The doctor sighed. “This is a scene we run into all too often in the female empowerment genre, the male lead is killed off so the female lead can show how much she's grown and that she can stand on her own two feet. I had such high hopes for this movie, but like far too many of the genre it falls into one of the biggest traps.”
“Traps?” The host asked, having to speak up to be heard over the weeping of the audience.
“Yes, traps,” the doctor offered, “the two biggest traps of the female empowerment genre are what I like to call false empowerment films; the first one as we see here is where they permanently remove the male lead so the female lead can showcase her growth. Believe it or not this is preferable to the second one, in that sort of film they'd have turned him into a loveable clown that tries hard but always fails, like a retarded puppy.”
“Exactly,” she nodded, “the only way they'd allow him to stand equal to her is if he were “special” and then they'd pull off some moronic idea, like he was a zombie that kept his brain. The end result of those films is never pretty, because in the end they have to make all the women “special” so no special male is above them, and what kind of message does that send that you only matter if you're special?”
The host winced.
“Exactly, you can't truly raise something up by tearing everything around it down. I believe in equality and that cannot be achieved by claiming superiority.”
The host nodded. “What were your thoughts on Xander's speech about chivalry?”
“They are probably the most logical and well thought out reasons for them I've ever heard, the only part he missed was that men often show excessive amounts of chivalry to women they're trying to seduce. So really, chivalry should only be objectionable to women when it comes from men already in relationships.”
The host laughed and the audience cheered up a bit.
Dawn shifted gears and pretended the tears in her eyes were from the wind, as she shifted from lane to lane to avoid zombies at speeds more suited to veteran race car drivers than a teen girl who had never driven above 15 miles an hour.
The eyes in her cat's head earrings glittered brightly as the sun began to set.
The trunk of Ted's '57 Chevy popped open and a figure rolled out and climbed silently to his feet, clad only in a pair of white Fruit of the Looms.
He stretched for a minute, checking his range of motion before reaching into the trunk and pulling out a small fire extinguisher.
Walking over to Ted's body, he quickly hosed him down with CO2 before picking his body up and placing it in the trunk.
The trunk closed itself behind him as he turned and surveyed the dimly lit scene. Seeing Xander's body, pinned to the shipping crate, begin to twitch, he strode forward and picked up the machete. Placing a hand on Xander's shoulder he raised the machete and said, “Rest in peace brother, I'll make sure Dawn is safe.”
Xander's eyes popped open and he saw the machete, both of them screamed at once, with the one holding the machete jumping back and dropping the blade.
“DON'T DO THAT!” he yelled at Xander. “Damn zombies, not enough you don't let people rest in peace, but you've also got to give people heart attacks now?!”
“Not a zombie,” Xander rasped out.
“You've got a spear through your chest,” he pointed out, “and from the looks of it I'd say it nicked the heart and lungs, you should be dead.”
“Dawn needs me,” Xander gurgled; taking a shaky step forward as he slowly pulled himself forward.
“Maybe you should stop moving while I see about getting you some medical help?”
“No time,” Xander snarled briefly, drawing himself forward, step by painful step, and pulling the green ichor coated spear through himself.
“If you get yourself killed, Dawn will never forgive us,” he warned as Xander reached the end of the spear and he had to catch him.
“Just grab our weapons while I try and catch my breath,” Xander wheezed, placing a hand over the hole in his chest, “and figure out why there's two of me.”
“It'll come to you I'm sure,” the second Xander said, helping him sit before he pulled a first aid kit from the car and bandaged the hole in Xander's chest and back.
“I'm good,” Xander said after coughing up about a cup of blood, “and I'm feeling better by the minute. Where's Ted and Dawn?”
“Dad's in the trunk, he fried his systems taking out Sloth,” the second Xander said as he retrieved Xander's weapons before rolling Sloth. “Dawn’s fulfilling your ‘last request’.”
Xander stood up and wiped his machete on his leg before sheathing it. “Let’s go.”
