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Editor's Choice Award

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Meets Xena

By Steven Dale

Buffy was exhausted having just offed a small brood of vampires. Her friends were blocks down the street and the last three of the brood were closing in. She ducked down an alley ignoring the obvious smell of restuarant garbage. Ahead was a ladder leading to the roof of one of the buildings. Buffy made a dash for it just as the vampires appeared in the alley. She threw herself into a flip intending to land at the base of the ladder. The flip was perfect, she opened for a landing--her boots hit squarely on a banana peel.

"OOOHHHH!" groaned Buffy as she came to. "My achin' noggin." She looked around her, the surroundings were completely foreign. The smell of frying fish and burning wood caught her attention. Rubbing her head, Buffy's eyes cleared. Inches away was the end of a staff sporting a rather cool birdhead carving, she looked up and froze.

"Xena!" yelled Gabrielle as she held the intruder at bay with her staff, "Xena!"

"I'm busy Gabby," came a reply. "What is it?" Xena stepped out from behind a bush adjusting her armor. "Sorry, I used the last of your blank scrolls. There were no good leaves."

"I caught an intruder! She just suddenly appeared! I got the drop on her before she could get up."

Xena stood eyeing Buffy casually, "Huh! Another blonde! She looks a bit dazed. Ask her who she is."

Gabrielle nodded. "Who are you?" she demanded.

Buffy gave Xena the once over. Obviously this chick was was into something heavy, the other one, possibly a servant. "I'm Buffy, a vampire slayer. Where am I? Nice leather, Gucci's?"

"What are you doing here?" asked Xena.

"I don't know, the last thing I remember was escaping some vampires down an alley."

"What's a vampire?" interrupted Gabrielle.

"Oh, they're blood sucking semi-human monsters," Buffy replied flatly.

"You mean royalty!"

"No, I mean blood sucking monsters, may I get up now?" Buffy slowly stood up.

"Drop your staff Gabby," ordered Xena. Gabrielle took a step back still on guard. "I'm Xena, a bad girl going good, and this is Gabrielle, a good girl going bad. We go around kicking the poop out of bad guys."

"Where am I?" repeated Buffy.

"This is ancient Greece," Gabbrielle offered.

"Ancient Grease?" wondered Buffy. Being lousy at history, the only

"Grease" she knew about was how good John Travolta looked in black leather.

"You mean I'm in the 50's?"

Xena shot a glance at Gabby, who just shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.

"Never mind that," Xena said cooly. "You can join us. Do you have a weapon?"

"Sure!" Buffy slid a 12" wooden stake from inside her jacket. "Pure oak!"

"That's IT?" scoffed Gabrielle, "A pointy stick? A piece of wood?"

Xena rolled her eyes smirking.

"Kills vampires," Buffy shot back.

"Maybe so, but I'm the sidekick here," Gabby taunted.

"Gabby . . .," cautioned Xena walking away.

"Well, okay. But she's going to have to change her hair color! I'm the

blondie in this group."

"Dye MY hair?!" challenged Buffy. "In your face!"

Gabby shook her staff, "Anytime!"

Buffy took a step sideways crouching, "Bimbo . . ."

Gabbrielle jabbed her staff at Buffy to test her reflexes, Buffy deftly parried the staff aside with her stake, they circled. "I can read and write

classical Greek!" bragged Gabby. "I'm a full fledged Amazon Princess, a Bacchae, no longer a virgin, I'm pretty and have great cleavage! So what do

YOU have that I don't?!"

"Yeah?! Well I..." Buffy hesitated. What DID she have that Gabrielle didn't? She was a lousy student having cut classes so much. All she DID have was a great bod and could NEARLY leap tall buildings in a single bound... "I quashed a giant praying mantis, a minotar, dozens of vampires and other nasties, got felt up by a re-animated wooden dummy and . . . and have the hots for a vampire!" Buffy did a flip, landing behind Gabby, grabbing her in a half-nelson, "I'm damn quick and have great cleavage!"

