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by Verrath


A nondescript dock at a nondescript port. Fog. Early morning. Melinda Pappas and Janice Covington are there, obviously waiting for someone. A stack of crates filled with equipment is sitting behind them.

Enter Lara Croft, in a relaxed, cat-like walk.

L: Pappas and Covington?

J: And who are you, Lady? <pulls a cigar from her leather Jacket>

L: My name is Croft. Lara Croft.

J: You're a woman.

L: inhales Obviously.

M: Ah, we just thought you'd be... they just said 'Croft', so...

L: grins briefly at Mel I have been... persuaded to work with you, although I have to warn you. I usually work alone.

J: Persuaded, eh? chews on cigar

M: Well, Miss Croft, pleased to meet you.

L: nods and smiles at Mel, smile vanishes when she looks back at Jan

J: <mumbles> SOMEONE must be some artist in persuasion. I'm still not sure what made me agree to this... farce! What are we doing here anyway?

L: proceeds to load her pistols So, it seems you didn't have much choice in this either.

J: You got that right. One moment me and Mel were happily... well, never mind, the next we're getting ready for this suicide mission. With you. And we don't even know you.

L: sighs Same here. I was just sort of put here. Without much notice, really. And here I am. grins wryly

M: Excuse me, Miss Croft...

L: Lara. smiles brilliantly Call me Lara.

J: glowers

M: Er, Lara. I couldn't help but notice your... ummm...

L: inhales again to show her generous assets and raises an eyebrow with a half smile

M: blushes Ah, clearing throat no, I mean... you look... different.

J: Yeah, she's right, Lady. What's with the painted look? You look like a comic figure.

L: frowns

M: adds quickly What she means is, well, you do, you're more.... plastic.... rounded... but you do look.... well, like a painting that moves.

L: looks confused Well, I'll be. I could almost think you didn't know... grins Or was that some weird form of a compliment?

J: ignoring Lara's question Know? Know what?

L: Why, I'm an action hero, a figment of someone's imagination.

J: Yes well, so are we, but WE look normal.

M: Now Janice, do you really think that hat of yours...?

J: snaps You KNOW what I mean!

L: Haven't you heard of the fabulous Tomb Raider[tm] Chronicles? I'm the star of a series of computer games, so, I'm really just a set of pixels. Isn't it amazing what modern technology can do? poses enticingly

J: What the hell is a computer? Pixels? Sounds kinky.

M: So we're all just in someone else's mind?

L: What, you mean you don't believe in Writer?

J: Do you?

L: After all that's happened to me... I died, but as you can see I'm not dead. There HAS to be a higher presence that has brought me back.

M: She has a point. All the things that have happened to us... maybe they are Writer's doing? We should be dead ten times over, really. And yet, here we are...

J: pensive I don't know...

M: How else would you explain us having all these 'first time' things...

J: Melinda!!!

L: First time?

J: Never mind.

M: ... over and over again, as if we had never done it before?

L: looks confused from one to the other

J: Well, if there really is a Writer, why has he put us here? Why have we had to go through all these frickin' tough times before we finally... you know. What's the point? I knew what I wanted from the beginning.

M: Good question. What ARE we doing here?

L: shrugs I was hoping we'd know by now. Maybe Writer is blocked.

M: Blocked?

L: Blocked.

J: And what does it mean if he's 'blocked'?

L: What makes you think Writer is a 'he'?

J: provided there is a Writer, only a guy could be insensitive enough to play with us in this way.

L: down her nose You have a lot to learn, Janice Covington.

J: growls wordlessly, hand going to whip I think YOU are going to learn...

M: Ladies, please!

J and L stand there glowering at each other

M: looking up, imploring Writer, why don't you DO something? If you really exist, keep them from killing each other?

silence, commercial break



The dock. Neither Janice nor Lara have moved in a while. Mel looks frantic

M: Fine, then. Just leave me to it... sighs If only Xena was here, she'd know what do do.

The scene is brightened by a flash of inspiration. The crates look two-dimensional, like cardboard props. The whole surroundings are lacking in depth. All around the dock and a small patch of gently lapping water, there is nothing but a foggy haze, lacking descriptive narrative

enter Xena: Warrior Princess, she comes sailing out of nowhere in a daring somersault, landing neatly on her feet with her sword drawn.

X: looking around, slightly confused Gabrielle?

L: pulls both pistols in a lightning-quick movement, facing the new arrival

J: What the hell...?

L: gets a closer look, relaxes her stance, gazing in wonder at Xena's sword Interesting.... Greece, 90 BC, incredibly good condition... priceless! does a double take and raises pistols again

M: aside Thanks... I think. Whoever you are.

a brilliant light shines down on her as she begins to believe

J: to Xena What are YOU doing here?

X: Where in Tartarus am I? Where is Gabrielle?

J: rolls eyes Gabrielle, Gabrielle, that's all you ever think about, is it?

X: huffing Well, not like YOU're not always leering after Melinda


M: Hey!

X: Anyway, what *am* I doing here? This hardly looks like the setting for me. Hades, this hardly looks like ANY setting. Pretty flat, if you ask me. What IS Writer thinking?

L: A believer!

X: What's it to you, W... Takes note of Lara for the first time, looking her up and down, whistles appreciatively What a body!

L: smiles, putting down her pistols, poses again How good of you to notice...

M: gazing at the light from above The Light!!! I see! I see! There really IS a Writer.

J: groans Oh good grief, am I surrounded by idiots? Shouldn't we be getting on with the plot? What good's Mel going to be anyway, of she behaves like a bloody PROPHET?

Melinda falls to her knees in prayer, Xena and Lara flirt wordlessly, leaving Janice to stand there grumbling in utter frustration

J: murmuring to herself Well, Writer or no, this is just ridiculous. raising gaze heavenward Whatever, if nothing happens soon, I'm out of here. I have things do see, people to do, places to find.

M: Prays silently

J: Well?? waits; nothing happens, starts tapping her foot

Voice from above: Sheesh, sorry gals, messed up that one. Heads up!

A large white object drops down from above. It's a gargantuan block of Letter sized papers, all empty. Its impact obliterates the scene with a deafening bang.

It's a Writer's Block

The End

<G>Sorry about the ending, people. These things happen ;-)

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