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Old 01-19-2011, 05:25 AM   #261
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 211

“I think he’s in a trough,” Fitzcairn said consideringly. “Yes, it does look as if he’s in a trough. If they cut back in another dozen yards they should still be good.”



“What’s MacLeod trying to tell you?” Joe asked, slowly rising and steadying himself before moving to stand behind the Immortal.

“They may have some concern about where we’re sailing. There are shallows through here, you might want to sit back down.”

“I think he wants you to veer back over there, the water looks a little darker.”

“I may hate the sea, but that doesn’t mean I can’t read a river,” Methos snapped as he started easing the wheel back following the obvious course.

“You had to tease the vampire?” Joe inquired in amusement.

“I was bored,” Methos smiled back before lifting his beer for another sip.

“My beer now,” the two heard behind them as Spike popped open a bottle and lay back on the bench to lean against the cabin.

Methos moved the wheel, jerking the boat a little back toward the shallows and the sunny side of the Putumayo. “Hey!” Spike started protesting.

“Adam,” Joe admonished as Methos continued easing the boat back toward the shadier side. “Stunts like that could have us hitting a sandbar pretty hard at this speed.” Swiping the vampire’s feet out of the way the fifty-nine year old told him, “Move ‘em bud, you took my seat.”


Looking around, surveying the light and their surroundings Greg noted a small island in the river ahead. Seeing it had a channel that would make a good anchoring off the main course for the night he asked, “Isn’t it about time we called it a night? We passed Puerto Rodríguez forty minutes ago, if we keep pushing it; it’s possible we could hit a sandbar. Those charts have a stretch ahead that looks a little iffy, if you ask me. Don’t you think it would be best if we dropped anchor and tried it in the morning?”

“He makes a good point,” Fitzcairn nodded in agreement. “We still have enough light to make something for dinner and we won’t waste the battery more than we have to.

Looking over the chart, Kendall wanted to push ahead pulled by his own conscience and fears, but had to admit his mates had a point. “Just a little longer,” he started protesting, but he had to admit that the river ahead began twisting and turning back on itself so much it looked like a writhing snake.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:28 AM   #262
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 212

Behind him MacLeod took the matters out of the sandy-blond’s hands and motioned to Methos that they were going to pull into the channel ahead. “We’re dropping anchor, pull in over there.”

Kendall started to object, “I didn’t say -”

“Too late now,” Greg quipped. “The tribe has spoken.”

Mutiny! There’s a reason I don’t usually crew with you lads; you’re a bunch of mutinous bastards! Every last one of ya!” Kendall griped, steering for the channel Greg indicated ahead of them.

“Ecth,” Greg humphed, “What do you want out of volunteers?”

“Actually, I was pressed into service,” Fitzcairn piped up cheerily. “That is my story when Amanda descends upon us and I, for one, am sticking to it. Nothing I do can be construed as not having been pressed into service.”

“That mean you aren’t cooking tonight,” Greg asked with a wink for the other two men.

“Oh no, I’m cooking tonight laddies,” the Englishman said. “I have to eat this slop too. Might as well ensure it’s edible slop.”

*****


Happy hour at “Joe’s” was winding down as Lou took note of the young Hawaiian woman sitting down to the bar glancing around uncertainly as if she looked for someone. “Lani Ka-’ehu-,” stumbling over the unfamiliar pronunciation the older man grew embarrased, “I’m sorry. But are you Noelani?”

“Ka-’ehu-kai,” the twenty-nine year-old replied with a smile. “Yes. Don’t worry, plenty of people aren’t familiar with saying it.”

“Mike’s back in Joe’s office,” Lou said, pushing two beers down the bar to an expecting patron before pointing back down the hall toward the bathrooms.

“Actually, I was supposed to be meeting some crewmates of mine,” Lani said, looking a little confused. “I wasn’t aware – Mike, wanted to see me?”

“Oh. Thought you were looking for Mike Barrett. He’s in charge while Joe’s gone. I think Mike was looking for you though. Want’s to talk. I don’t know if he’s got much news, but you might want to go down and see him.”

Seeing the petite woman’s uncertain glance for the hall, Lou chuckled. “He won’t take your head if that’s what you’re afraid of and I think he might know what’s going on with your pair. It shouldn’t take long.”
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:32 AM   #263
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 213

With a look of resignation Lani got up and walked in the indicated direction. Getting to the bottom of the short flight of stairs she peeked into the rear office to find a balding brunette sitting at Joe’s desk working at the computer on what looked like a spreadsheet. “Mike Barrett,” she asked as if she had nothing to worry about.

Raising a finger in a ‘moment please’ gesture, the middle-aged man tapped in two more figures before clicking save. Turning to the door he greeted, “Yes, can I help you? Oh! Are you Lani Ka…” he paused trying to wrap his tongue around the unfamiliar word.

“Ka-’ehu-kai,” the petite brunette smiled.

“Ka-’ehu-kai,” Mike repeated, nailing the last name perfectly he hoped. In his book, it didn’t do to mangle a member of a generational Watcher family’s surname. He’d made that mistake once. Wasn’t going to do it again if he could help it. He’d survived the retribution that mistake had created, leaving him with the impression that some generational Watchers felt it made them royalty or something. Not the Ka-’ehu-kai’s he’d heard, but Mike prefered not to take any chances.

“Lou said you were looking for me?” Lani asked, managing to keep the trepidation she felt out of her voice.

