A New Life

Part 1

By Sparrow


Disclaimers: Don’t own the characters of Xena, Ares, Gabrielle, etc.

Just borrowing them for this story

Violence: Well, Xena and Ares are involved, (what do you think?)

Time: Story begins approximately a week and half after the events in "Vigil of a God" and our heroes are about to land in the States

Special Notes: For those of you just joining us, Xena, Ares and the gang are about to get an abrupt introduction to the late 20th/ 21st century and the world of mutants as well.

Author’s Notes: Once again, thanks to all who read "Vigil of a God" and sent their feedback. It is an alternate timeline here, so anything goes. Hope you all like it as much as the first one.

Comments: Send them to sparrownightmare@hotmail.com



Now, on to the story:





"How are you guys doing back there? "

Xena looked up into the face of their young host, Jenna. She glanced once around the cabin of the ‘plane’ as Jenna had called it, mentally taking stock of everyone here.

"Well, I think that Ares and I are okay with this flying thing, but I am not too sure about the others."

Jenna laughed at that, also taking a look around the cabin, noticing the rather greenish tinge to the other occupants’ faces.

"What is your home like?"

Jenna turned to face Ares, who had just come from the rear compartment of the plane and sat down in his seat next to Xena’s

"To answer your question, Ares. My house is an old Victorian style, which has nine bedrooms, three baths, large living room, dining room, kitchen, attic, four fireplaces, and a full basement, all of which sit on a huge double-sized lot. In the back yard, we have an in ground swimming pool and a one and a half car garage. "

"Most kings didn’t live that well. Do all people live like you do?"

Jenna turned her head to answer the question. Looking directly at the blonde, she replied

"Well, Gabrielle. Unfortunately not all people are able to live as well as my family can now. There are a lot of problems that make things difficult, but we keep trying to make things better."

That seemed to satisfy the bard’s curiosity for the moment and also raised the eyebrow of the God of War.

"Conflict? War?"

Jenna detected the obvious hopeful tone in Ares’ voice and looked him directly in the eye.

"Conflict, war, prejudice of all kinds, and religious fanaticism just to name a few. You name it, it’s going on somewhere in the world at any given time. But, " Jenna paused, her tone becoming quite a bit more serious "I don’t think that even YOU would sanction what some of them are doing. "

Ares looked at Jenna, as he tuned his mind into the conflicts currently raging in the world. His eyes widened in rage as he finally grasped what Jenna had said. A cold rage raced thru his veins and he was about to slip into the aether when someone laid a calming hand on his. Looking down, Ares saw that Xena had placed her hand on his. Calming down immediately, he looked back at Jenna and replied

"You’re right. I would NEVER sanction what is going on right now. But, I WILL do what I can to end this. Maybe the world actually needs me again."

Xena looked up at Ares, a wry grin on her face.

"Relax, Ares. Maybe you’re right and I know that she’s right. Until we know more about this time and how things work, we need to learn all we can so that we can help. It will mean some long nights…"

Ares looked down at his princess, a wry grin on his own face, and returned that look of longing in her eyes with a wink that said ‘ We have much to learn’

"Ahem…you two wanna wait til we get there?"

Both Xena and Ares looked over to Gabrielle, who was now peering at them over the back of her seat.

"You two are incorrigible. All you seem to think about now is…"

Gabrielle’s ‘tirade’ was interrupted by a voice coming from the speaker above them.

"If you will take your seats, we’re now on final approach to the airport"

All discussion ceased as the recently revived occupants of the private jet pushed their faces against the windows, each of them craning their heads for their first glimpse of their new homeland.




The private jet touched down at Logan International Airport in Boston without fanfare, all clearances having been sent and received by the pilot during their final approach. Jenna watched with amusement as her ‘guests’ took hold of the armrests of their seats in a white-knuckled death grip and didn’t let go until they had not just touched down, but had come to a complete stop at the small planes terminal.

Once stopped, the plane’s occupants took a few moments to readjust themselves to being on the ground again, with Gabrielle and Joxer taking the longest time to adjust. Ares only smiled at Xena as he ‘gallantly’ helped her up from her seat and led the way to the door.

"If you will all follow me down the ramp, my dad has pre-arranged transportation and clearances for you all. "

Jenna led the rather (for want of a better term) motley occupants of the plane down the small ramp and into the small planes terminal. Shaking her head as she waited for the group to catch up, Jenna was glad that they had taken the time to purchase a few items of clothing for everyone before leaving Greece. That shopping trip alone had been a rather funny excursion and it had been an even funnier time showing them how to put on these new clothes.

"Um, people, over here. "

After ushering the group into the terminal, Jenna looked around the unusually empty building rather warily, with a practiced eye as her senses alerted her to possible trouble ahead. Ares and Xena looked around as well, his god-senses and her battle-honed instincts also picking up on the potential threat. After going through the unusually lengthy customs inspection, Jenna’s anxiety increased. Not wanting to alert her companions to the potential threat, Jenna quickly led them to the waiting mini-van.

They were about halfway to the mini-van, when from seemingly out of nowhere, a small blur collided with Ares’ legs, taking both of them to the ground. When he sat up, Ares noticed that he was holding not one, but two rather small children in his powerful arms. They were dirty, somewhat malnourished, no more than five or six summers old each and completely exhausted. His senses also told him something else; these two children were running for their very lives. Standing up carefully, Ares held these children tightly and looked at Jenna, more than a slightly bewildered expression on his face.

Jenna looked at Ares holding these two children, felt the fear emanating from the two kids and instantly the rage began boiling inside. She knew all too well what kind of evil these children were running from. ‘Not here, not now and not while I’m around.’ Jenna thought. Caroline and Gabrielle moved forward quickly and took the children from Ares’ arms and hustled them into the car.

Jumping into the driver’s seat, Caroline paused for a moment as Jenna said quickly.

"Take them to Haven House, mom. Use escape route 5c. Fortunately, they haven’t spotted the van yet, if you go now. Gabrielle, Joxer, please go with my mom. You really don’t want to see this..."

Although somewhat miffed, Gabrielle and Joxer acquiesced quietly and took their places in the vehicle, each of them holding a child tightly to them. Jenna’s mom nodded her head in agreement and quickly put the car into drive, speeding away into the night.

Once sure that her mom had gotten safely away, Jenna turned her attentions back to the trouble ahead. Looking at Ares and Xena, Jenna dug in her backpack, pulling out two small devices and handing one to each of them. Looking at Ares, Xena asked

"What’s going on, Jenna?"

"Something I had hoped you wouldn’t see so soon."

"What is it?" Ares inquired

"Real trouble. Remember what my friend Astro told you about the government and their attitude towards mutants?"

"Yes. Is that what’s happening here?" Xena inquired

"Unfortunately, yes it is. Here, put these on and press the blue button."

"What are they?" Xena asked

"Personal forcefield units. They will protect you from what weapons these assholes like to use."

