Title: Lone Hearts
Author: Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Keywords: Mytharc, MSR
Rating: PG-13 for language
Spoilers: References to:
Disclaimer: Some of the characters in this story belong
to Chris Carter, 1013 and Fox. No copyright infringement is
In addition, it should be noted when I first submitted
my pitch, there was some concern of similarities to a
story line shown on the Fox, Inc. show, The Lone Gunmen.
Please note the only time I have ever viewed this show
was during the one scene in which David Duchovny made a
much too short cameo appearance. Therefore the
character of Dr. Alan Byers is totally and completely
mine; any similarities to CC’s version is purely
Archive: This story was written especially for IMTP’s
Virtual Season 9. After two weeks, you may view this
story at The Garden Site, MTA, Gossamer, and Ephemeral.
All others please send a request unless previously given
Notes: Thanks to Vickie Moseley and Michelle Kiefer
for their CyberEyes, and to my cohorts at the VS9. It
continues to be a helluva ride, folks!
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
The heavy, richly textured bedcovers lay in a heap on
the floor, along with quickly discarded outer clothes,
underwear, and lingerie picked especially for this
occasion. The silk top sheet fell softly over her legs
while carelessly covering her breasts.
Even after all this time, he still felt slightly self-
conscious about looking at her in that raw, beautiful
state, while also exposing himself totally to her. But
he lay beside her, unencumbered by blankets, and reached
out to gently stroke her arm. The early morning sun
tried to part the blinds of the lush hotel room, but it
barely succeeded, allowing small rays of light to caress
“Oh, God, I love waking up next to you,” she murmured in
response to the gentle touches. She looked up at him
with sleepy, but adoring eyes.
He returned her gaze, loving and sensual. “I love
waking up next to you, too. I want to be able to do it
“I know, I know,” she replied, as she leaned over and
nuzzled his neck. “Someday.”
“But not tomorrow,” he said, resigned.
“No,” she agreed, “not tomorrow. But we can enjoy being
together today, can’t we? I want to make love to you
all day, today.”
He smiled. “Like how we made love together all night?
How can I argue with that idea?” He leaned over and
began to kiss his love’s sun touched hair and then began
slowly tasting her body beginning at her forehead and
working his way down all along her sensuous form.
Her body responded to his gentle overtures feeling the
need for more, but he refused to give in to her unspoken
pleas. He continued to minister to her body as if it
were a priceless Stradivarius. The gentle moans began
to grow in their strength as he probed her body, when
suddenly the entire room lit up like a Fourth of July
“Ohmigod!” she cried out. “Ohmigod!”
He was gone.
The lights disappeared and the only noise came from the
gentle flapping of the window blinds that were now
hanging in the open bay window. She sat up and grabbed
the silk sheets protectively around her before she
reached for the phone. With shaking hands, she dialed
the number she’d learned by heart so many, many months
“Hello? Langly? Turn off the tape.”
Silence greeted her on the other side.
“It’s me, Susanne.” Her hands trembled, as did her
voice. “He’s gone. John’s gone.”
The trill woke them both, but Mulder chose to ignore it.
Scully on the other hand was quick to point out one very
“We’re at your place; you get phone duty.”
He grunted something unintelligible and then reached for
the phone. “Mulder,” or some such equivalent.
“Mulder, it’s me.”
“Langly? It’s fucking 7 a.m. on the first Saturday
morning I’ve had off in I don’t know how long. This
better be damn good.”
“They’ve taken Byers.”
Scully sat up at hearing Mulder’s voice break. She
touched his arm, which he unwittingly shrugged off. He
looked at her quickly for reassurance that she
understood. She smiled. She did.
Now he could deal with the matter at hand. “What are
you talking about?”
“He’s gone, Mulder. I don’t know where they’ve taken
him, but he’s gone.”
“This morning. He was in Bethesda, and they took him.”
“Yeah. He was in the damn Hilton.”
“Mulder? Mulder, what is it?”
“Is she there with you?”
“She? What? You knew?”
“Yeah, I knew. C’mon, Langly, just answer the question.
Is Susanne there?”
“Yeah. She’s here.” The irritation was clearly evident
in Langly’s tone, and it carried over into his next
words as well. “Just get here as soon as you can, okay?
Oh…and tell Scully to get dressed. We could use her
The phone clicked before Mulder could respond, not that
he figured he’d have had one to give. “Damn it.”
“Care to fill me in now?”
Mulder looked up and searched for any evidence that
there was annoyance attached to her words, but he
couldn’t find any. Curiosity mixed in with some
anxiety, but no annoyance. He took a deep breath, since
he figured with his next words that was probably going
“That was Langly.”
“So I figured.” She pursed her lips, biting her tongue
in an attempt to keep herself from jumping all over him
to cut to the chase.
He stood up and walked to his dresser. He pulled out a
pair of clean boxers and a tee shirt. “They took
Byers.” He said this as he walked to his closet to pull
out a pair of well-worn jeans. “I’m gonna jump into the
He started walking toward the bathroom, but then stopped
and without turning around said, “I can finish telling
you what’s going on in the shower. They want you to
come with me, too.”
“Okay,” she replied, when suddenly it hit her what he
really meant. “They know about us?”
“For how long, do you think?”
“Knowing them, they probably recorded the first time we
ever kissed,” he answered with a shake of his head.
He waited for more declarations of annoyance but none
were forthcoming. “Scully? You okay?”
“Well, at least we know they can keep a secret, Mulder.
C’mon, let’s take that shower and you can fill me in on
The LGM Headquarters
Building # 566
Frohike greeted the couple after having unlocked the
numerous locks that kept the outside world apart from
the inner workings of The Lone Gunmen’s Headquarters.
Scully walked in dressed as casually as her partner,
with Mulder’s ever present hand guiding her as it
pressed against her lower back.
“Any news?” he asked.
Frohike shook his head and followed the pair into the
main room. There, they saw Langly sitting at the
computer attempting to retrieve data, though for what
purpose neither Mulder nor Scully knew.
“What’s going on?” Mulder asked.
“Nothing. Yet,” Langly answered.
“Where is she?”
“Here. I’m right here.” Susanne Modeski entered the
room looking exhausted and slightly disheveled. Her
blond hair was hastily pulled back into a ponytail, and
she wore no makeup. “Hello, Mulder. Agent Scully.”
“How are you doing, Susanne?” Mulder asked.
“Not too great,” she said, her voice hitched.
“Can you tell us what happened?” Scully asked.
“They took him.”
Langly grimaced as he punched another symbol on the
keyboard. “Yeah. You said that already.”
Frohike broke in and said, “He’s upset. Hell, we’re all
upset. Just tell Mulder and Scully what you told us,
Susanne nodded and smiled slightly at the small man’s
attempt to comfort. “We’d gotten together…” She
turned and looked directly at Mulder. “It’s the first
weekend of the month, you know…”
Mulder nodded. He knew, though it was apparent that he
was the only one who had been fully aware of anything.
Scully was still in the dark.
“The first weekend?” Her expression reflected her
“Yes, John and I…we always….”
As Susanne broke down crying, much to Scully’s surprise,
it was Mulder who reached out to comfort her. He pulled
her into his arms and held her as she sobbed.
“Mulder?” Frohike looked at his friend with a quizzical
expression, which quickly changed to understanding. And
then anger. “You knew about this, about them. Damn!
You always knew.”
Mulder nodded. “We confided in one another,” he replied
“But he never told us. For that matter, the two of you
never told us what you were doing, either,” Frohike
retorted, eyeing Mulder, then Scully, and finally Mulder
Mulder averted his eyes momentarily and looked over at
Scully. He knew she was most likely putting two and two
together, but he also knew it was up to him to confirm
“No, we never told you, but you knew anyway, didn’t
Frohike looked quickly at Langly who at least had the
good grace to blush. “Yeah, we knew,” responded
Frohike. “We figured you’d tell us when you were ready;
but we still felt it was important to keep tabs on you
both. It was always for your protection, you know.”
“You’ve been spying on us,” confirmed Scully, no less
“Scully, you’re not really surprised, are you?”
responded Langly, who left his computer and walked over
to where the small group sat. “C’mon, how many times
did you want us to locate Mulder or did Mulder want us
to locate you in the past? Well, how the hell do you
think we did it? Yeah, we spied on you, but we never
abused the privilege. We never spied on you when you
and Mulder were…’together.'”
“Well, thank goodness for small miracles,” shot back
“Wait a minute,” interrupted Mulder, quickly changing
the subject back to their necessary focus. “If you were
spying on us, then how the hell didn’t you know about
“Friends don’t spy on friends,” said Langly.
“What the hell does that make Scully and me? Chopped
“No, of course not,” interrupted Frohike. “But you two
are in positions that place you in situations a little
more precarious and dangerous than any one of us, don’t
you think? We’ve always had the means to keep tabs on
one another, but have chosen not to do so until there
was an emergency.”
“And this doesn’t constitute an emergency, Melvin?”
asked Susanne who had finally calmed down.
Langly turned and stared directly at her. “Yes,
Susanne, this constitutes an emergency.” He stalked off
back to his computer and sat down in front of the
screen. “What the hell did you think I’ve been doing for
the last hour? I’m trying to home in on him using a
“Tracer program? What’s he wearing? Some kind of a
bug?” asked Mulder.
“How? Was it in his clothing?” Scully asked.
Susanne gasped. She knew any type of tracking device
placed in his clothing would be useless given his state
of undress at the time of his abduction.
“No. It wasn’t in his clothing. Just like you, Scully,
we’ve had implants inserted in our bodies for the
purposes of keeping track of one another in times of
emergency,” answered Langly.
“Would they take him to the lab?” asked Susanne. “Would
they be that obvious?”
Langly’s jaw locked and his expression became
determined. “That’s what I’m trying to find out. If
they are, we can get over to where ever the hell the
little subversive laboratory you’re probably working in
is, grab Byers, and kick the shit out of anyone who
tries to stop us.”
“We couldn’t go now, not in daylight,” Susanne
disagreed, much to Langly’s chagrin. “The security
system is highly sophisticated, and the goons they have
guarding the entryways are not exactly what you would
call ‘evolved’. I’m afraid what they might do to
John…or…or anyone else.”
