Stoneheart parking saw a real slaughter. A couple of strong, well-armed security guards perished one by one in the desperate attempt to shoot two targets.

— Mr. Duncan! – the old man's shout could not be heard through the symphony of fire.

"Weapons? But how? Since what time? How could they use weapons? Even Eichhorst did not carry the gun, though he was smarter than any other Master's slave!" – Eldritch panicked. The tables have turned. At least, these "tables" were not those he sincerely believed in. They were simple – strigoi were dumb. Strigoi did not use weapons. Stoneheart is his home and a sanctuary. And, he seems to have been mistaken.

Mr. Duncan's shot near Palmer's ear interrupted the flow of panic thoughts. The awful rumble filled his head and then silence came. It seemed to have distanced him from the rest of the world. He could not hear either agonizing cries of his people, or the desperate order of Duncan, anything at all. Even if still living guards clutched at their head and fell on the floor writhing with pain, he still watched indifferently. In his inner world, silence prevailed more than anything. He felt he was resting for the first time in the long years. He was so tired of all these lies, intrigues, illnesses, sufferings and mistakes. And this silence granted those pleasant rest which he could not achieve even in dreams. Somehow, he felt a dead man might feel this way. It did not matter what was happening around him. It was not his concern. No one was here. He could not be disturbed. What was more surprising – it did not frighten him at all.

"BANG" – his hearing fully recovered. However, the last shot was followed with such dead silence that Palmer decided he went deaf again.

But now he was all alone. Alone and alive.

Strigoi in SWAT uniform turned around and pointed a barrel at him. This was the end.

He knew, he knew, he could not fail to know! Before Eichhorst's last visit, he observed Coco's heart, every inch of it trying to memorize its every detail in his memory. Was it because he knew he would not be able to see it again? When instead of the delightful finishing of his enemy, he preferred rushing as soon as possible "I have to meet Setrakian, immediately!" Was it because he knew he was running out of time? When he said to Abraham: "One final spin of the wheel. Now, this is the end game for both of us. One way or the other". Was it because he sincerely believed these words? Anyway, he had certain doubts as for Abraham. What he could do perfectly, was survival.

However, there was no shot. He heard a voice that could not be confused with anything else.

— You stole something that is mine!

— You? – questioned Palmer in more astonishment than fright. Who could have thought, he and Setrakian were puzzled for so long whose body the Master could have taken after Bolivar, and there was…no one. Just a random guy. A navy seal but anyway. What a disappointment.

The Master continued looking spitefully at him with a burning eyes. If he was able to set fire with his eyes, Palmer was sure he could have been long a handful of dust. He was supposed to answer something.

— That is ours.

The Master growled angrily but lowered the automatic machine gun. Good.

Eldritch got on his feet and passed by the ancient vampire brushing the dust from his sleeve as if he was disturbed by this much more than by the slaughter in from of his eyes. But he could not do otherwise.

— It may please you to know you chose a partner as wily and as cutthroat as you are. The bomb is in my safe. I alone know the combination.

To be precise, the two knew the combination, but Mr. Duncan was lying with a bullet in his head.

The Master gave an estimating look to his former servant from head to foot:

— Perhaps it is in my best interest not to destroy you.

This short phrase contained so much poison and contempt that Eldritch unexpectedly realized – he won. Not the war, no. He had to be honest – all these should never had happened but for the Master on his side, his thirst to gain power over the world, and his faithful 40s fanatic. He did not begin this war alone, so he could not end it all alone. But he won this battle. The Master still needed him.

Palmer smiled sincerely. The Master was confused with this smile. It did not look like the relief of the man sentenced to death, but the one illusively counting on living a little longer. The creature in Kroft's body bowed its head sideways. Eldritch was apparently amused with this loss. Just think about it, a thousand-year old ancient being did not learn to understand people, their motives and acts. Well, he had to explain. Palmer looked bravely in the Master's burning eyes for the first time without fear or indecision:

— Whatever you took, you received with my permission. And every time when you decided you were entitled to this, I proved you otherwise. I did not allow you to get Occido Lumen. I did not give her to your worms. And you will not receive this goddamn bomb from me. You won't get anything from me anymore.

Before the Master could react, Eldritch snatched the long-hidden gun and shoot himself in a temple without a shadow of doubt.

To tell the truth, this fanfiction was born from a despair. Nobody wanted to write even a mini-fanfic on the alternative Palmer's death even for money. I think people either accept what has happened in the series (why?) or they just won't give a crap about the character. So I tried my own efforts. I cannot say I am fully satisfied with the result but it is still better than a script laziness of the third season (IMHO). It was written at work between the tasks nearly on the run. I don't consider myself either a writer, or a skilled ficwriter.