“Yes,” he smiled reasuringly. “Just wanted to check in with you. See if you were feeling ok after what happened last week. After what I’ve been filled in on, sounds like you’ve had something of a rough couple months. So, how are you?”

Nodding her head and twisting her lips a little, Lani replied, “All right. No permanent damage. Not ready to go running home and hiding under the bed, if that’s what anyone is worried about.”

“Pretty much. So how are you feeling about Kendall and Katriona finding out you’re their Watcher,” Mike asked nonchalantly, waving a hand for her to enter the office.

“You heard,” Lani asked, swinging slightly on the doorsill before moving into the office.

“Ms. Ka-’ehu-kai, it’s my job to hear these things. That’s why I’m assigned to Joe Dawson. The higher ups, even though he had the clout to finally get the Regional Coordinator’s position, still aren’t too sure of the ramifications his friendship with Duncan MacLeod might mean, or that Immortals found out about us. But, much like you, he couldn’t exactly help getting found out. So, do you think they’ll fire you now? Kendall and Katriona, I mean. I imagine the Watcher’s will just reassign you someplace else if they do.”
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:38 AM   #264
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 214

Taking a seat, Lani admitted, “I don’t know. They might. Probably would be for the best, I suppose. I know we aren’t supposed to become friendly or fond of our assignments, but… Is there any word on Katriona? I’m worried. I know what a lot of the South American tribes considered sacrifice and if they’ve got her. We do not want a Kendall O’Laidhgnén that doesn’t have Katriona balancing him out on our hands. He’s not an evil man, but if he loses her… I don’t know what kind of dark places he’d go.”

“Not much news,” Mike said with a sympathetic expression for the Hawaiian Watcher. “We’ll just have to pray that doesn’t happen. Joe did check in earlier this afternoon. They were driving into Puerto Asis. Apparently the Ábą Eminánie reached Tumaco a couple hours earlier and were thrown off their ship before our guys could get a lead on them. After this, we might not have much contact for a little while, unless Joe can find a land line. The way they jumped on the trail left a lot of people scrambling to try and keep up. Joe may be the only contact we’ll have. He said they were heading downriver into the Amazon jungle later today. What?” Mike laughed at Lani’s suddenly perturbed expression.

“I always wanted to see the Amazon. Figures someone else would be following my assignment when they went,” Lani replied with a purturbed twist of her lips. “Of course, I’d rather see it under different circumstances.”

“I can understand that. Excuse me,” Mike said, picking up the ringing phone line. “Yeah, what’s up? Ok, I’ll tell her.” Hanging up the older Watcher informed Lani, “Your crewmates are upstairs. I wouldn’t want to alarm anyone, but I’d still go with the truth - without the Immortal parts, if you’re trying to figure out what to say to them - if they ask.”

“A couple of them already know something’s up. Between my attack and a shareholder, Sharon Henderson, asking around - I had to say something. We’ve been stonewalling her as best we can, but I needed the help keeping her quiet until Katri and Ken can get back. I guess I’ll be going if you don’t have anything else for me.”

Mike shook his head consideringly, “Nope, can’t think of anything. If you need anything, check in. Check in even if you don’t need anything. Take care.”

“Thank you,” Lani replied rising to leave feeling a little better this meeting was out of the way.

Listening to the quiet tred of the woman’s footsteps receeding up the stairs, Mike reflected on the meeting, “No. Maybe a little delicate, but she's not a wilting flower at all, that one. That little lady has some spine to her despite what her family may think. There’s enough fiest there I’d go so far as to recommend her for an Internal Affairs slot when this is over. If she needs reassignment.




* “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”. Director: Gore Verbinski. Release Date: 9 July 2003 (USA).
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:00 AM   #265
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 215

Chapter 11
Amazonia



Saturday morning found Kendall awake and on deck before the sun. The sound muffling fog shrouding them from the main channel slowly burned off under the sun’s steady rise over the jungle as he sat his self-imposed watch. To pass the time until the others woke, or he kicked their bunks, he whittled on the set of pan pipes trying not to think about the fact it was one week since she’d been taken. That the pull of her was still pointing him downriver was a good sign in his estimation. Surely it meant she was still alive and the Ábą Eminánie had not moved inland toward where they thought this so-called god’s temple was located. It was difficult to sit doing nothing with the Curse hounding at him to run headlong for her.

Not for the first time he wondered if the Morrigans had used his old duty of riding herd on Katriona, Cairsall, & Luain against him when they imposed their punishment on him. And damned his eyes it was still the truth; he’d kill anyone that got in his way to have her. As aggravating, stubborn, contrarily headstrong, and independent as she was, Katriona had always been the one person he could trust to have his back. Even when she was furious with him, she had his back. Kendall wasn’t at all certain he’d know how to function if something were to take her from him. After all these years it would be as if his shield arm had been taken from him. As scary as it was to admit, he’d have a blind spot there was no covering in the Game and he’d probably be down for the count long before it was over. Raising the piece of wood he was carving closer for inspection, he was about to blow a bit of wood shaving off when his attention was drawn to Greg poking his head out of the small cabin’s hatch inquiring, “Where’s the sugar?”

Kendall snorted slightly at the question to unexpectedly dispell his disturbing train of thought and scratched his head for a long moment. His face screwing up in amusement, the Irishman gave the younger man a long look before finally replying, “Oh, I could take that so many directions, Doc.” Growing more serious he jerked his pen knife back over a shoulder indicating the boat lying anchored in the shadow of the trees. “Other boat. What goes where isn’t usually my job, it’s Katri’s, because I will inevitably put it where she doesn’t think it should go.”

