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Old 01-03-2011, 10:51 PM   #201
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 154

Chapter 8
Don’t Sugarcoat It



Greg laughed into his cell phone at MacLeod’s description of his house guest currently sprawled across the living-room couch of his off-campus Bungalow. “Hey, if he wakes up and gets all handsy just tell him he’s not your type! That usually settles him down. So I take it we’re just letting Katriona know where Lover Boy’s at,” the brunette questioned. Climbing from the passenger seat of Fitzcairn’s rental he checked his watch verifying the hour of a nearby church bell chiming three. His jocular tone faltering when he noticed the curly-haired Immortal’s attention drawn to the open door upstairs. “Yeah, Mac, I’m going to call you back,” Greg said abruptly. “It’s probably nothing, bye.”

Stashing the phone in the upper inside pocket of his biker’s jacket the German joined his English companion standing in front of the car taking a thoughtful puff of his pipe only to find it empty. “I’ve seen her leave a candle in the window, Gregor, but it’s not often she’ll leave the door standing wide open like that. Not in my experience.”

“Mine either,” Greg replied. Crossing the sidewalk to the stairs leading up he inquired. “What are you carrying?”

“Just my sword, laddie. And you?” Fitzcairn inquired.

“’Bout the same, except for a boot knife - hope it’s not a gunfight.”

At the head of the stairs the two men paused, listening for movement in the apartment around the corner. After several long seconds in which they only heard the city night and nocturnal insects, Fitzcairn signaled Greg that the younger man should cross to the other side of the open door and he would enter first.

With a quick step, Greg crossed low across the doorway. Behind him Fitz tried peering through the slight sliver the drawn drapes failed to conceal of the room inside. Shaking his head, the younger Immortal whispered, “It looks a mess in there and the lamp is lying on the floor.”

“Look at the lock plate.” Fitz said. Examining the old Hotel’s courtyard below he muttered, “I don’t know if I like this. Does the rail look -”, Blond curls flew back toward the sudden sound of knocking.

“Katriona!” Greg called loudly. Drawing his knife, he stepped into the wrecked living room. Glancing back at Fitzcairn when his summons wasn’t answered, he continued walking into the apartment. “There’s a carving knife in the doorsill here.”

Following carefully, the Englishman looked the room over before saying, “If this is all from their arguing the makeup sex will be bloody phenomenal. Can you tell if this was all them, or has something else happened we aren’t seeing?”
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:53 PM   #202
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 155

“Yeah. Really. Knowing those two it will break the bed and register on the Richter scale.” The doctor chuckled, picking up the lamp and placing it back on the end table. “But the door was kicked in. Wait, something’s -”

“There’s blood over here,” Fitz observed by the front window.

“Yeah, there’s blood over here too and something was stuck in to this table.” Looking at his friend Greg cynically inquired, “You don’t suppose…”

“What,” Fitzcairn snapped around his pipe stem, prompting the younger man to continue his thought.

Raising a dark brow the German continued the obvious, “in the middle of arguing he whacked her and is blocking it?”

Never!” Fitzcairn sputtered in shock. “And neither of these spots are large enough for that, I would think.”

“You’re probably right. I’m not seeing a body, but one of us had to say it,” the Doctor defended himself. “This one, someone hit a real bleeder. That - could be the same person. Won’t be able to tell without some blood work.”

“Check the bedroom.” Fitzcairn irritably instructed, still bothered by Greg’s suggestion Kendall could ever take Katriona’s head. Continuing around the room and into the kitchen he quietly called, “The back door is also standing open and someone has swept a pile of crockery up. They left the broom and dustpan sitting near it.”

With a sniff into the hallway, Greg turned on the light pausing at the sight of the vomit, dryly commenting, “Someone’s hurled their stomach here.” Continuing down the hall he checked the second bedroom and the bath, before returning from the master-bedroom announcing, “No one’s here and I’d say her clothes are still in the closet. However, the drawer in the nightstand is sitting open.”

“Doubtful she’s left him then,” Fitzcairn said with a note of confusion coloring his tone. “Though, that she has done.”

“She has?” Greg asked in surprise.

“Oh, aye, laddie. Twice I believe. That witch Cassandra had something to do with the first time and Amanda became involved somehow. I don’t know all the details, something to do with Kendall straying under the witch’s influence when she attempted to break their curse. Quite poorly I might add. I was left with the impression that Katriona was all but wasting away if Amanda hadn’t found her when she had and put a stop to things. To hear Amanda tell it, she feared Katriona was actually close to dying.

“The time I do know of personally was a couple hundred years later in Jamaica. 1666, no - ’67. I had caught up with the poor lad knocking around the Caribbean like a castaway. We were attending a ball at the Governor’s and I just had to question his light-fingered prowess. We’d have gotten away too, if the Governor hadn’t taken notice of us as strangers in town and Kendall forgot the schedule for the Bristol Packet. We were headed for the slave block for that lark. We were just lucky Katriona happened along needing someone that could read Portuguese. She’d yet to learn to read the tongue passably at the time. Some idiot writer she had on board chronicling pirates actually thought it was Latin! Of course, she couldn’t let on that she could already read Latin.”
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:55 PM   #203
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 156

“But it is truly pathetic what that curse brings the lad too when he’s parted from her. Ken told me she had left him about thirteen years earlier after an argument over his assuring her their Letters of Marque were legitimate when they weren’t. She was furious with him for it and because of the extremes it makes their emotions go, she just had to be away from him. Curse or no curse, Katriona couldn’t trust him and wanted away from him. He lost track of her when the ship she sailed off on was reported lost.” Chuckling ruefully Fitz continued, “The look she gave him as he flirted with her through the gaol’s bars, I thought for sure she would leave us there to rot. Luckily, there was that treasure map to a Spanish gold ship she was trying to translate. I’d say this ashtray was broken after she swept up, Gregor. There are broken pieces here, but that pile is ready for the dust bin.”

Greg chuckled from near the front door; “He’s usually been able to sweet talk his way back into her good graces. How’d Katri get her hands on the ‘Morning Star’ then?”

