The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part V -- Riding the Wave
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995

Chapter 10

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 nothing good.

"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 going on.

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 were saying.

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 most crucial."

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 unconcerned. "Deal."

Mulder shuffled and cut the deck like a pro, and the cards glided across the table, stopping exactly where they were supposed to.

"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 her cool.

Powys nodded. "Aces?"

"Aces high."

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 moment!"

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.

* * * *

Previous Chapter Cycle Main Page Riding/Wave Main Page Next Chapter

Main Page My Fanfiction Henry's Fanfiction My Favorite Links Webrings I'm On