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Xena and Gabrielle meet Star Trek: Voyager

by The Fyrequeene

Copyright 1997. Any reproduction for purposes other than private reading pleasure without the express written consent of the Fyrequeene and the WNBA is strictly prohibited.

Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle (and Joxer) are the property of MGM/Renaissance Pictures and are used here without malice--and without permission. Disclaimer: The characters of Janeway, Torres, Paris, and Q are the property of Paramount Pictures and Gene Roddenberry's estate and are also used here without permission, but just a touch of malice. No infringement of any copyright is intended. Warning: This story contains minor violence and not-so-subtle subtext. Nothing graphic at all, but the implication is there.

Scene: Voyager, Holodeck 2 (Janeway and Torres walk up to meet Tom Paris, who is punching buttons.)

Q: (hovering invisibly above it all) You people need some real help here. And I'm going to provide it. I'm going to open your eyes to the true possibilites of --things. First, we need to ditch the big guy... Paris: Where's Chakotay?

Janeway: He won't be joining us.

Torres: He ate Neelix's Ramasian stew.

Paris: And now it's eating him, I take it.

Q: And now we'll ditch the irritating navigator--no, wait. He just might prove annoyingly useful.

Janeway: So--what is this fascinating new program you can't wait to show us?" Paris: (smiling) An old 20th Century teleshow I found when I was rummaging through the computer library. Ready?

(The holodeck door opens, the three enter to a green forest. They are standing on a dirt road. The sun shines brightly.)

Torres: Earth, right?

Paris: Of course. 20th Century, remember?

Torres: Doesn't feel like the 20th Century.

Paris: No, the show was from the 20th Century. It was set in ancient New Zeala--

Janeway: Greece! This is ancient Greece! Paris: Bingo.

Torres: What was the name of the show?

(A voice rings out from above them.)

Q: Now who cares about a silly 20th Century television program? Why not indulge your interest in ancient Earth history "up close and personal?" It would be ever so much more fun...

Janeway: Q?

Paris: Oh, no no no.....

Q: It's temporal anomaly time!!!! (A subtle flash, and the same scene lays before the trio. Only now it's hotter, and they find themselves in native garb. Janeway wears a long peasant skirt with a muslin shirt and leather vest. Torres is in a just-above-knee-high skirt with boots and a Klingon-red halter top. She and Janeway stare at each other, intriguingly appalled, when a clanking noise distracts them. Turning, they see Paris in a leather tunic with a loose circular breastplate and a ridiculous-looking hat. He's got some other metal stuff on, too, but they have no clue what it is.)

Janeway: Leave it to Q to spoil a quiet evening with friends....

Torres: (not really trying to hide a smile) Is that how men dressed in ancient Greece?

Paris: (frowning) I didn't think so. (Lifts his arms, clanks) This is awful.

(Torres cracks up laughing.)

Paris: (taking off the hat) Well, at least I've got something in the way of armor on. You look--vulnerable.

Torres: Don't bet on it, buster. (Starts toward him)

Janeway: Hey! Stop it--we need to find out where we are.

Paris: Ancient Greece would be my first guess....

Torres: How about how to get back?

Janeway: That too. This seems to be a well-travelled road. It's gotta lead somewhere. Let's walk.

(They set off, Torres still glaring at Paris, Paris clanking irritably along, Janeway, quiet, brooding. The heat quickly gets to all except Torres, who's the best dressed for the weather. Paris is taking off pieces of metal, trying to quiet down, but it's not working. However, other noises soon get their attention.)

Torres: Sounds like shouting.

Janeway: Someone's in trouble. Let's go.

(The three quicken their pace. Torres leads the way, as Janeway discovers that running in a long skirt is beastly difficult. Paris gives whoever's up ahead plenty of warning. But the shouting doesn't stop. Rounding the corner, all see a group of rough-looking men beating up on a peasant family.)

Janeway: HEY!!

(The ruffians look up. There are six of them. There are three Voyagers. The gang is not impressed. They go back to the robbery. Then, from the other side of the road--)

Voice: HEY!!

(All look up. A pale man wearing a leather tunic, a circular breastplate and a ridiculous-looking hat appears, waving a sword.)