"What about you?" Ares asked

"I don’t need a unit, I can project my own forcefield. " Jenna said, pulling two more objects from her bag. Handing one to both Ares and Xena, Jenna continued, "As for these two items, they’re weapons. All you need to do is point and press the trigger. Do NOT change the settings. And last, but not least, stay behind me please, and stay out of sight. I can’t protect you if you don’t "

Ares looked a bit miffed at being told that he, the God of War, of all people, needed protection, but one Xena’s infamous "looks" was enough to quiet him down. Jenna noticed this and said.

"Look, we don’t have much time. I know it goes against your nature, but you both know nothing of the kind of war these people wage and I do. I promise I will explain things to you later; right now I have a group of assholes to deal with. " Pausing to take one last glance at the war god, Jenna finished by saying "I hope that you both have a strong stomach, its not going to be pretty."




The major in charge of the retrieval operation at Logan Airport was not having a good day. First, the two children he had been in charge of had escaped his grasp, second, his commanding officer had not only heard about it, but had seen the escape happen and third, he had been ordered to go with the detachment sent out to retrieve these two children. And, when it finally seemed that he was about to recapture them, putting an end to a very long day, one of his subordinates reported to him that they had seen a group of civilians exiting the terminal which was supposed to have been empty.

"Great, just great. This is the last thing I needed to happen. Lieutenant, do we have enough guards with us to detain the civilians? "

The lieutenant turned to his superior officer and replied crisply.

"Yes, sir. Shall I have the accident story readied?"

The major nodded his head in agreement. Civilians, they were always getting in the way and this time would be no exception. ‘That’s what they get for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just another unfortunate car accident’. Just when the major thought his day had finally changed for the better, a corporal ran up, quickly saluted and waited for permission to speak. The major, more than somewhat annoyed at this intrusion, snapped

"What is it Corporal? And it had better be good."

The corporal gulped once and said in an excited voice

"Sir, the two level threes are no longer in the area. "

The major’s face fell and he looked about ready to strike the corporal, except that it appeared as if that wasn’t all the corporal had to say.

"Is there anything else, Corporal?"

"Yes, sir. The mutant detectors have picked up the presence of a high-level class 5 possibly a class 6 mutant in the immediate vicinity. And something else the scanners can’t quite identify. There are a total of three life forms in all sir."

The major smiled for the first time since he had first woken up this morning. A high level class five mutant was a rarity and would more than make up for the loss of the two low level three mutants with his commanding officer.

"Very well, Corporal. Make the appropriate adjustments and proceed with the retrieval."

The corporal nodded and left quickly, leaving the major alone with his thoughts. Snapping out of his ‘reverie’, the major made his way over to where his team would make the capture. What he saw upon his arrival was not what he had expected to see.

Standing no more than 50 feet away from them was a long, black line burned into the pavement and standing perhaps fifteen to twenty feet behind that line was a young girl, dressed all in black, projecting an attitude which made even him a bit nervous. He knew they had just found the level five mutant and this one looked as if she knew how to use her abilities. Sending a hand signal to his troops, the major watched as she casually took in the approaching troops. Before he could address her, she spoke, each word carefully enunciated, her voice cold and devoid of emotion

"If you and your troops want to live, don’t cross the line. If you don’t, please, by all means cross that line."

The major was taken aback at that statement from the girl. Either she was very good or putting on a good show. Seeing that his troops were in position, the major strode forward and stopped approximately thirty feet away from the girl.

"You are in no position to demand anything, mutant. You and your friends will come with me."

A smile creased the girl’s features as she replied

"I don’t think so…"




Jenna watched with some amusement when the major ordered his troops into what he believed was a winning attack position and her smile grew even larger when he stepped closer to her. ‘He’s got to be kidding? Only 20 soldiers? "

Waiting patiently until the major had finished his little speech, Jenna looked him in the eye, shaking her head back and forth slowly. ‘They never learn.’ Knowing that Ares and Xena were watching from close striking difference, Jenna spoke again.

"Major, if you value the lives of your troops, leave now. If you don’t, well, it won’t be pretty."

"You are in no position to make those kinds of threats. You are dangerous and must be dealt with appropriately."

Any hope that Jenna had to end this confrontation peacefully just flew right off the tarmac. Clamping a tight hold over the rage that was furiously boiling inside her, Jenna replied

"You are right about one thing, I AM dangerous. LEAVE NOW. This is your last chance."

"It is you who will be leaving. With us."

"That’s it. Game over, you lose"





Ares and Xena watched this exchange from their vantage point, and they were nearly bowled over from the intensity of the rage that Jenna was currently containing. Extending his god-senses, Ares entered the minds of the ‘Major’ and his troops, and was barely able to contain his own rage. These ‘troops’ and others like them had committed unspeakable acts, acts that even the God of War himself would not condone, against the people they were supposed to protect and had been witnesses to some of the worst horrors that had ever been committed towards children. A glance over towards Xena, and he saw that she too also felt the anger he did. Oblivious to the troops, Ares changed himself and Xena into matching black leather outfits with similar markings. The personal forcefield units that Jenna had given them had been carefully integrated into the outfits they now wore. Xena reached down and touched the chakram, once again hanging at her side. Xena reveled in the power that flowed between her and Ares through their bond, The Great Sword of War was once again by Ares’ side as he took Xena’s hand and stepped into the aether, just waiting for the right time to strike.

The God of War was back.


The major stared incredulously at the girl not more that thirty feet from him. ‘Who had the audacity to speak to me like that?’ There was only one other mutant that this major had never faced but who was number one on the elimination list. Astro. He also had a very well known catch phrase, "I don’t think so." Realization suddenly dawned on the major’s face as he realized whom he was most likely facing. For quite some time, rumors had been flying around the ‘special unit’ the major was a part of. Rumors that Astro had been training several extremely powerful apprentices. And the major suddenly realized that he had just made the mistake of crossing one of them.

For the first time since his arrival, the major took a really good look at his ‘opponent’. Although rather young, the girl apparently knew exactly what she was doing. Although he could only see the hilt, he assumed that some kind of sword rested in a sheath across the girl’s back, strapped to one leg was the longest, deadliest dagger he’d ever seen, and sitting neatly in a holster on the other leg, was one of the nastiest weapons (he assumed) he’d ever seen in his entire military career.

Not wanting to show fear, especially in front of his men, the major continued

"Just who do you think you are, mutant? If you hadn’t noticed, you are vastly outnumbered and my troops are more than a match for you. "

Remembering the lessons she had been taught, Jenna refused to let the major’s taunts get to her. ‘Never let the enemy think they have you. ’ Oblivious to the major, Jenna reveled in the rush of power flowing through her right now. She wasn’t sure if it was just her own abilites or being in such close proximity to Ares, war personified.

"You may have me outnumbered major, but definitely not outclassed. "

The major was becoming visibly angered at Jenna’s attitude. He had her easily outnumbered 20 to 1 and she still had the audacity to belittle him and his troops. Her attitude reminded him of some characters from mythology he had studied while in college, specifically the Greek Pantheon of Gods.