“No hope for it then.” Deftly lifting his legs up, the smaller doctor levered himself out of the hatch to swing onto the deck. Taking two widely placed steps, he dove into the water to swim over to the other craft.

Fitzcairn poked his head into view, inquiring through a wide yawn he barely had the time to politely cover, “Where is he going?”

“Sugar’s on the other boat.” Kendall replied, beginning to rise in search of his guitar to check the pitch against the pipes before remembering he left it with Dawson after the evening’s impromptu amusements the night before.

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Old 01-20-2011, 05:01 AM   #266
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 216

“Ah. Wake me when he gets back with it then.” The Englishman said through another yawn as he turned away trying to return to his bunk.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Duncan chided from behind him. With a push up the ladder for the older Immortal, he chivied the Englishman out of the cabin. On deck, Fitzcairn stubbornly stretched himself out on the bench striving to catch a few more minutes of sleep only to get thwarted by the bloody Scotsman swiping his feet off and forcing him to sit up. Claiming the cleared spot, Duncan sat back taking a sip of his black coffee and stretched his legs to their full length with a groan of pleasure. “I spy with my little eye, something starting with the letter A.*”

“You’re not really,” Kendall drawled disbelievingly. “It’s too early for this ye daft Scot.”

“Starting with the letter A,” the Highlander repeated more firmly with the smug expression of a morning person.

“The anchor.” Fitzcairn groaned into the hat he had put over his face in an effort to block out the sun, trying for five more minutes in the arms of Morpheus.

“No,” Duncan triumphantly announced before countering. “And you can’t see the anchors, they’re in the wa -” the satellite phone rang interrupting him, “ter. We have a phone?”

“Apparently,” Fitzcairn growled. His hand blindly feeling around for the contraption near his head that wasn’t going to let him catch just a few more minutes of precious sleep. Finding it, he opened the device. “Fitzcairn speaking. This bloody well better be for me if you insist upon interrupting my sleep.”

“Hello, Joe Dawson,” Joe replied on the phone of the boat he occupied.

“Good morning Joseph, what is it you require? Do you wish to speak with MacLeod?” Fitz’s tone clearly conveying he was not happy there were further hindrances to his getting five more minutes of shut eye.

“May I speak with Wes, please,” a third male voice inquired uncertainly.

“Who are you?” Joe demanded a little startled by the strange voice on the line.

“I’m Angel. I was trying to call Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and somehow I got both of you?” The head of Angel Investigations continued on a mildly confused note.

“I’m connecting you three,” Gibbs spoke up. “Mr. Angel called looking to speak with Mr. Wyndam-Pryce. Apparently you are out of cellphone range, and since I wasn’t sure which boat he was on - I connected him to you both.”

“The Anchor-line,” Kendall cheerfully announced, unaware of the ensuing conference call. “You can see the upper part tied off to the cleat.”
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:03 AM   #267
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 217

From the main channel a bullhorn amplified its unseen speaker’s voice, “‘You are trespassing on’ Private property! ‘Shut off your engines and prepare to be boarded’.**” Don Esteban’s chief of security announced to the intruders in that fraudulent, double-crossing smuggler’s boat. Of all the cojones, to anchor by the drug lord’s Coca field hidden a couple hundred yards inland behind the jungle screening it from the river.

Joe helpfully volunteered, “That would be ‘River Mistress’s’ phone. Just a minute, I’ll get him for you.” Still unaware of the company they were about to get, he called down into the cabin for the younger man.

“Where is Jacques Gorrión?” Rafa demanded into the bullhorn. “We are looking for the smuggler, Jacques Gorrión. Where is he?” Don Esteban would be quite pleased if Trinidad and he brought in the untrustworthy art smuggler, the cartel lieutenant thought in growing satisfaction at the reward he anticipated receiving for this prize.

Looking up from the phone conversation Fitzcairn absently replied, “I should probably put you gentlemen on hold. Joseph still has you though.” The Englishman sat up straighter with a shake of his head to clear the cobwebs. Settling his hat over his curls with an air of apprehension, he observed the boat he could just begin to see coming into view. Glancing warily between his mates and the approaching paramilitary transport, he noted the military fatigues didn’t bear any insignia or identification. That probably ruled out Colombian or Ecudoran authorities he surmissed with a small pang of regret that he had not just taken his tea without any sweetner after all.

What’s going on?**” Angel demanded into the phone, his concern growing over the half-heard voice in background.


*****
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:03 PM   #268
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pgs 217.75 - 218

Yuti stood outside the garage looking over the river, silently questioning if towing the truck into El Encanto shortly after dawn might have been the wisest plan after all. When the mechanic did not have a replacement for the radiator readily available, Guapi and Chupall had to physically restrain their priestess after she struck the man and drew blood. It was almost as if the sight of his bleeding scalp had driven Araceli into a frenzy and she had begun to beat him harder. Screaming incomprehensible depredations on him as she forced him to the floor covering his head as he scrambled for cover.

It had taken several minutes of earnest talking, but Raöul finally convinced the assistant mechanic on duty to patch it well enough to last until a new one could be ordered. Hinting it would be a good way to keep Araceli from coming back in the shop and assaulting the shaking man.

Professing he wasn’t making any promises, the young mechanic went about patching the old radiator. All the while making gestures to ward off the evil eye and muttering under his breath. Yuti watched the street up and down the river village. After a tense hour expecting the local policía to arrive and arrest them, he was ready to leave the town totally expecting to be unable to return for some time.

