THE XENA FILES Usual fanfic disclaimers apply --------- This is my tribute to "The X-Files", "Xena, Warrior Princess", and "Hercules, the Legendary Journeys" --- with a special appearance by "Q" of Star Trek. For the html'ized version, all images ©Paramount, MCA, and Fox
4 AM, Mulder's apartment - present day Mulder threw the magazine across the room. As it twisted crazily through the air, the centerfold ripped right down the middle. "Damn!" Mulder said to himself as he thought of the beautiful picture now ruined. But - it was his own life that was frustrating to him, more than the magazine. Mulder knew his search for his sister and for the truth would take a lot of time, but he always thought that eventually, it would be nice to settle down. As he looked at the pile of videos and magazines on his messy table, he realized he did not know even one eligible woman. He was sick and tired of having vicarious experiences in the magazines and movies. The thought of employing a hooker briefly crossed his mind, but he knew that would not be safe.
Mt. Olympus - 1500 BC The beautiful, blonde Aphrodite was in the midst of one of her massages. These massages were not so much for her back, which had never lifted a thing, but more of an excuse for having male hands on her for a deliciously long period of time. Still - it was the same hands, the same techniques - BORING!!! Sometimes, she could just scream in frustration. Stuck here in this boring place and time. All because she listened to that nitwit Zeus, who decided to take a handful of members of the Q continuum and give those primitive humans a push into culture and civilization! She constantly sensed the fun the other members of the continuum were having with those same humans - shopping malls, resting on the beach, driving cars, seeing movies --- pathetic! Didn't she deserve some fun, too? "Enough! - I blowing this gig" she said, and abruptly got off the table. Her male attendants, although used to her displays by now, were always pleased by the sight of her - unclothed - in front of them. Usually - she just ate up the attention and the stares. But now, for some reason, she was disgusted by them. She spurned all of them and walked to her chambers - alone this time. Alone in her chambers, she was intensely bored. She thought of sneaking off to the 20th century, to the beach - where she could always create a stir by appearing topless! But no - it always turned into a drag when the local authorities showed up. She thought of a shopping trip to the mall, but her closet was already full - of clothes she didn't dare wear around Mt. Olympus for fear the others would know she had violated the rules - again. 'I know', she thought to herself 'I will just bring a man from the 20th century here for the night. They are so - uninhibited'. Looking into the late 20th century, she saw a tall, lanky man alone at night with his sorrows. Carefully taking in his entire length, Aprhodite said "delicious" to herself. Sprinkling some perfume on her perfect form, she willed the man into her presence. She sensed the shudder in the continuum as she brought him back through the centuries, but since when did she care about rules? ------- Mulder thought to himself - this has to be a dream! One moment he was looking at the ripped picture of Miss November, and the next instant he was - where? As Mulder's gaze took in the room - bright silk draped across the walls - a mirror with lavish gold frame, lots of bottles of perfume and cosmetics - an intricate brush --- a soft voice came from behind him "Hey - over here!" Mulder turned around to see Aprhodite - in all her lovliness! Stimulated, but shaken - he decided it was a dream. Dreams are harmless, even healthy, he thought to himself, and allowed himself to indulge to the fullest. Some time later Aphrodite looked over at her sleeping companion --- he was not perfect, but certainly satisfying. Much more so than her usual male companions. It frustrated her that mortal men tended to fall asleep after a particularly satisfying experience with her. Sleep -- what a useless activity! Members of the continuum had long since evolved past the need for sleep, and beds were merely places to have - fulfillment.
In a brilliant flash of light - a tall, dark haired man appeared in the room. "Still up to your old tricks, Q?!" the man said to Aphrodite. Aphrodite immediately recognized the man. "Why, Q, it has been a couple of thousand years!" Then she continued, with a bit of disgust in her voice "listen, just because things didn't work our between us - that doesn't mean you can come materializing in here every two thousand years. It is over!" The male Q continued "That's not why I am here, Q, and you know it. The continuum has taken a dim view of your little forays into the 20th century in the past, but this time - you have gone too far!" "Chill out, Q!" she replied. "So I go to a mall once in a while - I mean, have you looked at the fashions here? They are so --- ancient!" "That's not what I am talking about, Q!" he replied seriously. "You have committed a serious temporal violation by bringing this - person - here." He glanced distainfully at Mulder. "YOU are JEALOUS, Q!" she gleefully replied. Since we are on the subject - what about your little escapade with Katheryn Janeway? Rejected, I hear, by a mere mortal ---" her voice sarcastically trailed off. "That was different - I am not temporally constrained like you and your companions are" the male Q replied seriously. "All of you volunteered to come here and help these pathetic humans toward culture and civilization. YOU are supposed to be the goddess of love - to teach them a - gentler, more romantic way of procreating their inferior species. Instead, your unrestrained behavior has made you more a goddess of pornography than of love! Look at this outfit!" he said, pulling a daring bathing suit out of her closet. She was getting mad "And I hear that you were almost thrown out of the continuum for your - excesses! You criticize me for wanting to wear 20th century fashions - I hear even you have changed your wardrobe and appearance for these - humans. Why shouldn't I?" The male Q answered sarcastically "and whose body are you wearing today?" Aphrodite answered "Just some girl named Alexandra Tydings!" Then he continued "If Q, or should I call him ZEUS, ever finds out about this, I bet he will encase you in diamond for 10,000 years at the heart of the sun - or until you learn your lesson! Return this man to the 20th century, NOW! You have been warned!" he disappeared in a flash of light. Shaking off the encounter, Aphrodite just smiled. She wasn't finished with Mulder yet! He had been very tender, gentle with her. He knew how to please her.
The underworld ---- Callisto was as evil as she was beautiful - even in the afterlife. Her brief life on Earth had been filled with hatred for Xena, the warrior princess. The flames of Tartarus fascinated her - exquisite pain whenever they touched her, but there was never any tissue damage! She almost enjoyed the pain, it was delightfully evil in its own way - just like her. Callisto passed the time by imagining how the flames would play with Xena when she arrived here - and how she could amuse herself by cutting Xena to pieces for eternity, only to see the pieces re-assemble so she could do it all over again. Or how Xena would do the same to her - what did it matter? She had a big problem, though. Although Xena had been a ruthless murderer like her for many years, Xena was now following the path of good. If Xena did not die soon, her good deeds would earn her the right to go to the Elysian Fields when she died - out of her reach forever.
Her hatred for Xena was so intense that she would do anything it took to destroy her, even seduce Hades, the god of the underworld himself. Callisto knew that he would be lonely - his beloved Persephone could only be with him for 6 months out of the year. And she had been gone a long time! Callisto - leaning seductively on him, was pressuring him. "You DO love me, don't you?!" "Of course. Only you KNOW I can't release you from death. That is the one absolute rule of the underworld. Besides - I want to be with you too much to let you go!" Hades replied. She said. "I don't want to be released - I only want one small favor - for you to send me Xena!" Hades replied "Only the fates have the power to change the time of her death. Xena is not fated to die yet. She has many more years left. I can't just take her before her time!" "But if you were to persuade Ares - the god of war himself, to kill her, the Fates could not intervene, could they? You just reminded me of the rules, once you are dead, you are dead! The fates would not dare challenge Ares!" Callisto asked. "You are so deliciously evil, in the way you scheme!" Hades said as he embraced her. "But it won't work. Ares wants Xena alive, so he can turn her back to evil, and use her to fragment the world into eternal warfare." "Ares is losing patience with Xena." Callisto countered. "And it is not entirely her skill in battle he is interested in! He wants her, and YOU could make that possible. If she were here, in the afterlife, he could have her any time he wanted. The rest of the time, she would be MINE to exact my vengence on!" "Ares has sent me many great warriors in their time, but he has never violated their fate. He will not agree to your plan." Hades said.
