The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part I -- When The Veil Is Lifted
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
Mulder woke up tied to a chair. He wasn't in pain, but he was a bit thirsty. As his mind became more functional, he realized that he was blindfolded.
"I see you're awake now," said a raspy voice from in front of him. The smell of cheap cigarette smoke flooded his nostrils. "Are you comfortable?"
"It's not too bad. I can't really complain."
There was a slight pause, "You've gotten yourself into quite a pit, Mulder. You know that, don't you?"
Mulder knew what this man was, at least, even if he didn't know the man personally: he was either a member or a representative of the power that tried to keep the truth hidden. "Does it matter now?"
"I don't know. You're a good man," he said this in a harsh way, "and the ideal boy scout. You believe so strongly in truth that you wouldn't recognize it if it tried to kill you... Do you know how annoying you can be?"
"And you are?..."
"No," chuckled the voice. "We'll have no names here."
"What do you want with me?"
"I want to you give me information -- very specific information. What do you know about an individual named Axer Carrick?"
"Only what's a matter of public record: he was a prominent environmental scientist who left Hanford when the budget cuts came -- I presume he lost his funding -- and seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth. He surfaced in Toronto as a notorious drunk."
"But that's not quite why you came here, is it? I find it very puzzling that you would drop all your irons in the fire and run up to Toronto like the devil was chasing you."
"That's also a matter of public record. Try reading the police reports."
"And what did the police reports say?"
"Why don't you learn to read and find out for yourself?" Sudden pain flooded through his face, but he remained silent.
"Now, understand me Mulder. I don't have the patience for smart alecs and liars. You'd better be talking like an open book or else you'll get something a *lot* stronger than this. Now, you were about to say something?..."
* * *
Axer sipped some green tea and considered what he was about to say very carefully. "As I mentioned earlier, I'm convinced that there is a third player involved. Who he is and why he's involved is still beyond me, but I'm convinced of it.
"I certainly know who the second player is: Patrick Morgan. The guy might be an ex-Fed, judging by the man's tactics and connections. I figure he has to be at least a budding pro -- he's got the right instincts, but if he was a full pro, I'd have been really dead or left alone and taken care of in a more subtle manner that the police would never hear about.
"I know that you want to rescue Mulder -- I do too, and I feel guilty about not being able to keep him out of trouble, but I think it's more important to risk sacrificing Mulder to flush out the third man." Axer was going to continue, but Scully
"What are you saying?!" she demanded.
"Would you like me to repeat myself?"
"NO! I want you to explain yourself!"
"If we go into wherever he is with both our guns-a-blazin', we might rescue Mulder and nail Morgan, but we won't be able to get the third player, because he'll be smart enough to leave when the going's good."
"What do you suggest?" asked Nick.
"First, I get the information from my informant as to where the hired thug is -- the one who was with Morgan when he shot me.
"Second, I and I *alone* sneak into the place and do some recon. If the third party is there, and I know it, I'll collect as much information as I can and bring it back. If Mulder is in danger, I'll intervene and get him out, but even so, I'll have a better chance of getting out with information than if our intention is just to get Mulder back."
They all stared at him. "This is stupid!" fumed Schanke. "What the hell do you think you are, Superman?"
"What I am," said Axer softly, "is a man who is capable of doing exactly as I claim. That's all you need to know."
"You're crazy!" swore Scully.
"You're convinced of that?"
She sputtered, trying to come up with some kind of sentence, finally ending up with, "Because it's unreasonable!"
Axer's face took on a distant look to it, as if he were reading from a book in his memory. "Einstein's theories of relativity appeared unreasonable when compared with Newton's view of an absolute world. The great astronomers were branded as heretics and crazies by the Church and their lackeys within the Universities. Darwin was called unreasonable and crazy by the religious when he presented his 'Origin of the Species,' and yet his still unproven theory has revolutionized the biological sciences and given you a job.
"Now, these unreasonable lunatics are considered foundations of reason in your book. How can you make your statements when logic and empirical evidence prove them to be utterly false? Take a few moments and think about your next response -- if you return an emotional statement, then my point is proven."
Nick smiled to himself -- trust a scientist and resident of the Scientific Revolution to come up with a quick response to the words "unreasonable" and "crazy".
"This isn't making any sense!" complained Schanke.
Axer sighed in resignation. "Then it seems I'll make this very simple. You *have* to trust me enough to get out of this mess, and you never will at this point -- but I'm doing it only because Mulder isn't here.
"My secret will remain safe because you, Scully, are so blinded by your reason that you won't see what's right in front of you. You, Schanke, will probably forget because you won't understand it. Nick doesn't care one way or the other, and neither does Janette."
He pulled out a very ornate dirk. "Scully, prove that this knife is real and very, very sharp."
"Where are you going with this?" she asked suspiciously.
"Just do it." He flipped the knife in his hand and handed it to her with the grip towards her.
She took it and tested it. "It's razor sharp, and the blade is steel. It's real." She handed it back to him.
"Now, I know you're not prepared for this, but please try not to over-react." He stood up and walked away from the table, where all could see him. "Now, OBSERVE!"
Axer quickly thrust the dirk into his heart, twisted it so that blood gushed out, and did the same in his stomach. He also slit his throat from ear to ear, then made deep slashes down each arm from shoulder to wrist, cutting the cloth over his arms. Then he slashed his left wrist all the way around.
He separated the meat of the hand and arm at his wrist so that they could see bone. His left fingers flopped limply, as did the whole arm when it was let go.
