Disclaimer

Copyright: Yes, I do not own the Xena concept and certain characters but the plot is all mine.

Violence: There is violence.

Subtext: I really dislike this disclaimer.

Notes: I believe my wild muses have come to life again. I am not sure what exactly I am thinking here but I thought it would be absolutely fascinating. No spoilers here but please read on! When you get to the end, if you enjoy it and want more then please let me know. I may not continue if there's no interest as I have plenty of other fictions waiting.

Feedback: I love it because it is so rare these days. List: http://tv.groups. a Review: September 23, 2006

Other Fanfictions Story Number: 66

Stranger in a Strange Time

by Red Hope

Prologue

The tall, dark woman glided down the lone hallway but she came to a stop before a wood door. Slowly her full lips spread into a wild grin as she silently opened the heavy door. She slipped into the beautiful bedroom that contained every luxury one could possibly desire.

The woman stood in the middle of the room, her black eyes scanning every corner of the room. She now lifted her hands with her palms facing the ceiling. Her eyes drifted shut and she began to chant. When her eyes slowly opened again, she scanned the room again but she was still chanting. Suddenly something caught her attention and her gaze centered on the heavy wood trunk nearby the entrance to the washroom.

The trunk glowed with a brilliant green and there was a usual pulsing hum in the room now.

The woman floated across the room while winding through several chairs and sofas. She loomed over the glowing trunk still chanting and she touched the lid. She threw open the lid.

She coldly laughed as her right hand came down and her fingers neatly wrapped around a golden shaft. She lifted the item up from the trunk then she stopped chanting. Immediately the green glow died and the humming ceased.

The dark woman held the golden scepter vertically with her left hand then she brought her right close to the green stone on the top. "Son of Darkness, show me her only weakness." Her hand finally met the green stone and the contact caused her to silently scream, her mouth wide open and eyes closed.

The woman ripped her hand away but she started laughing. "Yes… yes. She is the one. It is time." She quickly grasped the stone at the top of the scepter with both her hands and laughed but her vibrating laugh disappeared along with her.

Janice adjusted the bag over her shoulder. She watched as Melinda opened her suitcase on the other side of the tent. "Everything there, sweetheart?"

The southerner jumped at the deep voice. She slammed her suitcase shut and spun around. "Oo my, Janice." Her hand covered her rapid beating heart.

"Sorry about that." The archeologist sauntered into the tent and stopped by the foot of the small cot. "Will you be comfortable in here 'til we leave?"

Melinda pushed her black glasses up onto the bridge of her nose. "I reckon so. Thank you."

Janice nodded then turned around to travel back to the tent flap. She paused and turned her head sidelong. "Thanks for your help back there, Mel."

The southerner could tell that it was hard for her friend to say that. She offered a gentle smile then replied, "Well it wasn't exactly me that stopped Ares."

"No," considered the archeologist, "it was you." Without another word, she disappeared out of the tent.

Melinda Pappas let out a frustrated breath because of that gruff woman. She shook her head and reopened her suitcase.

Janice continued through the shrinking camp and went to her tent. She told many of her workers that they could go but some stayed behind. There was still some cleaning up to do before they could leave the site. She finally made it into her tent where she tossed her leather bag onto the cot. When she did that, the worn lash came undone and the items spilled out.

At first passing glance, Janice didn't notice anything but then she stopped at the corner of the cot. Her eyes wondered back to the cot and there spread out over the bed was a bunch of junk and no scrolls. "Holy shit!" She scrambled for the bag and turned it upside down.

The waterfall of personal belongings spilled out over the cot. On top of the mountain rolled out a worn out grey teddy bear.

"No," hotly whispered the archeologist. "I am going to shoot him myself!" She yelled at the top of her lungs. She threw the bag across the tent then rampaged out of the tent into the early evening.

"Janice, what were yah screaming about?" The southerner had taken her blazer and hat off, her midnight hair flowing over her broad shoulders.

Janice almost stumbled in her next step when she saw Melinda outside her tent. She paused then marched over to her friend. "Jack took the damn scrolls!"

"Ooo my," whispered the translator. "And he's on his way back to New York City."

"I know," yelled the angry archeologist, her hands thrown up in the air. "I am going to kill that nitwit!" She started to stomp off again.

Melinda hastily acted and caught the small woman's nearest wrist. She hauled Janice back to her. "Janice, wait." She couldn't let her friend walk off so angry and upset.

"What?" snapped the other woman. She yanked her wrist free and glowered up at the southern belle. Yet when Melinda recoiled from her hostile attitude, she calmed down. "I'm sorry, Mel. I'm just…."

