NO WAY OUT!
By Richard B. Kloosterboer
Clone-Fiction Competition Entry.
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena: Warrior Princess belong to Universal Studios and anyone else that has bought the rights to syndicate this show. The characters are borrowed to enhance the story. The author will not profit by publishing the fan-fiction story.
Warning: This story is definitely ALT. Some minor Maintext scenes included.
Discretion is advised if you are against lesbian relationships.
* * *
"Annie, there's more news on the telly about that Xena look-a-like that smashed up the Police station in LA." Mattie turned up the volume of the television set just as Annie rushed in with a bowl of popcorn. She sat down next to her partner and listened intently to the latest news report.
" The Governor has just released the latest update to all law enforcement agencies and has given unilateral support to apprehend these dangerous fugitives. For more than five weeks the Xena look-a-like has eluded the law and the FBI has asked for the cooperation of the Army to help track down these dangerous fugitives. Under no circumstances should the Xena look-a-like be approached as she is still considered armed and dangerous. The Governor conceded that the matter is a breach of National Security, although there is still widespread debate if they may be part of a covert terrorist group. The National Security Office is stumped on the matter and refuses to comment further." The reporter paused a moment listening intently to a question of the anchorman.
Annie sighed audibly with relief. "Phew. At least no one got hurt that time."
"She's still in danger though." Mattie looked serious. "Maybe we can help somehow, y'know? Like we did in the past."
Annie turned to face Mattie and swallowed some popcorn. "It's too early for us to do anything. We don't even know where they are."
"The Annie I know wouldn't give up so easily." Mattie countered.
"We'll have to see how resourceful this Xena look-a-like is. And anyway " Annie smiled mysteriously. "She has the Gabrielle look-a-like with her too."
Mattie smiled as well and they continued to watch the report.
"The Governor has asked neighboring states to keep a look-out for the fugitives and the Army has been called in to give assistance when needed just a moment."
Film footage of a desolate country road came into view and several black-clad soldiers were sprawled over the area. The Commander did not want to talk to the reporter or have the camera crew film the carnage. One of the soldiers was uttering words of 'unbelievable' before being ushered away. The excited voice of the reporter made the scene more mysterious.
"This squadron was ambushed a few hours ago by a Xena and Gabrielle look-a-like. They fought with the same fantastic stunts as in the actual episodes. Within moments several of these highly trained crack commandos were knocked out. One was interrogated with what appears to be the famous 'Pinch'."
A pre-recorded film showed the ashened face of a soldier with two bruises over his arteries. "I couldn't breath. My head was bursting. I've never felt anything like this before."
The camera switched back to the reporter. "The look-a-likes stole a Hummer and after crashing through various obstacles were seen driving in a rough easterly direction."
Annie muttered something to the television. "Come on, tell us where they're going."
As if by magic the reporter answered Annie's unheard question. "The Xena look-a-like asked for directions to Nevada. All borders are locked down. No one will be able to break through "
Annie and Mattie laughed out loud at the last statement. "Xena and Gabrielle can."
"Sure they can I also think they're the clones." Annie divulged to Mattie.
"So they do need our help. Today's world is so different than life back then." Mattie concluded.
Annie nodded solemnly. "We should be able to rescue them if we fly to Nevada today and be there before them."
"Nevada is a big state. How will we find them?" Mattie asked.
Annie remained quiet for a moment, turned off the television set and receded deeper into the comfy couch next to Mattie. Her face became stoic and betrayed no emotion. Mattie knew that Annie was planning something and it was nearing time to take action at last.
* * *
The army behemoth thundered down a steep incline in the state of Nevada. It's occupants seemed unaware of the danger they were heading for and stayed dutifully on course to their doom. With a few metres remaining the driver slammed on the brakes. Something must've gone wrong when only the front wheels locked and the rear wheels continued spinning. The Hummer spun wildly out of control and toward a precipice. In moments the behemoth flew over the edge, only to come crashing down hard on another slope fifty feet below the cliff face. The sickening crunch and the sudden jolt on its body was enough of a telltale sign that the chassis and suspension had broken. It rolled several times before lying completely still in a contorted heap. The dust settled and all was quiet once more.
