BLADE
                                -----





                                  by
 
                            David S. Goyer













     Darkness, BLOOD-CURDLING SCREAMS. Presentation credits roll as we
     FADE UP ON:

     INT. HOSPITAL, INNER-CITY TRAUMA WARD - NIGHT

     It's 1967, the Summer of Love and --

     BOOM! Entry doors swing open as PARAMEDICS wheel in a FEMALE BLEEDER,
     VANESSA (20s, black, nine months pregnant). She's deathly pale,
     spewing founts of blood from a savagely slashed throat -- 

     A SHOCK-TRAUMA TEAM swarms over her, inserting a vacutainer into an
     artery to draw blood, wrapping a blood pressure cuff around her
     arm --

                           NURSE #1
                    (with stethoscope)
               She's not breathing!

                           SENIOR RESIDENT
               Intubate her!

     The RESPIRATORY THERAPIST feeds an endotracheal tube down the woman's
     ruined throat, attaches that to an Amblu bag --

                           RESIDENT
               Blood-pressure's forty and falling --

     The woman starts spasming violently. It takes three staff members
     just to hold her down.

                           SENIOR RESIDENT
               Jesus, her water's broken --
                    (calling for help)
               She's going into uterine contractions --

     CAMERA PUSHES IN on the woman as she bolts upright, SCREAMING to wake
     the dead. We PLUNGE INTO the darkness of her mouth and find
     ourselves --

     INSIDE HER BLOODSTREAM

     The sound of a HEART BEATING, pounding as we whip-snake through --

     CORPUSCLES 

     floating in amber plasma. Erythrocytes, leukocytes, neutrophils and
     eosinophils. 

     The rhythmic expansion of the artery walls, pulsing with each
     successive surge of blood as the HEART BEATS FASTER AND FASTER,
     taking us --

     IN UTERO,

     A CHILD, alive but unborn, shifting in a sea of amniotic fluid,
     surrounded by the white, protective substance known as vernix
     caseosa. The HEARTBEAT races like a locomotive now. The unborn child
     shifts, turns its head towards us --

     -- and opens its eyes.

     CUT TO:

     A SWORDBLADE

     cleaving the darkness, radiant light slicing across gleaming Damascus
     steel. Words acid-etched in the weapon's fine-tempered surface:

     BLADE

     Main credits end.

     EXT. INNER CITY, INDUSTRIAL GHETTO - NIGHT

     A decaying no man's land populated by condemned buildings and HUNGRY
     HOMELESS. Steam rises from manhole covers, drifting across the
     litter- lined streets. Suddenly --

     A black Mercedes 850 appears over the crest of a hill, ROARING past
     us, stereo system belting out FILTER.

     INT. MERCEDES - NIGHT

     Raquel, a wasp-wasted woman, sits behind the wheel. 20s, rich,
     sickeningly attractive. Hungry eyes. 

     Squirming around in the passenger seat is DENNIS, a model/actor boy-
     toy with a sub-zero IQ and a "fuck me sideways" grin. 

                           DENNIS
               So where we going?

                           RAQUEL
               It's a surprise. 

                           DENNIS
               I likes surprises. 

     Raquel eyeballs Dennis -- "if looks could devour". 

                           RAQUEL
               What do you have down there, little 
               man?

                           DENNIS
               Heat-seeker.

                           RAQUEL
               I'll bet.

     Raquel slides a manicured hand up his thigh, squeezes his groin.
     Dennis MOANS. She pulls her hand away, downshifts.

     EXT. VACANT LOT - NIGHT

     The 850 threads a narrow alley into a vacant lot, BRAKES hard. Raquel
     and Dennis climb out. She leads him into --

     EXT. MEAT PACKING PLANT - NIGHT

     Industry never sleeps, and certainly not this grisly facility. Raquel
     leads Dennis around the back of the plant, where a host of WORKERS
     are loading refrigerated trucks with product.

                           DENNIS
               What the fuck are we doing here?

     Raquel just smiles, heads on into the plant via a loading door. The
     workers ignore her.

     INT. MEAT PACKING PLANT - NIGHT

     Dennis follows Raquel through the bowels of the plant, catching
     glimpses here and there of carcasses being rendered or hacked apart. 

     Through one partially open door we see what might be a line of
     BODYBAGS being trundled into the back of a truck via a hook and chain
     pulley-system. But Dennis doesn't have enough time to be disturbed by
     the vision, because he's being pulled away by Raquel, led down --

     A STAIRWELL

     We are in the basement now. At the end of the hall is a steel door,
     with perhaps, just the faintest HINT OF MUSIC heard coming from
     beyond. Raquel knocks.

     A "peep-hole" slat opens and a BLACK LIGHT shines into Raquel's eyes.
     A VOICE behind the door offers a verbal challenge, speaking a
     language we've never heard, laced with a devilish cadence. 

     Raquel responds in kind. The door opens. Raquel gives Dennis a
     knowing wink, enters. Dennis follows. 

     INT. CLUB - NIGHT

     Raquel and Dennis move past a hulking DOORMAN, making their way down
     a narrow stairway. Dennis is suitably impressed.

     THE CLUB 

     is elite, underground -- an "abattoir-chic" version of an old-time
     juke joint with a greasy, dangerous vibe. White-tiled walls and
     floors for easy hosing, chromed fittings, run-off gutters, drains. No
     bar.

     BODIES 

     writhe on the strobe-lit dance floor. A heavy S&M scene. Leather.
     Latex. Tattoos. Body-piercings.

     A D.J. wearing head-mounted spotlights orchestrates the tunes on
     twin- decks. MUSIC assaults us -- a beat so heavy it could jar the
     fillings from your teeth. Brutal "DARKCORE" along the lines of
     Prodigy or Underground. 

     Raquel pulls Dennis out onto the dance floor. They sway. 

     A lupine-featured GAULTIER GIRL with a streak of white running
     through her raven hair moves in behind Dennis, pressing up against
     him. Rachel Williams as the Angel of Death -- we'll call her MERCURY.

     Mercury flicks her tongue against Dennis' ear -- it's been pierced
     with a silver post which clicks against her teeth. Tattooed across
     her back in black is a swirling, tribal vortex. 

     Dennis is now sandwiched between Raquel and Mercury, the three of
     them dry-humping their way to every man's glory. 

     The beat gets LOUDER. The action heavier. The atmosphere more
     narcotic. People are stripping off their clothes, sweating like
     fiends. It's a virtual orgy.

     Dennis laughs, reveling in the hedonism. Everything rises to a fever
     pitch --

                           DENNIS
                    (over the music)
               Fuck, I need a drink!!!

     Raquel just smiles -- then Dennis notices a DROP OF SOMETHING spatter
     his hand. It looks like blood. Dennis looks up, concerned --

     -- MORE BLOOD DROPLETS are falling. Raquel's face is sprinkled with
     them now. Dennis stops dancing. What is this? Some kind of fucked up
     performance art?

     Raquel turns her face toward the ceiling, as if washing herself in a
     summer shower, now the other club goers are looking up too --

     BLOOD SHOWERS DOWN

     from sprinkler heads in the ceiling, drenching the dancers. The club
     goers love it, thrusting their heads back, mouths open wide to
     receive the crimson offering. 

     Horrified, Dennis recoils, turning towards --

     RAQUEL,

     whose face morphs into a preternatural snarl. Her canines extend,
     tapering to razor-sharp points. Her tongue flicks, lizard-like as
     fingernails sharpen into claws. All this while the whites of her eyes
     BLEED RED, pupils oscillating hypnotically. 

                           RAQUEL
               What's wrong, baby?

     Dennis SCREAMS, pushes away from Raquel, only --

     -- Mercury has fangs now too. In fact, everyone in the club does,
     with the exception of poor Dennis. That's because they're all
     vampires.

     Dennis tries to run, but the burly Doorman blocks his exit, brutally
     smashing his fist into Dennis' face. 

     Dennis falls, dazed. The club-goers close in around him. They make a
     game of it, shoving him from one person to another, their pale faces
     leering like twisted jack-o-lanterns.

     The strobe lights quicken to a seizure-inducing intensity. Dennis
     spins, tumbling into Raquel's arms. She shoves him forward -- Dennis
     lands on the floor, falling at someone's boot-clad feet. He looks up.
     A DARK FIGURE sits in the shadows, unnoticed until this moment. The
     figure stands, moves into the light as time screeches to a halt -- 

     A BLACK MAN, 

     towers above Dennis, wearing dark glasses and a leather longcoat -- a
     sneer of cruel contempt etched upon a face tempered by a lifetime of
     horror. His name is BLADE.

     Blade whips open his long coat, shrugging it off, revealing an
     arsenal of high-tech weapons strapped to his body: 

     6-point adjustable body armor, a modified CAR-15 assault rifle with
     an ultra-violet entry light, two Casull .454 revolvers, a "Demon"
     automatic cross-bow, a bandoleer of mahogany stakes, an Indian-style
     katar punching dagger -- and last, but certainly not least, his
     namesake -- a silver sword which is secured in a back-scabbard.

     CLOSE ON BLADE

     A gaze as cold and pitiless as a midnight sun. The vampire club-goers
     stare back. Nuclear silence. And then --

     All hell breaks loose. With a SNARL, Raquel charges at Blade, moving
     at superhuman speed, practically a blur -- 

     Blade draws his Casulls, FIRES in multiple directions --

     MACRO BULLET SHOT 

     as a round roars through the air towards Raquel. A silver-tipped dum-
     dum bullet which explodes on contact.

     WHAM! The round punches a fist-sized hole through Raquel's chest,
     continuing on into the vamp behind her! Vampire blood fountains. Both
     creatures tumble forward, their bodies liquefying into puddles of
     black oil which go gurgling down the run-off drains.

     Blade continues FIRING, then -CLICK!- magazines empty. Next. He
     holsters the Casulls, swings up his assault rifle, calmly flicks on
     the UV entry light mounted above --

     MERCURY 

     leaps twenty feet straight up into the air. We've never seen anything
     move so fast. She CRASHES through a glass skylight, disappearing into
     the night just as --

     -- a shaft of blinding UV "sunlight" cuts across the vampires. They
     rear back, skin smoking from the light's corrosive effects. Blade
     opens FIRE, pumping round after round of wooden fragmentation bullets
     into the crowd -- vampire genocide.

     The strobe lights flicker as the mayhem mounts. Some of the vampires
     try to flee, scurrying up the stairs, but the exit quickly becomes
     clogged with liquefying bodies -- 

     -- then Blade's CAR-15 jams. The remaining club-goers see their
     opening, surge forward en masse -- 

     Blade drops the rifle, reaches over his shoulder and -SCHINGGG!-
     unsheathes his sword with a double-handed grip. 

     THE SWORD

     Four acid-etched feet of blood-soaked Damascus steel. An edge so
     sharp it could cleave a shadow in two.

     Blade moves like lightning, hacking his way into TWO CHARGING
     VAMPIRES. Blade spins again, cuts ANOTHER VAMPIRE clean in half --

     ON THE FAR END OF THE CLUB,

     a LATEX-CLAD VAMP makes a break for it. Blade flings his sword,
     sending it spinning end over end -- THUNK! The sword punches into the
     vampire's heart. The hellish creature convulses, dies.

     Beat. Blade retrieves his sword, then senses --

     SOMETHING BIG

     rising up behind him. In a flash, Blade swings his sword downward,
     cutting off the vampire's right hand at the elbow. The severed limb
     falls to the floor -- 

     -- but it doesn't slow the hulking creature down. It SLAMS into
     Blade. Blade flies backwards thirty feet, tumbling over tables,
     slamming into the rear wall so hard that plaster rains down from the
     ceiling. 

     Blade suddenly finds himself wrestling with a feral-faced six-foot-
     something nightmare named QUINN. The vampire rears back its head,
     jaws stretching wide. Every inch of his face is covered with ritual
     scarification patterns and Maori-like tribal tattoos. 

     Blade forces an elbow against Quinn's throat, trying to keep him at
     bay. With his other hand he reaches to his bandoleer, pulls out a
     stake -- CRUNCH! Blade shoves the stake through the vampire's larynx.
     Quinn gurgles, clutches at his throat. 

     Blade rolls out from under, unholsters the cross-bow secured to his
     leg. With a flick of a switch the arms of the bow -SNAP!- open,
     drawing the bow-string taut. Blade FIRES -- 

     The bolt hits Quinn in the shoulder, throwing him backwards and
     nailing him to the wall. As Quinn reaches over with his other hand to
     pull out the stake --

     Blade FIRES AGAIN. A second bolt slams into Quinn's other arm,
     effectively pinning him like a butterfly to a board.

     UP ABOVE, 

     mounted in one of the corners, is a security camera. Blade fires a
     cross-bow bolt straight into the lens. 

     Blade strides over, placing his sword against Quinn's chest.

                           BLADE
               Where is Deacon Frost?

     Quinn glares, trying to speak, gagging on the stake still lodged in
     his trachea --

                           BLADE
               Got something in your throat.

     Blade yanks the stake free. The vampire laughs, air whistling through
     his ruined larynx. 

                           QUINN
               Fuck you, Day-walker, I ain't saying 
               shit --

                           BLADE
               Frost.

     Quinn responds with a slew of rapid-fire vampire invectives. Blade
     sees he's getting nowhere fast, calmly sheathes his sword. He unclips
     a white phosphorous grenade from his combat harness -- 

                           QUINN
               You won't stop him, Blade. The Tide's 
               rising, the Sleeper's gonna --

     Blade shoves the grenade in Quinn's mouth, pulls the pin. WHOOSH!
     Quinn goes up like a roman candle. Blade turns, surveying his work,
     ignoring the howling pyre behind him:

     All evidence of the vampires is gone -- with the exception of a few
     oily-black puddles. Clothes, jewelry -- it's all been burned away by
     the acidic process of the creatures' accelerated decomposition.

     DENNIS sits huddled in a corner, having pissed his pants. As Blade
     approaches, he cringes back --

                           DENNIS
               Please don't --

     Blade simply grabs Dennis by the jaw, tilting his head upward,
     rotating it from side to side -- looking for bite marks. There aren't
     any.

     Blade moves on, leaving Dennis alone amidst the carnage. As Blade
     starts up the stairs, he pauses in mid-step --

     A COCKROACH

     scurries out from underfoot. 

     Blade adjusts his footfall, sparing the roach. He continues on up the
     stairs, disappearing in the smoky haze. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. CITY HOSPITAL, AUTOPSY ROOM - NIGHT

     CAMERA FOLLOWS a bagged corpse as it's rolled into the autopsy room
     by an ASSISTANT. 

                           ASSISTANT
               Brought you a baked potato, nice
               and crispy. Still warm, too.

     CURTIS WEBB, the forensic pathologist (30s, white bread, a little on
     the smarmy side) steps forward, unzips the bag --

     It's Quinn, what's left of him, anyway. Burnt to a charcoal
     briquette, limbs twisted horribly, oozing fluids.

     Curtis turns his head, grimacing, wafting the air.

                           CURTIS
               Jesus, that's rank -- 

     Curtis turns back, makes note of the blackened stump where Quinn's
     arm used to be, the ruined throat -- 

                           CURTIS
               What's his story?

                           ASSISTANT
               Paramedics said he was still screaming 
               when they found him. Looks like some 
               joker had stapled him to a wall.

                           CURTIS
               Pretty.

     CUT TO:

     INT. HOSPITAL, HEMATOLOGY LAB - NIGHT

     MICROSCOPE POV

     of a slide-mounted blood smear stained with Wright stain (blue ink).
     What we see is a collection of donut-shaped pink things (red blood
     cells) intermingled with some small blue specks (platelets) and the
     occasional larger, light-blue blobs (white blood cells).

     KAREN JANSEN (20s), a fine-featured hematologist with a social life
     in suspended animation, sits back from the microscope, stumped. Next
     to her is JULIE WHITAKER, a cheerful chemtech. 

                           KAREN
               You took this off a DOA?

     Curtis sits on a stool nearby, slowly nodding.

                           KAREN
               This isn't human blood.

                           CURTIS
               Then what is it?

                           KAREN
               I don't know --
                    (re: microscope)
               Look at this blood smear -- 

     Curtis takes a look for himself.

                           KAREN
               The red blood cells are biconvex, 
               which is theoretically impossible. 
               They're hypochromic, there's virtually 
               no hemoglobin in them. 
                    (shaking her head)
               Look at the PMNs, they're binucleated, 
               they should be mononucleated.

                           CURTIS
               What about the chemistry panel? 

     Karen looks to Julie, who reaches for a computer print-out.

                           JULIE
               Blood sugar level is three times the 
               norm, phosphorous and uric acid are 
               off the scales.
                    (shrugs)
               Like the woman said, impossible.

     Karen removes her glasses, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

                           KAREN
               Curtis, it's three in the morning. I'm 
               really not in the mood for one of your 
               practical jokes.

                           CURTIS
                    (insistent)
               It's not a joke. I've got the stiff 
               sitting in the morgue right now -- 
               look, just come up and see him, okay? 
               Five minutes, that's all I ask.

                           KAREN
               I thought you promised to give me some 
               distance?

                           CURTIS
               This is purely professional curiosity, 
               Karen, I swear.

     Karen rolls her eyes, lets loose a tired sigh.

                           KAREN
               Five minutes, not a second more. And I 
               don't want to hear a word about "us".

                           CURTIS
               No problem.

     INT. HOSPITAL MORGUE - NIGHT

     The dead of night, not a mouse in the house. Curtis and Karen, each
     garbed in a mask, stand on either side of Quinn's body, which now
     rests on the autopsy table.

     QUINN'S BODY

     A preliminary exploratory Y-incision has been made across the chest,
     stretching from shoulder to shoulder, then continuing on down the
     abdomen. Ribs and cartilage have been cut open to expose the heart
     and lungs.

                           KAREN
               You haven't started in on the internal 
               organs?

                           CURTIS 
               Just the blood sample from the 
               pericardial sac.

     Curtis pauses, studying Quinn's disfigured face -- the features seem
     much less damaged now -- almost as if the corpse were healing itself.

                           CURTIS
               That's weird --

                           KAREN
               What?

                           CURTIS
               He looks different now, burns are less 
               extreme, some of these wounds have 
               closed up -- 

     Curtis pulls out a penlight, flicks it on. He leans over Quinn,
     shining the light into one of his eyes.

                           CURTIS
               Tell me something, honestly, you ever 
               have second thoughts about us?

                           KAREN
                    (grudgingly)
               Sometimes --

     Curtis looks up from the corpse, grinning beneath his mask.

                           KAREN
               -- but then I remember what an 
               ass-hole you were and I'm snapped back 
               to reality. 

                           CURTIS
               Jesus, Karen, you're breaking my heart 
               here --

     Quinn suddenly bolts up from the autopsy table, sinking his fangs
     into Curtis' jugular. He snaps the man's neck in two for easier
     access, sucking in blood like a living vacuum. 

     Karen stumbles backwards, sending autopsy tools CLATTERING.

