The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part V -- Riding the Wave
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
Nat was a speed demon. It was a good thing that the
emergency crews were still cleaning up the streets, because
if the traffic cops were paying any attention, they would
have pulled her over in no time at all -- and probably
clapped her in handcuffs for the night.
Her jaws were clenched tight, and her hands gripped the
wheel like she was trying to crush it.
All she knew was her anger and frustration, all because of
Janette and Coleen -- Janette for paying Coleen for drugging
her up, and Coleen for doing it.
Nat knew it wasn't her own fault, but she also felt guilt
for letting it happen, as if she should have somehow
resisted the drugs that Coleen injected into her.
Eventually, she had broken out -- but that was beside the point.
Her eyes stared straight ahead, not even looking for traffic
or cars coming the other way. She was very lucky that this
wasn't a busy day or she would have long since hit a car or
even a pedestrian crossing the street. She sped through
intersections without even slowing down until she hit one where a train of diesels were crossing the road.
Her eyes narrowed even more, she slammed on the brakes and
came an inch from slamming into a truck. Not even a moment
passed before she was nearly clawing at the steering wheel.
She glanced at the rearview mirror, and it was quite by
chance that she saw a very familiar sight: someone in a
parked car about a hundred feet away, and he had a black box
with him. Nat also remembered that car from the street
outside of Nick's house.
Her mind wasn't so full of rage that she couldn't think
clearly -- she *knew* what that black box was used for, and
she figured that her association with a certain band of
vampires and immortals -- and two state-side federal agents
walking a fine line -- had probably made her a target.
Even though it hadn't been until a few days ago that her life had
become a wreck, she'd always had a touch of healthy cynicism
-- she figured that a blackboxman following her could mean
"All right, you want me -- you have to get me first!" She
was still fuming mad, but some of that anger was now
directed onto that blackboxman. "In the meantime, I have some people I want you to meet!"
The car continued to follow her in a very blatant fashion,
as if the guy was a mental zombie.
* * *
Joe entered the main room, rubbing the sweat and oils off
his face. He'd managed to catch a few winks of sleep, and
Bill looked as if he'd completely recovered from the
drinking bout -- not a trace of a black circle under either eye.
Bill looked pretty disturbed. He wasn't 'losing it', but he
did look as if something was building up inside of him.
When he noticed that Joe was gazing closely at him, he
walked away to the stairs. Joe didn't follow him.
Joe took a quick peek around the room. Kermit was busy with
the black box, while simultaneously thinking about how to
break through the odd force field in the basement -- the
force field preventing anyone from going after Axer and
company. He wasn't making much progress, by the sound of
his muttering, but at least it kept him busy.
Coleen was moping in the corner for some reason or another -
- she had the look of someone who was either very worried or
very love-sick -- maybe both. He hadn't gotten a good look
at the situation, but he seemed to remember some soap opera
between her and the coroner, Nat. From what he could
observe, there was something of a triangle or even a square
Mulder and Scully had left during his nap, gone to St.
Andrews. Heimdall had left as well. Halscombe had fallen
asleep, after all those hours of staring at the ceiling.
For a moment, Joe's gazed locked on Halscombe, wondering
what was going on inside that man's mind. //What could
cause that kind of mental damage?// he wondered.
From what he'd heard from the others, this man made a lot of
the evil immortals that he knew of seem like schoolyard
bullies. This wasn't just a man who destroyed, but he was
also a manager who kept a whole network of destruction and
plots running. He also had a keen and powerful mind --
anything that could crack that mind had to be pretty nasty.
Powys, Methos, and Richie had more than made up for all the
absences. Powys was off in an other dark corner, smoking a
pipe. Nice stuff, that tobacco. He could smell it all the
way on the other side of the room.
Richie and Methos were having a heated, quiet discussion in
the corner. All anyone knew was that they were arguing, but
their voices were soft enough that nobody knew what they
Joe walked over to where Methos sat. They both stopped
their discussion with guilty looks on their faces. He had
to smile at that, "You can stop talking about me now."
Methos wasn't smiling. "We need to leave tonight for the Landing."
Joe nodded. "It's Odin, isn't it?" They both looked
shocked at that. "Bill found out about it earlier on.
Nobody knows how it happened, but he's up and alive.
Reports say that he's made a camp for himself and is waiting
there for something."
Richie pulled out some books, "I think there's something we
ought to let you know about... When we raided an office in
Paris, we found something." He showed Joe the Watchers'
Chronicles on the 'Norse gods' and the two special books on
the Prophecies of Ragnarok and on the Invisible Ones.
Joe examined them briefly, his face a pasty-white, "These
*are* Watcher Chronicles... but I've never heard of them
before! And the author -- Jan Hofmann -- he's one of the
most respected Watchers from the last century! We would
have *known* about these!"
Richie and Methos glanced at one another once more. Methos
spoke, "I read the Prophecies and 'Non Videt, Sed Video'...
and they're pretty disturbing. Listen to this:
"And so it will pass that at the end of the Second
Christian Millennium, the Twilight will fall in
the North, at the very base of Yggdrasil. The
Twilight, as with any other night, will last but
for a single evening. But once it is over, the
coming day will not be as any day.
"The One-Eyed will arise from his eversleep and
dream the mad dreams of a falling man chained to
the cliff -- ever bound and ever falling.
"The axe will be found in the most unlikely place,
and it will awaken the holder. The axe shall chop
the rope when thrown, and dust shall blind those
who view its coming.
"The Gambler will roll his dice, and on the
rolling of the dice, the --
"This is where the page is ripped off," growled a frustrated
Methos, his jaw tight. "I don't know if it was deliberate
or an accident, but I have a feeling it's going to be the
Joe held up his hands, "Now, back up here a moment! This is
*prophecy*! Tell me you don't believe in that stuff. And
don't tell me this makes any sense to you!"
Methos leaned back, his face cold, "Everything else in here
happened as the book said it would -- it's enough to make me
listen. Why don't you answer me how it is that someone a
few centuries back would know when and where Odin would die,
and that he would come back?"
Joe shook his head, "That's like any other book of prophecy
-- it's written in such general language that it could mean
*anything*." //Where the hell is Scully when you need her!//
Powys pretended to be oblivious to the conversation, but
inside, he was shaking like a leaf. He knew who'd written that
book, all right, and on hearing direct quotations from it,
it scared him. //How did they get hold of that? I
thought it was destroyed!//
He held two dice in his hand, and they were trembling. //I
wouldn't it put it past Methos to block me... he'd
certainly want to, but I don't know if he'd be able to.//
The front door opened then, and Powys looked with a jerk of
his head. It was Mulder and Scully, both looking terribly
exhausted. They both looked his way. It didn't feel right.
They both walked over towards him in a straight line.
Scully looked as if her world was turned upside down.
Mulder's face was expressionless. He held a pack of cards
in his hand. "Care to play a round?"
That caught him by surprise. He shrugged. "A round of what?"
"Five card draw -- blind."
"It's just like five card draw, except that you don't look
at your cards. They stay face down the whole time."
Powys looked hard at both the feds, and could read anything
useful. //What's your game?// He tried to look
Mulder shuffled and cut the deck like a pro, and the cards
glided across the table, stopping exactly where they were
"What's your bet?" asked Powys.
"This." Mulder produced a photograph of Powys in the
experimentation room where Scully had been put through a hell of
an ordeal. On the surface, it was done by Halscombe's
bosses. On the underside, it was still done by his bosses -
- just a different group of bosses.
"And if I win?"
Mulder brought out a lighter. "You'll also learn where I
got it." Scully looked a little shocked at that, but kept
Powys nodded. "Aces?"
The two stared at their hands. Now that Powys was in his
element, he seemed to calm quite rapidly. He was even
smiling in that annoying fashion once more.
They discarded cards, seemingly at random, and drew cards.
They each did this three times, and then Mulder said
suddenly, "I call you."
Powys nodded and overturned his cards: 10 of Spades, Jack of
Hearts, Queen of Diamonds, King of Spades, Ace of Diamonds.
