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Xena: Warrior Princess

The Warrior and the Time Lord

by: Shahn-Ryan Schumacher

silverone@hotmail.com

 

With additional material contributed by Monica Yrrobali

Xena and Gabrielle cross paths with a mysterious traveler known only as......

The Doctor.

(Authorís note: It was my intention to combine my two favorite television heroes, Doctor Who and Xena: Warrior Princess and at the same time, stay true to the premises set in both the Doctor Who and Xena television series. This story takes place somewhere between the televised stories "A Comedy of Eros" and "The Debt-II")

DISCLAIMERS: Xena, Gabrielle, Argo, et al., are the sole property and copyright of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. No infringement of copyright was intended in the creation of this fan fiction and the characters are used here without permission. All other story components are the exclusive property of the author and may be reproduced solely for private use and may in no way be reproduced for sale.

The character of the Doctor, as portrayed by Paul McGann, the TARDIS, and all other related material is the sole property off the BBC, BBC Worldwide, and MCA/Universal pictures. No infringement of copyright was intended in the creation of this fan fiction and the characters are used here without permission. All other story components are the sole property of the author and may be reproduced solely for private use and may in no way be reproduced for sale.

VIOLENCE DISCLAIMER: This work of fan fiction may, at times, include scenes of violence that may range from slight to rather graphic. If you cannot tolerate violence or the degree of violence displayed upsets you, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER...you have been warned!!!

ADULT THEMES AND CONTENT DISCLAIMER: This work of fiction may at times contain themes and content of a mature, adult nature and may not be suitable for those under the age of 18. If such material is offensive to you, or is illegal where you live, again, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER...you have been warned!!!

 

 

CHAPTER 1: SCHISMS

The blazing Mediterranean sun beat down mercilessly upon the land with an intense heat that seemed to suck the life out of everything that it touched. On a well trod footpath that cut a trail through the dense foliage of the forest, two women were walking side by side engrossed in conversation. The older of the two women was a tall brunette dressed in leather armor. The woman had a regal bearing about her that seemed to exude an aura of respect. She had sky blue eyes set into a slender face with a firm jaw. The lips were full and red and the head was surrounded by flowing locks of dark-brown hair. The eyes held a deep knowledge of the ways of the world. She had the stance of a fighter and this image was enhanced by the two-handed sword strapped to her back and the chakram that hung from a mount at her side. This was Xena, Warrior Princess. Xena walked in silence leading her mare Argo and listening to the youthful and lively younger blonde woman walking in step beside her. Every few moments Xena would utter a simple "Hmmm..." in response to a statement from her companion. Xenaís eyes scanned the dense foliage ahead of her and her companion. The heat was unforgiving and it seemed to Xena that it could most likely rival Tartarus in intensity. The warrior could feel the sweat running down the contours of her body and it did little to help her already static attitude. Her bangs were beginning to stick to her forehead and she brushed them back with the flick of her hand. She had begun to contemplate cooling off in the first body of water that they happened upon when the sound of her companion talking broke through her reverie.

"Xena! Youíre not listening!" Gabrielle, Xenaís blonde companion, friend, and bard cried plaintively.

"Hmmm? What?" Xena replied.

"I said youíre not listening. Youíre off into your own world again." Gabrielle stated.

"Of course I was listening." Xena said, a hint of annoyance creeping into her voice.

"Alright then, what did I just say?" Gabrielle asked. By this point the two friends had stopped walking and now stood opposite each other, staring. You could have cut the air with a knife. Again Gabrielle asked,

"What did I say? Come on, Xena. Tell me."

"I donít remember." Xena stated flatly.

"You see, you werenít listening. Youíve been doing this a lot lately." Gabrielle said somewhat accusatorially.

"Ok! Ok! I wasnít listening. Iím sorry." Xena turned and started to head down the path again leaving Gabrielle fuming silently. The bard rammed the end of her staff into the soft earth and took off after the warrior.

Far away from where Xena and Gabrielle were stewing in the heat of the afternoon, a lone figure huddled over the sight of the two of them in a reflecting pool. The figureís muscular frame was clad in black leather. A black moustache framed a proud mouth and formed a goatee. Dark hair spilled in curls down to the figureís shoulders and dark eyes burned with a combined lust and hatred at the warrior and bard whose images were caught in the reflecting pool. The figure was dressed in a black collared vest and leather breeches. The man crossed his arms, intent on observing the scene before him. He spoke to the younger, leather clad man standing near him.

"Very good Strife. Iíve always liked playing with peopleís minds, but with Xena and that irritating blonde, that pleasureís always two-fold. First, in my plan to get Xena back, we start by separating Xena and Gabrielle and I like what Iíve seen so far. Keep it up." The older man patted the one called Strife on the back and stepped to the far side of the pool and leaned over it placing his hands on the edge and whispered in a soft voice,

"Let the games begin...."

"Whatís next on the agenda, Uncle?"

"Wait and see, Strife. Wait and see." Soon, Xena, you will be mine again, thought Ares, God of War.

Gabrielle caught up to her friend and stepped in front of the warriorís path, causing Xena to nearly run her over. Gabrielle was by this time clearly miffed.

"Xena! Stop! Now, Iím not allowing you to go one step further until you tell me whatís going on."

Gabrielle planted her feet roughly shoulder-width apart. As she stared squarely at Xena, an almost imperceptible shiver crept down her spine and it was a sensation that she could have done without for the time being. Xena had never been big on sharing her emotions openly and Gabrielle knew this. The shiver that had just ran down her spine had filled the bard with a sense of approaching dread, and try as she might, she couldnít shake the feeling. It began to turn her stomach in knots.

The heavy air was suddenly broken by a light breeze and Gabrielle noticed that nothing was moving--all was still. The bard was beginning to think that perhaps she had pushed the warrior too far. Xena had always been secretive by nature and this particular aspect of her personality seemed to be manifesting itself quite a lot in the last few weeks. Gabrielle felt as though she and Xena were starting to grow apart, and an arrow of pain shot through her heart. It hurt her to the core and she didnít want to think anymore about it.

Xena looked like she was staring daggers at her friend and then made to move around the bard. Gabrielle reached out to Xena to offer an apology when the warrior rounded angrily on the bard and instinctively made an attack maneuver towards her. Gabrielle threw up her hands to defend herself and cried out,

"Xena!"

The warrior caught herself before she made contact. The look of fear combined with anger and shock on Gabrielleís face pierced Xenaís heart and the warrior drew back as if stung by her actions. She made an attempt at an apology to Gabrielle, but the words simply failed her.

