"Murderer of Calm"
A car speeds along the darkened road to the Quartz Lake Inn. It nearly loses control as it pulls into a parking space just outside of the back entrance. Dr. Stephanie Gates tumbles out of the door with a large cooler bag tucked under her arm. She tries not to draw too much attention to herself as she lightly sprints through the lobby and down into a closed kitchen.
Stephanie: (Into phone) I'm inside
Erika (on the other end): Good - you have everything you need, just follow my exact instructions on how to prepare it
Pans clatter and bottles clink as the antidote to Karl Senior's toxin is spread out on a baking table.
Stephanie: (Frantically mixing) Are you sure this will succeed?
Erika: I double-checked it - we don't have time to run another test
A harried Stephanie knocks over and glass and it shatters on the floor.
Erika: THE SERUM
Stephanie: It's fine, it's fine - it was just a glass of water
Erika: No one heard you?
Stephanie: (Peering out from the shuttered window) All clear
Erika: Keep going!
Stephanie: How did you find the solution?
Erika: (Growling) Sandy lent a hand
Stepahine: Sandy? - who's... wait, Dr. Sanchez? - does he know Karl is alive?
Erika: No, he was too busy helping me to ask questions
Stephanie: Dear God... IS HE THE ONE WHO TRIED TO POISON YOUR FATHER?
Erika: No... not directly
Stephanie: Then he must know who - who is behind this?
Unable to utter the name of Stephanie's son, Erika swallows her voice.
Stephanie: Erika? WHO DID THIS?
Erika: That's not important right now - you need to complete this - QUICKLY
Stephanie: (Filling a syringe) I'm just about done
Erika: Get to his room - the serum has to be administered at exactly 3.4 degrees below his body temperature
Stephanie packs up the bag and, with phone in ear, makes her way out of the kitchen. The hardwood floor of the lobby suddenly shakes under her feet.
Stephanie: (Freezing where she is) Ooh - Erika, are you still there?
Erika: I felt it, too
Stephanie: So many little aftershocks
Erika: (Muttering) Those aren't aftershocks
Erika: Nevermind - keep going
Running up the stairs, Stephanie reaches Karl's suite. Before she goes inside, she pauses at the large picture window to the side of the staircase.
Stephanie: What the... ?
Erika: WHAT'S HAPPENING?
Stephanie: Forgive me, I was just startled by something - I'm going into his room now
Erika: Tell me what you saw!
Stephanie: Are you near a window?
Stephanie: Look outside and tell me what you see...
There is a long pause on the end of the phone.
Stephanie: Am I imagining it?
Stephanie: How... how did we go from a waning gibbous moon last night to a waxing crescent moon tonight?
Erika: The cycles are off
Stephanie: And what is that red glow around it?
Erika: Concentrate on my father, Stephanie, PLEASE
Stephanie checks out an unconscious Karl and prepares to give him the antidote to the toxin.
Stephanie: I'm ready...
Erika: Do it!
Stephanie: I wish you were here... I'm nervous
Erika: You'll be fine... he'll be fine
Stephanie: I still don't understand why you're not here?
Erika: I'll be there as soon as I can... call me back if anything changes
In a darkened room lit only by a roaring fire, Erika reclines in a plush leather chair and closes up her cell phone.
Erika: I need to settle something, first
Moments later, a smiling Griffin enters to room.
Griffin: (Loosening his tie) Well, hello there!
He kneels down beside her and runs his hand up along her leg.
Griffin: This... this has been a glorious day - and it will be an even more glorious night!
Erika only answers him with a stare of steel as he nestles his head in her lap.
Griffin: I want to come home like this every night, Rikka
She gently strokes the side of his face and then wraps her hands tightly around his throat.
The insides of the Kiyomis sway and rumble as the hoods scatter in every direction. Chunks of rock break and shatter to the ground as the leader of The Clergy rises up to meet the threat of the black-robed Joe.
White Robe: For someone who was more than content to cower away for so long, why must you interfere now?
Joe: My fears will no longer save me - I have nothing and everything to lose
White Robe: And lose you will!
The leader hurtles through the air and aims right for him. With an unconscious Morrigan slung over his shoulder, Joe is able to dive away and counters with a well-thrown stone. It meekly bounces off the leader as Joe scurries into a tunnel.
