Captain of Her Heart

by W. Brad Danbrook

Disclaimers: The usual...


"Where in blazes are we?" McCoy whirls around in confusion as he blurts out the question. Xena and Gabrielle seem less fazed by the incredible journey through the energy portal. Captain Kirk looks around the empty cave. "Rogers, McCoy, are you two okay?"

"Yes Captain, I seem to be fine." The young lady gets up as she smoothes her skirt and wipes the dirt from her pretty face. Kirk turns towards the other two women. "Are you two ladies all right?" Both Xena and Gabrielle look at each other and laugh. Gabrielle cocks her eyebrows with a bemused expression. "Listen, Mr. Kirk, you don't have to worry about either of us. We can more than handle ourselves…especially this one." She jerks her thumb in the direction of Xena. Kirk walks over to the two women. "None of this seems at all strange to either of you…how do I know that you're not merely an illusion, something created by this Zeus character?" Xena crosses her arms over her chest and smiles. "I might well ask the same of you…so you are from Earth…but in the future…I guess that means I'm from your past."

"Perhaps…at least Spock and the rest of the party are still okay. Bones, any readings in here?" McCoy holds his tricorder and moves around the cave. "It seems like standard rock, and very thick at that. We can't possibly get out." Xena looks at the Captain. "So, Kirk-is that your name…you're saying that there are more of you here?" The Captain visibly lets his guard down as he speaks to the Warrior Princess. "Yes, in fact there were six of us that beamed down…and call me James…" Xena smiles as her penetrating blue eyes twinkle with mischief. "Beam down…whatever that means… but if they're still out there, if gives us a fighting chance." Officer Rogers walks over to Gabrielle with an inquisitive expression. "Hello there, Gabrielle- is it? I'm fascinated by you and your partner there…I'm an expert in ancient societies, and there exists no historical record of your existence. Now…if I recall correctly, there was a Television show based upon the adventures of a Xena Warrior Princess, but that was of course only fiction. I don't understand any of this…" Gabrielle stares at the woman with earnest interest. "Xena and I have been in some pretty strange circumstances, I can tell you…but this really takes the cake. You say that there was a Television show based upon us? I don't know about that, but I do know that records of Xena's exploits-the scrolls that I wrote, most of them were destroyed in a terrible fire." Xena meanwhile, is chatting with Captain Kirk. "Listen, I'm sure that we are both very interested in how we both got here, but the main thing now is to find a way out. I doubt we'll be able to dig our way out. We should split up. We'll go down that way. You Kirk, and your party go down that other tunnel. Hopefully we'll find a way out of here. Captain Kirk smiles at the imposing Warrior. "An excellent suggestion, Miss Xena…only…just so you understand, I'm used to giving out orders to my own crew." Xena's arched eyebrows signal her intrigue. "First of all, Kirk…the name is Xena…not Miss Xena…second of all…and you can ask Gabrielle about this…I'm always in charge. I've seen more battles and commanded more armies than you could imagine…so back off!" The two leaders stare at each other with a look of concern and respect. The two parties head their separate ways.

"Captain, come in…please respond…it's no use Mr. Spock, the Captain has either been captured, or no longer has access to his communicator." Spock nods with a sage-like assurance. "That is a logical assumption, Mr. Sulu. The question now becomes-how do we get him back?" Spock, Sulu and Ensign Thompson are standing thirty feet away from Zeus's temple. Spock decides that the best course of action would be to stay together to locate the captain. "Gentlemen, until we discover the whereabouts of the Captain, I suggest that we consider these life forms-whomever they may be, to be hostile. Proceed with extreme caution, and have your phasers set to kill."

"Yes, Mr. Spock…do you think the Captain is…dead?" Sulu and the Ensign look imploringly to Spock for guidance. "I cannot say for certain, Sulu…all I can say definitively is that his whereabouts are unknown." The three members of the party stealthily follow Spock's lead as he carefully makes his way to the entrance of the massive Temple.