"Ga...Gabrielle, I-Iím sorry. I..."

Xena reached out to the girl who was tensed like a coiled snake, but as Xena came near her, Gabrielle pulled back from her and hissed,

"Donít touch me!"

Gabrielleís tone was full of venom and even she was shocked and she gasped in surprise at the tone of her voice. Xena then turned and mounted Argo and took off riding at a breakneck pace. She needed to work out her anger and it seemed that a ride would help to clear her head of some of the cobwebs.

Gabrielle knew that Xena needed to be alone right now, but more than anything, she knew that Xena needed to rid her soul of the poisons that were threatening to consume her. The two women were starting to drift apart. The schism was growing...

 

"By Zeus! Yes! Strife, that was truly excellent!", Ares exclaimed. The two gods watched as the powers of the younger god took effect. Strifeís ability at playing mind games had proved useful before in helping to almost destroying Hercules until Zeus and Xena interfered and his powers were returned to him. In the calm surface of the reflecting pool, the scene that shown was one of Xena riding at breakneck speed through the trees down the path and Gabrielle was doing a none-to-fair job at keeping up with her.

Ares made a wide sweeping gesture across the quiet and still waters of the pool. The waters rippled as if disturbed by an unseen breath or wind and the scene changed to one of a series of ruins. The scene was constantly moving, giving Ares and Strife a birdís-eye view of the landscape. The scene ended at the edge of a gorge. Two great stone pillars stood at the very edge of the gorge amidst a tangle of overgrown weeds ranging from brilliant emerald to the browns of dead and dying vegetation. You could see the remains of a one time footbridge dangling from the great stone pillars. Ares knew the reason behind the destruction of the footbridge and as the thought passed his twisted mind, the god of war allowed himself a smile. Strife broke into his thoughts.

"So, Uncle, why all the interest in a lava pit?"

Ares returned his attention to the scene in the pool and he was suddenly struck by the beauty of the spot as the greens of nature leapt out at him. The sight of it made him want to throw-up.

"Look closely at the lava pit, you dunderhead!", Ares growled, and grabbing Strife by his collar, forced his face within mere inches of the surface of the pool. At first Strife didnít see what Ares was talking about and then it hit him like one of Zeusí thunderbolts.

"That mound in the middle of the lava flow, it looks...", Strife started.

"Like two women locked in a vicious battle.", Ares finished for him;

"Callisto and Velascaís prison. Both confined by Xena while trying to save...", and at this point Ares shuddered in disgust, "that irritating blonde, Gabrielle."

"So, " said Strife, "instead of bringing Xena to you..."

"Iím taking the fight to Xena." Ares finished, his evil laughter filling the cavern. Strifeís evil cackling joined Aresí in a hellish cacophony.

 

 

CHAPTER 2: THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

(A.K.A--the never-ending chapter from hell!)

The storm that was raging through both Xenaís mind and in her heart almost threatened to overpower the warrior and drag her down into a pit of emotional blackness from which she may never recover. Xena knew full well that after that fierce display back there when she almost struck Gabrielle; she needed to regain control. Never in their time as traveling companions had Xena ever came anywhere near striking the young woman who had become the sole light in her dark world. Xena remembered back to the prayer she made to the gods one night that Gabrielle overheard when she thought she was sleeping and the thoughts kept on coming.

If that light were ever extinguished.....I should have just talked to her, told her how I felt, she would have understood. I nearly STRUCK her, I...

Xena slowed Argo and reined the horse in and tied her to a tree just off the path. The warrior looked around her to take in some of her surroundings. The foliage of the forest was much denser here than what she and Gabrielle had experienced just moments ago. However, with the fight that she had just had with the one whom she would sell her soul for, those moments seemed like countless eons ago. The warriorís sky blue eyes continued scanning her surroundings and she made a note of the dense canopy of trees that towered above her and very nearly blocked the light of the sun. Xena could feel the sweat pasting the leather of her uniform to her body. She felt like she could peel the leather off of her like the skin of a ripe fruit and she dreamt of release. First things first, she thought, I need to clear my mind. Xena looked around and the air was thick and full and steamy. The warrior moved into the foliage that seemed to grab at her like a million fingers, pulling on her. It only served to aggravate her even more.

Gabrielle was puffing heavily as she ran after Xena. She was doing her best to keep up with the warrior, but Xena had long ago outstripped her. Gabrielle was panting very hard and then caught her side as a sharp pain shot through her. Oh great!, she thought, Running cramps! Gabrielle doubled over in pain as a second wave washed over her as well as a wave of nausea. The sensation brought Gabrielle crashing down on her knees and gagging violently. Waves of blonde hair spilled over her shoulders and in that instant, she longed for Xenaís skills in relieving sickness. Itís most likely heat induced, she thought, No wonder I got ill. The bardís thoughts traveled to her companion and immediately felt better for it. Warm stirrings of emotion filled Gabrielleís heart as she thought back to times in the past where Xena had nursed her back to health. Oddly, Gabrielle found herself calming down and even relaxing. She thought of the sensitivity of Xenaís warriorís touch, the nearness of her leather-scented body, the world of love in the warriorís eyes.....

Come on, Gabrielle! Wake up! The bard closed her eyes and shook her head side to side to clear the cobwebs from her brain. Itís the heat, she thought, gotta be the heat. Gabrielleís head had stopped swimming and slowly, if a little shakily, the bard lifted herself up on unsure legs using her staff as support. She took a deep breath and casually brushed her hair back out of her eyes and continued down the path after Xena at a slow trot.

Xena had moved into the dense forest foliage and amidst the deep jades and emeralds of the forest had found a nice little clearing of roughly seven and a half to eight feet in diameter. Xena could tell that the site must have been used at one time or another as a campsite and there was evidence that the site had been recently used. There were the remains of a fire with several burned sticks and kindling surrounded by a circle of stones beyond which the ground had been cleared of all flammable materials. Xena bent down to examine the fire and noted that whoever had last been here had long since moved on. The warriorís trained senses detected no other unusual sounds or odors in the air or anything else out of the ordinary. Xena also noted that the air here in this glad was noticeably cooler, but the humidity was still causing her to sweat profusely and she could feel the sweat running over the contours of her body: down her back and around the soft curves of her breasts. The Warrior Princess decided that this place would be as good a place as any to stop and meditate and suddenly she was in another place. Xena swung around on Gabrielle angrily, instinctively moving to attack. She saw Gabrielle throw up her hands to defend herself and heard the bard cry out her name...

