The television series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters and materials belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy and UPN. Witchblade and all characters related are properties of Top Cow Comics and TNT Productions.

This story takes place about 8 months after 'Urbs Sanguinis' and 4 months before 'Urbs Spei'.


10:04 pm, Tuesday - Residence of Sally Quinn

"Evening, detectives," the crime scene investigator said.

"Hey," Sara and Danny greeted in return. "So, what do we got here?" Danny asked.

"The woman placed a 911 call. Apparently some ex-boyfriend decided to pay her a visit. From the looks of things, he breaks down the door while she's talking to the operator, kills her, then suddenly collapses and dies. Looks like he OD'd."

"From what?" Sara asked. As she tried to focus on the conversation as best she could, she felt something... otherworldly. It started to make her feel uneasy. Something else was wrong with the room and she knew the only way she would feel it was through the Witchblade. That meant it was extremely important.

"I'm not sure yet," the investigator said. "I mean, the guy busted down a deadbolt, solid-wood door in a few minutes. Broke his hand and still was able to kill the girl. I'd say PCP but we'd have to run some toxicology tests in the lab."

"Do we have a name?" Danny asked.

"A one Aidan Russell, lives out near Red Hook. Here's his wallet." Putting a pair of surgical gloves on, she and Danny proceeded to examine the wallet.

"Nothing out of the ordinary," Danny said.

"Here: we also found this," the investigator said. He handed them what looked to be an electronic ID badge. The badge wasn't the curious thing, though; it was the logo that caught Sara's attention.

"New Empire Textiles," she said aloud.

"Let's not get any funny ideas just yet," Danny cautioned. "Could just be a coincidence."

"With Vitelli? Yeah, right."

"You think you're going to link it back to her?" Danny asked.

"I know I am. I just don't know how."

"I don't know why you obsess over this woman, Pez."

"It's not an obsession," Sara replied. "I'm just... cautious about her." Okay, liar, I am obsessed. But if you knew what I knew, you'd be the same way, she thought.


3:08 pm, Wednesday- Medical Examiner's Office

"So, did you find out what Russell was hopped up on?" Sara asked.

"Yeah, I did, and it's one of the weirdest things I've ever seen."

"What do you mean?" Danny asked, pen and paper ready.

"Well, its base substance is an alkaloid, like cocaine," he replied. "But you told me this guy knocked down a thick deadbolt in a matter of minutes and broke his hand in the process. I can see why the investigator on at the site thought PCP. The guy might not have felt the effects for hours."

"But it's not PCP, is it?" Sara inquired.

"No, it isn't. I mean, something like cocaine doesn't do like you described. There are some other things in his system, but I'll have to run some tests to determine what they are. From the looks of things, though, you might have a new designer drug on you hands."

"Great," Danny said. "Well, we might as well get started on things."

"You go on ahead, Danny," Sara said. "I'll catch up in a few."

As Danny left the ME's office, Sara asked Dretch, "Can you make me a copy of your prelim report?"

"Sure, but…why?"

"I just want to get an early start. I might know a few doors I can knock on before Narcotics gets to deal with it," she replied.

"Okay, but it's not going to be complete until tomorrow," he said. "I had to work on some stuff that came down the pike before yours. You sure you don't want to wait?"

"I'm sure."

He went over to the copier, which quickly scanned the unfinished report and spat out the copy. Dretch handed to Sara, who quickly folded it and stuffed it in her back pocket. "I'd appreciate it if Danny didn't know about me taking a copy… for now."

"Okkkkaaay," Dretch replied, befuddled at the request. "You sure everything's all right?"

"We'll find out."


9:34 pm, Wednesday - Slayer Base HQ

"So, you're saying you think Amy's manufacturing some new drug all on the basis of some guy killing his ex?" Buffy asked skeptically. "How'd you leap from a junkie to Amy?"

"Because the 'junkie' wasn't a junkie, at least for the last year," Sara replied. "He cleaned up and started working at a warehouse about two months ago. Rehab staff said he made a complete turnaround."

"So he relapsed," Buffy reasoned. "It's happened before to people."

"He works at the New Empire warehouse," Sara said.

"Really?" Buffy replied.

"It may be worth looking into," Giles said.

"What's worth looking into?" Willow asked as she entered in the room.

"Sara says Amy's connected to some new drug on the streets."