“Well, if we can pin down exactly where Byers is, then
we can decide what our next plan of action is,”
“Let the man do his job. I can use some coffee – my
treat,” offered Frohike who turned to Langly and asked,
“You want any?” Langly shook his head, so Frohike led
the others into the small, but functional kitchen.
“How long have you known, Mulder?” asked Frohike.
Mulder raised an eyebrow at the elfin man. “Known
“About Susanne and Byers.”
Mulder shrugged. “Not as long as you seem to
think…less than a year. I guess it’s around the time
Scully and I made the decision to…um…well,
“Intimate, Mulder. We became intimate,” said Scully,
smiling. She couldn’t help it. Her partner was turning
a glorious shade of crimson that was usually reserved
for her fair complexion, and she found it rather
endearing that it was he who felt the embarrassment.
“But I don’t understand why he confided in you and not
us,” said Frohike.
“C’mon Melvin. Surely you realize he probably
understood that you already knew and were following our
fearless leader’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy?” asked
“Of course. I mean, we’re sure he must have thought
that, but Byers never actually said anything to us; you
know how he protects his private life even from us.
What I don’t understand is why talk to you?” answered
“I can guess the answer to that,” said Scully. She
walked over to Susanne and said, “He and Mulder had
something in common. We all felt the need to keep our
relationships a secret, but the guys also found that
they could have one another to confide in.” Scully
looked at Susanne, turned briefly towards her partner,
and then back to Susanne.
“I just wish the men in our lives would have given
Susanne and me the same luxury.”
“Once again, my kung fu has done the deed,” announced
Langly upon entering the room. “I tagged him.”
“Where is he?” asked Susanne.
“Nearer than I’d ever have thought,” he replied with a
wry grin. “Right here in D.C.”
Susanne nodded, knowingly. “They took him to the lab.”
“You’ll show us, when it gets dark?” Mulder asked.
“Of course.” Susanne lowered her head. Some moments
passed before she looked up and turned back to look at
Scully. “I’m so sorry, Agent Scully.”
“Sorry?” Scully echoed.
“About keeping our relationship a secret. I knew it was
hard on John, but I was the one who felt it was
necessary to keep our relationship quiet. I hadn’t
realized John spoke with Mulder about it. If I had,
maybe we….” Susanne looked sadly at Scully, who in
turn took note of Mulder’s downcast eyes; it was
apparent he’d not considered the toll that their
clandestine relationship had on her, or Susanne for that
“It must have been hard for you to ask him to do that,
to keep your relationship a secret from his friends,”
suggested Scully more for Mulder’s benefit than
“So you did force Byers to keep your affair from us,”
“You don’t give your friend much credit, do you?”
Susanne’s brow furrowed and her tone turned sharp. “I
never forced John to do anything he didn’t want to do.
He agreed with my reasons for keeping our relationship a
secret.” She looked away and said, almost in a murmur,
“But they must have found out. I don’t know how, but
they must have….”
“Who do you think found out?” asked Mulder bringing her
focus back to the group.
She looked hesitant, but said, “My employer.” Everyone
remained quiet as they waited for Susanne to fill in the
blank that all who were present were more than likely
able to fill without any help. Finally, after having
taken a deep breath, she said, “Roush Pharmaceuticals.”
Frohike whistled softly while Langly just threw his
hands up in frustration. Mulder, ever the peacemaker,
advised everyone to calm down. His words were forceful,
but the tone was soft, “It’s not like we shouldn’t have
suspected it; after all, she is a chemist. Where the
hell else would you expect them to have her work?” The
disdain for ‘them’ was clearly evident in Mulder’s
Susanne placed her hand on Mulder’s arm in a silent
expression of thanks. “I’ve been working on a pet
project of theirs for quite some time, but John knew
nothing about it; I swear I made sure to never say a
word about it. I didn’t want him in danger.”
“Well, you sure did a fine job of that, didn’t you?”
“Enough. Stop looking for who to blame and start
thinking about how to get Byers back,” admonished
Scully. She looked around the room and asked the
obvious question, “Why would they take him?”
“I don’t know,” replied Susanne. The two Lone Gunmen
shook their heads in defeat as well.
“I think — I think I may have an idea,” stammered
Scully saw the look of dread in his face. She knew what
he was about to say was not going to be easy for him,
nor for any of them.
“I think it may have something to do with his father.”
“His father? Jeeze, Mulder, the old man has been dead
since he was a kid,” said Frohike.
“No. I don’t think so.” The confusion on everyone’s
face was evident, so Mulder tried to explain. “I know
that’s what John believed; I know that’s what he’d told
you and me. But, I – I have good reason to believe that
Alan Byers’s death is a lie; it was faked. I believe I
know the reason why,” Mulder confessed.
“Reason? He dropped dead of a heart attack; Byers said
he remembered watching him go off in the ambulance.
What other reason is there?” said Langly.
“No. That’s not what happened–” Mulder held his hand
up to stifle the objections that both Langly and Frohike
were about to make. “Apparently, John and I had
something else in common.” Everyone remained quiet; all
eyes watched Mulder intently as they waited for an
“Byers’s father worked for the government. He worked
for the likes of Cancerman and –” Mulder’s voice choked
slightly as he completed his thoughts — “my father.”
“Are you sure?” asked Frohike.
“No,” Mulder replied quickly. “I mean, I don’t have
absolute proof, but I have it on good authority….”
“What all adds up?” asked Langly to which he added
angrily, “and what the hell is this so-called proof?”
The ire and frustration in his voice was clear; to whom
the hostility was directed was not, though everyone had
a pretty good guess.
“It came from unauthorized channels,” he responded,
“Oh, c’mon, Mulder. You’re talking to the kings of
unauthorized channels. What the hell are you talking
about?” demanded Langly.
“Mulder,” Frohike interjected softly, “what do you
Mulder looked over quickly at Susanne and saw it, an
imperceptible nod. He shook his head slightly, but
Susanne would have none of it. She said in a clear,
firm voice, “I told him.”
Three pairs of eyes moved as if watching match point at
the U.S. Open, one moment their gazes were on Susanne
and the next on Mulder. This continued until Mulder
clarified it all for them.
“I’d had my suspicions for some time. In all of my
research over Samantha’s abduction, I kept coming across
a set of initials…’A.L.B.’ The family history of this
‘A.L.B.’ included a son named John F. and a wife named
Helen. No last name was ever disclosed in these
records, but the dates and family history all seemed to
“I’d never told Byers, because I never had absolute
proof that the ‘A.L.B.’ listed in those files belonged
to his father. I couldn’t do to him what G.C.B. Spender
did to me; I couldn’t give him hope on the chance that
it would be a false hope – based on lies.
“But when Byers confessed to me that he and Susanne were
seeing one another and that Susanne felt it was
imperative that it be kept a secret, I knew in my heart
that Byers’s father was the one referred to in those
files. But I didn’t tell him. I couldn’t; Susanne
contacted me soon after Byers confided in me; she’d
overheard him telling me about their relationship and
begged me to not tell a soul. She never told me exactly
why, but I felt she was sincere in her concern, so I
chose to keep it from you all.”
Turning to his partner, he said forlornly, “Even you,
Scully. I’m sorry for that; but she felt it would cause
more harm than good if more people were aware of their
relationship. To be honest, if I had it to do over
again I still don’t think I could have told you.”
“Please, Agent Scully,” intervened Susanne, “understand
that I put Mulder in a very difficult situation. He
asked me about John’s father, and when he asked me, I
felt he should know the truth. I told him that it was
Alan Louis Byers who was referred to in the files, and
that he was a working member of the consortium.”
The room was quiet, as no one knew quite what to say at
that moment. Tension was evident; Langly and Frohike
were both visibly upset with what Susanne had just
informed them of. Scully, on the other hand, was
working very hard to maintain a neutral facade;
professional decorum was called for and no one could put
on their professional mask better than Agent Scully.
Finally, after several moments of awkward silence
passed, Scully cleared her throat and decided to get
back to the business at hand. “In what capacity?” she
“Capacity?” echoed Susanne.
“In what capacity was Mr. Byers a member of the
consortium,” she clarified, looking toward Susanne.
But it was Mulder who responded instead. “It’s Doctor
Byers and he’s a scientist,” he said and then turning
toward Susanne, he elaborated, “Byers is a chemist, too,
isn’t he Susanne? He’s still alive and kicking, and
working on some top-secret, super government project.
I’m right, aren’t I, Susanne?”
She nodded, though her head hung in a defeated posture.
“You knew this? How could you not tell Byers that he
was alive, much less that you worked with him?” asked
“I couldn’t. Alan begged me to keep his secret.”
“Alan? You know him personally?” asked Scully in
amazement at the new turn of events. She looked at
Mulder, her face full of question marks for him as well.
He held his hands up in defeat; he was, obviously, as
unaware of the senior Byers’s relationship with Susanne
Modeski as everyone else.
Susanne took a deep breath and said, “Yes, I know him
personally. I work with him, Agent Scully. He’s my
direct superior in the lab I work in at Roush. He
learned that I was seeing John and Alan begged me to
keep my knowledge of his existence a secret. He feared
for both John’s life and his own if John ever found
“I’ll bet; more like he was afraid of being exposed by
the Lone Gunmen,” retorted Langly.
“Maybe,” said Susanne, “but the fact of the matter
remains that he feared for his and his son’s life, and
rightly so I might add. But someone did find out. I
don’t know how; we were so careful.”
“Susanne, surely by now you know that you can never be
too careful,” Mulder said. “Hell, even these two clowns
knew something was going on, though admittedly they
weren’t exactly sure what that was,” and then with a
resigned smile at Scully added, “and they figured
something was going on between us, too.” Mulder’s smile
took some of the sting out of his words. It worked, as
the tension seemed to dissipate for a moment or two.
“So, now what do we do?” asked Scully. “How do we go
about getting Byers back home where he belongs?”
“Well,” answered Mulder, “the first thing I suppose is
to find something black and sexy, boys _and_ girls.
We’re gonna do a little par-taying tonight at a certain
super secret laboratory.”
