Author's Note: Busy with the holidays? Almost done doing the family thing? Welcome back to Transylvania with Mara, Johnny, and the crew.
Act V Scene I:
(The front room of an abandoned factory. People and bits of equipment are scattered around. There are some faces we don’t recognize mixed in with our familiar team. Some people are unpacking bags of supplies and other equipment. A few people are cleaning guns. Jack, Victor, Griffin, Alex, Briggs, are all standing around a set of concrete stairs. Johnny and Livia are off to one side of the group. Johnny is chatting and flirting with her.)
Jack: How many people ended up following us here from the town?
Victor: About a dozen, mostly men. A couple of them brought their own guns.
Jack: Well, that’s a plus. Did you check them?
Victor: Every one of them passed the cross-test. Yeah.
Jack: OK. Well, let’s settle in here and get organized. I want parties exploring every inch of this factory. I want to know every entrance, exit, and set of windows in the place. Once we get settled and secure the perimeter, then we start working on making weapons for ourselves.Griffin – you said this place had a generator?
Griffin: Yeah. Down in one of the lower levels. There was a really old boiler down there, too.
Jack: Grab some equipment and see if you can’t get that baby cranking. And take a couple of people with you.
Griffin: I’ll get right on it.
Jack: Hang on. I also want to see if there’s a water hook-up somewhere. If we can get the juice cranking and we have water, we can sit tight in here for a while.
Briggs: We’ll need food.
Jack: I’ll want raiding parties organized. No one goes out there alone or unarmed. Sort through the supplies we already have to see how much more we’ll need and how soon.
Victor: Worse comes to worse, we’re far enough out from the city, we could probably shoot a deer or two.
Jack: Or bag a bear. Bear’s good eating and there’s a lot to go around.
(Mara approaches looking pale and worn-out.)
Mara: Is there anything you need me to do right now?
Jack: Well, Mara, you seem to know the most about what we’re up against. I’d like you to train the newbies and give me some input on the vampires.
Mara: I think almost everyone learned what they needed by surviving last night.
Jack: It’s good to know basic survival tactics, but we don’t have what we need to win this war. We need answers to some hard questions. Like what the hell are we really up against? How many of them are there? What do they want?
Johnny: Seems to me they just wanted to eat people.
Briggs: I don’t think so. I watched them last night while they were killing everyone. Seemed to me like they were looking for something. Sure, they went ape-shit drinking people down. But it wasn’t just that. They were searching all the rooms they broke into.
Jack: You got any ideas, Mara? Since you’re our expert on vampires.
(Mara sighs and pulls up a crate to sit down.)
Mara: First of all, the ones we were seeing last night, they were just extensions. Like branches of a tree. There’s another one out there, and he’s the source of their power. The others will keep coming until we eliminate the source.
Victor: What? You talking about some master vampire or something?
Mara: (wearily) Something like that. He’s what’s giving them their power. You noticed that not everyone who died last night got back up and walked around, right? There’s a process to creating soldiers like what we were seeing at the hotel. And that power can only come from one.
Jack: What’s the 411 on the crosses. Why do those work?
Mara: I wish I had an answer for that. It’s got to be something unique to the source. He’s passing it on to them, just like he’s passing along some of his power. So we can bet that crosses are going to work on him, too. But why do they work? (she shrugs, genuinely baffled) Maybe just because he believes that they do.
Victor: That’s a little fucked up. So is my Star of David gonna work, too?
Mara: Probably not. I’m betting the symbol is specific to the source. Again, I don’t really know why. But it’s a weakness, so we exploit it.
Briggs: (with a hint of suspicion) How do you know all this, Mara?
Mara: I’m a history professor, but I have an interest in the occult. I study a lot of things. If you don’t want my info, I’ll be happy to go lay down.
(Jack shakes his head, giving Briggs a look that gets him to back off.)
Mara: (she stares down Briggs until he gets uncomfortable and withdraws a few feet away) If we’re going to beat this together, we’re going to have to find a way to draw the main one out. As long as he’s somewhere safe from us, he’ll just keep sending shock troops to wear us down. But flushing him will be dangerous. He’s not going to be a push-over. He’s going to have powers you’ve never seen before.
Victor: All right. How do you draw a master vampire out of his lair?
Mara: We find what he’s looking for and we use it as bait.
(Mara looks pointedly at Alex. Alex glares back at her.)
Alex: What? What are you looking at me for?
Mara: It’s obvious to all of us that the vampires are looking for something. All of this started when you and that other guy came into town from the dig. So maybe you have some idea what they’re looking for?
Griffin: You talking about that book?
Mara: Oh. There’s a book?
Alex: Shut up,Griffin! I don’t have it. We left it back at the camp.
Jack: What are you guys talking about?
Griffin: A couple weeks ago, they broke through to a library. Alex was telling me about this weird book that was brass plates or something.
Alex:Griffin – it’s none of their business. That’s top secret stuff I should never have shared with anyone.
Jack: So you think the vampires are looking for this book?
Mara: I think it’s a safe bet they’re looking for something from the dig.
Alex: Look. All I know is it got dark outside and then people started dying. I did the smart thing and got the hell away from there. I didn’t hang around to ask what anyone was looking for. Are you blaming me for this mess or something?
Jack: Look girl. No one’s blaming you. But Mara has a point here. Your camp seems to be tied in with this disaster. Someone mentioned another guy. Maybe he took the book when you weren’t looking?
