Ships in the Night


By Willowluvyr

Copyright Disclaimers: Xena and Gabrielle are the property of MCA/Universal and Renaissance Pictures. The story is purely for entertainment purposes. The author does not benefit financially in any way from this story.

Violence Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of violence and/or their aftermath. In particular are some very disturbing scenes of child abuse. I do not do these lightly they are integral to the story line and the series. I tried hard to keep within the boundaries necessary to the story. Readers who are disturbed by or sensitive to this type of depiction may wish to read something other than this story.

Sexual Violence Warning/Disclaimer: This story depicts scenes of sexual violence and/or their aftermath. Some of these scenes are graphic and disturbing, but are integral to the story line and do not any way attempt to arouse people or encourage rape. Some readers may be disturbed by this type of depiction and anyone who is sensitive to this particular issue may wish to read something other than this story.

 Love Sex Warning/Disclaimer: There are blatant discussions, references and description of sexual relations between consenting adults. You must be over the age of 18 and it must not be a crime to read material of this nature at your present location. Some of the scenes depicted are explicit. If this bothers you, you should find other reading material.

 Summary: Xena attempts to rescue a three year old Rickie from kidnappers.

It was a clear morning in April of 1982. The Dark Immortal had come to North Dakota to feel and walk the open plains and to see the wild country. The North Carolina countryside had been domesticated and urbanized. She had come here to feel young again. The years of loneliness were starting to wear on her soul.

Xena took a deep breath and remembered a time when the air smelled much like it did today. She caught a hint of lilac and turned to ask Gabrielle, if she would like to pick some, but then she remembered and a wave of melancholy hit her. A single tear dried unseen on her cheek.

The Dark Warrior was about to leave the park when she heard a small yelp. She turned and saw a man carrying a young child with his hand over her mouth. He was with another man. Kidnapping registered in her head and immediately ran after the two men. One of the men dropped back a bit and scanned the area for pursuers.

The rear guard spotted the hard charging woman and pulled his gun waved it as a warning. He must have figured she would stop upon seeing the weapon, but the raven-haired Warrior kept coming. Slow to react the would-be kidnapper barely had time to pull the trigger before the tall fighter was upon him. His gun didn't fire; he forgot the remove the safety.

The kidnapper with the child was several hundred feet away and extending his lead, while Xena was eliminating the man with the gun. She didn't kill the thug. She might need information from him, later.

The Ancient Soldier tripped slightly over the body and ran after the second man. As she started to close on the retreating kidnapper, Xena ran into a woman turning the corner knocking them both to the ground. The Dark woman caught the faint odor of resent sex and thought, 'slut.' Xena helped the blonde tart to her feet and apologize.

Meanwhile, The second man turned the corner and the Tall Warrior lost sight of the snatcher and the youngster. By the time the blue eyed Immortal turned the corner, the kidnapper and the child had disappeared. She scanned the streets three vehicles were driving a light blue Dodge van, an gray Ford Escort and a tan Chrysler New Yorker Xena punched the wall and cursed in ancient Greek.

Silently the raven-haired Warrior cursed the Gods and turned to check on her victim and to go question the man she capture. The blonde woman had wasted no time in disappearing. 'Strange', thought the former Warlord, 'Why hadn't the woman complained? It wasn't typical human nature.'

The former Warrior Princess made her way back to the park. A woman was looking for her little girl and the girl's name. No one had noticed the man lying in the deep grass. So she pulled further away from the park's activities.

Using accupressure, the Immortal Healer awoke the unconscious felon. When Xena had his full attention, she gave him a couple of quick jabs and told him, "I just cut off the blood flow to your brain. You only have a couple of minutes before you die. So you better answer my questions. Where's the girl?"

He forced out, "With Benton Anderson."

"Where is he taking her?"

Trying hard to concentrate, he muttered, "I don't know. I was just the muscle."

Xena removed the blocks and went to find the frantic mother.

Xena pushed the potential kidnapper onto the ground and dislocated his knee. She didn't want him running off while she was talking to the agitated mother. Xena approached the excited woman and asked, "Ma'am are you missing a child?"

The distraught woman rushed Xena and grabbed her arm. The dark woman stiffened at the contact and then relaxed, as the young mother asked nervously, "Have you seen my baby?"

"I saw two men kidnapping a small child about 2 years old. This is one of the men. The other one got away with the child, " said the Warrior, as the distressed mother fainted.

