Erica and Tanya, or You ought to be in pictures...

There was a low rumble, a sound like thunder, dust and smoke filling the air. After the fire and light finally died down there was a eerie moment of pure silence on the battlefield. The smoke faded, the rough terrain finally becoming visible, and the figure that watched over it intently.

Standing there on a platform just above the burning rubble and ruin, a gorgeous woman dressed all in black leather began to laugh. She threw her head back happily, her long blond hair flowing around her face as the light caught on the metal armor over her leather, the handgun that she carried in her hand gleaming.

"I've won," she loudly crowed, "won!" Flipping her long red cape back so that it swirled around her she declared, "At long last I have finally defeated her!"

The piles of rubble below her were quiet, as if cowed by her frightening will, then suddenly they began to shift slightly. With the sound of stone grinding on stone, barely visible through the smoke, slowly the largest chunk of material began to rise up. It teetered there, and in a final burst of nearly superhuman strength it was tossed aside. Shrugging off the last pieces of the rubble the woman who was revealed there slowly stood up, short dark hair falling in her eyes, blood and dirt staining her military style uniform.

"It can't be," the blonde woman gaped down at her in shock, "it's simply not possible!" Her face, once so beautiful, was twisted by anger into something quite inhuman.

Red blood trickled down into her face, and from the look in her dark eyes it was obvious that she was in immense pain. But her voice rang out clearly across the ruins, "You haven't beaten me yet, Empress." Straightening up she met the blonde's gaze defiantly as she loudly declared, "You will never conquer the people's will to be free."

"You still live," the blonde grated out, "an error that I'll soon correct."

"You're welcome to try," the soldier answered. The two gazed at each other intensely, and a spark seemed to strike between them until...

"Cut!" the director called out happily from the sidelines. With that signal the smoke machines were all shut down, and several crew members carrying fire extinguishers rushed to put out the fires that were still burning in the false rubble. "Tanya, Erica, that was just marvelous," the brown haired, glasses wearing man rushed forward with a broad grin on his handsome face.

The blonde shook her head slightly at that as she climbed down a carefully concealed ladder from the raised platform. "I think Erica was the one with the harder job," Tanya called to him softly. She quickly reached the ground, then walked over to the other woman stood and worriedly asked her, "Are you all right?"

Erica Simmons smiled, dusting herself off with one hand. "Oh, this?" she scooped up some of the blood that was still running down her face. She dramatically stuck her fingers into her mouth and exclaimed, "Ah, I've always liked ketchup the best."

"Erica, please don't gross out your co-star," the director scolded Erica gently, punching her lightly in the shoulder.

"Sorry, Simon," she gave her friend a cheeky little grin. "It really is made out of ketchup," Erica turned to reassure Tanya.

Tanya Clark reached out, gently getting a bit of the red on her fingers and sniffing at it cautiously. "Ketchup," she blinked.

"We're on a budget," Simon shrugged, "and the FX guys have found that diluted ketchup with a bit of die looks really good on film."

"I guess that makes sense," Tanya shook her head.

"And don't downplay your part in this," Erica added. She smiled as she added, "You can't have a good hero without a great villain."

"Very true," Simon firmly agreed, but he had the oddest smile on his face as he watched the two of them interacting.

Erica frowned at Simon, and he tried to look innocent. "Now if you don't mind," the dusty, red stained Erica smiled at them slightly, "I'm going to go get cleaned up for the next scene."

"Remember, the kiss scene is coming up next," a grinning Simon called out to her as she was walking away from the two of them.

"You just had to remind me," Erika shot back with a cheeky grin, "I'm so going to make you pay for all of this later."

"I take it you two are old friends?" Tanya smiled at him slightly as they headed over to her dressing room. 'What kiss?' she wondered. She had come onboard this set on Simon's personal recommendation, but she had only met him herself on a couple of projects a few months ago. 'What kiss is this?' Obviously he knew the famous Erica Simmons pretty well, to be talking like that.

