Chapter Six - My Favorite Zeistian
Connor sat and looked at the Viennese sky above them.
"In the other world, the memories of what I truly was came back slowly. I started remembering them as surely as I remember meeting you or Duncan here."
Sidney nodded, but it was only his knowledge of other worlds and realities that kept sarcasm from entering his voice. Macleod's tale was far too surreal.
"You were an alien."
Connor looked straight at him.
"We all were. That was the explanation. We were beamed down as foundlings, grew up again, fought to The Last. The Prize was in part--mortality."
In 1953, Sidney turned the tables on his Watcher, Father Francis Mulcahy, and peppered the poor perplexed Priest with questions about a chilling visit The Padre, Pierce, Houlihan and Hunnicutt had made to an Earth dominated by Nazi America. Sidney was a man haunted by roads less travelled since long before Frost was born.
"Sounds almost like something someone made up. Did you eventually die in this reality? And why were..."
Freedman couldn't believe he was saying these words.
"Why were 'Our People' sent to Earth in the first place? Scouts for an invasion?"
Connor shook his head.
"No. They were being punished."
Sidney darted his eyes about.
"Okay, BJ--where are you? Trapper?"
Connor was not at all amused.
"You think I don't know how all this sounds? Think how it feels to sometimes live it. To remember it. Its like having a second skin that's both three sizes too big and three sizes too small."
Sidney raised a hand in a calming gesture.
"I'm sorry. Its just that I got into the study of other realities partly because I hoped that in one of them, our true origins were known. Then, to hear this--renegade version--of whatever the truth must be---directs me to cut you off without thinking. Can you forgive a shrink with a small mind?"
"Sid---we go way back. We have good friends in common. Besides--knowing how much all this bugs you tells me that just maybe I haven't lost my mind."
Freedman bid Macleod continue.
"So we were punished by being reborn as Immortals in a long tournament."
Connor looked around. This all surely felt like a practical joke, but if it was, he was not in on it. Connor hated that.
"Yeah. I mean, I guess their technology made us who we were. A lot more of it fails the acid test than even you might think, Sid. For example, if all this was true, does that mean that Ramirez, Kurgan and I were once allies in a rebellion?"
"Yeah. That's what we were being punished for. Again, it all makes no sense. One of those that eventually came after me was one of those that banished us--and he had a bloodthirst to rival Kurgan's. This, after supposedly we were banished for being barbaric."
Sidney shook his head, and Connor took offense.
"What is it with you, head-shrinker? I just said about a dozen times how much this thing bothers me, yet you keep laughing or some such."
Sidney again shook his head, but now spoke as well, in apology.
"I wasn't laughing at you, Macleod. I was just thinking about Sherman Potter. He forgave a lot of stuff, back when. But he had no taste for rebellion. He never really forgave Rosieland. Ya know, I haven't talked to him since he let me know he was still alive---so to speak. Did I tell you that he became---"
Macleod's eyes narrowed. This time, it was Freedman who was avoiding the subject, and he'd had just above enough.
Freedman gulped, and shrugged. Avoidance was not his style, yet he couldn't deny that was exactly what he was doing.
"Connor--I don't know how much more of this I can take. I'm trying, really. But its like I said--this place you're describing sounds more like Bizarro World than any mere alternate."
Connor understood his friend all too well.
"Just say When, okay? Now, I start to get old, like I said. Not everyone likes my solution to the ozone problem, but that's life, right? But this fool from Zeist--that's the homeworld--has some sort of particular gripe against me, so he sends two flying goons after me. Did I mention that the CEO of the company that built the UV-shield had a dirty secret? Well, this lady comes to see me about that, just as these two attack---they became Immortal when they got to Earth...."
"I thought it was a punishment."
"Yeah. So anyhow, they get themselves decapitated..."
Sidney again stopped him.
"Get? Connor, you 'get' yourself cut. You 'get' yourself beat up. You 'get' yourself drunk How in the hell does one 'get' one's self decapitated?"
Connor looked up, as though remembering.
"Well, one guy--his name was Korda...not the Korda we know...he flew into some hanging wires. Whoosh!"
Sidney stopped writing yet again.
"His head made a 'whoosh' sound?"
"No, his harness. His head just did kind of a dull thunk. Heads aren't too big on noises, usually. The other one got run over by a freight rail that happened to be nearby."
Sidney had given up writing any of this down.
"Where his neck just happened to be after you, now an old man, handily defeated two alien flying immortals. So without another of us present, their Quickenings were wasted, am I right? Please let me be right. Cause I'm getting an ulcer here, and I don't even get ulcers."
Connor was too much on track to hear Sidney's every word.
"No. They weren't wasted. They went into me, and I became Immortal once again. Not to mention young. Then there's the weird part."
Sidney felt the ulcer he didn't have and couldn't get start to burst inside him.
"There's---a weird part?"
"Yeah--it gets weird. Ya see, at that same moment, in Scotland, at the very spot where Kurgan took him, Ramirez came back to life."
At first, Sidney merely muttered words under his breath that all of his kind knew, in one form or another. Words that had now and forever been violated by Connor's account.
"If your head comes free of of your body, its all over. No exceptions, save possibly for The Last and the wielder of The Methuselah Stone."
Finally, he spoke--yelled really, one single, solitary word.
Connor smiled that half-crazy smile so many knew.
"Toldja. Now, how about my first visit to see Hawkeye, after The War?"
Sidney seemed to calm down quite rapidly at the prospect of this subject being raised.
"After that world you just told me about, a Hawkeye story would seem like an episode of The Cowsill Family. Bring it on."
"Sid, its funny you should mention old sitcoms. Cause Hawkeye had met himself a lovely lady with hair of gold. Her name, as you might have guessed, was Margaret. Together, they had a secret--and I don't mean six kids, neither. More like they had gotten into changing the course of mighty rivers."
Sidney was now writing again, and only half-caught what Macleod said.
"Yeah, those two are always landscaping."