Footsteps in the Sand
Karen Galarneault

Disclaimer: Highlander, created by Gregory Widen, and all related 
characters, locations, and events are the property of Rysher 
Davis/Panzer  Productions.  In Highlander continuity this story takes 
place after the fourth  season episode "Glory Days".  The character of 
Q is borrowed from the  Star Trek Universe and belongs to Paramount 

The story and any other characters are mine.

"Footsteps in the Sand"
   by Karen Galarneault

Joe Dawson sighed as he lugged yet another beer cask over behind the 
counter of polished oak with its veneer of brass trim.  He filled the 
taps for yet a third time.  He couldn't remember his bar being this 
busy, but for some reason  the scenes from "Casablanca" kept running 
through his head.   He had gone to see the movie with Betsy Fields; an 
old high school sweetheart who had waltzed into his life,  stirring up 
a lot of old memories. {Of all the gin-joints in all the world,..... 
Nah, Gotta stop thinking like that.}   However, too much time had 
passed, and their lives had gone in separate directions. Vietnam had 
come: He had gone to war she had moved on and was married.    His life 
had changed drastically, not just having prosthetic legs.   He had 
been recruited by Ian Bancroft into the Watchers:  a secret society of  
men and women who had introduced him into the world of the Immortals;  
and his world had never been quite the same since.

Thinking of these, years later,  he wondered why things sometimes work 
out for the best, even when one tends not to realize it at the time.    
Dawson wondered if Duncan MacLeod,  his assignment, his friend,  ever 
felt anything of the same.  {"Sooner or later,  everyone comes to 
Joe's} he muttered, setting the keg down. 

It was true, sooner or later everyone did manage to walk into Joe's 
bar:  Mostly regular patrons looking for a drink, or travelers or 
tourists off  the interstate, or people looking for a little light 
jazz music.

At the table where Duncan and his young protege Richie sat drinking 
beer talking of inconsequential things.  they felt the tell-tale 
"Buzz" that presaged the presence of another Immortal.  Duncan, being 
more seasoned picked up the presence a scant few seconds before Richie 
did.  Both scanned their surroundings with a quick look around.

Her long hair was braided back, its raven sheen glistening , held in 
place by a  clasp made of silver.  She was wearing a smartly cut 
designer suit of purple  velvet, which set off her dark eyes and high-
heeled boots.  She came over to  the bar and ordered a drink: a rum 
with Coke and then went over to where  Duncan and Richie were sitting 
and straddled a chair.

"MacLeod." she said.

"Jeri. Is that you?  It has been too long."  You're looking well." 
Duncan said

"Richie,  Duncan, it's good to see you guys again." she replied.

"It's good to be seen."  Duncan said, giving her a quick hug, which 
she then  returned and giving a peck on the cheek to Richie.

"What brings you back here?" Dawson asked, sidling over to a corner of 
the bar  where he could get into the conversation.

"I wouldn't have come back here, but I need your help." It's 
important." Jeri said.

"You know you're welcome here any time, and whatever it is you need,  
all  you have to do is ask."  Duncan said.

"I need you to do something for me."  Jeri said.

"What is it?"  Duncan asked.

"I need you go to Arizona.  I'll provide the directions.  There's 
something there  I need you to retrieve.  At the moment all I have is 
slip of paper with these  directions written on them. "Come with me.  
Come to me.  I can give you truth unalloyed. I can set you free of  
all your bonds." It is greater than you know.  Listen to me.  Come 
with me."  

I have had strange dreams of late." Jeri said, handing the sheet of 
paper to  MacLeod.

"Come with me.  To the world's end.  Stand with me. Forever.

"Where did you get this?" Duncan demanded.

"I'm really not sure. I remember waking up from a strange dream that I 
couldn't remember, and that piece of paper with those strange lines I 
found on my end table."  Jeri said.

"Richie, we're going to Arizona." Duncan said.

"Thank you, Duncan.  You don't know how much this means to me." Jeri 
sighed  wearily.

"Hey, Jer, you're welcome.  You know that."  Richie smiled. 


Arizona, The Grand Canyon               

Several hours later,  Richie, after having driven MacLeod's T-Bird to 
Arizona,  checked in at the hotel and acquired a road map to the area; 
parked the car as he and Duncan were led out to the promontory.  
Walking up to the  guardrail, ignoring Mac's restraining death grip on 
his leather jacket,   Richie peered over the edge.   "Richie, the 
sign.. It says keep away from the guard railing." the older man 

"Don't worry about hitting bottom. there isn't any." the guide said 
cheerfully,  his red-brown skin contrasted against the early morning  
shadows streaking the  rock formations of the canyon, which seemed to 
swallow him up.  "Very funny." Duncan said.

"Isn't there an other way to get down those trails?"  Richie 
complained, eying the unprepossessing donkeys that were being saddled 
for them by  the less than reassuring guide.

"Remember, never stand behind this old beauty here, or she'll kick.   
Never approach a donkey on their blind side." the guide's voice droned 
on   giving unasked for advice on the care and feeding of their 

"Not unless you want to walk down on your own two feet, Richie." "It's 
too hot for this." Duncan said, removing his long coat." he muttered.