"I know." The translator placed her hands gently on leather clad shoulders. "We'll get the scrolls back."

The archeologist's shoulders slightly slumped. "This just… really isn't my day."

"Now Janice Covington, don't you start." Melinda slightly lowered her head to get a better view of her friend's face under the brim. "It was a mistake and we'll get them." She saw how Janice was settling down so she released the smaller woman. "Besides Jack doesn't fly out 'til tomorrow afternoon so he ain't gonna go home with 'em yet."

"You're right," softly agreed Janice. She tilted her head back, her gentle grin showing from under her hat. "Thanks, Mel."

Melinda's soft features shined with a smile. She opened her mouth to say more but she faltered when suddenly the wind gusted and her hair lifted up. She turned her head when this odd cracking sound started just off to her right.

"What the hell?" murmured the archeologist. Her right hand instinctively went to her gun on her hip. She didn't trust anything anymore after today's events with Ares and Melinda's body being possessed by Xena.

There were tiny lightening bolts forming about a hundred feet from the pair. The bolts suddenly connected together to make a sphere then a body started to form. There was a bright flash of green that made Janice and Melinda shield their eyes.

Melinda gasped when there was a mysterious, dark woman standing before them with a golden scepter. Her eyes were instantly caught by the beautiful green stone that was held at the top of the scepter.

"Stay behind me, Mel," ordered the archeologist, who stepped in front of her friend. She neatly flipped the thin leather snap that held her gun in its holster. She tightly gripped the revolver for dear life because she could tell this would not be good. She suddenly shivered when the strange woman showed a ruthless smile at them. "Who the hell are you?"

"I think you should be more concerned with what I am," taunted the dark woman. She started for them with the scepter in her right hand.

"Stay back," warned Janice, "I've already had a bad day." She quickly pulled out her gun and aimed. "Do not fuck with me."

The dark stranger stopped but her smirk was never gone.

Janice felt now that she had the upper hand yet she cocked her revolve just to be sure.

The dark woman's chest shook with a silent laugh and she tilted her head as her eyes focused on the small woman.

Melinda quickly sensed something was about to happen. "Janice!" She moved so fast and shoved her friend as hard as she could.

Janice yelled as she went flying then skidded into the sand. Her ears rang with Melinda's heart wrenching scream. She hastily jumped to her feet to see Melinda hunched over in absolutely pain yet nothing seemed to be causing it. Her head whipped around towards the strange woman and Janice knew she was the cause of it. She took aim with her gun.

The dark woman straightened up then her left hand shot out in Janice's direction. "Ah-ah-aaah."

The pain raced through Janice's arm as her vision filled with a scene of a man bringing an axe down at her right hand. She could still feel her hand but the pain was immense.

The dark woman's lips curled into a deeper grin. She slowly walked towards the screaming archeologist, her eyes only for the archeologist. "My you're the spitting image," she murmured. She stretched out her left hand and clawed the air.

Janice rolled onto her back and screamed even louder. Her chest felt as if it was on fire. All she could see was her body being burnt as she was lashed up on a wood cross.

Melinda shook her head some but she forced her body up. Janice's screams urged her forward and she straightened up.

The dark woman turned her head to see Melinda up again. "You never stay down." Her eyes went to slits when very feral blue ones burned her.

Melinda disappeared in a blur of motion. She followed her body's instincts as she did an amazing jump and landed a few feet from her opponent. She gave a piercing cry and did a perfect kick.

The dark woman yelled as she went reeling through the air and landed hard onto her back.

Melinda softly moaned and shook her head. She raced to Janice's side and bent down next her. "Janice, come on."

Janice was curled up and moaning but the burning was receding. The archeologist's hazy green eyes opened finally and her fingers clawed at her distant gun. She grabbed it then pulled herself up.

Melinda helped her but she turned her head just in time to see their enemy getting to her feet. "We have to stop her."

"I don't know how," whispered the scared archeologist. "But I doubt she's bullet proof… if I could get a clear shot."

The translator saw that the dark woman was coming towards them. "I'll distract her." Despite Janice's yell of protest, she broke out into a run for her opponent.

Janice wiped the blood from the corner of her right lip. "I need to focus." She lifted her gun, took aim, and willed her nerves to settle as her hands were shaking. She watched in amazement as Melinda tried to attack.

Melinda threw a punch and heard the snap of bone under her fist.

The woman stumbled back but her wild black eyes centered on the southerner. "Enough!" She threw out her arms.