284 Stealth Avenue
“You promised you wouldn’t hurt him if I kept my end of
the bargain. Well, I did damn it! I did, and you
brought him here, unconsciousness,” Alan Byers said
His companion stood with his arms crossed and looked
disgusted. “C’mon Doc, you know as well as I do that he
was just put under for a bit; he’ll come around soon.”
“And that means I’m supposed to be jumping for joy?” he
asked rhetorically. “Why did you bring him here? Why
“You’ve been wanting to see him for years, haven’t you?
I’ve finally given you that chance, and all I’m getting
is grief about it,” he remarked sardonically.
“Who ordered you to bring him to me? There has to be a
reason for them to suddenly decide to allow us a family
reunion. What’s going on?”
“You think I’m privy to everything, Doc? You give me
too much credit,” said the man in black leather.
“But you do. Damn it to hell, I’m sure that you know.
Tell me. What are they going to do with him?” demanded
“Now, Doc, do you really think they would tell me
something like that? Hell, I’m just their messenger
boy, remember? I don’t know a thing, except perhaps
that the powers that be aren’t necessarily happy with
your performance of late. Rumor has it that you’ve been
a little lax in the productivity department, Doc. Seems
to me, and mind you, I don’t know anything for sure,
but, well it seems to me that the people in charge just
want to give you a little incentive to produce a little
more in a more timely manner…”
“What are they going to do to him?” asked the scientist
“How the hell am I supposed to know, Doc? I’m just a
one-armed lackey, right? But if I were a betting man, I
wouldn’t be surprised if our benefactors shared a little
something with your boy in there to motivate you a
little bit to finding a solution to that problem you’ve
been working on…”
“Sweet Jesus. They wouldn’t.”
“You know they would. You know they may have already.”
“Krycek, you are a bastard.”
“No, Doc, I’m not the enemy here. One of these days
everyone’s going to figure that out.”
“Funny, the other sonofabitch always says the same
thing…” Dr. Byers said. “Get the hell out of here,
Krycek. Let me go be with my son.”
“Sure, Doc, though I wouldn’t just hang around and visit
too long. Seems to me that you have your work cut out
for you, you know.” When his words were met with a
hateful glare from Byers, Krycek waved him off and said,
“Well, I’ll be on my way. Never let it be said that I’d
keep father and son separated…I never interfere with
family,” he said with a deceptive smile gracing his
The scientist watched with consternation as the younger
man left. “Damn you, you sonofa -”
Dr. Byers moved quickly into the small office space that
was attached to his laboratory. The room had the busy,
disorganized appearance of an absent-minded professor’s
workspace. Scientific journals were piled high in
various corners of the room. Reams of xeroxed papers
sat in stacks throughout the four corners of the office.
Finally, the desk showed a method of organization known
only to its owner; papers, file folders, and computer
printouts lay strewn across the desktop. To Alan Byers,
it was home for the last twenty-seven years. When he
heard a sound, the scientist looked down at the now not-
so-still body of his son, who lay on the small sofa,
usually reserved for late night respites in the lab.
John Byers was regaining consciousness.
“Oh, God, my head,” moaned the younger Byers.
“John?” the doctor called out softly as he gently shook
his son’s shoulders. “It’s okay, John. You’re safe
In response, he opened his eyes slowly, as the
fluorescent lights glared harshly in his line of vision.
He turned even more slowly to his right and then back
toward his left. The pain that shot through from the
base of his head to the front of his forehead made him
gasp; he reached out, groping for anything to latch onto
in order to ease the discomfort.
Alan Byers reached out and grabbed his son’s searching
hand. “You’re going to be fine, John. Take a deep
breath and let it out easy.” He waited for him to
follow his directions and then repeated the
instructions. The doctor watched carefully, looking for
any signs of proof to Krycek’s veiled threats, as his
son slowly became more cognizant of his surroundings.
He didn’t observe any of the known symptoms and waited
until John was lucid enough to ask questions, which
didn’t take long at all.
“Where am I?
“Why does my head feel like it’s going to explode, and
who the hell are you?”
“I’ll answer your questions, but first take these. They
may help.” When John looked at the man suspiciously,
Alan Byers assured him, “Acetaminophen. That’s all they
are. Extra strength acetaminophen.”
John nodded as he accepted the pills and a glass of
water to wash them down with. He then looked back at
his benefactor and waited for his questions to be
“You were brought here without your consent.”
“Brought here? Where’s here? And why? I don’t
understand –” John responded in a panic stricken tone.
“I know. I wish they hadn’t resorted to this. God
knows the last thing I ever wanted was for you to be
involved in this, or for you to be hurt. I’m so sorry.
I’m so very – John, listen to me – ”
“You know who I am? Do I know you?” John asked,
confused as he looked at the clean-shaven, balding man.
Moments passed when his mind cleared; he said with
resignation, “I do know you, don’t I. The beard is
gone, the hair sparser, but you’re him.”
Alan Byers wasn’t sure how to feel at hearing that.
Sitting before him was the son he’d loved for the last
thirty-eight years, but hadn’t been able to share that
love for over the last twenty-five of them. He wasn’t
sure how John would react. There was only one way to
“Yes, John. You know me, though we haven’t seen one
another in a very long time. I’m sorry for that, son.”
Byers stared at the older man but remained silent. He
needed a minute or two, or three, to assimilate what
this stranger whom he seemed to know intimately had just
“Dad?” He cleared his throat in an attempt to rid
himself of the tremors that clearly occupied it… “You
are my father, aren’t you?”
Alan Byers could only nod in affirmation; suddenly he
didn’t trust his voice either. His eyes threatened to
betray him by watering up, but that didn’t stop him from
breaking into a nervous smile. He wanted desperately to
extend his arms out and hug this man, his child, and
show him that he’d never stopped thinking of him, never
stopped loving him. But all he did was stand still,
waiting as patiently as he could for the younger Byers
to make the first move.
“You’re supposed to be dead,” his tone, almost defiant.
Those were not the words he’d hoped or expected to hear.
He hesitated before he said, “I know that’s what you
were told. I’m sorry.”
“I’m sure you are,” replied the younger Byers with
“John, you have to believe me. It was never my choice;
I mean, it was in a way, but it was the only choice I
could make.” He sighed in exasperation. “How can I
make you understand?”
John attempted to sit up, but it felt like ball bearings
were ricocheting around in his head. He found himself
being gently helped to lay back down on the couch.
“Thank you,” he muttered to the older man whose eyes so
resembled his own.
“I didn’t want to leave you and your mother.”
“I’m sure.” But he wasn’t, not really.
“John, you have to understand. The work was – no, is
important, and the men involved in it are very, very
He looked at his son with hope that he understood the
dilemma that was posed to him so many years ago and
followed him throughout the rest of his life. John
returned his father’s gaze, trying to understand, when
it suddenly dawned up him that his life seemed to
parallel someone else’s.
“Do you work for him?” he asked.
“Work for who?”
“The Cancer Man.” Byers looked at his father’s confused
expression and clarified his question. “Do you work for
Dr. Byers sighed and nodded. “I did. The belief is
that he’s rather ill at the moment, quite near death.”
“Right. And I’ve got some swampland to sell you,” Byers
retorted. “Go to hell.”
“I wish I could explain it to you, son.”
“Son? You think you have the right to call me that?
How dare you! You lost that right when you walked out
on Mom and me almost thirty years ago! My God, I
thought you were dead…I mourned for you.”
“John, I’m so sorry, but you have to try and understand.
The choices they gave me; I couldn’t let them – ” Alan
stammered. He didn’t want to reveal too much, but he
felt he had to defend himself in order to allow his son
to see that he wasn’t the monster he was making him out
to be. “John, it was the only viable choice; I made the
“They wanted to take me, didn’t they? Just like
“Yes, John, just like Bill Mulder’s little girl. They
were going to take his son, but at the last moment they
decided to take the girl instead. I couldn’t let that
happen to you.” He paused and his voice became a
whisper, as if trying to hide his words, “I refused to
allow you to be subjected to that. I know Fox has been
through several ordeals himself, he and that partner of
“Jesus, what else about me and my friends do you know?
“I’ve been kept informed.”
“Informed…you’ve been kept informed. Well, isn’t that
comforting?” His consternation belied his words.
“I wish I could convince you of how sorry I am that you
had to find out.”
“That’s what you’re sorry about? You’re not sorry about
leaving me, but you’re sorry that I found out the truth?
Jesus Christ! What kind of twisted sense of priorities
do you have?”
“Priorities that kept you and your mother alive, John
Byers, and don’t you forget it!” The elder Byers stood
tall, but shaking with anger and hurt. He didn’t know
how to make his son realize; the consortium was a
powerful entity that he simply would not fight at the
expense of his family’s life. “You have to understand,
I did what I thought was best in order to keep you both
safe. I left you because I love you, John. I didn’t
want to see you harmed.”
John sat up and shook his head. “I want to leave.”
“Wait. Please. Let me try to help you understand – ”
Alan watched helplessly as John chose to ignore his
Standing up on wobbly legs, John began to move toward
the door. But the motion caused his vertigo to return,
and he began to sway. Alan rushed to his side and
caught him before he made full contact with the floor.
When he looked down into his son’s eyes, he was greeted
with a horrific sight.
Once blue eyes were covered in a sea of oilian black.
They’d driven home in silence after having agreed to
meet back at the Lone Gunmen Headquarters eight o’clock
that night. The boys had decided they needed to gather
as much intelligence as possible in terms of pinpointing
Byers’s exact location. They’d already figured out he
was somewhere with the D.C. area and were fairly
confident that he was at the Roush site. Susanne agreed
to take them to the lab that night, after the large,
daytime security force departed for the evening.
Although Scully had offered Susanne a chance to stay
with her and Mulder, much to no one’s surprise, she
declined. She decided to go back to the hotel she and
Byers were staying at to collect her things and move to
another location. When it had been pointed out that
plan was probably a futile one, she agreed immediately,
but said that she didn’t want to make it easy for them.
