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


Chapter 13

Surprise!


Duncan watched the truck speed away, knowing that he wasn't going to hop on. Jan and Methos had fallen on their faces, unwilling to accept the fact that they were both still quite wounded and had been alive again for only five minutes so far.

"Here," he panted, pulling Methos to his feet.

"We're losing him!" coughed Jan. "Damn it!"

"He's being taken care of!" snapped Duncan in return. They slowly trudged back to the house. "Besides, what the hell could you have done? You can't even walk on your own!"

Both knew he was right. Still, they couldn't help but feel frustrated.

As they reached the house, the noticed that something strange was going on. Chakotay was flat on the ground, unmoving. Janeway was slumped against a tree, blood all over the front of her uniform.

What was even more amazing was that Chuck was alive, and talking with Zedar. It was a relaxed conversation.

The three immortals looked at one another, "What's going on?"

Duncan's impulse was to charge up and demand an answer, but Methos had some more smarts. "Hold it. Let's sneak up and see if they'll offer us anything without us having to ask. I've always had a strange feeling about that man, but not bad feelings."

Jan and Duncan nodded. "You lead."

It wasn't all that hard to sneak up, since Zedar couldn't appear to sense immortals, and Chuck surely wasn't one, even though he had inexplicably come back from the dead. On closer inspection, however, they couldn't see any blood splatters on him. Methos would have spoken aloud his confusion by reflex, but he remembered to put a clamp on his mouth.

They were close enough to hear both men talk, and stayed at that distance. The trees hid them well, and the wind blew towards them.

Chuck spoke, "If you don't call it magic, what do you call it?"

Zedar nodded. "It's an intelligent question. Magic is technically what carnival tricksters use. Slight-of-hand, illusion, and similar names describe magic very well. Magic is real as the ground you walk on, and its mechanisms are just as real. You use your hands to fool the eyes of others.

"Sorcery, on the other hand, is what I call what I do. It is distinguishable from magic in the sense that you're manipulating real things without your hands. But don't get me wrong. There's nothing supernatural about it. Belgarath calls it 'the Will and the Word', and he's on the right track, but there's more. I never told another soul, but I call it 'the Binding of Three into One': the binding of word, will, and deed into a much stronger rope than each strand alone."

Chuck held up his hand sharply, looking down in thought. "Three into one... That sounds like something the Tibetan said. It's a Buddhist concept. In Japan, a priest I knew called it 'Mikkyo'. He never told me much about it, just like he never explained what 'kuji-kiri' was. He did mention that Mikkyo was 'the binding of three into one' and he did mention 'thought, word, and deed'. It sounds like your philosophy is parallel to his, but he never claimed to be a sorcerer."

Zedar closed his eyes, "If he is a priest, as is the Dark Monk, then I am not surprised. Priests were never ones to be Sorcerers. It wasn't their job."

"OK... So why don't you explain yourself?"

"Why don't I explain as you try it? First, however, is a rule that you must never break under any circumstances. Do not unmake anything. Ever. To unmake something, to will it to be not, is to invite your own destruction. Cthuchik killed himself when he willed the Orb to be not. His great power rebounded on him, which was how Belgarath was able to recover the Orb and crown Belgarion king."

"You're losing me, Zedar." Chuck sounded like he was about ready to crack the man's skull.

"You'll understand soon enough. Lift that rock." He pointed to a spherical rock about three feet across, one that would most likely be too heavy to lift.

"Sure." Chuck walked over, and with a loud yell, lifted it. His neck muscles were strained to the limit, each strand visible, and his face had turned red within a second, but he held it for a good five seconds before dropping it.

"Now, do it without your hands." Zedar was expressionless.

"Yeah! Let's see you do it!"

Zedar didn't do anything, except whisper a word, and the rock lifted slowly and clearly into the air. He looked a little strained, but not as much as Chuck, when he said, "Now, lift the rock." The rock gently descended to the ground.