Xena knew she had lost control and needed to regain her focus. The Warrior Princess positioned herself, planting her feet flat and positioning her hands before her. She closed her eyes and began to meditate.

* * * * *

In a small one man camp site far away from where Xena was meditating, a dark haired man was roused from his sleep by rolling over face first into the still smouldering embers of his campfire.

"Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhh!!!", the man screamed in pain. He rolled over out of the embers of the fire, over his bed roll and ended up impaling his left buttock on his dagger. Again the man howled in agony. He pulled the tip of the dagger out of his buttock and stood and immediately brained himself on a low hanging branch. A plethora of multi-colored stars swam in his sight. He stood to his full height, shook the black dust from his sooty face, took one step forward, and then promptly collapsed into an unconscious heap on the forest floor.

* * * * *

Gabrielle had noticed the increasing density of the forest and how the air did seem to be somewhat cooler here; however, it did precious little to help stop the sweat from running down her back. She felt the sweat sliding between her shoulder blades under her green halter top and she was dying to cool herself off in the nearest brook she happened upon. Gabrielle rested her head on the cool wood of her staff and closed her eyes and let her thoughts drift through visions of sparkling cool blue water. The bard could almost feel the luscious cool water lick her nude body in almost erotic ways. A smiled played across her soft pink lips and thatís when, in her mindís eye, she saw her. Gabrielle saw the lithe form of the Warrior Princessís nude body which was bathed in a golden glow--backlit by the light of the afternoon. The bard carefully took in every detail that came pouring forth out of her memory. Everything was perfectly clear to Gabrielle; every detail. She could see it all; the muscled form, the bronzed skin, the firm breasts, the nipples that were erect as a result of the icy cold water, the dark patch of hair that fanned out from just inches below Xenaís navel. It was then that Gabrielleís thoughts of her friend soured and turned hideous and dark and again anger and fear gripped her soul and the scene from earlier in the day replayed itself over in her mind. A little voice in the back of Gabrielleís mind started berating the bard for her seemingly stupid sentimentality. After all, she thought, isnít this woman, this warrior, the very same woman who very nearly incapacitated me when she made to attack me? A feeling of rage such as Gabrielle had never known welled up inside her and for a moment, Gabrielle gripped her staff so hard that her knuckles turned white with the strain. A low rumble started up from the pit of Gabrielleís gut and forced its way through her until it burst forth from her lips in a blood-curdling scream of intense hurt and rage and the young woman collapsed as hot, stinging tears forced their way out from beneath clenched shut eyelids. Great wracking sobs shook Gabrielleís body and she fell to her knees and pounded the earth with her fists until her wrists ached. Xena had almost hit her! Why should she go and talk to the warrior when it was all her fault anyway? Gabrielle rolled over on her back as the crying subsided and decided that, as she had once forgiven Callisto, who had murdered her husband Perdicas in cold blood, that she could forgive her best friend. The bard stood up and, wiping the tears from her eyes, set forth after the Warrior Princess.

Xenaís storm ravaged soul had, for the time being, found a kind of peace and her meditation exercises had returned to her the trained calm of the warrior. Right now she could not allow thoughts of her bard to cross her mind. She needed to clear and level headed when the two got back together and it wouldnít do for them to be at each otherís throats. Xena finished her mental training exercises and decided to practice her attack maneuvers and hone her already excellent battle skills. Xena positioned herself square in the center of the clearing and unsheathed her sword from its leather scabbard. The Warrior Princess was in her element practicing her thrusts and blocks and parries. All of Xenaís concentration was directed into her practice and so she failed to notice the young bard approach through the woods. Xena immediately caught sight of Gabrielle and instantly halted her exercises. Xena could tell that Gabrielle had been crying due to the red circles under her eyes and she also looked like she had gone for a tumble in the undergrowth of the forest. She also noted that there were some twigs and leaves in her hair and immediately the warrior was unsure of what to say or do so she did what came easiest and most natural to her; she hid her concern behind a blank, unreadable mask. Gabrielle tried to read her friendís face for any sign or hint of emotion but the warriorís face betrayed none whatsoever, and beneath Gabrielleís exterior she was both scared and angered at the same time and so there she and Xena stood squared off and neither willing to initiate the verbal confrontation that remained between them.

* * * * *

"Joxer!!" roared Ares, "That simple minded idiot!?"

"Yes!" laughed Strife.

"Strife, that idiot Joxer couldnít fight his way out of an open paper sack with a clearly marked exit!" Ares growled.

"But uncle, thatís the whole beauty of it! We set the fool up as the fall guy for the whole scheme. Joxer sets Callisto and Velasca free and Xena, when she finds out, kills him for his ultimate stupidity. Then, the Warrior Princess starts back down the path to make her yours again. If not, you can always allow Callisto and Velasca to hound Xena and the blonde for the rest of eternity."

Ares seemed to consider what Strife was saying, running muscled fingers over his goatee, a nagging question tugging at his thoughts from the back of his mind.

"Well, Strife, I like the plan, really I do, but you seem to have forgotten one very important detail. Callisto and Velasca are both goddesses and it ainít as if we can just walk up to them and tell them what to do. No, what we need is a sure fire way to control them and use their powers to our own ends. So, nephew, any ideas?"

"Sorry, uncle, Iím drawing a complete blank."

"Hmmm."

"Maybe the Fates will smile on us perhaps?"

"Somehow Strife, I knew youíd say that."

The two gods had no clue.

* * * * *

Earth, October 4th, 1997 A.D.--London, England

Rain pattered softly down from a slate grey sky of clouds and some droplets landed without protest or complaint on an elderly figure seated at a luncheon table at an outdoor cafe. A large parasol helped to deflect most of the afternoon drizzle as it stood blossoming out over the table and the elderly figureís hoary head. An old, gnarled hand reached out towards a steaming cup of Earl Grey tea whilst the figure reached again for the paper with the other hand. The copy of the London Times was beginning to curl at the edges in the damp, and the figure, an elderly gentleman, had a slightly difficult time thumbing through the paper to the obituaries. The old gentleman seemed to have a world of great sadness hidden in his blue eyes--eyes that twinkled with a life and mischievousness that belied his age. Long white hair was swept back from a high forehead and high cheekbones gave the manís face an aristocratic look. A prominent nose and thin lips with skin stretched tight over the bones completed the elderly manís face. Hew was wearing white shirt with a high winged collar, a waist coat, a pince-nez on a silk chord with checked trousers and a black frock coat. He was also wrapped in a gentlemanís traveling cloak. This was the Doctor, in his original form just prior to his first regeneration--a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. Quietly the old man thumbed to the obituary and there it was, staring at him. The old Time Lord could scarcely believe it, yet here it was in black and white. With trembling hands and a single tear glistening on his cheek, the Doctor read the obituary of long since departed traveling companion and friend, Barbara Wright.