"Really? What is it?"

"No clue," Sara replied. "From what I was told it's some kind of alkaloid-based drug, like cocaine, but it acts like PCP and steroids. Based on a 911 call, it seems to up the user's pain threshold and strength, but also makes him paranoid. There was some other stuff in the dead guy's system, but I'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out."

"Did you feel anything when you discovered the body, something like a… trace mystical signature or something?" Willow asked.

"Yeah, now that you mention it," Sara replied. "It was like I felt something underneath my skin when I approached the body. Why do you ask?"

"Onyx," Willow replied.

"What?" Buffy asked.

"Onyx," she repeated. "It's a mystical type of drug that was coming out a few years ago. When I went through my little 'phase', I heard name thrown around a few times. I never tried it, though. I mean, I heard it did some nasty stuff to people and that a few big players in the underground scene were trying to make some."

"And you think it might be this guy OD'd on?" Sara asked.

"Maybe, but from what I heard it takes a lot to make this stuff: money, equipment, a lab…"

"Which Amy no doubt has or can get access to," Buffy replied.

"Then it takes a lot of time just to produce just a little," Willow said. "And even then you still have to perfect the process."

"Well, Amy's got the time and money to get it done," Sara said. "I'm going up to the guy's place to get a second look. Maybe you should come along, Willow. You know more about this thing than anyone I know and maybe you'll find something we missed."

"Sure, no problem." Looking at Buffy and Giles, she said, "I'll catch up with you guys later. I wanted to go over some stuff, but it can wait until I get back."

"Alright," Buffy said, "I'll be out on patrol. Call me if you need me."

"You ready?" Sara asked Willow.

"Yeah, I'm ready." They both left the building, Giles cautioning them to be careful while out. Though he knew the two were more than capable of handling themselves, something in him made him extremely worrisome about the situation. He only hoped that his anxiety would be proven unfounded.


10:10 pm,Wednesday - Residence of Aidan Russell

"Here," Sara said as she handed Willow a pair of latex gloves and a small flashlight. "Don't want to give the CSU team any wrong ideas when they come back."

"Good idea," she replied as she put on the gloves. They searched the small and somewhat dingy apartment. Willow moved about cautiously, not only using her eyes but her mystical abilities to feel out for anything unusual. But all she felt was nothing but the trace signature of someone who had dabbled in something powerful. After fifteen minutes of the futile search she looked over to Sara, she asked, "Is there anything else you found out about this guy, his routine or anything?"

"Only a little," Sara replied. "He got hooked on heroin for a while, but for the past few months he was going to a methadone clinic. When I called the rehab folks they said things had been going well with the guy, which is why I'm having a hard time believing he just relapsed. I mean, it's possible, but with Amy's hand in it I'm not so sure."

"I wouldn't rule it out," Willow said. "When I was hanging out with her we'd heard about the stuff and she seemed curious about it. She might have just taken the next step."

"Well, I'm not finding anything out of the ordinary," Sara said. "How about you?"

"All I know is that he was definitely hopped up on something strong. The signature is dying out, but I can still feel it."

"Let's get back," Sara said, preparing to leave the apartment. "I'm planning on hitting the streets tomorrow for info. Maybe a couple of the local wheelers and dealers around town might know something."

They both exited the apartment, Sara taking one final look with her flashlight to make sure everything looked the same as when they arrived. Walking down the steps of the building and out of the entrance, they began to chat.

"So, what'll you do if you find out she's got a hand in this stuff?" Willow asked.

"Then we'll have to hand it over to Narcotics," Sara replied, "which is why I wanted to make our mark on this thing before it becomes their headache. I want enough info on this stuff so we at least have something to work with." Out of the corner of her eye, something caught Sara's attention: a man, smoking a cigarette and standing out on the street. It wasn't necessarily that unusual, except that Sara got the eerie feeling he was watching them. She looked directly at the man.

"I don't know what else to tell you, Pez," Willow said, not noticing the man. "Until I can find out more… what's wrong?" She saw Sara's eyes focus on a point across the street and looked in that direction as well.

The man looked square at them. His eyes widened a bit, prompting Sara to yell, "Hey!" As soon as Sara yelled the man made a dash down the street and Sara followed suit, Willow trailing behind her. Sara began to pick up speed as the man tried to outrun her. Reaching a nearby alley entrance he darted into it, Sara still hot on his trail. Willow was doing her best to keep up. She became immediately regretful of not making it a priority to exercise more, knowing that Sara's job and her own workout regimen made it easier for her to do this sort of thing. Mental note, she thought, start running more.