"Don't bet on that!" Ares said as he walked into the room. His face was filled with evil - and the confidence of a god who knew the evil scheme would work. Hades was uncertain "But what of the Fates? They know the truth!" Ares laughed with an evil confidence - "By the time they find out, Xena will already be ours!" Aphrodite's Quarters - The next morning Mulder awoke in the strange bed - what a dream!!! But wait - was he still dreaming, or what? Since when do you dream about waking up from a dream? Pinching himself, he realized he was definitely in some woman's bedroom. Shaken by the thought - he quickley located his clothes and got dressed. Looking for an exit - he found none! The room appeared to be completely sealed. A chill came over him as he thought of the implications - some strange woman he must have picked up last night, and she was into bondage or something. He realized he didn't have his gun ---- Aphrodite appeared behind him in a flash. Mulder saw the flash of light and wheeled around to confront her. "Who ARE you?! Where am I?!" "Don't you remember me from last night?" she answered, feigning an innocent manner "I am Aphrodite!" "Yeah - and I am Hercules!" Mulder sarcastically replied. Then he continued "Who are you, really - some exotic dancer I picked up in a fit of momentary passion? Or just some lunatic that enjoys preying on middle aged men?!" He was becoming more and more angry. "Where is the door? I don't know who you are, but I have had enough. You had your fun, now just let me leave!" he meant business. "I told you - I am Aphrodite! You know - goddess of love, living on Mt. Olympus" she said, as Mulder rolled his eyes. "Wait, I know you want out of here. Maybe some fresh air ---" Mulder found himself outdoors with his beautiful companion. He didn't remember walking through a door, a fact that bothered him considerably. How he ever could have slept with this fruitcake was beyond him! He angrily asked her "what did you do to me - slip me a little acid? Put a pill in my drink? I am a federal agent, I hope you know there are severe penalties for abducting me!" "Actually, there aren't any penalties!" she said. "Those laws don't apply here!" "What do you mean - where HAVE YOU TAKEN ME?!!!" Mulder was furious, but becoming alarmed. Depending on the drug she used, he could have been out for days, and could be anywhere in the world. He contemplated having to dry out in the FBI's drug treatment program. Not fun - he had already been there once when his water had been poisoned. He looked at the surroundings - taking in as many details as he could - no roads, no power lines, no litter, and a very blue sky. Somewhere far from civilization, he knew that much. His mind turned to the Freemen in Montana or the David Koresh compound in Waco. That must be it - he was abducted by a cult or survivalists! "Hey - Mulder - COOL IT!!! I know what you are thinking! Yes, I did abduct you, but I did it because you were lonely and so was I. And I didn't use any drugs, so you don't need a treatment program. And - there aren't any roads or power lines because those things don't exist in ancient Greece!" she said. This peaked Mulder's interest - she knew his every thought!!! Facing her - he said "Look - 'Aphrodite' - if that is your name - if you brought me here, just send me back. You've had your fun, but I am not interested!" "Well, there is just a little problem with that!" she said. "I could send you back, but I have attracted a little attention bringing you here. Not because of the distance thing, I am free to go anywhere I want. But - you see - my companions here have this thing about time. I not only brought you here from your apartment in Washington, but I brought you back 3500 years in time. I can send you back to Washington, but not back 3500 years in the future." Mulder wasn't buying it AT ALL, she was lovely, and he was becoming convinced harmless. He allowed himself to enjoy a view of her in her skimpy outfit. Very lovely! Years of experience in law enforcement had taught him to play around with the fantasies of lunatics. "Just reverse the spell or whatever you did!" he said vacantly. "I am not going to get into trouble for you! Zeus would know!" she said. "If you want to go back to Washington, I will send you, but I better come along so you don't get in trouble." Mulder rolled his eyes in disgust, but only for a moment. It was dark, incredibly dark, and his feet were getting cold and wet, as he was sinking into a dark muddy ooze! "Oops!" Aphrodite said - still at his side "I better hold you up!" Mulder quit sinking, but as his eyes were getting adjusted to the dark, he could see her hands were not holding him up. They were at her side, but something was definitely holding him! "I suppose I could risk a few hours, its not morning here yet!" she said, and Mulder closed his eyes quickly as the sun instantly appeared in front of him. It was shining right in his eyes, which he quickly covered. "Sorry!!!" she said as he turned around where he could see. He could see he was in a swamp. "This is your apartment! Or - it will be, in 3500 years." Mulder was wondering how she was pulling this deception off. He was not even slightly convinced by her tricks. "This could be ANYWHERE, I don't know how you are doing this, but I don't believe you!" Aphrodite sensed his disbelief, and was very frustrated. She liked this one, he was very nice to her last night. She needed to convince him, but HOW? She was actually far from being a bimbo - her intellect was just as keen as her sister Athena. She was intelligent, and knew it. Her interests were just in different things. She drew on her vast knowlege of humans, their history, their civilization. She searched his mind for something he would recognize, that would prove he was in the past. She scanned through his mind - here was something! Poor Mulder was beginning to figure out that something was very strange here, he was being bounced from place to place in an instant. At least his feet weren't in mud now. He was facing a large mountain that seemed kind of familiar. "This is your Mt. Rushmore!" Aphrodite beamed, "only it hasn't been carved - not yet!" Mulder examined the distant rock carefully - he had never visited the monument, but the size and shape was right. Far from convinced, however, he still had thoughts of an elaborate hoax, maybe holographic projections, maybe he was in a room and slides were being projected. Still, he couldn't deny that there was more going on here than just a slide show. Not only did he see different things where he went, he was careful to observe other clues - such as temperature - at each place. He knew that the sun had sunk slightly when he went from "Washington" to "Mt. Rushmore", a detail that somebody perpetrating a fraud might overlook. It would also be very difficult for somebody to reproduce the sun's brightness and the warmth inside a closed room. "God you're stubborn!" Aphrodite said as she examined his mind again. Aha - he was obsessed by the paranormal - this was going to make it easy! She picked her next location ----. Nothing could have prepared Mulder for the sight in front of him. Stonehenge was directly in front of him. He was mildly ashamed of himself - he had never seen Mt. Rushmore before, but he had seen Stonehenge. But NOT like this! The Stonehenge he had visited was in ruins, stones worn down with time, many of them missing. He was seeing Stonehenge in its glory, every stone in tact, every line crisp. It was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen ---. Then - the sketicism of an investigator took over. As he walked towards the monument, he noted the sun's position - about 6 hours later in the day than where he had just been, that was correct. He was aware of a difference in humidity, that would be difficult to fake. Or impossible. He was walking in a straight line. He couldn't do that if this was a room, or even a large warehouse or soundstage. That left hallucination. Grasping the first stone he came to, he pounded his fist on it with all of his might - it was real, all right! Although he sensed some pain, he repeated the ritual with 2 or 3 other stones - his throbbing fist convinced him not to do more ---. A cold sweat came down his back, suppose she was telling him the truth? "DUH!!!!" Aphrodite said. "So you are you convinced? Or do you want more pain?!" Mulder looked at her in a fresh light - not as a nutcase, but as a possible goddess. 'What if some aliens came to earth 3500 years ago?' he thought to himself, forgetting that she could read his thoughts. She replied to his question "Well, you got it partly right. We aren't strictly speaking 'aliens', because we have always been just as native to your world as we are to every other. We are members of something called the Q continuum. I would explain, but your primitive mind couldn't grasp the concept. As far as you are concerned, we are just like you, except for a small difference. We are omnipotent!" Mulder was not convinced. Certainly he was talking to a person, perhaps an alien, with extraordinary powers. But the concept of 'omnipotence' bothered him. Wasn't that like saying you are God? He decided to test her. "If that is true, why can't you transport me back to the 20th century?" "And why can't you take every day off work?" she countered, then continued. "We sort of have - rules. All of us got together and decided there are things we should and shouldn't do. You know, so things shouldn't get too out of hand. And --- time travel is one of them. Not that we can't do it, you understand, it just isn't done. Something like 'morals'" Mulder quipped "Yeah, you struck me last night as a very 'moral' person!" Aphrodite could see he meant it as a joke, not an insult. "Hey, look on the bright side - not everybody can say they scored with goddess of love herself - the most beautiful woman in the world!" Mulder was not impressed - the thought of being used by an alien for her own pleasure was not comforting to him. "But are you a woman?" he asked seriously. "As real and as human as you want me to be!" she replied. "THAT'S NOT AN ANSWER!!!" Mulder said. "I want to know exactly what happened - did I crawl in bed with a