Copyright disclaimers: The characters of Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer belong to MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures, not to me. Ares and Aphrodite, I suppose, fall into the public domain. As far as the Amazons go, nobody owns them, by the gods! (You just have to love em!) This story falls into the realm of fan-fiction, and is offered to the public for free.
Violence/sex disclaimers: No graphic depictions of violence are contained herein. (Rats!) No scenes of graphic sex are depicted, either (boooo!), although there is some sexually-oriented humor. (Finally! A reason to read this thing.) This story can be classified as ALT, in that Xena and Gabrielle are depicted in a loving, romantic relationship. (I really cant see em any other way.)
Comments/questions, etc.: As always, I love hearing from you, so if you feel moved to write, feel welcome. I thank all who have written before, and hope to hear from you again.
Miscellaneous Bardic whines and prattle: This little teleplay (I guess you could call it that) was written in gleeful response to Bard Challenge #9, requesting a show satirizing Mission: Impossible and starring our favorite characters for an evening of XE-TV. It is a whimsical, goofy and light-hearted piece, with just a wistful "aw, gee!" touch at the end. I let myself go totally out of control writing this, and had a blast doing it. I do hope it shows, and that you find that it leaves you with a chuckle in your belly and a twinkle in your eye. If it does, then Ive done my job for you. If not, I hang my head in shame.
I thought that it would be fun to place the reader in a room full of Amazons watching an evening of XE-TV back in the Greece of old, so that we could share their banter and attitude as they watched. To do that, I had to install a big-screen television in their village. Please forgive? With that said, dear reader, you are now an Amazon settling down for an evening of entertainment with your sisters-in-arms, so don your best Amazon gear, grab a cup of whatever, and get ready for television as Athens in the Golden Age of Greece never saw it!
THE TIME IS NOW TWO CANDLE-MARKS AFTER SUNSET, ATHENS STANDARD TIME. STAY TUNED FOR "MISSION: RIDICULOUS", NEXT ON XE-TV.
(Commercial advertisement: an irritating voice, blaring forth from the television): "Friends, this is Salmoneus, of Salmoneus Used Chariots. Just today, you can come down and drive away in this little beauty, a two-horsepower job only driven on religious holidays by my dear little mother......."
In the Amazon village, the central bungalow: a dozen or more Amazons are in various poses of relaxation before the glow of the big-screen television. One of the Amazons (first Amazon) rises and sprints for the door.
First Amazon: Gotta hit the head. Dont change the channel, girls. Ive got to see this one.
Second Amazon: Yeah, yeah. Put a new roll on the wall this time, will ya?
Third Amazon: And light the candle before you sit down.
First Amazon: Wise-ass. Just dont eat all the popcorn before I get back.
Second Amazon: Pipe down, sisters. Its starting.
Third Amazon: (With an amused chuckle) You just want to see Xena. I can hear your knees knock every time she has a close-up.
Fourth Amazon: Show me Gabrielle, baby. Oh, yeah.
Fifth Amazon: Think theyll make out in this episode?
Fourth Amazon: Gods, I hope so.
Laughter and rude catcalls from the others, quieted by the television.
AND NOW, "MISSION: RIDICULOUS"!
The scene opens with the interior of a smoky tavern. Xena and Gabrielle are sitting at a corner table. A tavern-girl places a jug of port and two cups down on the table between them, and as her hand withdraws, drops a small scroll deftly on the table next to Xena before leaving. Both Xena and Gabrielle eye the scroll as Xena pours two cups of port. They drink, then Xena fingers the scroll.
Gabrielle: Cmon, Xena, read it already.
Xena: Patience, bard. Anticipation is half the sweetness of it.
Gabrielle: Youre a tease.
Xena: And you can never wait to open your Solstice gift, either. Oh, all right.
Xena opens the scroll and peruses it. After a moment, she hands it to Gabrielle, who leans forward and reads it in a whisper.
Gabrielle: From the State of Athens to the Mission: Ridiculous team: As you know, the Olympic games are soon to be celebrated. The athletes competing are the finest that the cities of Greece have to offer, and the winners are accorded fame and accolades. We have information indicating that one of the Olympian gods is planning to enter the games disguised as a mortal, and steal the wreath of victory for himself. This is an outrage and cannot be allowed to happen, as the games are a celebration of mortal prowess. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to prevent the God of War from stealing the laurels for himself and to humiliate him so badly that he will never attempt it again. As always, if you fail in this mission or are discovered, the State of Athens will disavow all knowledge of your existence. You will destroy this scroll after reading......
Xena snatches the scroll from Gabrielles hand and wads it up.
Xena: Blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I know.
Xena pops the piece of wadded-up parchment in her mouth, chews a moment, then swallows with some slight difficulty.
Gabrielle: Xena, what are you doing?
Xena: Destroying the scroll, like I always do.
Gabrielle: You didnt let me finish.
Xena: Why? What did it say that I havent heard a million times before?
Gabrielle: It said, ".....by allowing it to self-destruct after ten seconds." (Snicker) New kind of scroll, I guess.
Xena: (pained look) Oh, shit.
Xena twitches, then groans. She coughs, and a smoke ring emerges from her mouth. Gabrielle pushes a cup closer to Xena.
Gabrielle: Drink? (Xena drains the cup in one gulp.) Poor baby.
Xena: Whoa, what a rush! Time to assemble the team, I guess.
Gabrielle: So, whats the plan?
Xena leans close to Gabrielle and they confer quietly, as the scene fades to the titles and cues the music.
Bom, bom, bom-bom, bom, bom, bom-bom...... MISSION: RIDICULOUS......STARRING..... XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS......
