Irish Kegbomb of the Soul
by Henry Wyckoff
A Crossover between Highlander and Star Trek: Voyager

Chapter 4

The mist coming off the shore a little ways off cooled me off to the point where it was a little uncomfortable. Not only was the sun not visible, but it was also impossible to see more than a few feet in either direction. The mist itself made me feel very nostalgic, and as I ever so slowly walked around the courtyard, voices from my memory spoke aloud. The smell of mist and moss brought back stronger ones, and I almost expected to turn around and feel the sharpness of a wooden spike slamming through my left kidney. Involuntarily, I spun around, only to see more mist.

I stopped, feeling the unmistakable presence of an immortal. At first, I thought it would be Duncan, as I knew for a fact that there were no other immortals on this ship, but then I entertained the possibility that the computer, knowing (via the Doctor) about my unique nature, decided to be creative and simulate the presence of an immortal, perhaps using some statistical module to determine the chance of my subconscious pulling out an immortal during my earlier mental trip, and another module to figure out how the hell to simulate an immortal anyway. It must have been a simple EM from the computer's point of view.

Another more cynical part of me reminded me that I hadn't met every single individual on this ship, and that there was a very large chance that there could be an immortal here, and it might not be Duncan. Under my breath, I whispered to the computer, "I need a sword."

It whispered back at the same near inaudible volume, "Which model?"

I never really cared about them, being pragmatic more than romantic. But I *did* make sure that I grabbed swords that worked in the heat of combat. Then I remembered an immortal who nearly took off my head many centuries back. "A glaive." Instantly, a glaive appeared in my hand. It was a single-edged sword blade an arm's length, hardened enough to shatter a Klingon batleth, or however they spelled it, and sharp enough to gut a gorilla. It was fixed to a length of hardwood about an arm's length. So all in all, it was a cross between a spear and sword.

* * * *

Paris whistled. "Smooth move. Did you see him draw it?"

The Doctor smiled patronizingly. "He whispered a command to the computer."

Paris looked embarrassed. "Oh."

Kim looked confused. "I didn't know he knew how to use that!"

Chakotay laughed softly. "That's because you've never been on an Away mission with him. If anyone could prove that the Swiss Army Knife is a military weapon, he'd be the one to do it."

* * * *

"You have no need of weapons with me, Paulo Childraper."

I felt a spike of nervous energy grab at my heart. I hadn't heard that name in a long time, and I certainly knew that Duncan hadn't heard it before. It was a name that came from a rather brief moment of insanity during the 1660s, when I took the head of van der Goes and sort of lost it for a few years. It was sort of like being drunk, where my emotions inexplicably bust through the surface, and I just wanted to hurt someone. That's what they called me, when a string of teenage girls crawled back to their parents, sobbing and bloodied, describing me in great detail.

Paulo Childraper.

I recovered my senses, but remembered every moment, just as I recalled the name.

"Who are you?" I called into the mist. I still felt the immortal, but didn't know if the voice came from this immortal.

"I am to you as Virgil was to Dante."

"You're my guide? To where?"

"To Hell." The accent was if anything very Icelandic, or at least the Icelandic accents I heard about a few hundred years back, before MTV and the discotheques diluted what was then the last stronghold of Nordic language and culture.

"Vikings don't believe in Hell!" I laughed.

The laughter was soft. "There are many things the Vikings did not believe in, just as there are many things the Catholics do not believe in."

"Who are you?" I asked once more.

He walked closer until I could see a faint outline in the mist. Then his face emerged. He looked like the stereotypical Norwegian sailor I saw during my own sailing days: tall, muscled, long-haired, angular face, and bearded. Just like a Viking, but with a net instead of a sword, and a smile instead of foam coming out the mouth. I recognized him. "Lars?" I stood corrected. He was Dane adopted by a rich Dutch merchant family, and not Norwegian. That might not make sense until I add the rest of his name: van der Goes.

Lars van der Goes. The monster I decapitated in the middle of the most severe sea storm never recorded.

"It's been quite a long time."

"You're dead," I whispered. "I killed you over five hundred years ago. How is it that you're walking and breathing?"

He shook his head. "Some deaths are less permanent than others. But that's beside the point. It is *because* I was dead that I am uniquely qualified to lead you through Hell."

It was my turn to smile and shake my head. "For some reason, I don't trust you."

"It's your *immortal* soul."

I thought about it. "All right. Lead on, van der Goes."

We were walking to the tower when I mentioned, "The one I followed here went up, and not down."

He was grim. "That is because we are going down, and not up."

* * * *

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