“If nothing else,” she’d said, “at least it feels like
I’m doing something. Besides, I think we all need a
little space and time to think about everything we’ve
Scully remembered agreeing with Susanne and saying they
would get together that night, but if there was anything
she needed to give her or Mulder a call on their
cellphone. Scully took out one of her business cards and
then printed Mulder’s cell number on the back. “In case
mine’s busy,” she’d said as she handed it to Susanne, “I
want you to have a way of reaching us.” Susanne
expressed her thanks, nodded her good-byes to Frohike
and Langly (the former begrudgingly acknowledged her
while the latter steadfastly ignored her,) and left.
“You think she’ll come back tonight?” Langly had asked.
Mulder looked surprised; apparently it had never
occurred to him that she wouldn’t. “Of course she’ll
return tonight. Guys, I think you’ve got her all
“Jeeze, Mulder, whatever happened to ‘trust no one?'”
Langly had asked with a disgusted tone.
“She loves him, Langly.”
Mulder had shaken his head slightly and told the guys he
and Scully would see them later. They’d departed and
decided to return to Scully’s apartment, as it was
And now they were there in Georgetown, after a ride of
total silence. Neither had even turned on the radio;
they both needed to think about what had just transpired
and consider how they were going to deal with it.
Scully broke the silence first. “Why?”
Simple enough question; too bad Mulder had no idea as to
how to express his answer. “Are you angry?” he asked
“Angry?” she mused in low tones, “No, not angry. I
think I feel something more akin to hurt, but I’m not
angry. I know you had your reasons for not discussing
it with me, and I suspect at the time they seemed like
very good ones. I’m just curious as to what they were
that’s all. Help me understand, Mulder.”
Mulder didn’t answer right away; he had a feeling this
could be yet another turning point in their
relationship, and he needed to find the right words so
as not to screw this up. “He was scared, Scully. The
thing of it was, he didn’t know why. But I knew; I knew
the truth, and I couldn’t tell him because I hadn’t any
“And all this time I thought – I mean I was – ” Mulder
pressed his hands together as if he were praying to some
unknown deity for the right words. “I know you once
said that it’s not always about me, but Scully? This
time, I can’t help but wonder if Byers’s life and mine
were somehow intertwined to the point that his
association with me – ”
“Hold it right their, buster. Are you trying to tell me
that you think Byers was taken because of his
relationship with you?” Scully looked at her partner in
“I don’t know,” he replied in kind. “I don’t understand
what the point is in taking him now if it isn’t to get
to me! I mean, he told me about his relationship with
Susanne, and they must have found out that I knew.”
“Mulder, honestly, don’t you think this is a bit of a
stretch?” she asked with as light of a tone as she could
“He asked me to not tell anyone of his relationship
because Susanne told him _her_ life would be in danger.
He never associated the danger with himself, though
after I spoke with Susanne it was clear that she was
more concerned for John’s safety. But, Scully, they
both spoke with me about their affair. They both feared
reprisals if it were to become common knowledge, but I
knew. I was the only one privy to that information, so
maybe I am the common link and therefor the reason for
Mulder looked totally forlorn. Scully reached up and
pulled his hand down to convince him to sit next to her
on the couch.
“I think you may be looking for a connection that’s not
there, Mulder. I just wish you would have told me; I
could have tried to ease your mind before this,” she
“How could I not keep their secret? Up to this point
keeping the affair to myself had harmed no one, so I
made the determination to honor that request. I’m sorry,
if you think my not making you privy to it was a
reflection on our relationship. It wasn’t, Scully; I
hope I can convince you of that.”
She listened carefully with an open mind and remained
silent throughout. There was a time that she would have
seen Mulder keeping this kind of information from her as
a betrayal. Back at the Gunmen’s headquarters she felt
herself almost falling into that mindset, but at this
point she found that not to be the case. Things were
“Mulder, have I told you lately how much I love you?”
His eyes met hers, and he said, “Yes, Scully, as a
matter of fact you have.” He paused and before he could
say it, Scully interrupted him.
“I know you do, too.” She raised her hands up to his
face to pull him down slightly to meet hers. Their lips
met and both of them knew that what could have proven to
be an obstacle in their relationship was nothing more
than a small reminder of how important they were to one
And how much they depended upon something every bit as
important as loving one another.
284 Stealth Street
As soon as Dr. Byers saw the black plague cross his
son’s eyes, the scientist quickly lifted his son and
carried him into the closest of one of many experimental
lab rooms located at the site. He set John onto a
gurney that laid dormant after one of the several test
subjects had succumbed to the latest strain of the black
oilian. The older man was having a difficult time
imagining that his own son might face the same fate.
“What’s the matter, Doc? Sonny boy falling asleep on
Without turning around, Dr. Byers said angrily, “Damn
you, Krycek! How could you?”
“How? Well, I had this rather large hypodermic needle
and I pretty much just plunged it right – ”
Krycek didn’t finish that sentence as Alan Byers lunged
at his young nemesis and tackled him to the ground.
Unfortunately, youth and strength proved too much for
the older man and Krycek easily subdued Byers with one
quick strike of his artificial limb. When it was
apparent that Dr. Byers would no longer be a threat,
Krycek released him, leaving the scientist to struggle
on his own to a chair.
“Need a hand, old man?” Krycek asked as he extended his
Byers stumbled slightly as he stood up; he sought the
security of a chair. “Go to hell,” he rasped.
“I’m already there, Doc, already there….”
“Why? Why do this to him?” he cried out as he gestured
helplessly toward his unconscious son. “He’s never done
anything; I’ve never done anything but give my soul to
the project at the expense of everything I’ve held close
to my heart, and this is the thanks I get? My son is
infected with an alien virus? For what ungodly purpose
would you do this to him and me?”
Krycek remained silent as he decided just how much he
should tell the old man. His superiors hadn’t given him
specific orders on how to go about accomplishing his
goal nor whether to share said details with the
scientist of how he planned to complete his mission.
And it was a mission. One that he was placed in charge
of, and Krycek was determined not to screw it up.
“We needed to give you and those who work with you a
little more incentive, that’s all,” the young Russian
offered. “Too much is dependent upon the successful
completion of your experiments. You’re being counted on
to find an antidote for the latest strain of the oilian
virus. You did it for the first strain of black oil.
That vaccine even had a negating effect on the second
strain. But this latest type is proving to be a bitch,
“So, Doc, it’s been left up to me to give you a little
encouragement, ya know?” Krycek couldn’t help wonder
why no one had considered using the old man’s son before
this. The fact that John was involved in a secret
affair with one of the top Roush chemists certainly made
his participation in any plot that much more appealing.
“As soon as you develop the vaccine,” Krycek offered,
“you’ll be allowed to use your son to test it on to cure
him. Does that seem so difficult to understand?”
“But what if I can’t? What if I can’t develop it in
time? This latest strain; it’s not a patient one.”
“True, true. But don’t worry, Johnny boy here is just
the bait to bring in the surefire ‘tool’. And believe
me, that tool will be ready, willing and able to
voluntarily walk right through the doors of Roush to aid
in the research, now that one of his closest friends was
in captivity there.”
Fox Mulder come on down, mused Krycek.
“What if I don’t have the right tools to do it? Damn
it, Krycek, this is my son’s life you’ve placed in my
“Then I’d say you have your work cut out for you, Doc.
I’ll leave you to your work.” Krycek turned and
practically strutted out the door.
“Bastard.” Byers turned to his son and placed his hand
on his forehead and began to gently brush the hair off
of it. He stood there for a few minutes and tried to
clear his mind so he could begin to do what he did best,
assess the situation and develop a plan of action. But
for the moment all he wanted to do was hold the son he’d
neglected for the last thirty years and figure out a way
to make amends.
The LGM Headquarters
Building # 566
Langly and Frohike sat quietly, each at their own
terminal, trying to gather as much information as
possible to best help them secure Byers’s release that
night. Langly continued his research on the actual
location, hacking into sites that revealed the
blueprints of the Roush laboratory building. How he
managed to do that was always a wonder to Byers and
Frohike; apparently Langly’s ‘kung fu’ was one to be
Frohike, on the other hand, worked on trying to
determine exactly why they would bother to take Byers.
What made Byers such a valuable commodity that the
consortium would see fit to abduct him? Surely ‘the
powers that be’ had recognized that since he and Susanne
had a relationship, she would assist them in locating
Byers inside the lab, no?
If it had something to do with a project that Susanne
and Byers’s father was working on, then they obviously
felt that taking Byers could benefit the project in some
way. Frohike sighed with frustration; they’d never been
actual targets before. It had always been Mulder or
Scully, or even Skinner’s ass they were dragging out of
the fire. Never one of the three of them. Why? What
did Byers have to offer that could assist a man he
hadn’t seen in almost thirty years and a woman he’d seen
only once a month, if that?
Frohike continued his research by hacking into
government sites, which gave him access to specific data
banks and chemical testing sites that the government
sponsored. Frohike smiled to himself; his ‘kung fu’
wasn’t anything to sneeze at either.
“Come up with anything?” asked Langly.
“Nothing that seems to help me figure out why the hell
they took Byers. I mean, why didn’t they just take
Susanne; she’s the damn scientist. What could they
possibly gain by taking Byers?” asked Frohike more
frustrated than ever.
“I know,” Langly quietly agreed. “I found the
blueprints; the place is one huge maze. Should be a
bitch to figure out where the hell he is.”
“You don’t think she’ll show up tonight, either, do
Not surprisingly, Langly shook his head. “I’m still not
sure why he’s so enamoured with her. She’s part of them
and he doesn’t see that. No matter what she says, I’ve
never been able to trust her. And what’s up with
Mulder? All of a sudden he’s Byers and Susanne’s best
friend to the point where they’re confiding in one
another? Shit! He even left poor Scully in the dark.
Don’t know if I’d want to be alone in the same room with
her right now…”
Frohike smiled at that; he’d always appreciated the
sassy side of Dana Scully. He also knew that Mulder did
too, and he would never do anything to intentionally
hurt her. There was something wrong with this whole
scenario. Byers was a pawn in this plot, of that
Frohike was sure, but why? For what was Byers being
used as bait?
“Not for what,” Frohike said aloud, “For whom?”
Langly looked over at him. “What was that?”
“That’s it!” Frohike looked up to see total confusion
written on his friend’s face. “Byers is just the bait.