Leaving the river behind, the party followed the narrow, pitted road. They were several kilometers shy of the Mission headquarters that housed the small school and hospital, nearing the bridge over the deep stream when what happened next was truly baffling. Chupall was driving the first truck with Raöul in the passenger seat when the sharp-eyed, middle-aged Ábą Eminánie noticed the towering Yopo tree ahead of them shaking as if something powerful were striking it, moments before it slowly began to topple across their path. With seconds to spare he had cried out, “Stop!”

Coming to a screeching halt, Chupall glanced at his companion in round eyed shock. “That was close!” Behind the two, Yuti abruptly braked with inches to spare from another mishap and watched the large jungle sentry topple from the right side of the encroaching jungle. Imperceptibly the old man’s jaw followed the last few bounces before the tree slowly came to a rest across the road.

Shaking with adrenalin from the near mishap they narrowly avoided, the Ábą Eminánie nervously watched the sides of their immediate environs as they climbed from the trucks to gather between the two. Turning to Yuti, Chupall mutely asked if he too heard the chopping that thundered throughout the jungle, demanding its silence. In astonishment the group watched as a second Yopo tree, a bare dozen meters down the road on the left side began to sway. With each mighty chop the tree shook, shuddering before it fell with its own deafening crack to bounce across the path before coming to a rest blocking it.

The feyness of the moment stretched out as the birds remained silent. One tree was not unheard of, but two, and from opposite sides of the road. The one Yopo appearing as if it had been cut down with an ax? Yuti was about to caution Kore as he started down the road toward the second tree when an unusually large panther bound across his path. The muscular black cat paused in the middle of the packed-dirt stretch turning its gaze on Kore, pinning him with an intelligent glare. After several heartbeats, the beast snarled in warning before taking another leap and disappearing into the undergrowth on the other in a single bound. Dumbfounded, the twenty-two year-old stopped in his tracks to gaze after the magnificent beast. Blinking his eyes to clear his vision of the dappled sunlight, he realized the radiance emanated from the creature itself and he felt the dark cloud that had seemingly muffle his mind these last moons gently burn away.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:10 PM   #269
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 219

Turning incredulously to point the sight out to his tribesmen, Kore noted a large wolf from the lands north and an equally large rabbit, deep in the underbrush yards behind the first Yoba tree. In surprise, the young Ábą Eminánie surmised the two behaved as if they seemed to share a joke. That the wolf was not trying to eat the rabbit took him so by surprise that for a moment he nearly failed to see the similar halos of light surrounding them. His eyes widening at their presence, Kore just knew that the two unknown gods were spirit brothers.

With a jaunty twitch of his ear in greeting for the young tribesman, Manabozho leapt off after his brother, Chibiabos, in the direction of the stream. Their appointed meeting place with the elder, Dajoji and the Viking trickster. The other two gods were busy further up the road felling still more trees to detain and block the misguided Southern Children of the path that the Algonquin Warrior had traveled far to try and help through this terrible time.

Turning to his near age-mate, Saraguro, Kore could only mutely point after the apparitions in astonishment. Looking around he was amazed that no one else had seen the other two radiant gods and almost swayed when Araceli grabbed him by his shoulders. Shaking him roughly the woman demanded, “What did you see?”

Nose-to-nose with the crazed priestess, Kore could smell the cocoa leaf on her breath. Shaking his head as if shaking cobwebs from it, the young man’s voice cracked dryly when he spoke, claiming, “it must have been a trick of the light. I thought I saw something up there, but it is nothing.”

Suspiciously, Araceli held his eyes with her own for several heartbeats before he swallowed nervously to wet his throat as he saw her next question forming and felt he could not answer her truthfully. “What did you see,” she repeated more forcefully.

Fighting an indefinable compulsion to tell her the truth, Kore found his voice to convincingly reply. “I thought I saw a panther in the underbrush, but it was only a trick of the light in the shadows.” Staring back into her eyes he resisted the urge to glance back after where the wolf and rabbit had disappeared.

They were standing between the jungle giants trying to find a way to get the trucks past when two local Tainorio youths joined them. Walking up the road from El Encanto, the brothers joined the group without a word passing between them as to where they hailed or their purpose. The group silently accepted their swelling numbers as a sign that their mission was just and their success imperative.

The sun was rising a few degrees shy of being directly overhead when Raöul, Chupall, and Yuti came to the uncomfortable conclusion that the only way past the road blocks would be to chop them into sections and tow the middle lengths blocking their passage out of the way. A quick inspection of the trucks, however, proved fruitless; producing only the machetes they had used to clear the road earlier in the journey. The inadequate tools meaning that it would be hours before they could again be on their way.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:12 PM   #270
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 220

With great trepidation the men appeared before their Priestess and Araceli’s hollow-eyed gaze pierced them as Raöul broke the news to her. Throwing back her head, the woman let lose a primal shriek that echoed off the surrounding trees causing the men to cringe in fright.

After venting her frustration like this another three times, Araceli all but whipped her followers into lashing together a sling to carry their prisoner. With a mutter of defiance after several long limbs were cut from the Yoba’s, Saraguro started working one-handed. Despite the cast on his arm that hindered his work, he began rigging a hammock to also carry Soba’s body home. Spying his friend’s intentions, Kore dropped to his knees beside him to help, wondering that the dead man’s cousin wasn’t doing this. Covertly he watched Jahlis follow after Araceli like a hound from the corner of his eye. Was it his imagination or was even Jahlis beginning to act oddly?