BARBARA WRIGHT

Retired history teacher Barbara Wright passed

away in hospital after a long illness Friday. Miss

Wright was sixty-five. Miss Wright taught at the

Coal Hill School in the Shoreditch district of London.

It is believed Miss Wright suffered from a rare form

of leukemia.............................................................

The Doctor stopped a moment to brush away a tear. He knew that as a human, Barbara would never live anywhere as long as he, a Time Lord. The Doctor stopped for a moment to consider his own age and was shocked when he realized that he was 280. It really didnít seem like it had nearly been three centuries in his own personal lifetime, but then, his race were a very long-lived people. Still, as he looked back down at the paper, he couldnít believe she was gone. He noted that the funeral would be held in Shoreditch on Monday afternoon. The Doctor then refolded the paper, paid for his tea and wrapped his checked scarf about his neck and face. The October air was not bitterly cold, but there was a nip to it. Turning on his heel, the Doctor strode down the street towards a tall blue box that was surmounted by a white light.

As the Doctor neared the doors of the TARDIS, his space/time machine in its disguise as an obsolete Metropolitan Police Box, he noticed they were slightly ajar. He paused and his brow furroughed and he noticed a single skein of light shining forth from where the doors parted. Cautiously, he opened the doors further which gave a lingering creaking sound that caused the Doctor to wince as he tried to sneak into his space-time vehicle. The Doctor entered into his ship, crossed the dimensional void that separated the interior of the TARDIS from it outer disguised hull and stopped when he noticed the heavy double door to the console room standing wide open. Surely I locked the doors, he thought, In fact, I know I did. The old Time Lord strode into the huge brightly lit white hexagonal room. At the center of the room was a mushroom shaped six-sided console with a cylindrical column at its center. The central column contained an apparatus for navigational and environmental information and had three lights on its outer perimeter that flashed randomly inside the columnís glass housing. The column, known as the time rotor, slowly rotated in its niche in the center of the console. The usual satisfying hum of the TARDIS at rest filled the console room with its hypnotic drone and helped to settle the Doctorís nerves. He wandered over to the console and set to work trying to locate the source of the signal the TARDIS had locked onto and had followed through to Earth. He speculated that there might even be a connection between the signal and his happening upon Barbaraís obituary in the Times. He replayed the events in his mind starting with his arrival on Earth.

As the time rotor came to rest in the console and stopped its rhythmic rising and falling that occurred when the ship was in flight, the Doctor noted that the TARDISí environmental sensors declared a bright, sunny day out with cool autumn breezes. He, however was caught unawares when he stepped outside into a rain shower. He had taken a tracking device to help locate the source of the signal and thought that while he was out, heíd grab a bite to eat when he spotted the outdoor cafe. As he wrapped his cloak around him, he noticed that the streets were rather busy for a wet October afternoon. He had stepped into the cafe and had noticed another old traveling companion, Ian Chesterton. Ian had traveled with the Doctor at the same time as Barbara and in fact had known her when they had both taught at Coal Hill School. When the Doctor saw Ian seated at the bar, his first instinct was to immediately pull Ian aside and ask him how he was doing and ask about Barbara and how they had resumed their lives after their travels with him but something made the Doctor stop and he ducked behind a corner leading to the restrooms. A thin fog of cigarette smoke was drifting through the air like the restless spirits of the dead. The Doctor looked at Ian and to him, he suddenly looked different. Of course, Ian was thirty years older than the last time he had seen him but he was also very haggard looking and haunted shadows played across his features. He was talking to another man sitting beside him and the Doctorís heightened Gallifreyan hearing could just pick out enough of the conversation above the low din in the cafe and the soft patter of the rain. Ian was muttering over a pint of bitter to the man beside him and the Doctor caught the following:

"It was all so sudden..."

"Barbara was so full of life..."

"Iíve never seen a disease work so fast..."

"She was my best friend..."

As the Doctor strained to listen, his hearts fell as realization slowly dawned on him, but it was the next bit that made him really pay attention.

"I wonder where the Doctor is? No doubt still lost in space and Iíll bet he still canít fly that TARDIS properly."

That last comment caused the Doctor to bristle with indignation and he was about to step out and confront the teacher the schoolteacher when he saw Ian bidding his farewells and he ducked back around the corner just as Ian passed through the area where the Doctor had just been standing. The Doctor then left his cubby hole and noticed the copy of the Times on the bar where Ian had been. Picking up the paper, the Doctor thumbed through to the obituaries and as though he had been shot, the Doctor saw what he feared; Barbaraís obituary. The Doctor folded the paper, chose an outside luncheon table and then sat down for tea to help him sort through it all.

The Doctor started from his reverie with a shout of surprise when he felt someoneís hand on his. He was surprised to see his granddaughter Susan standing next to him. I t was Susan who, when she and the Doctor had first come to Earth thirty years before, had piqued Ian and Barbaraís curiosity with her seemingly superior and anachronistic knowledge of science and history. They followed her home one night to 76 Totterís Lane only to find that Susanís home seemed to be an old Police Box smack in the middle of a junkyard and thus the adventures began. The old man turned to his granddaughter and hugged her close.

"Dear Susan, how good it is to see you again! But tell me my dear, how do you come to be in this time?"

"When we last me on Gallifrey, grandfather, your fifth self passed this on to me just before we left." said Susan, holding up a time ring. She continued, "I thought about being here, in this time, and here I was. I had been having dreams lately about something terrible happening to Barbara. Somehow, I just knew that this time was the correct one. When I arrived I ran into Mr. Chesterton and he told me what had happened. I was able to improvise a signal beacon that I knew the TARDIS would lock onto and guide you here. As you are probably already aware, the funeral is Monday."

"Yes, child, at least now I know how I came to end up here. Still, help me to set up a recall signal. Iím sure my other selves will want to be here."

"But grandfather, surely your later selves will retain the memory after you go to the funeral Monday--in fact, they should know now."

"Perhaps, Susan, but as it hasnít happened yet, it would probably stand to reason that my other selves have no knowledge of it yet."

"Well, then, letís set up that recall signal." Susan said. The two Gallifreyans turned to the hexagonal console and set to work to activate the signal that would cross the boundaries of space and time and draw the Doctorís other selves to Earth, 1997.

