January 7, 2012
Universe: Modern/ATF au - Highlander/Man from Earth
Character Focus: Ezra - all
Length: 1287 words (and lots of prologue and epilogue)
This one was inspired by a movie I just watched, and highly recommend, called "The Man from Earth" written by Jerome Bixby. After I watched it, I went looking for the book and was disappointed to find it had been written initially as a screenplay... no book L, but you can get the screenplay. And the author has since passed away.
Anyway, the premise, which sounds corny, is that a college professor decides to leave his work and friends after 20 years. When they keep after him about why he's leaving, he finally gives in and tells him that he's much older than he seems, 14,000 years older! And a caveman by birth, well, really a Cro-Magnon. The rest of the show is an interesting look at their reactions to his revelations.
Spoiler alert for "The Man from Earth." If you can watch it before you read this, DO! I highly recommend it. It's well done and made me think... a lot! And inspired my muse to play in a new (for me) M7 sandbox.
Buck pulled up his Netflix account to check out the movie Ezra had insisted they all watch. "The Man from Earth" was a science fiction flick. Buck read the summary, rolled his eyes and closed the page. He had better things to do.
The next morning, Ezra walked into the Team 7 bullpen expectantly eyeing his companions. He was disappointed to receive only the usual 'good mornings' from his friends. He stopped in the middle of the room. "None of you watched it," he said, somewhat astonished. He couldn't decide if he was injured by the way they had ignored his request or just disappointed that he now had to wait another day before they could discuss this most unusual finding.
"Come on, Ezra," Nathan said. "You know I don't like 'B' movies, and if a 14,000 year old caveman college professor doesn't count as a 'B' movie, I don't know what does."
Ezra rolled his eyes. "Apparently, you didn't even read my entire message requesting that you watch this movie," he sighed. "I believe it may contain some grain of truth that concerns 'us'," he continued with a wave of his hand to encompass the entire room.
Josiah leaned forward, putting his elbows on his desk and folding his hands. "You mean us as in all Immortals?"
Ezra nodded, then exhaled and shook his head before going to his desk. "Just watch it and let me know when you're ready to discuss it," he added dejectedly.
The others nodded and they all got down to work.
Ezra puttered rather impatiently around his townhouse waiting for the others to have time to watch the movie and contact him. As he did, he considered the hundred and thirty odd years he'd known these six men.
It was a relatively short portion of his life, but the most important to him. A time when he hadn't had to look over his shoulder and wonder when his next fight would be. With seven of them backing each other up, other Immortals didn't often enter their territory and seldom challenged.
The centuries before he landed in Four Corners were blurred with time. Oh, he recalled specific instances, certain people he'd loved, people he'd had to kill, the odd happy occasion and the all too frequent discovery of what he was that led to him moving on.
Overall, Ezra supposed he really couldn't complain, but what if the man in the movie was based on an Immortal? That would change everything they believed about their Immortality, about the Game.
His doorbell rang and Ezra glanced at the clock. He'd spent more time in contemplation than he'd realized. He went to the door and checked through the peephole before opening it.
Unsurprisingly, all six of his friends were there. He let them in and they adjourned to the living room.
"Drink?" Ezra asked, although they all knew to help themselves. Consent from everyone led to a brief delay while glasses were retrieved and alcohol was poured.
Once they were all seated, Ezra raised his eyebrows and asked, "Well?"
JD, still the most outspoken and youngest member of the group, spoke. "I can see why you wanted us to watch it, but the oldest Immortal I've ever heard of is Methos. He's supposed to be about 5000 years old, but even he's a myth, as far as I know." JD's brow wrinkled. "Do you really think there is someone out there who's lived for 14,000 years?"
"I don't think it's just his age that has Brother Ezra concerned, JD," Josiah intoned with a frown. "If this is based on someone's encounter with an Immortal that old, it changes what we know about the Game and what we've been told about Immortals in general."
Chris nodded. "It means that Adam was my son, that our families, really were blood relatives, they didn't just adopt foundlings." He paused for a moment, then grinned evilly. "It means Buck can't be as indiscriminating with the women."
"Arghhh!" Buck exclaimed, slapping a hand over his eyes as he sank down in his chair. "I could have left little Bucklin's all over the place and not know it."
The others chuckled, but quickly returned to seriousness.
Nathan set his glass down. "This professor claimed that the Bible is inaccurate. That the words and actions of Jesus had been twisted and added to, right before his very eyes. Presuming this man is... was... based on an Immortal, there was no mention of the Game. Is it possible that the Game itself was 'added' to our history later by someone Immortal who was... bored?" He looked around at his friends.
They all thought about that, then Vin spoke up. "That could be, never felt right to me to take a man's head and Quickening, but who would do such a thing?"
"Come, come, Vin," Ezra said. "We've all met men, mortal and immortal, who would find such a game amusing. Why, it may not have even been an Immortal who created it. Can you imagine finding out such as we exist without the benefit of actually being an Immortal? It would frighten many to the core. Perhaps some mortal, centuries, or even millennia ago discovered an Immortal and somehow conceived of the Game as a way for us to 'take each other out.' What better way to remove a threat than to have it kill itself off."
Josiah nodded. "How many Immortals would be alive now without the Game? How many were evil men? If they were still alive, they could be ruling countries, wreaking all sorts of havoc."
Another thoughtful silence fell across the room.
"So," JD said slowly, considering his words, "do you think it's better that we have the Game? Or should we be trying to convince others that it's wrong?"
"You can only convince others who think the same way you do, JD," Vin said sadly. "Now that the Game is part of us, I doubt we can get rid of it."
"Vin is correct," Ezra agreed. "My main reason for sharing this was to confirm that it is possible that Immortal history has been blurred just as much as Mortal history. We've all seen in just over a hundred years how quickly historical facts can be changed or forgotten."
"Such has always been the case," Josiah said. "It is the winner who writes history."
"Still," Nathan said, "I'd like to know if it is possible for an Immortal to have children. Rain wants kids and I do to. We've talked about In Vitro and adoption, but it's just not the same."
"Have you had 'things' checked out?" Buck asked.
"Things?" Nathan frowned.
"You know," Buck said tipping his head downward. "Things."
Nathan's eyes widened and then he chuckled along with the others who had gotten Buck's none-too-subtle hint. "Well, I didn't think there was a reason to, but I guess that's a place to start."
"We could also do a DNA test," Chris said softly.
Buck's eyes softened as he realized what Chris was suggesting.
Nathan shook his head, but Chris just raised his hand. "I need to know." Nathan nodded.
Ezra leaned back in his chair and smiled softly. Suddenly the world was looking brighter, more promising than it had only a few hours before. Amazing to think that just the thought of having normal flesh and blood families could produce so much hope.
Of course, that hope might be quickly dashed to the ground, but Ezra had a good feeling about it. He'd even be willing to bet that they'd all be celebrating Nathan's impending fatherhood within the year.
Ezra's smile deepened. In all of his centuries, he'd never been an uncle before.
Author notes: Well, not much action, more contemplation, but then that was what the movie was too. I tried to keep the spoilers to a minimum. Feedback is greatly appreaciated. JudyL
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The Man from Earth Jerome Bixby's The Man From Earth (2007) NR
Renowned sci-fi writer Jerome Bixby penned the script for this thought-provoking film starring David Lee Smith as John Oldman, a college professor who reveals to his colleagues that he's actually a centuries-old caveman. And so begins a captivating philosophical meditation on immortality, the last work from screenwriter Bixby, who earned career accolades for his contributions to such genre-defining shows as "Star Trek" and "The Twilight Zone."