"I told you not to drive so fast." Gabrielle picked herself up from the ground and dusted herself off. The khaki uniform had a few tatters where the pockets were ripped off when she jumped out of the Hummer. "I'm never going to let you drive again." She fumed angrily.
"We're still in one piece " Xena tried meekly.
"We could've been killed." Gabrielle's angry face was a mere inch from Xena's.
Xena looked a bit embarrassed and let a cheeky smile escape. She kissed the Bard passionately on her lips and then interrupted the stunned woman. "You are so sexy when you're angry."
Gabrielle blushed for a moment, but did not break her eye contact.
"Let's salvage what we can from that machine and continue on. We still have a long hike ahead of us." Xena instructed. "Come on, soldier." She pulled the perplexed Bard with her.
"Mmmm maybe we can get another car." Gabrielle mused out loud while savoring Xena's salty kiss.
"A horse they're more reliable." Xena suggested stoically. "Especially in this terrain."
They reached the Hummer wreck quickly.
"I smell something awful." Gabrielle complained.
"You smell just fine to me." Xena chuckled. "All natural."
"No I mean the car."
"I have a bad feeling hurry grab what you can." Xena instructed.
Quickly grabbing essential packs of food and water, they stuffed the pockets of their khaki uniforms with anything useful they could find. Then they retreated away from the Hummer as quickly as possible. They had put quite a bit of distance between them and the wreck when a muffled explosion resounded through the canyon.
"Dammit." Xena swore.
"I know. But at least we'll have some distance before they find it." Gabrielle promised.
"I just want to know what is pulling us in this direction." Xena puzzled. "I don't really care who is hunting us."
"Normally we would care and stop them." Gabrielle agreed. "But now I long to be "
She never finished the sentence as a Stealth Flyer flew over their heads.
"They've found us! Run for the trees." Xena shouted.
"Spoke too soon." Gabrielle muttered.
As the black-ops plane turned for another fly-by Xena and Gabrielle hurried into the protective foliage of a small cluster of trees.
* * *
Annie and Mattie had just settled in their hotel room, yet Annie seemed annoyed about the layout of the room. "They gave us two singles? I'm sure I told them a double over the phone. I have a good mind to "
"Never mind, Annie." Mattie interrupted. "Let's see the latest on CNN."
Mattie sat herself on the edge of her single bed and turned on the hotel's television.
" At today's breaking news. After days of combing the countryside for the Xena look-a-like the exploded wreckage of the stolen Army Hummer has been found on the outskirts of Nevada. No bodies were in the wreckage so the still fugitives remain at large. This is "
"They're on foot but where are they going?" Mattie concluded and asked.
"And why?" Continued Annie as she sat next to Mattie on the foot of the bed. "What is so important for them in Nevada?"
A knock on the door interrupted their musings for a moment. "Room service."
"I'll get it." Mattie offered and opened the door.
The porter aimed a gun with a silencer at her. "Don't move."
Mattie protested verbally. "This is the worst way to get a tip."
"Shut up and get inside." He pointed the gun right under her nose.
Putting her hands up Mattie was roughly turned around to face an empty room. She let a knowing smile escape and an instant later felt a gentle hand on her shoulder.
"It's okay, my sweet." A familiar voice said to her and she turned around to see Annie holding the gun to the porter's head.
"Who do you work for?" Annie asked icily.
"I'm a dead man." The porter shook uncontrollably.
"This is pointless, Annie." Mattie fumed. "He'll never talk."
Annie let her eyebrow raise questioningly and gave Mattie the gun. "Let's try again " She jabbed the porter in his neck.
The porter gasped and dropped to his knees clutching his throat. His eyes bulged and his head seemed to be bursting.
"I have cut off the flow of blood to your brain. In thirty seconds you will be dead unless you tell me who you work for." Annie threatened.
The porter's face contorted in fear and pain. "I I work for "
He never finished his answer as a bullet ripped through his brain.
"Shit!" Annie grabbed Mattie. "Get down!"
The porter's body slumped forward and lay still. No blood came from the wound as the pinch was still doing its eerie purpose.
"Remarkable!" Another man came in holding a gun. "So it is true. You are Xena the Warrior Princess."
Annie stood up and confronted the assassin. "Who's asking?"
