by Henry Wyckoff
A Highlander/Sentinel Crossover
Snow falls before me as I lie unconscious
The wind and the sky are now my only friends
My lifeblood is flowing through deep wounds in my chest
I wait for the moment when my life will end.
The night has now come but the fighting continues
Through hills without end roll the screams of the dead
The light of the storm touches all 'cross the landscape
Is it dream or reality I see through layers of red?
A translation of The First Watcher Chronicle
The plane landed without any soap operas, which relieved Blair to no end. Nevertheless, there was still a nagging thought in his mind; what if this was too good to be true? From what he knew of these Watchers, they were everywhere and well-hidden. It would take much more than a Sentinel to flush out these people. That's the one frightening thing that had been in his thoughts. All this time, he had relied on Jim to catch sight of danger with one of his enhanced senses, but what could you do about the man or woman who chose to wear a long-sleeved shirt in cold country?
"Flight 212 now exiting at gate 23." The loudspeakers were barely audible, and only slightly better than the intercom system in the New York City subways. It was a good thing that he was already here.
For the umpteenth time, he brushed his long hair out of his face. It was a common saying among Americans that men really didn't care about their appearances unless they were interior decorators, but Blair was one of the exceptions. Integrated with all of his recent worries that had nothing to do with fashion, he was asking himself whether he'd picked the right colors, how his hair looked, if he was starting to look fat, and so on. Ironic, because he'd called her here to possibly save her life, not go on a date, though he had the feeling that she'd rather have the date. In a way, he wouldd too, but he shared one single trait with Inspector Harlowe; duty first.
All those thoughts magnified as he saw Angela leave the plane. She looked every bit like she had the last time. He couldn't help but notice her hair. Hers was the kind that waved and behaved, and she always tied it up in a severe ponytail. It almost made him want to slap her. The one thought running through his head now was how someone with that natural, perfect hair could dare to tie it up like that.
The first thing she did on seeing him was nearly crush his ribs in a bear hug. In fact, she was twirling him around in the air, and she wasn't all that much taller than him, or muscular for that matter. "Angela? I can't breathe."
"Oh," she smiled. "You haven't changed all that much."
"You're still a baby . . . " She led the way to the front door.
"Don't you have any luggage?"
"No. You told me to pack light. You told me this was an emergency."
He nodded. "It still is. I wouldn't be calling home to see if the cats got fed. For all we know, they might even be tapping the phones."
She shook her head, her focused expression coming back into play. "You're buying the drinks at Collins."
"Well, we need to talk, and it's kind of hard to use surveillance equipment in a bar that has live bagpipes every night."
He hadn't thought of that. Then again, he'd had thought about other things. Still, he'd adapt.
* * *
Collins was an odd place. It was set into the shopping district of downtown Cascade, and was a common hangout for college kids. It had the wide variety of beers, ales, and whiskeys that any true pub would have, but what was annoying were all the fake Irish accents that all the waiters had. It was one reason why Blair hated this place.
It looked like Angela was having the time of her life, especially since he was paying for all the Guinness and the Irish whiskey she ordered. Once the bagpiper band started playing -- a set of amateurs with the Highlander Society -- Angela started playing footsie with him. "All right," she yelled in his ear over the noise. "Give me the background."
If anyone had been watching them, they probably wouldn't have paid much attention. Some woman practically sitting on the lap of the man sitting next to her at the same table, talking in his ear. Blair, who owned the lap she had been trying to sit on, had to clamp the brakes on all of his suddenly dirty thoughts, all those ones he wasn't supposed to have in the first place, and tried to focus on business.
"You know most of it. With this 'Amanda' episode, we unwittingly uncovered the existence of the Watchers, a secret organization that watches the lives of immortals. What they don't like is turnabout. We found out about their existence, and now, I have a feeling that they want to purge us. The one that Jim questioned acted like he was telling mob secrets. For all we know they already got to us. We have to make sure they don't." As he got a continual dose of her perfume, he couldn't help but think about the one person he'd like to get him good.
He shook his head to throw out those thoughts, and she misinterpreted that. "So what should we do?"
"We should get back to Jim for sure. He already knows about immortals and Watchers. In fact, he made one of the discoveries. Actually, I made the first one . . . "
She shook her head, "You know, I would have thought all this to be stupid nonsense, until I made the discoveries myself. Just to think that I would be targeted for looking through the history and photography section of the University . . . "
"If I had a secret to hide, I'd be pretty nervous."
"Do you think they have a skeleton in the closet?"
"Maybe. Or maybe their whole organization is the skeleton."
* * *
That very moment, Methos -- a.k.a. Adam Pierson -- was talking with Joe Dawson over Powwow, about as secure a chat software as you could get these days. It was pretty funny, he mused as he talked, how such a simple action as conversation had become so convoluted as to speak into a microphone, which would convert the speech into several layers of encoded zeros and ones, be sent over multiple phone lines, perhaps as far as New York City and Dallas, and be decoded the same number of times, all for what was probably a thirty minute drive from where he stood this very moment.
Joe might as well have been shaking his head, even though Methos couldn't see it. "The word got spread to fifteen different people that very hour. I know it's all hearsay without any shred of evidence, but think about it, how much of the Watchers' knowledge is based on evidence? Remember how it all started with oral history, and bad poetry -- bad enough just to remember it all the better."
"Yes. I know all that!" Methos snapped, knowing he shouldn't. "Joe. This cover has worked very well, and I'm not about to dump it."
"I know how it is," Joe sighed. "About the best I can do is give you enough notice to make it look convincing. But I don't think a car wreck is going to work, if they're convinced you're immortal."
Methos grinned, "Trust me, there are ways to convince even the most skeptical of doctors and the most superstitious of Vikings. Have you ever wondered why they developed the custom of leaving their dead on the roof for seven days before burning them?"
Dawson sighed, "I don't think I want to know. The thought of Duncan's dead haggis he left hidden in my refrigerator is enough to sicken me. It took me seven days before I even knew it was hidden in there."
Methos shook his head and cut the line. No sense tempting fate.
Leaving his high-class hotel room, he walked down the hallway to the observation window set at the wall. Down, far below, he could see the moving cars. It was all too easy to distance himself from that mass down below, as many of the rich people did, the kind who frequented this kind of hotel on a regular basis, no matter which city they were in.
Climate control, room service, maids, and all the things that spelled the comforted life. It could be all too easy to leave the real world behind, and not by stepping on holy ground. In fact, if anything, this was distinctly unholy ground. The Unholy Ground of Mammon and Asmodeus, depending on your particular school of thought.
"Nice view, ain't it?" asked a coarse voice. A mortal, probably here for the same reason he was.
"Pleasant, at any rate," he nodded absently.
"Too bad you didn't bring your life preserver."
"Huh?" He turned around to face this mortal. "Bloody hell!"
The mortal looked like a roguish, anti-mirror image of Duncan MacLeod. He had the same leather-coat fashion sense, but he had a truly vicious smile, the likes of which only Caspian had mastered -- and only when he'd been truly disturbed. Sunglasses hid his eyes, but didn't hide the bearded Viking axe he pulled out of his coat. "Funny words, coming from an Angel."
That baffled Methos to no end, "Huh? I've been called many things, but I can assure you I am no Angel." He tried to back up, and found himself trapped by the glass window and the wall.
That stopped the man, but only long enough for him to show a toothy grin, "You're original, I'll have to hand you that." He leaned against the other wall. "Most usually tell me, 'I'm an Angel sent by God!' or 'I'm the with the Devil . . . party on dude!' But it doesn't matter what they say, because in the end, they all die." He became very conversational now. "I can tear out their own guts or rape them with a knife, and they die so completely that when the Angel of Death comes, there's nothing he can claim. No soul." He howled with laughter at that. "Just like the crucified Jew, they howled out to God or Satan to save them, but you can guess what happened." More laughter, with tears rolling down his face. "I saw Jesus, you know. I saw him die on the cross, in a very real fashion. God didn't save himself or his own son, depending on if you believe in the Trinity. Why should he save these Angels, fallen or flying?"
Methos had the feeling he was talking to a total, wacked-out lunatic. If this had been an immortal, he'd've known. "Come now, that was a long time ago, are you sure you're all right?"
"I know you, Methos. Memorias Romae tenes?" The wacko took off his sunglasses, and Methos gained just enough of a clue to get momentary flashes in his head. "I was there too, when the Christians were crucified by the lions. Only their cross was the sands, and the nails and cords the lions' teeth. I wouldn't have known you for an Angel, except that I can remember you quite clearly, though we crossed paths only once in the Forum. Quite a philosopher you were, spouting hope and forgiveness in a very pagan way."
Now Methos remembered. The educated barbarian who had appeared himself to be a very emotional philosopher. "How can it be? You're not one of us."
"Of course I'm not an Angel!"
"No . . . the reason I am still alive as I am now is because I am immortal. There are others like me. We don't know why we are the way we are, but we are. If we were Angels, fallen or flying, as you say it, we would know. How is it I can't sense your coming?"
The man shrugged, "I don't know. Maybe because I know how I became immortal. Jesus cursed me to live for the simple act of kneeing one of his disciples in the crotch. Jesus didn't like it too much. Maybe he was looking for some hot sex that night and the man wouldn't be able to deliver? Or maybe Jesus had that healing, holy touch!" He snickered at his little jest.
"No," he spit. "That spineless pilium tosser converted. Sold his soul to Jesus to regain the sight that the bastard took from him. Died a martyr too. No. My name is Latro Campi."
Highwayman of the Campus, the translation appeared in Methos' mind as quickly as if the man had spoken in English. Then again, Methos knew Latin too. "There were legends about a man that Jesus cursed to live forever, but that was the Wandering Jew. Barry Sadler wrote about the Eternal Mercenary, but I never heard a story about a man cursed to live because of your actions."
"I like to discourage those rumors. They attract unwanted attention."
Methos nodded, "I can appreciate that philosophy."
Latro tilted his head, "So you claim that you are an immortal from this world, not sent by any god?"
"Not that any of us know of."
Methos was a man who survived and lived to tell another tale. However, he also liked to talk about intellectual matters, and so became a bit too relaxed. "One way to find out." The next thing Methos knew, Latro was smashing open the glass window and shoving him out.
Laughing, Latro walked down the hallway and skipped down the stairs, his laughs drowning out Methos' scream.
The Watcher who had been waiting in hiding sighed a deep breath of relief. He pulled out his cell phone. "Sir? I was about to put Adam Pierson to the test, to see if he was truly mortal or immortal, but there was an interloper . . .
"No, sir, I don't recognize him, and judging from their conversation, this man has a bit of a mental problem.
"Well, sir, he thinks he was cursed to immortality by Jesus for kneeing one of the disciples in the groin. Called himself Latro Campi.
"No, sir, none of that sounds familiar. Immortal or whatever, maybe one of the bookworms can dig out some information about him. I've never encountered an immortal who wasn't an immortal, or an old one who wasn't really aware of his condition.
"Sir, this man claimed to see Pierson in Rome when they were crucifying Christians, and Pierson admitted to it, and responded to the name of Methos. I know he's on the project, but still . . .
"If I find his corpse, then I'll know he was a good actor, but the thing still gnaws at me. Latro thought he was icing an Angel, and didn't seem to know about immortals. Didn't go for the neck either. Used a Viking axe to break open the window and defenestrated him --
"Shoved him through a window. Over two hundred feet up, sir.
* * *
John di'Anno was a very prominent Mob Boss in Cascade, but he preferred to use the more socially-acceptable term, 'Pillar of the Community and Bringer of Commerce'. He had plans to spread commerce within the grand hotel before him, most of it spent in an honest fashion with his wife. The rest of it, he planned to use towatch his wife having her way with whatever high-class women would accept his money. Not as socially acceptable as his preferred description, but the way he figured it, he and his wife had some fun, a few willing women who were into that kind of thing got rich, and they'd all get to ride home with silly grins on their faces.
He kissed his wife, Alana, on the lips, and was about to say something when she screamed, looking up through the open sunroof.
A man fell into the car, from a high distance, it looked like. When John saw the thick glass that had fallen with this man, his reflexes took over. "DRIVE!"
The limo sped away, knocking over a few who were too slow or surprised to move, but it wasn't moving fast enough to seriously hurt anyone -- just injure their pride or scuff their suits.
Alana had seen enough dead people to keep her cool, but she was still rattled, "What the hell was that?"
"I don't know, but when a man falls into my car from high up . . . " he slowed down, his eyes bulging, " . . . and comes back to life before my very eyes, with a sword slipping out of his trenchcoat . . . I see it as a sign I'd better not ignore."
Both John and Alana crossed themselves as they saw Methos slowly open his eyes, " . . . let me see . . . well dressed Catholic Italians . . . you must be Mob Bosses." He held out his bloody hand, "Adam Pierson, at your service. Nice to meet you." He passed out again, but this time, he was alive.
John and Alana looked at one another again, and Alana spoke in a firm voice, "We're going to mass next Sunday, and you're not weaseling out!"
* * *
A few minutes later, back at the hotel, the Watcher cursed under his breath. "Sir? Apparently Pierson fell into a limo that sped off. By all accounts, it's di'Anno's limo. He probably thought it was a botched hit by.
"Sir? I think we'd better call in the big guns. With the cops in on this and now most likely the Mafia, this doesn't look good." He saw someone very familiar. "Sir? Ellison, the cop who accidentally sniffed us out? He just saw me. Gotta go."
Jim Ellison, the detective assigned to sketch out the details of this scene, had been staring at the Watcher, blatant enough for the other man to notice, even at a hundred yards.
The man was walking towards him. The Watcher had the urge to run, but he had a feeling that wouldn't be good. After all, he hadn't done anything. He couldn't have.
* * * *
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