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


Chapter 27

Mulder slowly opened his eyes. Before what he saw registered to him, he could hear the sounds of violence -- screaming, howling, smashing, and pounding. Without seeing it with his eyes, he could identify the sounds of skulls hitting the pavement, limbs being broken, and blades punching through abdominal and chest cavities.

The howls must have been what roused him from unconsciousness, he reasoned. Nothing else could've.

When his eyes began to work once more, he managed to pull himself up from behind the trash. He didn't remember how he got there, but it didn't matter all that much. Not at all.

What did matter was that a bare-chested Skinner stood amidst about forty corpses and unconscious individuals, and fought ten more, who were armed with clubs and knives. By the looks of it -- considering that nobody was helping him -- all this was Skinner's work. Mulder knew that the man could hold his own in a fight, but he'd never thought he was *this* good.

Though there was a part of him that was curious to see how this would turn out, his conscience got the better of him, and forced him to draw his gun.

"Halt! Federal Agent!"

It didn't do a bit of good. Skinner kept fighting, as did the others.

Mulder fired into the air. There was no change, except that Skinner downed three more men.

Shaking his head, Mulder started firing at what was left of the mob, and injured five men in the legs -- not fatal wounds, but wounds that would keep them from doing any harm.

Skinner got the rest. When he looked at Mulder, it was a look both of anger and relief. "I told you to stay out of this!"

"You're welcome." Mulder looked over the asphalt. "Do you feel better?"

"Now that I did this?" He nodded, his eyes free of the haunt. "I think I did. The insanity is gone."

Mulder, intrigued, sat on a trash can. "Do you know what's been happening to you?"

Skinner sat down on a stair, breathing heavily. "I think I can, just as I think I can say how it is that Odin's spear, and the other Odinsson weapons affected people." He paused for thought. "There isn't a contact chemical... there's something about the shape, the feel of this that woke something up inside, just the way that whiskey did after the war. There's something about this that speaks to me, and continues to speak to me. Just like with alcohol, you need to control it. That's why I think the immortals, and Odin, lost it when they grabbed the weapons -- they let the weapons speak to them, and couldn't keep control of themselves. They probably didn't even know they were losing control."

Mulder laughed, "I only wish Scully were here! For once, you come up with a crazier theory than I ever could, and she's not here to hear it."

Skinner smiled, "Maybe, but I haven't once mentioned conspiracies or UFOs. I think that this is something that's more mundane than extraterrestrial. Maybe a psychologist made these weapons..."

"No," Mulder shook his head. "Engineers did. I think it's time to see the Wizard."

"Nobody sees the Wizard!" snapped a high-pitched voice from the front door to the dwarves' lab. It was one of the people Mulder'd seen manning a computer from his earlier trip inside. The dwarf smiled from ear to ear. "Just kidding! Come on in and have some beer!"

* * *

Kermit finally managed to pry open the elevator doors. It had taken a great deal of work, and they'd had to deal with the complaints from the computer, who spoke from some speaker that none of them could locate.

"You are defacing company property," said the computer in a snippish tone. "Please cease immediately and enjoy the music."

"Sorry," snapped Reece, "but that music isn't even fit for a dog."

Now that the elevator door was open, they had to deal with the fact that the elevator was above them. "Hmmm..." muttered Kermit absentmindedly, "I thought that we'd be able to climb the cable up."

"So what do we do now?" snapped Peter.

"We come up with another plan!" Kermit snapped back. "There's more than one way to climb a floor."

"There *is* no other way," the computer said cheerfully. "You must remain on this floor and listen to the music."

"Come on, think of something!" pleaded Reece. "Can't you blast your way through this steel and find some stairs??"

Kermit smiled, his eyes unreadable through his sunglasses, "Sure, if you can think of a way to keep from getting us all blown to bits by the blast."

Reece thought about it. "Oh."

They heard the sound of an elevator approaching. It was a secondary elevator a ways down that opened. Axer and Kate, a bit shaken, but healthy and well, emerged. Their expressions became one of shock as they saw who was waiting for them.