"An unnecessary detail." He looked at Mattie and pointed his gun at her. "Please hand that to me carefully."
Mattie reluctantly complied. As she stood up beside Annie she asked the killer, "Why did you kill the porter?"
The man had an arrogance about him when he answered. "He was no longer useful." He leaned dangerously close to Annie. "You will find I will not crack under this kind of pressure."
"Ya think?" Annie smirked.
"You are very brave or " He paused and concentrated on Mattie's emerald eyes, "incredibly na´ve."
"What do you want with us?" Annie asked point blank.
"My employer wants to meet with you. If you would be so kind to come this way." He instructed them.
Annie and Mattie stepped reluctantly out into the corridor and immediately their world turned black as they were knocked unconscious with a gas spray.
* * *
They traveled on horseback at night and slept in shifts by day eluding their pursuers from capture. At certain crossroads the law enforcers came within inches of their hiding place. Xena's mesmerizing effect on her horse's mind was enough for it to obey her every command. Now the pair were lying still in a ditch. A pair of sharp blue eyes stalked the commandos that walked by cautiously. Her horse would not be able to lay in the ditch for much longer. If the soldiers didn't move off quickly their hide out would be betrayed.
A few moments longer they stayed hidden and then she jumped up. The horse scrambled to a standing position in spontaneous joy and Xena ran beside the beast a few metres before climbing onto its back.
The commandos were taken completely off guard as Xena plowed into them swinging her broad sword around over her head. Yet there were too many in the squadron and already a few soldiers were taking aim. A whistling sound announced another weapon was on its way, ricocheting from tree to tree and clipping the barrels of the automatics. Xena caught her chakram with berserker glee and ululated her war cry before spurring her horse through the dense foliage.
The commandos chased after her on foot. One tried to radio back to base, but found a new quarry blocking his path. Instinctively he recognized that the young woman in front of him was one of the dangerous fugitives and he pulled out his hand gun. Gabrielle deftly disarmed him but the soldier unsheathed a huge hunting knife instead. He sized her up menacingly getting ready to strike.
Gabrielle smiled dangerously at him and confronted him with her sais. He slashed wildly to unbalance her, but Gabrielle's stance was firm and sure. She blocked his attacks with metal on metal. The soldier was getting worried and his attacks came faster. He lunged forward but had overreached himself. He felt his wrist and elbow being trapped simultaneously before his world turned around. An instant later Gabrielle knocked him out.
Quickly Gabrielle disarmed the unconscious soldier, tied him up and took his radio equipment. A sharp whistle brought forth a cute pony mare. She quickly jumped on her brown and white patched back. "All right, girl. Let's go find Xena."
Clicking her tongue the Palomino skipped into action and galloped toward a predetermined destination.
In the meantime Xena and her horse were still playing hide and seek with the squadron. The horse was gently grazing nearby several sprung traps with unconscious soldiers in them. Several commandos were hiding by trees not wanting to give their position away. They need not have bothered. One by one Xena knocked them unconscious and bound them to the trees.
Listening to sounds behind sounds she knew that the squadron leader would be the toughest nut to crack. She allowed herself to make a mistake and walked up right in front of him.
He aimed his rifle at her and she kicked the barrel up followed by another kick to disarm him.
The soldier crouched into a fighting stance and Xena did the same anticipating the coming action with glee. He feigned a grapple toward her as she gauged his strengths and weaknesses.
"How did you get past my men?" He asked curiously.
"I have many skills."
"Not as many as mine " He pinned Xena's arms together and held her in a bear hug lifting her off the ground and squeezed.
Her face contorted in pain she led her temper flare, opened her eyes wide and head butted the soldier square in the face. The slackened grip was enough to bash her head into him again, this time crushing his nose. He let go of her and staggered back with blood on his face and breathing heavily through his mouth.
Realizing he might be dying, Xena's compassion kicked in and she used her field medic experience to save his life. The soldier, in pain was puzzled by her compassion as she quickly remedied the damage she gave him to begin with.
"You'll live, soldier. Got to go." And just as swiftly she was gone with the wind.