"Jim…I don't like this! If I don't get back to the Enterprise soon to operate, Williams will be dead! What are you going to do about that?" Captain Kirk wheels around and grabs McCoy firmly by the shoulders. "Bones! For Gods' sake, what would you have me do? Our phasers and communicators are useless! We're stuck in this…cave…with no apparent way out…and our only hope seems to be two fictional Greek women! Officer Rogers, what do you make of them? Are they some sort of illusion? Have they somehow been created out of our memories by some alien intelligence?"

"I can't say for certain Captain…they do seem to look and act the part of genuine individuals from their time…but the problem is…they never really existed…except on that twentieth century form of entertainment known as television. It would be akin to Shakespearean characters coming to life…" McCoy looks at Kirk with a look of faint remorse and says, "I'm sorry Jim, I realize that none of this is your fault. Can we trust this Xena character?" Captain Kirk stops in his tracks to consider the question. "I'm not sure that we have a choice, Bones."

Gabrielle walks behind Xena through the labyrinthine tunnels. "Xena, I can hardly believe that you're here. I mean…this whole thing is crazy…with Ares, and Zeus and those other weird future-people. Is this another one of Ares' tricks?" Xena gazes distantly, and replies, "I don't know Gabrielle…but at least we're together…again…" The two women stop and face each other. Gabrielle's soft eyes look deeply into her companion's. "Xena…we never talked about what…happened…I mean…you're death…" Her words are choked with emotion as a single tear streams down her cheek. Xena gently brushes away the tear and reassures her friend. "Gabrielle…this is all too much…I mean having you back…Ares…everything. I'm afraid that if I stop to think about it, it will all disappear, and I'll be back in the Elysian Fields…with Solon. It's like being in a strange dream. I can't bear to lose you…again. I just need more time, to understand what's going on. Anyway, with Ares and Zeus, you never know what to expect." Gabrielle smiles warmly and touches Xena's hair. "I'm just happy you're back- for however long. I missed you so much…" A slow smile animates Xena's expression, "Not as much as I missed you…." They continue to walk along the cave's dark path together.

"Chekov. Have you scanned the entire planet?" Scotty sits resolutely in the Captain's chair with a determined scowl. The Enterprise continues to orbit the seemingly non-existent planet. Chekov's face is perplexed by the phenomenon. "How can it be there? What has happened to the Captain?" Uruha turns to Scotty, "We are still receiving that same distress call….they're asking for more help." Scotty smiles with a knowing nod, "Ay…I doubt we'll be sending any more help down there until we find the Captain…Chekov…continue scans…"

The heavily muscled arms crossed on his leather-clad chest, Ares the God of War walks determinedly towards his father. The strain that exists in their relationship is clearly evident. The two powerful men stare directly into each other's eyes. "Well Dad…the old disappearing vortex trick…one of my favourites. So now what?" The elder man smiles at his son, as he pats his back. "My boy…patience…that was merely a demonstration. In any case, their fate is of no concern to you. It is the Starship, which even now circles above, that is our goal. These creatures are simply pawns in a far more important game." Ares marches away from his father. His menacing, dark eyes convey his deep feeling. "I realize that we have a job to do here…granted…I don't care about this Captain and his merry men…but you will not harm Xena in any way..." Zeus sizes up his formidable son and snarls contemptuously, "See here boy…you're fondness for that particularly odious mortal brought about the Twilight of the Gods; and the end of my reign. If you imagine that I will allow her to destroy my carefully laid plans, then you will again learn about great pain. Do not test my strength, dear boy!" Ares turns and walks away in disgust. As he leaves the grand hall, he exclaims in a defiant tone, "This is far from over!"

