The Watchers
Mirax Terrik

Note: Standard disclaimers apply. Adam Pierson/ Methos belongs to 
Rysher/ Davis, not me. Nikkita, Michael, Birkoff, and Madeline belong 
to La Femme Nikkita. Donít sue- this is written for my amusement and 
the amusement of fans everywhere. The rest of the characters are mine. 
Please send feedback. Eventually, the characters of Highlander: the 
Series will come into this story. However, they do not appear in this 
story. The sequel will appear soon.

This story features characters/ concepts from Highlander: The Series, 
La Femme Nikkita, and Tomorrow People: The New Series. Highlander was a 
TV show in the early-to-mid 90ís. Highlander basically introduces 
Immortals, humans that cannot die, and the Watchers, a secret society 
of mortals that watch them. The main rules are explained in the story, 
but it is assumed that the reader knows that Adam Pierson, who is 
really Methos (the oldest immortal) in disguise, has been found to be 
an immortal, but not Methos. La Femme Nikkita is a TV show on USA. La 
Femme Nikkita tells us about Section One, this top-secret black 
organization that is overseen by Oversight. The basic function of 
Section is to counter terrorists. Operations and Madeleine oversee the 
ops, who include Michael (the perfect op, but in love with Nikkita), 
Nikkita (the girl with morals in love with Michael), and Birkoff (the 
computer techie). It is implied in this story that Section has somehow 
taken over the Watchers, no explanation given, and turned it into a
paramilitary organization. Tomorrow People was a TV show on Nickelodeon 
in the early 90ís.The Tomorrow People concept is also explained within 
the context of the story, but it might help to know that Adam Newman 
was the leader of the band of telepaths. No, I know they did not die in 
the end, I just added that. It will be explained in the sequel.

The Watchers

I always knew Jack was weird. He had few friends and always wore a 
large black jacket. He used to wear black trench coats, but after the 
Columbine tragedy, he switched (as required by our new dress code, 
vigorously enforced by the administration) to the somewhat less 
practical, but trendier, leather bomber jackets. Leather jackets in 
sunny Southern California were not very practical, believe me. Despite 
this, we had all gone to school together since middle school, and he 
more or less blended in. No one really took much notice of him. He was 
a real loner, barely clinging onto the fringes of society.

This all changed one morning in late November. A group of us were 
editing a video in our new video room. We were all arguing over a cut 
when suddenly, Jack gasped, clutched his head, and turned his head 
sharply towards the door. Noticing his odd behavior, Ryan, Quinn, and I 
fell silent. Silence, absolute silence descended upon us. The door flew 
open. A young dark-haired man in his early 20ís stood there, wearing a 
black trench coat and mirrored sunglasses.

"Hello, Mr. Siler." This guy was straight from Hollywood. The classic 
menacing tone, I noted, to go with his strictly forbidden, yet very 
cool looking techno-Goth look.

"What can I do for you?" Jackís calm voice rang out clearly across the 
frozen room.

"I believe you have something I want, Mr. Siler. And you will give it 
to me," replied the man smoothly.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Brock, I think Iíd like to hang onto it for a 
while," Jack said, his face becoming an icy, emotionless mask.

"There can only be one, Mr. Siler."

"Yeah, yeah. I get the point. Jeez, melodramatic much? Look Iíve got 
class right now. How about Salt Creek?"

"Your proposal is acceptable." With that, he was gone, shutting the 
door quickly behind himself, leaving one very confused group of 
students behind him.

"Um, Jack? What the hell was that all about?" asked Ryan, breaking the 
silence.

My friend Quinn, hacker-extraordinaire, echoed the sentiment. "Yeah, 
Jack, what the hell is going on here?" Our group slowly closed in on 
him.

Oddly enough, now that the trench coat guy was gone, Jack seemed more 
nervous. He shot me a desperate look for help. Being his closest, and 
perhaps only, friend, I jumped in.

"Uh, guys?" I started. No one heard me as they fired a cacophony of 
questions at poor Jack. Of course, I had questions of my own, but I 
knew that if I didnít stop this, I would never find out. "Hey, 
idiots!" I yelled, grabbing their attention.

Quinn, seeing me, silenced Ryan. "What is it, Julie?"

"Gee, I donít know if Jack wants me to tell you all this, but, uh..." I 
said quickly, improvising. "You remember the bootleg copy of Star Wars: 
Episode II he shot? Well, uh, he kind of sells copies of that, 
and...." Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Quinn drop away from the 
crowd and quietly take a pill. I briefly wondered what he was doing.

Jack caught on to the act quickly. "What the hell, Julie! How the hell 
did you know about that?" he demanded, shoving me up against the wall.

Pretending to struggle to get free, I said, "Um, I read your day 
planner."

"What the hell!" he yelled. "Okay, thatís it. Come on, Julie." 
Suddenly, he grabbed me and pulled us outside all in on smooth, fluid 
motion.

Buzz. The lock-down alarm sounded. Obviously, someone else had seen the 
trench coat guy. We heard the locks on all the doors being locked. 
Click. The automated locks locked. I looked at Jack.

He swore, not even glancing at me. "How the hell did he find me? 
Jesus...." Suddenly, he got up and ran for the door. Pulling out a gun, 
he shot the glass in the door. The glass crunched under his shoes as he 
ran out. Another louder piercing alarm sounded.

"Shit!" I exclaimed, wincing at the loud noise. I didnít even know he 
carried a gun. What else did he carry under that jacket? If I left now, 
I would be in even more trouble. And not even a thank you for helping 
him, too. But I had to follow Jack. I had to know more. Sighing, I 
pulled on my shades and followed him out into the glaring daylight, my 
shoe crunching the remainder of the glass. The sunglasses might slow 
down identification a little, I hoped. Looking around, I saw him 
climbing the fence. Heading in the other direction, I ran to another 
portion of the fence, climbed over the fence, and pulled out my keys. 
Running to my car, I heard the distant sound of police sirens 
approaching. I hopped in, started my car, and pulled into traffic. I 
groaned as I realized that he was on the other side of the school. I 
drove to the other side of school. I caught sight of his car turning 
around a distant corner. There was no way I could catch up to him. Then 
I remembered something. Jack and trench coat guy had planned to meet at 
Salt Creek- they meant the beach. Smiling, I sped there. Parking, I 
dropped a few quarters in the meter and ran down to the beach. No use 
getting a ticket.

The two looked as if they had just seen each other. Circling, they 
dropped their coats and pulled out two swords. Puzzled, I crept 
forward, careful to stay out of view. No one else was in sight. 
Swinging their respective swords with expert grace, they began to fight 
furiously. Slicing his slim rapier through the crisp afternoon air, 
Jack drew first blood. Yelling in pain, his mysterious opponent 
staggered back, holding his left arm as blood flowed down the deep 
wound. Suddenly, as if energized by the pain, he swung his mighty 
broadsword at Jack, cutting into Jackís right thigh. Jack yelped like a 
tiny dog, falling onto his knees into the rolling surf. Chuckling 
lowly, his opponent moved in. Fiercely, he swung, decapitating Jack in 
one blow. Horrified as I saw Jackís body and severed head drop into the 
surf, turning the surrounding water a deep red, I opened my mouth to 
scream. Suddenly, a black gloved hand covered my mouth, pulling my head 
back. A strong arm grabbed my waist.

"Shut up and watch," a voice whispered. Too surprised to struggle, I 
could only watch numbly, as I saw a lightning storm suddenly appear. 
The sky darkened, and blue lightning struck his opponent, one bolt 
after another. Amazed, I watched as the man took them, screaming, the 
electricity wracking his body into spasms. Finally, the bolts were 
gone. The tortured man fell to the ground, unconscious. Seeing this, I 
tried to turn my head to my captor.

"Keep looking," he instructed, whispering into my ear as he held my 
head towards the two bodies. I watched the bodies, but nothing 
happened. Behind me, I felt the cool touch of steel around my wrists, 
then a click. Steel, I thought. Handcuffs. Just then, it occurred to me 
that if one hand was muffling me, another holding my head in place, and 
two others handcuffing me, then there must be at least two people. I 
was not only in shit, I was in big shit. I wriggled my wrists to check 
my bonds. One of my captors chuckled, then was abruptly silenced by the 
sudden movement of one of the bodies. Straining my eyes, I saw Jackís 
opponent rise from the surf, sputtering the seawater out of his mouth. 
He smiled, flush with his triumph. Looking around, he quickly put on 
his coat, hid both swords in his coat, and walked away, disappearing 
into the night.