* * *
Mattie's first moments of returning consciousness was the cold air of the air-conditioning wafting through a dark room. Her arms were numb and when she wanted to move them they were restrained with handcuffs to the chair. She looked around carefully, but there was only the silhouette of a large desk in front of her. Her hair fell freely in front of her face as she realized that she no longer wore her original clothes. It felt like a prison overall and she felt very queasy at the realization.
"I hope you have slept well." A disembodied voice asked her rhetorically.
"Where am I?"
There was no answer. A curtain opened and a large window opened out into the night sky. Another silhouette presented itself to her ocular senses as an oblong shaped chair with a high back.
"You and your partner have eluded us for far too long. You have made a mockery of our Armed Forces and our Law Enforcement Agencies. We find you guilty of treason." The voice accused in the darkness.
"What are you talking about? I'm only a past-life counselor. I haven't " Mattie explained in sheer panic.
"Silence! We have irrefutable proof that you have conspired with our enemies to undermine the National Security of the United States of America."
The lights turned on and Mattie blinked furiously.
"How do you plead?" The man in the chair asked.
"Not not guilty." Mattie stammered.
"Wrong answer. Take her below and strap her to the machine." Her accuser turned his chair around to face the window as hands pulled her up and guided her through a door that slid open to reveal long white lighted corridors. Her captors wore white environmental suits with a tinted faceplate. She longed to read their faces to plead with their humanity.
She longed for the nightmare to stop as they entered an elevator. Just as the doors closed she pushed her captors outside with her shoulder. Her escape was futile as the doors opened and other faceless captors captured her straight-away. She kicked and screamed, struggled to break free. Nothing worked. Then she saw the machine. A super computer with multicolored fiber-optic cables attached to a plasma screen. Her captors strapped her to a vertical bench and clamps folded fully over her chest area and hip area to hold her securely in place. Electrodes were placed on her temples as she wondered what kind of torture they had planned for her. The bench's hydraulics spun her backward until it stayed horizontal.
"Has she revealed where the clones are?" Mattie heard a woman say.
"No Doctor. She is in complete denial."
"We'll see about that." The woman appeared in front of Mattie's face. She seemed strangely familiar.
"I know you from somewhere." Mattie whispered.
"Of course you do my dear. Our history together goes back a long time." The woman smiled evilly.
"It can't be you're dead." Mattie accused out loud.
"And soon you shall be too." The female doctor worked methodically before revealing a large needle. "Now tell me dear Mattie. Where the clones?"
"I don't know." Mattie denied.
"I think you do let's start with a little prick right here." The mad doctor injected a little of the contents in Mattie's bloodstream. Her mind became woozy and she began to drift away to a past long forgotten in time and space.
"Where are the Xena clones?"
"She's dead she died in Japan." Mattie answered slurred and confused.
"Damn it! The stuff is too potent." The evil doctor through the syringe against a nearby wall. "She's regressed to her final days with Xena."
Everything turned in Mattie's mind eye. She wondered where Annie was. She wished she was here with her now.
"Where are you, Annie?" She almost cried.
* * *
Annie woke up in a padded cell dressed in prison overalls. Her first worry was for the whereabouts of Mattie and hoped she was all right, yet her gut feeling told her that her soul mate was in deadly danger. She needed to escape.
She examined the walls and within a few moments found the hidden camera's. sabotaging the little units was easy. Satisfied she got them all Annie took ripped a sleeve off her overall. She had found some vents in the wall and fearing she might get gassed, stuffed as much of her shredded sleeve in the holes.
With moments to spare she wound up the camera cable around her wrists and hid just beneath the porthole of the door.
The door opened and Annie wrapped her cable around her captor's arm and twisted it sharply behind him. Two others tried to grab her. She somersault kicked both senseless. She grabbed a tazer from one of her captors belt and fifty thousand volts went through his body.
Annie spotted another camera in the corridor and quickly broke that one off the wall with a swift kick.
She stripped one of the captors out of their environmental suits and donned the outfit for herself. Using one of their security passes she quickly escaped the confines of her prison.
She stood at attention when a squad entered the corridor.
"She's escaped, sir." Annie reported smartly. And as the officer entered the cell Annie slipped into the elevator. Following her gut instinct she let the elevator move to the lower levels of the complex. Mattie's fear grew stronger within her and she knew she was close.
