Welcome to the home of - 7. Messages from the Past
Teresa M Shafer - For books that kindle thought and ignite the imagination!
    
Messages from the Past
 
“Let me guess your Clarisse, Amy’s older sister?” Xena said to the Senior Pilot as they were walking back to the bay. “That would be me. Lieutenant Colonel Clarisse Radcliff Blazer at your service; Xena… Queen Gabrielle…it’s a pleasure and an honor.” She held out her hand to one and then the other as she said their names. After shaking both of their hands briefly she escorted them to the shuttle and followed them inside. Gabrielle corrected her and told her to call her only Gabrielle. The Pilots were tossing armor in the back compartment of the shuttle and running to their Fighters. “Why don’t I hear any ships powering up?” Lt. Col. Blazer said loudly. Then she turned back to her guests and waved her hand to two of the four seats that were left in the shuttle. “Best buckle up ladies this may be a rough run.” The sound of Fighters powering up nearly drown out her words. She was watching from the doorway with her Rifle pointed at the entrance to the bay. Three other Amazons were just outside the doors. They were watching other entrances. Xena was a bit confused. “Colonel Blazer, shouldn’t you be in a Fighter?”
 
“Nope, I traded for a seat in here.” She said without looking back. “Lil, close up the bay and power up… what’s the hold up?” She said apparently to the Shuttle Pilot.
 
“You must be an excellent Pilot and fighter or you wouldn’t be a Colonel. I would kind of feel better if you were in a Fighter.” Xena said with as much diplomacy as she could muster.
 
“Look Xena, I value your input but the fact is that all of my Pilots are excellent fighters. I have complete confidence in every single one of them to do their jobs and more every single second of their lives. And I’m a Colonel because I know how to take control and how to keep it. Right now I’m in control because I know more than you do. So it would help me out a great deal if you would just sit down and buckle up.” She had not turned once again. Her attention was on their backside. But she realized that she really needed to say something else. “I know that your last experience in a shuttle was not the best. But a lot of things have changed since then. These shuttles are no longer defenseless and they can move a lot faster.” She turned her head after tapping one of the other Amazons on the arm and looked at Xena. The other Amazon diverted her attention to looking at both points of entry while her Commanding Officer was distracted. “It’s much safer for you to just strap yourself in and let us handle this.”
 
It was tough but Xena understood that Colonel Blazer was probably correct and if Xena kept distracting her she could place them all in danger. She sat down and pulled on her belt buckle. When she looked up again the Colonel had already returned her attention to the doorway and her Amazons were retreating behind her. Through the windows Xena and Gabrielle could see the Fighters start to launch. Now they would find out if Geraldine had the balls or the stupidity to fire upon the Martian Fighters.
 
The Fighters launched and formed a ring around a space where the shuttle would fly. Suddenly the ancient heroes were thrown against their seats with incredible force. Gabrielle forced her head around to see where the Colonel and the Amazons had gone but they had all disappeared. So she looked back out of the windows.
 
The station did not fire upon them and after the shuttle had passed them the Fighters took up positions all around it. Once they were settled into their protective net the internal dampeners and artificial gravity were engaged. That’s when the Colonel and her Amazons reappeared. Two had gone past Xena and Gabrielle to slide into two small compartments on either side of the rear hatch and the other two had climbed into similar compartments on the front of the craft.
 
One of the Amazons from the back saw the confusion on Gabrielle’s face and pointed her thumb over her shoulder and said, “Gun turrets.” and smiled. She and the other two Amazons started picking up the armor and storing it into a closet that seemed to have been designed just for that reason.
 
Colonel Blazer came up to Xena and Gabrielle. Xena released herself from the seatbelt and stood up. “Hey, I’m sorry about that…”
 
Colonel Blazer held up her hand to forestall the apology. “That’s not necessary Xena. You’re used to being in command. So am I and I probably would have done the same thing in your place. You didn’t hinder us in any way and frankly we’re damn glad to have you here.” She was happy but she was also a bit apprehensive now that she had earned the time to make note of the stray emotion. “We’re making full speed back to New Thebes; unless there is someplace else you need us to take you.”
 
“No!” They both said in concert with a considerable amount of force.
 
“Alright then.” The Colonel said with a bit of confusion. “Care to explain why you are both so adamant or what’s going on?”
 