Behind me, I heard a cell phone being dialed. A guyís voice talked in 
rapid-fire French. Having taken four years of French, I tried to 
eavesdrop, but it was too fast, and I could catch nothing but my name. 
It sounded like some French terrorist group had taken me. That meant I 
had a good chance of ending up in Europe. This was definitely not good. 
Realizing that one was distracted, I suddenly renewed my struggle, 
biting down upon the gloved hand. Someone yelped in pain, and I quickly 
rolled to the side, but a heavy boot came down on my back, pining me on 
my stomach. Desperately, I struggled again, but I was trapped. A 
leather belt came out of nowhere and bound my legs tightly, and a silk 
handkerchief soon gagged my mouth. Too late, it occurred to me to 
scream, but it was too late. Only muffled cries came out as the two 
people carried me up the hill and threw me somewhat gently into the 
trunk of a car.

When the lid opened again, I was in a small garage. Squinting my eyes 
to adjust to the sudden brightness of the garage, I saw a thin, clean 
cut, innocent-looking blond guy in his late teens or early 20ís. 
Wearing a black tee shirt, leather jacket, and black jeans, however, he 
looked like a spy or something. He stared at me for a second, a queer 
look on his face. Quickly recovering himself, he gave me a sympathetic 
smile. "Sorry about that. We didnít mean to scare you like that," he 
said without an accent, carefully untying me and replacing his belt. I 
rubbed my sore wrists as he led me inside to the kitchen. I started to 
open my dry mouth to ask what the hell was going on, but he silenced me 
as he handed me a steaming mug of hot chocolate...just the way I like 
it, with whipped cream and nutmeg on top. He smoothly held the cup up 
to my lips and gave me a sip. I took the mug from him, smiling. As I
sipped again, his breath touched my ear. He whispered, "Iím going to go 
into the meeting now. Weíll be there a while. Make yourself at home." I 
nodded, savoring the fine quality of the chocolate. It was really good 
chocolate, and I had no intention of wasting it. In retrospect, it was 
also probably laced with a mild tranquilizer as well.

I finished the mug and looked around. Not a soul was in sight. 
Suddenly, I remembered that I had been taken here by force. Mentally 
berating myself for not realizing it earlier, I looked around for ways 
to get out. The door to presumably the garage was locked. The windows 
were locked. I searched the kitchen for a weapon. The drawers were 
locked as well. I wandered through the open doorway into the hall. It 
was well furnished in a New Age-y sort of way.... including a guard who 
stood at the base of the staircase. He looked at me suspiciously, but 
soon lost interest as I turned into the den. Sitting down on the black 
leather sofa, I flipped on the television. Surfing quickly, I soon 
found some major network station. The story of the moment was just
what I was looking for- the incident at my high school. It didnít tell 
me much, however. The newswoman got that a guy in a trench coat had 
entered my classroom, exited, and was followed soon afterwards by Jack 
as the lockdown signal came. He was seen exiting the building, but 
luckily someone had shut down the security cameras before they captured 
me on film as well. I did, however, learn that when the video room was 
finally unlocked, Ryan and Quinn were found unconscious. A small empty 
gas canister was found, but the victims were expected to remain 
unconscious for another hour. I was mystified. There was a gas 
canister? What gas canister was there? I tried to remember if I had 
seen a gas canister, but I was positive I had not. Where had that
come from?

Suddenly, as if in answer, the doorbell rang. Immediately, three 
people, the some of the people in the mysterious meeting upstairs, 
rushed downstairs as the guard opened the door. It was yet another guy 
in a trench coat, only this one held a limp body in his arms. I was 
pushed back as they rushed him upstairs into a bedroom, where an 
authoritative woman sat confidently next to the bed. Laying him down 
quickly, the newcomer immediately stuck an IV into his arm. They 
watched anxiously, my presence forgotten, except for the hot chocolate 
guy, who was staring at me oddly. Soon, Quinn started and woke up. "Oh, 
my head..." he moaned.

"Do you remember everything, Quinn?" asked the guy who had given me the 
hot chocolate.

He gave another moan. "Yeah, donít worry. Thereís not much to tell 
however. It was Tyler Brock again. And yes, heís still using his real 
name to challenge people. I wonder why he had to do that so bloody 
dramatically," Quinn said, rubbing his head. "Anyone got a Tylenol?"

A tall, blond woman in her mid-20s passed a capsule and a small cup of 
water to the bed. Swallowing the capsule with a sip of water, he 
continued. "Julie provided him with an alibi and he got away." He 
paused, looking at hot chocolate guy. "Andrew, I thought that she was 
going to be recruited after I finished training. How did she know 
about-" He broke off, saying instead "Julie, what are you doing here? 
Everyone turned towards me.

"I donít know. Quinn, why donít you ask Andrew why the hell I was 
brought here?" I said, uncomfortable with the amount of attention I was 
receiving.

The focus shifted to Andrew, who also lost some of his nerve under the 
groupís steely gaze. "Why donít we move into the living room and talk 
about this over some tea, Michelle?" he suggested, deferring to the 
lady by the bed, a dark-haired woman in her mid-40s.

Smiling coldly, she agreed. "Yes, Andrew, letís do. Matthew, carry 
Quinn downstairs. Nicole, get us some tea," she said authoritatively, 
the others obeying her immediately. I noted her brisk, British accent. 
Was this an international group? Andrew was definitely American, but 
the others seemed more European. We quickly moved downstairs.

"I imagine, my dear, that this is quite a shock to you," Michelle said, 
smoothly pouring the fragrant herbal tea. She seemed to be the leader, 
or at least superior here. I nodded. "What did you see exactly?"

I told them. Michelle nodded, not surprised. "Jack was part of a secret 
group of people, foundlings. They are in every way human, except when 
they die, they wake up and continue living. Once that first death, they 
never age, heal immediately, and cannot die permanently unless they are 
beheaded. They call themselves Immortals." She stopped, taking a sip of 
tea. "These Immortals also have a mysterious drive to take each 
othersí Quickening. An Immortalís Quickening is what makes him 
immortal. When an immortal beheads another, he absorbs the otherís 
quickening, and with it, their power. For this reason, they all play 
The Game. In this deadly Game, they fight each other, one on one, to 
the death. No one knows how it got started; just that this is the way 
itís always been done. Fights are one on one, with no outside 
interference. No cheating by killing oneís opponent with anything other 
than a sword. Finally, they are never, ever to be fought on holy 
ground. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, it doesnít matter as long as 
someone considers it holy. Legend has it that the last time an Immortal 
took a head on holy ground, Mount Vesuvius erupted." She paused, 
letting that sink in. I looked around, noting that everyone was 
studying me to see how I reacted. Truth is, I wasnít that skeptical. I 
mean, I had seen proof for myself. My only question was how it involved 
me, and why Andrew was still staring at me. I mean, he was pretty 
decent and all, but his non-stop stare was making me wonder if my
mascara was smeared or something.

Andrew then took up the explanation. "Immortals fight in the Game, 
eliminating others from the competition for the Ultimate Quickening. 
Supposedly the Prize for being the last immortal on earth is the power 
and knowledge of all the other Immortals. There are a few more rules 
that we must tell you. First, there can be no witnesses except for 
Watchers. Second and most importantly, there can only be one, which is 
exactly what it sounds like" he said, looking at me intently.

"Wait a second," I said. "Who are Watchers?"

"We are," replied Michelle. "We have existed as long as Immortals. We 
are a secret society of mortals bound by our oaths to watch and observe 
the lives of Immortals, as well as conceal their existence from the 
rest of the world." She stopped, smiling. "Right now, you are probably 
wondering what this all has to do with you. Andrew?"

"We have been.... watching you for some time now, Julie. We have 
targeted you, like a few of your fellow classmates, for recruitment. 
After that Adam Pierson scandal, we have also checked into your 
background extensively. However, we were not going to recruit you until 
after high school. As you have witnessed a Quickening, however, we will 
have to of course speed things up once again" said Andrew, pausing to 
glance at Quinn. "Quinn here somehow found out that we were watching 
him and subsequently investigated us. When he hacked into our network 
in September, we were forced to bump up our schedule. I, as the head of 
this project, had targeted you for recruitment first, but Quinn here 
messed everything up. Anyway, welcome."

"Okay, let me get this straight," I said, trying to process this influx 
of information. "You guys were planning to recruit me, and tell me this 
all anyway, but Jackís death messed everything up. So what happens 
now?"

Matthew, the person who had brought Quinn in, a tall, muscular-looking 
guy, spoke up for the first time. "You accept our offer. Andrew begins 
your training with Quinn continuing to train. After you graduate, we 
recruit the others. More training during the summer, then at Berkley, 
you will get your first assignment. You will be given light assignments 
during college, both to get you used to this, and to give you time to 
excel in your studies. After that, you graduate to full-time operative 
status." He spoke with a barely noticeable French accent. I quickly 
pegged him as the guy on the cell phone, as he was the sole French-
sounding guy present. I also wondered if he and the blond woman, who 
had yet to talk, had a thing going, as I noticed they kept staring at 
each other when they thought no one was looking.

