The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part IV -- Reading the Endtrails
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995

Chapter 24

Nick and Janette flew side by side, staying a hundred feet above the van and keeping track of where it was going. Every once in a while, Nick would use his cellular and tell Scully where they were and where the van was going. Although it was difficult concentrating on flying, using a cellular, and talking at the same time it was doable.

The van did a lot of random turning at first, as if the driver expected to be followed, and actually wanted to shake any tails. After about half an hour, the driver must have felt safe and secure, because he made a straight line for a very familiar place.

It was the very place where Mulder had been held prisoner and tortured.

"My, how the world turns..." whispered Nick when the two of them landed in the grasses a few hundred feet from the abandoned warehouse.

"...and turns again," finished Janette.

Nick thought for a moment. "I think we should wait for the others."

Janette looked annoyed, "Why? We can break in there, kill Halscombe, and leave before the Americans get here!"

Nick looked pensive, "I just don't like this. Some voice is screaming at me that something is wrong. Please, Janette, just wait out here for a few minutes."

Nick didn't see her smile as he turned his back to find a stump to sit on. He turned back to look at her, and her expression was neutral again, "Why have you come back? I thought that you wanted to leave forever!"

"I just needed to move on. You understand."

He nodded. He had to be honest with her. There were many times when he had to move on, and did. "But why did you leave like that? I can understand changing your identity, but why did you leave me and tell LaCroix that you didn't want to be found?"

"Nicola," she sighed, shaking her head. "There are some things about people that you don't understand..."

"What don't I understand?"

She didn't answer. Instead, she looked away, her expression that between a pout and a sob that she refused to let surface.

Just then Mulder's car silently approached, and they got out. Mulder looked grim as he viewed the warehouse after all these years, "It's a small world --"

"--after all," finished LaCroix, sitting on top of the car Indian style, giving both the two feds and the two vampires the scare of their lives.

"Where the hell did you come from?!" demanded Scully in a harsh whisper, letting go of her gun. Her adrenaline was forcing her fingers to twitch like she was on a coffee binge.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" LaCroix whispered back evilly.

"Cut the games, LaCroix!" snarled Nick, getting up off the stump and approaching the car, with Janette following after. "Answer the question, for once."

LaCroix snorted at that, gracefully hopping off the car. "Come now, I thought you were a detective! Don't you love a mystery?"

Before Nick could say anything, Mulder defused the situation, "That's not important. What *is* important is what lies inside the warehouse. Shall we go?"

Nick glared at LaCroix, but remained silent. LaCroix grinned, patting Nick on the head. Janette, who had watched this exchange, simultaneously cringed and held back her laughter. Only a squeaky "mmrph!" escaped her mouth before she clamped it shut with both hands. Neither seemed to notice.

Mulder hadn't moved yet, but it was obvious that he was impatient. Just when everyone got ready, visibly taking deep breaths, he looked thoughtful and said, "Wait just a moment."

Mulder went to the trunk and opened it, coming back with something from a sci-fi movie. It was a shotgun with a an adjustable double-barrel, so that it could be switched from "sawed-off" to "hunting" lengths with a side-handle. The clip was rather large, and looked like it could hold about twenty or thirty rounds, easily. He carried a side-pack with several more of these clips.

"What--?!" Scully tried to ask, her eyes widening with shock. She seemed to have forgetton about the rather unique rifle she'd pulled on Cancerman.

Mulder managed to look embarrassed, as if his grandmother had caught him with a porno magazine while he was still underage. "Santa gave it to me."

Scully's eyes narrowed, "We can talk about this later."

* * *

Mulroney took the point, and Axer the rear, keeping his eyes behind him more than ahead of him. They were in an industrial park, complete with the barbed-wire fences, roving security guards, and the occasional floodlights. It was pretty amazing how a nice, grassy industrial park could turn into a maximum security prison overnight -- only the world was the prison, and the inside was the exit.

Mulroney stopped, and Axer moved up behind him silently. They both looked at an electric fence, popping and fizzing as the occasional bug hit it.

Mulroney frowned, "I didn't count on this."

"Wimp," muttered Axer, looking around. "It's only a few Megavolts."

"You climb it then!" Just then Mulroney had a thought, "Why don't you use your sword? I once saw an immortal nearly chop a stone column in half with his sword."

Axer snorted, "What you saw was probably the work of a Damascus blade. They weigh a ton, and aren't *that* superior considering that I sliced *that* guy to ribbons three fights in row before I killed him. Thomas, you're thinking of, right?"

"That was him. He was a friend of mine."

"I'm so sorry." His tone was sardonic.