"I've known her for years," Simon agreed, "from back when we both were in Vancouver film school together." He smiled fondly as he remembered, "It was long before she hit it big on the live action 'Evangelion' movie."

"What roll did she play?" Tanya blinked.

"Shinji Ikari," Simon grinned at the startled look on her face, "she did the entire movie dressed up in a boy's school uniform or the EVA plugsuit." He chuckled softly, "All the girls fell in love with her, it was crazy."

"Remarkable," Tanya murmured, feeling a bit of a blush to her cheeks. She had been one of those who had fallen for the soulful, angst filled portrait Erica had created for that character, and the knowledge that it had been a woman who did that disturbed her oddly.

"I was really impressed," Simon looked over at her with as smile, "when I saw you in the 'Blood' series of movies."

"Oh, god," Tanya made a face, "those b-movies?"

Simon laughed, "Yeah, they were a bit cheesy. But you were so striking in them, the vampire fighting her urges to protect others."

"I remember," Tanya admitted. Her manner seemed to change, a dark expression on he face as she mimed holding a man aloft. "Surrender," she quoted the role eerily, "I would say surrender or die, but that'd be a bit redundant."

Simon chuckled softly, "Exactly. You took a fairly two-dimensional character and made her believable, even sympathetic at times. That's the sort of thing I thought we needed for this film."

"Well," Tanya smiled, her blonde hair blowing back from her face as they walked, "I'm just glad you're giving me this opportunity."

"Ah.. there's something that I wanted to mention about the next scene," Simon said with a false sort of casualness, "just so that you're prepared."

Tanya looked over at him curiously at that. Simon had that, 'I am in so much trouble' smile on his handsome face, the same look that he had when he had told Erica she was going to be completely buried in a pile of foam cast rubble. She hadn't been on a set with him for very long, but she already knew that look and voice was going to be trouble.

"Yes?" Tanya asked warily.

"About that kissing scene," Simon's voice dropped to nearly a whisper as he quietly explained what was going to be happening.

Once Simon finished Tanya looked over at him in shock, "What?!"

It wasn't too long after that when Erica stepped out of her private trailer, dressed in a much cleaner, undamaged version of the black military uniform she had worn earlier. She didn't seem very surprised to see Tanya standing there, waiting for her.

"Simon told you about the kiss, right?" Erica asked the blonde gently.

Tanya puffed out a nervous breath, "I don't remember seeing that in any script I got." She looked over at Erica, "How did that happen?"

"Simon and the writer got to talking after we finished shooting on the first day," Erica smiled at her wryly, "something that you should never let happen while making a movie."

"It's happened before?" Tanya blinked.

"Oh, yes," Erica agreed, "It seems they got into the sexual tension going on between the heroine and the villainess and decided that it should really be realized at least once."

Tanya waved the day's script pages around, the bunch of sheets matching those given to the rest of the actors. "So they decided to add this scene in?" she sighed.

"That's pretty much it," Erica gave her a thoughtful look, as if she was considering saying something more.

"What?" Tanya asked.

"If the kiss is a real problem for you," Erica finally said softly, "I'm pretty sure that Simon could ask someone to stand in for you then. A bit of digital editing later and I bet that no one would even know the difference."

Tanya frowned slightly, standing there silently for a few moments. "Maybe so," she finally said, "but I'd know it wasn't me." She looked over to meet Erica's eyes, "I'll do it."

"Don't worry, I'll promise to be a perfect gentleman," Erica smiled back at her as she gently offered this reassurance.

Tanya looked over at her fellow actress, and was struck by how handsome she really was. The dark hair styled boyishly, a man's military uniform, and that oh so charming smile. "Gee, thanks," she managed to answer with a smile.

'Tanya really is cute,' Erica reflected as she watched the tall blonde walking away from her, 'and a real trooper, too. I know quite a few actresses who would have just flat out refused to do any of this, especially after it being sprung on them.'