“OK, but I'm driving; I have faster reflexes and know where we're going.”
“I have pants.”
“It’s my dad’s car,” the other Xander shot back.
“The sun is down, my lord,” Trick told Kakistos as he rose, “what are your orders?”
“Have you located the Slayer and her Watcher?” the massive, ram horned, vampire asked.
“Yes my lord, I have tracked the two to Oxnard not more than half an hour away… once we clear LA traffic, and the two teens broadcasting that show are on a direct course to them at the moment.”
“Excellent, prepare the troops and let us be off.”
Linda handed Faith $50. “I really need to stop betting with you.”
Faith grinned. “I told you it ain't over until the fat broad gets on the mic and Xander's plugging his ears.”
“Any idea who the second Xander is?”
“Robot duplicate,” Faith said instantly.
“I think I'll take your word for it.”
“Do I need to keep my eyes out for a crow?” X-bot asked.
“It’s probably on back order,” Xander replied, as he pulled off the bandage to reveal healthy pink flesh.
“No clues as to what happened?”
“Hyena's gone,” Xander replied, “but other than that I got no idea.”
“No more resisting the urge to order our hamburgers rare?” X-bot queried.
“Bring on the charcoal. So, why did Ted have a premade Xander-bot in the trunk?” Xander asked, figuring it was more likely than envy resurrecting himself.
“He didn't, this car isn't your standard '57 Chevy, it has a limited AI and the trunk actually houses Dad’s mobile repair bay,” X-bot explained.
“That's how he got repaired!”
“Yep, the car waited until dark and then followed his signal to retrieve the pieces. He was almost completely repaired and in recharge mode when the batteries went dead. He had it working on completing a pair of combat chassis at the time and underestimated the power drain.”
“Combat chassis?” Xander asked.
“A man has to be able to protect his family, and since demon's exist that means he needed a body suited for a more rigorous lifestyle. The second was because he wanted a son and he'd rather build than adopt.”
“And he died while you were still compiling...” Xander sighed.
“He's not dead,” X-bot chuckled, “he's transferring to his new combat chassis because his old body's toast.”
Xander perked up. “So we all made it?! Excellent! Now we need to call Dawn and let her know we're alive.”
“Doing it now,” X-bot replied, “we just exited the dead zone.”
Dawn picked up Lust's phone, “Hello? Hold on a second,” she said as she realized she couldn't hear over the wind. Dropping the phone she screeched to a stop, slammed the car in park, popped open her seat belt, stood on her seat and drew both guns.
Dawn slowly scanned everything around her before bringing up her guns.
X-bot winced. “We didn't give her an uzi did we?”
“No, why?” Xander asked.
“I'm talking to her on my internal cell and she just stopped the car and unloaded both cylinders at once, at speed.”
“Is she okay?”
“She just needed to stop and clear some space, so she wouldn't get interrupted by zombies. She's very doubtful about you being alive and has just suggested some anatomical impossibilities for me to occupy myself with while she hunts me down and skin’s me alive for pretending you aren’t dead.”
“Ask her about the hyena,” Xander ordered.
“Now she's listening; she reports sharper senses, but no urge for raw meat.”
“Okay, now she believes. She says this kind of thing could only happen to you. She's taking the off ramp for Oxnard and will meet us at Susie's Strip O'rama.”
“A strip club?”
“It’s the only place she can see a sign for, from where she is.”
“Floor it,” Xander replied firmly.
Faith laced her boots tightly. “Make sure you have plenty of ones.”
Linda rolled her eyes. “I thought you only drove stick?”
“I still like to look, and making strippers blush is fun.”
Harmony held onto the back of the burly biker in front of her as they roared down the road, Cordelia did the same a couple of bikes over. The air vibrated as 32 Harley's drove hell bent for leather toward a strip club in Oxnard.AN: Typing by Godogma who said it would be unfair for me to leave you guys hanging the normal length of time it takes for me to put out a chapter.