"You act like you are some kind of God, but you are nothing but a filthy, killer mutant freak. You …"

The major stopped in mid-sentence as the air just behind and to the right of Jenna shimmered a silvery-blue color and two figures emerged out of nowhere. Both were dressed identically in black leather with silver trim, and wore matching pendants, the one on the male being larger than the one on the female. An aura of sheer, raw, unbelievable menacing power emanated from the male figure and his features were nothing like the major had ever encountered. Well-trimmed, curly black hair; deep, all consuming brown/black eyes combined with a well-muscled body, and perhaps the most striking feature being the enormous sword resting on his left hip. The female was similarly dressed in black leather with matching silver markings, with the only differences being that her eyes were an ice blue in color and her hair was straight instead of curly, a sword resting in a scabbard across her back and with a sharp, circular object hanging from her right side.

"She, " the male spoke, indicating Jenna with a wave of his hand, "is not a god, however, I AM"




Jenna smiled as soon as she felt Ares and Xena step out of the aether. She may know how to fight these kinds of soldiers, but nothing she could do would be like getting a visit from war personified. ‘Damn, he is impressive. I’ll give him that.’

Jenna watched with an amused expression as she saw the look on not only the major’s face but the face of his troops as well. They may be well seasoned and well trained combat troops, but even she could see the fear in their eyes as Ares made his appearance.

Satisified that he could handle the situation so far, Jenna was content to let Ares ‘do his thing’.




The major looked at Ares, incredulous. This ‘man’ before him was claiming to be a ‘god’ and a very arrogant one at that. Figuring this ‘god’ was nothing more than just another lousy mutant, the major made his first mistake

Looking directly at Ares, the major said

"A God? You have got to be joking. There are no ‘Gods’. You’re nothing but a filthy mutant, whose time has come. Surrender now and the pain won’t start for awhile."

The major’s troops laughed as they prepared to take down the three mutants. The smirks on their faces changed quickly into fear as the air around them suddenly became very stagnant and heavy. They watched, awestruck, as the sky turned dark from storm clouds now gathering over their location, with lightning and thunder raging like nothing they’d ever seen. After tearing their attention away from the sudden changes in weather, the troops happened to glance at the man who called himself a ‘god’.

His body had now assumed a stance of deadly intent, and his face, if any of them lived, they would remember the look on his face for the rest of their lives. His eyes had turned the color of darkest night, his mouth had become a hard, cruel line and the darkness that rolled off him now seemed to come at them in ever increasing waves. The woman who stood beside him was equally as frightening. Her raven hair whipped erratically around her face, creating an eerie pattern between the flashes of lightning. One look into her ice blue eyes and all they could see was death personified.

The major had quickly noticed the change in his troops demeanor and asked one question.

"Who are you?"

As all hell broke loose, the reply was one the major would always remember.

"I am Ares, God of War."


Three people were sitting quietly at a booth in Haven House approximately 20 miles from Logan Airport, picking half-heartedly at the food on the plates in front of them.

"What did she mean, it wouldn’t be pretty?" Gabrielle asked

Caroline looked at Gabrielle, pushed her plate back and sat up a bit in her seat. Studying the features of the two people seated across from her, she began.

"Gabrielle, those were government troops after those two kids."

"Why would your government be after children?" Joxer asked, "What did they do?"

Caroline sighed heavily. Every day she lived with the fear that the same thing would happen to her daughter. It had almost happened once and could happen again. But seeing as they would be living in her house and exposed to the same danger, she felt it was only right to tell them.

" Most of the governments of the world fear people like my daughter and her friend Astro. Those two kids we picked up are probably on their own, orphans most likely. Their parents are either dead, or turned them in. The United States is certainly no exception to this kind of prejudice. They fear what they don’t understand and what they don’t understand they try to capture and control, otherwise they dissect and destroy."

Joxer and Gabrielle looked at each other, their eyes widening in horror. In their time, there had been people similar to these ‘troops’, but nothing like this.

"You mean they…they…children?"

"Yes, they do." A hard edge had crept into Caroline’s voice as she continued quietly, " And my daughter and others like her do everything they can to help put a stop to it."

"What’s going to happen to those kids?" Joxer asked

"We’ll see to any needs they may have, check on the status of their parents, and if the parents are gone, we’ll see that they find homes where they will be loved and safe from harm. "

"Why don’t the people do something?" Gabrielle asked.

"Because Gabrielle, officially, these ‘special groups’ don’t exist. That’s how the government gets away with what they do. The American public is so apathetic, they will believe anything the government says."

Looking Joxer squarely in the eyes, Gabrielle spoke for them.

"What’s so special about this place? Why did Jenna tell you to take the kids here?’

"You see, a few years ago, my daughter became independently wealthy because of this kind of prejudice. But instead of wasting the money the courts awarded her, like most kids her age would do, she decided to put it to good use. Knowing about the problems with mutants and their ‘status’, Jenna created Haven house. It’s an after school center for kids, has tutoring, snack bars, you name it, it has it. A place for kids to keep out of trouble. And," Caroline said, " A place any kid or family in trouble to go to. A Haven, a safe place."

Caroline started to continue, but stopped when three figures walked out of the back and made their way over to them. A quick study of Jenna’s face told her that the ‘problem’ had been dealt with and discussion of it was not an option right now.

Waiting til they had set down at the table, Caroline called for three more plates and drinks to be brought over to the table. Judging by the slight glaze still in her daughter’s eyes, she knew Jenna was still in combat mode, so Caroline changed the subject quickly.

"Moose said things have been kind of slow this week, he thinks it’s because it’s the last week of vacation before school is supposed to start. "

Jenna blinked once as the food was set down in front of her.

"Um, okay. I’ll check with him later. Oooh, yummy. One of my favorites."

Ares watched in fascination as Jenna nearly inhaled the plate of food in front of her. He had only a small glimpse of her fighting abilites back in the cave, and his respect for her had jumped leaps and bounds after watching her back at the airport. He knew of only one or two others that skilled with bladed weapons and had only seen one other better than her in hand to hand combat.

"Sorry about that back there. Not the kind of impression of my home country I wanted to show you."

"It’s all-right. It’s better we know now, rather than later. How much farther away is your home?" Ares asked

"A half-mile from here. We’re really close and it’s come in handy on more than one occasion. If everyone’s finished, I’ll drop these off at the kitchen and we can go."

A few minutes later everyone had finished, the plates had been gathered and dropped off at the kitchen and finally Ares, Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer were on their way to their new home.



When the mini-van finally pulled to a stop in the driveway of Jenna’s home, Gabrielle and Joxer stared at the place in amazement. Stepping out of the van, Ares and Xena also paused to look at their new abode. Jenna had been very accurate in her description, although the architecture was definitely foreign to what they were accustomed to. A long, covered porch stretched all the way across the front and partially around the side of the house, a large bay window peeked out from under one overhang and the house was painted in some kind of deep red with white trim.

