Camarilla

cover

TITLE: CAMARILLA

AUTHORS: The Virtual Season 11 Producers

EMAIL: vs10producers@yahoo.com

RATING: PG-13

CONTENT: Casefile; mytharc; Conclusion of “Legacy“,

the last episode of Virtual Season 10

SPOILERS: Allusions to mytharc episodes prior to

Season 8, and to Virtual Season 10 mytharc episodes

Patchwork“, “Circles“, “Last Kiss” and “Legacy“.

SUMMARY: Mulder has found the evidence his mother

left for him but will it be his last gift?

THANKS: To everyone who supports the Virtual Seasons,

either by contributing their talent or their

feedback; and to everyone who loves The X-Files.

FEEDBACK: To the Virtual Season 11 feedback page

DISCLAIMER: You all know it, you’ve heard it a

million times. The X-Files, Fox Mulder, Dana Scully =

not ours, just borrowing, will return to their

ungrateful owners (Chris Carter, 1013 Productions,

20th Century Fox) when we’re done.

DISTRIBUTION: This story belongs exclusively to the

Virtual Season 11 site for two weeks; thereafter,

please contact the Producers at the above address for

permission to archive.

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TEASER

April 26, 2003

2:14 AM

Interstate 95

Southwest Rhode Island

Street lights stood like sentries illuminating the

onramp to I-95 West. For a split second, the driver

was bathed in light, only to merge back into the

darkness that seemed more suitable to his nature and

mission. He rolled his neck and shoulders trying to

ease the tension caused by the night’s activities. He

had carefully held his vehicle’s speed to the posted

limit on the back roads to the major highway, and now

pressed the accelerator more firmly with a sense of

relief.

Glancing down, he noted with some surprise that his

gloves were still on. He pulled them off and reached

for the cigarette case in the storage area between

the seats of his Lexus. He lit a cigarette and

inhaled deeply, feeling the tension melt away as he

did so. It seemed almost impossible that, after all

these years, his nemesis had been eliminated. Spooky,

finally gone completely nuts, and killing himself. Or

so it would seem. How sad.

Charlie snorted without amusement. Son of a bitch. If

it hadn’t been for Mulder, he could have eventually

talked Dana around. After all, her practical outlook

on things, her lack of belief in the paranormal all

made her mentally and emotionally much more likely to

side with Charlie than with Mulder. A pity. It would

have been nice to have that family connection. To

have someone he could trust, one person he could be

around without fearing the sudden, sharp intrusion of

a knife between his ribs. God knew his success had

brought him plenty of enemies a handful of whom had

made it their mission in life to either disgrace or

kill him. Yes, Dana would have made a formidable

ally. Very regrettable, the way things turned out –

for her as well as for him. And, of course, for the

late Fox Mulder. He took a last drag on the cigarette

and opened the window to toss it out.

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The lights on the highway took on a hypnotic rhythm

as he sped through the night. He went over his

actions back at the house, occasionally shaking his

head as he recalled each point. He hated having to

rush. He was a planner by nature, someone who liked

to have the time to organize his thoughts, pull all

the details together. Build a plan and look at it

from every angle, and then and only then, when it had

passed muster, put it into action. But word of

Mulder’s trip to Greenwich and subsequently to

Quonochontaug came with little warning, as Mulder’s

actions had been characteristically impetuous. And it

had just been too good an opportunity to miss.

Now that he had time to think, Charles Scully

regretted using the drug. He shrugged mentally. Force

of habit. Oh, it had its good points. The drug worked

quickly, preventing the recipient from crying out or

hitting back, and it left no traces in the body. But

he would have had a clearer mind if he knew exactly

what Mulder had been looking for. It might not have

been something that the old bitch had been hiding,

after all. Maybe he was just being paranoid. But

Charlie never trusted all that much to luck. And his

sixth sense told him Mulder was on the trail of

something, which by definition would not be a Good

Thing.

No, using the drug had not been one of his brighter

moves. Mulder’s being unconscious ruled out any of

his array of persuasive methods for finding out what

the agent might have been up to. Hopefully, Mulder

hadn’t found whatever the hell it was that he was

looking for.

But what if he had? ‘Shit!’ Now that he thought about

it, maybe he should have set the house on fire. No,

that would have brought the fire company and police

out too soon. Didn’t want that to happen until Mulder

had inhaled all the carbon monoxide possible. It

wouldn’t do to have the S.O.B. rescued — he had been

a thorn in Charlie’s side for long enough. But at

least a fire would have destroyed whatever Mulder did

find, if anything.

‘Think positive, Charles,’ he said to himself. The

complete mess the cottage was in bespoke a vain

search and a lot of frustration. Mulder couldn’t have

found it, even assuming there was anything to find,

and that was far from certain. It must have been just

another of the agent’s hare-brained theories.

Trouble was, Mulder did have an uncanny way of

turning up something from nothing, of seeing

possibilities where no one else did. And Charlie knew

the agent had never really reconciled himself to the

idea that his mother had committed suicide.

God damn it. He really shouldn’t have used that

needle. Not knowing what the hell Mulder was up to

was going to rob him of several nights’ sleep. In

frustration, Charlie thumped the steering wheel with

the heel of his hand.

Sourly, he went on to catalog his set-up of Mulder’s

‘suicide’. He recalled how he had piled the leaves

around the base of the garage door to seal in the

exhaust. His heart kicked painfully in his chest. If

it were noticed, it could speak against Mulder’s

committing suicide. He took a deliberate deep breath

and blew it out through his mouth, forcing his

thoughts in a more cautiously optimistic direction.