beast that has 100 tentacles, and now I'm going to be the father of more?" He was genuinely mad, but also genuinely scared - of her true nature, and her powers. His mind ran through every "B" sci-fi flick he had ever seen, and his imagination supplied even worse! "Relax!" she said. "While I am in this body, the only thing I can give birth to is a perfectly normal human baby. If I want to. The only thing is - they might be omnipotent, they might not. But they would certainly have some sort of extraordinary power." Mulder shuddered - he was NOT comforted by the thought. She continued "But then - that's what I am - am I so bad?" Mulder had to face the fact - she was not inherently evil. Terribly irresponsible, but not evil. He didn't have to sleep with her the night before. He could have turned away. He had wanted her. "What are my options?" Mulder asked. He had visions of himself sitting on Mt. Olympus, looking ridiculous in a toga and wearing a laurel wreath. "Its not like that" she said sincerely. "We - really want to help. The continuum saw that your world was brutal, and decided to send some of us here to rule the place. For a while - and sort of give the world role models and art and literature and stuff. Only - its going wrong. We are playing god too much. Like me bringing you here - it wasn't fair! I was being - selfish. Now you are stuck here, with no place to go." Mulder was conscious of being back in her quarters. He was also seeing himself closer and closer to that toga, and becoming more and more frightened - of never getting back home. Aphrodite tried to comfort him "Hey, its not so bad here! You never would have scored with that little redhead, I gave you all of your fantasies in one night. I don't mind - I do like you, you know! Otherwise I would have picked somebody else last night. Or just blown you off this morning." Mulder was not pleased with his fate "And what am I expected to do the rest of the time when we are not in bed - pluck a harp on Mt. Olympus? I had a life, maybe it wasn't perfect by your standards or even mine, but what I want - is back there! No, I don't mean Scully! I mean my work, my search for truth, and since you know everything anyway, my search for Samantha. You have left me, and her - with no hope!" "Look, I understand why you are upset" she replied. "Truce, OK?! I know you are mad at me, and have every right to be. But I can't send you back, at least not for a while. Until then, I think you should stick with me, since you really don't fit in here." Mulder had to grudgingly agree. Aphrodite continued "You don't have to go to bed with me, unless you WANT to. But most men eventually do! Look, there is no reason for you to just hang around bored. I know you need something to do - a job. I'll tell you what - I have a tough case I have been working on. You help me with it, and I'll try to sneak you back. Oh, and just so it's fair to you, I'll save your sister, too." Mulder was floored - could this be possible? This was the strangest way he could have imagined to get Samantha back. He looked at Aphrodite in a totally different light - he didn't totally buy her story, but if she was omnipotent, she offered a slim hope. He decided to play along - even if the chances were small, it was still a chance. "What do I have to do?" he asked. "Good - about time you trusted me!" she said. "OK, here's the deal. My 'job' is 'goddess of love', right? I am supposed to see to it that everybody has a mate. You know, a guy for every girl, a girl for every guy. But getting men and women together is not all that I do - I sometimes help good people who are doing good things. You know, if they are going to die or something. I need your help with this woman - her name is Xena, and she travels around the countryside with her friend Gabrielle - saving the helpless. They call her the Warrior Princess. But unless she is stopped, she is going to be killed. Ares and Hades have set a trap for her, but if I can stop them, they won't dare try again once their plan is revealed to Zeus. If Xena misses just one battle, she will live to an old age, and help thousands more in the process. I want you to delay her from going to that battle - it is in Sparta." Mulder couldn't believe he was hearing this. Aphrodite was implying that he should seduce a big, burly, ugly woman. He couldn't believe Aphrodite would ask him to do this! "No - she's not like that!!!!" Aphrodite said. "and you don't have to sleep with her, just delay her!" She waved her hand and her mirror changed from a reflection to a view of a lovely woman with dark hair and startlingly blue eyes. She was riding a horse in a pastoral setting, wearing battle garb. A beautiful blonde was walking along beside the horse, and they were having a conversation that Mulder could not hear.
"Better than cable television!" Aphrodite said. "The woman on the horse is Xena. Now - are you interested?!" Mulder said dryly "Great, but can you get the Playboy Channel?" She waved her hand, and the Playboy Channel appeared! Aphrodite gasped disgustedly at the exploitive sex act being portrayed, and waved her hand again, and Xena and Gabrielle were back. "So - are you going to do it?" "I don't have to - sleep with her. Just distract her long enough to miss the battle." Mulder said. "You got it!" she replied. "But - sleeping with her would be much more fun." "How will I know when it has been long enough?" Mulder asked. "You will know!" Aphrodite said. "When it has been long enough - I will send Samantha to get you. Now - we got to think of a plan to get you with Xena. I know - she has always had a soft spot for a traveller in distress - and those roads are filled with thieves -------" On the road to Sparta Xena and Gabrielle had been travelling all day, on their way to Sparta. Xena had heard of the cruelties of Spartan justice, and was anxious to help some rebels that were fighting for a new system of law in the province - one that would be fair to the peasants. Gabrielle could not believe what she was hearing! She had to speak up --- "Let me get this straight, we are going to overthrow the king of Sparta?!" Xena answered "It's not what it sounds like, Gabrielle. Hercules sent word to me that their system of justice - once the envy of the world, has become so cold and rigid there is no room for mercy. He had to rescue a man who was almost a victim of it. He needs us to join some peasants, who have formed an army of resistance. They are in hiding in the forest. They have a lot of spirit, but no real leader. If we join them, they will rally behind me as their leader. With my experience, we can form a united strategy that will succeed. Hercules and Iolaus will also join us when we get there." Gabrielle asked "How will we find them?" Xena replied "I have already sent word to them - their camp is nearby, we should reach it by nightfall." Xena was distracted by the sound of fighting. "Stay here!" she told Gabrielle, and rode off towards the sounds. Gabrielle shook her head - left behind again. She was used to it by now, even though she was becoming a warrior in her own right - using a staff to strike non-fatal blows. But - Xena still over protected her. She ran after Xena towards the fighting. Xena spotted the three thieves - they were attacking a tall, strange looking man who obviously was wealthy. He was wearing opulant robes, that advertised his high status and wealth. And he made no effort to hide the bag of gold he had been carrying. The man was holding his own, using some strange hand-to-hand techniques she had never seen before. Still, three against one was not fair. Jumping from her horse, she let out a loud battle cry "AiYiYiYiYiYi!" as she used her strength and agility to jump to a tree branch. Vaulting off of it, her feet caught the jaws of two of the thieves, knocking them to the ground. The third thief ran to stab her in the back with his knife, but she deftly dodged his attack, and slugged him in the stomach painfully with her elbow as he passed. One of the other thieves recovered and lunged at her, only to be knocked in the jaw again by a glancing kick. The third thief, seeing that they were outmatched, said "let's get out of here!" The other two, shaking off their blows, were quick to follow. Gabrielle emerged from the brush as they were running off - she had missed the fun - again. She yelled after the fleeing men "You better run! Or I will give you more of what Xena did!" Xena was used to Gabrielle - she wanted so much to join in her heroics, but Gabrielle was still innocent about the true nature of warfare, and not ready yet for truly dangerous situations. When in doubt, it was better to leave her behind and assess the situation. She wished she could explain it to her, but she knew Gabrielle would be hurt if she told she wasn't ready. Xena turned her attention to the man they were attacking - he was getting up off the ground, covered in grass and dirt, but none the worse for wear. How could anybody be so stupid as to travel these roads alone - with flagrant wealth? She was suspicious as she asked "Who ARE you?" "Mulder --- a - merchant from Athens, on my way to Sparta." His eyes caught sight of Gabrielle - whose beauty held his gaze for a moment. "What is your business there?" Xena asked. "The fates have been kind to me. I am paying homage to them by taking this bag of gold to help the orphans from the Spartan Wars." Mulder was trying his best to sound sincere, but he was sure she could tell he was lying. He was still having trouble with his Greek - Aphrodite's spell wasn't as perfect as he hoped, and he stumbled over Greek grammer. Xena detested liers, particularly when she had just risked her life for him. She stared right into his eyes with distainful anger as she said "I don't know who you are, but you are no merchant. No merchant in his right mind would travel these roads without hiring an armed escort. And - no merchant I know could fight the way I saw you fight. I don't know who you really are, but if you are that eager to hand over your gold, I will see to it that you have the opportunity!" Changing her gaze to pure anger, but still smiling slightly, she said "And if you lie to me again, you will get a taste of what I