The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part I -- When The Veil Is Lifted
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
A crossover fanfic between Highlander, Forever Knight, and the X-Files. Other minor crossovers include Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Sharpe's Rifles, and a poem by Rudyard Kipling.
Also, I have incorporated a lot of my original ideas and interpretations.
The Cycle of Axer Carrick is a story about a character of my own creation, Axer Carrick, who is a Highlander-style immortal. He surfaces from obscurity in a Toronto bar, and the events that force him to surface will shake the foundations of the world.
Part I: When the Veil is Lifted
Part II: The Duplicity
Part III: Frostmelt
Part IV: Reading the Endtrails
Part V: Riding the Wave
Part VI: Cats Eyes
"Give me another double shot of Glenmorangie on the rocks!" slurred the scruffy man, smiling at the bartender as he held out another twenty. "Add an imperial pint of Guinness to it while you're at it."
The bartender shook his head sadly as he reached for the scotch. The guy was a perfect regular. He was quiet, polite, made no trouble, and came here to drink. However, he wasn't what you would call a good drinker -- he was a hell of a drinker. In the space of two hours, he had consumed seven double shots of straight Glenmorangie, two imperial pints of Guinness, and a pitcher of Guinness. That was a hell of a lot to drink, and mildly-slurred speech was the only thing he had to show for his trouble. He could even walk in a straight line to the bathroom.
The bartender handed over the shot and pint, "I've served you drinks for the last few weeks, but I never got your name."
The man looked a bit shocked. "I think you're right," he held out his hand, "Axer Carrick, at your service."
"I'm John," the bartender shook his hand. It wasn't shaky at all -- firm as a vice grip, but not painful. "You also didn't tell me what you do."
"I'm in between jobs right now, but I used to be a master-of-all-trades at Hanford."
"I don't know what you mean." His right eyebrow raised a fraction.
Axer chuckled to himself, "It's an old joke. When I was going to the university, one of my teachers told me, 'You know the saying, "Master-of-all-trades and expert-of-none?"' I told him I did, and he finished by telling me, 'If you want to be employed in this world, you have to turn it around and be a master-of-all-trades and an expert-of-one.' It's stayed with me all my life.
"But to answer your question, I was a mathematician, chemist, physicist, writer, and general lunatic. I worked on a lot of the fundamentals that nobody else wanted to touch, because they wanted to explore the cutting edge of science." He chuckled, "I've seen so many of those men collapse in tears because they never paid attention to the fundamentals."
"Hmm," was all the bartender could say. How could you have a conversation with one of these kinds of scientists? He did his best, anyway, and asked what Hanford was to begin with. John was mildly surprised that Axer could speak English instead of Gobbledegook, and found his stories to be mildly entertaining.
* * *
A motorcycle pulled up to Tam O'Shanty's Bar and Grill and parked. It had a single rider, a young man with a weather-beaten face that was revealed when he removed his helmet. He peeked inside the window and saw that the bar was going pretty slow. That was good. He didn't like crowded places.
* * *
John nearly forgot about the other customers as Axer told him about the buried stainless steel tanks leaking tritium and carbon tet into the soil and groundwater. Axer, however, had enough peripheral vision to see the disturbance just about to take
Some guy was arguing with his girlfriend, who looked like a street walker. He was bitching about her seeing other men -- hah! -- with the way she looked, Axer thought it would be a requirement. He was about to continue with his tale when he saw the guy hit his girlfriend. She was hit so hard that she didn't even scream. She flopped on the floor like a sack of potatoes, but wasn't quite knocked out yet.
Before the guy could do anything else, he felt a hard hand on his shoulder. "I think you'd better leave," said the drunk in a very slurred voice.
"And I think you should mind your own business!" He held a boxer's stance -- all jumpy and ready to fight. His fists were clenched and his face full of a sober kind of hate.
"Or what?" The drunk stood relaxed as if he were discussing the weather. His lopsided smile made him look as if he were holding back a joke.
The guy threw a punch at Axer, and though he never seemed to move, it didn't land on him. He tried again and again, but each time, he seemed to miss. It must have gone on like this for a few more moments before the bouncer arrived and gave the belligerent man the Vulcan death grip and showed him his pretty baseball bat.
The bouncer must have been a Sicilian named Bruno. He wasn't too tall or buff, but had a look about him that screamed: THIS MAN WILL STOMP YOU INTO CORNMEAL MUSH WITHOUT BLINKING -- or at least that's what Axer thought. The belligerent man suddenly became much less so.
"What seems to be the trouble here?" asked Bruno.
"Look, I was just having an argument with my girlfriend and this guy tried to tell me how to run my life."
"Sir?" interrupted Axer, "this man was attempting to punch his girlfriend's head into grape juice. I delayed him until help could come. As you could most likely see, his arguments had nothing to do with talking."
Bruno nodded, "I saw it," and looked at the man, "You have to leave. Now." The belligerent man was about to say something, but changed his mind and left in a huff. He looked at Axer, "You were good. Did you serve?"
"In my time. Why? Are you hiring?"
"I might. Come by tomorrow and we'll talk."