     QUINN

     rises from the table, flinging Curtis' twitching body aside. He curls
     his blood-soaked lips back, baring viper-like fangs, emitting a
     GUTTURAL GROWL --

                           QUINN
                    (crazed by thirst)
               -- more -- blood --

     Karen backs into the corpse drawers, but Quinn is upon her in a half-
     second, wrapping a hand about her throat. His mouth opens/morphs
     disturbingly wide as if to swallow her head whole, caustic saliva
     dripping from his canines -- 

     Karen tries to turn her head away, but Quinn's grip is vise-like. She
     finds herself staring into his eyes -- pupils pulsing rapid-fire,
     opening and closing, hypnotic --

     As Quinn sinks the tips of his fangs into Karen's carotid artery and
     starts to nurse --

     BANG!!! A load of MAHOGANY buckshot chews into Quinn's side. He HOWLS
     in pain. Another load catches him full in the face. He drops Karen.
     She falls to the floor -- 

     KAREN'S POV

     The sound of RUSHING BLOOD pounding through her skull. Everything
     spinning. She struggles to move, turns her head, finds herself eye to
     eye with Curtis' corpse.

     ON QUINN

     rising, his face torn up, smoking. WHIP PAN TO --

     BLADE, 

     standing at the entrance to the morgue, a streetsweeper auto-shotgun
     in hand, sizing Quinn up.

                           BLADE
               Now don't we look dapper?

     Quinn BELLOWS with rage, ripping one of the heavy steel refrigeration
     doors from its hinges, flinging it at Blade like it was lawn
     furniture --

     Blade rolls to the side as the door CRASHES against the wall. Quinn
     runs, moving through the morgue like a human tornado, heading for the
     windows at the end of the room --

     SMASH!!! Out goes Quinn, taking half the wall with him. Blade rushes
     to the decimated window, looks down --

     BLADE'S POV

     Quinn lands on the roof of an ambulance parked four stories below,
     caving it in. He springs off, loping across the tarmac on three
     limbs, then -SCREECH!-THWUMP!- rolling up onto the hood of an
     oncoming car, before disappearing into the night --

     BACK UP ABOVE,

     Blade spins, SEES Karen bleeding her life away on the floor. She
     reaches a hand out to him, beseeching --

     Blade pulls away from her grasp, takes a step towards the exit --
     then hesitates. 

     A flicker of doubt washes across Blade's face. He looks down at Karen
     once more, wrestling with his conscience, finally making a decision.
     He kneels, scoops Karen up into his arms. Just then, 

     TWO POLICEMEN 

     rush into the morgue, weapons drawn --

                           UNIFORM #1
               Hold it, ass-hole!

     Blade ignores them, turning to face the window before him. It's a
     good thirty feet to the roof of the adjacent building, a parking
     structure -- and damned if Blade doesn't seem to be considering the
     jump.

     The Police close in, agitated. Blade crouches, switches Karen to a
     one-handed grip --

                           UNIFORM #1
               I said hold it!!!

     -- and jumps.

     EXT. HOSPITAL/ROOFTOP PARKING STRUCTURE - NIGHT

     Blade clears the impossible distance -- almost. He snags the ledge of
     the adjacent parking structure with his left hand even as Karen slips
     from the grasp of his right --

     -- a last-second save, his fingers clamping around her wrist, is all
     that stands between Karen and street pizza. She SCREAMS anyway,
     dangling below him --

     Blade GRUNTS, swinging Karen like a pendulum, heaving her up and over
     the ledge as if she were a sack of potatoes. She lands on her
     shoulder, clutching it in pain --

     Blade heaves himself up, crouching beside her.

                           KAREN
                    (gasping)
               My shoulder -- dislocated --

     Blade places a hand on her shoulder, another around her elbow and
     without any consideration to discomfort -CRACK!- brutally pops it
     back in place. Karen SCREAMS again as he scoops her up once more and
     heads for --

     HIS '69 OLDSMOBILE 442, 

     which is parked nearby. Midnight-black. The definitive high-
     performance heavy-metal muscle machine with an engine big enough to
     power an Apollo rocket. 

     INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

     Blade sets Karen down in the passenger seat, climbs behind the wheel,
     keys the ignition. The engine ROARS to life, belching fumes through
     the dual exhaust. Blade floors it, burning serious rubber as the Olds
     vanishes from sight. 

     BACK AT THE DEMOLISHED MORGUE WINDOW 

     as the two policemen stare numbly in open-mouthed astonishment.

     CUT TO:

     EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

     Blade pilots the Olds down the streets, moving through a series of
     increasingly degenerating neighborhoods, coming at last to the
     sprawling warehouse district.

     EXT. ABANDONED FACTORY - NIGHT 

     The Olds approaches a mammoth industrial facility that's been
     cordoned off by cyclone fencing and razor wire. Ultra-violet
     floodlights illuminate the area, while an army of security cameras
     keep a watchful eye. 

     INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

     Blade glances at Karen, cursing himself for giving into his emotions.
     He hits a remote secured to the sun visor --

     EXT. BLADE'S OLDS/ABANDONED FACTORY - NIGHT

     A gate grinds open. 

     We follow the Olds as it cruises around the back of the building,
     heading down a concrete loading ramp. At the bottom of the ramp, a
     heavy iron door rises. Blade's Olds disappears into the darkness.

     INT. ABANDONED FACTORY, INDUSTRIAL ELEVATOR - NIGHT

     More UV lights flicker on. We're in a massive loading elevator which
     HUMS as it ascends, eventually reaching its destination with a
     BOOMING CLANG. The doors at the rear glide open. Blade guides the
     Olds out.

     INT. ABANDONED FACTORY, WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

     Set up in an old ironworks, the place looks like a cross between an
     auto junkyard and an armory. Equipment is strewn everywhere --
     lathes, mills, old furnaces, gutted vehicles, an ad hoc surgical
     theater -- all of it jerry-rigged in a brutal, oily-tech.

     Blade climbs out of the Olds. He opens the passenger door and pulls
     Karen out, carries her in his arms. 

                           BLADE
               Whistler!

                           WHISTLER (O.S.)
               Are we bringing home strays now?

     ABRAHAM WHISTLER (60s)

     hobbles out of the shadows, leaning heavily on a cane. Gimlet-eyed,
     bitter, his right leg encased in a metal brace. Though his face is
     lined with wrinkles and his hair has long since gone gray, we sense
     he could kick the living shit out of any man half his age. 

                           BLADE
               She's been bitten.

                           WHISTLER
               You should've killed her, then.

                           BLADE
               She hasn't turned yet. 
                    (pointedly)
               You can help her.

     Blade and Whistler stare each other down. Finally, Whistler turns and
     heads over to the operating theater.

                           WHISTLER
               No promises. You watch her close. She 
               starts to turn, you finish her off.

     Blade nods, lays Karen down on the operating table. Whistler turns on
     an overhead light. Karen is sheathed in sweat, ashen. She's lost a
     lot of blood.

     Whistler snaps on a pair of surgical gloves, probes the wound in
     Karen's neck with an antiseptic swab -- there's capillary damage
     around the perimeter of the wound, the tissue looks bruised,
     gangrenous. 

                           WHISTLER
               Localized necrosis. She's borderline. 
               Another hour and she'd be well into 
               the change.

     Whistler cracks open a smelling salt capsule and waves under Karen's
     nose. As she starts to stir --

                           WHISTLER
               Can you hear me, woman? 

     Karen's eyes open wide. She's scared, disoriented --

                           KAREN
               What -- ?

                           WHISTLER
               You've been bitten by a vampire. We've 
               got to try and burn out the venom, 
               just like a rattlesnake bite --

     Whistler reaches for a massive syringe filled with caustic-looking
     fluid. Karen sees the syringe, resists --

                           WHISTLER
               Hold her. 

     Blade forces Karen back. Whistler readies the syringe.

                           WHISTLER
                    (reading her name tag)
               "Dr. Karen Jansen". Listen close, I'm 
               going to inject you with an antidote 
               made from allium setivum -- garlic. 
               This is going to hurt. A lot. 

     Whistler sinks the needle into Karen's neck and depresses the
     plunger. "Hurt" doesn't begin to describe what Karen experiences
     next. Imagine undergoing childbirth while someone pumps battery acid
     through your veins.

     Karen SHRIEKS, her body going into uncontrolled paroxysms. The wound
     on her neck begins to smoke as the antidote attacks the poisonous
     vampire venom.

     Karen clutches at Blade's arms, digging her nails in. She stares up
     at him with unflinching intensity, like a child desperately searching
     for assurance. 

     ON BLADE,

     uncomfortable playing the roll of nursemaid. He'd like nothing more
     than to be done with this, but the only thing he can do is hold Karen
     while she rides out the seizures. 

     KAREN'S POV

     growing darker by the moment. The last thing she sees is Blade
     staring down at her -- then the night closes in. 

     INT. HOUSE OF EREBUS, MEETING ROOM - NIGHT

     CLOSE ON a monitor featuring footage taken at the vampire club
     massacre. Blade turns and stares into the camera, fires his cross-
     bow. The screen cuts to static.

     A WITHERED, CLAWED HAND

     moves into frame, holding a remote. With a tap of a button, the
     monitor goes dark. 

     PULL BACK TO REVEAL a large, minimalist conference room -- the House
     of Erebus, seat of the vampire race's legislative assembly.

     Gathered around a massive table are the TWELVE VAMPIRE ELDERS,
     representing a "rainbow" of racial colors -- names like PALLINTINE,
     VON ESPER, ASHE, BAVA. Two of them, the FAUSTINAS, are identical
     twins -- lethal-looking women with alabaster skin. 

     Chilled carafes filled with blood are situated along the table. From
     time to time, a member will pour themselves a glass, or perhaps, help
     themselves to the bowls of human finger bones which serve as snacks.

     At the head of the table is GAETANO DRAGONETTI, current vampire
     "Overlord". Blood-red eyes, parchment skin stretched over skull-like
     features. Incalculably ancient, but still deadly and virile as a
     viper. 

     Dragonetti speaks. He uses the "secret tongue" -- the ancient vampire
     language which utilizes consonants human vocal chords are incapable
     of reproducing. 

                           DRAGONETTI 
                    (subtitled)
               Blade. Once again, our interests have 
               fallen victim to his ridiculous 
               crusade. He must be destroyed.

                           FROST (O.S.)
                    (in English)
               You're wrong, Dragonetti. 

     All heads turn. Who would dare such impudence?

     DEACON FROST, 

     a mere "Underlord" in the vampire hierarchy, steps forward.
     Strikingly handsome, younger, less conservative than his superiors,
     fueled with a passionate intensity. Amongst the vampire community
     he's known as an agitator. He's also the vampire equivalent of a
     racial supremacist.

                           FROST
               The Day Walker represents a unique 
               opportunity. We'd be fools to waste 
               it by killing him. 

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (subtitled, taking umbrage)
               Deacon Frost. You refuse to speak our 
               language, you insult the House of 
               Erebus by using the humans' 
               gutter-tongue, have you no respect 
               for tradition? 

                           FROST
               Why should I respect something which 
               has outlived its purpose?

     This causes quite a stir amongst the other vampires. Frost might as
     well have slapped Dragonetti in the face.

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (simmering)
               I see. And what would you have us do 
               with this "half-breed"?

                           FROST
               Study him. Unlock the secrets of his 
               DNA. He's the key we've been looking 
               for. 

                           DRAGONETTI
               He is an abomination! 

     Dragonetti slams his fist down, toppling a carafe, spilling blood
     across the tabletop. Frost looks to the others --

                           FROST
               Why should we spend our lives 
               cringing from the daylight when his 
               blood offers us an alternative? 
               Enough talk. It's time we stepped out 
               of the shadows!

     Dragonetti looks apoplectic. ELDER PALLINTINE, a five-hundred year-
     old vampire inhabiting the body of a prepubescent boy, interjects.

                           PALLINTINE
               You're out of line, Frost.

                           FROST
               Am I? Or am I just the first to say 
               out loud what we've all been 
               thinking? 

     The fact that no one answers is telling. Dragonetti glowers at the
     other Elders, sensing the tide turning.

                           DRAGONETTI
               The shadows suit us, Frost. We've 
               existed this way for thousands of 
               years. Who are you to challenge our 
               ways?

                           FROST
               Someone who's sick of living off 
               scraps. The coming age belongs to us, 
               not the humans! 
                    (to the others)
               When the final war between our races 
               comes, who do you want leading the 
               charge? 

     Frost stabs an accusing finger at the Overlord.

                           FROST
               Some withered up fossil ready to snap 
               like a brittle bone at the first sign 
               of change?

     Dragonetti GROWLS like an beast, raking his claws across the tyro
     vampire's face, knocking him to the ground. 

                           DRAGONETTI
               Get out!!!

     Frost picks himself up, touches the gashes on his cheek. Looks at his
     fingers, licks the blood from them. 

                           FROST
               Careful, old fang. You might wake up 
               one day and find yourself extinct.

     Frost smiles at Dragonetti and calmly exits the room.

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP, BLADE'S CELL - DAY

     ON KAREN as she comes to. Her wounds have been bandaged. She rises, a
     little shaky, takes in her surroundings -- She's in a spartan room,
     like a monk's cell. On the wall is a collection of knives and
     daggers. Some of them wooden, their hilts inscribed with bizarre-
     looking runes. In the center of these weapons rests --

     BLADE'S SWORD,

     hanging like a cross in a chapel, dominating all else. Karen touches
     it. Then her eyes drop to a silver locket which dangles from the hilt
     by a tarnished chain. She reaches for it, opens it --

     The locket features a photo, old and faded. It's the black woman we
     saw in the prologue, Vanessa, standing in the sunshine. 

     Karen moves towards the door, cautious -- 

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

     We hear VOICES now, coming from beyond a series of black-out
     curtains. Karen pushes one aside and SEES --

     BLADE

     strapped into some kind of Inquisition-esque restraint chair. His
     shirt is off, his body slick with sweat. Whistler finishes strapping
     Blade in, then stands back, holding up a gas-powered pistol injector,
     hesitant --

                           WHISTLER 
               I had to increase the dose. You're 
               building up a resistance to the 
               serum --

                           BLADE
                    (impatient)
               Just do it, old man.

     Whistler nods, fitting Blade with a bite guard. Then he presses the
     pistol-injector against Blade's carotid artery. 

     Blade shakes violently, grinding his teeth through the bite guard,
     veins cording in his neck. He clutches Whistler's hand, holding it
     tightly as he fights his way through the hellish seizure. To his
     credit, Whistler never lets go.

     Mentor and student stare at one another as the mysterious serum runs
     its violent course. We understand that these shared moments, oddly
     private in their horror, are the glue which binds the two vampire
     hunters together. Finally, Blade slumps forward in his restraints,
     exhausted. 

     KAREN

     She draws back, instinctively knowing that she's just witnessed
     something she shouldn't have. She looks for an exit, SEES another
     doorway. She makes for it -- 

     INT. WHISTLER'S LAB - TANK ROOM - DAY 

     A dusty, darkened hole of a room, no windows, just shadows, crumbling
     concrete, rust stains, and --

     A LARGE TANK

     filled with swirling blood plasma, choked with electrical leads and
     biomedical sensors. SOMETHING floats within, suspended in the murky
     fluid -- a child , two or three years of age, drifting about like a
     medical oddity preserved in formaldehyde -- 

     THUMP! The child SLAMS up against the glass. Karen backpedals,
     startled. Its eyes are open now, pupils blown. It snarls, revealing a
     mouthful of razored fangs, trailing mouth-slime across the glass as
     it futilely tries to chew its way through to Karen.

     Karen stifles a sob, turning and running right into --

     BLADE,

     who now blocks the exit, sword in hand. Karen retreats a step,
     wary --

                           BLADE
               You shouldn't be here.

                           KAREN
               I'm sorry, I --

                           WHISTLER (O.S.)
               Wandered off the beaten path, Doctor?

     Whistler has entered the room from a second doorway. Karen looks from
     Whistler to Blade, trapped between them --

                           KAREN
               Who are you people?

                           WHISTLER
               My name is Abraham Whistler.
                    (re: Blade)
               This is Blade. As for our little 
               homunculus here --

     Whistler limps over to the tank, rapping his cane against it. The
     creature snaps at it reflexively, following the silver tip back and
     forth like a fish after a lure.

                           BLADE
               -- he's a vampire.

                           KAREN
               You're joking --

                           WHISTLER
               Not at all. You're looking at a prime 
               specimen of the homines nocturna. 

     Whistler toys with the feral creature, engaging in a certain amount
     of sadistic delight as its efforts grow increasingly more frenzied.
     Suddenly, it surges towards the top of the tank, clawing at the
     lid --

     Karen becomes alarmed -- but then a massive ELECTRICAL JOLT shocks
     the creature back into submission. 

                           WHISTLER
               If Blade hadn't brought you here, you 
               would've wound up like him.

     Karen brings a hand to her bandaged neck, recalling the events of the
     previous night. She looks to Blade.

                           KAREN
               Why did you help me?

     Blade scowls, his gaze flickering to Whistler.

                           BLADE
               Stupidity.

                           WHISTLER
                    (appraising her)
               Maybe not. I did some checking, she's 
               a hematologist. Knowledge like that 
               might come in handy.

                           BLADE
               It's not worth the risk. We can't 
               trust her.

                           KAREN
               Why?

                           BLADE
               Because you're tainted. The venom's 
               still inside you. You could still 
               turn on us.

                           KAREN
               What happens then?

     Blade looks to Whistler -- as far as he's concerned, the debate's
     over.

                           BLADE
               Then I have to take you out, just 
               like any other bloodsucker.

     Blade turns and exits. Whistler and Karen follow.

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

     Beyond the grimy outer windows, we can see that the day is closing --
     long shadows, amber light. Karen lingers in the doorway, reeling from
     information overload. 

     Blade begins suiting up for his nightly hunt -- strapping on body
     armor, loading ammunition. He strings the tarnished locket around his
     neck as if it were an amulet that could ward off evil, then pauses to
     inspect a modified pistol, sighting down the length of it.

                           BLADE
               We hunt them, moving from one city to 
               the next, tracking their migrations. 
               They're hard to kill. They tend to 
               regenerate.

     CLACK! Blade pulls the trigger on an empty chamber, then checks his
     next weapon --

                           KAREN
                    (sarcastic)
               So what do you use, then? A stake?

                           WHISTLER
                    (nodding)
               Some of the old wives' tales are true 
               -- they're severely allergic to 
               silver, various types of wood. Feed 
               them garlic and they'll go into 
               anaphylactic shock -- 

     Whistler picks up a customized rifle with a UV entry light, flicking
     on the beam.

                           WHISTLER
               -- and of course there's always 
               sunlight, ultra-violet rays. 

     Karen shakes her head, incredulous -- 

                           KAREN
               And you honestly expect me to believe 
               all this?

                           BLADE
               I don't care what you believe. I 
               saved your life once, I don't plan on 
               making a habit of it. You want my 
               advice, you'll be out of the city by 
               nightfall. If you're stupid enough to 
               stay, that's your business.

                           KAREN
               I can't just leave. I have a life 
               here, a career --

                           BLADE 
               Not anymore. You've seen one of them. 
               You won't be allowed to live after 
               that. 

     Karen stares at Blade. Whistler gestures to the windows --

                           WHISTLER
               There's a war going on out there. 
               Blade, myself, a few others -- we've 
               tried to keep it from spilling over 
               onto the streets. 
                    (beat)
               Sometimes people like yourself get 
               caught in the cross-fire. 

     Whistler shrugs. As far as he's concerned, there's nothing else to
     say. Karen is still protesting, though. 

                           KAREN
               I can go to the police. I have blood 
               samples back at the hospital. I can 
               show them. 

                           BLADE
               Do it. You'll be dead before you can 
               file the complaint.

                           KAREN
               That's ridiculous! No one's that 
               powerful. 

     Whistler sighs. He doesn't suffer fools gladly.

