The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part V -- Riding the Wave
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
The normally nice and civilized streets of this part of
Toronto were littered with corpses, broken glass, burning
buildings, and wounded people -- their sanity was coming back to
them. Because all of this had happened not too long ago,
the emergency cleanup crews -- that is, the fire department
and medics -- hadn't had a chance to respond.
Through it all Coleen chased her quarry with a single-minded intent, the ruin about her not really registering. The only thing she had to go on was the smell of the really strong and distinctive perfume. Most scents disperse so that only dogs can follow the trail, but this perfume was so strong that a human could follow it.
It didn't take long before Coleen could hear the sound of a half-run/half-walk. Following it, she found its source: a single woman carrying a large camera case and a gun. She was running to her car. That was all the proof Coleen would need. Jay had probably tried to make her give up something she'd filmed at the Raven, and had paid with his life.
"Hey, *you*!" yelled Coleen in a bass rumble. "Try doing that to *ME*!" She had her sword drawn and was charging at the camerawoman.
The camerawoman turned around, her eyes widening with shock and fear as she realized her situation. "You *stay* back there!" she screamed, aiming the gun at Coleen with a steady hand.
Coleen didn't stop, and so by the time she was about thirty feet away, was plugged with several shots of mercury-tips that hit all over her body. Her shoulders, mid-chest, and left leg were all shot up pretty bad -- blown right open, in fact. Her sword fell out of her hands as she sort of jerked to the ground, and then she was still, her face locked in a grimace of pain. To her credit, she hadn't made a single sound.
The camerawoman threw her loose hair out of her face nervously, then tossed a bottle of aspirin over to Coleen from out of her purse. "You'll need that when you wake up."
She drove away in a hurry. Coleen's fingers loosened.
* * *
Mulder had Heimdall cornered over at the bar, nearly force-
feeding him a Suicide Run, one of Mulder's own creations.
It was a triple-shot of American whiskey and a tall glass
of beer. Heimdall shuddered, but drank it anyway. Mulder
still felt a bit sick to his stomach from that rather
unusual coffee that Coleen had fixed, but he forced himself to match
Heimdall drink for drink -- which didn't amount to much so far.
"So," muttered Heimdall, "what was it you wanted to ask me?"
"The others say that you're a real god... that Loki and Odin are real gods. What do you have to say to that? For all I know you're an immortal like Axer who's taken on a bit of insanity."
Heimdall smiled, blowing out deeply. "What do you want me to say? I won't claim to be your Christian God. I'm not perfect, and I'll think you'll find that the perfect god isn't out there."
"What do you claim to be?" Mulder's eyes narrowed.
"Are you sure you're not a lawyer?... Let's just say I'm not making any claims, and never did."
Mulder shook his head, "You're not going to evade me that way -- I know too much!"
Heimdall drained his whiskey and beer in one smooth motion, which obliged Mulder to do the same. His eyes opened up bloodshot, and his breath came in gasps. Heimdall replaced the glasses with two bottles of a strong liqueur -- one for each of them. Mulder cringed. It was Frangelico.
Heimdall spoke eventually, "The past you see in your history books was not the past that was. The past that you see in art is much truer. The past that you see in stories, song, and poetry is truer. The victors write the history that lives in academia, while the average people who live life and see things as they really happen keep the truth alive in their hearts.
"The Aesir were a tribe, just as the Vanir remain a tribe in blood, though not in spirit. The Skandian tribe remembered everything that mattered. Look for your answers there."
"So you're saying that the world came from the bloody corpse of a slain Jotun? That time started when a cow licked away the ice? That mankind came from a single tree?"
Heimdall smiled, draining a fifth of the bottle in a swig. He didn't even grimace. "That was a metaphor, as well as a statement of what was important for the Skandians. For them, emergence from the ice and their predecessors was the beginning of the world. The cow was the beginning of prosperity. Trees were what brought about and continued life. The creation myths are not meant to be taken literally, but rather are meant to illustrate where values lie and where *their* world sprang from...
"Just as their end of the world myths illustrate where their world ended and what their fears are."
Heimdall became glum as he drained another fifth of the bottle. Mulder did the same, gasping and coughing, his hands starting to shake and his eyes quite red. Mulder wasn't about to give up, though. "Fine. Many of those myths are metaphors or images -- what is *real*?"
Heimdall bit his lip softly, "What was real?... What's real is that all was in war. The old world battled the new, and we Aesir were the only shining light that would keep mankind *ALIVE*." The last was nearly an emphatic roar, but nobody else seemed to notice. Mulder looked around, and nobody turned their head once, not even Scully. "We brought agriculture. We brought the secret of woven steel. We brought jewelry, fishing hooks, boats that could sail the world, songs to lift men up and songs to make the women weep..."