"Well, now that makes all just about even then doesn't it?" Xena said cooly as she gently inserted her sword between Gabby and Buffy. "I'm tired of blondes myself so why don't the two of you just go shave your heads. We don't have time for this, I have a bad guy to kick the crap out of so put your weapons away and pack up."

Gabrielle gave Xena a hurt look as she packed up their gear. Buffy hung loose checking her fingernails. Yup, all intact.

Xena mounted Argo and led the party off. "Just in case you're wondering," she mused, "this creep we have to stop thinks he's a writer. He's writing really bad stuff called DARK SKIES." Buffy and Gabrielle looked at each other making faces.

"If it's a writer, maybe I can take him on," offered Gabby.

"I don't think so, he's protected by something called a network, apparently very hard to penetrate. I think as an independent I can sneak in and take care of him."

"What IS this DARK SKIES?" asked Buffy.

Xena sighed, she hated anwering so many questions. "It seems every time someone reads this DARK SKIES, they die coughing up some ugly. Slimmy, squiddy thing."

"Sounds like it's right up my alley," quipped Buffy.

"Where the hell have you been?" scolded Giles as Joxer stumbled into the Sunnydale High School library."

Joxer shook himself straight, "Who ME?"

"Yes YOU! Since Buffy disappeared and you showed up, it's obvious what's happened." Giles frowned over the top of his glasses.

"What HAS happened?" sighed Willow. She though Joxer was kinda cute.

Zander just eyed him.

"Every time someone is displaced in the time-space continuum there's an exchange. THEY got Buffy, wherever she is, and WE got...this. What was the last thing you remember?"

Joxer frowned, then a big grin spread across his face, "I was having it with a Xena-look-alike scullery cook named . . . uh . . . "

"Uh huh," interupted Giles. "Well, what IS your name anyway?"

"Joxer! The Mighty!"

"Whom ever you are, you have a date with the Mouth of Hell in about a half-hour so do whatever it is you do to get ready for battle. I have a date with Catherine!" Giles grinned.

"So how do you plan to get into this Network?" asked Gabrielle.

"Don't worry, I'll think of something." Xena replied dryly.

"Where are we going?"

"I don't know but I'll know when we get there."

Buffy shook her head keeping her mouth shut. She didn't want to make waves with the heavy leather, though she was very curious about how that frisbee of Xena's worked. She also wondered how these women could wear the same outfit day after day with no change.

After seemingly mindless wandering all day long, Xena announced that they would camp here for the night. "Gabby, get some firewood. Buffy fill these flasks with water. I'll see what I can find."

"What's there to eat around here anyway?" asked Buffy.

"OH! There's some really good stuff around here. Wild berries, fish, grub worms, roots," Gabrielle replied cheerfully.

Buffy grimaced and pulled out her cell phone dialing quickly. "I'm sorry but the number you have dialed--" Buffy stamped her foot and swore under her breath. "Fish it is!" she announced to Gabby.

Two hours later, the three were sitting around the fire picking their teeth. Suddenly, a bright white flash of light startled the campers. Xena jumped to her feet grabbing her Chakram as Buffy and Gabby rolled to the sides clutching their weapons.

A stranger stepped into the firelight, "Well now isn't this cozy, three humans bonding, or whatever it is they do together. I've always wanted to visit this time period."

"Who in all of Hades are you??!!!" the girls demanded in unison.

"Me? I'm Q, and let me tell you, you three are going to encounter a force far greater than anything I've seen, including the Borg."

Buffy stepped forward lowering her weapon, "Okay Q, just what are we going to encounter?

"Sorry, won't tell you, but I WILL transport you to the Network." Q snapped his fingers.

Callisto stepped off the transporter pad in the main bridge of the Enterprise wide-eyed with curiosity. Captain Jean Luc Picard jumped to his feet as Worf rushed to confront the stranger.

Agents Scully and Mulder shook their heads in disbelief when they suddenly found themselves wandering the halls of the Babylon Five space station. Mulder shouted out with glee, "I KNEW it! Extraterrestrials DO exist!"