                           WHISTLER 
               You're talking about a brotherhood 
               that predates the Catholic Church by 
               thousands of years. Their survival 
               depends on their ability to blend in. 
               Chances are, you've encountered them 
               and not even known it. On the subway, 
               in a bar --

     Blade slings his CAR-15 onto his shoulder, impatient. He starts
     towards the Olds, gesturing.

                           BLADE
               Get in. You’re leaving.

                           WHISTLER
               Wait.

     Whistler tosses a small metal canister to Karen.

                           WHISTLER
               Consider it a parting gift. Vampire 
               mace -- silver nitrate, essence of 
               garlic. 

                           KAREN
                    (in disbelief)
               So that's it? You guys just patch me 
               up and send me on my way?

                           WHISTLER
               There is one other thing. I'd buy 
               yourself a gun if I were you. If you 
               start becoming sensitive to the 
               daylight, if you start becoming 
               thirsty regardless of much you've had 
               to drink -- then I suggest you take 
               that gun and use it on yourself. 
               Better that, than the alternative.

     Karen stares at Whistler, horrified, as we --

     CUT TO:

     INT. THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES - DAY

     We are deep in the narrow stacks of a sepulchral archive. Exactly
     what and where this place is will become more clear later on. 

     But for now, the CAMERA DRIFTS through the warren of aisles. Along
     the way, we catch a glimpse of a HULKING SILHOUETTE cowering behind a
     series of Japanese shoji screens. Later on, we find --

     FROST

     tucked away in a carrel, surrounded by books and scriptures, with
     only the SICKLY GLOW of his laptop to provide light.

                           DRAGONETTI (O.S.)
               What are you doing here?

     Frost pauses, SEEING Dragonetti emerge from the shadows.

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (outraged)
               These archives are restricted to 
               members of the House of Erebus.

                           FROST
               Please. You and the other Elders 
               wouldn't know what to do with these 
               texts if your lives depended on it. 
                    (cryptically)
               Which, of course, they do.

                           DRAGONETTI
               You're wasting your time, Frost. Far 
               greater scholars than you have tried 
               to decipher these words. Whatever 
               secrets they hold have been lost.

                           FROST
               Perhaps.

     Frost studies Dragonetti, a self-satisfied grin on his face. If the
     act was intended to unnerve Dragonetti, it succeeded, though the
     ancient vampire would never admit it.

                           DRAGONETTI
               What are you up to, Frost?

     Frost shuts the lid on his laptop, rising, drawing intimidatingly
     close to Dragonetti.

                           FROST'S VOICE
               Wouldn't you like to know, Old Fang?

     A beat as the young turk stares his elder down. Dragonetti is the
     first to lose his nerve. Frost smiles and exits, leaving the old
     vampire to lick his wounds.

     CAMERA DRIFTS back to the hulking silhouette, which has been
     eavesdropping on the conversation. It quivers in fear.

     INT. BLADE'S OLDS (ON KAREN'S STREET CORNER) - DAY

     Blade brings the car to a stop. Karen looks at him. His eyes are
     hidden behind his glasses, his expression stone.

                           BLADE
               Remember what we said. Keep your eyes 
               open. They're everywhere.

     EXT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY

     As Karen climbs out, Blade swings the door shut behind her. The Olds
     ROARS off down the quiet residential street. 

     INT. APARTMENT BUILDING, LOBBY - DAY

     Karen crosses the lobby, stepping into an elevator. Just as the doors
     are closing, a WOMAN and TWO MEN duck in alongside her. 

     INT. ELEVATOR - DAY

     Silence, the uncomfortableness of an elevator ride magnified tenfold.
     Karen can FEEL the eyes of her fellow passengers upon her. Finally
     succumbing to paranoia, she hazards a glance -- would she be able to
     tell if these people weren't human? The woman turns to Karen,
     smiles --

     Karen surreptitiously fishes the "vampire mace" from her pocket,
     clutching it -- and now one of the men turns to look at her,
     nodding --

     INT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING, HALLWAY - DAY

     The elevator doors open. Karen hurries out, heads left, finds herself
     in a deserted hallway. She looks back --

     -- then skips a heartbeat as the trio also step out! As Karen raises
     the canister of mace --

     -- the trio turn and head down to the right. Karen breathes a sigh of
     relief, shakes her head.

     INT. KAREN'S APARTMENT - DAY

     Karen enters quickly, bolting the door behind her. She picks up the
     phone, dials 911 --

                           KAREN
               I need the police. This is an 
               emergency --

     As Karen waits to be connected, she moves to the back entrance and
     checks the locks -- then the windows, then the fire escape --
     finally, a VOICE comes on the other end.

                           KAREN
               Hello? My name is Karen Jansen, I was 
               with Curtis Webb at Mid-Town Hospital 
               last night -- that's right, I 
               witnessed the attack --
                    (listening)
               115 Aurora, apartment 3G. Yes, I'll 
               wait here. Please hurry.

     Karen hangs up the phone and turns -- 

     A SHAFT OF BRIGHT SUNLIGHT

     streams in through a window. Karen forces herself to look at it and
     winces, shielding her eyes. Again, she brings a hand to the bandaged
     wound on her neck. She moves to the window, pulling the shade down,
     frightened.

                           KAREN
               Get a grip on yourself, girl.

     She sinks down into a chair to wait, setting Whistler's vampire mace
     aside. Then she shuts her eyes, massaging her temples. We SEE --

     A BRIEF FLASH OF

     Quinn, his mouth opening wide, saliva dripping from his fangs. His
     pupils pulsating hypnotically. We rush into his gaping maw and --

     WHAM! We're back to reality. Karen wakes with a start, looks to the
     windows -- time has passed, it's getting dark outside --

     -- and someone is KNOCKING at the front door. Karen reaches for the
     vampire mace, then moves to the door. She looks through the peephole,
     cautious --

                           KAREN
               Who is it? 

     KAREN'S POV (FISH-EYE)

     A POLICE OFFICER stands in the hallway -- 30s, handsome, a knight in
     shining armor as far as she's concerned. 

                           GIDEON
               Sergeant Gideon. I'm responding to a 
               911 call. 

     Karen visibly relaxes. She opens the door and steps aside, allowing
     Gideon to enter.

                           KAREN
               Yes, that was me, I'm Karen Jansen -- 

     Gideon smiles, takes a quick glance around the room, then studies
     Karen's face, the bandages on her neck.

                           GIDEON
               Are you all right?
                    (off Karen's nod)
               I'm glad you called, Ms. Jansen, we've 
               been anxious to get a hold of you. You 
               disappeared on us for a while. 

                           KAREN
               I know. Listen -- do you have any idea 
               what happened to Curtis, the other 
               doctor?

                           GIDEON
                    (matter of fact)
               Oh, he's dead. But I wouldn't worry 
               about that if I were you.

                           KAREN
                    (alarmed)
               Why?

     Gideon's smile vanishes as he unholsters his gun. 

                           GIDEON
               Because you're dead too.

     Karen GASPS. She has a half-second to act -- in which she triggers a
     spray of vampire mace into Gideon's face. Gideon stumbles back,
     blinded, cursing, rubbing the heel of his palm against his eyes -- 

     Karen expects pyrotechnics -- but the end result is little more than
     an annoyance. A second later, Gideon is simply blinking, sniffing his
     fingers, confused --

                           GIDEON
               Garlic?

                           KAREN
               He said it would work against 
               vampires --

     Gideon bursts out laughing.

                           GIDEON
               Who said I was a vampire? 

     Gideon shakes his head, still snickering. He forces Karen against the
     wall, placing the gun against her head --

                           GIDEON
               Thanks for the laugh. You can shut 
               your eyes if you want to.

     CRASH!!! The front door explodes open as Blade comes flying through
     it! 

     Gideon tries to bring his pistol up -- but Blade grips the man's hand
     and squeezes. Gideon SCREAMS as his bones snap like kindling. The
     pistol falls from his grasp --

     Blade fires his fist into Gideon's gut again and again, then flings
     the officer across the room, sending him SMASHING into a glass-cased
     cabinet. Bleeding, battered, Gideon struggles to stand --

     Blade is all over him, kicking the shit out of the rogue cop until he
     sinks to the floor in a half-conscious haze.

     Blade stands over Gideon's limp form, fists clenched, breathing
     heavily, touching down after his adrenaline high. Finally, he looks
     to Karen --

                           BLADE
               You okay?

     Karen nods, glances at Gideon --

                           KAREN
               How did you know?

                           BLADE
               Figured they'd send someone after you. 
               Thought I'd wait around and see who 
               showed up.

                           KAREN
               You used me as bait?!

                           BLADE
               It worked, didn't it?

                           KAREN
               But, he could've --

                           BLADE
               He didn't. Get over it.

     Blade kneels next to Gideon. He turns the man's head, inspects the
     neck, the skin behind the ear -- 

                           KAREN
               But he's a policeman --

                           BLADE
               He's a familiar. A human who works for 
               the vampires. See this mark?

     Blade pushes aside Gideon's hair, revealing a tiny, cryptic symbol
     tattooed into the man's scalp.

                           BLADE
               That's a glyph, kind of like a vampire 
               cattle brand. That means Officer 
               Friendly here is someone's property. 
               Any of the other vampire's try to 
               bleed him, they'll have to answer to 
               Friendly's owner --
                    (studying the glyph)
               This glyph belongs to Deacon Frost. 
               We've been tracking him for a while 
               now --

                           KAREN
               Why in God's name would anyone want to 
               work for them?

                           BLADE
               Because they're vampire wanna-bes. If 
               they're loyal, if they prove 
               themselves, then their masters will 
               turn them. 

                           KAREN
               And that's a good thing?

                           BLADE
               For some. Live forever, never get old. 
               The ultimate high. 

     Just then, Gideon MOANS. Blade drags the man up so they're eye to
     eye.

                           BLADE
               How 'bout you, Officer? You a good 
               little bloodhound?

     CUT TO:

     EXT. KAREN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DUSK

     Blade and Karen are now standing by Gideon's police cruiser which is
     parked outside Karen's apartment. Blade shoves Gideon against the
     hood of the cruiser. He finds Gideon's keys, moves to the trunk,
     opens it --

     IN THE TRUNK --

     A sophisticated medical cooling unit for transporting organs. Blade
     opens the unit, coolant vapor hisses out. Inside are plastic bags
     containing blood. 

                           BLADE
               Looks like our friend was 
               blood-running.
                    (to Gideon)
               Where were you headed?

     Gideon mumbles through a split lip and chipped teeth --

                           GIDEON
               Mphuck you --

     WHAM! Blade plants Gideon's face into the hood of the car. Gideon
     GROANS, coughs --

                           GIDEON
               Jesus -- 1227 Brookner -- 
               Holliston Clinic --

     Blade releases him, then reaches for his Casull.

                           KAREN
               What are you doing?!

                           BLADE
               Preventive medicine.

     Karen steps in front of Blade, shielding Gideon.

                           KAREN
               You can't do this, he's human, it's 
               murder.

                           BLADE
               It's war, now get the fuck out of the 
               way!

     Karen grabs Blade's arm, wrestling with him, trying to push his hand
     away. As the two of them struggle, Gideon makes a break for it,
     stumbling across the lawn. Blade pushes Karen aside, takes aim,
     FIRES --

     -- but Gideon ducks into an alley, disappearing from sight. Blade
     spins on Karen, enraged --

                           BLADE
               God-damnit!!! Do you have any idea 
               what you just did?! He'll warn them. 
               They'll be waiting!

     But Karen's defiant, she's not backing down.

                           KAREN
               You were going to kill him. What was I 
               supposed to do?! Shut my eyes and 
               pretend I didn't see what I saw? 

     Blade tears off his glasses. Karen gasps --

     BLADE'S EYES

     aren't human, nor are they vampire. They're something else -- emerald
     green, laced with swirling flecks of red. 

                           BLADE
               Let me set you straight on something, 
               Doctor. What you've "seen" so far is 
               nothing. The world you live in's just 
               the sugar-coated topping. There's 
               another world beneath it, the real 
               world -- and it's a fucking bloodbath. 
               If you want to survive in it, you'd 
               better pull your head out of your ass. 

     Blade slips his glasses back on, leaving Karen shocked into silence.
     He heads for his Olds without looking back, climbs in, guns the
     engine. In seconds, he's gone, tearing off down the street in a cloud
     of exhaust.

     EXT. EDGEWOOD TOWERS, PENTHOUSE - DUSK

     We are soaring through the air above the gleaming city skyline,
     moving towards the Edgewood Towers whose windows reflect the blood-
     red sinking sun.

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, POOL - NIGHT

     Suffused lighting, elegant tile-work featuring evocative mosaics, the
     quiet strains of CLASSICAL MUSIC -- 

     MERCURY,

     the lupine Gaultier girl from the club, glides beneath the water,
     surfacing at the deep end. We SEE --

     FROST

     lounging in a chair, studying a laptop which rests beside him. On the
     screen is a digitized image -- a page taken from an ancient
     manuscript, written in a secret tongue.

     Officer Gideon waits nearby, cradling his ruined hand, his battered
     face cast downward like a boy who's been called into the Principal's
     office. 

                           GIDEON
               Look, I know you're disappointed --

                           FROST
               Crestfallen.

                           GIDEON
               Blade was waiting for me. There wasn't 
               anything I could do.

     Frost nods, lapsing into brooding contemplation.

                           FROST
               Tell me something, Gideon, what blood 
               type are you?

     Gideon hesitates. Is this a trick question?

                           GIDEON
               I don't really know --

                           FROST
               Take a wild stab. A? B? O, perhaps? 
               I'm interested in the antigens here, 
               the agglutination reaction --

     Gideon stammers as Frost rises. In the blink of an eye, Frost lifts
     Gideon from the floor, dangling the Officer over the deep end of the
     pool by his throat --

                           FROST
               I'm going to guess AB positive.

     Gideon GURGLES as Frost's fingernails pierce his flesh, drawing
     blood. Then Frost releases him --

     Gideon plunges into the pool. Mercury is on him in a heartbeat,
     tearing him apart like a Great White consuming a piece of chum. The
     water churns violently around them, clouding with red.

     When it's over, Mercury rises from the pool, dripping wet, covered
     from head to toe in a crimson sheen. 

     She kisses Frost hungrily, letting Gideon's blood flow from her mouth
     to his. Frost flicks a tongue over his lips.

                           FROST
               AB positive. Give the man a prize.

     Below them, Gideon's lifeless body sinks towards the pool bottom, his
     police badge twinkling like sunken treasure.

     CUT TO:

     EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

     Blade's Olds cruises to a stop. We're in a low-end commercial
     district -- junky heaven. Blade climbs out, pulling an automatic
     rifle from the back seat, then heading into an alleyway. 

     EXT. BACK ALLEY - NIGHT

     Blade makes his way down the alley, cautious -- he SEES mountains of
     trash, boarded-up windows, overlapping layers of gang graffiti -- a
     RAT crouching on a trash dumpster, gnawing on a dead pigeon --

     -- then a SOUND behind Blade, the scuffle of feet -- 

     Blade whirls, drawing his sword, CHARGING at an approaching shadow,
     stopping mere millimeters from decapitating --

     KAREN,

     who's been backed up against the wall, her eyes wide with fright.
     Blade's sword vibrates from the tension in his forearm, having drawn
     just the slightest taste of blood.

                           BLADE
               What the hell are you doing?! I could 
               have killed you!

     Blade lowers his sword. Karen remembers to breathe. She slumps,
     tracing her fingers over the line where her head almost parted with
     her body.

                           KAREN
               I remembered the address. I followed 
               you --

     Blade shakes his head, amazed.

                           BLADE
               Do you have a death wish or are you 
               just stupid?

     Karen pushes away from the wall, angry --

                           KAREN
               Look, if what you say is true, if 
               there's a chance I could turn into one 
               of them, then I've got no choice, do 
               I? I have to work with you. I need to 
               learn everything I can about them. 
               It's the only way I'll be able to find 
               a cure for myself.

                           BLADE
               There is no cure. 

                           KAREN
                    (defiant)
               You don't know that.

     Blade turns and moves to the end of the alley, studying the graffiti-
     covered wall intently --

                           KAREN
               What are you looking at?

                           BLADE
                    (gesturing)
               What do you see here?

                           KAREN
               Graffiti --

                           BLADE
               Look closer.

     Blade indicates a design amongst the various gang-banger tags that
     looks something like a post-modern hieroglyphic.

                           BLADE
               This isn't a gang tag, it's a vampire 
               marking. It means there's a safe-house 
               nearby. 
               A place they can go if dawn is coming. 

     Blade points to a building across the street --

     THE HOLLISTON CLINIC,

     your basic inner-city blood-barter establishment where desperate
     transients parley their plasma into cash.

                           KAREN
                    (recognizing it)
               I know this place -- it's a blood 
               bank. 

                           BLADE
               Owned by vampires. There's one of 
               these in every major city, and just 
               like Domino's, they always deliver.
                    (looking to Karen)
               You telling me you're ready to walk 
               through that door?

     Karen nods. Blade continues to stare at her, taking her measure --
     there's a strength in this woman's eyes, she has the soul of a
     fighter -- and Blade recognizes it. 

                           BLADE
               All right, then, listen up, Vampire 
               Anatomy 101. Crosses and running water 
               don't do dick, so forget what you've 
               seen in the movies. 

     Blade enumerates the following on his fingers:

                           BLADE
               You use the stake, silver, or 
               sunlight, got it? 

     Blade holds up one of his Casulls. 

                           BLADE
               Know how to use one of these?

     Karen takes the weapon from him, eyes all over it.

                           KAREN
               No.

     Blade takes the gun back, snorting derisively.

                           BLADE
               Safety's off, round's already 
               chambered -- 
                    (cocking it)
               Silver hollow-points filled with 
               garlic. You aim for the heart or the 
               head, anything else is a one-way 
               ticket to a pine box.

     Blade hand it to her again, then starts across the street towards the
     clinic. Karen follows --

     INT. HOLLISTON CLINIC, LOBBY - NIGHT

     Blade enters, swinging his rifle around for all to see.

                           BLADE
               Get out. Now.

     The POTENTIAL DONORS scramble for the exit. Behind the counter,
     TANAKA, a male nurse, reaches for an alarm button. Blade vaults over
     the counter, aiming his rifle. 

                           BLADE
               I know you're blood-running. Who's 
               your sponsor? 

                           TANAKA
               I don't know what you're --

     POW! Blade backhands him across the face hard enough to loosen his
     teeth. Karen flinches, stepping forward -- 

                           KAREN
               What if you've made a mistake?

     Blade pins Tanaka's head to the wall, turning it to the side --
     revealing the man's glyph. It's different than Gideon's, looking more
     like a Japanese kanji character.

                           BLADE
               What's this? A birthmark?

     Blade grips Tanaka by his collar, shoving him through a doorway --

     INT. HOLLISTON CLINIC, SUPPLY ROOM - NIGHT

     Karen and Blade SEE supply cabinets, cots, a number of locked
     refrigeration units. Blade FIRES into the door handle of one of the
     units, tears it open -- the fridge is stacked floor to ceiling with
     plastic packets of blood.

                           BLADE
                    (to Karen)
               Still think we might be wrong?
                    (to Tanaka)
               How much are you shipping?

                           TANAKA
               Bite me!

     Blade opens FIRE, sweeping his rifle around the room, shooting
     everything in sight. Glass cabinetry shatters, ampoules and
     vacutainers go flying. Tanaka cowers, arms wrapped about his head.

     Blade stops shooting. He leans down towards Tanaka, placing the end
     of his rifle against the man's forehead. Tanaka looks like he's about
     to wet his pants.

                           BLADE
               I've got a message for your masters -- 
               the night's no longer safe for their 
               kind.

     Blade pulls back his rifle, leaving a red indentation mark where the
     end of the rifle barrel pressed into Tanaka's skin. He starts towards
     the exit. Karen follows.

     CUT TO:

     INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen return to the Olds. He keys the ignition, lets the
     engine idle. They're parked down the street from the blood clinic.
     Karen looks to Blade, confused --

                           KAREN
               You let him go -- 
                    (off Blade's nod)
               An hour ago you were ready to kill a 
               man for less, this one didn't even 
               talk.

                           BLADE
               He will.

     Blade points --

     THROUGH THE WINDSHIELD --

     Tanaka rushes from the clinic, climbing behind the wheel of a Mustang
     parked nearby. He takes off -- 

     Blade follows the Mustang, CLICKING on a cell-phone scanner mounted
     on the dash. Numbers flash on the LCD screen as it searches for a
     signal, then locks onto it. We hear a DIAL TONE, then a number being
     dialed --

                           AUTOMATED VOICE
                    (filtered, on scanner)
               "You've reached a number that is no 
               longer in service. Please consult your 
               operator and try again".

                           TANAKA'S VOICE
                    (filtered, on scanner)
               It's Tanaka, PIN number 
               sixteen-zero-zero-nine --

     A "real" voice comes on the line:

                           VOICE
                    (filtered, on scanner)
               Yes?

     Karen looks to Blade, impressed. 

     INT. TANAKA'S MUSTANG - NIGHT

     Tanaka speeds, shouting into the speaker phone -- 

                           TANAKA
               Get me Pearl! 

                           VOICE
                    (filtered, on speaker)
               Pearl is feeding --

                           TANAKA
               Look, I'm not fucking around here! 
               That hunter Frost has been talking 
               about? He was just at the clinic. Tore 
               the goddamn place apart!

     EXT. THE BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

     Tokyo town. A black edifice, no windows, secured parking, no signage
     except for a purple neon scroll above the entrance -- a FLASHING
     KANJI, just like the glyph tattooed on Tanaka's neck.

     Tanaka's Mustang pulls into the parking lot. He climbs out, flagging
     away the valets, heads inside --

     WHIP PAN TO

     Blade's Olds stopping a few blocks down the street.

     INT. BLADE'S OLDS - NIGHT

     Blade kills the engine, studying The Black Pearl.

                           BLADE
               Looks like we hit pay-dirt. This place 
               is crawling with them.
                    (pointing)
               See the valets over there? They're 
               vampires. So is the doorman.

                           KAREN
               How can you tell?

                           BLADE
               The way they move, they way they 
               smell --

     Blade continues to scan the area, pointing out a few more likely
     candidates --

                           BLADE
               The whore on the corner, she's one 
               too. So are the two men standing under 
               the streetlight.

     Blade reaches into the back seat, retrieves his sword and a satchel.
     He snaps open his shotgun, loads it. Karen continues to study the
     vampires Blade identified.

                           KAREN
               So many of them -- I still can't 
               believe they're real.

                           BLADE
               There are worse things than vampires 
               out there.

                           KAREN
               Like what?

                           BLADE
                    (pumping his shotgun)
               Like me.

     Blade reaches for the door --

     EXT. THE BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen climb out. He lets his shotgun fall within the folds
     of his longcoat and starts across the street -- only to be challenged
     by a HULKING DOORMAN at the entrance.

                           DOORMAN
               I'm sorry, sir -- do you have an 
               invitation?

     INT. BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

     CRASH! The front door flies open as the Doorman's body sails through.
     Blade enters, Karen at his heels -- 

     The 'Pearl' is an all-hours strip club cum casino catering
     exclusively to Japanese zaibatsu clientele. Dimly lit, the air thick
     with cigarette smoke, deafening MUSIC. Go boards, pachinko machines,
     sexy little MANGA WAIFS in schoolgirl outfits doling out drinks --

     STRIPPERS writhe in the circular "pit" tables surrounded by HOWLING
     grab-ass men. But that's nothing compared to --

     The MAIN ATTRACTION,

     who's doing a bump and grind down the runway, shaking a body worthy
     of a schoolboy's wet dream. Her attire? A leather S&M face mask,
     nipple rings, 6-inch spikes, and a pair of panties to hide her
     modesty.

     Blade scans the room -- just in time to see Tanaka ducking into a
     back hallway. Blade pushes towards the rear of the club. Karen
     follows. 

     ON THE STRIPPER

     as she catches sight of Blade and freezes in mid-routine. The
     stripper pulls off her hood. Long black hair with a streak of white
     tumbles down her back -- it's Mercury. 

     INT. BLACK PEARL, HALLWAY - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen head past the bathrooms. At the end of the hall is a
     door marked "OFFICE". Just then, the Men's door opens, a DRUNK
     COLLEGE KID steps out, SEES Blade --

                           KID
               Hey --

     Blade plants a hand over the kid's face, shoving him back into the
     bathroom as he kicks open the office door --

     INT. THE BLACK PEARL, BACK OFFICE - NIGHT

     Tanaka spins around, startled, tries to throw a punch -- 

     Blade traps Tanaka's arm, levering the man up and over. He CRASHES
     into a shelving unit, taking the whole thing down with him. Karen
     winces. Blade grabs a handful of Tanaka's hair, yanks his head up --

                           BLADE
               Where's the entrance?!

                           TANAKA
               I can't -- they'll kill me!

     Blade rips off his glasses and gives Tanaka an eyeful -- his irises
     pulse and glow. 

                           BLADE
               I got news for you, butt-boy. You're 
               already dead. 

                           TANAKA
                    (terrified)
               Oh God, shit -- behind the bookcase --

     Blade drops Tanaka, moves to the bookcase. He searches the wall a
     moment, then finds a trigger. Hits it -- the bookcase slides aside,
     revealing a hidden elevator. As Blade moves to put his sunglasses
     back on --

     BLADE'S POV (IN THE REFLECTION OF HIS SUNGLASSES)

     We see Tanaka behind him, pulling a handgun out of a desk drawer,
     swinging it up --

     Blade unholsters one of his Casulls faster than any gunslinger in
     history. He FIRES over his own shoulder, BLOWING Tanaka back against
     the wall. 

     Blade puts his sunglasses back on, motions to the elevator, then nods
     to Karen --

                           BLADE
               After you. 

     INT. THE BLACK PEARL, ELEVATOR - NIGHT

     The elevator descends. Then a tone CHIMES, signaling the end of the
     ride. The doors hiss open -- 

     INT. THE VAMPIRE ARCHIVES, HALLWAY - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen enter the narrow, maze-like "stacks" of the vampire
     archives, weaving their way through shelves of climate-controlled,
     digitized records. 

                           KAREN
               What is this place?

                           BLADE
               Some kind of archive --

                           KAREN
               Isn't this all a little high-tech? I 
               thought vampires were more into 
               cobwebs and coffins.

                           BLADE
               You've been watching too much TV. 
               They've got their claws sunk into 
               everything -- finance, real estate, 
               politics. Probably own half of 
               Downtown. 

     Blade pulls a CD-ROM from the shelves, its spine labeled in
     indecipherable vampire glyphs.

                           BLADE
               This must be where they keep their 
               records --

     He pauses, hearing a DISTANT WHISPER. Blade signals quiet, silently
     leading Karen through the stacks towards -- 

     PEARL'S LAIR

     A vestibule of sorts, leading to a larger bed chamber constructed of
     rice paper shoji screens and tatami mats. Candles glow within,
     illuminating a MONSTROUSLY OBESE SHADOW beyond the translucent rice
     paper walls.

     The shadow speaks in a tremulous, bird-like voice -- the secret
     tongue. As Blade draws his sword, the massive shadow freezes --

                           PEARL'S VOICE
                    (frightened)
               Lorca, is that you?

     Blade slides open the nearest shoji screen --

     INT. PEARL'S BED CHAMBER - NIGHT

     Nothing Karen's seen up until this point could prepare her for the
     archive's curator --

     PEARL,

     a nine-hundred-pound androgynous vampire of Asian origin, lounging
     amidst pillowed rice mats, wearing a communications headset. Think of
     a cross between Divine and Jabba The Hutt. Skin the complexion of
     buttermilk, so corpulent he can barely move, so engorged with blood
     that he's actually sweating it from the pores of his skin. 

     Pearl is surrounded by a nest of monitors and keyboards which have
     been affixed to counter-balanced arms -- this way, Pearl can access
     information without leaving bed.

     Lying next to Pearl, dwarfed by the vampire's massive size, is the
     chalk-white body of a recently-drained NAKED BOY. 

     At the sight of Blade, Pearl's eyes widen in fear --

                           PEARL
                    (into a speakerphone)
               He's here!

                           FROST'S VOICE
                    (over speakerphone)
               Congratulations, Day-Walker.

                           BLADE
               Frost?

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, POOL - NIGHT

     Frost paces the length of his pool, wearing a hands-free
     communications headset, grinning.

                           FROST
               In the flesh, Blade. I understand 
               you've been looking for me. I'm 
               flattered.

     INT. PEARL'S BEDCHAMBER - NIGHT

     As Blade listens, Pearl reaches for his trackball, attempting to
     delete the document currently on his monitors -- but Blade lunges
     forward, sinking the tip of his sword into Pearl's fleshy throat.
     Pearl freezes. 

                           BLADE
                    (eyeballing Pearl)
               Don't be. You're another notch on my 
               sword hilt, nothing else.

     Frost's DEEP LAUGHTER drifts from the speakerphone.

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, POOL - NIGHT

     Frost settles into his chair, enjoying the cat and mouse.

                           FROST
               You're quick, Blade, I'll give you 
               that. In the space of an hour you've 
               crossed my familiar, destroyed a blood 
               bank --
                    (beat)
               Now here you are in the heart of our 
               archives, terrorizing our curator.

                           PEARL'S VOICE
               He has a knife to my throat, Frost! 
               He --

                           FROST
                    (cutting him off)
               You're history, Pearl. Have the good 
               grace to die with some dignity.
                    (beat)
               Round one to you, Blade.

     INT. PEARL'S BEDCHAMBER - NIGHT

     CLICK, the line goes dead. Blade tosses his satchel on the bed, opens
     it. Inside is a hand-held UV lamp hooked up to a nine-volt battery.
     Pearl eyes the device, fearful -- 

                           PEARL
               What is that?

                           BLADE
               A sun lamp. We're gonna play twenty 
               questions. Depending on your answers, 
               you might get to have yourself a 
               tanning session. 

     Blade looks to Pearl's monitor and SEES a digitized image, the SAME
     MANUSCRIPT Deacon had been studying earlier. 

                           BLADE
               What were you in such a big hurry to 
               delete just now?

     Pearl hesitates. Blade turns on the lamp. Pearl HOWLS as the harsh
     light falls upon him. Blade flicks the light off.

     Pearl cringes, GROWLING, his face smoking profusely. Exposure to the
     UV rays, even for one short second, has made his face blister like a
     plague victim's.

                           PEARL
                    (relenting)
               It's an epistle, a letter Frost has 
               been translating -- it prophesizes 
               LaMagra's return.

                           BLADE
               And who is LaMagra?

     Pearl hesitates again -- Blade turns on the lamp for a longer time.
     Pearl thrashes, covering his face. His hands blacken, the skin
     sizzling away to expose the finger bones beneath. Karen has to avert
     her gaze --

     Blade turns off the lamp. Pearl SNARLS, his body quivering with
     poisonous rage.

                           PEARL
               LaMagra is The Sleeper!!! 

     Blade leans in close so he's eye to eye with Pearl.

                           BLADE
               Where's the original, Pearl? You must 
               have it around here somewhere.

     Pearl sweats blood, his flaking, slug-like lips quivering. 

                           PEARL
               The vault --

     Blade follows Pearl's eyes to an armored door, then he stands back,
     handing the UV rig to Karen.

                           BLADE
               If he moves, cook him.

     Blade approaches the vault door, sizing up its locking mechanism. He
     pulls an explosive charge from his combat belt and secures it to the
     door, arming it with a BEEP!

                           PEARL
               Please, I'll give you the combination 
               -- you'll damage the documents --

                           BLADE
               That's the point.

     Enraged, Pearl LUNGES from his bed. Karen triggers the UV rig, flash-
     frying him to a blackened crisp. Pearl quivers, his enormous body
     smoking like a piece of charred meat. 

     Blade looks back at Karen with newfound respect. She shrugs.

                           KAREN
               He moved.

     Blade turns back to the vault, setting off the charge. BOOM! Blade
     kicks the damaged door in, knocking it clear off its hinges --

     INSIDE THE VAULT,

     ancient papers flutter through the smoky air like wind-borne leaves.
     Blade and Karen SEE a lucite-encased document -- fragments of an
     ancient, calligraphied papyrus. 

                           KAREN
               What are these?

                           QUINN (o.s.)
               Curiosity killed the cat.

     Blade and Karen spin --

     -- QUINN,

     Mercury, and a number of other vampires stand at the entrance to the
     vault.

                           QUINN
                    (grins)
               Hola, amigo. Remember me?

     Karen triggers the UV light, but Mercury ducks under it, ripping it
     from her hands, crushing it. In a split-second, the she-demon has her
     claws around Karen's throat.

     As Blade reaches for his rifle, the vampires converge on him like
     quicksilver. They drag Karen and Blade out --

     PEARL'S BEDCHAMBER

     The vampires fling Blade against the wall, pinning him. 

                           QUINN
               You took my arm, Blade. But that's 
               okay, I'm growing a new one --

     Quinn lifts up his "arm". A skeletal forearm has grown from the
     stump. It's got cartilage, sinew, and muscle, but no flesh yet. 

                           QUINN
               Nice, huh? Think I'll ever play the 
               piano again?
                    (shrugging)
               You can slice him, you can dice him, 
               and the man just keeps on coming. 

     Blade struggles violently, but Quinn is upon him, pounding his fist
     into Blade again and again and again -- giving him payback with
     compounded interest. When it's over, Quinn steps back, winded -- 

     Blade's head hangs down. He gasps, wincing, every breath sending a
     red hot poker to his gut. Quinn grabs a hold of Blade's jaw, forcing
     his head up. 

                           QUINN
               Stay with me, sweetness, I'm not 
               through with you yet.

     Quinn pulls Blade's jacket open, sees the bandoleer of mahogany
     stakes. He tugs one out, admiring it.

                           QUINN
               Teak. Nice craftsmanship. 
                    (to the others)
               Now here's a man who takes his job 
               just a little too seriously, don't you 
               think?
                    (back to Blade)
               Which reminds me, Blade, think I owe 
               you one --

     Quinn stabs the stake into Blade's shoulder. Blade CRIES OUT, tries
     to pull free. Karen, who's being held by Mercury, averts her gaze.

                           QUINN
               Actually, if you want to get 
               technical, I owe you two.

     As Quinn reaches for another stake, Blade starts to laugh.

                           QUINN
               What's so funny, bright eyes?

                           BLADE
               I'm expecting some company.

     It's then that Quinn notices the micro ear-coil radio receiver in
     Blade's ear. As we MOVE IN on it, we hear a tiny VOICE squawking from
     it:

                           VOICE
                    (filtered)
               Get down!

     Blade kicks his feet out, sending Quinn flying backwards. He tears
     free of the vamps holding him and DIVES forward, knocking Karen to
     the ground just as --

     BOOM!!! The wall of Pearl's bedchamber EXPLODES INWARD, knocking
     Quinn and the rest of his cronies to their feet. 

     WHISTLER

     stands in the smoking hole where the wall used to be, brandishing his
     cane in one hand and an automatic rifle in the other. He balances the
     rifle against his hip like an over-the-hill gunslinger and OPENS FIRE
     on the vampires.

     Blade rolls, snatching up a fragment of the parchment which has blown
     free from the vault. Seconds later, he and Karen are fleeing after
     Whistler, retreating back through his newly created exit.

     INT. TUNNEL - NIGHT

     The three of them find themselves ankle-deep in a flooded sewer
     tunnel running parallel to the archives. Whistler pauses, wheezing
     from overexertion. 

                           WHISTLER
               Christ, I'm too old for this. Somebody 
               get me a goddamn wheelchair.

     Blade leans against the tunnel wall, GRUNTING as he yanks the stake
     from his shoulder. He then pulls out a light-stick, snapping it,
     illuminating the area in a GREEN GLOW -- disturbing waves of
     GLITTERING COCKROACHES. 

     Meanwhile, Whistler pulls another explosive device from his backpack
     and sets it against the tunnel wall, arming it.

                           KAREN
               How did you find us?!

     Whistler taps a tiny radio headset curled around his ear.

                           WHISTLER
               We keep in radio contact. 

                           KAREN
                    (incredulous)
               You've been listening in the whole 
               time?

                           WHISTLER
               You think I'd let him run loose 
               without a chaperone? Blade ferrets 
               their rat-holes out, I map them. Then 
               we blow them all to kingdom come.

     Whistler finishes arming the explosive device. It BEEPS. He turns
     back to Blade and Karen, referring to a handheld navigation device.

                           WHISTLER
               There's a subway line due East of 
               here. We'd best make tracks. 

     INT. PEARL'S BEDCHAMBER, ARCHIVES - NIGHT

     An EXPLOSION rips through the bedchamber, mushrooming outward --

     INT. BLACK PEARL - NIGHT

     The EXPLOSION continues expanding, sending tables, drinks, and
     zaibatsu clientele flying.

     INT. TUNNEL - NIGHT

     As the group splashes through the water, a FIREBALL chases them down
     the tunnel. They duck into an alcove, narrowly avoiding the flames.
     Whistler WHOOPS with excitement, loving every minute of it. But his
     triumph is short-lived, for now we hear --

     -- a deafening chorus of HIGH-PITCHED VAMPIRE WAR CRIES coming from
     behind. Karen hazards a look back --

     THE VAMPIRES

     surge down the tunnel like a pack of hungry wolves on high-octane.
     There must be a dozen of them now and Quinn is right in the lead.

     Our trio hustles along, but Whistler stumbles, tumbling and sliding
     down a washout. The steep incline of the washout makes it virtually
     impossible for Whistler to climb back up to the main tunnel.

                           KAREN
               Whistler!

                           WHISTLER
               Go on, I'll be fine!

     Karen hesitates, but Blade yanks her down the tunnel --

                           BLADE
               He can take care of himself! GO!!!

     They race through the twisting warren of tunnels, taking one turn
     after another, the vampires hot on their heels --

     INT. SUBWAY TUNNEL - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen stumble out into a larger subway tunnel, which widens
     into a station stop up ahead. We can see the RED TAIL-LIGHTS of a
     train just pulling away from the platform -- Blade and Karen re-
     double their efforts, lungs burning, legs pumping like mad. Just as
     the train enters the next tunnel --

     -- they leap, dragging themselves up onto the back of the rear-
     passenger car. Blade SMASHES his fist through the emergency exit
     window, then lifts Karen up, helping her climb through into the
     car -- 

     -- but the vampires are still coming! Crawling along the tunnel walls
     on all fours, limbs a blur, claws striking the concrete and spewing
     out sparks. Closing fast. Too fast. 