“Oh, some chap named Harry Adams found her after the shipwreck. She’d apparently been in the water for some time and suffered a touch of amnesia for a few months, or so I’m led to believe. You know how their curse is when it comes to healing them. I suppose it could be possible.”

“Yes. Downright weird,” Greg muttered. “Healing takes them a bit longer than us but they’ll come back from a killing blow like an Immortal. I suppose a touch of amnesia is possible. Especially if she had been in the water quite a while or something happened. A blow to the head, something she’d rather not remember. As I recall, when I met her – only a few decades after that actually, she did have a fading scare on her skull that she thought she picked up around that time. Just behind her ear. Would have had to have been one a hell of a blow to leave a mark like that, could explain a touch of amnesia.”

“Or if the bloke who finds you when you are a tad confused and muddle headed isn’t slowly going mad from Syphilis and is convinced you’re his long-lost daughter taken from him when she was only a wee lassie of twelve and his woman left him. I was led to believe Adam’s thought Katriona looked near the spitting image of his mother and having seen a miniature he had of her, she thought perhaps the woman was a family descendant. I do have to say, the likeness I saw very much resembled Katriona - had she aged into a woman of her late-thirties or so. Katriona claims when she remembered the truth of herself she tried to set Adam’s straight, however he wouldn’t hear of it. The pirate was already progressing in his disease and convinced she was his daughter Morgan. Needing a means of fending for herself and since he wasn’t a truly violent man, she sailed with him until his brother Dawg killed him. When we met back up with her in Port Royal she was already in proviso command of the ‘Morning Star’ and the scoundrel brother hot on her heels for her part of the map.”
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:57 PM   #204
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 157

“Where you were only five pounds and Kendall cost forty,” Greg smirked.

“And I wasn’t the one that pissed off that French chap! But then, I was already standing. You know Kendall when he’s in a mood.”

“And was it a cheap fencing move?” Greg asked. “You didn’t mention this broken wine bottle over here.”

Fitzcairn began to open his mouth, closed it, and looked momentarily confounded before finally saying, “Actually, my back was turned. I was aiming for the pot they’d left us.”

“Oh.” Greg primly acknowledged before saying, “Something isn’t making sense here.”

“Aye laddie and what of this scene would not be making sense to you?” Fitzcairn inquired from in front of the couch, pointing at the spray of blood across the cushions.

“The backdoor’s standing wide open. The front door’s broken inward, not as if someone from the inside kicked it out. The knife in the doorsill. There’s this wine bottle over here. Something sharp was embedded in that table - and it looks like someone may have been trying to go for the Derringer in the drawer. The chair is knocked over. The broom is out and the dustpan’s next to a fairly neat pile of broken glass and china. That orange – ashtray, is lying on the floor fairly close to it. Yet she didn’t sweep it in with the rest. The smoke detector is off its bracket, which might explain the burnt chicken by the oven, and there’s a pile of vomit that hasn’t been cleaned up. The drawer in the nightstand is sitting open and there’s a scarf and pieces of broken wood lying on the floor around it.”

“Aye. I was mulling much of that over myself. It’s confusing, is what it is. Could the knife, the chair, ashtray, and wine bottle be venting? Perhaps she’s gone for a walk?”

“There’s a purse sitting on the dresser,” Greg debated dubiously. “Katriona has been carrying one this week.”

“And there’s another there,” Fitzcairn pointed to the clutch on the telephone table. “However, would a woman such as Katriona go for a walk at night carrying her purse? But is that her phone underneath it?” He asked, walking closer to take a look.

With a disgruntled look the German Immortal pulled out his cell phone. His expression grew slightly more disgusted as he walked toward the door trying to find more bars. Out on the veranda, Greg finally found a signal near the rail when he noticed that it too was damaged. “Fitz. Come here.”

“Aye laddie,” The English Immortal questioned from the doorway until he noticed where the Doctor was pointing and said, “Aye. I had started to point that -” He said to Greg’s back when the other Immortal turned, running down the stairs to see to the woman lying across the boxwoods. Peering over Fitzcairn murmured, “Oh, I say. Isn’t that their Watcher lass?”
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:27 PM   #205
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 157.25

On the sidewalk below, the darker Immortal stopped by the bushes. “Lani,” He said, both in answer to the man now following him and in attempt to rouse the unconscious woman. “Don’t touch her yet,” the Doctor commanded the older Immortal. “I haven’t ascertained if any of these lacerations are serious or if there are any broken bones. We could do more harm moving her this minute. What’s that in her leg?” He suddenly asked in bafflement at the small stick sticking out her upper thigh. “She’s lucky these bushes are so old. They probably broke her fall and prevented her from becoming seriously injured.” Greg said her name again stretching up to try locating a pulse in the petite woman’s throat.

The Watcher groaned quietly in protest. Someone was calling her and the velvety darkness of the drugged haze that had kept the aches away was fast fading. The small Hawaiian moved to raise her sore arm to her aching head, however a gentle but firm hand restrained her and the male voice that coaxed her was thankfully speaking English. “Slowly, Lani, slowly. You’re lying in a bush.” The whole event of the strangers carrying Katriona off suddenly burst back to memory and she cried out. Starting up, the Watcher fell further into the bush and set her whole body complaining at the further ill-treatment it was receiving.

“Oh crap!” The young woman whimpered in foggy confusion, her news momentarily forgotten.

“Noelani Ka-’ehu-kai,” she heard from the other side of wall of leaves. “It’s Greg Powers and Hugh Fitzcairn. We met last night. You’re stuck in an old bush. Before you move again, are you experiencing any severe pain?”

“No. I just hurt all over, but I don’t think anything’s broken.” Lani strove for a stronger tone than the whimper that came out of her.

“Good. I know you are probably really sore, Lani, but can you get your feet on the ground?” Greg asked. “I’m going to push in from this side and steady you. If I poke you, or if for any reason it feels like you can’t put your weight on your feet, let me know. Alright?”

Working carefully they finally got the Hawaiian out of the boxwoods with only a few additional scratches. “How are you feeling?” Greg demanded, trying to inspect her pupils in the poor lighting.