Scully slapped him across the back of the head, "Idiot! Obviously this is some kind of mind altering drug we're experiencing. What did we have for lunch?"

"A Big Mac?" Mulder rubbed the back of his head.

"Stop it!" screamed Buffy at the top of her lungs. "This is MY cross-over adventure so butt out!"

"Okay! Okay!" Q backed off. "But I'm warning you . . . "

"Jeese!" What an excitable gal." Gabrielle shook her head. "Now what?"

"Looks like that Q character brought us here," Xena pointed to a huge flat clearing. A tall rectangular fortress rose from what appeared to be black tar. Its sides were smooth and glassy, the sun reflecting off the glass made the party shield their eyes. It was an awesome sight.

"The Network," whispered Buffy.

"What IS that thing?" Gabrielle whispered back.

"THAT is a corporate building,'" replied Buffy. "Everything and everyone inside is devoted to one goal."

"Every fortress has a weak link," Xena offered. "I'll find a way in."

"Any ideas on how we might get in?" Xena asked. Maybe the others DID have some ideas. "Buffy, what about you? You seem to know what this place is all about."

"What about ME?" whined Gabrielle.

"Quiet Gabby, not now."

Buffy studied the scene carefully, "Maybe we can sneak in as a Nelson family, at least we would get into the ground floor." Gabby stood behind them mimicking their conversation wondering where she had stashed her supply of Henbane. She wanted Buffy out of the way.

"Gabby, we're going in. Stick close. Buffy's leading the way," announced Xena.

"Is this Nelson Family some kind of royalty?" asked Gabby.

"It's a powerful family to be sure," replied Buffy. "The Network has been terrified more than once by this family."

Cautiously the three approached the building, dozens of people were walking toward the line of doors at its base. They ignored the "raiding" party. Buffy held a door open for Xena and Gabrielle waving them inside.

"Well, that was easy enough," remarked Xena. "What's next?"

"We locate the floor where our bad guy is," Buffy pointed to a directory. "We'll look there."

"Where do those doors lead to?" Gabby pointed to the elevators.

"Those are elevators," Buffy rolled her eyes at Gabby's confused look, "Uppy and downy things. Here, we want the 27th floor."

"No one's paying any attention to us," observed Xena. "It's too easy." Buffy had noticed multiple security cameras. She figured it wouldn't be long before they were identified as intruders. "Be prepared to meet the guards," she warned. The elevator came to a smooth halt and the doors opened onto the lobby of the 27th floor. Five security guards greeted them poised ready to draw their weapons.

Zander and Willow led Joxer through the storm drains under Sunnydale.

"Hey quit pushing!" Joxer complained.

"You should feel honored to meet the Mouth of Hell," cooed Willow, "If you survive, I'll give you my phone number."

"Gee, that's more that I got," Zander muttered. But then he still had the hots for Buffy.

"What IS this Mouth of Hell anyway?" Joxer demanded.

"It's the place where all things evil concentrate in one place," Zander informed him.

Joxer grinned, "Sounds like I've been THERE before. After all I AM Joxer the Mighty!" He hadn't noticed that Zander and Willow stopped and that he was now alone headed down a red glowing tunnel.

"Hold it right there." warned one of the guards. "Who are you?"

Buffy stepped forward, "We're a Nelson family, we're here to turn in our TV ratings." The guards relaxed briefly and stepped aside. Buffy led the other two off the elevator and down the hall.

"Wait!" yelled another guard. "You're not a Nelson family! You're some of those independents! Stop them!" They charged.

Buffy screamed, "Run!"

"I'll hold them off!" shouted Xena spinning to meet the guards.

"Follow me Gabrielle!" ordered Buffy as she rushed down the hall to an intersection of another hall. "This way!" The two ducked down the second hall. Buffy quickly searched for a room number. "Here!" She stopped at a pair of huge, dark doors.

"How do we . . . "

Buffy backed away, poised, and kicked. The double doors flew open.

" . . . get in?" Gabrielle's voice went flat.

Buffy waved Gabrielle in, "After you."

