ECHOES OF THERMOPYLAE [continued from part 2]
by Joseph Anderson

Chapter 10

Mulder was watching a Jerry Springer show about amputees in rural
Alabama.  "Come on, dump can do better than that," he mumbled
to himself.  Julia shouldn't take Lyle back, not after he admitted to
having sex with their two sisters, a nephew, and a neighbor's blind
dog.  Fox wasn't locked in his room for a change since the Prince and
Scully were gone. Mulder felt like Boo Radley, the idiot brother kept
out of sight so he wouldn't embarrass the family.   He wasn't exactly a
prisoner.   They wanted him to leave but he insisted on staying because
of Scully.  As long as he was there they were gonna keep him on a leash
since they knew he wanted to "rescue" his partner.  At a sound Mulder
looked curiously up at a boy who came in the living room.  

"Hello," Mulder said. 

"Hi," the boy said.  He had red hair and green eyes that looked
incongruous with his almond colored skin.   He was carrying a
basketball.  "Wanna shoot some hoops?" 

Mulder said, "Sure," and clicked the TV off.  It just made him mad
anyway, watching Julia throw herself away on a jerk like Lyle. 

There was an indoor court downstairs.  They were playing one on one.
Mulder realized the boy wasn't as old as he had assumed. He'd thought
he was 13 or so but he was just a tall ten  if that.  He was pretty
good but Mulder could still show him a thing or two.  

"Karn," they heard and turned. 

"Hi, Laconius.  Where's my mom and dad?"  the boy said brushing his
sweaty hair out of his face.  

The soldier's right hand was hidden inside the long Gestapo-wear coat. 
Mulder doubted he wanted to see whatever Laconius was holding.

"Lord Kush and Captain Angela are serving the Lord Progenitor. How did
you get here?" the young man said.  

"A Lord Military said she'd received orders to bring me. So here I am,"
the boy said, and bounced the basketball.  

"Orders from who?" Laconius said.  

The boy shrugged.  "I dunno.  Lord Caste, I guess."

"Is anyone else here?"

Karn said, "Nope, just me and Mulder.  I saw some of Uncle Sam's stuff
was around though.  Guess there's guards outside but they didn't see

Laconius said, "Let me talk to Agent Mulder alone, Karn."

"Ah, Laconius..." 

"Go on," he repeated.  The boy left and the soldier came walking over
to Mulder.  He took his hidden hand from his coat and Fox saw a shotgun
that had its barrel sawed off and its stock replaced with a custom made
pistol grip.  He cocked it but didn't aim it.  "What were you doing
with him?"

"Shooting baskets,"  Fox answered.  

The soldier stared at him then uncocked the weapon and replaced it in
his coat.  Fox saw he had a special holster sewn into the garment.  

"I'm sorry, Agent Mulder.  You would never hurt him, I know. For Karn
to just arrive surprised me."

Mulder said, "He's being used as a pawn somehow."

Laconius nodded, frowned and glanced skyward.  "Whatever it is, it's
nothing to do with you and me unless you're a lot more important than I
think you are.  Nothing personal."

"I thought Captain Angela was Prince Samuel's consort?"  Mulder said,
remembering the history books.

Laconius looked uncomfortable.  "She is."

"But Karn is the child of Kush and Angela?" Mulder said curiously.

"It's complicated and I can't talk about it."  Laconius said firmly.
Mulder suspected the soldier might not know the whole story himself. 

Changing the subject, Mulder said, "Where's Scully?"  

Laconius answered, "With the Prince and doing a fine job.  Just accept
this, Agent Mulder.  You can't do anything about it anyway and you
aren't accomplishing anything here.  There is still much to do in the
fight against Queen Jilly.  You should be taking part in that."

"Yeah, I guess I don't have a choice."

Laconius smiled slightly.  "I know you don't mean that.  But don't
worry, just say the right things.  You aren't stupid enough to try and
harm the Prince; and it's not as if your partner would cooperate with
any plan you might devise to take her."

Mulder didn't answer.  There was nothing to say.  

The soldier continued, "If he's so bad why is he protecting you, Agent
Mulder?  The bacchae would like nothing better than to kill you.  Your
partner would kill you herself if the Prince told her to."

Mulder replied seriously, "I can see he's not some cartoon monster.
He's a complicated guy and considering everything could be a lot worse.
But Scully would never have joined him like that of her own will.  You
know that, Laconius."

The soldier frowned and looked away.  Then he said, "There's nothing
you can do.  There's nothing I can do even if I wanted to, which I
don't.  You can't understand the weight of responsibility the Lord
Progenitor carries, and has carried for...well a long time."

Mulder said angrily, "So that makes it all right for him to just take
Scully like he was buying a goldfish?"

Laconius said, "In the big scheme of things, yes.  You know I dislike
it, Agent Mulder.  So does Kush, whose opinion means considerably more
than mine.  The Lord Progenitor is saving the world from his sister.
But nothing comes without a price."

"Scully," Mulder said bitterly.

"Scully," Laconius said. 


Scully was looking in the mirror, puzzled.  Was Mulder right? she
wondered.   She didn't feel any different.  She had just been working
on an article for The Journal of Forensic Hematology, in fact.  Blood
fascinated her now.  She didn't require it but she loved the taste and
was learning to distinguish the different varieties.   She had
witnessed seven killings for blood  but hadn't taken part.  Scully
wanted to but her sisters had prevented her, saying it was not yet

Look at how she was dressed: she was practically naked.  Why wasn't she
embarrassed? Instead she felt overdressed now in anything else.
Mulder would be leaving soon.  He had finally said he accepted it. They
all knew he was lying.  She'd be amazed if he didn't keep trying to
convince her.  As long as he didn't try to harm the Prince or "rescue"
her he could do whatever he wanted.  If he tried to injure Master she'd
kill him herself, no matter what the Lord said. 


Scully turned at the low voice and saw Elvira looking at her. Her long
black hair almost seemed to shimmer against her pale skin.  The
beautiful bacchae wore a transparent gown similar to her own, her full
breasts white through the sheer fabric. Scully smiled and felt herself
falling into her sister's eyes but then Elvira said sharply, "No!" and
the sensual descent stopped.

"Yes, Ellie?" Scully answered curiously.  

Elvira approached, reached a white hand out and stroked Scully's cheek
softly.  "Do you understand what you are doing, Dana?"   

"Of course," Scully answered clearly.

Elvira looked deep into Scully's blue eyes with her own glowing yellow
ones.   "It was selfish of us to desire you.  Master in his kindness
took you.  Your friend blames the Prince but he would never have taken
you without our urging."

Scully said, "Have I failed him?  Or my sisters?" 

Elvira shook her head.  "No.  But when he turned to us for comfort at
the news of how far his sister has degenerated, I realized how wrong
your presence was.  We and Master have been together for millennia.  We
were created by Bacchus expressly to serve him."

"I love serving Master!  I love my sisters!  I love you, Ellie!" Scully

Elvira said, "You do not know what you love or do not love.  How can
you hope to withstand Master when nature itself bends to his will?  It
is our guilt not his.  Or, truly, my guilt.  I see now my wish that you
and I could be as Fotena and Clealisthia are to one another.  My
sisters saw that and helped me in my selfishness."

Scully smiled sensuously, "Why not?"  She took Elvira's hand and kissed
the fingers until the bacchae abruptly pulled them away.

"Because you would never choose that, Dana!  Because I will not make
use of you in such foul fashion!  I'm not some filthy god!" Elvira
turned and fled the room leaving Scully looking after her.


"Where's Kush?" Angela snapped at the soldier who came to attention as
she came sweeping into her Salt Lake City headquarters.  

"Visiting the wounded, General Gilroy," the guard said. 

Angela muttered to herself, "Oh, brother."  She sat at a desk behind a
computer terminal and her fingers played over the keys. She had a
slight intake of breath as she saw the updated estimation of the death
toll and the current position of Jilly's forces worldwide.  Angela
commanded the armies in North and South America and the Pacific.  Kush
had Europe and Africa and there was overlap in Asia as Kush was coming
from the West and Angela the East.   She wished he got the MacArthur
and Eisenhower jokes she kept making but he just looked blankly at her.

They would win ultimately.  Sam had more troops, resources and even
several commanders who were as good or better than Jilly. Personally
only she and Kush were on a par with Jilly, but Ahmat, Xena, and
Kimberly and at least five admirals and generals were all better
strategists.  Except it was a tricky situation because Jilly was trying
to destroy civilization.  So in a way this war was giving her exactly
what she wanted, spreading devastation.  And if this
whole mess wasn't bad enough Callisto had to show up. 

Jilly wasn't restraining Callisto from atrocities like the rest of her
command, just the opposite.   She had let her old mentor form her own
regiment and Jilly used them as shock troops.  They were different from
that elite regiment.  Angela had some professional respect for them
even though she considered them traitors; that she was disappointed in
them was one reason they made her so mad and she always killed any she
could catch. These guys with Callisto weren't elite; they were a buncha
friggin' homicidal maniacs, Angela thought grimly.  

Jilly had literally searched her troops for men with mental disorders
and/or bad discipline problems and turned 'em over to Callisto who
divided 'em into groups of a hundred and then gone from group to group
repeating the same procedure.  She looked 'em over and asked who
thought they could take her.   Six to ten men usually came forward.
One at a time she kicked their asses and then had them chained to a
couple jeeps and torn in half. After the first man the rest all tried
to back down.  Callisto smiled sweetly but told 'em them if they didn't
fight her she would still chain them to the jeeps.   A couple of men
always just collapsed and cried as their hands and feet were attached
to the bumpers.   Callisto didn't have many discipline problems after

Callisto was running it like her old army in Greece.  Promotions were
through duels and Callisto had made it clear that included her.  Angela
smiled grimly at what Jilly would do if someone did manage to kill
Callisto and tried to claim her position. Callisto had told 'em Jilly
would welcome 'em with open arms. Right, Angela thought.  

"General..." the guard said again.  Angela looked up and saw Kush's
tall broad shouldered frame enter the room.  

"Hey," Angela said. 

"My fine brother, Angela.  It is good to see you."

Angela looked closely at the big man when she heard his tone. She stood
up.  "Get lost," she ordered the soldier.   The tall red head walked up
to the dark man.  "What's wrong, Kush?"

"The waste of so much life is a terrible thing.  So many of our caste
brothers; so many members of other castes."  He spoke quietly in his
deep oddly accented voice. 

Angela sighed and said, "Were you this sensitive when you were
commanding a ship for the Slithlocs?  I thought the Military Caste,
especially you Lord Militaries, were such a buncha bad mothers."

Kush answered.  "In those days I only valued the life of my caste
brothers.  The Lord Progenitor taught us to value all the castes as our
own.  Now I find myself valuing all life equally. I no longer eat meat,

Angela whistled.  "Oh this only you or are other militaries
thinking this way?  An attitude like that throws a monkey wrench in the
old job description, Kush.  Wait a minute, did Sam put you up to this? 
The veggie stuff?  He must've. That's hilarious.  Really hilarious!"

Kush answered seriously,  "No, brother.  I am not joking and I am not
alone in this.   Others of the Military Caste are reassessing their
beliefs.  Not many but some.   Why?'

Angela looked up at him.  "Kush, I was a vegetarian.  That's what you
are now though maybe you don't know the word.  When I first met Sam I
was this real Green Peace backing, tofu-eating, tree hugger.  Ares put
Sam in danger so I would have to save him and I never looked back.
Ares used me but I loved it.  I love to kill, Kush.  Probably in a way
you never did.  But I like it. I love it!"

Kush was listening closely to her.  "I would learn more of your beliefs
when you were a 'tofu-eating tree hugger.'  As for the rest, I know
that you are very stimulated by  killing, Angela. There have been Lord
Militaries who feel the same and have written about it.  I will provide
their writings to you."

Angela said, "Thanks, Kush.  I'd like to read 'em.  You ever read 'em

"What was required of me.  No more.  I am much more drawn to native

"Like what?" Angela asked. 

"The sonnets of Mr. William Shakespeare, the poetry of  Mr. John Keats,
Mr. Percy Shelley, and Mr. William Wordsworth," the big man answered.  
"And, Mr. William Blake, although it makes me question perhaps too

Angela looked at him and shook her head.  "God, you're a class act."
Her voice changed and she said, "Anyway, what are you doing here?  I
thought you were planning a big offensive to take back Manchuria?
That's gonna be some heavy shit going down there.  Jilly's really
entrenched in China.  Home grown warlords have sprung up and thrown in
with her.  Traitorous scum."

Kush answered, "Yes, it likely will be most hard fought with much loss
of life.  I have been examining weapon prototypes which may be useful
in the terrain.  Before I return, I came to speak with you about the
Lord Progenitor."

"Sam?  What about him?" Angela said warily.  

"I fear he is distracted and fatigued and doing something he would not
do otherwise.  Perhaps you can influence him.   He has taken a new

"A NEW bacchae?  It's just been Sam and his three girls forever. He
can't create bacchae.  Only Bacchus can."  Angela said.

"Perhaps Bacchus will transform Dr. Scully for the Lord Progenitor."

Angela exploded, "Scully!  Sam has Agent Scully prancing around
barefoot in a see-through nightie?"

Kush nodded.  

"She flying, got the teeth and everything?  Drinking blood?" Angela
said furiously. 

"I have only witnessed her drinking blood.   That was several weeks
ago, however."

Angela said, "He screwing her?"

Kush didn't answer.

"I'll kill him!  I'm really gonna kill him!"

Kush said, "Brother..."

Angela said tiredly, "It's just a figure of speech, Kush.  What about
her partner?"

"He refuses to accept the situation and will not leave.  The bacchae
would slay him but the Lord Progenitor has forbidden it. Dr. Scully has
told him it is her choice but he does not believe it," Kush answered.  

Angela said, "Choice...that's a laugh.  Like anybody but me can say no
to Sam about anything.  What a selfish jerk."

"Brother..."  Kush began to say.

"I know.  It makes you uncomfortable to hear me talk that way. You're
right...he wouldn't do that if he wasn't stressed out. I'll go talk to
him when I've got some free time.  Where are they?  The townhouse?"

"Yes," Kush said.  "Laconius has been trying to calm Agent Mulder.  He
angers the bacchae with his quick tongue.  The Lord would regret the

"Yeah, he would," Angela agreed.  She added with resignation, "Even the
Emperor of the Universe is a slave to his dick." 

Kush answered, "Indeed.  I must return to my caste brothers in


"There she is, General," a lieutenant said, pointing as he handed a
pair of binoculars to Xena who swung them onto the slight figure.  As
Xena focused on the blonde hair, Callisto brought a hand up and waved
hello.  The dark woman clamped her temper down at the flashing smile.  

Xena glanced around and said to a sniper, "Soldier, throw me your
weapon." As she brought the cross hairs to bear Callisto waved bye-bye
and disappeared behind a tank.   Xena tossed the sniper rifle back to
the soldier. 

"You shouldn't let her get under your skin that way.  It's

Xena turned to look at the speaker, a powerful looking man with dark
curly hair and a heavy mustache.  Like herself he was in fatigues and
had four stars on his collar.  

"Ahmat," she said and nodded her head in greeting.  "I know.  We have a
history though.  It's personal for both of us."

The Indian shrugged and smiled as Gabrielle came up and handed cups of
tea to both he and Xena.   After taking a sip he seriously said, "We
have to attack, Xena.  I understand how you's going to be a
bloodbath.  Putting it off will only make it worse."