Gabrielle and Xena come to the end of the tunnel. It appears that there is no exit from the cave. "Xena…what do you think of these space-people? It's weird isn't it?" Xena stands with her arms akimbo. A broad smile animates her expression. "I'm sure that they're thinking the exact same thing about us. I don't know if I trust that Kirk. He's cocky…like Ares…still he looks like he might be useful in a fight. He seems strong enough…" Gabrielle's pleasant laugh fills the cavern. "Xena, please don't tell me that you're falling for another bad boy…don't we have enough to worry about?" Xena's eyes open wide with an incredulous stare. "Gabrielle…come on…I'm just saying…it's not like I was checking him out or anything. He's too short anyway…"

"I'm shorter than he is!"

"That's different!"

"And exactly why is that?"

"You know…you're a girl…you're supposed to be short." Xena shrugs her shoulders and grins at her stalwart companion. Gabrielle is still miffed by the jab, "Let's just get out of this place…I could really use a nice warm bath…I think I hear voices ahead…"

Spock, and his party watch intently as a large, longhaired bearded man exits from the Temple. "Mr. Spock…look!"

"Yes, I see him." Spock scans the being with his tricorder. "The creature ahead of us is not human." As he finishes the sentence, the black-leather clad being disappears in a flash of light. The trio is startled. "Mr. Spock…he…just disappeared…how can that be?" The strange sight equally baffles Spock. He nods with a contemplative expression. "Gentlemen, it is logical to assume that this creature is somehow involved in the Captains disappearance." As Ensign Thompson and Sulu look confusedly at Spock, a flash of bright light materializes directly behind them. Ares smiles confidently at the three intrepid officers. "First of all…who are you calling creature? And second…never assume…it makes an ass…well, you know the rest…" Spock turns and fires his phaser into the chest of Ares. The energy of the weapon sprays off harmlessly in all directions. Ares lets out a hearty laugh. "Cool! Ray guns! Can I try? Ares grabs the phaser away from Sulu's hand before he is able to fire. He points the weapon at a large tree and fires. "This is awesome! Do you mind if I keep this? Hades will love this thing!" Spock stands resolutely and addresses the God. "Sir, I am Spock, first officer of the Starship Enterprise. To whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?" Ares bows in mock formality at the party. "Very well…I am Ares, God of War. I'm sure that you'll have a little difficulty in accepting that."

"Nevertheless Sir…be that as it may, do you have any knowledge concerning the whereabouts of our Captain, and his party?" Ares looks skywards and amusedly rubs his beard. "Hmmm…a Captain you say? Was he about yay high…wears a funny shiny gold shirt…kind of annoying…is that the guy? Spock's expression is filled with a stony determination. "You seem to find our predicament quite comical. May I ask precisely why that is? I am simply attempting to find my Captain." Ares playfully grabs the Vulcan by two mighty hands. "Take it easy there, smiley. Yes, if you must know, I do recall seeing your Captain, another guy, and a very beautiful young woman. The last time I saw them, they were actually being sucked into a giant vortex. Beyond that…you're on your own boys!" With that last declaration, Ares again disappears in a bright flash of light. The three men are left standing in a state of utter confusion. Sulu's face is contorted with dismay. "Spock, what are we going to do? What the heck was that thing?" Spock stares at the Temple ahead. "Gentlemen, logically, none of this should exist, and yet it does. We must assume that this Ares is a malevolent being, and that he holds the key to finding Captain Kirk."

Gabrielle and Xena make their way back to their starting point. There they meet up with the landing party. Captain Kirk walks directly over to Xena and addresses the warrior woman. "Well, Xena, we seem to have had little luck. The passage we traveled led nowhere. It looks like we're stuck here…wherever this may be." His face wears an exasperated expression. He looks at McCoy. "How long until…"

"Not long…" McCoy's face is etched with concern. Gabrielle is curious about the exchange. She addresses the doctor. "How long until what?"

