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Harbingers Of The Future

By Anna Lopata

Disclaimer: The following story contains scenes of a loving relationship between two
women. If you are offended by these please do not read further.There is also scenes of violence.

Scene 1 It is early morning at Xena and Gabrielleís campsite. They are asleep, naked and cuddled under a fur in each otherís arms. Suddenly, a womanís cry for help can be heard in the distance. Xena wakes with a start, every muscle alert, but doesnít move until she hears the cry again.

There is a glimpse of her shoulder and back and a flash of dark hair as in a second, she is up, dressed and reaching for her sword and chakram.

Xena: (as she ties her Chakram to her hip and squats to touch the sleeping woman) Gabrielle! Wake up.

Womanís Voice: (still distant but coming closer) Help us! Help, please!

Gabrielle: (groggily, and raised on one elbow) Happy anniversary to you too.

Xena: (A little gentler) I know you wanted to have a quiet day together, but thereís someone who needs help out there.

Sounds of feet running through the undergrowth can now be heard.

Xena: (On guard and ready for action, as she disappears in to the forest towards the cries) And theyíre coming in this direction, youíd better get dressed!

Gabrielle is despondently finishing the ties on her Amazon leathers when Xena returns supporting a young dishevelled woman who is carrying a crying baby. Gabrielle rushes forward and taking the woman by the other arm, helps lower her on to a log by the fire.

Xena: Are you hurt?

Woman: No, I donít think so. You must be Xena, the Warrior Princess. I was told I might find you somewhere near our village...thank the gods I have!

Xena: (squatting by the fire and throwing a handful of herbs in to a small pot) Youíve found me. (indicating Gabrielle with a nod) And this is Gabrielle.

Gabrielle: Hi. Iím the Amazon Princess, in case you were wondering.

The baby is still crying. The woman, highly distressed, stands again, trying to comfort it.

Gabrielle: Here, Iíll take her for awhile. (She takes the baby and starts to coo and talk to it, patting its back. The woman sinks back down.)

Woman: My name is Thea. I come from Achildae, a village not far from here. Its being raided by an army such as Iíve never seen before! Scores of people fall dead at the feet of their leader...(She breaks off into tears with the struggle to explain the horror she has suffered) I was lucky to escape with my life and my child. I know not what has happened to my husband...

Xena: Drink this, itíll make you feel a little better. (Hands the woman the hot cup of herbal remedy she has made over the hot coals.)

Thea: (calmer now, but still sad) Thankyou, youíre both very kind. Please, could you go to Achildae and help my people? It may not be too late to save my town.

Xena: These raiders are building quite a reputation. (looks at Thea) Iíll see what I can do. (Mounting Argo) Gabrielle, take Thea with you to Potidaea, she may need to stay there awhile.

Thea: (to Gabrielle, who is clearly torn between Xena and concern for her safety) I was going to Potidaea. It is where my husbandís parents live. I know the way.

Gabrielle: Its OK. You could use some company right now and we were on our way there too. Its my home town! (Thea nods, as she takes her baby. Gabrielle approaches Argo quickly to make sure Xena doesnít leave without hearing her words) Xena! Be careful, this guyís dangerous!

Xena: You know me. Iíll see you in Potidaea. Yaaaa! (She and Argo gallop off)

Gabrielle: (softly) I love you.

Woman: (calls) Thankyou Xena! Iíll await your news. (Gabrielle puts out the last of the hot coals and the two women move off together into the forest. Cut to Xena galloping as fast as possible hair flying back)

Credits roll with theme music

Scene 2 Xena rides through the gates of Achildae. Parts of the town are burning. There are many dead and dying. The streets are awash with blood, crying children and wails of pain. She is aghast. She dismounts. She closes the eyes of one dead man.. She helps another man to a makeshift hospital area where the wounded are being tended. His upper leg has been shattered.

Xena: (trying to clean and bind it) What made this wound?

Man: (gasping) The leader of the raiders...who captured our village...a fighting staff that cuts you down before it strikes you. (He is gritting his teeth in pain) He killed villagers as well as his own men!

Xena: (holding back her rage, she has never seen such carnage, even in her own raiding days.) What does he call himself, this (spits) leader?

Man: Lethal George.

Xena: (Has never heard such an absurd name, and heís obviously not one of the war lords she has met) What does he look like?

Man: Heís not tall or well built...He wears strange clothes...The chariot he rides needs no horse...youíll see its tracks around the village...

Xena: (Perplexed, but aware the man is tired, a light touch to the arm) Rest yourself.

Xena walks around. She squats near the entrance of an elegant building. The residence of the townís ruling noble-man, Fotis. Thereís a smell of rubber and motor-cycle tyre marks. Frowning slightly, she registers the clues without understanding them. She stands and enters. The room has been torn apart. Fotis has been badly bashed.

Fotis: Youíre too late, Xena. The town is many people dead.

Xena: So I see. Iím sorry.

Fotis: And weíre prisoners to this barbarian, Lethal George.

Xena: What do you mean?

Fotis: (desperately) Heíll be back at harvest time to claim seventy percent of our produce and any other income made. We must entertain members of his army passing through and that includes letting them take our wives, daughters and sons...(dropping into a chair and rubbing his forehead dispiritedly) or else heíll raze the town to the ground.

Xena: (leaning forward and placing two hands squarely on the table) Do you have any idea where theyíre headed now?