The man kept running until he reached a nearby L-rail foundation near an old building. Seeing the cop was still a good distance away from him he dashed toward the building and out of sight, Sara arriving a few seconds behind him.

Sara looked around the outside of the building, trash strewn about and open barrels about, no doubt used by the city's homeless. She pulled out her revolver from its holster and held it up, ready for action if it were deemed necessary. Huffing and puffing, Willow came running up behind her, saying, "I really need to work out more."

"Keep your eyes peeled," Sara said.

Willow looked around, trying to make out any movement other than some paper refuse blowing about. Seeing nothing but useless junk about she turned around to Sara and said, "I think he's long gone."

"Where to?" Sara asked in frustration. Looking at Willow she noticed a small red dot on the girl's shoulder. Following the trail of light up she looked at an open window of the building and saw a figure in dressed in black gear pointing something at the witch.

"I'm not sure," Willow started to say. "Maybe…"

"Willow, look out!" Sara yelled as she darted her arm in front of the young woman as the figure fired. Hoping to block the shot using the Witchblade Sara was shocked when she felt a sting in her arm. The Witchblade hadn't activated.

Wincing at the pain, she pulled a small object out of her arm and proceeded to fire at the figure. Emptying her gun, she knelt down and reached in her holster belt for more rounds as the figure emerged from the window again, readying another shot. Willow saw him and noticed he was wearing goggles of some sort. Reasoning they were night-vision goggles, she arched her fingers and formed a small ball of light in her hands. Throwing it into the air toward the would-be sniper it exploded about ten feet from the figure, prompting the shooter to yell out in pain and recoil from the window.

Fully loaded, Sara stood up. Willow readied herself for another attack and said, "I think I blinded him for a little bit. Come on."

They were just about to make their way toward the building when, at that moment, Sara began to get dizzy. The world around her started to become hazy and blur. She put her hand to her head and closed her eyes, hoping to steady herself and press on, but the effects became worse and worse. Looking toward the ground at the object she pulled out of her arm, she started to figure out what it was: a dart, obviously filled with something that packed a punch. Willow noticed Sara looking at the ground and saw the dart too, and immediately sensed something strong and mystical about it. She had felt the same thing in Aidan Marshall's apartment.

"Willow," Sara muttered, "I'm not feeling so good."

"We need to get you back to base," Willow said, grabbing the dart with a handkerchief. She then went over to Sara and wrapped the detective's arm around her shoulders to support her. "Let's go."

Sara legs began to falter under her, her body feeling like it wouldn't respond to the most basic of commands. She tried to force herself to hold up until they reached the van. As disoriented as she felt it seemed so far away, much different than when she barely broke a sweat running after the perp.

The figure in black made his way downstairs as Willow and Sara left the scene. The man smoking the cigarette also emerged out shadows and made his way toward his companion. Taking off his black mask the sniper pulled out a cell phone and speed-dialed a number. Connecting, he spoke into it saying, "We have a problem, ma'am."

"Define 'problem'," Amy said though gritted teeth while riding in the back of her limo.

"I wasn't able to hit her," he replied coldly.

"Great, just great," she said sarcastically. "I set this up perfectly and you miss. I didn't pay you good money to hit air."

"I didn't hit air, Ms. Vitelli," he replied. "I got the cop. She took one in the arm trying to block it."

"Really?" Amy said, intrigued. "Well… maybe it's not what I wanted, but this may turn out to be just as interesting."

"What are your orders?" he asked.

"Wait and see," she replied cryptically. "Just wait and see."

As the man in black hung up the phone he looked over to his companion and said, "Can you believe it? Just over a month from my birthday and I screw up an easy gig like this. I must be gettin' soft. I was lookin' to treat myself on my 21st with some of the cash from this job."

"Jackie, you're the king of party people. Hell, I even think you party on your sleep. Knowing you I'm sure your 21st birthday's gonna be one to remember," the smoking man said as he lit another cigarette and pulled out a flask of whiskey. He took a swig and handed it to the hitman.

Taking the flask Jackie smiled and replied, "I'll drink to that."