*****


Swinging his ax back and forth by its strap, the muscular blond chuckled heartily at their morning’s work. “Does Odin know you have his ax,” Loki’s sharp-featured companion inquired. Folding his arms across his beaded chest-plate, Dajoji leaned against the bridge support, tilting his head inquiringly.

The Viking trickster looked around innocently before asking the white-haired Iroquois, “Do you see him here?”

“More obvious than kicking the tree over, however,” a younger Northern god snickered as short brownish-gray hair quickly slithered over his solidifying white cotton clad shoulders in a rippling cascade of black light. Chibiabos lolled his tongue, dancing out onto the bridge waiting for them to get on with their next chore.

“He’ll have it back before he needs it. Perhaps if I were blessed with the ability to kick as Manabozho, the rabbit god, might. Or merely command it with my wrath as Dajoji the West wind, I would not have had to borrow Odin’s ax. But I cannot, so I had to. Besides,” Loki added with a note of exasperation tingeing his voice, “I find chopping wood very therapeutic after that dark hound slipped through my grasp earlier.”

“Because you were being the arrogant young warrior, too assured of his own skills, Viking,” Dajoji replied imperturbably.

The Algonquin sky-god barked sharply, stomping a paw in irritation. Purposefully striding forward, the wolf head-butted the younger brave’s blue jeans turning his stare back onto the group. “My brother is impatient to get on to the next tree,” Manabozho informed their companions. “However, I think we should look at this chore more closely Chibiabos. A few felled trees, though amusing, are only going to slow them down in small increments.”
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:13 PM   #271
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 221

“We need to stop them,” the Iroquois West wind nodded in agreement. “I have ideas. But they only amount to small things. However, taken together will continue slowing them down. Though not long enough to ward off the solstice,” the elder admitted in disgust. “Unless you have something more grander in mind?”

“Small steps will just have to do until we can figure how to get our hands on that blackguard’s heart,” Loki agreed, uncharacteristically somber. “The trick, my good warriors, is how do we obtain it from them?”

“Between two Tricksters, we should be able to figure something. Beginning with a little mis-direction,” their white-haired companion suggested. With a puff of breath across his open palm, the West Wind stirred a breeze from his quarter that carried the agitated twitters and calls of a flock of Scarlet Macaws taking flight.

“Did you ever see Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’?” Loki inquired of his companions as he followed the birds’ flight with a dark grin gracing his sharp features. Suddenly wincing, he looked down to address the growling wolf, “We can still base a plan on it and have a bit of fun without harming the mortals, Chibiabos! And I’d appreciate if you spoke more quietly next time you chose to enter my mind.”

“I was thinking a little aerial harrying to delay or detour their path,” Dajoji confided. “Nothing too drastic. Let birds do - what birds do. Maybe a strafing run or three?”

*****
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:06 AM   #272
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 221.5

“They’re looking for Jack Sparrow, imagine that? Shocking,” Kendall drawled. “‘I don’t believe this is a normal shakedown’, gentlemen.” Appearing to comply with the security man’s request he threw the approaching craft a line to tie them together.**

Rafa keyed the bullhorn again, “‘If you do not shut off your engine, you run the risk of being fired upon’.** Jacques Gorrión? We are looking for the smuggler. Where is he? Where is that thief?”

“Captain Wright,” Gibbs could be heard questioning over the open line. “What’s going on? Who wants to board you?” The reformed pirate surveyed his store looking for his partner chasing the monkey again. “Jack? Jack!” He called more loudly. “By all that’s Holy, what have you done this time?”

I’m sorry, I don’t speak English.**” The sandy-blond replied in an overly affable tone, motioning the Highlander to be ready to gun the engines. Behind the two, Fitzcairn tried imperceptibly signaling their companions in the ‘River Mistress’ to the trouble.

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Old 01-22-2011, 12:15 AM   #273
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 222

Crouching, Kendall tied off the two boats as he continued to stall. “No, no. I only know how to say, ‘I don’t speak English, in English’.** Mac,” he said more quietly over his shoulder to the man sliding behind the wheel.

Hi! How you doing this fine morning?” MacLeod waved cheerfully at the two security guards on the other boat. ‘“Hold on’,” he said more quietly to his companions. Throwing the throttle, the speedboat jumped forward quickly gaining speed and pulling the line between the two crafts taut.**

‘“Stop,’” Rafa frantically yelled into the bullhorn. ‘“Stop the engines now before we fire’!” At the burst of gunfire pursuing them, Kendall cautiously peered over the stern to see the paramilitary patrol boat roll over to its side, sending its occupants flying into the water**. Out of sight of the other boat still hidden under the canopy of trees along the shore, they left their five companions wide-eyed in various states of surprise and interest.

“And to think it’s usually dinner you get the floor show,” Methos chuckled to Joe in assessment of the situation. South America’s never dull, the ancient thought. Retrieving the binoculars beside the wheel the younger German Immortal slid behind to follow, Methos held a hand out to stall Greg. “Not so fast. Let’s see what’s going on first. In my experience it's never wise to take a knife to a gun fight. However, big it may be and especially if you’re outgunned.”

Pushing the throttle higher, MacLeod sent the speedboat skimming across the calm morning water. Drawing his old boat knife, Kendall cut the line holding them to the patrol boat ducking as a colorful object flew past him.

Fitzcairn yelled, ‘“Whoa! Hat’!** Catch the hat!”

