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Old Fanfiction: War of the Worlds - Warrior in Heart and Soul
Old Fanfiction - War of the Worlds


Written on October 26, 1989

Strains of Indian chanting filtered through the locked door of Harrison's office and its hypnotic melody soon drew the attention of Suzanne and Norton to the door. They cocked their heads toward the door to see if they could hear anything else.

"Paul? Is that you?" Suzanne asked.

"Why would he be in Harrison's office?"

Suzanne shrugged her shoulders, admittedly, she couldn't think of a reason that Paul would be in Harrison's room, not to mention chanting Indian incantations.

"BLACKWOOD!" yelled a familiar angry voice that took on a distinctive vibrato when it reached a certain pitch and it was getting higher.

It startled both Norton and Suzanne as they heard the heavy, extremely furious stomping of cowboy boots coming toward them.

"I don't know about you, but I'm clearing the deck," said Norton as he wheeled himself away from the door.

"Sounds like a good idea to me," Suzanne agreed as she joined him in stepping away from the inevitable explosive confrontation.

lronhorse came thundering through the hallway to Harrison's office. He grabbed the doorknob forcefully and shook it, shaking the door as if to rip it open by loosening its hinges.

"I want to talk to you and I want to talk to you now, Mister!"

There was silence as the music suddenly stopped and the click of the lock being turned was heard. The door opened and Harrison appeared. His face was the usual look of innocent surprise as if he hadn't done anything wrong.

"Problem, Colonel?"

"Who gave you the right to take that music?"

"Colonel, I am not a common thief, if that's what you're inferring," Harrison countered in his annoying manner of shifting guilt.

"Don't even use that defensive act on me, I have just about reached my limit with you. I have taken all that I will take from you. If you can't respect my privacy, then don't expect me to respect -"

"Are you going to listen to what I have to say, or just rant and rave until you've run out of accusations?" Harrison bellowed in return.

"What is it?!" Ironhorse yelled in frustration, "And it better be real good."

"Yes, I took the music - "

"Ah ha!" said lronhorse triumphantly, ecstatic that he had finally won a battle with Harrison; an often, if not downright impossible feat to accomplish.

"But not from you."

"What?" Ironhorse said, feeling his victory suddenly choked of life and deflating with the passing seconds.

"This is music from the Cherokee, but it's merely a coincidence that you happen to also possess a similar tape. You seem to forget, Colonel, that your heritage is not purely your own."

Ironhorse, the defeat complete, calmed a little, turned around on his heel and stalked into the living room where he leaned on the mantle. Harrison, Suzanne, and Norton joined him in the room.

"I'm sorry, Harrison ... .Yes, I do often forget that my Indian past is not exclusive to me," he said quietly, "And I guess I've been on edge lately, so I apologize for jumping to the wrong conclusions, but do you mind telling me why the hell you are so suddenly interested in it?"

"Because you share it so little and as you know, secrets only pique my curiosity."

"I know only too wei!," lronhorse sighed resignedly.

They were interrupted by the ringing of the hallway telephone. Norton, being the closest, answered it.

"Hello? Yes, General, just a minute," Norton said, "Harrison, it's for you."

Harrison flashed Iron horse a quizzical look then walked over to answer the phone.

"Yes, General, this is Harrison."

The conversation was one-sided and Harrison's expression switched abruptly from curiosity to horror. His eyes widened in emptiness, unreadable and almost hypnotic. Everyone grew concerned. lronhorse's face was creased in the familiar grimace of worry and doubt. He felt his muscles tighten, the adrenaline pumping in a rush into his veins. They were the conditioned reactions of a man drilled in the readiness for battle.

"I understand, General. We'll look into it right away and get back to you," Harrison said, as he hung up more from an instinct of where the phone cradle was, as he looked back into the living room to face his friends to debrief them on the conversation.

"Harrison? What is it? What did Uncle Hank say?" Suzanne was the first to question.

"He said that he got a call from Quinn," Harrison said, as his face faded slowly into an ashen shock.

"Quinn?" Norton piped in, his excitement overriding concern at learning of Quinn's second contact with them; the first one had nearly cost losing Harrison.