gave those thieves!" Mulder decided the less said the better. "Thank you for your rescue, and escort, I will give my gold to the priests at the temple in Sparta" he said. Then - trying to de-fuse the situation, he asked "Who are you?" Xena - her warning made, was willing to be pleasant "I am Xena. This is Gabrielle, she said - nodding to her companion." "I am glad you came along when you did - those thieves were giving me a hard time" he said. Xena, still suspicious, saw a chance to find out more. "I saw those moves you made while fighting. Where did you learn them?" "They are from the far East - a form of fighting know as judo." he said. Intrigued, Xena wanted to know more "Have you travelled to the far East?" "Yes, several times" Mulder realized he would have to be more careful - his story was outlandish in these times "--- to procure rare goods for trade." Nice recovery, he thought to himself. Xena was very suspicous, but said nothing. Trips to the far East took years, and the journey was filled with danger. He was not very old - several round trips should take a lifetime. Gabrielle had been silent during the exchange. She was intrigued by this man, his short haircut looked attractive, but out of place. He did not wear a beard. Gabrielle did not like beards. Mulder had glanced at her several times, she knew he was admiring her figure. It didn't bother her, it was nice to know she was attractive to men, particularly one who was better looking and more cultured than most. She finally spoke up "You said the fates had been kind to you, what did they do?" "They have prospered me, and allowed me to accumulate great wealth" Mulder answered. "But what do you buy and sell that has made you so wealthy?" Gabrielle asked. "New and unusual objects, machines that do new things" Mulder answered. He was beginning to be uncomfortable - conscious of being cross-examined. "I am sorry - I didn't mean to be nosy!" Gabrielle said suddenly. She realized what she was doing - it was rude. She sort of liked him, and did not want to get off on the wrong foot. Xena took note of her interest in him, and his in her. It did not disturb her that Gabrielle had her own life, and interests - even occasionally a love. But she was distressed that Gabrielle liked this suspicious stranger. "What about you - are you a warrior, to?" Mulder asked. "No, I am a bard - a travelling story teller. One day - I hope to set to writing all the good deeds that Xena does." she said. "Like rescuing travellers in distress" he said. "Yes, and so much more." she said. "Xena travels the world, helping those who are under oppression, saving the helpless." "Tell me one of your stories!" Mulder requested, genuinely interested - and hoping to pass the time on the monotonous road. As Gabrielle recited her tale, and they walked along together, Xena rode slightly ahead on her horse. Although his mission was to distract Xena, Gabrielle was very nice. Gabrielle's lovely tale, of Xena fighting off the effort of the evil Ares - lasted for a couple of hours. Her perfect recitation in classical Greek was beautiful, and the verbal images she painted were vivid. As they walked along, it began to get dark. As the shadows fell, Xena abruptly said "We will make camp here!" she was irritated not to have made the rebel camp - the time wasted saving Mulder was enough to make her late. All of them busied themselves with gathering firewood. Gabrielle and Xena had bedrolls - Xena noticed that Mulder had nothing. "I must have lost it in the fight." Mulder said, when he saw Xena looking at him. She thought back to the scene of the battle. He had nothing with him but the bag of gold. Another alarming lie - he was not prepared for the journey he was supposedly taking. She was becoming convinced that he was leading her into a trap - possibly a scheme of Ares ---- "You can use mine --" Gabrielle said - then realizing how it sounded, she quickly added "I like sleeping under the stars better." Xena did not want him sleeping so close, she did not trust him. But she said nothing, being careful to put the fire between him and her. Gabrielle often slept under the stars, it worried Xena, but that was her way of being close to nature sometimes. She would be all right on her own. Both retired for the night. Mulder - unconcerned - fell asleep immediately. He could not see Xena's intense stare. Later - during the night. Mulder awoke to intense pain in his neck, as Xena thrust her fingers deeply into the flesh, and somehow tied off a blood vessel under his skin! "I have just cut off the flow of blood to your brain." she said - meaning business. "You will be dead in 30 seconds unless I restore it. Now TELL me who you REALLY are and who sent you! Was it ARES?" Mulder - who by this time had absolutely no doubt that she was telling the truth - he could feel his life throbbing away - answered all of her questions. "My name really is Mulder. And I was sent, but it was Aphrodite who sent me." Xena reached over and restored his blood flow. He would have died in seconds if she hadn't. "Aphrodite? Why did SHE send you?" Gabrielle had heard the commotion, and joined them. She was disturbed that Xena had been so rough on him. "Xena, what are you doing?" "Be quiet, Gabrielle!" she said, almost rudely, "Our stranger has something to tell us both." Looking at Mulder, she said - in a surprisingly feminine way "go on!" "Aphrodite sent me to stop you from going against the Spartans." He knew the jig was up - his best strategy now was honesty. "-- because if you go against the Spartans, you are fated to die in battle. Ares has set a trap for you." Xena sat back in shock. The emotions flooded her instantly. The concept of defeat - that she was not invincable. Someday - she would die, she knew, and probably in battle. But that day was always far off - in the future. Not something to think about. Never to see another night, never to know love again - and Gabrielle would be on her own. But --- no! Mulder could not be trusted - it was a trick. He must have sent - by the Spartans - to stop her from supporting the rebels. She instinctively moved to get her sword, and put an end to Mulder's spying once and for all! Xena was stopped by a brilliant flash of light, as Aphrodite appeared! "Can't you do anything right?" she asked Mulder. "All I asked you to do is spend time with a beautiful woman and you totally blow it!!! Not only that, but you make moves on her best friend!" she nodded towards a blushing Gabrielle. Xena was not afraid to face a goddess, at least not in this situation. Rising to her feet and facing her, she asked "Is this true? Am I fated to die in battle?" "You got it, sweetcakes!" Aphrodite said. "This is definitely a time you should take a vacation, you know, unwind! I could let you come with me and get the most scruptious massage on Mt. Olympus - then you come back later and continue to do your thing." "No thanks!" Xena said. "I don't take vacations when there is oppression and injustice! And I can do without a massage" Xena had little use for the gods, they had only meant trouble for her. She hadn't encountered Aphrodite before, but was beginning to think of her as a meddlesome bimbo. "Hello!!! - Is there a brain in there or what? Haven't you heard a word I have been saying? You go out there tomorrow, you lose. BIG time. For the rebels, yourself, for Gabrielle, for Mulder - he is counting on you to get his little sister back, or didn't he blab that to you, too?!" "No, he didn't" Xena replied, furious with Mulder for concealing information - AGAIN. She angrily and pointedly asked Mulder - what did you expect me to do - leave the rebels without help to rescue one girl?" "CHILL out!!!" Aphrodite said "All he had to do was keep you from fighting - and I was going to do the rescueing." "Aphrodite - I know I have not been particularly reverent towards you or any of the other gods. And I would be less than honest if I told you I had as much respect for you as I do for your sisters Artemis and Athena. I appreciate you trying to save my life - IF that is what you are trying to do. But surely you know I have been used by the other gods, especially Ares. I know you gods have your own plans for mankind, and you are not above stretching the truth to accomplish it" Xena said - as politely as she could fake. "OK - go and get yourself killed tomorrow - see if I care. Mulder - our deal is still on. You stop her from getting herself killed, and I will get your sister back." Aphrodite said as she vanished. None of them saw the Spartan spy as he sneaked away in the underbrush ---- "Leave us!" Xena told Mulder sternly. "You have more than worn out your welcome here." Mulder left, not venturing far in the darkness. He wondered what he was going to do now. He decided to simply follow them and observe. Xena knew he was nearby, watching - a fact that irritated her intensely. Still, it was not worth chasing him off all night. She had other things on her mind. "Xena - You can't go into battle tomorrow!" Gabrielle said, sounding frightened. She was fighting tears. "I need some time - to think. Gather my thoughts. Stay here!" Xena said, dismissing her. Gabrielle sobbed quietly in the darkness. She knew that Xena was gone - forever. Gabrielle knew she would never see her again. A clumsy thrashing in the bushes disturbed Gabrielle. It was Mulder - who asked "where did Xena ride off to in such a hurry?" Gabrielle turned to Mulder - tears streaked down her cheeks. Xena had taken Argo and rode off to join the rebels - without her! "she has gone - she left me! She knew she was going to die - and didn't want me to die, too!" Seeing that Gabrielle was very upset, Mulder moved toward her to comfort her. She seemed very vulnerable. He found a rag and dried her tears. She didn't seem to mind his closeness. "I knew she would do this to me - to us." Gabrielle said, with tears still just under the surface. "She never was one to run from a battle, even if she knew the odds were against her. Only this time - it will get her killed." Now she was crying again - and Mulder moved right in front of her. Seeing inviting eyes, he moved to kiss her, gently. Gabrielle was comforted, in a way, and flattered. Still - something