Fotis: (shaking his head) I donít know...perhaps I heard one of them mention Potidaea. Its one of the villages to the north.

Xena: I know the village. Achildae will get help to recover from this...and to resist another invasion. (She leaves, stony-faced, in a hurry, unties Argo, mounts and gallops away into the forest with dust flying under Argoís heels)

Scene 3 It is mid morning in the forest. Two young women enter the scene. Jenny is tall and blonde with fair features and striking blue eyes with thick eyebrows. She has on a denim jacket. Anna is short and solid with dark hair, eyes and olive skin. She has a day pack and a Poloroid camera. They are in T-shirts, jeans and hiking boots.

Anna: Stand over there, near that tree with all the ferns. (Jenny awkwardly shifts the scrub so she can stand surrounded by greenery for the photo. She smiles up at her girlfriend. She is obviously camera-shy.

Anna: Come sex. (Jenny blushes and laughs. The camera clicks and Anna tears off the developing photo. Jenny continues walking. Anna follows waving the photo.)

Anna: (catching up) Its so gorgeous here, isnít it! So nice to have a holiday at last...

Jenny: Mmm...(She puts her arm around Anna and squeezes. She gently brushes some drooping plants aside and they walk under them together) Whatís that in there? It looks like a cave...just off the track! (She moves off the walking track towards the cave.)

Anna: (nervously) I donít know if its a good idea to go off the track...

Jenny: Come on! The brochure says thereís lime stone caves around here. Maybe thatís one. (She bounds over to the entrance and looks in.)

The cave appears deeper than it did from the track. There are lime stone formations around. The cavern is dimly lit by two sconces at its rear just making it possible to see a corridor.)

Jenny: There are lights inside, its obviously set up for tourists!

Anna: (Teasingly) No bats?

They walk around together, gently touching pieces of stone. They start to make their way down the passage at the rear of the cave.

Anna: There must be another cavern through here.

Suddenly, the peace is shattered by the roar of a man. The two women turn in shock. One grips the arm of the other.

Lethal George: Hey! What do you think youíre doing! (He aims a semi-automatic firearm at the women.)

Anna: (screams) Oh my god! Run!

The gunshots hit the roof of the cavern as the women make a run for it through the passage that slopes downwards and around a corner. They are pale and terrified, in instinctive survival mode. They are in such panic, they fail to notice a blue shimmering wall they pass through before reaching the other cavern.

Jenny: Is he still there?

Anna: Yes! How do we get out of here?

The room they have entered has a PC on a desk against the right wall. There are boxes of ammunition and more guns around the floor. A red Harley Davidson stands near the left wall in front of a large tank of fuel with a nozzle attached. The women are scrambling around for an exit. Wildly, Anna grabs a small hand gun that is lying on the desk. Finally, Jenny stumbles through what appears to be a piece of old curtain into forest on the other side.

Jenny: Anna! Quick, behind the curtain! (In the next instant, Anna appears, and they both sprint into the bushes and crash into the thickest foliage possible)

Lethal George emerges firing in to the scrub and cursing profusely. Anna grabs Jenny and pulls her to the ground. They are reasonably hidden, but still within earshot of the doorway. They are panting and trying not to sob. Anna aims the pistol at the man carefully, with sudden coolness. A dark figure appears blocking her view. She lowers the gun and stares.

Ares: (Pushing Lethalís gun up, which stops it from firing) Let them go. They wonít survive long here anyway. (Lethal George grunts angrily.) I am well pleased with your progress. Many villages have succumbed to your power.

Lethal George (puffing himself up) Of course they have. I will be ALL powerful!

Ares: Not so fast. Do not forget the tasks I have given you in exchange for my help. You still havenít instructed your army in the use of the weapons you bring from your time -

Lethal George: (interrupting with a snarl) Thereís no-one I trust yet. I canít have them turning on me.

Ares: (Coldly) How do you expect to fight wars of the future if your men canít use these weapons? They must learn, so that one day, we can lead army against army, village against village... You have formidable enemies, who will stop at nothing to defeat you! Great warriors, like Xena, the Warrior Princess, of whom I have already spoken.

Lethal George: I hardly think some chick is going to stop ME.

Ares: (Fiercely grabs him with one fist) You fool! Xena has lead the greatest armies of men in the land. Nothing stood in her wake. If it werenít for her unfortunate change of heart, it would be she, I place at the head of this army! You must kill her or better, make her your ally. With Xena and her pure-heart, semi-god friends fighting against you, youíll never be victorious!

Lethal George: OK, OK. (under his breath as he turns away) Weíll see about that.

Ares: (disappearing in a blinding flash of lightning) Great Hera sends these bolts to run your computer as you requested. DO NOT FAIL US.

A ball of lighting falls from the sky like a comet and melts into the computer. There is a metallic crackle. The screen flickers and lights up.

Scene 4 Potidaea. Gabrielle is sitting in a modest dwelling with an elderly man, Solon, the village scribe. She has a lavishly illustrated scroll open on her lap.

Gabrielle: This has really come along since my last visit, Uncle Solon. Its fantastic! Now all we have to do is finish the last few chapters without Xena knowing...

Solon: (Incredulous) Gabrielle, you told me we had finished on your last visit!

Gabrielle: I know, I know! (Getting up enthusiastically) But Solon, you wouldnít believe the amazing adventures weíve had since then. They have to go in. It just wouldnít be right to skip them!