"No, after you," Gabby declined

"After you," Buffy insisted.

"Nooo, after you," Gabby bared her teeth snarling.

"If you want to keep those teeth, get inside!" Buffy pushed Gabrielle inside.

"Okay! Okay! Get your hands off me you twit!" Gabby spun swinging her staff low to hit Buffy across the back of the legs. Buffy jumped and flipped. The two faced off completely oblivious to the fact they were being watched by someone sitting at a large desk.

Xena sauntered in with a cool smile, "Well, that takes care of the guards." She looked at Buffy and Gabrielle. "Looks like you managed to get in without killing each other. Now who's THIS?" she nodded at the man sitting behind the desk.

"This is an outrage!" the man stood up. "You can't barge in here like this!"

"Looks like we just did," Xena smirked. "Are you the guy that's been writing THIS trash?" She tossed a fistful of papers at him.

He picked up a couple of sheets and glanced at them, "This is my DARK SKIES."

"I'm here to tell you this is really bad stuff and it's killing readers all over the place. I'm going to have to kick the poop out of you."

"And just who do you think you are?"

"I'm Xena, a bad girl going good, and . . ." Xena grabbed Gabrielle and Buffy by the shoulders shaking them to attention. Gabrielle made an obscene gesture at Buffy who returned an equivalent gesture. " . . . this is Buffy and Gabrielle, good girls going bad. We go around kicking the crap out of bad guys."

"You can't touch me! I work for the Network!" the poor man was shaking with fear.

Gabrielle elbowed Buffy in the ribs hissing at her. Buffy backhanded Gabby across the face.

"Yes I can." growled Xena. "I have the secret weapon that will dry you up into a pile of dust."

"Oh?" the man backed away.

Xena leaned over the desk and grabbed him by the shirt, "You are CANCELED!" she sneered pushing him away.

"Nooooo!" he screamed throwing his hands over his face. He slumped to the floor turning to dust. Xena turned to Buffy and Gabrielle; they were choking each other and hissing insults. Xena yanked the pair apart and glared at them, "I've had just about enough of you two!" she bellowed knocking their heads together, unconscious, they fell to the floor.

Joxer turned around, "Guys? Guys?" He was alone. Faint strains of sound came through the tunnel, Joxer started toward it. He didn't know how far he followed the sound, now he saw shadows flickering on the sides of the tunnel. Sweating, he stepped slowly as the tunnel made a slight turn to his right. The sound was louder now, hundreds of voices and throbbing music washed over him. Joxer peeked around the corner, not ten feet away was the Mouth of Hell. Through the opening, he could see dozens of people writhing and gyrating in apparent torture. Bracing himself, Joxer stepped through

the door.A young woman dressed all in black greeted him, "Welcome to the Mouth of Hell..."

Joxer fainted.

"...night club for youth."

" what a headache!" Buffy moaned sitting up. The smell of garbage woke her up. She looked up. Giles, Willow, and Zander leaned over her.

"Are you all right? What are you doing behind those trash cans?" Giles asked helping her up.

"Yeah! We were worried! We've been looking for you!." added Willow.

Buffy looked around, she was in the alley she had ducked into to escape the vampires. "You mean...I'm not in.... Oy! I had the weirdest DREAM. Something about meeting a Xena' and a Gabrielle,' boy was SHE a bitch!"

"Who you calling a bitch?" groaned Gabrielle as she climbed out of a dumpster.

"Joxer! Wake up buddy!" Xena patted Joxer's face. "Are you okay?"

Joxer shook himself awake. "Yeah! I think. Where am I?"

"You're at my campsite. I'm not sure how you got here but I have an idea."

"The last thing I remember, I was having it with my Xena look alike scullery cook, then I blacked out and found myself in some place called Sunnydale' walking into the Mouth of Hell..."

"Really?" Xena raised an eyebrow. "Interesting."

Joxer looked around as he got up, "Where's Gabrielle?"



"Yep. No more aggravating blond."

"No more..." Joxer pondered the statement. "You mean it's..."

"Just you and me."