"What about Quinn?" lronhorse almost demanded, feeling that inner voice of reason screaming in a high pitched warning alarm inside of his head.

"He wants to surrender to us in exchange for protection against the aliens."

"Protection?!" Ironhorse bellowed, "He IS an alien!"

"A hybrid, Colonel, there is a difference."

"I fail to see any difference, Doctor," Ironhorse said, "You seem to have forgotten the hell he put us through thinking that you had become a casualty, not to mention the incredibly absurd plan of making you a modern day Solomon, deciding the fate of billions of people."

"I remember, Colonel," Harrison said, shuddering a bit, thinking how close he came to making that choice.

"What else did the General have to say?" lronhorse asked.

"He said that Quinn wanted to meet with all of us to surrender himself and answer any questions that we had about his people and himself."

"I don't like the sound of it or the sound of your voice, Harrison," lronhorse said.

"Think of the possibilities, Colonel, we could learn so much!" Harrison said, in his usual casual yet scientific tone of voice.

"I'm afraid I have to agree with Paul about this, Harrison," Suzanne finally interjected. "He's proven the last time that he can't be trusted and has the same behavioral tendencies of the other aliens. His actions are clearly self-motivated and who knows what he's planning."

"I know what you mean and I understand it. Quinn does have the same motivations as his alien counterparts, but he also has that inescapable part of him that's human; a part that has seeded itself enough that he spared my life in the end. In some insane way, I understood him." Harrison paused.

"Harrison, I don't think it's such a hot idea either," Norton said, "It's just too risky. We don't know what this guy is capable of. What about the project? Are you willing to risk all of us and that to do this?"

Harrison paused to think about what Norton said seriously. Quinn wanted to meet with all of them. Why? That condition in itself was an invitation to annihilation if it was a trap. Who would fight the aliens if they were caught in such a trap? The thought was heavily-laden with its own little boobie traps of sacrifice versus scientific knowledge.

"I know," Harrison finally said, "I'll meet him again, alone."

"Oh, no, you don't, Blackwood. Over my dead body," Ironhorse insisted.

"Why, I'm flattered, Colonel."

"Don't be, because I'm telling you right now, that we're not going to do this."

"Colonel, as much as you are the military echelon of this group, you do not rule here," Harrison said defensively, "I can understand your concern, but this is still a democracy and you can't make a decision like this alone."

"It seems to me that we've heard the consensus from Suzanne and Norton that this is a high risk move and that to protect this project, we can't put ourselves in danger like this."

"If we don't take risks, how are we ever going to win this war?" Harrison said, his anger building, "It's a war, Colonel, as you so often like to remind me; a war that we are losing in increments. For every alien that we don't capture or kill, there is that many and more being added multiplicatively with each storage site they uncover and every human being they gruesomely possess. I don't know about you, but those statistics weigh on my conscience and I can't just sit by and stay protected while others who don't have any idea of what's happening become casualties. Has being a warrior numbed you from those statistics? Has it numbed you from being a human being?"

"Harrison!" Suzanne scolded, realizing that what Harrison was saying was totally uncalled for.

Ironhorse stared into Harrison's blue-flamed eyes, his own anger raging inside of him, and glittering
in his eyes as amber embers, but his voice was choked silent by Harrison's persuasive yet stinging words.

"You've had your say, Doctor and it's been noted," lronhorse finally managed to say as he stalked out of the front door.

Sounds of a roaring engine were heard as screeching tires followed and Suzanne watched Ironhorse, through the french doors, drive furiously off. Harrison walked to the mantle where lronhorse had stood moments before and closed his eyes in regret.

"Harrison, you were way out of line," Suzanne said, a look of disgust and disappointment etched on her face, 'Why do you always have to ridicule Paul like that and belittle his significance to the project? For God's sake, if it weren't for him, we'd all be dead on one occasion or another and yet you continually make him feel like he doesn't contribute anything more than being a target for your accusations!"

"I have to agree with Suzanne, Harrison," Norton said, "I know that the Colonel can be a little rigid at times, but he didn't deserve what you said to him. Accusing him of not being human was below the belt."