In the Amazon bungalow, some hoots and catcalls arise from the assembled Amazons, with some wolf whistles and shrieks of approval.
........AND GABRIELLE, BARD OF POTIDAEA.
More catcalls and whistles, accompanied by a few Oh, yeahs and one Marry me, baby!
..........SPECIAL GUEST STARS: ARES, GOD OF WAR........
Raucous boos from the Amazons, punctuated by various rude noises and popcorn thrown at the screen.
..........JOXER "THE MIGHTY".............
Screams of derisive laughter erupt. A chorus of voices in the back of the room begin to chant, Hes Joxer the Mighty, he wears tighty-whities.....
.........APHRODITE, GODDESS OF LOVE.........
Some applause, accompanied by wolf whistles and one Take it off!
.........AND AUTOLYCUS, THE KING OF THIEVES.
Third Amazon: You can steal my heart anytime, good-lookin.
Second Amazon: Are you kidding? Hes got player written all over him.
Fourth Amazon: Yeah, but hes cute.
Second Amazon: (rolls her eyes) Whatever.
First Amazon: (re-enters, plops down on a couch) What did I miss?
.........TONIGHTS EPISODE: "WHATS IN A NAME?". THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY BACCUS WINERY, THE OFFICIAL WINE OF THIS YEARS THESMOPHORIA, MOST FAMOUS OF ALL ATHENIAN WOMENS FESTIVALS......
You going to this years Thesmophoria?
Second Amazon: You kidding? Hundreds of drunk chicks together?
Third Amazon: Sounds like fun. Party on!! Whoo-hoo!
Amazon in the back row: Shes such a slut-puppy.
Third Amazon: I heard that! Youre just jealous because you didnt win the wet-tunic contest last year.
Third Amazon is struck in the head by a grape thrown from the back row, accompanied by shouts of Quiet down up there! Its starting.
Program resumes. Xena and Gabrielle stand outside a temple devoted to Ares, God of War.
Gabrielle: Are you sure this is wise, Xena?
Xena: Sure. Well use the direct approach first. Wait for me here.
Gabrielle: Just watch out for him. I dont trust him.
Xena: Aah, Ive got him by the shorts. I can handle him. Hes hot for me, yknow.
Gabrielle: Yeah, I know. Thats what worries me.
Xena just smiles a disarming smile at Gabrielle, then enters the temple. Inside, she calls out Ares name. In a moment, he appears.
Ares: Well, if it isnt the Warrior Princess. To what do I owe the honor? Or could you just not stay away from me?
Xena: Ares, I just dropped by to give you a little friendly advice.
Ares: Since when does the God of War need advice from a mortal?
Xena: Since youre thinking of messing with the Olympics this year. My advice: dont.
Ares: (Feigning shock) Xena, Im surprised. Do you think that I would stoop so low as to interfere in the Olympics? My daddy loves those games.
Xena: I think you might. Im warning you, if you do, youll be up to your neck in centaur poop.
Ares: Thats what I love about you, Xena, always so direct and to-the-point. Say, have you dumped the irritating little blonde yet?
Xena: In your dreams. Give it up, Ares. And give up the Olympics, too. Youre not winning in either contest.
Ares: Do I need to remind you that Im a god? I can beat those mortals with my eyes closed.
Xena: Uh-huh! I knew it.
Ares: Damn! Busted, as usual. You always manage to do that to me. How......?
Xena: I know you too well. Stay out of the games, Ares. Final warning.
Xena turns and walks toward the door of the temple.
Ares: Oh, yeah? You think you can make me stay out of them?
Xena: No, but I can make you wish you had.
Xena exits the temple, joins Gabrielle and they walk together.
Gabrielle: So? Did you convince him to stay out of the games?
Xena: Nope. I just insured that he would be there.
Gabrielle: Huh? How?
Xena: Simple. I challenged his male ego. Hell be there. Now, on to phase two. Time to assemble the team.
Gabrielle: Ill meet you at the tavern when were done.
Xena hugs Gabrielle close to her as they walk.
Xena: Then let the games begin.
Next scene: Gabrielle enters the Temple of Aphrodite.
A glow announces Aphrodites arrival, complete with hot bubble bath. The Goddess of Love looks up from her bath bubbles.
Aphrodite: Oh, hey, sweets! If its not my favorite bard! Whats up, sunshine?
Gabrielle: Weve got a mission.
Aphrodite: Coolness. Join me and tell me all about it.
Gabrielle: No, really........
Aphrodite snaps her fingers and Gabrielle materializes inside the bubble bath, next to Aphrodite. Gabrielle gives her a chagrined look.
......um, thats not necessary. Gee, this smells good.
Aphrodite: Like it? Relax and enjoy, kid. (Giggles.)
Gabrielle: You know, I usually dont do this with anyone but Xena. (Wiggles, then reaches down into the bubbles and pulls forth a rubber duckie.)
Aphrodite: Itll be our little secret. (Gabrielle squeezes the duckie, and it squeaks.) Hey, you found my duckie. Where was it?
Gabrielle: You really dont want to know. And what happened to my clothes?
Aphrodite: On the floor, next to the tub. So, whats up?
Gabrielle: (leans forward, a conspiratorial air about her) Well, weve got a job. Heres what we need you to do....
Next scene: Xena enters a dungeon, followed by a guard. They walk down a line of cells, stopping before one.
Xena: Yeah, thats him. Thanks. (Hands money to the guard, who opens the door.)
Guard: You two use the back door. Dont want to get caught.
