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


Chapter 10

Ask That Question, and You'll Need a Tylenol!


Scully didn't hear any voices telling her to head off the Nightman and his attempt to be the first to interrogate the gang kid, but there might as well have been voices. The sense was that strong. "I think you should back off," she held up her badge to remind him what she was. "I'm the one who should be asking him the questions."

"Be my guest," he smiled, "there's plenty of time, isn't there?"

"No," frowned Jan. "There isn't."

Pancho didn't say what came to mind.

Scully smoothly moved in between Pancho and the kid, and took off the ball gag crammed in his mouth. He coughed a little bit, and cursed, "Fuck you!"

Pancho was a few feet away, but that didn't keep him from whipping out a small handgun. It was a modern style, but looked quite old and used, even from a distance. "If there's one thing I like less than gang punks, it's gang punks who can't speak proper English. You put your Spanish blood to shame!"

"What the hell do you call yourself?" he looked at Pancho. He smiled and spoke softly, "I'm Catalonian."

"Huh?" He looked genuinely confused.

Pancho shook his head, making clicking sounds, "Worse and worse, but then again, most Americans don't know the geography of their ancestral lands..."

He looked at Clovis, lying on the floor, and back at Pancho. "That guy was strange, man, but you're weird!" The kid stared at the gun, not knowing if Pancho was any crazy than Clovis as he was strange.

Scully glared at Pancho, who put back the gun and backed away, raising his hands. His eyes were widened and his eyebrows raised as he said, "OK... I'm backing off."

"Remember that!" she snapped as she looked back at the kid. "Why don't you start off by telling us your name?"

"Screw you lady!" he snapped himself, then he eyed her exaggeratingly, saying slowly, "Bet you'd like that, wouldn't you?"

She smiled slowly, "Be very happy that I'm a federal agent. If I weren't on duty, you'd wish you hadn't said that. But that's beside the point. What is your name?"

"I said, 'screw you lady!'"

Jan decided that things had gone far enough. He moved between Scully and the kid, and stared into his eyes. He didn't do anything physical other than stare into the eyes with a grim expression, but the kid began to sweat. "What is your name?"

He was still defiant, but sounded less sure of himself. He started to shake too. "Billy. What's yours?"

Jan sank to his knees, his eyes inches from the kid's own. "Jan Hendricksen. Remember that well, boy." The way he said that sent chills down his spine. Scully noted an odd quality to it too. "Now, I'm not going to ask you again. What is your name?"

The kid spoke straight, "Jesus."

"All right, Jesus," nodded Scully, moving in. Jan backed off, but not completely. "Where did you get the XTC?"

The kid shook his head, "Lady, you don't want to know. I don't want to know."

"Do you know what the XTC does?" she asked softly.

"It's a hell of a rush, lady. It makes corpses smile."

"Have you ever taken it yourself?"

"You cr--" He stopped himself cold. Maybe he would have covered his mouth if he could. His arms did jerk a little, but so did the rest of his body too.

Jan smiled, "You were about to ask, 'You crazy lady?' weren't you, boy?"

"No way!"

Jan knelt again, his eyes a foot away, but no less powerful. "Don't lie to me, boy."

The kid began to stammer, and then he started to go into convulsions.

Scully barked, "He's having a seizure! Someone get some rags!"

The Doctor began to laugh, throwing Scully a rag out of his pocket.

"What's so funny?" demanded Jan, whirling around to face the happy man.

The Doctor shook his head, still smiling, "He's been brainwashed so thoroughly that any attempt to get past the barrier will result in his death. Who knows how many layers of brainwashing he has... Maybe one, or maybe a dozen. You won't even know when he's telling the truth, or when he's lying."

Scully had stuffed a rag in the kid's mouth, to keep him from biting off his own tongue. He was tied up, so he was safe as he could be. The seizure died down pretty quickly, now that nobody was asking questions, and Jan wasn't staring into the kid's eyes. "What do you know about these things?" she demanded.

He shrugged, "I've had experience with hypnotism many different times." He smiled.

She raised her eyebrows. "Oh?"

Sarah elbowed the Doctor, which to him would be nothing more than a tap on the shoulder. "Go on!" she whispered intently. "Do something!"

He shrugged again. "I might be able to help. I'll need to get some equipment, however."

"Like what?" she grabbed her cellular phone, ready to make some calls.

"I have it already," he waved his hands at the phone. "It'll just take a moment." He walked to the TARDIS, ignoring the questions buzzing from those particular individuals who hadn't travelled here in it (those who had kept silent). The door shut, and remained so.

"What could he be doing in there for so long?" asked Jan.

"I don't know." Scully looked at the kid, who was starting to return to normal. He spit out the rag in his mouth, the spat at her. He didn't look too well.

The Doctor returned, holding what looked like a barbed-wire crown, plus some blinking lights. "This might help."

"What is that?" asked Methos, who had almost appeared to be invisible at this point.

"It encourages people to talk," he smiled.

"I ain't talking to nobody!" hissed the kid as the Doctor put it on his head. Then he screamed. "AAAAAAA! I'm going to gut you and fill your head full of lead ---!" Then he went limp for a moment. The crown remained.

"What is this device, Doctor?" asked Scully softly.

"It's a Black Box, Scully."

"You mean you don't know how it works?"

"Anymore that you don't know how a VCR works. You just use it," he spoke softly. "He's going to have a headache, but it looks like it's working just perfectly." The kid began to open his eyes, and the Doctor said, "Pretend that you have another you sitting right next to you. One of you can only lie, and the other one of you can only tell the truth. Suppose I asked the other you if I was wearing a coat. What would he answer?"

The kid said automatically, "Yes."

He beamed with triumph, "It works!"

Jan shook his head, "I don't understand how this is helpful!"

The Doctor sounded exasperated. "He probably has several layers of conditioning. The helmet he's wearing establishes a communication with each of those layers and then groups them into two groups: the layer telling the truth and the layer lying. By asking questions about the other through one of them, the truth always has to emerge."

Scully nodded, "That's as old as Greek philosophy, but I've never heard of this technology before."

He smiled with a false superiority, "Of course. The FBI is not all omniscient." His expression returned to normal. "Now, I believe we can get to the proper business at hand."

Scully nodded. "What is your name?"

"Jose Ibarra." His limbs didn't shake, and neither did his voice.

"Who gave you the XTC?"

"Some guy."

"Do you know him?"

"No."

Scully nodded. If the kid was going to speak literally, she'd have to get more specific. "Can you identify him if you saw him again?"

"No."

"Why?"

"He covered his face."

"Did he speak?"

"I don't know. I didn't hear him, but I knew what he wanted me to do."

Chakotay nodded slowly. He'd heard of that before. "A Romulan trick." Everyone stared at him, and he looked embarrassed, "I'll explain later."

Scully shrugged and turned back to Jose. "What did he want you do to?"

"He wanted me to find Pancho Villa and give him the XTC. He told me where to go and what to say."

Jan remembered something. "Who are the pimp and Chuck?"

"Chuck got into town. I think he's a hitman. He's a biker, but he's not riding with the Angels. I never saw the pimp before."

Jan hit the wall. "Then he's moving in -- not coming to base!" The kid said nothing. Jan walked to the door. "I need to get some air."

Methos nodded, "I'll come with you."

* * * *


The Dagashi sat in meditation. He knew that he couldn't function in this strange world, so he'd need some guidance from a higher place (or lower, depending on your religion).

He knew enough about cities in general to find the slum. In slums, everyone knows you're crazy, so whatever you do is unnoticed, whether it's murder or magic, even in this world without magic. The Dagashi found it almost incredible that magic didn't exist here among the natives.

"You need something?" The voice was dry. Dry as the Bones given to him.

"Yes, Master. I am in the world you instructed me to take the woman to, but I do not know what to do here. I lost the woman, and escaped from the jail."

"Have you not the gifts I presented to you?" The voice was not annoyed yet, but getting there.

"The Infidel destroyed them. The Bones do not work at all."

"...I see. Powys has style, I'll have to give him that... I'll tell you what. I will not repair a gift that you should have defended, but I will enable you to function in this world as if you were a native. It's almost like turning a pawn into a queen, since you have reached the end of the board, so to speak."

"Master? I don't understand."

"Of course not. I don't like to repeat myself, so I won't explain it to you."

"What do you mean?" That was the last question that the Dagashi ever asked.

The Dagashi didn't quite die, but it could be said that he was never the same. He never closed his eyes in any physical manner, but nevertheless, he opened them in a metaphorical way. He looked around. "What am I doing here?" Using the English language was the most natural thing to him.

He heard a voice that was very familiar, but that he couldn't see. "Hello, Thanatos. Do you know me?"

"THE VOICE OF GOD!" The man fell to his knees.

"Not quite." The voice seemed to be holding back laughter. "What do you remember?" It was significant that the voice didn't tell him to get back on his feet.

"I was caught in a crossfire," he said slowly as memories flooded his mind. "I thought I was a goner..."

"But I saved you," finished the voice. "I saved you because you're a good killer, and I need your services. Would you kill some people for me?"

"Of course!" he yelled.

"Wonderful..."

* * * *


Janeway found that she needed to get some air too. She also wanted to see some more of this ancient Earth. The interrogation, she noted, would not answer any of her questions, but a few moments of thought might. She heard the two men known as Jan and Methos, talking about thirty feet away. They were talking softly, but she could hear them clearly. The trees, she noted, carried the sound.

Methos was speaking, "I find it odd that I can sense both Clovis and Pancho, and they look close enough to be the same person."

Jan nodded, "I wonder if there's such a thing as twin immortals? I've never heard of such a thing before."

Methos shook his head, "Duncan and Connor are the closest-related immortals I ever knew, but they're two generations apart. I also think that the only thing they have in common is clan name. They might have come from the same village, but they share no traits in common." He smiled, "I'd say that Connor has some un-Scottish traits in his face. I wonder how much of a Scot he really is. His clan fought the Fraziers, but I wonder how much Frazier blood he has?"

"What do you mean?"

"I may remember wrong, but I thought that the Fraziers were mostly Norman in blood. Or maybe they were friends of the Normans? Next time I have the leisure of going through a library, I'll have to look it up."

Jan shrugged. "Have you noticed how different the two are?" "Like night and day."

"No... like night and night. One is the sun setting backwards, and the other is the sun setting."

Methos smiled, "How poetic!" He thought about it for a moment. "But I agree with you, now that I think about it." He clamped his lips together for a moment, "I wonder what secrets Pancho is hiding. Does it seem to you that he's holding in a lot more than he knows? Or maybe it's because he's been here for only a little while?"

Jan smiled, "You haven't met him before?"

"I've heard of him..." His eyes widened, "If Pancho and Clovis were twins, we'd certainly have heard of him one way or the other, but I've only recalled hearing about Pancho!" He shook his head. "There's a mystery about those two, and I have a bad feeling about it!"

Janeway smiled, keeping her own mouth shut. There were some things better kept to herself. It appeared that Pancho would be even more secretive than herself. But she'd be able to get some answers, however. "The Nightman and Clovis may be mysteries," she said, approaching softly. They both spun around shocked, "But I would say that the both of you are mysteries as well." She smiled crookedly at Jan, "I would even say that you have by far the more dangerous secret."

He blanched, "What do you mean?"

"I'd almost say that you have a... personal stake in this interrogation? I'd also say that you have some very unusual skills in regards to questioning." She didn't say that he appeared to be empathic. "Quite a skill."

He and Methos looked uncertainly at one another. "What do you know?"

"About what? That you're Immortal? That the Nightman and Clovis are Immortal?"

They looked at one another again. "How did you know that?"

"I've known that Pancho was an Immortal for a few hours. I gathered from your conversation that you two were Immortal."

They heard some very tired laughter. This time, it came from the shadows. Powys emerged, shaking his head sadly, "How is this little mess going to be repaired...? Secrets that are no longer secrets because we know that they exist... Curiosity running rampant... Not that I mind a little excitement, now and then, but sometimes I wonder if it might be possible for these little collisions to go smoothly for once. Just for the sake of variety, you understand?"

Methos was the only one who knew Powys from a few months back. Scully -- she would say 'unfortunately' -- remembered that time too. Methos also understood what Powys meant, as much as anyone without his special set of knowledge could. "Is that what you call this? A collision?"

"How else can I call it?" he smiled sadly, his eyebrows slanting the wrong way. "A group of the wrong people getting together by a jumble of almost senseless vectors that they can't control... Isn't that a collision?"

Jan shrugged. "Call it what you will. What do you know about this? It sounds as if you know more than what you've volunteered. What do you know?"

Powys smiled, "Not much. I've just been going by the roll of the dice."

Methos frowned, "That's true. I can swear to that, and so can Agent Scully. I don't think he's ever planned ahead for more than five minutes, or thought ahead for that long either."

"Some people live in the past or the future... and I live for the eternal now."

"That brings up a question. You're obviously long-lived, but you're not like us. What are you?"

Powys frowned. "An experiment. One that I don't care to get into."

"Oh?" asked Janeway.

"Fortunately for you, Kathryn, you have no reason to know about the people who experimented on me. You, Methos, had every reason to know." He stared directly at Methos, who paled.

Janeway paled too. In the beginning, she had wondered what Powys was, but it finally dawned on her that Powys might be something that was totally beyond her experience. "Q?" she asked.

"No," he shook his head. "I think the Q have certainly observed, and sometimes with amusement, even. Q wouldn't interfere, though."

Methos and Jan asked together, "Who is Q?"

Powys and Janeway looked at them with withering glances, "Trust me, you don't want to know!" They mirrored one another perfectly, except for the accents.

* * * *


Chuck returned to base. "Boss? I don't have good news. I lost them."

"Really?" asked a voice that he didn't recognize. A crisp, British voice. A military voice. "Then you might be thrilled to know that I know where they may be found."

It was dark in the place, so Chuck didn't know if his boss was there. His boss hadn't said a word since he got in. "Who are you?"

A lighter went off, and for a moment, Chuck could see a very thin and worn man with an almost insane glint in his eye. "Thanatos will do."

"All right, Thanatos. Where are they?"

"The house that you didn't quite get to. The place you were considering checking out before you went to the British Stone. You found the wrong Pancho."

"I found two of them."

"And does that not suggest something odd to you?"

"They're twins who went their separate ways. What's odd about that?"

"They're not twins. They're the same."

"You're out of your bloody mind!" Chuck turned away.

"We're going together, Chuck!" barked the Brit, walking behind him. "Remember that although you don't see the Boss here, I am your superior officer."

"Where is the Boss?"

"Elsewhere. That's all you need to know."

"Whatever. Let's go."

Thanatos didn't argue with that one.

* * * *



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