Scully whistled in shock and amazement. Powys leaned back
with a confident smile.
Mulder, with shaking hands, overturned his: 10 of Clubs,
Jack of Clubs, Queen of Clubs, King of Clubs, Ace of Clubs.
All three stared at both of the hands in total shock.
Powys' jaw dropped in shock, his eyes wide open. He was now
visibly shaking. His gaze met Mulder's dead on. "I bet you
run your life like this."
Scully kept her own thoughts to herself regarding that statement.
Mulder just smiled uncertainly. "I think you have something
to tell us."
Powys refilled his pipe, nodding. "You don't want to know."
Mulder stared him down, "I've had enough of that. I want
the truth, and I want it now."
Powys nodded once more. "The picture... It was a ways back
-- maybe last year? I was looking into the hidden
government, and I managed to find one of their labs. The
reason that I was never able to find these labs for so long
is because they were never in the same place. They were on
train cars that travelled around the country, often hooked
onto passenger trains without anyone knowing.
"I managed to find it, and disguised myself as a
biophysicist." He shrugged, "I have several degrees in
physics, so it's not like I was out of my league. I had to
use some vague language to make sure that nobody knew that I
wouldn't be able to explain what kind of research I was
doing, which worked out for the best. Everyone, it turned
out, was vague about their research.
"I made it to that car, and that's when I took that shot.
It was a time when I was much less certain about what was
going on behind closed doors... and I was so shocked by what
I saw that I started gathering as much evidence as I could.
I don't think I ever intended to reveal it... but I wouldn't
keep it secret either. If *I* ever revealed it, it would be
to a strategic audience.
"Photographs are also my way of taking notes. If a picture
is worth a thousand words, then imagine what a thousand
pictures would do. I saw so much that I didn't understand
at the time, that I needed to snapshot as much as I could,
and then get out."
He snickered. "I almost didn't make it out of there.
Halscombe decided to visit that very day, and he got a
direct look in my face. All those other times, he was so
preoccupied with other things that he never noticed -- but
this time he did. I think he must have seen my picture
somewhere, because he called me by my title, rather than my name.
"I made it out, and for the next week, there was a
major cleanup taking place. Scientists were murdered in
their sleep. Mercenaries washed up on the shores of rivers
across this country, and in others. A few politicians woke up
after a long night's sleep riding the tiger -- a ride that
they wouldn't survive." He looked at Scully significantly,
"And *merchandise* was returned without explanation."
His look was smug in a dead sort of way. "I made Halscombe
very, very afraid of me. I think for the only time in his
life, he was more afraid of me than his employers...or
maybe he was afraid of me because I could make him even more
afraid of his employers, should they find out certain information?"
"How much do you know now?" Mulder demanded. "What did you
learn about the experiments?"
Powys stood up, "Oh, no you don't! That wasn't part of the deal!"
Mulder and Scully looked at one another, and both shook
their heads sadly.
Powys calmly walked towards the door, but Mulder put a hand
on his shoulder.
His face full of a sudden rage, Powys sent him to his knees
with a solid punch to the gut, "You'd better be quicker with
your fists than you are with your mouth!"
Powys found a pistol aimed at him. Scully grimaced, "You'd
better sit down even faster -- and tell us the rest of the truth this time!"
Powys raised his hands a little, but not in surrender --
more of a gesture of reasoning. "You don't want to kill me,
and I hope you'll never find out why."
He left. Scully didn't shoot him -- she'd hoped that the gun
would convince him to cooperate, but apparently immortals
(if that's what he was) didn't seem to mind pain and
temporary deaths all that much. By the time Mulder got back
to his feet and opened up the door, it wasn't Powys he saw,
but rather Nat. She looked quite scared and excited -- and
diverted his attention from Powys.
"Get ready!" she whispered urgently. "There's a black-box
killer who's been following me, and he should be here any
Coleen looked up from where she sat pensively, her eyes
mixed with wild fear and hope, but when Nat caught her eye,
her heart sank -- Nat's eyes were full of focused anger...
an anger she had never seen in Nat before.
* * * *