STREETS
by Henry Wyckoff
A Highlander/Sentinel Crossover
September 1998



Chapter 14

Latro sorely wished he could jump off the building then and there, especially since he couldn't share his misery with Odin, who had vanished as quickly and silently as he'd come.

As one who had 'thought' in Latin for the last two millennia, the mere sound of this horrid poetry recital and discussion was really getting to him. Methos had a much better accent, most obviously, but still . . . the 'information' was quite interesting, but the poetry itself . . . !

"Don't look down," he whispered to himself, "or you just might jump!"

* * *

Jim started the engine. "All right, now I know how you got into this . . . " He stopped. "You said this happened a hundred years ago! How old are you?"

Tutyr laughed, "Don't worry. I'm not one of them. Georgians are known for their long life. I think it's the goat cheese that does it. The aftertaste keeps those aging genes from activating as quickly." He noticed Jim wasn't laughing. "I'm something close to a hundred and twenty. I don't keep track nowadays."

"I can live with that. Anyway, why don't you continue, and maybe get to the part that might explain what's happening in this century?"

"It's all interrelated."

*

I was so furious about the whole concept of Watchers that I needed to kill someone. But as I walked, my heat began to cool into something much more focused. I thought to myself that the whole idea of 'noninterference' was a total joke. Not a joke, in fact, but something much worse. It was the idea of noninterference that had destroyed my village, I am still convinced, and that had to be stopped. At the same time, I could understand their level of secrecy. Who could possibly believe in a world with immortals, or even angels and devils, or gods?

An idea began to sprout within my mind, but as I met the Kurgan in his favorite hangout, I knew that this infant in my mind would need time.

In the meantime, I would act out my plans of drinking, carousing, and doing my part to bring forth many more illegitimate Tutyrs into the world. Those adventures are many stories unto themselves, so I'll leave them to your imaginations. Let's just say that this was the second time in a day that my plans were thwarted.

The Kurgan and I were soon so totally knocked over by opium that we could barely even breathe, let alone move our limbs. The prostitutes didn't mind all that much by this time, as they were just as intoxicated, and perhaps glad for the chance to rest a little bit. It was not only the opium and the exhaustive recreation that had worn us out, but it was also sundown, which for some reason always wearies me, just as sunrise does.

The light of the setting sun invaded our eyes along with the sounds of busting window shutters. For the most crucial moments that could have spelled our life or death, we were unable to move as several black-robed and masked assassins invaded our room. They could only be assassins, because they all carried the curved daggers.

One thing, after all this time, that I will never understand is how men who share lives of depravity underestimate their fellows. They must have also experienced the intoxication of the opium, and yet they assumed that we would have no power whatsoever to defend ourselves.

True, we were very, very tired and sluggish, but that did not mean that we were helpless.

It was also a demonstration of why an immortal living a life in the gutter would do well to have a storyteller with him, along with some extra gold -- usually three times the amount you plan to spend for entertainment.

I had enough strength to yell out, "Yuri!"

Within a few heartbeats, the curtains opened with a snap, and two burly Russians with the new repeating rifles showed those assassins a thing or two about modern weaponry. They were professional enough to leave one man barely alive for questioning once we'd recovered.

Knowing that money brought safety, we both fell into our drug-induced slumber.

Once we recovered from our previous day, we realized that things had gotten much worse than we realized, because I had noticed their tattoos. "Those are Watchers!"

The Kurgan looked at me as if he had heard that God had told me the date of the Kurgan's death. "What?"

"See for yourself! A friend of my father's met me earlier today and told me of the secrets my father would not tell me until I was older." I made the connections. "He is the only one who could have told these men about us!"

The Kurgan and I knew that this could not go unpunished. It was time to question the assassin, and I relished the opportunity to try many of my theories about the limitations of the mind to withstand pain and contain secrets. It all had to do with the involving of taste with manipulation of the pain centers.

I stopped everything in mid-thought and smiled wickedly. "Kurgan, I think we can both have some fun at the same time."

"What do you mean?" He was genuinely curious.

"A naked prostitute dancing with two fans. A sharp knife. Our last living assassin who is at the moment not a eunuch. Does this suggest anything?"

His smile was even more vicious than mine.

*

Jim stopped Tutyr. "We're here."

"I'm impressed. Most cops your age live alone in a one bedroom apartment with a box of empty beer cans."

"I think you watch too much television."

He smiled, all of his teeth still there. "I distrust television. If Stalin had had it, he would have preferred it above the purges. No need to get out of the chair, that way."

Jim raised his eyebrow at that one. "You and Blair are going to get along just fine." He noted the stairs with a glance, "Do you need help, old man?"

Tutyr glared at him, "If I need help, I'll ask!" He muttered, "I can probably last in a whorehouse longer than you, young boy . . . "

Jim had to shake his head. If this man was truly over a hundred years old and this feisty . . . come to think of it, he looked no older than sixty years, and that's as Dick Clark counted them. Blair really had to get a load of this guy.

The door opened.

Jim knew that Pierson was there, but he was surprised to find them chatting like old friends. It just seemed strange, somehow.

"Oh, Jim!" Blair was really excited. "You'll never believe what we dug up!"

"You'd better hold your horses a moment, Blair. Let me introduce you to someone I met on the way. Everyone, say hello to Mr. Tutyr, of Georgia. Tutyr, this is Blair Sandburg and --"

"Adam Pierson," Tutyr's expression was expressionless. He spoke a question in what sounded like Latin.

If Jim had been focusing, he would have heard a faint whisper from outside. "It closes." As it was, he suddenly smelled something good.

* * * *


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