They both had turned to look at the other and in a moment of silent communication they both realized why they had been feeling as they had and why they desperately needed to set foot in New Thebes. It was not what they wanted to know… but they quickly resigned themselves to their fate.
 
“I thought that I had killed the fates.” Gabrielle said under her breath as she rubbed her temple trying to massage away the headache that was threatening.
 
Colonel Blazer had heard the comment but before she could address it Xena addressed her. “We know that we have some things that we must attend to before we can meet Alti. One of them seems to be the latent emotions that were left in these bodies by their previous owners.” Xena wasn’t quite sure what she was saying or rather what she was supposed to be saying. What she did know was that the second that they had left the station her body felt relief, now all she wanted to do was set foot on Mars. It was irrational. Her home was not Mars… but there it was. Apparently Gabrielle felt the same way. These bodies were determined to take them on their own private tour and until they relinquished neither she nor Gabrielle would be free to do anything else.
 
“Are you telling me that Amy left something behind?” The Colonel was asking.
 
“No, not in the sense that you probably mean but there is definitely something going on with our bodies.” The confusion on the Colonel’s face made Xena want to explain, so she did explain as much as she could and when she was done she said, “You see it’s all kind of new for us.”
 
“Every time is new to us… we grow and change and so do the circumstances. Last time sharing bodies with Cara and Margo made us look really hard at some of the choices that we made in the past and at some of our own personal prejudices and fears. I’m not sure where this particular run through life will take us. It sure did start out strange.” Gabrielle injected her two cents into the conversation.
 
“Hmm, well I hate to say this but I’m glad that I’m not in your shoes. I wouldn’t want to do what you do, so I for one am damn glad that I’m not you. At any rate, when I heard that you were here I took the liberty of having some files transferred to the shuttle. That’s why I’m here and not on one of the Fighters. I wasn’t sure if enough of Amy or Hope would have survived for you to be able to unlock them.” Colonel Blazer noticed the look of bewilderment and cloaked surprise that Gabrielle was giving to her. “What?”
 
“You never once doubted that we would escape the mining facility did you?” Gabrielle was a bit astonished and knew that she shouldn’t be.
 
“Not for a second  Gabrielle. I told you that I have complete confidence in my Squad. They’re the best in the business… just ask ‘em.” She was smiling proudly and so were the women that were now all standing behind them. They had put the armor away and now had nothing better to do and actually meeting and perhaps even serving Queen Gabrielle and Xena was every Amazon’s dream. Colonel Blazer decided she should introduce her team. The three women stepped up to stand just behind their Colonel and as she introduced them they stepped forward and shook Xena’s hand and then knelt before the Queen. No matter what Gabrielle said each and every one did the same thing, including the Shuttle Pilot when she was introduced to her.
 
The Shuttle Pilot was Captain Lilly Holston the other three were Captain Sonya Gellman, Corporal Rosa Salvador and Corporal Betty Franks. They were all proud members of the 121First Amazon Marine Fighter Squadron or the 121 FAMS commonly known as the Zany Zons.
 
“Presently we’re down two Pilots but we have no shortage of would be transfers.” If one could be said to say something with both pride and melancholy in their voice it would have been Colonel Blazer just then.
 
“Amy and Hope were part of your Squadron weren’t they?” Xena asked already knowing the answer. She had never been in the Colonel’s position because when she had had an army she had never cared for any of them. But she had seen the look on the faces of other Commanders when they had lost a friend and a coworker.
 
“Yes they were… and we were all proud to fly with them.” The Colonel put on a stiff upper lip.
 
“Where were you when they died?” Xena tried not to sound accusatory but the Colonel’s eyes flashed anyway as well as Captain Gellman’s.
 
“This mission was theirs and theirs alone. We were forbidden to accompany them.” She said defensively almost daring Xena to contradict her.
 
“Xena meant no offense Colonel. But I have a question that’s going to sound strange.” Gabrielle came to the rescue before there was a fight.
 
The Colonel looked at Xena and visibly relaxed when she saw the innocence in her eyes. “I’m sorry Xena; we wanted to go with them. We all knew that they were in danger but… What is your question Gabrielle? Oh and please call me Clair… both of you.”
 
“Well you already answered part of it. Hope and Amy knew that they were in danger. So could you tell me why they would enter the mines wearing only their flight suits?” This piece of the puzzle had been bothering her since she had realized what the women had done.
 
