Bring it on
passed before Xena and Gabrielle took a quick trip to Uranus. They flew two
shuttles to the surface. One was a simple drop ship the other was a long range
transport. They landed both on the ramp.
Not much had
changed in the past five years. The surface temperature seemed to be a bit
warmer than last they were here but that could just be the season. The two
young women didn’t waste any time walking down the mile long ramp. They looked
very much like they had millennia ago. Xena had grown out her raven black hair
and cut sweeping bangs into the front so that her brilliant cold blue eyes were
framed in black. Her body was lithe and strong and only partially covered by
the modified uniform that she wore. Her arms were completely exposed and her
pants and shirt were loose fitting. The only thing that fit her snuggly was the
med cloth suit that hugged her body from bodice to toes.
had cut her golden hair in a long sweeping wave from the top of her head down
to her right shoulder, it parted where it wanted and it usually parted unevenly
on the left side. Her smaller body was compact and tight and she liked to show
it off. Her clothing was more revealing than Xena’s. Gabrielle preferred to
style her med cloth into an actual shirt that fitted her form like a shiny
black tank top. Her pants were the standard cut military cargo pants and they
were tucked into tight black boots just as Xena’s.
The real difference
for them was the leather armbands that Xena had on her upper arms and the leather
cuffs that she wore on her forearms. Gabrielle had silver armbands and wide
silver cuffs on her forearms. They also had a unique array of weapons. Neither
cared much for Pulse Rifles; they preferred their combat up close and personal.
The pulse weapons had been issued and their weapons were personalized but they
did not carry them today. Today they carried their swords, Xena had her many
folded Greek sword, the gift that she had gotten from Belle so long ago and
Gabrielle carried her Katana, the one that had been a gift from a Guardian. The
Katana that she had carried to this place before, she had returned to the
owner’s granddaughter. Gabrielle also carried her Sais, the ones that Thor had
made for her; neither expected to need any of them. They weren’t over confident
and they weren’t expecting others to fight for them even though they had two
squads of Guardians and an entire platoon of Marines lining the area not to
mention the ship in orbit or all of its Fighters. They expected Alti to simply
engage them in conversation, throw some insults around and then promise to meet
then on the Steppes.
the front portal and stopped in the foyer. Years ago they had been unsuccessful
in finding where Alti had gone using the camera system. Today they simply used
their own senses. They listened with their ears and with their minds. Slowly
they turned towards the hallway that they were so familiar with and walked
towards it. They walked down the hallway about twenty feet when they both stopped
and turned towards their right. “There’s a doorway here.” Xena said as she
approached what looked like solid wall.
“I know I
can feel the air.” Gabrielle could feel a cool stream of air playing with her
searched the wall and found a latch. A doorway swung open with a definite
grinding sound. They stepped through and found themselves in another hallway;
at least this one was short. The end was clearly defined by a proverbial light
at the end, neither hesitated to walk towards the light. The doorway at the end
of this hall was a gaping hole that was strewn with rocks and debris. They
climbed over the mess to stand in a room. It looked as if it had been a bed
chamber at one time but the ceiling had collapsed onto the bed and left only
tattered cloth and splintered wood as any evidence of the furniture that had
once sat there.
were not interested in the bed or even in the room. They were interested in
whatever was behind yet another pile of rock. It was Alti that was behind that
I can’t say that I like what you’ve done with the place.” Xena said to thin
air, while she scanned every nook and cranny of the room.
so much… it’s got that too lived in
and then discarded feeling to it.” Gabrielle added.
The sound of
cackling filled the room. It echoed off of the partial walls. The heroes spun
to stare at the pile of rocks. “So now you’re interior decorators? I wish that
I had known when I was designing the interior.” The voice was that of a Demon
but it was still recognizable as Alti.
it’s a newly developed talent.” Gabrielle responded.
sister Gabrielle?” Alti tried to anger her.
breathing thank you, and how’s the décor on your side of the rock pile Alti?”
Gabrielle was not even remotely ruffled.
made a home of it.” She paused and they could hear that she was moving around.
“So Xena are you two ready?” She didn’t need to elaborate.
ready… are you?” Xena snarled for her. She knew that if she sounded too serene
that Alti would grow suspicious.
I’m always ready for you.” She almost sounded like the woman that had whispered
promises in Xena’s ear. “I’ve always wondered Xena, why did you throw away my
promise for her?” It was almost as if she could read Xena’s thoughts, but she
knew that whenever they were together the old memories would always come to the
give up you or your promises for Gabrielle. I changed my ways and started
working for good, for Gabrielle. But I gave up pursuing your promises for the
love of a child. You tried to take that from me because you knew that a child
would make me want to turn my life around and you were right. It just took some
time for me to realize just how right you were.” Xena remained calm. They had
practiced this conversation too.
child died young and he never knew your love.” She growled.
“He did die
young Alti. But our God gave him a new life and allowed him to live again.”
clearly surprised. “You gave birth to him again? Did he know who he was?” She
sounded desperate to know the answer.
“No Alti I
did not give birth to him and even though he knew who he was… your curse held.
He never knew the love of his mother… of me.” Alti cackled in glee. “But that
doesn’t mean that he didn’t know that he had it anyway. I carried his memory
with me for eons and I loved him every second of it… and he knew that and he
loved me just as much. I still love him and he loves me.” The cackling stopped.
Alti, all of your hatred and your scheming can’t stop love. You can’t drown the
light with your darkness and you can’t stop love with your hatred.” Gabrielle
finished Xena’s thought.
silent for a long moment… then she began to growl and slowly the growl became a
howl and then a scream. She was defiantly a little pissed off. “We’ll see
Gabrielle, we’ll see!”
“Meet us on
the Steppes Alti. We’re leaving you a shuttle if you don’t want to fly. We
don’t care really. Uranus is on the far side of the sun from Earth right now so
it’ll take us a few weeks to reach it. But we’ll leave now. That should give
you a couple of weeks to dig yourself out.” Xena really had nothing more to say
and Alti seemed to have run out of words as well.
mates walked out of the Castle and boarded their ship and left without
incident. They felt a calmness in their souls that neither had ever felt
before. That is how they knew that they were ready to face this evil for once
and for all. Before there had always been some great volatile emotion to fuel
the fire, but this time the fire was fueled only by love. Love could burst into
flames but it wasn’t the kind of emotion that would leave you empty. It tended
to burn away everything else and leave you with a clean and peaceful soul. They
would not be facing Alti with any desires for destroying her or for power or
hatred or revenge, they would be facing her out of love. She needed to be
stopped or others would die or be hurt, used or abused by her. Out of love for
those unnamed and faceless people, Xena and Gabrielle would fight Alti and
hopefully defeat her so that others could live free of her taint.