* * * * *

Ancient Greece--The forest clearing

Gabrielle stood clutching her staff with her knuckles white. Xena had just stood looking at her; motionless like a statue. Instinctively, Xena started to move and slowly reached out to touch Gabrielleís face and the bard almost backed away but froze when the warriorís fingers brushed her cheek. Gabrielle closed her eyes and she could no longer hold back the emotions that started to flood through her. The sobs forced their way through and burst forth and Xena pulled her close and held her as she sobbed. Gabrielle didnít see, but a single tear ran down Xenaís face. Inaudibly she whispered, "Be calm my little one." Xena held Gabrielle as her sobs subsided and they young woman pulled away and looked up at the warrior. A strangled cry of "Why?" croaked out of Gabrielleís throat.

"Youíve never raised a hand in anger towards me Xena, never! Even during some of our most heated arguments, never have you ever made to attack me like that! I feel a combination of anger and revulsion for you right now. But not only do I feel angry and revulsed, but Iím scared Xena. I was afraid that youíd leave; afraid that youíd go away and Iíd be alone. Youíre like family to me Xena. I almost lost you once and I wonít lose you again." The whole while that Gabrielle was talking to Xena, she was doing her best to choke back her emotions as waves of them kept washing over her. But as Gabby finished, she was crying again and Xena was at a complete loss as to what to say so she tried to manage an apology.

"Gabrielle, Iím sorry. I didnít mean to hurt you. The last thing I want to do is hurt anyone, least of all you. I donít know what has happened and I know I should have tried to talk to you." Xena pulled Gabrielle close again and felt the young womanís sobs subside into her breast.

"Ssshhh...." Xena whispered as she tried to calm her friend. Gabrielle stopped crying and wiped her red rimmed eyes and Xena dropped her guard just momentarily and the bard saw a side of that warrior that she didnít see very often...a little girl trying to live the life of a female warrior. Xena took a deep breath and said, "Címon. Letís go. We can talk this over as we walk. Who knows? Maybe a rest from our travels is just what the doctor ordered." The two women left the clearing, gathered Argo and headed back down the trail.

* * * * *

Monday, October 6th, 1997 A.D.--Earth

London, England

The Doctor and Susan stood in the background among the throng of people who had gathered to attend Barbaraís funeral. The two could see Ian standing near the casket, partially hidden by the floral arrangement atop the casket. Susan dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief she borrowed from the Doctor. The sun was shining and the air was crisp and frosty on this October morning and Susan turned to the Doctor and said, "Oh, I do hope they are all able to make it."

"Iím sure they will my dear, Iím sure they will." So far, the Doctor and Susan had met three of the Doctorís future selves: his third, fourth and sixth incarnations. The Doctor nearly had a stroke when he saw what he would look like and act like after his fifth regeneration. The arrogant and aristocratic face framed by a mop of fair curly hair, which was clothed in a patchwork coat of clashing pieces, a mismatched waistcoat and livid green shoes with fluorescent orange spats and finally, yellow trousers with black stripes. Both the Doctor and Susan thought they would throw up and they both had hoped dearly that his sixth incarnation was not his latest one and they were soon to find out, this was not to be.

* * * * *

Somewhere in the Space/Time Continuum--

In the vastness of deep space, a lone shape plunged through the eternal night of a starlit backdrop, tumbling terminus over origin through eternity. The vast energies of the continuum swirled and stormed around the shape as it glided through space and time. The shape resembled a tall, blue box with a flashing light on top. The was the Doctorís TARDIS as she traveled, all alone in the night. The Doctor, in his eighth and most current incarnation had been returning to Earth after several adventures he had had lately. He quickly did a mental catalogue of all his adventures...There as accident on Earth when his old arch-rival, the Master, had nearly caused the destruction of the planet on the ever of the turn of the century in 1999. Since then he had parted ways with another old friend and long time traveling companion, Benny. Professor Bernice Summerfield, who preferred to be called Benny, had been the Doctorís longest serving companion to date and he had been sad to see her go. The Doctor has also gone rounds again with his other mortal enemies, the Daleks; the very same Daleks who supposedly had tried and executed the Master and whose treachery had helped start the chain of events that brought about his seventh regeneration. The Doctor had decided to return to Earth and see how Dr. Grace Holloway was doing. Grace had been the reluctant cardiologist-turned-companion who had inadvertently killed the Doctorís seventh incarnation believing him to have had an erratic heartbeat when all along he had two hearts, as all Time Lords do. Grace, though, had been different from any of the Doctorís past companions. Though she was beautiful, intelligent and a gifted physician, she had touched his life in a way that he hadnít known for years. For the first time in centuries, the Doctor had once again known love. Parting ways hadnít been easy for him and he had desperately longed for Grace to join him on his travels, but her destiny led elsewhere, different from his. Even now he could recall those last moments when he had said goodbye.

"There you go, interfering again." Grace had said the statement in sort of a mock sense of resigned hopelessness, tending to pick at him. He had turned to face her and even though he had warded off all her questions for knowledge as to her own personal future, he could no longer hold back and he started to speak.

"Grace, something you should know..."

"Donít tell me." she said holding up a hand to silence him, a smile starting to pull at the edges of her mouth.

"Why not?" he asked, curious to know why the sudden change of heart.

"Because I know who I am, and thatís enough." A smile now played on her lips. The Doctor smiled back at her his perfect teeth flashing as he smiled at her in the light drizzle that had started to fall.

"Iím glad." he said. The remark was followed by another one from the Doctor which caught them both off guard, "Come with me." To Grace, he almost sounded like he was begging.

"You, come with me!" she countered.

"Me come with you?"

"Yes!"

"Me come with you?" Grace had started giggling and the Doctor seemed to consider what she was saying. Maybe living out the remainder of his days on Earth in San Francisco wouldnít be so horrible after all. When Grace had stopped giggling and had caught her breath she looked up at him and said, "Iím going to miss you."

"H-how can you miss me? Iím easy to find. Iím the guy with two hearts, remember?" With a smile still on her face, Grace said, "Thatís not what I meant."

The Doctor and Grace had then shared one last, brief kiss and then they each turned to go their separate ways when Grace said suddenly, "Thank you, Doctor."

He countered with, "No, no! Thank YOU, doctor!" Another giggle passed between them and then he climbed the steps back to the TARDIS and just as he was about to enter the doors, he turned back to look at Grace. She waved up at him and then he disappeared inside the ship. The last thing Grace saw before she left was the TARDIS dematerializing, making that curious groaning and wheezing sound that it always made when it arrived and departed, and there she stayed for a few moments pondering on how her life would never be the same again.