Everyone was so shocked that they did nothing -- it was all coming so fast. "*Watch*!" commanded Axer, his weak voice full of intensity. The expression on his face was one of utter, unspeakable agony.
Scully tried to stand up, but Nick stopped her with a strength that she didn't know was possible for a man his size.
The bleeding stopped almost immediately, and the skin closed up after about a minute. "I think any one of you can taste this and attest that is real blood," continued Axer. "I don't care what you think or what you call it, but it *is* what it is. If you still think I'm some sort of crazy irrational, then that's your choice. But I've said all that I can say."
Nick and Janette knew about Axer's secret (or part of it, anyway), but even so, they couldn't help being as shocked as Schanke and Scully. It's one thing to know about a different kind of immortal, but another thing to see such graphic proof first-hand.
"What are you?" asked Scully weakly. She had tested the knife and saw the wounds firsthand, as well as the healing, so she knew that there was no doubt that this was real. It was a mind-numbing blow.
Schanke nodded after a moment. It was all making sense now. It explained a great deal.
"Why would you want to know?" demanded Axer wearily. "How will it help you? Knowledge is not always helpful. Sometimes it's better to remain ignorant. Come up with some theory that suits your own sense of reality -- and just accept that *somehow*, I will follow through with my plan.
"Keep in mind that the only reason I let you into my little secret is because you'll ruin everything if you insist on being blind skeptics -- but that's precisely what I want you to remain, in every respect, when this is over." That was said with a great intensity. His voice was becoming much stronger now.
"When you make your reports, all you will say is that Axer Carrick was such an alcoholic that he was immune to pain, and fell into such alcohol comas that he only seemed to be dead. His inexplicable miracles and actions are just that -- inexplicable, but requiring simple, physical, and *reasonable* explanations."
Axer flexed his left hand, and Scully jumped back in shock -- her face drained, perhaps in sympathy for Axer's loss of blood. Nick and Janette both sat back in thought, but with different thoughts in their own minds.
Janette was surprised at how much Axer had changed from the Bard Lanscot that she knew so long ago -- did people change so much? Had the immortal had become hardened to life and a severe cynic?
LaCroix, who was perhaps five centuries younger than Axer, had warned that immortality and a soul in conflict didn't mix -- was this the factor that had changed Axer into an alcoholic? Was this what Nick faced in his own time?
Nick thought along different lines. He knew nothing about the man's past, but much about his present. He seemed to sense an opening of some inner door. Axer was letting loose age-old secrets that he desperately wanted to tell -- perhaps he might tell some more.
"Why is it that Morgan wants to kill you?"
"He doesn't want to kill me -- he wants to murder me. Big difference there. Why would any man want to murder another?" Axer was quite proud of his evasions.
//Presenting papers at scientific conferences does some good after all,// he noted to himself.
A ringing came from Axer's coat pocket. It was a cellular phone. "Hello?..." He spoke in Welsh for the next few moments. Nick's eyes widened a slight bit, but he remained silent. "That's it. I have my informant."
"Where is he?"
"I don't know where Mulder is. I've been told where the bruiser is, though, and I'm going to extract some information from him. I would be terribly grateful if you all stayed out of this. You might spoil it."
"You should at least let one of us wire you," objected Scully.
"Look, I'm not a cop, and I have no concerns about police procedure. A wire will only get in the way and cause me unnecessary risk. Having a partner nearby might be just as bad for me because he might see one of you and get spooked -- and I don't need any help if he tries to nail me."
There was not much any of them could say. Nick said nothing, because he didn't want to explain to them how it was that he knew fluent 13th Century Welsh so well that he understood every nuance that even a trained linguist might have missed. After all, not every linguist keeps a diary in that same language, or occasionally reads poetry from that age.
He knew where they were going, all right, and he aimed to be there to observe and remember; perhaps assist if it came to that. Nick looked at his watch and saw that it was 5:00 AM. "Damn!" he swore to himself. He would have to get home fast. Just then, a plan came to his mind...
Axer left in a hurry, and everyone looked at one another. Nick broke the silence, "I think we should do as he says -- who knows what'll happen if we interfere?"
"I think we should follow," Scully shook her head. "I just can't believe any of this."
"Why?" asked Nick bluntly. "You saw the proof in front of your very eyes, and you can't believe a bit of it because it goes against your beliefs, and you call yourself a scientist?"
Janette smiled slightly. All you had to do was replace some of the nouns, and it matched the same conversation she had with Nick earlier that evening.
Scully shot Nick a dark look. "You're taking this all very
"I just happen to know when to believe in my senses and throw my reason out the window."
Scully stormed out. "I'll be in my hotel room!" she called as she was almost out of earshot.
"I'd better get some rest as well," said Schanke. His response to unexpected stress was to sleep, drink some beer, or eat
doughnuts. "Need a ride, Nick?"
"No thanks, Schanke. I brought my own car, and I need to take Janette home."
Schanke left too, until it was just Janette and Nick.
"I can take myself home, Nicola," said Janette. "Did you understood the man's tongue?"
"Yes. It was the selfsame Welsh I learned just before I left for the Holy Lands." He laughed, "I remember how I took such an effort to learn Welsh because I wanted to work *with* them, rather than rape them as the Crown wished. I guess I was the first to be politically correct!"
"You were always so," frowned Janette. "How will you follow him?"
"I don't need to follow him -- I'll get there ahead of him and wait inside. Then I'll take the sewers back."
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