Gabrielle looked at her friend who didn't betray any emotion.  

"I agree, Ahmat.   We just weren't in position yet."

Ahmat listened.  "All right.  I'd have begun before now but I can see
it as just a difference of opinion.   Within 48 hours, Xena?"

"Within 48 hours, Ahmat," she answered.  

Ahmat nodded and walked to his jeep and drove off, returning to his two
Divisions which were west of Xena's troops. 

"Xena..." Gabrielle started to say.

"It just wasn't the right time to attack yet, Gabrielle," the Warrior
Princess said sharply.  

"Sure, Xena.  Whatever you say," the smaller woman answered. 


The "modern" army was preparing for battle around her; the lines of
trucks, huge tanks grinding along, flying war engines they called birds
and choppers that looked like something straight from Tartarus, and the
soldiers who were just like the all the others she had ever met.  Under
their fatigues, Kevlar body armor and terrible weapons Gabrielle saw
they were just the same, just people, mostly young people. 

Gabrielle thought back to her previous time in the land of Chin. Xena
had gone to kill their emperor to pay her debt to Lao Ma and she had
followed and betrayed her to him--supposedly for Xena's own good to
prevent her committing a murder; really because she was jealous of
Xena's loyalty to Lao Ma.  Eventually she faced the truth.  Gabrielle
didn't have good memories of Chin and it didn't look like this time was
going to  be any better.  Ahmat and Xena both said it would be a

She liked Ahmat.  They'd felt an immediate attraction.  When this was
over...who knows?  Gabrielle remembered what Kimberly had said; that if
she ever got a taste of a real man it might open her eyes.  Gabrielle
wasn't as inexperienced as Kimberly seemed to think.  She also
understood now what Kimberly had been implying about Xena.  It wasn't
that big a shock.  Lots of Greeks went both ways.   Gods, Gabrielle had
been to the Athens Academy of Performing Bards...those guys!  Her
friend hadn't actually said anything to confirm or deny it.  Xena could
have gotten in that fight just because Kimberly stood up to her. Much
as she loved her friend, Gabrielle knew Xena thought her way was the
only way.  Every time.  All the time.  But Kimberly wasn't even
impressed.  Talk about provocation, the bard thought wryly.

The bard took her helmet off with its red cross and ran her hand
through her recently cut short hair.  She looked around at the
soldiers, most of 'em young.  A lot of 'em would be dead soon, missing
hands and feet, arms and legs, blind, mutilated.  She turned away.
They probably felt bad enough without her looking at them and crying.  

Gabrielle walked over to an ambulance, climbed in the back and started
checking the supplies.  When they told her she couldn't treat the
wounded because so much was different, she had simply insisted on being
trained in it.  The medicine of this time was amazing.  They cured
plagues!  They sewed fingers back on! They could fight infections!
They could actually replace hearts! Gabrielle wished Hippocrates could
see all of this.  She could be trained as a field medic but there was
no way Xena could become as skilled in medicine here as she had been in
Greece. Her friend said modern weapons were really just fancy swords
and spears, chariots and catapults.  But modern medicine was so complex
and different that Xena  couldn't possibly become a doctor, what they
called healers here.   Gabrielle knew her friend felt badly about that
since she valued her healing skills as much or more than her fighting

The small woman was counting the morphine vials when a voice came from
the open back door of the ambulance.  "Hi, bardy. Long time no see."

Gabrielle  nearly dropped the precious medicine.  She replaced it then
looked at the speaker who was smiling at her, head cocked to one side.

"Hello, Jilly.  This is getting to be a habit," the bard said. Jilly
had just appeared like that twice before over the years, once to
protect Gabrielle in a war zone, and once to kill Xena. The girl had
changed her mind about that, thankfully.   

Jilly answered, "Yeah.  That occurred to me too.  Those were the good
old days, weren't they, bardy?   I'm gonna bring 'em back." 

She was dressed like a private.  Gabrielle realized in a professional
way that coming into the heart of her foe's camp this way was heroic.
Something for an epic, really.  Funny that there weren't any poems
about Jilly's exploits.  She'd done more than enough but people just
didn't feel that way about her.  Jilly the Butcher.  It didn't quite
have the same ring as Brave Odysseus, Great Kimberly or The Warrior
Princess.  Jilly did appear in some poems but more as a secondary
character;  a contrast with her beloved brother or Shining Kush, an
example that there were more important things than being good at
killing.  Funny Jilly called those the good old days now, since she had
been hated and feared by everyone but her inner circle.  Let alone what
Jilly had gone through as a child before Callisto rescued her.  Jilly
was remembering things pretty selectively, Gabrielle guessed.  

"Are you here to kill Xena?"  

Jilly shook her head.  "She's my family, Gabrielle!  How can you ask
that?  No, I was doing something else and thought I'd drop by and say
hello to you and Xena.    Wish Mom would lead an army against me, so I
could see her too.  She never came to see me before and I didn't look
her up either.  Why do mothers and daughters get like that, huh?  Now
look at us.  Missed our chance."

Gabrielle said, "She told Angela and Kush she wouldn't fight you.  They
agreed to never send her directly against you."

"Oh, well,"  Jilly said.  "She means well.  I mean, it's not like she
could beat me or anything.  And I sure wouldn't hurt her."

"She's better than you.  Not one on one, but as a general.   And that's
what..."  the bard said then stopped as Jilly was right in front of her
holding her by the collar, brown eyes wide.

"Better than ME!  I don't think so.  You're WRONG!  Everybody's wrong! 
Mom, Xena,  Ekberg,  Powell!   I could take 'em all at the same time!"

"No one's arguing about that, Jilly," Gabrielle  coughed as a hand
tightened around her throat.

"Let her go,"  Xena's voice came from behind her.   Jilly released her
and turned.  

"Thanks, Xena," Jilly said lightly, "I don't wanna hurt, bardy. I'd
feel terrible later."  She patted the gasping bard's shoulder
affectionately.  "Sorry," she said to Gabrielle.

Xena was looking at a bag Jilly wore slung over a shoulder. Gabrielle
hadn't noticed it.  "Why didn't you mention Ahmat just now?  He's
better than you are too."

The butcher's eyes were wide and blank.  "Not anymore he's not." She
opened the bag and emptied its contents on the floor of the ambulance.

"By the gods!  By the gods!" Gabrielle exclaimed in horror at Ahmat's
severed head.  

"Down!" Xena yelled as she pulled her 9 mm and just opened fire in the
small space.  The bard had dropped but the shooting ended immediately. 
She got up and went to where Xena was crumpled on the ground.
Gabrielle helped her friend to her feet.   Jilly was gone.  

Xena climbed back into the ambulance and looked down at the head a
moment.  "If we had attacked when he wanted this wouldn't have

"Xena...." Gabrielle said plaintively, not knowing what else to say.
Catching another glimpse of the head she looked away. 

Soldiers were coming now, drawn by the shots.  

"General...General...there's important.." a messenger was pushing
through the men then froze at what he saw in the ambulance. 

"You came to tell me about General Ahmat," Xena said. 

The man nodded and said, "And something else."  Xena looked up at him. 
"Colonel Callisto took a long-range fighter and is heading east." 

Gabrielle saw her friend almost turn to stone.  Then Xena ordered,
"Have a plane prepared for me."  She looked at Gabrielle, "Stay here.
If fighting starts stay away from the front.  I don't think it will

"What's happening?  I'm going with you," the bard said, following Xena
who was already striding toward a jeep.  

The warrior Princess grimaced, "Fine.  I know better than to argue with
you about it.  Callisto has something she wants to do.   She had to
wait until Jilly was occupied though."

Gabrielle said, "Oh gods!"


Mulder was locked in his room with Karn watching the director's cut of
Bladerunner.  Sam had studied the man and boy and said it was all right
for Karn to spend time with him.  The agent heard something and stopped
the video.  

"Mulder..." the boy started to say but stopped as he held a hand up.
There was yelling downstairs and shots.  

"Get in the closet, Karn.  Keep quiet!" Mulder whispered to him and
pushed the boy into the closet and covered him with clothes and closed
it.   He returned to his bed just as the door to his room opened up.
"Jilly?" Mulder said, surprised.  

"Guess again.  Who are you?" the blonde woman said with a strange
smile.  She was in a tight fitting black jumpsuit, had a holstered
pistol and held a bloody round weapon Fox recognized from the history

"Callisto..." Mulder said.  

"Why are you locked up?" she demanded suspiciously, her smile
disappearing as her mood instantly shifted.  Her eyes were scanning the
room.  They stopped on the closet.   

"The Prince enslaved my partner.   We're FBI agents.  I'm a prisoner
because I objected.  That bastard!"  Mulder said vehemently, wanting to
draw the woman's attention away from the closet. 

"Oh, you must mean the little redhead.  Hate to tell you this, but
working for the Lord Progenitor is a promotion."  Her voice was
mocking.  "Not to worry; I'll probably kill her anyway when I do her
boss.  She'll be out of her misery then."

Mulder realized she was a mortal threat not only to Scully but to the
entire fight against Jilly.  He jumped for her but she avoided him, and
he found himself held from behind with that round blade at his throat. 
He expected to die but she just giggled and gave him a hard push.
"You're cute. Let's do lunch sometime."  

She left closing the door and Mulder heard it lock automatically.
After a moment listening, he got Karn out of the closet.  The boy was
tense but calm.  Even though Mulder had already done it a thousand
times he began searching for a way out of the room.  He was sure
Callisto had killed the guards and now was just going to wait for
Prince Samuel and Scully.  


It was late afternoon and Sam with Scully was arriving back at his
Washington townhouse.   The small woman looked around. Where were his
guards?  She considered going back the way they had just come but that
would leave them exposed to fire from the windows if there was
something going on.  Master was watching her.  He was letting her make
the decisions.   This was her job. 

Scully drew her gun and carefully opened the door.  When she saw the
blood on the floor and walls  she moved to push the Prince back but
they both were hit from behind and stumbled inside as the front door
slammed shut in back of them. 

"Well, well, well.  You are just as cute as a button, Red.  Your friend
upstairs doesn't approve of your career choice though.  I told him I'd
help him out."

Scully spun toward the speaker and her gun flew from her hand. A blonde
woman in black leather was smiling at her as she held a hand up and
caught a flying metal ring.  Scully ran at the woman and found herself
on her back gasping for breath.  The woman was standing over her with
her right foot on Scully's chest.  

"You're not a's day and you aren't strong enough...but you
got something sorta bacchish about ya.  What's up with that, huh?" 

"Jilly?" Scully gasped out.

The Prince came to stand on the other side of Scully.  "Don't hurt her,
Callisto.  You came for me."  Callisto hadn't found Karn. She'd be
gloating if she had.  The child of Kush and Angela would be valuable,
if for no other reason than to inflict pain on his parents by killing
him.  That'd be plenty for Callisto. Mulder had distracted her it
sounded like.

Scully tried to push the booted foot off her but it was immovable and
kept her pinned.  Callisto, smiling, rested her elbows on her bent knee
and looked at the Prince.

"Prince Samuel...GOOD Prince Samuel...Lord Progenitor...what else are
you...Defender of the Faith, Fire From Heaven, Dragon of the Sea and
Sky?" she said.

Sam answered, "Those and too many others to list.  Jilly didn't send
you, I know that."

"Yeah, that's true.  My little friend is too soft.  Always has been.
But, ya know what?  I'm not.  Figured I'd do you and anybody else who
seemed tasty."  Callisto was just lazily spinning the chakram on her
finger as she spoke.  Scully tried struggling free again and this time
the boot heel came down in her solar plexus and she groaned in pain. 

Prince Samuel said, "What about Cal?"

Callisto stepped away from Scully and snarled.  "That wasn't me! I have
nothing to do with a reincarnation!" 

"Jilly's a reincarnation herself," Sam said evenly. 

"That's different.  She's just like she always was.  Ares saw to that. 
Cal was a completely different person...I'm not Cal.  You are NOTHING
to me!"  Her eyes had gotten wide.  

Scully crawled quickly away and was watching the woman clinically.
Callisto looked like she might be close to a seizure. It reminded
Scully of Jilly except Callisto seemed even more volatile.

"Cal had your memories.  You didn't know that?  I guess not. When he
got angry you would come out in him.  He only got mad when somebody was
screwing with his kids though; with me or Jilly."  Sam was speaking

"It wasn't ME!"  Callisto screeched and hit him across the face with a
backhand blow that dropped him.  

The door burst open.   The blonde turned, her smile transforming her
face.  "Oh, Xeeeenaa!"  Callisto crooned.  

The warrior Princess, wearing fatigues, said, "Get away from him,

"Spare the rod and spoil the child, Xena.  This is none of your
business," Callisto said petulantly.  Then she rolled her eyes as
Gabrielle appeared in the doorway.

"I'm making it my business," Xena growled as she walked up to stand
directly in front of her old enemy.  The blonde made a mocking frown.  
With a burst of action, Xena caught Callisto with a kick that sent her
reeling back though the blonde didn't fall and threw her chakram which
Xena barely avoided. Gabrielle pulled Sam away. 

Scully had managed to retrieve her gun and opened fire. Callisto caught
her chakram  and leapt avoiding the first bullets but one grazed her
thigh.  Xena pulled a gun and also began shooting.  

"Not you too!  Guns are for cowards!" Callisto screamed.  Making sounds
of incoherent frustration and rage the blonde disappeared up the
stairs.  They could hear breaking glass and the sound of a motorcycle
speeding away.  

Sam and Gabrielle approached.  Scully came over to him.  Xena continued
carefully listening.  

"Nice timing," the Prince commented to the big woman, then said to
Scully, "See if Karn and Agent Mulder are all right, Dana." The redhead
nodded and ran up the stairs.  

"Thanks," Xena answered.  "Who?" she said and jerked her head in the
direction Scully had headed.

"Mulder is a security agent.  Karn is Angela's and Kush's son."  

Xena and Gabrielle both grimaced, understanding what could have

The strawberry blonde looked at Sam.  "What will Jilly do when she
finds out?"

Sam tiredly ran his hand through his hair.  "I dunno, Gabrielle. She'd
kill anybody else.  But Callisto...I just have no idea."

Xena looked thoughtful.  


Callisto scratched her bandaged thigh then looked up as the slight
figure stepped inside her tent.  "Jilly, what's up?"

Queen Jilly stared at her, then sarcastically drawled, "What's UP is
you tried to kill my brother.  That's what's UP!"  

Callisto yawned and said, "Yeah, but I blew it.  When will I learn to
keep my mouth shut and just kill somebody?  Xena arrived in the nick of
time, like always.  At least she didn't drop a ton of rocks on me for a

"This is no fuckin' joke, Callisto!  I oughta kill you."  Jilly said

Callisto grinned.  "Moi? You'd kill ME?  Me who saved you as a little
girl?  Me who taught you to fight?  Me who came and saved you AGAIN
when you were gonna be blown to Tartarus by that F-14 Ahmat sent after

"Promise me you won't do that again," Jilly demanded. 

