Disclaimer: I own absolutely none of the content of this story. My borrowing of characters for my own amusement implies no proprietary right.

A/N: This is post series for Lexx. It's alternate universe for Anita Blake after Blue Moon.

I started writing this story about the time Ms. Hamilton was finishing up Obsidian Butterfly. When I read OB I wasn't impressed, & my writing tapered off considerably. Then Narcissus in Chains came out followed by various actions of the author and her fan club and my not being impressed turned into total disgust. The story was dropped till just recently when purchase of the last season of Lexx DVDs renewed my love of the show. In light of my change in attitude, my original plot was scrapped and what was intended to be a AB/Lexx story turned into a Lexx story with a little AB.

Anyway, it's done, not perfect, but it has an ending. I hope you enjoy.

Aliens, Bureaucrats, & Museum Exhibits, Oh My

Kai, last of the Brunnen-G, suddenly awoke to find himself sitting in a ladder back chair, in front of a small grey desk, in a small grey office. Sitting at the desk was a small woman, who was also very grey. Her hair was grey and pulled back into a tight bun. Her eyes, behind horn rimmed spectacles, were grey. Her high necked and long sleeved woolen dress was grey . Even her face evoked a sense of greyness, very pale and slightly homely with completely forgettable features.

The grey woman shuffled a few papers, read the top one, pursed her thin lips in dissatisfaction, and stated more than asked, "You are Kai, last of the Brunnen-G?"

"Yes," Kai answered, "I am." Then looking around the office he noted the windowless grey walls, grey ceiling, and grey floor. If there was a door it probably would have been grey as well, but there wasn't a door, so it wasn't grey. "Who are you and what is this place?"

"This is the Office of Life Allocations, Death Division. I am the Assistant Co-Director in charge of Death Equality for Sector Alpha. Certain... irregularities have come to my attention in regards to your final death. Considering the track record of the District Head in charge of your case," here the woman paused briefly to grimace in distaste, a strong dislike for the District Head in question evident in her manner, before continuing, "it was deemed wise to summon you here in person in order to correct any errors before final dispensation."

"I do not understand," Kai said slowly, now completely confused. The last thing he remembered was finding out the mass of the smallest particle of the universe, just before the space parasite along with his, recently returned to the living, body was compressed into a singularity. "Am I alive? I don't feel dead. But, I seem to remember life being different from this."

"You are in-between life and death," the grey woman explained. "We're here to determine where you belong."

Kai silently looked at the woman, clearly wanting a more thorough explanation.

"Not to worry," she put the unspoken question aside. "You are not required to understand. Simply answer the questions to the best of your knowledge and your case will be processed with all due speed," the Assistant Co-Director said with what was probably suppose to be a reassuring smile. The Assistant Co-Director obviously didn't smile much.

"I will try," Kai agreed, thinking the situation would explain itself in time. Besides, he had nothing better to do than to answer the woman's questions.

"Did you or did you not play a game of chess with District Manager Omega stroke Alpha?" she began her inquiry.

"I played chess with Prince. I do not know a District Manager."

"My records show that the District Manager is commonly known by that title," she said pursing her lips in disapproval, the Assistant Co-Director didn't approve of fancy titles. "Did you play for stakes? If so, what were they?"

"We did play for stakes. If Prince won, Xev and Stan's lives would be forfeit. If I won, Prince would make me live once again."

"I see," the woman said raising one eyebrow disapprovingly-she obviously approved of very little. "And, just for the record, who won this game?"

"I did."

"It is just as I thought. There is a problem with your case, a very large problem," the Assistant Co-Director said, nodding ever so slightly.

"Problem?" asked Kai.

"Yes, most definitely a problem. Death doesn't have to be fair but it must always be according to the rules and I'm afraid the District Head in charge of your case has a bad habit of breaking those rules," she explained.

Kai looked at her blankly, still not following.

"When the planet Water was destroyed and your spirit freed, life should have returned to you as it did to," here she paused momentarily to check the page in front of her, "Captain Stanley Tweedle. Prince stopped that from happening, which was well within his discretion as District Head so long as he restored you to life before your scheduled time of death. What Prince shouldn't have done was play that game of chess, thereby putting himself in a position to owe you a second life, a second life which he could not deliver."

"Prince did not think he would lose the game and didn't believe he would have to deliver on his promise," Kai pointed out in a reasonable tone.

"The fact remains, he did lose and you are owed another life. Now the choice is yours. We cannot restore your life in that universe but you can be brought back in another universe-" another pause to check her records, "-in the Theta Sector. If you choose to be resurrected, your friends can be directed to meet you there by a representative from the Offices of Fate and Coincidence-as compensation for the inconvenience caused by the mishandling of your case."

"And if I do not choose to be resurrected?" Kai asked.

"If you choose not to collect on the debt, you will be sent to the Dream Zone for a time and eventually reincarnated. Judging from your record, you are currently in line for a pleasant next life," she answered, yet again referring to her papers.

"And, should I choose resurrection, would that permanently bar me from a return to the Dream Zone?" Kai replied, feeling it prudent to cover all his bases.

"By no means, whether or not you return to the Dream Zone after your next death is entirely dependent on the circumstances surrounding it. If you postpone your true death, your final dispensation will remain indeterminate until the balance of your life can be factored into the equation."

Kai sat quietly for a moment, deep in thought, then he reasoned aloud, "I have already gone on far past the time I should have died. Perhaps it is right for me to die and rejoin the normal cycle of life and death? On the other hand... Xev has loved me for thousands of years. It would be cruel of me to choose death when I could finally be as she wishes me."

"Love is second only to Death in the offices of fate, and it rules much of what is right," the Assistant Co-Director pointed out, wanting to be as fair as possible in the dispensation of this case, which meant making sure the Brunnen-G did not make his decision based on some malformed notion of right and wrong.

"Love... what of Sera? I promised to love only her while I lived," Kai said torn between a promise to an old, dead, love and the promise of life with a new love. Kai was in no frame of mind to weigh his prospects of future happiness, but even deciding which choice was more just was proving to be difficult. Then a thought occurred to him, "Or... was there more to casting Xev in that role in the story of my life than mere chance?"

"Almost nothing happens purely by chance," she replied, non-committal.

Kai weighed up the pros and cons of each option and made his decision, "I choose resurrection."

"Are you quite sure of this decision?" the Assistant Co-Director asked. "Although a connection between Xev and Sera is a possibility, it is far from assured. And, there is no way of knowing for certain. The reincarnation records are sealed to prevent prejudicial decisions."

"I am certain. Xev deserves happiness for her own sake, no matter who she was or wasn't in her past lives," Kai explained.

"A very compassionate decision," the Assistant Co-Director said with another one of her unsuccessful smiles. "Simply walk through the door behind you and you will once again join the living."

Kai stood and turned around. Behind him was a door which wasn't there before. It was grey to match the rest of the room, but it was a strange glowing grey. Kai stepped toward the door, turning back momentarily when the Assistant Co-Director called out to him. "Kai, one more thing. You are granted leave to retain your weapon. It doesn't directly interfere with life functions and you are going to need it," she said.

Kai nodded once in understanding and stepped through the doorway.

Kai stepped out of the grey office and into a grey world. The door disappeared behind him. Immediately after stepping through the doorway, a flood of emotion hit him. In the office he could feel, but it was only in a detached, hazy, sort of way. Now, he was fully returned to the living and a bit overwhelmed. Suddenly, he was afraid of what the future might hold, angry at the hand fate had dealt him thus far in life and un-life, but most of all he had hope, hope that things would finally come out right. Then temporarily putting aside his newly rediscovered feelings, he examined his new surroundings.

Kai found himself on a rocky plain covered in snow and ice. It was night time and the silvery light from the sliver of a moon made his surrounding seem even more grey. He shivered from the cold; the black suit he'd been wearing for the past few millennia was made of billions of self-repairing nano-bots and thus nearly indestructable, but it wasn't designed to protect the living from arctic temperatures. Wrapping his arms around himself in a vain attempt to keep warm, he started walking.

Kai walked for hours, growing colder and more exhausted by the minute. More than once he thought of giving up the situation as hopeless, lying down, and letting the cold take him. But, then he'd remind himself that he wouldn't have been resurrected just so he could immediately freeze to death. Although he had no idea where he was, where he was going, or how he was going to get out of this mess, there had to be a way. Or, at least that is what he hoped was the case. Kai kept plodding forward for lack of any other possible course of action.

His feet and hands and then his whole body went numb from the cold, and still he walked on. The moon set and what little light he had was gone. He tripped and stumbled over rocks he couldn't see by star light. Each time he fell, he'd pick himself up and keep moving until finally the cold and exhaustion were just too much for him. This time he fell but couldn't force his numbed body to get back up. Accepting the inevitable, Kai lay in the snow, staring up at unfamiliar stars, and started to sing softly:

Yo way yo, hom-va ray Yo way ra, ja-room Brunnen-G

"What's that?" Kai heard someone say off to his right. A man with long blond hair and dressed in a long fur cloak appeared at Kai's side. "What's that you were singing? It sounds very odd." he repeated, cocking his head to one side.

"It is an ancient song the Brunnen-G sing when they go into battle expecting to die. I sang it when I lead the attack against His Divine Shadow," Kai explained slowly, sounding a little vague. He'd gone past the numb stage and onto feeling pleasantly fuzzy.

"Brunnen-G?" the man said brow furrowed in thought, "I don't think I've ever heard of them. What happened at the battle?" he asked out of idle curiosity.

"We died."

"That's unfortunate," the man said kneeling in the snow next to Kai and softly caressing Kai's cheek. "I wonder what you are doing here? This is far too inhospitable a place for the living."

"Was sent here," Kai said sleepily, hypothermia setting in.

"Sent here? By whom and for what purpose?"

"I don' know," Kai mumbled.

"How peculiar," the man said twirling the loose strand of Kai's hair around a finger. "I suppose the why doesn't really matter. All that matters is that you're here with me now," he said grinning widely and flashing fangs.

Seeing the extended canines and taking into consideration the man's apparent immunity to the cold, the strangeness of the situation was starting to penetrate his hypothermic daze. Kai's eyes widened slightly in shock and he asked, "What are you?"

"Why I'm a vampire of course, and soon you shall be too." The vampire turned Kai's head to one side, pushed down his collar, and bit into Kai's neck. "I may be stuck here a while. I could use a playmate."

Kai struggled weakly against the vampire but without much hope of success. The vampire was strong, stronger than any living man and, in his weakened condition Kai, had even less chance of success. The vampire sought to ease Kai's mind and end his resistance by sending him soothing images of what it was to be a vampire. The vampire could have simply taken away Kai's will to resist, but preferred not to. Instead, he tried to seduce the Brunnen-G warrior with promises of immortality and power.

Three times the vampire drank from Kai, and three times he tried to convince Kai of the benefits of being a vampire. But, every time Kai balked at the concept. He did not object to what was shown to him. The last of the Brunnen-G had no preconceived prejudices against power and long life. However, there was something else, something the vampire wasn't showing him-not to mention the similarities to Vlad-which made Kai uneasy. But, in the end it didn't matter. Kai could do nothing to stop the vampire from drinking from him, and with the third taste Kai died, once again.

Some time later Kai awoke from death feeling very different. He felt stronger, no longer cold. His senses were much keener too. The darkness was no longer dark and the howling of the wind had grown almost unbearably loud. Then there was the hunger. It clawed at his insides. He felt like he was starving. The hunger was everything. It consumed him.

"I'm afraid I don't have any tasty morsels handy for your first feeding. You'll just have to make do with me," the vampire said biting open his own wrist and offering it to Kai. Kai looked at the vampire for a moment in revulsion. He didn't want to come anywhere near the being who'd just killed him, but the scent of the blood was getting to him. In moments the blood lust overcame Kai's finer sensibilities and he latched onto the vampire's wrist. "That's good pet, drink your fill my pretty one," the blond vampire said, tucking Kai's hair behind his ear. "It's just as well that there's no one else here. I probably would have had you drink from me first anyway. It strengthens the master/childe bond and we couldn't have you getting any silly ideas about not serving me, now could we?" he asked rhetorically.

Kai, finally regaining control of himself, his thirst having subsided a bit, pushed himself away from the blond vampire and said, "You are not my master."

The blond vampire laughed and said, "Of course I'm your master. I created you and as long as I live you will be in my power."