     QUINN

     springs forward, snagging Blade's ankle with his "good" hand. The
     vampire's weight threatens to haul Blade down. Blade reaches to his
     back-scabbard, unsheathes his sword --

     THUNK! Blade brings the sword down on Quinn's good arm, cutting it
     off at the wrist! Quinn falls to the tracks, tumbling head over heels
     back into the darkness --

     THE AMPUTATED HAND,

     which continues to clutch at Blade's ankle, starts to melt. With a
     cry of disgust, Blade kicks the thing away. He turns and climbs
     through the window --

     INT. SUBWAY CAR - NIGHT 

     Karen helps Blade inside. He sinks to the floor of the otherwise
     deserted car, exhausted. He's looking ashen now. The whites of his
     eyes are shot through with red.

     Karen gets a good look at Blade's wounds -- the front of his jacket
     is soaked in blood. She reaches for him --

                           KAREN
               You're hurt --

                           BLADE
               Nothing that won't heal by dawn.

     Blade reaches into his jacket and pulls out the small, gas-powered
     pistol-injector we saw Whistler inject him with earlier. He tries to
     load one of the ampoules into it, but because of his wounds, he's not
     having much luck -- 

                           BLADE
                    (frustrated)
               I need help with this --

     Karen nods, inserting the ampoule into the gun. Blade shrugs off his
     jacket, holds out his arm. Karen pauses --

                           KAREN
               What am I injecting you with?

                           BLADE
                    (weakly)
               Serum -- it's a human hemoglobin 
               substitute.

     Karen locates a vein, presses the injector against it -- Blade
     tenses, grits his teeth, fights to keep his body thrashing as the
     serum enters his bloodstream. He grips the wall behind him --
     actually digs his nails into the metal surface -- the agony he's
     going through is excruciating, like nothing we could imagine. 

     When it's over, he slumps forward, spent, vulnerable, flushed with
     sweat. Karen stares at him --

                           KAREN
               You're one of them, aren't you?

     Blade turns away from Karen, filled with self-loathing. 

                           BLADE
               Not quite. I'm a hybrid. Half-human, 
               half-vampire.

     Off Karen's surprised reaction, we --

     CUT TO:

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

     The loading elevator CLANGS to a stop. Blade throws the gate open.
     Karen helps him out. Now that they're safely back, the last of
     Blade's strength seems to dissipate. 

     WHISTLER

     is waiting for them, sitting at a workbench. 

                           WHISTLER
               What took you so long?

                           BLADE
               Don't even start, old man.

     Blade throws his sword aside, then moves off into the shadows,
     disappearing beyond the curtains. Karen looks to Whistler --

                           KAREN
               Why didn't you tell me the truth 
               about him?

                           WHISTLER
               We weren't sure we could trust you.

     Whistler sighs, removing his glasses.

                           WHISTLER
               Blade's mother was attacked by a 
               vampire while she was pregnant. 
               Ultimately, she died, but her unborn 
               child lived. Unfortunately, he'd 
               undergone certain genetic changes 
               while in the womb --

     Whistler reaches for a pack of cigarettes, pulls one out. He thumbs a
     match, fires up. Takes a long drag --

                           WHISTLER
               I found Blade when he was thirteen. 
               He'd been living on the streets, 
               feeding off the homeless. Apparently 
               the Thirst manifested itself at 
               puberty -- 
                    (beat)
               I took him for one of them at first, 
               almost killed him, too. But then I 
               realized what he was. 

     CUT TO:

     EXT. EDGEWOOD TOWERS, PENTHOUSE - NIGHT

     Frost stands at the window, looking out at the glimmering cityscape
     before him.

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE - NIGHT

     Frost turns away from window. Quinn, Mercury, and the other vampires
     from the Black Pearl stand before him. Quinn cradles his amputated
     stump with his newly grown arm. 

                           QUINN
               He took my fucking hand! Again!

                           FROST
               You seem to be in the habit of losing 
               them fairly often, Quinn. Maybe the 
               amputee lifestyle just suits you.

     The other vampires laugh. Quinn stares them into silence. 

                           QUINN
               We need to find him, tonight.

     Frost claps a hand on Quinn's shoulder.

                           FROST
               Down, boy. Blade's not going anywhere. 
               I promise. Right now, though, we've 
               more pressing business --
                    (off Mercury's look)
               It's time Dragonetti paid the piper. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

     Whistler studies Karen, exhaling another lungful of smoke.

                           WHISTLER
               Blade's unique, you know. A one in a 
               billion anomaly. He can withstand 
               sunlight, garlic, even silver. But he 
               still has the Thirst. 

                           KAREN
               What happens if he doesn't take the 
               serum?

                           WHISTLER
               The Thirst overcomes him, just like 
               the others. It's not something he can 
               control. 
                    (sighs)
               The problem is, time's running out. 
               His body's starting to reject the 
               serum. And so far, all my efforts to 
               find a cure have ended in failure --

                           KAREN
               No offense, Whistler, but you're not 
               exactly working with state of the art 
               equipment here. You might have missed 
               something.

                           WHISTLER
                    (pointedly)
               Which is why you're here. We could use 
               someone with your experience.

     A beat passes between them and Karen knows where she stands now. In
     for a penny, in for a pound. Whistler reaches for Blade's sword.

                           WHISTLER
               This used to be mine, you know. It's 
               been passed down through the 
               centuries, from one hunter to the 
               next --

     Whistler extends the sword, sighting down the length of it. He takes
     a few practice parries -- it's obvious he used to be quite skilled in
     the art of swordsmanship.

                           KAREN
               Why do you hunt them?

                           WHISTLER
               Habit, mostly, just like this. 

     Whistler gestures with his cigarette. He finally stubs it out, his
     wistful reverie vanishing like so much smoke.

                           WHISTLER
               I had a family once -- a wife, three 
               daughters. Then a drifter named Deacon 
               Frost came calling one evening --

                           KAREN
               He killed them?

                           WHISTLER
               Eventually. He toyed with them first. 
               He made me choose, do you understand? 
               Which order they would die in --

     Karen stares at Whistler, horrified.

                           KAREN
               How did you escape?

                           WHISTLER
               I didn't. He was cruel enough to let 
               me live.
                    (slapping his brace)
               Even gave me a souvenir to remember 
               him by.

     Karen nods -- it's all falling into place for her now.

                           KAREN
               And now you're using Blade to exact 
               your revenge?

                           WHISTLER
                    (pointedly)
               Frost's bodycount keeps rising, and 
               I'm not getting any younger, am I?

     Just then, we hear a SCREAM come from Blade's room, sounding more
     like the cry of a beast than a man. Karen takes a step towards
     Blade's room --

                           WHISTLER
               I wouldn't go in there if I were you. 
               It's best to leave him alone when he's 
               like this.

                           KAREN
               I'll take my chances.

     INT. BLADE'S ROOM - NIGHT

     Karen enters. It's dark, just a trace of moonlight.

                           KAREN
               Blade?

     No answer. Then Karen SEES him -- crouched in the corner of the room
     like some kind of nocturnal animal.

                           KAREN
               It's dark in here.

                           BLADE
               You get used to the darkness.

     Karen takes a step towards him.

                           KAREN
               Whistler told me about your mother. 

     Blade clutches the silver locket in his hand. It swings back and
     forth, like a pendulum.

                           BLADE
               I can't close my eyes without hearing 
               her scream.

                           KAREN
               Those aren't real memories. No one has 
               that kind of recall.

                           BLADE
               I do. I remember from day one. People 
               staring at me, sensing I was 
               different. Watching the fear grow in 
               their eyes, knowing in their hearts I 
               wasn't human.

                           KAREN
               If you're not human, then why do you 
               bleed like us? 
               I've seen vampire blood, you don't 
               have it running through your veins.

     Blade looks at Karen, his lambent eyes glowing in the moonlight.

                           BLADE
               Just get out of here.

                           KAREN
               Blade --

     Blade turns, his eyes glowing with preternatural fury. 

                           BLADE
               I said, GET OUT!!!

     Karen backs away, startled by Blade's vehemence. She exits, leaving
     him alone with his demons. He holds up one of his empty serum
     ampoules, crushing it in his fist.

                           FROST'S VOICE
               Rise and shine, little wing.

     EXT. THE BURNING GROUNDS - JUST BEFORE DAWN

     FADE IN on Dragonetti, his face covered with a black condemned man's
     hood --

     Frost stands before him, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He's dressed
     from head to toe in a black motorcycle suit -- boots, gloves, a
     visored helmet tucked under one arm. Mercury and Quinn are standing
     nearby, similarly attired. 

     We're on a stretch of rocky coastline, tucked away in a secluded
     cove. Dragonetti has been stripped bare, chained like Prometheus to
     an ancient standing stone. 

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (straining)
               What is this? Where am I?!

     Frost steps forward, pulling Dragonetti's hood off. Dragonetti stares
     at his surroundings, horrified.

                           FROST
               When was the last time you stopped to 
               appreciate a sunrise, Dragonetti? 
               Three, four hundred years? 

     Frost checks his watch, then looks to the ocean. On the horizon, a
     sliver of gold appears. 

                           FROST
               How do you like that? Right on time.

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (snarling)
               The other elders will never let you 
               get away with this!

     Just then, the TWELVE VAMPIRE ELDERS emerge behind Frost, forming a
     circle around Dragonetti. All wear business suits, gloves, along with
     high-tech "sun masks" to protect their faces from the light's lethal
     rays. 

     They stare at Dragonetti like a silent jury. His face darkens, anger
     rising -- but there's a desperation in his eyes now too. He speaks in
     the secret tongue:

                           DRAGONETTI
                    (subtitled)
               Don't you see, you fools?! He'll 
               betray you too! He's planning on 
               invoking LaMagra himself!

     The vampires just smile and shake their heads.

                           FROST
               The wheel turns, old fang. Guess you 
               just got a little too long in the 
               tooth.

     Dragonetti's cries are cut short as Frost forces the aging vampire's
     mouth open, ripping out his fangs with his bare hands. Dragonetti
     GURGLES and SHRIEKS, sounding like a dying animal.

     Frost turns to face the Twelve now, his eyes bright with victory. He
     pulls on his motorcycle helmet, as do Mercury and Quinn. 

     Behind them, Dragonetti struggles furiously against his chains to no
     avail as the first faint rays of daylight fall upon him, channeled
     inward by the natural formation of the cove -- 

     Dragonetti HOWLS, his skin beginning sizzle and smoke. Then he
     catches fire like paper beneath a magnifying glass. He thrashes about
     as his flesh starts to run from his body.

     THE VAMPIRE ELDERS

     watch, impassive, protected by their masks --

     -- when suddenly, TWELVE FIGURES rise up behind them, clad in bike
     helmets and black leather, just like Frost. The intruders grip each
     of the Elders in a strangle hold, ripping their masks off. 

                           FROST
               Dragonetti was right. You were fools 
               to trust me.

     Frost flips down the visor of his helmet even as --

     THE RED SUN

     rises in all its fiery glory.

     One by one, the vampire Elder's heads catch fire, skullflesh sizzling
     away -- burning down the line of them in successively building
     intensity until all twelve EXPLODE in a conflagration of BLINDING
     WHITE LIGHT.

     Frost and his compatriots are blown off their feet by the sheer
     intensity of the occult blast -- a blast which sends the skeletal
     bodies of the Elders SLAMMING into the rock wall.

     When it's over, Frost picks himself back up. We SEE that the only
     thing left of Dragonetti and the others are --

     THIRTEEN SHADOW SILHOUETTES

     permanently etched onto the rock's surface, just like the bombing
     victims of Hiroshima. 

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

     Karen stands at a lab table with Whistler, preparing a number of
     blood sample vials. They are surrounded by host of new medical
     equipment -- from centrifuges to genetic sequencers and beyond.

     Blade emerges from his room, looks to Karen. As if by silent
     agreement, last night's words go unacknowledged. He straps on his
     bandoleer of stakes, secures his scabbard.

                           WHISTLER
               Going somewhere?

                           BLADE
               China Town. I need more serum.
                    (re: new equipment)
               What's all this?

                           KAREN
               I made a trip to the hospital last 
               night, borrowed some equipment.

                           BLADE
                    (sarcastic)
               For your miracle cure? 

                           WHISTLER
               She's been making real progress, 
               Blade.
                    (to Karen)
               Show him --

     Karen looks to Blade, who shrugs. She opens a refrigerator, removing
     a syringe filled with blue fluid.

                           KAREN
               This is sodium citrate. It's an 
               anti-coagulant. We use it to treat 
               blood-clots sometimes. Vampire blood 
               is thinner than humans, though. Watch 
               what happens when I introduce some 
               into a sample --

     Karen gestures to the microscope. Blade takes a look --

     BLADE'S POV

     Vampire blood cells swirling about.

     Karen injects the contents of the syringe onto the slide of cells --
     the reaction is immediate. The vampire blood turns black, then begins
     violently bubbling.

     Blade lifts his head away from the microscope just in time -- the
     blood on the slide atomizes, exploding outward in a fine mist which
     bursts apart the glass lens of the scope. 

     Whistler laughs, thrilled with the results.

                           WHISTLER
               Can you imagine what a dash of that 
               would do on your sword? 

     Whistler claps his hand on Karen's shoulder in approval, then limps
     away, quickly busying himself with another project. Blade moves to
     follow, but Karen stops him --

                           KAREN
               Before you go, I'd like to take a 
               sample of your blood.

     Blade grudgingly rolls up his sleeve. As Karen takes her sample,
     Blade looks to Whistler. The older man brings a handkerchief to his
     lips, coughing into it. 

                           KAREN
               Is he sick?

                           BLADE
               Cancer.

     Karen watches as Blade's blood flows into the vacutainer. She fills
     the first, then inserts another. 

                           KAREN
               You care about him, don't you? 

                           BLADE
               We've got a good arrangement, that's 
               all. Whistler makes the weapons, I use 
               them, the vampires die -- end of 
               story.

     Karen finishes. Blade rolls up his sleeve.

                           KAREN
                    (pointedly)
               My mother used to say that a cold 
               heart is a dead heart.

                           BLADE
               Your mother sounds like a Hallmark 
               greeting card. 

     Blade slips his Casulls into a shoulder holster, then shrugs into his
     leather jacket, donning his sunglasses.

                           BLADE
               I'd wish you luck, Doc, but I never 
               put much stock in optimism.

     He heads towards the elevator.

     EXT. CHINATOWN, STREETS - DAY

     Blade makes his way down a street lined with vending stalls --
     passing MERCHANTS peddling exotic vegetables and cheap curios,
     butcher shops with rows of roast ducks in the window, tyro GANG-
     BANGERS lounging at the entrance to a video arcade.

     BLADE'S POV

     Even though the streets are crowded, the people seem to make way for
     him, avoiding eye-contact. 

     Blade turns into a dark alley, ducking into the doorway of a hole-in-
     the-wall herbalist shop.

     INT. HERBALIST SHOP - DAY 

     A bell atop the door JINGLES, announcing Blade's arrival. We're in a
     dusty, cave-like room filled with baskets and bottle-lined shelves
     featuring things like "Toad Spleen Extract" and "Barking Deer Wine".
     Joss sticks burn, sending wispy tendrils of incense into the air. 

     At the back of the shop, an elderly CHINESE MAN in a cardigan sits in
     front of a battered television, watching a boxing match. He's eating
     a bowl of litchi fruit. On the counter nearby, a SPIDER MONKEY
     watches attentively. 

                           BLADE
               How's it going, Kam?

                           KAM
                    (re: calendar)
               You're a week early.

                           BLADE
               I was in the neighborhood.

     Kam sets his fruit bowl aside, leads Blade through a curtain into a
     back room.

     INT. HERBALIST SHOP, BACK ROOM - DAY

     Kam hands Blade a leather valise. He opens it -- its lined with tiny
     ampoules of scarlet-colored serum. Blade pulls one out, holds it up
     to the light.

                           BLADE
               Whistler says I'm building up a 
               resistance to it.

                           KAM
               I was afraid that might happen.

                           BLADE
               Maybe it's time to start exploring 
               other alternatives.

                           KAM
               There's only one alternative to the 
               serum.

     Blade nods. They both know what that "alternative" is. 

                           BLADE
               Yeah. I know.

     Blade closes the valise and tucks it inside his jacket. 

                           BLADE
               Thanks, Kam.
                    (thinking)
               One other thing. Have you ever heard 
               of a vampire called the Sleeper?

     Kam shakes his head. Blade pulls out the parchment he took from
     Pearl.

                           BLADE
               I found this in there archives. I need 
               to find someone who can read their 
               language. 

     Kam studies the parchment.

                           KAM
               I've heard about a woman named 
               Miracia. Some say she's a mayombero, a 
               Santeria witch. Supposedly she lives 
               in that tent community down by the 
               city dump. I'm told she only sees 
               people at night. 

     Blade nods his thanks and heads back through the curtains.

     EXT. CHINATOWN, STREET - DAY

     Blade emerges from the alley into the sunlight, then hears his name
     WHISPERED on the wind.

                           VOICE (o.s.)
               Blade.

     Blade spins, scanning his surroundings -- did he really hear his
     name, or was it just the wind?

                           VOICE (o.s.)
               Blade.

     Again, the taunting voice calls him. Blade's gaze finally settles
     on --

     A MAN

     sitting on a bench in the deep shade, his face obscured by the
     Chinese newspaper he's reading. There's a LITTLE GIRL sitting stiffly
     beside the man -- a look of pure terror written on her face. 

                           MAN
               Afternoon, Blade.

     The man lowers his newspaper. It's Deacon Frost. He's wearing
     sunglasses, but otherwise, he's seemingly unprotected by the sun. 

     Blade reaches for his .454 -- 

                           FROST
               Easy.

     Frost's hand rests on the back of the girl's neck. We see his claws
     extend, caressing the flesh beneath her chin.

                           FROST
               Wouldn't want our little friend here 
               to wind up on the back of a milk 
               carton, would we? 

     Blade reluctantly lowers his hand. Frost smiles. He takes in a deep
     breath of air, savoring it. 

                           FROST
               Beautiful day, isn't it? 

                           BLADE
                    (confused)
               How can you be out here?

                           FROST
               I dabble in pharmaceuticals, medical 
               research. We've developed a type of 
               sun-blocker using octyl salicylate, a 
               few others things. 

     On closer examination we see that Frost is wearing a translucent
     lotion on his face. He touches a finger to his cheek, rubs some of
     the lotion between his fingers.

                           FROST
               It's not very effective in direct 
               sunlight, but it's a start. The goal, 
               of course, is to be like you, "the 
               Day-walker". 

                           BLADE
               I don't buy it.

                           FROST
               Why not? The future of our race runs 
               through your bloodstream. You've got 
               the best of both worlds, Blade. All of 
               our strengths and none of our 
               weaknesses.

                           BLADE
               Maybe I don't see it that way.

                           FROST
               Oh, so it's back to pretending we're 
               human again, is it? Spare me the Uncle 
               Tom routine. You can't keep denying 
               what you are. You're one of us, Blade. 
               You always have been.

                           BLADE
               You're wrong.

                           FROST
               Am I? You think the humans will ever 
               accept a half-breed like you? They 
               can't. They're afraid of you. 
                    (pointedly)
               The humans fear us because we're 
               superior. They fear us because in 
               their hearts they know their race has 
               become obsolete.

     Frost watches the marketers stream past, sneering in contempt. 

                           FROST
               Look at them, just an endless stream 
               of cattle in a mad race to the 
               slaughterhouse. 

     Frost lifts a silver flask to his mouth, taking a swig of blood. He
     smacks his lips, sighs contentedly --

                           FROST
               The pause that refreshes --
                    (offering it to Blade)
               Care for some? Smells good, doesn't 
               it? Pungent, with just an 
               irrepressible hint of iron. 

