Irish Kegbomb of the Soul
by Henry Wyckoff

A Crossover between Highlander and Star Trek: Voyager

Chapter 3

The council was a small one. Captain Janeway, Tuvok, Chakotay, Torres, Lendaxa, and Paris sat in a now empty French bar, with the holodeck doors closed. On a table next to theirs, facing them, sat two newcomers to the discussion, the Doctor and Duncan MacLeod. The last two were called in at the request of Lendaxa because she believed that they would be invaluable in the solving of this problem.

Duncan MacLeod was the individual single-handedly saved from the Borg by the Nightman. During the time that had passed, he had made a remarkable recovery, but it was obvious that there were more issues to be dealt with as they came. Nobody else knew his secret besides the Doctor and Lendaxa, but it was well known that both the Nightman and Duncan were previously acquainted with one another, and it was thought that Duncan would have special insight into the mind of the Nightman. They knew it was a long shot, but that it might be the one that worked.

Duncan spoke. "I can't even understand your concern... can't someone be moody when they need to?"

Lendaxa smiled. "We're all 'human', but there comes a point where one has to step in and do something." Her smile faded. "I can feel his pain, and when someone is going through that much agony, I can't stand back and watch it."

Janeway nodded. "And those of us who can't feel his pain to the degree that Lendaxa does can still see it. There might come a time when it might affect more than his moods..." She made a face. "And we all have to face it: we're one big family, and that only emphasizes our obligation to make sure that the welfare of every single member of this crew is seen to."

Paris protested, "But what *can* we do? Do you propose that we nose our way into everyone's personal life? And what if what's bothering him is *really* a private issue that's better left alone?" As always, Paris had to ask the practical questions, and it made Janeway really wish she could strangle him. But he had good points.

She conceded, "I didn't say that we have to nose our way into everyone's personal life... just that we should show concern where it's needed. And I'd say that Pancho is really crying for help."

Duncan shook his head, "So what is it that you want to do?"

Chakotay spoke up this time. "I took him to see his Animal Guides, hoping that he might find some kind of help there, but I don't know if he did." He looked concerned, "If anything, I believe he found his nightmares rather than solace."

"But what if it takes a nightmare to remove a nightmare?" The Doctor spoke. Everyone looked quite shocked, not only by the idea, but also because it was the Doctor who said it. "What if he really needs fear and all the other unpleasant emotions to find out what his problems are and deal with them? Maybe Commander Chakotay did the right thing?"

Everyone thought for a moment, and the silence was shattered when Duncan said, "With all due respect, I think that Pancho can handle himself."

He walked out of the room, leaving them to their discussions.

The Captain tried very hard to hold in her emotions, but she succeeded. "Well? Mr. MacLeod has a point. Pancho might be strong enough to hold it in, but do we depend on that strength?"

It was the Doctor who spoke up again, "Why don't we watch and see?"

Once more, they were shocked, this time in confusion. "What do you mean?" asked Tuvok.

"Look there. The Nightman is in the next Holodeck, as we can see on the monitor that I've called up. Why don't we observe what kind of illusions he creates for himself and assess that. Because this is a psychological issue, I don't believe that the normal concerns of privacy hold, as no oaths of privacy were made as of yet."

Nobody could argue with that, and frankly, everyone was curious.

They watched the monitor, trying to make sense out of what they saw...

* * * *

...I realized that while I wanted to slam Chakotay a few times for slipping some hallucinogens in that pipe, there were some valuable lessons to be learned in that trip. Since I distrusted Chakotay, however, I decided to enter an environment that was more in my control, so I entered the closest holodeck and fed the computer a string of environmental and character commands. It hadn't taken me too long to set up a program that would make this holodeck mimic the dreamland I was at. The large amounts of scotch that I drank would help.

"Computer, begin."

The barren, black room instantly reverted to the dream world. Because of the specific details in the program, there were very little differences.

* * * *

Duncan had seen Pancho enter the holodeck, and keeping in mind what he had just heard in the deck next door, he let the curiosity get the better of him. He reached the door and said to the computer, "I'd like to enter the scenario. Are there any open characters available?"

The computer didn't even blink, "What category?"

"Which ones are available?"

"Defined characters are all dream symbols."

That gave Duncan some interesting possibilities. "What is the time and location?"

"An unspecified English castle on the eastern shore, time unspecified but in the medieval era."

"...Make me a Scottish Highlander of the era." Duncan smiled. What else could he be?

* * * *

Those watching in the other holodeck had seen Duncan enter the game. They looked at one another, questions in their eyes, but they turned those eyes back to the screen.

* * * *

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