Highlander Fan Fiction » Whirlwind of Rebellion.

DISCLAIMERS: James Horton and Joe Dawson belong to Rysher Entertainment, Gaumont
Television, and Davis/Panzer Productions. Dr. Abayomi Nkrumah is my own creation. I'm not
making any money from this. The story itself, written for the Mortal Lyric Wheel Challenge, was
inspired by James Horton's timeline and the Record of the Tribunal 15 September 1998, as listed
on the Watcher CD. That's the only information I had, so this does not conform to everything on
the CD. An earlier version of the story may be found at

Special thanks to Alice in Stonyland for providing the info from the CD, and to Jam-wired and
Amand-r, who patiently listened to me gripe about how I couldn't write this story.

Thanks to StarDancing for the lyrics to "Where I Go" by Natalie Merchant, and to Amand-r for
the lyrics to "Round Here" by Counting Crows.


By Farquarson

Friday, July 6, 1990

In the Dallas/Fort Worth Headquarters of the Watchers, the head psychiatrist's room was large,
light-filled, airy and restful. Sunlight streamed in through three pairs of locked French windows.
They looked Victorian, as did the rest of the room, but they had, in fact, been recently renovated.
The thin fragile glass of the early nineteenth century had been replaced by glass that was solid,
unbreakable and five inches thick, while every pane was braced externally by complex ironwork.
The walls, which were a calming shade of pale green, were hung with vivid, kaleidoscopic
paintings, all abstracts. Any art which was representational, and hence might trigger a patient's
rage, had been carefully removed. All of the corners of the furniture in the living room-sized
office were padded to avoid any injuries, accidental or otherwise, to either the doctor or her
patients. Not only were things like the bookcases and the windowsills padded, but also the
Chippendale rent table and the seventeenth-century Italian marble mantelpiece. The padding
spoiled the room's grandeur, to an extent. But the chairs and desk made up for it.

The antique chairs, all eight of them, were massive, simply constructed of heavy golden-brown
English oak, uncushioned and virtually impossible for a patient to lift, let alone throw. Most were
scattered throughout the room, but two sat proudly before a gargantuan black desk, ornately
carved from the toughest wood in the world, teak. The desk dominated the entire room, causing
nearly everyone and everything to shrink by comparison; and it was so wide that the psychiatrist,
now seated at her desk, was nearly two feet away from her gray-faced patient. On the desk stood
a large, simple brass plaque with her name on it: Abayomi Nkrumah, M.D.

Dr. Nkrumah smiled encouragingly at the gray, middle-aged, formally attired Englishman seated across from her. "Is there anything you'd care to talk about, James?" she said in her deep, husky, earth mother voice.

Her patient barely glanced at her. "I think not."


The Englishman regarded her with a poker-faced expression that clearly expressed his
exasperation with bureaucracy in general, and with the Watchers and their Department of
Psychology and Counseling in particular.

"Doctor Nkrumah. You are the third psychiatrist I have seen in the past two days. I have already
discussed my recollections of what happened at Six Flags with Uzziel Chang, and my feelings
about it with Madeleine Lazlo. I have been called before five separate committees and asked to
give detailed descriptions of what I saw. I have been ordered by my supervisors to justify my
reports on Blake Wilmington for the past two years. On instructions from the High Council, I
have given statements— all of which were twenty-page masterpieces saying one thing: 'No
comment'—to the Arlington police, to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metro Police, and to the Texas
Rangers. Please believe me: after two days of endless conversation on the same topic, there is
nothing I'd rather talk about less."

"Why don't you mention what happened at Six Flags?"

James Horton barked a laugh; it was a humorless sound, like the rustling of dead leaves. He
stared her full in the face, his small pale eyes burning into her large maroon ones. "Because I
know perfectly well what happened at Six Flags Over Texas, Doctor, and so does everyone else.
And, as I said, I've been rehashing the topic for more than two days. It's gotten a bit stale."

"Maybe telling me would make you feel better," hinted the psychiatrist from Ghana.

James fired a "lady-you-are-so-full-of-it" sneer of annoyance in her direction, but when he spoke,
his voice was calm and respectful. "Very well. What would you like to know?"

"Anything you'd care to tell me."

"Psychiatrists!" muttered Horton under his breath. "Can't make up their minds to save their
souls." Intercepting an expectant glance from Dr. Nkrumah, he closed his eyes, mentally pictured
his report on the Amusement Park Massacre, as the Watchers were calling it, and began reciting
the details from it in a tight, rigidly controlled voice.