Callisto made a dismissive hand gesture.  "He has to die.  I wouldn't
have believed it, but you actually might pull it off without Prince
Samuel around.  With him you don't stand a chance.  You know I'm right
if you think about it. "     

Jilly stepped quickly forward and grabbed Callisto by her collar.  She
tried to struggle and Jilly sent her flying back to crash onto her cot.
Callisto was instantly up and snarling. Jilly coolly waited then with a
kick dropped Callisto where she stood.  She said to the crumpled form,
"No, what I know is you being dead if you try anything like that again.
You won't kill him and then tell me it's a done deal.  I'll take you
out before that."  

Callisto coughed and got up, eyeing the Queen.  She'd had no idea Jilly
was that much better than she was.   

Jilly continued, "Gods, Callisto!  I love you but Sam is my little
brother.  I RAISED him!"

Callisto studied her then coldly said, "He was right.  You aren't
really Jilly.  You're nothing but a reincarnation.  A weakling copy of
my little friend.  MY JILLY would never turn on me.  She died trying to
avenge me."

Jilly said, "Weakling, huh?  I've killed a billion people and I'm a
pale imitation?" 

"That's right...because you aren't fighting to win.  The real Jilly
would.  She'd do whatever it took," Callisto rejoined furiously.  

Jilly paused and said, " may be right.  Remember Creone?
Your Jilly showed what she was made of there."

Callisto looked surprised at the sudden turn the conversation had
taken.  "Creone?  Oh, that was a village I raided when Jilly was with
me.  I remember....she tried to help the village kids escape.  When I
caught her, she killed 'em to get back on my good side.  Yeah..Yeah!
That's MY Jilly!" 

The Queen shook her head.  "You would think that was good. Listen,
Callisto, you don't know the whole story.  The head I brought you:
That's Sam."

"Sam?"  Callisto said.

"Prince Samuel is the reincarnation of the little boy I beheaded.  The
Furies arranged I could really taste what I had done.  You
never had to do that, I guess.  Well, it's a real eye opener."

Callisto was listening then said disgustedly.  "What a sentimental
fool!   Your victims all have brothers and sisters and parents and
children.  If you start something you have to do whatever it takes.  My
Jilly knew that.   You never will."  She turned away. "I'm leaving.  I
came to help Jilly, but you're just a stranger with her face."

Jilly bit her lower lip then asked, "Where will you go?"

Callisto wouldn't look at her.  "I'll find something.  Maybe I'll just
go back to Tartarus.  Hades and Ares got me out; Ares because he likes
fighting and Hades because he likes death. They figured I'd be a good
side investment.  I feel like a fool. But at  least I'm not some
hypocritical little fake!"


The Cirra had just passed not far from Madagascar and was running at
half speed as they performed repairs from that last engagement.
They'd taken a pounding before sinking the three battleships.  In her
command room, Jilly was breathing hard as she stared up at the large
electronic world map.  The last of her forces in Western Europe had
just surrendered at Dresden and outside Rome, their lights winking out.
"They should've fought till they died!" she growled.  "Spartans would!"

That was Kush and her men wanted to surrender to him, the rumors of
what happened at the death camp notwithstanding.  In North America
where they were fighting Angela and Kimberly, that wasn't as much of a
problem.  Her mom wasn't sadistic but she wasn't Shining Kush either
and would mete punishment out to anyone she thought deserved it.   They
would still surrender to her before Angela, though.   General Gilroy
had dinner parties lit by flaming prisoners impaled on stakes.   Jilly
wondered if Angela and Sam ever went out and screwed among the moaning
screaming bodies.  Those crazy kids did that all the time in the old
days.  They were the good guys here, supposedly. 

Jilly looked at the dark rangy man in khakis like her own standing
beside her, Colonel Mubarek.   When Callisto left he had quickly seized
command of her regiment by having his rivals strangled in their sleep
before they even knew anything.   Jilly didn't know how he had learned
of  it so fast, but that was a good sign he was the right choice.   Now
Jilly said, "Something on your mind, Colonel?"

He indicated the map and said curtly, "It's time we negotiate a
surrender while we still have a bargaining position."  

The woman he dwarfed smiled up at him.  "It's not WE, Mubarek. It's ME.
I'm not stopping."  

"What about your men?" he said.

She shrugged.  "They took their chances.  They were willing to swim
through blood and kill their own families when they thought there was a
pot of gold waiting.  Well, it didn't quite work out but it's too late
now to jump ship."  

The big Turk said, "I disagree," as he brought the machine pistol up.

"FUCKHEAD!" Jilly screamed and drove her stiffened fingers into his
throat.   She grabbed the weapon away before he could even squeeze the
trigger reflexively.  She stood watching him choke, then broke his neck
with a kick.  "GODDAMN IT!" She cursed and threw the gun at the big
screen which shattered. 

Two sailors walking together looked nervously at each other as they
heard the crash and cursing.  A door was yanked open and Jilly strode
out saying to them, "Get that repaired," before she disappeared up a
ladder going up on deck of the aircraft carrier. 

They walked inside and saw the large screen was smashed.  One began to
pick up a phone but stopped as the other said, "Over here, Hans!"

Hans went over and found Yoshi bending over a body.  Hans noticed a gun
on the floor nearby and picked it up.  They recognized Colonel Mubarek,
a real scary character who had come in by helicopter the day before.

"Yoshi, it could be us next time,"  Hans said grimly with a German

Yoshi nodded and frantically exclaimed,  "Why did I join her? Why?"  

"For a while it looked like she'd pull it off.  We'd all be rich," Hans
said in frustration.  "GPS ruined that.  I wish Mubarek had blown her
crazy fucking head off!  Maybe we could still get out of this alive

At a sound they turned and Jilly was standing there.  "Forgot
something.  That's what you wish, huh, asshole?"

Hans said, "I was just talking!  You know how it is!"

Yoshi wanted to vomit from fear.  "Please!"

Jilly's mouth was twitching.  Then she said, "Yeah, I know. Throw
Mubarek overboard and get somebody in here to fix the screen like I
told you."  She picked a large envelope up from the desk and turned to
leave.  Hans brought up Mubarek's gun and opened fire. The slender
woman had already dropped to the floor, and then it seemed to Yoshi
like she was bouncing off the steel gray walls. A moment later she was
standing in front of him holding the machine pistol as Hans was lying
on top of Colonel Mubarek.

"Admiral!  Please!"  Yoshi said pathetically holding his hands up.

Jilly tossed him the gun, saying  "Throw 'em both overboard, and get
that fixed."  She left the room and Yoshi began shaking.  He wished he
was back in Yokohama, or really anywhere else.

Chapter 11

Mulder and Karn had just finished shooting some more hoops and he was
going to help the boy with some homework when they heard a loud curse. 
Fox looked around for danger but Karn said, "That's Uncle Sam.  He's
just mad about something."  

The boy led Mulder to Sam's study which was open.  Mulder was nervous
but figured it would be all right since it was Karn's idea...what a
position for an FBI agent to be in.  

They looked inside.  It was day so the bacchae were nowhere to be seen
but Scully was there in a white bikini bottom and leaning against a
wall.  She was wearing a shoulder holster, and her toenails were
painted bright red to match her lips and fingernails.  Nice ensemble,
Mulder thought.  She glanced at him and Karn and frowned and waved them
away.  Karn didn't move so Mulder like a good sidekick stood his

The Prince was speaking into something that resembled a cell phone but
didn't.  "I see..." he said grimly then slammed his hand down on his
desk.  "What response did the Lord Caste send them, Lord
Military?...Why are you calling me and not one of the Lords?... What
does Cordelia say?" 

The Prince noticed Karn and Mulder now.  At first he seemed annoyed
then waved them inside.  Karn anyway and Mulder tagged along. The boy
went to stand beside Prince Samuel.  Mulder didn't feel like pressing
his luck that far.  "Hold on a moment, Lord Military," the Prince said.

He looked at the boy.  "Karn, a situation has developed with the Lytton
Federation.   You've seen their delegations, I think."

Karn said, "Those big bear guys?"

Sam nodded.  "The Lord Caste want to handle this without me. It's been
building up for a long time."   His voice became ironic.   "They might
have a point.  I don't like being blind sided this way though."  

He continued, "The Military Caste are refusing to obey 'em in something
this big without my agreement.   Some outposts have been attacked  but
the Lytton claim those were the actions of overeager commanders in the
field.  Maybe... maybe not.   There has been a military buildup on the
border that looks a lot like an invasion force.  We're their largest
trade partner and they're ours.  A war could devastate both economies
along with whatever other damage it did.  The Slithloc defeated them
before but just barely.   Don't ever say that to a military  though,
Karn.   It sounds like a demagogue has 'em worked up.   What do you
think we should do?"

Mulder watched with interest.  It was absolute monarchy in action.  

Karn said, "umm...fight 'em if we have to, I guess.  If there's no
other way.  We don't wanna lose the trade, right, Uncle Sam? We should
find out why they're mad."

The Prince listened and looked thoughtful.  He glanced up at Mulder and
the agent was nervous.  He looked over at Scully.  "What do you think,

The small woman said, "I agree with Karn."

The Prince began tapping a front tooth with a finger.  He put the
communication device back to his ear.  "Lord Military, convene the
Military Caste Council.... I don't care about the Lord Caste. I'll deal
with them later.   Attack.  Defeat them but don't destroy
everything.... I'm going to forget you said that, Lord Military...see
that you do.  If they sue for peace send me word....that's're on thin ice, Lord Military."  He listened then said
frigidly, "Angela and Kush are busy here." He set the device down and
glanced at Karn and Dana.  "You might have kept me from overreacting.

"That's not overreacting?" Mulder said, then stopped talking as
Scully's Walther PPK was pressing against his nose.

The Prince said, "No need for that, Dana."  She returned her gun to the
shoulder holster nestled beside her naked left breast and stepped away
from Mulder.  Prince Samuel said, "No, Agent Mulder, it's not
overreacting.  That would've been exterminating the entire Lytton
Federation and turning their thousands of worlds into space gravel like
the Military Caste wants.   The Lytton aren't the Branchidae though.
Aside from what the loss of trade would mean to the economy they have a
rich culture that would be missed. In addition to the fact all out war
is expensive business even for the winner.  The Military Caste don't
care about that, of course, and shouldn't.  That's what the Clerical
and Lord Castes are for."

"Who are the Branchidae?" Mulder said, glancing nervously at Scully who
tensed but didn't do anything. 

"It's who WERE the Branchidae," the Prince said with a smile. "They
WERE fifth rate assholes who made their last mistake when they screwed
with me.  An analogy might be if the Slithloc are Sony and the Lytton
are Mitsubishi, then the Branchidae were selling stolen TV sets out of
the trunk of their car."

"Space gravel?" Karn said. 

The Prince smiled at the boy.

"Could the Slithloc lose?" Mulder said.  

Sam glanced at him then at Karn, and Mulder understood he was answering
him for the boy's benefit.   "They never have, Agent Mulder.   They
didn't crush the Lytton before though.  It was a negotiated peace.  The
Military Caste is still stewing about that.  I probably will have to
send Kush and Angela .  I didn't like a Lord Military just asking for
'em though.   She should have more confidence."   He smiled at Mulder. 
"This won't have any effect on Earth.   I can't imagine the Military
Caste losing but I suppose it's theoretically possible with someone
like the Lytton.  If they do I'll remain here assuming I survive myself
and there's nothing else to do for the Slithloc."

Mulder didn't respond but knew what that would mean.  After Jilly was
defeated Good Prince Samuel would rule the world. 


Krycek and Kimberly were lazily lounging in bed.  It was close to
sunset.  The dark woman was propped up and reading the comics section
from the Sunday New York Times and Alex was idly playing with her hair
with his restored hand.  Her General's uniform hung in one corner.  She
was on leave from her army in the Texas Panhandle. She had a breather
because she had just crushed Jilly's forces in the region.  Krycek was
between assignments, having just returned from Bangkok.

There was a loud fast knock on the door.  Kimberly glanced up, took her
9 mm from under the pillow, and removed her reading glasses setting
them on the nightstand.   Alex pulled some jeans on and a T-shirt,
slipped his .38 into his waistband in back and went to the door.  He
glanced back at Kimberly who was still naked.  She saw his look,
shrugged and rose to put her white bathrobe on.  Alex looked through
the peephole, opened the door and Angela came walking in pushing past

"Angela...what is it?"  Kimberly said setting the gun down.  

The redhead looked at the newspaper and the rumpled bed.  She smiled
and said, "Deep down you're a happy hausfrau aren't you, Kimberly?
Who'd a thunk it?  And with ratboy here no less."

"What do you want?" Alex asked angrily.  He was getting really sick of
this kind of treatment from people.   He had something ready for

The freckled redhead looked at him and smiled.  

"What do you want, Angela?" Kimberly said coldly.   

The tall woman got serious.  "I'm flying to Washington to see Sam.
Wanna come?  You too, Krycek."

Kimberly said, "Of course, I want to see Sam.  But what's this about?
And why do you want Alex?"  

Angela said, "I'll explain on the way.  I wanna appeal to Sam's better
nature and I think you being there will help.  Krycek knows some of the
people involved which might be handy."

"Okay," Kimberly said suspiciously, as she took her uniform down from
the door  and took the robe off.   Krycek kept an eye on Angela as he
put his shoes and socks on.    

The redhead said to him, "Nice job in Bangkok; those plans you
delivered were on the money.  The guy in the men's room, though. Don't
ya think that was a little rash?"

Kimberly didn't say anything, listening, as she was buttoning her
shirt.  She glanced at Alex who was putting his brown leather jacket
on.  He flashed his charming smile at Angela who tensed slightly.  

"If you didn't want your agent provocateur hurt you shouldn't have sent
him after me that way."

Angela's eyes glittered.  "You knew he was from me?"

Kimberly began to chuckle.  She said, "Not so funny when you're on the
receiving end, is it?"

Angela said, "He was tortured.  Why?"

Kimberly stopped laughing and looked at Alex who was checking the load
in his gun as he innocently said, "He claimed to work for Jilly.
Didn't have much to say though.   It's interesting that you have a
tattoo on your ass and snort crank but that doesn't help us against
Jilly.  I'll chip in for a seeing eye dog if he wants one.  Did you
know he had a crush on you?"  Alex put the gun in a holster which he
clipped to his belt in back.  

"You little..." Angela said and took a step toward Krycek, but
Kimberly, in her crisp uniform now and wearing a billed hat put an arm
out blocking the taller woman. 

"If you can't take the heat, as they say,"  Kimberly said. 

Angela stopped and looked at Kimberly and got a slow smile on her
freckled face though her green eyes remained cold.  "So they say.  Come
on, let's go see David and Bathsheba."  She turned and left the room.
Kimberly didn't like the sound of that.  She looked over at Alex.  

"Would you've called her if I wasn't here to save your bacon?" Kimberly

"Of course not."

Kimberly kissed him.  "You are such a louse!  I love it!"


Sam was relaxing in the large marble tub with Scully when Clea came in
and started to say, "Captain An..." but then was knocked forward by the
door and she fell face first into the sunken tub. 

"Angela!" Sam said.

The tall redhead in her long black leather coat said sneeringly, "What
a pretty picture!  Get your clothes on.  I wanna talk."  

Elvira and Fotena had come up behind her and now leapt at her. Angela
quickly turned her body and used the bacchae's own momentum to send the
two creatures careening into the water with the others.

"Don't do that again, girls.  I know you just wanna protect your boss
but I'll only put up with so much."  

"Oh, Angela, there's..."  Sam started to say but she turned and
sauntered out.

"Tell me when you've got your pants on, Lord Progenitor."

