Chapter Four - After Me, The Kurgan!
Connor had explained his amazing story to Hawkeye, after Pierce's wounds were treated at a hospital in New York City. Munching on hot dogs and pretzels, it had all slowly come out. While the graduate and soon-to-be resident intern was quick in accepting some things, others struck him harder.
"Your own family turned you out? Don't you think that's a bit much?"
Connor was thrown by how all the talk of heads, Quickenings, lightning and The Prize almost didn't faze Pierce, but this rather mundane thing had him stuck.
"They were people made of their time. Nowadays, someone might think I was a spy for a foreign power...or something. I don't hate them, anymore. I do wish they had given me the opportunity to just walk away. It was an ugly scene, Hawkeye. Ugly as hell."
Pierce looked lost.
"Connor....would you mind if I took a week off? There's a very sweet patient lady in Crabapple Cove I'd like to apologize to for not accepting her into the family when my Dad married her."
"I love Maine, this time of year. Wouldja mind some company--me and Rachel?"
"Only if you ride shotgun. After what happened to that Kaliearn--I don't know if I can ever touch a gun again."
"Mmmm--I think you'll touch one at least once more. I'm gonna show you how to use one. To respect a gun is one thing. They're not toys. But to fear them? I'll get you past that."
"If you also show me how to use one of those oversize scalpels, we have a deal..."
Connor finished up.
"He stayed on, even during his residency. Hawkeye always had terrific stamina, even before he changed. How much can he lift, nowadays?"
Sidney looked at Connor askance.
"100 tons. Now are you done with this exercise in artful avoidance? I'll stay here, Macleod, as long as it takes. But I need you to meet me halfway. Now, we were talking about the Prize and Kurgan?"
Connor didn't shout or start in, this time.
"Sorry, Sid. But its funny. The Kurgan is why Hawkeye left, too. He came around, and that crazy SOB Hawkeye held the bastard off at rifle-point. In exchange for Hawkeye telling him about blowing off Kaliearn's head in detail, Kurgan just walked off laughing. I forgave the loan, and closed the shop for several years. But in both reality and my visions, that's how he found me, and that's how in turn my sword found his head."
"Then---things get weird."
LONG ISLAND, 1986 -- ANOTHER UNIVERSE
Brenda saw the insane light show finally come to an end. Her lover, Connor, collapsed. What had she seen? What had Connor become? The sole comfort she had was that Kurgan was no longer moving. Headless or not, she didn't trust that monster to stay dead, somehow.
"I'm alive, Macleod. How are you?"
Connor stared awkwardly at his own hand, hit by some exploding glass.
"I'm--I'm bleeding. That's my--that's my blood. Brenda, I'm mortal! We can live as man and wife, even have......."
1998, THE DERMAL CANCER TERMINAL CARE CENTER, CENTRAL PARK
".....children. Oh, Connor. We always dreamed of having children. You listen to me, Highlander. Restore the world! Use what you touched in The Prize to restore our ozone layer. Let there be other children for other couples. And--don't lose your---"
He held her hand as she passed, and part of him passed with her.
"I will restore the old wastes. You have my word."
"The killer radiation has been blocked by our new protective shield. I'm speaking here with wunderkind Project Director, Connor Macleod. Sir, can our ozone layer eventually come back from the dead, as it were?"
By touching minds and knowing who to contact and how to make them work together, Connor had begun to keep his promise to his dying wife.
"Back from the dead? I Think So. The Earth is tough, resilient. One day, the sun will shine safely again over us all. You'll see that day. We all will. Its--A Kind Of Magic."
Connor sat, stonefaced.
"The world becomes a place of eternal red night. It begins to eat at us all, like the Midnight Sun of The Arctic Circle. Power is consumed by our shield, so much that there is almost no room for any research, development, or progress....I begin to remember a wholly true past that never occurred....."
When small tears began to escape the Highlander's monumental self-control, Sidney himself decided to change the subject.
"Keeping promises is important. Years after Yeshua's Crucifixion, I returned to The Holy Land to offer an apology to his mother, for my behavior towards him."
One of the hazards of Immortality is never realizing that some of the real people one has met are revered in later times. So it was that Sidney saw Connor's eyes light up at this mention. His faith was something the Highlander rarely discussed.
"You apologized to The Virgin Mother?"