Xena: Yeah, yeah. Dont worry. (She picks up a water bucket, dousing the recumbent form in the cell with water.) Up and at em, killer.
The form sputters and sits up, looking at Xena. It is Autolycus.
Autolycus: Hey, watch the water! Ive already had a bath this week. Oh, hello, Xena. Fancy meeting you here.
Xena: (to guard) Whats he in for this time?
Guard: (sneers) Caught with the princess.
Xena: Oh? Is the King of Thieves stealing hearts now?
Autolycus: Xena, how could you think that of me? You know I dont work like that. Shes a really sweet girl. (To himself, he mutters) A sweet girl whose daddy has a stash of expensive jewelry.
Xena: Right. Come on, lover-boy. (She grabs Autolycus by the tunic, hauling him up from his bunk.) And get rid of those chains. Im surprised you havent escaped from this dump already.
(Autolycus drops the manacles on the floor. The prison guard stares, open-mouthed.)
Autolycus: Hey, its cheaper here than a room at the inn. (To guard) See ya round, pal.
Xena: (As they exit the jail) Got a job. Heres what we need from you.......
Next scene: Ares materializes on a hill overlooking the scene of the Olympic games.
Ares: (aloud, to no one in particular) Xena, what are you up to? I can smell you near. Well, aint gonna happen, Warrior Princess. You cant stop me. The laurels are mine, or Im not the God of War.
Scene fades to commercial break: "Are you kept up at night by the incessant burning and itching of....."
Collective groans arise from the Amazons gathered in the room.
Third Amazon: I cant believe they advertise that stuff on TV.
Fourth Amazon: Want the rest of my popcorn? I think I just lost my appetite.
Amazon in the back row: Im going to the pantry, girls. Anybody want anything?
Second Amazon: More wine! (Shouts of agreement from the room.)
Another commercial: "Its Thesmophoria time again! Baccus Winery invites you to the fortieth annual gathering of the women of Athens! Music! Art! Chocolate! And plenty of Baccus Wine........."
Whoops and hollers arise from the Amazons, with calls of "Oh, yeah!" and "Party down!"
"......Baccus Winery reminds you to drink responsibly."
Shouts of scorn and derision arise from the group, with an occasional grape bounced off the TV screen.
Second Amazon: Drink responsibly? Is that like an oxymoron or something?
First Amazon: Yeah. Sort of like * * * * quietly!
Fourth Amazon: You nasty girl, you.
First Amazon: You should talk. I heard you last night.
Amazon in the back row: The whole village heard you last night.
Another Amazon in the back row: Ill say! Were you with anyone?
Hoots and rude comments from the group, silenced by "Its back on. Shaddup."
Next scene: Gabrielle, accompanied by a figure covered in a cloak, enters an office. A bored official looks up from the table, surrounded by scrolls.
Official: Yes? May I help you?
Gabrielle: I am..... Flatus of Sparta. I represent a Spartan athlete whom Id like to enter in the Olympics.
Official: Oh? I thought the Spartan contingent was all entered.
Gabrielle: This was a last-minute thing.
Official: I see. (Points to Xena.) Is this the athlete?
Gabrielle: Why, yes, it is. Er, Hottstuffos, of Sparta.
Official: (Writing) Hottstuffos, of Sparta. What events?
Gabrielle: Why, all of them. You know, the usual. (Looks over officials shoulder as he is writing.) By the way, you wouldnt have any athletes from the Olympus area registered, would you?
Official: Yeah, one. New entry this year. Fellow by the name of ...... ah, here it is..... Egos. Hm. Funny name for a Greek. (Looks up.) Youll be needing lodgings?
Gabrielle: No, thank you.
Official: Right. Well, have him take his cloak off. Got to get measurements and weight. (Figure slips off the cloak, to reveal Xena.) What??? A female athlete? We cant have that.
Gabrielle: Why? What in Tartarus is wrong with a female athlete? We have plenty in Sparta.
Official: Not here. No females allowed to participate in the Olympics. Sorry. Thats the rules. (Crumples up parchment.) Besides, its not very..... ladylike.
Gabrielle: Oh, thats okay, then. You can sign her up. Shes not very ladylike sometimes. (Xena raises an eyebrow toward Gabrielle.)
Official: Nope. No can do. (Xena reaches out and grasps him by the front of his tunic, holding him up off the floor and glowering with her best intimidating look.) Hey, look, I dont make the rules. I just abide by em. Now beat it or Ill call the guards. (To Gabrielle) Listen, come back when you find a male athlete.
Gabrielle: Now, um, Hottstuffos, put the fellow down. (Xena drops him into his chair.) Well just have to find an alternative.
Xena and Gabrielle exit the office. They pause on the front step.
Great! What are we going to do now?
Xena: (Lop-sided trademark grin) Well just alter the plan.
Gabrielle: Oh, sure. Where will we find a male athlete at this short notice? One who can defeat Ares?
Xena: (Grins, wiggles her eyebrows) Have some faith, Gabrielle. Where did you say Aphrodite was?
Gabrielle: Shes at the tavern, in the room. Why?
Xena: Well need her special, ah, skills for this one..
Gabrielle: Xena, Im not following you. And how can Aphrodite help? Shes not a male athlete. (To herself) Shes definitely not a male. Hoo-hah! Built like a marble.....
Xena: I heard that. Look, have I ever let you down before?
Gabrielle: Of course not, Xena. You always come through. Hey, youve got a plan, dont you? I can always tell, you know. I see that look. What is it? Come on, spill the beans.
Xena: (raising an eyebrow) Oh, youll see.