The beautiful women with their gowns now plastered to their bodies,
awkwardly climbed out of the tub.  Sam sighed and he and Scully got
out.  The three bacchae peeled their gowns off and held them over the
marble tub, squeezing out water.   

"I hope we have enough towels," Sam said.

Angela stepped out in the hallway.  She wanted to find Mulder now.
Since she didn't hear anything she just began opening doors looking for
him exploring the town house.    At the sixth door she froze.  

"Hi, Mom," Karn said.   He got up and came over to hug her. Mulder rose
too.  They had been sitting on the end of his bed playing a video game.

"How long have you been here?" Angela asked.   She was angry but didn't
know who to direct it at.  Lucky for Mulder she wasn't like Jilly.

"I got in a few  weeks ago.  Laconius said he'd tell you and dad I was

"Okay," Angela said.   She'd been traveling a lot and he just hadn't
caught up with her yet.  They probably passed each other going
different directions several  times.  The soldier wouldn't want to risk
security by telling her and Kush about their son's presence any other
way than personally.  

"Uncle Sam and Laconius know you're hanging out with Agent Mulder?" the
freckled woman asked. 

"Uh huh," the boy said.  "We've been shooting hoops, too."

"Yeah?  He any good?"  Angela said and glanced at the agent. The boy
shrugged.  She said,  "Say goodby to him, Karn.  He's gonna be leaving

Mulder had been listening carefully.  At the last he felt his throat

"Bye, Mulder," Karn said.  

"Bye, Karn.  It was nice meeting you."  Mulder said.  She was gonna
kill him.  The only possible course he could see would be to take Karn
hostage...and he wouldn't do matter what.

As the boy left he braced himself but the tall woman said,  "Oh, relax!
Don't be so paranoid.   I'm getting you and your partner out of here." 
She turned and left the room.   Mulder shakily sat back down on the

Kimberly was nervously waiting.  Alex said, "This is the little boy
whose picture you carry, isn't it?"  The big woman nodded.  

Angela returned.  "Sam'll be right down."  Alex and Kimberly both saw
she had been splashed with water.  Angela looked at herself.  "Don't
ask.  It's too stupid to talk about."

In a short time Mulder, in his usual dark suit, came down the stairs
carefully.  At the sight of Krycek and Kimberly, he froze for a second,
then continued.  Alex smiled at him and Kimberly nodded.

A few minutes later, Prince Samuel came down the stairs, Clea beside
him and ready to catch him if he tripped and the others surrounding him

Sam was in blue jeans, Reeboks, and a University of Chicago sweatshirt.
The four beautiful women were in white or black high heels with
matching thigh-high stockings, lace bras, and nothing else but some
jewelry.  All wore earrings; Elvira and Fotena had necklaces, and
Clea's navel sported a sapphire. Scully in addition to her small gold
crucifix had a tattoo on her midback of an oroborus, a snake with its
tail in it's mouth. Their pubic hair was shaved in ornate patterns.
The Prince and his girls all had damp hair.

"Mom!" Sam said, came over and hugged her.  

"Hi, baby!" she said emotionally.  

Alex was grinning at Scully.  She glared at him in return.  The bacchae
began growling and advancing on him but Angela said, "Nuh uh uh."  They

Mulder wanted to run over and cover Scully up with his coat.  It had
been made abundantly clear to him though that it wasn't necessary.  He
was still bruised from last time.  

"What's this about, Angela?" Prince Samuel said.  "I thought you
understood about me and my bacchae.  That it didn't bother you
anymore."   This was bad enough but that Angela had brought his was embarrassing; especially with the way they dressed
since their gowns were wet.

Kimberly said, "It's about Agent Scully.  Let her go, Sam."

"I'm not here against my will!" Scully said. 

Krycek laughed and she glared at him again. 

"You would never do this!" Mulder said vehemently.

Angela said, "Agent Scully, you don't have any will.  No one does when
it comes to Good Prince Samuel...except for me.  Sam, you can't just
take somebody like that.  That's not you. 

Prince Samuel frowned and said.  "I'm not harming her.  She's happy.
What's your problem?"

"Release her mind and see how happy she is.  Mulder's biased but,
Krycek, you know Scully.  Would she want this?"  Angela said. 

Alex answered, "No.  I love the look, though."  He stopped smiling when
Kimberly frowned at him.

"I'm not doing anything to her mind," Sam said shortly.  

Angela said, "Not intentionally, maybe, but you don't have to. You know
the effect you have on people."

"She likes me.  So what?" Sam replied petulantly. 

"So turn off the charm.  See how much she likes you then," Angela

Prince Samuel looked at Dana and his bacchae.  He was uncomfortable.
Elvira had also said something to him about Dana not belonging with
them.  She was the one who had wanted Agent Scully in the first place. 
But Sam himself had come to enjoy having Dana serve him and didn't want
to lose her.   Was Angela right?  "Dana," he said quietly. 

Scully walked over to him.  "I love serving you," she said simply.  He
bent down to look directly in her eyes.  Scully felt odd then said,
"Shit!" as she realized what she was wearing. She covered her crotch
with her hands and backed away from Prince Samuel, stumbling on the
stiletto heels.   Scully scrambled behind Mulder who gave her his coat.

Prince Samuel's eyes were red as he looked at her.  "I'm sorry." To
Angela and Kimberly, he said, "I really didn't know."

"I know, Sam," Angela said.  "Go get dressed, Agent Scully.  You and
your partner are leaving."  She looked at  Krycek.   "Why don't you go
with 'em so Kimberly and Sam can catch up."  

Alex looked at Kimberly who nodded at him.   Kimberly said, "What about

Angela answered, "I've got my own catching up to do."  She looked over
and Karn had come in the room.  He was staring at Sam's bacchae.   Wait
till he hits puberty, she thought.  She'd have to talk to Sam about it.

Sam had realized his mother and this killer had a romantic connection. 
Kimberly noticed his look and said "This is my friend, Alex."

Krycek felt a little nervous.  It was absurd but he was sleeping with
Sam's mother and he was self conscious.  The Prince held his hand out. 
Alex took it and Prince Samuel looked him in the eyes.  

"Sam..." Kimberly started to say.  Angela laughed.  

Krycek felt like the room was spinning.  He saw huge vistas filled with
impaled screaming bodies, armies crashing together, massive explosions
as fleets of space craft met in battle and planets were reduced to
cinders, and a dark horned god with a bloody face.  

"Pleased to meet you, Alex.  Hope you're treating my mom right. I
wouldn't want to hear otherwise,"  the Prince said jokingly, releasing
his hand and eyes. 

Kimberly steadied Krycek who seemed disoriented and frowned at Sam who
had an innocent expression. 

Scully was shaking with humiliation and rage as she found her old
clothes and got dressed.   Her partner was downstairs.   She could
barely look at Mulder although she knew it was late for her to be
modest now.  "Dana."  She whirled and the bacchae were standing there.

"Stay away from me!" she said and drew her gun.  

"Put the gun away.  You don't need it and it would not harm us anyway,"
Elvira said.  

Scully, still furious, put the gun in her holster under her coat.  She
tried to calm down.  

Elvira said, "Don't you remember what I told you?  You wouldn't believe
me then."

Scully put her big overcoat on.  "Yeah, sure, whatever.  After you
brainwashed me and screwed me as much as you wanted, you decided I
didn't quite fit in after all."

"You were not 'brainwashed.'  The Prince desired you join us and you
wished to please him,"  Elvira replied.  "He is distracted by this
terrible war with his sister and allowed you to be overwhelmed by his
great presence.   If there was any brainwashing  it was now when he
dampened your feelings for him."

"Were you behind Angela coming here?" Scully said, a shade less
angrily.  She hated to admit it but knew she wasn't just a passive

Elvira nodded.  "I encouraged Kush speak to Captain Angela."

Scully said acidly, "Thanks for not using me any more than you already
did.  Thanks a lot!"

Clealisthia and Fotena were ready to restrain Elvira but their hot
tempered sister wasn't reacting as she usually did.  

Elvira said, "Dana...Dana...I love you...we all love you.  I'm sorry." 
She turned and left.  Fo and Clea looked at Scully inscrutably for a
moment and left as well.   

Scully found herself regretting what were probably her last words to
her former sisters.

Chapter 12

He moved quickly and quietly in the darkened hallway.  Krycek found the
bedroom and silently turned the knob and slipped inside.  Two figures
were asleep in the bed.  He was here for the woman.  She had been
selling information to Jilly's agents. Krycek had been tracing her from
one embassy guard, MIT scientist or State Department employee she'd
duped to the next, killing them after he'd learned what he needed, as
the smoking man had instructed him.  He had been cleaning out their
bank accounts for himself as well.  Eventually the trail led across the
Atlantic to London,  then across the English Channel and eastward.
Alex studied the sleeping figures and made a decision to kill both just
to be safe even though he didn't know who her companion was.

"Do not slay the man.  He is just sport for her."

Alex felt like jumping at the clear loud voice and the woman who had
appeared standing  beside him.  The sleepers hadn't been awakened

Athena nodded at the sleeping figures.  Alex slipped a knife into his
hand and silently approached the bed.  He looked down at her, a smart,
treacherous, beautiful woman; just his type. It was too bad she had
chosen the wrong side.  Alex clamped a gloved hand over her mouth and
her eyes opened in fear a second before he drove the knife into her
heart.  The man hadn't awakened.  Alex suspected Athena was keeping the
sleeper in that state.  He looked back and she had disappeared.  Krycek
wiped his knife off, backed away and slipped out the bedroom door.
Athena was waiting when he came back out on the quiet residential
Prague street.  

"I have a task for you."

Alex hesitated and felt a tingling in his restored arm.  Athena changed
and instead of a dark dress she wore a white chyton, a shining helmet
with a high crest and held a spear and shield. The vision only lasted a
second before she disappeared in an explosion of light.   

Krycek found himself in daylight and with no idea where he was. There
was gunfire and explosions and he looked for cover but then realized no
one was shooting at him.  He could also hear cheering. 


The MIG was flying low just ahead of the squadron.   Underneath them
were huge rice fields that had somehow escaped devastation so far.
They had lost nine planes in a dogfight just an hour before.  Jilly had
wanted to destroy Kush's headquarters but despite inflicting damage
hadn't succeeded.   One of their opponents had been so good Jilly
suspected it was Xena or maybe even Kush. Jilly had hightailed it out
of there, realizing she couldn't afford to lose any more fighters if
she could possibly help it.  They hadn't pursued.  That also made her
suspect Kush.  He wouldn't want Jilly shooting down any more of his
pilots, which she would have done, just as Kush or whoever it was
would've taken out more of Jilly's planes.  

On her instrument panel Jilly saw five of her remaining twelve MIGs
assuming an attack pattern with her as the target.  They were trying to
be sly.  "Great," she mumbled to herself and just immediately tumbled
off in a spin and came up under them and fired her rockets, hitting two
that went spinning off in flames, leaving three more of her attackers. 
The rest of her squadron weren't helping her, simply waiting.  She
gritted her teeth seeing that.  

"Commander!  Commander!" was coming over her headset from one of the
attacking planes.  

"Too late, shithead," she responded.   His answer was to fire a smart
missile at her.   Jilly exploded it with a special code only she
possessed.   She could guess the effect that must've had on the pilot. 
The two planes veered off in different directions.  She flicked a
switch and entered another code.  The jets lost power and went into
spins and the pilots ejected.  

"That was pretty goddamn stupid, wasn't it?" Jilly said and flew toward
the pilot who had sent the smart missile after her.  He was frantically
waving and a firing his pistol at her.  Seconds later blood covered the
nose of her plane.  The other parachutist looked like he was trying to
work his radio.  She headed his direction and saw him squirming, then
she had passed by having caught him with a wing tip.  Looking back part
of him was still in the parachute softly descending towards earth. 

"Are you all right, Commander?" came over her headset now.  

"Just peachy!  Why wouldn't I be," she replied sarcastically. "Follow
me back to The Cirra unless the rest of you wanna try something."   

They saw the huge black oily cloud long before reaching the aircraft
carrier.  The bow of the huge vessel was still visible amid the water
flaming with oil and fuel.   There were survivors in rafts and life
jackets being picked up.   Lucky for them Kush and not Angela was
calling the shots.   Hunting 'em with a harpoon seemed like something
her sister-in-law would  be down there doing if she had her druthers.  
Jilly said to her squadron, "We have to get back to the airfield on the
mainland while we have fuel,"   They didn't respond.  She guessed they
were regretting that they hadn't tried to help the others kill her. 

Paulie was waiting for her when she came walking in from the airfield. 
There were  eight bodies in front of a wall.   The big old man in his
out of place suit was holding an AK-47. Jilly looked curiously at the
executed soldiers.  They'd all been facing the wall  with their hands

"Planning a welcome for me?" Jilly said. 

Paulie grunted  meaning yes.  

"Tried recruiting you and you played along, right?" 

He grunted again.

Jilly tiredly put her hands over her face.

"Okay, honey?" Paulie asked. 

"Yeah, Paulie.  I'm okay."


The generals were all gathered around the large map.  Froisart had been
promoted and taken command of Ahmat's divisions.  Their aides were
hovering in the background.  Xena, Ekberg and Powell had been arguing
but stopped as Kush and Angela came in.  Unlike the others they were in
long leather coats instead of fatigues. Each wore five stars on their
collars though.   Artillery fire could be heard in the distance.   The
big blonde, almond skinned man took a position at the head of the
table.   Angela stood to one side of him.  He was in charge here.   She
was observing and ready to step in in case of an emergency.   Her
troops were fighting a war of attrition  in North America.   Angela had
wanted to be present for this though and had left Kimberly in command. 

"It is good to see you, brothers," Kush said, looking around the table.

"Is there any chance Jilly will surrender?" Froisart asked. 

"Nah," Xena and Angela answered in unison.  

"It is unlikely," Kush said.  "Without The Cirrah and with the new loss
of most of her air force and artillery, she only has days or even
hours.   But her defeat has been clear for months."

Angela added, "Right before all this started she was talking about how
great Thermopylae was.  Told somebody she wished she coulda been there.
Jilly intends on dying fighting."  

Froisart nodded, not surprised.  He just wanted to raise the issue.

"Laconius," Kush said.  His aide stepped forward and handed leather
binders to all of the commanders as Kush continued, "Here are your

Xena was frowning as she was reading.  She looked up at Kush who was
watching her.  

"That's all, brothers," Kush said flatly.   Xena waited as the officers
left, leaving her and her aide with Kush, Angela and Laconius.  She
indicated for her aide to leave and at a look from the Lord Military,
Laconius followed.

"What is this?  You're keeping me away from the main fighting." Xena

"That's right," Angela said.  "That's where Jilly will be. You're
related same as Kimberly.  We aren't gonna send you directly against
her.  I didn't even want you in this theater. Your China experience was
too valuable to waste though."

"Don't you think I'll fight her as hard as I can?" Xena asked

Kush answered, "I know you will, brother.  You might well meet her face
to face.   The Lord Progenitor will feel badly enough."

Angela said, "Are you gonna tell me you can beat her?  Sam's probably
gonna lose his sister.  He doesn't need his great great whatever
grandmother dead at her hands on top of that."

Xena was glaring at Kush and Angela then said resignedly,  "Long as
it's not about me."