But who are they baiting? Susanne already works for
them, so it wouldn’t be her, right?” Langly simply
nodded his head. Once Frohike got in a zone, there was
no shutting him up.
“So who do they want? One of us? I can’t think of a
reason why they’d want one of us….” Frohike’s voice
trailed off. He remained silent momentarily until he
looked directly at Langly. “Scully? That would be
pretty farfetched. They’d gotten to her once already;
would they take Byers as a means of getting her back
“That makes about as much sense as them wanting one of
us,” Langly said. “No, this has to have something to do
with Byers’s father. Either good ol’ Doc Byers is a
bastard and knee deep in Consortium shit and forcing
John to do God knows what, or… someone wants to
control the doc and is using John as the incentive.
Jeeze, Frohike, this is so damned schoolyard. Why take
Enroute to LGM Headquarters
Unknown local streets
They’d packed the trunk with everything they thought
they could use and got in the car to begin the maze-like
drive back to the Gunmen Headquarters. Though the first
few minutes of the drive were quiet, Mulder finally
announced, “I’m hungry.”
“You’re always hungry, Mulder.”
“What can I say? I’m insatiable,” he retorted with his
trademark leer, to which Scully agreed wholeheartedly.
“That you are, my love.” She entwined her fingers with
his and said in a husky voice, “And I’m glad you are.”
“Scully, you keep talking like that and we will be
awfully late getting back to the Gunmen.” While his
eyes remained on the road, he gently squeezed his
partner’s hand and then brought it up to his lips for a
tender kiss. “God, Scully, you really do know how to
bring out the mushy side of me.”
She could only laugh in response to that mainly because
it always surprised her how little about himself that
Mulder seemed to know. He proved to her time and time
again just how sensitive and ‘mushy’ he was, whether it
was towards her, a victim, or even a perp. Mulder was
sometimes too damned sensitive for his own good and
often got himself into trouble because of it.
“There’s a Seven-Eleven. Want anything?” he asked.
“Oh, Scully, you do live dangerously!” he teased.
So, sometimes ‘practical’ can still win out, she mused.
She watched him walk into the convenience store, eyeing
his butt with more than just a passing interest. Not
thirty minutes before that beautiful rear end was buck
naked and lying next to her on the same bed they’d just
made love in. The smile on her face was one of smug
satisfaction, and she had no qualms about sharing it
with the world.
That is until he appeared at her window.
“Hello, Dana. How nice to see you again.”
She flinched, though God knows she didn’t want to give
him the satisfaction. “Go to hell, Krycek.” She looked
at him dressed in his black leather jacket, black jeans,
and black turtleneck. She half expected to see his face
covered in soot for effect, but Krycek was too damn vain
to cover up his pretty face.
“Tut, tut, Dana, is that anyway for a lady to speak?”
He smirked at her and then quickly said, “You look good
in basic black, Scully. Where’s the party, and why, oh
why wasn’t I invited, too?”
“You’re already involved in this you sonofabitch, aren’t
you? Damn it, I should have known. What’s your role in
this, Krycek? Why Byers? What can he possibly do to
help you get ahead in your little game of one-up-man-
ship with the consortium?” she asked in a steely tone.
“Silly girl, Byers is nothing more than the catnip. A
mere enticement for the real prey. You knew that,
didn’t you, Dana? Well, I must be off. Have fun
tonight, Agent Scully. Until we meet again…and we
will meet again.” Before she could say another word, he
vanished into the night. She hadn’t even time to get out
of the car when seconds later, Mulder returned to the
car with a couple of bags in tow.
“What?” he asked defensively. “Even rescuers have to
“We had a visitor,” she said with resignation.
“What?” Mulder set himself to jump back out of the car.
“Mulder, wait! He’s gone.”
“But what did he want? He knows about Byers, doesn’t
“Yes. He knows about Byers.”
“Well?” Mulder’s impatience was apparent as he tapped
his thighs rhythmically. “What did he say?”
“I’m not sure what he meant by it.”
“Scully, what is it?”
“Byers isn’t the one they really wanted. He said he was
just the catnip for the real prey.”
“Shit,” he muttered. He started the car and pulled out
of the parking lot.
“Mulder, talk to me.”
He said nothing for several seconds as he made his way
back onto the beltway. It never seemed to matter what
time of day or night it was, there was always traffic on
the damn beltway. “I think, maybe, one of us is the
prey. If Krycek is involved, you know he never takes
the direct path. Scenic route is more in keeping with
his style. It’s just a game to him, Scully. He does
this shit for his amusement, and whatever monetary
benefits he can derive from it.”
“Mulder? This time, it really is all about you, isn’t
He nodded, imperceptible, but most definitely a nod.
“Let’s go see what the boys have learned. Maybe Susanne
will be there by the time we get there.”
“You think she’ll show up?” Scully asked, knowing full
well what his answer would be and knowing full well that
he’d be wrong.
“Okay.” She reached into the bag for her yogurt, though
she didn’t bother to open it. Sometimes knowing you’re
right makes you lose your appetite.
Susanne wrapped herself in the large bath towel after
she finished her shower. It was one of the few luxuries
she’d allowed herself when she first moved into the tiny
apartment several months ago. No one knew of its
existence, not the consortium nor Byers. This was her
own little, private hideaway; it was a place for her to
escape to when the pressures from the lab became too
It was for that reason that the loud rapping on the door
startled her. When the door flew open, she tried to
flee, but longer legs clad in black caught up to her.
“Hello Susanne. Nice to see you again.”
“Go to hell, Alex.”
“You know, Susanne, you have to be at least the fourth
person who’s said those exact words in the last ten
hours. I’m beginning to get a complex.”
“What the hell do you want from me?”
“Such language! What happened to being the more genteel
and fairer sex?”
“Cut the crap, Krycek, and tell me what you want.”
“You know what I want; it’s time for you and Doc to get
ready to go back to the old drawing board. Oh, and you
have a new guinea pig, my dear.” His expression was one
of pure glee. And evil. Susanne gasped at a
“You didn’t? Oh my God, you infected John? Why? Why
would you do that?”
“Well, that seems fairly obvious, doesn’t it? Susanne,
we need a victim for our savior to rescue. I decided it
wouldn’t behoove us to take Agent Scully again; we don’t
need the entire FBI force to be engaged. But one lone
man, whose lover just happened to work with one of the
top research scientists who just happened to be that
man’s father – Oh, c’mon, Susanne! Soap Opera Digest
couldn’t have created a better scenario than that!
“And I suspect the rescue effort will be taking place
tonight. Am I correct about that, Susanne?” They both
knew it was a rhetorical question.
He moved easily to where her bedroom was located, as if
he were as familiar with the layout of her apartment as
she was. Susanne realized that’s because he probably
He pulled out various clothing items from her dresser
drawers and handed them to her. “Here, get dressed.”
She took them but made no move to dress. “I have no
plans for tonight, Alex.”
“No? Well, then that works out great then, doesn’t it?
Now we can go out. Together. You and me, babe.” He
smiled. Then his face took on one that brooked no
nonsense. “Get dressed. I want to leave within the
next ten minutes.” Krycek reached into his jacket
pocket with his good hand and pulled out a small
revolver. “I suggest that you do not want to make me
late, Susanne. Move. Now.”
She was dressed within nine and they immediately left,
his gun, pointed at Susanne’s back the entire time.
The LGM Headquarters
Building # 566
The loud knock froze them both momentarily, until
Frohike rose to see which of the players waited at the
“It’s me, Melvin. Open the damn door.”
Frohike went through the ritual and finally unlocked the
last of the locks to allow Mulder and Scully to enter.
He watched as the two walked in, obviously with more on
their minds than what had been when they’d left earlier
“You figured it out, too, didn’t you?” asked Frohike.
Scully looked directly at the oldest of the gunmen and
ask, “What do you mean?” She wondered if the man in
black paid them a visit as well.
“Byers is just a pawn. They’re after someone else. We
figured it ain’t Langly or me; not that either one of us
couldn’t be of some benefit to them, of course…”
“Frohike, get on with it,” Mulder interrupted.
It was Langly who picked up the ball, however. “We
decided that it’s probably not Susanne either, who by
the way still isn’t here. They’ve already proven they
can get access to her at will.”
“No,” agreed Frohike, “and we don’t think it would make
sense for them to go to the trouble of taking Byers just
to get to Susanne. I mean, she works right at the lab;
they could arm twist her every day of the damn week, if
they needed to. Which of course leaves you two.
“I want one of you to stay here with Scully,” declared
“Like hell!” retorted Scully with equal determination.
“It’s Mulder they’re after.”
They all nodded in quiet agreement. Langly spoke up
with the sixty-four dollar question. “Why? Why now,
Mulder? What have you got they’ve decided they need.
They’ve already probed your brain, and most likely
didn’t find much, so it can’t be to tap your incredible
intelligence….” Everyone managed a chuckle over that.
“So what is it, Mulder? They ever do anything to you
that would make them want you now? What have you got
that they need?” asked Frohike.
“I don’t know,” he answered. “Every time I was released
from a military base, I came out with a clear mind…and
no memories. I don’t know what our good old U.S. of A.
wants from me this time.”
“But what if…?” Scully hesitated, but she looked
directly at Mulder. He nodded and urged her on.
“Mulder, remember who’s involved here – Krycek. We
never know which side of the fence that bastard stands
on, so what if…?”
Just as Frohike asked, “When did he come into the
picture?” Mulder’s eyes opened wide with understanding.
“Damn it,” he gritted out.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Russia. It was when I was in Russia; remember, when
you were called to testify at the congressional
Scully nodded. He’d never spoken to her of that time in
Russia with Krycek, but she’d always suspected it was
not a holiday. Each time she’d asked about it, he had
brushed the question off; he often said that there
wasn’t much to tell, but someday when they were old and
gray and bored to tears he’d fill her in.
Scully sat down next to her partner. “Mulder, what
happened in Russia?”
“You feeling bored, Scully?”
“I never could get you to tell me what happened.
Mulder, but you have to tell me now. John’s life may
depend on it.”
He nodded, knowing she was right.
“Krycek and I were spying on some kind of prison camp,
but we were spotted. I started running like crazy.
