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This story contains scenes of violence and the aftermath's thereof. If this type of thing disturbs you, PLEASE READ NO FURTHER! Click the BACK BUTTON on your browser NOW and find a story more suited to your preferences.
Aliens, the Queen Alien, Warrior Aliens, and the term Xenomorph are all property of 20th Century Fox. The Predator and any other items related to the Predator and the Aliens are also property of 20th Century Fox.
Xena, Gabrielle, Callisto, Argo, Autolycus, Hercules, Iolaus and all other characters and items related to the TV show “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” are all property of MCA/Universal Television and Renaissance Pictures.
No © COPYRIGHT infringement is intended. The story's ideas and plots, however, are mine.
I just wrote this for fun, not profit. Any and all critique of this work, which happens to be my first, is greatly appreciated. E-Mail me at JPuertoR@aol.com. Posting and reproduction of this story without prior permission from the author is strictly prohibited. In other words: You must ask ME
No deer or Aliens were harmed in the production of this work. Although last I heard, the Queen Alien was undergoing serious psychotherapy and she is reported to be emotionally scarred for life.
Written entirely in New Zealand--Just Kidding!
Lot of disclaimers, ain't there? Anyway, with all that settled... Enjoy!!
Xena, Gabrielle, and Argo were walking through the beautiful forests of ancient Greece. It was a clear, sunny day and all seemed quite peaceful. They stopped at a clearing near the main road, set up camp, tended to Argo, and proceeded to go about the daily business. Gabrielle sat down, with her scroll and quill, and began writing her next chapter in her ongoing “Xena Scrolls”, while Xena started to sharpen her sword. The young bard looked up from her writing with a serene smile
“It's such a beautiful day, isn't it Xena?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Xena stopped and turned her head to the wind. “Yet something doesn't quite settle...”
“What do you mean?” Gabrielle asked, frowning at her companions comment.
All sounds ceased, even Argo remained silent, as Xena and Gabrielle listened.
“Notice anything?” Xena asked in an even tone.
“No, not really. It's quiet.”
“Yes, but wouldn't there be any commotion, birds singing or something, right about now?”
Gabrielle paused a moment to ponder Xena’s observation.
“Your right.” she replied in a whisper. “It's so quiet.”
“Too quiet.” Xena said as she got up and headed into the forest, with her cloak on and her sword in hand. “Stay with Argo, I'll be right back.”
Xena walked through the woods with a cat-like silence, feeling the rhythm of the forest. Trekking deep into the woods, she suddenly saw something out of the corner of her eye and walked over to inspect it.
“What in Hades?”
After some time, Xena reappeared at the camp dragging a large object, wrapped in her cloak.
“Xena!” Gabrielle jumped to greet her friend but was halted by the expression on Xena’s face.
“I’m not sure.” Xena replied. “On my sweep of the area I found 20 or 30 of these ‘things’ in a large clearing a couple of dozen lengths away.”
Xena stopped halfway into the camp and set down the object wrapped in her cloak.
“What ‘things’?” Gabrielle asked with a hint of fright in her voice.
“These ‘things’.” Xena said as she removed the cloak from the object.
The cloak was removed to reveal a large, leathery, brownish oval standing about three feet tall. It was shaped roughly like an egg, except for the top which was open in four neat sections, revealing the hollowness within, and making it take on the appearance of some grotesque flower. Near its base it was almost translucent, and the entire “egg” was covered with a slick foul smelling substance.
“What is it?” Gabrielle asked.
“You got me,” Xena replied, “Although it looks like some sort of ‘egg’.”
“Yeah.” Gabrielle agreed. “It does, doesn't it? Except what could have possibly hatched from that?”
“I don't know Gabrielle, I really don't know.”
For most of that night, Xena and Gabrielle could only stare at the ‘egg’ in their midst. The next morning the pair began the now rhythmic process of breaking camp. After they finished, they stopped once more to look at the strange ‘egg’.
“Gods,” Gabrielle commented, “That thing gives me the creeps.”
“Right. Come on, I want to show you something.”
The Trio walked through the forest. A few minutes later they appeared at a very large clearing. And, just as Xena had said, there were 25 more of the same strange “eggs” in the clearing. All like the one Xena had brought to camp. All except for one which was smaller and more bulb shaped than the rest.
“Ugh!” Gabrielle said as she covered her nose. “That smell!”