With an odd little far off expression Lani took several seconds before replying, “Kinda woozy. Like I could curl up somewhere and sleep for the next few days.”
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:29 PM   #206
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 158

“Greg, what is that mark on her neck? Fitzcairn questioned, pointing out the long scratch and slight discoloration on Lani’s throat.

“They blew something at me.” The petite Watcher clapped a hand to her neck as she began to explain before remembering, “Oh no! Katri! They took Katriona!”

“What,” both Immortals demanded in unison. “Who,” Greg asked.

“Your people,” Fitzcairn questioned with an uncharacteristic menace underlying his tone.

“Oh no!” Lani quickly denied, “Not my people. I don’t think..,” Turning large dark eyes toward the Englishman she started to say, “They were…” and trailed off in confusion.

“Who?” Fitzcairn again demanded.

“It’s kind of hard to think.” She said, raising her hands to her temples to keep her head from floating away.

“It’s ok, Lani. Take your time,” Greg reassured the twenty-nine year old as he led her to the curbside and their car. Putting his jacket around her, he helped her lean against the car before he began to coax. “These people, what did they look like?”

“The light’s not so good up there. Maybe… South American? They kinda looked like those little guys in the movies with the blow darts! ‘Medicine Man’!” Lani strained to think through the cloud over her brain and limbs that had her feeling lethargic and wanting nothing more than to go back to sleep, but she had to say what she knew. “They all had black hair - I think. None of them was very tall. It all happened so fast!” Her soft wail of frustration had Greg reassuringly patting her arm as he noted the other Immortal’s unexpected glower in the presence of this damsel in distress.

The Doctor urged her to sit on the hood with her head between her knees before he sharply jerked his thumb to indicate Fitzcairn was to step away with him. “What’s with you,” the younger Immortal hissed.

“She’s a Watcher! We told you about them. I don’t think any of them are to be trusted! Regardless of what MacLeod may think,” Fitzcairn’s hissed reply became heated.

“We call them Hunters or say that they’ve gone rogue, Mr. Fitzcairn,” Lani quietly said through her short curtain of black hair. “They weren’t Watchers. Not really. They only masqueraded as Watchers. Terrified people believing a twisted, narrow view of our mission, who lost sight of what our society stands for because they believe the Immortals to be abominations of nature. Or what I was raised to believe we stand for. To never interfere with your kind and to only observe your lives so that we might preserve the existence of Immortals for a day there may only be a few of you left… Or only one.” Lani raised her almond-eyes wistfully, “They lost sight of the wonder of you people. The history you’ve seen. The accomplishments. Loses. And only chose to see your differences with fear. You’ve seen the truly Great Whales. The hundred footers or more. Pods of Dolphins spreading as far as the eye could see… That’s something I’ll never see,” she trailed off shaking her head at the loss of those majestic creatures to her people before her tone hardened. “And whether you want to believe me or not, I would never bring harm to Katriona or Kendall! Not knowingly! Even if it weren’t a family debt, they have been nothing but the best employers and I have become really fond of them over the last several years! So what-are-we-doing-about-finding-Katriona? Why aren’t we calling the Skipper?”
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:30 PM   #207
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 159

“Calm down,” Greg started to placate her before Fitz interrupted him.

“Then Ms. Ka-’ehu-kai, if you are so fond of Katriona, why didn’t you call someone when this started going down,” the Englishman demanded trying not to soften under the lady’s obvious distress.

“I only got here when they were leaving. At first I figured with the Skipper pissed at me and Katri not ready to let me off the hook just yet, it would be best if I stayed low for a few days. But I’ve been feeling like the worst kind of a rat-fink today, so I tried to call her earlier before the fireworks started. But I didn’t get an answer. When they were over I… I thought beings I was so close I’d try stopping by and throw myself on their mercy. I don’t want them angry with me. But not as a Watcher, as their friend.” Lani dejectedly explained, trying not to sound as miserable as she felt.

“What time was that,” Greg asked her gently.

“I guess I finally worked my nerve up around twelve and I got here maybe a half hour later.”

“We best call MacLeod,” Fitzcairn said. “Get him to wake Kendall. I do not want to be there when he finds out someone has kidnapped Katriona.”

“I think I know where I can find us a straitjacket on short notice,” Greg said hitting the speed-dial.

Noelani, becoming enthralled with the trailing colors that followed her fingers said in a sing-song voice, “Won’t hold him…”

“I hate to agree with her, but she’s right,” Fitzcairn puffed, relighting his pipe. As Greg stepped away from the car, the Englishman leaned closer to the Watcher trying to get her attention. “Can you think of anything else? Did you hear anything at all? Something we might use to find Katriona?” Lani stared at him a little blankly and he could see her thoughts slowly passing behind her widely dilated pupils. When the young woman’s mouth dropped open slightly causing her to look so adorable, the Immortal couldn’t help but soften toward her with a low chuckle. “A name? A place perhaps?”

Carmalita,” Noelani cry out, her finger springing up to graze Fitzcairn’s nose. “That’s all I remember hearing any of them say that I could understand. They weren’t speaking English, or French, or… And they used darts! Little darts.” She blew at him mimicking a held tube. “Mr. Fitzcairn, could you please not do that?”

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Old 01-04-2011, 10:30 PM   #208
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 160

“I’m not doing anything lass,” Fitz replied in concern.

Lani looked thoughtful for a long moment before asking, “When you’re tripping, do things like – melt? I could swear Skipper told me something like that once. The shimmers and rainbows are pretty, but I don’t think I much like the melting.”

“Gregor,” the Englishman called the younger Immortal in an overly calm tone. “I think Ms. Ka-’ehu-kai should be taken to a hospital immediately!”

With a worried frown, Greg turned nodding at something MacLeod was saying. Realizing his ex-teacher couldn’t see the gesture he replied, “Yes, that was Fitz. I really think this woman should be monitored for the next twenty-four hours, Mac. She’s talking about blow guns and darts. Something psychotropic with soporific effects, I’d think at this point,” he said with a glance for the thin stick he held. “Since she’s still standing, I’d rule out curare. Or at least a large dose of it. I really hate the idea of just dropping her in the middle of an E.R. on a Friday night like this, but we probably won’t be able to keep an eye on her ourselves and she really ought to be monitored… - Yes, if your friend Joe could get her turned over to their people they could take care of her I suppose. Yeah – What – Sure. I’ll hold.