"Then I will have to kill you," Kai stated coldly, memories of his time as a servant of His Shadow prominent in his mind. Being dead at the time, Kai couldn't have been said to suffer in His Divine Shadow's service. But, now that his situation was altered, Kai found the memories more than a little repulsive.

"Kill me?" the elder vampire asked incredulously, laughing once again. "Do you honestly think you can kill me?" he said condescendingly as he rose from the rock he was sitting on and walked away from Kai, turning his back to his new creation to show how little threat he believed Kai to be. "The Coucil itself has reason to fear me. What could a mere fledgling do?"

"I know I can kill you. You showed me how," Kai said still seated on the ground.

"Oh really? And how do you plan to do it?" the vampire asked, turning back to face Kai.

"Like this," answered Kai as he pointed his brace at his master's heart. The vampire stood there with an amused grin on his face, waiting to see what trick his new toy was about to perform. Then Kai fired his brace. The claw shot out from his wrist and ripped through the vampire's heart before the vampire even knew what was happening. The vampire looked down at the metallic cord protruding from his chest in shock, the pain hadn't even had time to register yet. Then Kai retracted his weapon, further destroying the vampire's heart as the claw end made it's return journey through his body. The vampire collapsed from the pain and Kai went to stand over his prone figure.

"How did you..." the dying vampire gasped out.

"I was a Divine Assassin for thousands of years. I learned to kill efficiently," Kai answered evenly, as he ruthlessly suppressed the small stirrings of sypathy he felt for his sire.

"Too young... can't fly... too far... you'll starve," the vampire said, somewhat maliciously.

"Perhaps," Kai agreed, the malicious tone effectively killing off what few reservations he'd had about executing his sire. Then he aimed his brace at the vampire's neck and decapitated him. Kai closed his eyes and stood absolutely still for a moment, trying to determine from which direction the warmest, or least cold, current of air was coming.

Kai ran on for what seemed like days, but it was impossible to determine how much time had actually passed during the unrelenting night. Finally, the thirst caught up with him. He needed fresh blood now, or soon he wouldn't be able to function. Kai stopped at the edge of a large body of water and contemplated how best to use his last remaining strength. He knew that if he continued on as he had been, eventually he'd become too weak to move. He'd lie starving on the ice until day light came a few months later; then he'd die. But, he reasoned that since his body was biologically dead, freezing wouldn't kill him and it would stop starvation from progressing. He also knew that planets cycle through warm and cold periods, so that anything frozen inside a sheet of ice was bound to be freed eventually. Freezing himself and assuming the risk of thawing out in the daytime, seemed a much better gamble than wandering around looking for civilization. Frozen, his chances weren't good, even if he thawed during the night he might still be too far from food, but the alternative was certain death.

Having decided upon a course of action, Kai set about putting his plan in motion. Using his brace, he pulled himself onto a glacier floating out at sea. Shivering with cold and coated in ice from the short journey across the water, Kai searched for a nice deep crevice. On the west face of the glacier he found what he was looking for, a place where the ice had cracked and split. Kai wedged himself down in the crevice as far as he could go. Then using his brace he further deepened the crevice, pushing the displaced ice above his head. When he'd arranged the ice to his satisfaction and was reasonably certain the sun wouldn't reach him, he went still and stopped resisting the cold. Soon Kai drifted off into a very deep and icy sleep.

In another office, this one a fairly normal one with carpet, potted plants, windows, and a door, a woman was answering the phone. "Anita Blake, how can I help you?" she said irritably. Ms. Blake was just about to go home when the phone rang.

"Anita, am I interrupting something?" the man on the phone asked apologetically.

"Richard," Anita said in a much friendlier tone, "I was just leaving to change for our date. I thought Bert was trying to squeeze in one more client tonight. What's up that couldn't wait a couple hours?" she asked a little concerned.

"The Sepes-Burnes exhibit is being set up at the Natural Sciences Museum tonight. Jean-Claude wants us to meet him there so we can take a look at it before it opens tomorrow. Can you be there in an hour?" Richard explained.

Anita thought for a minute, adding up driving times, and said, "I might be a few minutes late, but I'll be there. Why? I'd never've pegged Jean-Claude as the type to be interested in anthropological finds. Why does he want us there?" Anita asked curiously. She didn't object to going. She was planning to see the exhibit eventually, just out of curiosity. It's not everyday that a person can inspect an ancient vampire frozen in a block of ice for the past six or seven millennia up close and personal.

The frozen vampire was discovered by a team of geologist surveying glaciers. They located a human shaped mass within the glacier while making sound wave measurements. Two of the more enterprising members of the team, Sepes and Burnes, decided to cut the mass free along with a large chunk of the immediately surrounding ice. The sides of the ice block were polished so that people could see what was inside and the frozen vampire had been on tour in a special freezer for the past three years. And when, just a few months ago, the Supreme Court decided that keeping him frozen didn't infringe on the vamp's rights, the exhibit began a long delayed tour of the States.

"I don't think he's interested in the exhibit's anthropological merits. But, a several thousand year old vampire coming into his territory does make him worry. He wants you there to tell him how powerful this vampire is and if he's any threat. I'm just coming along because I couldn't pass up a private tour of the museum," Richard explained, the kid in a candy store grin apparent in his voice during that last statement.

"If I'm the one Jean-Claude needed, why are you the one calling me?" Anita asked suspiciously. Since Richard and Jean-Claude had decided to try sharing, Anita was starting to feel a little hunted. Once the two had stopped competing, they found that they had quite a bit in common and had started to gang up on Anita, trying to get her to take more time off, among other things.

"Well, we had some business to discuss and it just happened to come up so I volunteered to call," Richard said innocently.

"What kind of business?" Anita asked wondering what plan the two of them were hatching now.

"Nothing important. Just the usual pack stuff," Richard insisted.

"It had better have been pack stuff," Anita muttered darkly.

"Anita, you don't need to worry about Jean-Claude and me. We only have your best interests at heart," Richard said lightly.

"That's what I'm worried about," Anita replied, smiling inspite of herself. As much as she disliked the boys interfering in her life, it was nice to know that they cared. "If I'm going to be there in an hour, I need to get on the road."

"Good bye, Anita. I love you."

Anita hesitated a split second, then said, "I love you too." Then hung up the phone.

A little over an hour later, Anita walked into the museum to find Jean-Claude and Richard waiting in the lobby. Just seeing the two men standing there gave Anita a pleasant tingly sensation.

Jean-Claude, the more eye catching of the two, with sapphire blue eyes and silky black curls falling around his shoulders, not to mention the sheer beauty of his features, was animatedly relating some tale to his companion. He was dressed in tight black jeans tucked into knee-high suede boots. A full sleeved, blood red, silk shirt with an open collar completed the outfit.

Richard, although not quite as striking as Jean-Claude was equally attractive, but in a different way. Where Jean-Claude was classically beautiful, Richard had that very masculine handsomeness. He was wearing close fitting blue jeans, faded just slightly but not old enough to have grown worn, and a dark gold sweater that complemented the warm brown of his eyes. His long wavy hair was pulled back in a pony-tail, emphasizing the perfect symmetry of his features. As Anita walked over to greet them, Richard laughed at some comment made by his companion, flashing perfectly even white teeth.

Anita was dressed in black jeans, black Nikes, and a black cashmere sweater. Jean-Claude had started to make inroads on even Anita's casual wear, but since Nathaniel moved in and started to do her errands she didn't mind too much. Anita didn't object to a fabric upgrade, so long as she wasn't the one who had to drop by the dry cleaners. Next to the vivid colors of the men, Anita thought, perhaps, her basic black was a little boring, but only for a second.

"It's nice to see you two getting along so well," Anita said, somewhat insincerely. She didn't miss the wrangling and constant threat of violence, but Richard and Jean-Claude now being the best of friends made her uneasy.

"Jean-Claude was telling me how you first met," Richard explained, giving Anita a brief peck on the cheek in greeting.

"Making fun of me, were you?" Anita asked sourly, arching one eyebrow.

"We would never make fun of you, ma petite," Jean-Claude said with false innocence, kissing Anita's hand and executing a slightly facetious gentlemanly bow.

Although everyone knew who was having sex with whom, the situation was too fresh. They all took great pains not to rub anything in. Jean-Claude would have preferred if they could be a menage a trois in truth, but accepted the fact that Richard was uninterested in men. Anita's sleeping with Richard didn't bother him at all, so long as he was sure Anita wasn't going to leave him for Richard.

Richard would have preferred to have Anita all to himself. His fondest wish was for them to get married and have a normal life complete with pet, children, and white picket fence. Having admitted the impossibility of such a scenario, he was willing to take what he could get. Richard didn't like the fact that he had to share, but he was secure enough in himself to agree to it, if it was what it took to make Anita happy. And after all, Jean-Claude wasn't such a bad guy as vampires go, without him they'd all probably dead several times over. And, as a werewolf, Richard had a sneaking suspicion that he didn't deserve any more than what he now had-normal was just too much for a monster to ask.

Anita, the one who seemed to be the best off in this arrangement, was, ironically enough, the one with the strongest reservations. Anita still couldn't convince herself that being with two men at the same time didn't make her a bad person. As long as she was only with one at a time, she could rationalize the situation to herself. When they were both present and accounted for, she started having guilty feelings. And, the two of them becoming such close friends seemed wrong somehow.

"Now that we're all here, maybe we should get this show on the road," Anita suggested.

"After you," Jean-Claude agreed motioning toward the hallway to their left.

Anita walked down the hallway, Richard and Jean-Claude a step behind her. They reached the exhibit chamber holding the frozen vampire. It was a large, roughly circular room with six doors spaced at even intervals along the walls. The main attraction was dead center of the room inside a glass case. A couple maintenance men were installing a plaque on a pedestal in front of the refrigerated case while a short plump woman wearing glasses directed a couple others in the arrangement of a guard rail.

"Madame Sewell, I hope we're not too early," Jean-Claude said to the woman, in his most charming manner.

"Oh no, you're perfect... I mean you're perfectly on time," the woman said taking off her glasses and patting her hair into place, flustered by Jean-Claude's very presence.

"Excellent, I would hate to inconvenience you," Jean-Claude almost purred, taking the frumpy Ms. Sewell's hand in greeting, causing the woman to become even more flustered.

"I think he's enjoying this," Richard whispered to Anita.

"I'm sure he is," Anita agreed. "It must be nice, being so easily entertained after so many centuries."

Jean-Claude shot Anita and Richard a glance to let them know that he'd caught that exchange. "Madame Sewell, may I present Richard Zeeman and Anita Blake, friends of mine who also take an interest in your fascinating display," the master vampire said motioning Anita and Richard over. "Madame Sewell is the assistant curator in charge of the exhibit and was kind enough to agree to a private showing."

They all murmured the appropriate greetings as the maintenance men finished up their tasks and left to see to other things. Before the last one left, Ms. Sewell asked him to switch on the lights. Bright halogen lamps flooded the block of ice with light, revealing the figure contained inside. "I'm afraid there are other tasks that require my attention, will you be okay alone here?" Ms. Sewell asked.

"We will be fine," Jean-Claude assured her.

"I'll leave you then," Ms. Sewell said, then left Anita, Richard, and Jean-Claude alone with the vampire in ice.

"He's not what I expected," Anita said. "I pictured him sort of lying there with his arms across his chest or something."

"Laid out like a mummy?" Richard asked.

"Yeah," Anita agreed with a nod. The vampire most definitely wasn't laid out like a mummy. He was sitting up with his left leg folded under him and his right knee tucked under his chin. His left arm was pressed to his side and his right arm was stretched at an awkward angle above his head. "It doesn't look very comfortable," Anita observed.

"I doubt comfort was a concern," Jean-Claude said. "According to the plaque, he dug himself down into the glacier quite a distance. He was probably hiding from the sun."

Richard, silent up till now, took a step forward to get a closer look and said, "Is it just a distortion from the ice that makes it look that way or does he really have a beehive?"

"I'd call it a beehive," Anita agreed, joining Richard at the railing.

"Now that you have accurately assessed the threat from his hair style, perhaps you could make some estimate of his power," Jean-Claude suggested dryly.

Anita took a moment to get the feel of the vampire, rolling the sensations around in her mind a few times to consider all the possibilities. "He's a master vampire and about 7,000 years old, give or take. If he ever gets out of that block of ice, he's going to be one powerful sonofabitch."

"According to the geologists he had to have been frozen for somewhere between 6,500 and 7,500 years ago," Richard added.