                           BLADE
               Pass.

                           FROST
               You sure now? I bled a newborn for 
               this. You won't find a drink that's 
               sweeter. 

     It takes every ounce of Blade's self-control to keep from attacking
     Frost -- and Frost senses this, pressing his sharp thumbnail against
     the child's jugular.

                           FROST
               Tell me honestly, do you really get 
               the same rush from that pasteurized 
               piss-serum of yours?
                    (off Blade's look)
               You're surprised I know about your 
               serum? You shouldn't be. I know 
               everything about you. 

     Frost leans forward, grinning.

                           FROST
               You can't keep walking the razor's 
               edge, Blade. The day will come -- and 
               soon, when you'll have to choose 
               between our kind and their's. If I 
               were you, I'd take care not to wind up 
               on the wrong end of the fang.

     A bead of sweat runs down Frost's neck, washing away a minute amount
     of the sun-blocking cream. The patch of exposed skin instantly
     blackens. Frost gazes upwards at the sun.

                           FROST
               Love to continue this chat, but it 
               appears I'm melting.

     Frost rises, taking the little girl by the hand. Blade follows, his
     hand resting on the butt of his Casull.

                           BLADE
               You're not going anywhere.

                           FROST
                    (growling)
               Watch me.

     Frost's eyes flicker towards the street -- a CITY BUS is rumbling by.
     In a heartbeat, Frost hurls the little girl forward --

     -- out into the path of the oncoming bus! 

     Blade has a split-second to act. It's Frost or the girl -- and for a
     moment we actually think he's going to go for Frost --

     -- but then he DIVES forward, scooping the girl into his arms,
     throwing themselves out of the bus' path. The bus misses them by a
     hair. By the time Blade looks up again --

     -- Frost is gone. Blade rises, cursing, scanning the street as
     market-goers gather around him.

     WHIP PAN TO --

     SOMEONE sitting astride a motorcycle, watching Blade from the roof of
     an elevated parking garage. The rider is clad from head to toe in a
     helmet and black leather -- Mercury. 

     EXT. ABANDONED FACTORY - DAY

     Blade's Olds cruises into the gated grounds. It zips down the ramp
     way into the loading elevator.

     BACK BY THE TRAIN TRACKS --

     Mercury's cycle rolls into frame. She picks up a radio handset and
     keys it.

                           MERCURY
                    (into radio)
               This is Mercury. Tell Deacon I've 
               found their hiding place.

     CUT TO:

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAY

     Blade enters through the loading elevator, finding Karen and Whistler
     hard at work. She turns as he approaches -- SEES him back-lit by the
     sun. She looks pale, the whites of her eyes are streaked with red.

                           BLADE
               Any progress?

                           KAREN
               Some. It's been slow --

                           BLADE
               You don't look so good. 

                           KAREN
               I'm just tired, that's all. We've been 
               up all night.

     Blade nods, not buying her explanation. He shoots a glance to
     Whistler, which doesn't go unnoticed by Karen.

                           KAREN
               Excuse me.

     Karen turns, heading for the back of the workshop.

     INT. WORKSHOP - BATHROOM - NIGHT

     Karen enters a dingy bathroom, turning on the overhead bulb. She
     studies her reflection in the mirror above the sink, then grimaces as
     she peels the dressing from her wound -- the wound is clearly
     infected, gangrenous. 

                           BLADE (O.S.)
               It's started.

     Karen spins, startled. Blade stands behind her. He grips her jaw,
     turning her head so he can better view the wound.

                           BLADE
               You've got another day or two at most.

     Karen nods, shaken. As she moves to leave, Blade reaches for her arm,
     stopping her.

                           BLADE
               For what it's worth, I'm sorry.

                           KAREN
               You make it sound like I'm already 
               dead.

     Blade just stares at her. Finally, she pulls away.

     EXT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DUSK

     CLOSE ON Karen as she moves to the grimy outer windows, watching the
     sun go down, an unmistakable look of dread creeping over her.

     CUT TO:

     EXT. LANDFILL GHETTO - DUSK

     Windy. Urban desolation. Blade stands on the perimeter of a sprawling
     cardboard and plywood squatter's ghetto which has sprung up around
     the city dump. CHILDREN and DOGS forage for salvageable items, while
     in the distance, dumptrucks grind over the dunes of refuse.

     MOMENTS LATER,

     Blade is winding his way through the maze of makeshift homes and
     ashcan fires. A CROWD quickly closes in around him, suspicious. A
     BRUTISH MAN steps forward, challenging him --

                           MAN
               Extranjero. ¿Quien es?

                           BLADE
               I'm here to see Miracia. Kam sent me.

     The man turns to his fellow squatters, WHISPERING. After a heated
     debate, a GAUNT WOMAN steps forward, motioning --

                           WOMAN
               This way.

     CUT TO:

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

     Whistler and Karen sit at a work table. Karen is looking at a blood
     smear slide through a microscope. 

                           KAREN
               All right, let's start with the basics 
               -- why do vampires need to drink 
               blood?

                           WHISTLER
               Their own blood can't sustain 
               hemoglobin. 

                           KAREN
               Then vampirism is a genetic defect, 
               just like Hemolytic anemia?

     Whistler nods.

                           KAREN
               So what about gene therapy?

     Whistler looks intrigued. Karen continues.

                           KAREN
               Basically you'd have to re-write the 
               victim's DNA, alter it so that the DNA 
               will produce proteins capable of 
               generating hemoglobin. 

                           WHISTLER
               How?

                           KAREN
               With a retrovirus. It's injected into 
               the bone marrow cells, it causes the 
               host's DNA to mutate. They've been 
               using them to treat Sickle-cell 
               anemia. 

     Whistler can hardly believe what he's hearing.

                           WHISTLER
               You're serious? You actually think 
               this could work?

     Karen pauses -- we can see in her expression that there's something
     she's been holding back.

                           KAREN
               On me, yes. On Blade, I'm not so 
               sure -- 
                    (gravely)
               The problem is, Blade didn't contract 
               the vampire virus from a bite like I 
               did. He was born with it. The irony 
               is, I could probably cure every 
               vampire but him.

                           WHISTLER
               Then we're back to square one, aren't 
               we? Sooner or later, the Thirst always 
               wins.

     At that moment, the lights in the workshop flicker, then go out.
     Karen looks around the room, alarmed. 

                           KAREN
               What happened to the power?

                           WHISTLER
                    (concerned)
               I don't know, but the back-up 
               generator should've kicked in.

     A few seconds pass. The back-up generator still hasn't activated.
     Whistler moves to the window --

                           WHISTLER
               UV floodlights are down too.

     As Whistler reaches for a flashlight we hear the sound of GLASS
     SHATTERING coming from the other end of the workshop. Whistler shines
     the flashlight in that direction. We hear more sounds now -- water
     draining, glass tinkling.

     Whistler raises a finger to his lips, signaling silence. He edges
     towards the black-out curtains, Karen falling in behind him.

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - TANK ROOM - NIGHT

     Whistler and Karen enter, cautious --

     THE TANK

     containing the vampire child has been smashed open. It's empty now,
     with just the steadily draining blood seeping across the floor in a
     widening pool -- and a trail of tiny BLOODY FOOTPRINTS leading back
     out into the main workshop.

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - NIGHT

     Karen scans the shadows, eyes alert. We hear a WHISPER, then a
     teasing, childish, GIGGLE.

     Whistler moves the flashlight in a slow circle, shining the beam over
     every inch of the room. And just as he's about to complete his
     circuit --

     THE CHILD

     leaps from where it had been hiding overhead! Karen SCREAMS.
     Whistler is knocked to the floor, the flashlight spinning from his
     hand --

     The feral child lands atop Whistler, HISSING like a cobra. Its
     macrocephalic head seems to morph, twisting into grotesque
     proportions. And just as it's about to strike --

     ZZZZING! Whistler withdraws a silver rapier which had been hidden
     inside his cane. He lunges forward --

     WHOOSH! The child takes off like a blue streak, sending test tubes
     and medical equipment CRASHING to the floor. It zips past Karen --

                           WHISTLER
               Get it!!!

     Karen snatches up the flashlight, chasing after it as Whistler
     struggles to his feet --

     Karen sweeps the flashlight around, catching only fleeting glimpses
     of the child as it darts through the workshop. She reaches a shelving
     unit where Whistler's weapons are stored, grabs one of the modified
     pistols --

     Karen tries to draw a bead on the creature. She FIRES, misses, FIRES
     again -- she's getting more unnerved as the seconds tick by and the
     creature is moving closer and --

     -- suddenly it's right in front of her, flying through the air, fangs
     bared! 

     The child knocks Karen back against the wall. It's at her throat,
     sinking its claws into her neck. Karen chokes, forcing Whistler's
     pistol under the monstrosity's chin --

     -- but then the creature morphs again, transforming into a beatific
     little cherubim of a child -- and Karen hesitates, because the child
     seems so goddamned human now and its eyes are luminous, pulsing and
     hypnotic and --

     -- suddenly Whistler reaches in from behind, YANKING the vampire
     child's head back, FIRING a pistol into its skull. The creature
     slumps --

     Karen cries out, disgusted, flinging the corpse away from her. As it
     continues to writhe --

     THUNK! Whistler swings his cane-rapier down on the creature, brutally
     decapitating it. Finishing the job. Then he looks to Karen, winded.

                           WHISTLER
               Understand this -- they are monsters. 
               Hesitate for even a moment, and you've 
               lost.

                           FROST (O.S.)
               Words to live by, Whistler.

     Whistler spins, eyes wide. He knows that voice.

     DEACON FROST

     steps into the pool of illumination thrown off by the flashlight,
     followed by Mercury and Quinn. 

                           FROST
               It's been a long time, hasn't it, "old 
               friend"? 

     EXT. LANDFILL GHETTO - MIRACIA'S CABIN - NIGHT

     Blade is led to a plywood cabin crowded with candle-lit altars --
     garish pictures of Saints and demons abound, alongside bottles of
     roots and herbs steeped in alcohol, human bones, voodoo dolls. 

     MIRACIA 

     sits on a sagging couch outside, clutching a deck of well-thumbed
     Bicycle playing cards. She's ancient, with a mouthful of gold-capped
     teeth and cataract-clouded eyes. Blind.

                           MIRACIA
               Is something wrong, my friend?

                           BLADE
               You're blind --

                           MIRACIA
               There are other ways to see. Sit.

     Blade approaches, uneasy. Miracia deals out the playing cards on a
     rickety table, setting them in nine piles which take on a cross
     formation. 

                           MIRACIA
               Perhaps you have brought me something 
               -- an offering for the orishas?

     Blade tosses a handful of bills on the table. Miracia nods, then
     flips over the first card in the center pile -- a one-eyed Jack. She
     sighs, grave --

                           MIRACIA
               Hold out your hands.

                           BLADE
               I didn't come here to get my palms 
               read. I need something translated.

                           MIRACIA
               Show me.

     Blade removes parchment fragment from his jacket and sets it on the
     table. Miracia traces her fingers over the ancient paper, touching
     her fingertips to her lips.

                           MIRACIA
               Sangre. Written in blood. 

     She runs her hands over each line as if it were written in Braille.
     Some of the candles gutter, then extinguish themselves as the wind
     around them rises.

                           MIRACIA
               This is an old tongue, from an old 
               world. It concerns LaMagra.

                           BLADE
               Who is LaMagra?

                           MIRACIA
               The vampire God. This speaks of His 
               return.

     Miracia's fingers search the parchment again.

                           MIRACIA
               "-- there will come a Day Walker."
                    (reading)
               "His blood will call the Sleeper from 
               beyond the Veil of Tears."

     Blade stares at Miracia, shaken.

                           BLADE
               His blood -- ?

     The old woman nods, reaching for a smoldering cigarette.

                           MIRACIA
               The Day Walker's blood is a disparador 
               -- a trigger, you see? For LaMagra's 
               return. One need only consume it and 
               the spirit of his ancestors will 
               settle upon him.
                    (reading)
               "And the Sleeper will rise from the 
               shadows anew, cleansing the world in a 
               Tide of Blood."

                           BLADE
                    (recalling the phrase)
               "The Blood Tide".

                           MIRACIA
                    (nodding)
               Yes. The vampire apocalypse. It is 
               said that all who feel its taint will 
               succumb to the Thirst. 

                           BLADE
               How do I stop it?

     Miracia shrugs, spreading her hands.

                           MIRACIA
               The Great Wheel turns, my friend. The 
               Dark is rising. How would you fight a 
               shadow? 

     Miracia sits back, slumping into her chair. The candles have burnt
     themselves down to nothing. 

                           MIRACIA
               I am tired. Dawn is coming. 

                           BLADE
               But I just got here --

                           MIRACIA
               You've been here longer than you 
               think. 

     Blade rises, looking to the horizon. Incredibly, dawn is coming. As
     he stands there, mystified, the wind picks up, sweeping the parchment
     fragment out of his hand. He tries to snatch it back, but the
     fragment is quickly borne away. He watches it disappear into the sky,
     then turns back --

     Miracia is gone. Blade glances around him, but she's nowhere to be
     found. 

     CAMERA PULLS BACK,

     isolating Blade amidst the ghostly squalor. From our vantage point,
     he looks like any other homeless phantom.

     INT. WHISTLER'S WORKSHOP - DAWN

     Blade steps out from the elevator into the workshop --

     The place has been trashed. It looks like a tornado touched down in
     his absence. Blade pulls out one of his .454s, cautious --

                           BLADE
               WHISTLER?!

     -- and then he stops dead in his tracks.

     WHISTLER

     has been strung up by his arms against the far wall, tortured and
     left for dead. In response to Blade's voice, a MOAN escapes the dying
     man's lips.

     Blade rushes to the wall, cutting Whistler down with his sword,
     gently lowering him to the floor. As he cradles the old man in his
     arms, Blade sees the primary wound -- two ragged puncture marks along
     Whistler's throat.

                           BLADE
               Jesus, Whistler, what did they do to 
               you?

     Whistler opens his eyes, struggling to speak --

                           WHISTLER
               Frost took her --

     Whistler spasms and coughs, wincing from the pain.

                           BLADE
               Don't try to talk --

                           WHISTLER
               Listen. You have to -- finish me off. 
               You don't want me coming back.

                           BLADE
               No, we can treat the wounds --

     But Whistler is shaking his hand.

                           WHISTLER
               Too far gone, you know that.

     Blade's at a complete loss.

                           BLADE
               Whistler, I can't.

     Whistler clutches at Blade's arm, his eyes burning with conviction.

                           WHISTLER
               Yes you can. Now get on with it. 

     As much as he'd like to deny it, Blade knows that Whistler is right.
     He pulls a stake from his bandoleer, hesitates.

                           BLADE
               Whistler, I --

                           WHISTLER
                    (cutting him off, more gentle now)
               I know. 
                    (forcing a smile)
               Just be quick about it, will you? Do 
               it right.

     Blade fights back tears. With a wretched moan, he turns his head and
     drives the stake into Whistler's chest. Whistler GASPS. Blade wraps
     his arms around the older man, holding him tight as the life runs out
     of him, rocking back and forth --

     After a while, the rocking stops and Blade lays Whistler on the
     floor. Then something catches his eye --

     A SHARP VIEW-CAMCORDER

     resting nearby, labeled, "PLAY ME". Blade reaches for the camcorder,
     cues the tape -- Frost's face appears on the tiny built-in screen.

                           FROST
               Hello, Blade. By the time you watch 
               this, Whistler will no doubt be 
               winging his way to Heaven, thanks to 
               your capable hands. If it makes any 
               difference to you, he put up quite a 
               fight.

     Frost touches a deep gash which runs across his cheek.

                           FROST
               Now, I'm sure you're wondering about 
               Ms. Jansen's well-being. She's alive 
               and kicking -- "ambulatory", as they 
               like to say in the trade. Whether or 
               not she remains so is entirely up to 
               you.
                    (beat)
               I'll make this as easy as possible for 
               you, Blade. You can find us at the 
               Edgewood Towers. We'll be waiting with 
               baited breath.

     The tape cuts to static. Blade throws the camcorder against the wall.
     It shatters into a dozen pieces.

     Blade turns now, his eyes falling on the medical equipment Karen
     brought from the hospital. He moves to the refrigerator, removing a
     canister labeled "SODIUM CITRATE". Then he draws his sword. We can
     practically see the wheels turning within his mind --

     MOMENTS LATER,

     Blade stands before the open flames of one of the furnaces, heating
     his sword in the fire. He withdraws it -- it's molten red.

     Blade turns, dousing the molten hot sword into the sodium citrate
     canister. The refrigerated liquid reacts with the heat, causing the
     sword to STEAM and HISS.

     When Blade withdraws the smoking sword, we SEE that the gleaming
     steel has changed colors, taking on a bluish tinge, just like the
     sodium citrate it was immersed in. Blade smiles to himself,
     satisfied.

     CUT TO:

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, INNER CHAMBER - DAY

     Sparse decor in a Neo-Japanese vein. Minimalist lighting. The walls
     are glass. Recirculating pumps send a constant stream of water
     cascading down them.

     Karen is escorted into the room by Mercury. She gestures to a chair
     at the end of a long table. Karen sits. 

     FROST 

     leans forward out of the shadows, resting his elbows on the table,
     hands steepled together. 

                           FROST
               Well, here we are, Doctor.

     A cigarette appears in Frost's hand. In the blink of an eye, the
     cigarette is lit, burning. The movements are so quick we barely have
     time to register them. 

                           KAREN
               Why haven't you killed me yet? 

                           MERCURY
               Deacon likes to play with his food 
               before he eats it.

     Frost laughs. Karen tries to keep calm. The longer she keeps them
     talking, the longer she remains alive.

                           KAREN
               How many of you are there?

                           FROST
               A few thousand scattered about the 
               globe. In the past, we've had to 
               restrict our numbers for fear of 
               discovery. That won't be necessary 
               after tonight. 

                           KAREN
               What happens then?

                           FROST
               The Blood Tide. Our long-prophesied 
               holy war against the humans. There's a 
               force, you see -- a spirit that exists 
               in our blood. I've discovered a way to 
               invoke it.

                           KAREN
               LaMagra --

                           FROST
               That's right. The answers were there 
               all along, of course, scribbled down 
               in the forgotten languages of my kind. 
               Waiting for someone with the patience 
               to decipher them. 
               My elders were foolish enough to 
               dismiss them as wives tales. But I 
               knew better. 
                    (beat)
               Imagine my surprise when Blade turned 
               out to be the key which would set that 
               force free. 

     Frost sits forward now, impassioned.

                           FROST
               LaMagra isn't a physical being. He's a 
               spirit, requiring a flesh and blood 
               host in order to manifest himself.

                           KAREN
               You.

                           FROST
               Who better to usher in the Blood Tide? 

     Karen shakes her head, protesting --

                           KAREN
               There's no need for any of this. Your 
               condition can be treated. Whistler and 
               I were working on a cure when --

                           FROST
               What makes you think we want to be 
               cured? Blood is only part of the 
               equation. The hunt, the killing, 
               that's what the Thirst is really 
               about.

                           KAREN
               But you use blood banks --

                           FROST
               Only as a last resort. Preserved blood 
               is inferior. There's no flavor left to 
               it, no life. 
                    (rising from his seat)
               Fortunately, I've found a way around 
               that particular obstacle. 