"What are you doing here?" Axer looked at Reece.

"I'd ask the same of you!" snapped the Captain.

"It's a long story."

Kate shook her had sadly, "We don't have any time to shoot the breeze! We still have a missile to deal with."

"What?!" Peter, Kermit, and Reece all demanded simultaneously.

Kate and Axer looked at one another with weary glances. "Why us?" they both asked at once.

Heimdall smiled to himself. He recognized that expression - - and was shocked that neither Peter nor Reece did.

Kermit wisely kept his mouth shut on that matter. "If we have no business here, then by all means lead us to where we *do* have business."

Kate and Axer looked at one another once more. Kate sighed, "There's not much that we can do, when it comes down to it. Might as well call it a night."

Peter protested, "Wait a minute! What about this missile?!"

Axer scribbled something down on a notepad. "This is Detective Tracy Vetter's cellphone. She's very talkative. I'm quite sure that she's perky enough to tell all four of you the whole story from beginning to end, and still have time to tell you about her missing cat and the time she forgot to pick up some mustard at the store."

Kate began to walk outside, and Axer followed her. Everyone else followed the two, half in shock from all the proceedings, with unformed questions on their tongues, and confusion in their faces.

They were further shocked when they saw Kate pick up Axer and fly off to who knew where in a blur of darkness.

Reece looked at the others, "Am I missing something *very* important here?"

Heimdall laughed his head off at that point, "Why do I have the feeling that this is going to be a very difficult night?"

Reece's nose wrinkled as he just sensed something, "What's that horrible smell?"

Heimdall and Peter looked at one another guiltily, but everyone's words and thoughts were halted mid-way as they heard the sudden roar of a mob turning a corner and hitting their street.

Everyone looked at one another in shock as they realized that they had just gone from a crazy situation to a hazardous one.

"Suggestions, anyone?" asked Kermit.

"Yeah," snarled Peter, pulling out his gun. "Let's get the hell out of here!"

"Good advice," agreed Reece. "I have a car around the corner -- I hope they didn't get to it first." He punched the emergency button on his cell phone, then they high- tailed it out of there, running deeper into the alley.

The mobs were still concentrated on the main street, but a few of them caught movement in the alley and began to make their way down it. Others, following the ones in front of them, blindly followed.

As they ran, Peter complained, "For once, I wish they'd tell me what happened before they take off."

"Excuse me?" wheezed Reece.

"Never mind!" he snapped. "Private thought!"

* * *

Methos landed the plane without any problems. Once everything was turned off, Methos unstrapped himself and got a good look at Coleen. It looked as if she was in a deep sleep, a sleep without dreams.

Richie looked concerned, but Methos could see a stoic mask overshadow it, "She'd be safer here anyway. Let's go deal with Odin."

Methos grabbed Richie roughly by the shoulder, "You're forgetting why we're here to begin with! We're here to find out about the Invisible Ones -- not to kill someone!" He stared Richie down, "You don't kill unless you're backed into a corner -- do you understand?"

Richie, unused to Methos' sudden intensity and raw emotion, nodded with stunned shock. He'd never seen Methos like this. "Chill, man! Everything's all right!"

"It had better be 'all right'. Now, let's search for Odin!"

They threw several blankets over Coleen, as they expected the temperature in the cabin to drop quite severely in the next few hours. Methos, remembering a few bits of trivia from his experience in the Arctic circle, pulled out a candle from his pack and lit it.

Richie looked at him questioningly, and he said, "If you have a candle lit in a closed space, it'll keep the temperature from dropping below freezing. That is, if that closed space is insulated. I hope it works -- it's worth a try."

"OK," Richie grabbed a coat and zipped it from belt to neck. "Let's do it."

Methos looked around this frozen wasteland, and nodded. "You were here before. Lead the way."

Richie tried to let his memories resurface, "I think it's that way..."

* * * *


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