6x01: Power (1) -- Act One

TEASER

INT. METICULOUS LAB

Very white, very clean and, for some reason, very light, despite the lack of windows. It appears empty aside from the normal lab stuff such as metal tables, cabinets, etc. There is nothing or no one here; no sound except that of the fluorescent lights. Continue pan for a few seconds, followed by a blinding flash of light.

Suddenly we see WESLEY in the room. He is lying on one of the tables, gasping for breath. He's sporting a significant amount of blood down his front. He does, however, have a particularly fond look in his eye and a strange smile on his face, a combination of joy and pain. He breathes for a moment, and then frowns. Fred is not looking down at him fondly anymore. She isn't there crying for his pain as he dies. He isn't, in fact, dead. He's breathing just fine. A brief patting of his stomach shows that he's healed quite quickly as well. Lifting up his bloodstained shirt unnecessarily, a scar is revealed, but nothing more. Wesley appears in perfect physical health.

He closes his eyes hard as he realizes this and lies back on the table for a moment, rubbing his hands across his face. He should be dead, or at the very least, sporting some kind of stitches. Or clean clothing if he's been out for months as seemed to be apparent. There doesn't appear to be any sort of explanation for his appearance; there is no medical equipment around, and his perception of time is still as though he magicked Cyvus Vail into a corner ninety seconds ago.

Wesley sighs heavily and finally gets up to have a look around. The lab is Fred's, though slightly rearranged. He realizes this and immediately frowns. He goes for the door and finds it locked from the outside. He is trapped inside the room.

He turns back to face the lab again, searching for a suitable escape point. Instead his eyes reach a FAMILIAR FEMALE SHAPE in a lab coat with long, wavy, brown hair with her back turned to him. She holds a clipboard. Wesley looks away.

WESLEY
Illyria—

The female turns around and screams. Wesley does the same shortly thereafter. The woman in front of him is not Illyria in Fred's form, though the resemblance to Fred is striking. The hair is the same, but she wears no glasses and has a differently shaped face.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN
Geez. Give a girl a heart attack.

WESLEY
I… I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else.

The unidentified woman smiles genuinely, though skeptically, and turns her head slightly sideways as though in curiosity.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN
Well, I tend to be the only one who comes in here. I think everyone's scared of the lab for some reason. Um… I'm sorry, but who are you?

WESLEY
Erm… my name's Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, I'm head of research here.

The unidentified woman smiles warmly now and crinkles her nose in amusement. But, my, doesn't she look like Fred when she smiles. She hurriedly puts down her clipboard and starts towards Wesley, her hand outstretched.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN
Oh geez, how rude of me. I'm Alexa. Um, Troy. Alexa Troy. I'm the temporary head of the science division. Or, at least, I keep hoping I'm the temporary head of the science division… no one except me is really saying anything about temporary. Science just isn't my thing, you know… at least not according to me. I don't know… I'm good at it, but it's just not what I enjoy doing. …Oh no, I'm babbling. It happens a lot. I babble. Especially in the presence of… well. Needless to say, we've been expecting you.

WESLEY
Needless to say? …I'm sorry, Miss Troy is it? But I find myself completely in the dark… I wonder if you might elabourate a tad.

ALEXA
…They didn't tell you?

WESLEY
Tell me… what, exactly?

Alexa's expression turns from pleasant to very serious and a little bit humiliated. She blows air from out of her cheeks and sits down as though dizzy.

ALEXA
Oh, boy. Oh, oh boy. Oh… okay. Well, um… you might want to sit down for this, Mister Wyndam-Pryce. We have a lot to go through.

Wesley frowns and sits in the only other chair in the room, across from Alexa. He notices how pale she is. Her breathing is slightly laboured and her hands rap silently against the arms of the chair as she thinks. Finally she sighs heavily.

ALEXA (cont'd)
All right. May I call you Wesley?

WESLEY
Of course.

ALEXA
Good. Good. I don't know why I asked that now, but it seemed like a good way to start. Okay, okay. Now, this is going to come as a bit of a shock to you, but… as of about three minutes ago, you are completely, entirely, and very…

She pauses and sighs again. She sits up straighter in her chair and looks Wesley in the eye, keeping a more formal way of speaking. Her voice is clear and confident as she says:

ALEXA
You're dead, Wesley.