Gabrielle: (Studies Xena cautiously) Am I going to like this?
Xena: I really dont know. (Snickers)
Gabrielle: Somehow, I have a lot of trepidation about this.
Xena: Trepi.......what? Whered you learn that word, show-off?
Gabrielle: I attended the Athens Academy of Bards, you know.
Xena: Yup. Which makes you the perfect player for phase three. Youd better get to it, bard. Your interview awaits.
Gabrielle: Right. Meet you back at the tavern later.
Scene changes: Autolycus, casing the location of the Olympic athletes rooms. He wanders about, studying the scene closely and trying not to draw attention to himself. After a moment, he ducks into a closet and climbs through the ceiling to crawl along rafters.
Autolycus: Oh, yeah. This ought to be the place. (Pulls aside a board, to peer through the crack into the room below.) Bingo. Theres Ares. Oh, my goodness. You rascal, you. Hey, isnt that Miss Harvest Month? I recognize her from the centerfold. (Looks directly at the camera.) Hm. Its good to be a god, I guess. Now, wheres your wine cup, you dog? Aha, there. Just a little to the left. (Produces a small drill, drills a hole in the board.) Where are you, Gabrielle? Youre on, now.
Inside the room, Ares is getting a back rub from Miss Harvest Month, when there is a knock at the door.
Ares: Damn. Be a doll and get that, will ya?
Miss Harvest Month: Oh, all right. (Pouts, and rises from Ares couch to answer the door.)
Voice outside the door: Is this the room of Egos, the athlete? Im from the Olympia News, here for an interview.
Miss Harvest Month: Yeah, but hes busy now. Come back later.
Voice outside the door: Really, this wont take a minute. Anyway, he promised.
The reporter pushes her way past Miss Harvest Month, to enter the room. It is Gabrielle. She has a blank scroll in her hand, and a hat on her head with a card stating "Press" in the hatband.
Gabrielle: (feigning surprise) You? Youre Egos, the athlete?
Ares: You? The irritating little blonde?
Miss Harvest Month: She sure is.
Gabrielle: Hey, a girls got to earn a living somehow. Now, how about that interview, um, Egos? Nice name, by the way. (She winks conspiratorially at Ares.) Itll just take a minute. Im sure that all your adoring fans back home want to hear it from you. Besides, my editor will fire me if I dont get this, and I need the job. Xenas having trouble with the cash flow, if you get my drift. Not much money in being a reformed warlord these days.......
Miss Harvest Month: (Grabs Gabrielles arm.) You want me to get rid of her for you?
Gabrielle: Hey, watch it, sister. (Wheels around and deals Miss Harvest Month a devastating right hook. She collapses into a corner, unconscious. Gabrielle then turns and resumes her sweet expression.) Pleeeease, er....... Egos?
Ares: (Amused) How can I refuse after that? (Looks at Miss Harvest Month) Man, thats definitely gonna leave a mark. Xenas really rubbing off on you, you know that?
Gabrielle: (Smiles sweetly, sits near Ares head and leans forward, ready to write.) Now, where should we start? (She glances at his wine cup, then up to the ceiling overhead. She pushes the cup closer to the corner of the table.) In case you get thirsty.
(Scene cuts to Autolycus, above, in the ceiling. He peers through the hole, then produces a pill from a bottle.) Way to go, Gabrielle. Slick. Right on target. ( He drops the pill through the hole. Scene cuts back to the room, where Gabrielle pretends to write as Ares talks, but notes out of the corner of her eye the small splash as the pill finds Ares cup.
Ares: ......and so then, when I was sixteen, Dad.......(looks up)..... say, what was that?
Gabrielle: What? Go on, you were saying? (She continues to feign interest and write, but slyly smiles.)
Scene fades to commercial break: An announcers voice: For a short while, Crikus the Warlord announces that he is hiring experienced warriors. Guys and gals, if youre experienced in mayhem and madness, an Amazon, or if you are a veteran of the army, dont miss out on this chance for good money and travel, and a great dental plan.........
In the Amazon bungalow, several of the Amazons rise and sprint for the little Amazons room.
First Amazon: Be back, girls. Keep my seat warm for me.
Fourth Amazon: (Snickering) So to speak.
Third Amazon: What, again? Maybe you should see the healer!
First Amazon: Funny. Youre a regular Ellen. Aw, theres already a line at the door.
Third Amazon: (puzzled) Whats an Ellen?
Amazon from the back row: Got more wine! Who wants some?
Affirmative shouts echo around the room. Wine jugs start passing around, and shouts of "Quiet. Its back on."
New scene: Gabrielle enters the room at the inn, where Aphrodite lounges and Xena waits.
Xena: So? How did the interview go? Success?
Gabrielle: Yeah, he fell for it. Gods, what a blowhard. I could hardly make him shut up about himself. Egos is a great cover name for him.
Xena: Autolycus came through?
Gabrielle: On the money. Pill landed right in his wine. Say, what was that, anyway?
Xena: You remember being hopped up on henbane?
Gabrielle: Ahem. Sort of.
Aphrodite: What? Cuteness, Im surprised at you!
Gabrielle: Yeah, um, long story.
Xena: Well, this stuff is even better. Itll fry his equilibrium. Hell be guaranteed to make a moron out of himself in front of the spectators.
Gabrielle: So, do we still need an athlete on the inside?
Xena: Yup. Got to have someone close to him, to insure that he really screws up.
Gabrielle: Great. So, where are we going to find a guy to fit the bill at this late date?