Solon: Thereís plenty of time. Your new stories can start a second scroll. The Xena and Gabrielle Adventures, Part 2.

Gabrielle: Oh, please Solon. It wonít take long. And Xena wonít be here for a while...(a shadow crosses her face for a moment, but she throws it off confidently) I want Xena to have the scroll before this visit is over...with the new stories! Of course, thereíll be a second scroll, the way we travel. (She notices Solonís worried, but affectionate expression) But that one can wait.

The two sit down together and Gabrielle begins to relate her recent adventures with Xena, gesticulating dramatically, while the scribe depicts it carefully on the scroll in the ornate lettering kept for literary purposes.

Scene 5 The forest not far from the gates of Potidaea. The two women we met earlier are approaching. They stop and one holds the string while the other cuts a piece with a Swiss Army Knife.

Anna: (Tying the string to a young tree) Whatís that up ahead?

Jenny: It looks like a walled village from the Middle Ages. I have no idea where we are, but Iím starving. Weíve been walking for ages. Maybe its a novelty resort or something?

Anna: I donít know, but nothing would surprise me after this morning. Are you sure you didnít see that guy just appear and start going on about wars and warriors...

Jenny: Iím not sure what I saw. We were both terrified. Its understandable, you must have imagined it.

Anna: I did not. He was there. He stopped that psychopath from firing at us. (afterthought) But only because he thought we were dead anyway. Weíre not though!

They arrive at the gates of Potidaea. Their mouths fall open as armed guards block their path.

1st Guard: You are strangers to this town. State your names, business and from where you come.

Jenny: Can you just let us in please? Not that this isnít a fun idea, but weíre tired and someone attacked us earlier.

1st Guard (Bellowing) State your names and business strangers, or face imprisonment!

Jenny: (looking him in the eye) Well, youíre a stranger to US! Whatís YOUR name?

2nd Guard: (To 1st Guard) She speaks impertinently and looks as I have heard the murdering leader of those raiders described.

Jenny: Me rude! YOUíRE the rude one.

Anna: Weíre tourists and I think weíre lost. Is there a public phone around here?

The guards grab them by the arms and roughly force them ahead along the path in to the village.

Anna: (Shouting and struggling) Hey! We havenít done anything wrong! You canít treat us like this! Stop! Stop!!

Jenny: (Also shouting and struggling) Let go of me you arse-hole! Youíre all mad! Some lunatic is out there firing guns, go get him! I want the Australian Embassy!

The shouting and commotion slowly draws the villagers out of their houses to see whatís going on. Xena, Gabrielle and Thea emerge from the tavern and join the growing throng. When Thea catches sight of the two struggling women she screams. This noise stops the guards and hushes the young women briefly.

Thea: Xena! They look like the man whose army raided my village! Those clothes...

Xena strides up to them, closely followed by Gabrielle and Thea. Anna and Jenny are both struck by the wonder of this huge, gorgeous woman. They gaze at her in awe, absorbing the details of her clothes, weapons and striking features.

Xena: (To the guards) What are these prisoners accused of?

1st Guard: We suspect them of being associated with Lethal George and his army.

Xena: What evidence do you have?

1st: Guard: (Yanking the two women forward with a sneer back at Xena) What evidence do we need but that Achildae was attacked only yesterday?

Jenny: In other words, NONE!! He doesnít like how we LOOK!

The guard shakes her angrily as she speaks. Xena quietly eyes Jenny then the guard. Jenny returns her gaze, a little proudly.

1st Guard: We canít take any risks! They must be imprisoned.

Xena: Wait. I want to question them. Stand back.

The guard is about to speak.

Xena: NOW!

The guards reluctantly release their grip and stand back a little. The women rub their arms and shift their feet indignantly.

Xena: (Drawing Thea closer) Thea, do you recognise these women from the attack on Achildae?

Thea: (hesitantly) Well, no, but...

Xena: Are you sure you saw no-one like them?

There is nothing Thea can say. She doesnít recognise them.

Anna: Weíve done nothing wrong. Weíre just tourists.

Gabrielle: Iíve never heard of that town, Tourist, where is it?

Anna: (exasperated) No, I mean, weíre just visiting. For a holiday. Fun. You know, take pictures and eat at nice restaurants.

Gabrielle: Oh. Well, youíve come to the right place if you want to have fun! Potidaea is the best, weíre very friendly here - I mean, usually.

Xena: (perplexed) Where DO you come from?

Anna: Weíre Australians. We still donít even know where WE are. One minute we were walking in the forest. Then we were attacked by this man with a gun...

Jenny: Weíve been walking for hours, weíre tired and traumatised. I donít know who you lot are-

Isagoras, the townís leader has entered the scene. He has been alerted to the situation and approaches with 2nd Guard. The two guards grab the women roughly again.

Isagoras: Enough! The prisoners speak in riddles to catch us unaware. Xena, you told me yourself Potidaea may be the next target for these murderers. Take them away! If theyíre spies, theyíll be executed. Tomorrow, extra fortification of the village continues!

The guards jostle the women off to the town cells. Xena watches with concern, especially as the women now twist round, directing pleas of innocence to her.

Scene 6 Evening. In the Potidaea cells. There is a small room where the day pack sits unopened. The keys to the cell hang from a spoke in the wall nearby. The women sit looking miserable. Jenny has her arm around Anna.