Cut to Wesley, whose expression turns from concerned to one of surprise and perhaps even slight disbelief. Dramatic music plays; fade to credits.

END OF TEASER

---

ACT ONE

INT. ANGEL'S OFFICE

Except that it's not. Nearly everything is the same, including the BOSS, an attractive man who looks similar to Angel sitting at the desk, writing furiously. The man is not, in fact, Angel, and this is fairly apparent. We have no idea who the man is. That's okay. Soon the man picks up the piece of paper he was writing so fervently upon and adds it to the massive stack of other papers to his right. Promptly he takes another sheet from the pile on the left, only slightly smaller than the other one. Sighing, the man begins writing again.

A DITZY GIRL with long black hair scurries into the man's office. The look on her face portrays that she has something urgent to say, but she's hesitant to because she's afraid of what the man's reaction will be.

DITZY GIRL
Hey, boss. Busy?

BOSS
Yes. What is it, Melody?

MELODY
(fidgeting)
Um… there's a… a thing… and it's… well, it's here now, and I thought you might want to… to know…

BOSS
Then you should probably tell me what it is before I finish this sente—

MELODY
There's a feed coming in on the Inter-dimensional!

The boss stops writing abruptly. He puts down his pen very slowly and clasps his hands without looking up at his secretary. He sighs slowly and glances up at Melody through glaring eyes.

BOSS
Put it on.

Melody brings her hands out from behind her back and unrolls the slightly tattered scroll in front of her, looking nervous and wishing like hell she was in another room. She swallows heavily and stands up straighter. Finally a picture begins to come through and illuminate the scroll.

A DEMON sporting a top hat sits behind a desk, looking very serious and seeming to stare right at the boss. He opens his mouth as though to speak but instead reveals a smaller mouth inside that does the talking.

NEWSCASTER
We have some breaking news for you now… The CEO of a Wolfram and Hart branch in Dimension 5074 has ordered his employees to begin killing off members of the Black Thorn. In a brief conversation with the Senior Partners, they reassured us that a team was being sent immediately to rectify the situation. They also stated that this mutiny would have no impact on The Apocalypse, but would give us no further information. We'll have more on this story as the day progresses.

Melody rolls up the scroll and looks hesitantly at the boss. He is motionless for a few moments, and then blinks and rubs his face.

BOSS
How long ago did that come in?

MELODY
I brought it here as soon as I got it.

BOSS
That's not what I asked.

MELODY
I… I don't know, about half an hour ago?

The boss crosses his arms and nods, deep in thought. Melody glances around nervously as he figures things out.

BOSS
They'll be here soon.

MELODY
Really soon, if the Senior Partners are sending a "team".

BOSS
What do you think I should do?

MELODY
If I was in your place, boss, I'd run.

BOSS
Good answer.

The boss stands up abruptly and walks over to the elevator, pressing the "up" button calmly.

BOSS (cont'd)
I'm going to completely disappear, Melody. You won't ever hear from me again. Understood?

MELODY
Absolutely.

BOSS
…Unless you wanted to come...

MELODY
Oh… oh, no, I couldn't. I mean, I appreciate the opportunity and all, but even if I do get eviscerated, at least I'll be eviscerated at home, you know? Besides, prophecies have been wrong before.

BOSS
This one isn't. But I appreciate your optimism. If you do make it through this, tell everyone you witnessed me being turned inside out, followed by my disappearing through the floor.

MELODY
Got it.

BOSS
If you do change your mind and decide to run, the keys to the Porsche are in the top left hand drawer of my desk. The keys to the liquor cabinet are in the top right. Anything else you need is yours; it's not Angel's, and not anybody else's. Any questions?

MELODY
Yeah. One. Why did I have to be born into a backdrop dimension?

The boss looks Melody in the eye with a grim expression on his face. The quaint ding of the elevator as the doors open punctuates the infrequent glint in his eye. He attempts a smile and steps forward into the elevator without responding. The doors close and the elevator begins its slow ascent to the penthouse apartment upstairs. Melody stands in her boss' office for a second and calmly begins to leave the room when screams rip down the elevator shaft. A series of "shlop" type noises follow each scream, making her stop in her tracks, a look of horror etched on her face.