was wrong. "This is all wrong - its still too soon!" she said. "What do you mean?" he asked. "I - was married - for one night. His name was Perdicus. Then Callisto - a bitter enemy of Xena - killed him the next morning. The memories - they are just too fresh. I need some time - I hope you understand." she said. "I know I led you on, but could you - just hold me?" Mulder, understanding, simply held her for a few moments. "We HAVE to save her!!!" Gabrielle said after a while, through her tears. Mulder somehow knew not to argue, and simply asked "Do you know where she was headed?" "Earlier today, she said something about a rebel camp - about a hour's ride from here." Gabrielle replied. "Only --- we are on foot. It could take us hours in the dark. "What about the battlefield, can we make it there by morning?" Mulder asked. "Maybe if we hurry!" Gabrielle said. The two of them took off as fast as they could, knowing time and darkness were against them. The underworld ------ Ares was not pleased as he talked to Hades "My meddlesome sister is endangering our plan." Hades replied "I know, all of Mt. Olympus is talking about this man from the future." Ares said "The two of them - the man from the future and Xena's meddling friend Gabrielle are on their way to save Xena!" Hades said "We must go to Hera at once - before she inquires about Xena's true fate. She must believe it is Aphrodite who is interfering with fate, not us!" Mt. Olympus Ares was nervous - although he was equal in every way to Hera in power, he was still cognizant of her authority over him. She was, after all, his mother, and as stubborn and evil as they come. "What is it that you seek from me, and what do you offer in return?" she sternly asked as he entered. As usual, she only allowed them to see her eyes, reflected on the stones of the wall. Another strategy of intimidation, and it was working well! "Aphrodite has been interfering in a mortal's fate" he said. "Surely you know by now that she has brought a man here from the future, ignoring our rules. She is using this man to change the fate of Xena, the warrior princess." "Why should I interfere?" Hera was burning with anger. Her children's constant bickering was annoying, and it was even more annoying when they came to her to ask for help against each other! This time, she wanted something in return. "What will you give me in return!" "Something you have always wanted!" Ares said. "My help in destroying Hercules!" Hera was now very interested. Up until this time, none of the gods had wanted to become involved in her jealous crusade against Hercules. The god of war could be quite an asset. "Granted!" she said. Looking into Mulder's mind, she saw a mass of confliciting ideas, an emotional wreck of a man. But one person was a steadying influence on him. She looked in Dana Scully's mind - GOOD! A skeptic. Mulder would not interfere - if he was convinced his presence here was an illusion. Scully would never be convinced she was really here, and would do the same to Mulder. Hera sighed as she thought of the consequences - once again Aphrodite's free spirited ways made it necessary for her, too, to bend rules that should not be broken. She closed her eyes and willed---
The woods near Sparta Dana Scully awoke from a good night's sleep - only to find herself not in her own bed, but leaning against a tree. She was clothed in ancient Greek clothing, and did not like the idea of somebody changing her clothes while she was asleep! Thoughts of abduction raced through her mind - not abduction by aliens like Mulder would assume - abduction by some cult would be more accurate. It was still dark, and fairly cold. The light of a distant campfire beckoned through the woods. Scully had no real desire to meet the owners, but she knew she needed to find some shelter, or at least some warmth. Coming closer to the clearing, she saw two men camping by the fire. Both were very muscular and well built, but one was much larger than the other. Scully felt he belonged in World Championship Wrestling - he was a giant. She was acutely aware of being a woman - alone - in the woods with two large men. She was not comfortable with it, but decided it was a necessary risk - at least until she knew more about how she got here - wherever she was.
Iolaus was the first to see the strange woman approaching through the woods. "Hey - Herc - we have a visitor!" he said to the larger man. Hercules turned to see a small red-headed woman entering the clearing. Clearly uncomfortable and a little apprehensive, she said "Gentlemen - I seem to be lost. Could I share your campfire, and could you help me figure out where I am?" Iolaus, also conscious of her apprehension, tried to put her mind at ease "Yes, you can join us. Please. I am Iolaus, and this is Hercules. And you are --- ?" "Dana Scully - glad to meet you. Can you tell me where I am?" she asked. She knew the name Hercules, maybe these men really were wrestlers! Hercules answered "you are on the road to Sparta, about three hours walk from the city. Do you know where you were going?" "I thought I was in Washington, D.C." she answered. Iolaus asked Hercules "I have never heard of it, have you?" "No, I haven't either" he answered Iolaus. Hercules said it very innocently, like it was true. Scully was becoming very uneasy - nobody anywhere in the civilized world wouldn't know where Washington was. She was suspicious of these men - that maybe they were trying to keep her from finding her way home, maybe even responsible for her being here. She decided to take her chances alone in the dark. "Thank you very much, gentlemen. You have been very - helpful. But I think I can find my way." Hercules abruptly rose in an action that alarmed Scully. He was enormous! He said to her "Just the same, I think it would be better if you stayed here for the night." Scully's heart was racing, she just knew she was moments away from a rape attempt, or worse. She felt for her gun, which of course was not present. Seeing her terror rising, Hercules realized he had alarmed her and said "Please, don't be alarmed! I only suggested that because these woods are full of thieves and robbers, and a woman alone wouldn't stand much of a chance against them. You can stay with us - on the other side of the fire, until morning when it will be safer. If you want, you can come with us to Sparta." Realizing that she had mis-interpreted the situation, Scully sat back down. Hercules returned to sit by Iolaus - on the opposite side of the fire. Iolaus wanted to make pleasant conversation - he knew that Scully had been frightened. Hercules could do that every once in a while, without realizing it. "So - Danascully - where do you come from? I have never heard a name like yours before." "You can just call me Scully!" she said. "I am from Washington, D.C." and then she added "in the United States". "These states are anything but united these days" Iolaus said, making smalltalk. "Sparta fighting with Athens, Athens against Corinth." Now Scully was alarmed - she knew now that she was in Greece! How did she get HERE, she wondered? She did not want to let these men know her alarm, she wanted to get information from them. "I meant the United States of AMERICA". she said. "I am sorry - we have never heard of it." Hercules said sympathetically, searching his mind. Even though he was known for his strength, he was quite intellient, and tried to think if he ever had heard of such a nation. But none came to mind. "Can you tell me - is it a far journey? How long have you been travelling?" "Actually, I was just there last night. I woke up in these woods, and saw your campfire" she said, and then added a warning "if the two of you are responsible for bringing me all the way to Greece, I am a United States federal agent. There are laws against kidnapping me!" Iolaus was quick to answer - he could tell she was really disoriented and frightened. "Scully - we did not bring you here. But - Hercules and I sort of do good deeds and help people. After we help the Spartan rebels, we will help you find you way home." Hercules wondered what Iolaus was getting him into this time, but knew this was a good deed that needed to be performed, and agreed with Iolaus. "We need to know something about where you live. Do you know how to get back home?" Scully was relaxing just a bit. Their desire to help seemed genuine enough. Perhaps they were a bit dull witted or stupid, and just didn't know their geography. She couldn't believe she would have to tell them the way to the United States! "My home is across the Mediterranean Sea, past the Rock of Gibralter, and then across the Atlantic ocean." Both men were alarmed by what they had just heard. They knew the Mediterranean Sea, it was sounding like they would have to journey a long way to return Scully home. But 'Gibralter' - she described it as a 'rock'. Iolaus was suddenly hit with a possible answer "do you mean the Pillars of Hercules?" he asked. Scully replied, "Yes, I think Gibralter was called that, a long time ago." Iolaus was surprised "A long time ago??? They just named it that, in honor of my friend Hercules, here!" and he nodded to Hercules. Scully's suspicions were really raised. These men were obviously lying, there was no way he could be the real Hercules. "You mean you are the real Hercules, from ancient times?" Hercules answered, "Well, actually - I am the only one I know about, I didn't know there had been another." She decided to ask a classic question that usually always tripped up crackpots and the mentally ill. She asked "What year is this?" Iolaus looked puzzled as he asked Hercules "Isn't it the 20th year of the reign of King Menelaus?" Hercules nodded. Scully knew that almost without fail, somebody from the present day would say something like '1500 B.C.', not realizing nobody would know 'before Christ' when he would be born. These two men were good at their deception. Really good. That, or Mulder's ideas about alien abduction were right, and she was in a LOT of trouble! She looked again at her dress - classical Greek, from the look of it. Somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to pull off this hoax! Iolaus continued "You said you were from