Her question brought on a bevy of more questions from the Amazons and Clair. But only Clair addressed Gabrielle. “That would have been foolish of them. They brought full infantry gear with them on their shuttle. They should have stepped off of the shuttle wearing full armor.” Her confused look begged further explanation.
 
Gabrielle obliged her curiosity. “Hope and Amy died of poisoning from an orange colored gas. There were no other injuries to their bodies. Had they been wearing med cloth under gear they would most likely be alive today… or at least they would not have died of poisoning.”
 
This pronouncement angered the team and Clair had to order them to silence before she was able to speak again. “Then I have no answer for you. They had the correct gear. They were aware of the problem and Hope in particular had reason to fear for her life. This will bear more investigation if there is any evidence left when were take the mines.”
 
“So they were investigating the problems with the mining installation?” Xena asked for confirmation.
 
“Yes, we’ve known for some time that there are problems there. I never thought that my little sister would get caught up in that she devil’s web.” She was referring to Mrs. Geraldine Brubaker.
 
“She didn’t get caught in Brubaker’s web Clair; she got caught in Alti’s web.” Xena said with a scowl. Gabrielle looked up at her and they both sighed.
 
“Enough of this, I downloaded the videos for a reason. You three find someplace else to be. This is family business.” She ordered her team out of the main area of the shuttle.
 
“Wait… Captain Gellman…you and Hope were close weren’t you?” Gabrielle suddenly started feeling anxiety when the Captain started to leave the room. When the Captain turned back the feeling lessened.
 
“Yes ma’am she was my best friend.” The Captain confirmed.
 
“You were like sisters.” It was not a question but the Captain confirmed her statement as if it were. “Please stay, if that’s alright Clair?” Clair nodded. She was intrigued by this byplay. Xena said nothing. Her host’s sister had not moved so she had no idea what Gabrielle had felt.
 
“These are some videos that were left specifically for you by Cara Rayne and Margery Blake. No-one has ever seen them but they left instructions that they were to be seen only by you two and family when you arrived.” Clair said after the four of them were comfortably seated in the four chairs and the vid screen had been turned on. She told the computer to start the video and gave it a complicated series of numbers and letters. Gabrielle and Xena realized that they had a similar set of numbers and letters in their respective memories but it was of no consequence so they said nothing.
 
The vid started and the face of Cara Rayne filled the screen. The voice of Margo could be clearly heard next to the camera. “Wait; don’t move Cara let me adjust this thing.” Cara was fidgeting and squirming.
 
“Are you sure you knowhow to run that antique?” Cara asked her friend.
 
“Hush woman, of course I know how to run it.” The face of Cara receded. Now you could see that they were setting up in front of the weapons case in the Society Vault. “Okay, you’re on.”
 
“Okay, uhhh hi Gabrielle and Xena, I really wish that I was saying this to you in person but…well if you’re watching this then I’m gone and well… you’re back.” Cara was unusually tongue tied.
 
“They know that Cara!” Margo said in exasperation.
 
“Will you shut up woman? You’ll get your time. Let me have mine!” Cara said with as much exasperation. But Margo did fall silent.
 
“Okay, well you’ve been gone about six months now and we wanted to give you a video record of what we’ve been doing in the wake of your time here. Our descendants will certainly fill you in on a lot of things but some of the other stuff that you would be interested in they probably will forget to tell you. For instance the morning that you left the ghosts all disappeared. We don’t know if they’re still here or not but the whole thing has become quite the story. By the time you comeback… even if it’s only five years… the whole incident with the ghosts will have become legend. Some people are already saying that Queen Gabrielle called the dead Queens of the Amazons to aid her and Xena in defeating Alti. That’s only one take on the whole thing.” She smiled and would have continued had Gabrielle not interrupted.
 
“Okay, wait… stop the vid. We need to get something cleared up here.” She was quite animated. Even Xena was surprised at her insistence.
 
“What Gabrielle don’t you like being the caller of dead Amazon Queens?” Xena said sarcastically and Gabrielle scowled at her.
 
“I did not call the Queens and there were a lot of Warriors there too. They all had stayed with the tribe to watch over it. I was just able to see them when the others were not. It was simple they wanted to help and I’m not sure why but I was able to make them visible to everyone else.” She didn’t want to believe the explanation that Ephiny had given to her. 
 