"Wednesday, 4 July 1990. Subject Blake Wilmington fled from local police officials in a high-
speed chase after being told to come in for questioning on twelve counts of insurance fraud and
filing false death claims. She panicked, and ran to a nearby amusement park, Six Flags Over
Texas, in Arlington, Texas. When it seemed almost certain that police would catch her,
Wilmington unsheathed her sword and smashed the controls to the G Force. More than three
hundred people were killed when the world's first free fall ride careened out of control. Over a
thousand were injured, many by falling bodies. Wilmington escaped in the commotion caused by
the carnage. Her present whereabouts are unknown."

His eyes snapped open abruptly. He stood up swiftly, and leaned halfway across Dr. Nkrumah's
mammoth desk. "Is *that* what you wanted to hear, Doctor?"

"How do you feel about the incident?"

Name of God, woman! Thirteen hundred people are dead or injured by the Immortal I was
Watching—how do you think I feel about this—this abomination?

"I think it's tragic," he said out loud. "Tragic, and pointless."


Tragic and pointless, James Horton reflected later as he lay sprawled on the bedspread in one of
the Dallas Headquarters' barely adequate guest rooms. Now that was an excellent description of
the Watchers and their history with Immortals. Tragic and pointless. He squinted up at the ceiling,
barely choking back a tidal wave of nausea as he tried fervently not to think about the Immortals
he'd been assigned to Watch. So intent was he on not thinking that he didn't hear the door open as
the security guard buzzed a visitor in.

"James? Are you all right?"

Horton started violently, bolting upright into a sitting position. His pale eyes snapped wide open,
darting here and there with quiet terror, searching for the source of the voice.

"James." Joe Dawson limped over to his brother-in-law and placed a comforting hand on his
shoulder. "Take it easy. It's okay."

Horton paused a moment to quell his racing heart. "I'm sorry, Joseph. I was half asleep. It's been a
long two days, you know. I was dreaming—I don't know what I was dreaming."

Joe Dawson continued to study him with that earnest, compassionate look that made James want
to drive his brother-in-law's teeth down his throat. One emotion he'd never been able to tolerate
was pity. He never wanted to be the kind of person others had to feel sorry for.

He shrugged Dawson's hand off of his shoulder, as gently as possible. He'd never liked being
touched, but Joe hadn't figured that out yet.

Joe hobbled over to a chair near the foot of Horton's bed, swiveled his hips, and fell backward
into the seat. "Not all Immortals are like Wilmington," he said, as he unlocked the knees to his
prostheses and maneuvered his artificial legs into a normal sitting position. "I've run into one bad
assignment, yes. But some of them—like MacLeod—are fairly decent. Right now, you're
probably asking yourself why so many people—people who had just come to an amusement park
to have some fun on the Fourth of July—had to suffer and die on the whim of an Immortal. But
James, they're not all like that."

James closed his eyes again. "I realize that," he lied as he willed his voice to remain placid.
"Even Wilmington doesn't create massacres as a rule. She's relatively harmless—for an Immortal.
It's just that, to quote the geniuses in the Research Department, 'she has trouble acting normal
when she's nervous.'"

Joe sighed. "That's one way of looking at it." He twisted around to get a good look at Horton's
face. Despite his peaceable tone, James looked tired and strained, and his normally pale skin was
the color of old ivory. There were deep hollows under his eyes.

"You need some rest," Dawson said at last. "I mean a real rest. Like a sabbatical. At least a couple
of months, before you take over as Coordinator in the Pacific Northwest. Lean back, un-lax, give
yourself some time with Jeannette and Lynn Marie."

"Ease my mind and soul, you mean? Forget about the mad pace, the hurry, the troubles, the
worries?" Horton contemplated it for a few minutes—as long as he dared. "That would
be…wonderful," he said, with a catch in his throat. Impossible. I have far too many
responsibilities. But wonderful.

"Think it over. A little vacation would do you good." Joe glanced at his watch and groaned.
"Gotta go. Duncan MacLeod met up with an old acquaintance earlier today. Romaine Telford, if
you can believe that name. A lot of skill, and even more nerve. Judging from what they said,
they've got some history, and none of it good. They're due to start mixing it up at the Garden
Center in about an hour. I'd better get down there."

Horton turned the full force of his laser beam stare at Joe. "I was told, when I arranged for you to
become his Watcher, that Duncan MacLeod was out of the Game."