ACROSS the great ocean past the Pillars of Hercules, or should I say the rock of Gibralter?" Scully decided to play along for now. "Yes, across the 'Great Ocean', or should I say 'Atlantic'!" She was halfway mocking them. Iolaus turned to Hercules "It must be the work of the gods. I have never heard of any land across the great ocean. I thought you simply sailed off the edge of the world. If she is from some distant land across the ocean, we will definitely need the help of the gods to get her back!" Hercules was more knowlegable. He knew of the writings of the Hebrew prophet Isaiah, who wrote that the earth was an orb - a circle. "Actually, Iolaus - she could be telling the truth. There are some writings that say the earth is round, she really could be from a distant land across the ocean." Scully decided to join in the conversation "Listen, if you just take me to any town - Sparta will do - I can catch a ride to Athens, and fly back to Washington from there!" Both men looked utterly confused. They answered in unison "FLY????!!!!" Iolaus turned to Hercules again and said "Poor thing, she has been in these woods so long she is completely crazy. We have to find her a healer at Sparta, and then maybe she can remember where she is really from." Scully - overhearing, was outraged "I am not crazy! I am special agent Dana Scully with the Federal Bureau of Investigation". Forgetting that she was in an ancient Greek outfit, she instinctively reached for her ID. Exasperated at not finding it, she spoke out authoritatively "you are both under arrest!!! As soon as I find the local jurisdiction, you will both be charged with criminal abduction and kidnapping." Hercules could see her frustration, and tried to defuse her anger "We told you we meant you no harm. We will be happy to take you to the king when we get to Sparta, but I don't think he will recognize your authority to arrest us. You are still welcome to accompany us, if you wish, and we can sort this thing out when we get there." Scully, utterly frustrated, weighed her options. Finally deciding that she had no other options, she said "Of course I will accompany you. You are my prisoners!" The headquarters of Spartan general Anarchus The spy entered and began his report to the general "general Anarchus, I have news of the rebel army!" The general had been drinking, and was not very patient. He was a big, powerful man who had nothing but contempt for spies - they were scum to be used and then discarded. "Tell me what you know!" The spy knew the general well and got right to the point. "Xena, the Warrior princess, is in the province. She plans to join the rebel army - to unite them and give them a leader." The general was not overly concerned. "I have heard of Xena. It sounds just like her to join that rabble. She is just one woman - formidable as an opponent one-on-one. But we have a whole army, and we will crush their rebellion tomorrow even with her leading it. Is that why you disturbed my sleep?" He was very irritated - he knew the rebels were planning to march on Sparta the next day. Confident of victory - he wanted his sleep so he could look good in the victory parade, where he would display the heads of the rebels to the King. The spy knew he had information the general could use. "Wait - there is more! But it will cost you - double!" "Double the lashes if you don't speak now!!!" the general angrily replied. "Only IF the information is worth your price I will pay it." "This information is worth it, general." the spy said. "the gods have decreed that Xena is to die tomorrow. When they are without a leader - you will easily defeat the rest of her army!" The general asked "How did you hear this?" The spy replied "A stranger told Xena - he had no choice, she used one of her death grips on him. The prophecy came from the goddess Aphrodite herself." The general was suspicious "You are certain that the prophecy came from Aphrodite herself, and not just from the stranger?!" The spy replied "Yes, general - Aphrodite appeared and said it with her own words. I saw her with my own eyes!" The general, talking to all his commanders gathered about "Then lets drink to the death of the warrior woman, and to our victory over these rebels!" A hearty chorus of revelry and toasts to Xena's death followed. On the road - the next day Scully had scarecely said a word to her prisoners. From her perspective, she was in the worst fix of her life. She had seen half a dozen chariots, lots of people dressed in ancient Greek garb, and a marketplace in a small village filled with beautiful reproductions of ancient Greek pottery and metal work. But much worse - not to her liking at all - in the ten miles she estimated they had walked, no trace of power lines, no jet trails in the sky, no trace of television antennas, no trace of modern shoes, no watches, no walkman - not even a newspaper, magazine, or coke can. Wherever this place was, it was a large pocket of people trying their best to copy ancient Greece.
They stopped briefly at a small village. An overly friendly and talkative, slightly pudgy man, dressed in fancy robes appeared. He seemed to know Hercules and Iolaus well. "Aha - keeping the company of a beautiful woman - and holding out on me!" he said. Hercules answered, annoyed, but in a friendly way "Salmoneus, we are not 'keeping company'. She was lost in the woods, and I told her she could accompany us to Sparta. She is a bit - confused. I was wondering if you could escort her to the local healer. Here is a gold coin to pay his fee." Scully was furious - they were about to try to dump her and escape by taking her to some phony ancient quack witch doctor. She was about to say something, she didn't quite know what - when she saw the coin Hercules was handing Salmonius. A cold chill crept up her spine and over her whole body. All she could do is meekly ask "May I see that -- please?" The urgency in her voice told all of them to let her look at the coin. "Of course, as long as you give it back!!!" Salmoneus jokingly said. Scully held the coin in her hand. This was no fake!!! None of these men could possibly know ---. Her mind went back several years to when her uncle was still alive. His hobby of collecting ancient Roman and Greek gold coins was his passion. It was an expensive hobby, but the coins were good investments. After her Uncle's death, Scully's father had inherited his collection, and then Scully after her father's death. She had the collection safely in the vault at the bank - to be sold to fund her retirement someday. All but one piece - her favorite from childhood. She liked that particular piece - her uncle had told her how they stamped the coins with a hammer and a mold, and no two were ever the same. She felt sorry for it - that is why she liked it. It had a jagged crack on one side - filled with dust and grime through the ages, some of the features scratched, but still a beautiful piece. Hers, to remember her uncle by. But - also - the very coin she now held in her hand!!!! She examined with exceptional care the crack, crossing the letters at the right spot, intersecting the profile of the king in the exact place she remembered. Only - no scratches, no wear. Fresh, even rough. She handed the coin to Salmoneus. She was not one to deny the reality of a situation, once it had been demonstrated to her. Looking at Hercules and Iolaus, she said "We need to talk - in private!" Salmoneus said "I know a place where you won't be bothered - you can use my shop - nobody buys things in there anyway!" Scully knew this was going to be a hard story to swallow, especially when they already thought she was crazy. "I - apologize for the way I behaved last night. I didn't realize my ---- situation. I know this is going to sound incredible, but please hear me out!" Hercules and Iolaus listened to Scully as she unfolded her fantastic story of being from the future, from a land across the ocean. Both men were skeptical, but then they had seen incredible things done at the hands of the gods. As she finished, she was met by silence. It was terrible! To break the silence, she said curiously "You are really Hercules?" "Yes" he said, as though curious that she would ask. "Do they still know of me - that far in the future?" "Yes, but only as legend, a heroic tale. I didn't realize that you were a real person." she said. Wondering how in the world she got there, she seized on a longshot "You keep talking about the gods as though they are real people. I thought they were legends, too. Could you tell me more about them, in case they are responsible for my being here?" "Legends?!" laughed Iolaus "I wish they were! Hera has been giving Hercules a pretty lousy time lately. She is filled with jealousy towards Hercules, all because Zeus fooled around behind her back." "That is all very interesting, I am sure, but who ARE these gods? Do they really live on Mt. Olympus? Is it possible to go and see them?" Scully asked. Iolaus and Hercules were both becoming concerned - this woman could get herself killed if she dared to confront the gods in the wrong way. Iolaus gave her the warning "You can get yourself killed if you start climbing on Mt. Olympus by yourself, without permission. Why don't you come with us to the temple in Sparta, maybe the gods will answer you through one of their oracles. That is the usual way people talk to them. Oh, and you need to bring a sacrifice for the altar, or they may get mad!" This was too much for Scully - a sacrifice?! Just as she was about to either laugh or protest --- Salmoneus entered with customers who were asking about buying weapons, and Scully's heart raced with instant recognition as the man turned to her. "Scully - is that YOU?!" asked Mulder, just as surprised to see her! Scully couldn't resist laughing at his comical appearance, forgetting that she, too was dressed in an ancient outfit. As he joined them, she took note of his companion, a beautiful blonde girl. Then, becoming a little angry, she confronted Mulder "I should have known you would be in the middle of this. Are you responsible for my being brought here?!" "I'm glad to see, you, too!" Mulder said sarcastically. "I - take it you two know each other" Hercules