Would have beat out the damn horses too if I hadn’t
tripped.” He shrugged.
“Not much else to tell. They caught us, tied us up, and
threw Krycek and me into a dirt pit with bars. They
came for me, dragged me out of my cell and beat the hell
out of me. Then – then they brought me to – “He began
to unconsciously rub his neck.
“Where, Mulder? Where did they bring you?”
“They brought me into this large, gray room with rows
and rows of small cots…no, they were like cages. Oil
started pouring from above all over me. Shit felt like
it was crawling right through me. Now that’s one memory
I wouldn’t have minded being wiped out.”
The LGM Headquarters
Building # 566
Mulder excused himself for a few minutes to use the
bathroom. Scully excused herself and followed him. Just
before he walked into the small lavatory, he turned to
“I’m okay, Scully.”
He smiled. “Yeah, but it’s nice to know that if I
weren’t you’d be there as my back-up.”
“Always, Mulder. Anytime, anywhere.”
“I know. It’s nice to be reminded every now and then
Now she smiled and reached out to hug him. “Oh,
Mulder,” she sighed as she drew him in towards her. She
felt his arms go around her small waist and hold her.
“This feels good.”
“Yeah, it does, except…”
“What? What’s wrong?” The smile disappeared and worry
“Except I really do have to use the bathroom, so, if you
don’t mind…?” He chuckled at the exasperation that
clearly showed on her face.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” She slapped him gently on
his ass, gave him a quick kiss, and walked back into the
small living area of the headquarters.
“He’s okay for tonight, isn’t he?” Frohike asked.
Scully nodded in the affirmative.
“She’s not going to show up, is she?” asked Langly.
“Did you expect her to?” asked Frohike.
“No,” he replied and then pointed towards the head.
“But he did.”
“She was going to come, Langly,” said Scully. “Mulder’s
sixth sense kicked in about her, and he really believed
she would have shown up. It’s possible she didn’t show
up because someone didn’t want her to show up.”
“And who might that be, Agent Scully?” asked Langly.
“A certain rat bastard,” she replied and then proceeded
to fill the two men in on Krycek’s little visit with
“Damn,” Langly responded, and looking at Frohike said,
“So that’s where he fit into the picture.”
“Yeah, damn,” echoed Frohike. He then looked
thoughtfully at Scully and asked, “Did you have any idea
about it? About Russia?”
Scully shook her head. “No, he never even hinted at
“But I thought that stuff killed everyone,” remarked
“Me, too,” she replied to which Frohike nodded in
“Me, three.” Mulder reappeared. “They injected me with
something when they’d first captured me. They threw me
into the cell and-” he unconsciously brought his hand
back up to his neck, “shot me up with it. It must have
been some kind of a serum to counteract the effects, and
they were using me to test it. I never felt any symptoms
after that first day they’d given me the ‘black oil
He looked around for a moment and observed, “Susanne’s
not here yet.”
“No, she’s not,” and before he could comment, Scully
added, “I’m sorry, Mulder. I don’t think she’s going to
make it back here.”
Though he finger-combed his hair in frustration, he
didn’t disagree. “I think she wanted to come back,
Scully. I really think she did.”
“Yeah, right,” muttered Langly.
“Would you knock it off?” retorted Mulder angrily. When
Langly looked at him with the classic “who me?”
expression, Mulder eagerly accepted the job of
explaining himself. “Langly, putting her down and
making her out to be the total villain is not going to
endear yourself to Byers.”
“That’s assuming he’s still alive!”
“He’s alive,” Mulder replied adamantly, “and I don’t
want to hear anymore negative shit like that, do you
understand?” Mulder stared down Langly and Frohike and
practically dared them to disagree. He couldn’t bear to
look over at Scully, though, for fear that she felt the
same way as the boys.
But Scully understood that and let him know immediately
where she stood. “I think so, too, Mulder. But we’re
going to be on our own tonight looking for him. Susanne
won’t be here; I don’t think she can.”
“Krycek,” he replied resignedly.
Scully nodded in agreement. “You think you’re up to
“Sure. Besides, I don’t have a choice. Byers needs all
To that all of them agreed, so they sat and finalized
their makeshift plans.
284 Stealth Avenue
“Hey, Doc! Doc, you got company!” called out Alex, as
he entered the laboratory with Susanne in tow.
Dr. Byers came out of the room he’d brought John to
earlier and shook his head. “How could you, Susanne?”
Susanne stared at the older man, not believing what
she’d just heard. “Alan, if you think for one moment I
had anything to do with this asshole infecting John -”
She paused momentarily to catch her breath, and then she
realized she was wasting valuable time. “Oh for
Christ’s sake, it really doesn’t matter what you think,
does it? Where is he, Alan?”
Dr. Byers didn’t hesitate; he pointed toward the room
he’d just left and watched as she pushed her way through
to the lab. Both Byers and Krycek followed her in.
“Gee, your little boy isn’t looking to too great, is he,
“Shut up, Krycek,” hissed Susanne. “What are his
“He’s holding his own, but I don’t know how long he can
last like this. I swear, Krycek, if he doesn’t survive
this, I will kill you.”
“Oh, c’mon, Doc…sticks and stones will break my bones,
but idle threats will never hurt me….” He smiled, but
none present felt like celebrating.
“Susanne, I was considering using the protocols from the
last trial,” offered Byers.
“For what purpose? It failed miserably on the last
three patients,” responded Susanne.
“But it might give us time, don’t you think?” he asked.
“We can’t be sure,” she responded uneasily.
“Do we have a choice?”
“Yes, Susanne, do you have a choice?” interjected Krycek
with a syrupy tone.
“Maybe we should just inject you with the little
critters, Krycek?” retorted Susanne.
“No, thanks,” he said as he held up his prosthesis, “I
paid my dues, thank you very much. But in case you have
some other ideas, I’ve brought a few of my nearest and
dearest friends to stay nearby and stand watch over you
and the good doctor here.” As if on cue, several very
large men, holding equally large weapons, appeared in
the room behind Krycek.
“What the hell are they here for?” asked Susanne.
“Just want to make sure you stay focused, dear, that’s
all,” said Krycek.
Suddenly the monitors began squealing and both Susanne
and Alan rushed to check John over. They adjusted IVs
and readjusted the oxygen flow. Susanne grabbed a
stethoscope and listened to his heart and lungs.
“I don’t like the sound of his lungs; he’s got fluid
“What do you suggest we do, Susanne? He’s not going to
get any better without some kind of intervention,” asked
“We need to hold out a little longer.”
“Oh? Why, Susanne Modeski, why ever are you willing to
wait? Could it be that you’re expecting, oh say…some
visitors tonight?” asked Krycek, the sarcasm practically
dripped out of his mouth.
“I don’t understand you, Alex. What kind of deadly game
are you playing here?” asked Modeski.
“Oh, but don’t you know? The deadly kind are the only
kind worth risking your own life for.”
284 Stealth Avenue
“This has got to be the ugliest building I’ve ever
seen,” observed Mulder wryly. “No wonder they decided
to hide it among all this foliage.”
The concrete fortress rose seemed to rise above the
trees the closer they got to the building. It was
nothing more than a square rectangle with several
smaller square boxes layered above it in an almost
haphazard pattern. The windows appeared to be
nonexistent; they also wondered where the entrance was.
Frohike pulled out his small palm pilot and brought up
the blueprints that he’d so carefully downloaded
earlier. He zoomed in on the ground level, West End of
the building and searched for possible entryways.
“Bingo!” Frohike practically shouted.
“SHH! Why don’t you just get a bull horn, and let
everyone know we’re here?” admonished Langly.
“Sorry. Jeeze, ya don’t have to get that touchy,
“Okay, okay…where is it?”
All was forgiven and Frohike pointed out the most likely
entrance points on the palm pilot and then pointed out
toward the building itself. “Let’s go.”
The quartet, dressed from head to toe in black, headed
out toward the most likely site of entry. They kept low
and looked carefully for any sign of barriers, both
physical and electronic. Several minutes later, having
found none, they stepped up in front of the concrete
slab and knelt down to catch their breath.
“What’s wrong with this picture?” gasped Scully as she
drew in some fresh air.
“What do you mean?” asked Langly, wiping the sweat and
long blond wisps of hair off of his forehead.
“I know what you mean, Scully,” agreed Mulder.
She nodded. She figured Mulder would understand and
pick up on what she was thinking. “Doesn’t this seem
just a tad too easy, boys?”
“Easy?” echoed both Frohike and Langly in stereo.
“No guards? No electronic fences? Do you see anything
that even remotely resembles a monitoring device?” she
All three men shook their heads. Frohike said, “But you
gotta admit, Agent Scully, they’ve got us stymied about
how to get into the damn place.”
Scully had to agree with that as she looked over the
wall and tried to discern where the entryway was. “Bet
ya wish Susanne was here now,” she muttered quietly.
“Yeah, damn straight,” mumbled Langly, not realizing he
“Be careful what you wish for,” whispered Scully, so
that only Mulder could hear. He gave her a quick smile.
Next, he started feeling his way all around the
perimeter of the concrete wall of the building, as he
hoped to find a trigger device that would gain them
access. Scully began to follow suit as did Langly and
“Ouch!” cried out Scully.
“What happened?” called out a chorus of male voices, but
before Scully could answer, they heard a rumbling from
the concrete fortress and suddenly, a wide opening
appeared before them. Meanwhile, Scully placed her cut
finger in her mouth as she tried to control the slight
bleeding that appeared when she’d caught her finger on
the trigger mechanism.
“I thi’k I fou’d it,” she mumbled.
“Good job, Sherlock,” teased Mulder. “You okay?” When
she nodded in the affirmative, he said, “Great. Let’s
go see what the hell they’re letting us walk right
It was the silence that assaulted them first, and then
it was the enormity of the size of the entrance hall.
They determined there was no upper floor, though they
knew from the blueprints there were several lower
“Well, which way, Wrong-Way?” asked Mulder of Frohike.
The little man smiled at that, sucked on his index
finger, and lifted it up as if to test the winds. “Oh,
how about thataway?” he asked as he pointed directly in
front of them.