The door opens, and Autolycus enters. The conversation stops and all eyes rivet upon him. He closes the door, stands in the room, and notices all three women staring at him. They then look at each other, shake their heads, and say, "Naaaaah."
Xena: Never mind, killer. (To Aphrodite.) Aphrodite, this is where you come in. Make me proud.
Aphrodite: (pops a grape into her mouth, then smiles and waves a hand.) Stand back, folks, and watch genius at work. (She gestures toward Xena, and Xena changes into a well-muscled male athlete.) Oh, yeah! Yeeow! Im impressed, if I do say so myself. Everybody, meet Xenos, Spartan athlete!
Autolycus: Holy crap! Nice pecs, Xena. (To himself.) I could never say that before without getting clobbered.
Gabrielle: (Incredulously, as she scopes out Xenos physique) Xena? Is that really you? Are you in there? (Gabrielle attempts to peer into Xenos mouth, and Xenos waves her away.)
Xenos: Yeah. Its really me, Gabrielle. Same old me.
Gabrielle: Not quite! (She slowly scans Xenos head to toe.) Goodness, love, you certainly have, ah, changed. (Rubs a hand across Xenos chest and arms.) Ahem, you do have a hairy chest, dont you?
Xenos: Like it?
Gabrielle: Well, it certainly is.... different.
Autolycus: Dont fret, Xena. Youll find that chest hair, ah, grows on you. (Laughs outrageously at his own joke, then stops when he realizes that hes the only one laughing.)
Gabrielle: And what about the rest of you? (She trails a hand down Xenos abdomen to pull the front of his loincloth out, and attempts to peek inside.) Are you all, um, you know.... male? (looks inside, then appears aghast.) Oh, by the gods. You most certainly are!
Aphrodite: (Giggles) Hey, sweet pea, I never do anything half-way.
Gabrielle: Thats the understatement of the year! Did you have to make her, er, him, part Centaur?
Aphrodite: You wanted to humiliate Ares, didnt you? Trust me, that will do it. We used to call him "Pee-wee", growing up. Just make sure he sees you in the locker-room shower, you stud-muffin.
Xenos: Right. Well, if youre quite through checking out the merchandise, Gabrielle, I think that you have just enough time to get me registered as an athlete. Gabrielle? Gabrielle?
Gabrielle: Huh? What? Oh, yeah. Wed better get going, Xena, er, Xenos, er, whatever. Heres your cloak.
(Xenos and Gabrielle exit.)
Commercial break: Irritating announcers voice: THIS PORTION OF MISSION: RIDICULOUS IS BEING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ANDROS OLIVE OIL. ITS THE ELIXIR FOR WHATEVER AILS YOU..............
In the Amazon bungalow, groans erupt at the commercial break. A couple of the Amazons rise and head for the door or the pantry.
Second Amazon: Aaah, another commercial. it was just starting to get good.
Third Amazon: Good? Who wrote this crap? I cant believe they changed Xena into a man.
Fourth Amazon: Yeah. Poor Gabrielle.
Second Amazon: (chuckles) Oh, I dont know. She seemed pretty fascinated by the new plot twist.
Fourth Amazon: Well, I just hope that Aphrodite changes her back before the make-out scene.
Amazon in the back row: You want a make-out scene? Just sit back here! (Aside) You two get a room, will you?
Another Amazon in the back row: Youre just ticked off because your honey is on guard duty tonight.
From the back, a voice calls out "Sheee-yah!" Amazons in the front of the room turn their heads to see an Amazon somersault over the back of a couch to land on an empty space. Shouts of protest and praise intermingle.
Amazon in the back: Watch it, show-off. You spilled my popcorn.
Somersaulting Amazon: Theres some in your lap. Ill get it.
Amazon in the back: Hey! Keep your mitts off my loincloth!
Second Amazon: Knock it off, girls! Its starting again!
Scene opens at the Olympic games. Xenos and Gabrielle emerge from the locker-room to stand inside the stadium, near the track. Xenos hands his towel to Gabrielle.
Xenos: Theres Ares. Ill take the spot next to him. Wish me luck.
Gabrielle: Youll come through, Xena, er, Xenos. You always do. But, just for luck...... (Gabrielle leans up and kisses Xenos, then sneezes.)
Xenos: You catching a cold?
Gabrielle: No. Your facial hair tickles. Yuck.
Xenos: Not quite the same, is it?
Gabrielle: Give me the old Xena anytime. Good luck, and take my love with you. (Xenos smiles his most disarming smile and trots to the track to take a place next to Ares. Gabrielle watches him go.) Why do I feel like Im two-timing Xena when I say that? (Looks around.) Now, wheres Autolycus? Oh, there you are. Did you.......?
Autolycus: Yeah, yeah. I got into Ares locker while he was in the shower. You know, Gabrielle, you and Xena really owe me. If word ever got out that the King of Thieves employed his considerable skills pursuing Ares loincloth, of all things.....
Gabrielle: You werent supposed to steal it. You were just supposed to, ah, powder it.
Autolycus: (With a disgusted look.) I did. Say, what was that stuff?
Gabrielle: Youll see. I found it at a novelty shop in Athens.
Xenos takes a place next to Ares, who is stretching at his place at the starting line. Ares looks over at him and grunts, nodding his head.
Ares: (Sarcastically) Well, if it isnt the entry from Chin. "Hung Low", I think your name was?
Xenos: (Grins) And if it isnt the entry from the Olympus area. "Pee-wee", I think yours was?
Ares: Harrrumph. Size isnt everything, you know.
Xenos: Oh? Is that what Miss Harvest Month told you? And you believed her?