Angela smiled but her green eyes were cold.  "Perish the thought, Xena.
I'd like to kill you and your carpet muncher myself."

"Why?" Kush said curiously. 

"Why not?" Xena and Angela answered together.


Standing in front of her headquarters, Jilly glanced back at the
building wondering how long it would be before it had been reduced to
rubble.   She tried to silence the voices in her head and they receded.
Her voices had disappeared for years, but had reappeared and become
more urgent than they had been since she was a little girl.  The final
assault had already begun and artillery and flashes of light were
visible in the distance. Jilly knew where the main fighting would
likely be and would be heading out there to take personal command.  She
hoped she got killed fighting but she had to do her best or it wouldn't
be real.   Jilly had hugged Paulie leaving him confused.   She had
everything she wanted on her: pictures of her parents and her brother;
a photo of that statue of Callisto with her as a little girl; a
snapshot of her and Langland eating pizza.  A picture of Karn at around
two holding both her and  Angela's chakrams like he couldn't decide
which he liked better. 

The majority of her men looked at her with fear and hatred, which made
her smile.   They were between a rock (the attacking armies) and a hard
place (herself).   Most of them just hoped for an opportunity to
surrender without Jilly or any of her loyal troops killing them, which
had been happening when men tried to give up without even fighting.
If she was dead they all would throw their weapons down immediately
since they were facing Kush.  But it had become clear to everyone that
trying to assassinate Jilly was more of a sure way to die than

After the loss of The Cirra, under a new Colonel that regiment of
psychos came after her seeing that as their only chance. Jilly had
personally led a contingent of her elite troops against them.  Being on
the same side had never set too well with the French Foreign
Legionnaires, Russian Blue Berets, American Rangers, etc., many of whom
had followed Jilly because she represented a kind of warrior ideal.
Most also had known going in Jilly couldn't possibly win and they were
unlikely to survive.    Being self destructive was something they could
understand.  They were themselves.  Jilly did it on such a huge, mythic
scale that they wanted to be part of it.   They felt elevated.   The
more literate ones actually thought in those terms; others like they
were in an epic or opera; others like they were living out a movie.
Now as things were drawing to an end Jilly was spending more and more
time with their regiment: drinking; cooking for 'em; talking about
things like the Spartans at Thermopylae, Pickett's Charge in the Civil
war, and in the Battle of the Bulge those outnumbered GIs who as a
reply to the German demand for surrender sent back a one word answer,
"Nuts."  They liked her more than ever now.  Going with her to
exterminate those creeps was better than R&R.  


The fighting was over.  Covered with blood, not hers, Jilly was driving
her jeep across the devastation feeling satisfied at what she had
accomplished.  Callisto was disappointed in her for being too soft she
knew, but gosh, look at all this....she had killed millions of times as
many people as Callisto ever had. Callisto was just too critical.
Jilly was disappointed she hadn't been killed in the fighting with her
elite regiment who were practically all dead.  She made sure she was
never anywhere but in the thick of it but she was just too good.  It
didn't surprise her it would come down to this.  She was making her way
back to her headquarters to wait.

When she arrived she stood up in her jeep and  looked out over the
remains of her shattered army, smoke rising from a hundred points of
burning tanks and artillery positions.  And bodies, lots of bodies.
Beijing was just barely visible in the distance.  It was quiet except
for moans and screams from every direction.   She smiled slightly,
remembering the Last Stand of the Sword of Ares.  Kimberly had led her
army to destruction. Now Jilly had done the same thing, just on a
bigger scale, the way she did everything.  From far off two Apache
helicopters began coming into view.  

The beautiful blonde woman felt her mouth involuntarily twitching.
Jilly tried to stop it but couldn't.  She went into her headquarter and
grabbed a bag and a case from a safe in the rubble.  Emerging, she
looked around for an open area where the choppers could land, quickly
jogged over  and began stripping her clothes off.  As the first
helicopter touched down Jilly finished lacing up her black leathers.
The gems on them glimmered dimly in the smoky air.  Lastly she picked
up Callisto's old sword, the one Kimberly had given her when she turned
16.  As the passenger from the chopper was climbing out, her red hair
blowing in the wind created by the slowing blades, the other helicopter
was setting down.  Both aircraft had the impaled man symbol.

The second passenger lightly jumped down and with Angela began walking
toward Jilly.  "It is over.  There is no reason to continue," Kush
said.  Jilly smiled and raised her eyebrows and looked at Angela.  

"Foreigners, Jilly," the tall freckled woman said ironically. "What's
with the costume?"

Jilly looked down at her gleaming leathers and her sword. "Thought you
and Kush might wanna go one on one.  You know, epic stuff."

"My great brother," Kush said sadly, "this is prose not poetry." He
came up with an ouzi  concealed in his coat simultaneously with Angela.

"Shit!" Jilly cursed leaping and avoiding Kush's line of fire, but in
doing so she jumped right into a hail of bullets from Angela.  She
managed to throw her chakram as the bullets tore into her.  Kush shot
it out of the air and it shattered, then he sent another burst into
Jilly as she was falling. 

The two tall black clad figures walked to stand over the small still
form, keeping their guns trained on her.  When her body twitched both
opened fire again. 

Angela set her gun down and squatted next to the dead woman.
"Jilly...Jilly... who's gonna teach Karn the difference between
linguini and fettucini now?" she said softly and began arranging the
torn body.   She picked up the great old sword, now ruined by bullets
and laid it lengthwise over Jilly and put the Queen's limp hands around
it.  Angela noticed a few photographs that had fallen on the ground.
She took them and studied them a moment before tucking them into the
top of Jilly's leathers.  Angela stood up and looked at her companion. 
"You okay?"

Kush didn't say anything for a moment, then said, "I wanted to fight

"I know, Kush.  So did I.  But we aren't here to play games.  We
couldn't risk it," Angela said and laid a hand on his big shoulder.

"Indeed," he answered. 

They heard a sound and turned to a see a lumbering figure push a broken
door open in a building and unsteadily walk out.  He was bleeding from
a scalp wound but he just began slapping dust off his suit before he
saw the helicopters and the standing figures. The big figure starting
walking toward them then stopped when he saw the small bloody figure on
the ground.  Paulie began running at them clawing a gun out from his
shoulder holster.  Kush started to raise his machine gun but Angela
said, "No." 

"Fuck You! Motherfuckers! You Motherfuckers!" Paulie cursed as his gun
flew out of his hand.  Angela reached up to catch her chakram.  The
huge old man with cauliflower ears and a battered face kept running
toward them and stopped beside the corpse.  He was staring down at her,
the left side of his mouth drooping the way it did now.  "Honey..." he
said sounding perplexed.  He grabbed his head and fell on top of the
little girl he used to take out for ice cream and give pony rides on
his back to.

Kush reached down and felt for a pulse in his neck.  

"Alive...I hope not?" Angela said.

Kush didn't answer but reached in a pocket and withdrew a small pistol,
put the .22 to the back of Paulie's head and fired three times.  

Angela had stepped back to avoid being spattered with blood. "I'll call
Sam," she said and began walking to the helicopters.


Kimberly heard a cheer go up from her men.  She looked up from the
reconnaissance photographs of Boise she was studying and frowned.  The
cheering was continuing.  She walked to the door of her temporary
headquarters and looked out.  She heard shooting and saw some grenades
from launchers explode in the air as makeshift fireworks.  Kimberly was
waiting for the call and picked it up on the first ring.  

"Yes....Yeah, Angela, I figured.  How?...I wanna know....Goddamn it, I
wanna know! and Kush, huh?...of course not, Angela....Call Sam
yet?  How'd he sound?....I'm okay....I said I'm OKAY!"

Kimberly put the receiver down and looked at her shaking hand. She
reached into a pocket and took out a black and white photograph of a
baby propped up against a vicious looking helmet.  She began crying.
"Oh, Jilly!  Oh, baby!"  She walked unsteadily over to her desk and
seemed to just collapse into her chair, then  took a large envelope
from a drawer and upended it and more old photographs fell out.
Picking one she could barely hold it in her shaking hand.  Jilly looked
about nine and was holding Sam and trying to get him to look at the
camera but he was staring enraptured at her.  He always felt that way
about his big sister.  

"Kimberly," a voice said quietly.  She looked up and saw Alex.  

"Where did you come from?" she asked in a ragged voice.

Krycek answered, "Athena."  

Kimberly didn't say anything then desperately went back to the pile of
photographs as Alex  came to stand beside her and put a hand on her
broad heaving shoulder.


The townhouse was quiet.   It took a long time for the door to be
answered after the bell was rung.  Finally it opened. Scully said to
the woman in a maid's uniform.  "How is he?"

Clea studied her then stepped aside, murmuring "See for yourself,
Dana."   As the bacchae closed the door she stopped disguising her eyes
and teeth.  Scully followed Clealisthsia upstairs to the study where it
was dimly lit and Chet Baker was playing in the  background.   When
they entered the room Clea began taking her clothes off.  Scully saw
Elvira and Fotena look at her from where they were sitting at the
Prince's feet.   He was  looking at an old photograph and hadn't seen
her.  He had one arm around Karn who was leaning against him.   Elvira
rose and whispered in his ear, and he looked at Scully, tried to smile
but couldn't quite manage it.  Back in her usual gown Clea went beside
him too.  Scully knew the Prince was keeping himself from overwhelming
her.  She stepped out of her shoes, took her coat off, and began
unbuttoning her blouse. 


Kimberly and Krycek had just emerged from a restaurant when they heard,
"Alex!"  They turned and a pretty, dark haired, overweight teenage girl
was running toward them. 

"God dammit," Alex said softly.  Kimberly looked at him sharply and at
the girl.  "Hello, Monica," he said coldly as she reached them.  The
girl stopped at his tone. 

"Alex...Alex..." she said helplessly.  She was twisting her sweater as
she talked.  She looked at Kimberly.  "Who are you?" 

The dark woman said, "I'm a friend.  What's wrong?"

"Never mind," Alex said brusquely.  "Monica, it's over.  It was nice
but it's over.  That's life."

The girl began sobbing hysterically.  "My dad died and then you were
gone, too! I just met you and then you were gone!  My mom tried to kill
herself!  God...oh god...Alex.  I love you!  Help me!"  She reached
pathetically for Krycek who just pushed her hands away.

"That's too bad about your father and mother, Monica.  But I can't do
anything for you." 

"You said you loved me!" she sobbed out.  "I was a virgin! My daddy's
dead!  My mommy's in a coma!" 

Kimberly said, "I'm gonna talk to her.  I'll seeya later, Alex."

Krycek tensed when he heard her voice.  "Kimberly..." he started to say
but she wouldn't look at him.  He turned and walked off struggling with
his feelings.  Glancing back he saw Kimberly had her arms around Monica
who was holding onto her for support. 

Kimberly had gotten the teenager a hotel room and was  waiting for the
other shoe to drop.  Monica had come home from school and found an
airplane ticket in an envelope and a note that told her where to look
for her wonderful Alex.  She'd told Kimberly everything that happened. 
Kimberly had groaned inwardly. When she met Alex she knew this would
come sooner or later.  At least she'd had some good months with him.
She could never look at him the same way now.  Kimberly had been able
to read between the lines.   Why had Alex seduced a not-especially-
bright young girl whose father he intended to murder?  Just icing on
the cake?  A nice vicious flourish?  It wouldn't surprise her if he had
been screwing the mother.  Hell, maybe, even the father himself.  She
considered that... Nah...No need to make Alex worse than he was.
Monica had even saved a dress that had Alex's semen on it.  God!

Now the big woman was in the hotel bar.  Monica had a room and an
appointment with a shrink and an after school job waiting for her in
the hotel eventually if she wanted it.  Kimberly figured she'd done her
good deed.  She hoped Monica didn't try to attach herself to her now.
Wanting to help her was one thing but spending time with the air head
was something else.  

A figure took a seat beside her.  Here it is, she thought.  She looked
over and didn't recognize who or what it was.  She trusted her gut
though.  "Who are you?"

Before answering the smiling blonde in a miniskirt and halter top waved
the bartender over.  "Hey, studmuffin, lemme have a mango
daiquiri...and some nuts on the side.   I love the taste of nuts..nice
n' salty.  How are your nuts, honey?"

The bartender grinned at her.  "You just made my day."  

The woman smiled after him as he walked off to make the drink. "That
felt good.  He's married to this TOTAL bitch!   Gettin' on his case for
not making more of SHE'S such a great catch.  Tits
halfway to the floor and she's criticizing HIM.   If she doesn't cool
it I'll have him leave her.  He's the one who could do better!"  She
winked at the bartender as he brought her drink and set the bag of beer
nuts down.  

"Aphrodite," Kimberly said.  

The beautiful blonde smiled at the little umbrella in her daiquiri and
took a sip, then said, "I've been watching you a long time, honey.
Funny we never met.  I kept tabs on you though.  Ares coulda never
hooked you up with Cal without my go ahead.  And you and Weldon were
cute.  Not classic exactly, but a nice match.  You keep blowing it
though.  What is it with you? I guess it's that tragic hero stuff.
Tragic love I can understand but this hubris...and all the guilt...I
don't get it."

Kimberly said wryly, "You aren't missing anything."

"Yeah, anyways, you just made some MAJOR points with me by helping out
Monica.   And you kinda sorta love Alex in this sad burned out
way...just like he feels about risking it by helping a kid who
irritates you is even better.  You coulda just looked away...why not?" 
The goddess had reached a hand out and laid it on Kimberly's arm.  The
dark woman felt uncomfortable and pulled away, but Aphrodite wouldn't
release her.  "Not this time, sugar."  

Kimberly stood up.  She was still in the hotel bar but it was strangely
lit and empty.  Aphrodite was dressed differently and still holding her
arm.  The bigger woman looked down at her, then collapsed in tears and
the blonde held her just as Kimberly had held Monica.   Everything she
had been through over the years...all the death...all the loss...all
the guilt.   It seemed a bottomless pit of despair, overwhelming, but
Aphrodite smiled and smoothed the big dangerous woman's hair softly, "I
know...I'll be okay, baby."  

Finally Aphrodite brushed Kimberly's dark hair away from her puffy red
eyes.  "Honey, if you were almost anyone else I'd ask you what you
wanted.  But with your track record...well...I think I'll just leave
you out of the loop.  This'll help about Alex."  Her right hand began
glowing and she laid it on Kimberly's chest a moment.   "Wish I could
help how you feel about your daughter.  Not my province though.  Maybe
I can trade Hera something for it."

The void she lived with seemed to fill a little.  Kimberly sniffled.
"Thank you...but I don't want to forget my baby!" On the last words she
broke down again.  

The goddess said kindly, "I wouldn't do something like that." 

When Kimberly got her composure back, she looked down at the beautiful
blonde, part of her mind registering how she was dressed.  The Goddess
of Love was in a diaphanous robe like bacchae usually wore except
Aphrodite had a white bikini under it.   

Aphrodite exclaimed, "Yeah!  Burns my buns!  Those little tramps stole
my look and ruined it.  You don't think I've got the tits? Look at
these!  Droopy pussy?  No way, look at this!  Tight as a drum!   Go
ahead, feel it!  With bacchae giving it away I had to take the high
road.   Skanks!"

Alex came home to his apartment.  It didn't surprise him that
Kimberly's things were gone.  Not that she had ever had much beyond the
clothes on her back.   Her toothbrush was gone, her makeup, and her
supply of Wild Turkey.   He sat down heavily on the couch and looked
out the window feeling empty.


