The Holyground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge
Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Holyground Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.
The Challenge by Leah CWPack
Poor Guy by USTADAWN
Hawkers’ Roadshow by Alaska Man
The Auction by Daire
It’s Only Money by Robin
The Bottom Line by Wain
The Fund-Raiser by HonorH
Origins by Ysanne
Aladdin’s Cave by Junebug
Estate Sale by MissyD
The Watcher’s “Fundraiser” by MAR
Being in Sound Mind and Very Sound Body by vixen69
Diversification by lynnannCDC
Hot Item: Bid Now by Ghost Cat
MID-WEEK CHALLENGE: ANOTHER 'GATHERING'...
This challenge comes to us courtesy of a suggestion by Ghost Cat. Your challenge, should you decide to participate:
The Watchers are a large organization, presumably working world-wide. The question is, where do they get all their money? Surveillance equipment does not come cheap, and the travel expenses alone must be a fortune. Write a short story or scene that shows a major fund-raiser/income for the Watchers group.
DISCLAIMER: If you wish to have your entry archived among the MWC entries on the archive website, don't forget to put "MWC" in your subject line! Good luck.
(MWC) Poor Guy.......Come here and let me give you a hug.... LOL *FRU*
Posted By: USTADAWN <USTADAWN@aol.com>
Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2001, at 9:08 a.m.
"Now, where am I going to put all this cash? I can't just put it in a bank. I mean, here I am - Adam Pierson - professional historian, or whatever, working for an organization that really doesn't exist. Where would a guy like me get this kind of cash. No....., putting it in a bank would be too risky. If everyone else in the world had this problem...... sometimes being an immortal is a pain in the ass."
(Footstep are head coming down the hallway. One advantage of having your organization housed in an old abandoned Chateau is that there are no carpets to hide the footsteps of unwanted visitors.)
"Oh no,....... come on old man,....... think, think,....... Let's see..... if my memory serves me right, there should be......."
(Methos begins to push at a block in the wall)
"Yes, here it is......"
(with a push, he manages to reveal a secret chamber in the wall in which he hurriedly stuffs the money and then escapes through a passageway hidden behind a tapestry.)
"You know, I think it is about time to get another watcher on the Methos Chronicles. That watcher Adam......Adam... Peterson, or Pierson, or whatever the hell his last name is has not found one bit of information on Methos in the past 9 years. And don't tell me that it is due to the lack of funds that is needed to get the job done. I am tired of hearing about that. I am in the process of lining up some new financiers to help us with that. No,..... I think he is bored and needs to be re-assigned............TINDALE! What are you looking at? Pay attention."
"Ah, Sir, what is that on the wall?"
(Director Kane glances at the wall behind him)
"It looks like......."
(Kane walks up to the item in question)
"MONEY. Get over here Tindale and give me a hand."
(The two poked and prodded against the concrete block until it opened up to reveal its treasures inside. Tindale stares at the contents with disbelief.....)
"I can't believe this.......all this money........where did it come from?"
(Director Kane grabs the trashcan)
"I don't know where it came from, but I know where it is going....."
(With that, the two leave the room)
"Now that they are gone.... I'll just get my money and go home...... WHAT?........oh no, please God no! Well Sh--! You've really done it this time, you ol' fool."
(Methos looks up toward the ceiling and give a heavy sigh before dropping his head and sulking out of the room.)
"Oh well, easy come and a lot easier to go...."
MWC: Hawkers' Roadshow
Posted By: Alaska Man <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2001, at 11:52 a.m.
Here's one of my long-standing theories, with a twist.
MacLeod glared at Methos, sitting on HIS couch, watching HIS TV, drinking HIS beer.
He was thinking, "What is it that he contributes to my existence, that I keep letting him in the door? Oh, that's right, he let himself in."
Methos saw the look and, yawning, said, "My very presence gives this place more charm."
MacLeod rolled his eyes. Giving in, he grabbed a beer and slumped onto the couch. Why not just be brain-dead for a while? Seeing what was on the TV, MacLeod almost reconsidered. The "Antiques Roadshow" was possibly the most banal program he'd ever encountered.
Again, reading MacLeod's mind, Methos said, "Wait, you're gonna love this. You see this guy?", gesturing with the remote, "His name's Stan Pederson. He works for Joe."
On the screen, Pederson was presenting a "replica sword his father owned."
"Don't even tell me," began MacLeod.
"Yup. If you were to look in the Chronicles, you'd find one Ezekiel Jonath, born in 60 A.D., killed just last week, and bearing as a weapon a scimitar of Damascus steel."
As he spoke, the camera panned in on the blade, revealing the telling Damascus steel temper line and grain.
MacLeod sighed and rubbed his eyes. Methos spoke first. "He'll pull in a half-mil easily on that one."
