?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"The Secret War" - chapter 4

Friday October 20, 1995

When I looked back up at Methos he was watching me, calm and still. It can’t have been easy for the world’s oldest survivor to read that. Or maybe … was he worried that I might believe it? I put that worry to rest right away. “That’s the biggest bunch of crap I ever read!”

Methos smiled a little and put his arm up on the back of the bench. “Actually, I’d say it’s one of the more effective pieces of propaganda I’ve seen since Goebbels retired.”

“So what does this tell us?” I asked him. “Was Ung the one in charge of the Hunters back in ’93, not James?”

Methos tilted his head slightly. “It's probable. This also suggests that Ung has been recruiting Watchers sent to him for evaluation. That could be useful in narrowing down the search, if I can get my hands on a list of his patients.”

“All right, what about Shapiro's note. You think that’s for real?” I've known Jack Shapiro since Nixon was in office; would have sworn he was on the level.

Methos blew a puff of air through pursed lips. "That's certainly the most interesting part of the document. I checked out the date. The Tribunal was in closed session that day, so it's at least possible."

"You said that file was just sitting there on the network, right? No password?"

"No protection at all, Joe."

We looked at each other for a moment, waiting to see who will say it first. I broke the silence. "That means he doesn't care who knows. He's not afraid it will get back to the Tribunal."

"That … does seem the most likely interpretation, yes."

My knuckles started to ache from gripping my cane so hard. "So HQ has known for over a year that Ung is recruiting for the Hunters, and they just patted him on the head?"

Methos shrugged. "I suppose it's possible they censured Dr. Ung in some way, but I checked, and he's still in charge of the Committee on Psychological Evaluations."

"Holy shit! When he was using his position to recruit? That's like the Golden Seal of Tribunal Approval." Watcher regional offices are pretty independent. That's a tradition that stretches back to days when it took months to get a message from HQ. But any decision that could have an impact beyond your own region gets kicked upstairs to the Tribunal. When a Watcher breaks his oath, it's their job to be judge and jury. I wouldn't be surprised if I got called up before the Tribunal someday for my friendship with MacLeod. I tried not to sweat it. But for Ung to get away scot-free after what he'd one; that pissed me off.

A truly ugly thought popped into my head. "Adam – do you think Horton and Ung were assigned to do this?"

Methos sat back for a moment to think it through. "No," he concludes. "That's certainly the worst case scenario, but if the Tribunal had decided to Hunt down the Immortals, there are quicker and easier ways to do it than setting up a secret splinter group."

I had to disagree. "Come on, Adam, Watcher witch hunts went out with the Third Crusade."

"Really," he interrupted. "I seem to recall over a hundred Watchers readily mobilizing to hunt down an Immortal on the word of a single supervisor. They seemed quite eager when you sent them after Kalas."

Ugh. "But that was different," I protested. "Kalas was about to publish the secret of Immortality, and he'd been targeting Watchers."

"Hmmmm," he offered, turning his head to watch a man with a German Shepherd walk briskly past us on the path. Adam Pierson had been working in Headquarters at the time, and I had to wonder how it looked to the researchers there. Could be that someday that precedent would come back and bite me in the ass.

"How much have you told MacLeod so far?" Methos asked, as the dog-walker got out of range.

"Nothing. And we're gonna keep it that way," I snapped. Shit, that didn't come out right.

"Really." Methos's face was amused, but there was ringing steel in his voice. "And how did we come to this momentous decision?"

Adam Pierson had a well deserved reputation for end-runs around directives and supervisors he disagreed with. Looked like Methos wouldn't even bother going behind my back about it. Unless I could convince him.

"Look, we tell Mac, what's he gonna do? Say, 'Thanks for the heads-up guys, good luck with that?' No – the Hunters have hurt him before, and he'll want to protect us. He's gonna try to help."

"Well, MacLeod's help would be very useful."

"Useful? Sure he'd be useful! He'd be the fucking Swiss Army Knife! And then what? What about when someone else dies?" Saying this out loud makes it real. "'Cause you know Fatima ain't gonna be the last."

I glare at Methos until he nods, acknowledging the point. "If it's all Watchers, that's one thing. But if Mac's in the mix…"

Methos blindly reaches out one hand to touch my shoulder, stopping me. His eyes are unfocused, like a chess master thinking ten moves ahead. "The Watchers as a whole would see him as a threat," he whispered. "They would target him, and MacLeod, alive or dead, would pull dozens of Immortals into the conflict. It would turn into an all-out war between Immortals and Watchers."

The picture Methos paints ain't pretty. Kalas killed four Watchers. He took out Jacques Vemas right in the middle of Headquarters, for Christ's sake. And thinking back to that frantic search, my people were scared. Scared people are dangerous. I've even heard rumors that the Tribunal is moving the Paris Headquarters, because "the Immortals" know where it is. Maybe the average Watcher isn't as far from the Hunters as I thought.

Methos shook himself a bit and took a deep breath. "I was wrong, Joe," he said, "that is the worse case scenario. We need to keep this secret from MacLeod, and from the rest of the Watchers."

"So you and me are gonna take on the Hunters all by ourselves, then?" I say it like a joke, but I'm really hoping that's not the plan.

"Nooooo, that won't be necessary," he reassured me. "You've always underestimated the amount of influence you have in the Watchers, Joe. Your initial confrontation with the Hunters, the Kalas incident – they've raised your stock tremendously. The older members of the organization respect you, and you're something of a hero to the younger Watchers."

"Great, just what I need," I mutter. I look up to find Methos staring at me coldly.

"Yes, it is exactly what you need, and you will use it, Joe Dawson, because it is the only advantage we have."

I shrugged, uncomfortable with the idea. He's right, of course. If things went bad Methos might be able to disappear, but Mac, Amanda, Richie, and a whole bunch of Watchers, would all be right in the middle. I'd do whatever I had to.

Seeing it in my face, Methos relaxed. I sat there on the bench next to him for a few minutes, letting it all sink in.

“So you really think my office is bugged?” I had to ask.

Methos shrugged. “It would make sense, and Horton’s men had you under surveillance back in ’93, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, that’s true. I’ll need to go get one of those gizmos that sniffs out bugs, get them out of there.”

“No, leave them in place, Joe. Lull the enemy into a false sense of security, plant disinformation, the possibilities are endless. Once you remove the bugs, they know you know. Don’t limit your options yet.”

"Right. Right. Don't let on that I know, leave the bugs and wire taps in place, don't make any big changes in routine..."

"Exactly," Methos said. "I knew you'd start thinking, once you got over the shock. We're in enemy territory, Joe."

Now he's just trying to piss me off. "Yeah, I think I got that part. You wanna bunk at my place, or are you staying at a hotel?"

Methos accepted the change in topic. “I think I’ll go drop in on MacLeod," he remarked brightly.

“Is that wise?” I had to ask.

He threw me a surprised look. “Joe, I hardly think MacLeod will take the head of a houseguest, no matter how uninvited.”

“I mean, is it wise to spend time around Immortals? One of their Watchers is bound to ID you as an Immortal, sooner or later.”

He turned away to watch a woman with jogging with a baby stroller and spoke in a distant voice. “No, Joe, I’m sure it’s not a wise thing to do.” He turned back to me with a Mona Lisa smile as he added, “Luckily, I never claimed to be wise.”

And that was that.

Read chapter 5.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
amonitrate
Jan. 14th, 2007 10:53 pm (UTC)
He threw me a surprised look. “Joe, I hardly think MacLeod will take the head of a houseguest, no matter how uninvited.”

“I mean, is it wise to spend time around Immortals? One of their Watchers is bound to ID you as an Immortal, sooner or later.”

He turned away to watch a woman with jogging with a baby stroller and spoke in a distant voice. “No, Joe, I’m sure it’s not a wise thing to do.” He turned back to me with a Mona Lisa smile as he added, “Luckily, I never claimed to be wise.”

And that was that.


oh, nice.
keerawa
Jan. 14th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
*smiles*
holde_maid
Jan. 16th, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
*agrees heartily*
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )