It was fast approaching nighttime and as was their usual custom, the sin city's daytime predators gave up their regular spots. Their spaces filling now with the kinds of scum that insisted, even in a place like Roanapur, on keeping their business OUT of the harsh light of day.
Harmony and Bernie were wandering those shadowy blocks with Bernie training his camera on anything and everything that might yield interesting fodder for Harmony's show.
"Where is Richie?" Harmony wondered.
"He said he was off getting supplies, personally, I think he's trying to come up with another plan." Bernie answered. "Thank God I archive all the footage I've shot at the hotel so I can edit it before trying to upload it. Last thing I think you want Mister and Mrs. America to see is us ditching out of a burning taxicab while Harris laughs his ass off at us."
"This is stupid " Harmony announced in an annoyed voice.
"Meaning?" Bernie asked as he trained his camera on her.
"Bernie - we're supposed to be the good guys. Xander is the Terrorist, so why isn't everybody on side with helping us catch him. I mean he is a criminal."
"... living In a city that produces crime like Detroit makes cars." Bernie said pointing his camera at a group of prostitutes standing on a corner.
"Oh Hookers," Harmony squealed as if they were animals in a petting zoo for her amusement, "Horny bastard like Xander is, I'll bet he's logged some time with these gals ... bet they know all kinds of juicy little secrets."
"Forget it Harm, the people in the flyover states like their hookers to look like Julia Roberts and have hearts of gold, those hookers LOOK like hookers Too much reality, even on reality television, makes for bad TV." Bernie sighed and switched off the camera. "Anyway Harm, listening to you whine about Harris all night is going to get boring."
"I complain about The Slayers all the time."
"Yeah but that's The Slayers - as a group, after THEY tried to kill YOU. You bitching about the Slayer's head cheerleader or whatever it is they call Harris, isn't compelling TV." Bernie tuned suddenly and walked into a bar. "let's get you plastered, that will make you feel better. You might even do something funny."
"The Yellowflag - what kind of name is Yellowflag?"
"It's a name. if they got hooch, it'll be everything we need."
They duo walked through the door and immediately were shocked by the seedy look to the room. Every single table had at least one gun resting within easy reach of the shady looking clientèle sitting at them. The Yellowflag's patrons looked up once to scan the newcomers but sensing they had nothing worth stealing, the bar's customers dismissed Harmony and Bernie from thought.
Bernie smartly left his camera hanging unnoticed at his side. It did not take a genius to realize directly putting people in a place like this on camera would be lethally dangerous. Still, Bernie thought, there was no harm in secretly recording the room. If he did it right, he'd be able to get some good video and audio despite the ambient noise of the rowdy drinking establishment.
He poked Harmony in the side directing her to glance over to a corner of the room. Sitting at the table were several of the people who'd been onboard the Torpedo Boat, the ones who'd been sheltering Harris. They'd been too engrossed in their own business to notice Harmony coming in.
"Let's get 'em" Harmony hissed, but Bernie held her back.
"Are you insane? We're surrounded by gun crazy thugs who'd skin us alive for booze money. How about we take a more ... relaxed approach." Bernie steered them toward a table. Even Harmony noticed it had a clear line of sight to the table the Lagoons were seated at. The Camera Jockey set his machine on the table directing the mic and lens at the quietly talking Mercs.
Unaware they were being watched, Rock Faith and Revy talked none too quietly. Well Faith and Revy were talking, Rock seemed surgically attached to a mobile phone into which he whispered occasional instructions. Revy wore the same sullen look she'd been sporting since the fight at the boat had gone south. Faith, looked a little bleary-eyed from the crude moonshine Bao insisted on labeling booze.
"...Are you kidding me Rock? You're seriously not going to tell me anything? What if it was Shunsi?" She whined.
"I know she won't say anything to anyone. She's not the most chatty person, plus she tends to do EXACTLY what I tell her to."
"What is the big all fired secret. IF I know - I can help, you know like when I marched into Balalaika's office and let a ton of her guys take pot shots at me?"
"Don't you trust me?" Rock sounded hurt.
Faith was saved from having to answer by Revy's interjection, "What about the old Wolf Dude?" The Gunslinger growled, "Seems like he knows more then hes sayin."
"Carlin's sticking to his story," Rock reported, "the hunters wanted his people. He doesn't know why."
"...And you believe that?" Revy snapped, "I tell you that old man is hiding something. I can smell it."
"Which brings us to sunny point number two," Faith mused. "what we're going to do about your ... extra passenger."
"WE don't have to do shit Southie, Aint your Beeswax what mojo I got working, just stick to what you know best - killing vamps, kicking ass and keeping Harris from blowing the city to hell."
Bao screamed from the behind the bar that Revy had a call and would she tell the caller that he was not running an answering service. She stomped off growling under her breath.
"You know what, I'm starting to think Revy has a point." Faith grumbled, "This started with Carlin and his tribe being on that ship, Whatever the big secret Carlin or Leptev are hiding it's on that ship. I say let's tear it apart till we find it."