Harrison turned and looked at the two of them.

"I know," he said remorsefully, "I was talking through frustration, anger and helplessness...I..I meant some of what I said. We just can sit around waiting for things to happen, but instead of keeping rational, I, instead, reacted to his irritating insistence on making the decisions about our lives and the life of this project on his own."

"It seems to me that you have done your share of that at Paul's expense and sometimes at the expense of the project. How are you going to apologize for what you said?"  Suzanne queried.

"I'll think of something when he comes back."

"If he comes back," Norton said worriedly.

Harrison and Suzanne looked at each other with the same worried look on their faces.

* * * *

Ironhorse practically floored the Cherokee, his anger was subsiding, but his hurt and uncertainty were rising. He watched the blurry images of the countryside unfold in front of him with disinterest. His face creased with pain. "Harrison can be bitterly blunt," thought lronhorse, "But maybe he's right about me. Maybe I've become desensitized."

He pulled over into a gas station and headed for the phone. He dropped the coins, one by one, listening to the hollow yet chiming clinking they made as they each fell. It gave lronhorse a cold chilly feeling of emptiness as he punched the numbers.

"General Wilson, yes, this is Ironhorse. Harrison filled me in on Quinn's request. We both concur that it's an opportunity that cannot by passed up if we are to learn anything more about the aliens, however, it was agreed that I meet him alone."

"Quinn wanted to meet with all of you," the General said gruffly.

"Yes, but I'm sure the General will agree that would be putting unnecessary risk on the team and the project. We still don't know what Quinn is up to and we certainly know what he's capable of so I think that rather than jeopardize the project, I will meet him and extract any information he's willing to give as well as feel out his intentions then go from there."

"This is a highly dangerous move you're making, Colonel, wouldn't it be prudent to have back-up?"

"If anything should happen, you'll have the location and you can send in reinforcements, if needed. Omega squad is due back from their clean-up mission tomorrow morning, but this way, it will only be a casualty of one."

"I see your point, but Paul, you sound .... " the General paused, unsure of his assessment, "Uncertain."

"I've never been more certain, General. Where does Quinn want to meet?" 

"At the abandoned amusement park on Mill House Road at noon. "

"I'll be there."

lronhorse hung up on the General before he could ask questions. He wasn't a convincing liar and the longer he was kept talking, the more chances his ruse would be discovered. He'd hope the General would forgive a little insubordination this one time. It was an ironic twist that Quinn had set the time for the meeting for noon .... high noon.

* * * *

lronhorse couldn't risk going back to the cottage to get any more weaponry. A part of him was still angry at Harrison for his accusations, but more importantly, once he returned, he'd only have to leave again and that would create suspicion, not to mention pique Harrison's insatiable curiosity.

The .38 and the battle baton that he always carried would have to do. He looked at his watch. It read 8:00 p.m. He had been driving around for two hours since talking to the General. He had driven to the overlook to gaze at the sunset, watching the fiery embers melt into the horizon. He had grabbed a fast food burger for dinner, but he felt it sit like granite in his stomach. Harrison would find that fact amusing, given that he is always hounding him to seek the vegetarian lifestyle he lived. He watched as the clear ebony sky produced each singularly unique diamond with the fall of darkness. He imagined his ancestors leaving the tribe to fast and commune with the stars in order to gain spiritual oneness with the universe. He had never felt that in any of the battles that he had waged over the years. Perhaps, Harrison was right. Maybe he was mechanical and unfeeling. His warrior brothers understood war as a protection of family and heritage; not for tin pins and ribbons on their breasts. Tonight, he would sleep under the stars and talk to his Fathers in his dreams and pray for the kind of wisdom that they gained from sleeping under a blanket of stars.

