The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995

Chapter 23

"Oooo...." Bill slowly opened up his eyes. Immediately, he wanted to close them again, and he did.

"I see that you are awake." He recognized the voice, although it seemed to have a more deliberate quality to it now. It was the bartender.

A few more moments of time presented to him the fact that he was riding in a plane. A bumpy one. "What are we doing up here?"

"Riding in a plane."

"Oh." It was a reasonable enough explanation, until his brain functioned somewhat better. "Where are we going?"


It took a few more minutes for that to sink in, but not as many minutes. "I see. Where exactly."

"The Landing."

"Sounds good." He fell asleep once more.

Kwai Chang Caine continued to fly.

* *

Some time later, Bill woke up again. They were flying over endless fields of snow and ice. "How long till we get there?"

"However long it takes."

"Did you know that you're a fountain of wisdom?"

Caine smiled, "We are all fountains of wisdom, for we all tap into the pool of knowledge. All we have to do is listen."

Bill stared at him for a few moments, and then shook his head. There were many things he wanted to say to God at the moment, but he kept his mouth shut.

"You have a question?" Caine looked as unconcerned as ever.

Bill was about to snap something at him, but realized that he did have question after all. "Yes! Yes, I do! What's your involvement in all this? And why the sudden change? One moment, you're some grizzled old bartender suggesting that I should get out of town, and the next, you're flying me north, and offering answers. What's the deal here?"

Caine smiled. "Change is an integral part of life. Without change, all would be dead."

"You didn't answer my question."

"What is your question?"

"All right, tell me what you know about the Landing."

"It is a wise man who understands his own shortcomings..."

"Just get to the point!"

"Several hundred years ago..." [cf. Frostmelt]

The miles seemed to speed by a little faster as Caine talked. It was similar to the story he'd heard from others, but he wanted to see how much this guy knew. Apparently, he knew everything. He knew about the Vikings who'd come over, their stay, their vanishing, and the incident that had taken place up there -- the incident that'd gotten Bill involved with the whole mess; his introduction to vampires, as well as the Invisible Ones.

"All right then," Bill snapped. "What do you know about the Invisible Ones?"

"What do *you* know about them?"

That stopped Bill cold. "Good question..." He had to think a moment. "I only know what I could gather from others who had direct dealings with them. To make a long story short, they're a very small group of... who *knows* what... who are trying to control the world. That's not quite right -- they don't want to rule the world, but they want to do something with it.

"The big problem is that we don't know what they really want, or their motives. Take this last incident at the Landing, for instance. Let's assume that Odin is a tool of the Invisible Ones -- everyone else did. OK, Odin wanted to do *something* with what they're calling 'Yggdrasil.' I just don't buy a lot of the philosophy Axer and Mulder were exchanging, but even if it were true, it would make no sense. I mean, who would *benefit* from merging all these alternate time tracks, if it were somehow real?"

Caine spoke softly, "What do you believe?"

"I believe that we have a lot of nut cases finding any old excuse to kill one another. I never thought about it that much before. I mean, for countless time, it was enough for immortals to take others' Quickenings because 'in the end, there can be only one,' but it seems that reason isn't good enough any more.

"So now, we have a lunatic immortal who believes he's a Norse god. It changed everything -- my life included. My problem is that I don't know what to believe. I hope that if I can keep on watching, I can gather enough for it to all make sense."

"But while you know you need to watch, on an intellectual level... your heart rebels against this."

//Damn it, old man!// "Yeah! I don't want to do this because I have to watch Coleen! Why the hell do I have to watch her, of *ALL* the immortals I could watch? Why didn't they put me on research?"

"Perhaps it is because you are the only one who can?"

Bill shook his head, "No. It can't be it... I just don't know."

"What is it about Coleen that disturbs you?"

He slammed a panel pretty hard, "Don't change the subject, old man! What do you know about the Invisible Ones?"

Caine's face was as tranquil as ever. Bill's yelling hadn't fazed him a bit. "They are older than the Pyramids in Egypt. They walked the land before any peoples in our recorded history; they also walked the land during history, and shaped its course."

"You sound like you crossed paths with them yourself."

"We all have. They are the bums huddled in alleyways, the leaders guiding the paths of nations, the doctors who heal our wounds, and the butchers who cause them. We do not know whether we look in the face of an Invisible One, or into a mortal's."

"What's your stake in all this? Why did you come up here?"

Caine shrugged, and it was a good thing he didn't shake the plane. "I sensed... a disturbance, and so I followed it to the town where I met you. I then waited, and acted."

//Damn fountain of wisdom!// "And so what do you think you can do about all this?"

"I can wait... and act when I can, doing what I can."

Bill screamed out, "Enough of the damned poetry! I want answers!"

"Sometimes, the search for answers can blind you, and make you miss the truth that lies in front of you. All you must do is to slow down and open your senses to what they have to tell you."

"I don't go for that mysticism crap! The answers *are* here in front of me, and *you're* the one who has them, so spill it! Give me the answers, laid out in outline form, and spelled out enough for an idiot to understand! I don't have time for this poetry!"

Caine still looked unconcerned, "What would make you believe that even if I could, that you would understand them?"

Bill snarled, "I would understand them, because you're going to spell it out in plain English. You *can* speak it, can't you?"

* * *

At this very moment, Coleen was being irritated, but in a totally different manner. She stood in a surreal hall, faced by Odin.

Odin's hands gripped Coleen's in a vice grip. His arms were so powerful that she couldn't move her own even an inch. Her body was pushed so closely to his that she couldn't even breathe. Her body tensed though, as she tried to break free, but when faced with that strength, no movement was her own.

Music came from the four musicians who had been yanked out of another door of this surreal hall. They spoke only Brazilian, but Odin knew that language too, and told them something.

The three violinists, the guitarist, and the horn player played their hearts out. It was music that she knew she'd heard before, but had never bothered paying attention to.

"You know you love it!" growled Odin as his head snapped sharply from the right to the left. A long-stem rose... a red rose... was in his teeth as he led her through another tango.

Coleen shrieked with indignation as she was forced to change direction and walk the other way. "AaaaahhhhHHHHH!!" She tried to knee him in the groin, but that gave him the opportunity to change the dance.

"So!" he smiled, spitting out the rose. "You want to do the Lambada!" He yelled something to the musicians, and they changed the tempo mid-note to something with a livelier beat and a different key.

She didn't know it was possible, but their bodies were even closer, rubbing together as she desperately tried to either break free, knee him in the groin, or give him a headbutt in the teeth.

Every move she made seemed to give Odin more and more opportunities to make the situation worse.

"Aahhhhh!!!" she screamed again.

Odin returned with a Latino-ish howl that would be very fitting at a flamenco dance.

If there were judges, they would have given the couple a 10.0.

In her mind, Coleen couldn't help but think of everyone's reactions when this was over:

"What did he do?" Axer would demand, standing up. "Did
that monster rape you?"

"No..." she'd answer hesitantly. "He told me bad
jokes, tried to pull his face off... and made me dance
with him."

He'd sit down with an incredulous look on his face.
"He did WHAT??? He *made* you *dance* with him?
That's it?!"

She could imagine his laughter, and probably everyone else's too.

* * *

Richie smiled with great exhaustion, "We're there! Just another five minutes and we'll be stretching our legs!"

"And finding out what might be waiting for us..." Methos frowned.

"Oh, yeah." He hated that Methos always had to rain on his parade.

Richie looked with great concern at Coleen, who looked like she was going through one hell of a nightmare. "I wonder what she's going through."

"Must be pretty bad..." was all Methos had to say.

* * * *

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