The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part I -- When The Veil Is Lifted
The Revised Version
by Henry Wyckoff
The cheap motel room was full of smoke. The smoker had a pack of Marlboros on the table, next to a few empty bottles of Budweiser. Patrick Morgan sat across from the small table, a bottle of Bud in his hand.
"Don't take it so hard, Morgan," said the other man. "You win some -- you lose some. I'd say we won a Pyrrhic victory."
"Why do you say that?"
"Look at the players we flushed out from the woodwork. Axer Carrick, Agents Mulder and Scully, the Toronto Detectives Knight and Schanke, the police coroner Lambert, Janette -- owner of the Raven, and a mysterious man by the name of LaCroix. We even flushed out the infamous Alan Powys.
"What's more, we learned who are the important players and who are just along for the ride. No... I have not won the battle, and the costs are high, but we will win the war. Besides, the only ones who saw us don't matter -- Axer already knows me from the past, and the detective who met you believes you are dead."
"I don't know," Morgan shook his head. "There was something about him that didn't seem human."
The smoker looked levelly at him.
"Look! I don't know why I am the way I am, but I know I'm human! Any doctor can attest to that!"
"Any doctor can also attest to the fact that you have qualities that are nonhuman even if all of your organs are human. But that is beside the point. I believe that you will still be a valuable employee. All you need to do is go to the FBI training academy."
"FBI? Are you nuts? Besides, what the hell can they teach me?"
The smoker startled Morgan by silently, smoothly, and instantly killing him. The last words he heard before the blackness came was, "How to avoid that, for starters. But you need a new identity, which my organization can certainly provide. How about... Krycek."
It wasn't a question.
* * *
Nick, Schanke, and Nat sat in an empty conference room. Nat and Schanke drank coffee while Nick drank some red medicinal beverage. They were swapping notes about what had happened the last few days, most of it overlapping. There were some questions, however, about some points which didn't.
"How did you and Scully manage to find us?" asked Nick.
"When we found Dyson, Scully got mad enough to call in some favors from her friends in the phone company. They traced the call from the information she gave them and found out who the informant was. It was an Interpol Agent named Alan Powys."
"Powys!" snapped Nick. "That's the key!"
"I don't get it, partner."
Nick explained about the case in Chinatown concerning the recent beheadings, and the joined efforts of the FBI, CIA, Interpol, and the Toronto police to nail the killer, an individual named Jin Ming. He was a shady individual with no official records of any kind, but a reputation that had circled the globe many, many times. Unfortunately, the man had been beheaded himself while he waited in the cell. Alan Powys, along with a detective named Caine, had helped crack the case.
"It baffled me why those three agencies would band together to stop a beheader, and I think I'm one step closer to the puzzle."
Schanke looked down, "I don't think so. The man was a perfect gentleman -- almost like an Englishman, though he swore he was Welsh -- and gave us everything we needed to know. But he warned us that we were stepping into a can of worms, and that he was going to vanish pretty quickly because he didn't want anyone else's death on his conscience.
"'I know what Nick Knight is,' he told me. 'I've been with him since the beginning, watching on the sidelines, like I do with a great many people -- but the times have gone when I could aid or hinder so blatantly and freely. I fear that should he find me, all my plans will fall into uncertainty, and the man who says this is an agent of chaos.'
"You know, that guy was a wackball for all of his helpful tidbits," he snorted. "You'd better forget him."
Nick rolled that around in his head. The man claimed to have watched him since the beginning, from the sidelines... He knows 13th Century Welsh... He watched a great many people in a similar manner... He is an agent of chaos, fearing that all will become chaos should he make what he considered to be unwise actions...
"Too many of the right hints, but not enough connections!" he thought aloud.
"I think I'm losing you there," said Schanke.
"You'll catch up," muttered Nick. "If I'm right, we're dealing with the greatest mystery of all time."
Schanke wasn't sure he liked the way Nick said that.
Nat, who had more of an insight into Nick, as well as a lot more of the facts than Schanke did, began to see other connections, but she said nothing. There was a time for silence, and this was certainly it.
* * *
Mulder had recovered a great deal. Though his back would be sore for the next few weeks, he was generally OK. Scully hadn't spoken to him at all on the way back from Toronto, which was not good. He figured that he had asked her for one favor too many.
They were now back at work, putting on false masks and saying how great the underground "city" at Toronto was. Even Skinner was convinced by the lie, and told them that they had a hell of a caseload to deal with.
As Scully was forced to work with Mulder, her visible anger -- which she hid well in public -- began to die down. He began to realize that it wasn't anger at him, but anger at his torture and near death, anger at her lack of knowledge about those responsible, and anger at Axer Carrick.
"Why are you so angry at the man?" he asked her when they were going over some slides. "What has he done to you?"
"It's what he did to YOU!" she almost yelled. "Did you know that he was going to sacrifice you so he could go after the third party?"
"That's a perfectly sound strategy," he responded. "If I were in his shoes, I would want to go for information about the third party. Did he find out anything?"
"No. He said that the third man and Patrick Morgan got away, then vanished after I loaded you in the car."
"What do you mean, vanished?" his eyes narrowed.
"He was standing next to me one moment, telling me about how sorry he was and that he tried his best, and when I turned around, he was NOWHERE in sight!" She noticed the look on his face. "And no! I didn't see any flying saucers take him away!"