"You've done this before?"  Richie asked taking his red bandanna from 
his  head and retying his blonde hair back. "Oh, wait, I should have 
known you've  done just about everything at least once before." he 

"Not this time." Duncan replied,

"What?"  Richie exclaimed.  "Remind me again why we're doing this?" he 

"It's because Jeri McKenna specifically asked for our help." Duncan 

"Yeah but why here, barring the wide open spaces, fresh air, and 
fantastic view?"   Richie asked.

"Won't know until we find what she sent us to look for." Duncan 

Mounting up on the donkeys, they followed the guide's lead down the 
steep  trail and down the maze-like formations of shale, limestone, 
and sandstone,  formed by centuries of geologic formation. It had been 
sculpted in general  by the downward cutting of the Colorado River, 
flowing the canyon's lowest  portions. They passed by  lava flows,  
hills composed of volcanic debris.  

"Okay, I understand now why we had to take donkeys down this way." 
Richie said as he began sliding off the his mount, gripped the rains 
and hung  on for dear life.

"Relax.  It's only the first part that the worse.  You'll get used to 
riding a donkey  or a horse, it's not quite the same as riding that 
motorcycle of yours, is it?"   Duncan laughed, watching Richie 
squirming around on his donkey.

"Very funny." Richie said.

Eventually they found a rock formation that resembled an alligator, 
which Jeri  had mentioned when telling them what she wanted them to 
find in Arizona.   "That's it." Duncan said.

"Are you sure?"  Richie asked.

"Yeah,  I'm sure."  Duncan said, dismounting and cautiously sliding 
towards the  cave entrance. 

"You think there's another Immortal waiting for us?" Richie asked.

 "I doubt McKenna would have set us up like that. It's just that I 
believe in being  on the safe side. There might a lot more mundane 
denizens in that cave.  Like a puma for instance." Duncan said.

Entering the cave, MacLeod found it empty of occupants at the moment.   
Giving the place a through inspection he found a folded piece of paper 
wedged  into the walls of the cave and removed it. Unfolding it, he 
ascertained what he  already half expected, it was a map,  Exiting the 
cave,  MacLeod waved to Richie:  "Okay, I  found what we were looking 
for,  We can go now."

"That was too easy.  The way Jeri was talking you'd think this would 
be a lot  harder." Richie said.

"Maybe it will get more complicated once we talk a look at this map." 
Duncan said.

"What makes you say that?" Richie asked.

"I'll let you know once we get back to the top of the canyon." Duncan 
said.  "We're going somewhere else.  We'll make the airline 
reservations as soon as we  get back to the hotel."  he added.

"Great." Richie muttered.


 El Rub A Khalai,  somewhere in Saudi Arabia

By early morning several days later, having flown on a commercial 
airline to the  Middle East,  Duncan and Richie found themselves 
mounted on the desert horses  the Arabians were justifiably famous for 
and were riding out into the desert,  which meant the Suns' Anvil in 

They had left the flatlands behind them the sparse greenery of 
tamarisk  and  desert blooms giving way to cacti and dunes, a crescent 
moon hung in  the  midnight sky, the stars were pin-pricks of silver 
light.  The endlessly  shifting dunes appeared over in their immediate 
line of sight stretching 

away to the horizon.  The air shimmered from the heat.

"And I thought Arizona was hot."  So why are we like totally doing the  
"Indiana Jones impression?" Richie asked.

"You asked to come along.' Duncan reminded him. "Besides,  it's safer  
to travel at night, the heat is less, well relatively less." Duncan 

When night fell, he was ready to ride, they were both clad as riders 
who  chose to affect the Olyenai fashion: the black robes, the head 
cloth, their  swords, and the white head cloth to block the worst of 
the blowing dust.   In their scrips they carried a carved ivory marker 
of safe passage,  the map they had discovered in Arizona, the food 
provisions, and the  water canteens.     Duncan talked, unperturbed 
by Richie's surly silence due  to the heat.  His voice was like the 
rhythm of the riding, like the  wind and all too seldom rain, in this 
place.  Like the open sky:  steady, lulling, even comforting.  Then he 
would fall silent, that in  turn would bring its comfort, a 
companionship that would demand nothing  beyond itself. 


The woman on the bed sprang awake, crying aloud.  There were hands on 
her  arms, a voice in her ears. {Not that deadly voice} she thought.   
{Not so soon. Not him.} Why does he come to me in my dreams?" she 

"It's only a dream." the soothing voice of the nurse said.

Lies inextricably woven with truth.  With agonizing slowness the dream 
retracted.   She crouched, trembling, gasping as if she had been 
running hard from a terror  too great to bear.  Jeri McKenna clutched 
at the arms that held hair and  collapsed back onto the bed.    



Richie  and Duncan felt their equilibrium rock as they sensed the 
presence of  another Immortal. More dunes stood out ahead. difficult 
to surmount.   Topping one such rise they found themselves in an 
oasis.  "Jeri!  Is that you?" Duncan asked.

