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

Chapter 14

Walking Aimlessly

Chakotay slowly opened his eyes. Instantly he knew that he was in the Dreamworld. Again, he woke up in the desert. The Vulture spirit sat lazily a few feet away. He was quite grumpy too. "About time you got here."

Chakotay smiled. "Sorry. I'm here, though."

"Yeah, yeah, and the sooner you leave the better."

He sat down. "You know, I really thought about what you said last time, and I'm still trying to make sense out of it."

Vulture snorted. "That's the problem with education nowadays. The metric system is the tool of the devil, I say. Forty rods, two bushels, and a hog's head, and that's the way I likes it!"

"I'm from the far future, so I don't know what you're talking about."

"My point is proven! You're so far in the future that what's wrong with the educational system has taken hold! The youngster doesn't even know what I'm talking about! Harrumph!" There were a few moments of silence. "You're running out of time, you know."

"So you'll actually get to saying something helpful?"

"What do you think I've been doing the whole time? Entertaining myself?" Vulture muttered to himself, "Oy! The boy is getting denser by the moment! Wonder if I'd better check to see if the concrete's hard by now!"

"You don't have to be insulting. If you're going to be helpful, would you come out and say it?"

"Okay, you want blunt? I'll give it to you so hard it cracks that concrete skull of yours. I can't tell you what you need to know because you're old enough to wipe your own behind. It's against the rules, anyway. If I told you what to do, then your opposite would get insider information from his own source."

"My opposite?"

"That much I can tell you. There's a conflict between two chess players, and you're one of the pieces. I'm moving you, in fact. The one who wants to see me mowing his lawn wearing my old lady's best Sunday dress is moving your opposite." Vulture muttered again. "The nerve of him! Thinking I'll lose and do that!" His voice returned to normal. "In case you don't know, it's the pimp."

"The pimp?"

"You know, the guy who got away in the limo? While you made the Maquis feel good in a positive way, slipping them some of that magic dust, the pimp just wants to kill people. He's a serial killer with that XTC. Wouldn't you say that's an apt polarization?" Vulture snickered, "I loved what you told your Captain about not using drugs to introduce her to her spirit guide. Do you know how hard she'd hit the ceiling if she found out you were slipping her some modified LSD?"

Chakotay didn't answer, but instead stood up. "If you can't answer questions directly, can you at least let me find answers in the Dreamworld?"

"Why not? The pimp is on a magic carpet ride now anyway. Tell you what. I'll come along for the company. No rules against that."

Vulture lazily spread his wings and flapped them a few times, landing on Chakotay's shoulder. Secretly, Chakotay was glad he was coming along. "Where do I go?"

"That's up to you. You're the leader."

It was still a featureless desert until he walked across a dry river. There was a slight depression. Curious, Chakotay approached it.

The Vulture sighed, "This desert was once full of life. It was as green as far asthe eye could see, and the rivers gently flowed all year around."

"What happened?"

"You might say that it got a good dose of reality. That's enough to destroy anything nice. Ever notice that the first thing a cynic is going to say is that you should 'get real' or 'get a life'? They don't have a life, but they're certainly real!"

The slight depression turned out to be a pool. It was as calm as a puddle of mercury, and had the same quality in its reflection."

"Quicksilver," said Vulture.

"Mercury. The Messenger of the Gods." Mythology had been a side-hobby of Chakotay's at the Academy.

This Quicksilver had a message to impart. The distorted image of himself and Vulture turned into a window. Chakotay now saw the image of Clovis, slowly rising from bed. In the same room, there was someone else Chakotay didn't recognize. Jan entered then, blood all over the front of his shirt - his own blood. Jan didn't see the stranger. In fact, he walked right through the man as if he were an illusion. The stranger wept.

Vulture laughed. "The stranger is David. He was Jan's lover before he died from XTC. That's why Jan is in town. He wants to kill the pimp, simply because he was there when David died. David understands what he did and regrets it. Can't get high where he is anyway."

* * * *

Jan entered the room, still feeling strange about Clovis. He just couldn't accept the fact that Pancho and Clovis both existed. Twin immortals were unheard of, and yet that was the only logical explanation. "Welcome back. We had doubts about you."

"So did I. Pity I came back."

Jan didn't say anything.

Clovis walked to the pantry, then made a horrible observation. "Hey! Who the hell dumped all my scotch!" A slight pause. "My whole liquor cabinet is empty!" He came back out, drawing out a rifle that rested in the pantry and aimed it at Jan. "Someone cleaned me out! Who the hell was it?! Was it you?" He walked towards him slowly, his eyes mad with frustration.

Something snapped in Jan. He charged at Clovis, slamming an elbow into his face and ripping the rifle out of his hands. For a few moments he trembled with such intense emotion that he couldn't speak at all. It was a long time before he could speak. "Do you know why I am here?"