Axer gazed at the fence, and seemed to be fighting with himself. After a few more moments of hesitation, he slowly approached the fence, and touched it lightly with his finger.

"Mmmph!" he clamped his mouth shut, snapping his finger away and shaking it. "That's some pretty high voltage!"

"I told you so!" snickered Mulroney. "What now?"

Axer thought for a moment, "We climb it."

"What?!" Mulroney looked at him like he was insane. "Have you lost your mind?!"

"Yes... and in a very good way." His accent had suddenly become Croatian, but by Axer's expression, he didn't even notice it. "What if the Quickening was a kind of electricity? If the Quickening can flow into us, we should be able to handle at least equal voltages..."

"Axer?" asked Mulroney. "Why is it that you sound a lot like Nikola Tesla right now?"

"What are you talking about, silly Irishman -- I *am* Nikola Tesla! Have you been drinking more of that devil whiskey today?"

Mulroney tapped Axer lightly on the forehead, "Hello? Your name is Axer Carrick, and you are not Nikola Tesla!"

Axer grabbed Mulroney's hand tightly enough to make his face blanch, "What the hell are you talking about? Of course I'm not Tesla! He died fifty years ago! And don't do that again!"

Mulroney started to look a little worried, "A moment ago, you sounded, moved, and talked like Tesla -- and you believed you were Tesla -- trust me, I knew the man personally, so I know what I'm talking about."

Axer looked like he wanted to ram Mulroney into the fence. "We don't have any time for this! Are you going to climb or not?"

"I'll watch you climb first."


But Axer went ahead and walked intently towards the fence and grabbed it with both hands. He glowed very faintly as the fence began to hum, his face contorted in a Quickening- like reaction as he forced his hands to tense bit by bit, and help pull the rest of his body upwards.

It was horrifying for Mulroney to watch; it was like watching a man torture himself with the skill of Torequemada. By the time his hands reached the top of the fence, Axer was weeping with the pain, but he made it to the top and pried some of the barbed wire out of the way, oblivious to the lashes on his hands. He flopped over the fence and landed hard on the ground, breathing heavily.

For about ten minutes, Mulroney stayed immobile, watching Axer pant and twitch, not moving an inch. Then, his head lifted, and his face took on a wild light, "It worked! I think my theories are proving useful!" Again the Croatian accent. His head collapsed back on the ground.

Mulroney stood in front of the fence, muttering to himself, "You're making the wrong assumptions, friend. I'm not an immortal and I don't take in Quickenings. But since you're out cold..."

Mulroney walked about ten feet to the right, where a gate stood, and produced a key. The locks and frame of the gate were insulated, so he walked through sweat-free, locking it after him.

He walked over to Axer's still prone body and shook him awake, "Hey, wake up! Time is short!"

"Mmmph!" Axer forced himself to stand. "Let me sleep!"

"Come on, you wimp," muttered Mulroney. "We have a date with a scientist..."

* * *

Richie and Methos made it to the top of the skyscraper at long last, but they didn't actually scramble onto the roof yet. There were guards walking along the edge of the roof, holding guns.

"Let me handle this," whispered Methos. He whistled softly, like a bird would.

One of the three guards -- neither immortal could see how many there really were, but they thought they spied only three -- came over to investigate. Methos whistled some more, and the guard leaned over the edge.

Methos threw himself up with all his might and grabbed onto the man's face with a powerful grip. The man was so startled that he couldn't even scream -- he tensed up, which was perfect for Methos, because it let him pull the man off the edge all the easier.

When Methos let himself fall back down, he just kept a good hold on the rigid guard and pulled the man down with him. He quickly fell, and then began screaming and flailing by the time he'd fallen a few stories. But his screaming was drowned out by not only all the other loud noises around, but also by his very falling.

Richie looked at Methos with a mixture of awe and horror. Methos shrugged and slowly climbed onto the roof.

* * *

Coleen looked at the fence, frowning. "I don't see how Axer climbed that fence."

"Neither do I," agreed Jay, shaking his head. "But I'll bet you that fence could kill a rhino."

"So, what do we do?"

"I don't know."

They both sat there in silence. "How much do you value your bike?" Coleen's grin was pretty evil.

Sudden comprehension dawned. "No! You can't be serious." She just nodded with that same evil grin.

"I will *not* let you use my bike for that!"

Naturally, that's exactly what happened. Sure, it made a lot of noise, shorted out the system, and sent a whole team of security guards to check out what happened, but Coleen didn't care.

"Come *ON*!" she hissed, pulling him along with her.

* * * *

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