Lt. K. Riley and Yeoman D. Smith were currently in jail for interfering with a local rite.

The planet they so rudely beamed onto had Immortals, too; there already was The One, who chopped off newbies' heads without lengthy introductions. Rules of the Game, if ever existed, were known only by that (enormously ancient) guy.

Starfleet sent Lt. Riley and a Red shirt to investigate cultural levels; the beaming went wild. Perhaps an electrical storm, re-enacted by The Local One, had a part in it.

MacLeod (for Duncan Smith reverted mentally when confronted with his kind) found himself standing over a headless corpse, another man thrown aside in agony of blue-grey currents (he knew only too well what it was). Kevin Riley was luckier, if for only a second, for he was captured (knocked out and captured, to be honest) first.

So they were in jail. Somewhere Scotty was trying to pick their signals (communicators were a mess of fried plastic as another post scriptum of the Quickening). Somewheres, somethings, someones; time was running out right here.

Riley tried singing; Smith wished for drunkenness for at least one of them; it would've made Lt. bearable (or at least, his voice). Smith tried katas; Riley stifled untimely mirth (unsuccessfully); to choose anything over planning escape was preposterous. Even if his head wound made planning a distant possibility.

Riley tried, Smith tried, the cell was getting too small for the two of them while being constant in dimensions; then the Local One decided to finish somebody off. Festivities he had to endure were rather boring (he hoped this civilization either jumped off history or jumped up. For now, he was disappointed). So He who Called Storms took MacLeod out of the cell and led out of the village.

He knew Heavens would sent him a Prize some day. Defeating him would be sweet, indeed. Mortals he couldn't openly kill unless the situation demanded; once he wiped out village after village, then suddenly they knew him for the God - and he stopped. Now he had to inform this bladeless angel of impending doom and get. some. as the God he was.

Of Gods he talked, of years and heads and it sometimes felt like a confession (for MacLeod, who heard of confessions, gave and listened too). And then The Only One raised his sword and smiled at his bound prey.

- If You have rules, You either are an idiot that cries at the Moon or You are The Guy With Life-altering Pointers - basically, it means crying _on_ the Moon. I chose to give pointers, stranger. The Moon is _my_ kingdom. You are my enemy, and now you die.

- And me, I'm tone-deaf with preference for duets. - A lean figure (Methos, thought the prey, how did he control the Quickening's warning, how did they find us, I'm safe, oh no he'll joke about it _forever_...) stepped out of a tree's shadow with a blaster in hand. - You know, I'm rather tired of, shall we say, attempting to give you some privacy. Bye-bye, werewolf.

He fired, blasting the One's head off. In mute horror, MacLeod watched the blue-gray currents rise; Methos grabbed him by the belt and they vanished, just as a flash incinerated Methos' former cover.

It was so bright on the transporter's platform; there was Kevin Riley, bleeding, supported by a nurse; MacLeod was strapped on the stretcher and, with protests, escorted to the Sickbay. Planetside, a village caught fire. New Immortals, unknowing of the Game imperative, befriended or fought (but not specifically beheaded) each other. When you leave a planet behind, it goes In The Past; even Earth did.

But sometimes, the Past brings help; and a Highlander, sitting on a biobed (the goddamn monkey of a doctor decided that he was in shock and will spend the night right. here.) smiled, accepting a bourbon from his very old friend.