Voice: Leave those people alone, or face the wrath of Joxer the Magnificent!! (The ruffians are even less impressed. Janeway, however, seizes the moment.)

Janeway: Now!!

(The gallant trio moves in and starts throwing ruffians around. Torres with her Klingon strength is particularly effective. Paris finds a sword among all his metal and takes it out, swinging with wild abandon. Janeway parries and strikes. Joxer joins the fray and manages to knock out a bandit as he himself is brained (accidently) by Torres. One by one the ruffians fall, until the last one sees three determined citizens in front of him and runs away. The family, cowering by their wagon, comes out to face the victors.)

Father: You have saved us! How can we show our thanks?

Janeway: (ever practical) You can tell us where the nearest village is...and give me a pair of those trousers.

(Looks from all.)

Janeway: They look much easier to walk in.

(The man agrees.)

Father: This is true. But 'tis no proper attire for a woman.

Paris: Oh, you shouldn't go there.

Torres: (eying the thieves) Maybe we can wake these bozos up...

Father: No! Here--(he gives Janeway the pants) clean and pressed and everything.

(Janeway accepts the clothing, giving the man a "look" not to mess with.)

Janeway: Thank you. (Points down the road) Is the nearest village that way?

Mother: Yes. Not much to speak of, though.

Janeway: Well, it'll be a start. Paris, Torres, let's go.

Father: What of your companion?

(Blank looks from the Voyagers. The man points at Joxer, still out cold at the side of the road.)

Paris: He's not with us.

Father: But you're dressed alike!

Paris: Don't remind me. Where do people get this sort of costume anyw--

(His words are cut off by the quarterstaff clobbering him in the back of the head. With one last clank, Paris falls to the ground, out cold. From the bushes emerges a young woman in a short skirt with boots and a bilious green halter top. She stands over Tom, looking triumphant)

Gabrielle: That'll teach you to go around telling stories about--hey!! You're not Joxer.

(She looks up, sees Janeway and Torres looking like they're about to attack, immediately raises the staff defensively.)

Gabrielle: (Backing off) Okay--I screwed up. I'm sorry. If this is your friend he'll be all right in a week or two. No reason to take it out on me. Honest mistake. Whoever thought there'd be two people dressed as badly as that? I mean, it's understandable if you just think about it for awhile--

Janeway: All right! (raises her hands diplomatically while Torres angles around to flank the young woman) Who are you?

Gabrielle: My name is Gabrielle. I'm a bard. And I might ask the same of you.

Janeway: Gabrielle; my name is Kathryn. (she pauses, hears the peasant family fleeing like the wind, looks hard at the bard while a corner of her eye tracks Torres) There were bandits attacking that family, we were helping them.

(Gabby looks skeptical, but Torres is in position to disarm her. Before she can jump, though, a cry is heard from above.)

Xena: Ayayyiyiyiyiyiyi!!!! (All the Voyager women see is a blur flying across the road. Then a figure lands smack between Gabrielle and Torres, facing the Klingon and looking angry.)

Xena: I wouldn't do that if I were you.

Gabrielle: Hi, Xena. Thank the gods you're here.

Torres: (laughing, trying hard not to be impressed by the statuesque woman before her) You think you can stop me?

Xena: (with an evil smile) Just give me the chance to try.

Janeway: (deciding diplomacy is the better part of valor, particularly since Xena is armed) B'Elanna! Stand down!

Torres: But Captain--

Janeway: "B'Elanna! That's enough. Get over here.

(Reluctantly, and without taking her eyes off the warrior in leather, Torres retreats to Janeway's side. Xena watches as well, turning until she and Gabrielle stand together opposite the other two. Xena flicks a glance at the men lying unconscious in the road.)

Xena: What happened here?

Gabrielle: They say there were bandits attacking a family.

Janeway: (gestures to the men on the ground) We took care of five of them. The other one ran away.

Xena: Where's the family?

Janeway: They ran away, too.

Xena: Took care of Joxer, I see. Not that that's hard. Who's this?

Torres: Oh, he's with us.

Gabrielle: (sheepishly) I kind of did that one. Thought he was Joxer.

Xena: (fighting a smile) You really didn't like those stories, did you? Okay. This is Gabrielle. I'm Xena. So who are you people, anyway?