“C’mon Gabrielle we both know that it was your love for Aella and your love for the Nation that caused them to materialize.” Xena was looking over at her beloved soul mate with such powerful love and respect that Gabrielle found it hard to argue. Besides Gabrielle knew that when she hugged the ghost of Ephiny that Ephiny was suddenly seen by everyone and then when she hugged Aella and Xena together all of the other ghosts suddenly became visible. It was hard to ignore the facts so for once she didn’t try.
 
“I still didn’t call them…and they weren’t all Queens.” She said lamely. “And just for the record it was my love for you as well.” She had said all she wanted to say and she really didn’t want to look at anyone right now. She was too embarrassed. So she ordered the computer to continue the video. Xena laughed lightly at her antics and halted the video.
 
“Kinda tough being a hero sometimes isn’t it?” Xena whispered in her ear. Gabrielle elbowed her and she laughed lightly again. “The truth is that most of those Amazons finally were able to cross over. They got to help their sisters one last time and it satisfied whatever itch they had to scratch. That’s what Ephiny told us anyway and I have no reason to doubt her word.” She clarified for the other two women while Gabrielle’s face lost some of its redness.
 
Clair and Captain Gellman both nodded in understanding and turned back to the wall where the video was still on pause. Clair started the video again.
 
“I got to tell you though…” Cara continued. “… after Cyane was done with mom she was a changed person. I think that the whole idea of being schooled by Cyane… the original Cyane… kind of sobered mom and made her think about how she fit into the whole scheme of things. Mom got to spend the better part of two days with some of the greatest Amazons that ever lived and it made her think about how she wanted to be remembered. Unfortunately for her our sisters were not all that forgiving. They now have you as an example of how to be a proper Amazon Queen and mom had severely disappointed them and so did my sister. So they insisted that I keep the crown that you wore. I’m flattered but honestly it’s a lot of work. Not that I’m complaining mind you… it’s just that I’m the Supreme Commander of all of Mars as well as the General of the Martian Marines and I’m the Amazon Queen… and those are just the titles.” She sighed and looked at the floor as if it would hold some answers for her.
 
“Having all the power certainly has made it easy to make changes though. I did some things that first day while you were still with us and all of them are working out well. The Amazons love the Marines, the Military School is a huge success, the entire old regime went away without any fuss or muss… well except one and I’ll let Margo tell you about him. Earth and Luna are keeping their distance, oh and Ares when he found out what those pilots did… you know… how they just sat and watched. He was disgusted… not because they watched but because he figured that they must be cowards. He killed them all himself and dared Luna’s Governor to protest…which he didn’t.  Anyway, Ares has dropped the false name and is running Earth Force under his own banner… and if you don’t think that’s not causing a stink… whew! He still hates the followers of Eli or Christians as their better known today.” Her voice had begun to sound scratchy and she excused herself to take a drink from her ever present Diet Pepsi.
 
“Anyway, I’ve talked long enough I’m gonna let Margo say a few things. I just wanted to talk to you again Gabrielle… but that’s never really gonna happen.” Cara’s expression was one of regret and sorrow. “I miss you. You know how I thought that you were one way but it turned out that you were another way altogether but then you were both? That sentence made no sense… but the bottom line is this… I learned a lot from you in just a few days and now I’m trying to make myself into the type of woman that you are. I was worthy enough, or screwed up enough to have your soul with me for a few days. Now I want to be worthy of carrying your legacy into the future.” Her eyes were misting over and she was bravely holding the tears at bay. She stood abruptly. “Your turn Margo.” She stepped away from the view of the camera.
 
“Oh Cara, you’ve always been worthy of that.” Gabrielle said quietly but in the silence that followed Cara’s departure from the screen everyone heard her. Xena put her arm around Gabrielle’s shoulders.
 
The voices of Margo and Cara could be heard coming from behind the camera. Margo was trying to console Cara and Cara was of course having none of it. Suddenly Margo stumbled into the picture. She had obviously been pushed. Gabrielle giggled and shook her head. “Same old Cara.” She said with warmth and love.
 
“Okay… I’m just saying Cara… you shouldn’t be ashamed to cry once in a while.” Something flew past her head. She dodged it easily. “Especially in your condition.” You could hear Cara growl a colorful metaphor under her breath. “Didn’t you tell them? Well it’s out now I might as well finish it.” Margo sat on the chair in front of the camera. “Hi Xena and Gabrielle! Wow I really wish that I could just look in the mirror and see you again. But… some things just can’t be helped. I hope that you got your prayer answered Xena. I prayed really hard for you.” She was grinning from ear to ear and Gabrielle was giggling. Xena was clearly uncomfortable.
 