“He’s got another call coming in,” Greg informed Fitzcairn.
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Old 01-05-2011, 11:35 PM   #209
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pgs 160.5 - 161

“Hello, Duncan MacLeod speaking,” the Highlander said after keying over to the other line. “Hi Joe, I can’t talk right -”

“Your friends Kendall and Katriona might be in trouble, Mac,” Joe interrupted him without preamble.

“Your Watcher, Noelani Ka-’ehu-kai was attacked earlier,” Duncan informed him, “and Katriona is missing. Fitz and Greg can’t tell what in the apartment was broken during the argument Ken told us about or if there’s further damage.”

Damn it! Was Noelani badly hurt?”

“Ms. Ka-’ehu-kai was unconscious when they found her but she’s conscious now, most likely suffering a concussion. She was pushed over the veranda rail, but landed in the boxwoods. She’s a bit bruised and cut up, but nothing appears broken. Greg thinks she might have been beaten a couple times and has most likely been drugged. He was telling me he’d like her monitored for the next twenty-four hours -”

“I’m on it,” Joe said shortly. “Since we’ll want to look the suite over I’ll have a couple of our people pick her up at the Crests. I’ll be at your place in ten minutes to pick you up, Mac. You’re going to have to wake Kendall. I hope he can function. I’ll be bringing someone with me that might be able to shed some light on what’s happening. It’s that guy who’s been trying to get in touch with him, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce with Angel Investigations. And of all things, that guy Ken was drinking with earlier, Spike.” Duncan could hear Dawson’s wry humor underlying the information.

“I was already going to have to wake him up and I am not looking forward to it,” Duncan replied candidly.

“No, I mean it Mac. This is out there. It’s big! We’re dealing with some real zealots here. They think they are going to raise their god with this pendant that’s imprisoning his heart and the sacrifice of whoever’s in possession of it. The same pendant Kendall bought Katriona.”

The Highlander’s eyes grew round in shock at the news Joe relayed, “Just get here as fast as you can. I’ll tell Greg someone’s coming for Noelani. Bye.” Duncan switched back to his old student, “Greg, you still there?”

“Yeah, Mac,”

“No time. We’ll be there in about twenty minutes. Meantime Joe’s sending a couple of Watchers to retrieve Noelani. We might have some real trouble brewing.”

“What -”

“Just sit tight and watch your backs, we’ll be over there as fast as we can. Bye.” Duncan repeated before hanging up. Checking the coffee pot he poured the dregs into a cup and put it in the microwave to heat. Returning to the couch, the Highlander looked down on his old friend currently snoring peacefully and dreaded his reaction when they told him the news. With a quick swig of the Glenmorangie he’d left on the end table when the younger Immortal called, Duncan was about to rouse Kendall when the unmistakable sensation of an Immortal nearby intruded on his thoughts. “What now,” he asked his friend trying to roll over in protest.

Kendall muttered groggily in complaint at the sensation intruding on his sleep. “Wot,” he demanded through the cotton wad in his mouth and smacked his lips a few times trying to work up some moisture. Dimly rising upright he turned to look in the kitchen when the microwave’s timer beeped.

“You need to wake up,” Duncan called over his shoulder crossing the room to answer the door and wondering who it could be at this hour. Pulling the door open before the Immortal on the other side could knock; he looked out on his front step to find Methos grinning under the porch light.

“Good Evening, MacLeod,” the world’s oldest known living Immortal cheerfully drawled. “You have company?”

“Kendall. It really isn’t a good time right now, Adam.”

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Old 01-05-2011, 11:37 PM   #210
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pgs 162 - 163

“Oh, I’m fine and I had a great time tonight, thank you for asking.” Methos continued to grin in smug satisfaction pushing in past the Boy Scout on his way to the kitchen. “I have just spent a very pleasant evening participating in the bacchanalia that the Alpha Kappa… something or other threw in commemoration of Seacouver’s founding. Nice group of ladies there. Very friendly. You know MacLeod; I’m thinking I might try the grad student gig again. Could I get a reference from Professor MacLeod? I think your University needs some real work on its party scene. What are the property values around here?”

“Your specialty, I’m sure,” Duncan said disapprovingly. “Adam, it’s really not a good time right now.”

“I was hoping I could impose on that famous Scottish hospitality and ‘crash’ here a couple of hours instead of trying to find a taxi at three-thirty in the morning,” Methos said from the refrigerator where he searched for a beer.

Stumbling up against the butcher-block island Kendall requested, “Hey, get one for me, too?”

“No, you’re having coffee!” Duncan commanded, going to the microwave and pulling the cup out. Pushing it under the nose of his inebriated friend he turned to start a fresh pot.

“Coffee?” Kendall scoffed in disgust. “I’m trying to get full-on, shit-faced drunk here lad! I don’t want coffee! I got my own sort of recent co-ed probably feeling not so friendly with me at the moment. But if I might say Adam, the lasses around here are seriously friendly as I recall. At least, they were ten years ago.”

“You need to sober up, Ken.” Duncan admonished, sternly pushing the cup back at the Irishman.

“Coffee will only meybeh wake a drunk up. Not sober the man,” Kendall argued. “Is he always this bossy these days,” he teased, turning back to ‘Adam’.

“Oh, aye,” Methos handed the sandy-blond a beer, continuing to tease MacLeod as well. “He’s always too serious.”

“Aye!”

Retrieving the bottle from his old friend’s hand before he could open it the Highlander admonished him, “You really need to sober up, Kendall. We need to talk.” Kendall tried reaching after the beer. Raising it out of reach of the equally tall Irishman, Duncan snapped, “Captain, I’m serious! Trouble’s risen over the horizon and you need to sober up and sail the hell out of it.”