Xena, too, noticed the smell. As the bard and the mare continued to wince at the smell, Xena stepped up to one of the eggs and inspected it carefully. For the first time she touched one of the eggs, squishing the slick substance that rubbed off between her fingers. Her warrior senses told her that the “eggs” had been there for a while.
“These eggs, or whatever they are, are not fresh.” She moved her fingers to her nose and lightly smelled the substance. “They've been here two, maybe three days.”
Xena quickly rubbed her fingers in the grass. The slimy substance had begun to tingle, leaving a slight burning sensation in her fingers.
“Lets get moving.” Xena said. “I want to reach the next village by dark.”
The Trio continued on their way. It was, as Xena had said before, too quiet. A silence that could only be brought by death. Even then, it was far too quiet for even death. Gabrielle, to Xena’s utter amazement, also remained quiet. She was scared. cared of the silence. Scared of the lingering stench that followed them, and scared of Xena’s discovery of the apparent “nest” at the clearing.
“Together...” Gabrielle thought to herself, “We've fought Cyclops, Giants, Titans, Dryads, and even Bacchae. Even though all of them were different, there was always some sign, some evidence that told us who we were fighting. In every case, however, things on the outside were relatively the same: birds sang, or the wind blew, or the crows squabbled over the remaining bits of flesh, but not now. Now, there is nothing...”
“We should reach the village in a few minutes.” Xena said as she looked towards the heavens. “Good thing too, it looks like a rainstorm's coming up.”
“Huh?” Gabrielle said, oblivious to the outside world. “Oh, yeah.”
“You ok?” Xena asked regarding her friend with concern.
“Huh, me?” Gabrielle asked, finally snapping out of her trance. “Yeah, just thinking...”
“Really?” Xena commented with mock surprise. “Something must be wrong! I'm normally the one thinking, and you're the one talking!”
“Ha, ha, very funny. I was just thinking about that ‘nest’ we, or I should say you, found.”
“Yeah, I was thinking the same...” Xena didn’t finish her sentence, but instead leaped off Argo and started to run toward the village barely visible through the trees.
“Xena? XENA?!” Gabrielle yelled in alarm. “What now, come on Argo!”
Gabrielle, too, began to run, leading Argo towards the village. When she reached the village she stopped dead in her tracks, then dropped her staff and Argo's reigns. She turned to her side and bent over, hands on her knees, her face suddenly becoming very pale.
“I think I'm going to be sick...”
Xena turned to see what was happening to Gabrielle and quickly went over to her companion.
“Gabrielle?” Xena asked her downed companion. “Gabrielle are you ok?”
“I think so.” She said weakly. “What happened here?”
“I don't know.” Xena said as she looked around. “Think you'll be all right?”
Gabrielle nodded weakly.
“I'll be right back, I'm going to make a sweep and then inspect the bodies themselves. Maybe I can find some clue in this mess.”
Xena walked off, passing several puddles of blood and internal organs. All over the streets and square were bloody corpses. Their chests, apparently hacked open, had blood dripping and bones protruding out of them. All around were remains of what looked like large tan colored spiders. Several weapons, including swords, daggers, and spiked clubs, were scattered around the square. Most of the weapons had been melted through. It took Gabrielle a few minutes to calm herself, to keep herself from throwing up. She propped herself against a tree, still nauseated by the stench of death and the sight of the ripped open bodies of the unfortunate villagers. After a while, Xena returned from her investigation of the area, and the bodies.
“What did you find?” Gabrielle asked.
“Not much, there aren't any survivors, and no signs of an attack, except for the melted weapons. Everything that I've seen tells me that whatever happened here took place several days ago. And then there are the villagers...” Xena’s voice trailed off.
“What about them?” Gabrielle inquired, using all her self control to keep herself from throwing up again.
“There are only 26 bodies, including the animals. They're are also 26 of those strange ‘spiders’ on the streets. Remember how many ‘eggs’ were in the clearing?”
“You don't think...”
“I don't know, there isn't enough here for me to make any kind of guess. I also inspected the chest wounds of all the villagers, including the animals. They have...” Xena’s voice, again, trailed off.
“What? What do they have?”
“Those chest wounds are definitely puncture wounds, made by something that forcefully pushed through, except...” Her voice trailed off yet again. She was, obviously, trying not to upset Gabrielle.
“Except for what?”
“Except all the bones are cracked and bent the reverse of what they should be.”