“Not a word.” Xena said gruffly while Gabrielle’s shoulders shook with mirth.
 
“So Cara forgot to tell you and I know that she wants you to know that she and Anise are going to have a baby and Cara is going to carry the little tyke.” She lowered her voice to sound conspiratorial. “In fact she’s pregnant right now which is why she’s a little moody. Not that anyone else notices but… well we’ve shared things haven’t we?” Something else flew at Margo and caught her square in the forehead. Her eyes crossed and she looked dazed for a second. Gabrielle completely lost it and started laughing out loud. Xena was protesting the abuse of poor Margo while Clair and Captain Gellman sat stunned. They had no idea that Cara and Margo had acted like this in private any more than they had known that Xena and Gabrielle had this type of rapport. It was hard for them to see any of the four as… human.
 
“Ah come on Xena, you know that was funny!” Gabrielle managed to spit out between gales of laughter.
 
Xena shoved Gabrielle out of her seat and she gladly flopped onto the floor and balled up in a fresh gale of laughter. Gabrielle’s laughter was contagious however and Xena finally did see the humor in the play between their grandchildren and their friends. She couldn’t help herself when she looked back up at the screen and it had been frozen with Margo having her mouth half open in surprise and her eyes still a little crossed… it was funny. She sat down on the floor and started laughing with Gabrielle. Granted they both probably found more humor in the situation because they really did know the whole story but it was good to laugh for the sake of laughter. Their companions joined in the laughter as well but not to the same extent.
 
It took several minutes for Xena and Gabrielle to retake their seats and they stripped off their battle armor before they did. It was comfortable but it was also a bit warm. They started the video again and got to see that it had been a piece of fruit that had struck Margo in the forehead and juice was dripping down her nose. Gabrielle and Xena both laughed a bit over Margo’s antics to wipe it away and still try to look angrily at Cara.
 
“Do you see what I mean? She’s moody. Now Cara you know it’s true! You’re always a little on the cranky side but now well you’re a little more cranky when your cranky and you’re a lot more emotional when you’re not. Don’t… no… don’t you throw that…don’t… is this really how you want them to see you?” Margo obviously struck a nerve with Cara because Margo suddenly got the mother look on her face and looked like she was fighting an urge to go and hug her friend. In Cara’s present mood it might have meant her death if she had given in to that urge. “Okay, I’m just going to let her… deal… and I’m going to talk to you guys. Obviously Cara and Anise worked things out. There was a little turmoil for a time but Anise can be very understanding. She did insist upon a completely redecorated bedroom and I’m not working in Cara’s front office. In fact I’m not working in the building. I’m actually working at the Military Academy with Dan’s wife and we’re having a blast! It’s such a privilege to be shaping the minds of our future.” Cara could be heard groaning behind the camera… or maybe that was Gabrielle or even Xena. It was hard to tell which one groaned first.
 
“My son’s doing well. He has no further contact with his father and that helps a lot. It doesn’t hurt that all of his instructors are females and most of them are Amazons, especially his Drill Instructors. So he gets a lot of practice at how to treat a female properly. The Amazons are really strict about those kinds of things. Renee is having the time of her life! She practically lives in the new Amazon Estates.” She looked over to where Cara apparently was standing. “Oh, yes you’re right of course… I should explain that last comment a little I guess. The Amazon Nation decided after you left that they would like to have an area of New Thebes besides the Society forests that they could call their own. So they started building new homes, condominiums and apartments in one area. They designed an entire community around a huge forested area where they could train and meet and do what Amazons do when they’re not at home. I have a home being built there as well as Cara and Anise. It’s really nice.” She paused and took a sip of water.
 
“You might like to know that my darling ex-husband helped with the cleanup of the city. We lost a lot of people that day and he needed a job. So we found him a job at the waste reclamation plant. He has the job of cleaning the filters… every day… for the rest of his life or until retirement. Whichever comes first.” Her voice and demeanor had gone from motherly and friendly to hard and cold. It was the face that her descendants were used to seeing, not that they never saw her smile but she had learned how to be stern and when the need arose Margo had a reputation of being as cold and solid as granite.
 