The little girl was scared. The kidnapper had ordered to be quiet and was hit to emphasis the point. The little girl was experienced with hiding from hitting adults, her father always hit her when she was bad. She knew she was a bad girl and this man didn't like bad children. So the toddler huddled with knees under her chin in the farthest corner of the van. Tears poured from her green eyes and ran down her stinging cheek, but she was too afraid to sob.

The young child wanted her mommy, but all she could see was the bad man who had just slapped her. She needed to go to the bathroom, but knew better than to ask for anything. Finally, she couldn't hold it any longer.

Charlene O'Grady had just gotten her gold shield and had been a Watcher for not much longer. The detective had heard the name of Xena Amphipoulis over the radio and had rushed to scene. She had the name Xena long ago and hope that she had found the missing Immortal. If it was the Immortal then she must keep close tabs on the woman until they can reestablish a watch on her.

Detective O'Grady was taken by the power radiating from the dark-haired woman that was answering the question of Patrol person Winston. She certainly fit the descriptions and looked every bit the Warrior. The paramedics were treating the mother of the kidnap victim for shock. The detective/Watcher decided to talk to the Dark Immortal. She'd have to remember to call the council; it looks like Xena has reemerged.

The young detective approached the officer questioning the tall Immortal and said, "Officer Winston, give me your notes. I'm going to continue the questioning. Can you and your partner help protect the crime scene? The FBI are on the way and will be taking over anyway."

The uniformed officer nodded her head and trotted off towards the crowd, which was forming behind the yellow tape. Detective O'Grady studied the notes for a minute or two, then asked, "Why are you in North Dakota? Your id says you're from LA?"

The blue-eyed Warrior thought for a moment and blessed the God of fake identities for her convincing papers. She didn't want to get anymore involved than she had become. So Xena kept it basic, "I'm on vacation."

"Ah huh," said the detective, as she wrote down something, "When you caught the other alleged kidnapper, did he say anything that might be helpful?"

Xena hoped she wouldn't be asked how she got the information, but she said, "He mentioned the name of Benton Anderson. I think he's the other, perp."

At the familiar expression, the detective asked, "You a cop?"

With a single raised eyebrow, the warrior replied, "No."

Slightly miffed at the uninformative answers, the detective queried, "What do you do for a living?"

The dark woman decided to have some fun at the detective's expense and responded, "I'm self employed."

The young cop chuckled and inquired, "You're not very talkative are you?"

"You're right."

Benton Anderson pulled the van into a large warehouse. He smelled the stale urine and realized what had happened. The damn kid had pissed in the van, which was evidence. He would have to clean the van, before they left in the other car.

He got out and opened the side door of the van and pulled the girl out by the arm. He yanked her little panties off and spanked her bare bottom and said, "Since you can't keep them dry, you won't need any drawers. Your father told me you were a bad child and that I would have to spank your bottom a lot."

He made the little sit on the cold cement floor on her bare and sore bottom, while he cleaned the urine from the carpet of the stolen van.

Xena had left her hotel number with the young detective. Then she resumed her vacation, but she couldn't get the image of that struggling child from her mind. She thought, 'Damn, I don't want to get involved. The FBI can handle this.'

Suddenly, she caught a glimpse of the blonde tart, who she had run into while chasing the kidnappers. 'What was she doing here? This was several miles from the kidnapping and in a warehouse district' thought the Dark Immortal, 'Damn, Xena you are on vacation, this is none of your business.'

But the coincidence was too strong to ignore. So, Xena pursued the retreating figure. The dark warrior stormed around the corner and saw the figure retreat into a warehouse.

Xena increased her speed and burst into the warehouse and barely missed being hit by a car that was speeding away. She cursed the Gods, as she didn't even get a chance to see the make or the color of the car. However, she did find a Dodge van.

The van was just like the one, she had seen driving away from the kidnapping. She opened the cargo door and looked inside. She could smell pine scented cleaning fluid. On close examination of the interior, she found that someone had just cleaned the van's carpet in one spot. She knew this was the kidnapper's vehicle. She took the business card of that detective from her pocket and went to a pay phone.

A harangued detective answered the phone. She was being harassed from both her police superiors and her watcher superiors about the mysterious dark woman. So it was a bedraggled detective that angrily answered the phone, "Hello, Detective O'Grady."

A terse voice answered, "O'Grady, this is Xena Amphipoulis. We need to talk. I'm a warehouse on 300 Enterprise St. about four and half miles from McDowell Park."

