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We have a total of 23 episodes, and they're all available if you follow the HFS link.

 

 
 
Part 1

Scene 1

The first edge of panic had receded, people taking comfort in the sound of sirens and nuns' assurances that help was coming. Duncan re-entered the church, grimly frustrated at his inability to catch up with the woman Immortal. Since when did Immortals flee Holy Ground? And how could someone confront evidence of so many sick people and just walk away? He'd come back to Seacouver for a short stay when he'd heard about Joe's close encounter with Kuli. The fact that some friends were having a charity event had seemed like a reasonable cover at the time. Of course Joe had seen through it the moment the Highlander had stepped off the plane and forbade any mention of the events which had nearly killed the Watcher.

"Duncan!"

Sister Luke hurried over to him. In her neat gray suit and bobbed hair, she looked more like a lawyer than a nun. Only her silver cross and plain wedding band showed any hint of her calling. She caught his arm, more to stop her own headlong rush than out of any need to keep him still.

"You have medical training, yes?" she asked, somewhat breathless.

With an effort, MacLeod re-oriented his thought away from the vanished Immortal to crisis at hand. "Yes...paramedic training." {Some years ago, true...}

She nodded. "Good." She gestured behind her. "Please stay with the children. Some of them are sick, too, and they're all frightened. I have to get someone to wait outside to watch for the ambulances."

She dashed off before he could respond. St. Michael's had a small staff, and they were completely over-whelmed at an emergency of this magnitude, especially when some of the clergy folk had fallen ill as well.

MacLeod made his way to the corner set aside for the children. They were, he was relieved to see, more frightened than ill. The few sick ones he managed to coax into describing their symptoms. Nausea, stomach pains, shaking in the hands, and sweating.... Food poisoning, perhaps?

St. Michael's had hosted a charity luncheon to raise money for the parish, to be followed by a tour of the grounds and the library. It was during the tour that first few people had complained of feeling sick. Those few had grown to an even dozen by the time the paramedics arrived, toting their kits.

They moved quickly and competently through the attendees. Fast on their heels came the police, who waited long enough for the healthy to be separated from the sick before beginning their questioning. It was too late now to make himself scarce. Duncan resigned himself to an afternoon down at the station.

One of the EMTs walked up to the supervising officer. "All of these people are going to need their stomachs pumped, even the ones who aren't showing symptoms. We're going to need you to call a van."

{Oh, Lord,} thought Duncan. There was no way he could explain to these people that he didn't need medical attention, and he really didn't want to be any place where a competent, observant medical staff could get at him.

He was going to have to slip out when he could.


Scene 2

Like so many others, the Seacouver General emergency room was over- crowded and understaffed. Duncan couldn't have asked for a better set-up if he'd planned it. The harried nurse on desk duty passed forms to those able to fill them out and sent them to t he uncomfortable orange chairs to wait for the next available doctor. Those already showing symptoms were hustled into cubicles for their appointment with a stomach pump.

Duncan pretended to study the form, glancing up now and then to gauge the attentions of the staff nearby. He'd have to time this very carefully...

The sliding doors sprang open, and another ambulance team rushed in with a gurney and a ominously bandaged and braced figure. The staff snapped to, converging around the new arrival. Duncan slid the form into the pocket inside his jacket.

"Need the restroom," he said to no-one in particular.

He stood up and walked down the hall with an unhurried stride. The trick was to look as if you belonged wherever you were, and belonged so perfectly, it wouldn't even occur to anyone to question otherwise. Of course, it helped if the people around you w ere too caught up in something else to pay much attention to you.

At an angle from the men's room, he saw a lighted red exit sign over the entrance to a stairwell. One more quick look around, and he was at the door, pushing it open. Down two flights to the garage below the hospital, and then outside. The unused form went into the nearest garbage can. No computer entry, Duncan MacLeod had never been there. He raised the collar of his jacket against the gusty afternoon and hailed a cab.


Scene 3

Duncan paged through the afternoon paper. Yesterday's poisonings had made the front page, and dominated most other sections. No one had died, but it had been a near thing for some. Police were conducting an investigation, normal food poisoning had been ruled out, the usual official press release: a lot of words to say absolutely nothing.

"Sorry business, that," Joe said, shaking his head. The glasses clinked together as he set them down on the bar.

Duncan snapped the paper closed along its folds, saying nothing. He didn't trust his temper just then.

"I thought the church-burnings down south were bad enough, but this... This tops it all. None of those people did anything to deserve this." Joe looked disgusted.

"Someone didn't agree with you." {And that someone could be an Immortal.}

Immediately, he rejected the idea. No Immortal would attack on Holy Ground... No Immortal would kill on Holy Ground, he corrected himself. Even in the madness of the Dark Quickening, he hadn't killed on Holy Ground. Surely no madness was greater than that. {But the woman I saw was beyond the bounds of consecrated ground.}

Xavier St. Cloud had used poisoned gas to perform his robberies. Could this be a copy-cat? But why use such a chancy method of distribution? Less than half of the charity attendees had fallen ill, hardly a successful sweep. And St. Michael's really had nothing to steal.

A chill danced up his spine, making him shudder in reflex. An ugly loophole, if that's what this was. And the kind of mind that could see it and use it... God, let him be wrong. Paranoia rotted the brain.

Joe reached over and turned on the bar's sound system. Soft jazz filtered in. MacLeod looked up at his friend.

"Have you heard anything...odd...lately?"

"I'm a bartender. I hear a lot of odd things."

MacLeod gave him an exasperated look. "You're a Watcher, too."

"Yes, I am," Joe agreed serenely, polishing a glass.

Joe must be taking aggravation lessons from Methos, MacLeod reflected.

"There was a woman, an Immortal, outside the church," he said with exaggerated patience. "She ran off before I could find out anything about her."

"And so you thought you'd chat up your pal, Joe." Dawson set the glass down. "You know, directory assistance charges every time you ask for information. Maybe I ought to start doing the same."

MacLeod had the grace to look abashed. "I'm sorry, Joe. It's just-" He shook his, head, waving away the rest of what he would have said.

The Watcher gave a self-deprecating smile. "Yeah. I know." He sobered then. "Listen, Mac...in the past, I've helped you out because the other Immortals involved were, to put it bluntly, bastards, and you were the only one doing something about them. But this-some woman ran off before you could confront her. Not unusual behavior. Certainly not illegal or immoral." The men fell silent. The music came to an end, and the DJ began to read the four o'clock news.

"And following up on our top story, a spokesman for the organization Values First had this to say about the recent string of church vandalizations: "

The DJ's voice faded out, replaced another man who spoke with a faint drawl.

"The recent vandalism at St. Michael's is a heinous act. Respect for the Church and its doctrines has fallen to an all-time low. Still, when that church deviates from acceptable teachings and practices, how can it hope to retain the respect of the faithful?"

"Blaming the victim," Joe muttered under his breath. "When are they going to get new words for that tune?"

The spokesman continued, "It's up to us as individuals to say what is and what is not suitable, and to support the institutions that take a similar stand.

"The incident at St. Michael's, regrettable as it was, should encourage Church officials to re-think some of their recent decisions-"

Joe cut the sound with a grimace. "There's no tragedy that some fruit loop won't drag out his personal soap box and make a speech."

Duncan frowned. "Or maybe set the stage?"

The two men exchanged a glance. Duncan stood up and gathered up his coat.

"I'm going to ask a few questions. I'll be in touch."


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