"Is this typical?" asked MacLeod.
"No, of course not," replied the Old One, "most of them just go to private buyers."
"You know what I mean. Is this the chief source of funding for the organization?"
"One of them. But, the individual Watchers also fund themselves in another way...gambling."
"Yup...they bet on the fights...."
MacLeod sighed as he tuned Methos out, and decided he needed something harder than a beer.
MWC: The Auction
Posted By: Daire
Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2001, at 11:57 a.m.
You had to join the Watchers, didn’t you? he thought to himself.
His turn was coming up. They were half way through the program, and they had already raised a substantial amount of money for the Watchers. Of course, the attendees didn’t know that. The Organization worked under the pretense that the funds were going to some unknown orphanage in Thailand, where they’d never know how their money was spent.
The women’s part was done, now it was the men’s. There was an intermission, and people were milling around the banquet room admiring other people’s purchases. Meanwhile, they all hung around in the back room, waiting their turns.
He heard the emcee step up to the podium, his uneven steps coming to a rest. Joe Dawson tapped the microphone lightly to test it and get everyone’s attention.
“Okay, ladies, it’s your turn to help out. Our next item....” He glanced towards the dais, expecting to see the next man come out at the prompt, but no one was there. “...Our next item ...” Joe stressed, prodding an appearance, then trailed on, trying to sell the item to the crowd.
“We’ll start the bidding at .... two thousand.”
He shot a slight glare at the grey-haired Watcher. What a paltry amount. Surely, the bids would go higher. If not, they’d probably turn to selling off the personal items of individual Watchers.
Looking around the room, the women seemed struck dumb, finally finding their wits and began a bidding frenzy.
“Five thousand, do I hear fifty-one hundred?”
The bidding continued, while he kept wondering how he’d gotten dragged into this. Oh, right, his Watcher contract .... “....all Watchers must participate in any fundraiser to augment Organization funds at any time, at Organization’s discretion....”
The amount had already reached fifteen thousand, and was still climbing. He just wanted it to end; he’d never done anything so embarrassing in his entire life.
In the end, a woman stood up and called out “Fifty thousand!” Every person in the room fell mute and stared at the woman.
“Do I hear fifty-one?” Joe said when he finally found his voice. No one answered. Giving it a few more seconds, but still nary another bid, he hit the gavel on the podium. “Sold to the beautiful woman in the green dress. What’s your name, Miss?”
“Maria Valdez,” she called as she started to make her way to the payment table.
“Well, Ms. Valdez, come on up and claim your item.”
Joe motioned to the man on the stage to come down. He came, albeit reluctantly, to meet his buyer. The woman who would have him as her date for an entire evening.
As he passed the podium, he couldn’t help not to make a comment. “Two thousand, Joe? That’s only four cents a year!”
MWC: It's only money
Posted By: Robin <Catnature@yahoo.com>
Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2001, at 3:41 p.m.
It's Monday morning and Karen begins to shift through the Death reports on her desk. She always had at least fifty.
"Don Jones killed by So Ho Tran.", "Mary MacGregory killed by Jaun Ramirez." and on and on it goes.
She stops scanning and really reads the report in her hand. "Jacob Kell killed by Duncan MacLeod."
"So my best customer is dead." she says aloud, "Murdering bastard."
Karen Johansson is in charge of claiming the leftover bank accounts of dead Immortal. If they have no family and their victor does claim it, she does. A number of the accounts are still open to gain interest. The smaller accounts are closed and the monies are placed into larger, safer accounts or used to buy equipment or pay expenses.
Duncan MacLeod will not try to takeover Kell's wealth, he has no need for it. Kate will take the accounts she knows about and she is welcome to them. The Watchers will take the rest.
"After all, it's only money." Karen murmurs as she returns to the stack of Death reports.
MWC: The Bottom Line
Joe Dawson sat in his hotel room in New York City, rubbing at his tired eyes and trying to find the energy to finish the latest entry in Duncan MacLeod’s chronicle before calling it a night. Or calling it a morning, he reminded himself. It was past dawn already, and he hadn’t slept all night.
He had been terrified at the prospect of Duncan MacLeod challenging Jacob Kell. Despite a few years out of touch with his Immortal assignment and against all of the Watcher tenets that he tried so hard to uphold, Joe had been unable to school himself into detached observation as he watched the two Immortals fight. With the blessed realization that MacLeod had prevailed, Dawson had nearly collapsed with relief. Hours—and a few shots of Scotch—later, his hands still shook slightly as he struggled to finish his report and go to bed. He hoped he would be able to sleep.
Joe reached overhead with his hands clasped, and stretched until he heard his left shoulder joint pop. Before he could return to his writing, the phone rang.