Anna: Whatís going to happen to us? This is no novelty resort. Iím scared.

Jenny: (stroking her hair) Iím sure weíll be OK. That woman with the dark hair will help us. I think she could tell weíre not who they think we are.

Anna: (suddenly smiling) Yeah, sheís gorgeous, isnít she! And so tough. (Her face slowly clouds again) I just wish they hadnít taken away the bag. We may need whatís in there...(slowly) Hey, did they call this place Potidaea?

Jenny: I think so, Iím not sure.

Anna: I vaguely remember the brochure said something about Potidaea...what was it? I might even still have it...(She shoves her hand in to the back pocket of her jeans and pulls out the brochure, a little crushed but intact. She carefully opens it out) Here we are! (summarising as she reads) Potidaea was founded as a sort of colony by Corinth in about the Seventh Century BCE! Thatís the same time Sappho lived. Jenny: So?

Anna: The forest where we were walking is near the ancient ruins of Potidaea, thatís why its in the brochure. I know this sounds wild, but could we have somehow gone back in time?

Jenny: How...

The women are interrupted by the entrance of Xena, stealthy as a cat. They look at her and exchange small glances. She holds their eyes steadily without malice.

Anna: Please, donít let them execute us. Weíre not spies...

Xena: I donít believe youíre spies. But you have to tell me who you ARE.

Anna: My name is Anna. And this is Jenny. If this is Potidiaea, it appears we come from the future.

Xena: (coolly raising one eyebrow) The future?

Anna: (reaching out to Xena with the brochure in her hand) Where we come from, Potidaea is a historic site! (Xena takes the brochure and flicks her eyes over it) Our cities are so big most of the forests have been cut down. Thatís why we have to visit them!

Xena: If this is true, how did you get here and WHY are you here?

Anna: (gesticulating excitedly) We fly from country to country in machines with wings. Thatís how we thought we got here! The rest is a mystery. We were walking in the forest, like I said, for pleasure. We went into this cave and a man started to chase us. He- he tried to kill us, but we managed to escape into the forest on the other side. We walked until we finally found this town.

Xena: This man you speak of, you know him?

Jenny: No idea who he was. But he was from our time and obviously a dangerous criminal! He was using a modern weapon. (reacting to Xenaís expression) No offence. People really know how to kill eachother where we come from! There are always countries at war. Millions die. (She pauses. She has upset herself) There were other things in the cavern we escaped from that were definitely from our time. That could be the reason we didnít realise what had happened.

Xena: Can you prove what you say is true?

Anna: The bag they took from us. Its in that other little room (pointing). I think thereís all the proof you need inside our bag!

Xena tries the door. It is locked. She gives it an easy, well placed kick. The door falls open and she slips inside. She returns with the bag, turning it over in her hands.

Anna: Just pull that little brown tag...

Xena gives her THE LOOK. She unzips the bag and begins to take out items and turn them over in her hands, one by one. The first one is the poloroid camera.

Anna: Its a camera. It works a bit like our eyes. Light goes in and forms a picture, like what you see when you look at something. Only, its a picture you can keep! If you pass it to me Iíll show you how it works.

Slightly uncertain, Xena passes the Poloroid through the bars. Anna holds up the camera and points the lens at Xena through the bars. Xena starts backwards her hand reaching for her sword.

Anna: Its really not a weapon! Here, Iíll take a photo of Jenny instead. She takes a photo of Jenny who "hams up" a cheesy grin. The flash goes off. Xena blinks.

Anna: (removing the developing photo) Its a bit dark in here so the camera made its own extra light! Thisíll take a few minutes.

Xena, blinking once more to get rid of the effect of the flash, removes Jennyís wallet from the bag and smells it.

Xena: Leather.

Jenny: Leatherís still popular in our time! Our shoes are made from it. People wear it too, but its very expensive.

Xena fiddles with the wallet until it opens. She rummages through a few notes and coins of modern currency. She slips a variety of shiny plastic cards in and out with interest. She replaces the wallet and pulls out the Swiss Army knife. She prods out the cork screw, then the Phillipís-Head screw-driver. Finally, she unfolds the knife blade and gives it a satisfied expression. A tool she recognises.

Anna: (Tearing off the protective covering of the photo) Look! The photoís ready.

Xena looks up. She takes the photo. Both her eyebrows raise with a small smile at the corner of her mouth as she sees Jenny with her "larger than life" grin for the picture. She looks at Jenny again.

Xena: (repeating to herself) Photo, like Fotis...meaning "light".

Her face hardens, thinking of the town that was destroyed and hurriedly throws the open Swiss Army knife and photo back into the bag. She discovers the hand gun and lifts it out slowly.

Anna: Now, thatís a weapon! I took it from that man in case we needed to protect ourselves! Its called a gun and its a small version of what HE was using to try and kill us!

Xena is rolling the pistol around in her hand, fascinated with it.

Anna: (very anxiously) Youíre holding it just right...if you press the lever in that looped bit, itíll fire!

Jenny: We know where this guy keeps the rest of his guns. Whatever heís up to, heís doing it from that cavern we escaped from. Maybe heís the one youíre all REALLY looking for?

Xena looks at her seriously.

Jenny: We can take you there.

Xena: Iíll be back.

She drops the gun back into the bag which she shoves through the bars. Anna takes it and Xena stalks out.

Jenny: (Calling after her) Can you bring us something to eat? We havenít had anything since the morning!