“You mean whatever happened to cause those holes in their chests happened backwards, from the inside towards the outside?” Gabrielle asked as her eyes began to widen. “Like something burst out?”
The young Bard lowered her head again, nausea quickly overtaking her.
“Xena, I think I'm going to be sick again...”
The warrior looked down at her friend, feeling sorry for the disgust Gabrielle was going through. She walked over to Argo, petted her to try to calm her, then opened one of the saddle pouches, pulling out a rolled up scroll. She then walked over to Gabrielle, who was picking herself up from the ground wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
“We are here.” Xena pointed to a point on the scroll. “The next village in this valley is about half a day's walk east. We'd better hurry up and warn the villagers, if it's not too late...”
“Xena, what's going on, what is causing this? A warlord wouldn't do this, all their money and cattle are still here, even though the cattle are splattered all over the square. Nothing was stolen, I don't get it.”
“Neither do I Gabrielle, neither do I. Come on, lets get moving.”
The Trio continued on their way to the next village, hoping that they wouldn’t be greeted by the same sight as the last village. A few hours later they neared the village, the resounding sound of children playing and merchants arguing filled their ear with a sort of joy.
“Thank the gods!” exclaimed Gabrielle.
“We'd better get over to the Magistrate and tell him what we found.”
They headed over to a hut with a sign labeled “Village Magistrate”, passing several Merchants and children. They were about to enter when an ear piercing screech was heard behind them. They instinctively turned around, bringing their respective weapons to bear. Huge blackish brown forms began overtaking the village. Children's screams were heard as well as villagers and cattle. Xena gave Argo a certain whistle, and the Mare ran off into the woods, away from the commotion. Xena and Gabrielle ran t where most of the attack was taking place. As they reached the square, a bloody head rolled right into Gabrielle's foot. Gabrielle looked down and became very pale again.
Xena looked down to see the severed head at her friend's foot. Quickly, she wrapped her arm around Gabrielle's waist and pulled her behind a hut, just as a black, six fingered claw slashed close to her face. Almost as quickly as the attack had begun, it was over. All was silent except for the sounds of scratching and snarling, followed by a young girl's screams. Xena quickly got up and checked Gabrielle for any cuts or scratches.
“Stay here.” she whispered into her friend’s ear.
Xena got up, and walked from behind the hut toward the square. Fruit and clothing stands laid overturned in the streets. Everything was in shambles, yet there were no people. Her ears closed in on struggling and screaming. She tightened her grip on her sword, then stepped out into the square. She froze at the sight before her.
“What in Hades...”
Two huge, glossy black creatures, with crescent shaped, tubular heads and long stinger tipped tails were each tugging at a young girl’s arms. Out of each of their backs extended four long and slightly curved tubes. Six fingered claws grasped at both of the girl’s arms. They were continually snapping at each other with tongues that, Xena realized, had small sets of jaws on them. Xena knew not what they were, only that they were definitely alien to her. They continued to tug at the girl’s arms as she continued to scream.
“HELP ME PLEASE!” Screamed the young girl. “PLEASE HELP UGH...”
Her sentence was abruptly ended as the two Alien Creatures ripped her in half, down her right shoulder, straight down her abdomen. The Aliens, still not noticing Xena, tossed aside the young woman's remains and begin to snap and claw at each other.
“They weren't fighting her,” Xena thought to herself, “They were fighting over her!”
An expression of pure rage shot through Xena’s face. She picked up her chakram, aimed, and let it fly. The chakram ricocheted of one of the huts, then flew straight down the middle of one of the Alien's long, cylindrical head; lengthwise. The Alien tumbled to the ground as its yellow blood sprayed into the sky. The chakram then ricocheted of a tree, and flew back to Xena, who caught it with ease and holstered it. The remaining Alien turned to Xena, snarled, then charged the warrior; Its double jaw extended, its claws reaching out towards her.
“Come on big boy,” Xena yelled with a feral grin, “Come and get it!”
The Alien leaped at Xena, bringing its claws to bear. Xena, too, leaped at the Alien, her War Cry sounding loud and clear, as she placed a front kick into the Aliens chest, then flipped backwards to land nimbly on her feet. The Alien, however, was not so fortunate. It crashed into one of the huts, debris flying everywhere. It quickly got up to its feet, turned to face Xena, and with a snarl it charged her again. This time, Xena side-stepped as the Alien ran by her. She brought her sword down, cutting the Alien from its left shoulder to its right hip, dismembering its body. A shower of yellow blood erupted from the gaping chest cavity. Xena put her arm over her face defensively, as the Alien's blood covered her gauntlet, shin guard, and her body armor. Xena stared down at her gauntlet as the yellow blood began to eat away her armor, towards her skin. She quickly cut the laces to her shin guard with her dagger, then began to cut the laces to her gauntlet.