It was the cause of her misery, but she took a deep breath before continuing. She had specific instructions from the Watchers to reacquire the Warrior and stick with her until her permanent Watcher arrived, "Has this got anything to do with the kidnapping?"


O'Grady rolled her eyes and queried, "Are you working on this kidnapping?"


"I'm not going to get any answers on the phone am I," asked the exasperated detective? It was getting information from a brick wall.

"That's right," replied the Warrior with a huge smile as she hung up the phone.

The young detective arrived first. She hadn't informed her station or the FBI of her phone conversation with the ancient Warrior. She waited until she got to the scene then she radioed in her location and mission. She knew her dispatcher would take his time in informing the FBI. He hated the Feds and would delay contacting them long enough for his station to get the jump on those glory hounds. She needed some time to analyze the Dark Warrior's involvement with this kidnapping.

O'Grady had read the woman's Watcher file, what there was of it. At about a thousand years old, Xena was one of the oldest Immortals. There were rumors that she was really over two thousand years old and that in her early years, she had been a bloody and ruthless warlord in ancient Greece. Though no one gave them much credence. Some years ago, some archaeologists wrote some papers attempting to foster this theory, but they were widely discounted.

The young Watcher was very leery of this woman. Her experience with the Immortals was limited to sixteen days. Her immortal had been killed just thirty-two days ago by Joshua Marx. He was a local mobster, who had only been an Immortal for about sixty-five years. He was a baby compared to Xena, but he was deadly.

The wary detective approached the dangerous Immortal and asked, "What do you have?"

The darkly clad woman pointed to the Dodge van and said, "This is one of the vehicles I saw drive away from the kidnapping scene."

The detective gave the Warrior a questioning look and inquired, "How did you find it?"

The tall woman shrugged and replied, "Dumb luck. I thought I recognized somebody. I followed them in here. Then I saw the van and recognized it. I did look inside before I called you. Now, I'll leave you to your work and I'll get back to my vacation."

The detective grabbed Xena's arm to stop her, only to feel pain in her arm as an iron grip grabbed her by the wrist and twisted. The reflex was instantly regretted and the grim Warrior released her grip. She looked sheeplishly to the ground and said, "I'm sorry. I don't like to be touched."

The police detective massaged her arm as she replied, "That's okay, but I can't let you go until the FBI gets here."

Xena nodded and sat on a convenient chair. The tall woman crossed her long legs and Charlene O'Grady felt the sensual energy of the powerful woman. She visibly swallowed. Xena grinned at the familiar reaction and took a long and obvious appraisal of the red haired woman. Xena had a fondness for red hair and green eyes and the young detective had both. She wasn't looking for a lover, but it might be fun to play. She was on vacation after all. So, the dark warrior with an evil smirk took off her coat and arched her back to give the ogling detective a complete display.

The young detective felt a strange sensation surge through her. She thought, 'Oh man, I'm in trouble here!'

The FBI agent didn't buy the dark woman's story about just stumbling upon this van and cautioned her, "This is an open FBI investigation. I want you to stay out of it. If I find that you are meddling in this case, I will run your ass to jail so fast you won't even hear the cell door clank."

Xena didn't like being told what to do, so she fixed him with her best stare until he took a step backwards. Then, she gave him an exaggerated yawn and said, "You're boring me."

Detective O'Grady openly chuckled and told the FBI agent, "Ms. Amphipoulis has done nothing wrong. She did what any good citizen should do. She witnessed a crime and did what she could to prevent it. Then she reported the crime and made a statement. Finally, when she found additional information and then called us immediately. I wish more citizens did as much and as a local police person I don't appreciate you harassing good citizens. Maybe next time, she won't be such a good citizen because of an anal retentive asshole like you."

The FBI agent started to say something, but saw the look on the detective's face and knew if said the wrong thing, he would lose local cooperation. So, he retreated and said, "I apologize Ms. Amphipoulis. I was out of line. Maybe, Detective O'Grady could give you a lift to your hotel?"

Xena smiled at the obvious ploy. He was getting rid of the two thorns in side with one move, but the young detective had impressed her. Additionally, Xena had to admit to herself that young woman was attractive and that she could easily be interested in a little interlude during her vacation. So, the dark Warrior surprised the detective by responding, "Thank you. I would like that."

Detective O'Grady was happy that she was still in contact with her subject, but she wasn't sure that her superiors would like the circumstances or the looks the young red head was getting from the dark Warrior. The green-eyed detective noticed that the Warrior's bedroom blue eyes kept scanning her exposed legs as she drove to her hotel. The detective tried to divert the Warrior's attention and ease some of her discomfort by asking, "Do you have any ideas on what we should do next?"