“Fine. Have it your way then!” Kendall muttered, plopping himself on a stool and picking up the coffee. “Wot’s so bloody important ye wake me,” his glare turned to the stove clock, “at nearly four in the morn I might add - and deny me a beer for? Wait - is Katri alright?”

Caught off guard by his friend’s sudden capitulation, the Highlander looked to Methos for assistance before remembering the other man was also unaware of the evening’s events. He had been trying to get rid of the older Immortal. News such as this should send him bolting back into the night, which was a pity when he might actually be of help. Bracing himself with the last of his Glenmorangie, Duncan began telling Kendall all of what he knew so far. Watching in wary apprehension as the man’s expression grew more still by the word. Just as Duncan expected, the Irishman was on his feet to leave, hot on the trail before the Highlander finished telling him what they suspected. With great difficulty MacLeod managed to hold him in his kitchen, plying Kendall with coffee until Joe Dawson and these investigators he mentioned arrived.

At one point Methos interrupted MacLeod’s narration, scoffing at the notion of raising gods. Arguing that most legends of raising god’s were little more than fairy tales told around camp fires by superstitious people. Under the Ulsterman’s glower he threw up his hands. Taking another sip of beer the Immortal’s derisive attitude exuded what he thought of the situation. Yet something held him back, still too curious to go upstairs.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:34 AM   #211
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 163.5

Minutes later Methos was on his way up the stairs to the guest room. Adhering to the long ingrained habit of not sticking his nose into other people’s business, he decided it was time to leave the trouble that wasn’t his concern down here with MacLeod’s seemingly numb friend. He paused at the brunette Investigator’s mention of a name. One he had heard centuries ago when he first visited the Amazon after leaving the monks when their attempts to sail for Iceland landed them somewhere around Nova Scotia. It was a name that had always been whispered and hinted at in fear when he passed through the various Mayan city-states and other tribes of the tropics he’d discovered. If it were said aloud at all. Shaking his head that it couldn’t be the same, Wesley noticed the Immortal’s slight start of denial and asked, “You’ve heard of this god before Mr. Pierson?”

“He’s a myth,” Methos argued taking another step up the stairs. “One created most likely to legitimate a lot of bloodshed and warring among the Mayans, the Aztec, and then the Incans.”

“Some would argue that the old gods were quite real and still exist today. If not weakened from lack of worshippers,” Wesley countered.

“Might as well go back down and join the rest of the grownups,” Spike said from in front of him, causing Methos to bristle at the platinum-blonds sudden and chilling appearance blocking his path. “If he thinks you know something, you most likely do. It’s obvious you’re as immortal as these two – well him, anyway. I’m not sure what you are mate, but you smell a bit like them. Just - off,” he said to Kendall.

“Smell,” the gray-haired mortal pounced on this tidbit of information with a smothered snort of mirth. Filing the comment away for a report he was fast becoming uncertain would ever be filed in his lifetime if he weren’t to land in a rubber room of the Watcher’s. “Mac, if it wasn’t for dealing with Ahr-”
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:35 AM   #212
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 164

“Please don’t say his name any more than you have to,” the English investigator straightened in alarm. “If it is who I suspect, naming him at this time could draw his notice and he isn’t one we need coming to Momrath Eminán’s assistance even if he can’t cross over to this side.”

“Yes, smell,” Spike replied. “Mortals, Immortals, Vampires, Demons. We all have our own stench about us.”

“And what are you,” Methos demanded with a slight sneer at the pale man.

“Isn’t it obvious? Vampire, mate. Long story. Maybe I’ll tell you sometime. The things we will do for women,” Spike grumbled the last under his breath.

“This is all well and fine!” Kendall suddenly blurted, rising to his feet. The Curse wrenching his gut at the growing distance from her and the cold, hollow fear over what the kidnappers considered sacrifice curdling his stomach. He grew angry at the sensations just so he could even move. “But it’s not getting my wife back! I need to see the apartment and we’re sitting here one thumb in our mouths, one in our arses, playin’ switch! Now is someone driving me or do I hotwire the T-bird, MacLeod?”

“Not so fast,” the younger Immortal called after the sandy-blond causing the man to turn angrily on the Highlander. “I’ll follow the Captain I’ve sailed with. I will not follow a half-crazed, twenty-eight year old, Cursed Celt, that’s only going to get himself killed.”

Hands clenched against his thighs to control their trembling, Kendall swayed in his tracks. He flatly intoned, “You do not want to see the man I’d be without her, Mac.” As the Highlander continued staring him down, the Irishman took a long slow breath, finally snapping, “Deal.”

Clapping Kendall’s shoulder reassuringly, MacLeod reached for his coat and sword on the coat rack. Pausing, Duncan looked up at Methos questioning, “Are you coming?”

“Why? They aren’t my friends. Sorry Kendall. Running off to the rescue is your thing, MacLeod, not mine. I heard of Momrath Eminán a few times when I was in the Amazon and not a lot at that. The natives feared him is about all I gath – Excuse me?” Methos suddenly demanded, tussling with Spike chivvying him to follow the group.

“Look, mate,” the vampire argued. “That you pronounced his name exactly like another lady I’ve only met last week; I’d say you might know more than you think you do at this time. So you might as well come along, at least for now.”

MacLeod,” Methos quietly snarled when his other arm was caught up by the Highlander.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:36 AM   #213
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 165

“Consider this an involuntary impressment,” the Scot grinned darkly.

Don’t sugar coat it, it’s a shanghaiin’, lad!” Kendall snapped from the door. “Now bring the man or not, Mr. MacLeod, because I am leaving with you or without you, sir! And take a Dramamine! I don’t need to be cleaning up after you bein’ sick on the deck again, lad! Amanda would have both our heads.”

“Coming Captain.” Duncan called behind him, slightly less tolerantly at the reminder, tugging at Methos to bring him along only to discover the vampire seemed to have the Immortal well in hand.

“It’ll be a tight squeeze but we can all fit in my Rover,” Joe called. “Billie-Idol impersonators can ride in the back.”

“I think he’s talking about you,” Methos jeered derisively at his escort.

“After you, Gramps,” Spike smiled at the Immortal. “How old are you anyway? Because you smell downright bloody ancient.”

Staring down his nose, Methos climbed into the back seat of Dawson’s Range Rover before he finally sniffed, “None of your business, kid.” His eyes snapping indignantly on MacLeod when the Highlander told him to move over so he could get in. “I said I’d go MacLeod, you don’t have to put me in the middle.”

“Someone has to ride in the middle, move over.” Duncan argued.

“Hey,” Spike piously popped up from the cargo area,” I’m sitting in the back and you don’t hear me complaining.

“Shut up, kid,” Methos snapped.

“Both of you shut up and let MacLeod in the car Adam!” Joe growled over his shoulder with a glare for the two that said he thought they were behaving worse than his twin, seven-year old grand-nephews when it was past their bedtime.

Methos started to object, “I don’t even know why -”

“Stay. Come. I don’t care! But start the bloody, damn car, already!” Kendall snapped from the passenger seat with a glower that said he was ready to start knocking heads together if they weren’t moving in the next few seconds.

Minutes later Joe flashed his lights at a car sitting out on the street before he turned into the Crests at Soundside. The Volvo’s engine started up to drive in behind the Watcher. Joe explained, “Marilyn and Bob would really rather not be seen. Marilyn’s not even officially a Watcher. She’s an Internist. Best I could do on short notice, but her husband Bob is one of us. Lani should be in pretty competent hands.”

“How bad was she hurt,” Kendall asked in grudging concern. Still at odds about how he felt discovering Cookie was one of these people, but bothered that a member of his crew was injured because of her involvement with Katriona and him. He was shaking his head at Duncan’s relayed facts when they pulled into the spot next to Fitz’s rental. Taking in Lani’s slightly slack expression and too bright eyes, Kendall muttered, “Oh gods, she’s a babe in the woods when it comes to hard drugs. I think the hardest she’s ever experimented was mixing pot with Tequila in college. Excuse me, your Watchers Academy.”

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Old 01-07-2011, 04:37 AM   #214
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 166

Climbing out of the car the ‘Morrigans’ skipper walked around to stand in front of his cook. “Hey, Cap’t!” Lani greeted with a little wave and again became distracted by the fading trails. “I think it’s wearing off. Skipper, I’m really, really, really, sorry! There were like,” she contemplated her fingers before holding up seven. A lot of them! And one of ’em hit me! Twice!”

“It’s all right, Lani,” Kendall reassured the forlorn woman striving to sound more optimistic than he felt. “Joe said he’s found a couple that can keep an eye on you for the next day or so. You ok with that? You don’t have to go with them, but someone should stay with you for a bit. Just in case. I can try and call Mina if you’d rather.” Getting his cook squared away with the couple, Kendall was adamant about seeing who he was turning her over to. Finally a middle-aged woman climbed from the Volvo obviously fussing at the driver that he might as well hush up. Walking over to retrieve the younger woman, Dr. Marilyn Fletcher-Ross assured him that she would see that Noelani got the best attention if she needed it.

While the others saw to the young woman who had inadvertently become involved, Wesley chanted a small spell in his search for clues. All too aware he was on a deadline now. Following the minor indicators left hanging in the air, he tracked the residual energies up the stairs and into the apartment. The sorcerer’s attention darted over the scene trying to separate the couple’s earlier argument from those of the attack and started piecing together a picture of how many people had come in search of the heart. From the shadowy images the incantation created, Wesley saw a redhead he assumed was the abducted Katriona Morgan being attacked by several individuals from one of the Amazon’s native tribes. The woman had tried to fight them off, however they had not only attacked her with weapons and numbers, but drugs as well. Bending over in front of the window he found a dart that had not been picked up and sniffed it cautiously, trying to identify the poison.

In the door to the apartment Kendall shivered at the sight of the destruction. He swallowed hard at the memory of that beloved voice teasing him how a goose had stepped across his grave. “We didn’t tear the place up this badly. We pretty much kept to the kitchen,” he informed the group before going to his bedroom closet. Inside, he found Katriona’s cutlass just where he had left it after he had sharpened it for her when it was finally returned yesterday.

Walking back into the living room with a bag he’d thrown a few things into; Kendall retrieved her purse, four more guns and several knives from various hiding places, putting them in the bag with his Glock and their swords. He didn’t think his heart could sink any lower discovering she hadn’t even had the chance to acquire a one of the weapons and the wrenching in his gut goaded him to act faster. Katriona was being taken further away while they stood around. The sight of the burned chicken prompted his stomach to flip-flop over how often dinner was ruined, or nearly so, because of him distracting her in the middle of cooking. Starting with that rabbit the night we first bedded… Lord and Lady, don’t let the chicken be the last ruined meal. Don’t let the last thing she heard out of me be bullshit anger.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:17 PM   #215
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 167

“I finally got something!” Fitzcairn announced breaking into Kendall’s frenzied thoughts that were getting too close to freezing him in his tracks. “Maybe I was thinking too narrowly, but I thought it had to be either a woman or a ship. So I woke the steward on the ‘Signore Fortuna’ and had him do some looking around. There was a ‘Carmalita’ out of Colombia in port up by the State Street shipping terminal according to the Dockmaster on watch this morning. ‘Carmalita’s’ been delaying their departure for several weeks now, but were suddenly scheduled to leave with the morning tide.”

“A ship out of Colombia would fit with what I am able to ascertain from the residual energies that have been left by the Ábą Eminánie. That’s what they call themselves,” Wesley informed those present. “Are they still in port?”

“I’m afraid not, laddie. They weighed anchor early and left around one-thirty. Hours before their scheduled departure. I understand the dock lad was a bit guarded in what he told my steward, but apparently DEA has had them under surveillance for several weeks. It’s been the highlight of the night chap’s month. There was no concrete evidence of drugs or smuggling, so they weren’t boarded after her initial inspection. Just watched.”

“So she’s already making for the open sea,” Kendall demanded.

“Looks like, Captain,” Fitz replied, finding himself falling into old habits.

“More than three hours head start. Tide isn’t until almost six a.m. They’ll be fighting it for a little more than two more hours,” Duncan interjected.