Janeway: My name is Kathryn. This is B'elanna. That's Paris.

Xena: (take a second look at the man on the ground) That's not Paris. I know Paris. That jerk started a war that lasted years. This guy doesn't look capable of starting a fire.

Torres: Well...

Janeway: (figures it out) Oh, not Paris of Troy. Same name, but totally different person.

Torres: Totally different.

Xena: Good. (changing the subject) So what brings you to these parts?

Janeway: That's a long story...

Gabrielle: Gosh, big surprise.

Xena: Well, we get all kinds in Greece...

Gabrielle: Minotaurs, centaurs, gods, cylops, giants, the occasional hydra. It's a real interesting place. You guys will fit right in. I'd get your Paris friend a different outfit, though.

Xena: Oh, I don't know. They say fate protects children , fools--

Janeway/Torres: (in unison) and ships named Enterprise!

(They look at each other as X and G stare blankly at them)

Torres: Where did that come from?

Janeway: (shakes her head) What we'd really like to do is find the nearest village. We're looking for someone and we hope he'll be there.

Xena: Well, Kopa's about two hours down the road, and we're headed that way, if you'd like to join us. First we should take care of these bandits, though.

(She picks up a ruffian and throws him into the wood. The others are quickly thrown after him.)

Xena: Be right back. Just have to tie these guys to a tree. (Walks into the forest)

Janeway: (sotto voce to Torres) I don't think you want to mess with her.

Torres: (raising an eyebrow) Hey, I have many skills, Captain.

Gabrielle: There's that word again.

Torres: What?

Gabrielle: "Captain." (to Janeway) You don't look like a garrison leader.

Janeway: I'm not. I captain a ship.

Gabrielle: We're nowhere near the ocean. You really are a long way from home, aren't you?

Janeway: If only you knew....

Xena: (emerging again) Well, shall we wake these guys up? (Gestures to Joxer and Paris, still out cold)

Gabrielle: Do we have to?

Torres: (Eyeing Paris) You know, he did get us into this mess....

(Janeway and Torres look at each other, then at the men, while Xena and Gabrielle look at each other, then at the men.)

Gabrielle: We could just leave them a note. Tell 'em which way we went.

Torres: Works for me.

Xena: Kathryn, he's your travelling companion.

Janeway: What about yours?

Gabrielle: Pah! (laughs, leans against Torres' shoulder, backs off quickly as B'elanna glares at her)

Xena: Joxer finds us no matter what we do. He'll be fine.

Janeway: (As visions of a giant salamander pass through her head) Leave them a note. Let's go.

(Gabrielle scribbles on a scroll, pushes the parchment into Paris's helmet, and the four women set off down the road)

Janeway: Wait a minute. I have got to get out of this skirt.

Xena: (pulling out her knife) I can fix that. Stand still a second. (In three quick strokes, the warrior slices the skirt from full length to mini, though still a little longer than her own) How's that?

Janeway: (Impressed) Much better. Thank you. (Tosses the trousers onto Joxer and smiles brightly at Xena--a gesture not lost on Gabrielle)

(Okay, now the four women set off down the road. Xena and Janeway walk in front, setting a brisk pace. Gabrielle lags a bit behind, and B'Elanna finds herself more or less paired with her.)

Gabrielle: So, are you a sidekick, too?

Torres: (Still thinking about the smile Janeway aimed at Xena) Not exactly.

Gabrielle: Oh-well, it's great work if you can find it.

Torres: (Not too enthusiastically) Really.

Gabrielle: (Brightly) There's nothing like travelling to strange places, fighting warlords and unusual creatures, and helping people who need it.

Torres: So I've heard.

Gabrielle: Well, obviously you've travelled some, or you wouldn't be here.

Torres: True.

Gabrielle: Looks like Kathryn might be fun to adventure with. (This gets B'elanna's attention.)

Torres: (Gives Gabrielle a sharp look) What do you mean by that?

Gabrielle: Well, look how smart she is! Using diplomacy instead of letting Xena kill you. She defused that whole situation, and now here we are, travelling together. Interesting woman.

Torres: (A little wistfully) Yes, she is, actually.

(Meanwhile, the Alpha women up ahead are having their own talk)

Xena: I used to lead an army myself. Quite a different life.

