A spaceship's door slides up. Xena (in her pirate outfit) and Ares walk out side by side and come down the steps. As they walk across an airfield, a sudden explosion shatters the ground a few feet from them. Xena and Ares look up, alarmed.
WARRIORS' VOICES (off-camera):
-- it's Justice Station!
There's another explosion. Then, with a deafening roar and in a burst of smoke and fire, a spaceship lands on the other side of the airfield.
Dammit--they tailed us here!
A squadron of Justice Station soldiers streams out of the spaceship on the airfield and charges toward them. More of Xena and Ares' warriors run out onto the airfield. Some pulser fire is exchanged and we see a few people on both sides fall dead or wounded. The Justice Station soldiers and Xena and Ares' warriors clash in hand-to-hand combat. Xena and Ares shout out orders that are drowned out in the general din of the fight. On the other side, we see a tall man in a silver suit and helmet shouting commands to the Justice Station soldiers. The camera zooms in on him and we see that it's Hercules.
Ares and Xena fighting back to back. They're keeping most of their attackers at bay by firing shots from their pulsers, but several Justice Station soldiers manage to get close to them between shots only to be repelled by kicks and punches. Pan back to Hercules.
HERCULES (yells to the Justice Station soldiers, pointing toward Xena and Ares):
Make sure those two aren't hurt!
Pan back to Xena and Ares still fighting. The camera pulls back to show that they've been cut off from their army, which is now in disarray and offering only haphazard resistance.
ARES (spots Hercules; to Xena):
Well, if it isn't my bastard half-brother.
I hate family reunions.
She aims her pulser at Hercules and fires but he fires back, deflecting her shot with his own. Xena snarls in frustration. They trade several more shots, the camera panning rapidly back and forth between them. Pan to a Justice Station soldier aiming a pulser at Xena.
Close-up on Xena as she convulses and falls unconscious. Quick pan to the soldier who hit her; he stares, almost in disbelief that he brought down big game like Xena.
He turns to Xena only to be stunned by another pulser ray.
He falls at Xena's side as the screen momentarily fades to black.
An extreme close-up of Xena as she slowly opens her eyes and looks around. She is in a small dimly lit cabin with a bunk bed, a table and a stool, and a surveillance monitor mounted into the wall. Xena sits up, rubbing her temples. She looks at her wrists to see plastic bracelets on them, sparkling slightly with electricity. There are similar devices on her ankles.
The door slides open and Hercules comes in. He's carrying what looks like a leather folder under his arm. Xena turns away with a scowl.
Hello, Xena. (He sits down and looks at her a little awkwardly) How are you feeling?
Uh--I should probably introduce myself. My name is Herc--
Hercules. I know who you are. Ares' brother, the Justice Station bloodhound.
There is a brief uncomfortable silence.
What's this supposed to be? An interrogation? Need more evidence to put us away?
Actually, we don't. You and--your friend have eluded justice for a long time and you've been very good at it. This time, though, we've caught you red-handed.
So I'm headed for the Andromeda mines. Fine. It's no different than what I've done to others.
It is different. You deserve it. (off Xena's look) It's only the truth.
You think that badge gives you the right to judge me?
No. My job is to bring you in.
Oh, I see. You leave the judging to others?
The court will sentence you, but the only one who can judge you is you.
How profound. (pauses) So if you've got all the information you need to pack me off to the chain gangs, why don't you just leave me alone?
I spoke to the rescued crew members from The Amazon Pride. They told me you stopped your thugs from torturing two of the ship's officers.
They were damaging the merchandise.
HERCULES (looks at her astutely):
But that wasn't the only reason, was it?
XENA (looks away sullenly):
What do you care?
I'm here to make you an offer.
Let me guess. To be a snitch for Justice Station, is that it?
No. A Justice Station officer, like me.
Right. A snitch like you.
I mean it, Xena. Complete amnesty, we drop all the charges.
Yeah, right. What's this really about? You need a spy? (sneers) Or just hoping to piss off your brother?
I mean it, Xena. I have authorization from the bigwigs at JS. We know enough about you to know that you could be a great asset to us. You're smart, you're a great fighter--
And I have inside knowledge of the enemy, is that it?
That too. But that's not the most important part. It takes brains and skill to do this job--
The kind of brains you have, I see.
HERCULES (refusing to be baited):
You've got the skills. If you put your mind to it, you could be very, very good at it.
And if I don't?
It's the chain gangs. (neutrally) I don't make these decisions, Xena. But I am giving you this choice.
XENA (after a brief silence):
What makes you think I'm interested?
Call it a hunch. (He puts the folder down on the table) You may want to take a look at this.
What is it?
It's your file.
He opens the folder and we see that it's a flat portable computer. Hercules pushes a button and the screen lights up. He punches a series of keys and a video clip starts to play on the computer. It's Xena fighting.
You think there's something in here that I haven't seen?
Yes, there is. What you leave behind.
We see a raided space station. There is a charred jagged hole in a wall from an explosion. From a distance, we see a badly burned man being pulled out of the wreckage. He screams.
This is no game. (nods at the vid of the burned man) Not to him.
Are you trying the same tricks with your brother?
My half-brother? Hardly. (shakes his head) That would be a waste of time. He's had every chance and he's made his choices. You're more--
Ha. And this is how well you know me?
We did shackle you.
XENA (almost grins despite herself):
Very clever of you.
XENA (looking back to the computer):
And you really think that if I watch this (gestures dismissively toward the paused image), it's suddenly going to give me a conscience.
No one can give you something you don't have. (gets up) We'll be at Justice Station tomorrow. See you there.
Hercules puts his palm to the sensor near the door. There is a chime, the door slides open and he walks out.
With an irritated snarl, Xena slams the computer shut and flops down on the bunk bed. After a few moments she leaps to her feet, grabs the computer from the table and makes as if to hurl it down on the floor and smash it, looking defiantly at the wall monitor. Then she pauses, sits down, puts the computer down on the table and opens it. She reaches toward the button, then pulls her hand back. Finally, with a brusque gesture, she turns the computer on. The video clip starts playing on the scene of the raided station that we saw before.
Suddenly there is a piercing beep over the video soundtrack. The video freezes abruptly and we dissolve to: