XTC
by Henry Wyckoff
Crossover: XF, DW (4th Doctor), HL, ST:Voy, and the world of David Eddings


Chapter 4


Tucson streets, Scully noted, were ideal. True, the New Yorkers and Californians were still moving here in droves and bringing their driving habits with them, but even so, this city tended to mellow those habits. Maybe they might even qualify as 'Sunday drivers'. If anything, that made Scully and Jan a little more edgy, since they didn't have any excuse focusing their attention on the road.

"Where do we need to go?" asked Jan, who was driving the rental. Although he wasn't a stone face, he seemed somehow... distant. Mulder had that reputation, but Jan's personality made Mulder's seem like the perky type.

"We'll need to stop by the FBI office here first." Scully read from a list she had written on a pocket notepad. "After that, the first scene is only two miles away."

"Funny how all the crime and drugs hit a stone's throw from downtown." He wasn't smiling.

Scully didn't think it was funny either, and hadn't noticed the pattern before. "XTC has not shown an affinity for socio-economics. Do you think it might be different this time?"

He shrugged, turning onto the freeway, "You're probably right. The pattern hasn't changed yet. If anything, it's serial killing with drugs, and who knows what motivates a serial killer."

Scully noticed an odd shadow cross Jan's face when he said that, and it made her wonder if Jan had suffered a personal loss very recently. If it were Mulder, she would have pried it out of him sooner or later, but since this was someone she didn't know, she figured it would be better to wait until later. "That's interesting. I never thought of drug peddlers as being serial killers."

"That's because you're thinking of pot dealers, who want happy clients to come back and buy more. Whoever is peddling XTC wants dead clients." A look of shock crossed his face, "You know, all this time, we've treated the victims as drug addicts who were united by their addiction, but has anyone ever thought of looking at the connections between the victims in all the cities?"

Before Scully could answer, her cellphone rang. "Scully."

It was Skinner. "I thought I'd let you know that Mulder is going to be all right. The doctors say that it's food poisoning."

She blew a sigh of relief. "Salmonella?"

"I'm not sure. The doctors are still working on it, but they say that it's something that comes from improperly cooked food."

"Sir? That sounds really fishy to me -- forgive the pun. Mulder is very particular about his eating habits."

Skinner sounded shocked, "Come to think of it, he *did* annoy the waiter when I took you two out for dinner. What's your theory?"

"I think that someone thought he was dangerous, sir. It's not the first time they've tried to eliminate him. LSD in his water supply didn't work, so maybe they thought they'd try something even more subtle."

Jan frowned. He knew what Mulder did, and from the half of the conversation he could hear, knew that something odd was up.

* * * *


Silk was frozen in fear as he saw his surroundings vanish around him, to be replaced by sterile, strange surroundings. The only problem was that aside from not knowing what had just happened, he also could not place his current location. Silk was someone who prided himself on knowing where he was at every moment, and knowing multiple ways of getting out of there. He couldn't say that on either account. Yet. It was a closed room of some kind, but filled with all kinds of stuff that he couldn't put a name to. A lot of it had blinking lights and solid colors. Though he hated to admit it, he wished that Belgarath were here. The man was thousands of years old, and must be able to know what was going on. Or could it be that even Belgarath would be ignorant? Could it be that only the gods would know? Zedar, Silk noticed, was taking this somewhat easier. Maybe it came with age and experience as a sorcerer. The perpetual fear, however, was still
with Zedar. Powys was treating this as something normal.

Everyone, Silk noticed, was speaking totally different languages, and yet were able to understand one another without apparent difficulty. Powys and the one called 'the Doctor' were speaking with an imperious-looking woman who might have even been able to bully Polgara into doing something she didn't like (an almost frightening thought in itself). She was a young woman, perhaps younger than himself, and seemed to have some sort of high rank. That's what made Silk realize something: no matter how casual everyone was, they still behaved in what was a military manner. So this woman must have been at the very least a commanding officer. The woman looked at Powys, Silk, and Zedar with a mixture of curiosity, distaste, and confusion. When she looked at the three of them, her volume rose a little bit, also becoming sharper, and Silk began to wonder if they had jumped into a frying pan.

Suddenly, the woman was speaking a language that Silk could understand, and she said, "I would believe that what you see here is quite confusing to you."

Silk tried using a smile that had made many a woman's heart melt, "Lady, I think that you have the gift of an Algar's capacity for understatement. 'Confusing' wouldn't even begin to describe it."