"Dawson, this is Harris," the voice on the other end of the phone began without even waiting for Joe to speak. He hadn’t really expected a call before seven o’clock in the morning, much less from Martin Harris, one of the higher-ups in the eastern sector of the North American division of the Watchers. Just how high up, Joe wasn’t sure, so he bit back a terse reply.
"We need you at Kell’s for the post mortem. I’ll pick you up in twenty minutes," Harris said.
Joe protested, "Hold on, Harris. I have a field assignment. I don’t do post mortems; I never have."
Harris’s voice was brisk. "We’re short-handed and pulling in every available Watcher. Be downstairs in twenty minutes." The phone clicked and the line went dead.
Joe swore under his breath and hung up the phone. He looked once more at the unfinished chronicle entry that detailed Jacob Kell’s beheading. He would have to finish it later; twenty minutes was only enough time to change his clothes, brush his teeth, and grab some coffee if the was lucky enough to find the hotel restaurant open.
Five minutes before the appointed time, Joe stood outside of the revolving door of his hotel, huddling under a green canopy close to the building’s brick wall to protect himself from the cold, driving rain. The thought of going to that imposing, unfinished pile of stones that Kell had been building for himself disturbed Dawson. He had never been to the scene of an Immortal beheading—multiple beheadings in this case—after the fact. He shivered as he wondered if the bloodied space shimmered with the faint memory of the lives that had been poured out there.
Harris pulled his car up in front of the hotel canopy. Joe set his cane carefully on the wet sidewalk and made his way to the car. Harris nodded perfunctorily and drove off before Joe fastened his seat belt. He was on the phone with someone Joe couldn’t identify from Harris’s half of the conversation. After a while, Joe gave up trying to guess who Harris was talking to, and he let his tired mind wander as they wove through the early morning traffic in Manhattan.
There was something ghoulish about visiting the home of a defeated Immortal. Joe knew that the Watchers protected Immortals as well as themselves by removing evidence of a beheading before the authorities arrived, but he had never given much thought to the members of his organization that meticulously cleaned the crime scenes, removed the bodies, and arranged for burials. He also knew that there was great historical value in preserving the weapons some Immortals carried, and he tried to view the removal of those weapons as a gesture to posterity. Even examining a dead man’s belongings, which Joe found extremely disrespectful, could render up important information for the future. Joe wondered about Jacob Kell. What souvenirs had he kept of his life? Each fragment would help Joe paint a picture of the man who had been beheaded by Duncan MacLeod the night before. Dawson pressed his lips into a thin line and tried to feel more like a historian and less like an intruder.
Harris depressed the disconnect button on his cell phone as he parked the car and led Joe into Kell’s sanctuary. Massive, threatening, unfinished, it loomed over the neighboring buildings. The two Watchers nearly bumped into a young man clad in a tee-shirt and jeans, carrying a large box.
"Is that his computer?" Harris asked.
The young man nodded and asked, "Do you want to send it to the London office or keep it here?"
Harris answered, "Send it to my New York office. We’ll see what the tech support people can do with the hard drive."
Dawson and Harris made their way down a hallway, passing a kitchen, several bedrooms, a bathroom, and a library.
A middle-aged woman with glasses and graying hair called out as they passed, "Martin, I need your help with this!" She stepped into the hallway, adjusted her glasses, and passed a book with a tooled leather binding to the senior Watcher. "I’m afraid that medieval manuscripts aren’t my forte, but this one seems to be authentic." Harris considered the book and handed it off to Dawson with a questioning look.
Joe hooked his cane over his forearm and opened the book, wincing as the binding cracked. His fingers traced ever so lightly over the pages, stopping at intricate, brilliantly colored illuminations. He whistled softly.
"It looks real to me. It’s a beatus. Twelfth or maybe thirteenth century, possibly French, but we should have it evaluated by an expert," Joe started, then faltered a bit before asking, "Where are the bodies?"
Harris took the book back from Joe and introduced the woman, "Joe Dawson, this is Dr. Margaret Davis. Margaret, Joe is with the northwestern sector." He turned back toward Joe. "The bodies have already been removed."
Margaret extended her right hand in greeting and queried, "Joe, haven’t you ever been on an archaeological dig before?"
Joe’s eyebrows knit in confusion. "A what?" he asked.
"It’s a little inside joke in our sector. We call the post-mortems ‘archaeological digs’," she explained. Harris led the way down the hallway, and Margaret motioned for Joe to follow. She pulled an electronic organizer from the pocket of her lab coat and began tapping at it with her stylus.
Joe was distracted by the scene of destruction that they found in a large, open space that had once been a dining room. A young woman swept up glass, some of it broken and some melted and fused into lumps, and two men scrubbed unsuccessfully at bloodstains on the walls and floor. Despite the efforts at cleaning, a rank odor assailed Dawson’s nostrils. He steadied himself by putting his hand on a wall, looked at the blood and bits of gore dried there, and felt a wave of nausea rush over him. He removed his hand from the wall as if it had been burned.