“Is there any place open before six where we can get a rental to go after them?” Greg started to ask until he saw MacLeod and Dawson both shaking their heads no.

“And the only people I know that I could ask to borrow their boat would remind me of our Society’s vow,” Joe angrily muttered. “We observe, we record, but we never interfere.”

“Lot of good your society is to me then,” Kendall muttered slinging his guitar over his shoulder. Taking Fitzcairn by the arm, he started escorting the Englishman out the door. “Mr. Fitzcairn, I have need of a boat and you just so happen to be in possession of a fine -”

“Oh no! I’m supposed to turn over command to the new owners later today! Amanda will kill me if I let you take -”

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Old 01-07-2011, 10:18 PM   #216
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 168

“I’m only borrowing it,” Kendall argued. “I’ll return it! Full tank of diesel, with a wash and a scrape even. I’m not even sure if I recall her check ever clearing, so I’ll call it a repossession, if I must!”

“MacLeod! It’s just as I feared! He’s losing it! Kendall, laddie, Amanda was very specific where the yacht was to be this afternoon and how put out she’ll be if it’s not there!”

“Is there any better reason worth your dyin’?” Duncan grinned, paraphrasing the curly blonde’s own words from centuries ago and throwing them back at him now. Amanda could be dealt with later. The Immortal thief would probably even find the whole wild tale romantic. The yacht was too perfect an answer that didn’t have him stonewalling the ex-Pirate out of stealing a boat from elsewhere and bringing the Coast Guard down on them while still getting underway before the local marine rentals opened. If there was even anything left available to rent this weekend.

“Oh bloody hell! I’m already up to my ears in it, aren’t I laddie?” Fitz demanded before trying to argue, “You do realize the yacht could be hot to begin with! It is Amanda we’re speaking of.”

Turning, Kendall patted his old mate on both cheeks with exaggerated cheer, “As if that’s ever stopped us, boobalah!” The Irishman’s expression suddenly went stern, “Now, I mean to get m’ wife back an’ commit violence on the high-seas if I must. Are ye wi’ me or no’, lad?”

“I’m just wondering what’s taking us so long and will I need to share my cabin,” Greg demanded from the veranda.

With a piece of the broken puzzle box, the scarf, and dart in hand; Wesley was out the door motioning for Spike to follow. The vampire smiled at the ancient Immortal, “Seems we have a ship to catch, mate.”

“Oh no! ‘I hate the sea’,*” Methos stubbornly argued.

“Adam, if you know anything about this Momrath Eminán, it might help.” Duncan pleaded. “I know -”

“These are your friends, MacLeod. Not mine. I’ve helped you play Immortal marriage counselor before and I nearly lost my head. Not again!”

“Me – Adam! This is bigger than that! If those Ábą Eminánie get to Momrath’s tomb and succeed in raising this – god, a lot of people could die.”

“A lot of mortals will die. Immortals, Vampires, Demons. Basically burn the planet into a nightmare, hell dimension -” Spike closed his mouth under the Highlander’s glare.

“Not my problem,” Methos firmly contended.
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Old 01-07-2011, 10:19 PM   #217
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 169

“Methos don’t be a heartless son-of-a-bitch.” Joe Dawson snapped from the doorway at the three remaining inhabitants of the hotel suite. “We both know you aren’t, however you try to make people believe you are, and I believe them. I don’t know why, but I believe them. So if you don’t go, I’ll have to myse -”

“Joe,” MacLeod started to argue.

“Oh, I know MacLeod. How in the hell am I suppose hike through the Amazon, climb around ruins, and down into a cave maybe? Like a real Indiana Joe. I’ll figure it out.”

“Oh, all right,” Methos growled. Angry with everyone, himself included, at being cornered into this insane escapade by these two. Possibly the only two living whose opinion mattered to him. “But you are so going to owe me, MacLeod! And no Immortal marriage counseling! Once was enough.”

“Deal,” Duncan nodded, starting to lead Methos out by the arm only to have the man pull out of his grasp.

“I may be shanghaied, but I’ll at least walk aboard with my own two feet,” the ancient Immortal growled. Imperiously shrugging MacLeod’s arm off, he shook his coat straight by the lapels with a glare for the two.

Greg popped back in the door carrying a tire iron from the rental. “Are you gentlemen coming, or do I start cracking skulls? Don’t glare at me like that! I got a friend in danger of getting her throat slit. She’ll never be a diva, but she can carry a tune. Unlike some Scots I know. Be a damned shame to damage those pipes.”

“MacLeod!” Methos growled when Spike started walking him out the door in response to a car horn blaring out from below.

“Let him walk.” The Highlander ordered, brushing the cold hand off the ancient Immortal. MacLeod’s double-take at the chill prompted the younger vampire to raise a brow as if to say, ‘yeah, we’re real, mate’. With a short shake of his head Duncan led the way from the room. After the two exited behind him, he tried closing the door only to have it start swinging back open. MacLeod hissed, trying to think of something when a square of folded up paper was thrust in front of his face.

“Won’t lock it, but it might keep the door closed until someone can fix it later,” Methos drawled.


*****
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:34 PM   #218
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 170

Captain Sandoza marched to the Priestess’s cabin still seething over the change of plans that had his radio-operator lying through his teeth to various American law enforcement departments. ‘That Woman’ had taken on airs over the last couple months and his ship was not going to be used for ferrying hostages. Shipping cocaine was one thing. Dealing in human trafficking was another kettle of fish entirely. If these Dios ser-contuvo Indians were going to take up kidnapping for profit, they could have stayed at home and done it far more easily without involving him or his crew.

With the American DEA looking for a reason to board and inspect the ‘Carmalita’ the whole time they were in port; now these fool tree-dwellers brought a hostage aboard his ship! Presently running against the tide was going to use more fuel than his freighter should have needed, but it couldn’t be helped since he had to order the early departure. That would at least be corrected in a few more hours when the tide began to go back out to sea, but it wasn’t going to change the crew’s displeasure over the necessity of raising anchor in the middle of the night. It would be well after sun up before they were in International Waters. This night was going to require overtime pay in their packets. Not to mention several shots of Tequila for himself before it was over, he was sure. Frankly, he’d be lucky to break even after this impossibly cursed trip.