Annie entered the lab and was astounded with what she saw. A huge plasma screen was attached to a super computer with fiber-optic cables. Some of the cables and a couple of electrodes seemed to be attached to a young woman on a bench with large clamps.
Instantly Annie was at Mattie's side and removed her visor. "Mattie it's me, sweetheart."
Mattie's fear subsided. "Annie, I was so worried about you."
Annie kissed her partner to reassure her. "It's okay. Everything will be all right."
Mattie had tears. "There's someone very dangerous here. A foe from our past "
"Who?" Annie asked.
Annie turned to face her foe and groaned when she recognized who it was. The evil female doctor approached her nemesis. "Your soul is now mine, Xena."
Annie stood her ground bravely. "You will never have my soul, Alti."
"My name is Alexis Los Alomos. Soon my Xena and Gabrielle clones will be here and you shall be united with them." Alexis laughed evilly as her assistants strap Annie onto another bench.
* * *
Xena and Gabrielle surveyed the secret hideout from a rocky out crop. A large hangar was surrounded by smaller buildings and sheds. Various guards were posted around the perimeter. A long dirt road seemed to be the only safe passage through since there were no trees or bushes that could give enough cover to sneak in undetected.
"Don't these soldiers seem different to you?" Gabrielle asked.
"Maybe because they're not soldiers." Xena concluded.
"I hope we can find the answers in there. But how do we get in?" Gabrielle mused. "Maybe we can ride in with the horses." She suggested.
"We need something much bigger and stronger." Xena said resolutely. "How about a truck?"
Gabrielle groaned audibly.
"Don't worry, you can drive." Xena winked.
"That's a relieve." Gabrielle sighed. "Where are we going to find a truck?"
"We'll borrow one from that Army back there." Xena pointed back over her shoulder.
Gabrielle started in surprise. "You're kidding aren't you?" And saw that Xena was serious.
"I'm going alone."
"You're not. Where you go, I go and anyway " Gabrielle said vehemently, "You need me to drive the truck."
It didn't take them long to find the US Army base hidden a few miles away in an alcove. On foot and disguised as Commandos Xena and Gabrielle sneaked into the camp undetected. The trucks were all neatly parked to one side of the camp and Gabrielle climbed aboard one, then started it up. Within moments she drove the behemoth carefully to the sentry.
The sentry asked for a pass and Gabrielle gave him one of the stolen ones. He didn't bother the match the photo and waived her through. Within moments of leaving the camp Xena opened the door of the moving truck and got in.
"That was close. We'd better hurry before they discover this truck missing." Xena said taking out a map.
"What's that?" Gabrielle asked.
"A map of their movements. According to this there are several battalions to the East moving this way." Xena furrowed her eyebrows.
"And?" Gabrielle coaxed.
"There is no way out!" Xena looked visibly worried. "We're trapped."
"It can't end like this. We've been together like this for almost two months. I can't believe its over." Gabrielle pronounced in disbelief.
"I'm sorry, Gabrielle."
"I thought these people needed our help, but instead they are hunting us down. This world is far worse than our own world.." Gabrielle uttered angrily.
"Maybe there are some good people here. We just haven't found them yet." Xena consoled.
"Are you trying to cheer me up?"
"I'm giving you the hope to live on."
Gabrielle stopped the truck. "You are not leaving me here all by myself." She said tersely.
"I'm the one that caused this hunt to happen. If I give these people what they want then maybe you can slip by undetected." Xena outlined her plan.
"I don't think they'll stop looking." Gabrielle started the truck up again and drove off. "We live together, we fight together and we die together." Gabrielle noticed that Xena was holding back tears. "Let's do this all the way."
Xena gave a reassuring smile, but her eyes betrayed her worry for the Bard.
* * *
A mercenary was leaning against a signpost. He hated waiting around and hoped his relief would come soon. He looked at his watch and suddenly felt a rumble coming closer. Too late to react the stolen army truck rumbled by. He rolled out of the way and radioed in. "Dawson to Base. Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
. "That was the easy part. Now we have to get inside " Xena looked at the large hangar. "That building. But the doors are closed."
"I'll just drive straight through." Gabrielle said. "Hold on!"
Xena beamed a smile. "And you thought I was a bad driver."
"Hey, I learned from the best." Gabrielle confided as the truck ambled on at full throttle toward the hangar.