* * * *

Harrison couldn't sleep that night. His thoughts were with the argument he had with Ironhorse. Guilt was keeping him awake to think about it over and over again. Finally, he got out of bed to check lronhorse's room, knowing that he would find it empty. He walked to the living room and looked at the clock on the mantle and it read 3:00 a.m. What if Norton was right? What if he never came back? What if he had already resigned? "No, he wouldn't do that," Harrison tried to convince himself unsuccessfully. If lronhorse was anything, he wasn't a quitter and most of all, he wasn't a coward. He wouldn't run away. Harrison allowed himself to admit in the darkness of the room that lronhorse was a courageous man. Why couldn't he have said that to him instead of the accusations? He sat on the couch and let out a deep, long breath. His body sank into the sofa. He felt sleep finally creep into him, only be assaulted by dreams of his parents getting killed and then something even more frightening. Suddenly it was Ironhorse dying in flames too. Harrison awoke with a start, breathing raggedly. He thought about all of the things he never got to say to his parents and of all the things that he had said to lronhorse. He shuddered.

* * * *

"Harrison?" Norton called out as he shook him.

Harrison had fallen asleep again on the couch after the nightmare, but was startled awake by Norton's urging.

"I'm sorry to have to wake you, but you've been out for a long time and Suzanne and I got worried."

"I had a hard night."

"You look it. Colonel not back yet?"

"No, and I'm beginning to think that you're right and that he's not coming back."

"He'll be back, Harrison. He always comes back."

"I'm going to call the General to see if he's heard anything," said Harrison as he stood up unsteadily.

Harrison dialed with trepidation. He didn't want to inform the General of the falling out for fear it would make him think that they weren't getting along and reassign someone else to protect them. That was the last thing that he wanted to do, but Ironhorse had been gone too long and if he had contacted anyone, it would have been the General. .... unless he had been captured by an alien .... Harrison shoved that thought away as the call began to connect.

"Hello, General, this is Harrison Blackwood."

"Yes, what can I do for you, Doctor?"

"I'm calling to find out if you have heard from the Colonel."

Why? I thought that you knew where he was," said the General with growing concern.

"I don't understand," Harrison said, his own concern rising.

"He called yesterday to get the details of the meeting with Quinn. He said that you had all decided to let him meet with him alone in order to not endanger the whole team."

"My God," Harrison gasped, "We did discuss it, but I'm afraid it's my fault that he's going to meet Quinn alone."

"What happened?"

"I'll explain later. Where and when are they meeting?"

"At the ferris wheel in the old, abandoned amusement park on Mill House Road at noon."

Harrison whirled around the room, searching frantically and caught sight of what he was looking for; the clock on the mantle. It read noon.

"Thank you, General, I'll keep you informed," Harrison as he unceremoniously hung up on the General.

"Harrison, what is it? What happened?" Norton asked.

"I'll tell you in the van. Get Suzanne, we've got to get out of here!"

Norton quickly wheeled out of the room and left Harrison still in his temporary daze.

"Damn it, lronhorse," was all he could spit out before he followed Norton out.

* * * *

lronhorse arrived at the amusement park a half and hour early, as was his cautionary style. He checked his .38 to make sure that it was loaded and felt for the hilt of the battle baton. It eased his nervousness to feel the sheath securely tied to his shoulder. 

He walked out of his car and looked at the cloudy sky; watching it drape shadows across the lifeless rides of the park. He saw the ferris wheel jut skyward; dominating the others. He walked through the entrance gates and recalled a smaller version back in Grover's Mill. The laughter of amused patrons was missing here. He remembered it with fondness and his anger at Harrison had long since drifted into the mist of the morning and the only thing that remained as he walked toward his meeting with Quinn was a soreness; a dull throb of regret.

As he walked through the park, his senses snapped to attention and every little creak and squeal touched off awareness alarms in his head. He saw the ferris wheel ahead of him, but no sign of Quinn. When he reached it, he stopped to scan the area.

"Lt. Colonel Ironhorse, I presume?"

The voice startled Ironhorse and he whipped around. gun in hand, with a swift, smooth movement that bordered on invisibility.

"Quinn?" lronhorse asked, having not had the privilege of meeting him at the last encounter.

"Isn't that obvious? Who else would be here in this godforsaken place?" Quinn said arrogantly.

Quinn was a distinguished-looking man in his late 50's. He was bundled up in a winter coat and scarf along with a derby perched on his head. He seemed so normal, lronhorse thought to himself.