Joe shrugged as he headed for the door. "Come on, James, they're never out of the Game. Not
until they die."

He pressed the intercom next to the door and requested permission to leave. There was a pause
and a buzz. Then the door slid open. "See you later. Take care." With that, Joe lurched out of the

Horton gazed after him with intermingled aggravation and pain. So you only met one bad
Immortal in twenty-two years of service to the Watchers. How awe-inspiring. How touching. But
I wonder if you'd be arguing that 'Immortals aren't all bad' if you knew what I knew about John

John Cage. The Immortal informer/drug dealer/ traitor. His second field assignment. He'd been
pulled from that job when he accidentally discovered that during the Vietnam War, Cage had
betrayed several companies of Americans to the North Vietnamese for a sizable chunk of cash.
Among those companies had been the unit of James' brother-in-law. Joe Dawson had been fleeing
from the Viet Cong when he stepped on the land mine that cost him his legs.

The counselors at Watcher Headquarters had pointed out that Cage hadn't killed or maimed
anyone. The Viet Cong had done that. However, as far as James was concerned, Cage had done
everything in his power to make the killing and maiming possible. He only hoped that Joe
Dawson would never learn that he had been crippled and his comrades in arms slaughtered just
because a greedy Immortal wanted a few extra dollars.

It had also been around that time that Joe had been captured and expertly tortured by his
assignment, Liza Grant. Joe had survived—just barely—and James had set up a cushy assignment
for his brother-in-law. Duncan MacLeod. A nice, safe, boring Immortal. Out of the Game for
years. Joe had recovered faster than Horton had. For months, he had had recurring nightmares of
Liza Grant re-appearing out of a shadowy street, of Joe and himself being carefully taken apart,
inch by bloody inch, until their minds shattered and their souls burned away, until all that was left
of either of them were two mindless, babbling husks.

Of course, he hadn't mentioned this to the in-house shrinks, then or now. Theoretically, you could
tell them anything. In reality…well, it was like the Army. You didn't admit to hating or being
afraid of your assignments. You did what you were ordered to do. Besides, the High Council
didn't approve of Watchers who visited the counselors. Watchers who did that got job evaluations
that described them as "lacking in conviction" or "insufficiently committed to objectives of
organization." And he hadn't wanted a black mark on his record.

Not then.

Horton got up from the bed and began pacing around the carpet, the desperate motion of a man
who must move or else jump out of his skin.

Right after the Liza Grant business, some genius had assigned him to the Kurgan. Now that had
been a case of going from the frying pan into the fire. Five years of Watching the Kurgan had
very nearly cost him his sanity. It wasn't just the sadism or the brutality of his assignment. It was
the obvious pleasure the Kurgan took in butchering his victims, Immortal or mortal.

James didn't much care what the Kurgan did to his fellow Immortals; that was part of the Game.
But the mortal victims of the Kurgan haunted him. He had personally witnessed forty-nine
murders of mortals, and he was certain that there had been many more he'd never learned about.
The victims had ranged in age from two weeks to eighty-nine years. They'd been burned, stabbed,
strangled, shot, hung, drowned, poisoned and thrown out of windows. It didn't matter; whatever
had looked like the most fun to the Kurgan.

Some—the lucky ones—had died quickly. Most hadn't been that fortunate.

And he—he had had to stand there and do nothing, while he Watched the bodies of his fellow
humans being torn apart and violated for a sick animal's pleasure. He had done nothing while he
saw children begging frantically for mercy, and while he listened to the long ululating screams of
men and women as they died in hideous death throes.

He had fulfilled his oath. He had Watched, recorded and not interfered.

He would never forgive himself for that.

His glee at the death of the Kurgan had been apparent even to his thick-skulled superiors. So,
after the mini-Gathering of 1985, he had been reassigned yet again. Not a field assignment this
time. In some ways, it had been worse. He'd been assigned to the newborn Profiling Unit of the
Watchers. The function of the Watcher Profilers was to predict future behavior of Immortals, so
that the Watchers could have people in place to observe each Immortal at all times. To predict
what any given Immortal would do, the Profilers had to be able to think like that Immortal, which
usually meant thinking in a way that was cunning, ruthless, and totally without conscience.

But that was all the Profilers did. Predict. They didn't prevent any crimes against humanity, even
if they knew that an Immortal was a serial rapist/murderer. Or a child molester. They observed.
They recorded. They did not interfere. The fact that their deliberate inaction might cause a fellow
human agonizing pain or permanent damage—perhaps even death—was irrelevant. It was far
more important to maintain one's objectivity.