Xena and Gabrielle smiled, they were proud of her and of the decree that she and Cara had given for Mr. Blake. “She finally straightened out her backbone I see.” Gabrielle said quietly to Xena.
 
“I’m proud of her.” Xena said.
 
“I still wish that I could have seen her dancing in the mirror.” Gabrielle joked.
 
Xena’s eyebrow went up at the memory. “No you don’t… really.” She said seriously but she smiled all the same.
 
Meanwhile Margo had continued. “… and the first thing we did once we were established was buy the Pepsi Corporation. It cost us a lot of money and we didn’t actually get the entire Corporation because they couldn’t sell it without all the voting and stuff. So what we bought was sole ownership of Pepsi and Pepsi products on Mars or any of her holdings or territories. It was the first of many and we’re nowhere done yet.” She looked at the ground. She had apparently come to the end of what she wanted to say. Now it was time to speak from the heart. She raised her head and looked directly into the camera.
 
“Xena… I know that I said this before you left… but… I’m really glad that God chose me to share my body and life with you. It was an honor and a joy that I will treasure all the days of my life. I think about what my life was before you came… and I cringe.” She started shaking her head. “I needed you, I needed your guidance and I had prayed for so long… and then you were there. Thank you for everything…especially for believing in me.” Tears started to well up in her eyes now too. But she was not ashamed to let them fall. “I miss you and I pray that you will overcome Alti. Maybe then God will let us have a family reunion so you can see all the wonderful people that carried your legacy through the ages.”
 
“Okay, Margo… enough. If they’re back then they’re here to fight Alti, not skip down memory lane with us.” Cara entered the picture again and as usual she had regained her natural controlled self. “Xena, Gabrielle… obviously we were honored and blessed by your presence and we will never forget it nor will we let it go to waste. With that in mind we are setting up a training program for our families. Every member of our families, male and female will be required to learn certain things. More will be expected of the females but we are no longer going to isolate the men from our lives. That was how it had to be a very long time ago… it doesn’t have to be anymore.” Cara turned to Margo because she was tapping her arm.
 
“Right, now when we choose a mate whether it’s a man or a woman they need to know who we are and what will be expected of them. If they can’t or won’t accept the responsibility hen we can’t be with them. It’s harsh but it has to be this way. We can’t take that chance of one of our own causing a ripple that get’s someone killed or worse.” She looked back up at Cara.
 
“Alti is getting stronger each time that she returns. I learned that much from sharing Gabrielle’s mind and thoughts. We need to become stronger as families and as individuals as well, or you may not be able to take her on and win. Obviously what we are doing is not going to guarantee victory but it might give you and edge up. Some of what we are going to be teaching besides the obvious weapons skills and physical conditioning and the usual schooling is how to travel the spirit realm. Alti is a creature of both realms and we need to be able to meet her on both realms.” They looked at each other in silent conversation much as Xena and Gabrielle did with each other.
 
“You may have noticed that a part of each of you was kind of gifted to us.” Margo began. It was almost as if she could hear their thoughts right now. “We can kind of feel each other and hear each other’s thoughts, and we can still handle the Katana and the Chakram. They still burn anyone else. We’re kind of hoping to pass this along to our children.” Margo looked at Cara’s stomach. She wasn’t showing yet but it was only a matter of time.
 
Cara did not look down but she started to rub her trim stomach. She could feel Margo’s eyes on her. “We’ll do all we can to ensure that you are never challenged again. I will keep my promise to you if I have to beat it into every single head myself.” Cara was not exaggerating. “Okay, we have to go. We have an empire to run. I love you guys with all my heart and you are always in my mind and prayers.” She looked at Margo.
 
“I love you guys too, thanks for everything. We’ll do some more videos for you as time permits. But most of what we might tell you will probably be passed on by our descendants. I’ll pray for you every night.”
 
“Oh, one last thing Gabrielle, you were right about the tear. So you know why I don’t cry.” Cara said and then walked back and shut off the camera just as Margo was asking for an explanation. They didn’t hear if she ever got that explanation. Xena and the women in the room with Gabrielle all turned to her but she wasn’t talking either in fact she looked a bit bewildered.
 
“You and Cara seemed to have shared several secrets didn’t you?” Xena sounded just a little jealous.
 