Scene 7 Gabrielleís motherís home. A group of young people sit around including Gabrielleís mother and sister. They are laughing and talking loudly. Gabrielle is the centre of attention. Xena enters, causing a hush.

Xena: Gabrielle, I need to speak to you.

Gabrielle: Sure, Xena.

Xena: (To Gabrielleís family and friends) Could you excuse us.

Gabrielleís mother shrugs a "yes". The two exit into another room, leaving the hush behind them.

Gabrielle: Whatís up? Did you speak to them?

Xena: Yes and I have a feeling they might lead us to Lethal George.

Gabrielle: Why? How? Are they his spies?

Xena: No. Theyíre from the future.

Gabrielle: (Intrigued) The future! What does that mean?

Xena: Thereís no time to explain. Meet me outside the town gates in half an hour. Bring a pouch with bread and meat.

Scene 8 Gabrielle approaches the guards at the gates of Potidaea.

Gabrielle: (To the guards) Hi, guys, can you let me through, Iím off to collect mushrooms. Theyíre best picked from the forest a little way from here!

1st. Guard: Its a bit late for that, donít you think?

Gabrielle: Oh no, its perfect. I love the night air.

2nd Guard: (Putting his arm around Gabrielleís shoulder) I think, maybe youíve come to visit me! We could go and have a drink or two when my shift is over.

Gabrielle: (Pushing his arm away) No thanks. Just let me through the gate, will you!

1st. Guard: (Coming up close to her) But its too dangerous for a little girlie like you out in the forest. Stay with us, weíll have some fun!

Gabrielle: (Throwing her arms up in exasperation) OK, thatís it. I didnít want to do this, guys, but youíre really annoying me.

Gabrielle whisks around knocking 1st Guard a blow to the back of the neck with her staff. He drops. Instantly, she swings the staff backwards into 2nd Guardís stomach. He grunts as he falls. As she does so, Jenny and Anna run forward from the darkness, followed by Xena leading Argo. Gabrielle steps over the guards and swings the gates open. She watches the women approach. Xena helps Jenny mount Argo and climbs up in front of her. Jenny points at the string tied to the sapling the two had fastened earlier.

Jenny: Thereís another tree like that not far away. We can follow them all the way back to the cavern!

Xena: Gabrielle. Stay close.

The group head off in to the forest, Argo walking, with Gabrielle and Anna not far behind.

Scene 9 The forest. The moon is full. Gabrielle and Anna are walking together. Argo is ahead a small distance away. Jenny holds Xenaís waist with one hand and chews a piece of bread with the other.

Gabrielle: So, are you really from the future?

Anna: Yes. Iíd say weíve come back in time about 2,700 years!

Gabrielle: (her eyes widening brightly) Whatís it like, in the future?

Anna: Well, thereís a lot just the same really. People still love, fight, get sick, die, get born...I sípose the differences are all the things we have that make life easier and faster.

Gabrielle: What? Like what?

Anna: Where do I start? Like all those boring things people have to do, washing clothes, keeping food fresh, travelling long distances, even remembering lots of information, we have devices that can do them easily and fast.

Gabrielle: (excited) Like flying, people can fly in the future?

Anna: Not by themselves! In glorified chariots that can fit the people of three villages inside. They have huge wings made of metal, (struggling) like sword blades. They have this mechanical device inside that makes them able move fast enough to fly.

Gabrielle looks at her quizzically.

Anna: They run on fuels that have huge power when they burn. (gesticulating) When you light a fire, you use wood as a fuel. Imagine how fast youíd go if you could capture the strength of a fire!

Gabrielle: (smiling) I suppose if you could catch a ride on a chariot of fire without getting your butt burned, you could fly!

Anna: (laughing) Iím sorry! Iím lecturing!

Gabrielle: No, no! Iím interested, really. Xena told me you said your people could fly. I had to find out more!

Anna: Yeah well, its not all great. Burning wood doesnít poison the air like we do when we fly planes...(clicking) do you mean to say, (indicating the horse ahead) sheís Xena, the legendary warrior who fought against Hercules?

Gabrielle: And with him! And with ME, for that matter -

Anna: Typical! The stories always find a way to ignore women, or make them look bad!

Gabrielle: Maybe you just havenít heard all the stories? I mean, Xena was known as pretty much a tyrant for a while, but she changed her ways.

Up ahead, Xena jumps from Argo, followed by Jenny, a little cautiously. Jenny starts forward. Xena stops her with her arm. She looks around carefully and listens while Gabrielle and Anna catch up. She nods at Jenny. They run toward the cavern. Xena enters slowly and carefully, covering every corner of the cavern with her eyes for danger. The others follow, also carefully.

Jenny: (Kneeling beside a huge case of semi automatic guns and ammunition) Look! here they all are...these are the guns we were talking about. Theyíre very dangerous.

Xena leans over and coolly takes a gun. She looks it over. Squatting, she takes a good look at the bullets in separate boxes of cartridges.

Cut to Gabrielle who is walking, wide eyed around the cavern, taking in everything. She sees the blue shimmering wall.

Gabrielle: Xena! Look at this.

Xena approaches, still holding the gun. She passes her hand through the blue wall. Her hand disappears then appears as she draws it back.

Gabrielle: What is it?

Xena: The exit door.

Gabrielle: What? What do you mean?

She is interrupted by Anna, who is standing next to the computer looking over Jennyís shoulder. Jenny is seated and typing at the keyboard.

