"Now, this is what really happened when you faced the Four Horsemen."
As Radar talked, Bob Hartley realized that he had never heard the real version of a mass delusion before.
JERUSALEM, BEFORE ANY OF YOU WERE BORN, EXCEPT FOR METHOS AND A FEW OTHERS
The City Of Light awaited The Champion Of Champions.
But Hercules couldn't come.
"Well, who do we have?"
"No, no--his presence is not--you're sending him anyway. Many-many thanks, O Mayor Of Jericho."
Putting aside the speaking-tube that had been placed between the cities of The East, The Mayor Of Jerusalem wished his fellow administrator well.
"Creep. I hope the walls fall in on you."
Despite his Honor's most fervent hopes, Nimrod arrived as scheduled.
"Hail Unto Thee, O Ye Blessed Guardian Of That Most Holy Of Holies! I offer my life for thy service, and a bounty on thy behalf! Behold, The Arrival Divine! For Am I Not Nimrod?"
The Mayor rolled his eyes.
"Why--why can't you ever just say 'Greetings', like everyone else?"
Nimrod heard not his pleas. But then, that was Nimrod for you.
"Why have you summoned me, you Lord Protector?"
The Mayor took a moment to realize who Nimrod was speaking to.
"Oh. Well. We need you for crowd control. It seems the Four Horsemen will be stopping in our town. Now, if the gawkers get them riled, they might get upset---and, ya know, kill them. So you keep the gawkers--from being killed."
"So let it be written, so let it be said, so let it be done!"
The Mayor blinked in incomprehension.
"So--will you do it?"
"I will vouchsafe that I will."
The Mayor wandered away, still unsure of whether Nimrod had said yes or not.
"Maybe Ioalus is available. Or Gabrielle. Or-or Joxur."
His scroll-keeper walked up.
"Mayor, the feast to placate The Horsemen is nearly done."
"Good lad, Bergof. What of the sacrificial lamb?"
The scroll-keeper gently informed his employer of the alternate fate of the sacrificial lamb.
"You sent him WHERE?!"
Outside, the townspeople prepared for those four terrible riders.
"Say! Is my 'Welcome Horsemen' sign too small?"
"We'll get a good vantage point from the roof. I don't want to miss seeing The Horsemen. I have all 15 of their mini-scrolls!"
"Oh, good. The tourists are flocking in. The Horsemen are always a draw."
One man stood alone. He was on the wrong side of town.
"What madness? I see no people here."
Nimrod had directional issues. But a kind soul made him aware of his folly.
"You idiot! The fair's on this side of town."
All were ready and excited as the sound of thundering hoofs was heard in the distance. Then, someone remembered something.
"Don't The Horsemen usually kill a lot of people?"
As this sobering realization hit home, Nimrod was standing in the courtyard.
"Hail You Horsemen, For Am I Nimrod."
"I mean--I am Nimrod, Protector of this--"
With Nimrod holding aloft his sword, The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse entered Jersualem at a wild gallop.
They departed just as quickly, not stopping at all on their way through. Kronos glanced back.
"So that was Jerusalem. Have to visit it someday."
"Why? Everyone has conquered Judaea at some point or another."
Silas realized his error.
"Ohhh---I'll bet they have scrolls there. I love scrolls to read."
"I could have done with a fresh falafel."
Back in the City, the mayor tried to salvage the situation. Nimrod, frozen with fear, had never moved once. The Mayor held up the poor man's hero's arm.
"All---hail to Nimrod. Who is a great and mighty hunter before The Lord. He--he, acting alone, drove The Four Horsemen away."
The crowd, having nothing better to do, went wild.
"Three Cheers For Mighty Nimrod! Let us feed him of the sacrificial lamb!"
The Mayor glared at his scroll-keeper, and spoke once more.
"People, about---about the lamb...."
CHICAGO, 1978, BEFORE TODAY
Petersen was livid with rage.
"I'm-I'm livid with rage!"
Bob was confused.
"He sent the lamb to Athens?"
"How did you know what The Horsemen said, after they left town?"
Walter O'Reilly stood firm.
"You can be livid all ya like. Now--ya wanna take this outside?"
Petersen stormed out.
"Doctor Hartley--don't go anywhere. After I take this brat's head, you and I have things to discuss."
Radar looked back at The Hartleys.
"I'm sorry it has to be this way. Sidney, he loves you guys. But you know The Rules. In The End, and all that junk."
Emily looked lost, and Bob was in a daze as well. Silently, he followed the sword-wielders. Alone, Emily saw an older man enter the room.
"Scuse me, Maam. Are you Doctor Hartley?"
"No. I'm his wife. Are you with the 4077th?"
"Sure was. Colonel Sherman T. Potter, retired. I used to run that circus, after they lost another good man. Came to talk to your Mister, Missus. Mind if I sit myself down?"
Emily smiled. Potter seemed the most harmless thing on the face of The Earth. He started looking at a picture of a young black man.
"What a nice-looking young man. Colonel, who is he?"
"That brilliant young writer is my grandson, Jacob Louis Sisko. God, I miss him almost much as my Mildred."
At last, thought Emily. A nice, normal coversation with a nice, normal old man, bragging about his family.
"How old is he?"
Potter looked like he was doing math in his head.
"Wellll---he was born around 2355, came to live with me and Mildred in 1962 our time, but 2376 his. Stayed for twelve years--- smart kid, never once violated the Temporal Prime Directive---so I guess he's closin on 35, about now. Course, for all I know, his Dad Ben returned him to the same age and time as when he left. You know how those Prophets are."
"Ha-ha-heh. Yeah-those---wacky Prophets."
Emily pasted on a smile, and wished she had gone with Bob and the sword-wielders.
With Bob close behind them, O'Reilly and Petersen emerged into the alley way behind the hotel. Radar pointed with his sword.
"All right now, pal. Skedaddle. Honor's been served, and hasn't nobody gotten hurt."
Petersen twirled his sword, and sneered.
"Just what are you talking about? You insulted me back in there, in front of Doctor Hartley and his wife. You expect me to just let that go?"
"I wanted to get ya away from them. I mean, geez! Not only did ya reveal what ya are to mortals, for crimeny's sake, but ya threatened them? Doncha know the Rules Of The Game by now? I'm only 45, and I know em!"
Petersen was not backing off.
"There's a rule we both know of, fella! Do I need to say it?"
Radar gulped. There were members of his kind that would never show fear in battle. He was not one of them.
"No--I know all about that one---"
"---Ya big wimp."
As Radar had hoped, that sent Petersen surging forward. Still, the older Immortal left him almost no opening.
"Everyone thinks that I'm a wimp!"
He brought the sword down once.
"But I took care of them---just like..."
Having practiced with the super-fast Hawkeye and Margaret, Radar had reflexes that served him well in a defensive fight. He blocked Petersen, and then punched him square in the nose.
Radar had not been gentle, since Petersen healed as fast as any other of their kind. A normal human would have already been dead.
"You'll pay for that! You're not even a half-century old yet."
"An you ain't gettin any older, after this, pally-boy."
It was one of the oddities of Radar's life, and he had plenty of oddities. He hated getting into a duel--until he was actually in it. Then, instincts took over. He was loving this. Another blow to the nose sent Petersen reeling, as wrecked cartilage healed incorrectly as it set. Finally, Radar ran the twitchy man once known as Nimrod straight through his trunk. Bob Hartley watched, unseen, in horror as Petersen dropped, almost screaming.
"You don't understand, O'Reilly. I am the embodiment of all the great classic heroes. I have existed since before the beginning of time, and I will live past its end!"
Radar couldn't think of a witty rejoinder, and so merely said what was in his heart.
"There Can Be Only One."
And when O'Reilly was done, Bob saw that he would never have to worry about Mister Petersen barging in--ever again. When The Quickening began, Bob began to rush back to his room.
"Great. With my luck, Jerry shows up for certain now."
Back in the Hartleys' room, Emily was hearing from Colonel Potter about some rather wild events.
"So Pierce convinces Weyoun and Damar that HE'S Colonel Flagg, and they end up bamboozling the whole blasted Dominion! Isn't that a hoot and a holler?"
Emily spoke through her teeth.
"Oh, my--yes. Both a hoot and a holler. Um, Colonel--what did you want to speak to my husband about?"
Pushing on his cane, Sherman got up.
"Nothin' now, little lady. I find that just talking to a young woman like yourself helps me to deal with not having Mildred around. Since I lost her, I go on and on."
Emily nodded, realizing the stories of vampires and space stations and time travel were the attention-getters of a fine old gentleman.
"Glad to be of help, Colonel. Heh. Give my best to Jake? Ha-ha! Do you two and Monsignor Mulcahy ever travel past the 24th Century?"
Emily thought she was now in on the joke. She was wrong.
"Oh, no. Going past Jake's relative time is a big-time Temporal Prime Directive No-No! And I'd hate to put Nerys in trouble with Time Affairs."
As he left, Emily sat in silence. Then, Bob returned, almost crazed over seeing Mister Petersen die.
They spoke as one.
"These 4077th people are out of their minds!"
Bob stared for a moment, almost glaring at his beloved wife.
"Em-Emily? Why don't you just leave the analysis to me. I'm-I'm kind of trained to spot these things, after all."