Motioning to her friends, Jenna led them up the steps and into the house, tossing her bag on one of the chairs in the hallway. Ignoring the large pile of mail on the stand, she escorted her friends into the large living room to the left. Making sure they were comfortably seated, she sat down in a chair across from them, tucking her legs beneath her. With a look to her mom, Jenna knew it was time to explain a few more details to the group.

"This is an incredible home. How long have your parents owned it? " Gabrielle asked, her insatiable curiosity now active.

"It was a wedding present from my grandmother to them. My dad grew up here and met my mom while they were in school. "

"What happened back there?" Joxer asked

"Are you absolutely sure you want to know the details?"

Both Joxer and Gabrielle’s curious natures were not to be denied and judging by the looks on their faces, Jenna knew they wouldn’t stop asking until they found out every little detail. With a glance to both Ares and Xena, Jenna inhaled deeply and began

"Mom got all of you two and the kids out of there just in time. There were twenty soldiers and their commanding officer there at the airport. They had been sent to ‘retrieve’ the two kids and bring them back to base. Apparently, somehow those two had escaped earlier in the day and were on the run. Which means, in all probability, that there is a ‘facility’ close by and will have to be shut down."

"Facility? Shut down? How? " Gabrielle asked

"Simple, Gabrielle. We capture one of them and have a little ‘chat’ with them. Once we have the information, we assemble a strike team, go in under cover, rescue any hostages, and then destroy the facility and all those responsible in it."

The simple, matter of fact statement from Jenna surprised everyone there, including Ares. And he knew from his eons of experience, that Jenna not only meant every single word of what she had just said, it would be done as well. Gabrielle paled visibly along with Joxer, while Xena just took it for a simple, factual statement.

"You…you’ll destroy every person there?" Joxer asked, recovering his voice first.

Jenna turned to him, understanding the reason behind his question. Choosing her words carefully, she continued for the benefit of Gabrielle and Joxer.

"Those who are responsible for the atrocities committed at that facility would die. It’s as simple as that. Those who aren’t responsible will be spared."

"And just how will you know who is and who isn’t responsible?"

"Telepathic examination. Most of the group who will probably be going to that facility is telepathic. As we encounter them, we will probe them and if they are guilty, they die; if they aren’t, they will just be stunned and dealt with later. "

"How can you be so cold about what you are proposing? Those men probably have families, wives, and children. Would you deprive those children of their fathers, wives of their husbands." Gabrielle began to pace, her anger plainly evident.

"Look at me." Jenna stood up and caught Gabrielle by the arm, spinning her around to face her. "I never said that this time was peaceful or happy. Innocent children are dying just because they are born different and as long as I am around, I WILL do ANYTHING I can to stop that from happening. "

"I don’t know if I…"

"Look, I am not asking if you like or agree with it. Hell, I’m not even asking you to participate in it." Jenna snapped, her control nearly gone, "And, while I know it goes against your nature to do that, it doesn’t go against mine. "

"Do you know for sure that they are hurting children?" Joxer asked

Jenna whirled around to face Joxer, her anger quickly rising to the surface. With a great effort, she managed to hold her anger in check and motioned for the group to follow her downstairs to the basement. Once down in the basement, she led them to a small room, which had a few seats and a small television and VCR in one corner. Going over to a bookcase, she removed a tape and put it in the machine as she grabbed four small plastic bags from the corner table. Handing a bag to each of them, she turned on the TV and picked up the remote control for the VCR.

"What are these for?" Xena asked indicating the plastic bag in her hand

Not taking her eyes from the screen, she replied as the tape was cued

"In case you get sick."

"Get sick?" Ares asked

"Just watch." Jenna said, pressing the play button.




It took nearly an hour for them to completely calm down after viewing the tape Jenna had shown them. Out of all four of them, only Joxer and Gabrielle had found the bags necessary, although Xena had come close on several occasions. Even though Ares was physically unaffected by what he’d seen on the tape, he had nearly lost control, enraged beyond belief and was ready to go and send them all to Tartarus until Xena laid her hand in his. Exerting a great amount of willpower, Ares brought his rage under control and in all his millenniums of existence; he’d never seen atrocities committed like the ones he had just viewed.

"Seen enough?"

Xena spoke first, her voice somewhat shaky as she said

"I understand. How can we help?"

"Simple. Study the time you are living in now very carefully. Learn everything you possibly can and most important of all train and practice. I can teach you the hand-to-hand stuff and how to use the weapons. "

"What about you?" Joxer asked

"I train every single day and patrol as well. When you’ve gotten better, I’ll take you out on patrol with me."

"And what about Xena and myself?"

"I haven’t forgotten about you two. Both of you will need some retraining, and Xena will have to learn to use her other abilites."

Both Ares and Xena did a double take and then looked back to Jenna, more than a bit confused.

"What abilities?"

"Didn’t Dr. Henson tell you? "

"Tell me what?"

"You’re part Olympian god."




Both Ares and Xena’s eyes widened in shock and Ares asked

" What? Who?"

"Not you, Ares, and if you’re wondering it’s not your father either. But it’s definitely one of the seated twelve. He didn’t tell me who, just said that she was at least 80-90 percent Olympian."

"If that’s so, why didn’t I develop any other powers and stuff?"

"Could be any number of reasons. No opportunity for them to completely surface, close dealings with a number of the gods, dying twice. Any number of things actually. When he healed you in the cave, he was able to bring the powers out. That bracelet you’ve been wearing since that day has been limiting them, until you could be told about them and someone was able to teach you how to use them."

"Okay. Just what will I be able to do?" Xena inquired.

"In addition to the rapid healing ability and superior fighting skills you already have, I’ll bet you’ll probably be able to blast something, maybe teleport and possibly heal others. Won’t know until the doc takes the bracelet off and he won’t be over for a couple more days, said something about a conference or something. "

Ares felt a smile cross his face as he pulled Xena close. Whispering in her ear, he said,

"I can teach you everything you need to know. "

Xena turned to face him and caught the underlying tone in his voice and smile. Fixing him with one of her own smiles, she replied

"We’ll see."

" Now, onto a different subject. How would you like to see your rooms?"

"Sure. " Gabrielle replied

"Let’s go"

Jenna led the group out of the basement and up to the second floor. Motioning to Joxer, she opened one of the doors. Swinging the door open, she motioned for them to come inside. Sweeping her arm around she pointed out the various pieces of furniture to him.

"Joxer, this will be your room while you are here. I hope you like it, because this room has been decorated in a nautical theme, so that’s why everything is either blue or blue-green. There’s a full-size bed against the far wall, a large chest of drawers, empty for the moment, a walk in closet and through this door," Jenna said, opening a door on the side wall, "leads into the bathroom on this floor. You will find towels, soap, shampoo and anything else you might need in there. The drawers are all marked in case you might forget. Gabrielle, your room is right off the other side of the bathroom. "

Jenna led everyone through the bathroom, taking time to point out the various items and where they were stored. As soon as she had opened the door to Gabrielle’s room, Jenna knew she had chosen the right one for her. Gabrielle’s room was done in a lilac color, with white trim. A full-sized canopy bed was against one wall and a matching chest of drawers was against the opposite wall and the room was bathed in light. A desk was situated right in front of the window.