“Gabrielle, help me with my armor!”
Gabrielle came out from behind the hut and ran over to Xena. She quickly began to unfasten the body armor as Xena continued to remove her gauntlet. Xena already started to feel the building heat and burning sensation as the blood got closer and close to her skin. Gabrielle managed to unfasten the armor, pulled it off and tossed it to the ground. Xena did the same with her gauntlet and shin guard. The armor, gauntlet, and shin guard were still being eaten away by the Alien's blood. In mere second they were reduced to boiling heaps of brass colored liquid, no longer recognizable as armor. Gabrielle looked at Xena’s neck and arms, seeing the burn marks left by the yellow liquid.
“Oh Xena, your shoulder, your arm...,” She said as she looked, then widen her eyes, “YOUR SWORD!”
Xena paused a second, giving Gabrielle a look, then looked at her sword. She quickly dropped it, stood up and staggered back. The sword, too, began to melt away, leaving only the lower third of the blade with the handle. The duo looked at each other with shock in their faces.
“What was that yellow stuff?” Gabrielle asked.
“It was their blood.”
“Their blood! How could it melt your armor? I mean it was...” Gabrielle faltered as she looked up to the woods. “XENA, OVER THERE!”
Xena quickly looked up, only to see five more of the Aliens appear from the forest.
“Great.” Xena commented dryly.
The new wave of Aliens carefully made their way across the square, towards Xena and Gabrielle, nudging at their fallen kin. A realization came to Xena’s thoughts.
“These are moving more cautious,” Xena thought, “They seem to be inspecting, more than attacking. The first creatures must've been the first wave of attack. These seem to be here to insure their attempts were successful, to make sure there were no survivors. Back up.”
“Xena, what are we going to do? I mean, your sword’s gone, your armor’s melted away, all I have is my staff...”
Another of the Aliens appeared to Xena and Gabrielle's right. It whipped its tail forward, wrapping the tip around the staff, and pulled, sending the staff flying into the forest behind it.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Gabrielle commented under her breath.
Xena and Gabrielle could only back away slowly, into a hut behind them, as the Aliens slowly advanced. There was nowhere to run, they were up against a hut, two Aliens to their left, two to their right, and two directly in front of them. No chance of escape. Xena pulled out her breast dagger and chakram. She protectively stood between Gabrielle and the Aliens as Gabrielle grabbed a hammer from a bodiless arm. Both stood battle ready. Xena looked directly at the oncoming creatures, and began to growl.
“Come on!” she yelled at the creatures. “It isn’t going to be that easy! I won’t let it be!”
Suddenly, one of the Aliens leaped towards the duo. It was within a few feet of them, when a bright light suddenly filled the square, causing Xena and Gabrielle to shut their eyes. When they opened their eyes they saw the Alien lying on its side, a huge hole oozing yellow blood in its side. The other Aliens turned and rushed towards the woods. The same light was seen again, twice, and two more Aliens fell, in pieces, to the floor with a sickening thump. A roar was heard as an unseen figure advance on the Aliens, lifting one them high into the air, before throwing it on the other Aliens. Xena heard the unmistakable sound of a sword being drawn, as another of the Aliens leaped at its unseen enemy, only to fall in pieces, squirming on the ground. The two remaining Aliens stood their ground, hissing at the space in front of them. Lighting filled the square as the unseen hunter became visible.
He stood in the middle of the square, scanning the area. The hunter stood at least 6 feet tall. He wore a brown colored masked that covered the top and front of his head. On his forearms where gauntlets, each brown in color. Mounted on his shoulder was a strange tubular object. A net covered the length of his body, and on both shins and sides of his hips he also had holsters strapped on. With his sword in his right hand, and his body in a obvious battle position, Xena saw this creature as a predator, and those alien creatures: his apparent prey. The Predatory Creature let out another roar. It held its fist at the two snarling Aliens, as two long blades extended from the gauntlet towards them. Three small dots reflected of one of the Aliens head, before a white-hot light flew towards the Alien, completely blowing off the snarling creature's head in a cascade of yellow blood. The body slumped to the ground. The Predator and the remaining Alien squared off. Xena and Gabrielle could only stare in amazement. The Predator suddenly spoke. Its voice, although distorted, was clear recognizable as Xena’s.