     Frost moves to the end of the room. He pushes a button. With a HUM
     the wall slides open, revealing something Karen wishes she'd never
     seen -- living blood banks.

     THREE SEDATED HUMANS

     have been hooked up to IV feeds which replenish various nutrients as
     their blood is drained from them. Shunts have been implanted in their
     forearms which serve as taps. 

                           FROST
               Under these conditions I can keep a 
               donor alive for years, producing 
               anywhere from fifty to a hundred pints 
               of blood.
                    (admiring his charges)
               Of course, this is just a pilot 
               program, really. Once the Tide comes, 
               we'll need to expand production. So 
               many more mouths to feed -- 

     Karen turns away, overwhelmed by revulsion. 

                           KAREN
               You're a monster.

                           FROST
               Why? Because we live at another 
               species' expense? Your people farm 
               cattle and veal, don't they? Fattening 
               them up with steroids? It's called 
               evolution, Doctor. Survival of the 
               fittest. 

     Frost stares at Karen with an intense, uncompromising gaze. 

                           FROST
               I have a wake-up call for the human 
               race. You're no longer at the top of 
               the food chain.

     EXT. SKYSCRAPER ROOFTOP - DAY

     BLADE'S POV

     A telephoto view of Frost's penthouse. The windows are polarized,
     blocking out the sun's harsh rays.

     Blade lowers a pair of binoculars. He's standing on the roof of a
     building across the street. He hefts an air-launcher rifle up into
     firing position --

     BANG! An iron spike trailing a steel cable rockets through the air
     between the two buildings, sinking into the concrete facade of
     Frost's penthouse. Blade secures his end of the rope. He slips a
     pulley over the rope, grabs hold of two handles, and leaps off the
     roof ledge!

     WHOOSH! Blade slides towards Frost's penthouse, a good twenty stories
     above street level. A second before he reaches the windows, Blade
     lets go. Momentum sends him CRASHING through in a shower of glass.

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE - DAY

     An ALARM is ringing. Sunlight streams in through the broken window.
     TWO VAMPIRE GUARDS who have been caught in the sudden swath of light
     are burning up before our eyes. Blade climbs to his feet --

     A THIRD VAMPIRE

     leaps at him. Blade spins, flipping the vampire over his shoulder,
     sending him straight through one of the other windows --

     EXT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE - DAY

     The vampire tumbles earthward, SCREAMING as the sun's rays ignite his
     body, falling like a human comet.

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE - DAY

     Blade unsheathes his sword and heads out into the hall --

     INT. FROST'S PENTHOUSE, HALLWAY - DAY

     To Blade's right is the inner chamber with the "waterfall" walls. As
     ANOTHER VAMPIRE approaches, Blade readies his sword --

                           VAMPIRE
               You think I'm afraid of that toothpick 
               of yours?

                           BLADE
               You should be. I've made some 
               improvements.

     And with that, Blade thrusts his blackened sword forward, right
     through the vampire's chest. 

     The creature SHRIEKS and atomizes -FWOOSH!- flying apart in a fine-
     beaded spray of blood mist. 

     Up ahead are a set of steel doors with a time-lock mechanism. Blade
     draws a Casull, BLASTS away at the lock, then shoulders the doors
     open --

     INT. FROST'S SLEEPING CHAMBER - DAY

     We are in a windowless, vault-like room dominated by a series of
     high-tech STAINLESS STEEL SARCOPHAGI. Think of a hyperbaric coffin, 
     each unit possessing a small face-plate window through which the 
     sleeping subject can be viewed.

     Blade unsheathes his sword. He grabs the lid of the first
     sarcophagus, HEAVING upward. With a PNEUMATIC HISS, the lid rises,
     belching out a cloud of condensation mist. 

     As the mist clears, revealing the occupant within, Blade raises his
     sword, ready to plunge it downward -- only it's not Deacon Frost who
     rests beneath him, it's --

     VANESSA,

     Blade's mother!!! Although some thirty years have passed since the
     events of our prologue, Vanessa looks exactly the same -- vibrant,
     beautiful, full of life. Her eyes open.

                           VANESSA
               Jason. 

     Blade gasps, uncomprehending.

                           BLADE
               Mother -- ?!

     Vanessa rises from the sarcophagus, tears staining her cheeks.

                           VANESSA
               I've missed you so much, Jason. 
                    (drawing closer)
               You have no idea what I've been 
               through, how much I've wanted to see 
               you -- 

     Blade falters, his mind reeling. What he's seeing is incomprehensible
     -- his mother is dead. Yet, here she is in the flesh, reaching out to
     him and --

     -- flashing a mouthful of viper-like fangs! She SNARLS and strikes,
     brutally raking her claws across Blade's face, knocking the sword
     from his grasp --

     A TRIO OF BLACK-CLAD VAMPIRES

     led by Mercury step from the shadows where they'd been waiting all
     along. They're armed with tasers which they fire en masse --

     Blade is hit by the taser darts from all sides. He writhes as
     electricity courses through him, then collapses in a heap. He labors
     to lift his head, looking up at Vanessa -- 

                           BLADE
               But you -- died --

                           VANESSA
                    (a hellish smile)
               Deacon brought me back. 

                           BLADE
               Fight him --

     As if on cue, Frost appears at Vanessa's side, wrapping a proprietary
     arm about her waist, kissing the nape of her neck. She leans into him
     -- an act of practiced intimacy.

                           FROST
               She can't. She's one of my thralls 
               now. She has about as much free will 
               as a puppet on a string.
                    (looking at Vanessa)
               You love me, don't you, Vanessa? 

                           VANESSA
               Yes.

     Frost kisses Vanessa hungrily. Then he kneels and reaches into
     Blade's jacket, retrieving a vial of Blade's serum.

                           FROST
               What do we have here? Your precious 
               serum? I don't think you'll be needing 
               this anymore.

     Frost crushes the vial in his fist. Blade struggles to reach Frost,
     stretching a palsied hand upwards --

                           BLADE
               Please -- 

                           VANESSA
               Listen to your father, Jason. It's 
               going to be a better world.

     Blade stares at Vanessa uncomprehending. 

                           FROST
               Don't look so surprised, Blade. You've 
               spent your life looking for the 
               vampire who fathered you. Well you can 
               rest easy now, you've found him.
                    (gripping Blade's chin)
               Daddy's here.

     Blade's eyes widen in shock. Frost simply laughs.

                           FROST
               It's true, Blade. You've got my blood 
               running through your veins.
                    (smiling)
               Thirty years ago. A moonlit street, a 
               woman on her way home alone. You were 
               conceived the night I tore my fangs 
               into your mother's flesh. 

     Frost swings his fist into Blade's skull. Everything goes black. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. ARMORED TRUCK - NIGHT

     FADE IN as Blade opens his eyes, still groggy, his face beaded with
     sweat. Feverish. His hands have been bound tightly behind his back
     with manacles and chains. 

     KAREN

     sits nearby, watching him. From the steady rocking motion and the
     SOUNDS of traffic outside, it's evident that they are in the back of
     a moving truck.

                           KAREN
               Are you all right?

                           BLADE
                    (weakly)
               I've been better --

                           BLADE
               How long have we been driving?

                           KAREN
                    (shaking her head)
               I don't know. I woke up just before 
               you did --

     As he struggles to sit up, she crosses over to him. Blade shuts his
     eyes for a moment, fighting a wave of pain.

                           KAREN
               Is it bad?

                           BLADE
                    (nodding)
               We get out of this alive, maybe I'll 
               take that miracle cure of yours.

     Karen doesn't respond. Instead she looks away. How in the world is
     she supposed to tell him this?

                           KAREN
                    (quietly)
               It won't work on you.

                           BLADE
               What are you talking about?

     Karen forces herself to meet his gaze.

                           KAREN
               Your condition's congenital, the 
               genetic mutations occurred in utero. 
               All the other victims contracted 
               vampirism after birth. 

     Blade stares at Karen, disbelieving. Who could imagine a more
     horrifying irony? She's crying now. She can't help it.

                           KAREN
               I can't cure you, Blade. I can cure 
               myself, but I can't cure you.
                    (beat)
               I'm so sorry.

     Blade's head sinks, the last vestiges of hope draining out of him.

     And then, as if the final stake were being pounded in, the truck
     lurches to a stop. We hear the ENGINE being killed, then FOOTSTEPS
     approaching, and then a series of BOLTS BEING SHIFTED as --

     -- the back of the truck is thrown open. Frost stands there,
     grinning, flanked by Mercury, Quinn, Vanessa, and a half-dozen other
     VAMPIRE ASSOCIATES. 

                           FROST
               Welcome home, children.

     EXT. THE BANK OF EREBUS - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen are dragged from the back of the truck, which is
     revealed now to be an armored car. 

     THE BANK OF EREBUS

     rises up before them. A towering beaux-arts edifice situated in the
     heart of the city's high-priced financial district -- one of the many
     institutions owned and operated by the vampire enclave.

     Frost starts up the marble steps towards a grand, triple-arched
     entrance flanked by Corinthian columns. Karen and Blade are dragged
     along after him. 

     INT. BANK OF EREBUS - ATRIUM - NIGHT

     Frost leads his vampires into a high-ceilinged atrium, moving towards
     a bank of elevators -- one of the doors of which is outfitted with a
     high-tech hand-key ID system.

     Frost places his palm on the ID screen. The screen GLOWS GREEN,
     acknowledging his identity. In response, the doors HISS open.

     INT. SECURITY ELEVATOR - NIGHT

     Blade and Karen are pulled inside the elevator. The control panel
     buttons have vampire glyphs, rather than numbers. Frost presses the
     bottom one. The doors close with a WHOOSH and the car descends --
     down, down, down.

     Frost glances over at Karen, smiling amiably.

                           FROST
               On its surface, this building houses 
               one of the city's oldest financial 
               institutions -- and for over 
               two-hundred years its served our 
               corporate needs. Look beneath the 
               surface, however, and you'll discover 
               another truth entirely --

     The elevator CHIMES, having arrived at its destination. The doors
     HISS open, revealing 

     INT. THE TEMPLE OF NIGHT 

     A vast, barrel-vaulted chamber lined with recessed tombs stretches
     out before us -- an underground cathedral of sorts, wrought from
     alabaster and marble. Restrained. Elegant. Replete with dark
     splendor.

                           FROST
               As above, so below.

     Torches burn in wall sconces, casting everything in a warm, amber
     glow. Frost takes in the beauty of the place.

                           FROST
               Welcome to our hall of ancients, 
               Doctor. We call it the Temple of 
               Night.

     Blade and Karen are led to the middle of the room, where a stone
     altar rises up from a dais. Blade is roughly thrown to the ground. He
     kneels there, eyes cast downward. Broken. His system being assaulted
     by the devastating effects of the Thirst. 

     Quinn and Mercury pick their way through Blade's discarded gear.
     Quinn picks up the punching dagger, admiring it. 

     Frost turns to Mercury, who's been holding Blade's scabbarded sword.

                           FROST
               Let's see this sword of his.

     Mercury draws the sword, handing it to Frost. He sights down the
     length of it, testing its weight. With a flick of his wrist, he
     lashes out, slashing Blade's cheek open. 

                           FROST
               Still quite sharp, I see.

     Blade feebly struggles to rise. Frost clubs him on the back of the
     neck with the sword pommel. Blade crumples. Karen tries to pull free,
     but Quinn holds her tight.

                           KAREN
               Blade --

                           FROST
               You're wasting your breath, woman. He 
               can't hear you now. It's the Thirst, 
               you see? It already has him in its 
               grip.

     Frost reaches down, dragging Blade's head up by his hair. Karen
     watches on as Frost continues to taunt him.

                           FROST
               How long has it been since you had 
               your serum? Twelve hours? More? You 
               must be quite thirsty by now.

     He crouches down so he's eye to eye with Blade.

                           FROST
               What does it feel like? Is your blood 
               on fire? Are you burning up inside? 
               Give in to the Thirst, Blade. Embrace 
               your true nature.

     Blade shivers, grits his teeth, it's like he's going through heroin
     withdrawal. 

                           BLADE
               -- go to hell --

     Frost smiles, his eyes burning with an infernal glow.

                           FROST
               I've got news for you, Blade. We're 
               already here.

     Frost turns to the others, motioning.

                           FROST
               Take him to the sanctuary. It's time 
               he was bled.

     The other vampires retreat, dragging Blade along with them. Karen is
     left alone with Frost and Quinn.

                           FROST
               I'd let you watch the proceedings, 
               Doctor, but I'm afraid that privilege 
               is reserved for members of my own 
               race. Don't worry, though, I've made 
               alternate arrangements for you.

     Frost motions and Quinn drags Karen towards --

     THE MOUTH OF A PIT

     some forty feet deep, its lichen-encrusted stone walls worn smooth
     over time. As Frost gestures to the yawning darkness beneath them,
     Quinn forces Karen towards the edge. 

                           FROST
               We call this the Bone Pit. It's where 
               we keep our mistakes, the ones who 
               couldn't successfully make the 
               transition from human to vampire. 

     Frost reaches out, caressing Karen's neck, puncturing the soft flesh
     beneath her chin with a razored fingernail.

                           FROST
               They'll feed on anything, given the 
               chance -- animals, corpses, even other 
               vampires.

     Frost nods. Karen struggles against Quinn, but it's no good. In a
     manner of seconds, she's falling --

     INT. BONE PIT - NIGHT

     -- making a decidedly rough landing on a heap of bones far below. She
     GROANS, taking stock of her battered body.

     UP ABOVE,

     Deacon watches from the lip of the pit, amused. 

                           FROST
               Of course, a strapping young woman 
               like yourself -- well I think you just 
               might be considered finger food.

     And with that, he's gone, stepping away from the pit.

     INT. TEMPLE OF NIGHT - BLEEDING CHAMBER - NIGHT

     We are in a small, elevated antechamber which is situated above the
     main vampire sanctuary.

     BLADE, 

     now weakened to the point of collapse, is being lashed to a rack-like
     device by iron chains. 

     Mercury and her cohorts move efficiently, quickly securing him. When
     they are through, the rack is hoisted up into the air via a series of
     winch-driven chains. 

     With every turn of the winch crank, the chains are drawn tighter,
     causing Blade to CRY OUT, until at last, he is suspended in mid-air,
     spread-eagle. 

     FROST

     approaches, still carrying Blade's sword.

                           FROST
               It's been a long road, hasn't it? Such 
               a pity Whistler led you so far astray. 

     Frost cocks his head to the side, studying Blade's face.

                           FROST
               I don't blame you, though. I want you 
               to know that. Even after all you've 
               done. I understand, Blade, I really 
               do. It's the human side of you which 
               has corrupted your reasoning, made you 
               weak. But we'll take care of that, 
               won't we?

     Blade struggles to lift his head, forcing himself to match Frost's
     gaze, shaking with hatred.

                           BLADE
               I'd kill myself -- before I turned 
               into something like you.

     Frost just smiles and shakes his head.

                           FROST
               No you wouldn't. I'm going to bleed 
               you dry, Blade. All the poison that 
               makes you human. 
                    (drawing closer)
               When the Tide comes, you'll be begging 
               me put you through the Change. 

     Frost lifts up Blade's sword, methodically slitting Blade's wrists
     one by one. He makes the cuts lengthwise, opening up the cephalic and
     basilic veins with surgical precision.

     Blood wells up from the fresh wounds, running down Blade's forearms,
     collecting in a cistern beneath his feet. 

     Frost watches the steady, inexorable process, then nods, satisfied.
     He looks to the others who are gathered behind him, watching on with
     silent reverence.

                           FROST
               It's done. We should ready ourselves 
               for the ritual of invocation.

     Frost leads Mercury, Quinn, and the others from the sanctuary.

     Blade struggles futilely against his bonds, crying out in
     frustration, his body eventually sagging from exhaustion. 

                           VANESSA (O.S.)
               There's no use fighting us, Jason. 

     Blade looks up, focusing now on --

     VANESSA, 

     who has remained behind. Blade stares at her. As terrible as his
     physical torment is, his mother's betrayal is infinitely worse.

                           BLADE
               How could you be a part of this?

                           VANESSA
               These are my people now. I'm one of 
               them.

                           BLADE
               You don't have to be. 

                           VANESSA
               You don't understand. I've killed, 
               I've hunted, and I've enjoyed it. 

     She draws closer, caressing her son's face. There's just a hint of
     creepy eroticism in her action, a dash of incest. 

                           VANESSA
               I wish you could see the world as I 
               do. Deacon opened my eyes. There's no 
               turning back from that.

                           BLADE
               I don't believe that.

                           VANESSA
               You will. Time is on our side. Sooner 
               or later, the Thirst always wins.

     Vanessa turns away now. Blade cries after her --

                           BLADE
               Mother!

     Vanessa pauses, looking back, smiling cruelly.

                           VANESSA
               Your mother died the night you
               were born. 

     And with that, she's gone, melting into the shadows. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. THE BONE PIT - NIGHT 

     Karen rises, wary, taking in her shadowed surroundings. 

     HEAPS OF HUMAN BONES

     are piled against the pit walls -- skulls, rib-cages, femurs, tibias
     -- all picked clean of flesh. Some of the skulls have large, canine-
     like fangs -- the remnants, no doubt, of long-deceased vampires.

     Suddenly we hear a WHISPER of sorts, the soft CLINKING of bone
     fragments grinding together --

     Karen spins, trying to place the source of the sound. Then she hears
     the SOUND again. Behind her now, closer.

                           REVENANT (O.S.)
               Karennnnn --

     Karen looks up with a growing sense of dread.

     A FACE

     emerges from the darkness. Pallid, cadaverous, shedding its
     desiccated flesh. Lidless eyes like black marbles slick with
     Vaseline. A mouth like a raw wound. 

                           REVENANT
               Karreennnnnn. I never thought I'd see 
               you againnnnn.

     Karen backs away, realizing who she's standing before.

                           KAREN
               Curtis?!

     What used to be Curtis SNARLS, knocking Karen back into the drift-
     pile of bones. It pins her to the ground, kneeling above her,
     gurgling through its gutted trachea.

                           CURTIS REVENANT
               Tell, me, Karennn -- ever have second 
               thoughts -- about us?

     Karen SCREAMS, trying to force the revenant away from her, but it
     lunges closer, lolling its distended tongue over her mouth in a
     pathetic approximation of a French kiss.

     She fumbles behind her, choking, grabbing hold of a human femur,
     blindly swinging it upward --

     CRACK! The blow shatters the Curtis-thing's jaw. It rears back,
     falling to the side. 

     Karen crawls out from under its weight, swinging the femur again and
     again --

     CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! Karen pummels the howling horror, driving it
     back until the femur actually splinters in half. The creature's head
     hangs at an awkward angle now, its neck broken -- but still it
     advances, dragging itself back up.

     Sobbing, Karen retreats, clutching the splintered femur like a
     makeshift dagger.

     Curtis charges at her, a blur of slashing claws. At the last moment,
     Karen ducks, thrusting the bone dagger up into Curtis' chest --

     Curtis impales himself, right through the heart. For one split-
     second, his eyes widen in surprise --

     -- and then he goes into a death-spasm, vomiting up a spray of
     caustic vampire blood-bile, spattering Karen. She sinks to her knees,
     GASPING, as the thing that used to be Curtis shrivels up, melting
     away into burbling puddle.

     After a beat, Karen rises and moves to the pit wall, running her
     hands over the lichen-slick surface, searching for a way out. The
     mortar between the brickwork is ancient, crumbling. 