Ares: (Becoming quite irritated) You have no hope of winning. Might as well just drop out now.
Xenos: Save your breath for the race, Egos.
Ares: (Studying Xenos) Say, dont I know you from somewhere?
Xenos: Nah. I dont think so. Hey, your eyes are really dilated. You havent been doping, have you?
Ares: (Scratching) I dont need that stuff to kick your butt. (Staggers slightly.) Damn, whats wrong with me?
Xenos: Just pre-race jitters. Look, its the official. Were about to start. Ill be waiting for you at the finish line.
Ares: You know, youre really starting to irritate me.
Xenos: (Notices Ares scratching) Oh, you dont know the half of it.
The official raises a flag in the air, and all runners take their places. The flag drops, and they start around the arena. Scene changes rapidly back and forth to show athletes running, and Gabrielle, Autolycus and Aphrodite cheering, along with the assembled multitudes. Ares and Xenos quickly emerge at the head of the pack of runners.
As Xenos runs next to Ares, he notices him weaving slightly. He deftly kicks Ares ankle as they run, and the God of War sprawls out on his face in the dirt. Every time he raises his head, a runner runs over him and pushes his face back down into the dirt. By the time he rises and reaches the finish line, Xenos is waiting for him, a cup of water in his hand. He smirks at Ares.
Xenos: Just a stroke of bad luck. Youll do better in the next event. By the way, how did you get those footprints on your back?
Ares: Kiss my ass.
Xenos: (chuckles) Dont think so. Come on. Shot-put is next.
The athletes gather at the shot-put ring. Several throw, then Xenos is next. He takes his place, and executes a beautiful throw. As he walks back past Ares, he just smiles and shrugs.
Beat that one.
Ares takes his place in the ring, scratches, and picks up the shot. Scene cuts to Gabrielle, Aphrodite, and Autolycus, who are watching the events with great interest.
Gabrielle: How long has it been now since he got the pill?
Autolycus: Just long enough for his vertigo to kick in, I suspect.
Ares places the shot under his chin, then spins, and falls on his fanny in the dirt. The crowd laughs derisively. He rises and protests, but the official throws him out of the event. He storms off past Xenos, still scratching and scarlet with humiliation as the crowd jeers him.
Xenos: Tough break, Itchy.
Ares: Eat my loincloth, pretty boy. Ill get you at the discus.
The athletes take a short break before assembling at the site of the discus throw. Gabrielle meets Xenos on the field, and hands him his towel.
Gabrielle: It appears to be going according to plan.
Xenos: Almost better than we had planned. Im starting to feel sorry for the poor schmuck.
Gabrielle: Dont tell me youre growing a soft spot for the God of War?
Xenos: (eyeing Gabrielle for a long moment) Nah. You know that Ive got eyes for nobody but you, Gab.
Gabrielle: I know, but its nice to hear you say that. Weird, coming from your present form, but nice. I love you, too, Xena. Now get out there and win the rest of the events.
Xenos: Yes, maam.
Xenos flips the towel to Gabrielle and trots off toward the discus area. Gabrielle watches Xenos go, studying his form quite intently. She is interrupted in her thoughts by Aphrodite.
Aphrodite: (giggles) A dinar for your thoughts, sweet pea.
Gabrielle: Huh? What? Oh, nothing. (Blushes.) Nothing.
Aphrodite: Yeah, right. Come on, youre talkin to your Auntie Aphrodite here. You want I should wait to change her back until tomorrow?
Gabrielle: (Blushes again) Well, I am really curious...... and its not like I would be cheating on Xena, right? After all, that is Xena.
Aphrodite: Nuff said. Leave it to me. Now, lets go watch the discus event, shall we?
They gather at the edge of the arena with some other people, watching. A vendor walks by, hawking olives and grapes. As he passes Gabrielle and Aphrodite, Gabrielle recognizes him.
Gabrielle: Joxer? Is that you?
Joxer: Oh, hey, Gabby! What are you doing here?
Gabrielle: Watching the Olympics. You have a job?
Joxer: Yeah. Not much call for mighty warriors these days.
Gabrielle: So is this the gig they wrote for you in this episode?
Joxer: Do you believe it? Humiliating! Im talking to my brother about this! Comic relief, my ass! You guys are getting all the good lines. What do I get? Getcha olives and grapes here! Sheesh! Ive reached the pinnacle of my career with this one, Im telling you. This sucks. My groupies are even deserting me.
Aphrodite: (whispering in Gabrielles ear) Both of them.
Gabrielle: (Attempting to keep a straight face) Well, perhaps the producers will give you a pratfall or two.
Joxer: Yeah, right. Im lucky I was able to keep my trailer. Well, better do my thing. See ya around, Gabby.
Gabrielle: Okay, Joxer. Look, keep your chin up, hey?
As Joxer walks on, hawking olives and grapes, Aphrodite waves her hand. Joxer trips and falls forward, face-first into his basket of grapes and olives. The crowd roars with laughter and applauds, and Joxer looks up, a mess on his face. Gabrielle just looks at Aphrodite.
Aphrodite: (shrugs) You were right. He needed a pratfall. So, I gave him a pratfall.
Gabrielle: (Raising an eyebrow) Thanks, I think.
Their attention returns to the arena. At the discus area, the athletes gather.
Ares: (to Xenos) Ill kick your butt in this one. Think youll out-throw me?
Xenos: I have many skills.
Ares: (eyeing Xenos suspiciously) Huh? Hey, you sure we havent met before? You dont have a sister named Xena, do you? Man, you look just like her.
Xenos: (innocently) Nope. Say, you look amazingly like the God of War, you know? Rather handsome fellow, he is.