" Gabrielle, I thought this room would be perfect for you. It’s bright, cheerful with lots of light, especially in the morning and really great for writing. The desk is stocked with paper, pens and even has a ink well and quill."

"It’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. " Gabrielle said, as she walked around the room, pausing to look at every little item.

"And you two. " Jenna said, pausing to take a look at Ares and Xena. "We’re currently remodeling three of the remaining bedrooms so it looks like you two will have to share the remaining bedroom. "

"I don’t think that will be too much of problem. " Ares replied, looking at Xena.

"Right, I’m sure it won’t." Jenna replied, leading Ares and Xena down the hall and stopping at the last door. "My aunt usually stays in this room when she visits. Which isn’t often enough for me, but too often for my mom. I think you’ll like the décor, both of you."

Jenna turned the doorknob and pushed the door open. As he stepped into the room, Ares felt immediately at home. Against the far wall there was all black, king-sized four-poster bed, with blood-red silk sheets and pillows in black and silver pillowcases. A large chest sat at the foot of the bed and in front of the fireplace there was a black fur rug, which was a nice contrast to the deep burgundy carpeting. The walls were painted in a rich red burgundy color with dark mahogany wood trim.

Looking around the room, Xena was aware of the lack of furnishings and asked, "Your aunt stays in this room?"

Jenna stifled a laugh as she replied.

"Yes, next to the training facility, this is her favorite room in the house. I am sure you’ll meet her sometime."

"I’d really like to meet this aunt of yours. She has unusual ‘taste’ in décor. "

Jenna stepped close to Ares and said,

"My aunt is a ‘unique’ individual. And she doesn’t care for men, much."

"Sounds like an Amazon." Xena said

"You’re right, actually. She is originally from Leningrad, but we’ve traced that side of the family back to ancient times. "

"Then I will definitely have to meet her."

"Later, folks. Right now, we have to go shopping for stuff for you guys. And I will get a large dresser for this room, since you two are sharing it. "

Deliberately ignoring the blatantly seductive look Ares shot at Xena, Jenna walked out of the room and downstairs, bumping into Gabrielle and Joxer along the way.

"Come on. Fortunately for us, the stores don’t close for a couple of hours, and this is gonna take a bit."

Shooting each other an intense look of longing, Ares and Xena walked out of their room and joined the group at the bottom of the stairs.

"Let’s go introduce you to the fine art of mall shopping."

With that, Jenna led the four of them outside and headed to the mall.




The trip to the mall was a short and uneventful one; the only real problem was getting Joxer to stay seated in the skimmer long enough to get there. Jenna smiled as she answered question after question from all of them, while pointing out various landmarks and their significance in local history.

"What is a mall?" Ares asked as Jenna drove the skimmer into the parking lot

"A mall is a large group of shops, with usually three or four really big stores as the main draw for shoppers. You can get just about anything you could want there. I think Gabrielle will love it. The only thing is you won’t be able to barter down the prices on the merchandise. The price that’s marked is the price of the item. "

Gabrielle’s face fell a bit, but brightened up as they saw the size of the mall.

"You shop here?"

"Most of the time. Sometimes I take a bit of a trip for some specialty items."

Pulling the skimmer into the rooftop parking lot, Jenna waited for her guests to exit and locked the skimmer, shoving the lattice key into her pocket. Directing them to follow her through the rooftop access door, Jenna crossed her fingers as she followed them inside.



"This place is incredible. The Athens bazaar never had this much stuff. Look at all the neat things they have here. " Gabrielle exclaimed as she peered in the window of yet another shop, her arms already heavy with bags.

Jenna looked at her guests and was pleased to see that each of them had been doing a great deal of shopping. Ares had been quite taken with the leather specialty shop, while Joxer had taken quite an interest in the martial arts studio. Xena had filled up three bags in the new age shop and Gabrielle had nearly bought out the bookstore in the first fifteen minutes they were there.

"You really are okay with spending this much money for us?" Joxer asked.

"I am fine with it Joxer. I have more of that filthy green stuff than I know what to do with. You are staying with my family and me and you all need a lot of stuff and I want you to personalize your rooms a bit. Don’t worry about it, Joxer. You ought to all hit the clothing stores next. We didn’t have much time to get a lot back in Greece and the climate here can change really fast. "

Jenna collected her guests and led them to her favorite store at the mall. She watched her guests with amusement as they wandered throughout the store, picking up and trying on various items of clothing. Jenna nearly fell over laughing as she watched Gabrielle try to put on a pair of jeans. Ares and Xena seemed to have the easiest time shopping for clothes, both of them having picked up quite a few items of clothing which seemed to suit them both perfectly.

Jenna helped Joxer and Gabrielle choose clothes that best suited them and once everyone had finished their shopping, she paid the clerk for the items and they all left the store.

"Now where?" Xena asked, looking around the mall.

"I’m hungry" Gabrielle said, her eyes darting around looking for a place to get some food.

"This way, people. I know just the place." Jenna said, taking the lead and heading down the main corridor of the mall.

"I don’t care what it is, I could eat just about anything, right now." Joxer said

Jenna knew she had brought them to the right place as soon as Gabrielle’s eyes lit up and Joxer’s mouth started watering. Setting her companions down at a table, Jenna ordered enough food to feed a small army. Just as she was setting the trays of food down on the table, Jenna felt an unwelcome, but familiar presence stride up behind her.

"Well, well, well. Who do I have here, but my favorite truant case."

Jenna turned around, not wanting a confrontation right now, but knowing one was inevitable, especially with this particular life form.

"What do you want, Michaels? I’m kind of busy right now."




Andrew Michaels looked down at Jenna, disgust plainly evident on his face. Taking out his notepad, he began to make notes, scribbling down descriptions of the four adults at the table with Jenna.

"Who do we have here, Tolliver?"

Jenna looked up at Michaels, anger creeping into her voice

"None of your business and you know it. Why don’t you just get lost before you cost the city more money for harassing me."

Michaels looked down at Jenna, anger quickly replacing his disgust as he replied

"Contrary to what you think, missy. Who you associate with is my business, especially if it keeps you from receiving a proper education. "

Jenna’s eyes darted around the table and she noted with some amusement that Ares and Xena had taken an immediate dislike to this person and had shifted their positions around to make it easier for them to lend her assistance if necessary.

Taking a calming breath, Jenna looked up into the face of her current adversary and replied, her voice cold and quiet

"First off, I receive tutoring at home by a state-certified instructor because the school system which you work for is prejudiced against mutants and encouraged everyone to believe that I was dangerous when I was found to be one. Second, these four people are my family’s guests visiting from Greece, from where we just returned from an archaeological dig. Third, if you don’t leave now, I will contact Mr. Sebastian and inform him that you have been harassing me. Again… And I am quite sure that my guests would testify to that fact if necessary."