* * *
Axer left the bar, weaving a little bit. It was a good thing that he didn't drive, or he'd be in trouble. He reached into his trenchcoat pocket and pulled out a box of Shermans cigaretellos. Just as he lit one, he was struck from behind and hit the ground very hard.
He turned over and saw the same belligerent guy with an iron pipe in his hand. "You're going to die now. You should have left well enough alone."
Axer stood up with some difficulty. He was so drunk that he didn't even know where he'd been hit. "No. Somehow I don't think so." He stood back a step and spread his arms a little bit. "You want to try? Take your shot." Just like in the bar, he didn't show any fear or excitement.
The belligerent man took a swing, but if he expected Axer to be on the defensive, he was wrong. Just as the pipe hit full velocity, Axer moved in close to the man, simultaneously elbowing him in the chin and moving the attacking arm further in the direction it was already going. The end result was that the bar flew off into some dark corner and the man hit the wall.
"Care for a fair fight?" asked Axer as the man instantly recovered. Axer reassessed the situation and wondered if this were some kind of setup. For all the man's mistakes, he had the marks of a pro -- at least a budding one.
The man threw a punch at him, but was met by a solid open-hand thrust to the throat that nearly crushed his windpipe and slammed his body into the wall once more. He slowly slid down the wall, body both limp and tense.
The fight was over, and Axer suddenly felt the world spin. He collapsed to the ground and started vomiting. It was the scotch taking him down the low road. He stood up after a moment, and instantly felt as if his muscles were shredded and he had swallowed a beaker of acid. He had been able to fight a moment ago, but now he was less able to. If this was a setup, it was a subtle one, he realized, and he expected the next stage of the trap to start now. And it did. He felt a very weak "buzz" approach from one of the fire escapes of the alley. He looked up and saw someone dressed like an FBI agent with a handgun in his left hand and a sword in his right.
He jumped down from the fire escape -- maybe some twenty feet up -- and landed on his feet. The gun instantly aimed at Axer, and he was smart enough not to try anything funny.
"You've done very well, whoever you are," said the man in a conversational tone. "The first two didn't even make it out of the bar. Before I dispatch you, I want to know your name."
"Axer Carrick. You have manners at least for a recent immortal. May I have your name?"
"Patrick Morgan." For some reason, it didn't seem to ring true. There was a fraction of a second of hesitation. Perhaps it was his new alias, and he wasn't used to using it. Aliases took a while to fit snugly.
Morgan fired the pistol, and it hit his heart right in the center. Another shot followed it. Axer immediately hit the ground, but he wasn't quite dead. In the movies, people die almost instantly; in real-life, death usually takes a few minutes. This was why Axer was able to reach into his coat and throw a square shuriken at him.
Shuriken can be sharpened, but it is best to leave them blunt and rusty. Even non-immortals can pull out objects that stick in them and throw them back at the thrower -- blunt shuriken do their damage and fly off to some dark corner. It certainly did its damage on Morgan -- it hit him in the left eye and splattered it on his face. The shuriken then disappeared, clanking once.
He screamed in agony, but to his credit didn't faint from the pain. All he did was drop his sword and gun and fall to his knees, covering his left eye with both of his hands.
There was the sound of sirens, and colored lights lit up the alleyway. Morgan grabbed his weapons and said in guttural tones, "I'll come back for you later!" He ran off, leaving Axer to die.
His body had become limp and his eyes stared at the sky, becoming more and more blind by the moment though his eyelids were open. Sleep came, and a blackness without dreams.
* * *
It was a slow night for both Dr. Natalie Lambert and Detective Nick Knight. They had finished their respective cases early, and were enjoying a little bit of relaxation. Nat drank some coffee while Nick played with a Rubik's cube that had not yet been solved.
"Where's Schanke?" asked Nat, stretching out her legs as she leaned back in the swivel chair.
"He's out at Greasy Tony's," he shuddered. "I can understand how anyone can like meat, but a place that *advertises* greasy meat is just too much."
Nat shuddered as well. She often saw the effects of fatty diets on even young men and women, thinking that they were luckier to be killed by some murder or accident, rather than from the effects< of their diet.
"Is something on your mind, Nick?" Nat asked suddenly. "You seem preoccupied." More than usual, she didn't say aloud.
"It's a case I heard about from Chinatown. There were some beheadings that took place a little while ago. I've just been puzzling over it."
"That case? What's so puzzling about it? We know what they died from."
Nick chuckled, "It's just that Interpol, the FBI, and the CIA were involved on this one, and they tried to keep it quiet. It's solved, but I was just speculating on what it could have been. What would make an international agency so quiet about something that should have been posted all over the papers?"
"Perhaps they were vampires?"
Nick shook his head. "Decapitation will kill us, but there won't be much left to identify. No, I think there was some reason that has more to do with some Byzantine political game."
"Amazing..." Nat muttered.
"What do you mean?"
"You're the only one I know who can play with more than one puzzle at a time. A Rubik's cube and a bizarre case."
Nick threw a q-tip at her.