Janeway: What happened?

Xena: Let's just say that one day it wasn't fun anymore.

Janeway: It's a challenge. But so, I imagine, is taking on the world by yourself.

Xena: Oh, I have Gabrielle to help.

Janeway: She's not a liability?

Xena: Not at all. She's--a good balance for me.

Janeway: (half listening to the chatter behind them) Talkative.

Xena: She's a bard. (Looks hard at Kathryn) At least she can control her temper. I'd watch B'Elanna pretty carefully if I were you.

Janeway: We're working on it.

Xena: Strong, though.

Janeway: Quite.

Xena: And a good balance for you, really.

Janeway: (With a sharp look) What do you mean by that?

Xena: It's good to talk your way out of things sometimes, but it's also good to have power on your side if you can't. B'Elanna's your power.

Janeway: And Gabrielle is your diplomacy?

Xena: (with a smile) She tries. So--who are you looking for in Kopa?

Janeway: A--being-- named Q.

Xena: Kew? Never heard of him.

Janeway: Consider yourself lucky.

Xena: Enemy of yours?

Janeway: Not exactly. Q is more of a nuisance. A capricious, powerful, supremely annoying nuisance.

Xena: Sounds like Ares on one of his good days.

Janeway: I guess you do have to deal with beings like that a lot. How do you handle it?

Xena: I avoid them whenever possible.

Janeway: Sound policy.

Xena: Gabrielle writes tales about the gods every once in awhile. Seems to keep them happy.

Janeway: Balance.

Xena: Yeah.

Gabrielle: Hey, wait up a minute!

(Xena and Janeway stop to let the other two women join them.)

Gabrielle: B'Elanna wants to know about Kopa.

Torres: That family we saved said it wasn't much.

Xena: I wouldn't go that far. Kopa can be a pretty fun place.

Gabrielle: Got to catch them at festival time.

Janeway: Are we anywhere near that?

Xena: Probably. Kopa's known as a party village.

Gabrielle: They have a festival whenever they can think of an excuse for one. Pick a god to adore for a week or two, wait awhile, celebrate the harvest, wait awhile, pick another god, that sort of thing.

Torres: Sounds like Q's kind of town.

Janeway: He'll have them worshipping him on their knees.

Gabrielle: The villagers would do it, too. Any excuse to dance in the streets.

Janeway: And we're about an hour away now?

Xena: Closer. Listen.

(Far in the distance one can hear the steady beat of a bass drum. Xena and Gabrielle look at each other knowingly.)

Xena/Gabrielle: (In unison) Festival time.

(They're really only about twenty minutes away, and they cover this quickly. Kopa is a small village, but tourists crowd the gates and temporary stalls line the road inside. Xena walks steadily toward the main entrance, with Gabrielle, Janeway and Torres following closely behind. The bass drum is now accompanied by a steady clashing cymbal and a thumping bass lyre.)

Xena: (under her breath) Great. Nostalgia night.

Janeway: (Over the music) What was that?

Gabrielle: Disco. Last tavern we went to that played disco ended up---

(Xena gives her the "look")

Gabrielle: Not playing disco anymore.

Xena: Let's find your Kew person, then we'll take care of the music. Maybe we should split up.

(Gabrielle and B'Elanna eye each other. They know where this is going.)

Janeway: Makes sense. B'Elanna, why don't you go with Gabrielle? We'll meet in the tavern in, say, an hour.

Torres: Mmm-hmmm. If I find Q?

Xena: Just go to the tavern. There's only one, right in the middle of town. We'll be there.

Gabrielle: (Tightly) Right. Come on, B'Elanna. No arguing with born warlords. Let's go.

(They are in the crowd before Xena can stop them. She stands there, eyeing the spot they disappeared into, while the crowd mills around them.)

Janeway: What was that all about?

Xena: Nothing. It's a partnership. I have to keep remembering that.

Janeway: I could have gone with B'Elanna--uh, Gabrielle.

Xena: Let's just go to the tavern.

Janeway: You don't want to walk around?

Xena: Gabrielle can cover that angle fine. Besides, I have a feeling your Kew guy is going to be where the action is. And that's the tavern. (They start walking, and soon come to a building with a long line of people outside. Xena goes right up to the front of the line and enters, tossing a couple of dinars at the bouncer as she goes by.)