I thought quickly. "How do you know I will get into Berkley?" I asked, 
having just sent off my college applications. I was qualified, but that 
school was extremely competitive and hard to get into.

Nicole, the pretty blonde, answered in yet another accent. It sounded 
fairly British, yet it was different from Michelleís London accent. 
"The Watchers have connections, and you admittance has been guaranteed. 
You and the others will go there, as San Francisco is the Pacific Rim 
Watcher headquarters. Do you accept?" she asked, pushing a document 
before me.

This was happening too fast. "Can I have some time to think about it?" 
I asked, not wanting to sign away my life so fast. 

Andrew shook his head. "No, Iím sorry. This is too dangerous to let you 
go, knowing this. You know about us. Right now, the police are combing 
the streets, searching for clues. They will find Jack, but not you. You 
can think about this deal for as long as you want-if you agree to 
disappear, to change your identity. If you do that, you may stay at 
this safe house for as long as you like, deciding. Once you do that, 
however, there is no turning back. If you decide to decline our offer, 
weíll wipe your memory, and you will wake up remembering nothing. If 
you accept then, you will change your identity and never turn back. If 
you accept now, however, we will release you, and you will be free to 
return home to your family. We would make up a cover story for you, and 
contact you later. If you would like, you may talk to Quinn for five 
minutes in private."

"Yes," I said. "I would like to talk with him."

Quinn and I were left in the room, however we both knew that there were 
probably some bugs in the room listening in. "How are you?" I asked. 

"Fine, but my head still hurts. Listen, Julie, I advise that you 
accept-now. These people, they are very paranoid and would not think 
twice about eliminating you if you were taken to be a security risk. 
Itís worth it, though. These people, they wield amazing influence. They 
can do practically anything in this mysterious world of theirs. Itís 
exciting, Julie. There are trade-offs, yes, but do you really want to 
live your life not knowing, knowing what you know. It doesnít stop 
there- the rabbit hole is much deeper than you think." He paused.

"Quinn, what exactly did you do after I had left?" I asked.

Everything was locked down, and I did what Watcher procedure called 
for. I took a special pill to retain my memory-I think you saw me take 
that. I then notified Watcher regional headquarters, opened the gas 
canister, which wiped Ryanís memory of the past few minutes as well as 
knocking them out, then quickly hacked into the schoolís security 
network and shut down all the security cameras before the gas knocked 
me out as well, he said. It is our duty not only to observe, but also 
to prevent everyone else from knowing.

A bell sounded, and everyone returned. "Timeís up," said Andrew, his 
eyes daring me to accept.

I looked straight back into those deep blue eyes. "I accept," I said, 
grabbing the offered pen and papers. I quickly signed the document once 
I had read it. According to it, yes, I was signing my life away. These 
Watchers now, formally, had complete control over my entire life. Lucky 
for me, I was no longer required to get the traditional Watcher tattoo, 
which for some reason had been not required since a few years ago. And 
there were benefits. I was assured a well-paying job with full 
coverage, including life insurance, until the day I died. I briefly 
wondered if this was so wise, and just what I was getting myself into. 
But there was no turning back now. The second I made a move to help, it 
set into action a chain of events that had let to this.

A young, dark-haired guy in the back of the group I hadnít noticed 
before mobilized. He was about the same age as Andrew, it seemed, and 
similarly of slight build, but he seemed to be the computer geek of the 
group. I wondered briefly if Quinn was jealous. "Hi," he said, 
introducing himself. He was another definite American, this time from 
the East Coast. "Iím Samuel. Okay, I hacked into your schoolís network. 
You were listed as ill. Quinn, your identity is not compromised, so you 
two will return to school on Monday. Julie, your parents are going to 
be detained in Tokyo as the airport mysteriously lost all their 
communications systems. Oh, and Andrew will be staying at your house 
this weekend to take care of you as well as begin your training. He
will also be able to confirm your alibi. As the head of this project, 
he will follow you and your group around at all times. Understand?"

I nodded, looking at Andrew. I wondered if that Michelle would order 
that we sleep together or something. I normally can read people pretty 
well, but these people totally mystified me. Who knew what would come 
next? He looked at Michelle, surprised, but remained silent, although 
it was obvious that he had thought a similar thought. He looked back at 
me and smiled, a mischievous gleam in my eye. I looked at Quinn, who 
shrugged, but looked a little confused, telling me that it hadnít 
happened to him. I looked at the others quickly. Michelle held a 
serene, satisfied smile. Michael looked blank. Nicole looked a bit 
sympathetic, and Samuel looked enviously at Andrew. None of these 
barely readable expressions were very good signs. I tried to keep my
face blank, but it was probably pretty obvious that I had been at least 
a little rattled by this newest instruction. A few minutes later, two 
cars left the safe house, which turned out to be located near Ryanís 
house. Nicole drove Quinn home (he still was a bit sick to drive), and 
Andrew drove us in my car to my house, his medium black duffel in the 
back along with my backpack, which someone had thoughtfully managed to 
pinch before anyone noticed.

"So," I said, breaking the nervous silence. "Who are the others you are 
targeting for recruitment?"

His nose crinkled in thought for a second. "We are also targeting Ned 
Beckman, Erin Tran, and James OíBrien."

"The smartest kids at my school," I commented, recognizing my friends, 
and of course, counting myself amongst them. "Why at my school, 
though?"

He smiled nervously. "Actually, we targeted your school because of you. 
My mentor, Adam Pierson, left your name on a list of people he thought 
would be good for us. At first, checking into your history, I wasnít 
too sure. But now I know that he was right."

"Right about what?"

"You. You are the ideal Watcher, as well as operative. I think you will 
like this occupation a lot. You will be a good leader to your group." 
He recovered quickly, but a brief hesitation told me that he had wanted 
to say something else.

I was quiet for a bit, thinking about the implications of this. "That 
name," I said, remembering something. "What happened? Why was there a 
scandal with your mentor?"

He sighed, hesitating a moment. "Adam Pierson was an Immortal, hiding 
in the Watchers."

All I could say was "Oh." We turned into my driveway. We got out, and 
went inside quickly. He carried my bag up to my room then quickly 
returned with his own. "Wait," I said, nervously. "You arenít planning 
on sleeping in here, are you?"

He grinned. "As a matter of fact, I am. Itís Watcher policy. Wouldnít 
want you sneaking out on us now, would we?"

I stared at him. Actually, I had planned on at least trying to tell my 
mom something. We werenít that close, but still...."Oh?"

"We have had you entire house bugged, you know, since the beginning of 
this year...everywhere," he said casually, leading me back downstairs 
into the kitchen. "We arenít stupid, you know. So, what would you like 
to eat?"

I stared at him. I was too shocked at all this to be hungry. "Uh, I 
donít care," I managed to stammer. He was going to cook for me too? 
This was either a very good sign, or a very bad sign-the only problem 
was, I wasnít quite sure which.

He shrugged. "Okay, how about some spaghetti?" I nodded numbly. He 
started to boil a pot of water.

Dinner was surprisingly good. Over dinner, Andrew outlined his future 
plans for me. He noted that the school trip up to the Bay Area was 
coming up, and that he didnít intend to waste any of that time. "Youíll 
fly up with them, and youíll fly back down with them. In the meantime, 
you and Quinn can train at our Center in San Francisco. Whoíll be the 
wiser?" he asked, a smug, self-assured smile on his face.

I noted that although I was planning on going on that trip, someone 
would surely note my absence during the trip. "Not to worry," he said, 
slurping a particularly long stand into his mouth. "Weíve been watching 
them, too, you know-or rather, Tim Stephens has. Theyíre a bunch of 
incompetent fools."

"Wait a second. Tim Stephens-as in my old history teacher?"

He smiled. "The very same. Watchers make very good historians and 
history teachers due to our intensive historical nature. Immortals have 
been around for quite a while, you know, and if one is to watch 
immortals properly, one should know what has happened to oneís assigned 
immortal. Must keep good records, you know."

Actually, this had never really occurred to me. "How long have they 
been around, Andrew?"

He grinned again. Was I really that amusing? "Actually, I was hoping 
that you would ask that question. I wanted to tell you about him before 
anyone else does."

"Who?"

"His name, we believe, is Methos. The man who has lived for over five 
thousand years."

Of course, brilliant me, I then pulled a Keanu Reeves. "Whoa." There 
really was nothing else to say. That was a long time.

