"A Prophecy Like Fish" 4/?
`God does not play dice with the Universe.' --Albert Einstein.
`Albert, stop telling God what to do!" -- unknown.
MODERN NEW YORK:
Mystique agreed with Sabertooth's account of what they'd seen
outside. Then Erik went outside with Sabertooth to see if they were
still there. She stayed behind, indoors.
She'd had enough of angels.
She just wanted to be back with her Nephilim.
But Annoguel had put a stop to that. Annoguel had taken her away, by
force. No `do you allow me to fly you away from here?' or anything
even remotely like that. More of swooping down and grabbing, then
soaring away quickly.
Before she'd been literally dropped off on Erik's doorstep, her
kidnapper had stopped on a high mountaintop, one littered with
Angelic Script, and not all of it looked related to Hebrew. There
were pictures as well. Pictures of the making of a Nephilim -- in
graphic detail. Pictures of angels literally losing their hearts.
And a picture of a skeleton - skull, hands, feet, and tail - that
Mystique had only seen again in the last month.
On Stryker's computer. One of his programs.
After that, Annoguel had flown her the rest of the way, all the way
to Magneto's home . . . and let go. Perhaps the fall had been the
final stress in a long list of kidnap-related stresses for her, or
perhaps it was the infant's idea of a kick in the womb.
Either her fetus had inverted itself while still in her --
bequeathing to her mutantlike powers -- or she had somehow
mutated. In either event, the baby vanished. She hoped the baby had
teleported rather than the alternative.
The morgue scientist was trapped. Stuck in the back seat of a taxi
that was going a lot further than the airport. The doors were locked
and there was a sturdy plexiglass barrier between him and the front
seats that he couldn't even dent.
The cabbie's license read `K. Akronotopollonus'.
"The one time I forget my cell phone,"Joseph muttered to himself in
the back seat.
After a few more hours, and Joseph dozing off despite his intention
to stay awake through the entire trip, the taxi cab pulled into a
parking lot next to a building named _JOE'S_. Only now did the doors
unlock. "Where are we?"
"At a bar," the driver said, getting out of his seat and opening
"I think I'll wait in the car."
The cabbie grabbed and pulled him out of the cab, dragging him by the
arm up to the door. The door was locked.
"Well, looks like its locked," Joseph said. "Can I go home now?"
"If this fails," the cabbie said darkly, "you won't have a home
left. Just ashes." He pulled something out of his pocket not a
key and started to work at the lock.
"O-kay, and you know this how?"
Kronos unlocked the door, opening it, and pushed Joseph through.
Joe Dawson looked up from where he was wiping down one of the
tables. "We're closed." And he felt positive that he'd already
locked that door.
"We need to talk," the cabbie said.
"Can it wait `til tomorrow?"
"No, it can't," and held up his wrist. The cabbie had the Watcher
tattoo: thirteen stars.
"Pull up a chair," Dawson said. "I'm Joe," Dawson introduced himself.
"Joseph," the morgue doctor replied with his own name.
"Nice to meet you." Then, turning to look at the cabbie, "And what's
your name?" figuring it was a coincidence: the guy looked similar to
MacLeod's description of someone who was presently decapitated.
Kronos smiled, trying to keep it nonthreatening. "Don't ask a
question unless you really want the answer." Then, "Shall we go?"
"Go where?" Joseph asked.
"To rescue Methos and the others."
"'Others'?" Dawson asked.
"Who's this `methos'?" Joseph asked. "I think this could take a
while," Joseph said. "So why don't you just sit down with us, and
explain it from the beginning."
"Very well," Kronos conceeded. "But not from the beginning. We
don't have *that* much time."
"Let's start with something simple," Dawson said. "Like who you are."
"Hardly simple, though not terribly complicated," Kronos said. "I am
the end of time."
MODERN ALKALI LAKE:
Methos surfaced. Even now, he couldn't take a breath of fresh air:
his body was still weighted down with water. He lugged Stryker's
body onto the woodland beach, left the Colonel there.
Then Methos began to retch, dispelling lake water from his stomach,
from his lungs. He had the feeling he was going to need to pee the
rest of it out shortly. As often as this'd happened, it got old
Stryker's body began to retch as well, his autonomic nervous system
knowing what to do even though it'd never done this before. Instinct
for his kind. Emptying, emptying, until he could take his first
breaths of air, gasps of breath. Lovely, lovely air. When he was
reasonably steady, he reached out and grabbed a somewhat sharp branch
that'd been broken off its tree by the watery tide earlier.
Methos looked up, saw Marie watching him with uncertain
eyes. "Hello," he said. Yoriko was staring wide-eyed. "Don't mind
me," he said. Then he noticed that Stryker was sitting up, trying to
brandish a piece of kindling at Methos. "And a top of the morning to
Waving the driftwood like a knife, "What did you do, you little...?"
Methos went from kneeling over, worshipping a nonpresent porcelein
god, to sitting crouched on the balls of his feet, all in one smooth
motion. It was a little uncomfortable, but Death used the discomfort
to push Lyman aside, just a bit, and he had no idea how those angelic
bastards could stay in this position for so long. "Excuse me?"
"What happened? You helped them, didn't you?"
"I helped who?" and memories of Lyman's drifted to the surface. "Ah,
"Exactly. You helped them, didn't you?" Louder, "Didn't you?"
Grinning like Death had once done, "Nope. I was dead at the time."
Narrowing his eyes, "Weren't you?"
"No! I'm not like you," Stryker said confidently.
"No?" Methos asked. "You're sure?"
"Then tell me, Colonel, where were you just now?"
"I was....I was..." and he looked blank. "Last thing I remember is
the water. The dam'd broke, and all the water -"
"You were underwater when I found you," Methos said calmly. "And you
were breathing." And then Stryker'd passed out, underwater. "Now,
in my book, that makes you either an Immortal or a mutant." There
were other options, but he doubted they applied. "Which do you
Stryker sat there, glaring and gasping, trying to look intimidating,
and looking more like a half-drowned rat.
Methos looked just as waterlogged, yet there was a predatory glint in
his eyes, a savagery that even Sabertooth's face lacked.
Yoriko didn't move.
Marie took/crabwalked a step back.
MODERN NEW YORK:
This'd been Professor X's idea, to keep Bobby's -- and Logan's and
Kurt's and everyone else's -- mind off of what might be happening to
Rogue right now.
Logan -- under orders -- was playing frizbee with some of the more
durable students, including one that didn't feel pain at all. Often,
the kids would all throw their frizbees at Logan at the same time,
forcing him to catch some, and get hit with the others. Just as
Logan was about to throw them back to the kids
At the same time as that was happening, "On your mark," Bobby Drake
said, knowing better than to race either of them. "Get set," and
Kurt Wagner flinched, even as the other racer got ready to run. "Go!"
One of the girls had wanted to race too, and had wanted the race to
be longer than it is. But she'd been told no -- it might or might
not be of questionable legality to run through a building to reach
the finish line, but it was of questionable racing clarity if the
through-the-building route passed through the men's locker room.
Wagner vanished in a cloud that was not a cloud; and the other kid
bolted, running almost too fast for a Human eye to see. Scott
Summers was waiting at the finish line; his laser vision better - and
more accurate - than a photo finish.
Fast is fast, but still is nothing next to instantaneous.
Once he was over the finish line, he noticed that everyone had simply
*stopped* in the midst of whatever they were doing. All were still
alive; just unmoving.
Kurt pricked up his ears, listening. And he found it: a "shh" coming
from the roof of Xavier's school.
His skin began to haze, when a hand clapped him on his shoulder.
Unhaze. Turned to face whomever this was.
"Name's Daniyel," Kurt was told. "Can we talk?" as Gabriel stepped
off the roof, landing safely.
Stepping down was simplicity itself. Monkeys have a sense that tells
them which way is up -- unless they get dizzy. Angels have a more
complex, gyroscopic version of that, plus superior shock pads in the
feet and joints.
"About what?" Kurt asked, walking towards where Gabriel had landed
and was waiting for them both. He was going to finish what he'd
started a long time ago...
Daniyel had a bad feeling about this; partly from the determined look
on this guy's face. Partly from how the guy's face and hands looked
like they were starting to invert -- a trait usually reserved for
"Long time no see," Gabriel called over.
"And I shalt be the last thing you see," Kurt hissed.
"You said that last time, as I recall," said an amused Gabriel.
Daniyel hoped the archangel had a plan. "You wanna talk, or do we
have to re-do that bit of history too?"
Kurt made a noise that was part hiss, part growl, and a bit of
something else too. Then, "I will hear what you have to say."
"Good start." To Daniyel, "See, told you you'd come in handy."
"I didn't really do anything."
"You slowed him down."
A YEAR AND A HALF AGO:
Joe was washing down the bar while a few Immortals read the papers.
"It never ends," Amanda said, slapping the paper down. Duncan read
the article's title, and nodded agreement with her.
"Man's continuing inhumanity to man," Joe remarked dryly. Methos
made a mistake: he nodded.
"What do you think about all this?" Duncan asked.
Methos set down his beer. "What're you asking me for? I pre-date
"You're *that* old?" Amanda asked.
"No, he's not," Duncan said.
"Pardon me then, MacLeod," Methos said. "I should have said that I
pre-date organized and systematic slavery." Joe made a noise. "You
don't believe me?"
"Ancient Egypt," Duncan said, "used slave labor."
Methos guffawed. "To do what, exactly? Pyramid-building?" chuckling
all the way.
"Tell me something, then, oh child of the Scottish mountains, when
one of your chieftans died, did you entrust his funeral to his
slaves, or to those you and he trusted?"
Methos nodded again. "Exactly. Then again, you Scotts didn't have
slavery you simply enslaved your prisoners of war and raids --
much like the Horsemen and our contemporaries did." MacLeod frowned
deeply at the comparison. Methos continued, "Same thing for the
Pharoahs -- they didn't trust slaves, who were illiterate, to carve
and write their epitaphs. So they hired the citizens. Those things
were built through community service. Then again, jury duty can be a
form of slavery, I suppose."
"That's not what I -"
"Meant? It's the analogue, MacLeod. A closer resembalance to the
*corvee* of olden times, I can't think of offhand."
WITHIN THE MIND:
Methos and Death sought to supplant Lyman, while Adams and Pierson
simply tried to work around the imposed personality.
But down deeper in the abyssal trenches of the ancient mind, further
down than even Methos had fallen when he'd been tranquilized, were
the oldest of the personalities. Death had not been first, or even
close to it.
Coils of memory, slithering thoughts that slid in complexities that
rivaled Celtic knots For four and a half millenia, this mindset had
been content in the abyss, sleeping, waiting, pondering. Now, the
thoughts felt, perhaps it was time to re-emerge, to awaken once more.
There was a reason he called himself Methos.
And that reason was beginning to ascend.
Mystique sat in her quarters. Alone, she kept her form at what she
had once been, her skin at the texture and colour that it once was
She was Mystique now, but she had been Magdelena, wife of Daniyel.
She'd thought she was pregnant, back when Annoguel kidnapped her.
Stole her away, and literally dropped her -- several stories -- on
Erik Lensherr's doorstep.
It had felt like pregnancy. And either the fetus had *inverted*
within her, changing her as well . . . or she had somehow changed.
Become a mutant.
So she was Mystique now.
Erik had told the boy `you are a god among insects'. Never had Erik
mentioned the powers that roamed the Earth, more powerful than any
mutants. Mystique had not mentioned the angels.
One day, though, she had a feeling that the boy would meet one of
Like Wolverine, who reminded her so much of Daniyel that, at times,
in moments of weakness, she woud think that perhaps Daniyel had
simply changed his appearance. The regeneration factor fit with what
(Gamiyel) had told her of the healing of angels and nephilim. And
Wolverine had at least a sembalance of intelligence, unlike
Sabertooth, who prefered two-by-fours and four-by-fours to
"History is full of wars that everybody knew would never happen." -?