"You heard Balalaika," Rock reminded her. "if that ship isn't at the bottom of the ocean by morning then Xander is a dead man... along with anyone else she finds aboard her when she comes for it."
"Xander's putting himself in harms way. Without Carlin's help, that sacrifice means dick-all." Faith shot back, "I say we grab Wolf-Boy take him out to that boat and smack his ass around till he gives us what we want."
"How do you even begin to pressure someone like Carlin."
"I got ways Rock, never you mind about the details, but trust me, I got ways of making even someone like him talk."
"If you want I can have one or two of the girls go with you to watch your back."
Harmony stood up,
"Where are you going?" Bernie hissed.
"You heard them They're going to steal someones ship, maybe hurt some old guy - that's a crime. This is the chance we've been waiting for. I'lll be like that guy who catches those freaky internet weirdos."
Bernie struggled to get his camera ready while Harmony walked over the the table and plunked herself down next to Rock. "So tell me - Why are Slayers allowed to harass innocent people and nobody stops them?" Harmony announced while curling her arm around Rock's shoulders.
"Kendell - you are getting on my last nerve. Get lost!" Faith snarled at the vampire.
Harmony ignored Faith turning to Rock and sliding closer still to him, "Sir, did you know this girl is a convicted murderer and her friends are responsible for blowing up my whole entire hometown."
"Actually Miss Kendell," Rock replied while trying to slide away from Harm, "That death was ruled an accident ... and hadn't you moved away by the time Sunnydale was destroyed. Weren't you living and working Los Angeles by then?"
"You've read my bio, you must be a fan." Harmony squealed. "Anyway just cause I got out of that crap-tastic burg didn't mean I wanted to see it wind up as a sinkhole."
"I said beat it Harm," Faith snapped, "I'm in a mood to punch somone and your face is a real tempting target."
"Go ahead, I think the world needs to be reminded how dangerous Slayers really are. How they'll attack people for no reason and hurt anyone who gets in their way."
Suddenly Revy was back at the table leaning over Harmony and sniffing the air harshly. "This place smells like old used up vampire whore, why does my table smell like old used vampire whore and why is it sitting next to my man?"
Rock sighed, "Relax Revy she's just leaving ...
"Hey I'm not done and besides I'm a star. Not a crook like you losers. By the time I'm done, with you guys Buffy and her little terrorist army won't have anywhere in the world to hide."
"He's done playing around bitch ... get moving." Revy snarled.
"You know he's kind of cute. I like the white collar types. How about it sweetheart, you want to hang with a celebrity instead of a bitchy dyke." Harmony stood up and went nose to nose, "Besides I don't see your name on his ass anywhere."
"Really - you don't, well let's check those eyes then." Revy grabbed Harmony's blond hair and used it to smack the vampire's head onto the table's surface hard.
Harmony vamped and reached for Revy. By all rights with Harmony's inhuman strength and speed, the contest should have been a short one. Revy however was stronger then she looked - a whole hell of a lot stronger.
Revy's eyes flared yellow as the Hyena rose up within her. She grabbed Kendell, hurling the vampire one-handed though a table, smashing it to pieces in the process. Revy dived onto the struggling Harmony, punching her twice before grabbing the vampire's body, slinging it out the front door to sprawl in the street.
"You, You're a Slayer." Harmony cried out as she climbed to her feet, The Vampire throw a punch that Revy caught.
Revy crushed the Harmony's fist, "I aint no Slayer. I'm a Stone Cold Killer baby."
Revy slugged Harmony several times. before pulling one of her guns and crouching over the vampire, pistol whipping her. "How's your eyesight now bitch, Can you see what's going to happen to ya - can you see?" Revy stood up and aimed her weapon at Harmony's kneecaps which she blew off. causing a pain-filled scream to come from the now frightened star.
Harmony screamed her rage. "You Bitch - I'm going to sue your skanky ass back to the the stone age."
Revy exploded in cold laughter, "There ain't no Judge down here, no jury, and the only law in this town is She-who-has-the-gun-makes-the-fucking-law." Revy smacked Harmony over the head with her pistol. "I could put a round though your skull right now and nobody here would give a shit... or maybe you think some fat pussy with his ass parked in a barcalounger watching TV will give a shit you even lived let alone that you died. My bet is they'll forget you by the next commercial break." The gunslinger snarled.
Harmony screamed and tried to punch Revy again. Revy seemed to melt around the blow, kicking Harmony to the ground and stomping down with her boot to pin one of the vampire's flailing limbs to the earth.
The shot rang out followed closely by Harmony's high and loud scream.
"Come On Baby, lets give the assholes watching at home a real show for once - some real reality with their TV."
She kicked Harmony's body again pinning her other hand.
Bernie watched the streets predators circling, looks of excitement in their eyes yet not a single one raising a hand in Harmony's defence.
"For God Sake she's killing her." Bernie cried out to general guffaws of amusement.