"No one really know if he really exists, or if he is merely a legend. 
I, personally, think that he is real. He just seems to be terribly good 
at hiding and surviving. Anyway, getting back to the present, Iíve 
looked at your schedule. Pretty tough academically. I donít think I can 
really squeeze much training in here. Weekends, perhaps-your volunteer 
work down at the Orange County Marine Institute might come in handy 
there. Then thereís Lighting and Sound Crew in February and March. You 
practically disappear then anyway. Itís a pretty busy, but I should be 
able to squeeze in enough training by June."

Well, there goes my free time, I thought. I didnít have that much 
anyway. But it seemed as if my newest hobby was going to cut quite a 
bit into my time. "How am I going to get all my homework done?" I 
asked, not that, according to Michelle, my grades would really matter.

"Oh, of course, youíll have time to do that. This will only be on 
weekends and holidays, except for a few small assignments..."

"Like what?"

"Oh, providing alibis, delivering messages, casual surveillance...not 
much. I can teach you pretty much all you have to know about that stuff 
this weekend. Call it a cram-session of spy school. Or something 
similar to that."

Spy school? These casual remarks sent shots of both fear and some 
excitement down my spine. Romantic images of James Bond flashed through 
my mind alternately with lurid newspaper clippings of death and 
destruction. I lay awake that night wondering, Andrew soundlessly 
sleeping at the foot of my bed. What had I done? It seemed as if I had 
signed a contract with the Devil. But was it really that bad? I guess I 
would find out.

I slept surprisingly well. No doubt due to, in part, a sleeping drug 
Andrew had probably slipped in my food. Training was pretty much a 
blur. Andrew pretty much taught me standard procedures-boring. Most of 
the time, I was thinking about Jack, and I suppose Andrew realized 
that. However, instead of being at all sympathetic, he calmly told me 
that showing emotion like that was a weakness. I buried my grief and 
confusion deep inside of me. On the other hand, part of me was 
thrilled. This was new and exciting and mysterious. For once in my 
life, I was doing something unique, something no one else at my school 
(except for Quinn maybe) could do. Not only that, I also felt accepted. 
It was like a secret club, but with an actual purpose. I was not only
doing something different; I was also doing it for the good of 
humanity. Most people could never understand, or accept the idea of 
Immortals. Personally, it thrilled me. It was at once wonderful and 
tragic, a blessing and a curse.

For Jack, however, it was nothing but a curse. The only blessing for 
some students was that they got a few extra days for homework. That was 
some price- a few days of no school for one head. His funeral on 
Wednesday was the hardest. It was a closed-casket ceremony, of course, 
but it was still a morbid affair. No one still knew why his head was 
chopped off, but it shocked everyone, badly. Everyone came, even the 
ones that had hated him. It was odd to see everyone there, all in 
black, coming closer because of Jackís untimely death. Unbelievable 
amounts of hugging- Andrew, ever the pragmatist, used the opportunity 
to make me practice searching for weapons, pickpocketing, and 
exchanging messages. During the long, verbose Catholic ceremony, I
sat numbly, barely listening. The shock had worn off, and the impact of 
it all came crashing down that day. Tears rolled down, despite myself. 
It felt odd, knowing that I had signed my life away the very same night 
that he had died. Andrew was really no help at all, either. Although he 
attended the ceremony, it was only because of his role as my trainer. 
On the ride to the cemetery, he again told me to get used to it, and 
reminded me that Jack had really died a while ago, and that I should 
just think of this as extended time. It helped some, but it still hurt. 
It wasnít like I really liked him much, but I guess it was just the 
shock of realizing that my stable world wasnít really that stable. The 
reading of his will was actually kind of scary as well. I wasnít 
terribly close to him, so I didnít expected to get invited. I learned 
that I had inherited a great deal of money- roughly a million dollars. 
His material possessions went back to his relatives- the people that 
had adopted him; while the rest of the money in his Swiss bank accounts 
was transferred to another numbered account. I was stunned to learn 
that his net worth was almost a billion dollars. Andrew had told me 
that many immortals were very wealthy, having had ample time to make 
it, but I hadnít expected a young immortal like Jack to possess this 
much. When I asked Andrew about it later, he smiled and reminded me 
that his parents had been self-made billionaires each in their own 
right.

This temporary break from the daily grind ended as abruptly as it had 
started. My parents finally returned on Friday, so Andrew had to move 
back to his posh beachside condo. While I was somewhat relieved, I also 
was keenly aware of all the reactivated surveillance. I had even 
discovered a bug in a light fixture in the bathroom! This kind of 
freaked me out, but I realized that it probably had been there all 
along, and that if I took that one down, another would be set up in its 
place. So much for my sense of privacy, I thought. My parents, of 
course, were busy with their own professional and social lives and
couldnít care less. If the Watcher thing hadnít distracted me, I 
probably would have been hurt, but Jackís death changed me a bit. I 
simply didnít care. My parents were never there for me, so I found it 
easy to detach from them emotionally. I donít even think they noticed 
that I was spending more and more time out, and they barely even asked 
about the Jack thing. When I told them that I was absent with a cold 
that day, they returned to more important matters.

Returning to school the following Monday was actually harder. Andrew, 
who was a little distracted by some other matter, simply told me to 
continue life as before, but to tell no one. Quinn and I decided to not 
hang out with each other to not draw attention to this link. We would 
just kind of drift apart. Actually, I found this easy, as Quinn was 
still resentful over the fact that Andrew seemed to favor me, and put 
much more time and effort into my training. My zero period class was 
okay. I had actually woken up late the day of Jackís death, and had 
skipped zero anyway, so that wasnít a big problem. I had no close 
friends in there, and the art history teacher looked pretty bad-I think 
she took it worse than I did. History surprised me a bit. Of course,
everyone was sad, but the big surprise was the substitute teacher-Tim 
Stephens. He gave no indication that he knew about me new status up 
until the very end, when he asked to see me after class. He knew. He 
showed me where the weapons were hidden in every classroom in the 
school-behind the wall clocks. A gun and ammo behind each. In 
Environmental Sciences, I saw my ex, William. We had stayed somewhat 
friendly to each other after breaking up, and he immediately noted my 
distraction. When he inquired however, I found it oddly easy to simply 
turn away and act as if I hadnít heard him. This, I suppose, made him 
sort of mad. After class, he cornered me by my locker.

"Whatís going on, Julie?" he demanded.

"Nothing," I replied, coldly. I moved to leave.

"Something is bothering you. Now tell me," he ordered, blocking my way. 
I had just had a very stressful weekend, and was not in the mood to be 
ordered around.

"Please move, William, before I hurt you."

He laughed. After all, he was the one with the brown belt in karate. 
However, I had gone through Andrew boot camp, and was very capable of 
handling him. I smiled thinly, then kneed him in the groin. Below the 
belt, yes, but effective. "Bitch," he hissed, doubling over.

"Idiot," I replied. I shoved him against the lockers. Suddenly, I felt 
an odd tingling sensation in my head. I looked up, tracing it to its 
source. There, a few feet away, my dark eyes met a pair of deep blue 
eyes. Someone stood there, shocked. I was similarly transfixed. Then, 
just as quickly, he broke the moment, ducking into the sea of oblivious 
students. "Josh," I whispered, watching him fad into the crowd. The 
rest of the mall might not have noticed my little bullying of William, 
but I knew instinctively that he did. Shaken, I headed to the video 
room. Ryan and Quinn sat in their seats, silent. Ryanís expression told 
me that Jackís death had affected him the most. He clearly felt guilty 
about it, even though he couldnít have done anything. No one said a
single word that period, just sitting there, thinking. I sat there, 
too, thinking. But I was thinking about Josh. I had never really 
noticed him at all before. Sure, I knew him. He was the blond, blue-
eyed computer programmer-type who hung out with James OíBrien, one of 
the people the Watchers had recruited for recruitment. Was that a 
coincidence? I wondered what the connection was. English proved to be a 
bore. Some random school psychologist visited us to make sure we were 
okay. She was totally incompetent, as most school officials seemed to 
be. Her eyes were water-trimmed and red- she had been crying herself. 
Math was interesting. Josh was in there. I walked in and sat down. Josh 
looked up, as if he felt my hesitancy. He immediately looked across the 
room at me. We looked into each otherís eyes. He knew something was up, 
and he knew that I knew that he knew. We forced our eyes up to the 
front as our math teacher began her lecture, watching each other 
cautiously. She was like a robot, tirelessly droning on without even a 
little emotion. Mentally, I guarded my thoughts. I got the uneasy 
feeling that he had peeked into my thoughts. I made a side note to 
guard my thoughts around him from then on. There was something odd 
going on with him, but a later search in the Watcher database turned up 
nothing.