“Come on big boy, come and get it!”
The Alien then lunged at the Predator, double jaw extended. The fight was brief. The Predator held the Alien up into the sky by its neck, and with a swift motion of its arm, decapitated the creature. It dropped the body, held the head up, and let loose a roar of victory that resounded throughout the village. It slowly lowered its trophy, and turned toward Xena and Gabrielle. Through his helmet's visor, Xena and Gabrielle registered as outlines of red, yellow and white heat masses. The creature slowly made his way towards the pair. The Predator stopped a few feet away from the duo. It's three dotted, triangular targeting laser centered on Xena’s forehead as the shoulder mounted cannon whirled to life. The targeting laser scanned over both of the women's bodies. Finding no sign of a threat, the Predator disengaged targeting, shut off the cannon, and turned towards the woods.
Xena put her hand over Gabrielle's mouth, and put her finger to her lips, signaling her to remain quiet.
Both Xena and the Predator turned their heads towards the forest. Gabrielle remained quiet, wondering what could possibly occur now. Then it happened: Two more Aliens charged from the forest towards the Predator. He began to prime his cannon for the attack, when another Alien appeared behind him and ripped off the cannon, and began to bite the Predator's arm. It was obvious that the Predator was in serious trouble as the other two aliens began to claw and bite at his chest and leg. The Predator reached for his “Smart Weapon”. He was about to let if fly when one of the Aliens clawed at his hand, knocking the weapon from his grip. It tumbled until it came to rest near Xena. She got up and helped Gabrielle up, grabbed the weapon, which happened to look a lot like her chakram, and started to move around the battling creatures.
“Come on, Gabrielle!” Xena voiced in a low tone.
Without a word, Gabrielle followed Xena. Xena stopped, held the “Smart Weapon” in her left hand and her chakram in her right. She aimed and sent both weapons flying. The weapons easily took out the two Aliens in front of the Predator. The corpses hit the floor with loud thumps. Their blood splattered onto the Predator's left gauntlet and most of his left arm. The weapons ricocheted of the trees and flew back to Xena, who caught both weapons with little effort. She couldn’t hit the remaining Alien because there was too much struggling and might hit the hunter instead. She quickly made a decision.
“HEY!” Xena yelled and whistled. “OVER HERE!”
The Predator looked up at Xena. Xena tossed him his weapon. The Predator caught it, turned around, and with an uppercut movement, sliced the front of the Alien's face neatly in half, before bringing the weapon down again, slicing the Alien's body in two. With a strong kick, he sent the dismembered carcass crashing into one of the huts. He slowly turned around. There were dozens of cuts and burns all over his chest, arms and legs, and all of the cuts were oozing a green luminous liquid, which Xena believed to be his blood. He holstered the “Smart Weapon” and slowly started to limp towards Xena and Gabrielle. They both slowly started to inch backwards.
“Steady...” Xena whispered to Gabrielle.
The Predator pulled several tubes from his face helmet, and pulled off the helmet. Dark brown speckles adorned his light greenish-tan face, which seemed a mix of insect, reptilian, and crab-like features. His tusks and jaw moved slowly, his sharp, off-white teeth glinted in the sunlight as he breathed heavily. With an unreadable expression in his yellow eyes, he tossed his helmet aside and stumbled down, hitting the floor with an audible thump.
“We'd better help him.” Xena said as she approached the fallen hunter. “He did save our lives.”
“Yeah,” Gabrielle agreed, “Where's Argo?”
With a whistle from Xena, Argo came charging through to trees and stopped inches from Gabrielle's face.
“That answer your question?” She asked quietly.
“Um,” Gabrielle stuttered with a shocked expression, “Yeah...”
“Help me hoist him up on Argo so we can get out of here.”
“Ok, but what about his stuff?” Gabrielle asked as she pointed to the weapons. “His weapons, that mask he had on, what's left of that ‘thing’ he had on his shoulder. We can't just leave them here, can we?”
“No,” Xena answered as she tossed Gabrielle a large sack, “We can't. Here. Put them in this. And hurry up. We need to get as far away from this village as quickly as possible.”
“Ok, not a problem.”