"How?" Chuck looked shocked.

"Look at it. Your Will is that the rock will float two feet above the ground. That image is in your mind. Think of it as an imperative, however, and not a wish. Wishes are wishes, but imperatives become reality. The Deed is the hand that you rarely move or use. If you but only reach out with that hand and grasp it, it will lift. The Word is your verbal command, binding your intention into a reality."

Chuck felt that hand. He recalled a time when he sat on a wall, killing time. The Dark Monk was lecturing other monks on the use of the 'vital energy', and Chuck played around with it.

"Place your hands together, and then hold them apart
about a hand's width. Hold them there. Breathe, and
allow your feelings to take hold. Do you not notice
that you can feel the life force emanating from each
hand? Move them slightly together and apart, and you
can feel that force moving through your hand. You are
novices, and you can feel it already. Imagine what can
happen if you become adepts!"


Chuck had felt the force too. For years, when he was really bored, he'd play with it, and he noticed that after a while, the force expanded. By merely breathing, the force would actually push his own hands apart. But that's all this force was: an interesting puzzle that didn't do anything.

Until now. Playing with the force allowed him to conceive of a hand that wasn't physical. It felt like his nervous system were wielding solid arms and hands that he didn't see. It was real.

The Deed was manifest. The Will was manifest. The Word was manifest.

"Bind."

The three were bound into one.

The rock rose into the air. He held it, feeling as if he were lifting a much heavier rock in his hands.

"Aaauugh!" The rock fell to the ground, and then Chuck did. He was passed out from exhaustion.

Zedar looked over him, smiling. "Not bad, for a first day."

Methos, Jan, and Duncan looked at one another in total shock. They'd each seen their share of magicians, but never sorcerers like this.

A realization came over Methos then, and he stood up, walking over to Zedar. "You know, if you'd only talk to James Randi, he'd hand over the prize he's been talking about for years."

Zedar turned around, his eyebrows rising, "Oh?"

"He's offering fifty thousand dollars to anyone who can provide genuine proof of magical powers. I think that's definite proof!"

Zedar shrugged. "I don't care about money."

"I didn't think you would. Would you care to explain why you're teaching the enemy?"

"He may or may not be an enemy," he looked at Chuck, still unmoving, and breathing lightly, "but that is not important. He is a sorcerer, whether he believes it or not, and all sorcerers must learn the basic rules. That is our one obligation: we either kill them or teach them. There is nothing more dangerous than an untrained sorcerer."

* * * *


At this moment, Thanatos was focusing on the woman driving the car. "They're still following us! If you do not lose them, I'll make you beg for death!"

She was beyond tears now, the fear had gripped her for so long. "I CAN'T lose them!"

Thanatos was about to backhand her, but the dry and disembodied voice he knew so well spoke rather firmly. "Leave her alone. It won't help your cause if you hurt her at this moment. If you want to beat her black and blue, kill her, rape her, or whatever else you feel like, there's an appropriate time. This is not one of them."

Thanatos froze in mid-swing, his eyes widened, "The Voice of God!" Then his eyes narrowed, "But why would the Voice of God tell me not to do this thing? She refuses to lose these pursuers, so she should be punished for her refusal!"

The voice couldn't have cared less, "That's not any of my concern. Your completion of your own task is my gravest concern."

"Then may you not smite down your enemies?"

"I already told you: that's not one of the rules. I can't directly interfere, nor can my enemy, or else we might risk cancellation of everything in existence, known or not known. That's why I have given my gift to people like you. Are you somehow telling me that you can't do the work for which you are being handsomely paid?"

"Surely there's something you can do?" he asked in a weak voice. "Surely the Voice of the Almighty God is not just a voice..."

"You're riding in this car, aren't you? You got away from the police car, and you didn't get killed back in the Addict's house. Isn't that enough?"