Scully hailed a cab.  "Know where the Hoover Building is?" 

The driver wearing a baseball cap pulled low on her forehead muttered,
"Yeah," without looking at her.  

"Good," Scully said.  She took some liver pathology findings out and
was studying them when she happened to see the picture ID of the
driver.  It was a black male but the driver was a blonde female.  "Been
driving a cab long?" she asked. 

The driver shrugged.  Scully studied the back of the driver's
head...that blonde hair...she hadn't seen a body.  Scully said,
"Jilly," prepared to pull her gun and empty it into the back of the
cabbie's skull...or try to.  

"Huh?  You talkin' to me?  Cuz that ain't my name.  Oh, the
badge...yeah, this is Idi's cab usually.  I forgot to put my badge up. 
I can let you see it."

Scully sighed with relief.  It wasn't Jilly.  It still sounded sort of
familiar but she wasn't sure why.   "I'm sorry.  From behind you look
like somebody I used to know."

"That so?  Doesn't sound like you were too glad to see whoever it was."

Embarrassed, Scully answered, "I suppose not."  

They rode the rest of the way in silence.  At the Hoover building the
fare was $8.26.   Scully handed the driver a ten and waved away any
change.  As she got out the driver said, "What'd this Jilly do?  Try to
kill everyone in the world or something?"

Scully froze.  "Not exactly." 

The cab driver took her baseball cap off and smiled at Scully, her eyes
brown and wide.   "Want me to come back and pick you up later?"

Scully's mouth was dry.  "No." 

The taxi driver winked at her, pulled her Redwings cap down low over
her eyes and drove off. 


Gabrielle was glad to be out of the fatigues.  Even though she had been
a medic she still disliked any kind of military uniform.  She tied the
sweater around her hips over the shorts she was wearing, surprised no
one had ever thought of that.  It was too bad she and Xena had to go
back to  Greece.  There was so much she could teach these people.  She
sighed.  There was only one of her.  Sure, they could read her scrolls,
but then they missed out on her dynamic presentation and the humility
she exuded personally.   She had read about Mahatma  Ghandi. Mahatma
meant Great Soul.  He must've worshiped me, she thought with
satisfaction.  She was waiting in a coffeeshop for Xena. Outside the
window she saw someone she recognized and waved.  He came into the
coffeeshop and sat down. 

"What's wrong, Alex?" the bard said immediately.

Krycek looked at her.  "Coffee," he said to a waitress.  "What makes
you think anything's wrong?"

Gabrielle could see the pain and loneliness in his eyes. "Kimberly's
gone, isn't she?" 

Alex nodded.  "These things happen," he said easily.

"I'm really sorry, Alex," the small woman said and touched his hand.
Krycek studied her, not exactly sure what he felt.  She'd be easy to
seduce if he cared to.  But, of course, Xena was somewhere around and
would castrate him if he did that.  He found he wasn't interested
anyway.  He liked the way she just touched him trying  to console him. 
Then a big figure was right there. 

"What d'ya want?" the Warrior Princess said threateningly.  She was
back in the Emma Peel suit she'd been wearing when he first saw her. 

"Gods, Xena!"  Gabrielle said. "I saw him and asked him to join me."

Alex sipped his coffee and stood up, leaving a couple of dollars beside
the cup.  "I'm going."

At the look Gabrielle gave her, Xena grudgingly said, "Sorry. You don't
have to leave."

Alex said, "Gotta go stab a friend in the back."   He started walking
away and then turned quickly drawing the gun he wore on the back of his

"I knew it!"  Xena exulted, as she kicked the weapon out of his hand.
Then she hit him with a backhand blow that sent him crashing over
another table.   Grinning, Xena was instantly over him and reaching
down to grab him. 

"Xena, stop it!  Can't you see this is what he wants!?"  

The Warrior Princess stopped at the words, then stepped away from him. 
She picked his gun up.  Alex got to his feet gracefully and looked
around at the other frightened customers. He was baring his teeth as he
pushed his hair out of his eyes and wiped his bleeding mouth.   Alex
looked back at the dark woman, his body a live wire.  

"Xena..." Gabrielle said pleadingly.

Krycek walked to the door.  "Hey," Xena called and tossed his gun to
him.  Alex caught it deftly and left.   Xena looked at all the
customers staring at her.  "Come on," she growled and walked out.
Gabrielle hurriedly put money down and hurried after her.  

When she caught up to her friend  she said, "Xena, Kimberly left him."

"I figured that out.  I'm the same when I get dumped."

Chapter 13

Scully looked nervously up at Mulder who nodded encouragingly at her.
She took a deep breath, reached out and knocked on the door.   Scully
glanced where she knew a video camera was hidden. From the other side
of the door she heard, "It's them."

"Well, let'em in.   She's not gonna shoot you again," Langly's voice
answered sarcastically.  Scully closed her eyes at the words.  

The door opened and Frohike was looking at her.  He smiled, a little
nervously, and said, "Come in.  Nice to see you again, Agent Scully."
He was wearing dark clothes that made the white sling his arm was in
stand out glaringly.  Byers and Langly were waiting too.  The agents
stepped inside. 

Scully said, "What can I say, fellas?  I'm sorry.  I...I..." She looked
in Frohike's eyes.  "I'm sorry I shot you."  She reached out to lay a
hand on his arm and saw him wince a little. 

"You were brainwashed.  Didn't we tell you that?" Langly said with an
exaggerated shrug. 

Byers said, "Considering your circumstances, trying to warn us off was
doing quite a lot.  We should've listened to you."

Frohike finally said, "Yeah, that's right.  Don't worry about it, Agent
Scully.  We know that wasn't you.  Lucky for us we had Dr. Covington to
save our stupid asses."  

Scully could tell he was bitter.  It wasn't directed at her though.  He
was embarrassed.  So was Langly.   A little old lady in her eighties
had swooped in and rescued them like she was Xena or Batman.  Byers
wasn't bothered by that but he didn't go around talking tough or have
an alter ego named Lord Man Hammer. 

Mulder spoke, "See, I told you that's how they'd feel."  

"Thanks, fellas," Scully said seriously.  

There was a beeping and a computer terminal came on and a voice began
intoning "The land was stricken and crushed in spirit..." before
Frohike turned it off.   "Sorry," he muttered.  "Forgot to reset the

"What was that?" Mulder said.    

"Just something I found on a grad student's web page.  It's nothing
you'd be interested in," Langly said too quickly.  

Mulder walked over and flicked a switch and the voice continued, 

"An evil Queen ruled by fear and blood. Had murdered her husband,
crafty King Langland,"  

He turned it off.

Scully said almost to herself, "We are waiting for Good Prince Samuel."
Mulder looked at her and she explained,  "It's how he got his start."  
She added, "the original Prince Samuel, I mean."

Mulder asked, "Did she kill King Langland?"

Scully shook her head.  "No, but everyone believed she did. Queen Jilly
didn't rule through 'fear and blood' either. That's  how people thought
of her though.  I understand it's pretty accurate aside from that."

Byers said, "We're analyzing it for coded messages.  It's been
translated into thirty-six languages since GPS disappeared."

Frohike said uncomfortably, "Would you like some wine?  Agent Scully?
Agent Mulder?" 

Mulder was going to decline but to his surprise Scully answered, "Yes,
please."  So Fox accepted one too.  He watched Scully lift the cabernet
sauvignon, studying the deep red liquid.   "Can we hear the rest of

Mulder was going to object but Langly said, "Sure.  Better from the
start," and pressed a couple of buttons.   "I think this is Michael
York but see what you think."  


The land was stricken and crushed in spirit. An evil Queen ruled by
fear and blood, Had murdered her husband, Crafty King Langland, And
taken his throne to rule alone. There was no hope for the broken brave
people. We did not yet know Good Prince Samuel.

Terrible Jilly had fled the land, When war broke out Jilly was gone.
Jilly the Butcher, the bloody Queen Was gone when her land needed her
most. There was one hope for the brave people. Left behind was Good
Prince Samuel.

Captain Angela, the Prince's beloved, Led our brave men across the sea,
Crushing Terruk, a land of swine! Burning their cities, enslaving their
women. She was the hope for the brave people, Killing Terrukans for
Good Prince Samuel.

An army of Terruk invaded our land, To ravage the people and kill the
kind Prince. The Terrukan swine were losing the war, This was their
only cowardly chance. Our men were gone fighting the war. Where was
there hope for a brave people? We turned as one to Good Prince Samuel.

The Queen's young brother loved the land, And though no soldier,
untried in battle, Abandoned by Jilly the same as the rest, Told us all
to fight for our homes, Side by side with he and his guards, Side by
side with the Prince of Blood! He was our hope, he rallied the people.
We wept and cheered for Good Prince Samuel.

Prince Samuel was young and handsome and wise, Outwitted the swine,
played them for fools. Broke their spirit, taught them a lesson, Drank
their own blood in front of their faces! Playing for time, as relief
sped our way, We impaled the swine for Good Prince Samuel.

Side by side we fought with Prince Samuel, Many gladly took a sword
meant for him, He ordered us not to, but we disobeyed him. He was the
soul of the brave people, They were heroes who died in his stead, We
would not lose our Good Prince Samuel.

His well laid plans came to fruition, Relief arrived at the last
moment. Angela came to cut all their hearts out, Her war cry resounding
struck them with terror! Captain Angela came to rescue her Sammy. Zeus
bless the Captain and Good Prince Samuel!

This story I've told is not of my land. A degenerant king still sits on
his throne. We pray that Prince Samuel will come and redeem us,
Impaling his foes and drinking their blood, For that's what he does
when he takes a new kingdom. We are waiting for Good Prince Samuel.

"Man!  It's so cool!" Langly exclaimed, his earlier nervousness at
playing it for Scully forgotten.  Byers was watching wave patterns on
another terminal as he listened and Frohike looked bored.  

Mulder had been observing Scully whose eyes had a distant look as she
listened, occasionally sipping her drink.   He saw her tense up in
response to what she was hearing several times.   As it ended she took
a large swallow of wine.  Mulder recalled a similar scene in the
Prince's study.   

"Sisters, let me kill him!"  Scully said eagerly, looking at a
distinguished appearing man in a gray suit who was gagged and sweating
with fear, his hands tied behind his back and his feet chained
together.  He was hanging upside down, the chain between his feet
passed through a hook in the ceiling.  

Mulder was tied to a chair, naked and  also gagged.  Fotena raised her
head up from his lap.  "No, Dana, not yet.  Not until Lord Bacchus has
anointed you."  She dabbed at her mouth with a tissue.

Elvira who had just finished cutting down another body, this one of a
beautiful naked black woman, now gray and drained of blood, added,
"Fotena's right, Dana.  Don't be in a hurry.  You will have plenty of
time.  Thousands of years, probably."  She carried the body over to a
large glossy black rectangular box. Elvira opened the lid, dumped the
carcass inside and closed it, pressed something and the box began
making a soft humming sound. She washed her hands in a sink and then
got three cut crystal wineglasses from a cabinet.   Using an engraved
platinum dipper she filled them from a marble bowel of blood.  One she
handed to Fotena who was wearing a black lace teddy and sitting on the
arm of Mulder's chair, still playing idly with his penis.  

Elvira kept a glass for herself and handed one to Scully in a striped
bathing suit which was actually painted on.  Elvira wore her usual
transparent gown, her thick glossy dark hair tumbling in heavy rings
over her white shoulders. 

The door to the softly lit, lushly appointed room opened and Prince
Samuel came in with Clealisthsia.    Sam had a tuxedo on and Clea was
in a silvery backless evening gown that extended down to the cleft in
her buttocks.  

"How was the concert, Master?"  Scully asked, as she walked over to
fill two more glasses. 

"Wonderful, Starbuck!  I love Mahler.  Elvira and Fo didn't care for
Alma but you can't hold that against Gustav.  Dawn Upshaw was
fantastic."   As he and Clea accepted the glasses of blood he noticed
Mulder and said, "Really now, girls, there's no need for that.  I'm
surprised at you, Dana.  He's just concerned for your welfare."

Scully took a deep drink and said with a smile, "Mulder loves it.
Won't admit it but I know him, Master.   Believe me, he's having the
time of his life."  She winked at Mulder.

The Prince chuckled and said, "Can't say I blame him.  Okay, Dana, if
you're sure of  that.   Just don't hurt him."  He looked at the
bacchae.  "Once more, he's under my protection. Everybody understand?
Elvira?  Good."  

The Prince drained his glass and walked forward to study the man
hanging upside down staring in terror at him.   "So this is Dan

"Mulder. Hey, Mulder."  He came out of his reverie at Scully's words.
"What's with you?"  she asked. 

"Nothing," he muttered.  "Just thinking."

Scully smiled slightly and sipped her wine.


There was a knock on his door.  Mulder looked guiltily at the video he
was watching and turned it off.   He put a newspaper over the video
box,  Bound For Gloria. Part II. Mulder opened his door and felt his
stomach knot.

"Prince Samuel," he said.   The ruler was in a snow white suit which
made his black hair stand out.  Laconius stood to one side in his usual
long leather coat.  Knowing what to look for, Mulder could see where
the sawed off shotgun made a slight bulge.

Sam smiled and said, "Hello, Fox.  I wanted to do something for you to
make up for before.  I realize seeing your partner acting that way was
very upsetting for you.  You also very likely saved Karn from

"Don't worry about it,"  Mulder said, then added, "your highness," as
he saw Laconius's hand inching inside his coat. The hand stopped. 

"There's no need for that," Prince Samuel said to the soldier. "Wait

"Highness..." Laconius started to say.

Sam caught his eyes and repeated, "Wait outside, Laconius."  The young
soldier was pale but left.   Prince Samuel looked back at Mulder.  "Now
you have me, Fox.  You know how clumsy I am. You're an athlete, a
trained agent who has used deadly force. You wanted to kill me because
of Dana.  Now is your chance. You won't survive, of course, but you
were willing to pay that price before, I know."

Mulder felt his muscles twitching.   Images of Scully with Prince
Samuel and his bacchae were burned on his brain and he had wished for
exactly this chance more times than he knew.  The war with Jilly was
won.  Prince Samuel wasn't needed for that anymore.  But....Scully
didn't seem to hate Samuel.  Who was he to hate him?   The Prince had
saved the world from his sister. And what had he really done to Scully
or to him but fulfill their secret desires?  The only thing Scully had
ever said about her own experience was that it made hypocrisy difficult
to maintain.   

"I don't want to hurt you but I don't like you."  Mulder said. 

The Prince smiled, his teeth white beneath his curling dark mustache.
"Why should you like me?  But I want to give you something else.  I
knew you wouldn't murder me.  A noble heart like you have?  Not likely.
Fox, wanna meet some aliens?  Real aliens?"

Mulder said softly, "The Slithloc."

The Prince nodded and smiled at him.  

"All right....thank you,"  Mulder said.

"Come on.  I'm afraid Laconius's hair is turning gray out there from
worry."   The Prince started toward the elevator.  He tripped and
Mulder kept him from falling.