     Karen looks to the ground, reaching for one of the splintered femurs.
     She pounds it into the mortar between two bricks -- and it holds,
     working as a makeshift piton.

     Karen reaches for another broken femur, lodging it a foot above the
     first. She hauls her body up now, suspending her weight from the two
     makeshift pitons. Again, they hold.

     Trembling from exertion, Karen pulls the right piton free, hanging
     solely from her left hand now. Though her handhold is precarious, she
     manages to swing the right hand up again, pounding that piton another
     foot above the left.

     In this slow, torturous manner, Karen begins to climb her way up out
     of the pit.

     INT. TEMPLE OF NIGHT - BLEEDING CHAMBER - NIGHT

     Blade hangs from his chains, head slack, eyes half-lidded and
     lusterless. His skin has grown ashen as his life's blood has been
     bled away.

     Mercury appears before him, accompanied by Quinn. She bends in close
     to kiss Blade lightly on the lips.

                           MERCURY
               It won't be long now, lover. 

     Quinn draws alongside her, hefting Blade's punching dagger. He places
     it against Blade's throat, slowly applying pressure. At this point,
     Blade's too weak to even resist.

                           QUINN
               We should finish him off.

                           MERCURY
                    (shaking her head)
               No. Deacon wants him turned.

     Quinn releases Blade, disgusted. 

                           QUINN
               Fucking waste, if you ask me.

     As Mercury and Quinn exit, the CAMERA DROPS DOWN to the cistern
     beneath Blade's feet. We follow the blood which has collected there
     as it flows into a crude drain and --

     INT. SANCTUARY - NIGHT 

     -- emerges from the ceiling of the sanctuary below. The stream of
     blood is directed down the channels of a spiral column, where it
     finally pools into a waiting chalice.

     PULL BACK TO REVEAL

     the sanctuary in full. A large circular chamber, the perimeter of
     which is lined with recessed alcoves housing the remains of the
     vampire ancients, set into the sanctuary walls like cells in a hive.

     DEACON FROST

     stands in the center of the chamber, allowing Vanessa to clothe him
     in ceremonial regalia -- gleaming, centuries-old armor. He pauses,
     kissing her hungrily.

     Having finished suiting up, he turns to face the vampires who have
     been faithful to his cause -- Mercury, Quinn, a host of others. A
     hush settles upon them. There's an excitement in the air, a sense
     that something remarkable is about to happen.

                           FROST
               Tonight is the night we've waited our 
               entire lives for. Tonight, the 
               blood-dimmed Tide is loosed upon the 
               world. Tonight, the Age of Man comes 
               to an end. 

     The vampires bellow out a CHORUS OF CHEERS, their voices resonating
     off the stone walls like thunder. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. TEMPLE OF NIGHT - BONE PIT - NIGHT

     Karen's hands appear over the lip of the bone pit. She heaves herself
     up, collapsing onto the floor --

     -- but there's no time to rest. Even now she can hear the VAMPIRES
     CHEERING. She drags herself to her feet, letting the voices guide
     her.

     CUT TO:

     INT. ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

     Karen slips around a corner, guarded, searching. She SEES Blade
     strung up before her, seemingly lifeless.

     Karen studies the chains which bind Blade, following them back to
     their source at the winch. She releases the brake on the winch crank,
     sending the chains RATTLING down through the overhead pulleys which
     suspend them. 

     Blade crumples to the floor, lying still. Karen is at his side in an
     instant --

                           KAREN
                    (whispering, urgent)
               Blade.

     Blade's eyes flicker open, fixing on her. Inhuman. He's shaking
     like an alcoholic going into delirium tremens.

     INT. TEMPLE SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     Vanessa hands Frost the chalice containing Blade's blood. He lifts it
     up for all to see. The vampires begin to chant en masse, some long-
     forgotten invocation in the vampire tongue.

                           FROST
                    (grinning, to himself)
               "And what rough beast, its hour come 
               round at last, slouches towards 
               Bethlehem to be born?"

     Frost lifts the chalice to his lips and begins to drink. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

     Blade tries to sit up, gripping Karen's wrist --

                           BLADE
               Get out of here --

                           KAREN
               I'm not leaving without you.

                           BLADE
               You don't understand. The Thirst --

     He clutches his stomach, experiencing phenomenal pain.

                           BLADE
                    (gasping)
               -- tearing me -- apart.

                           KAREN
               I know. Take some of my blood.

                           BLADE
               No --

                           KAREN
               It's the only way. You know that. 
               We'll never get out of here alive if 
               you don't.

     Blade suppresses a shudder. Simply keeping himself from attacking her
     takes every ounce of his resolve.

                           BLADE
               I can't -- I won't be able to stop --

                           KAREN
               Yes you will. The human side of you is 
               stronger. I know it is.

     Karen matches Blade's gaze, steeling herself. The truth is, she's
     terrified. 

     Blade stares back at her. At this moment, he wants what Karen is
     offering more than anything he's ever desired. And so he rises --

     CUT TO:

     INT. TEMPLE OF NIGHT - SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     Frost continues drinking down the blood, when suddenly, a force
     seizes his body. He throws his head back, eyes rolling to white,
     flinging the chalice aside.

     And as the vampire incantation reaches a fevered pitch, we SEE the
     stone tomb tablets off the vampire ancestors beginning to judder --
     as if some force within were trying to break free --

     CUT TO:

     INT. ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

     Karen turns her head to the side, baring her neck, offering herself
     to Blade. Blade opens his mouth. His canines elongate. He lowers his
     head --

     -- and starts to feed. Karen involuntarily stiffens as Blade's teeth
     puncture her skin and we --

     CUT TO:

     INT. TEMPLE SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     Frost shakes, possessed by an unseen force. A wind picks up from
     nowhere, swirling about the chamber, accompanied by a strange
     HUMMING. 

     Suddenly, one of the tombs BURSTS OPEN. A WRAITH-LIKE SPIRIT rushes
     outward in a fountain of light, penetrating Frost's body.

     Then ANOTHER TOMB SPLITS APART. Then ANOTHER, and ANOTHER -- until a
     torrent of SPIRIT-WRAITHS are surging into Frost, buffeting him about
     like a scarecrow in a cyclone.

     Mercury, Vanessa, and the other vampires back away, apprehensive,
     humbled by what they're witnessing.

     CUT TO:

     INT. ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

     Blade moans, sinking his teeth deeper. Karen's head rolls back. Her
     eyes open -- glassy, unseeing -- as a wave of ecstasy overtakes her. 

     She shudders, her breath quickening, falling into a synchronous
     rhythm with Blade's. Her fingers dig deep into his back, clawing
     downward, tearing into him -- 

     She's not Karen anymore -- she's a red blood cell, an erythrocyte,
     spinning in a river of plasma, roaring up Blade's femoral artery,
     racing towards the pumping chambers of his heart which beats like the
     deafening breath of God, which blots all other sounds out of
     existence and we're --

     CUTTING BACK AND FORTH NOW

     between Frost's transformation and Blade's, each of them growing
     stronger by the second, caught in an ever-increasing feedback loop of
     expanding energy until --

                           BLADE
               NO!!!!

     Blade tears himself from Karen, his pulse racing as -- 

     CUT TO:

     INT. TEMPLE SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     -- the invocation of LaMagra reaches critical mass. Frost is consumed
     by a hellish force, unable to withstand the onslaught of spirit
     energy any longer. 

     CUT TO:

     INT. ANTECHAMBER - NIGHT

     -- Karen clawing at Blade, tears streaming down her cheeks.

                           KAREN
               Don't stop --

     But Blade grips her by her shoulders, shoving her back. Karen stares
     at Blade, wide-eyed, as if waking from a trance. She touches the raw
     wounds on her neck, shaken --

                           KAREN
               My God --

     Blade rises to his full height. His strength has more than returned,
     it's been doubled by the infusion of real blood. And there's
     something else in his gaze now too -- an animal fury that was missing
     before. Blade has taken one giant step closer to the darkness. 

                           KAREN
                    (hesitant)
               Are you -- all right?

     Blade pulls at the chains manacled to his wrists, SNAPPING them apart
     like toys. He flexes his hands -- fingernails lengthening to tapered
     points. And he smiles, offering us a view of his canines, which have
     elongated into fangs.

                           BLADE
                    (near-demonic)
               Never been better.

     INT. TEMPLE SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     The aftermath. Smoke hangs heavy in the air, occluding the area where
     Frost had stood. As it dissipates, Mercury and the others creep
     forward, apprehensive --

                           MERCURY
               Deacon?

     FROST

     stands with his back to us, his body trailing wisps of occult fumes.
     As he slowly turns, we catch a glimpse of his eyes -- burning with an
     awesome, inner fire. 

                           FROST
               No longer.

                           BLADE (O.S.)
               Frost!!!

     All heads turn --

     BLADE 

     stands at the balcony overhead, Karen at his side. He leaps from it,
     somersaulting down to the floor below, landing on his feet like a
     predatory cat.

                           BLADE
               Who dies first?

                           FROST
                    (growling, to the others)
               Take him.

     Quinn GROWLS, stepping forward, armed with Blade's punching dagger.
     He offers his second "new hand" up for view. 

                           QUINN
               Grew another hand for you sweetmeat --
                    (tossing the dagger to his new hand)
               -- and now I'm gonna kill you with it.

     Quinn charges. Blade meets the vampire head-on, dropping into a low
     kick and sweeping the vampire's legs out from under him. He spins
     behind Quinn -- 

                           BLADE
               Let's see if you can grow a new one
               of these!

     Blade hooks a finger through the metal ring at the end of his jacket
     sleeve, pulling out a retractable strangle-wire which he twists
     around Quinn's throat. 

     Blade tightens the wire, decapitating Quinn. The headless body
     staggers about, then drops to the cavern floor. Blade scoops up his
     punching dagger --

                           BLADE
               Next?

     Mercury and the other faithful vampires charge en masse. Blade
     launches a spinning wheel kick into the first vamp's face, SNAPPING
     its neck --

     Mercury has Blade's .454 Casulls. She aims them at him --

                           MERCURY
               Have a taste of your own medicine!

     As she FIRES, Blade tucks and rolls, knocking one of the guns from
     her hand. The guns spins across the floor, where it's scooped up
     by --

     KAREN,

     who takes aim at an approaching vamp, BLOWING it away.

     Meanwhile, Blade traps Mercury's other hand, disarming her, flipping
     her over his shoulder. He hefts his Casull, BLASTING her into
     eternity --

     A bloodbath ensues. Blade moves like speed-personified, FIRING off
     one, two, THREE HEADSHOTS with brain-numbing accuracy, cutting down
     the vampires where they stand. 

     It's an orgy of gunpowder smoke and showering bodily fluids and
     -CLICK-CA-CHING-CLICK!- Blade and Karen have spent their bullets
     and --

                           FROST (O.S.)
               Enough!!!

     Blade turns to face --

     FROST, 

     who's advancing, clutching Blade's own sword in his hand. He thrusts
     the sword forward --

     Blade presses the grip-trigger on his punching dagger -CHING!- the
     two side blades spread out. We hear the RASP and CLANG of metal on
     metal as Blade manages to trap the sword-point between two of the
     dagger blades --

     For a moment, both men are eye to eye, their weapons locked together,
     then, Frost forces Blade backwards --

     What happens next is the most blindingly-fast sword fight ever
     exposed to celluloid. Both men, fueled by super-human speed, lunge
     and spin across the cavern floor in a blurred ballet of lethal moves.

     Frost lands a powerful blow on Blade's shoulder, the sword-edge
     biting deep into the flesh. Blade SCREAMS. Frost withdraws the sword
     for another strike --

     -- until Blade sees an opening and takes it, slicing Frost's left arm
     off at the shoulder --

     The severed arm releases Blade's sword, but the arm doesn't fall! To
     Frost and Blade's mutual surprise the arm floats in mid-air, bleeding
     red, quivering like zero-G liquid, then SLURPING back to Frost's arm-
     stump to re-attach itself!

     Undaunted, Blade slices the punching dagger into Frost's mid-section,
     meeting only liquid-like resistance. The moment Blade withdraws his
     dagger, Frost's flesh seals itself up again.

     Blade hesitates now, uncertain -- and Frost laughs, understanding
     what has happened.

                           FROST
               You're too late, Blade. I'm already 
               changing. Don't you see? The Sleeper 
               has awakened. I'm not just Frost 
               anymore. I'm becoming a god now, 
               blood incarnate.

     Even as Frost utters the words, his body begins to ripple and morph,
     bleeding red, taking on the characteristics of liquid. He doesn't
     walk so much now as flow. He's become a three-dimensional creature of
     animated blood! A blood demon.

     ON KAREN,

     as she watches Frost's transformation, wide-eyed. She SEES Blade's
     discarded sword, reaches for it -- suddenly, a SHADOW moves on the
     periphery of her vision --

     VANESSA

     rushes at Karen in a near-blur. The SNARLING hellion is upon Karen in
     an eye-blink, SLAMMING her down against the temple floor, pinning
     her. 

                           VANESSA
               Did you think I'd forgotten you, you 
               little whore?

     BACK TO FROST,

     who towers above Blade, swaying back and forth in his new, liquid-
     like form.

                           FROST
               You can't hurt me anymore. 

     WHOOSH! Frost rises upwards on a spiraling column of blood, HOWLING
     WITH LAUGHTER, then just as suddenly --

     -- splashes back to earth, spreading out in a widening pool. In the
     blink of an eye, he streams through Blade's feet, re-solidifying
     behind Blade. Blade spins, swings his dagger --

     Once again, Frost morphs into blood-form. He races around Blade in a
     series of spouting arcs, turning from blood-form to solid and back
     again in a series of split-second transformations.

     Blade whirls, striking with his dagger and missing every time --

     WHOOSH! Frost suddenly dissipates, SPLASHING away into a million
     zero-G blood bubbles, vanishing. Blade spins, unnerved, trying to
     pin-point his foe's next manifestation.

                           BLADE
               Where are you?!

     Frost's voice answers from all directions.

                           FROST
               Everywhere.

     A DROPLET OF BLOOD

     spatters the floor at Blade's feet. Blade looks up --

     A SHOWER OF BLOOD

     rains from above, coalescing into Frost as he sweeps down on Blade
     like a giant bird of prey, crushing him against the temple floor. 

                           FROST
               You want my blood so much?! Take it!

     Frost's arms elongate and liquefy, flowing into two snake-like spouts
     of blood -- the rest of Frost remains solid. The blood-spouts twist
     around Blade's neck, melding together, completely encasing Blade's
     head in a bubble of blood.

     Blade claws at the blood-bubble as if it were a solid object that he
     could dislodge, but his fingers just pass through it!

     BACK TO VANESSA

     as she wraps a hand around Karen's throat, choking her.

     As Karen struggles, she frees a hand, sliding it down to her hip
     pocket, digging something out -- Whistler's vampire mace canister!

     She forces it up between them, triggering a jet of TOXIC MIST into
     Vanessa's face --

     Vanessa recoils, HOWLING, her head smoking as if it were doused with
     formic acid, skin sloughing off from her skull. Karen lunges for
     Blade's sword --

     BACK TO FROST AND BLADE

     Blade is drowning in Frost's blood. His eyes bulge. Oxygen bubbles
     stream from his mouth. Frost leans in close, his face a twisted mask
     of insanity.

                           FROST
               I was wrong about you, Blade. You were 
               never one of us. You're a traitor to 
               your race. 

                           KAREN (O.S.)
               Get away from him!

     Frost looks up -- Karen is wielding Blade's sword. She brings it down
     on Frost, severing the blood-tendrils which envelope Blade. The
     blood-bubble dissolves instantly, flowing away from Blade's face. He
     gasps, chokes in air --

     Frost backs away, horrified. His blood-tendrils don't reform.
     Instead, the lay where they fell, solidifying into crystalline
     powder.

                           KAREN
               Blade!

     Karen flings the sword at Blade. 

     THE SWORD 

     spins end over end, its mirrored surface reflecting coruscating
     pinwheels of candlelight as Blade catches the weapon by its hilt.

     Blade rises, advancing on Frost, sword outstretched and Frost
     retreats, uncertain now.

                           BLADE
               Guess you're not quite as invulnerable 
               as you thought.

                           FROST
               You're wrong -- a few minutes more, and 
               my transition will be complete. Even 
               your sword won't be able to affect me 
               then.

                           BLADE
               You don't have a few minutes, Frost.

     Frost eyes Blade warily, then lunges towards Vanessa, sweeping behind
     her. Blade follows, but even as he raises his sword to strike, Frost
     spins Vanessa around, using her body as a shield!

     Blade hesitates, stopping the sword in mid-strike, catching his
     mother's gaze -- her face is monstrous now, scarred by Karen's
     poisonous mace. Piteous, really. 

     Frost smiles, for he's found a final weakness of Blade's to exploit.

                           FROST
                    (laughing cruelly)
               Just as I thought. Still chained to 
               your mother's breast after all these 
               years.

     In the same instant, Vanessa's features morph, taking on the angelic,
     youthful vibrancy she possessed in the locket photo.

                           FROST
                    (gloating)
               You're too human, Blade. 

                           BLADE
                    (steeling himself)
               It's because I'm human that I can do 
               this.

     Frost's eyes widen in shock, but he has no time to react, for --

     Blade is already LUNGING forward, driving the sword-point through
     Vanessa's chest, on into Frost's heart! It strikes the stone behind
     them, SHATTERING and --

     Frost and Vanessa HOWL AS ONE, their SCREAMS rising to an unendurable
     intensity as the two vampires go nova, exploding into an expanding
     ball of light and ATOMIZING BLOOD.

     Blade is thrown back off his feet, having to shield his eyes from the
     backlash of occult energy as a near tidal WAVE of blood surges over
     him -- 

     EXT. BANK OF EREBUS - CITY STREET - NIGHT

     Every door and window of the bank is BLOWN OUTWARD from the force of
     the EXPLOSION. While along the street, manhole covers flip from their
     moorings, spinning up into the air like dimes, being buoyed by
     geysers of blood.

     INT. TEMPLE SANCTUARY - NIGHT

     Silence, just the steady DRIP-DRIP of liquid draining. The underworld
     temple gleams with a crimson sheen now. 

     ON BLADE 

     as he stirs. He's been blown clear across the sanctuary by the force
     of the blast, soaked to the quick by blood. He rises to his feet,
     retrieving the hilt of his shattered weapon. At his feet -- 

     THE SWORDBLADE 

     lies in pieces. Amidst them, we find the singed remains of the locket
     -- Vanessa's face barely recognizable beneath the grime. Blade stoops
     to pick it up.

                           KAREN (O.S.)
               Blade?

     Blade turns. Karen moves to him, searching his eyes. Which side of
     Blade's soul has won out? Human or vampire?

     Then she SEES the tears rimming Blade's eyes, the first he's shed in
     a lifetime. Human. 

     They embrace, holding each other that way for a long, long time. And
     we --

     DISSOLVE TO:

     EXT. ROOFTOP, BANK OF EREBUS - DAWN

     Blade and Karen stand on the rooftop, watching as dawn slowly creeps
     across the silent city.

                           KAREN
               I never imagined I'd be so happy to 
               see the sun rise --
                    (turning to him)
               It's over, isn't it?

                           BLADE
               For them. But for me --

     He lifts his face towards the rising sun, letting its warmth wash
     over his upturned face.

                           BLADE
               I feel like it's finally beginning.

     And on that note we leave them -- TWO FIGURES, silhouetted against
     the new day.

     FADE TO BLACK.

     THE END