"How can you expect me to carry the seven weights of the world on my shoulders without so much as a pad of leather to keep my poor shoulders from aching?" he asked plaintively.

The voice didn't answer, but the driver's expression of total confusion and fear spoke volumes. He snapped at her, "Don't you know it's impolite to eavesdrop on conversations with God? Drive!"

* * * *


Sarah was confused, "Why would this anti-man want to come into contact with anyone? Wouldn't he be destroyed?"

He nodded, "Under normal conditions, that would be correct. There are ways, however in which antimatter can exist in a matter matrix. Anti-hydrogen is collected in magnetic traps, for instance."

"But anti-hydrogen isn't the same!"

"True."

"But why did he want that something from you, whatever it was?"

He was thoughtful for a moment, "It's all coming up to this... conjunction of forces. The Master hinted of it once, I think -- I might be stretching hints too far -- but he believed that there would be a conjunction of forces. Which forces, I don't know for sure. I don't think this is a polar 'light' versus 'darkness'. I mean, think about it: when has anyone we've ever met in this mess ever behaved in a purely light or dark manner? When has anyone been truly light or dark?"

Sarah thought about it. "I don't know. Nobody's perfect."

"Exactly! So what we're seeing is a battle of forces, and not ideologies. There's some object, or power, or some 'thing' that someone wants."

"Do you think that Powys is one of these forces?"

He thought about it, and didn't skip a beat when he had to keep from hitting some kids who were too confused to know what to do, as a whole posse ran through their playground. "I think that he's a representative. If anyone is a force, in this respect, I would say it's the assassin who took you from the Voyager to this place, and perhaps the FBI agent, Dana Scully."

Sarah looked confused, "Why them?"

"Let's just say they have a certain feel about them that could be mistaken for charisma. That's the best I can explain it, if you're not endowed with a telepathic sense of personal fields. The key words here are 'mistaken for charisma'. What is truly at work here is very subtle."

"Doctor?"

"Yes, Sarah?"

"Do you think the Master is behind this?"

"No." He was certain. "It doesn't have his touch. Perhaps he might take advantage of what occurs here, but this isn't of his creation."

The car chase came to an abrupt halt. They had run through residential neighborhoods that had probably never seen any excitement greater than watching concrete settle (never mind the drive-by gang shootings), and across the occasional major street. Somehow, they made their way back into the University neighborhood, and shot into the University itself.

What had been just a simple run through the streets could now be visualized as a column of dogs running through a flock of half-aware pigeons in a park. These pigeons were students milling through the streets, dazed and confused to begin with -- after all, here they were, walking on a paved street designed for motor vehicles, and here this pack of cars came, speeding at over a hundred miles an hour.

A few of the slower students failed to move out of the way in time, and landed in assorted places out of the way. Most were still alive, but were in pain. Many were severely injured.

The woman driving the convertible was screaming incoherently. Perhaps she even saw the faces of everyone she hit, but she also saw the knife that would be used on her if she failed to obey.

She had been lucky up til now, but this time, her luck ran out. A ditch snuck up on her, and so the car slammed into a pit that didn't have the proper barricades. An air bag saved her from death, but the killer wasn't so lucky. Thanatos was thrown through the air, his legs breaking the windshield, and landed on the asphalt on the other side of the pit. As he slid along the asphalt, his flesh was sanded away.

The cars following her came to an abrupt stop, screeching loudly and burning the tires.

Silk was the first one to reach the car, and he asked the woman, now collapsed in hysterical tears, "Did he hurt you?"

"No," she sobbed, hugging the steering wheel.

He nodded, and ran to the Dagashi, who was slowly getting to his feet. He had no reason to be standing, but he was. Blood flowed from the numerous scrapes, and his eyes were narrowed as he hissed in agony.

Silk ended it pretty quickly. All it took was a solid kick to the groin, and the Dagashi sank to the ground... after he sailed for a bit in the air. "You have a lot to pay for."

* * * *


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