"We have a crewman aboard our ship…he doesn't have long to live…unless I can get back there somehow." Xena walks looks towards the Captain. "I understand that you're from my future, then shouldn't you know how to get us out of here? I mean, don't you have some sort of fancy weapon…something?" Kirk shakes his head in resignation. "I wish that were the case, Xena. Yes, we do have weapons-these phasers, but whomever it is that has brought us here has rendered them useless." Xena smiles and nods, "I never was much for those new-fangled things, I'll take my trusty sword and Chakrum any day." Her declaration is concluded with a demonstration. Xena jumps up in the air, tosses her Chakrum against the rock wall, somersaults in the air, and catches her chakrum in mid-flight with her warrior's cry. The landing party from the Enterprise is duly impressed. Officer Rogers is particularly fascinated by the display. "Magnificent! That is the cry I heard earlier…and that weapon- you called it a "chakrum", my research shows that this was exclusively a weapon from the Far East. How is it possible that you have one?" Gabrielle fields the question with a chuckle. "Let's just say that Xena and I get around!" Kirk gazes intently into the icy blue eyes of the imposing warrior. With a smile he utters, "I'll bet…"

Spock and the rest of his team assemble outside the doors to the Great Temple. Once Sulu has managed to pull the massive door open, the trio stealthily moves into the hallway inside. Zeus remains at his impressive throne, awaiting the arrival of the company. His expression displays his supreme lack of concern. He bellows out a greeting full of false bonhomie. "Welcome gentlemen, yes…come in…there is no need to skulk about, I do in fact see you." Spock cautiously walks toward the being, his tricorder at the ready. He begins a scan of the room. "Fascinating…this entire room is filled with priceless treasures…all of them read as being absolutely authentic, and yet this is not logical. Zeus stands and points at the Vulcan. "You….are different from the rest of your crew. You're mind seems, more ordered, less scattered. You are not human."

"Your assumption is correct sir. May I ask exactly whom it is that I am addressing?" Zeus seems pleased by the direct approach of the first officer. He clasps his hands together in a gesture of magnanimity, "You may…I am Zeus…no doubt you have heard of me." Spock's expressionless face betrays a slight bemusement. "Zeus was a figure belonging to ancient Earth mythology-nothing more. At best, you are a mere facsimile representation. Logically you cannot be the actual Zeus, since he is a fictional character." Zeus's eyes burn with anger. He points his robed arm toward the party. "How dare you question my existence? You are no more powerful than your puny human friends. It would seem that you require a demonstration." From his outstretched finger a bolt of lightning emanates. It flies directly into the chest of Ensign Thompson. His red uniform is burned away at the point of impact. His lifeless body lies on the cold marble floor.

Captain Kirk takes the opportunity to size up the situation as he slowly circles the group. "Gentlemen…ladies…no offence intended Xena…" Xena smiles broadly and nods. She crosses her arms across her breastplate. "I can't see any way out or into this cave. Our phasers and communicators are useless-no doubt thanks to these friends of yours- Zeus and Ares. We need to find a way to communicate with my ship." Gabrielle smiles and faces the Captain. 'First of all Kirk, Ares is not really our friend…I mean not usually…but Zeus-we're definitely not buddy-buddy with him." Xena nods her head in agreement. "Gabrielle is right. Ares has…helped us out before…" Gabrielle shakes her head and scolds her companion with a wagging finger. "Uh-uh…we're not getting that whacko to help us." Captain Kirk is intrigued by the remark. "So, you do have a relationship with this Ares?" Xena shrugs her shoulders and begrudgingly begins to explain. "See, I wouldn't really call it a relationship-at least not for a very long time. I admit that maybe…at one time, there was some sort of spark between us-but that's ancient history." Kirk seizes upon the statement to push his point. "Ancient history indeed….it may be the advantage we need…to get out of here. Xena looks at the Captain and nods slowly. "You're right there. As much as I hate to admit it, Ares may be our only way out of here." Gabrielle faces Xena head on and pleads her case passionately. "Xena, you've got to be kidding…Ares let you die…he's tried to murder your child…and now you expect his help?" Xena listens intently to her soul mate and gazes into the distance. "Unless you want us to spend the rest of our lives here Gabrielle, I don't see that we have any choice…" The party stands motionless and speechless in the cold cave.

End of Part II

Continued in Part 3.

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