The Doctor had finished his thoughts and then it was that the call had come through from Gallifrey that he was wanted at once to return home. He was working at the controls of the TARDIS and the console room looked radically different than it had during the time of his first persona. The console room was immensely vast and more spacious than it had ever been in any of his previous lives. The console itself seemed to be made of polished oak and like the rest of the ship had a definitive Victorian Gothic feel to it. The six panels were covered in old-fashioned knobs, levers and switches and the plinth of the console seemed to have come from a Victorian-era dining table. The time rotor was of a different configuration as well with a single glass cylinder that ran from the center of the console to an apparatus that hung suspended over the console and supported by five great, green metal girders that stretched from over the top of the time rotor and spread outward and came to rest on the floor just beyond the console where the floor went from wood to beautiful marble, forming a sort of five pillared arch. The rest of the room was vastly spacious with the double door being made of wood with inlaid panels and two ornate lamps lighting the way on either side. Above the door, inlaid into the wall, was the Seal Of Rassilon, made of shining brass. The floor at the doors formed a type of landing and three steps led down onto the main floor of the room. Facing the console room from the door to the left was the two story library many rare and precious volumes complete with a sliding ladder and off to the right was the garden room with various flora and fauna. Lighting was provided by various electric lights, candles and flambeaux. Hallways lead off the console room at every angle, lit by the flambeaux and straight behind the console, opposite the main door to the outside world, was the door that led to the Cloister Room and it had another Seal Of Rassilon inlaid into the wall above it. It was there that the Master, in his bid to take over the Doctorís remaining regenerations, had nearly ended up destroying the Earth only to find his own doom. The Doctor could barely repress a shudder as he remembered the events.

The two sets of crystal rods inside the time rotor rose towards each other and fell back again as the Doctor set the final coordinates for Gallifrey. Finally, he set the controls for the holographic scanner and look up at the ceiling. The darkness of the ceiling vanished as a holographic representation of his home world came up on view. According to the monitor suspended just above the console, looking like an old black-and-white television set, there was just minutes remaining before he landed and he was loathing having to deal with his people. The relationship wasnít the best one in the universe and the Time Lords had been guilty more than once of using the Doctor to further their own ends. With nothing else better to do, he sighed and ran a hand through his tangled mop of medium brown, shoulder-length hair and decided heíd have a cup of tea while waiting to arrive on Gallifrey. On his way to the TARDIS kitchen, he stopped to observe himself in the mirror. He was not at all unpleasant to look at but he noticed that he seemed to himself slightly pale and drawn. His blue eyes sparkled with the vast intelligence of centuries of living and he looked rather regal in his current outfit. A white shirt with a high-winged collar and grey cravat with black stripes held in place with a tie pin over which he wore a grey paisley waistcoat, grey trousers and a grey velvet frock coat that many of his earlier incarnations had favored. He came into the kitchen which had the same feel of the console room and activated the food processor which had an old-fashioned key pad and a lever with a big brass knob on the end and had gilded brass lattice work over it and it resembled a very exquisite version of a dumbwaiter. He punched in his request and a gentle hum filled the air. A shower of golden light seemed to dance and coalesce into the form of a cup of steaming hot tea. For a moment, it dawned on the Doctor just how lonely his TARDIS was with no-one else traveling with him at present. He had no clue as to the adventure that awaited him on Earth and so he returned to the console room to await his inevitable arrival on Gallifrey.

* * * * *

"Gabrielle, I donít ever remember telling you this, but a while back I had a strange experience. Iím not saying it was a vision or an oracle or anything of that nature; I leave all that to the gods and for all I know, I was hallucinating. But at the time it seemed so very real to me and whenever I think about it, it chills me through. I was in the future, several hundred years from now and you and Joxer were there as well, only it wasnít you, but your descendants. I tend to want to think it was Morpheus having fun with someone while they slept, but it was too real not to be true. And I know it was true because Ares was there and he wanted to rule the world. He said something about a man, a supposedly great leader named Hitler..." Gabrielle interrupted Xena in sheer disbelief, "Xena! Do you know what this means? You have the gift of second sight! You, of all people! Iím sorry to interrupt, but some of the details are a bit sketchy, what else do you remember?" Gabrielle was paying rapt attention to the warrior now. Xena gave Gabrielle the "look" before going on and she said, "I donít have the gift, I know for a fact I am not a seer, but this is what I remember. Your descendant, Janice was her name, was on a quest with another woman named Mel and together they were searching for what they called the Xena Scrolls."

"The what!?" Gabrielle squeaked.

"Thatís what they called them; the Xena Scrolls and they chronicled all of our adventures together--all the ones we have had so far and supposedly all of the ones we ever will have as well." Gabrielle was reeling from the shock of it all and she felt like her head would explode from all the information Xena was feeding her.

"Okay, Xena--you had a vision of the future where supposedly our descendants discover all the scrolls I made of our adventures?" Xena noted that while Gabrielle was talking, she had turned a nice white shade of disbelief. In all the time that the bard had known the warrior, she had never known Xena to be given to flights of fancy, but then there was that time when the Furies had driven her insane, but according to Gabrielleís reasoning, it didnít apply here. No matter how outrageous this sounded to her, she figured there had to be something to it, but that, added to everything else that had happened today made her want to shriek.

"Xena, I believe you. Itís one of the most outrageous stories Iíve ever heard and Iím the bard in this group, but I believe you. But as you said earlier and after all thatís happened today, I need a rest. I want to go home...to Poteidaia. Iíve missed my mother and Lilla as well." Xena almost opened her mouth to protest and then thought better of it. She hadnít seen her own mother, Cyrene since that business with the Furies and the idea of a visit seemed oddly relaxing to her. However, she, like Gabrielle, did not want to part ways thought she did not say so aloud. She stood and resheathed her sword in its scabbard after having used it as an armrest.

"Címon," Xena said, "Iíd like to see your mother and family again too." The women headed back down the trail and this time looking for the path to Poteidaia.

* * * * *

Joxer had aroused and got going again on his way . He had heard about Xena imprisoning both Callisto and Velasca in the lava flow and had been meaning for some time to visit the spot just to see if there was any truth to it. He started off on the journey to visit the final resting place of one of the two most dangerous women on Earth, the warrior Callisto. Joxer tried to recall what he had heard of the imprisonment and focused back on what he was told about it.