Xena: (To Janeway) An old friend. He always saves a place for me.

Janeway: Lest you kill him?

Xena: (Smiles) You're getting the hang of this quite nicely.

(The tavern is smoky, noisy, and crowded, but Xena leads them right to an empty table. They sit.)

Xena: The ale here is really delicious. The service, however, you have to fight for. (She draws her sword and flips it out to capture a waitress in mid-flight) Two ales, please. (The drinks come quickly.)

Janeway: (Trying hers) Quite good.

(She and Xena sit companionably as the band, five guys dressed as a centaur, a mercenary, a high priest, and two cyclops strut their way through frenetic dance music.)

Xena: By the gods, I hate disco. (Raising her voice) So, Kathryn, what brought you here?

Janeway: Q.

Xena: No. It's been my experience that when gods interfere with the lives of mere mortals, they want something. What does Kew want?

Janeway: (Laughs) He's just being an irritating, powerful, capricious being.

Xena: Who wants something.

Janeway: (Shrugs) He'll tell us that when he's ready. (Drains her glass) Xena: (Drains hers) I think he wanted you to meet us. (Gestures to Janeway's mug.) More?

Janeway: Sure.

(Xena flings her chakram at the waitress. The drinks arrive quickly.)

Janeway: (After settling in with the second serving) Us?

Xena: Me and Gabrielle. Maybe Joxer, but he didn't last long, so I think it's really just me and the bard.

Janeway: I can't imagine why.

Xena: (Raises an eyebrow) Well, I can. What do you think of B'Elanna?

Janeway: (cautiously) She's a good officer.

Xena: Officer? She's fearless, strong, has a really interesting forehead, and she's crazy about you. All you can say is she's a good officer? Kathryn, do you know what you're missing here?

(Meanwhile, the faithful sidekicks have fought through the line and entered the tavern. Gabrielle is patiently explaining to Torres the nuances of "subtext.")

Gabrielle: (Finishing up) So--have there been any signs of that?

Torres: Now that you mention it, quite a few. But not recently.

Gabrielle: (Squeezing her way toward the dance floor) We can do something about that, if you want. (B'Elanna ponders this as a thin, blond Jewish-looking guy takes his place on the stage.)

Torres: It would have to be subtle. Really subtle.

Gabrielle: Hey, I have many skills. Subtle is no problem. But you can't be too subtle, or you don't get anywhere. Trust me on this one. (Looks up at the guy on stage) Hey, he's not a disco singer.

(The new band launches into a medley of slow ballads. Couples pair up on the dance floor. Gabrielle grabs Torres and wades on in.)

Torres: Hey!

Gabrielle: This is a good place to talk.

(Meanwhile, Xena has spotted the pair on the dance floor.)

Xena: So--have there been any signs of that?

Janeway: Not recently.

Xena: Would you like to see them back?

Janeway: (thoughtfully) Yes. Maybe not so subtle this time.

Xena: Yeah. Subtle is for the birds.

( She and Janeway break off their discussion and watch the sidekicks on the dance floor. A couple of bacchae wander by. The two cyclops from the other band are dancing together now. Gabrielle leans close to Torres, whispers in her ear. The Klingon looks shocked, then intrigued. They leave the dance floor and disappear.)

Janeway: What was that all about?

Xena: If I know Gabrielle, we'll find out soon enough. Another round?

(Janeway doesn't answer. The music has stopped for a moment. She leans forward tensely.)

Janeway: That's him!

Xena: Kew? Where?

Janeway: On stage. Next to the band leader, setting up the bongos.

Xena: Doesn't look like much.

Janeway: That's what I thought the first time.

(The band leader makes one last check and steps to the front of the stage. Q and the band start in with a decided disco beat.)

Janeway: I thought you said he didn't do disco.

Xena: (Fingering her chakram) I forgot about this one.

Q: (over the drumbeats) This is dedicated to the greatest warrior in the land, and I'd like to thank the singer Menelaus for the chance to honor her with the new lyrics. Okay!