Andrew Michaels looked at Jenna, then at the faces of her companions who were now staring at him, anger plainly evident on their faces as well. Taking one good look at the deadly expression on Ares, Michaels turned his attention back to Jenna

"You are an arrogant little brat. Hiding behind your lawyer again?"

"That is enough. Leave now, mortal. You are beginning to anger me and that is something you don’t want."

Michaels turned to face the owner of that voice and found himself staring at Ares.

"And who do you think you are, interfering with a government official?"

Ares’ voice dropped to a deadly whisper, just loud enough to be heard at the table. Fixing his gaze on this pathetic excuse of a mortal he continued,

"I am something which you don’t wish to mess with. LEAVE NOW. "

Andrew Michaels was a persistent man. He had been a truant officer for nearly 25 years and had seen just about everything during his time of service. But, he had never encountered a God before.

"I said, who are you?"

Gabrielle and Joxer looked at this man, amusement now clearly written on their faces. They knew that the only reason that Ares hadn’t blasted the man was because they were in a public place and didn’t want to bring attention to themselves.

"Ari, dear, perhaps you should introduce yourself. While he probably won’t believe you, it should be interesting to see." Xena said, casually shifting herself into a ready position.

"All-right, my princess. " Ares replied.

"Who are you?" Michaels demanded. "My patience is wearing thin."

Ares stood up from the table to his full height and fixed Michaels with a stare that was guaranteed to scare a few years of life out of someone.

"Perhaps I’ve mellowed a bit with age, or I’m in a really good mood, which is why I haven’t turned you into a pile of ash by now. If this were another place, in another time, you would be a pile of ash for your insolence and disrespect. Tell me mortal, how knowledgeable are you on Ancient Greek History?"

Andrew Michaels looked more than just annoyed. His day had not gone well and it had been topped off by the chance encounter with Jenna and the most unusual group of adults he’d seen in a long time. Not only were they unusual, the dark-haired male seemed more concerned with Greek history, of all things, rather than giving him a straight answer. One of his best subjects in college had been Greek mythology, so he decided to play along with the dark-haired male.

"Actually, I did take a course in college on Greek Mythology. Why do you ask?"

"What do you know about the Olympian Gods, specifically the Twelve Seated Gods?"

"The major gods of the Pantheon?"

"Yes. "

"Only that they were self-indulgent, arrogant and seemed to think that humans were their play toys."

Ares stiffened slightly at that, but kept his anger in check.

"What do you know of the God of War?"

"That he was one of the worst of them, "

Xena took Ares’ hand, calming him down and silently urged him to continue.

"Trust me, Ares was not the worst of them by far. Actually, he was only doing the job he was created for. The worst of them was Zeus, actually. Much of his ‘actions’ were never put in the scrolls for study. "

Michaels looked at Ares with some speculation.

"And how would you know this. Are you an expert?"

"You could say that" Ares replied, a grin slowly crossing his face. "I’m actually quite an expert on the Greek Pantheon."

"You? An expert? You look like some kind of jobless drifter. And your companions, well they look like something out of a fantasy TV show. Her, especially" Michaels said, indicating Xena.

Ares closed his eyes for a moment, willing himself to keep his anger in check after that last comment about Xena. He looked at Michaels, all pretext at civility now gone. His expression and demeanor had changed drastically, from one of casual interest to one of cold, deadly intent, and his voice assumed a dark tone as he continued;

"In all my millennia of existence, the armies of the world worshipped me. They offered me sacrifices of all kinds. Treasures from far off kingdoms, the very best foods and wines that could be taken and virgins just to please me. I had countless numbers of priests and priestesses to serve me. Warriors swore blood oaths of complete loyalty to me. Statues, temples, weapons and works of art were created just to honor me. On the battlefield, dying soldiers often whispered my name, thanking me as they drew their final breath. Kingdoms were won and lost at my whim. She, " Ares said, indicating Xena, "is my Chosen One. And she, " Ares continued, indicating Jenna, "is one of my Favored Ones. "

Ares’ voice trailed off as realization slowly began to dawn on Andrew Michaels’ face. His clothing changed from the blue jeans and sweater, to his infamous black leather vest, pants and pewter pendant with his sword resting on his left hip

Leaning in close to Michaels, Ares whispered.

"As for who I am, mortal. I am Ares, God of War."


It took almost fifteen minutes for everyone to stop laughing after Andrew Michaels ran off. Finally calming down, Ares changed back into his blue jeans and sweater and reclaimed his seat next to Xena.

"I didn’t think anyone could turn that pale that quickly. " Gabrielle said, taking a sip of her drink.

"Does he always bother you?" Joxer asked.

"Sometimes. He seems to think that tutors aren’t as good as a school education. He’s been bothering me ever since I acquired my abilities and the school system threw me out."

"Threw you out?" Asked Xena

"Yeah, it started about month and a half after I found out about the abilities that I had acquired. Tommy Matthews was the school bully and he was picking on a first grader so I stepped in and stopped it.

"Are you sure it wasn’t just harmless fun?" Ares inquired

"I’m sure. Tommy seemed to think that he could beat up the younger kids whenever he wanted, so he could take their money. And the kid he was picking on this time was really small and was on crutches."

"Just what did you do to him?"

"I walked over and asked Tommy to stop and told him that he would no longer beat up kids just to get their money."

"So it wasn’t just teasing?"

"Nope. He put one kid in the hospital"

"Wasn’t he disciplined?"

"The school board was going to expel him, but Tommy’s daddy bought him out of it. Seems his daddy had a lot of money and did some ‘special things’ for the school board. So, instead of being expelled, they suspended him for only two days and he was back in school. "

"And what was his reaction when you told him to stop and he wasn’t going to do that to any more kids?" Xena asked

"He said that no wimpy girl would tell him what he could and could not do. "

"Then what?" Ares asked, his curiosity now piqued

"I told him that if he didn’t want to have what happened to the kid he hospitalized happen to him, he would stop right now."

"Then what happened?" Joxer asked

Jenna turned to look at him, a grin crossing her face as she recalled that day’s events

"Well, he didn’t take it too well, Joxer. His friends laughed at him and this only served to encourage him more. "

"And then?" Ares inquired

"He ‘tried’ to jump me. Not wanting to cause trouble, I just stepped aside and let him fall to the ground. "

"I bet that angered him." Xena replied

"Really pissed him off is more like it. Some of the other kids started laughing at him and this just made things even worse. He got up, brushed himself off and then it got nasty."

"How nasty?" Asked Xena

"Real nasty. He picked up a stick and tried to hit me with it. I promptly disarmed him and used his momentum to knock him to the ground."

"There’s’ got to be more to it than that." Ares asked.

"I’m not finished yet. He stood up again and came at me with his pocketknife. Where he got it, I don’t know. Before he came too close, I knocked his arm to the side and grabbed him by the wrist. He didn’t want to let go of the knife and during the struggle; I broke his arm in five places. "

"Five places?" Ares asked

"It was a compound fracture of his forearm with two fingers and his wrist getting broken in the process. He needed surgery to repair his arm. "

"And that was the start of the problems with the school?"

