Disclaimer: I do not own the Highlander universe, just setting the story there. This story was written around 1996 and focuses on original characters but familiar characters start showing up about halfway through. It is complete and I will posting over the next several days. All reviews and comments are welcome and appreciated

THE ONLY EASY DAY IS YESTERDAY

"The Journey of Jeremy Keller"

by OldScout

Part 1

The young man walked through the dark, deserted parking lot.

Around him, scattered cars sat abandoned by their last drivers. The

mall had been closed for hours. All windows were dark, and there was

no other movement. An empty cup rolled across the yellow lines,

crossing paths with a wayward page from the evening's sports section.

He wore a camouflage military field jacket with the collar pulled

up and secured under his chin. A black printed strip over the right

pocket read "KELLER" and one over the left read "US NAVY". His

short, outgrown GI haircut was matted down by the mist of rain that fell

about him. Black canvas jungle boots made no noise on the wet

blacktop, and his green military duffel was slung securely over his right

shoulder, riding comfortably on his back.

On the far side of the lot, a pair of lights appeared and headed

for the young man. He looked at the approaching lights then at the

woods and the unseen highway beyond. The moment of hesitation cost

him his choice. The car approached faster then he had originally

anticipated. It could be a cop, or a random driver coming to check out

this lone figure. The man put down his duffel. He knew it was neither.

Someone had been stalking him since this morning.

The car stopped thirty yards away. In the dim light, he could

tell it was a new Camero. The black roof suggested a Z28, not bad.

The driver got out, he was a tall man wearing a trench coat. A

sickening knot that started in the pit of Keller's stomach then shook his

whole body told him what this man was. He walked from the edge of

the glow of one street light to another.

Keller waited patiently to see the man's face. Finally, the driver

was close enough to make out. He looked to be barely a man, perhaps

seventeen, maybe.

"I am Grigori Neboatov," the boy said as he pulled an old

curved sword from under his coat. "But my friends know me as Greg

Newbury," he added with a smile.

"Sorry to disappoint you, Greg, but I don't play the game,"

Keller informed the other. Then reached down to pick up his bag.

Newbury swung his sword from one position to another and

took a step toward Keller. "You don't have a choice." He then smiled

again. "When I saw you this afternoon, I really didn't think it would be

this easy."

"You mean you would kill me just like that, in cold blood?"

"The blood definitely isn't cold, and it's all just part of the Game.

It is the price you pay for a few extra days, years or even centuries of

life."

"It's murder!"

"Your already dead. I'm just finishing the job." With that,

Newbury stepped forward, raising his sword to strike.

"I don't think so," Keller said and pulled a stainless steel .357

magnum out from under his coat.

Newbury grinned briefly, thinking his adversary was finally

pulling his own sword. The bright flash and explosion quickly changed

his expression. Pain ripped through his left side as his kidney

disintegrated and blew out his back, taking with it splinters of rib and

parts of near by organs. Before he had time to scream, his shoulder

exploded, shattering the top of his arm, leaving only muscle and tissue

to hold it to his body.

Grigori Neboatov landed on his shattered side screaming in

pain. The boy/man grabbed feebly at his wounds. Only his centuries of

life kept him from succumbing to the pain and passing out. "You son

of a bitch," he hissed. "this breaks all the rules."

"What rules? I never signed up for any game. I'm just

protecting myself the only way I know how."

"Next time, you bastard, I won't give you a chance."

"You would still come after me knowing that I don't play?"

"As long as your head is on your shoulders, your playing. You'd

better get yourself a sword, 'cause next time you won't surprise me."

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

Grigori watched through blurred eyes as Keller reached into his

duffel and pulled out a weapon the length of his arm. The sound of a

shell being pumped into a shotgun was the second to last sound Grigori

Neboatov heard.

The Z28 was a fine car. Grigori must have parked it at a

distance to avoid the quickening. How considerate. One thing Keller

had learned the last few years was that these immortals, especially the

older ones, had very few ties, so wouldn't soon be missed and were very

hard to trace when found sans head.

Jeremy Keller sat parked on the back street overlooking the

Virginia Beach shoreline. A large ship glided across the horizon and

pulled Keller into his dreams.

......It had been a standard mission, and an easy one. Swim in

close to the shore, photograph the Iraqi fortifications at sector 12b, then

swim back to the sub. Along the way, they would flag any mine lines

found. It was a mission they had trained for a hundred times over and

had accomplished without incident twelve times.

The Iraqis had no clue the SEALS had been there and gone.

None of the young Iraqi boy-soldiers who sat nervously awaiting the

pending invasion knew how close the Americans were. They sat

huddled in their bunkers watching the faint horizon for the invading

fleet, never suspecting the enemy floated a few yards off shore, looking

up at them.

The mission had gone flawlessly, in and out quickly. They had

found their sleds and started the long swim back without incident. In

the Persian Gulf, however, the weather could change quickly. The

surface had turned from slow rolling waves to a violent chop. Weather

was just the beginning of trouble for Lieutenant Keller. The currents

from the waves separated him from his team. Then his re-breather

began having troubles. Mico-chips in the complex, mixed gas

rebreather failed quickly, poisoning his oxygen. Swimming in near

blackness in the middle of the Persian Gulf, Lieutenant Jeremy Keller

died, killed by the most sinister enemy of a high tech soldier, a defective

computer chip.....

Jeremy woke up gasping for air and clutching at the steering

wheel. Night had fallen, and lights spotted the ocean and shore in front

of him. Hunger gnawed at his gut, and the pain of cramped muscles

pulled at his neck and shoulders. The Z28 fired right up and carried

him back toward the frenzied panic of civilization. It was time to stop

remembering what had been and begin looking forward to a very long

life, if he could avoid the crazies playing with their swords.

The car pointed itself west and carried Lieutenant Keller into the

night.

to be continued..............