"This is where the multiple beheadings and Quickenings must have occurred," Margaret pointed out. "There’s no evidence of blood or a struggle anywhere else."
Joe fought dizziness. He swung around and left the dining room. Breathing deeply, he crossed the hall to a large living room. He threaded his way through a bustle of activity. Men and women, all wearing wrist tattoos, were cataloguing and crating books, paintings, objects d’art, and furniture. Margaret and Harris followed Dawson into the living room.
Joe took a deep breath and asked, "Who are all these people? And what are we doing here?"
Harris indicated the other men and women. "I told you this was a big job; we’ve pulled everyone with high enough clearance."
Margaret took out her organizer and began itemizing. "It is a big job. The furniture’s mostly contemporary, except for an eighteenth-century highboy. There are some paintings that appear to be old masters, a lovely Damascene box, a set of Meissen that would have twelve place settings but for the five that were lost in that bloodbath. Barbarians! Imagine breaking that much valuable porcelain! What about the manuscript?" Margaret asked, nodding toward the bound volume in Harris’s hands. "Does it go in the lot for Sotheby’s?"
He considered for a moment before answering, "No, I think I can make arrangements with a private collector for that one."
Joe’s mind was reeling; his stomach twisted.
A blonde man wearing a shirt with rolled-up sleeves snorted and said from across the room, "You think this is a big job? You should have picked through the stuff in that antique store that was bombed about ten years ago. What a mess!"
The woman who was standing next to him added, "That guy probably had stuff we never even knew about. Immortals are such elusive and devious b****rds. Want to bet he kept some of his dowry hidden away instead of handing it all over in exchange for Sanctuary?"
Joe was furious; he closed in on Harris and demanded, "What in h*** is going on here? Are you actually going to steal everything in this building?"
Harris gave him a cool and patronizing smile. "Joe, I know this is your first time out on a post-mortem, but please understand. It takes money to run the Watchers, and this is one way we can afford to keep you historians at work."
"This is nothing more than robbing graves!" Joe spat.
"Don’t be naive, Joe. Did you think we were going to have a bake sale?" Harris patted Joe on the shoulder. "Pull yourself together, man! We need all hands today."
Laughter in the hallway dragged Joe’s attention from the other Watchers, who were circling the living room searching for valuables. A man in his twenties stood in the doorway wearing a footed, metal colander upturned on his head.
"Guess who I am?" he asked, unable to suppress a smile. "I’m Cracker Bob!" Harris smiled; the others laughed. Someone balled up a piece of newspaper and threw it at the man in the doorway. An acrid taste rose in the back of Joe’s throat.
Harris’s cell phone rang. He spoke into it briefly before hanging up.
"Where’s Dr. Davis?" he called out. "Margaret?"
She entered the room with a large, ornately carved wooden box, and crowed, "Jackpot! " She opened the box to reveal a mass of jewelry. "I think this is the real thing."
"Are you sure the female Immortal is dead? I thought you said there were three bodies, so she might . . . " Joe began.
Harris took no notice of Joe. "There must be something wrong with your pager, Margaret," he said. "I just got a call from downtown. There’s a fresh one down in Central Park. The corpse is pretty far gone, but they’ve got the head on ice. If you hurry, you can harvest the corneas." She pulled her pager from her pocket, frowned at it, and rushed from the room.
"Dawson," Harris barked, "get over to the female’s room and see if there’s anything else there we can use."
Joe walked unsteadily from the living room, lurched into the bathroom, and vomited. He rinsed his mouth, but the foul taste remained. He found his way out of the building and hailed a cab.
MWC: The Fund-Raiser
Hey. I used to do these. Let's see if I can squeeze another out.
"Hold still," Amy Thomas commanded her uncooperative and squirming father.
"You're cutting off my circulation," Joe Dawson complained.
Amy finished tying her father's bow tie and patted it flat. "Cutting off the circulation to your head? How would you even notice?"
"Very funny." Joe's hand automatically started for the tie and was batted away by Amy. "What I'd like to know is, how'd I get talked into this *again* this year?"
Amy straightened his lapels and fussed with his boutonnière. "Well, it *is* the Watchers' single biggest fundraiser and you always bring in a good amount of money--though I've no clue why, of course--and since we lost Adam Pierson, we're even more strapped for eligibles, and furthermore, your newly-found daughter guilt-tripped you into it."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Joe sighed. "Okay, am I presentable?"
"Just barely." Amy smiled and kissed her father on the cheek. "You look very handsome. Now, paste a smile on your face when you go out there, and I'll try to push your price up a bit."
Joe watched his daughter leave, exiting through the door that would take her into the auditorium. He smiled and shook his head fondly. She was so much like her mother . . .