MELODY
Oh God. I'm—

Hard cut back to

INT. METICULOUS LAB
ANGLE: Wesley's face.

WESLEY
--dead?

ALEXA
Yes.

WESLEY
…This is it? This is the afterlife?

ALEXA
Well… in a way.

WESLEY
How disappointing.

ALEXA
(smiling)
In a way.

She stares unequivocally at him, apparently fascinated with how well he's taking it all. She notices that he's in extraordinary avoidance of eye contact with her. Every time he does manage it, there's a strange recognition and a great deal of pain in that sea of cool blue. A silence falls between them.

WESLEY
This is, at least, an alternate dimension, I assume?

ALEXA
It is.

WESLEY
And this is a Wolfram and Hart branch, correct?

ALEXA
Yesiree.

WESLEY
So I can only assume that in signing that contract a year ago, I also signed away my afterlife?

ALEXA
Either spending 18 hours a day researching wasn't enough for you, or you've learned this from personal experience. Let me guess… Lilah Morgan?

Oh, sure. So now he makes eye contact.

WESLEY
Surely she isn't—

ALEXA
She's not here, no. She signed a very different contract. She has to spend eternity working for Wolfram and Hart, whereas your mortality has been restored. Next time you die, you stay dead.

WESLEY
At least that's something.

ALEXA
Ooh, I really wouldn't be happy with that, Wesley. You won't have your soul sent off to the Valley of. You'll be dead. Just… dead. There won't be anything. No joy, no pain. You'll just be perfectly aware of how much nothing there truly is, and you'll go mad because of it.

WESLEY
And if I hadn't signed the contract?

ALEXA
Are you aware of the Valley of the Souls?

WESLEY
I believe it's called the Ether these days.

ALEXA
The Valley, the Ether, whatever. That's where your soul would have gone. The soul and the mind are very different entities; your soul would be simply secured, and your mind would go off to a heaven or hell, without mortality or a true corporeal form. But when you signed that contract, you signed your mind, your soul, and your body over to Wolfram and Hart to use at their own disposal. Your strength lies in your mind, and they wanted to use that to their advantage, so they… reincarnated you exactly as you were.

WESLEY
So… everything here is exactly as it was in my dimension?

Alexa breaks into very sudden laughter. Wesley jumps ever so slightly, and then smiles back at her. Her laugh is very warm, and though he's perfectly aware that she's mocking him ever so slightly, it makes him feel better about being… dead.

ALEXA
No, no. You're the constant; the dimension is never so.

WESLEY
Oh, I am aware of that, but in terms of Wolfram and Hart, things are surely similar.

ALEXA
Um… yeah, I guess they are. Similar.

Wesley frowns at her response. It seemed forced, which was strange because there was no reason for which an answer like that should have been. Now it's her who isn't making eye contact. He opens his mouth to say that she didn't sound so sure, but his thoughts are interrupted by a gasp from behind him. He turns around to see GUNN on the same table he appeared on, short of breath and figuring out that he hadn't just been impaled with five swords at once. In fact, the mortal wounds he just had were strangely healed already.

GUNN
…What the…

WESLEY
What happened?

GUNN
…Wes? What are you doing here? …What am I doing here?

WESLEY
I'll explain all that in a moment. Right now I need you to tell me exactly what happened.

GUNN
Illyria said you were dead.

WESLEY
I am. You are too. Under what circumstances, Charles? What's happening?

GUNN
I… I guess I was impaled. I mean, I killed my guys with a bit of a hitch, but I got to the alley all right. Then there was this big freaking army of demons coming at us, complete with a dragon or two. I guess I was the first one down. What happened to you? Did you kill Vail?

WESLEY
I… I'm not sure. I think he killed me first. But Fr… Illyria was there, she probably finished him off.

ALEXA
Oh my GOD.

Alexa scurries hurriedly from the room. Gunn watches after with a raised eyebrow.

GUNN
Who's that?

WESLEY
Alexa Troy. She's head of Science.

Gunn looks away for a moment and tries to decide whether he should say it. Wesley interprets the gesture.

WESLEY (cont'd)
She looks a lot like Fred. Especially when she laughs. They sound completely different, so it's easier not to look at her.

There is a pause in memoriam for Fred. For a moment, neither Wesley nor Gunn look at anything but the floor. Soon Gunn collects his wits about him.