Melinda cried out in pain as she was lifted into the air by nothing. Her arms were forced out horizontally and her legs were slammed together.

Janice's stomach dropped. She was dazed by how Melinda floated in midair with her arms out as if she hung from an imaginary cross. Then her heart broke when Melinda dropped her head back and a terrifying scream erupted from her lips. "No," she whispered hotly, "that bitch." She refocused on her task at hand. She had a clear shot of her enemy now.

Melinda was released and she collapsed to the ground in agony. She'd never felt so much pain in her life before as her legs felt now. Her eyes were full of tears and she clenched at her mangled legs.

The dark woman stepped over the fallen Melinda. Her gaze met Janice's. "You are mine!" She lifted the scepter and pointed the green stone at the archeologist.

Janice's eyes widened when the green stone emitted a bright glow. She instantly pulled on the trigger but she screamed when the bright green light hit her. Her scream was quickly cut off.

Melinda whimpered but she opened her eyes. She let go of her legs then forced her body up with her hands. She twisted her head every which way but the woman was gone, and so was Janice. "No," she fearfully whispered. "Janice!" Melinda became hysterical as she clawed across the sandy ground. She could not walk since every bone in her leg was broken. She finally made it to the one item that was the only remnants of Janice. Melinda tangled her fingers through Janice's whip, the same whip that had saved them earlier today. "No," she agonized, "Janice."

Janice's cry exploded loudly again. She plunged to the ground, her head hitting soft grass.

The dark woman with the scepter materialized but she gasped when something unexpectedly hit her right shoulder. She growled then fell to one knee, hunched over, and gasping for air. She released the golden scepter and with her right hand she inspected the wound in her left shoulder. She was actually shaken by the unexpected pain and how it could have happened. Her wound was merely a small circular opening but the pain was strong.

The woman snatched the scepter up and lifted her head. She slightly grinned at seeing Janice passed out but her enthusiasm was short lived for her shoulder ached badly. With labored breathing, she touched the green stone and disappeared without a trace.

Janice moaned softly and when she lifted her head, her vision swam with green, brown, and blue. She tried to get up using her hands but she was too weak. "Mel," she desperately breathed. But the strain on her body was so great and she fell back to the ground in a heap. The darkness claimed her again.

"Hurry! We have to figure… figure out where that scream… came from!" She waved on her two companions.

"Wait up, Solari!"

The Amazon didn't wait though and kept running faster through the forest behind her were her two closest friends; Ephiny and Eponin.

Ephiny growled because her friend would not listen. She tried to push her body faster so that she would catch up but nobody was as fast as Solari.

Solari jumped over a low bush and nearly lost her mask on her head. She didn't care as she came to a screeching stop. "Sweet Artemis." She remained still and transfixed.

Ephiny and Eponin came around the bush then made a dead stop next to the other Amazon.

"Who is he… she… or what?" Ephiny was utterly confused.

"I don't know," answered Eponin.

Solari shook off her astonishment and carefully approached the huddled form on the ground. "It's definitely a female," she reported to her friends.

"Solari, be careful." Ephiny was worried but she also neared the slumped body.

Eponin reached behind and extracted her sword just in case. She followed behind her friends.

Solari kneeled down next to the female. Very cautiously she stretched her hand out and pressed her fingertips against the woman's throat. She could tell just by her warmth that she was alive but she also felt the pulse. "She's alive… whoever she is."

Ephiny stood next to her friend while Eponin was off to the side.

Solari picked up the funny looking brown thing that was covering the woman's face.

"I've never seen clothes like that before," brought up Eponin.

Ephiny's eyes flickered over to Eponin then back to the sleeping form.

"By the gods, I've seen her before!" Solari dropped the odd brown thing when the blonde's face registered in her mind. "But it's impossible."

"What?" Ephiny's tone was urgent.

Solari lifted her head to Ephiny. "You saw her, remember? That rebel girl that spoke out against the Conqueror and was sentenced to the cross. It was only five days ago… in Corinth."

"That is impossible." Eponin now sheathed her sword. She also came over to them.

Ephiny slowly knelt down and carefully studied the blonde's face. "If this is her then how did she get off that cross?"

"And how did she get here?" added Eponin, her hands on her hips and staring at the mysterious woman.

Solari grabbed her mask on her head, repositioning it properly. "Most importantly, why is she here of all places and completely banged up?"

The three Amazons gazed at one another in confusion and curiosity. Suddenly their attention was drawn down to the stranger that let out a faint groan but never stirred anymore.

To be continued.

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