Pushing the thought away, he turned to join his fellow Watchers in this very particular lineup. The one nearest to him turned, offering a tight smile.
"Joe Dawson. I see you got roped in again."
"Rupert," Joe returned. "Might say the same about you."
From somewhere ahead of him, a raucous female voice announced, "And now, ladies, the moment we've all been waiting for--welcome to the 50th annual Watcher Bachelor Auction!"
MWC -- Origins
Posted By: Ysanne
Date: Thursday, 22 March 2001, at 12:44 a.m.
The gods were displeased. The Keepers of the temple knew it was so.
When the two warriors had destroyed the temple of the true gods, there had been a violent storm, and several animals had died in the fire that had ignited there and flashed through the fields. This was an obvious sign of the gods’ displeasure, and the keepers reacted accordingly, calling for increased offerings from all the people. Besides, the destruction of the temple meant there was a terrible draft in their adjoining living quarters, so more fuel was needed, and building material as well.
However, some blamed the Keepers of the temple for allowing the battle to take place right outside their holy walls, while others began to actually revere the victor, turning their attention from the true gods. Instead of bringing more offerings to the temple, many began spending their surplus on this man, vying to offer him the best of their hospitality.
The strange warrior was truly an unusual man of striking looks and towering height, a strongly-built fighter who had survived a fierce battle. The people had never seen anyone like him. Some even whispered that though the warrior’s clothing had been slashed and blood-stained, there had been no wound on his body. The young men begged him to tutor them in the art of war, and the young women offered him the pleasure of their company. The elders enjoyed the tales of adventure the warrior told so well, and the married women competed with one another in making dishes to tempt the warrior’s palate.
And while the warrior was basking in the adoration of the people, the Keepers of the temple ate withered fruit and tough meat, and sulked in their empty, fire-scorched ruin. They spoke of nothing but the warrior, cursing the day that they had driven him out of their walls to meet his challenger. How could they rid themselves of this man? None wished to lose his head in a battle with him, and most were too old, or too fat, or too soft to try.
However, the Keepers of the temple were as devious as they were weak, and soon formulated a plan.
Over the next few weeks a series of small and large disasters came upon the people, usually right on the heels of a visit from the mighty warrior. Livestock became ill, food stores shrank mysteriously, accidents plagued the old and infirm. When a plague of itching spots struck most of the children, their exhausted mothers and fathers finally began looking for a scapegoat. They didn’t have to look far. The Keepers of the temple stepped in and directed their suspicions and frustration directly at the stranger in their midst. They reminded the people of the tranquility and ease of their lives before the burning of the temple, and, being sleep-deprived and nervous, the people cast their minds back and remembered it to be so. The reasonable thing to do, then, was to rid themselves of this bringer of disaster. He was not one of them. He was too big, too loud, too hungry, too different. He did not belong! Did the Keepers not promise the forgiveness of the gods for their ignorance and fickle ways? The men plotted in the temple in whispered meetings, and soon the warrior had been driven out by an angry mob of armed citizens.
The people returned to the temple bringing gifts and their contrite hearts, and were duly forgiven. The children’s plague healed in about a week, and everyone’s luck turned for the better. Things were again as they should be.
Late one night as the Keepers sat comfortably in their warm, newly-built temple, munching on tasty morsels from their replenished stores, they discussed the need for preventing such a thing ever happening again. Never again would they allow worshippers to turn from the true gods – and the Keepers – to lavish adoration on one of these strange warriors. To prevent this, they would begin spying on those who seemed likely to cause such troubles: strange men who were taller and stronger than the average man, and who fought like the gods themselves. Men who seemed to call down lightning as they vanquished a foe.
Yes, they agreed solemnly, warriors like this needed special watching. Perhaps the Keepers needed to call for another offering to fund the extra expenses they were sure to incur.
MWC-- Aladdin's Cave
Posted By: Junebug
Date: Thursday, 22 March 2001, at 7:51 p.m.
Hi! Thank you for the welcome back and all your good words. Here is my attempt at the MWC. It is a fragment, hee hee, that seems to be the way my brain works these days.
In the wee small hours after midnight, three men sat in a closed bar, their table littered with empty beer bottles. Although they were silent, one could tell by facial expressions, the topic of discussion had been serious. One of the younger men had tears in his eyes.
"Hey Mac, do you know about 'Aladdin's Cave?'"
"Methos," growled the older man in a warning tone.
"What? You said 'let's change the subject, or Mac here will be crying in his beer.' So ,I'm changing the subject."
"I am NOT crying in my beer," said Mac, furtively dashing a tear from his eye, "it’s the smoke residue in here….and other than being a storybook place in 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, what about 'Aladdin's Cave?'"