Xena had used Callisto to help lure Velasca into the ancient ruins beyond which lay the lava flow. Velasca, with her god-like powers, had roared into the ruins like a tornado out of control. The enraged Amazon had almost gotten Gabrielle, but thanks to Xenaís timely intervention using Gabbyís staff, she was spared. From there the battle had gone on to the bridge with Gabrielle running with the ambrosia. Xena had been waiting on the other side of the bridge ready to cut the ropes with her chakram when Gabrielle slipped and almost fell to her death in the lava below. An insane Callisto ran up on the bridge and tried maniacally to snatch the ambrosia from Gabrielle and at Xenaís command, tossed the pouch to her. Callisto had greedily eaten the coveted food of the gods and then when her transformation into a goddess was complete, she turned to face Velasca who was glaring at her in pure hatred. The two goddesses advanced towards each other and commenced a battle of the wills. They wrestled each other, nearly tearing the bridge apart. Xena had shouted to Gabrielle to hold on and that she was going to dive after her and rescue her. Xena cut the ropes of the bridge and the two goddesses fell headlong into the lava flow. The Warrior Princess dived after her friend and caught her and hauled her to safety. They had then stared back at the mound where the two goddesses were imprisoned before moving on. At least, Joxer thought that was what he had heard. He neared the gorge and noticed that the bridge had been rebuilt. Cautiously Joxer tried his weight on the bridge and he closed his eyes against the fumes rising up from the gorge and snaked out a hand to grasp the bridgeís hand-hold as he tried edge out onto the bridge. True to form, he lost his footing and his body slid out from under him with only his hands keeping him from falling to oblivion in the boiling lava flow below. Through the fumes, he could see the mound formed where the two goddesses were seemingly trapped forever. Joxer managed to haul himself up over from where he was dangling and managed to regain his footing on the bridge. It may have been a trick of the fumes, but Joxer could have sworn the two frozen goddesses had been staring up at him. True to form, he managed to spook himself and ran straight into Ares.

"Air, air, aiiiiirrrrr...." Joxer gasped and Ares hauled him off the ground by his neck, nearly strangling him.

"Find Xena. Tell her I want her complete surrender to me as my chief warlord again in my quest for world dominion or suffer the consequences." Ares dropped Joxer like a stone and vanished, laughing evilly.

The ruins, the gorge, and the appearance of Ares had Joxer visibly shaken and the sun had started setting and he had no desire to stay there any longer. He started stumbling along and tripped over a rock and immediately brained himself on a tree trunk as a result.

The embers of the fire were dying and Gabrielle had done an excellent job on the stew. The rabbit had been small, but Gabrielle had thrown in some spices that had made it especially flavorful. The stars were shining brightly through the trees and the trees around the two women sang as the slightest whisper of a breeze sailed through the night air. The Warrior Princess sat and started sharpening her sword. Gabrielle had already turned in and Xena glanced over at her as she slept. There was a small line of sweat beading up on the bardís brow and Xena noticed her whimper a couple of times softly in her sleep. Gabrielle started to toss and turn some in her sleep and her moans were growing louder. Xena also noticed that Gabbyís brow was furroughed as though she was upset and Xena figured it to be a nightmare. She stopped sharpening her blade and went over to the bard. She reached out a hand to Gabrielleís forehead which was very warm to the touch. The warrior grabbed a small cloth and dipped it in some cool water and mopped Gabrielleís brow. She then whispered shushes and the bardís sleep eased. Xena turned to go back to sharpening her sword and stopped. She bent gently back down and gently kissed Gabrielle on the forehead.

* * * * *

The Doctor was in the TARDIS console room when the sensation hit him. It started as a small shiver in the back of his spine and worked its way up through his body. The Time Lord knew something was amiss almost as if he were experiencing a precognitive vision. It was at that moment that the recall signal came blaring out of the console. The Doctor got up and raced over to the console and pulled down the small t.v. like monitor. A haunted look crossed the Doctorís face and he instinctively knew something wasnít right....no, not not right, but more the sense that something dreadful had happened and he glanced up at the monitor again and the message flashed repeatedly across itís screen;

AUTOMATIC RECALL SIGNAL DETECTED.....CHANGE COURSE TO EARTH.....AUTOMATIC RECALL SIGNAL DETECTED.....CHANGE COURSE TO EARTH..... the Doctor returned the monitor the its resting position and turned his hands to reset the coordinates for Earth. His movements were almost like that of an automaton as the Doctor set the coordinates for Monday, October 6th, 1997. As he finished, he then transmitted a telepathic message to Gallifrey using the telepathic circuits letting them know about his detour and also wishing Romana a happy 185th birthday.

* * * * *

All was peaceful and calm around the village of Amphipolis, Xenaís home, as the moon shone down bright and full like a silver coin suspended in the heavens. Cyrene, Xenaís mother, noted the lateness of the hour and called for last rounds so she could close the tavern for the evening. Cyrene called over to Calisthene, one of her many barmaids and assistants. She was a beautiful girl and Cyrene had enjoyed watching her grow into the beautiful young woman that she had become and was glad of her help this evening.

"Calisthene, would please collect all the empty mugs? No-oneís come up for a last round and theyíre starting to leave, so letís go ahead and call it a night."

"Sure. Besides, my feet are killing me." Calisthene turned to collect the few remaining mugs and stopped and looked back up at Cyrene and brushing a handful of red curls out of her face, said, "By the way, call me Cali, everybody else does." Cali smiled at Cyrene and turned to lock the door. Cyrene really enjoyed Cali and Cali was like a second daughter to her and it was nice having her around since she seldom had the chance to see her own daughter, the Warrior Princess, that often.

* * * * *

Just Outside Amphipolis--

There was a small valley to the north of the village just on the outskirts of Amphipolis. Various caverns dotted the valley amongst scattered boulders. The night winds was still and heavy and it seemed that nothing would break the stillness of the night. The heaviness of the air was suddenly disturbed by a wailing cry from one of the caverns that sounded like a wheezing, groaning, death rattle. Lightning flashes emanated forth from the cave with the odd cry and it seemed as if time and space themselves were in torment. Miraculously, storm clouds formed in the sky over the cavern and a ring of lightning bolts struck the earth around the cavern and a hellacious wind blew. Suddenly, without reason or explanation, the storm ended.

* * * * *

Cyrene hazarded a glance out the door during the odd storm that had mysteriously arrived out of nowhere. She turned to Cali with a worried look on her face and said, "Maybe itís best for you to wait out the storm here tonight and head home in the morning. Iím sure your parents wouldnít mind and I wouldnít forgive myself if you left for home and something happened to you. It is a short distance from here to your house on the other side of the valley."