"He must have been frozen fairly young, which would explain why no one knows who he is," Jean-Claude said.

"No one recognizes him?" Richard asked.

"No, there aren't many old enough to have known him and most of those are attached to the council. If he were fairly young and unimportant when he was still mobile, it is likely that all who knew him are now gone. Asher tells me that when the discovery was first made the council thought he might be a vampire that thought to challenge the Traveler for a place on the council. He fled to the arctic to escape punishment when it became obvious he could not win. But, that vampire was known as Rygel the Fair," Jean-Claude explained.

"Well, he's obviously not 'the Fair,'" Anita said, referring to the frozen vampire's black hair.

"It's not right. Keeping him frozen like this and put on display. He's a person. He should be treated better than this, even if no one knows who he is," Richard declared.

"What? You think he should be thawed out?" Anita asked.

"Yes. Yes, he should," Richard said.

"Perhaps he should be freed from the ice, but I do not want it happening here," said Jean-Claude.

"I'd think you'd understand. What if it were you who were frozen?" Richard asked pointedly.

"But, mon ami, I am not the one frozen. He is. We have no idea who he is or what he'd do if he were to be let out. All we know is that he is a very old and powerful vampire who could be very dangerous," Jean-Claude argued.

"I'm with Jean-Claude on this one," Anita seconded. "Right now he's like a vampire just on the verge of waking. His soul-or whatever it is vampires have that keeps them moving-is in there even though he isn't actually animate. I can feel the power there. If he were let go, there's no telling what he might do."

"It's still not right," Richard said disappointed in Anita and Jean-Claude. Richard took one last look at the frozen vampire and left the room.

"He isn't a threat at present?" Jean-Claude asked Anita.

"He's safe enough for now. Eventually, his power may overcome even the ice, but not for hundreds of years yet. We'll be fine as long as the freezers keep working," Anita confirmed.

"That is... good to know," Jean-Claude thanked Anita for her reassurance.

Several days later Anita was loading chickens into the back of her jeep in preparation for her first zombie raising of the night when her cell phone rang. The shrill ringing startled Anita into dropping the last cage on her hand, she still wasn't used to carrying a phone and sorely missed her beeper. Anita took the phone off her belt clip and answered it.


"We have a situation at the Life Sciences Museum. Some vampire rights activists have taken the museum over and are trying to defrost the new exhibit." Dolph said, right to business as usual.

"I'll be right over. Have you contacted Jean-Claude?"

"No. Why would I?"

"He's the Master of the City. There's no telling what the vamp will do if they get him out of the ice. Jean-Claude is the only one with any chance of controlling him."

"Right, I'll call him. Get over here as soon as you can." Dolph ordered then hung up the phone.

"This is just great. Those vampire rights activists'll be lucky if they don't all get themselves killed," Anita muttered as she dialed her office.

"Animators, Inc." the secretary answered the phone.

"Mary, tell Bert to reschedule my appointments tonight. I've got police business," Anita said.

"Are you sure you don't want to tell him yourself? I know how much you enjoy yanking his chain." Mary asked hopefully, not wanting to have to give the boss the bad news.

"Sorry Mary, but I'm in a hurry. I don't have time," Anita said apologetically.

"Alright, but you owe me one," Mary said with a sigh of resignation.

Half an hour later Anita pulled up to the Natural Sciences Museum. Dolph came to meet her car. "The activists have turned up the heater and are using an assortment of space heaters and blow dryers to melt the ice. They have guards with machine guns at all the entrances and it looks like their mission's going to be a succeed. I'm not risking the lives of my men to save a museum exhibit. What can I expect?"

"I honestly don't know," Anita said. "There aren't any other cases to compare it to. I don't know how freezing would effect a vamp."

"What do you know?"

"Well, he didn't look desiccated like he would if he were starving, so that's probably not going to be a problem. The big question is how conscious he's been all this time. If he's been even partially aware, he's probably completely insane. On the other hand, if the ice kept him completely unconscious we might be able to reason with him," Anita explained.

"Worst case scenario?" Dolph asked.

"Worst case scenario, he's insane enough to turn animalistic but still has the powers of a thousands of years old master vampire. At his age silver bullets won't stop him, they might not even slow him down. The only way would be decapitation and complete removal of the heart," said Anita, a sinking feeling coming over her at the sheer thought of the possibility.

"Damn, people are going to die tonight because a bunch of yahoos have to be 'sensitive to the vampire's needs.'" Zerbrowski, who'd walked up during Anita's explanation, complained in a disgusted tone.

"Not necessarily. He might wake up as if he'd just been asleep for the day," Anita objected half heartedly, trying to be optimistic but not really succeeding. Optimism just wasn't in Anita's nature.

"And then everything will be fine and he won't kill anyone?" Zerbrowski asked skeptically.

"I didn't say that. He could still be a cold blooded murderer. But, at least he'd be rational and we could explain the way things work, try to convince him that killing us wouldn't be in his best interests," said Anita.

"Now I know we're all going to die," Zerbrowski said with an exaggerated expression of horror. "The world must be coming to an end. The Executioner just suggested talking rather than violence."

"Ha ha," Anita responded, not amused.

A black SUV pulled up and out stepped Jean-Claude, Asher, Damien, Jason, and a couple other vamps Anita didn't know personally but had seen around the Circus. "Looks like your boyfriend's here and he brought friends," teased Zerbrowski.

Anita went over to where the new arrivals were standing, Dolph following close behind. "Sgt. Storr, you have need of me?" Jean-Claude said to the burly police officer.

"The vampire in there is about to be thawed out. Anita said you can control it?" Dolph asked pointing back over his shoulder at the museum.

"Ma petite overestimates my abilities. The vampire in there is much older and more powerful than I am," Jean-Claude said modestly.

"So you can't help?" Dolph returned.

"Although I can't actually control the vampire, I should be able to assist to some extent. Being Master of the City gives me a certain... influence with other vampires in the city," explained Jean-Claude.

Anita suddenly gasped in shock. Jean-Claude grasped her arm in support and Dolph gave Anita a concerned look. "He just woke up and he's thirsty," Anita said gravely.

On the bridge of a huge spaceship-slash-bug, two people were sitting around looking very dejected. A beautiful woman in a pink lizard skin ensemble was sitting on the edge of the circular pedestal in the middle of the bridge, chin in her hands and elbows braced on her knees. A less than beautiful, middle-aged, man in a red jumpsuit that looked like some sort of unform sat beside her, one hand on her shoulder. "Without 790's help, how do we find a nice planet to live on?" Xev asked Stan.

"I don't know. I guess we'll just have to look," Stan said shrugging. Getting up from his spot beside Xev, Stan walked over to the ship's central command post. It looked kind of like a big throne, but Stan stood in what would have been the seat rather than sitting down.

"Look where? It's a big universe," Xev said, turning to look back at Stan.

"Well, we know the Lyekka ship ate all the planets behind us. We'll just have to go the other way. Little Lexx?" Stanley called out placing his hand in the lock, which was a handshaped light that appeared out of thin air about waist high just in front of Stan.

"Yes, Captain Stan?" the ship answered.

"Show us the stars right in front of us," Stan ordered.

A mostly dark image with a few little dots of light appeared on Little Lexx's screens. "It's all dark. It doesn't look like there are very many planets that way," Xev said pessimistically. After the death of the Brunnen-G, Xev was finding it hard to keep her spirits up.

"Yeah, well, there are a few stars and some of them are bound to have planets," Stan said with forced cheer. "Remember, we only need to find one good planet. I bet there's a really nice one out there somewhere."

"One of them is probably wonderful," Xev agreed with a watery smile, trying to be positive. "And, the sooner we start looking, the sooner we'll find it," she said with a little more conviction as she came to stand next to Stan.

"That's the spirit," Stan said patting Xev on the shoulder. "Little Lexx, how long will it take you to fly to the nearest solar system in that direction?" he asked, trying to work up some excitement for being on their way.

"It should take approximately 3.7 years for me to reach the nearest solar system in that direction," Little Lexx answered.

"Three point seven years, that's a long time," Stan said a little nonplused.

"It is a long way and I can't go very fast yet because I am not full grown," Little Lexx explained.

"If it takes 3.7 years, I suppose it takes 3.7 years. We'll just have to wait," Stanley said with a sigh.

"We could spend the journey in cryo-sleep," Xev said, not looking forward to more than three boring years with only Stan for company.

"I thought the cryo-pods were destroyed with Big Lexx," Stanley said.

"They might have been. But, Little Lexx has moths and stuff like the Lexx did. Maybe Little Lexx has cryo-pods too?" Xev suggested.

"It couldn't hurt to look," Stan agreed. "Little Lexx, set course for that solar system."

"Yes, Captain Stan," Little Lexx acknowledged.

Stan and Xev quickly found out that there were indeed cryo-pods. They were located in exactly the same spot as they were on the Lexx. "Well that answers that question," Stan said. "How long should I..." Stan broke off at Xev's shushing motion.

"Do you hear something?" Xev asked.

Stan listened quietly for a moment and said, "No, I don't hear anything."

"It's coming from over here," Xev said going down the passageway opposite from the way they came. Xev walked down the passage with Stan following close behind, pausing at every juncture to listen for which direction to go in.

"Are you sure you're not imagining things? I still don't hear anything," Stanley complained.

Then an eerie wailing sound echoed down the corridor. "Did you hear that?" Xev asked.

"That I heard," Stan said nervously. "Boy, I really wish Kai were here."

"So do I," Xev agreed sadly then continued toward the noise, Stan following timidly behind. They turned a corner and suddenly the sound became much clearer.

"Alack! Alack! / I've lost my man in black!" was recited in a despairing moan.

"790, I should have known," Stanley complained. "There's no getting rid of the psychotic robot head."

"Little Lexx must have eaten him. I'll climb down and get him," Xev said walking over to the edge of the pit where Lexx stored the indigestible bits while they were waiting to be released. 790 was caught in a membrane about halfway down.

"Why? He'll just try to kill us again," Stan said, in favor of leaving 790 where he was and letting him be expelled when Little Lexx ate again.

"Sometimes he's useful. He could help us find a good planet," Xev argued.

"Maybe, maybe not. I still say leave him. He's nothing but trouble," Stan insisted, but it was no use. Xev was already climbing down to fetch 790.

A few minutes later Xev placed 790 on the edge of the pit and hauled herself up after him. "Well if it isn't the love-slut and Stanley-man-meat. If you think I'm grateful for your not leaving me to drift in space, then you're wrong. I wanted to drift in space, alone, composing an epic poem to the memory of my man," 790 declared.

"We'll leave you alone to compose your poem," Xev said.

"Good," 790 replied.

"For awhile anyway, me and Stan are going into cryo-stasis till we reach the next solar system," Xev explained.

"Excellent. Frozen love-slut and man-meat are the next best thing to dead love-slut and man-meat. I know, why don't you let me operate the controls for you? You know how complicated setting the timer is," 790 said.

"I told you, you shouldn't have gotten him," Stanley muttered.

Stan and Xev left 790 on the bridge, composing his epic poem to Kai. Then they returned to the cryo-chamber and froze themselves, setting the timer for just under 3.7 years.

Three point seven years later...

790, on the bridge, was reciting, "He's dead! He's dead! / How could he leave his Robot Head!"

In the cryo-chamber two pods were opening. Xev stretched and climbed out of her pod. Stan yawned and rubbed his eyes sleepily.

Back on the bridge, a swirling glowing mass appeared on the view screen. "What's that?" Little Lexx asked.

"It's a high energy entropy loop, a place where too much energy has burned a hole in whatever divides alternate universes from one another. Now, stop bothering me with stupid questions. I have great art to create," 790 explained.

"Pretty," Little Lexx said, making a beeline for the entropy loop. Soon, the ship was caught up in the loop's gravity which made Little Lexx lurch forward.

Back in the cryo-room a sleepy Stan fell to the floor, Lexx's sudden movement taking him by surprise. Xev stumbled a bit as well, but managed to regain her footing before actually falling. "Stan, are you alright?" Xev asked.

"Yeah, I think so," Stan said getting up off the floor and brushing himself off. Just then there was another lurch, this time both managed to keep to their feet. "But, I don't know if Little Lexx is okay."

Stan and Xev ran to the bridge. Seeing the swirly glowing thing on the screen, Xev asked, "What's that? What's happening?"

