THE CODE OF DIMACK
A Highlander/Kung Fu The Legend Continues Crossover
By Henry Wyckoff and Scott Vodvarka
January 22, 1996
Sitting alone in the front pew of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Chinatown, the 800 year old child Immortal known as Kenny allowed his mind to drift, letting his wandering thoughts carry him elsewhen...back to 12th century, England...during the Norman occupation.
"I can't do it, Amanda! I'm too small to fight! I'm going to die!"
"Kenneth, listen to me." came the ever comforting voice of Kenny's motherly mentor. "I've lived for over 300 years. I've survived against Immortals that were much larger, stronger and older than myself...by using the weapons that I have."
"And, what weapons do _I_ have?"
Amanda pulled a small, hand held mirror from her pouch and held it up to Kenny's face. As he gazed at his own reflection, Kenny heard for the first time the words he would not soon forget.
The tolling of the church bells roused Kenny from his flashback. 11PM. Amanda should've been here an hour ago. Maybe she wasn't coming after all. Or maybe she and MacLeod were setting him up, just waiting for him to step off Holy Ground so one of them could...
No, he refused to think that. He struggled to push such paranoid thoughts from his mind. Yet, given the circumstances of their last encounter, it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.
"Damn." Kenny muttered to himself. "What's she so bitter about, anyway? I was only doing what she told me to all those years ago. It's all I've ever done. It's what's kept me alive for 800 years."
Then again, Amanda never reckoned that SHE would become a victim of Kenny's "innocence."
He paused for a moment to consider what he had just said. 800 years! 800 years of bitterness. 800 years of fear. 800 years of running and hiding. 800 years of lies, trickery and deceit. 800 years of backstabbing and cheap shots. 800 years of being trapped in the body of a little boy while his adult desires screamed for release. 800 years of everybody coming after his head. He stared at the alter in front of him and wondered if this was Heaven's idea of a sick joke to condemn him to 800 years of never-ending hell!
Images of his last tangle with MacLeod flooded his mind, gnawing at his...what was that word again? CONSCIENCE. He saw himself standing over the noble Duncan MacLeod's fallen body, sword in hand. MacLeod was barely able to move due to the after effects of the Quickening...
"If you kill him, I'll kill you!" came Amanda's voice.
"But, I'm just a boy."
"Like hell you are!"
The memory haunted him night and day, chilling his soul. And Kenny began to feel something he hadn't felt in centuries. SHAME!
He would make it right. SOMEHOW, he would make it right.
Just then, came the signature buzz. The presence of another Immortal...followed by a scream a few moments later.
"What the hell...?" exclaimed Kenny as he bolted to the door.
* * *
Amanda pulled her car into the parking lot of St. Andrew's and stepped out. Already she could sense Kenny's presence from within the church. She bit her lip nervously and took a few deep yogic breaths to calm herself before making her way toward the steps. This was not going to be easy. Right now, she'd rather be facing an entire legion of Norman invaders then having to look into those two little blue eyes. Eyes, which could conceal treachery under a veil of innocence. Manipulative eyes which seemed to bore into the depths of Amanda's Immortal soul.
"What am I doing here?" Amanda walked toward the steps. It was then that she noticed the figure standing in the shadows. A man by the look of it, dressed in a long, black trenchcoat and a fedora hat of the same color. One of us?_ , thought Amanda. Can't really tell if I'm sensing his presence or Kenny's from inside._ That was the problem with having gatherings of multiple Immortals in one place. Each aura would dampen out the others, sort of like static interference, until you eventually lose track of who was Immortal and who wasn't. She remembered stories of other Immortals who would use this technique to their advantage and began to wonder...not for the first time...if Kenneth was setting her up.
The figure made no movements toward her. He stood there leaning against the wall smoking a pipe, his head bowed down. He seemed to take no notice of her...until after she walked right past him. He then reached for her neck with one hand and touched the base of her neck...as quickly as a snake would strike. Quickly, she whirled to confront him, but was suddenly overcome by a fit of dizziness. She kept spinning, as if her body forgot it should have stopped. Her teeth rattled and a wave of nausea hit her quite hard as the world kept spinning. What had just happened? The man had no weapon of any kind in his hand. All he did was touch her.
Amanda's legs buckled, she collapsed onto the steps of St. Andrew's as the figure loomed over her, gloating. _One of us?_, she thought again, still unsure. She then noticed a snake branded onto the palm of her attacker. As if the symbol had some significance. Amanda began to feel a numbing cold all over. Then, there was only pain. Unparalleled pain. But, not merely bodily pain. No, she had "died" enough times over the centuries to become immune to that sort of pain. This was more like a spiritual sickness, as if someone had just poisoned her Quickening! The pain intensified as Amanda felt her life force melting away. But, somehow there was a certain finality to this death. She could do nothing but scream.
It was that scream that brought Kenny running out the door and down the steps to her side.