Anna: Xena, weíve found something! This is a store of information for someone planning....(incredulously) total domination of Greece and the surrounding islands!

Gabrielle: (touching the flickering screen) What is that?

Jenny: Its a computer.

Gabrielle looks at Anna for clarification.

Anna: Its a device that remembers everything you want it to. (reading from the screen as words appear) The guy you want, his name must be George Smith...but he calls himself Lethal George. Does that ring a bell?

Xena: Yes, it does.

Jenny: Lethal George, what a loser! (opening a data base) Look at this! Its a list of towns and their rulers to be defeated. The next one is Potidaea. (to Gabrielle) Thatís where weíve just come from isnít it? (Gabrielle, paling, nods) Ruler: Isagoras. (She clicks twice on the name. A picture of Isagoras appears on the screen.)

Gabrielle: Gods, no! (She looks up at Xena with panic. Xena gives her a look of concern, then returns her eyes to the screen)

Anna: (urgently) Heís obviously very organised. Jenny, program in a virus! (to Xena and Gabrielle) She can destroy everything he keeps here. Thatíll slow him down!

Xena: We have to get to Potidaea before they do. Thankyou both for your help. You can escape back to your time through that blue wall over there. You should go now.

Stunned, Anna and Jenny look at Xena and then at the blue wall, seeing it for the first time.

Anna: (looking Xena straight in the eye) No way! You still need our help. We wonít go Ďtil weíre finished.

There is a moment of tense silence where the two women lock eachotherís gaze. This is broken by voices outside the cavern. Xena stealthily moves the curtain aside a little. A handful of ruffians approach.

Ruffian 1 : Hurry up! Thereís not much time left.

Ruffian 2: This the place? Or did you get us lost again?

Ruffian 1: (Grabbing Ruffian 2 by the collar) Shut it! You want to get us all killed?

Ruffian 2 (Pushing him away) Where are the fire-staffs then? I thought you said they were hundreds of them!

The two start to tussle. Xena aims the gun she is holding at some foliage behind the men and squeezes the trigger. Bullets whiz over their heads. Leaves and branches rain to the ground. The Ruffians fearfully whirl on their feet. They tentatively move towards the noise. Their backs are now turned. Xena lowers the gun slowly, her eyes wide. She hands it to Jenny, matter-of-factly.

Xena glides out the door with Gabrielle by her side. They take one ruffian each by surprise from behind and knock them unconscious. The three remaining turn around to see them. Xena flashes her DANGEROUS smile. They begin to fight. It doesnít take long to overpower the men. Xena dazes Ruffian 1 with a blow that knocks him against a tree. She blocks the flow of blood to his brain. He cries out.

Xena: Iíve just blocked the blood supply to your brain. You have a choice. Tell me who you are and what youíre up to, or youíll die in a few minutes.

Ruffian 1: (gasping) We work for the warlord Crycus as spies. Lethal George has taken too much territory with those fire-staffs. We have to find them and bring them to Crycus before the next attack.

Xena: And when will that be?

Ruffian 1: noon, at Potidaea.

Xena: (un-blocking Ruffian 1 then unsheathing her sword aggressively) Get out of here!

Ruffian 1 runs and stumbles away as fast as he can. Xena, fired up, re-enters the cavern.

Xena: (returning her sword to its sheath with a flourish) Its not safe for you here. Leave now, while you still can.

She is met by determined eyes and silence. Without a momentís hesitation she turns and strides out of the cavern.

Xena: (urgently) Gabrielle!

The two mount Argo and gallop away towards Potidaea. Jenny returns to the computer and taps away.

Jenny: There! The virus is in. Heíll find it totally stuffed!

Anna: Great! But now weíve got to get back to Potidaea! She didnít even take the gun after all that. How are they going to be any match for this guy?

They notice the Harley Davidson and exchange glances.

Anna: I have an idea...with a bit of bluff it just might work. We better hurry! Take the gun. Iíll tell you on the way.

Jenny slings the gun over her shoulder. Anna reaches for another and does the same. They temporarily avoid eachotherís eyes, hoping not to lose resolve. They jump on the motor bike together. After a few attempts, Jenny starts it.

Anna: YES!

The Harley Davidson zooms off in to the forest. Scene 10 Battle in Potidaea. Hoards of shouting men can be seen descending on the town. The warlord Crycus and his men are also there, fighting the Potidaeans and Lethal Georgeís army. Swords clash. There are screams as women try to protect their children. Xena is in the midst of the battle, helping to defend Potidaea. She is fighting hard with gritted teeth and glinting eyes. Xena looks up and sees Crycus fighting townsfolk from his horse. She runs up a stone bridge to a height where she can easily see him.

Xena: (As he gallops towards the bridge) I see you havenít learned from the past, Crycus! Aiaiaiaiaiaiaiai!

He looks up just in time to see her make a fabulous leap from the bridge, somersault and kick him from his horse. His sword is knocked from his grasp and he lies sprawling at her feet, her sword against his throat.

Xena: (digging her sword in to his throat) Order your men to leave this town! NOW!

Cut to Gabrielle outside Solon the Scribeís dwelling, valiantly fighting off some thugs who are trying to set fire to the place with sconces.

Gabrielle: I donít know why you types always go for the history and literature.