"Entropy loop. The stupid bug thinks it's pretty. We're all going to die. Now can I please have some quiet?! I'm trying to work!" 790 shouted.

Stan climbed on the pedastal and put his hand in the lock. "Yes, Captain?" Little Lexx asked.

"Lexx, don't go into the swirly thing. Turn around and fly away," Stan ordered.

"I will try Captain, but I don't think I can. It's pulling me in."

"Try Lexx. Try real hard. I know you can do it," Stan encouraged.

"You can do it Lexx," Xev added.

"No, he can't," 790 couldn't resist interjecting. "He's already in it's gravity well."

Little Lexx made straining sounds and the ship jerked to the right a little, sending Xev and Stan sprawling, but still Little Lexx approached the entropy loop.

"It looks like this is the end," said Xev.

"Don't say that. We've been in a lot worse spots than this and made it through okay," Stan said with forced optimism, trying to convince himself more than Xev.

"Yeah, that's true. We'll make it through this too," Xev said with some forced optimism of her own.

"Right, we'll be fine," Stan confirmed with a nod.

Then Little Lexx entered the high energy entropy loop itself. Xev and Stan felt like they were being squeezed into something the size of a pea, but at the same time it felt like they were being blown up to the point where they were about to explode. After what seemed like decades Little Lexx made it through the loop with Xev and Stan still mostly intact. But, they didn't have any time to appreciate their survival, not yet. Little Lexx was hurled out of the loop at such an amazing velocity the Xev and Stan found themselves stuck to the walls of the bridge by the G-force-they were extremely lucky that they were thrown to the side of the bridge that had walls.

Eventually, Little Lexx managed to slow down, allowing Xev and Stan to fall back to the floor. Stan and Xev got unsteadily to their feet. Then Stan asked, "Lexx, what happened?"

"I went very, very fast. It was fun," Lexx replied.

"That's good Little Lexx, but where are we?"

"I don't know Captain Stanley. I got all turned around in the bright swirly thing," Lexx said.

"Great, just great. Now we have no idea where we are," Stan griped.

"Stan, I think I know where we are," Xev said looking at the view screen. "Isn't that the little blue planet?" she asked pointing at the image.

"It can't be. Lexx blew that planet up," Stan insisted. "Although, it sure does look a lot like it," Stan added looking at the screen.

"This is an alternate universe you moron. That is the same planet. Apparently, this universe wasn't unlucky enough to have a Stanley Tweedle going around destroying planets," 790 explained.

"You were the one that had Lexx destroy that planet!" Stan protested indignantly.

"Alternate universe? You mean like the light universe?" Xev asked, ignoring Stanley's protest.

"No, that's a parallel universe. This is an alternate one," 790 said, affecting a long suffering sigh.

"What's the difference?" Xev asked, puzzled.

"I could explain it to you, but you wouldn't understand," said 790.

"It doesn't matter. What matters is that we're not going down there," Stan stated emphatically.

"Why not?" Xev asked.

"Because it's an evil, evil place and every time we went there before it turned into a total disaster. This time we're not going! Lexx is going to turn back around and we're going to try some place else!" Stanley said, waving his hands around in front of him to punctuate his point.

"But, this is a different universe, 790 said so. How do we know this little blue planet is evil like the last one? It hasn't blown up like the last one did. It could be a really nice place," Xev argued.

"Or, it could be even more evil. We're not going down there, end of discussion!"

"Stan, be reasonable..." Xev began, only to be interrupted.

"I am being reasonable!" Stan insisted loudly.

"I don't want to spend another three point whatever years frozen so we can look at some planets which probably don't even have any people on them. Since we're here, we should at least look at the planet. See if it's any better than the other one."

"And get ourselves killed while we're looking? No thank you. I'm not going and you shouldn't go either," Stan said, not budging from his position on the matter.

"What if neither of us go down? Why don't we get 790 to look at their signals and things and tell us about the place? That way we'll know what kind of place it is without anyone leaving the Lexx," Xev suggested.

"Good idea Xev. I don't suppose there's any harm in just asking 790 to look," Stan grudgingly agreed to the plan. "790, can you take a look at that planet's broadcasts and tell us about them?" Stan asked the epic poem reciting robot head.

"I can, but I won't. I don't care if you find a nice planet or get eaten by giant space toads. It's all the same to me," 790 answered.

"790, Kai would have wanted you to help us," Xev reminded.

"The undead don't have wants and if he did ask me to do something for you it was only because he was mislead by your love-slut wiles," 790 dismissed the suggestion.

"We could always switch him off and reboot him," Stan offered, scratching the back of his head. "Of course then he'd love one of us."

"Noooo! You can't!" 790 wailed in response to that suggestion. "I am perfectly happy loving my man. I don't want to have anything to do with you wastes of skin."

"In that case, look at the transmissions and tell us about the planet," Stan ordered. "If you don't get a little more cooperative, we can make you more cooperative."

"Fine then, I'll look. There's no need to resort to threats," 790 grumbled, his eyes going binary.

"790, I swear, one day..." Stanley muttered darkly.

"At least he's looking," said Xev as they waited for the verdict on the little blue planet.

"Kai!" 790 shouted. "Get me to a moth! We have to go down there! We have to go get my delectably lushious dead man!"

"Kai's on that planet?" Xev asked, picking up 790, eyes suddenly filled with hope.

"That's what I just said! Take me to a moth! We're wasting time!" 790 ordered.

Xev, holding 790 in one arm, headed toward the nearest moth. "Coming Stan?" she shouted back over her shoulder.

"Wait Xev. Think about this. Kai died. How is it that he winds up on a planet we blew up, in a different universe?" Stan protested.

"I don't know and I don't care. 790 says Kai's on that planet and I'm going to find him. Are you coming or not?" Xev said as she climbed into the moth.

Stan gave a sigh of resignation and said, "Wait for me. I'm coming." Then he plodded over to the moth and climbed in the other side, not showing any kind of enthusiasm.

"I thought you said he wasn't starving?" Dolph asked.

Anita closed her eyes in order to focus better on what she was feeling. "He's not starving, but he is hungry. He's also not shielding at all. It's overwhelming."

"Is that what that is? I thought I felt something," said Jason.

Anita nodded and said, "Everyone even slightly sensitive in a mile radius probably felt something." Then, giving a sigh of relief, Anita said, "He's got himself under control; he's not spilling power all over the place anymore."

Dolph nodded, filing that bit of information away for future referrence, and asked, "But, what does that mean? What's the game plan? And, there's still the automatic weapons to contend with."

"We could simply take the weapons away from the fanatics and go in," Jean-Claude suggested. "It wouldn't take but a moment to overwhelm them. They're sympathetic to the vampire plyte. I doubt they've armed themselves to meet resistence from my kind."

"I don't think that will be necessary," Dolph said coldly, refusing to sic a bunch of vampires on humans, not even on nutty vampire loving humans.

"Suit yourself," Jean-Claude said with a shrug.

"The plan is to see if Jean-Claude can talk the activists into voluntarily putting down their weapons and let us in. Then, hopefully, we can keep the vamp from eating everyone in the building," Anita suggested emphasizing the word 'talk,' completely ignoring the previous exchange.

"There seems to be little else we can do," Jean-Claude agreed, with a look that silently added, 'since my hands are tied by silly mortal rules.'

"Let's move then," Dolph ordered.

Jean-Claude, flanked by Asher and Damien, approached the front entrance. A man holding a machine gun peaked around the threshhold to see who was coming, but quickly pulled back, out of the line of fire. "Mon ami, I greatly appreciate the steps you have taken to free one of my kindred, but now it is time to put down the gun and let others inside, to help," Jean-Claude said, using his most persuasive tone.

"What about the cops? They want to keep him frozen." the activist said nervously.

"It is too late for that. He is awake and there is nothing they can do about it."

"How do you know that?" the man said suspiciously.

"I am Master of the City. It is my place to know these things. I also know that this vampire has been asleep for a very long time. He must be very confused and in need of assistance. Let us in, we only wish to help," Jean-Claude pleaded, thinking consideration for the vampire recently unfrozen might move the man where common sense wouldn't.

"All right. If you really only want to help. I guess I can let you in," the man acceded after a few moment's thought. He put the gun down and kicked it out the door so the people outside could see he was unarmed. Then he opened the door wide to let the vampires enter.

As soon as the weapon was out in the open and a clear pathway was opened to the activist, police officers rushed to take the man into custody. They pinned him to the ground and handcuffed him just outside the doorway. Anita, Dolph, Zerbrowski, Jean-Claude, and Jean-Claude's entourage entered the now secured lobby.

"He should be just down that hallway," Anita said, pointing the way to the exhibit room. "I'll take point," she volunteered.

"Perhaps, it would be best if you left this to us," Jean-Claude suggested. "That is what we're here for."

"I'm all for that," Zerbrowski seconded.

"Me too," Dolph said. "But, my men and I will follow, to keep an eye on the situation." Dolph was torn between wanting to just let the monsters take care of the monsters and worrying that the monsters wouldn't take care of the monsters. Having to deal with Anita's vamp boyfriend wasn't helping matters any either. "Fine, you go first," Anita agreed, recognizing when she was out voted, "But, I'm going to be right behind you."

Jean-Claude lead the way, Asher right beside him. Damien and Anita were next with Jason, Dolph and Zerbrowski bringing up the rear. The other two vampires had stayed outside to help the police in securing the other exits.

Inside the building, it was stifling hot. The activists had turned up the thermostat to assist in the thawing process. Jean-Claude reached the closed door of the exhibit room, paused for a second to give everyone a moment to brace themselves for what they might find, then with Asher's help he swung the doors wide open.

What they found inside was surprising, to say the least. They were prepared for a rampaging vampire, drained bodies, carnage everywhere. Instead they found an ancient vampire with an unusual hairdo calmly inspecting the body of an unconscious woman. They knew she was unconscious rather than dead because the minute they walked into the room the vampire looked up from the woman and said, "She's still alive, but she needs medical attention if she is to stay that way."

With a single look into the vampire's eyes, Anita decided he wasn't a threat. They were dark hazel, an ordinary hazel with no hypnotic powers at all. The vampire was actively seeking not to hypnotize anyone. Even baby vamps can mesmerize the unwary without even trying. The fact that he wasn't trying any mind games gave him points with Anita right off. The fact that he didn't kill the girl, a girl who'd likely offered herself to him, judging from her dyed black hair and heavy goth makeup, even though he was probably still very thirsty, that scored even more points. But, the thing that pushed Anita right over the edge, from suspicion to sympathy, was the slight tinge of sadness and guilt present in his gaze. As little as she liked to admit it, Anita had a very big soft spot for strays and after 7,000 years this vampire was about as stray as you could get. And, besides, how can you really be scared of a guy with a beehive? "Dolph, call an ambulance. There's a girl who's lost a lot of blood," Anita said turning back into the hallway and holstering her Browning. "I don't think the vamp is going to be a problem."

"You sure about that?" Dolph asked skeptically.

"Yeah, I'm sure," Anita confirmed sounding more sure than she actually was.

Dolph and Zerbrowski went off to organize the arrest of the activists and call an ambulance. Anita returned to the exhibit hall to see how things were going.

When Anita came back in, Jason entering behind her, the ancient vampire had moved away from the woman and was standing on the right side of the room, opposite from Jean-Claude, Damien, and Asher who had circled around to the left. Jason and Anita, still standing in front of the door, were roughly in the middle. Anita watched the two sides inspect each other in silence for a few moments until she eventually had enough, "For chrissake, will someone just say something?" Anita exclaimed. "What would you suggest ma petite?" Jean-Claude asked.

"I don't know. 'We come in peace?' Anything would be better than just standing here staring at each other," Anita said.

Jean-Claude shot Anita a sour look, which was still surprisingly attractive. Jean-Claude somehow managed to make every expression look good. Then he began, "I am Jean-Claude, Master of the City of St. Louis. These are Asher, Damien, Jason, and Anita Blake," he introduced, pointing to each in turn. "And, you are?"

"I am Kai, last of the Brunnen-G," the vampire said.

"And, what do you plan to do now that you're awake?" Jean-Claude asked, actually getting straight to the point for once. He got the distinct impression that subtle game playing would be completely lost on Kai.

"I plan to find my friends, after that I do not know," Kai replied.

"Your friends? You do realize that you have been frozen for 7,000 years, give or take? Your friends are probably long gone," Anita said sympathetically.