“Sounds as good of a plan as any,” answered Mulder.
284 Stealth Avenue
“Well, it appears our guests have finally arrived,”
announced Krycek, as he viewed a video monitor near the
door. “All I can say is it’s about time, right, Doc? I
mean, Sonny Boy doesn’t look too well at the moment,
“Damn you, Krycek,” hissed Dr. Byers.
The smirk on Krycek’s face was evident, so much so, that
both Suzanne and Alan turned in disgust. The two
scientists had been quietly consulting with one another
over what their next course of action should be.
John’s level of consciousness continued to diminish. It
was apparent that his reaction to pain was decreasing as
well, and it was obviously of great concern to both of
them. Susanne was the first to admit, for her
colleague’s ears only, that they most likely had only
one hope to cure John, as it was apparent that the old
vaccine was not providing a remission of the symptoms.
Krycek’s announcement sent a sense of relief through
them, knowing that the rescue team had finally showed
up. They needed to create a new vaccine. As in right
then and there.
“So, boys and girls? Shall we go have someone greet our
guests?” With a nod to the five goons standing guard
near the entrance, Krycek sent a signal to bring their
‘visitors’ to them immediately.
Before they’d even had a moment to say “What the hell?”
Mulder, Scully, Langly, and Frohike were surrounded.
“Damn, you guys are big,” observed Frohike, whose mouth
remained opened slightly in disbelief.
“C’mon, Frohike, anyone you stand next to is gonna look
big,” retorted Mulder. At that moment, Goon Number 1
stood directly in front of Mulder. The agent found
himself looking up in order to make eye contact with his
captor. “Okay, ‘you’re big’,” Mulder acquiesced,
raising his hands in a defensive posture. Even Frohike
managed a smile at that.
“So, take me to your leader,” proclaimed Mulder and
wondered why he didn’t feel more threatened. The
foursome were lined up side by side and directed to
raise their hands and place them on the back of their
heads. Goons 1, 2, 3,and 4 remained directly in back of
their prisoners, while Goons 5 and 6 stood guard at each
side, as they walked them down the obviously very wide,
but very long, bare corridor.
“What the hell is this place?” asked Scully
incredulously as she surveyed the area. “There doesn’t
seem to be any sign of life here at all.”
“Something’s wrong with this picture; I just wish I
could figure out what the hell it was exactly.”
“You get the feeling,” began Frohike, “that we’ve just
been given an ‘engraved invitation’?”
All of them nodded in agreement.
They’d finally reached the end of the corridor when the
guards to their sides pointed their weapons toward the
right. Obviously they were being directed to turn
right, but Mulder had other ideas.
“What’s going on? Where are you taking us?” he asked.
“Yeah, where’s Byers?” piped in Frohike.
The hulking men simply pointed their weapons again to
the right. Frohike was getting pissed off, which
unfortunately sometimes led Frohike to do foolish
things. This was one of those times.
“No!” he shouted as he tried to break away. Goon Number
3, the man who was guarding Frohike, immediately reached
out and, with one hand, grabbed the little man up and
raised him up off of the floor. Neither man made a
sound, at least not until Frohike practically squeaked
from lack of oxygen.
“C’mon, man, put him down,” urged Langly who
instinctively moved to help his friend, but who was also
immediately blocked by Goon Number 2.
The giants observed all of their captives, but the one
holding Frohike made eye contact with Mulder and held
his gaze. Mulder realized that they were waiting for
some kind of response from him, and suddenly he knew
what was going on.
“Put him down. Let’s get this over with,” he said.
And with that, the group turned right and headed toward
their appointed destination.
The door slid opened with a whoosh, as if an airlock was
released. Frohike and Langly were pushed through the
opening first, with Scully and Mulder following. They’d
entered a small outer office that remained dark and
shadowy. They didn’t see anyone at first, but there was
no mistaking that voice.
“Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.”
“Gee, what a surprise to find you here,” said Mulder.
Krycek responded with a mirthless chuckle. “Oh, you’re
just saying that because you’re so happy to see me,
aren’t you, Mulder?”
Scully was standing by and watching the exchange with
frustration. “What the hell is going on here? Where’s
Byers? Where’s Susanne? You do know where they both
are, don’t you? What have you done with them? And
what, Krycek, do you want from us? I don’t-”
“Enough! I don’t want anything from you, Agent Scully,
or from your two little lap dogs either for that
matter,” snarled Krycek.
“Then why are we here?” she demanded to know.
“Because you come with the package,” he replied snidely.
The look of confusion on Scully’s face prompted Mulder
to intercede. “Me. I’m the package, right, Krycek?”
“Give the man a kewpie doll!”
“So what now, Alex? You finally got me here, but I’m
still not sure why.”
Suddenly another rush of air was heard and light
penetrated the small room illuminating Krycek, which
allowed the others to see him pointing toward the
opening. “Why don’t you follow me, Mulder, and I’ll
show you why,” and then as an afterthought he added,
“Oh, and the others can come, too, if they want.”
The two gunmen, Scully, and Mulder followed Krycek into
the larger laboratory area with a little help from the
large bodied goons that walked behind them with guns
prodding their backs. When they’d all entered, the
airlocks reversed in sound and all noted that they were
now locked in what seemed like a seamless room. There
appeared to be no escape.
“Oh, damn!” gasped out Langly as he rushed over to where
Byers lay on the hospital bed. He was hooked up to
numerous monitors, but there appeared to be no signs of
consciousness. Frohike was quickly behind him as were
Mulder and Scully.
“What’s wrong with him?” demanded Langly. “What have you
done to him?” The blonde’s face contorted with anger.
Frohike appeared no calmer.
“Why him? Why John?” asked Frohike softly, with
“Let’s just say he provided very good incentive,”
“For me?” asked Mulder who was now confused and worried
that his friend’s condition was a direct result of their
“No,” called out a male voice, husky with emotion, “for
“And for me as well,” echoed someone else with equal
“Sonofabitch, I knew you were behind this!” cried out
Langly as Susanne approached them. Mulder immediately
moved to protect Susanne from Langly’s lashing out.
“Calm down! You’re not helping him by hurting her,”
“It’s her fault!”
“No, it’s his fault,” Mulder hissed as his eyes pierced
Krycek’s. “Byers was just a pawn in all of this, a
means to an end.”
Alan Byers finally came forward and was seen by the rest
of the room’s inhabitants. The family resemblance was
strong and caused both Frohike and Langly to gasp in the
immediate recognition of their fallen comrade’s father.
“I tried to protect him all of these years. I never
meant for this to happen,” he said, trying to contain
his emotions. “And you have to believe me when I tell
you that Susanne kept my existence a secret for as long
as she did because I pleaded with her. I feared for
John’s life as well as his mother’s…Susanne knew
“If she hadn’t gotten involved with her,” Langly argued,
“he wouldn’t be laying in that bed dying. You will
never convince me differently of that.”
Krycek jumped in and said, “Yada, yada, yada…Look, you
wanna go kick her ass, be my guest, Langly, just not on
my watch, okay? Susanne and the esteemed Dr. Byers have
a job to do, and they do not need to interrupted by a
sniveling hippie wannabe. So, do me a favor, can it,
and let them get on with the business at hand.”
“Which is exactly what?” interjected Scully. “What do
you expect us to do?”
“I don’t expect you to do anything, Agent Scully. I
don’t expect Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee to do anything
either. Agent Mulder, on the other hand, is another
story.” Turning to Mulder, Krycek said, “Have a seat,
Foxy. Oh, and take off your shirt, okay?”
“The good doctor needs to draw some blood, don’t you,
Doc?” replied Krycek. Both scientists nodded in the
“I can just roll up my sleeve, doncha think, Alex?”
Mulder asked wryly.
“Can’t blame a guy for trying,” retorted Krycek with a
Mulder was just about to seat himself when Scully cried
out, “Just a God damned minute here!”
“Has she always had such a way with words, Mulder, or is
this your influence?” asked Krycek.
Scully pulled Mulder’s arm, and practically pulled him
up off of the ground with the unbelievable tug. “Why
are you so willing to do whatever this bastard says you
should do? Mulder, I don’t understand you? I see, once
again the idea of ‘trust no one’ has gone out the
window. You want to give me one good reason?”
Mulder pointedly looked over at the bed. Byers
continued to lay still under the scrutiny of beeping
monitors, inflating respirators, and dripping IVs.
Mulder sat and rolled up his sleeve.
284 Stealth Avenue
Susanne drew several vials of blood, while Mulder
cringed each time a new one was filled. As hard as he
tried to keep from looking, his eyes returned to
watching the needle each time. Finally, she pronounced
the task finished, as she withdrew the syringe and
placed a folded up gauze on the needle mark. Susanne
bent Mulder’s arm and instructed him to hold it tightly
for a minute or so, while she labeled the blood samples
and then got a Band-Aid.
Scully took the bandage from her and applied it to her
partner’s arm. And then there was nothing left to do but
wait, while Susanne and Dr. Byers returned to their own
laboratory to get to work.
“How long will it take?” asked Langly as he looked
worriedly at his friend.
Scully shrugged her shoulders, but she attempted to
explain the process anyway. “They’re going to clot the
blood in order to separate it into plasma and the serum
that’s unique to Mulder’s blood that will, hopefully,
cure Byers. It takes anywhere from a half-hour to an
hour just to clot the blood. I assume they have methods
of ringing the clot that is faster than standard
procedures given the time factor.”
“Time factor? Scully, what do you mean, exactly?” asked
Scully looked at the two men who had been in Mulder’s
and her corner more times than she could count. She
wanted so much to say the words they wanted to hear, but
she respected them too much to not tell them the truth
as she saw it.
“He’s very ill, Melvin.”
Frohike shuddered slightly at her use of his given name;
if he hadn’t wanted to believe there could be a possible
fatal outcome before, there was no doubt in his mind
now. Scully would never lie to him and as much as he
appreciated that in her, this one time, he almost wished
“How long does he have?” he asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve only had indirect experience with
this before.” She turned to Mulder and asked, “Do you
remember anything from that time? Anything regarding
the symptoms and how long your recovery was?”
Mulder shook his head. “I honestly don’t; I’m sorry.