Xena couldn't pass such a good straight line. She smiled as she replied, "Well we could take a shower together and see where it goes from there."

The police detective blushed to her toes, which Xena enjoyed immensely. The young red head stuttered, "Ahhh, I meant with the kidnapping."

The immortal warrior shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well, I've been told to stay out of it and I am on vacation. However, since you asked, you need to be looking for a blue-green Dodge truck with mag wheels and a white camper top."

The young detective eyes went round as she asked, "How do you come up with that?"

The raven-haired woman chuckled and said, "I have many skills."

O'Grady took a deep breath and begged, "Could you please tell me how you came up with that description?"

Xena decided to give the pretty detective a break, "The tire tracks were made by mag wheels. From the distance between the tire tracks I would say it's from a ton and half pickup. Blue-green paint was on the drum where the truck door would be opened. He obviously grazed the truck door on the drum. There was also white paint on the chain that hung down from the ceiling. Since it was a pickup, the paint had to come off a camper top. The Dodge is a guess. He used a Dodge van and it had dealer plates. I figure it was a good bet he got the pickup from the same place.

I'd also be checking out the dealer. I wonder if those vehicles have been reported stolen. By the way you guys need to find the kid soon. The guy's abusing her. He made sit naked on the ground and there was some blood traces. Also he cleaned up something in the van either blood or urine. He may be sexually abusing the child."

O'Grady pulled over the car and looked at the dark immortal and queried, "Are you sure you're not a cop?"

Xena nodded, "I'm sure."

The immortal noticed at the concern in the woman's eyes and remembered the frightened child. Then she knew her vacation was put on hold, as she said, "Damn! Okay, let's go talk to that used car dealer."

The young girl was curled into ball on a metal cot. It was in a dimly lit room, the only light coming from the cracks between the boards that blocked the window. The little girl was too sore and scared to sleep. Her bottom was very tender from the repeated beatings from the bad men, but the woman scared her more.

She had put lotion on her tender bottom, but she keep rubbing her and talking funny. When she saw the young girl was becoming uncomfortable with the contact she smiled wickedly at the strawberry blonde and laughed. She got up to leave and walked to the door. As she closed the door the bad woman turned to the little girl and said, "I wouldn't sleep if I were you, because the rats will eat you."

Her stage name was Sadie Thompson, but her real name was Mildred Snodgrass. She was Richard Gardner's latest girlfriend. She had no illusions, she knew that the Richie changed women like most men changed their shirts. However, he was fun and they had similar taste in women.

She had enjoyed scaring the brat, but mostly she knew that's what Richie wanted. He wanted to terrorize the girl. He hated his daughter. She didn't know why and didn't care. All she needed to know that her lover wanted the girl to suffer, so suffer she would. All she wanted was her share of the insurance money.

After a brief radio call to a friend in stolen property, she found out that the Dodge van had not been reported stolen and that there were no blue-green pick-ups with white camper tops on the hot sheet. Armed with this information, Detective O'Grady pulled up into the Dodge used car lot on Lee Ave. Xena turned to the young detective and said, "Show him your badge and make the intros. Then, go look around outside and let me do the questioning."

The young detective knew about the Immortal was going to use illegal interrogation methods, but she was very worried about the little girl, who looked to be in serious jeopardy. So, she agreed as she got out of the car.

They enter the office of the used car dealership and found the owner/operator, Waldo Anderson. The women looked at each other and nodded knowingly. The red headed detective showed her badge and said, "We're investigating the kidnapping of a young girl from McDowell Park earlier today. One of your vehicles was used in the kidnapping. Mind if I look around."

The balding man shrugged his shoulders, "Be my guest. I ain't got nothin' to hide."

The young detective went out to look at some cars. She immediately got lucky. A blue-green Dodge pick-up with a white camper top was about to be washed. Detective O'Grady yelled for the men to stop what they were doing as she flashed her badge. She gave one of the men cleaning the vehicle her business card and ordered, "Go to that pay phone and call that number and tell then that Detective O'Grady is requesting backup at the car dealership on Lee St."

Xena fixed her best glare onto the little sweating man. He looked into those cold merciless eyes and saw centuries of death and violence. He wet his pants. The Ancient Warrior smiled her most evil smile and step forward. The frightened man winced. She growled, "I will ask the questions, you will answer them."