Striding up to the room he’d assigned ‘That Woman’ after Senior Rodrigo instructed him to bring the group along with the cartel’s shipment he wondered again what she had on the cartel boss that had even made him agree to this. Now to return them home after their business was concluded? Sandoza swore to the Blessed Maria that he should have thrown the lot of them into the water the moment the incense and rattles had come out. What had he been thinking when they were still at anchor to order an early departure? That had surely aroused more suspicion than it was worth. Why had he not just thrown them off then? He could have easily thought of something plausible to tell his boss why the Ábą Eminánie had not returned during the next five and a half days home to Colombia.

Crossing himself and asking for strength, Sandoza gave the hatch a perfunctory rap before stomping into the cabin. “Captain,” Araceli coldly greeted the abrupt invasion of her room.

Under the cabin’s harsh light the ‘Carmalita’s’ master got his first good look in months of the priestess and was startled to see the changes that had come over her. She had always exuded a certain authority that had been hard to stand up to, but now the gaunt frame and feverish eyes seemed to crackle with energy. Only by an effort of will did Sandoza not cross himself again. St. Nicholas defend us, he silently swore to his chosen patron saint of sailors. Straightening to his full height, he glared down on her with an expression that had sent many a hard ass hand backing down in his experience.

“What is the meaning of bringing hostages back aboard with you? Have you lost all sense, woman? There was nothing in our original agreement about bringing anyone back with us.”

Araceli took several seconds fixing her shawl. Folding her thin arms before her, the priestess replied in a tone one normally used on a small child whose antics one was growing bored with. “I see you did mean for us to discuss this further. As I told you coming back aboard, it is none of your concern Captain. And bringing the artifact and its holder back to Colombia was part of the original agreement with Senior Rodrigo. For which he was well paid.”
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:35 PM   #219
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 171

“I called Rodrigo,” Sandoza growled. “He claims that he recalls no discussion of bringing people back!”

“We discussed returning the holder of the artifact,” Araceli insisted down her nose.

“The holder of the artifact,” Sandoza pronounced slowly. His thin lips tightened almost pulling in the longer hairs of his mustache, “I see.” The freighter captain sneered, “So this is your ‘Jungle Justice’ for stealing from the Ábą Eminánie?”

“After a fashion,” Araceli cryptically replied. “As I said, it is none of your concern.”

Sandoza bellowed, “None of my concern? Mujer, everything that occurs on this ship is my concern! The entire time we were in port we were under surveillance by the Americans! All looking for one legitimate excuse to board my vessel and search for dru -”

“Of which they found nothing,” The priestess interrupted the shouting man. “You have nothing to worry about. They will have no reason to board you before we are out of their waters. The woman was alone. No one will miss her for hours and a search will not begin for days. By then, it will be too late as we will be in either Internacional or Mexicano waters and not those of the Estados Unidos.” Araceli’s tone grew more condescending as she dressed the man down, “Will we not?”

Against his will Sandoza jerked his head affirmatively. He tried to construct a further argument only words failed him.

“We will? Excellent, then our problem is solved.” Araceli smiled, the expression chilling the ‘Carmalita’s’ Captain to his bones. “Then our discussion is ended. If you are so concerned about the American’s finding cause to board us, perhaps you should return to your bridge,” the priestess dismissed the Colombian.

Raising a finger to continue arguing, Sandoza shook his head and turned to storm out, fleeing the room feeling as if something was physically shooing him out the door. Unsure of what was really in that room, once in the passageway he gave in to the rare urge and crossed himself before kissing the crucifix his wife made him wear.


*****


“If you’re trying to race the sun for the coast I think you’ll lose, Kendall,” Duncan commented. Seeing their speed he observed, “Not to mention gain notice of the local marine patrol. We’re in a no-wake zone.”

“I know where we are,” Kendall grumbled under his breath before pulling the throttle back if only to prevent MacLeod from doing it himself.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:36 PM   #220
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Default Chapter 8 ~ pg 172

Duncan thought he was about to say more when the onboard radio turned on for the tide and weather reports crackled, “Calling ‘Signora Fortuna’. Come in ‘Signora Fortuna’.”

“Don’t answer that,” Kendall growled pushing the throttle back up.

“Wasn’t really planning on it,” Duncan replied wryly. “I’m thinking the chief-steward decided to call the police after all. Did you really have to threaten him with walking the plank?”

“It seemed like the thing to do at the time,” Kendall said through bared teeth. “Seeing as I was already holding a gun to his head, lad.”

“Walking the plank, Captain,” MacLeod demanded again, his lips tightening in an effort to hide his mirth.

“Wha’ da these children know,” the old salt grinned darkly. “Come on! You thought it was funny and you know it, laddie! He was given the standard choice. Stay, join the crew and steer this lady to Colombia, or get the hell off! But I was takin’ the boat and that was all there was to it. Amanda can ream me a new one after I get Katri back. But I don’t need her here, castigating me further for letting my lass down. I’m thinking something large and sparkly should distract her long enoug’ for me to explain and knowing Amanda, she’ll think it romantic.” His head sagged as a shudder ran through him, “Pray, whatever god will listen, she won’t find it tragically romantic.”

“Are you all right,” Duncan inquired.

“I’m fine,” the Irishman insisted.

“Ken, -”

“I’m fine!” Kendall’s tone grew harder.

“Who wants coffee,” Greg asked from the pilothouse’s hatch glancing back and forth between the two trying to figure out the tension.

“‘Signora Fortuna’. Come in ‘Signora Fortuna’.” The German glanced at his old teacher silently asking if that explained the atmosphere.

“I take it if we don’t answer they shouldn’t be able to locate us unless we’re actually eyeballed,” Greg finally asked.

“That’s the idea!” Kendall replied.

“What about low-jacks or those GPS thing-a-ma-jigs?” The younger man continued, causing MacLeod to start looking over the control board while Kendall dove under it to remove the paneling in search of such devices.

“Call Fitz,” Duncan instructed, shoving the yacht’s internal phone at his old student.
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