"What the fuck to I care, you fucking flamer!"

Jan hit him again, knocking him against a countertop. "David died because of XTC! He took it because he was like you! He wanted to die." The last was a whisper, but it became a yell. "Why do you hate life so much?"

A sharp light seemed to come out of Clovis's eyes. "You don't want to know anything about me. You want to understand why David left you."

Jan spun around, walking away and shaking his head at all the blood on the floor, the broken window, and the dead body sitting in the chair. Clovis didn't seem to care one way or another about the mess, and wasn't curious at all about how it had happened. "You're immortal. You have no fears or worries. Your wounds heal. Sickness doesn't touch you. What reason do you have to be a drunk? Mortals would kill to be like us!"

Clovis snapped, "Mortals kill each other anyway! Why should I care whether they'd kill to be like us?" He started boiling some water. "I drink because I like being on the other side. When I drink, everything is good. I have no problems, and time has no meaning. I feel only pleasure."

"That's what you want? Pleasure?"

"Do you want nothing but pain?"

"Everything has a balance."

* * * *

Chakotay looked away from the Quicksilver, which started to sink into the sand. "It looks like the Nightman has changed a lot with time."

"All immortals change as well as mortals. I think you know enough about him to understand more of his pain than the Viking knows."

He nodded. "Even that isn't much, however. Few of the Maquis were the kind to talk a lot, and the Nightman made those few seem like chatterboxes."

"You know his pain. What else would give you the incentive to seek out the spirit world?"

"I needed guidance."

"And they do not?"

They found another pond of Quicksilver. This time he saw the Doctor and Sarah.

* * * *

They were standing at the edge of a parking building. The Dagashi was on the ground, unconscious and bloodied. Handcuffs bound him. Two policemen watched over him.

Sarah looked uncertainly at the Doctor. "What happens now?"

The Doctor smiled wearily, "The University and Tucson police will first argue about whose jurisdiction this case is in, since it ended on University property. Next, the media will arrive and everyone will suddenly try to divert blame while trying to take whatever good credit there is to be taken. Jan and Scully will be trying to stay away from the camera while trying to decide what to do next, because neither one of them is truly sure right now. Silk has a very good idea about what will happen next, but because our two FBI agents have rules to follow, they're not going to listen to his advice until it's almost too late."

"How do you know this?" Being his travelling companion had taught her what to expect, but even she was skeptical about his explanation.

He gave her a withering look. "It happens again and again. If it's not Scully or Jan, it's the Time Lords or the Brigadier. I don't know how many times I've almost killed him because he was ignoring his own men."

"I had no idea you thought that!"

"I usually don't. What good would it do?"

Sarah looked at Silk, who was now playing with his fingers and listening to the two FBI agents. He wasn't quite bored, but rather looked like a tense man waiting to snap. "I wonder if he's drinking coffee when we're not looking."

The Doctor was surprised. "What a thing to say!"

"He just looks as nervous as a Chihuahua."

A few feet away, the two FBI agents stood discussing the situation, apart from the two city policemen and the U of A spokesmen. Right on cue, the media vans began speeding into place.

"So, what now?" asked Jan. He was a little annoyed because it was Silk who had knocked out the Dagashi, but was more curious how the man had broken out of jail. They were still trying to get word from the police station, but nobody was answering. Supposedly, there were XTC parties all over town requiring the intense attention of the police and hospitals.

Scully frowned, "Normally, I'd say to turn him in for the moment, but he just broke out. I think that events have turned enough that we might get some valuable information out of him."

Silk walked away from them, shaking his head. Sarah could hear him mutter, "At least we don't have hostages now..."

He could smell Sarah's perfume as she approached him from behind. "What do you mean?" she asked him.

"This is going to take a while, since Jan and Scully insist on being good officers of the law. I'm just saying that I'm glad we don't have hostages this time -- this delay might get people killed."

"You sound like you've been through this a lot."

Silk sat on a bench where he could keep an eye on the festivities. "If there's one thing that all worlds have in common, it's the bureaucratic mindset. 'Now, don't break a single law! Men are made to obey rules, not rules to obey men!' If they'd just say to hell with the laws, things might actually get done."

"What do you do, in the world where you come from?"

"Me?" he smiled innocently. "I'm a merchant."

"Powys mentioned that he hired you for a job. What did he hire you to do?"

He became thoughtful. "You know, he hired me to do some very specialized work but he never called on it. I'm beginning to wonder if there's a lot more that he knows but isn't letting on. Speaking of that, where is he?"

Sarah looked around. "I don't know. He was in the back of the truck with Scully, then I didn't notice him anymore." She ran over to where the Doctor stood, deep in thought. "Doctor! Have you seen Powys?"

* * * *

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