Carmen Sandiego, Ivy, Zack, the Chief, and Armando Aguillera are characters created by Broderbund Software and Dic Productions. Zorro/Don Diego de la Vega and Don Alejandro are characters created by Johnston McCulley, while Victoria Escalante, Felipe, Sergeant Mendoza, and Alcalde Ignacio deSoto are characters created by New World Productions. All the Zorro characters are copyrighted by Zorro Productions, while all the Carmen characters are copyrighted by Dic. The villain in this story is my own creation.
For some time, I've wanted to do a Zorro story, especially one based on the New World television series. My primary reason is the portrayal of Don Diego/Zorro as interpreted by fanfic writers and as done by the excellent actor Duncan Regehr. Finally, I decided to do a crossover with Carmen, another character I like, although an animated one.
The beginning point for my fic is the two-hour Zorro episode, "A Conspiracy of Blood". Since there are unanswered questions about the ending, it seemed like the perfect point to begin my fic. I am going to have this episode be a book in my fic, and take it from there. The fic occurs two months after the Carmen episode "Can You Ever Go Home again?".
Because this is a Zorro fanfic as well as a Carmen one, there may be a little more violence in this fic than in other Carmen fics I've done, but I will try to keep any violence as moderate as I possibly can.
The title comes from the Dickens novel "A Tale of Two Cities" and refers to the fact that both Carmen and Zorro are outlaws, although for different reasons.
Now on with the story!
Two months after the Avalon incident
Carmen arrived back at VILE Headquarters in Paris, France. It had been a good return to her profession.
After her last caper, she had needed some rest. After all, she'd had to deal with finding a father she'd thought she'd lost, then having to deal with Lee Jordan's blackmailing of her with Avalon's life so she could steal for him, then having to save both Avalon's life and the lives of the Acme detectives, then losing her possible father when Avalon lost his memory. It was very draining.
Maybe that's why toward the end of her vacation, she'd discovered a book which somehow spoke to her, although in a reverse situation. A book that she had interrupted completing to finally plan her series of thefts, all of them having to deal with masks.
Eventually, Ivy and Zack caught up with her and regained the masks she stole, of course. But she had escaped, as usual.
And now she was back home, ready to read the book she'd picked up during her vacation.
The book was "A Conspiracy of Blood" and it dealt with the adventures of the famous outlaw El Zorro. Carmen knew that "El Zorro" meant "The Fox" in Spanish. She'd also read a few other books about Zorro's adventures, and knew that El Zorro was really Don Diego de la Vega, a young nobleman who became El Zorro to combat the injustice of first Alcalde Ramone, and then Alcalde deSoto.
Carmen had read "A Conspiracy of Blood" all the way to the point where Gilberto Resendo (or Gilberto de la Vega) was about to reveal Diego's secret and then shoot Diego. However, deSoto shot Resendo to save Diego's life.
So she picked up the book, and read:
"Don Alejandro drove the cart carrying Inez Resendo and her so-called son's body into town. DeSoto, Felipe, and Diego followed the cart.
"DeSoto dismounted and told a corporal that Resendo had brought with him that the Alcalde was reassuming command and that Resendo's soldiers had to leave at dawn the following morning. He also had Resendo's body carried away.
"Inez Resendo had gotten off the cart, and Don Alejandro told her, 'You stole my son and filled him with hatred. I can forgive him, but you, seņora -- never.'
"Inez Resendo left under guard. Mendoza was relieved it was over.
"DeSoto told Mendoza to report to him in his office. Mendoza left to do so, then deSoto came to Don Alejandro.
DeSoto said, "'I never knew he was your son.'"
"Don Alejandro said, 'None of us did. You also saved a son of mine. And that I will never forget.'
"Diego said, 'Nor I.'
"DeSoto said, 'Well, if you'll excuse me, I have a compelling need to see Father Benitez.' He then left to go seek the good padre out. This surprised Diego. Was the Alcalde no longer going to persecute the people of Reina de los Angeles? Or was he going to seek the padre out because this was the first time he'd really faced death?
"Victoria approached the de la Vegas and Felipe. She said, 'I heard what happened. I'm so sorry.'
"Don Alejandro said, 'It's hard to gain a son and then lose him all in the same hour.'"
I know something of how you must feel, Don Alejandro thought Carmen. She didn't know what it was like to gain a son and then lose him in an hour, but she did know what it was like to gain a father and then lose him in a matter of days.
She continued reading:
"'Gilberto was suckled on vengeance,' said Diego. He added, 'I wish I'd known him as a brother, and not as an enemy.'
"Victoria replied, 'Perhaps if he'd had a different life, you'd have been proud of him instead, Diego.'
"Diego privately agreed. But the mention of a different life reminded him that he had a life different from that he showed others. He'd already shown one part of that life -- his ability with a sword. His father would eventually ask him where he learned to fight like he did -- and why Diego had never told him.
"It was time to tell the truth, Diego now realized. Or so he thought.
"Diego took a deep breath and said, 'There is something I've been meaning to tell you all for quite some time now. Now would be an appropriate moment.'
"He turned to Felipe and said, 'Felipe, with your permission.'
"Felipe looked worried, but didn't protest.
"Diego then began to say that he was Zorro, but he could only say 'I -- I am' before he was unable to say what he wanted to say. Instead, he concluded, '-- going to adopt Felipe. He's going to be a member of our family.'
"Victoria and Don Alejandro were both very happy. Don Alejandro hugged Felipe and said, 'This is wonderful news! This is wonderful news! I now have two sons! The de la Vegas will never be divided. Never!'
"Felipe sighed in relief, and Diego also felt relieved. But he knew he had to tell the truth. He would have to tell his father privately, however.
"Then Don Alejandro said, 'Diego, there's been something gnawing inside of me.' Diego knew it was time.
"Diego said, 'Father, there is something I've been meaning to tell you for quite some time now.'
"Diego urged Felipe and Victoria to stay back, and he and Don Alejandro walked on. Felipe looked worried.
"Don Alejandro said, 'Do you remember when Gilberto was about to shoot you? He said he was not only going to kill you, he was also going to kill -- and then he never finished. What do you suppose he was going to say, Diego?'"
The book concluded at that point, but there was something written, kind of like an epilogue.
Carmen read the writing. It said that the reply Diego made would open another story -- which was the conclusion to the Zorro legend.
Carmen frowned. She had to find this final story. She wanted to know how it would end. She wanted to know what happened to Diego. While he wasn't like her in his reasons for being an outlaw, the fact that he had been an outlaw and she was one too did enable her to feel a kind of kinship with him.
Two weeks later
Carmen was really frustrated. She'd examined all the computer records for Zorro stories, and had found every story that had been written -- except for the conclusion. She'd even asked her lawyer, Lee Galeese, to find documentation on this conclusion.
Now she had a letter from him. She hoped at last, she might have some clue as to this lost story.
The letter said:
I was able to find out what happened to the story you requested. The person who wrote all the Zorro stories had written the story you requested. However, he died before it could be published, and the manuscript was destroyed in a big fire in his home. Since all the other stories were in print, copies of them were safe.
I am truly sorry.
If Carmen was really frustrated before, she was even more so now. How was she going to find out the ending of the Zorro legend if it was completely lost?
That's when the idea came to her.
Why not go back in time to just before Diego's reply to his father? You would be in a great position to find out what happened.
It would be a challenge, she knew. But when was the last time she shrank from a challenge?
But first, she might as well have a little fun before carrying out her project.
And before taking on what would turn out to be one of her biggest challenges yet.