"Iíll be okay and besides, Euristo will be walking me home again tonight." Cali smiled as she said this last bit and Cyrene just knew that the two would end up together as they had been spending a lot of time together and Euristo often walked Cali home. Their reverie was broken by a knock on the door that almost went unheard as the thunder crashed loudly outside. Cali opened the door to find Euristo staring at her.

"Euristo! What are you doing here?"

"I came to walk you home, but in this storm, Iím not sure we should risk it."

"Well, as far as Iím concerned," Cyrene broke in, "You can both stay here tonight. I have extra rooms available, so let me go and get two of them ready." She turned to go prepare the rooms, leaving Calisthene and Euristo alone together. Cali turned on Euristo, saying, "I canít believe you ventured out in this storm! What were you thinking?"

"I had to see you. Not even a storm like this could keep me away." Cali was genuinely touched and said so. She also decided to show Euristo her gratitude and before he knew what had happened, she grabbed him and pulled him close and kissed him square on the lips. He recovered from the shock quickly enough and went with the flow of things. A cough broke the stillness of the moment and the two looked up in embarrassed amusement to see Cyrene smiling at them. Cali tried to come up with an excuse and floundered.

"Cyrene! I, uh, I mean, that is we..." Cyrene held up a hand to quiet her.

"Itís perfectly alright, Calisthene, I was your age once and..." Cyrene broke off abruptly as something seemed to occur to her. Calisthene looked at her, worried.

"Cyrene?" No answer.

"Cyrene?" Again, no answer. Cali walked over to the older woman and laid a hand on her arm and again she asked, " Cyrene, what is it? Youíre beginning to scare us." This seemed to bring Cyrene around and she turned to face Cali and Euristo.

"Listen," she whispered, "Can you hear it?" Cali was completely caught unawares by the statement and took a second to regain her train of thought and she stopped to listen.

"Hear it? Hear what? I canít hear anything!" Euristo broke in a realization dawned on him.

"Exactly," he whispered, "The storm has stopped."

* * * * *

The three stood at the door of the tavern looking out at the miraculously calm evening. The moon was once again shining full and bright over Amphipolis and from the tavern, you could see down into the valley and beyond as it was well-lit.

"Are you sure you wonít stay?" Asked Cyrene.

"No," Cali stated, "I really need to get home because itís late and besides, I have Euristo to look out for me."

"Well, if thatís how you feel."

"Itís okay, really. Weíll be alright. The moonís bright and full and the path is well lit."

"Very well, then. Just be careful and Iíll see you tomorrow morning or, if you want, I can have Gloxene come in for you. You havenít had a day off in a while and I think youíre due one."

"Could you, please? Besides, after that freak storm we had this evening, maybe I should wait and see if there are any more similar occurrences."

"Ok, then, Iíll have Gloxene come in tomorrow. Take care and goodnight."

"Goodnight Cyrene, and thank you." Calisthene placed her arm in Euristoís and the two walked through the small village and soon arrived at the small rise that looked down into the small open valley with the caverns off to the left hand side and just beyond that, Calisthene could make out the lights shining in the windows of her familyís home. As the couple walked, Cali suddenly stopped and turned to face Euristo and gazed longingly into his eyes. He placed his index finger under her chin and lifted her chin up and he bent down and kissed her soft full lips. The two of them then headed down into the valley under the moon. They then noticed the strange humming noise that seemed to be coming from one of the caverns. It was a low steady drone that filled the air and both Cali and Euristo were naturally curious to see what was going on. They noticed flashes of blue light emanating from one of the caverns and it seemed this was the cavern that the humming sound seemed to come from. As the two neared it, they noticed the humming and the light flashes were both intermittent. Calisthene braced herself with one hand and leaned forward to peer into the cavern when she felt Euristo pulling her back.

"Cali, Iíve got a bad feeling about this. Please donít go into that cavern. Whateverís in there can wait till later."

"Oh, Euristo, letís have just a small peek, ok? Besides, itís probably just someone worshiping one of the gods."

"Alright, Iíll go with you. You know I canít tell you no. But promise me this; At the first sign of trouble, weíll leave."

"Sure." she quipped. Cautiously the lovers stepped into the cave and were awed by its spacious interior and how high the ceiling was. The humming they noticed had stopped as well as the light flashes, so Cali and Euristo didnít realize anything was there until they ran smack into it. Cali backed away from the object and cautiously reached out a trembling hand and touched the surface of the object. It felt cold to the touch and glassy like smooth obsidian. At her touch, a pale bluish glow seemed to emanate from the center of the object. She could make out just enough to see a pedestal with outline of a hand imprinted in its surface. Cali placed her hand in the imprint and the lighting came up to full and the whole structure seemed back-lit by white light. The couple could see that the object was hexagonal in shape and noticed blue lightning streaks creep along its outer surface and then start spiraling towards the empty inner space at itís heart. The raw energies spiraled together faster and time seemed to slow as a vortex formed within the hexagon itself churning and spinning away. Scenes from other times, places and worlds shown at random in the vortex, and then they heard a voice inside their heads speaking to them. It said, I am one of the Gates Of Rassilon. It is my duty to provide instantaneous travel to any point in the universe of time and space. All unauthorized persons will be destroyed. As this last statement went through their heads, the Gate went dark again. Cali and Euristo turned to leave; both excited and terrified at the same and anxious to tell someone of their discovery. They hadnít gone three steps when the Gate reactivated to their sheer surprise and horror. The vortex at the heart of the Gate churned as before but gradually began to increase and a harsh wind started blowing them towards the Gate. Images of other worlds and times flashed by in a maddening fury and Cali and Euristo were mercilessly pushed towards the Gate by gale like winds. Cali was lighter and was being pulled in faster and she started screaming in panic. Euristo grabbed hold of her arm and used his other to anchor himself against the pedestal of the Gate. The wind was so strong it picked Cali up and her body was beginning to vanish into the vortex. Euristoís hand was resting in the imprint on the pedestal. Suddenly, temporal energy surged up the pedestal and engulfed his body. He started to age very rapidly and screamed for Caliís help. His beautiful bronzed and muscled flesh withered and aged like old papyrus and he lost hold of Caliís hand. The last thing Calisthene of Amphipolis ever saw was her lover collapse in a heap of dead bones due to instantaneous rapid aging and death as she spun pall Mel through the vortex to an unknown time and place, screaming like one of the eternally damned.

TO BE CONTINUED....