Alex: Well why don’t you go back to the hotel and ask him yourself? And make sure you take a ouija board with you because he’s fucking dead!
(Alex storms off, backpack over her shoulder. The others, silent, watch her go.)
Jack: Somebody didn’t take her meds today.
Griffin: I’ll go talk to her.
Jack: No you won’t. You go get that generator going. I want it up and running before nightfall, you hear me? Hey, Mara. You know anything about plumbing?
Mara: Not really.
Jack: Think you know water pipes when you see them?
Jack: Good. Take your girlfriend and see if you can’t find a water source in here. Briggs? You and Johnny go with them.
Mara: She’s not my girlfriend, Jack.
Jack: Mara, I’ve seen a lot of things. You think I’m going to hold it against you two?
Mara: (testily) It’s not like that, Jack. You assume too much.
(Mara turns on her heel, and goes over to where Livia and Johnny are talking. Jack shakes his head.)
Jack: Well, then. Seems the PMS is contagious today. It gets too bad, I may just take my chances with the vampires.
(Briggs chuckles & heads off with Johnny and the others.)
Act V Scene II:
(A hall of the factory. Broken skylights overhead provide light. Broken equipment and debris are scattered everywhere, and everything wears a coating of cobwebs and dust. Mara, Livia, Briggs and Johnny are walking along. Livia and Johnny have flashlights which they have not yet turned on.)
Mara: This place is going to be impossible to defend unless we hole up in the basement. Too many windows. And those skylights --
Johnny: How do you propose the vampires are going to get all the way up there?
Mara: Never underestimate your enemy. Especially not this one.
Briggs: I don’t know why we’re even trying. We’re all dead. It’s just a matter of time.
Livia: Don’t think like that. Thoughts manifest reality.
Johnny: Then just who in the hell was thinking about an invasion of vampires? That’s what I want to know.
(They find the stairs down to the basement levels. They switch on their flashlights and head down. They go past several places that open onto rooms with heavy equipment, most of it rusted and broken beyond recognition. They take a moment to look in each room, searching around with the beams of the flashlights, trying to find a sink or utility tub. After some twisting and turning, they come to a place where the hallway splits off. There are fewer windows here, so both ways are shrouded in shadows and dust. They turn their flashlights on and shine them down each passageway.)
Johnny: Do you think we should split up?
Mara: We’ll cover more ground that way.
Livia: Anyone have a watch?
Livia: All right. Half an hour, we meet back at this spot.
Briggs: Sounds good.
(Mara and Livia start off together down the left-hand passageway.)
Johnny: So we’re doing boys against girls in this little scavenger hunt?
Act V Scene III:
(We cut to Johnny and Briggs picking their way through the dust and debris in their hall. The concrete floor has given way to a rusty metal grate.)
Johnny: I really like Livia, but her friend Mara is a bitch.
Briggs: You don’t stand a chance, Johnny.
Johnny: I dunno. Livia seems pretty sweet on me. She talks to me, she even laughs at some of my jokes.
Briggs: (rolls his eyes) You’re right. That must be true love.
Johnny: Seriously, Malcolm. You don’t think she’s got it bad for me?
Briggs: Johnny, get a clue.
Johnny: What’s that supposed to mean?
Briggs: You got two women who stick together like glue. One’s all cute and curvy, the other’s buff with short hair. Do I have to draw you chart?
Johnny: I know what you’re getting at, but I don’t get that feel from Livia. Mara, maybe. Sure. But I’ve seen Livia checking me out.
Briggs: You’re bloody impossible, you know that, Johnny?
Johnny: And hey, if they like a little girl on girl action, who am I to object? Two for the price of one, you know?
Briggs: God in Heaven.
Johnny: What? If you had the chance to bag two girls at once, you telling me you wouldn’t do it?
Briggs: Unlike you, mate, I am not perpetually thinking about the next shag. Right now, all I’m worried about is surviving this bloody shit-hole.
Johnny: Fine then. (jumping back quickly) Oh, fuck, Briggs, look out!
(A portion of the floor has rusted through and a part of it has given way beneath its own weight. There’s time enough to see the hazard in the light of Johnny’s flashlight, and then Briggs goes down, crashing through to the lower floor. We hear cursing as he falls, then silence. Eyes wide, Johnny edges up to the lip of the collapse, gingerly shining the flashlight around. It’s a mess down there, with lots of oddly-shaped bits of metal and other debris. Briggs is conscious and moving. There is a cut on his head and a much nastier cut on his arm.)
Johnny: Briggs, man. You ok?
Briggs: Fuck no, I’m not ok. I just fell through the bloody floor. Speared my arm on something, too. I think it’s cut pretty bad.
Johnny: How bad is pretty bad?
Briggs: Bad enough that I’m bleeding all over the place down here.
Johnny: Can you get out?
(Briggs looks pointedly up at Johnny who is peering over an edge at least ten feet above him.)
Briggs: Sure. I’m Super-man. Stand back while I fly up there, you stupid sod!
Johnny: Is there like a door or something down there? Maybe you can work your way back?
Briggs: Johnny, I’m hurt and I’m bleeding. Get some bloody help!
Johnny: You sure you want me to leave you?
Briggs: Johnny, you twit, just go find the girls!
Johnny: Ok. I’m going. No need to shout.