"Where is Harry?"

"Harrison isn't here and neither are the others. I'm here alone."

"That wasn't part of the deal," Quinn said angrily.

"I know, but you needn't worry, as I said, I'm alone."

"Why did you come here?" Quinn asked as his curiosity peaked.

"It's my job to make sure that the rest of the team isn't in danger.

"Well, you weren't doing your job when I kidnapped Harry the last time, were you?" Quinn taunted.

His words hit a sensitive chord in Ironhorse and he felt his spine stiffen in defensiveness. In his routine re-evaluations of his missions and his acts during those missions, he had often debated back and forth whether he should have ever let Harrison meet Quinn or leave the Cottage at all. Harrison was formidable when it came to not abiding by his security rules, but lronhorse felt that he should've bent the rules to protect Harrison that time and not expected Harrison to bend to the rules.

"Let's get to the point here. You told the General that you were seeking asylum, why?"

Quinn distanced himself from Ironhorse and began to walk away. lronhorse followed, gun in hand, but not pointed.

"Harry must've told you that the same aliens who are seeking to colonize Earth is also adamant about eradicating me as well."

"Yes, he did."

'Well, what more evidence do you need? I admit that I'm no martyr and the only way I can get rid of them is to side with you."

"Unfortunately, we can't trust you to keep you word. You'd have just as much to gain getting rid of us."

"How do you see that, Colonel?" Quinn prodded with an almost fascinated look on his face.

"If the aliens destroyed us and succeeded in taking over this planet, you might convince them to accept you, in fact, they might do that anyway, feeling no threat from you once they take over the planet," lronhorse spoke with his usual military, detached tone of voice, but inside he shook from the thought of the Earth lost to the aliens.

"Interesting theory, Colonel," Quinn said, sarcastically, "But I assure you that is not the case and it will not be the case. My people only seek to dissect me and they will do that despite my best arguments against it."

"What are you willing to offer for asylum?" lronhorse questioned.

Quinn began to walk further away and lronhorse followed, his senses taut with anticipation.

"Knowledge, Colonel. Knowledge."

"About your people? To help us destroy them or just to keep us one step ahead of them?"

"I'm willing to be your Judas, if that is what you are insinuating."

"How does that make you feel, Quinn?" lronhorse queried.

"To be a Judas? Haven't you ever been one, Colonel?"

lronhorse balked at the suggestion.

'What do you mean?" He finally asked.

"Haven't you ever made a mistake that cost the lives of those who trusted you?" 

"I don't see the correlation." lronhorse evaded, "Judas was a betrayer of Christ. His choice was not a mistake."

"Perhaps in one kind of interpretation, but as I read it, Judas was a flawed man, nothing more. He was driven by a misguided belief that eventually led to the one act he should've avoided. He made a mistake, haven't you ever made a mistake, Colonel? Or are you incapable of doing so? If so, you are less human than I am."

lronhorse was speechless and a part of him was worn down from the accusations of being called less than human by Harrison and now again by Quinn. Was he that transparent?

* * * *

Harrison, Norton and Suzanne arrived at the amusement park, spotting the Cherokee Jeep. Harrison launched himself out of the van doors. His anxiousness born from guilt and anguish.

"Hurry, we've got to get to him before Quinn does!"

"Harrison, you've got to stop and think about this. For Paul's sake, you have to be careful." Norton emphasized.

"Suzanne, stay here with Norton and watch for Omega Squad." Harrison said as he produced a gun from his jacket pocket.

"Harrison, what are you going to do? You don't even know how to shoot a gun!"

Suzanne said, distraught, seeing the gun in Harrison's trembling and inexperienced hands.

"I have to try, damn it, I have to try to do something," Harrison said as he held the pistol unsurely in his hands, but ran into the park with a determination he didn't think he really had.

Harrison was uncontrolled with emotion. He couldn't stop himself from thinking irrationally. His mind was trying to override his foolhardiness. He felt it trying, but his adrenaline and his emotions were running wild. He hadn't felt so helpless and so out-of-control since his parents died. He couldn't let lronhorse down like he had his parents. He wouldn't let someone else he loved die.