White Robe: (Calmly following after them) Sticks and stones... honestly, Tiszo, I am disappoin...
Before the leader can finish, it is blasted with an energy wave and slammed sideways into the other side of the tunnel.
Joe: You forget who trained you?
Joe runs off and hides Morrigan inside an alcove. Knowing there is no immediate escape, he returns to the main cavern and stands before the struggling leader.
Joe: Arrogance has always been your Achilles
The leader lunges to its feet and sends Joe flipping into the air. It catches him and bone crunches him to the ground.
White Robe: And not being able to kill when you should have is always yours
A gush of blood pours from Joe's mouth as he regains his composure.
Joe: Kill me if you must but your ever-present impatience has already doomed you
Joe looks up to a gaping hole in the ceiling of the cave.
Joe: It has already doomed us all
The leader also looks up to the black, blood-rimmed moon and the star-filled sky.
White Robe: Such a pretty night, don't you think?
Joe: (Gasping) FOOL... you have initiated the final cycle too soon!
While Robe: (Pinning Joe's neck with its foot) I no longer wish to wait... it's not convenient
Joe: You know as well as I do the reason WHY we had to wait for the specific alignment
White Robe: Scrawlings in old books are no longer relevant - the Marked One HAS shown is where the vein is - now, we start drilling
Joe: She still has a purpose beyond being your compass
White Robe: I thought so as well - but since neither one of you will leave these caves alive, we will have to find an alternate solution
Joe: (Straining in vain to free himself) You may be... the victor in this battle... but she... will ultimately... stop you
The leader chuckles as it exerts more force on Joe.
White Robe: Who? - my daughter? - she doesn't possess one-third of what you or I have... although I am proud of her for trying
Joe: I speak of the other
White Robe: A half-dead Marked One? - she, like you, will soon be buried in these ruins
As if to emphasize the leader's remarks, the caverns shake and bellow again.
Joe: You know to whom I refer
White Robe: Certainly not those pests in the military - they'll be lucky not to blow themselves up - ah, and that leaves our lovely green sea creature... no, Aleta Oscura is not an issue - she's an anomaly and like all anomalies, she will vanish as quickly as she appeared
The leader now reaches under its robe and pulls out a large, ceremonial dagger.
White Robe: No, Brother Tiszo, there is no one left to interfere with the cooking - the table has been set - it is now time to feast and relish the beginning of a new age!
Before it can plunge the knife down into the belly of Joe, another large tremor violently shakes the ground. Summoning every last ounce of his rapidly draining strength, Joe throws off the leader and runs off towards Morrigan.
Joe: Help me, Deirdre, for I only have one choice...
He gathers the limp Morrigan from where he hid her and runs towards another cliff inside the caverns. Joe takes off his crystal necklace and quickly ties it around Morrigan's neck.
Joe: (Kissing her on the lips) She will find you
Joe hurls her body down into an underground river. As he watches Morrigan float away on the current, the dagger bursts through his neck.
White Robe: I am tired of this game, brother... it has now come to an end!
The leader pulls back the bloody blade as Joe slumps to the ground. It searches the murky waters for Morrigan but she has already gone. The caverns shake again. This time, it does not cease. A blue robe hurries over to the leader.
Blue Robe: (Panicked) Master, the walls are collapsing - we must leave before we are trapped!
The leader gives one final glance at the river and then walks away.
Blue Robe: Our compound... it's being destroyed!
White Robe: Do not fret - we will find a new place to gather
Blue Robe: But drilling will be more complicated
White Robe: Wrong - we now know exactly where to start - tonight has been most successful
Back at the Quartz Lake Inn, Stephanie takes a deep breath and then injects Karl with the serum.
Stephanie: (Withdrawing the needle) Please work, please work, God, please work...
There is no reaction.
Stephanie: C'mon, c'mon... what if it wasn't enough?
Karl suddenly starts to stir.
Stephanie: YES - that's it - fight, Karl, FIGHT
He gasps. He thrashes. His eyes fly open as an inhuman scream echoes from his mouth. A bewildered Stephanie slowly backs away. After another minute of twisted agony, a suddenly peaceful Karl falls back against the pillow.