Menelaus: "Her name is Xena She was a warlord. But that was several years ago When the badness had to show

Now she's a princess She fights for justice She works to do hard what she should Battle evil fight for good

She travels far and wide With Gabby at her side They scare the pants off of awful creatures 'Til they all have died.

Chorus: She is Xena Xena the mighty The hot-blooded not-at-all-flighty She is Xena Xena the mighty Swordplay and passion are always the fashion With our Xena! So battle on....

(Janeway's eyes widen with each line.)

Janeway: That's really awful!

(Xena drinks her ale and steams.)

Xena: Those aren't the original words.

Janeway: I hope not. (After the second chorus, the warrior stands and draws her sword.)

Xena: I'm going to kill him.

Janeway: That's what he wants you to do.

Xena: Fine. He'll die happy. Ayiyiyiyiyiyiyi!!

(She leaps over the table and flies toward the stage. As Xena lands, her sword comes down and splits the bongos in two. The band flees. The crowd gets restless. She raises the sword and smiles at Q.)

Xena: You're toast, buddy.

Q: Now, now, what's a little parody between friends?

(He gestures, and Xena goes flying up to the ceiling, grabbing the chandelier before she falls back down. Q disregards her after that. He looks out past the dance floor.)

Q: Kathryn! Are you having fun?

(Janeway makes her way quietly toward the stage.)

Janeway: It was fine until you showed up.

Q: Is that any way to greet an old comrade?

Janeway: In your case, yes.

(Xena manages to disentangle herself from the chandelier and drops back toward Q. He flicks a finger and she stops in midair, floating helplessly.

Xena: Oh, so you are a powerful capricious being. Well, you're going to have to let me down eventually.

Q: Not necessarily. (Another flick, and Xena is hurtled again into the chandelier.)

Janeway: Okay, we're here. What's your point, Q?

Q: Can't a guy just enjoy a quiet evening with friends?

(Janeway looks around. A full-scale brawl has broken out on the dance floor. Tables and chairs are being smashed. There's some sort of commotion by the door. The band's lyre bassist is thumping away at a lullaby to calm things down. It's not working.)

Q: A little song, a little wine. Sets a mood, don't you think?

Janeway: We could have done the same thing on the holodeck.

Q: Well, you have been doing all this whining about wanting to get home again. And here you are!

Janeway: About three thousand years too early.

Q: Picky, picky, pic--

(The chandelier comes crashing down, inundating Q in bright reflective glass. Xena follows nimbly, landing feet first astride the fallen Q, a smug smile on her face, sword in hand.)

Xena: Okay, bongo boy. Let's play fair now. Let the people go back home, and maybe I'll leave you in one piece. (Q flicks a finger. Nothing happens. Janeway's eyes widen. So do Q's. Xena just keeps smiling.)

Xena: (Ducking a flying chair) Did I ever tell you I have many skills?

Q: (petulant) Well, Ms. Amazon, they are home, so there!

(Xena turns a puzzled eye to Janeway, who shrugs)

Janeway: It's a long story. Technically, he's right. But, practically, he's lying.

Xena: Good. I can slice him to pieces, then. I don't like liars.

Janeway: (As a cyclops sails by) Can I help?

Xena: Here. (hands her the sword. Pulls out her chakram.) Ready?

Q: (Still trying to figure out where the hell his powers have gone) Wait! I'm sure we can work something out!

Xena: (Raising the chakram) Tell us why they're here!

(The brawl rages on. The commotion by the door is getting closer to the dance floor. No one will notice a newly skewered member of the Continuum. Q gives in.)

Q: Have you ever heard of subtext?

Xena: I knew it! Tryng to set up a new warrior and her sidekick, eh?

Q: Sort of. It's different in their world, but the idea's the same. They were just taking soooo long to get around to it!

Xena: (turns to Janeway) Well, Kathryn, I'd say you're destined. Better get used to the idea.

Janeway: Oh, I don't think that'll be a problem....

Q: See, I am good for something after all. Now,was that so bad? Can I get up n---

(His words are cut off by the quarterstaff clobbering him in the head. Gabrielle emerges from what's left of the band, a triumphant smile on her face.)

Gabrielle: Hah! Got, you, finally----hey! That's not Joxer! (Looks at the woman standing quietly behind her.) You told me that was Joxer!