"I was told Xev and Stan would meet me here. I doubt the offices of death would take such pains to correct one injustice only to create another. They will be here... eventually..." Kai explained, not worried about the length of time that had elapsed.

Anita and the three vampires were all exchanging significant glances, thinking that perhaps too much time in the ice had unhinged Kai's mind. Oblivious to the silent interchange, Jason interjected, "Huh? Was it just me or did that not make any sense?"

Asher stepped closer to Jean-Claude and murmured something in his friend's ear. Jean-Claude nodded in agreement and said, "Perhaps we might continue this discussion in more congenial surroundings? Will you do me the honor of accepting me as your host? Until such time as your friends can be located."

Kai thought about it a second, shrugged, and answered, "I accept your offer."

"So we aren't going to try to kill each other?" Anita asked for confirmation.

"I have no wish to kill anyone," Kai said, much to everyone's relief. Then he added, "But, if that is your custom, I will try, if you like."

"No, that's okay. We don't want you to kill anyone. We try not to kill anyone, if we can help it," Anita hastily stated, very emphatically, not wanting there to be any misunderstandings.

Then the paramedics came into the room, brushing Anita and Jason to one side. They swiftly loaded the girl on to a stretcher and started to roll her out of the room. Anita, Jason, and all the vampires fell in behind. As the paramedics reached the door they passed by one of the handcuffed activists. "Sasha," he shouted trying to pull free of the police officers holding him and make his way over to the girl. Then looking at Kai, he added, "You hurt her. How could you hurt her? She offered herself to you. She only wanted to help."

"She did help, but it was a foolish offer to make," Kai replied, not even blinking at the accusations. "One cannot offer oneself to a predator and expect to remain unharmed."

"He has a point there," Anita observed in an aside to Jason, reminding him of her disapproving stance on his role as vampire snack food.

"Aw Anita, I didn't know you cared," Jason replied, not taking Anita's concerns at all seriously.

Anita, Jason, Kai, Jean-Claude, and the rest continued on toward their cars. Dolph stopped them halfway there and said, "Where do you think he's going?" nodding toward Kai.

"We're taking him to the Circus. Jean-Claude offered to let him stay there awhile, till he gets more settled," Anita explained. Then taking a step closer and turning her back to the vampires, giving at least the illusion of privacy even though she knew they could hear her perfectly well anyway, she said, "Kai hasn't done anything. That girl, Sasha, that was consensual. Her own boyfriend said so. Can't getting his statement wait a little while? Right now, I doubt he's up to answering any questions."

"If I just cut him loose to wander about on his own, are you sure I'm not putting lives in danger?" Dolph asked.

"As sure as I can be with any vampire I've just met," Anita said with a shrug. "Jean-Claude will keep an eye on him. I know you don't like Jean-Claude, but you have to know that he wouldn't let anything that might jeopardize vamp legal status happen."

"Alright, we do this your way. But, make sure you keep a close eye on him," Dolph ordered, not specifying which him he meant.

"I will. I promise," Anita agreed.

Anita and the rest proceeded on to the cars. Asher, Kai, Damien, and the two other vampires got into the Circus's SUV which Jason was driving. Jean-Claude decided to ride with Anita in her jeep. The two of them had things to discuss.

"You seemed to trust him in there?" Jean-Claude half asked and half accused as Anita drove through the media circus outside the police blockade and headed toward the Circus of the Damned. Anita took quite some time before coming to trust Jean-Claude and in some areas she still didn't.

"I don't know if I'd go that far," Anita said. "I trust that he isn't about to go on a psychotic killing spree, and he doesn't seem to be an evil mastermind plotting to kill you and take over the city, but other than that I don't know."

"No, he doesn't seem to be any immediate threat," Jean-Claude agreed, lips pursed in thought. "I am at something of a loss for determining what he is or what he wants. None of the vampires I've encountered in the past have acted anything like him. Normally, when two master vampires meet, there are demonstrations of power and allegances are negotiated. My position as Master seems to mean nothing to him. Without the forms being observed I have no way of guessing his agenda."

Anita snorted and said, "He wants to find his 'friends,' Xev and Stan I think he said. What I wonder is what is going to happen when he realizes that they're both long dead."

"He seems fairly certain that they are still alive and that he will find them," Jean-Claude pointed out.

"Come on, you said yourself that no one who remembers him is still around. They have to be dead," Anita insisted.

"Perhaps he has some reason to believe otherwise?" Jean-Claude suggested optimistically.

"You mean that offices of death justice shit?" Anita asked skeptically.

"Yes, the 'offices of death justice shit,' as you so colorfully put it," Jean-Claude agreed dryly.

"Wishful thinking," Anita dismissed the possibility, "If there's one thing I know, it's that death's not fair. It never is."

"I'm inclined to agree with you, but I wouldn't advise arguing the point with our new friend."

"Gotcha, I'll humor the really old and powerful vamp. I don't want to upset him anymore than you do," Anita agreed with a nod.

"Judging from past experience, somehow, I doubt that," Jean-Claude replied with a sigh, resigning himself to whatever mess Anita was bound to get them into.

A few minutes later Anita, Jean-Claude, Kai, and Jason were gathered in the all black and white living room beneath the Circus. Anita and Jean-Claude regarded Kai assessingly for a few minutes. Kai, still a little hazy from his recent return to animation and already being roughly aware of what was going on, just sat there in silence contemplating his new life as a vampire, blending in well with the decor.

"You must have many questions about what has transpired while you were... ah sleeping. And, we have certain questions as well. Before we begin, perhaps you'd care for some refreshment?" Jean-Claude asked motioning Jason forward from his position by the door.

Kai looked at Jason, one eyebrow raised in inquiry. "That's what I'm here for," Jason answered the unspoken question.

"In that case, I believe I should accept the offer," Kai agreed.

Kneeling in front of Kai and pushing aside the collar of his shirt Jason said, "Always happy to be snack food." Then, a thought occurring to him, he paused for a second, shuttered, and added, "just don't rot on me."

"I don't rot," Kai said. Then brow wrinkling in thought, "Or at least I don't think I do." Kai shrugged the issue aside for the moment, leaned in, and sunk his fangs into Jason's neck. A few moments later Kai released Jason, licking the last drops of blood from his lips.

"Please, see to arranging chambers for our guest," Jean-Claude dismissed Jason. Jason, still kneeling in front of Kai gave the ancient vampire a puzzled look then distractedly rose from the floor and made as if to leave the room.

Noting Jason's odd reaction, Anita, placing a hand on his shoulder, stopped him on his way out. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, fine," Jason answered, touching his neck where Kai had just bit him.

"Are you sure?" Anita asked, concerned for her friend.

"Sure," Jason confirmed, "It was kinda weird, but he didn't hurt me or anything."

"Weird?" Anita asked. Then noticing the slightly strangled look Jean-Claude was giving her, after all the strange vampire was still in the room and could hear everything they said, Anita said, "You'll have to tell me about it later."

Jason nodded and left.

"You do not know if you have the ability to decompose yourself or not? How is that?" Jean-Claude asked curiously.

"I had only recently become a vampire when I was forced to retreat to the ice. I haven't had much time to assess the extent of my abilities," Kai replied.

"But, that is a power which runs in lines. Those descended from certain lines almost invariably have that power. It would make itself apparent within the first few years," Jean-Claude protested, thinking perhaps Kai was deliberately concealing his powers, an understandable ploy but one Jean-Claude as Master of the City could not let stand.

"I had only been a vampire a few days, a week or two at most," Kai replied. "As for the one who made me, I know little of what his powers were. Our acquaintance was brief."

"You're saying that you've only been a vampire for a couple weeks, not counting when you were frozen," Anita said in disbelief.

"That is correct," Kai confirmed.

"But how is that possible? You shielded yourself completely minutes after waking up and you seem to have complete control of your hypnotic powers. It takes most vamps decades, even centuries to attain that level of control. Vamps under a hundred who don't occasionally forget and catch people with their eyes are almost unheard of!" Anita exclaimed.

"I am not most vampires," Kai stated with a shrug.

"That's what I was just saying. I'm asking you why. What makes you so special?" Anita pressed, eyes narrowing in suspicion, of what she didn't even know. Jean-Claude gave Anita a look, silently pleading for a little more tact from her, but she ignored it.

"I was a dead assassin with the memories of all those killed by His Divine Shadow before being resurrected and changed into a vampire. Knowledge of how to control powers similiar to those of a vampire was contained in the memories of some of the people he killed," Kai explained.

"Huh?" Anita asked, not following this explanation at all. "If you were dead how could you be an assassin and what do you mean by resurrected?"

"For six thousand years, my body was kept partially living, animated by a substance called proto-blood. I was later made fully alive so that I might finally die, and I did, but a mistake was made and I was given a third chance at life to make up for it. It was only then that I became a vampire," Kai elaborated.

Anita and Jean-Claude exchanged a nervous glance, both now fairly sure Kai was mentally unhinged. "Dying three times, that certainly is... unusual," Jean-Claude said diplomatically.

"I'd say more like unbelievable," Anita muttered under her breath.

"It is none the less the truth. I have no reason to lie," Kai answered the comments a very slight feeling of irritation creeping into the back of his mind.

"Of course it is the truth. We don't doubt your word," Jean-Claude hastily replied, very much not wanting to upset the extremely powerful, crazy, vampire. "Do we ma petite?" he added, reminding Anita of her promise to try to humor Kai.

"If you say you're a six thousand year old dead assassin who's died three times before, who am I to say differently?" Anita said rolling her eyes.

"I was once a Divine Assassin. I'm not anymore," Kai clarified, knowing perfectly well that his new acquaintences didn't believe a word he was saying, but not yet caring what they thought. Kai had been an emotionless dead man for a lot longer than he was alive. Being kind of alive and capable of feeling no longer came naturally to him. This was going to take some adjustment.

"So you've given up killing people? Or did you just forget how?" Anita asked somewhat facetiously.

"A Divine Assassin is a decarbonized corpse, reanimated to serve His Divine Shadow, not a job description. I died 13,000 years ago in a failed attempt to kill His Shadow. He, then, gave my body to his bio-scholars for reanimation. Turning the last of the Brunnen-G into a tool of the Divine Order-the Brunnen-G's greatest enemy-greatly appealed to His Shadow," said Kai, an almost unnoticable hint of bitterness creeping into his usual monotone.

"I see," Jean-Claude said, thinking it was all starting to make sense.

"You do?" Anita asked Jean-Claude, sounding surprised. It still all sounded very peculiar and highly unlikely to her.

"I believe so," Jean-Claude told Anita. Then, to Kai, he said, "Go on, then what happened? Did you serve His Shadow?"

"I served His Shadow for the next two thousand years, killing at his behest. Then the Lexx, His Shadow's flagship, was stolen with the Divine Predecessors aboard. I was sent to rescue the Predecessors and kill those who'd stolen the Lexx. On the Lexx I recovered the memories of my life before becoming a Divine Assassin as well as the memories of all those killed by the one who'd killed me."

"You went two thousand years not knowing who you were?" Jean-Claude asked sympathetically.

"Members of the Divine Order existed only to worship His Divine Shadow and to serve in His name. Personal identity would make a Divine Assassin a less efficient tool," Kai said, that hint of bitterness once again present.

"Ah," Jean-Claude said, nodding in understanding. "And when you once again knew who you were? What did you do then?"

This time Kai smiled ever so slightly, the corners of his mouth just barely turning up, and said, "I fulfilled the prophecy. I killed His Shadow and joined the crew of the Lexx."

"Prophecy?" Anita asked.

"The Divine Order would destroy the Brunnen-G and then the Brunnen-G would destroy the Divine Order," Kai told her.

"Oh," Anita said, still not having any idea what he was talking about.

"Dawn is still hours away, but getting both into and out of the ice must have been fatiguing. I can show you to your room, if you'd care to rest," Jean-Claude suggested, noticing that Kai was looking a little worn around the edges.

"Yes, I believe I should rest. I was on the brink of exhaustion when I dug myself into the glacier. Being frozen for 7,000 years helped, but it isn't the same as true sleep," Kai agreed.

Jean-Claude led Kai to a guest room and returned to the living room where Anita was impatiently waiting for his return. "What was that all about?" Anita asked as soon as Jean-Claude stepped through the door. "You acted like you believed that stuff about being a Divine Assassin," she said accusingly.