Stephanie: (Inching closer) Karl?
She checks for a pulse and finds none.
Stephanie: NO - PLEASE
She begins chest compressions.
Stephanie: ERIKA, WHERE ARE YOU?
As she delivers mouth to mouth, Karl slowly opens his eyes and smiles.
Karl: (Weak) You haven't kissed me like that in a long time
Stephanie bursts into tears, gathers Karl in a hug and then lets out a huge sigh of relief.
Stephanie: Don't EVER do that to me again!
Karl: Is... is she safe?
Stephanie: Erika will be here soon
Karl starts to say something but a look of sheer horror crosses his face. Stephanie follows his eyes to a blue-robbed figure swiftly approaching them.
Stephanie: (Covering Karl) WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? - GET BACK
It pauses at the foot of Karl's bed.
Stephanie: (Grabbing a syringe) YOU DO NOT WANT ME INJECTING THIS INTO YOU, TRUST ME
The figure slowly pulls the hood away from its face.
Hector: Joe is dead
Stephanie: WHAT IS GOING ON?
With a blank expression, he points to the window. Stephanie looks outside and is blown away by what she is witnessing.
Stephanie: That... that can't be!
Karl: What... what is happening?
Hector: We need to leave... NOW
Frozen in place, Dr. Gates still stares in disbelief out the window. In the distance is an erupting volcano.
Erika continues to choke Griffin as his eyes bulge out and his face turns red. Unable to deliver the final blow, she throws him across the room. He crashes into the bookshelves and slumps down to the floor.
Griffin: (Wheezing) Wh... why?
Erika: (Approaching him) Why is the blood of MY FATHER on your hands?
A stupefied Griffin shakes his head as he scrambles to his feet.
Erika: Did you really think I would not check the autopsy results myself?
Griffin: (Holding up his hand in defense) I... I have no idea... what you're talking about!
Erika grabs him on both sides of his face and pulls his eyes within inches of her own.
Erika: TELL ME TO MY FACE THAT YOU DID NOT POISON HIM
Griffin: POISON? - GOD ALMIGHTY, NO - look at me, Rik, you know me better than ANYONE, you know when I'm lying - AM I LYING TO YOU?
The von Meer daughter releases him and tries to hold back the tears.
Griffin: (In tears) HOW COULD YOU EVEN THINK... I love you - I have loved you since the second we met - I would NEVER EVER do anything to harm you or your family
Erika turns away from Griffin and paces the floor.
Griffin: What insane notion would ever cause you to think differently?
Erika: (Facing him again) THE TEST RESULTS, RIF - THEY DON'T LIE
Griffin: PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME SO I CAN UNDERSTAND
Erika: My father's meal was deliberately poisoned at the club - the toxin that was found in his system WAS COMMISSIONED BY YOU
Griffin: That's not possible
Erika: JAVIER SAID SO
Erika: You do remember your little side project with him?
Griffin: It's only an ingredient... for Ursula's new cosmetics line
Griffin suddenly covers his mouth as a look of shock runs across his face. Erika reads his emotions.
Erika: If you didn't do it, then you damn well know who did!
Before Griffin can utter another word, Erika clutches her chest and drops to her knees.
Griffin: Morrigan? - what does McBride have to do with this?
Erika ignores him and staggers over to the window. The exploding volcano lights up the entire Kiyomi range.
Griffin: IS THAT MOUNT WIGGINS? - IT'S BEEN DORMANT FOR 2000 YEARS
Griffin is mesmerized by the sight. He finally turns to Erika but she is already out on his rooftop patio.
Griffin: RIKKA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
She sheds her clothes and takes an elegant dive off of the railing. Erika plunges 20 stories into the delta of the Santa Conchita River.
With Joe's crystal necklace glowing bright, Morrigan's lifeless body is carried out of the underground caverns by the current and down the Santa Conchita River. She can feel the cold water that surrounds her but is unable to move. A cacophony of voices resounds in her in head.
Amethyst: Forgive me
Joe: Don't give up - it is not the time
Deirdre: Someday, my darling daughter, you will understand
She now feels a presence wrapped around her, filling her lungs with hot breath. Darkfin launches out of the river with Morrigan in her arms.
Surfaced on July 1, 2000
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