"Thats what happens when you fuck with Two Hands." One of the patrons laughed as Revy re-aligned her deadly aim.
"Nice thing about you bloodsuckers is even if you don't die from a gunshot it still hurts, if I shoot you right. And believe me baby, I know how to shoot you where it will hurt - a lot.
Revy proceeded to empty the clip into the vampire. her gunshots turning the vampire into swiss cheese.
"Last round Baby, Let's show them something really entertaining. Let's find out how lucky you really are." Revy jammed the muzzle against Harmony's head. Revy pulled the trigger and a ominous click filled the air. Revy blinked. from the top of the chamber a single bullet stuck out like a little chimney. - a misfire.
"Well ain't you the luckiest bitch in the world." She snapped as she kicked beaten Harmony in the side while stepping over her. "I'm outta here, smell of used vampire whore ruins the taste of my drinking anyway."
Rock watched as Revy stalked away. Her cameraman picked up Harmony who was crying and wailing and carried her off.
"You know what, that was totally worth it." Faith laughed.
"I was hoping I'd have more time but I might have to start the endgame now." Rock sighed.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Fiath asked.
"He means me," A lady stepped forward "Elena Fisher - Journalist, I have to say Mister Okajima, you were right. There is quite the story to be had here."
"Miss Fisher did a few stories that caught my eye including one about a war criminal Zoran Lazaravic.
"You came down here for a news story?" Faith asked.
"I'm used to going to ...extreme locations to get my stories." Elena said with a wry smile. "Roanapur isn't that unusual for me."
"I'm going to fight fire with fire." Rock explained, "Harmony has her camera and the media so we need to get another story out there. Give them something else to feed on."
"What did you have in mind Mister Okajima?" Elena asked him.
"Illegal poaching and export of an endangered species. I can get you one-on-one with the the victims."
Faith's eyes opened wide." This, this is your plan. A ruthless bounty hunter, a deranged Fame Whore are hunting us down and if they don't kill us Balalaika will be happy to do if for them and your big plan this entire time is ... a media blitz? Why don't we get Brad and Angie while we're at it?" She snapped sarcastically.
"Faith, what kind of an amateur do you take me for," Rock soothed. "Brad and Angie are in Cambodia. he's filming, she's doing a UN Ambassador thing."
Elena nodded, "I know his publicist but if your going for that Holy Grail you'll need a kid, cute, photogenic. Someone with WOW factor to spare."
"Oh man I am going to need to be way, way drunker then I am right now if want to get through this ."
"By co-incidence I happen to have just what your looking for Miss Fisher."Rock replied with a smile.
Bernie and Harmony arrived at the hotel, Harmony still limping and crying from the agony of her shattered kneecaps. The other bullet wounds wouldn't heal unless Harmony got some fresh blood.
The hotel manager offered to help them up the stairs and Harmony thanked him graciously. Enough details of the groups day-to-day activities were leaking out that Harmony suspected the manager was feeding information to some tabloid. Still any press was good press.
"Leave big tip, yes?" The manager simpered.
They opened the door of their suite to find Hound and the Sungs dragging a tied up Clem across the floor.
"What going on?" Harmony asked .
"This is embarrassing," Hound replied , "We were supposed to be gone by the time you got back."
"Why are you kidnapping Clem."
"It was part of the plan see, You were supposed to come home and find Clem gone make an impassioned plea for all the world to see then I'd rescue him from the Slayers."
"Where were you going to put him?" Harmony asked.
"The Sungs had a place in mind."
"So do I," Harmony snapped, "Put him on that Ship they were so concerned about."
Clem's eyes widened in shock.
"Wait, what?" Hound asked, "you don't mind me kidnapping your..."
"He's a sidekick, my second banana, comic relief - if this was the movies his ONLY JOB would be to get kidnapped."
"That's great we'll put him on the ship and then you'll tell the world that The Slayers have kidnapped him."
"Damn - you look a little fierce, that Gun Woman really did a number on you." Bernie muttered.
"Yeah what happened?" Hound asked looking at the beaten up vampire.
"One of Harris' little friends, some chick with guns. I'll fix her, i'll drain the bitch when I see her next."
"You fought with Revy Two Hands," The Manager crowed, "Newspaper man pay big time for this story. Everyone knows she toughest chick in Roanapur."
Harmony turned to the manager, "Hey she got the drop on me I wasn't at my best."
The manager snickered, "Duh of course not, You TV Princess, she real bad ass, you lucky she let you live. Guess she think you not worth killing."
"A TV Princess?" Harmony whined,
Yeah, you know, like silly girl from Singapore, with the tattoos, she sleeps with other women?"
"Tila Tequila?" Harmony hissed, "You think I'm no better then that untalented glory whore?" Harmony reached out and snatched the man's head bending it back. "Let see Little Miss MySpace do this." she screamed before tearing at his throat with animal glee.
Hound looked away not wanting to see the carnage but the unblinking eye of Bernie's camera never wavered. He'd actually been hoping for a good shot of Harmony feeding anyway.