The man swallowed hard and nodded. Xena smiled and said, "Good, do you know Benton Anderson?"

The trembling man whimpered, "He's my brother."

Xena leaned forward and got within a few inches of his face and asked, "Where is he?"

This time the man had lost control of his bowels and cried pitifully, "He left with a friend of his, named Joshua Marx."

"Do you know where they went"

His throat was totally dry now and he croaked, "I don't know, but I have my brother's address."

He handed her a card with a hastily written address on it. She accepted the card and asked, "Where's the girl?"

He used the last of his strength to blurt out, "I swear, I don't know1"

She hardened her glare and said simply, "If you've lied to me, I'm coming back."

Xena was walking towards the police detective, when two squad cars arrived. One of the officers was greeted by the pretty detective. Xena sat on a car and watched as the cute red head organized the evidence gathering from the truck. The young detective gave final instructions and then walked towards the relaxing Warrior.

Before the detective could ask, the Dark Warrior volunteered, "I got a name and an address."

Richard Gardner was in the signing the final insurance form to get the ransom money from his insurance policy. One million dollars was in that brief case. The culmination of three years of planning was in that brief case. He had taken the insurance policy out when the little bitch was born. She would be good for something after all.

Tonight he would rant and rave at his slut wife for losing their child. He loved beating her and then taking his pleasure from behind her as she cowered with her head in the pillow. He loved the feeling of power. The bitch deserved it, she wasn't good for anything else. Couldn't even give him a decent heir. Now, he had to decide if he wanted the brat back or not.

Xena and the young detective cautiously approached the room of Benton Anderson. They didn't expect to find him there, but they might find another lead. They went to either side of the door and the green-eyed detective knocked as she yelled, "This is the police, we have some questions for you."

There was no answer. Xena tried the doorknob and found the door locked. The Warrior took a step back and kicked the door in. The police detective looked hard at her partner and said, "We don't have a warrant."

The Dark Warrior smiled and replied as she walked inside, "I'm not a cop."

Quickly and effectively the two women searched the room. They found two important clues. A receipt for the rental of the warehouse where they found the van and three names and phone numbers on a piece of paper that was in the trash:

Sadie Thompson 555-4798

Joshua Marx 555-2934

Richard Gardner 555-8037

Xena looked at her temporary partner and said, "You know the police and the FBI should have been here by now. That means they didn't the information I gave them seriously. Joshua Marx is the guy Anderson left the car dealership with."

The police detective added, "Richard Gardner is the father of the kidnapped girl that's probably for contacting him to get the ransom."

Xena frowned, but nodded, "Sadie Thompson sounds like a stage name. Do you have strip clubs in town?"

The young detective chuckled and replied, "Yes, we also have indoor plumbing and electricity. This is an American city in the 1980's. I can get the addresses that go with phone numbers. Give me a second."

From her car radio, Detective O'Grady asked for the addresses for the two phone numbers. After a couple minutes, the police detective signaled to the Dark Warrior that she had the addresses. Xena walked to the car and said, "Take me back to my hotel. We need to split up. You find Sadie Thompson and I'll find this Joshua Guy."

The logic of the statement defied argument, so young woman started the car and headed toward the Dark Warrior's Hotel. Xena had her own reasons for going to her hotel. The Dark Warrior wanted to get her weapons. She had a feeling.

Detective O'Grady dropped the tall Immortal at the entrance to her hotel's garage and drove off to talk to Sadie Thompson, who was working at a strip club on Third St. Xena headed to her Mustang and opened the trunk to her car.

The Dark Warrior pulled out her gun harness and put it on. Next, the raven-haired woman pulled out her twin blue steel Automags and checked their loads before holstering them. Then, the blue-eyed Immortal slipped on her sword and ammo belt. Finally, Xena put on her black full-length trench coat. She put on her Ray Bans and got in the Mustang. Joshua Marx was waiting and the Warrior had a feeling one of them wouldn't survive the encounter.

Detective O'Grady pulled up to the bar and found it was just a neighborhood bar. It wasn't what she suspected at all. She went in the front door and ask for Sadie Thompson. The bartender said she was a waitress, but was off for a couple of days. He was more than happy to give her the waitress's address.

The red headed detective drove to the address she had been given. She walked up the stairs of the run down apartment building and was greeted by a snub nose 38.

After Xena reached the address and parked her car, she went to door of the address Charlene had given her. She had to admit to herself that she wouldn't mind a short interlude with the fiery detective. Then she felt it another immortal was near.


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