Ares: (puffing out his chest) Yeah. I get that all the time.
Xenos: A bit of a blowhard as well, if you ask me.
Ares: Blowhard? (face reddens.) Blowhard????
Xenos: (Slapping Ares on the back so hard that he staggers.) Youre up next, fella. Make it good.
Ares strides forward, slightly wobbly, to take up a discus. He mutters under his breath as he takes his position to throw.
Ares: Blowhard, huh? Ill show you blowhard, you mortal piece of......
Ares throws, staggering heavily. The discus wobbles, and just as it begins its descent toward the ground, he takes a deep breath and blows in that direction. The discus takes on a new life, and lifts high into the sky to drop at the far edge of the arena. The crowd murmurs its approval, and applauds Ares.
Yep. If you cant win on your own, then cheat. Hey, being a god has its perks.
He walks back, passing by Xenos and smirking.
Beat that one, chump.
Xenos: Not bad, Egos. Not bad at all. That will be tough to beat.
Ares: Tough? Ha! Itll be impossible to beat.
Xenos: Well, here goes nothing, then.
Xenos strides forward, and picks up a discus. He stands for a long moment, allowing tension to build in the arena. Scene cuts back and forth to the faces of the crowd, to Gabrielle, to Aphrodite, to Autolycus, to Ares (wiggling and scratching uncomfortably), all with expressions of anticipation and tension. Finally, scene cuts back to Xenos. He slowly takes a stance, holds the discus, and begins his whirl. In slow motion, he whirls once, twice, three times, and releases the discus, leaping high into the air and uttering a resounding "Yi-yi-yi-yi-Sheeeee-yah!!" which echos through the arena. The discus flies high into the air, and whirls across the field. It ricochets off the far arena wall and returns to Xenos, who catches it neatly and holds it up. The crowd goes wild with cheers and applause, and their roar echoes throughout the stadium. Xenos simply bows to the multitude, then drops the discus and walks back toward the group of athletes. The officials argue in a group, then reach consensus. One official walks out into the center of the field and holds his hand up to quiet the crowd. In the ensuing silence, he speaks.
Official: It is the unanimous opinion of the judges that the throw was good. Xenos of Sparta is the winner of the laurels today. (The crowd goes wild again, then quiets as his hand is again raised.) Will Xenos and his sponsor please approach the dignitaries benches?
Xenos: (shrugging toward Ares) Oh, well. Better luck next year, Egos.
Ares: Are you kidding? Im NEVER doing this shit again. (looking very suspiciously at Xenos) Are you sure you dont have a sister named Xena?
Xenos: (innocently) Oh, Im quite sure. And go see the healer, will you? You look uncomfortable. Probably creeping wildlife, if you get my drift. (Flashes his trademark lop-sided grin and walks toward the dignitaries bench, to be joined by Gabrielle.)
Ares: (Studying Xenos suspiciously) Nah. Couldnt be. No way. Uh-uh. (Sees Gabrielle join Xenos, then camera pans to Ares face as a realization of the situation dawns upon him. After a moment, he shakes his head and grins, turning to walk away. As he scratches, he mutters aloud) By..... Daddy, that itches! What did I get into? And wheres that Miss Harvest Moon? Shes got some explaining to do about this!
Xenos and Gabrielle tread up the steps toward the dignitaries bench, stopping before the elite of Athens.
Chief dignitary: Flatus of Sparta, you have honored us with a fine athlete. Xenos of Sparta, I award you the laurels. Well done!
Xenos bows slightly before the dignitaries, as one of them places the laurel wreath upon his head. As they turn and face the crowd, Gabrielle holds Xenos arm up high, and the assembled multitudes go wild with applause. As she holds Xenos arm up, her eyes travel toward his armpit, and she gingerly covers her nose. Camera pans back to take in the entire arena, wild in celebration.
New scene: that night, in the room which Xenos (Xena, still in her disguise as a male) and Gabrielle occupy at the nearby inn. They are sitting in the bed, side by side, arms crossed across their chests, just staring straight ahead. Neither one says anything for a moment. Finally, Xenos speaks.
Xenos: Look...... Im sorry, Gab. This has never happened to me before.
Gabrielle: (Sighs) Thats okay, Xena. Dont worry about it.
Xenos: But I do, love. I know you must be terribly, er.......frustrated.
Gabrielle: Really, its okay. It was......... interesting, I guess. (She casts a glance toward Xenos.) All three minutes of it.
Xenos: (Pouts) Hey! Im not used to having one of these things, you know. Its as if it has a mind of its own.
Gabrielle: Well, you didnt have to start snoring right afterwards. (Cautiously lifts up the sheet over Xenos lap, peers under it.) Are you sure that you cant, you know......... rise to the occasion again?
Xenos: (looks down.) Hm. Guess not. Strictly a one-trick pony, I suppose. I cant believe that Aphrodite bugged out before she changed me back.
Gabrielle: (assumes a guilty look for a moment, then rises from the bed and wraps a robe about herself) Oh, Im sure that she must have had a good reason. Look, I have to go out back. Just try to get some sleep, huh?
Xenos: Hurry back?
Gabrielle nods, then quietly slips out the door. Out in the back of the inn, she peers up into the night sky. After a moment, she softly calls out Aphrodites name. The Goddess of Love appears, sitting on a wooden bench nearby.
Aphrodite: Hey, girl! Hows it going? Have you had your curiosity satisfied yet?
Gabrielle: (Sitting down next to Aphrodite and studying the ground at her feet dejectedly.) Yeah, I guess. Thats about all that was satisfied.