"Gabrielle, we got company ahead and behind." Xena alerted her partner.
"I see them." And she crunched to a lower gear to gather higher revving and more speed to bolster momentum. The mercenaries surrounded the truck from all sides, yet Gabrielle pushed the truck through the obstacles. The hangar doors were closed, but that did not slow their resolution as the truck crashed through the doors. Gabrielle slammed on the brakes and the truck slid to a halt with the smell of burning rubber. Xena was out the cabin and on the roof surveying the area. Armed mercenaries stormed the hole and began shooting at the cloned heroes.
Xena let her chakram fly and it disabled most of the weapons aimed at her and Gabrielle. Ululating in a forward somersault Xena catapulted herself forward, caught her chakram in mid-flight and cackled with berserker glee as she fought hand-to-hand combat with the mercenaries surrounding her.
In moments Gabrielle was by her side with her sais in hand. Courageously they kicked, punched, swayed, ducked and foot-swept the opposition with wild fervor. The mercenaries were tough, but were no match for the ancient amazons. After a short battle, the clones made their escape down an elevator shaft closely followed by a few stragglers. Xena slashed down her sword to discourage any and all from opening the rapidly closing elevator doors. An inner feeling compelled them to take the elevator down to a specific level under the base. The doors slid open and they were welcomed by a very familiar face.
"Welcome home Xena and Gabrielle. Come to mama."
* * *
"That's impossible." Xena stood mere inches away from Alexis Los Alamos. "You two months ago."
Alexis leaned in close to Xena's ear and whispered harshly, "Did you really think I would let you kill me in that wrecker's yard without a back-up plan?" She smiled evilly as Xena betrayed a small realization. "Yes Xena you killed my clone."
Xena was stunned as well as Gabrielle. "Seize them." Alexis instructed her assistants. Xena acted instantly and back handed her first assailant. Gabrielle ducked and punched into a midriff of another before rolling out of the way.
Gabrielle darted into the direction answering a cry for help. She saw two women tied up on a couple of familiar benches. She walked up to one of the tied up women and gasped in surprise.
"I know you I am you I mean " Gabrielle stuttered.
"Yes Gabrielle. I am the reincarnation of you." Mattie replied elated.
Xena rushed up quickly by Gabrielle's side and was astounded by Mattie's and her Bard's resemblance.
"Gabrielle, we've got to go."
Gabrielle began pulling at the clamps that held Mattie trapped on the bench. "I won't leave her here."
Mattie recognized Xena's spontaneous decision. "My friend Annie is behind that partition "
"I'll free her." Xena said.
"Thank you Xena." Mattie whispered as the warrior quickly disappeared behind the partition.
Xena approached the woman that lay trapped on the bench. She looked strangely familiar to her. To Annie it was like looking in a mirror. Her soul memory took over and she was stoically overawed.
Xena didn't fare any better. Although speechless by the encounter she did not hesitate to remove the restraints that trapped Mattie.
"This feels so strange looking at " Mattie began.
" myself." Xena finished. "We need "
" to hurry." Mattie smirked.
They rounded the corner only to see Alexis holding both Gabrielle and Mattie by the throat laughing maniacally.
* * *
"Do not interfere, Xena. This procedure is very painful for your precious Gabrielle." Alexis let all her power burn through Mattie and the Gabrielle clone.
"What are you doing to her?" Xena shouted at Alexis angrily.
"I am combining their minds. One will survive. The other will die. Who do you want to have?"
"Let her go Alexis." Annie commanded.
"All right. Catch!" Alexis let go of Mattie. The force threw the unconscious woman back several metres. She landed in Xena and Annie's arms. Mattie's eyes were rolled up and back. Blood trickled out of her nose. A hemorrhage.
Annie lowered her down to the floor. "Mattie Mattie can you hear me?"
Mattie did not respond.
"No Mattie don't you die on me . MATTIE!"
Alexis gently lowered Gabrielle to the floor. The clone fell on her knees gasping for breath. Xena wanted to go to Gabrielle's side but felt more compelled to stay with the weeping Annie and her dying soul mate.
Gabrielle's head jerked up and she said hoarsely. "Why Alti? Why did you have to kill her?"