Mulder was fascinated  by all the reptiles with their flicking tongues
and winding tails.  He tried to be observant, to be able to tell them
apart.  There were distinct groups, all with their own characteristics.
One was relatively easy to spot because of red or yellow ridges above
their black eyes.  They were also larger and had longer snouts and more
prominent teeth and claws than the others.  That had to be the Military
Caste he kept hearing about. There were other groups that were smaller
and didn't have the eye ridges.  Mulder knew there were distinctions
between them that he couldn't recognize; slight differences in their
head shapes, the texture  of their scales.  It was something for a
reptile expert or at least a scientist.  Scully could tell 'em apart
probably, Fox thought.  

Laconius had given him a quick description of Slithloc society so he
knew those were the Clerical and Technical and possibly the Server
Castes.  But what arrested his eyes were two Slithlocs who stood in the
center of the hall, not far from Kush, Laconius and himself.  They were
as tall as the militaries but less bulky and had purple eye ridges.
Whenever one looked around all of the other castes would look
expectant.  Their robes had a formal character different than the
utilitarian garments of the others.  The Lord Caste.

Mulder looked nervously at the powerful creatures standing on either
side of him.  He had to remind himself they were Kush and Laconius so
he didn't just turn and run away.  All the Slithlocs but the two lords
began rustling in excitement. Mulder saw another Slithloc with purple
ridges had entered the room.  Laconius touched his arm and nodded his
long snout, so Mulder knew this was the Lord Progenitor.  As one of the
lords began making growling hissing sounds, Prince Samuel glanced at
Mulder and he found himself able to understand what was being said.  

"Welcome home, illustrious forbearer.  We your children have eagerly
awaited your return," a tall, almost willowy lord said. 

"Is that so?  That wasn't the impression I got.  I thought you wanted
me dead and gone so you could rule without me," the Lord Progenitor
replied.   Mulder felt his anger and knew all the others did too.  The
other castes seemed nervous though the two lords looked calm.

"You wrong us, Lord.  We merely seek to lift the burden from your
shoulders which must be weary from your eons of responsibility. Take a
well deserved rest, grandfather."

Sam strode forward, his tail twitching in anger. He snarled,
"'Grandfather.' 'Children.'  Don't patronize me, Regan!  Those are
human relationships and humans are lower life forms.  I know that's how
you think.  You act like I'm some doddering military who has to be kept
from attacking the furniture! Makes you sick to think you have anything
human in you from me.  Too bad! That's what makes you a lord!"

The second lord spoke, "Forgive my caste brother Regan, Lord
Progenitor.  He meant no disrespect but rather wanted to honor the
wellsprings from which you emerged triumphant to lead the Slithloc from
darkness into light."

Mulder thought that seemed to calm Prince Samuel down a bit. "All
right, you've always been a good girl, Goneril.   At least up to this
point.  I'll forgive Regan's insolence for your sake." Mulder studied
the Slithloc with surprise.  He couldn't tell the difference between
the males and females.

Goneril continued, "Let us take up the weight which you have carried
for so long.  Enjoy the fruits of your long labors." 

Sam said, " too?  Why aren't there more Lords
here to greet me?  Where's Cordelia?"

Regan said, "Our caste brothers did not wish to tire you and so asked
us to convey their respects and wishes that you take your ease as you
deserve.  We speak for Cordelia as well."

Mulder heard sharp hisses from many in the hall.  

Prince Samuel slowly said, "Cordelia is with you?"  Mulder almost
winced at the pain he could hear and felt a ripple go through everyone
present.  Then the Prince slapped his tail loudly behind him making
Mulder jump.

"You two traitorous dollots speak for the entire Lord Caste?" The
Prince stepped  away from the lords and tripped over his tail.
Laconius quickly moved catch him.  Sam nodded at him perfunctorily and
Laconius stepped back beside Kush and Mulder. 

The Prince looked around the hall and wherever he looked Slithlocs
began shaking.  Mulder didn't think it was fear; more like they were
experiencing a storm.  That's what the Lord Progenitor's displeasure
was to them.  

The Prince pointed a long claw at a tall scarred military. "You...come
here."  The military stepped forward with alacrity. "Would you kill a
friend of mine?" Sam said in a suddenly sweet tone.

Kush began to speak, "Lord..." 

"Peace, Kush.  Come not between the dragon and his wrath!" the Prince
said harshly.

Mulder looked at Regan and Goneril.  They had shown no reaction.

The military growled, "Yes, Lord Progenitor.  But I would rather kill
two enemies."

"There you have it.  What is your name?" Sam asked. 

"Topcliff, Lord."

With a jerk of his long snout the Lord Progenitor indicated the two
lords.  The scarred military walked up to them but then hesitated and
looked back at Prince Samuel.  He turned with a renewed purpose.  The
lords had still not shown any reaction, calmly waiting. 

"Lord, don't!  Please!" It was Laconius.  Prince Samuel turned and
caught the young military's eyes and Laconius collapsed. Kush began to
step forward then he too collapsed.  

"Go on," Prince Samuel ordered. 

Mulder said, "I knew you were just a tyrant.  You had Scully fooled but
I knew.  Even Hitler and Stalin didn't kill their families."

Every military hissed in outrage and the nearest were about to rip the
human to shreds but the Lord Progenitor said, "Stop that!" freezing
them.  He looked at Topcliff and said "Wait." He reached up and tapped
a  long sharp tooth with a curved talon as he looked at the ground.
After a moment he added,  "Thanks anyway.  I'll remember your loyalty."

The military walked shakily away from the two lords he had been about
to kill.  He had intended on taking his own life later. He could not
disobey the Lord Progenitor but he could no longer live, knowing he had
slain members of the Lord Caste.  It didn't matter why.   

Sam looked at Mulder.  "Family is a human relationship. Slithlocs don't
think that way."

"You're human," Mulder said.

The black eyes under purple ridges and over that long scaly snout
caught his and Mulder did his best to not be overwhelmed. "Not really. 
Not for a long time.   What I almost did was  more human than Slithloc
though."  His forked tongue flicked out. 

Goneril spoke, "Cordelia is imprisoned in her residence."

The Lord Progenitor swung his long head to look at the Slithloc and
asked, "Why?  How imprisoned?  No military, I know." 

"We thought it fit to appear united on this matter.  Cordelia argued
against us, the only lord who did," Goneril answered. "Other lords are
guarding her.  She is unharmed."

"You intended for me to kill you," Prince Samuel said with

Regan said, "Yes, Lord Progenitor.  The human has upset that plan."

Goneril explained, "The other castes need an issue if they are to
ultimately follow the Lord Caste.   Our deaths would provide that."

"Martyrs...Jesus, talk about human...that's me in you for sure..." 

Goneril said, "We would never intend harm to your person.  We lords
would not exist without you.  You raised the Slithloc from barbarism to
civilization, have lived millennia shouldering responsibility, crushed
under its weight as all have seen.  The writings from a thousand years
ago speak of your terrible weariness which all could see.  It is time
to step aside.  We are no longer scampering from our eggs to the sea
before the scallans can snatch us up."

"I know that,"  Sam said.  "I'm the one who put an end to that
disgusting spectacle." 

Regan said.  "We were conducting negotiations with the Lytton
Federation when you ordered the Military Caste to attack them. It was
all just shadows.  A leader was trying to gain popularity by painting
us as the evil empire.  Just game playing."

"What about their military buildup on our border?"

"Just for show.  We had observers.  None of their weapons were armed."

"You should've told me!" Sam said.

Regan said, "We sent you word, Lord.  You would not hear the messenger.
You told her whatever it was the Lord Caste could handle it."

Sam remembered.  In one day there were sixty-thousand casualties in
Manchuria when the fighting finally began.  He had gone to see the
wounded and had just spoken to a boy wrapped in bandages who lost his
legs.  A messenger came up and Sam had barked that at her. A thousand
years ago he wouldn't have done that.

"What about the Lytton?" Sam said, prepared for the worst.

Goneril answered, "The Military Caste never received your command to
attack them."

Outraged growls and hisses exploded from militaries in the hall. 

Sam said, "That wasn't a Lord Military I spoke with."

"No, Lord.  It was a clerical," Goneril said.  "He is sedated now to
prevent him from taking his own life."

"I'll speak with him," Sam said.  "You decided now was the time to make
your move."  He glanced over at Kush and Laconius, who had regained
consciousness and quietly gotten to their feet.  

Regan said, "Angela was absent as were you and Kush.  When we would
have such an opportunity again?"

"You win," Sam said quietly, turned and walked out of the deathly
silent hall.   Kush and Laconius followed and Mulder stayed close by
them because of the looks he was receiving from all the other
militaries.   Looking back, Regan and Goneril nodded at him.


The cab pulled up smoothly and the passenger who was bundled up in an
overcoat against the cold got in.  "Where to?" the cab driver asked. 


After the driver pulled out into traffic she glanced back and smiled.
"Haven't seen you since stuck a sword through me when I was helpless."

The big woman in back unbuttoned her coat so her gun was in reach.
"Yeah, been a long time."

The blonde giggled and was thinking how to kill her.

"Don't bother.  You can't beat me anymore than you could ever beat
Xena.  Try to be smart just once, please.  I know every move you'll
make.  You trained me, remember?"  Kimberly said, "Killing you was one
of the worst things I ever had to do.  I'm not anxious to do it again."

"So where to, really?" Callisto asked after a moment.

"Airport.  Like I said, I'm going to Athens,"  Kimberly replied,
relaxing slightly. 

"Jilly said you burned me on a funeral pyre,"  the driver commented
after she called Dispatch to tell 'em her destination. 

"Uh huh," Kimberly said, readying herself.. 

As she punched through a yellow light Callisto said, "I always kinda
wanted a monument.  Nothing big.  You know, something tasteful.  A
frieze maybe.  Words of wisdom by Sophocles or somebody."

Kimberly relaxed again and said, "That's a good idea.  I'll arrange it
soon as I get to Greece.  How bout you and Jilly as a little girl?
I'll put it up where Cirra used to be if I can."

Callisto was watching the traffic, "Me and my Jilly...Yeah, I'd like

"No problem."

"You kill her?" Callisto asked.

"Thanks for the compliment.  No.  Angela and Kush.   They burned her on
a pyre along with Paulie."

They didn't speak the rest of the way to the airport. "Thirty-two
eighty-five,"  Callisto said. 

Kimberly gave her a hundred dollar bill and waved away any change.
Callisto nodded at her and drove off. 

Kimberly watched the cab drive away, then reached into a pocket for a
flask and took a swig before she walked into the terminal building to
catch her  flight. 


The tall pale man stepped into the restaurant and saw who he was
looking for.  He paused to light a Morley, ignoring the No Smoking
sign, and walked over to the table where Mulder had seen him and was
waiting.  The woman he was sitting with only glanced up when the
smoking man stopped at their table. 

"Can't you see I'm busy?"  Mulder said. 

Taking a drag on his cigarette first, the man said, "I want to speak
with you."  He said to the woman like it was an order, "Will you excuse

She hadn't spoken but indicated for him to take a chair.   He frowned
but sat down.  She was a slender elegant woman with almond skin,
striking platinum blonde hair and classic features. 

Mulder smiled a bit and said, "This is Cordelia."

Before the smoking man could say anything the woman caught his eyes
with her own black ones and he felt like a butterfly pinned to a board.
The woman seemed to just be studying him then said, "You would be
useful in a corrupt world.  I can see that.  A kind of Military
Clerical but without the morality of either; a necessary evil.  But you
are limited and will never be more than a tool.  A Caste Lord has
compassion."  He had heard the accent before and seen that foreign,
vaguely Eurasian appearance.

"You are like Kush," he said in a hoarse whisper.   

The woman calmly said, "Somewhat.   He is a Lord Military.  I am not a
Caste Lord."

The man licked his dry lips.  "You belong to the Lord Caste itself.
What are you doing here?"

"A useful tool.  But very limited and even potentially dangerous.  It
is unfortunate," she said softly.  "With the conflict completed, others
of your kind will no doubt try to kill you now, as you will try to
murder them.  Some such scheme brings you here now."

By exerting his will he managed to reach up and take his cigarette from
his lips and was going to tap the ash on the floor.  The woman pushed
an empty cup toward him.  "Put it in here and leave now.  If Fox wishes
to speak with you he will. For now do not interrupt our meal."

He dropped the cigarette in the cup and rose.  He tried to speak but
found he couldn't.  He began backing away from the table. 

"Bye bye," Mulder said as the smoking man shambled out of the
restaurant.  Looking back at his dinner companion he said, "Where were

Cordelia softly smiled.  "I asked you to explain jungle fever."  

As he stepped out of the restaurant  the tall man glanced around
suspiciously and put his collar up.  He took out another Morley and lit
it.   What had just happened was fascinating.  The fact that it
infuriated and humiliated him was of no importance.  It was something
to evaluate.  Was Cordelia a new player?  Was she moving against Prince
Samuel or was she his agent?   He knew there was some sort of power
struggle though did not know any of the details.  Should he side with
her if he could?  Betray her? Walking to his car he considered what she
had said about his limitations.  It was another way of saying what he
already knew about himself.  That was one reason he had always wanted
Fox Mulder to work for him.  Mulder's advice could perhaps provide him
with what he knew he lacked.  What did Mulder have to do with the Lord
Caste?  Could Fox be turning into a player himself finally?

As he reached his car in the dark parking lot he heard a scraping and

"Hello, dog."

He took a drag of his cigarette  and said, "Helms.  Where are you?"  

"Look down, dog."  

He did as he was told and saw a large unclear shape in the shadows low
to the ground.  As he looked he saw what seemed to be a tail slowly
moving.   A pincer was barely visible as was Helm's bald head.  The
demon scuttled forward into the light and smiled up at the smoking man.

Forcing himself not to run he took another puff. " do
you want?"

Helms sharpened a tusk on the ground a moment then answered, "My
wonderful lord has given you to me as a gift.   Since Captain Angela
says you served well I cannot slay you, however.  Merely toy with you. 
You should have sacrificed to Hades, dog.  With your service that would
have protected you.  But you were too proud."

The man  pulled a gun and emptied it into the creature which grunted as
it was hit but that was all.  Helms leapt at him and held him in a
powerful claw.  "The noise will bring others but I want to spend some
time with you, dog."   Holding the struggling man Helms bounded off
into the darkness.

Mulder came out of restaurant and drew his gun as he scanned the
parking lot.  Behind him others were also emerging.   Cordelia stepped
beside him.  Fox put his gun back in his holster. "Probably just what
you said.  He's playing games with somebody. I should investigate."

The lovely almond skinned woman laid a hand on his arm.  "Isn't it
enough for you to inform others?  We had plans."

Fox looked at her and felt himself sinking into her black eyes. "Yeah,
I can just call it in."

Cordelia smiled.  Fox shook his head to clear it and took out his
cellphone to call Skinner and Kersh. 

The ambulance was driving along near the reservoir in the cold crisp
morning air.  It came to a stop and paramedics climbed out along with a
tall figure with red hair and long black leather coat.   

"He's around here somewhere," she said.  

They all began searching and soon a female paramedic called out, "Over

Angela came sauntering up as the ambulance personnel had an oxygen mask
on the naked broken form.   She reached into a pocket and came out with
a pack of Morleys.   She lit a cigarette with a gold lighter then
squatted next to the man. "Take the mask off a second," she ordered.
One of the paramedics was going to argue with her but then changed his

"Hey,"  Angela said sharply and the pale man opened his bloody swollen
eyes a crack.   She held the cigarette to his lips so he could inhale. 
Angela stood back up, the paramedics put his oxygen mask back on, and
they carried him up to the ambulance. Angela frowned with distaste at
the cigarette and dropped it and ground it out, then walked back to the
ambulance and climbed in the back. 