Torres: (with a semi-innocent smile) Well, it looked like him from over there....

Gabrielle: But he's here somewhere, I know it. I saw him.

Torres: I wouldn't feel too bad. This guy could use a good knock on the head.

Janeway: B'Elanna. How are you doing? You just brained our last chance at getting back for awhile.

Torres: You think so? I'm devastated--Captain.

Janeway: Did I miss something here?

Torres: (With a not-at-all innocent smile) Not any more...

(A loud clanking of metal sounds from behind Janeway and Xena. Two men burst their way through the last of the brawlers and jump onto the stage. One of them slips, and has to climb up again.)

Paris: (Straightening out the ridiculous looking hat) Damn! Hell of away to treat a fellow officer! Do you know what I've been doing for the last six hours?

Joxer: (As he skins his knees getting on the stage) He had no idea what a hydra was. We'd've been here sooner, but he kept trying to cut heads off.

Paris: Hey, I didn't feel like being eaten, okay?

Joxer : That's not how you kill a hydra.

Paris: Well, it was better than running away!

Joxer: An important part of being a warrior is knowing when to fight, and when to run. Paris: Yeah, and when to leave the dirty work to someone else!

Xena: That's enough! (grabs a shoulder each and clanks their head together. The pair roll their eyes, stunned, but keep thir feet.) Gabrielle!

(The bard stands behind Joxer, quarterstaff raised high. She lowers it a bit and smiles)

Gabrielle: (Innocently) Yes?

Xena: Let's get out of here.

Gabrielle: Can't I just do this one little thing first?

Xena: Later. We're leaving.

Janeway: What kind of stories was he telling, anyway?

Xena: (shines a look of pure love at Gabrielle) I don't really know why she's so upset. The stories are true.

Gabrielle: (blushing) Well, he didn't have to tell the world.

Xena: (wrapping an arm around Gabrielle's shoulder) No, you're probably writing it all down in your scrolls so you can do it later.

(Janeway looks over and catches Torres looking wistfully at the warrior and the bard)

Paris: Excuse me, but are we ever going to get back or what?

Xena: Oh, that's right. You can go now. (Nudges Q with her boot) He won't bother you for awhile.

Torres: How can you be sure?

Xena: Let's just say I have friends in high places. Kathryn, it was a pleasure.

Janeway: (Smiles and takes the proffered hand) A pity we won't meet again.

Xena: Never say never.

Gabrielle: (To Torres) Have fun. And don't forget what I told you.

Torres: Don't worry.

Paris: I'm never going to figure any of this out, am I?

Janeway/Torres: No.

Xena: Computer! End program!

(Abruptly the tavern fades to black, and Paris, Janeway and Torres are standing in an empty holodeck. Paris looks up at the ceiling, stunned. Torres searches for any sign of where they just were. Janeway is startled, but then smiles, thoughtful)

Janeway: (To herself) Woman of many skills, indeed.

Paris: Captain? Did that really happen?

(Janeway doesn't answer, just steps over to Paris and thumps the breastplate he's still wearing.)

Paris: Gosh. (Glares at Torres) And I didn't get in on any of it.

Torres: (Walking toward a corner.) Don't look at me.

Janeway: Tom--go change. I think you're on duty soon.

Paris: No, I've got at least--

Janeway: (With a stern look) Lieutenant! Dismissed.

(Paris frowns, but turns and clanks out. Janeway watches the door close, then turns around, looking for Torres. The engineer has picked something up and is walking slowly toward the captain. She comes to within about three feet and stops. They look at each other for a long time.)

Janeway: So what did Gabrielle tell you?

Torres: Not to be too subtle. For starters. (Holds out her hand. She is holding a long-stemmed red rose.) I think they left this for you.

(She gives it to Kathryn, who takes it, smiles, then looks up and brushes the petals against B'Elanna's cheek.)

Janeway: (As Torres blushes furiously) I think bards are well worth listening to, don't you?

(The holodeck lights fade to black....)


Author's Note: For those of you too young to remember, or those whose mothers wouldn't let them listen to such things, the Ode to Xena is sung to the tune of Copacabana, by Barry Manilow. (Again, no copyright infringement is intended) For those of you who did figure it out, congratulations. But it's not like there weren't enough clues...

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