"So Dawson, you haven't told him about the Watcher's deepest, darkest secret?" Methos drawled in mock horror. "What would you think, MacLeod, if I told you the Watchers have a gigantic treasure trove hidden away from which they get their enormous wealth to pursue Immortals?"
Joe Dawson groaned and put his head in his hands.
"I guess I'd believe you," said Mac, interested by the thought. "But where is it? Have you seen it?"
"Seen it, been given a personal tour by the Dragon that guards the door……"
"Come on Methos, I wouldn't call Miss Evie a dragon…exactly." Joe laughed in spite of himself. "Okay, a mini-dragon, maybe, but if you are going to tell him, tell the story correctly."
"Once upon a time," Methos began and opened another beer. Joe groaned again, and Mac laughed.
"As I was saying," Methos said loudly after swallowing a third of the beer, "this is how I had the story from Miss Evie Nettles, four feet eight inch tall Guardian DRAGON of 'Aladdin's Cave.'" He pursed his lips and began speaking in an authoritative falsetto voice. "From the time the Watchers first began keeping track of Immortals, there have been certain er….objects, artifacts other than weaponry, that have come into our hands, that needed to be preserved. In the old days, it might be the jewels and gold that the deceased had on his person, or a cache of treasure that his Watcher discovered."
"Oh for the love of….." Joe interjected huffily, interrupting Methos's show. "We took anything we could find, okay? It wasn't like we were stealing, or well, maybe we were in those days. The thing is,, it isn't done that way now. About the time of your birth MacLeod, the Head of the Watchers recognized that provisions should be made for the future. He set out to collect things that he thought might be valuable in coming centuries, things that could be sold to finance the organization. That was the beginning of the Artifacts Collection as it is officially called. 'Aladdin's Cave' is the name someone gave it about a hundred years ago. It is a fascinating collection of art and jewels, manuscripts and everyday items, and almost all of it is purchased, not er, um, inherited, as Miss Evie would say. Although from time to time we do get a windfall in the way of a painting, or sculpture or even jewelry and furniture, but only if there isn't someone close to the deceased. No one to inherit, THEN it is ours."
"Yeah, about two hundred years ago, the Head Watcher decided that art was going to be a good investment. There are some pieces in the collection that will never be sold….his taste wasn't exactly on target." Methos laughed. "If it hadn't been for some of the Watcher 'inheritances' the organization might have folded in the nineteenth century."
"I don't know about that," said Joe determinedly. "I do know it is well managed now. There is a committee of ten that meets twice a year. One meeting is to select from the collection the treasures to be sold, and the other is to discuss the possible treasures to be bought. Seven of the ten people work in the art world all year long, so they can see what is worth selling and what is worth buying for posterity."
"Very interesting," said MacLeod. "But why a DRAGON to guard it?"
"Come on Mac, without Miss Evie, every Watcher that learned about Aladdin's Cave would go see it….and well, it is my theory that the Director doesn't put much store in the honesty of the members of the organization." Methos smirked at Dawson.
"That is not so!" Joe shouted. "There are things in the collection that can never be sold because they are too rare. We have a Shakespeare First Folio, the REAL Koh-I-noor diamond, and a couple of missing Van Gough's, just to name a few. Can you imagine if word of missing masterpieces leaked out! We have to keep the general membership in the dark. We only allow those with legitimate historical reference needs into the collection, which is why Methos here was given the tour.
"I was told the collection housed one of Methos's bracelets." Methos laughed. "I went to see if it really was mine…..er, to study it and put it into my report."
"Was it yours? Mac asked.
"No way! It was too gaudy for my tastes, jeweled and decorated, useless for wrist protection. It had come from one of those "inheritances" Joe was talking about , a history teacher who had no family. He had carefully labeled this bit 'Attributed to Methos, Oldest Immortal, wristlet or bracelet.' Who knows whose it really was, but I suspect it might have belonged to Cassandra. The green and blue jewels reminded me of her." Methos stared at his empty beer bottle, then looked up at his friends with a grin. "Actually, the old history professor kept a bill of sale with the bracelet which said the previous owner was one 'Cassie Smith.'"
MWC - Estate Sale
My first ever attempt at a mid-week challenge:
He hated riding a desk. He’d been temporarily reassigned to research after his immortal had gotten his head chopped off.
(At least this assignment is temporary) he thought as he logged onto his computer. He needed to check out his account to see how things were shaping up. After his immortal had died, the Watchers had gone in and cleaned out his home. Now they were putting the best of what they had found to good use.
Reaching the front page of the Internet site, he clicked on the button to access his account. Upon entering his username, custos (his high school Latin teacher would be proud), he scrolled through the list of items for sale. The sword was bringing a respectable price, as were the first edition books.