She obviously didn't understand the reference to an 'Algar', but the rest certainly was understood, and her expression did soften a bit. "I'm just as confused as you are, though I'm ashamed to admit it. Apparently, chaos has decided to graciously visit this ship, and I am powerless to stop it." She looked meaningfully at the Doctor and Powys. "I am quite sure that in a few moments, we can sort out this confusion. In the meantime, I'm sure you would appreciate a nice place to sit down and something to eat and drink."

That always sounded good to Silk. He bowed, a lopsided smile on his face, "That, lady, is the best proposal I have heard in a long time."

However, there was to be no moment of blessed civilization, or even food and drink, for that matter. Immediately, a cloud of smoke erupted in the room, and a whole lot of screaming and yelling assaulted Silk's ears. The smoke was black and thick, and threatened to smother him. His eyes and throat began to burn.

"Come on!" screamed Powys in his ear, yanking him towards where Silk thought the door was. He didn't need to be told twice, and sprinted for it. On the other side, the smoke had thinned somewhat, and he thought he saw someone running far down the corridor. "Run for it!" Powys screamed again, sprinting after the man, who appeared to have something slung over his shoulder. It was kicking and screaming. With a shock, he realized that it was the one woman of the crowd who had appeared to be civilized.

Silk ran with difficulty, trying to cough out all the smoke from his lungs. In a few moments, he had caught up with Powys, but he didn't feel any better. Looking around on impulse, he saw that one of the crew was following them, screaming questions at Powys, who was screaming right back. Apparently the man knew that Silk and Powys had nothing to do with this, and was only getting better informed about what was going on. Silk wished that he understood this language so that he'd understand what was happening too.

The woman was screaming even louder, but was unable to break loose from the man's hold. Several crewmen intercepted him from the other direction, but before they could do anything, he sent them flying into the wall with light that shot from his hands. The men lay motionless, smoking softly. Silk felt his gut knot tightly -- it appeared that things had become familiar in a bad way. They were dealing with a sorcerer, which was something that Silk avoided if he could help it.

The man ran into a dead end, and on turning around, saw that he had to face his pursuers. This man spoke a language that Silk could understand, "I dare you to follow me now!" Silk even identified the accent. He was a Murgo, and from this distance, Silk could even see the scars on his face that every Murgo made. All Murgos went through a ceremony of manhood, where they scarred their face in imitation of Torak, their dark god.
Silk snarled, reflexively pulling out some throwing knives, which he slammed through the air. He was startled out of his almost- red rage when he saw the Murgo easily grasp both knives from the air with a single hand and throw them back at Silk in a smooth movement. Silk could only dodge them, and just barely.

Chakotay was obviously a sorcerer, because he shot light at the Murgo. The Murgo laughed as an invisible shield blocked the attack. His own counter was invisible, but sent Powys and Chakotay flying through the air, their backs slamming on the ground.

Before Silk could react -- he had just retrieved his knives -- the Murgo waved his hand, and a circle opened up in the dead end wall. On the other side of the opening was an alleyway in a gray city. Since he had no conception of starships, the first thing that Silk did was follow the Murgo through the portal.

"Silk! No!"

Silk was beyond hearing. Snarling, Powys ran through as well. Chakotay was letting his reflexes get the better of him too, as he got to his feet and ran through the portal.

* * * *


The smoke cleared as the ship's automatic systems went on-line, and Janeway saw that Chakotay had run after some people who had run out the door before him. She wasn't able to see who those others were. "What the hell happened here?"

The Doctor noticed something too. "Sarah? Where's Sarah?"

Silk and Powys were gone, but Zedar remained, a grim wisdom on his face. "We've been ambushed. Someone was expecting this meeting, and took advantage of the confusion."

Janeway heard that. "Ambushed? By whom?"

Zedar smiled bitterly, "I can't answer the who, but I know the what. It was definitely a Murgo and by the use of that smoke bomb, I'd say he's a Dagashi."

"Are you sure?" asked the Doctor. "I don't know what a Murgo or Dagashi is, but I'd swear he's a ninja!"

"I've never heard of a ninja," shrugged Zedar. "They might be the same."

"I haven't heard of either! What are they?"

The Doctor and Zedar looked at one another uncertainly, then said in unison, "Professional assassins."

"Well, if they're from the planet below, then how did they get on this ship?"

The Doctor looked shocked, "Maybe there's hidden technology down there, or our ninja isn't from this planet!"

Janeway was inclined to believe the latter. "Computer! Locate the intruders!"

The computer responded, "The intruder is no longer on this ship. Also missing: two of three guests and Chakotay."

Janeway went pale. "What do you mean, they're no longer on this ship? How?"

"Not known."

Zedar spoke up, "I can tell you. That Murgo had some help, and unless you stop arguing, you won't be able to find the others."

* * * *


Scully and Jan had stopped for some food at a fast food place on the way, and had pulled over. They were both famished, and gave themselves at least a moment to recharge. Jan suddenly stopped eating.

"What is it?" she asked.

"There's somebody watching us, and I'm going to pay him a visit."

"Are you sure?"

"It saves time."

"I meant, are you sure we're being watched?"

He nodded. "I'm sure."

"I'll go with you."

"I'd rather you didn't. At least stay back a good ways, just in case." Before she could protest, he added, "If you're going to get involved, I'd rather you have a good chance to get in a shot before getting shot. If you're right next to me, you might not get that chance."

So Jan got out of the car and walked to another car, where he leaned against the roof and began talking. Scully stayed in the car, keeping an eye on things, and saw that it was very low tense. She couldn't see any details, but she could see that it was a man sitting in the car. A Caucasian, she concluded.

What she didn't know was that it was Methos who was sitting in the sports car, and that Jan was interrogating him pretty well. "So, what brings you to this establishment of fine dining, the elusive Carl's Jr.?"

Methos smiled uncertainly, "Satisfying my curiosity?"

Jan frowned, "I don't know how many lives you have, but I can guarantee you that you'll outlive all of them very soon if you don't mind your own business."

"And what makes you know what's my business or not my business?"

"Because --"

It was at that moment that there was a disturbance a few hundred feet away. There was a bright flash of light followed by a lot of scuffling, yelling, pounding, and screaming sounds. Jan and Methos looked, and then Scully, and all of them immediately said, "What the hell?!"

What it looked like was an attempted kidnapping coupled with an attempted murder of the kidnapper by three men, followed up with an attempted triple homicide on the part of the kidnapper, and one count of disturbing the peace on the part of the kidnappee.

Jan ran onto the scene, followed by Scully, who had run out of the car. Methos stayed there with his eyes open.

"Stop what you're doing!" yelled Jan, pointing his gun at the whole crowd. Now that he saw them up close, he felt a strange sensation that he couldn't identity. Not like an immortal being present, but rather like he was in the presence of something strange. Their clothing was strange enough -- genuine clothing straight out of the past.

The kidnapper spun around and pointed his hand at him, snarling. A red bolt of energy slammed into Jan, sending him to the ground. Scully shot at the man, aiming for his leg (he might have been carrying a hostage over his shoulder, but he had to be stopped), and was surprised to see that the bullet exploded in the air a foot away. She fired twice more out of nervous reflex, and saw that the same thing happened. The kidnapper laughed and tried to fire the laser at her, but he was brained from behind by someone who looked *very* familiar.

The man collapsed on the asphalt, and before the woman was slammed into the ground, she was saved by another one of the strangers.

Now that it was over, for the moment, Scully took a moment to identify the familiar looking man. It didn't take long. "Powys? Alan Powys?"

Powys smiled, almost embarrassed, and nodded. "It's a long way from Toronto, isn't it?"

Scully shook her head, glad that the other person she saw wasn't Axer Carrick. A rogue Interpol agent was one thing, but a rogue immortal was something else. But then again, one never knew with someone like Powys. "I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this."

He smiled more confidently this time, "I'll even throw in a< warning! The Murgo's getting up."

She looked down and saw the Murgo pulling himself back to his feet, and the first thing he did was fall back to the ground as a fully-recovered Jan intercepted him with a solid punch to the side of the head. This time, the man was cuffed.

Methos emerged on the scene, and suddenly spoke. "I suddenly know where I remember you from. Didn't we meet at the Raven? In Toronto?"

A flood of memories hit Scully then. Memories that hadn't been buried, but rather conveniently forgotten. Strange though, that he was on the plane with her for a few hours, talking, and she hadn't remembered him, when she should have.

She remembered the riots that had hit the whole world but had hit especially hard in Toronto, all over some bit of crazy Norse mythology that everyone had long-since forgotten, or wouldn't admit remembering. Alan Powys had been involved with everything long before then, and it was the prelude to the riots that she hadn't forgotten, which was why she'd had no problem remembering Powys or (she shuddered at the thought) Axer Carrick. Methos, on the other hand, had shown up during a very hectic moment, for only a few hours. He was also, she remembered, an immortal. And Jan had known that Methos was here.

She turned to Jan. "Is there something you want to tell me about yourself?"

Jan looked surprised, raising his eyes above his sunglasses as he was crouched, just about ready to haul the Murgo to his feet. "What do you mean?"

"I know Methos from before. You knew he was here."

Jan's head slumped, "This world's getting smaller every moment!"

* * * *


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