said. "I am Hercules, this is Iolaus." Mulder looked at Scully's companions, and then turning Scully, he said "Yes, we --- work together." Then, looking at Gabrielle, he introduced her. Iolaus looked at Gabrielle and said "We have met." Then, turning to Mulder, he asked "Are you from 'America', too?" Astonished, Mulder asked Scully "Just what did you tell them?!" Hercules tried to rescue a deteriorating conversation. "Enough to make us suspect that the gods are responsible for bringing you both here. Iolaus and I were trying to convince Scully, but she is having a hard time believing." "Scully, these gods are real! I have met one of them. They are aliens, who settled here to try and help civilization get started. They have great power, but are subject to human failings, just like you and I. That HAS to be how you got here, just like it is how I got here." Mulder said. Scully reflected on what he had just said. The whole thing was fantastic, but was starting to make sense to her. Not just her being here, but all the fantastic legends. All legends have their basis in fact. "If that is true, Mulder, then our being here has to be for some purpose." "I already know why I am here - Scully." I was brought here on a whim by Aphrodite. "That figures!" Iolaus and Hercules both said at the same time. They obviously knew Aphrodite well. "Do you know Aphrodite?" Mulder asked. Hercules answered "you - could say that. She is my half sister!" A very frustrated Gabrielle anxiously spoke up "Can I break this up long enough to remind you that Xena is about to be killed?!" "Where - WHEN?!" Hercules asked. "Today, and very near here, if we don't hurry!" Gabrielle said. "You lead, and we will follow!" Hercules said "you can explain on the way". He was very focused - his mind returned to his tragic luck in love, first Deianeira, then Serena. This time, he would not allow the gods to kill somebody he loved! Leaving Salmoneus to tend his store, the rest of them headed down the road as fast as they could. Aphrodite appeared in a bright flash of light beside them. "Hey, this speed walking is good exercise!" she said. Scully was closest to her, and was a bit shocked by her appearance - the women she had seen up until now had all been dressed rather conservatively. This woman was - inviting the wrong type of attention. Still, there was something very different about her - clothes too white, too perfect --- could she be one of these gods? "Yep - that's me! I am Aphrodite - I thought I better come and tell you that all this is real." Mulder vouched for her "Scully - meet a goddess, this is Aphrodite - the one who brought me here last night!" Scully rolled her eyes and thought to herself 'its just like Mulder to believe this bimbo is a god' "Hey - I am not a bimbo! I don't have time to do a lot of magic tricks to convince you like I did Mulder - it took me forever to convince him. You ought to trust him more. And if you call me a bimbo again I will give you a bad hair day like I did to Medusa!" Aphrodite said. Scully was alarmed that she knew every thought she had, but maybe her face had betrayed her opinion of Aphrodite. Scully just asked "why did you bring Mulder here?" Aphrodite read her mind carefully just to make sure - protective, like a mother for an irresponsible child. NOT jealous. Good! That would make the explanation easier. She said "lag back with me, let the others go ahead!" Mulder knew Scully needed more convincing "its OK, just let out a yell if you need us, or we get too far ahead!" The others continued quickly on the way. Aphrodite was not ashamed of the situation "Your friend needed a little companionship last night, and so did I. I didn't know things were going to get so - complicated!" It backfired. Scully was furious "How could you take advantage of him like that? Don't you know how vulnerable he is?" Aphrodite was surprised "Hey - chill! You don't want him, why shouldn't he have somebody else?!" "And that somebody is YOU?!" Scully asked angrily. Aphrodite couldn't believe what she had just said - did Mulder really get to her that much? She turned away from Scully and disappeared. Scully hurriedly joined the others. It took Scully some time to join the others, which was good - as her emotions ranged from anger to protectiveness. By the time she reached Mulder, she calmed down. "Did Aphrodite explain things to you?" he asked almost innocently. "Yes - I - believe - now" Scully stumbled over the words. She hated to admit this bizarre situation was real. Mulder was surprised Scully had nothing to say about Aphrodite. But after a few minutes of silence, Scully told him "You know that she loves you, don't you?" Mulder was surprised "Aphrodite? You can't be serious!" Scully didn't say anything else. Mulder began to think of the possibilities. he found him self liking the idea of a beautiful woman wanting him, even if she was this strange god person ---- Mt. Olympus Hera was not pleased. Not had her plan to delay Mulder not worked, now Hercules and Iolaus were on the way to help Xena. How had she let Ares and Hades talk her into this? Now it all was going to backfire! Hera wasn't afraid of the man and woman from the future - Scully was a disappointment to her. She should have read her mind more deeply - her trust of Mulder came as a complete surprise. Gabrielle was harmless - but Hercules and Iolaus might actually be able to save Xena! Hera weighed her options - her archers? an enforcer? a sea monster? a titan? None had been successful at destroying Hercules, but this time all she needed to do was delay him. Which one was the most capable of delaying him? Hera summoned Hades into her presence ----- The road to Sparta --- After a long time of speed walking, everybody was relieved to be approaching the scene of the battle. To their relief, there had been no sound of fighting, no smoke. They would be in time. Just through this one last patch of trees --- Almost silently - Callisto slipped out of the tree, blocking their path. "I'm BAAA-AACK!" she said. Hercules was annoyed "You know, you are REALLY getting tiresome. Why don't you go back to Tartarus where you belong?" Callisto was only too glad to flaunt her deal with Hera "Well, there is a little problem with that. You see, I made this deal with Hera. I gave up being a god and being immortal for another chance at life. Hades - he is really upset with her, and me, but that's life - or should I say death. Now - you and Xena have me all to yourselves!" Callisto drew her sword, her disposition changing from fake niceness to sheer insane anger in an instant. She lunged viciously at Hercules, but was stopped by a numbing blow from Gabrielle's staff! Callisto - the wind momentarily knocked out of her, enough to break her mood at least, laughed at Gabrielle and said "Why Gabby - you are getting better! Its so nice to see you again. By the way, Perdicus sends his love - and you will be happy to know I have been consoling him. He hardly remembers you now, I have been so 'good' to him! Why don't you take your little friends and run along now - I have business with Hercules. I haven't had a chance to 'thank' him yet for leaving me trapped and almost roasted alive with the tree of life." Gabrielle, hurt and inflamed beyond reason by what Callisto had said, attacked with her staff. Seeing that she would soon be outmatched, Hercules and Iolaus joined in. Callistos kicks and blows were a match for the three of them. Mulder and Scully joined the fight, only to be fended off as well. "So - these are the fabled people from the future?! Not very good fighters, are you! Watch how a real professional works!" Callisto concentrated on Gabrielle, and it was only an instant before she chopped the end off of her staff with a sword, grabbed her by the hair, and held a knife to her throat. "Do you want to go join your beloved Perdicus? No - I won't make it that easy for you to be together again. He is too - diverting for me!" to everybody's surprise, she released Gabrielle, who had no more spirit to fight and was reduced to sobbing. Callisto screamed "You three leave NOW! You are NO MATCH for me - killing you would be a waste of my time! I want Hercules!" Reluctantly, Mulder and Scully backed backed off. Scully turned to console Gabrielle. Hercules said "Its OK, the three of you should leave while you have the chance. Do what you can to save Xena until I can get there." Callisto, seeing her chance, charged Hercules and Iolaus. She managed to slice a deep gash in one of Hercules' arms. Iolaus was quick to join in the fight, it appeared evenly matched - so Mulder, Scully, and Gabrielle decided to run ahead to save Xena. An open field, scene of the battle Xena rode in front of the rebel army, but her confidence was visibly not showing. Her gaze, which normally would have been focused with alertness and hatred towards her enemy was downcast, towards the ground. The Spartan general taunted her "What's the matter, Xena - can't handle your first and last defeat?!" Xena responded with hatred and courage "I see 'good news' travels fast. I may be fated to die today, but I promise you, I will take you and as many of your soldiers with me before I do!" General Anarchus responded "My men and I will have fun playing with your naked body - before we throw it to the dogs!" Xena shuddered at the thought. Normally any man that talked to her like that would feel her sword immediately. She knew, however, that if the prophecy was true, there would be nothing she could do to prevent it. The thought of those men pawing her and groping her made her sick to her stomach. Still, a thought nagged her - maybe knowing the prophecy, she would be watchful in different ways. Maybe that would save her! Mustering her courage, she yelled in response "It is a good day to die!" and led the charge. The Spartan army also charged, and the two sides mingled in a melee of swinging swords and blood and death. Many soldiers on both sides died, but many more Spartans - all of whom wanted the distinction of being "the one to kill Xena". For all of them - it was their last mistake. Xena fought bravely, sometimes fending off 5 or 6 attackers at a time. Her battle cry sounded as she slashed and slashed. Her