"Yes. They actually tried to take me to the police station, saying I was a danger, but my kitty wouldn’t let them"

"Kitty? " Joxer asked

"Oops, you didn’t get to meet Cubby."

"Cubby? Is he at the house?"

"Actually he should be here in a minute"

Xena, Ares, Joxer and Gabrielle looked around the eating area, trying to spot the cat. What they didn’t see was a large tiger-like creature, with large bat-like wings, walking thru the mall, headed directly for them. Jenna looked to her left and spotted the creature and motioned him over. Just as Cubby reached the table, Gabrielle turned around and saw him. Letting out a scream fit to wake Zeus himself, she alerted the others to the cat’s arrival. Joxer nearly fainted while Xena and Ares both stood up, ready to try and take on this large feline.

"W…What is that?????" Gabrielle stuttered, pointing directly at Cubby.

Jenna stifled a laugh as she motioned for everyone to sit back down. Giving the cat a good pat n scratch, Jenna looked around at the anxious faces in front of her.

"I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you. Cubby is a tiger-bat."

"What is a tiger-bat?" Xena asked.

"They were created by the Reeds as companions. A few reeds got exceedingly drunk one night and managed to gain access to a regenerator. You remember; the machine we used to heal Xena’s injuries. Some of those machines can also be used to manipulate the building blocks of life itself, and can create whole new life forms. Anyways, oh yes, almost got distracted there. The Reeds wanted a companion that was extremely loyal, could fly, and defend itself and it’s companion. What they did is cross a combination of elements of an ancient species of Saber-Toothed Tiger, Siberian Tiger, Dragon, some odds and ends of their own species, and a couple of others and they ended up with the tiger-bats. "

Xena heard a word she had not heard in many years and inquired; "You have Reeds?"

Jenna looked mildly surprised as she replied to Xena; " So you know about Reeds. Some of them must have gotten their hands on a hopper and took a trip back in time. Yes, we have them here too. Actually they originated here, in our time. But they sometimes get a hold of some advanced technologies, and take little vacations to other times using hoppers."


"Hoppers are devices used by some folks to journey through time for research purposes. The Reeds however, think of the devices as a sort of recreational vehicle. Kind of dangerous really; you can’t change anything in the past without risking a real upset to our future. But the Reeds somehow manage to do it without messing things up."

Xena seemed a bit confused for a moment then formulated a question; "And just exactly how would you know if they did change something? I mean, if your past was changed and your present altered, wouldn’t it seem like the altered reality was perfectly normal to you?"

Jenna looked impressed as she replied; "Very good Xena, most people never make that connection. Normally you would be right, but there are folks who do nothing but monitor the time lines for such alterations. These groups quickly repair any deviations from the normal, caused by interference. And they exist in a state outside of the normal temporal state, so they can look at it objectively."

Xena seemed about to ask for more details, when Cubby slowly brushed against her and settled down in front of Ares, eyeing him speculatively.

Ares took an appreciative look at Cubby and asked

"Does everyone get a tiger-bat?"

"Not everyone. The cats are pretty selective about whom they choose for companions. They are highly intelligent, and they are sentient. They really do have a mind of their own. They have a very weird sense of humor by our standards, but other than that, they are great friends. They even have their own government, and sciences. I don’t think the Reeds were expecting them to come out quite as smart as they did. But the odd thing is that despite all this, they still pretty much behave like a pampered and spoiled lap-cat around their humans. They also have most of the unique abilities of the Reeds, and then some. I think Cubby likes you Ares."

"They are certainly impressive creatures."

"Thaaaank yewww." Replied Cubby, in a somewhat musical and definitely feline voice.

Ares and Xena turned at the sound, only to find it had come from cubby himself.

"You talk?"

"Yesss. Caannnt Yewww?" Said the Tiger bat.

Xena and Ares looked from Cubby to each other and then back to the cat. Then all at the table broke out into loud laughter. Jenna looked at her watch as a voice drifted over the loudspeakers, informing shoppers that the mall was closing.

"I guess we’d best be going back home, now. Besides, you need to get your stuff put away and a really good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day."

"Busy? What’s happening tomorrow? " Joxer asked, picking up his bags

Jenna turned to look at her friends

"Well, tomorrow we start training. Sooner the better, I think. The doc should be back from his conference by the end of the week and he can tell you about your abilities. "

Jenna led her friends out of the mall and over to where her skimmer was parked. Opening up the storage compartment of the skimmer, she carefully arranged the numerous packages, careful not to mix them up in the process. Just as Jenna was about to climb into the skimmer, she stopped as she heard Cubby call out to her.

"Meeeu Meeeuuuw"

Jenna glanced around the parking lot, her eyes finally settling upon what Cubby had alerted her to. Ares and Xena noticed the approaching figures, and when they began to get out of the skimmer, Jenna motioned for them to sit back down.

"Are you sure?" Ares asked.

"Yep. Just watch. I guess training started a bit early."

With that, Jenna turned to face the on-comers, casually shifting into a battle ready stance. As they stepped into the light, Jenna recognized them.

"Well, well. If it isn’t the freak girl herself."

Jenna’s face remained neutral as she replied

"Hello, Tommy. How’s the arm doing?"




Tommy Matthews was fifteen years old and very large for his age. Not fat, mind you, but very solidly built, much like a defensive lineman for a pro football team. In all his years, he had only been bested in a fight once and that fight had resulted in a badly broken arm. He had been plotting revenge upon the person responsible for it and felt the time had come to act.

"Looks like I’ve caught you all alone this time, bitch. You’ll finally pay for what you did to my arm. "

Jenna looked at him, and at his friend who were standing behind him in a half circle. Shaking her head, she replied

"Bad idea on your part, Tommy. Let it go, I don’t want to fight you. "

"Too bad, Tolliver. My friends are here to see that the fight ends in my favor."

"Ain’t gonna happen, Tommy. I’m not alone either. "

"You think those morons in your skimmer frighten me? "

"No, I’m not talking about them. It’s been awhile since you’ve seen Cubby, hasn’t it? Go and take a look behind you."

Tommy Matthews and his friends turned around only to come face to face with Cubby.

Cubby had grown up in the time since Tommy Matthews and his friends had last encountered him. Only a cub then, Cubby had matured into a full-grown tiger bat, developing the traditional tan fur with black striping.

Ares watched this with great interest as Cubby showed no sign of the goofiness upon their earlier meeting. The cat was now all business; his fur standing up on end and what appeared to be smoke was now curling out of his nostrils. A low grumbling sound emanated from Cubby’s throat and Ares saw enormous claws suddenly protrude from the cat’s massive paws.

"I suggest you leave, Tommy. Cubby doesn’t like you very much and you really don’t want to make him mad."

"Shut up, freak. Once I’m finished with you, I’ll put that mongrel out of its misery as well."