Well, training and school actually went by quickly-probably due to the 
fact that I was always busy or sleeping like a log. The NHS trip was a 
success. After getting off the plane, Quinn and I found it quite easy 
to slip away from our confused and disoriented group. Nicole, who took 
us to their high-tech subterranean facility somewhere on the peninsula, 
quickly met us. There, instead of touring the colleges, we spent the 
weekend getting more specialized tutorials, from our assigned *Section* 
operatives. Apparently, *Section* was an anti-terrorist cell that 
answered only to Oversight. No one quite explained that, but it 
appeared that Section One had simply just taken over the Watchers. 
Quinn, the computer geek that he is, happily spent the weekend hacking 
away with Seymour, who preferred to be called by his last name, 
Birkoff, while I spent the time with Nicole learning how to use my
*feminine wiles* (uh, right) to my advantage. Okay, so it was pretty 
much like Seduction 101. It was a little whacked up, but interesting. 
It also gave me some new flirting techniques. Also, some pretty 
interesting things resulted from that trip. One, for some reason, 
Nicole, whose real name was very Cold War- Nikkita, judged my overall 
performance to be good enough to declare me as *operational* or 
whatever. Two, Seymour did not judge Quinn to be performing well 
enough, so he got more training hours added to his schedule. Three, in 
order to get away, we had *quietly mentioned* to a *few* friends
that we were slipping away to have some *fun* (what type was never 
quite mentioned), and so of course, it got out that we were a couple-
even though Quinn is bisexual and all. It didnít help that Andrew 
insisted that we act like a couple in order to convince our friends. It 
was actually not so bad, pretending to like him, but it was icky 
kissing him. Luckily we only did that occasionally, and only on the 
cheek. But that was still not exactly my idea of fun. Four, because of 
that rumor (and I suppose, or actions), our friend Erin Tran (as in the 
soon-to-be recruit), who harbored an ill-concealed crush on Quinn, 
refused to talk to both of us. Life was not good for the Southern 
Orange County Watchers, Teenage Division (such was our official Watcher
designation). I also was certain that Josh, who did not go on the trip, 
nonetheless knew that something was up. We kept watching each other, 
too cautious to approach.

After the trip, I actually had less hours of general operative training 
(fighting, surveillance, operations, etc.), and more of what oh-trusty-
leader, Andrew (head of the SOCWTD, or the SOCk-and WaTch Division, as 
Quinn and I had come to term it), assigned as my operative group 
specialty. It seemed that Andrew was planning to form an operations 
group from his new and soon-to-be recruits. He figured that no one 
would suspect a bunch of *kids, as he called us. This was all very 
ingenious and all, but for some sick and twisted reason, Andrew 
assigned me as team sniper scout. A sniper? Me? Julie Yamada? Yeah, 
right. I wasnít sure if he was joking until he actually took me to a 
long distance range to shoot rifles. Okay, so I so I was a better shot 
than Quinn, who was assigned, appropriately enough, group hacker. And 
Andrew, the best shot of all of us, as group leader, had to work
Communications. But, still, why not one of the guys? Andrew muttered 
something about a sniperís importance and how there were female Russian 
snipers in World War Two. I didnít bother to mention how many Russians 
died in that war. In any case, I dutifully shot in the distance range 
up in Los Angeles with the other snipers, who were all big, macho 
nature men. I didnít have any experience in the country, let alone 
tracking, but Andrew said that it didnít matter due to our *urban 
nature. So I practiced, this petite Japanese girl, shooting a really 
big gun. Boring. Actually, I preferred fencing to that, but fencing was 
the one activity that Andrew taught me that wasnít terribly useful-at 
least, it wasnít useful for me. Sure, an Immortal might have use for
this, but a Watcher?

The fencing lessons were another reason Quinn was jealous of me. He 
didnít receive any. Andrew claimed that Quinn didnít need it, but it 
wasnít like I did anyway. Of course, like any jealous teenage guy, he 
accused me of sleeping with Andrew. Um, right. We were close, but not 
like that! Also, it still freaked me out that the Watchers recorded all 
goings on in their facilities, but after that Adam Pierson incident, 
who blamed them? It turned out that he had become an immortal while in 
the Watchers, but then used Watcher resources for his own use or 
something. Andrew still wasnít too clear, and I only managed to get 
that out of him when he was drunk (it was our day off and we had gone 
out partying).

Also, after the school trip, I actually had missions! Okay, so they 
were really easy ones, like watching Immortals for a few days while 
their sick Watchers took time to recover, passing along messages (I 
wasnít allowed to read them). Or acting as a decoy to throw the cops 
off, or providing alibis for Watchers that actually managed to get 
themselves picked up. It really wasnít that big of a deal. I also got 
these nifty little updates on which Immortal were new in town, and what 
was happening around the Immortal world. I got to carry a concealed 
gun, but during school I had to rely on semi-legal stuff, pepper spray 
and obsidian throwing knife- the stuff that wouldnít set off the metal 
detectors. I also knew where all the other weapons hidden by Mr. 
Stephens were. Quinn, of course, knew none of this, as he still wasnít 
mission-qualified. Life had settled into somewhat of a routine.

Ironically, my cover was broken by something totally unrelated to 
Immortals or Watchers. Somebody decided to go Hollywood and kidnap a 
whole bunch of really rich kids in order to get the release of some 
European terrorists. Okay, so I knew that our school was made up of a 
bunch of snobby rich kids, but still, this was a bit unexpected. Well, 
unexpected by everyone but the Watchers, who had the foresight to have 
weapons handy. So, anyway, there I am, sitting in math, when suddenly, 
this big guy in army fatigues comes into our dingy portable. He 
announces that his group had taken over the school and then he shoots 
the teacher. Really pumps her full of an entire round. That wasnít too 
nice, I decided, even if Ms. Sullivan was mean. A definite unfriendly. 
I took the knife from the sheath hidden in the small of my back and 
quickly threw it just like Nikkita taught me. It hit its mark-a total
Matrix thing, right into his forehead. I heard a sickening thud as the 
knife hit him and he dropped to the ground. Everyone sat there,  
shocked. I ran up to the front, checked to make sure he was nice and 
dead, and retrieved the knife. His vest hadnít protected him against a 
knife to the head. Oh well. This situation, on the other hand, was not 
good. I turned towards my shocked class. "Nobody move or say a thing!" 
I ordered. Quinn, during all this, had picked up the phone on the wall. 
"Dead" he told me. The cell phones were blocked as well. This was not a 
good sign. First of all, for an intruder to get here, he should have 
set off a few alarms by now. The lock down alarm hadnít sounded. For 
the phones to work also indicated that he wasnít alone. This was
definitely a group operation- a pretty professional job by the looks of 
it. Not even a whisper of this operation had been heard by Big Brother. 
The government had failed once again, even with all that surveillance. 
I climbed up on a desk underneath the big wall clock. Behind it, I 
found a gun and a few clips. I chambered a round, then stowed the gun 
in the small of my back and the extra ammo in my pocket. The knife I 
handed to Quinn. He then sat down at the computer terminal while I 
examined the dead intruder.

"They shut down the system," he said. This was no big surprise. 
Probably the only reason the power was on was because we had an 
independent power generator. I examined the intruderís body. He had his 
gun, ammo, cyanide capsule, a hand grenade, and a radio, probably set 
to an encrypted setting. There was not much. He probably thought that 
this was the easy part and had not suited up fully. His mistake, I 
thought. I put the cyanide capsule around my neck and stashed both the 
radio and the grenade in my jacket-after checking to make sure the pin 
was still in, of course. I handed the machine gun and ammo to Quinn, 
who was more suited to shoot the big gun. He returned my knife, now 
that he doesnít need it as his primary weapon.

"Plan B?" I asked.

"Yes." We then checked our headsets. Static- we were being jammed. I 
took my pill and headed towards the door, a bike lock in hand. We moved 
towards the door. As Quinn readied the memory gas canister, I felt it 
again, only this time stronger. It was the oddest sensation. It was 
like someone had touched my mind or something. My head snapped towards 
the back of the classroom.

Deep blue eyes stared back at me, surprised. Josh. I had totally 
forgotten about his presence. He realizes, somehow, what weíre going to 
do next. I can see it on his face. Before I could have dwelled on the 
subject any further, I heard Quinn pull the pin from the canister. 
"Go!" he yelled. We dived out of the door, slammed it shut, and locked 
it. We looked around. No one else was outside, except in the distance. 
Suddenly, I saw a bright flash and Josh just appeared next to me! Both 
Quinn and I yelled out in surprise. We were supposed to be the surprise 
element here. People just did not appear out of thin air!