GUNN
So, why are we sitting in the newly grounded Wolfram and Hart building if we're dead, and why wasn't I informed that we found a new head of Science that looks like Fred?

WESLEY
We signed over our afterlives when we collaborated with Wolfram and Hart.

GUNN
Why doesn't that surprise me?

WESLEY
We're in an alternate dimension… though the "alternate" element still escapes me. Judging by the amount of noise outside, I'd estimate that we're still in the equivalent of Los Angeles. …How many demons did you say there were?

GUNN
A lot. Too many. There's no way anyone could have survived that, even Illyria.

WESLEY
She likely wouldn't transfer. Illyria was never a part of Wolfram and Hart.

GUNN
But Fred was. Maybe…

WESLEY
No. Fred's soul was destroyed. An entity can't exist without all three main attributes. If Fred was here, there would only be her… physical form. No mind, no soul. She wouldn't…

Wesley glances away for a moment, staring at the wall behind Gunn. Suddenly he notices that there seems to be a shower of dust falling around Gunn, which is especially strange for a room that was incredibly clean only moments before.

WESLEY (cont'd)
Get off the table.

Frowning but not asking questions, Gunn gets off the table and stands beside Wesley, trying to follow his line of sight. Instantly he, too, sees the strange falling of dust that seemed to be emanating from the ceiling.

GUNN
Maybe asbestos is a client.

The two men continue to stand and stare at the metal table as the dust continues to accumulate. A pattern is noticeable; the basic shape of a man is being formed.

GUNN (cont'd)
So you figure this is Spike or Angel?

WESLEY
Both, perhaps?

GUNN
Oh God. Now that's a notion I don't think anyone would like.

A slow smile spreads across Wesley's face as the image of a two-headed, four-legged Spangel creature beating itself up pops into his head. He looks over at Gunn and sees a similar expression of amusement on his face. He chuckles under his breath. It's the first time since Fred died that he's actually laughed. It's a strange sensation. Alexa interrupts the moment, however, when she slams the door to the lab as she enters, looking serious and slightly urgent.

ALEXA
Is he here yet?

GUNN
Is who here yet?

ALEXA
You know very well who. The vampire with a soul.

GUNN
…We're expecting a couple of them, actually.

ALEXA
(frowning)
The prophecy only calls for one.

WESLEY
What prophecy?

ALEXA
The Unulat Prophecy.

WESLEY
Never heard of it.

ALEXA
You wouldn't have. It's exclusive to this dimension, about this dimension. It almost always relates back to Wolfram and Hart, but this one… it's section A of the prophecy. It's the first thing you read in the Unulat text. It states, quite cleanly and simply: the vampire with a soul will come with a small army to infiltrate this backdrop dimension. Well, actually, I guess it's not that clean and simple since it's in a pretty complex language, but that's the polished and simplified version. The thing it isn't clear on is whether the infiltration will cause evil or good. A lot of people are really scared because of what happened when… a month or two ago, but the scared ones are the evil ones, anyway. I'm only here because I have to be. I work on the side of good, and I'm assuming that you do too, otherwise you wouldn't have attempted to bring the Black Thorn down. Ah, that's the one.

ANGEL
What do you mean, attempted?

Wesley and Gunn whirl around to regard the table where the dust had been falling. A now constructed Angel stands up slowly; two very large, very round red marks are on either side of his neck. Gunn grins.

GUNN
Dragon get the best of you?

ANGEL
Only after I took it down.

GUNN
Cool. …Wait, how's that work?

ANGEL
To tell the truth, I'm not too sure how any of this is working. What do you mean, attempted?

ALEXA
Well, they're not all dead, are they?

ANGEL
There are no members of the Black Thorn remaining on that plain of existence. We achieved our goal, and we all died in the process. That's all you need to understand. I, on the other hand, am pretty much in the dark regarding everything, especially why I'm in a room I know to be destroyed with two people I know for a fact to be dead when I myself just got killed.

VOICE (O.C.)
All your questions will be answered with time.

Angel, Wesley and Gunn all turn around to regard the source of the voice. Alexa smiles and hugs a clipboard, happy to have the attention of the angry vampire off her. The camera closes in on a sometimes-blonde woman Angel met only once before.

ANYA
For now, I need you to come with me, please.

END OF ACT ONE