courage in the face of certain defeat inspired her followers just as she hoped. The tide of battle, though, began to turn towards the Spartan army. Xena understood the value and symbolism of a leader as well as the Spartan general, and as soon as she saw that her forces were in trouble, she made it her priority to find and kill the general. He was guarded well, relatively far back in the forces, but a well placed throw of Xena's secret weapon - the chakram - dispatched several of his personal guard at once. Xena and several rebels broke through the remaining guards and engaged in fierce hand to hand combat. Xena focused her attention on the general and while the rebels covered her, she ran at him and knocked him off his feet. Xena had the general right where she wanted him - her knees dug into his chest, her sword raised. She could not resist the temptation to taunt her helpless enemy "Who is going to play with whose body?!" Totally focused on him with her hatred, she did not notice the Spartan soldier sneaking up behind. It was a stupid mistake, one she would never have made if her mind wasn't filled with hate. The Spartan grabbed her hair, jerking her head back. He raised his knife to her throat, ready to slit it from ear to ear. A sharp pain in his side made the Spartan soldier release his grip on Xena. As he died, he turned to see Mulder, holding a sword. Xena sprang forward in reflex, her sword plunged deep in General Anarchus, who died looking into her sarcastic eyes. Word began to spread quickly of the general's death, and his army began to distintegrate, running in all directions to trees and underbrush. Those that did not flee were killed easily by the rebels. When they were certain of victory - they held their swords high in trimuph and shouted "VICTORY!!!!" Xena looked at Mulder, knowing he had saved her life. "Thank you" is all she could think to say. Thirty Minutes later ---- The smell of the funeral pyle and drying blood on the ground was overwhelming, but fortunately downwind - as the rebel soldiers were finishing the process of cleaning up the Spartan dead. They were beginning to regroup with Xena and Mulder. A small distant voice sounded through the field "Fox!" Mulder looked away from Xena to see his little sister - with Gabrielle, Scully, and Aphrodite. He rushed to her and embraced her. But then - releasing her, he realized that she was still 12, and he was 35. As they looked at each other, neither one knew quite what to do. Fortunately for Mulder - Scully and Aphrodite had explained things to her the best they could. They began to walk back to Xena. "Hey, I just said I would rescue her - not make her old!" Aphrodite said. Mulder wondered what he would do - how he was going to explain her - assuming they ever got home. Worse than that - she was no longer going to be his best friend. He was going to be her "father" - through the very difficult teenage years. He wondered how in the world he was going to manage that? He looked at Scully, and her glance of acceptance let him know she would help. Scully looked very happy for him, almost to tears. Gabrielle said to Mulder "I can't thank you enough. I don't know what I would have done without Xena." They all rejoined Xena. Xena's second in command asked "What should we do with general Anarchus? Should we do to him what he threatened to do to you?" Xena replied "He was a general, wasn't he? Bury him - with full respect and honor. He couldn't defeat me in his life, why should I let him defeat me in his death?" Scully, Gabrielle, and Mulder understood the meaning of Xena's words, even if the rebel soldiers did not. Hercules and Iolaus came running up. Obviously both of them had been in quite a fight! Xena said "the two of you missed all the fun!" Hercules asked "Are you all right? What about the prophecy?" Xena replied "I let down my guard, but Mulder was there to save me. I think his presence disrupted the prophecy." Hercules thanked Mulder, and then turned to Xena with bad news "Hera has released Callisto. She confronted us in the woods, but seemed more determined to delay us than to kill us. After we heard the fighting begin, she simply stopped attacking, and told us to put some thorns on your funeral pyle - from her. Then she ran off into the woods." Xena was not pleased at the prospect of Callisto being loose again. She needed to ask "Is she god or mortal?" "Mortal, fortunately. It was the price for her return." Iolaus answered. Xena said "She will have to wait until another day. We still have work to do - in Sparta." Xena, Gabrielle, Hercules, and Iolaus began to leave with the rebel soldiers --- Mulder remembered something - he went to Aphrodite, who retrieved the bag of gold, and called after Xena. Running up beside her horse, he handed her the gold "for those orphans!" "You are a man of your word, Mulder. I will see to it that it will get the ones who need it most." Looking in Aprhrodite's direction, she said "I owe you a debt, I will make a sacrifice at your temple!" "Eewww - disgusting! Hey - keep your doves. Do you mortals really think I want a bunch of dead birds in my temple? Just keep doing your thing, and once in a while loosen up and let yourself have some fun! That's why I saved you." Aprhodite said. Xena thought to herself 'My first friend among the gods!' Aphrodite, hearing the thought, was more honored by that than a 100 sacrifices. She started absent-mindedly thinking back to her rescue of Samantha. She avoided contact with those particular aliens whenever possible. They were absolutely no fun with all their research and experiments! They always returned the favor by avoiding any Q they came across. Aphrodite had no problem getting Samantha - they simply left her on the table. 'Poor thing' Aphrodite had thought. Aphrodite had decided to erase the memories of her abduction and the experiments - those aliens were definitely no fun and the things they had done to her body were terrible. Aphrodite wondered what to do next --- "Look, until I can sneak the three of you back, I have this beautiful little cottage, you can pose as a typical well-to-do merchant family."
Before Scully could voice her total disgust with the idea, a distinguished elderly man appeared. Somehow - Mulder and Scully knew this must be Zeus. His whole demeaner was regal. Aphrodite said "Uh-oh - BUSTED!" The man, though, spoke calmly "Aphrodite - what AM I to do with you?! You constantly break our rules, and cause problems. But this time ----" "Zeus - I am sorry!!! I won't do it again." "Oh course you will. Therefore, I have no choice but to judge you" he said sternly. Aphrodite cringed at the thought of cleaning all the sewage from Mt. Olympus for the next 1000 years. But Zeus said "My judgement is - well done! By saving Xena from the schemes of Ares and Hades - you have redeemed yourself partially. But - I cannot forgive the repeated violations of our rules." Looking into the mind of his beloved daughter, he decided to give her what he knew she really wanted - but didn't realize. "I hereby banish you to - Washington D.C. - for one human lifetime". Zeus also looked at Samantha. 'Not a bad judgement' he thought to himself. 'I just gave her the mother she will need'. Zeus genuinely liked these mortals, and tried to help them whenever he could. Aphrodite didn't know why she was almost happy at the prospect - she looked at Mulder. If she had to be stuck with a mortal, he wasn't bad. Not bad at all. Instantly - they were all back in Mulder's apartment. "Listen, if I'm gonna be stuck here with you, this will not DO!" Aphrodite said - looking at Mulder's apartment. This is no place to raise a teenage daughter! We are going to move! And I need to go to the mall to do some serious shopping." She picked up Mulder's magazine and threw it in the trash. "Disgusting - this stuff is HISTORY! You got ME now - you don't need it!" Scully laughed to herself about Mulder's fate as she left to go home. THE END If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read my other works (includes spoilers): Reunion - a tribute to the X-Files and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: admittedly the most bizarre crossover story ever written, it is set between the first and second X-Files seasons, when Scully had been abducted by aliens and Mulder had no idea where she was. Note about the Dr. Quinn characters - it features the Erika Flores version of Colleen - Jessica Bowman joined the cast the next season. It is also prior to Scully and Dr. Mike's marriage and baby, and prior to the massacre of the Indians. Ocean X - a tribute to the X-Files and Ocean Girl (on The Disney Channel): Set between the second and third seasons of The X-Files, but it ignores the disappearance of Mulder and other cliffhanger aspects. It is set between the second and third seasons of ocean Girl, therefore Mera does not appear (she had left to return to her home world). Cal does not appear because he was discovered at the beginning of season 3. Jurassic Files - a tribute to Jurassic Park and The X-Files: Now that I have seen "The Lost World", I think my story is definitely better - more in spirit with the first JP movie. I have received many comments that my story is more of a JP sequel than it is a crossover - the X-Files characters are not in character. But I think the inclusion of X-Files characters and elements adds considerably to the intrigue of the story, even if they are changed slightly to accomodate it. I took a daring step in this story - I elevated the part of Lex to a major character, and a romantic lead. I did this as a tribute to Ariana Richards, who was only given a cameo in "the Lost World", in spite of her tireless public relations work on behalf of "Jurassic Park". That was not fair! I have received a lot of criticism for this, but I think a lot of the detractors forget that I set my story 6 years in the future, and Lex as a 19 year old college student, fully capable of filling an adult role. I had the relationship develop slowly and build on a firm foundation of mutual interests, not just physical passion. Although there is premarital intimacy involved, the relationship is based on true love and the characters do get married in the end.