Unfortunately, some random terrorist in the distance heard us, and shot 
in our direction. Quinn crumpled to the ground, hit in the leg and arm. 
At the same time, Josh lunged towards me and pulled me towards the 
ground. I instinctively cringed as we headed towards the hard pavement. 
We never hit there, though. When I opened my eyes, we were falling onto 
a bed. We lay there for a second, breathing hard from our escape. Then 
it was time to act. "Um, Josh?"

"Huh? What?"

"Could you get off me now?"

"Uh, yeah, sure. Iím sorry about that." Sighing audibly, he rolled off 
me. We both stood up, sizing each other up. Time for the confrontation 
we had both been avoiding.

"What are you?" we both asked each other at the same time.

"Ladies first."

I made a face. "Look, we donít have time for this. Our school has been 
taken over by a bunch of terrorists, remember?"

He wasnít buying it. "Donít try to evade the question. Tell me."

"Promise you wonít tell a soul?"

"Yes." So I told him a short, edited version, conveniently leaving out 
the entire Immortal factor.

He sniffed it out immediately. "Youíre hiding something still."

"Yes." I smiled a small smile. "Iíll tell you the rest later. We donít 
have time right now."

"Promise?"

Uh oh. I knew instinctively that I would have to keep this promise. 
"Yes." What was I doing? If I told him about that, his story better be 
good.

It was. He was a *Tomorrow person. Cheesy name, but it was what the 
others had called themselves before they were killed-he didnít have any 
choice in the matter. Apparently, he was one of a new generation of 
humans. They looked identical to us, but they could not do anything 
violent against people and were telepathic. He had *broken out* two 
years ago when he was in a car crash. Just before impact, he had 
suddenly found himself on some weird sci-fi ship. There was a recording 
there, from some other teenagers. They were the other Tomorrow People, 
but they had died. Sensing his presence on earth, they had made one 
final recording before their deaths, explaining the whole thing to him- 
or what they knew of it. But now, they were gone, and he was the only 
one left. He had reappeared wandering near the car wreck an hour later, 
and had been hiding his discovery from everyone ever since, 
experimenting with his powers only in private. It was impossible, but 
true. How else had I got here?

"So what now?" he asked, sitting on his bed. I flopped down next to 
him.

"We have to call for help, but if we call from here, weíll have to 
explain our presence here." I thought for a bit, then remembered 
something. "Give me your phone."

He handed his phone over. "Iím going to call Andrew."

He reached for the phone. "Wait. How are you going to explain where you 
are?"

I leaned back onto his bed, holding the phone away from him. "We can 
tell him later."

He let out a small cry of surprise, then proceeded to tackle me, trying 
to grab the phone. I held onto it. "What! I thought we agreed to keep 
it between us."

More wrestling ensued. "No. We have to tell him. Please, just trust me. 
He wonít tell anyone else. I promise. I just need to explain it to him. 
Unless you have any other ideas, we call him."

He looked into my eyes again, and I felt that weird sensation in my 
mind. "Stop that! What are you doing that again for?" I demanded.

He gave me a look of astonishment. "You can feel that?"

"Yes, I can feel it. I felt it in the room, too. Thatís why I looked at 
you. What were you doing?"

"I was just trying to read your mind. Itís weird, though. Your mind 
feels different than everyone elseís. And you can sense me! How do you 
do that?"

"I donít know! And please donít do that anymore! Itís very annoying. 
Just ask me, for Godís sake!"

"Okay, okay. Iím sorry. Quiet, my mom might be at home still..."

On cue, the door opened, and Joshís mom came in carrying a basketful of 
laundry. "Josh, what are you doing here?" she asked calmly after 
staring for a few seconds. Luckily, we were only sitting on the bed, 
but still, it did not look good, as we were both a bit sweaty and 
disheveled from teleporting or whatever.

I thought quickly. "Um, hello Mrs. Jameson. He was just, um, getting a 
book for his in-class book report."

"And just who might you be?"

"Julie Yamada."

"I see. Josh, can I talk to you for a second?"

He shook his head and quickly picked up a book from his desk. "We 
really have to get back, Mom, before, um, break ends. Iíll tell you 
later. Bye!" Grabbing my hand, he quickly led me outside. 
Unfortunately, his mother followed as well. We quickly walked to the 
nearby movie theater complex.

I pulled out sunglasses and a set of gloves. "Isnít it a little warm 
for those?" asked Josh, pointing at the gloves.

"Would you rather that the cops be able to identify me?"

"Oh. What do we do after this?"

"We go back and get Quinn the hell out of there. If we donít, somebody 
might start asking the wrong questions."

"Um, okay, Spy Girl."

"Ready?"

"Ready." We walked up to the theaters acting like idiots, looking 
around at everything. I know, really, really bad cover. We walked up to 
the pay phone. Quickly, I called the police. In a fake Spanish accent 
picked up from living in Southern California, I gave them an 
*anonymous* tip about the school. I hung up the phone at 29 seconds. If 
they had a trace running, it wouldnít be able to tell the exact 
location. We walked behind the theatres and Josh transported us to the 
roof of the main building- where we were immediately spotted by yet 
another terrorist posted on the roof. Before he could call into his 
radio, however, he was quite dead, yet another victim of my trusty 
knife. That thing was pretty nifty for a nonmetal.

"Wow. Youíre like Buffy," Josh was genuinely amazed. I was surprised 
that he wasnít all in shock, considering his peaceful nature. I myself 
was kind of in shock. After all, I had just thrown knives into two 
people. It wasnít a good feeling. Then I remember Josh. He canít attack 
anyone. That was not good. But he was my exit. "Not really. I use 
obsidian instead of wood. Uh, Josh, can you defend yourself?"

"Yes."

"Can you shoot?"

"Yes. Why? Oh, no....youíre not..."

"Yes. Here. Take it. And shoot anyone if they endanger you." I handed 
my gun to him. No use getting him hurt as well. We walked over to the 
body. This terrorist was fully suited up. I relieved him of his gun, 
combat knife, ammo, and radio. I stored the extra clips in Joshís cargo 
pants and switched guns with Josh. I liked to shoot with guns I knew 
better.

"Come on, weíre going to have to find the headquarters. Thatís where 
they would have taken him-if they havenít killed him yet."

"Wait, let me help. I can read active thoughts, you know. Let me try to 
find them," he said, pressing a soft finger into my lips. I was silent 
for a moment, waiting. He closed his eyes, focusing his mind. "Got 
them."

"Where are they?"

"In the video room. Youíre right. They...theyíre torturing Quinn. Looks 
like they found the dead terrorist and the unconscious students and 
want to know what happened." He opened his eyes, a look of horror on 
his face.

"How do we get into the room from here?"

"We canít just transport in there."

"Weíll have to shoot our way in." He coughed, reminding me of his no-
kill restrictions. "Okay, Iíll have to shoot our way in."

We walked over to the ventilation shaft. "Okay, if this building is 
anything like any other building, these ventilation ducts should, 
theoretically, lead to the room. From there, we might be able to see 
him."

"This is a really crappy plan." Josh obviously was not in shock enough 
to lose his head.

"Well, I canít think of any other. With luck, the police should 
actually get their butts in gear and start negotiating with them. I 
donít really care. I just have to get Quinn out and erase the 
evidence." Okay, I know that sounded harsh. But it was kind of a 
stressful time.

"Wow, youíre caring. Donít you care about the rest of the kids? Donít 
you even care?" Enter my conscience-Josh. That, of course, was just 
what I needed.

"Yes, I do care, but other lives are at stake here. We protect lives, 
Josh. I canít let those people down," I explained, but that wasnít 
enough to convince Morality Boy.

"So what, are these people, who donít even know you exist, more 
important than your friends? The people you go to school with, the 
people you see every single day?"

I opened my mouth to reply. Suddenly, I saw a flash in the distance. A 
sniper was aiming at us. "Down!" I hissed, knocking him down. A bullet 
whistled past us, making a visible mark on the fan next to us.

Josh was white. "Shit, that was close."

"No, you think. Calm down. You have to calm down." He was shaking, so I 
leaned forward and shook him until he regained his composure. "Josh, 
you have to focus. In order to get past this sniper, you have to focus 
on his mind. Find him. You have to teleport me over to him. We need to 
neutralize him." He was still rattled. What could focus him on 
something else, anything else? Nikkitaís voice echoed through my head. 
*In order to distract a man, get him to think about your body. * Not 
the most orthodox of techniques, to be sure, but it made sense. But 
could I really kiss this guy I had known since sixth grade- and kind of 
had a crush on? A bullet whistled overhead, as if to emphasize the 
urgency. Okay, so I admit, he had fascinated me ever since that day in 
the halls. I gathered up my guts and took the plunge. I pulled back 
from the embrace, leaned forward, and kissed him. I gave him just a 
quick, fierce kiss on the lips, making sure to rub my body against his. 
It worked. He stopped shaking and stared at me, a look of confusion on 
his lips. I forced myself to calm down. "Okay, Josh, I need you to 
focus on the sniper. Please." Of course, part of me was screaming with 
joy. He was, after all, pretty hot.