The doorman took her valise and held the door open for the tiny old
woman who came out on crutches.  She saw his solicitous look and bit
back what she felt like saying to him.  "Thanks," she said.  

"Do you need a taxi, mam?" the young man asked.

The old woman gritted her teeth and said, "Yeah, thanks." 

"Mam, excuse me, but are you, Janice Covington?" the doorman said. 

She looked at him in surprise, "Yeah, I'm Covington."

The young man smiled.  "My father was one of your students at
Cambridge.  Wait till he hears I met you!"  He looked down at his
uniform.  "He was on a scholarship.  I'm working my way through

"What was his name?"  Covington asked. 

"George Johnson, mam."

"I remember him.  Tell him hello for me."  Janice actually had no idea
who he was.  Mel would be proud, she thought.

"Yes, mam!"  the doorman smiled at her and walked off to hail her cab. 
Janice smiled wryly and took her hat off and looked at it.  She should
get that bullet hole fixed.  It'd been forty-three years already.  Just
kept procrastinating.   She saw a cab waiting but then it tore off like
a bat out of hell with screeching tires and another taxi drove up
smoothly and took its place.  The young doorman looked with surprise at
the departed cab then waved at Janice who went out to the curb on her
crutches.  The trunk popped open and the doorman put her valise in and
closed it, then held the door open for her and helped her navigate
getting in.  

Janice handed him a big tip and he said, "Thanks, Dr. Covington.
Wait'll I tell my dad about this."  

"Whatever," the old woman mumbled after the door was closed. "Airport,"
she said to the driver.


The picture badge caught Janice by surprise.  It looked sorta like
Jilly.  It wasn't though.  This was a Heidi Hody.  

"You some kinda celebrity? " the driver commented as she got on the

The old woman frowned, not really feeling like talking but answered,
"Nah, just an old teacher.  His dad was a student."

"What did you teach?"

Janice groaned inside but thought about what Mel would want her to do. 

"Huh,"  the driver commented noncommittally.  Janice was relieved.
"Know anything about Ancient Greece?" the driver asked. 

The old woman began to feel uneasy.  It was a wide jump but not an
impossible one for the cabbie to say that.   "Matter of fact, I do."

"Thought so.  Recognized you.  Read Journey to Amphipolis a little
while ago."   

Janice relaxed again.  "How'd you like it?" she asked with a smile,
sensing some criticism.

"Oh, I'm nobody to judge.  Not much school, ya know?  Had to go to work
when I was a kid."

Janice was warming to the driver.  She had a thousand times more
respect for the opinion of someone like this than most of the rich
snots that had filled her classes.  "You didn't like something.  What
was it?" she asked. 

The driver didn't answer a moment as she got on the freeway and
accelerated heading toward the airport.  "Well, you coulda been more
critical of Xena is all.  Seemed like you just took Gabrielle of
Poteidaia's  word for everything.  The 'great Warrior Princess,' 'the
noble hero'....what about before, huh? What about all the people she
hurt?  Places like Cirra  weren't such big fans.  You kinda glossed
over her Destroyer of Nations side.  She's the one who turned the
Amazons into has is.  Killed all their best leaders and they never
recovered.  She conveniently didn't mention that later when she got all
chummy with 'em."  

The old archaeologist was surprised at the anger she could hear. She
said, "Well, yeah.  Actually, Henry Sallwethy raked me over the coals
about that eventually.  One of my own best student
really.  Wish he'd stuck with Archaeology instead of switching to
History.  The bad stuff about Xena came out later.  Check out Hank's
stuff if you're really interested.  I never heard that about the

"Yeah, well history is written by the winners.  Sallwethy, huh? Thanks
for the tip."  She drove in silence for a while then said, "How would
you feel if your family was burned alive and everybody thought the
person who did it was the best thing since olive oil?"

Covington had tensed up.  There was something almost out of control
about the driver's voice now.

"And what about Jilly?  Her father Detrius was in Xena's army when he
took her mother as a slave.  He screwed Jilly over as bad as Callisto
was by Xena...pimped her... fucked her...cut her tongue out.   Callisto
rescued Jilly.  But everybody thinks Xena was this wonderful hero and
Callisto was just a crazy murderer! Because of  Gabrielle and her
fucking scrolls!"  

Janice wished her gun wasn't in her valise in the trunk.  This
cabdriver was nuts.   "Like I said, check out Sallwethy's stuff. In his
book about Prince Samuel's dynasty, The Blood Kings, he gives
background on Xena, The Sword of Ares, and Queen Jilly. Calls 'em a
'triumvirate of terror' if I remember right.  Hank had a nice way with
a phrase.  Mentions Callisto too.  Says Xena was worse before she

"I will," the driver said, sounding mollified.  

Janice knew she should keep her mouth shut but asked, "I never heard
that about Jilly's father...or the Amazons.  How do you know that?"
She'd always put curiosity ahead of her safety and wasn't about to
change now.   Beat dying of emphysema.  The driver didn't say anything
but Janice could see how tense the back of her neck looked, then the
cab swerved into an exit.  She pulled the cab to a screeching halt by
the side of the road as soon as they were off the ramp and twisted
around to look at the old woman. 

"I'm Callisto!  And you're a descendant of the irritating little
blonde.   You have to be.  If I knew where they were now,  I'd take her
and Xena your head  just like Jilly did with Ahmat!"  

The old woman reached for the door handle but Callisto's hand flicked
out and locked the door.  Her other hand came up with a gleaming round
blade Janice recognized as a chakram.  Janice looked in the mad wide
brown eyes which gradually calmed down and the driver got that famous
smile that seemed too wide for her face.  

"My, my, my.  Almost like the old days.  Don't worry.  I'm not gonna
hurt you.  Maybe if you were fifty years younger and could put up a
decent fight."  She turned back around, restarted the car and got back
up on the freeway.  In her rearview mirror she saw the old woman
lighting a cigar.  "Hey!  No smoking in my cab!"

"Kiss my ass!"

"You want me to kill you?" Callisto growled. 

"Go ahead and try, you crazy bitch!" Janice Covington snarled. 

Callisto laughed and rolled her window down to air out the smoke.  At
the terminal she got out and opened the passenger door, then took the
valise out of the trunk.  Covington awkwardly emerged from the taxi
with her crutches.  

"Sixteen dollars even," Callisto said. 

The old woman eyed her then gave her a twenty, picked her valise up and
walked on her crutches into the airport building. Callisto readjusted
her baseball cap and looked over as a family waved at her.  She went to
help them put their luggage in the trunk of the cab.  


The restaurant was busy but not packed.  Though still good everyone
said the food wasn't what it used to be.  The wise guys thought Jilly
was either dead or in the Witness Protection Program.  No one else had
any idea what happened to her.  Vicky, the daughter of Cal Snope's old
boss Jimmy Falconi, was running it now.  She did her best but knew as
well as anyone it wasn't what it had been with Jilly.

Alex carefully came in and gave his name and was led to a table. He'd
received a phone call to confirm his reservation.  It was news to him. 
He'd come to see what was up, ready to shoot his way out if that was
what he had to do.  He wanted to do that. Why else walk into such an
obvious trap.  Ever since Kimberly had left he  felt a void that made
him furious.  Perhaps he could find some release in violence.  He had
been picking up women and men for anonymous sex but that just left him
feeling empty and wanting Kimberly even more.   Killing was more
exciting than sex anyway.

A waitress approached and he glanced up.  "Athena," he said quietly.  

Holding a pad the waitress said, "Good evening.  I'd recommend the
Neapolitan breast of chicken with scallions for you and the clams in
red sauce for your guest when she arrives.  The antepasto is

Krycek felt his restored arm tingling.  He said, "That sounds fine.
Thank you."  He made a selection from the wine list.  

The waitress wrote the order down, then looked over and said, "Here's
your dinner companion.  I'm sure you want to show her a good time."

Alex saw Monica being led over by another waitress that he didn't
recognize, a blonde.   The waitress was saying, "I like to give'em a
good lick then go all the way up and just nibble the tip.  Drives 'em

Monica, in a blue dress from the Gap nodded.  "Altoids are good. Hey,
this place is like tubular!"

The blonde smiled, and glanced around.  "Yeah, it is  nice in a mortal
sorta way.  Think about kneepads, honey.  I don't get rug burns--AS IF!
But you oughta be careful."

Monica cried out, "ALEX!"  

Krycek rose to be gentlemanly, mindful of what Athena had said. He was
appalled.  "Hello, Monica."  She moved to hug him.  Alex felt the eyes
of Athena and the other waitress and returned the hug, Monica's big
breasts pressing against his chest.  He held her chair for her.  She
giggled and sat down.  Alex returned to his seat and waited for some
clue but the waitresses disappeared.  

He just made small talk with Monica, his mind racing trying to imagine
what this was about.   She thought they were getting back together and
he had arranged this.  He played along. Monica's eyes were red with

The meal was excellent, the waitresses simply bringing their food. The
blonde and Monica would whisper to each other and giggle a little.
Alex was as charming as he knew how to be, asking Monica about her
beautician classes and the internship she was applying for.  At the end
of the meal the two waitresses reappeared.  

Athena said, "It is time to pay your debt."  He looked up.  She wasn't
talking about the meal and she wasn't talking about money.  

"Hey, studmuffin," the blonde waitress said.  He looked over at her and
she blew a kiss at him.  Alex blinked his eyes then looked at Monica.
He got up from his chair and down on one knee.

"Monica, I love you!  Marry me, please!" Krycek said fervently to the
pretty chubby brunette who was chewing gum.  He couldn't stop himself. 
Something inside him really felt that way. Another part was stunned at
what he had just said. 

"Oh, Alex! Yes!" Monica said.  She looked up, "It was just like you

"I've got a feel for these things, sugar," the smiling beautiful blonde

Monica seemed to simply freeze, her mouth open and eyes half closed.
Alex saw the other patrons were also motionless.  He felt a homicidal
rage at what was being done to him at the same time he felt love for
Monica.  As he resumed his seat, quivering with fury, Athena said, "You
are getting better than you deserve.  Having to taste a bit of what you
have done is a small price indeed for your many crimes.  You will even
come to cherish Monica...eventually."

The blonde said, "This was tricky, making it so you love her but
understand what's going on.  Usually I just make somebody fall head
over heels and that's that.  Oh, I helped you get over Kimberly and her
over you.  Monica doesn't need that kind of competition."

Athena added, "You will not be punished as you merit.  I have a use for

Monica and the other patrons began moving again.  

A maitre d' walked up.  "Everything all right here?" he said in a
melodious low voice.  

"Hey Ar..." the blonde said.

"Brother..." Athena said noncommittally.

Monica gushed, "This is the happiest day of my life!"  

The maitre d' said without interest, "Whatever."  The mortals except
for Alex all froze once more. "You think you could just leave me out of

"It has nothing to do with you," Athena said coldly.

"This was my favorite's servant as much as yours and you think it has
nothing to do with me?  Think again, sister.  We both lost favorites."

"What d'ya want, Ar?" the blonde said with annoyance.

"Aphrodite...making yourself useful, I see.  I don't want anything.
Just wanted to make a suggestion to the happy couple."  He put his
hands on Alex's and Monica's shoulders in a friendly way.

"Brother..." Athena said, warningly this time.

Ares ignored her and said to Krycek, "You know what a good name for the
daughter you two are gonna have would be?  Jilly."

"No!" Athena said. 

Ares smiled at her.  "Take it up with Zeus.  It's a done deal."

"He would never do that for you!  Father despises you!" Athena said.  

Ares smiled and said, "He would if his brother, Hades, supported me.
Our uncle had plans for Alex himself.  Hades wants to retire Helms and
was grooming Alex.  But you stole him away."

Athena coldly replied.  "Very well."

"Oooo...that kinda throws a snag in your plans, Theny," Aphrodite

Athena frowned. "No, it just recasts it somewhat."  She glanced at
Alex.  "After your daughter you will have a second child, a son."

Aphrodite nervously ejaculated again, "I dunno about this, Theny.  I
really don't."

"Since when did you have a problem with incest?" Ares asked innocently,
then slipped a finger down the back of her skirt between her cheeks.
Aphrodite giggled, then seeing Athena's look made herself glare at

"It doesn't have to lead to that.  But even if it does...I will have my
beautiful man back!"  Athena stated.

Alex had a sinking feeling.   He asked,  "Should I name him Langland?"

The goddess nodded then disappeared in an explosion of mirrors, Ares in
a blaze of fire, and Aphrodite in a swirl of ocean mist. 

Alex felt something and discovered a small box in his hand. Monica
squealed in delight and took it, putting the gaudy diamond ring on, and
planting a wet kiss on his cheek.   She had to retrieve her gum which
stuck to his face.   An accordion player came over and began playing
the love theme from The Godfather. He looked at the exit and felt his
restored arm begin tingling. Alex Krycek considered shooting himself
and felt his gun disappear

Some Years Later:

Alex pulled his Ferrari into the driveway next to the station wagon and
got out.  He looked at his lawn evaluating if he needed to mow it or
not.   He studied a patch in the right corner that had crab grass.
Ever since he had dug that area up one night to hide the body of a
German counter intelligence agent it had never really looked right.
He walked up to his front steps, stepping over a banana seat bike.   A
car slowly drove past and Alex watched it carefully though not
obviously. Stepping into his house he braced himself.  


He looked up just as Jilly who was hanging from a chandelier launched
herself at him and landed on his shoulders.  

"Hi, Princess," Alex said and lightly held onto her bare feet as the
eight year old kissed the top of his head.  

"Hi, Dad," Langland said.   "Can you help me with my homework?"

Krycek looked at the seven-year-old boy who had come out of the
kitchen.  He said to his son, "Very funny.  Where's your mother?"

The pretty little boy gave him that soft smile Alex remembered. "At her
Gung Shun class, seeking inner peace and firmer thighs."

Before Alex could respond the little girl on his shoulders had jumped
off her father and landed right in front of her brother who she grabbed
by the front of his T-shirt  "Don't talk about Mommy like that!  Do you
understand?! Do you?"

Alex sharply said, "Jilly!" not liking the crazy edge her voice had
taken on.  The small boy pointed at her chest, she looked down and he
raised his finger to her nose.  Krycek cringed as Jilly drove her fist
into Langland's stomach then kicked him in the face.  He quickly pulled
her off her brother.   

"He started it!" she cried.  

"Well, I'm ending it," Alex said looking at the crumpled little boy,
wondering if this would be another hospital visit. Everybody thought
that he was the one punching out Langland. He'd had three visits from
Child Protective Services already. When Jilly said she had done it they
thought she had been coached by her father and looked at Alex like he
was vermin. 

Alex knew it wasn't all one way.  Langland did worse things to his
sister.  It just didn't wind up in the emergency room.  That was far to
crude.  Psychological torture was more his son's forte.  He must know
Jilly would kick his ass, Alex thought, but he does it anyway.  Rubs
her face in how much smarter than her he is.  He walked over and helped
Langland up as Jilly kept making protestations of her justification.  

"Okay?" Alex asked seriously.   The boy nodded but Alex sighed not
liking his looks and picked the child up.  "Come on, Jilly. We're going
to the emergency room again.  I hope you're happy."

"He started it!" the girl whined. 

The End