The Watchers had been having a hard time financially during the last couple of years. It had always been their practice to clean out an immortal’s belonging after his death. But, instead of keeping them all in storage or for display at Headquarters, they were selling some of the more marketable of the items. Of course, with many of them they had to forge the appropriate paperwork. But, all in all, E-bay was proving to be a good thing for the Watcher coffers.
MWC: The Watcher's "Fundraiser"
Posted By: MAR <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Friday, 23 March 2001, at 6:08 p.m.
“Joe,” said a voice.
“Is somebody there?” asked Joe.
“Yeah, It’s me, Tom Shell,” said the voice.
“Tom!” said Joe. “What are you doing here? Kenny is in America. There’s no way he could get here in Europe.”
“Kenny was defeated by Jacob Kell three years ago. It was the biggest Quickening I’ve ever seen. Anyway, we are low in money. We need to do another ‘fundraiser.’ ”
“Tom, you know I hate those. They’re dishonest,” said Joe.
“Well, we gotta do ‘em, Joe. Otherwise, we couldn’t afford to pay our bills.”
Later, Tom and Joe were at Kell’s death site.
“There he is, Joe. Jacob Kell,” said Tom.
“Let’s just get this over with.”
They searched Kell’s body and houses for anything that might be valuable.
“Tom, his wallet contains money, a credit card, and an ATM card,” Joe said.
“Good. I found the title deeds for his many houses, and valuable jewelry.”
“At least we robbed a rich immortal. I can’t bear to rob a lot of them,” Joe said.
“Yeah. By the way, You said you found an ATM card. Why does that mean anything?”
“Well, Tom, I know I don’t like to do ‘fundraisers’ , but I do make the most of them. I have a machine that reads data on ATM cards. You can get the password with it. Anyway, let’s go to the auction house and sell this stuff ,” said Joe.
Among Kell’s ten houses, priceless artifacts, and millions in the bank, the Watchers did not need to do another ‘fundraiser’ until the world was peaceful enough to tell the truth to the world about Immortals.
MWC-Being in Sound Mind and very Sound Body
Posted By: vixen69 <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, 28 March 2001, at 11:59 p.m.
He pressed his quill to the parchment with a look of distaste--another lifetime, and another set of documents surrounding the untimely demise of one of his own lovely creations--yet it was ever thus.
I, _____________, being of sound mind...
Sound mind. Years led him to occasionally believe the contrary, and there were centuries altogether he imagined himself to be stark raving mad indeed--it was only the contrast between himself and other millennia-old beings that made him realize that he was still stable. He knew what he had to thank--historians--Mortals!!! who put things into perspective for him. Who enabled him to see himself and his kind in the grand scheme of things.
"I, Benjamin Adams..."
It had been other names at other times--they never knew. Their benefactor--their elusive phantasy, their prey, their myth. Now it was a doctor, and at another time. a diplomat, and at another time--as long as he'd known of their existence. He approved, from the very beginning, at first, on pragmatic terms, and as he came to know the men and women who made up the corpus Watcher--he saw their even *optimistic* work.
He almost envied them--not being Immortal, yet making good the works of Immortals.
It was a fine bit they'd get, when he went over the bridge--poor horses, though. Not the best, those his wife would still like for the farm...he knew she'd come to the stable herself, smooth her hands over their flanks, remember him, and know why he left. These were nags--rentals. And the mangled body they'd find of the "old Doctor"--grave-robbing was hardly the worst of it.
Perhaps he might like to be a Watcher, in the next life, himself.
MWC - Diversification
Posted By: lynnannCDC
Date: Wednesday, 28 March 2001, at 4:14 a.m.
"Joe, I've been wonderin'," Richie said as he began to snarf down the burger and fries he had brought into the bar, "where do you get all the money to run your operation? I mean, hell, doing the books at the dojo drives me around the bend sometimes. You have overhead, and properties to maintain, and payroll for who knows how many people, and travel expenses. That right there has to cost some big bucks. Even with frequent flyer miles."
"It does, Richie, it does," the guitar player/bar owner leaned back in his chair, cradling a mug of hot coffee in his hands, enjoying the warmth, and the aroma. "I'll let you in on a little secret. Some of the Watchers have full time jobs to support themselves and their families, and they mostly are just backups. We use them mainly for when an Immortal blows into town, and the primary and secondary Watchers need some help, or need a break. So not all Watchers are fulltime." He leaned forward and tapped the tabletop decisively. "That cuts a few dollars off the budget."
"But the money, Dawson, what about the money?" Richie mumbled, his mouth full of fries. He swallowed hastily. "Investments from a few centuries ago finally paying off? Computer investments in the last twenty years? What? Fund raisers and auctions? E-bay?"
"We do what we can," Dawson shrugged. "We have our investment division, and everything is well-diversified...but if you ever feel the need to help out..."