Jenna knew that Tommy wouldn’t give up so easily, especially with his buddies around to back him up. She knew the crowd he hung out with and had banned them from Haven House for causing trouble. She also sensed that Tommy was hiding something, which made Jenna rather nervous.

As Jenna turned to get a better angle on Tommy and his friends, she heard the distinctive sound of a gun being cocked and instinctively knew it was pointed directly at her. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ares and Xena quietly disappear and knew they stood ready to assist her should it be necessary.

"Not so cocky now, are you. Call off your cat, Tolliver, or he’ll be the first one to get it."

"You can’t shoot us both, Tommy. "

"Wouldn’t matter. You try anything stupid and your cat will be in pieces. "

Keeping her expression neutral, Jenna’s anxiety level jumped tenfold as the weapon was pointed at Cubby. No one threatened her cat and got away with it.

Jenna knew that the gun in Tommy’s hand could do some serious damage at short range, even to a mutant. She also knew that Cubby wasn’t as bulletproof as she was. Taking Tommy on directly would just endanger her cat further, which she would not allow.

"Okay Tommy, have it your way, I’ll fight all of you at once. But no guns, it might go off and kill one of you."

Tommy looked amused at her comment, but he knew he had to recover some of his damaged reputation. Tommy also knew that Jenna had no idea about the special implants his father had paid the surgeons who worked on his arm to put in. He felt that these would definitely tip the scales in his favor. "Okay freak girl. You’re on!"

With that, he dropped the gun to the ground and pounced at Jenna. Simultaneously, his pack of friends did the same.

Jenna had felt confident at the onset of the fight. Tommy’s friends seemed to fold up nicely when hit, but Tommy had somehow managed to evade most of her blows and had actually made painful contact with her a few times.

As Jenna pondered what could be causing this, while crippling another of Tommy’s posse, she felt something very hard and very fast hit her in the shoulder. The force of the impact was so hard that it threw her into a parked car hard enough to knock the wind out of her.

As Jenna recovered her balance and turned back to the fight, She could see that Tommy was standing there smiling, his gun once again pointing at Cubby. "Well freak girl, how do you like me now? Amazing what a difference a few million worth of cyber enhancements can make, isn’t it?"

"Of course"; Jenna thought; "Cyber enhancements… Crap, that’s why I couldn’t hit him."

Jenna knew that the rules had suddenly changed and definitely not in her favor. If Tommy’s folks had sunk that kind of money into cyber enhancements, then something was definitely going on. It also meant that Cubby was in serious danger. She was trying to decide how best to take out the now lethal opponent when she saw a faint shadow fade into view behind Tommy. She knew who it was and decided to distract Tommy; "Well brat boy, looks like you joined the freak club too then. But at least I won’t rust."

This had the desired effect of distracting Tommy and making him change his point of aim. It also had the unexpected and most undesired effect of driving him completely over the edge. Looking murderously at Jenna, Tommy screamed; "Bitch! I’ll kill you for that, you stinking bitch!"

Jenna only saw a quick movement and heard a large pop. As she fell to the concrete unconscious, Jenna’s last conscious thought was that she had violated the cardinal ruled drilled into her by Astro. She had underestimated her enemy.




Jenna thought she couldn’t hurt any worse, then she did, and for a long time. When she finally realized that, this meant she was still alive. She was not too sure she was happy about that small favor.

Xena and Ares sat with Caroline as Dr. Henson finished treating Jenna. He seemed satisfied that the girl would live finally, and began replacing his instruments; "She’s really lucky, another inch or so, and she would not be here with us now. As it is, she is going to need at least six weeks of rest to heal."

All of the adults in the room seemed very relieved. Xena and Ares had come to be very fond of their young benefactor in such a short amount of time. Xena still couldn’t believe what she had seen Ares do.

As Tommy had aimed the strange weapon at Jenna, Ares had materialized out of the aether quietly behind him and then had violently thrown Tommy upwards in the air. If it hadn’t been for that violent jerk, Tommy’s shot would have found Jenna’s heart and it would have been over. When the boy landed a few seconds later, he had actually tried to shoot Ares, failing to realize who he was. Xena didn’t know what the strange weapon was capable of, so she had immediately gone into action. Using her Chakram, she had neatly severed the boy’s arm at the elbow, but no blood was present at the wound. All Xena could see was some shiny metallic bits and pieces as the boy started screaming at the top of his lungs. They hadn’t wasted time to finish him off as they quickly got Jenna into the skimmer and somehow managed to get it moving.

Ares had been watching Jenna during the ride to the mall and had deduced the functions of the small vehicle. This fact combined with the perfect memory all the gods had, contributed further in saving Jenna’s life.

Cubby had not gone with them to the clinic. From what Ares could pick out from his angered and broken speech, the cat thoroughly intended to finish up the fight and see to it that the evil boy did not harm anyone else ever. Ares normally despised fighting children, but in the case of this particular boy, he hoped the cat didn’t leave much behind.

"And how are we feeling now?" Dr. Henson asked

"Really sore. I made a really stupid mistake."

"Yeah, but you didn’t know about the implants."

Jenna turned her head as much as she could and saw a figure leaning against the doorframe. Relief flooded her face as she recognized her friend Astro.

"How did you find out?"

"Buffy. As soon as it happened it was on the cat grapevine. I got here as fast as I could. Are you gonna be okay?"

"She’ll be fine, Astro. It will take about six weeks, but Jenna will be just fine." Dr. Henson replied.

"Cool. Um, one question? "

"What’s that?"

"Who’s gonna help them?" Astro asked, pointing to Ares and Xena.

"Aw, crap. I can’t get out of this bed for a week. And then I’m housebound for just over a month. " Jenna said

"Jenna, don’t worry. We’ll be fine until you get better." Xena replied. "I’m sure we can take care of ourselves."

Both Astro and Jenna looked at Xena and Ares, skepticism clearly written on both of their faces.

"Are you sure about this? You don’t even know the area. " Jenna replied

"How can we learn if we don’t go out and explore this new world?" Ares replied. "Besides, if any kind of trouble presents itself, I’ll just teleport us all out of there."

"What about Gabrielle and Joxer?" Jenna asked.

"Actually, Joxer signed up for classes at the martial arts studio at the mall. He’s taking every form that they offer there along with the weapons classes. He’ll be there from mid morning til early evening." Ares said.

"And what about Gabrielle?"

"She’s actually gonna write about our adventures. Who knows, it may even get published. She picked up a lot of ink and paper and said that she’d rather wait until you’re better before going out. She also said that she would make up for some lost time by practicing with her sais and staff." Xena said.

"I’d feel better if I was with you, but since that’s not feasible right now, please be careful while you’re out there. I’ll see if I can find someone who can at least guide you until I’m back on my feet."

Ares smiled at Xena and took her hand

"Well, my Princess. Are you ready? "

Xena looked at Jenna, then back at Ares. With a smile meant only for him, she replied

"Ready for what?"

"Our new life, Princess."

"Our new life, I like the sound of that…."




To Be Continued in Part Two


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