‘“Sorry’! Gone,” Kendall called from the stern, straightening to his full height just as Duncan swerved to avoid a second oncoming patrol boat springing out of the shadows of the tree lined river.

“Hang on!” The Highlander shouted, sharply turning the wheel to avoid hitting the other boat head on. The two clipped, momentarily scrapping hulls in a shower of splintering fiberglass accompanied by a loud crunch. Thrown from his boat by the collision Kendall went flying, landing on his back in the other boat behind the Cartel soldiers.

“All right, lads,” Duncan yelled back over his shoulder.

“Uh… Aye,” Fitzcairn humphed before petulantly shouting, “I just bought that hat!”

Ducking a fresh hail of bullets coming from their pursuers, Duncan glanced back at his old mates and stopped short when he came up one missing, “Where’s Ken?”
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #274
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 223

With a hurried glance around, Fitzcairn’s mouth dropped open when he spied Kendall staring back at them in astonishment. Pointing to the boat racing in the opposite direction the English Immortal audibly gulped. “I think he’s uhhhh… found some new friends?”

Antoine noticed their stowaway and drew his machete. Behind him, Kendall heard the distinctive rasp of a blade being drawn and scrambled to get his feet under him. Pulling himself up by the frame of the awning shading the deck, the Irishman went for the Glock at his belt, quickly remembering it was in the cabin of the speedboat along with their swords and his other knifes.

Eyes widening, Duncan ordered Fitz, “Hold on!” Turning the boat as sharply as he dared without swamping, the two took off back upriver in pursuit of their friend.

Assessing his opponent, the largely muscular Antoine brought his machete slashing down from overhead forcing Kendall to side-step left in avoidance. Bringing the machete back across, Antoine lashed out at the Immortal’s throat but caught him with a left hook across the jaw when the man dodged his blade.

Spying a boat hook, Kendall feigned a step to the right long enough to get Antoine to follow before darting left in an attempt to acquire the long pole. Realizing his error the Colombian spun his blade to intercept the intruder. Weaving to avoid the machete, Kendall bobbed right leaving himself open to Antoine’s left hook again. Swinging the long knife, the Colombian tried for the Immortal’s throat once more only to have his blade caught by two large, callused hands that trapped and smashed his arm into the awning’s framework. Nervelessly, Antoine’s fingers sprang open dropping the machete to bounce away up against the driver’s seat.

Sharply yanking his opponent into the awning frame, Kendall clipped Antoine with a right hook across the jaw and a left jab into his stomach. Stumbling, the Cartel soldier back pedaled trying to regain his footing as the sandy-blond bruiser followed him. Aiming for the grinning trespasser, Antoine swung high. Kendall ducked the blow and weaved, springing back at his opponent to plow a fist into the Colombian’s stomach. Antoine folded over with a woof of expelled air that turned into a grunting cough of protest when the mule’s elbow smashed down on his spine. Turning back to face his adversary, Antoine stepped into the left fist that sent him reeling dizzily. With a quick succession of rapid-fire, alternating jabs to the smaller man’s stomach, Kendall drove the burly hired-muscle stumbling up against the stern rail. Catching the overhead frame of the awning the Irishman pulled himself up, kicking out to send the Colombian flying off the back of the boat and into the water.

Chico turned from the wheel, momentarily startled to be looking at the American and not his partner. Quickly recovering, the remaining Cartel soldier drew his sidearm and fired. Jumping back in avoidance, Kendall rolled over the stern, half landing on the diving platform with his legs bouncing off the water.

“Whoa Nellie,” Fitzcairn exclaimed at the sight of his friend almost falling into the river ahead of them.

Shifting the throttle higher, Duncan steered their speedboat closer. Trying to pull up alongside the Cartel boat he caught Chico’s attention. Turning to the other boat, the slim Colombian shot at them forcing MacLeod to drop their speed. Reversing the previous shift of throttle, he started re-gaining his ground on the Drug Cartel’s craft. Emphatically pointing at Kendall, the Highlander indicated his intent and yelled, pointing at the Irishman then back to their boat. ‘“I’m going to pull in! You - jump on the front’.”
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:21 AM   #275
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 224

Incredulously Kendall demanded, ‘“You want me to jump’?”**

‘“Get on the front of the boat! Got it’?”** Duncan insisted.

‘“Really’!”** Kendall replied in a tone indicating he was certain the Highlander had finally gone completely daft.

Throwing his hands up indicating he was out of options, Duncan argued, ‘“What am I’…** You want I should find a boarding plank and pipe you aboard, Admiral?”

“Be nice!” Ken loudly groused.

“MacLeod!” Fitzcairn swiped at Highlander’s sleeve trying to get him to notice their new company. “You bloody boob!” He yelled more insistently in his effort to get the wretched, single-minded Scot to see the jeep whose passenger manned a mounted weapon in the bed of the truck that was now chasing them along the dirt road following the river.

A fresh hail of machine gun fire coming from the shoreline forced MacLeod to drop to the deck. Steering one handed, the Highlander covered his head against the onslaught.

“Have we not had enough of the automatic weaponry,” Fitzcairn complained.

“Get them off of us!” Duncan instructed, bobbing behind the wheel trying to steer and avoid being shot.

“With what?” Fitzcairn demanded. “I don’t know where the guns are stowed! He’s got the only gun I know of!”

Digging around his feet Duncan threw a case at the English Immortal, ‘“Here! Flare Gun’.”**

‘“You want I should signal for help’?”** Fitzcairn questioned incredulously from the deck, avoiding the fresh hail of machine gun fire turning the windscreen into a hail of flying Plexiglas. Opening the case, he inspected it for flares before removing the pistol.

“No! ‘Shoot them’! You bloody, ignorant, boob!” Duncan berated while Fitzcairn drew aim on their pursuers along the shore. The Highlander’s weaving maneuvers made it difficult to line the truck up in his sites as the bloody Scot continued berating him, “What else do you think I meant, you pea brained – Hey!” The Highlander protested as a flare flew past him to curve out over the water and explode uselessly.

“Sorry,” Fitzcairn quipped in a tone anything but apologetic. Hitching the throttle up another notch, MacLeod reoriented the bow of his craft with the stern of the Cartel boat.

‘“Come a little closer, babe. Come on,’”** Kendall crooned encouragingly.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:22 AM   #276
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 225

Peering over the low side, Fitzcairn took aim at the truck once more. This time his shot flew straight, flying in the open window before smashing into the dashboard and filling the trucks cab with flame and smoke. ‘“Oh, yeah’! The Cavalier shouted gleefully giving his fist a pump in victory. “I still got it, laddie! Bloody good show!” He grinned back at his old mate when the passenger compartment of the truck became engulfed in a cloud of smoke.

“Don’t get cocky!” Having steadily gained on the boat they chased, MacLeod suddenly down shifted the throttle back to avoid the crossfire between the muscle with the machine gun in the truck and the Cartel soldier steering the boat. With a small smile of grim satisfaction, he noted the jeep’s cab smoked a little more heavily as the two Colombian’s shot at the other.

In the jeep, Pedro tried waving the smoke out of his face so he could see to drive. He had managed to wave away a reasonably clear field to see, when he noted the sharp curve in the road rise up before him. Suddenly realizing they were further down the dirt trail than he thought, Pedro braked frantically. To his dismay his actions were ultimately too late and the vehicle skidded off the road to sail into the water of the deep tributary marking the southern coca fields of Don Esteban’s estate.

‘“That’s what I’m talking about!’,”** Fitzcairn whooped gleefully.

Shifting the boat back into the higher gear, Duncan pushed their speed to catch up with the cartel boat ahead. Keeping low, avoiding Chico’s efforts to keep them off, the Highlander oriented his bow with the stern of the other craft again. Peeking over the back, Kendall tried judging where Chico was when the soldier turned to shoot at him. Crouching on the diving platform the Irishman readied himself to leap when the speedboat pulled in range. Jumping for the rental, he tenuously caught the bow rail with his feet skipping against the water making it difficult to swing a leg up. Scrambling for a grip, the sailor hung on for dear life as MacLeod veered off covering him from the gun fire now skittering along the port side following their escape.

Turning his eyes back to the river, Chico instantly saw the sharp curve of the next bend rapidly approaching. Throwing the patrol boat into reverse he tried gaining control of the impending crash. With a yell of angry frustration the cartel soldier realized he only succeeded in stalling out the engine as the flat bottomed boat continued careening towards shore. Hitting the beach, it carved a wake across the loamy sand and into the jungle break before finally coming to rest inches from a thick copse of very old bucayo trees.

Swerving harder Duncan down shifted, bringing the boat to a stop a quarter mile further up river. With a grunt of effort, Kendall finally managed to pull himself up enough to swing his legs over the rail and roll onto the deck. Crawling to the center of the bow the Irishman pushed himself to his knees grinning insanely. “Are you alright’?”** The Highlander inquired with a broad smile.

Slowly climbing to his feet Kendall laughed, ‘“That was close’!”**

In the background Joe demanded, “MacLeod! ‘Pick up the phone’!”**

“Aye! That it was,” Duncan replied taking a swig of whiskey from the flask Fitzcairn handed him.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:23 AM   #277
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 226

Hands on his knees, breathing deep to bring his heart back under control from the adrenaline rush the winded Immortal inquired, ‘“How about you’?”**

‘“Pick up the phone’,” Angel emphatically demanded over the satellite hookup.

‘“Glad I’m driving’,”** MacLeod cheerfully replied.

“Are they still there,” Gibbs demanded with a touch more exasperation.

“Hello!” Angel called loudly trying to gain the three Immortal’s attention.

“Me too,” Kendall nodded with a laugh before he joked, “Always said you could be my backup wheelman once you learned to drive, ya daft Scot!”

‘“What the hell is going on’,”** Dawson demanded over the still open connection.

Straightening to his full height, Kendall asked, “How’re you Fitz? Any extra holes the original design didn’t call for? ’Sides the one in your head.”

‘“I shot a guy with a flare gun,’”** The Englishman replied smugly.

‘“A flare gun’?** What’re you wankers up to down there?” Spike, having wrestled the phone from the Watcher, shouted incredulously over the line. “Damn, we’re missin’ all the bloody excitement,” he grouched to Wesley.

‘“Kewl’,”** Kendall drawled, congratulating the Cavalier with a wider grin and a thumb up until he saw Fitzcairn’s attention shift and his eyes widened at the sight of two more boats coming up river. Following the Englishman’s rising finger pointing past him, Kendall started to ask, ‘“What’,”** Turning in time to see the newest arrivals open fire.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:13 PM   #278
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 226.5

“Ow! Ow! Hot! Fire!” The vampire’s voice could be heard receding from the connection as he dove back into the blacked-out cabin. “Who gave the old codger a bloody magnifying glass?”