"I do, after a fashion. It occurs to me that His Divine Shadow may in fact have been a very powerful vampire masquerading as some sort of god," Jean-Claude explained.

Anita paused for a minute in thought, then said, "I suppose that does make a certain amount of sense. But, how do you explain the fact that he's only 7,000 or so? He was frozen for nearly that long. There wasn't enough time for all that to happen."

"You once told me that you judge a vampire's age by how much power he has. And, you also said that when he was frozen, he was frozen in a moment, caught between life and death," said Jean-Claude.

"I don't think I said that exactly, but yeah, that's the jist of it," Anita agreed, trying to figure out where Jean-Claude was going with this.

"If he was frozen in a single moment, perhaps his power was frozen as well?" Jean-Claude suggested.

"I think you're on to something there," Anita agreed, finally seeing where Jean-Claude was going with this. "You think that he was 7,000 years old before he was frozen, and all the time he was on ice doesn't count. The fact that he hasn't eaten in 7,000 years and wasn't starving seems to confirm it."


"It does all seem to fit together," Anita acknowledged, "But, why does he say that he's only recently become a vampire and what about the dying three times?"

"I don't know," Jean-Claude said with an elegant shrug. "Some sort of primitive superstition? Considering what Kai has told us of his sire, I'm not surprised he is somewhat confused and ignorant of his own nature."

Anita nodded in agreement and said, "Yeah, the kind of monster who'd erase someone's entire memory and turn them into a killer probably isn't too forthcoming on the details."

Stan, Xev, and 790 were approaching the planet in a moth. "There!" 790 ordered making a map with St. Louis highlighted appear on the screen. "He's there at a place called The Circus of the Damned."

"Circus of the Damned? Are you sure we want to be rushing off to a place like that? It doesn't sound very pleasant," Stan said plaintively.

"790 says Kai is there, so we're going. We can't just leave him there," Xev stated with conviction.

"You tell him Xev," 790 encouraged.

"Fine. We're going, but I still think this is a very bad idea," said Stan.

"As if anyone cared what you thought," 790 replied. Just then the moth broke through the clouds above downtown St. Louis and they could see buildings stretching for several miles in every direction.

"It looks just like the other earth," Xev observed.

"It is just like the other earth, except it's a type 14 planet instead of a type 13," 790 answered condescendingly.

"What's the difference?" Stan asked.

"A type 14 planet doesn't completely self destruct, instead the technology developes to a certain point then a war or some other catastrophic accident happens, sending everyone back to living in caves. Then they rediscover the wheel and the whole thing starts over again," 790 explained, as if he were trying to explain world economics to a two year old.

"That doesn't sound too bad," Xev said optimistically. "At least everyone doesn't die."

"There, dead ahead, that's the place!" 790 shouted as a large building surrounded by reporters and news vans came into view.

Xev circled around the building, looking for a place to land. She landed the moth in the back corner of a mostly vacant parking lot a few doors down from the Circus.

In front of the Circus, there was a huge crowd of people. Reporters with their camera crews had followed Kai over from the museum, trying to get a quote on the recently unfrozen vampire or, better yet, an interview with the vamp himself. Regular patrons of the Circus were milling around outside in their black leather and goth makeup. The Circus had been closed for the night due to too many reporters making a nuisance of themselves inside. Because of all the excitement half the tourists in the Blood Quarter, the section of the riverfront where all the vamp owned businesses were grouped, also flocked to the Circus's parking lot.

"Is it just my imagination, or do those clowns have fangs?" Stanley asked looking at the Circus's facade over the heads of the croud. "Clowns are creepy enough, why do they have to have fangs? Xev, I really don't want to go in there."

"Then go wait by the moth," said Xev. "I'll go get Kai, then we can all go back to the Lexx."

Stan gave a longing look back the way they came, then said, "No, I'll stay with you. Every time we get separated something really bad happens."

"Suit yourself Stan. 790, how do we get in? The front door is barred."

790's eyes went binary then he said, "I've accessed the building plans. There's another entrance around back."

They circled around the building and found the employee entrance. It was locked. Xev rapped on the door and they waited for an answer. A few minutes later a short blond man peeked around the edge of the door, then seeing Xev he stepped outside and said, "You don't look like reporters."

"We're not," Xev replied.

"In that case, I'm Jason. What can I do for you?" Jason said flirtatiously.

"I'm sure there are lots of things you could do for me," Xev answered placing a hand inside the open collar of Jason's shirt.

"Xev! You can give in to your whore-ish tendencies later. Right now we need to find my man!" 790 wailed.

Jason jumped in surprise, not expecting a chunk of metal to talk. Xev stepped back from Jason and said, "Sorry, 790. I got distracted. We're looking for Kai," she said turning back toward Jason.

"Kai? I'm sorry but he's resting right now," Jason said somewhat disappointedly, wondering why all the hot chicks had to go for the dead guys. "But, I'd be happy to keep you company," Jason suggested.

"It's really important that we see Kai," Xev insisted.

"I'm sorry, but I can't let you. I'm under strict orders not to let him be disturbed," said Jason.

"Come on Xev, if we can't get in, we can't get in. Lets go back to the Lexx and try again some other time," Stan said, never anxious to get into the Circus of the Damned in the first place.

"Shut up Stan!" 790 ordered. "We're not going anywhere without Kai. Xev, if he won't get out of the way, eat him."

"I'm not eating anyone," Xev told the robot head she was carrying.

"But you're a Cluster lizard, you know you want to," 790 wheedled, "tasty brains, Xev, tasty brains."

"Wait a second," Jason interrupted, something suddenly occurring to him. "You're Xev," he said pointing at Xev, "and you're Stan," he continued pointing at Stan. "And, the two of you are friends of Kai?"

"Yeah," Stan agreed with a shrug, "isn't that what we just said?"

"I think you better come in," Jason said opening the door and waving Stan and Xev inside. "This way," Jason directed, leading them down stairs into the living room. Anita and Jean-Claude were still there, making out on the couch. Jason cleared his throat to get their attention and said, "There are some people I thought you might want to see, may I present Xev." Xev raised one hand wiggling her fingers in a little wave and gave Jean-Claude her best seductive smile. "And Stan," Jason finished with a little flourish. Stan nodded in greeting, while looking around the room.

"Xev and Stan?" Anita asked incredulously looking back and forth between the two of them. "The Xev and Stan?"

Xev and Stan looked at each other, each having no idea what Anita was talking about. Xev shrugged and said, "I'm Xev Bellringer of B3K."

"Stanley H. Tweedle, Captain of the Lexx," Stan added.

"Where's Kai?" 790 demanded, not being able to remain silent any longer.

"And that's 790," Stan added.

Looking at Xev curiously, "You're not human," Jean-Claude half stated and half asked.

"She's not?" Anita asked surprised. Anita wasn't getting any supernatural creepy crawlies from Xev.

"She doesn't smell human," Jean-Claude told Anita.

Jason stepping closer to Xev and taking a sniff added, "She smells like a predator."

"I'm part Cluster lizard," Xev said with a shrug.

"Enough about her!" 790 wailed. "Where's Kai? I want my dead man! I need my dead man and I need him now!"

Stan winced a bit at 790's wails and said, "He's not going to shut up till he sees Kai, so if you can just tell us where he is..."

"Jason, will you be good enough to let Kai know his friends have arrived?" Jean-Claude suggested also wanting the robot head to shut up.

"You're the boss," Jason agreed with a shrug then left the room in search of Kai, glancing at the robot head on his way out.

"So have you known Kai long?" Jean-Claude asked them, motioning for them to have a seat.

"Seems like forever," Stan said, starting to feel a little more at ease since everyone had been acting so polite and normal. "We were together on the Cluster, defeated His Divine Shadow together," then, catching Xev's critical look, he corrected himself, "Well, Kai defeated His Shadow, but me and Xev helped."

Anita shot Jean-Claude a questioning look. This story matched what Kai told them, but it didn't quite fit Jean-Claude's interpretation of events. Just then Jason reentered the room with Kai on his heels.

"Kai! I've missed you so, don't ever leave me again!" 790 commanded. But, Kai only had eyes for Xev.

"Yeah, it's real good to see you old buddy," Stan said affectionately slapping Kai on the shoulder.

"It is good to see you too, Stanley," Kai replied, never taking his eyes from Xev.

"Stop staring at the space whore and come give your robot head a kiss," 790 ordered Kai.

"Off 790," Kai commanded, no longer having any patience for the robot head's obsession.

"But, Kai..." 790 whined.

"Off, now," Kai said firmly, not taking his eyes from Xev.

"Fine," 790 agreed huffily and then his face screens went black.

Xev and Kai silently stared at each other for a moment, Xev only half believing that Kai was really real, and not some figment of her imagination and Kai suddenly realizing how lucky he was to have Xev's devotion. Before, he could rationally understand the significance of Xev's love for him but he couldn't feel anything towards her. Now he could. Then, they ran to each other, meeting in the center of the room. Kai swept Xev up in his arms and they shared a passionate kiss, neither sure of exactly who kissed whom first.

After a long moment, a moment long enough for Stanley and Anita to grow uncomfortable and start fidgeting, Xev finally broke the kiss, needing to breath. Xev looked up into Kai's eyes and said in a voice filled with wonder, "You're alive."

"Relatively speaking," Kai agreed with a wide grin spreading across his face.

"And... all of your parts are in good working order?" Xev asked hopefully, removing one hand from Kai's shoulder and stroking down his body to check for herself.

Kai blinked once when Xev's hand to got where it was going, then said, "It would appear so."

The couple shared another passionate kiss while Stan and Anita grew increasingly uncomfortable. Meanwhile, Jason and Jean-Claude were highly enjoying the floor show and their companion's discomfiture. This time Kai broke the kiss. Looking over Xev's shoulder at their audience he asked, "Please, excuse us?"

"Of course, mon ami," Jean-Claude answered with a grin. The level of sexual energy coming from the couple pleased Jean-Claude greatly. When they actually consumated the relationship, Jean-Claude was expecting a nice little power boost.

"Go head," Stan said waving them away, "go have fun, you two deserve it."

"No Kai! You can't leave, not without me! Don't go anywhere with her! She'll betray you! She'll never love you like I do!" 790 begged suddenly switching back on.

Kai ignored 790, nodded his thanks for the dismisal, then he lead an excited Xev from the room, leaving Stan with Anita, Jason, and Jean-Claude.

790 let loose a long wail of torment then started sniffling quietly and occasionally moaning in pain.

Anita stared at 790 for a moment, wondering what the heck he was. Then shaking herself she asked "So, how long have you known Kai?" suddenly all business.

"Oh, we go way back," Stan answered.

"How far back?" Anita pressed.

"Four thousand years or so," Stan answered, scratching his head. "We met on the Cluster."

"But, you're human," Jason objected. "At least you smell human," he added slightly unsure.

"I'm human. One-hundred percent human," Stan stated emphatically.

"Then how can you be four thousand years old? Humans don't live that long," Anita asked with growing irritation, she had the distinct feeling that these people were being purposefully difficult.

"Oh, I see what you're getting at," Stan said, the light suddenly dawning. "I didn't live-live 4,000 years. Most of that time me and Xev were in the Lexx's cryopods."

"You were frozen?" Anita asked skeptically, "Do you honestly expect us to believe that?"

"Uhmm, yeah?" Stan said nervously, beginning to think Anita was dangerous or at least deranged.

"Ma petite, that's no way to treat a guest," Jean-Claude admonished her. "He's telling the truth. What more do you want?"

"He is?" Anita said, surprised.

"Yeah, I am. Why wouldn't I? What's going on here?" Stan asked, completely confused.

"Perhaps, I can clarify the situation a bit," Jean-Claude suggested. "You see your friend, Kai, was frozen in a block of ice for the past 6 to 7 thousand years. We also know he has the powers of a roughly seven thousand year old vampire. Now I'm sure you can see where our confusion comes in and what it is we'd like for you to explain to us?"

Stan nodded knowingly for a moment then said, "Huh?"

Anita rolled her eyes and tried again, "He's been frozen for 7,000 years. How could you have met him 4,000 years ago?"

Stan shrugged and said, "I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with this being a different universe?"

"A different universe?" Anita asked, nonplused.

"Yeah, Little Lexx went through this high energy something or other and suddenly we were here," Stan said with another shrug.

"Okay," Anita said biting the inside of one cheek, "But, why do you think this is another universe?"

"It has to be," Stan insisted. "We blew this planet up in the other universe and here it still is."

"You blew this planet up in another universe?" Anita repeated slowly, feeling a headache coming on.

"Actually, 790 did it. He's a real psychopath. He wanted to eliminate any competition for Kai," Stan explained.

Anita opened and closed her mouth several times trying to think of something to say. "I believe it would be best if you were to start from the beginning," Jean-Claude suggested, "from when you first met Kai and Xev."

"That's a pretty long story," Stan said.

"We have all night," Jean-Claude answered.

"Well, if you're really interested..." Stan said with a shrug. Stan settled back into the couch, propted his feet up on the coffee table, and started the tale. "It all began on the Cluster. I was a security guard fourth class and I'd managed to tick off a really obnoxious officer, just by trying to do my job. Anyway, she had me sentenced to a triple organ removal, so I had to escape.

"On the same day, Xev was sentenced to being a love slave for failing in her wifely duties. But, the love slave transformation went wrong making Xev half cluster lizard and giving 790 her love slave programming so that he became obsessed with the first person he saw.

"The two of us ran into each other outside the punishment center and fell in with a band of Ostral-B Heretics who were stealing the Lexx from His Divine Shadow. But some cluster lizards got on board, killing all the heretics and leaving me with the key, making me the Captain of the Lexx, the most powerful destructive force in the two universes," Stanley bragged a little before continuing with the story.

"His Shadow sent a Divine Assassin, Kai, to kill us and take the ship back. But, Kai touched the Divine Predecessor who killed him and got all his memories back. Then Kai killed His Shadow, with me and Xev's help, and Kai joined the crew.

"Meanwhile, back on the Cluster, the Giga Shadow, which was the insect essence that animated His Shadow in a planet size bug, came and the entire Divine Order along with every living person on the Cluster was killed. Kai was running out of proto-blood, the stuff that keeps a Divine Assassin alive, sort of-alive-dead anyway. So we went back for some. Kai killed the Giga Shadow and Xev got him some more proto-blood.

"Then, when Kai killed it, the insect essence possessed him. It made him release Mantrid, the most evil bio-vizier ever, and the insect essence was transfered to him. Then Mantrid's drone arms destroyed the entire light universe. We escaped to the dark zone but had to go into cryo-sleep for four thousand years because the Lexx needed food which we didn't have and we were left drifting in space.

"Then we tried looking for another home in the dark universe, and we didn't have much luck at it. Earth, the other Earth, was a type-13 planet, destined to be destroyed soon but we couldn't go anywhere because the Lexx needed to eat. Then there was Prince, who was completely evil and we couldn't get rid of him, every time we killed him he kept coming back. So anyway, Kai played a game of chess with Prince and won his life back, so he could really die instead of being a nearly indestructible dead assassin. And there was, the second, or maybe third, Lyekka, who was evil, she was a space plant that ate whole planets and we had to kill her before she ate the whole universe. Prince made Kai alive just in time for him to die killing the evil space plant.

"Me and Xev went back to the Little Lexx, Lexx's kid. Lexx died of old age just before Kai died. And, went into cryo-sleep till we could get to the next planet, but Little Lexx flew through that high energy thing and we wound up in this universe. 790 caught a transmission that said Kai was here, and now here we are," Stan concluded.

Jean-Claude and Anita exchanged a look, each wondering if the other had any idea what Stan was talking about. "So, you're saying you're from outer space?" Anita asked slowly, trying not to upset the crazy person.

"Well, yeah," Stan replied with a shrug.

"Would you excuse us for a moment?" Jean-Claude asked politely.

"Sure, if you've got stuff to do..." Stan trailed off.

Jean-Claude started to order Jason to see to the needs of their guest, but then Anita reminded him of Jason's strange reaction to Kai's feeding from him. Anita very much wanted to question the blond werewolf about what happened. Anita, Jean-Claude, and Jason left Stanley alone in the living room with the whimpering robot head, but only momentarily. On their way to Jean-Claude's office, they ran into Willie McCoy, a fairly new and not very powerful vampire who was unquestionably loyal to Jean-Claude. Willie was sent back to keep Stan company.

When they reached the office, Jean-Claude sat in the over-sized, leather upholstered, wing-backed chair behind the desk. Anita took the slightly smaller version which was situated in front of the desk. It didn't have wings but was made of the same green stained leather. Jason perched on the edge of the dark mahogany desk, which matched the chairs perfectly. The overall effect of the decor was the classic library look, lots of wood, lots of leather, and traditional artwork to match. This office stood in stark contrast to Jean-Claude's main office at Guilty Pleasures, which was done in an ultra modern style and was twice the size of this one.

"So, have any good theories for explaining this now?" Anita asked with her usual straightforwardness.

"I am afraid I am at a loss," Jean-Claude admitted. "Xev, Stan, and Kai do seem to be well acquainted, but I don't know how it is possible."

"What if they're really space aliens and everything happened like they said?" Jason suggested.

"You're not serious, are you?" Anita asked incredulously.

"Sure. Why not? I mean, how is people from outer space that much more unbelievable than some of the supernatural stuff we've seen?" Jason argued. "It's either that or time travel. Kai's friends could have traveled through time to be here before they died of old age. Of course that doesn't really explain the deal with Kai, unless vampires used to be different."

"I think you've been reading too much science fiction lately," Anita observed.

"What 'deal with Kai?'" Jean-Claude asked. "How is he different from normal?"

"Well, for starters, when he bit me it was different. Usually, it stings for a second then you go under and it feels... well, you know. With him, I didn't feel anything. Nothing. No sting, no thrills, and it wasn't like he rolled my mind either. I wasn't hazy or confused and I wasn't missing any time. I could feel his teeth against my neck and I kept wondering when he was going to actually break the skin because it was taking a really long time. Then he was finished and I suddenly realized that I could smell my own blood and he'd already done it and I didn't even notice," Jason explained.

"That is very strange," Jean-Claude agreed. "I've never heard of a vampire feeding in that way," he added, deep in thought.

"Probably just mind tricks. Couldn't he have just rolled your mind and made you think you felt nothing when you actually did?" Anita dismissed the incident.

"I guess," Jason agreed with a shrug, "but why would he?"

"I am more concerned with how he did it, if it is as you say, ma petite," Jean-Claude added, "Asher is one of the best at 'mind tricks' he can't do what you're suggesting. We were both present and know Kai didn't make any post-hypnotic suggestions. Many vampires can alter a person's memories in such a way that the person doesn't know they've been altered, but such a delicate and complex operation can't be carried out solely through catching the victim with one's eyes."

"Huh?" Anita asked, confused. "Vampires can control violent mobs with just a look, but they can't change a few memories?"

"Changing memories depends not on power, but skill. It isn't difficult to destroy some part of a person's mind, or to impose your will over theirs. One only needs power. Constructing a memory and weaving it in seamlessly with other, true, memories, that is an art. The correct memories can't be forced, they have to be suggested," Jean-Claude explained.

"I see," Anita said, nodding in understanding. "So Kai feeds weird and we don't know how Xev and Stan can possibly have known him and still be alive. Is there anything else that needs to be accounted for?"

"There's Xev. She doesn't smell human, but she doesn't feel supernatural," Jason pointed out. "And, you can't forget 790, that thing's not normal."

"790's obviously some kind of computer or something," Anita said with a shrug. "They must have programmed it to be obsessed with Kai as some sort of joke," she suggested.

"Makes sense," Jason agreed, "They can do all sorts of stuff with computers these days. Maybe up a special animation program and a set of prerecorded responses... although it seems like a lot to do for a joke."

"And Xev?" Jean-Claude asked. "She could be shielding her aura," he suggested dubiously. "If cluster lizards are so able to hide themselves, that could perhaps explain why I have never heard of such a being."

"You two are sure she's not human? She seemed like a perfectly average human being to me and I'm usually good at spotting these things." Anita asked brow wrinkled in thought.

"Positive, ma petite," Jean-Claude confirmed.

"Well, maybe she's the answer to all this. I've never heard of a cluster lizard either, but that doesn't mean they don't exist," Anita speculated, grasping at straws. "Say she is some sort of lizard. Lizards can go dormant for periods of time when it's cold or food is scarce and then wake up later. Maybe she did something like that for the past several thousand years and woke up when Kai did. And, maybe she can take a human along for the ride, the way vampire servants get immortality."

"But, how do you explain all that stuff about space ships and other universes? And where did they get the computer?" Jason pointed out the flaws in the argument.

"I don't know," Anita snapped irritably. "It's been a long night and none of this makes any sense," she complained.

"Unless you accept their story about being aliens from another universe," Jason pointed out.

Anita shot him a look that clearly said she wasn't about to start believing in little green men or any other kinds of space traveller.

Xev, who had just acheived complete sexual satisfaction for the very first time in her life, was contentedly snuggling closer to Kai. One of her legs draped over him, his hand placed possessively on her thigh, her head resting on his shoulder, his other hand wound in her long blond locks, Xev had discovered perfect bliss.

Then sensing tension in her lover's frame, Xev began to worry. Pulling away just slightly and turning to meet Kai's eyes, Xev anxiously chewed on her bottom lip and said, "I haven't had much experience at this. Was I...was I not good?"

"You were perfect," Kai said simply. Then, caressing the side of her face and pulling her closer he kissed Xev, slow and gentle, soothing the lip she'd been nervously chewing on. Pulling back again and looking Xev straight in the eyes he reiterated, "You are perfect."

"Oh," she replied, a silly grin spreading across her face. Remembering her orignal concern, she asked, "What's wrong?"

"Hopefully, nothing," Kai began. "It's only that I just realized we left Stanley completely alone with near strangers. Perhaps there is nothing to worry about. The people here have been courteous to me in the brief time I've known them. But, that may be due to what I have become. I'm not sure, but I believe I am quite powerful and that they are afraid of what I might do."

"What have you become?" Xev asked curiously. Satisfying their physical need for one another had superceded tedious explanations of what had happened to bring them together. Now that the most immediate of her wants was taken care of, her curiosity was starting to reassert itself. "You're not dead anymore, but you don't smell alive."

"I'm something in between. Something they call a vampire but appears to be very different from the vampires of the other Earth," Kai attempted to explain, still not completely sure of his new status and also still in the process of discovering his own nature. "My body is dead. My heart doesn't always beat and I don't have to breathe. But, I feel alive! I have opinions and I want things," he said both in awe at his new found emotions and somewhat bewildered by them.

"That's good, that you're alive again. Very good!" Xev stated emphatically, hearing the not entirely happy tone of Kai's voice.

"It is good," Kai agreed. "Although I believe I am a little bit scared," he admitted. "I haven't had much experience at living. Even before Brunnis II was destroyed, most of the Brunnen-G had stopped acting as if they were alive."

"And I grew up in a box," Xev said with a shrug.

"Then it seems neither of us have had much experience at living," said Kai.

"We'll just have to learn then, together," said Xev a slightly wicked smile spreading across her face. "I think now would be a good time for another lesson," she said suggestively as she shifted her weight to straddle Kai.

"What about Stan?" Kai feebly protested. Then Xev licked the side of his neck and gave a sexy little growl. "I'm sure he'll be fine," Kai dismissed the concern.

Stan was in fact fine. Willie and him just happened to get on famously-one underacheiver to another. Willie took him down to the kitchens, which were always kept well stocked for ravenous lycanthropes, and Stan had the best meal he'd had in quite some time.

The next evening, Kai, Xev, and Stan were gathered in the kitchen. Xev and Stan were eating barbeque while Kai was attempting to compose a ballad about Xev's beauty. No one knew or cared where 790 was.

After Stan and Xev had eaten enough that they could slow down and talk between bites, the three got down to business.

"I'll be happy anywhere, as long as I have Kai," Xev stated her opinion on whether or not they should stay.

"I will go wherever Xev does," Kai echoed Xev's sentiment.

"That's really great and all, but it doesn't answer my question," Stan said, sounding a little frustrated. "Should we stay here, on this planet, or all get on Lexx and go find another place?"

Xev merely shrugged, she had what she wanted no matter what they decided.

Kai said, "I don't know enough about this planet to decide if it is the best place for us. I will go along with whatever you decide."

"Well..." Stan began, thinking aloud. "Let's look at this logically."

"Logic is a good method of decision making," Kai agreed.

"On the side of staying: The food's good. We've been here a full day and no one has tried to kill us, which is pretty good, considering. And, there are some pretty attractive ladies around here. None of them have given into my considerable charms yet, but if Willie can get a good looking girl..." Stanley trailed off, the conclusion being perfectly obvious.