She throws her staff the left, knocking the sconce from one thugís hand. She whacks him on the back of the neck. As he falls, she follows a similar routine on the thug to her right. She rushes inside, returning with a bucket of water to douse the flames that have caught in some places.

Gabrielle hears a womanís cry of distress. She bursts in to a cottage to find her friend Lydia being attacked by another thug. Gabrielle races to Lydiaís aid, her staff thrashing and whirring. The thug, out cold, she comforts her friend.

A loud roar and commotion is heard. Gabrielle runs in to the street. The noise has unnerves everyone. They look up and around, temporarily forgetting the fight. The bright red Harley Davidson emerges through the gates of the town, over-revving flamboyantly. Jenny and Anna are shouting loudly, whooping, and firing the guns in to the air. Xena, sword still at the ready watches, her face a mixture of mild amusement and concern. The Harley roars to a stop at the bridge we saw earlier; the centre of battle activity. Anna staunchly climbs to the top of the bridge.

Anna: (Shouting) Now hear this! The war is OVER! We hearby return sovereignty to the town of Potidaea! Invaders throw down your weapons...Lethal George is defeated! (dramatically raising the gun above her head with both hands) WE now control his empire and his death staffs!

The people at ground level show confusion. They look at one another.

Jenny: (revving the motor bike and shouting viciously) She said THROW DOWN YOUR WEAPONS, or face the anger of these guns!

She jumps off the bike and gritting her teeth, fires half a round at the feet of the closest group of soldiers. They shout with fear as dust and stones fly up at them. One man is hit in the foot and falls, screaming to the ground. Jenny looks panicked for an instant. The men start to drop their weapons.

Jenny: (Recovering herself, she paces, brandishing the gun) Come on, ALL of you. We make the rules now.

Anna: (Still calling from the bridge) Potidaea is FREE! All territory previously captured by Lethal George returns to its original inhabitants!

There is a deafening clap of thunder and lightning flashes. The villagers cower as more gunfire is heard approaching from the gates of the town. There are blood-curdling screams as Lethal George fires indiscriminately. As he approaches the centre of the village, Jenny joins Anna on the bridge. They both point their guns directly at him.

Jenny: (Using her best terrifying shout) HOLD YOUR FIRE, OR YOUíRE DEAD!

Anna: (Shouting) Weíve got two guns here aimed right at you, Georgie-boy. GIVE UP NOW!

Lethal George stops firing, but keeps approaching slowly. He aims his gun at the women on the bridge. He looks up at them mockingly. There is a momentís stand-off while each surveys the other. He is about to fire.

Whoosh! Xenaís chakram flies through the air. It sparks as it bounces around a stone column and hurtles at Lethal George. Her battle cry rings out from the ledge of the nearby town wall. She gracefully flips to the ground facing Lethal, and catches the chakram. It has knocked the gun from his hand. As he bends to grab it she gives him a hard kick. He over-balances. He grovels to get the gun, but she crushes his hand with her foot.

Xena: (smiling with the thrill of the chase) Lethal George, I presume.

Slowly she releases his hand. He attempts to get to his feet. She kicks him backwards again.

Xena: (keeping her eye on him while she picks up the gun) Not so tough without this, are we? (Raising the gun, she aims it at him as if to fire, then slings it over her shoulder, smiling wickedly) Not bad. I think Iíll keep it.

Lethal George fumbles in his pocket and finally pulls out a pistol. Shaking with anger and humiliation, he points it at Xena. She glares at him. He shoots. Xena dodges, with a high backward somersault. As she drops back to the ground, she executes a side-on Karate kick. He keels back, and the pistol falls. She turns and kicks him again so that he falls, hard to the ground. He drags himself up, backing towards some villagers who start to edge away. Xena approaches for the kill, glaring furiously, her sword spinning and cutting through the air. Lethal grabs a young girl and pulls out a flick knife. He holds it against her throat.

Lethal George: Come any closer and Iíll slit her throat! ARES! Where are you? Canít you do better than thunder and lightning? ARES, GODDAMMIT SHOW UP!!

There is more thunder and lightning. Ares appears. Xena looks on, as if things are suddenly clear to her.

Ares: Hello Xena. (Xena nods, mock politely) Have you run in to a little tight spot, George? Did I not warn you there were forces to be reckoned with?

Lethal George: (Shouting) Just do something, will you?

Xena: (taking the gun from her shoulder) You brought these people here. Why?

Ares: Lethal George holds the key to warfare more devastating than this world can imagine. Guns are only the beginning! There are weapons of the future that explode whole cities, killing millions, terrifying as many into servitude...Just think of the power you could wield, if you rode at the head of such an army, Xena...

Xena: Iím not interested in your wars, Ares.

Ares: (Seductively) Join us Xena...I know the feeling of such a powerful weapon in your hands thrills your senses! Your body is made for war...

Xena shivers, ever so slightly. She looks down at the gun in her hands.

Cut to Jenny and Gabrielle who have crept up behind Lethal George. He is still holding the young girl. Jenny shoves her gun in to his upper back. He stiffens with fright. Gabrielle hits his knife elbow hard with her staff. He drops the knife with a howl and the young girl scampers away to her motherís arms. Gabrielle slams the staff against the back of his legs. He thuds to the ground on his back, winded. Jenny stands over him with the gun.

Jenny: (snarling) Its all over, loser.

Xena looks up to see this and comes back to reality in a rush.