Just as Nat laughed and tried to dodge it, the morgue doors opened, and a body bag on a cart was pushed in. "Dr. Lambert," said the cart pusher, a young Hispanic man with a faint mustache and a thick Mexican accent, "I was told to give you this by the officer." He handed her a manila folder.
"Thank you, Diego," she said, taking the folder. It was simply a statement that this was a murder case and that it would be greatly appreciated it if a series of questions could be answered by means of an autopsy. She looked at Nick. "It looks like my day begins. A murder victim. You might want to stay -- it might be your case."
He shrugged. "Let's see him."
It was a long-haired and bearded man, but he was no bum. He was a well-built and well-developed man with a look of distinguishment about him. He wore a well-used trenchcoat, baggy cotton pants, wrestling shoes, and a home-made plaid shirt in the pattern of an authentic Scottish plaid. It even looked somewhat familiar to Nick. Perhaps it was a Lowland plaid.
"Who is this man?" asked Nick.
"The file says that he's Axer Carrick. He's in between jobs and a regular at Tam O'Shanty's Bar and Grill. He had left after a night of heavy drinking when he was attacked by some nameless man. Apparently he had stopped a woman from being beaten. Nobody saw the men who attacked him, but the police believe that the man in the bar must have been involved."
"What kind of jobs does he do?"
"It says that he was a highly-respected scientist at Hanford, Washington." She shook her head, "I don't know if I believe that. He doesn't look like a scientist."
Nick laughed, "You should have met Einstein, or even Newton. They both had their moments!"
He had been shot twice in the heart, and had lost almost all of his blood through both the entrance and exit holes. "It looks pretty straight forward," said Nat. "The questions are mostly along the lines of: was he dead before or after he got shot, how old is he, what is his blood alcohol content, and so on. Let's see what the blood looks like -- whatever is left of it."
She drew some blood and injected a mL into a specialized instrument. A few minutes later, a number came out, and Nat shook her head.
"Amazing," said Nat. "It says here that he has enough alcohol in his blood to kill *ten* men."
Nick looked closely at the man. "He doesn't look like a drinker. He looks too healthy. Maybe he was there for the food, and people thought he was drinking. It's pretty easy to make that mistake."
Nat looked at him, "If he's not a drinker, that's a hell of a way to die. He must have been forced to swallow a whole bottle of liquor."
Nick leaned in closely, "I smell vomit and alcohol. He must have been feeling the effects when he was killed."
"I guess I'll have to take a look at his liver and arteries to make sure he isn't a 'hell of a drinker.'" She made some notes in a logbook and said some stuff on a cassette tape along the lines of: date, time, case-number, background.
She grabbed for a scalpel and was about to slice when the man's eyes snapped open and his hand grabbed her own. One quick twist, and her wrist was broken. With a scream of pain, she clutched her hand, dropping the scalpel. He still held onto the hand, and continued the motion, torquing up the arm. A single shove sent her into a cart. He slid off the table and leaned against it, gasping for air.
Both Nat and Nick looked at him in shock -- but not in disbelief. "I think you should add in your logbook that a team of masked men broke in here and disrupted the autopsy, taking my body," said Axer in a near whisper. "It will look much more convincing than 'body comes back to life,' don't you think?"
"What are you?" asked Nat.
Axer laughed, "Nothing that concerns you. I'd be concerned about< covering my own hide."
He ran out of the morgue, but Nick tried to stop him. Axer< swirled around, grabbing the hand that tried to stop him and breaking it by leverage and the momentum of his own spinning.
Nick slammed into the ground and popped his hand back into place. His eyes seemed to glow with some kind of hate as he stood up.
"Hey, what the hell's going on there?" demanded a voice down the hall. It was Schanke.
Damn it! swore Nick to himself. Now he would have to act as a mortal or else risk exposing himself. "Don't let him escape!" called Nick as a kick slammed into his neck and send him sailing into the door. The swinging door slammed open, and Nick kept sliding on the smooth tile floor.
Schanke pulled out his gun and yelled, "Police! Put your hands in the air and face the wall!" Axer ran towards Schanke, who repeated his command. "Stop or I'll fire!"
Axer kept on running, and when Schanke fired, Axer had dropped into a forward roll. The bullet, which was aimed at chest height, slammed into Nick, who had just gotten up. He hit the ground again, cursing to himself. Schanke hadn't noticed, because a rising Axer grappled the gun out of his hand while simultaneously kneeing him in the groin... *hard*. Wordlessly, with his mouth hanging wide open, he dropped to his knees. It was then that he noticed the two bullet wounds through the chest and the copious amounts of blood on it. Axer kept the gun and ran off.
A few moments later, a wiped gun was dropped in the hallway, and bullets scattered around it.
Nat helped Nick up. "I'll help Schanke. Go after Axer!"
Nick didn't need to be told even once. Now that Schanke was down, he flew down the hallway like a bat out of hell, but he lost the trail. He stopped a ways down the hall and stood still, trying to sense Axer, but felt nothing out of the ordinary. There was no unusual heartbeat, no running sounds -- nothing. "Damn it!" He decided he should go outside and hover above the building, and try to see if he can catch anyone running out.
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