He nodded, leaned back against the fan or whatever we were hiding 
behind, and closed his eyes. I sat back as well, the kiss still hot on 
my lips. What was going to happen now? Was he totally repulsed? This 
was not only a very scary moment, with bullets whistling overhead, but 
also a very embarrassing one. He opened his eyes. "Heís in one of the 
homes across the street from the school- Charlie Scottís house."

"Do you know his exact location?"

"Yes."

"Good. Teleport us over there- behind him."

He nodded automatically. I leaned over to embrace him once again. "Go, 
now."

We reappeared in the master bedroom. Luckily, the sniper was still 
focused on the roof. I shot him in the head, execution style. This was 
getting really bloody. I looked out the window. There were some of the 
terrorists in view. I looked at Josh, who was staring at the body. "I 
can see some of the other terrorists, Josh. Iím going to knock these 
bastards off first, okay?"

"You know how to shoot that?"

"You bet. Watch my back, okay?"

"Sure."

I focused the sights and quickly began to look for targets. I was idly 
reminded of some sort of sick video game. It was only across the 
street, so I didnít have to calculate the environmental conditions. I 
quickly took them out, one after another, all the gunmen I could see. 
The rest, I supposed, were hiding where I couldnít reach them. This 
game ended as the cops roared up and blocked off the area. About time 
those police got their asses into gear. I had managed to do quite a bit 
of damage in the time it had taken them to arrive.

"Um, Julie. The cops are there. Iíd stop shooting now."

"Yes, I see them," I said, bringing the rifle backing. Wiping it down, 
I noted that we better get Quinn out soon.

"How do you propose we do that?"

"Is he alone yet?"

Josh started focusing his mind. "Heís their star hostage, courtesy of 
our schoolís video equipment, I think. Yes, heís in the same stupid 
room he was trapped in before. Talk about irony," he said, consulting 
Quinnís mind. "Oh, yes, and heís out."

"Whoís in there with him?"

"I donít know. I canít tell."

I thought a moment. "Can you teleport us to the entrance of the 
ventilation ducts?"

"Okay, but I canít do much from there."

"Thatís okay. What weíre going to do should be fairly simple- I hope. 
Weíll crawl through the ducts really quietly, hopefully stumbling upon 
it. Once we do, Iíll peek in to see whoís in there, then Iíll shoot 
everybody but Quinn. You teleport in and get him out to- oh shoot, you 
donít know where Andrewís house is. Where do you transport out to?"

"How about your house?"

"Good idea. My parents wonít be home. Wait- you donít know where I 
live."

"Yes I do. After that guy in November, and you started closing your 
mind to me, James and I hacked into the school files and investigated 
you."

"You what?" Apparently, Quinn wasnít the only hacker at my school. I 
thought about it some more. "Wait, what does James know?"

Everything I did except for today. We saw the attendance record change 
erase itself, and the NHS thing. We knew that something was up, but we
werenít sure what.

"Oh, no. Now what? I canít just tell both of you. Does he know about 
you?"

"No, but he suspects. Heís not stupid you know."

"Oh, shit. Okay, letís just take one problem at a time. Back to the 
problem at hand. Okay, so you transport Quinn to my house. Then, you 
come back to the ventilation exit, where Iíll be waiting. You transport 
me to my house. I call Andrew and the Section medics. Weíll need to be 
debriefed by Andrew. Then, tonight, Iíll tell you everything. Itíll 
take a while. Do you need to be home tonight?"

"Why?"

"I canít tell you in too many places. Most places are bugged. So weíre 
going to the beach."

"The beach? Why there?"

"Well, can you think of any other uninhabited places around here? Itís 
pretty there, and the waves will kill any attempt to record it."

He flinched at the word kill. "Um, okay, I guess."

"Okay? Show time." He quickly teleported us to the roof. Luckily, no 
one was up there. I quickly took off my jacket and removed all 
nonessentials from my pockets and tied them up in my jacket. The vent 
looked pretty small, and I didnít want anything making extra noise. 
Silently, I did the same to Josh, leaving him only with my knife and me 
with one small handgun and an extra clip. We quickly entered the ducts. 
They were pretty nasty- I wondered if anyone ever cleaned them.

An hour later, we finally found them. Sighing quietly in relief, I 
*thought* my discovery as hard as I could. In response, Josh tapped my 
ankle. Yes, he knew. I peeked down. Quinn was in there, looking in very 
poor condition. A guard stood nearby, clearly waiting for him to wake 
up. No one else was in the room.

When the guard turned his back, I quickly opened the ventilation gate 
thingie, leaned down, and hit him on the head- really hard. He fell 
down to the ground, out for the count. I signaled to Josh, who quickly 
popped into the room, grabbed Quinn, and disappeared again. I closed 
the gate and slowly slithered my way back. Hopefully, he wouldnít wake 
up too soon. Josh soon appeared, and he quickly transported me to my 
house. Exhausted, he collapsed into a chair while I called Andrew.

"Hello, Andrew."

"Julie! What happened? Where are you? I have been trying to contact 
you-"

"Look, I canít explain right now, but I need you to come, and with a 
Section medical team. Thereís been an incident."

"Iíll be right there."

I found Josh in the bathroom, with a bad case of the shakes.

"How the hell do you do that? Just act so damn calm like nothing 
happened?"

"I really donít know. Maybe Iíll feel it later. Right now, I really 
donít feel anything at all. Itís kinda odd, a strange numbness. Also, I 
have to go clear the cameras before they arrive. Iíll be right back. 
Donít say anything incriminating." I ran to my computer and quickly 
changed the security cameras like Andrew showed me to. Next, I went 
over to Quinn. He was still out, but he wasnít bleeding anymore, and he 
was breathing regularly.

Suddenly, I remembered something: Section was coming, and I had no way 
to possibly explain how we had gotten Quinn out. This was not good. 
Section would torture the hell out of us if they even suspected we were 
withholding anything. The doorbell rang. Out of time. I went to open 
the door. The Section medics ran in to Quinn and started working on 
him. Outside, a car screeched to a stop and parked. It was Andrew, all 
sweaty in his workout clothes. He ran up to the door.

"What the hell is going on? On my way here, Section called me. Michael 
and Nikkita are coming to debrief you, and you better tell exactly what 
happened, because Section is going to have to do damage control 
tonight," he said, dragging me into the study, without giving me a 
chance to explain. "Got it?" I managed to nod numbly before the Section 
medics took Quinn out the door. They sped away, and a second later, 
another black Section van pulled up, and Michael (Matthew) and Nikkita 
were dropped off.

"Hello Julie, Andrew. Who else is here? Our scan shows someone else in 
your house," said Michael, with perfect control as always. Both he and 
Nikkita were dressed in Section black from head to toe- they were ready 
for a mission. I realized that this had just become a big operation for 
Section.

"That would be Josh. Heís the reason Iím here. Heís in the bathroom, 
throwing up right now." Nikkita immediately went to the bathroom to 
him. At least Michael wasnít going to interrogate him- that would not 
be pretty, I imagined. I had seen Michael in action.

"Andrew, we have to get them out of here. Would it be fine if we go to 
you house for interrogation? It is closer than Section headquarters, 
and we would prefer to finish this in the most timely manner," asked 
Michael.

"Of course, Michael." There really wasnít anything more to say. Michael 
was Andrewís superior, so of course it was fine. We quickly left my 
house, leaving Housekeeping the job of making sure it looked like no 
one had been there. Because they wanted to make sure Josh and I 
couldnít collaborate, Josh rode in the Section van and I got to ride in 
Andrewís car- a classic Thunderbird he was babysitting for someone.

"Okay, Julie, you know whatís going to happen. Theyíll be recording 
everything, as usual. Just relax, and tell everything as if you were 
gossiping. If you just stay clam, weíll be done fast. I know you 
probably want to talk to Josh."

"How did you know that?"

"Everyone saw that look you guys gave each other when we left. Itís 
pretty obvious."

"Oh." I sent Josh a mental hug for reassurance.

We quickly arrived at his house, where I was led into Andrewís bedroom. 
Andrew fitted me with a lie detector, and we began. I told him 
everything, every last detail.

"Okay, thatís it, Julie. Thatís the most complete debrief Iíve ever 
listened to- and I didnít have to even ask anything. I donít think I 
want to know anymore. This world is getting more and more twisted every 
day. This, however, tops the cake," Andrew said, sitting back, rubbing 
his eyes tiredly.