"Amanda! shouted the Immortal man-child as he knelt beside his mentor, helping her to a seated position. He seemed completely oblivious the dark figure which seemed to blend so naturally into the shadows until it spoke.
"Greetings, Amanda. We meet again at last. It's been an awfully long time."
"Not long enough...Jin Ming!" Amanda stammered, the words barely above a whisper. She could never forget that icy, cut throat voice. "Damn you, Kenny! You set me up!"
"No!!!" Kenny protested. "I'd never do anything to hurt you! Not YOU, Amanda! I swear, I don't even know who he is!" Yet, there was no mistaking the guilt in his voice. But, whether it was guilt for _this_ incident or their previous encounter Amanda could not say.
Kenny's face began to fade into a dark blur, but something in his eyes and in the way he held her told Amanda that this time he spoke the truth.
"Help me, Kenny," Amanda gasped. "I'm dying. Help...me...."
"But, you're one of us! You can't die unless..." Kenny glared at the towering form of Jin Ming, who seemed to draw amusement from the spectacle. "We're on Holy Ground, you bastard! You can't take her head!"
"Oh, but I don't want her head, my dear boy. At least not yet."
"What have you done to her?!!"
"Let's just say I've found a way around the rules of The Game. The rules state no FIGHTING on Holy ground. They say nothing of poisoning an Immortal's chi!"
Kenny stared at Jin Ming, perplexed. "Huh?"
Jin Ming shook his head sadly. "You ignorant barbarian! Your whole life is wasted!"
Kenny then noticed the snake on Jin Ming's palm. A symbol he'd seen once before, 200 years ago, while in the Far East. "You're some kind of sorcerer! You're using your magic to cheat your way through the Game!"
Jin Ming frowned. "And, what would YOU know about fair, little vermin? I understand you've earned quite a nasty reputation yourself. I suppose I should thank you for killing so many of my enemies with your clandestine activities."
"That's different! I don't have a choice! I do as I must to survive!"
"As do we all. Each of us uses our special gifts and abilities in The Game. Since beheadings are such a messy business, I have used my skills in the black arts to find more...sanitary alternatives. Within 24 hours, she will be dead. Permanently."
"But there won't be a Quickening!"
"Perhaps not in the traditional sense. But my magic will allow me to drain her stagnant Quickening from her unliving body with a simple touch." Jin Ming then began to advance on Kenny, his hand glowing with a mystic aura. "Now, little vermin, give me your chi!!!"
Though half conscious, Amanda could make out most of Kenny's dialogue with Jin Ming. Enough to realize there was nothing that could be done, and that Kenny was now in danger.
"Kenny, run. Save yourself," she gasped.
"No! I can't leave you! I won't leave you! I've been running for 800 years!"
"No!!" a single teardrop fell from his eye, landing on Amanda's parched lips. For ages he had repressed the urge to cry. Something even the noble MacLeod was unable to do. But, Kenny's emotional safeguards were rapidly crumbling to dust.
"I'll not leave you, Amanda! I LOVE you!! I don't want to lose you again!"
"How touching," mocked Jin Ming. "Then, you will die together! Teacher and student!"
What happened next shocked Jin Ming as much as Kenny. From out of nowhere came a blur of motion, a hand reached out to grab Jin Ming's wrist before he could lay his glowing palm upon Kenny's forehead and drain his life force.
"You will leave them alone!" came a soft yet commanding voice.
The stranger was an older mortal, perhaps 50 or 60 years of age. But he moved with the swiftness and grace of a man 30 years younger, while his eyes held a wisdom beyond his years.
Jin Ming was startled at first, until he realized this was just an old man. "This is not your concern! Stay out of it!"
"The protection of an innocent boy and an injured woman are very much my concern," replied the mysterious stranger.
This only angered Jin Ming. "Then, you will die as well!"
With that, Jin Ming delivered what was intended to be a killing blow...which somehow never hit its target. The stranger's speed was indeed impressive. Again and again, he managed to block and evade every punch and kick Jin Ming threw at him, warding off the attack with uncanny ease. Kenny wondered how any mortal could fare so well against an Immortal. Then, something caught his eye. The markings on the stranger's forearms, symbols of the tiger and the dragon...the mark of a Shaolin priest.
Jin Ming must have noticed the markings, too because he began to cease his attack. He then gave a wicked smile which made Kenny's soul shrivel.
"Very well, Shaolin. I will do as you ask. For now. But we shall meet again."
He laughed maniacally as he pulled something out from his trenchcoat and threw it to the ground. A puff of smoke engulfed him and he vanished without a trace...except for the snake Kenny saw slithering away into the shadows. Was Jin Ming a shape shifter as well?
The long haired hero bent down to retrieve his hat, which had fallen off during the battle, then came to kneel beside Kenny and the now comatose Amanda.
"Thanks," said Kenny. The unfamiliar word lingered on his lips. "Who are you?"
" I am Caine," said the stranger. "I will help you."
* * * *