“Oh, quit your whining, I wasn’t really trying to set you on fire,” Methos drawled. “Much,” he continued under his breath to Greg.

“Who was shot with a flare gun,” Gibbs insisted before turning back to the man knocking over the tank top rack in his stalking of that bloody monkey. “Jack? Damn yer eyes, who’ve you pissed off down river?”

The lanky blond ran for the cockpit, diving over the remains of the windscreen to roll across the deck as MacLeod turned the boat around in a sharp spin, throwing Fitzcairn through the hatch and into the cabin below. Pushing the throttle back up, Duncan started speeding back in the direction of Puerto Rodríguez where they had left their party. Pieces of the stern splintered through the air as the two boats mounted Browning M1919 began chewing it up. Thick black smoke billowed out from under the engine hatch and Joe having regained the phone yelled over the line, ‘“Who’s shooting?MacLeod! ‘Who’s shooting? Is someone shooting at you?’ Ken? Fitzcairn!”**

Last edited by Islandkat : 01-22-2011 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:15 PM   #279
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 227

Peering up over the back seat, Kendall observed the situation. Quickly crouching back down when one of the gunners aim got too close, he wracked his brain for a plan of action.

‘“You better not hurt my boat’!”** Gibbs tried coaching his voice to be heard over the racket.

‘“Engine 2 is out’!”** Duncan called uncomfortably.

Cautiously rising, the older Irishman slowly shook his head, “Ahhhhhhh…”**

Spike! Are you in on this?” The older vampire demanded as he strove to get someone to answer him. “They have my name on the receipt and I am not buying any boat! It’s coming out of your pay if you wreck it!”

‘“Fourth and long,’ mate,” Duncan prompted, demanding a course of action. “‘What do you want to do’?”**

“Ahhh…” Kendall stalled another moment trying to strategize. “You remember Connor, you, me, the Belgian Congo?”

“Yeees,” MacLeod replied suspiciously.

“I think we need to pull a Congo,” Kendall answered in a bravado laced tone.

“A Congo,” Duncan replied uncertainly. “A Congo?” He repeated more incredulously as remembrance washed over him. “You’ve got to be kidding ye daft Leprechaun!”

“A Congo,” Joe questioned over the still open line. Racking his brain for a time in MacLeod’s Chronicle that he was in that region.

‘“You think’?” Duncan’s expression telling the Captain his helmsman was convinced he was nuts. ‘“Really’?”**

With a cockier grin Kendall raised his brows as he insisted, ‘“Yeah, really.”’

“No Congo’s!” Gibbs nearly shrieked into the phone. ‘“Somebody pick up’!” He demanded of those in the boat. ‘“They’re ignoring me. They’re ignoring me…’” he complained to the man and the monkey still running around the store. ‘“Everybody’s ignoring me’!”** The rental proprietor huffed in disgust.

“Pick - up - the – phone!” Angel loudly demanded, causing Willow and Lorne to look up from the tome the ginger-haired witch needed to consult with the demon about.

‘“Take it.’”** MacLeod said when Kendall joined him at the wheel. Going below he repeated in fatalistic disbelieve, “We’re doing a Congo”.
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:16 PM   #280
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Default Chapter 11 ~ pg 228

“What’s a Congo,” Fitzcairn asked. “When were you in the Belgian Congo?

“We weren’t actually! We were in German East Africa. First War. August. The English had just broke their agreement and attacked the Germans. The krauts thought we had to be spies.”

“Then why do you call it a Congo?” Fitzcairn demanded a little more flustered as a bullet screamed past his ear and into the cabin wall.

“Because we thought we were upriver in the other direction and in the Belgian Congo!” Duncan snapped throwing open compartments in search of rope and something to make into a fuse.

“No Congo’s!” Gibbs repeated on the open line.

“What are you looking for,” Fitz snapped back, suddenly bracing against the cabin’s bulkheads to keep his footing as the boat veered first right then left in Kendall’s attempts to evade their pursuers. “If I knew, I could help.”

After several seconds of his question going unanswered Fitz insisted, “Mac? What do you want me to do? MacLeod,” he demanded snatching at the taller man’s arm in time to steady the two of them when their boat went up on her side to avoid a fishing boat. With an effort of will, he didn’t start at the loud splintering sound of their pursuers speeding over the fishermen’s boat behind them.

“How we doin’, lads?” Kendall called.

Shoving a short length of rope and their swords at Fitzcairn, MacLeod instructed, “Go help Ken.”

“What should I do with the line,” Fitzcairn demanded bewildered.

“Just go,” Duncan shouted, shoving him up the ladder to the deck. “And don’t let go of the swords!”

Above deck, Kendall snapped an arm out pushing Fitzcairn down to avoid the hail of bullets, crowing. “Watch your head!” His voice suddenly sounding too loudly in the silence of the wind whistling past their ears while the Cartel soldiers paused to reload their mounted gun. Instructing the younger Immortal, he pointed, “Open the engine hatch!”

Jumping, Fitzcairn called, “Yes sir!” Happy he finally had an actual duty to perform while the daft lads deigned to tell him what they required of him.

“Let’s go, Mac!” Kendall yelled over the shriek of metal from the hatch mechanism complaining at being opened.

Finding what he sought, Duncan triumphantly swung himself up through the hatch to land lightly beside Kendall. “Got it!” Crossing the deck to the engine, he shoved a container of cigars at Fitzcairn telling him, “Light one.” Leaning into the engine, he pulled out his Swiss army knife from his pocket and began cutting the fuel line.
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