"You were expecting a genie or a houri? She smiled.

"What's a houri?" Richie asked.

"It's an Arabic word for a version of the Siren." Duncan answered.

"Why did you drag us out here.  What is so important about this 
particular place.   Maybe we shouldn't have come." Duncan demanded.

"You know in your heart, if you did not come, you would have regretted 
it."   You had to come here."  Jeri said.  "Duncan, Richie, please 
believe me. I had no  ulterior motives.  I did what I had to do. I had 
to get you here." she said.

"Yeah right. How did you get here ahead of us?" Richie asked.

"Not all power is either pleasant or easy. Some must not be either. 
I'm not sure  if you're going to be able to believe this, but, you 
see. I, uh teleported." she said.

"You what!"  both men said in unison.

"Why, lass?  What's your angle?" Duncan said.

"What I'd like to know is why you've sent us on this wild goose 
chase?"  Richie added.

"No angle, Duncan, Richie.  Jeri pleaded.        The water in  the 
tree-lined grotto laughed. "You have the gift.   You cannot refuse 

"I can!"  Duncan yelled.

"Hey, Whoever you are, get outta my head!" Richie yelled.

"So, too must you." the soft voice echoed, and it wasn't the wind in 
this land of  wind, sand, and sun in an endless cycle. The voice was 
no longer high, however,  it was shading into deeper tones, hauntingly 
alien, far different than the tones  both men were associated with the 
woman called Jeri McKenna.  She seemed  to have lost all traces of her 
Scottish accent.

"You're not McKenna!' Duncan yelled.

"How can you be so certain?"  Richie asked.

"Duncan, how can you say that?" she asked.

"For lack of anything better,  you may look like her, but you don't 
smell or  feel like her." You're not wearing her perfume. I think that 
for Immortals  who've known each other for several hundred years,  
have certain ways,  patterns, mannerisms, an aura that one can 
identify.  And if this "person"  was her, she wouldn't have dragged us 
out here.  She's wearing her sword on  the wrong side, and the scars 
on her palm are on the left.  Jeri's right-handed."

"Wow, I'm impressed."  Sherlock MacLeod." Richie said.

"Thank you. Elementary My dear Mr. Ryan."  Duncan replied. ____ 

"Rats!  Foiled again!" The person who looked like Jeri McKenna said, 
and with  a snap of her fingers the semblance of their friend vanished 
leaving behind a  tall, sandy-haired man, who stood about six feet 
tall and wore a crimson  red tailored uniform sporting a silver 
stylized lapel pin.

"Who the hell are you?" they asked at the same time. "Where's Jeri?"  
Duncan added.

"Allow me to introduce myself. I am called Q" he announced.

"Q?  What kind of lousy name is that?"  Richie asked.

"Hey!  Who's telling this story? Me or you? Okay,  I'm an entity from 
the  Q Continuum and I'm Immortal just like you,  just like McKenna.  
And  don't worry, the woman is fine.  I stashed her somewhere safe 
while I borrowed  her semblance.  You see, I know all about 
Immortals." his voice dropped to  a  low conspiratorial whisper and he 
added:  "I created them.".....The Gathering,  .... The Quickening.. 
the rules, the works.  Although why they added that rule  about not 
fighting on holy ground is beyond me." he explained.

"Is this guy for real?" Richie exclaimed.

"Well, I've got news for you, whoever you are. You see, there's just 
one problem." 

Duncan said folding his arms across his chest, "I don't believe you.  
And as far  as I'm concerned you're wasting your breath and our time." 
he said.

"Yeah, I'm with him.  If you created the Immortals, which I seriously 
doubt,  then how come nobody's ever heard of you before?"  Richie 
demanded, making  a mental note to check with Joe Dawson when they 
returned to the States,  to see if the Watchers had ever heard of this 

"I did!  I did!" the  man who called himself Q said excitedly, jumping 
up and  down. "Look what I'm offering you. How would you like to be 
able to travel  anywhere in the blink of eye?  I know what you're 
thinking,  you want to  check on me with your friend Dawson, I get you 
back to Washington without  the cumbersome details of primitive 
aircraft all  in a matter       of seconds!   How would you like to be 
able to do that? You'd have an edge in the Game,  you'd have a power 
no other Immortal has." What do you say?" he added,  an eager gleam in 
his eyes.

"You said Jeri's safe. Where is she?" Duncan demanded.

"Whatever it is you're selling!  I don't want any." Richie added.

"You want to see McKenna?  Fine. Your wish is my command!" Snapping 
his  fingers the odd entity called Q produced a  shimmering 
quicksilver light from  his hands, and in one quick motion the world 
rocked underneath their feet.

"I've got a bad feeling about this, Mac." Richie muttered.

"You and me both." Duncan whispered back.       

Suddenly the immediate world vanished in a prismatic burst of light, 
of swirling  colors banded with concentric circles of black in the 
void.  A void, which made  Duncan think eerily of the electrical field 
similar to a Immortal Quickening.   Finding Richie's arm in the void, 
he gripped onto as a solid lifeline of  reality as their consciousness  
fled to a safer corner of the universe.