"Harrison, no!" Suzanne shouted in a low whisper.

She then reached into a toolbox in the van and produced another gun from it. It was an ammo box that lronhorse otten used to get an emergency weapon. She, too, felt the weight of its power in her hands and was unsure of herself with it, though she had some training and experience with guns from Uncle Hank.

"Norton, I've got to follow him in. Tell Omega Squad to get in there as soon as they can when they get here from the last assignment. I can only hope that they get here before Harrison's time bomb goes off."

"Me, too. I've never seen Harrison like this. Suzanne, please be careful."

She nodded and ran atter Harrison.

* * * *

"Did I hit a nerve, Colonel?" Quinn taunted, as he continued to walk along the barren streets of the park, with lronhorse close beside him.

They looked like a strange couple; walking together in an uneasy alliance. An image of father and son, distanced by a painful past, trying to forgive each other, was what they projected in the stiff gaits they both had.

"Would it give you some kind of perverse pleasure to admit that you have?"

"A little, but believe it or not, I have a bit of respect for you. Much as I do for Harry."

"You don't even know me."

"Perhaps not on a personal level, but I do from Harry's description of you."

"What do you mean?"

"Didn't Harry tell you that he talked about you to me?" Quinn said, a bit amused.

lronhorse just stayed silent, not wanting to reply to his taunts.

"He talked highly of you. He otten spoke of how he considered you like a brother and that you had a stubborn way of putting yourself in danger to protect the project and the others lives," Quinn paused, "Like now."

"No different than any of the others would."

"I seriously doubt that, ColoneL"

Quinn turned to face lronhorse.

"You, above all of them, are a warrior; a warrior in heart and in soul was what Harry said," Quinn said, "But I think one who has seen a lot of death and knows he is about to see more to come."

lronhorse just looked at him. His face registered fear at the prophectic way Quinn uttered those words; seemingly to confirm his own deep fears about the future. He also felt a grudging respect and awe for someone who had insight despite the alien in him.

* * * *

Harrison was feeling dizzy from the adrenaline and the running that he was doing. He was franticand his heart pounded in his chest. Though he jogged six miles every morning, he found himself breathless. He stopped to catch his breath and to look around him to find the ferris wheel. Suzanne was right, he had to focus his thoughts. He wouldn't help Ironhorse the way he was feeling, but still, he couldn't stop the rush of feelings and images that were colliding in his mind: His parents screaming his name out to him; calling out to him one moment and then agonizingly silent the next; lronhorse's face in the flames of his nightmare, screaming at him to help him.  He closed his eyes, trying to squeeze out the horrific images, but they kept coming. He stared around him and saw the ferris wheel. He looked up at it and the dizziness returned, hurtling his world into a tailspin. He closed his eyes again to clear them and then began to run again toward

* * * *

"I understand and abhor you, Colonel," Quinn said, "You are like my people, who stalk me like a hunted animal; a commodity that serves nothing more than to be a sacrificial lamb to their demi-gods, the Advocacy. Your thought processes are no different. Warmongers. all of you. I was forced into a life of war and my hatred of that life and humans has driven me to this point now.

"I was a scientist on my planet with a passion for art that couldn't be fulfilled there. I accompanied the invasion force to Earth because it was I, who invented the laser guns that are on the ships, which destroyed much of your planet in the 1953 invasion. When the mission was doomed to failure and as I watched the warriors of my planet fall victim to the bacteria of your planet, I was resigned to die with them, but I met Quinn. He was an artist and I saw in him my chance for life; no matter how short the duration. so I melded with him."

Ironhorse was thrust into an unwitting fascination with Quinn's life story. It explained so much of what they questioned about the aliens and about what little they did know about the 1953 invasion.

"Why didn't the others meld with humans?""Some of them tried, but too late. Being a scientist, I saw the deterioration early enough to meld with Quinn."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"To be honest, I don't know," Quinn said, smiling, "Sometimes I'm afraid Quinn's humanity overrides me during moments like these, when I spared Harry's life and as I will spare yours. I sometimes think the melding wasn't complete and Quinn and I are sharing this body and the soul within. Sometimes I don't know if I'm speaking for myself or for Quinn .... lt is an ironic sort of double occupancy."