“Oh, and Gabrielle...”
“Bring that alien creature's skull as well. He, apparently, took a lot of interest in it before the last attack.”
Gabrielle collected the Predator's things and put them in the sack, while Xena pushed the Predator onto Argo. The trio then started to walk away with their new “companion”. A few hours later they stopped at a clearing by a lake. Xena and Gabrielle quickly made camp. They placed their new-found companion under a tree. Gabrielle started to set up a grill, while Xena went to fill the water skins. When she returned, the Predator began to stir. With a groggy sounding groan he sat up and leaned against the tree. With a badly swollen eye, the Predator looked at Xena, and then at Gabrielle.
“Its all right Gabrielle, give him the sack.”
Gabrielle handed the Predator the large sack she used to carry his stuff in. With a low groan he reached out and took the sack. With what Xena thought was a smile, from his dark green tan face and long tusks and teeth, he began to rummage through the sack. First, he pulled out his face mask and put it down to his right. He then pulled out his now demolished shoulder cannon, looked at it with dismay, then put it beside the mask. After the rest of the gear was taken out and set aside, he pulled out the Alien head he had intended for a trophy. Unfortunately the entire front and most of the side was crushed with pieces of the exoskeleton skull hanging loosely for a few seconds, before falling to the ground and shattering. The Predator tossed he Alien head aside in apparent disgust.
“Gabrielle, I think this would be a good time to catch dinner,” Xena said as she nodded towards the lake, “Wouldn't you say?”
“Wha...? Oh! Oh, ok.”
Gabrielle picked up a basket and headed towards the lake. Xena then turned her attentions towards their wounded visitor.
“All right, buddy.” Xena said as she approached the Predator. “Lets see about you.”
Seeing Xena walk over, the Predator made a grab for his sword. Xena saw this, stopped, raised her hands and began to talk in soothing tones.
“It's ok, no one is going to hurt you, I just want to check your wounds, that's all. No one is going to hurt you...”
The Predator, seeming to understand, lowered the sword and put it aside. He then began to remove his body armor which, Xena noticed, had some dried and crusted blood on it. Not his blood, and not hers, but the Aliens' blood.
“Looks like your armor is pretty tough,” she thought, “But apparently your flesh is as easy to damage as ours.”
The Predator then pulled out a small rectangular box and set it aside. With a press of his finger, the box opened to reveal a vast array of surgical equipment. He removed both his gauntlets, set them aside as well, and put the box between himself and Xena.
“What are you trying to tell me?” Xena thought.
He reached into the box and pulled out a small dish. He took out a small tube, broke the top off, and poured the thick glowing liquid into the dish. He dipped a cloth into the liquid and began to clean one of the wounds. His dried green blood came off with ease, showing the horrendously ripped flesh. He then pulled out something that looked like a small crossbow, and put it on his skin, on the edge of the large tear in his skin. He squeezed the lever and let out a roar of pain. He pulled back the instrument to reveal a small metal stitch in place. He handed the instrument to Xena with a questioning look in his eyes.
“Ah...I think I understand.”
Xena took the instrument, placed it on the same gash, a little ways up from the first stitch, and pulled the lever. The Predator let out another horrific scream. He reached into the medical box, and pulled out a large thick tube with a little bulb on he end that was filled with some clear fluid. A needle, as long as Xena’s finger, extended out from the metal cylinder. He turned it in his hand, and plunged the needle into his abdomen, letting out another roar. He then lay back and pointed to the area Xena was working on, signaling for her to continue. Xena put another stitch into his skin, expecting another roar. All that was heard is the Predator's breathing. The Predator's face looked calm and relaxed. Xena understood that whatever he took was blocking the pain.
“Good thing you used that,” Xena commented to herself, “Because this is going to take a while...”
About half an hour, and three dozen or so stitches later, Xena was almost done patching up the Predator. He again reached into his Medkit to pull out another silver tube. He opened the top and poured a little of the glowing blue substance into the rag he used before.
“What's this for?” Xena asked.
Almost as if in response to Xena’s question, the Predator began to wipe the substance on his burns. The burns lost their redness, and in mere seconds were no longer distinguishable. Of course with the pain-blocker losing its effect, he let out another roar of pain. He completed this task by himself, then offered Xena the rag with some of the stuff freshly put in it.
“Ah, no.” Xena told him shaking her head. “No thanks...”