Heimdall looked deeply into Mulder's eyes. "What is past is past. We Aesir are living, growing beings just like you, and I think you owe it to us to let the past be the past. Your Truth lies in your own efforts, and not in any false offering that anyone might give. Look into your own heart, and sweat your own blood and tears."
Heimdall drained the rest of the liqueur bottle and walked away, while Mulder slurred, "Wait! I haven't finished."
Heimdall turned, "Oh, but I think you have."
Mulder got off the bar stool and tried to follow the man, but found himself hitting the floor instead. That got Scully's attention -- and in fact everyone else's. They were so shocked it seemed as if they didn't know the two had been drinking hard liquor for the last half hour.
Heimdall looked at Scully, "I think you'd want to watch Mulder. He doesn't know his own limits -- I think he was trying to prove something to me."
Scully looked at Mulder with concern and aggravation from across the room as he managed to sit up, but looked as pale as a sheet. He stood up with some help from the stool and stumbled after Heimdall, "You come back here!" his voice was now very slurred and muddled. "I'm not finished with you yet!"
"If you want enlightenment," Heimdall spoke over his shoulder as he left for the door, "take up Zen. If you want the Truth, stop searching for your answers from others."
He exited the front door, and a moment later, Coleen stumbled in, bloody and shaking. She looked at Mulder, who had collapsed on the floor only a few feet from herself, and asked the question that everyone was asking her at the same time, "What the hell happened to you?"
Mulder mumbled something incoherently, and Coleen's face fell into her hands. "I didn't have anything to do with this one -- I ain't doing a thing!" She callously stepped over Mulder and walked over to the TV, flipping it on and finding the news.
It was the local news, and the only thing being covered was the riot. It made sense, since the whole city was still being shaken by it. At the moment, they had a computer- generated map showing all the hot spots, and were commenting on the very area of town that the Raven occupied.
This area is where the heaviest fighting was
concentrated, and moved on about an hour ago.
Emergency crews have finally been able to reach
it, and have found nothing but destruction -- the
dead and wounded scattered on the streets, looted
shops, destroyed cars and trucks, burning
One freelance camerawoman managed to catch this on
video and sent it to us only a few minutes ago...
The police have identified this man as Axer
Carrick, a man well known to the Toronto police --
as well as international law enforcement agencies.
Although he is apparently defending an
establishment, the police have informed us that
this man is in fact a trained killer and wanted
for over five hundred brutal slayings in the last
* * *
Odin looked at the fire. Ever changing, the flames would
never stay in the same spot -- or at least, that's what most
people thought. To Odin, the fire was stationary, because
he could see every potential location of every flame at
once, as well as the progression of the flame through time.
A superposition of time and space, unresolved. He stared into the flame, and continued to do so while his memories superimposed themselves on the 'present'...
...Jake's arms were held by two strong and mindless
bodybuilders, held at the edge of a bottomless pit -- black
and endless. He spit off the edge and couldn't hear the
spit hit. Not even an echo.
The Invisible One whispered ever so softly from the back of Jake's head. "Think about it. Consider it. Endless wisdom. Just taste the knowledge the Well has to offer, and give us your vision in return. A fair exchange, wouldn't you say?"
Jake was scared to death of the Well, but sounded curious, "What knowledge?"
"Wouldn't you like to know *everything*? To know everything that happened in the past? Everything that's happening now? Everything that *will* happen? You'll see all possibilities spread before you like a rug. All potentials will be yours to grasp. You'll see the superposition of states without collapsing the wave. It will all be yours."
"And what do you mean by my vision?"
The Invisible One smiled, "Just an eye. In order to see the superposition, you must be blind -- but to ride the wave, you need to see. To extend the words of a physicist, not only will the cat be alive and dead at the same time in a superposition of states, but the box will be both open and shut."
"I don't understand!"
"You will, for in this universe, you have only one answer: YES!!!!"
Jake was thrown into the Well, screaming in utter horror. He twisted and flopped around, and the Invisible One threw the spear after the falling man. It shot down like an arrow, clipping the side of his face and neatly slicing an eye.
Screaming, holding the hole where the empty skin of his eye remained in his head, weeping, threatening... he fell. And he was no more.
A hand touched him on his shoulder, and he found he stood on the edge of the Well, while he was still falling: with his ruptured eye, he could see himself falling continually through the Well, and could feel himself falling; with his functional eye, he saw that he was on solid ground and looking the Invisible One straight in the eye.
The Invisible One smiled, "The bargain is made and the deal fulfilled. You belong to us, and you always will so long as you fall through the Well... and you'll never hit the bottom. Infinite knowledge takes infinity to grasp."
Odin clutched at his brain as he realized what the Invisible One implied. Images superimposed themselves in his mind and vision. Thoughts screamed for attention. Memories conflicted with daydreams. Sounds were both a chaotic jumble and a crisp melody of individual notes and instruments.
"Welcome to the Maelstrom."
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