.

CORDELIA

Angel...

Cordelia turns to flee, but Fred and Wesley are armed, guarding her exit.

LORNE

(takes a white cloth off of a ball—a "Magic 8 Ball"—and shakes the ball) Has Cordy been a bad, bad girl?

When Lorne turns the "Magic 8 Ball" over, the triangle inside reads "Definitely."

Cut to:

Closing credits.


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