Alexis looked down at Gabrielle. "So that you could live, my child." She laughed evilly. "And now its your turn - Xena and Annie." Alexis approached the warrior clone and the warrior incarnate. "Come and be joined as one."
Alexis' eyes glowed briefly, mesmerizing both Xena and Annie, rooting them to the spot. Their throats were clutched and inane power surged through their bodies. Their thoughts and experiences combined as one. The Xena soul wanted to stay in the body it was given but also sought out the fresh new body of the clone. Alti's face appeared every time taunting jeering encouraging Xena to make the ultimate choice. "Together we can rule the world. You will be known as Rome's Conquering Empress And I will be your confidante."
"No! This isn't real. You are not real."
"Don't fight it Xena. Accept your destiny. I offer you a new body. Take it."
The Xena clone struggled against the Xena soul.
"I cannot take this life away." The Xena soul insisted.
"Then you will die just like your precious Gabrielle." Alti laughed evilly and forced her dark magic into the Xena soul, crushing it and ripping its experienced life to shreds.
Xena saw all her past lives come and go pleading for her to accept the twist of fate. Each one blinked out of existence until only blackness surrounded her.
Everything went silent and Xena's soul knew she was dead.
* * *
She was drifting in and out of consciousness. Her head was bursting and a couple of aspirin wasn't going to make this throbbing head ache go away. Suddenly Mattie set up and looked around the room. It was large and a big computer was in the middle. Fiber-optic cables were connected from the computer to the large plasma screen on the wall. She saw a body nearby and standing up unsteadily moved closer to investigate. She recognized the still form of her partner Annie. Prodding the body it groaned with annoyance.
Elated Mattie slapped Annie's face to wake her up. "Annie, wake up. ANNIE!"
"I'm awake, Mom." Annie opened one eye.
"Where am I? Am I dead?"
"I think we are very much alive." Mattie smiled happily."
Annie sat up and looked around groggily. "Where is everyone? Looks like there was an explosion."
"I don't know. Let's have a look."
Supporting each other Annie and Mattie began searching the room. Near the plasma screen they found the first body. It was maimed by sword and sais blows. And its head was severed.
Annie limped toward the severed head and rolled it over with her foot.
Alti's evil grin greeted her. Her death stare bored deep into her soul.
"Alti is dead again." Gabrielle acknowledged. "But there is no sign of the clones."
"They found a way out and killed Alti." Annie tried to figure it out. "We must've been dying."
"The clones saved our lives "
"Because we sacrificed ours for them. We're even." Xena smiled ironically.
"How did they know?" Gabrielle asked.
Annie shook her head. "They didn't. The clones avenged us, therefore setting our souls free."
"I hope they are safe." Mattie slipped an arm around Annie's waist. "The Army might still be looking for them."
Annie chuckled. "I don't think we need to worry about Xena and Gabrielle. They are very resourceful."
"Maybe your right." Mattie mused. "Let's go home. I have a craving for nutbread."
* * *
"In today's breaking news. The Army has found a terrorist camp in Nevada and have seized all equipment and retained many key personnel for further investigation. Alexis Los Alomos has been found dead at the site and documents prove she was the leader of the faction. The Xena and Gabrielle look-a-like that has led our nations law enforcement and FBI agents to this remote terrorist base have not been found. Field Commander James Steward had this to say."
The scene changes to the secret base. "We deployed our troops in from the West and there was no way for these look-a-likes to escape our cordon. But they have vanished. There is no trace of them anywhere."
The scene changed back to the news anchor. "And now for further news. The Iraqi oil prices have slumped to an "
Gabrielle turned the television off and relaxed in the arms of her Warrior Princess. "Do you think we should return that truck to the US Army?"
"Na the army is taking us to places we've never been before." Xena chuckled. "You were right."
"I was? With what?" Gabrielle looked up at a mischievous smile.
"Killing Alti was very satisfying." Xena purred.
"We needed to avenge the deaths of the real Xena and the real Gabrielle." The Bard pointed out.
"And avenge them we did." Xena guided Gabrielle's chin up for a soft kiss.
"That was nice." And Gabrielle found her lover's lips as they embraced in ecstasy.
NO WAY OUT!
By Richard B. Kloosterboer
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