That wasn't exactly what Mulder had in mind. "How did you respond to him?"
That stopped her cold. "What?"
"What did you say to him when he tried to say he was sorry?"
"I didn't say anything -- how could I when the man is a murderer, and was willing let you die?"
"I thought we settled it: I approved of his strategy and Dyson tried to kill him -- can you tell me that you deserve damnation from the living because you've killed a few people in self-defense?"
"I don't care what Nick said -- Axer murdered the man in cold blood and did all of the work on Dyson. The evidence is too strong!"
Mulder sighed. "How did you find the body?"
Scully calmed down as she related the story of waiting at the police station for Nick, then growing impatient and going to the Raven. The rest was history.
Mulder thought to himself for a moment, and thought it good that he hadn't told her about a few more details.
First, that Alan Powys -- Axer's informant -- was an omen for strange times to come.
Second, that Axer had visited him in the hospital when Scully had been asleep. He still remembered the episode like it had just happened.
* * *
"How are you, Mulder?" asked the voice hovering in his dreams.
"It's me, Axer. I just wanted to make sure that you're all right. No! Don't get up! You'll only make your wounds reopen, and we don't want that, do we?"
"Scully wants your head. What did you do?"
"I know she's mad at me, but I think you need to deal with her on that one yourself. I have too many problems to deal with Scully or her kind. God knows I've bled enough for her as it is."
"She's not that bad, once you get to know her."
Axer's face hardened. "The only thing I know is misery. I don't trust you, but I like you -- and ironically enough, it's vice versa for Scully. Maybe that's why you make such a good team."
Mulder didn't comment on that. "What will you do now?"
"I don't know. I strongly believe in chaos -- the less you plan, the better things are." He handed Mulder a business card. "We will meet again, even though I'm not planning on it."
* * *
Mulder looked at the business card once more. It was pretty enigmatic, saying:
Axer Carrick, Ph.D.
Residence: The Past, Present, and Future
* * *
Axer had been hitchhiking the last few days, ad was now at the Ontario border, heading up into a far colder climate. His time with Lucius and his visitation at Mulder's hospital room had raised his spirits a little bit, but not enough. Axer was leaving the city and returning to a much simpler place with not a lot of people.
There was one particular spot where he knew happiness. It was a barren patch of tundra that was still unnamed, which was the way that Axer liked it. Perhaps some of his chests were still intact and undisturbed...
He was now on the lonely highway, with nothing but snow-covered grasses in all directions. The occasional farmhouse was the only thing that broke up the monotony of the landscape.
Suddenly, two cars zoomed into view. One was a lone girl driving a convertible, and the one following her was a crowd of rowdy punks carrying guns and sticks.
It seemed almost surreal. Just as Axer was watching, the punks drove her off the road, grabbed the girl from her car, and beat her to death.
Axer didn't know why he just stood there, watching the senseless violence. It was almost the quality of a Monty Python skit -- not the violence, but rather the sheer absurdity of the senseless act.
Almost immediately after the punks killed her, they got back in their car and drove away, oblivious to the presence of Axer. Perhaps it was because he simply didn't care -- death was a part of life, and sometimes these things happen.
Just as he started to walk again, he felt a sudden impulse of the "buzz". Axer turned around and ran over to where the girl lay in the ditch, her broken fingers starting to snap back into place and the bruises fading.
She was a young girl, but then anyone under the age of five hundred was young to a man such as Axer. In absolute years, she could have been twenty or so -- for good reason, he was bad at ages and other such trivia.
She opened her eyes and screamed, trying to fend off blows that were no longer there. Axer sat there watching her with curiosity as she began to get her bearings.
"Wha-- huh?" she asked herself, totally confused as to what had just transpired. Then she looked at Axer, aware of the feelings he gave her. "What happened?"
"Some punks just killed you. I happened on the scene and understood the significance of what happened afterward. I know you won't believe me, but let me state from the beginning that I will prove everything I say with indisputable facts."
"But first, let me introduce myself. We can't be going around calling each other 'man' and 'woman', can we?" Her humor was returning, as she snickered a little at that. "I'm Axer Carrick, once of Wales but now resident of the world. Who are you?"
"Well, Coleen, to begin with, you're immortal..."
He was right -- she needed a hell of a lot of proof, but for now, she was beginning to accept it.
The car was functional, so he helped her get the car back on the road. "Where to now?" asked Coleen.
"I think you should vanish from your official existence. Trust me when I say that official identities are a burden. I have a home in some nameless patch of tundra -- and I think it's the perfect spot for you to train for the game of your life."
That didn't go down too well, but Axer knew how to be a persistent nag. She'd see the wisdom of his ways...
As they sped along the road, heading for colder country, Axer suddenly smiled. Though he had never been a parent, he thought he now felt what it was like. He had met Coleen only a half-hour ago, and now she was like his own daughter -- albeit a scared and confused daughter.
As if a veil was lifted from his eyes, he understood the meaning of the lesson he had been banging his head against for most of his life. His past, present, and future were meaningless compared to the significance of life itself. It was the simple things such as raising the next generation of immortals that would bring him peace.
The frosty wind greeted him as an old friend, and he leaned his head back, falling into the first deep sleep he had experienced in years.
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