"Why are you sparing my life?"

''You have courage, Ironhorse. You were right, I was going to capture the lot of you. I know that I am one man, but as I said, I am the man who invented the weapon of my people. I stilt have a few tricks up my sleeve. I suspected that you would have come prepared for an ambush as you did today. I wanted to capture you not to kill you, but to bargain your lives to the Advocacy as I tried to do with Harry, hoping that if I produced the whole team, they might reconsider their death sentence."

"And now?"

"Now, I realize that I'm doomed to hiding, hoping and watching for the outcome of this war you wage against them, much the way you are all doomed to fight this war to your deaths. I am a man ..... a creature without a country you might say. I have no allegiance, but to myself. In that way, I envy you."

"Does the Advocacy know about us and do you intend to tell them?" lronhorse grudgingly asked, afraid of the answer.

"No, they don't know about you at least not specifically anyway .... not yet, anyway," Quinn said giggling under his breath and lronhorse felt that familiar prickle at the base of his neck.

Suddenly their conversation was interrupted by rapid footfalls coming toward them. They both turned to see Harrison, running up to the both of them, gun in hand.

"Harrison?" lronhorse said.

"Get away from him!" Harrison yelled.

Ironhorse saw a wild-eyed look in Harrison's eyes that he had never seen in them before and it worried him. The clarity of thought, no matter how off-the-wall, for which Harrison never wavered, was clouded in uncertainty now. He had seen that look on many friends' faces as they fought off memories of Vietnam. He saw in Harrison, the delayed reaction of years of suppression of memories just as vivid for him as Vietnam was for Ironhorse.

"Harrison, put the gun down, you don't know how to use it, you'll hurt someone."

"Not until all of the aliens are DEAD!" Harrison yelled, his incoherency rising to a fever pitch.

"Listen to me, everything is fine. You're going to be all right, now give me the gun," Ironhorse said in a soothing tone as he walked toward him slowly.

Quinn watched Ironhorse quell Harrison's anger and rage with admiration. He was a warrior, but not like his people were. As he watched and saw a compassion and deep respect in lronhorse's eyes for Harrison, he entertained a fleeting thought that maybe his people were going to lose, and almost wishing that they would. He would rather live in a world of people who had the potential for compassion as opposed to those who didn't know the meaning of it.

"My parents were killed by his kind!" Harrison said, crying bitterly, "I watched them...I should've helped them ...should've done something ...I will now... "

"Quinn, leave now," said lronhorse, "I may regret doing this later, but go before I change my mind."

Quinn tipped his hat and walked away into the skeletal shadows of the amusement park.

"No, Paul, you were right all along. We have to kill the aliens ...I almost let Quinn kill you...like his predecessors killed my parents ... I almost made another mistake ... We have to stop him...Have to...know how to stop the aliens ... " Harrison said in an anguished cry, fatigue hitting him like a ton of bricks now.

Iron horse gently wrapped his hands around Harrison's hand and removed the gun with loving care and put it in his jacket pocket. He then grabbed him to support him from falling. Harrison's weariness was growing heavier; seeing Ironhorse safe, released the tension that was holding his frayed nerves together and his resolve went with it.

"Harrison, you're in a lot of pain right now. I know that pain and the course it's going to take. You'll just have to trust me." lronhorse said.

"I'm sorry .... Paul." Harrison said.

"I'm sorry, too, Harrison and thank you," lronhorse said.

"For what?" Harrison said, a curious crease appearing on his forehead.

"For giving me back my humanity," lronhorse said.

Harrison looked at Ironhorse, not comprehending his friend 's gratitude. He supported Harrison with his shoulders and spotted Suzanne running up, finally catching up with them. She came over and joined Iron horse in holding Harrison and their shadows cast a strange alien being melded from three human beings.

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This was great! I can see why Ironhorse reminds you of Dean. :D He has that same determination and the same sense of responsibility on his shoulders. Awesome work!

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