"Yeah, that's likely. I like you a lot, Dawson, you've been a pal, but me help out a bunch of Peeping Toms? Don't think so, not this boy."
"Well, if you do, then you might try eating at McDonald's instead."
Richie looked up from his Biggie fries and Wendy's triple. "Huh?" He raised an eyebrow at the blues man.
Joe held up his wrist, his Watcher tattoo in clear evidence. "Where do you think they got the idea for the Arches?"
k'lynn insisted I write this after she had a strange dream the other night. I resisted until the car alarm went off under my window at 1:30 this morning (MST). I'm gonna get that spectre one of these days.
lynnannCDC - thanks for reading
MWC: Hot Item: Bid Now
Posted By: Ghost Cat <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Deb had fully embraced the technology revolution; when she wasn’t composing fiction by keyboard, she relaxed by surfing the Web. Now that she had a reliable income (well, as reliable as it gets for a writer) she found herself more and more attracted to the temptations of e-shopping. “Hey Mac,” she called over her shoulder, “you’re into antiques; have you ever tried ebay?”
“I never go near those places; I like to be face-to-face with merchants.”
“Never? It’s the modern Market Bazaar.”
He snorted, “A little too bizarre and not enough market for my taste. Buyer Beware, and don’t forget to count your fingers.”
“Sounds like someone had a bad experience,” she teased. “You can find some surprising things if you hunt long enough; and the bidding system keeps you from spending more than you expected.” She scowled for a moment, “Except for us Northlanders, who have to deal with currency exchange and increased shipping costs. But it’s all worth it if you find a treasure.”
Deb was silent for quite a while after that, hunting for treasures. Truth be told, she was only browsing today, she really had no intention of bidding unless she happened to find something extraordinary. Under the category of Antiques and Collectibles, she found something that definitely qualified as “extraordinary,” though not something she would want to buy.
She stopped dead in her tracks, something she rarely did once she had gotten into a good surfing rhythm. “Um, Duncan,” she asked hesitantly, “that whole story about Rebecca’s crystals; was it based in any way in reality?”
“The crystals were real enough, though I’m not too sure about the stories.” Mac was vaguely curious as to why she’d ask that type of question now, but otherwise he wasn’t paying too much attention.
Even while she was speaking, she couldn’t quite keep her eyes off the screen. “And what exactly did they look like, together?”
“I thought you knew everything there was to know about The Series?” When she was online, Deb often blurred the lines, more so than usual.
“Actually on the series, that was one of the big continuity errors. In the flashbacks it looked like the crystals had been cut from a perfect oval shape, but by the time you get to Methuselah’s Gift, it looked like a big jumble, almost like naturally growing quartz. But that’s not what I’m asking. I want to know what the real thing would have looked like.” When Mac turned around on the couch to give her a quizzical look, Deb gestured him over to the computer; “Look at this.”
It wasn’t a very good quality picture, but it was enough to make one thing perfectly clear; “That’s—I mean, it could be,” Duncan couldn’t quite make himself say it yet, “what you think it is. But the last people who were supposed to have had the pieces were…”
“The Watchers? That would explain this.” She scrolled up from the photograph; “Look at the seller: bluesman. Did Dawson ever mention any financial difficulties lately?”
“This has got to be some kind of a fake, or a coincidence. If it was the real thing, they wouldn't let it get away: anyone who possesses the complete figure was supposed to become invincible.”
Deb pointed to something else on the screen; “Oh, that won’t happen. It’s a Dutch auction, they’re selling the pieces, not the whole thing. Maybe they think it’ll be safer if it’s spread out all over the place again. Or maybe the Watchers really are running out of money.” Not for long though, the bids were already getting quite high; curious, she clicked for the full bidding history; “Oh-oh.”
“What do you mean, oh-oh?”
Deb licked her lips nervously; “Well, real or not, there’s a nasty bidding war going on… between Lady A and The Last Horseman. Still believe in coincidences?”
Mac threw up his hands in frustration and then began pacing; “Great! This is just great. I’m not surprised about Amanda but why would Methos want it? He can’t bring Alexa back, it’s too late for that; and it’s been centuries since he’s had any real thirst for power.”
Deb spun her chair around and gave him a significant look; “Not that we know of, but how much do we really know about the Old Guy?” She paused, slowly shook her head. “No, even my wild imagination can’t picture something like that. More likely he’s a shill for the Watchers, trying to get the price up higher.” She chuckled, “Not that those kinds of tactics would work for a Dutch auction.” A sudden thought brought a frown; “I wonder if he’s still annoyed over that whole Halloween costume incident?”
“It doesn’t matter why he’s doing it; the question is, what should we do about it?”
“There’s nothing much we can do about it. Unless,” she added with a mischievous grin, “you want to make a bid of your own?”