Xena: NEVER! Iíll never join you! Greatness doesnít depend on fighting...OR on how powerful your weapons are! I choose my OWN battles, Ares.

She throws the gun down with such force, that the barrel falls open, spraying unused bullets over the ground.

Ares roars with fury. The skies alternately light up and darken to black in a terrifying display of lightning and cracking thunder. Ares points a finger at Lethal George cowering on the ground. Jenny jumps back as a metallic sizzle of writhing lightning consumes Lethal George. He utters a last howl. In a blinding flash Ares is gone and the sun shines again. All that remains of Lethal George is a piece of char.

There is a tangible sigh that rushes through the village. Those remaining of Lethalís men, realise their leader is dead and make a run for it. No-one follows them. The Potidaeans cheer. Gabrielle runs up to Xena and the two hug lovingly.

Xena: (gently) Lets help with the wounded.

Scene 11 A magnificent feast in a huge hall festively lit with candelabras. Gabrielle, Xena, Anna and Jenny are seated at the Table of Honour. Potidaeans are seated all around. They mill about happily.

Isagoras: (Standing beside the Table of Honour, he raises a silver goblet of wine) Potidaeans! Let us drink to the victory of our town today! It could not have been achieved without these fine women before you.

The crowd cheers and there are cries of Hear! Hear!

Isagoras: Xena, I welcome you once again to Potidaea and thank you. It is not the first time we have escaped disaster because of your bravery. (Xena nods and beams) Gabrielle, welcome back to you too. Today, you have made your mark as protector of your home town. Your deeds will always be remembered!

Gabrielle: (above the din of applause) Thankyou! ThankYOU.

Isagoras: And finally, I must apologise to our guests from the future for judging them too soon. Let me extend our gratitude for their part in bringing about the downfall of the tyrant Lethal George. Jenny, Anna, eat, drink and enjoy the hospitality of Potidaea tonight to celebrate this great moment!

Everyone raises their glasses and whoop with delight, then drink and continue the festivities. Isagoras sits next to Xena at the Table of Honour.

Isagoras: (to Xena) The last of Lethal Georgeís weapons have been locked away to be destroyed. Also, I have sent messengers to recruit men and women to help rebuild towns that were destroyed as you requested. (Xena nods) I hope you and Gabrielle will stay awhile.

Xena: Thankyou Isagoras. Perhaps we will.

Gabrielle stands up, and clinks a fork against her goblet loudly.

Gabrielle: Thankyou all for coming. I hope youíre enjoying yourselves! I have an announcement to make! (Pauses to collect herself) The day before last was the second anniversary of the love I share with Xena. Uncle Solon, could you please bring me the scroll?

Xenaís sits bolt upright, her eyes widen and despite her best attempts, she begins to blush. Solon, the scribe, approaches with the scroll. She follows him with her eyes.

Gabrielle: (Turning to Xena and speaking gently) This is for you, as a token of my love and respect, forever.

She gives Xena the scroll. Xena accepts it and unrolls it a little. She takes in the intricate illustrations and the title: Travels of Xena, Warrior Princess and Gabrielle the Bard. She looks back up at Gabrielle. Her eyes are moist.

Xena: Gabrielle. This is beautiful. Thankyou.

Anna: (reaching over to touch Xenaís shoulder) Congratulations!

Anna takes Jennyís arm. Jenny kisses her softly on the lips and smiles.

Gabrielle: OK everyone, thatís all! Keep celebrating!

She plops back in to her seat beside Xena. The festivities continue.

Scene 12 The forest. Xena and Gabrielle walk together. Xena is leading Argo.

Gabrielle: I wonder where Jenny and Anna are now!

Xena: At home in the future, I suppose.

Gabrielle: Iím sure we did the right thing giving them the scroll. Iíd hate our stories to get lost like Sapphoís poetry. Now thereís a great woman. I always wished my mother would send me to learn the lyre and recitation at her school on Lesbos. I am a bit sad about the scroll...but I can always get Solon to re-inscribe the stories one day.

Xena: Gabrielle...

Gabrielle: And of course, weíll never forget them, we have photos!

Gabrielle takes a few photos out of a pouch around her waist of Anna and Jenny smiling with their arms around eachother and of herself with Xena. She stops to look at them. Xena stops too and looks over Gabrielleís shoulder at the photos.

Gabrielle: (thoughtfully)Wow! A world with boxes that remember things, chariots that fly...Do you think weíll ever really have a weapon that can explode a whole city?

Xena: I hope not. Gabrielle, listen. (Gabrielle looks up) I have something for you too.

She pulls out a pouch that was tucked into Argoís saddle. She carefully takes out two gold rings. Each has a small stone on it that has no particular shape or colour. They shine and sparkle with all colours imaginable, separately and at once.

Xena: These stones have been touched by the goddess Aphrodite. This oneís for you. Happy Anniversary.

She delicately places the smaller ring on the finger of Gabrielleís left hand and kisses the finger with feeling. Gabrielle is speechless. Xena puts the other ring in Gabrielleís palm and closes her fingers around it. Gabrielle is still speechless and inert.

Xena: (With a hint of nervousness) This is what I want...for us.

Gabrielle: (snapping out of her reverie, admires her ring happily) Its so perfect! Yes! I mean, its what I want too.

Smiling cheekily, she slips the other ring on to Xenaís left hand finger and the two passionately kiss eachotherís lips necks and faces.

Theme Music rolls Credits roll

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