Aphrodite: I see. (Hugs Gabrielle, then places a hand under her chin and lifts Gabrielles face up to hers.) You really want your sweetie back, dont you?
Gabrielle: (hopefully) Oh, I really do. I miss my old Xena.
Aphrodite: Listen, before I change her back, do you want me to alter anything about her? I can, you know.
Gabrielle: Please dont change a thing. I adored Xena the way she was. I loved every scar, every freckle. I just want her back.
Aphrodite: Thats what I wanted to hear you say, sweet-pea. Consider it done. (She waves a hand in the air, then giggles.) Now, little bard, what have you learned from all this?
Gabrielle: (smiling and slightly embarrassed) A lot, believe me! (She pauses for a moment, then leans up and kisses Aphrodite on the cheek.) Thanks for everything, Goddess of Love.
Aphrodite: You bet, doll. Now, youd better get back to your room. Ive got a feeling that theres a kick-ass girl up there keeping your bed warm. Later, bard.
Aphrodite disappears, leaving Gabrielle alone on the bench. She smiles to herself, then re-enters the inn and slips up to her room. She enters the room, softly closing the door behind her, and approaches the bed. She leans over it, studying the features of the still figure in the bed. After a moment, she sheds the robe and crawls under the covers, nestling up against the form. Xena stirs, then turns over toward Gabrielle.
Xena: Oh, hey, love. You were gone awhile. I started to worry.
Gabrielle: You dont have anything to worry about with me, Warrior Princess.
Xena: You mean "Warrior Prince", dont you?
Gabrielle: (Lifts the sheet) Look again.
Xena: (Looking down at herself) All right! Aphrodite came through after all! Goddess of Love, I take back every bad thing I said about ya. (She glances at Gabrielle.) Are you....... disappointed?
Gabrielle: No way! Im in love with you, Xena, not Xenos. Dont ever change on me again. Promise me?
Xena: Thats a promise, bard. Now, come here. Dont I still owe you a howl at the moon?
Gabrielle: (Smiles, and scoots very close to Xena.) I thought youd never ask. By all the gods, I love you, Xena, just like you are right now.
Xena: And I love you, Gabrielle, more than I can ever say. So did Xenos, by the way. Thats one thing that never changed.
They begin kissing, and after a minute or two, the scene fades out to the credits. In the Amazon bungalow, cheers and whoops arise at the closing scene. As the credits roll, some of the Amazons begin to rise and walk out into the night air of the Amazon villages main street.
Second Amazon and Third Amazon stroll together toward their respective huts. As they walk, they talk softly.
Second Amazon: I just think its neat that theyre so much in love.
Third Amazon: (Chuckles pleasantly.) You always were a mushball for that stuff. I saw you get a little weepy at the end..
Second Amazon: Well, I cant help it. I think its sweet. You probably think Im silly.
Third Amazon: Not at all. I thought it was sweet, too.
Second Amazon: What? You, the original party Amazon, a hopeless romantic like me? Im surprised!
Third Amazon: Party Amazon? You mean slut-puppy, dont you?
Second Amazon: Your words, not mine. I dont think that of you. And Im still surprised.
Third Amazon: Whats so surprising about it? Wouldnt we all like to be in love like that?
Second Amazon: Oh, yeah. Have you ever been in love?
Third Amazon: Yes, and I really want to be again. How about you?
Second Amazon: I was very much in love, once. Didnt work out. Part of me is scared to do that again. It hurt so much when it ended badly.
Third Amazon: Know what you mean. I lost my love in battle. She died in my arms. I never knew it was possible to hurt like that and go on living. I did, though.
Second Amazon: Im sorry. It must have been awful for you. How did you deal with it?
Third Amazon: Not very well. Why do you think I cultivated a reputation as a slut-puppy after that?
Second Amazon: So you wouldnt have to get close to anyone, ever again?
Third Amazon: Yeah. See, it worked. No one thinks of me and thinks, love. They think of me and think, fun time. I might be likeable, but Im not loveable. They might want to stay the night, but they never want to stay forever.
Second Amazon: Oh, I dont know about that. Not everyone feels that way about you.
Third Amazon: Oh, come on, sure they do. I hear them talk. You, youre a sweetheart. Youre lovable. Who could ever think of me like that anymore?
Second Amazon: Um, .......... I could.
Third Amazon: What??? You...... ? (They stop walking, and face each other.)
Second Amazon: Yeah. That is, if you......felt the same. (Long pause.) Do you? Feel the same, I mean?
Third Amazon: Yeah! Ive always been crazy about you! I just never dreamed that you........
Second Amazon: (Shyly.) I do.
They embrace, at first hesitantly, and then kiss tenderly. After a bit, they part to look at each other.
Third Amazon: Know what I think?
Second Amazon: Whats that?
Third Amazon: (Takes Second Amazons hand, and they begin slowly walking again.) This could be the beginning of something really beautiful.
Second Amazon: I was just thinking the same thing.
Third Amazon: (Hesitantly, after a moment of walking quietly.) Care to, er, come back to my hut with me?
Second Amazon: I really dont want to mess this up. Perhaps we should take it slowly?
Third Amazon: Perhaps we should, at that. When you do decide to come to my hut, Id like to know in my heart that youre coming to stay.
Second Amazon: And I will, soon, but not just yet. (They reach the door of Second Amazons hut.) Id very much like to talk some more, though. Would you want to join me in a mug of hot tea?
Third Amazon: Sure! Do you think wed both fit? (They enter the hut, laughing softly in the pleasant night air.)
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