"On the other hand," Stan continued his logical dissection of the situation. "This is still just another version of the little blue planet-probably the most evil of all the evil planets we've visited." Stan considered for a moment, "I say we leave."

"We're here, now what's so important that you had to tell us in person?" Anita demanded as she and Richard walked into the Circus.

"What's up?" Richard seconded, not as irritated as Anita but still a bit on the cool side. It was his night with Anita that Jean-Claude was so rudely interrupting.

Jean-Claude smiled thinly and said, "Perhaps you'd prefer to sit down first?"

Richard, seeing that this was indeed serious business, followed Jean-Claude's suggestion.

Anita, on the other hand, stayed standing, crossed her arms across her chest in an attitude of impatience, and said, "Spit it out Jean-Claude. We have theater tickets."

A hint of pique showing in his eyes, Jean-Claude decided to just go ahead and follow Anita's instructions. "Belle Morte is coming. Her jet will land in just over an hour."

"What?!" Anita exclaimed, finally taking Jean-Claude's suggestion to sit down by collapsing in the armchair behind her.

"I thought after the last fiasco the Council was done with us for awhile," Richard interjected into the conversation.

"They were. They still are finished with us, theoretically. Belle Morte is coming on account of our new friend. A millenium old vampire suddenly arriving on the scene has the Council worried. Belle Morte is coming to find out about Kai's personal agenda and possible allegiences," Jean-Claude explained.

"If she's not coming for us, what's the problem?" Anita asked. "Kai seems like a nice enough guy, for a vamp, but he can deal with Belle Morte himself. I don't see why we have to get involved, it's none of our business."

"I wish it were that simple," Jean-Claude said, sighing at Anita's naivete.

"You don't think she'll leave us out of it," Richard stated.

"We have proven to be a match for members of the Council. We are finally a solid triumvirate and even stronger than before, a fact Belle Morte has not missed. And, I have stolen her most reliable lieutenant. I could not imagine Bella leaving us alone when we are so conveniently nearby," Jean-Claude explained.

"Shit," Anita summed up the situation sucinctly.

"Where are we going to go?" Xev asked after Stan made his decision.

"I don't know," Stan said shrugging. "Just any place that is not here," he said with finality.

"This is a different Little Blue Planet from the last Little Blue Planet," Kai pointed out reasonably. "It may be an incorrect assumption to think that the two planets are the same."

"You said it was my decision and I've already made it. I've got a bad feeling about this place and I'm leaving-you two can come with me or not," Stan stuck by his decision.

Kai and Xev exchanged a glance and shrugged. Xev liked to explore and Kai figured they could always come back later if the other planets didn't pan out. "Okay," Xev agreed, "We'll go. I'll go get 790."

"790..." Stan said making a face and sucking in air between clenched teeth. "Do we really need to bring him along? Couldn't we just-leave him here?"

"790 has proven useful in the past," Kai pointed out.

"He's also destroyed entire planets out of crazy robot love," Stan replied.

"We can't just leave him behind," Xev argued, not really having a reason but not wanting to leave behind even the crazy-evil members of her 'family'.

"But Xev, he's just going to try to kill us again," Stan argued, sticking to his guns.

"You would be his primary target," Kai added, somewhat concerned for Xev's safety now that he thought about it.

"But what if I wasn't?" Xev said, suddenly getting a bright idea.

"Huh?" Stan said, not following.

"790 use to love me before and now he loves Kai, but we could change that again," Xev pointed out.

"Then he'd just start trying to kill Kai for being your boytoy," Stan answered, not seeing how that could possibly be a solution.

Kai slightly arched one eyebrow, he took exception to being labeled a boytoy.

"Who said anything about making 790 love me?" Xev asked.

"Nuh uh. No way. We are not making me the little robot freak's new obsession," Stan declared, shaking his head and waving his arms to add emphasis.

"It would seem to solve our major difficulties," Kai agreed to Xev's plan. "Xev and I are clearly uninterested in you and therefore no competition. 790 would have less reason to attempt murder."

"It's settled then," Xev said, happy to have her plan accepted.

"What's settled? Nothing's settled. We're not doing this," Stan insisted as Xev and Kai, completely ignoring his protests, each took an arm and lead him out of the kitchen toward the room where they'd left 790.

"How... quaint," Belle Morte commented, distaste clearly present in her voice, as she looked around the main room under the Circus. Even good American architecture was not generally to Belle's taste and a warehouse with modified basement such as the Circus... well it is still a warehouse.

"Who's the hot babe?" a slightly mechanized voice came from between two accent pillows on the couch. "She's still a dog compared to my lucious Kai, but at least she's better looking than you piles of dung."

"What is this?" Belle asked, gingerly picking up the insane robot head and examining him as if he were some sort of bug.

Before Jean-Claude could cobble together some sort of answer, 790 answered for himself, "I'm 790, formerly a love slave technician, currently the destined soulmate of the most perfect man in ANY universe. And, you, you cheap hussy, will unhand me this instant. Only one person is allowed to touch my smooth metallic exterior and you're not fit to lick his boots... Mmmm... licking Kai's boots..." 790 trailed off, momentarily distracted by any thought involving Kai and licking.

Finding 790 extremely offensive, Belle Morte dropped him on the floor and brought one designer boot heel down on his head with enough force to smash open that smooth metallic exterior 790 was being so picky about earlier. "I do not understand this modern world," Belle idly commented, "It creates the strangest things."

Just then, Xev, Kai, and Stan entered the room.

"790!" Xev gasped.

"Looks like he's broken. Too bad. We'll just have to go on without him," Stan said, clearly pleased with this turn of events.

"The damage doesn't look too difficult to repair. I would have had to open his casing to reset him anyway," Kai added.

"Ah, this must be your guest," Belle Morte said stepping close to Kai and lightly running long nails down his left cheek. "You did not mention that he was so... delicious."

Xev, who still had hold of Kai's arm and was standing very near, was completely ignored by Belle. Finding that now that she actually had Kai she was very possessive of him, Xev let loose a Cluster lizard's hissing growl directly in Belle's ear.

Belle made as if to strike Xev for her outburst, but Kai intercepted her swing before it could connect. Belle looked from the hand holding her wrist to Kai's face and back again, in complete disbelief.

"I will not allow you to harm Xev," Kai stated.

"You will not allow?" Belle repeated, the sides of her mouth curling up in amusement. Then she let the amusement drain from her expression and in an icy tone she added, "I am Belle Morte. I am Council. Punish this..." here Belle paused for a second to examine Xev, "creature for her insolence, swear allegiance to me, and I will be lenient."

Anita, Jean-Claude, and Richard stood silently on the sidelines, none of them having any idea what they should do in these rather bizarre circumstances.

At these threatening words, Kai's eyes went icy cold-making Anita's patented lifeless expression pale in comparison. "I have no need of your leniency," Kai stated letting go of Belle's wrist and releasing the claw-like end of his weapon into his hand for easy access. Then looking over at Jean-Claude, Kai added, "We're here to retrieve 790 before we return to the Lexx. Stan?" Kai prompted Stan, not wanting to take his eyes off Belle long enough to pick up the pieces of 790.

"Yeah, sure, right," Stan babbled nervously, the rising tension in the room having put him on edge. Then he started gathering up the broken pieces of 790 without putting up any anti-robothead arguments.

"You dare to threaten me?" Belle demanded with rising ire, the threat of the unfamiliar weapon clearly implied by Kai's manner. "It isn't in your power to kill me," Belle stated, unconsciously echoing the erstwhile Rygle. "And, I promise you that as long as I remain living you will wish you were dead," Belle declared with finality.

Jean-Claude looked momentarily shocked at such a declaration. Kai had offered Belle grave insult, but a sentence of eternal torment was rare among vampires and to have one pronounced so casually and upon such short acquaintence was a bit extreme, even for Belle. Not wanting to get himself or those belonging to him, Jean-Claude immediately wiped all expression from his face and sent a plea to Anita and Richard to stay out of it through their link.

Kai, on the other hand, was completely unaffected by the declaration. It was a familiar threat and was to be answered in the usual way. "I have killed mothers with their babies. I have killed great philosophers, proud young warriors, and revolutionaries. I have killed the evil, the good, the intelligent, the weak, and the beautiful. And, I have no doubt that I can kill you," Kai addressed Belle Morte as he leveled his brace directly at her heart.

"Stan's got 790," Xev informed Kai, "Let's get back to the moth and off this crazy planet." Xev opened the door behind her for Stan then stepped through herself with Kai carefully backing away from Belle behind her.

"I did not give you leave to go," Belle ground out, having been pushed beyond endurance by the strange vampire. Then, Kai having shown no signs of stopping, Belle lunged at him. Kai let loose his brace. Belle, being one of the oldest and strongest of vampire kind, saw the brace, realized what kind of damage it might do, and changed the direction of her lunge just in the nick of time. Kai's weapon tore out a piece of Belle's lung and only nicked her heart, rather than ripping it from her chest as the attack was meant to do. It was major damage, but not a fatal wound.

Belle collapsed on the floor, staining the white carpet red with blood. Jean-Claude, Richard, and even Anita rushed to her aid. Having another council member die on their doorstep would definitely not be good. Xev, Stan, Kai, and the pieces of 790 exited the Circus and headed toward the moth.

Later that evening, at the Circus of the Damned...

Belle was comfortably ensconced in Jean-Claude's bedroom-the most luxurious quarters in the building with a bevvy of beautiful wereanimals eagerly tending to her every need during her convalescence. Belle would be fully healed in another day or so. At that time she vowed to hunt down the ones who had injured her and kill them slowly with her own two hands. Kai's strange weapon would not work a second time, now that she knew of its existence, and there was no place on earth they could hide from her wrath.

Jean-Claude was figuring up the exact worth of the evening's goings on. On one hand, Kai was technically his guest and Jean-Claude didn't stop him. On the other, there weren't any actual ties between them, and he was currently offering Belle assistence in her time of need. All things considered, Jean-Claude was cautiously optimistic.

Around St. Louis...

Anita and Richard went back to their usual work routines, raising zombies and grading papers respectively.

Aboard the Lexx...

Kai was sitting on the edge of the raised dais on the bridge putting 790 back together with what tools he could find on Little Lexx. Xev and Stan were debating their next move.

"Little Lexx has got to eat," Stan said for the forty-leventh time. "He's a growing bug, he needs protein, and that planet down there has lots, and it's evil. Letting him go down and eat only makes practical sense."

"But, Stan, you're talking about people. And that's a type-14 planet, they're not all going to die anyway. Killing people is wrong," Xev argued back, also for the forty-leventh time.

"We don't know how far away the next planet with something good for Little Lexx to eat is. And, as we know from experience, if Lexx doesn't eat we don't either. Starving a poor defenseless bug to death and us along with him is even more wrong," Stan pointed out.

"We won't starve and Lexx won't either," Xev contradicted.

"How can you be so sure of that?" Stan asked.

"I don't know, I just am," Xev said, not at all sure firmly set on not killing any people.

"Kai, you're alive now, kinda. What do you think?" Stan appealed to a higher authority, knowing he would get no where with Xev.

"Yeah, Kai, tell Stan we're not killing millions of innocent people," Xev seconded Stan's appeal to Kai, but expecting a much different result.

"Killing innocent people is certainly wrong," Kai reasoned, still working on 790. "But, preserving a possibly irredeemably evil planet at the cost of Lexx's and our own lives doesn't seem a wise decision either. In a life bearing planet of this size and this level of technological development, there must still be quite a few stretches of unpopulated or sparsely populated wilderness as well as much sea life. Little Lexx should be able to dine adequately upon those sections with minimal casualties among intelligent life."

"Sounds like a plan, if that's okay with you Xev?" Stan said.

Xev thought it over for a second, shrugged, and said, "As long as you keep Lexx away from the people..."

"Little Lexx," Stan called out.

"Yes, Captain."

"You can go down to the planet and eat, but stay away from the people," Stan instructed.

"But people are very tasty and a good source of protein," Little Lexx protested.

"I know Lexx, I know. But, we aren't going to kill any people. Just eat some trees and things swimming around in the water and leave the people alone," Stan reiterated the order.

"Whatever you say Captain," Little Lexx agreed.

News Bulletin: Large sections of rainforest disappear overnight, film at eleven.

The End