Just how many horrors am I supposed to witness and do nothing about, in the name of

He had endured it for five years. His marriage to Jeannette had nearly broken in two from the
strain. Finally, after he had put in numerous transfer applications, his supervisor had reassigned
him to Blake Wilmington. His current assignment. Sweet, harmless Blake Wilmington. One of
the better Immortals, according to the Research Department. Lovely girl. Definitely not prone to
violence. Oh, no.

And now…this. The Amusement Park Massacre.

The Watchers didn't seem very interested in ensuring that Wilmington got caught, despite the fact
that she was guilty of mass murder. Instead, he, the documented observer of Wilmington's
activities, was being held incommunicado until the Tribunal adjudged him sane and free from
post-dramatic stress disorder. Overnight, histories were rewritten to exclude any mention of Blake
Wilmington.. Parts of his own record were expunged and replaced with truly ridiculous lies. The
Kurgan, for instance, was now listed as having died earlier this year, not in 1985. Any mention of
the Profilers vanished from all Chronicles. Likewise, Blake Wilmington's file was changed so
drastically that James thought it should have been labeled fiction. Everything had been changed,
including Wilmington's race, creed, color, gender and age. The Tribunal had spoken. Falsifying
Chronicles was not, in this instance, wrong.

Oh, he knew that the Watchers were only protecting themselves from any unwanted questioning
by police, or any unexpected subpoenas from the D.A.'s office. He understood that. God forbid
that anyone should discover the number of crimes the Watchers had witnessed and not reported.
But the matter-of-factness of the cover-up had sickened him. Am I the only Watcher in the
whole organization who thinks that Immortals should suffer for their crimes?

But even worse than the Watchers' refusal to hold Immortals responsible for crimes against
humanity was the Prize that the Immortals fought for. "Enough power to rule this world and its
people forever" was the way they generally defined the Prize.

Horton had never liked that notion much, not even at the beginning. Now it was anathema to him.
The idea of spending his entire life on his knees, a rebellious but powerless slave who was owned
body, mind and soul, by one of those savage, cruel, conscience-less creatures was insupportable.
He doubted if he could endure it. He was certain that his wife and daughter couldn't. And this
horror—enslavement to a race of mass murderers, serial killers, and criminals—was to be the
destiny of the human race? Horton shook with anger. A tic began pulsating in his left cheek.
That must not happen. It will not!

Of course, the Watchers insisted that the sole survivor of the Game would most likely be
benevolent, someone who could teach and guide the human race. Horton had no desire to be
taught or guided. Benevolent despotism is still despotism, and a slave by any other name is still a
Besides, he had no faith in blind optimism.

But what could he do? He was only one man. There had to be a way of fighting back, of ensuring
that humans were left alone to work out their own destinies.

The door buzzed open, and the security guard motioned to him. "The psychiatrists want to see
you again," he said.

Horton nodded, barely noticing as he left the room, scarcely aware that he was flanked on either
side by a security guard. His mind was ablaze with a thousand different ideas for ensuring the
continued freedom of the human race.

He would have to recruit others of like mind and spirit. That was the first thing. Then he would
need his own organization. Spies. Enforcers. People who would bring the Immortals to the justice
they so often evaded. For the very worst Immortals—the homicidal maniacs, the serial killers, the
criminals—the penalty would be simple. Death by decapitation. They would not survive long
enough to threaten the world's freedom. And they would perish at the hands of the mortals they
had so often slain.

It was almost Biblical. An eye for an eye. A head for a head.

Almost like what the Immortals themselves did. Headhunting.


Horton smiled, and opened the door to Dr. Nkrumah's office. She was standing there by that
gigantic teakwood desk, with two of her colleagues, Dr. Lazlo and Dr. Chang, by her side. "We
just have a few more questions, James," Dr. Nkrumah said politely.

Horton's smile grew brighter and broader. "That's not a problem, Doctor. I'll do anything I can to


He liked the sound of that word.



LINES: From "Where I Go"—"Ease my mind and soul" and "The mad pace, the hurry, the
troubles, the worry."From "Round Here"—"She has trouble acting normal when she's nervous."
(The lyrics, unfortunately, were lost due to a computer glitch.)

all content © 2003 to Farquarson. || design be 1GREENEYE