Suddenly, Michael appeared in the doorway. "Your stories corroborate 
almost perfectly." Nikkita led Josh in, who looked utterly fatigued. 
"Okay, now we can tell you what we know. Sometime around 1 p.m., a 
bunch of trucks pull up as usual- vending machine, Pepsi, district 
maintenance, private vehicles, etc. A few minutes later, a man walks 
into the office asking to talk to the principal. They enter his office, 
and a few minutes later, they exit, with a gun to Mr. Whiteís head. 
Everyone in the office is quietly locked into the staff lunchroom. A 
few seconds later, the cameras go out. We assume that they took them 
out. According to you two, an armed gunman then entered your classroom. 
He tells you that his group has taken over the school, for purposes
unknown. He then shoots an entire round into your teacher. She falls to 
the ground dead. Then Julie kills the man by throwing a knife into his 
head. She and Quinn check their status and attempt to call in. The cell 
phones were blocked, so they gas everyone and leave. Josh, however, 
leaves as well, through means of teleportation." He stopped to look at 
Josh, who shrugged. Apparently he had demonstrated, otherwise everyone 
would have been a lot more incredulous.

"Anyway," continues Birkoff, who has by now managed to squirm his way 
up to the front. "this startles Julie and Quinn, who yell in surprise. 
A guard across campus hears them and shoots. Quinn is hit, but Josh 
teleports himself and Julie to his house. They leave, and notify the 
police, but not us, for obvious reasons. They then return to school. 
They are sighted by another gunman, who is also knifed-hey, Julie, how 
did you do that?"

I pointed to Andrew, who shrugged. "I taught it to her for fun after I 
saw her watching Buffy." Everyone laughed, and Nikkita picked up the 
story.

"A sniper then targets them, so our intrepid heroes teleport to his 
location and kill him. Julie then proceeds to kill all other remaining 
visible gunmen. The police arrive and set up a perimeter. They return 
to the roof, where they enter- how cliched is this- the ventilation 
ducts. They crawl to where Quinn was being held and Josh teleported 
them out. The FBI arrives on the scene, and a jurisdiction battle 
ensues. The FBI wins, and tries to enter the main building through some 
supposedly long forgotten tunnel. Unfortunately, it appears the 
terrorists knew about it, as a portable was blown up rather 
unnecessarily when they breached the perimeter. Finally, communication 
is established. A man gets on the phone. His voice is distorted, but it 
appears that the terrorists demanded the release of a list of 
terrorists held in France within 24 hours. That was three hours ago. Of 
course, the French government has refused. Also, it appears that the 
terrorists have gathered the children of many rich, influential people 
in the main building as insurance. No mention of you guys, which is 
good because it means that theyíre confused and donít know what to do. 
The weapons, of course, were remotely melted as soon as we could 
eliminate them."

"So what are we going to do about it?" I asked, finally remembering my 
friends still at school.

Michael sighed. "Nothing. This is technically none of our business, and 
Operations has ordered us to lay low. He thinks that the US can handle 
this, or at the very most Rainbow Six, that new multinational counter-
terrorism group in England can handle it."

"England is kind of far away. People might die in the time it takes for 
them to get here," I protested.

"I know, but weíre under very strict orders. Julie, you will be 
permitted to attend whatever funerals they have, as well as your 
graduation, which will, according to our sources, be held as soon as 
possible. Theyíre shutting down the school for the rest of the year. 
Josh, after these things, you are to make up your mind. You may work 
for Section, or never, ever contact Julie again or speak of anything 
that happened tonight. We will not wipe your mind because Madeline will 
be studying you either way. Do you both understand?"

We both nodded. I knew instinctively that Josh would never, ever join 
Section. He would rather die first. We were allowed to leave, but I was 
reminded that I had to be at Andrewís first thing in the morning for 
further strategy planning and updates.

Andrew let me borrow the Thunderbird, so we were driving to the beach. 
Josh opened his mouth to talk, but quieted when I reminded him mentally
about the listening devices. The beach was empty, but we still decided 
to go into one of the caves to talk. I swept the place, but found no 
bugs. Josh, in the mean time, was getting pretty paranoid. When I 
started checking his clothes for bugs, however, I noticed he blushed a 
very nice bright color, but pretended not to notice. Finally satisfied, 
I told him about Immortals and Watchers and how Section had apparently 
taken over the Watchers and changed their focus.

"Oh," he said, shocked, "that makes more sense, oddly enough. About the 
trench coat guy, I mean."

Finally, we had no more to say, except for what we had been avoiding 
all night. "Youíre not going into Section or the Watchers, are you?"

"No. I canít do that, and I think you know that."

"Iíll miss you."

"Me too." He looked at me intently. "What is Andrew?"

"What do you mean? Wait, you mean you felt him?" I asked, shocked. This 
was very unexpected.

"Yes. He has a stronger presence than you do. Is he an Immortal?"

"Andrew? Heís my mentor- heís not..." My thoughts flashed back to a 
time when he returned to his house at 2 in the morning, with torn, 
bloody clothes, but no wounds. At the time he had brushed it off, 
saying he had simply got off lucky...I thought some more. "Oh no. Heís 
another Adam Pierson. Heís Immortal."

"I think so. His presence is full of electricity and power. Yours, on 
the other hand, is merely psychic. Which is good."

"Why? I am not following here."

"Before we part, Iíd like to try a binding ritual one of the Tomorrow 
People wrote about. So we can keep in touch telepathically."

"Thatíd be cool. What would we have to do?"

"Kiss." He blushed a very bright red.

"Youíre kidding me."

He shook his head. "Think about it. After you kissed me on the roof, 
didnít you feel the increased sensitivity to me? According to the ship 
log, Adam Newman bonded with one girl by simply kissing her a few 
times. Not just little pecks. He was, uh, really making out. Until 
Adamís mysterious death, they were bonded telepathically."

I sighed. He was too embarrassed to be making this up. "So how do you 
want to do this?"

He shifted uncomfortably. "Well, Iíd be lying to you if I said that I 
havenít been attracted to you since that day in the halls when we made 
eye contact. I like you, Julie, and I like you a lot. I just canít join 
Section, but I also canít just let you walk out of my life forever. I 
need to at least keep in touch with you. Itís this insane sort of 
attraction I canít explain. Would you please bond with me?"

"Wait a second. When you say bonded telepathically, you mean like the 
Tomorrow People were, right?" He nodded. "Well, you said that when one 
of them was tortured to death, the others quickly went insane, and 
allowed themselves to be captured or commit suicide. What happens if 
something happens to one of us?"

"Iím willing to take that risk. Are you? Actually, however, I think 
Adam actually severed the artificial link when he died."

"There are worse things than simply dying. What if I am tortured like 
Quinn was? What do you then? I wonít just ruin your life."

"Then weíre equally at risk. Please, Julie. Canít you feel it? You and 
I both know somehow that if we just walk away we will die. We canít 
just walk away from each other forever. What if we just strengthen this 
link so that we can talk to each other?"

"I guess that would be okay. Yes, I feel that feeling. I donít know 
why. It just is. This is probably the stupidest thing Iíll ever do. 
Okay, letís bond. After we go swimming." Impulsively, I started towards 
the water.

"What? I donít get it."

"Look at that beautiful ocean. Itís a warm night, and no oneís around. 
And I want to wash off that blood." I dragged him into the surf before 
he could protest.

"What the-" He was cut off as a wave splashed over his head.

I laughed. "You look like a wet puppy!"

He pointed at me, laughing as well. "Look whoís talking."

Oh well indeed. We ended up splashing in the surf for a while. 
Afterwards, we sat on the beach and talked about ourselves as we waited 
for our clothes to dry. It was nice just to relax and just talk with 
someone other than Andrew. Andrew was nice, but he kept himself too 
distant for me to actually confide in. Of course, now that I actually 
had found a confidante, I had about a week or two to spend with him. 
Figures. I fell asleep in his arms, the first time I had done that 
since this entire business with the Watchers and Section started. I 
almost felt like I was normal.

I woke up with the rising sun, a habit instilled in me by Andrew. The 
sun played across Joshís features so beautifully I felt a tinge of 
sadness in waking him. But I had to wake him in order to be in time for 
the briefing. I gave him a quick kiss- and was greeted with a vision of 
someone. A girl with beautiful blonde hair and big brown eyes flashed 
in my eyes. I wondered jealously if she was Joshís girl, then caught 
myself. I was not jealous-was I?

"Well, that was a nice way to wake up in the morning!" exclaimed Josh, 
sitting up.

"Who is she?"

"Who is who?"

"The girl I saw in that vision when I kissed you."

"What girl? I didnít see any girl! Are you sure?"

"Absolutely." I shrugged. "Oh, well, itís probably nothing. Come on, 
itís time to report in and start damage control."

END