The Predator saw Xena shake her head “no”, and began to put all of the surgical equipment he used back into the Medkit. Coming from the lake, Gabrielle made her way back to camp. Xena looked up to see Gabrielle approach with the basket in her arm. the thought of dinner, her empty stomach growled. The Predator, startled by this sound, grabbed his sword and look around carefully. Xena saw this and pointed to her stomach.
“Sorry about that.” She said with a small sheepish grin. “I'm kinda hungry.”
The Predator nodded, seemingly understanding. He too, pointed to his stomach.
“Food.” Was his response.
Xena looked surprised for a moment, then answered him.
“Yeah, that's right...food.” She said, then whispered to herself: “I hope he doesn't mean us...”
Gabrielle reached the camp and put the basket on a rock. Xena hungrily looked into the basket and her smile quickly disappeared...
“Hey, its not my fault.” Gabrielle said defensively. “There are no fish in that lake whatsoever. Go look for yourself!”
“Fine.” Xena said, breathing deeply to try to calm herself. “I'll be back. I'm going to catch a rabbit or three.”
She turned around to see the Predator, having donned his helmet and gauntlets, up and on his feet.
“Now what...” Xena said under her breath.
The Predator walked towards the edge of the clearing. He clawed a nearby tree and began to climb effortlessly. Xena and Gabrielle moved closer to see what he was doing. The Predator activated his camouflage and vanished into the tree.
“Where is he?” Gabrielle asked in a whisper as she strained to locate the hunter.
“There,” Xena said, pointing to the apparently empty tree. “Look carefully.”
Gabrielle continued to search the tree. She then saw what Xena was referring to. On a large branch, crouched, was a nearly transparent outline of a human like figure. The targeting laser began to scan the woods. The figure moved farther out on the limb and continued to scan. The Predator suddenly froze. Xena and Gabrielle followed the laser down to ground. He was, apparently, targeting a deer that was feeding on some shrubs. A hissing sound and a slight *click* was heard. The Predator began, silently, to leap from tree to tree until he was a few meters away, and above, the deer.
“What's going on?” Gabrielle asked, thoroughly confused.
A sizzling sound was heard as a small silvery object shot towards the deer. It passed through the back of the deer’s head, with a quick spray of blood, and out its jaw imbedding itself in a nearby tree. The deer fell to the ground, instantly killed.
“I take it that's dinner...” Xena commented.
The Predator disengaged its camouflage and jumped down from the tree. He walked over to the tree and ripped from the bark a small, silvery, two pronged projectile. He then went over and picked up the deer, carrying it on his shoulder. The Predator reached camp and set the deer down. He pulled a thin wire from a compartment on his hip and wrapped it around the deer’s neck. He hoisted the deer up and tied it to a tree, the deer dangling a foot off the ground. The Predator then grabbed his sword, unsheathed it, and stood before the body of the deer. Gabrielle's face then began to take on an interesting shade of white...
“Xena...” Gabrielle said weakly. “Um, Xena...”
The Predator made a quick downward swipe with his sword, disemboweling the deer. Xena heard a thump behind her, and turned to find Gabrielle lying on the ground--fainted from the shock.
“Poor Gabrielle.” Xena said with a slight giggle. “Just too much for her.”
Xena bent down to pick up her friend and propped her up against a tree. She then turned around to see the Predator, already at work cutting the deer into sections.
“Here,” she said as she walked towards him, “Let me give you a hand.”
She walked over to the Predator. He looked up momentarily as Xena walked past him, and over to the edge of the clearing. She reached the trees and began to collect wood for a fire. The Predator returned to his work and finished dividing the deer up. He took roughly a third of the meat and walked over to a tree, leaving the rest for Xena and Gabrielle. Xena made a small fire, then walked over and took the rest of the meat to set it on the grill to cook. After a while, the sweet smell of cooked venison filled the camp. The smell did not go unnoticed by Gabrielle, who began to wake up. She slowly got up and looked around. She saw Xena sitting on a log a few feet away. Shakily, she walked over to her friend.
“Oh Xena,” she said, visibly shaken, “I had the strangest dream...” She faltered as she saw the Predator next to Xena, chewing away at a large chunk of meat. Gabrielle rolled her eyes and placed her hand to her forehead.
“Come on,” Xena said, grinning. “Dig in.”
She cut a piece of the cooked venison and placed it on a wooden plate, then handed it to Gabrielle with some bread. She also handed her a water skin.
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