Of course I don’t know how relevant it would be even if
I did, since I received the vaccine before I was exposed
to the damn oilians.” He looked over at his friend and
felt a frustration interlaced with an anger he hadn’t
felt in a long time. It was bad enough that his own
life was turned upside down by the consortium; it pissed
him off royally that his friends were being subjected to
their evil as well.
As if reading his mind, Scully reached for his hand and
said, “This is in no way, shape, or form your fault,
Mulder.” He shook his head, but before he could
verbally disagree, she continued, “Listen to me. Dr.
Byers knew exactly what he was getting into when he made
his decision. Do you hear me, Mulder? His decision.
Just like your father made decisions that you may
question, but you had no say in. William Mulder and Dr.
Byers made adult decisions a very long time ago. You
were just a little boy. There was nothing you could
His rational self knew she was right, but his heart
wondered if there wasn’t anything that he could have
done to prevent this. He kept his doubts to himself.
Scully sat next to her partner for a few minutes more,
but her need to do something compelled her to get up and
check the patient’s vitals once again. His respiration
remained low, and his blood pressure appeared too high.
He was running a low-grade fever and he was not
responding to normal stimuli. Though it made her
uneasy, Scully decided to check and see if Byers
responded to pain stimuli. She made a fist and forced
pressure near his sternum.
Langly jumped up to object to whatever the hell Scully
was doing, but stopped when he saw her relieved
expression. “Oh, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?” the
lanky blond realized aloud.
“Yes, it’s a good thing.” Scully continued checking
Byers’s reflexes and jotted notes on the chart that lay
nearby. The others, however, had nothing to keep them
occupied other than their worrisome thoughts.
“How much longer do you think it’ll be, Scully?” asked
“Not too much.”
There was a sudden rush of noise; the doorway’s airlock
had been released again and in swaggered Krycek. No one
had even realized he’d left.
“Here,” he called out to no one in particular as he
tossed a few bags of fast food restaurant bags onto the
table. “Need your nourishment, kiddies.”
“Yeah, right. Like we’d eat anything you brought in,”
“Suit yourselves,” he responded as he opened one of the
bags and pulled out a paper wrapped burger. He unfolded
the paper, pulled out the burger, and proceeded to take
a large bite. He grabbed a package of french fries as
well and began munching on them. “Good shit.”
Mulder’s stomach had the audacity to growl at that very
moment. “Oh hell,” he mumbled as he stood up and
retrieved his own burger and fries.
“Mulder, you crazy?” asked Langly.
“If Alex wanted to kill us, he certainly could do it
more expeditiously than by poisoning us with Big Macs.
Besides, I’m hungry.”
The others gave Krycek a sideways glance and then aped
Mulder’s actions. He was right, if Alex wanted them
dead, he’d have certainly done away with them before he
spent the dough on dinner.
284 Stealth Avenue
The senior Byers’s voice startled them all awake as he
rushed back in from his laboratory. “We’ve got it. I’m
sure this is it!” he cried out excitedly. Susanne
followed him into the room, her relieved expression
seemingly pronouncing the same claims.
“Well, well, well…see what a little incentive can do?”
asked Krycek, his eager tone belying his sarcastic
They all watched as Susanne injected the latest vaccine
into Byers’s IV. They all watched and waited silently
for several moments.
“I doubt it’s going to work instantaneously, folks,”
Scully said. “Maybe we should sit down.” They did.
Finally, Mulder broke a long anxious silence. “What I
don’t understand, Krycek, is why the hell did you have
to get John involved in this; why not just nab me and
draw the blood?”
“Well, like I said; everyone needed a little more
incentive to get this vaccine in working order. I
figured using Johnny boy here would not only encourage
Daddy and Lover Girl a little more, it would also not
necessitate me having to risk my life yet one more time
to get you to do what is necessary to save this world’s
“So, you’re trying to tell us that you’re out to save
the world, Krycek?” retorted Mulder with a snort.
“Hey, I’ve been telling you all along; I’m one of the
“Sure. Sure you are.” Mulder would have liked nothing
more than to stand up and punch the guy’s lights out,
but with the goonies still standing guard, he didn’t
think that would be the wisest move on his part. Byers
had to be their main concern at the moment.
And Mulder’s patience was rewarded. It appeared that
the patient was finally starting to come around.
“John,” called Susanne in an effort to awaken him.
“John, you need to wake up now.” She leaned over and
placed her lips gently onto his forehead.
It was obviously an effort, but Byers’s eyes fluttered a
bit and, finally, opened. They appeared to stare
blankly at first, but as seconds ticked by, their focus
seemed more and more.
Both Mulder and Scully looked on with great concern,
oblivious to everything around them except their friend.
They knew what was most likely going to happen next.
“Holy shit!” shouted Frohike. Langly even jumped back a
bit in reaction to what they were seeing coming out of
Byers’s eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. Small, black oily
worm-like entities appeared out of no where. They
seemed to inch their way out of Byers’s body, and then
die on his face until most of his face was covered in
the ebony mask.
“They’re dead,” declared Scully after careful poking and
prodding. She quickly picked up an implement to aid her
in removing the offensive material off of Byers’s face
and placed it in a plastic bag for evidence.
Byers’s eyes darted from face to face of those who
stared down at him. He opened his mouth to mouth to
speak, but coughed a bit instead. He was still
intubated and Dr. Byers asked him if he were ready to
have the endotracheal tube removed. He managed a small
nod. Just as Dr. Byers was about to tell John what to
do next, Scully beat him to it.
“Cough when he says to, okay, John? It’ll make the
removal a lot less painful,” she explained.
Scully couldn’t help but wonder how many times she’d
said those very words to Mulder. “Ready?” she asked
Byers. At his nod, Alan Byers proceeded to pull out the
tube. “Cough, John,” and as he did, the tube was
removed. When the tube was removed, the scientist
John attempted to talk, but nothing other than a slight
rasp escaped his lips. “Don’t try to talk yet; you’re
throat is going to feel extremely sore.” She reached
over and grabbed a cup of water that Mulder had
knowingly prepared. Byers gratefully sipped from a
Several minutes passed and all eyes remained on the man
lying in bed. Scully monitored his vitals and appeared
pleased with what she saw. “Your respiration is getting
back to normal levels and your blood pressure is a lot
lower. It looks like the vaccine worked, John. Welcome
John nodded and then looked over and beyond his four
friends. He looked confused and even a bit distressed.
Finally he managed to rasp out, “Susanne? My father?”
The quartet turned about quickly and realized they were
alone. Apparently Krycek had gotten what he wanted but
was not about to leave his unwitting accomplices behind.
They were gone.
The LGM Headquarters
Building # 566
Several days later
The knocking was loud enough to wake the dead, so the
three friends knew it could be only one person.
“Hold your horses, Mulder. I’m coming,” called out
“Hurry up, the beer’s getting warm, and the pizza’s
getting cold!” he answered.
Frohike smiled; at least when Mulder showed up
unexpectedly he bore gifts. As he unlocked the last of
the series of protection devices, Mulder pushed in the
door. “Ah, I see the lovely Agent Scully is joining us
as well. Come in, come in.”
Scully couldn’t help but smile; the little gnome was a
royal pain in the ass sometimes, but she knew that
Frohike could be counted on to cover her and Mulder’s
ass. She could put up with his archaic and totally
unpolitically correct forms of flattery.
“Hello, ‘Hickey’,” she said, using the endearment she
now reserved for his ears only. He returned her smile,
but lost it as soon as she asked, “How’s he doing?”
“Not so great, I’m afraid. He hasn’t heard from Susanne
at all. He’s afraid that she may have disappeared for
good this time.” Scully nodded and followed Mulder into
the main room.
“Hello, boys,” she greeted.
Langly nodded in acknowledgment, while Byers said a soft
“Hungry?” she asked. “We’re starved, so you’ll notice
we got two large with everything on it, and one small
one with some mushrooms and peppers for us normal ones,”
she said with a smile as she looked directly at Byers.
“Not really, but don’t let that stop you,” he said.
“Hey, Byers,” retorted Mulder, “don’t ever tell Scully
that you’re not hungry. She’ll go into doctor mode
faster than a C-note disappears in Vegas!” When that got
nary a smile, he sat down next to his friend on the
couch and gently patted John’s knee. “Not doing so
great yet, huh, my friend?”
He silently shook his head. No, he wasn’t, but he was
damned if he was going to talk about it. Not yet. He
couldn’t talk about it yet.
“I remember what hell it felt like,” Mulder said.
“Which ‘it’?” asked Byers.
Mulder chuckled a bit; sadly enough there were a number
of memories that were the equivalency of going through
hell. “Oh, we can pick a dozen from Column A and a
couple of more dozen from Column B.” He was pleased
that he was able to bring a small smile to Byers’s face,
even if it was at his own expense.
Several minutes passed before Byers decided that maybe
it was time to talk about it. At least Mulder would
have some semblance of understanding. “I finally get a
chance to see my father and I tell him to go to hell.
Great son I turned out to be,” Byers said softly.
“You weren’t given much of a chance to be his son, were
you?” To this, Byers shook his head in agreement.
Mulder then said, “I’m sure he understood, John.”
John looked at his him and wondered if his friend
believed that of his own father. He hoped so, but
somehow, he doubted it. His attention then turned to
Scully who offered both him and Mulder a beer. Byers
felt an overwhelming sense of sadness.
“What is it?” asked Mulder gently, though he already
knew what was on John’s mind.
“I don’t think she’s coming back this time,” he said.
“You don’t know that for sure.”
“No, but I never felt this complete sense of abandonment
before either. I think they’ve taken her from me for
good, Mulder,” and he turned away for a moment to try to
compose himself. When that didn’t work, he turned back,
his eyes glistening, and he said, “And damn, it hurts.
It hurts so damn much.”
“Susanne’s a smart woman, John. She’s a valuable
commodity for them, and as long as she has something
that they want, they’re going to keep her around.”
Mulder then placed a comforting hand on Byers’s
shoulder. “And we both know that if there’s some way
for Susanne Modeski to find her way back to you, she
“You really believe that?” asked Byers hopefully.
“I do. I really do believe.”
End of Lone Hearts
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