“What, no more than you and Margo.” Gabrielle countered.
 
“Perhaps we should leave.” Clair stood and motioned for the Captain to follow her.
 
“Oh no you don’t… you sit your ass back down and tell me something.” Gabrielle was not going to let this slide.
 
Clair looked a little surprised but she sat and the Captain followed her example.
 
“So now you tell me if you ever heard a myth or a story about Cara Rayne ever crying in front of her troops.” Gabrielle as talking to the other two women but she was glancing a great deal at Xena.
 
“We’ve all heard that story.” Clair exclaimed.
 
“You mean to tell us that it’s true?” Captain Gellman chimed in excitedly.
 
Gabrielle stood up and came to stand before the two women and Xena. “Would you like to hear the tale?” They all nodded and anxiously awaited the tale from the famous Bard. “Perhaps you would like to put me on intercom with the Fighters and the cockpit as well?” Gabrielle was happy to tell the tale.
 
Clair happily did as the Bard suggested and then settled back into her seat. Gabrielle stood and took a position in front of her three person audience. She was completely unaware that the Fighters and the cockpit of the shuttle had visual capabilities.It would not have mattered if she had known.
 
“Alright, this is a story of Colonel Cara Rayne. It was the morning of the day that changed the face of Mars forever. It was the day when Cara Rayne and Margo Blake would face Alti and lead their army of Amazons and Marines against Alti’s army of reptilian aliens.
 
Colonel Rayne had prepared her Martian Marines to defend New Thebes as well as she could. She had set initiative twelve into motion amongst the Amazons and set a host of dead Amazon Queens and Warriors to the task of helping their sisters prepare for war. For in Colonel Rayne’s gut she could feel the impending arrival of Alti. The knowledge of the evil churned in her stomach like rotten meat.
 
Colonel Rayne had done all that she could. Sergeant Blake had gone to Earth and was being escorted back to Mars by Major Baldridge. Most of Cara’s flying Squadrons were with the Major. The Colonel had a handful of Fighters and an army of Amazons and Marines on the ground to fight off whatever and whoever Alti was bringing with her. It was a race against time, who would arrive first?
 
Cara was concerned. She was concerned for her planet and her people but she was also concerned for her family and for Margo’s. Suddenly while she sat behind her desk impatiently playing the waiting game and letting her stomach grow worse, she leapt to her feet and called the Amazon camp in search of her mother Bridget. She requested two Squads of the best Amazon fighters to meet her at her Headquarters. Bridget had anticipated the request for specialty Squads and sent her two of the best.
 
Mere minutes later Cara stood before the Squads giving them instructions on where to find and more importantly where to hide the two families. In her stomach alongside the growing cancer that was Alti was a gnawing fear for these four precious people.My own fear for the safety of Xena and hers for the safety of Margo who were still out in space somewhere did not help to calm her.
 
But when she looked at these brave young women she felt a surge of pride like she had never known fill her entire being. It was so strong that it drown out the evil of Alti. She knew by looking at them that these women would die at her command to protect people that they had never met. Cara was overcome with thankfulness for a God that would grant her such people and for a sisterhood that would foster such love.
 
Now Colonel Cara Rayne was a strong woman but even she could not contain the love and pride that flowed through her being just then. A tear, a tiny single tear escaped one of her eyes and ran down her cheek. She knew that they saw it. But she was not ashamed to show them how thankful that she was for them and their love for her. She proudly sent them on their way to protect her loved ones and knew without a shadow of a doubt that as long as one of these Amazons lived her precious ones would be safe.
 
And that ladies is the story of Colonel Cara Rayne’s tears.” Gabrielle finished her short tale and she had only embellished a little on the story and had only left out Cara’s personal disgust at having shed the tear. But that was how you spun the tale of a hero. The feelings that Cara had felt at the time she had told true and that was the important part.
 
The two women in the room had erupted in applause when Gabrielle had finished and the applause and cheers from the rest of her audience was piped into the compartment. Xena beamed at her little Bard with pride and appreciation. It had been a long time since she had heard Gabrielle spin a tale and longer still when it had been one that she had never heard.
 
She loved that Gabrielle was back in form and not haunted by doubts and fears as she had been during their last incarnation. In fact right now the bond between them had never been stronger and all of the cards so far had been dealt in their favor. So why did Xena feel a deep sense of foreboding hanging over their heads?