Never mind. When help did come, that evidence would

be obliterated when the garage door was swung open.

And by that time, it would be too late for Fox

Mulder.

Maybe he’d send someone to burn the cottage down

later. Some ‘hobo’ perhaps, treating himself to a

night’s shelter, who would manage to torch the place.

That should take care of any evidence that Teena

Mulder might have left there for her son. It wasn’t

the best solution, not the one he would have come up

with if had had time to plan, but it would have to

do.

“Too bad, so sad, Dana,” he purred to himself. “Well,

this may work out for the best. Maybe with Mulder

gone, you’ll go back and do what Dad wanted you to.

Get out of all this, and stay out of it. And more

importantly… stay the hell out of my way!”

ACT ONE

April 26, 2003

2:14 AM

West Beach Road

Quonochontaug, RI

Dana Scully flexed her hands, cramping from the death

grip she had on the steering wheel of the rental car.

She hadn’t heard yet from the Quonochontaug Police.

Surely that was good news… wasn’t it?

She had wasted valuable hours, waiting for her

partner at the motel. She thought that after some

time by himself, thinking things over, he would be

back to talk things out. When it became apparent that

was not going to happen, she lost more time, calling

the Gunmen to see if they had heard from Mulder, or

had intercepted any information about him that might

tell her how to find him. Finally, she applied her

considerable intelligence and logic to the situation.

His mother, her death and a journal that might exist

and that she might have left for him were uppermost

in his mind. So logically, he would go to the source.

And so would she.

Scully remembered the last time she had visited the

neat house in Greenwich, when her partner had been

experimenting with getting the lost memories of his

childhood back. Although Mulder and his mother had

withdrawn to another room, she could hear every word

of their exchange. With a twist of her gut, she

recalled Mulder’s plaintive question and his mother’s

emotional response. She winced, remembering hearing

the crack of palm against skin….

Then Mrs. Mulder’s incredible coldness to her only

surviving child. “Fox, you’re bleeding”, said not

with concern but almost as an accusation that his

blood might fall on her carpet, marring the pristine

whiteness. And then, his flight in their car seconds

later, leaving her stranded in the uncomfortable

aftermath of the showdown between mother and son…

She pulled up at the house, noting that Mulder’s

rental car was nowhere in sight. But the lights on in

the house gave her some hope. She rapped on the door

repeatedly for several minutes, before the lace

curtain covering the window was drawn back a few

inches and the thin, sour face of a middle-aged woman

appeared. Scully held up her badge and reluctantly,

the woman slid off the dead bolt and opened the door.

Oh yes, this was definitely Mulder’s handiwork.

Scully’s eyes drifted over the disarray cushions

flung off sofas, curio cabinets emptied, their

contents piled in total disregard to their fragility

or value. God knew what mess there was in the kitchen

and the other rooms…. “Where is Agent Mulder?” she

demanded.

The woman stood stiffly, her hands planted on her

hips. “Gone. And a good thing too. He might own this

place now, but I won’t put up with this! I called the

police once on him and I’ve got a mind to do it

again! Not right in the head, that one….” An upset

Mrs. Harrison went on to describe Mulder’s search of

his mother’s house. The woman worked herself into

near hysterics by the time she finished her tale of

woe and Mulder’s misdeeds.

“Agent Mulder is under a good deal of stress,” Scully

began.

“That’s one word for it,” the cleaning woman

retorted. “He’s just nuts, if you ask me. How that

sweet, wonderful woman ever turned out a son like

him, I’ll never figure out.”

Scully could have set her straight on exactly what

the ‘sweet, wonderful’ Mrs. Mulder did to create

Mulder’s neuroses, but she held her tongue. “Look,

Mrs…?

“Harrison,” the woman supplied.

“Mrs. Harrison, I know Mulder’s made a lot of extra

work for you. How about if I write you a check for

the time it’s going to take you to straighten up all

this mess?”

The woman’s eyes narrowed speculatively. “It’s gonna

be a lot of work at least ten hours or so. And I

get fifteen bucks an hour.”

In spite of the upscale neighborhood, Scully doubted

Mrs. Harrison got anything close to fifteen dollars

an hour. But she wrote the check without comment and

handed it to the woman.

“There. Now, do you have any idea where Agent Mulder

might have gone?”

Mrs. Harrison glanced at the check, then folded it

and stowed it in her pocket. “He was muttering

something about the ‘summer house’. Didn’t say he was

going there, but- ”

“Thank you, Mrs. Harrison. That helps a lot.” Scully

left the house at a run.

It seemed that everything had conspired to slow her

down traffic on I-95, despite the lateness of the

hour, construction detours and finally a flat tire,

just outside of New London.

Crossing the state line into Rhode Island, Scully

finally did what she had been trying to avoid she

called the Quonochontaug police to check out the

cottage and wait for her there. She hadn’t wanted to

bring outsiders in on it, but increasingly her unease

and sense of urgency had been ratcheting up. Somehow,

she felt that her partner was in trouble again.

She made the right turn from West Beach Road onto

Sunset, driving as quickly as she dared on the

narrow, curving, residential road. Following the big

curve to the left, she spotted the police car parked

in front of a modest cottage on the ocean side of the

road.

She pulled over and ran to the police car, where the

officers were sitting inside, enjoying a coffee

break. She bent over to talk to them through the open

window. “Anything?”

“Nope. Not a thing. No lights on, no cars. Looks like

you kind of jumped the gun on this one, Agent

Scully.”

“Maybe,” she said, unconvinced. Scully lifted her

head, cocking it to one side. “Officer, kill your

engine for a minute.”

Officer Simmons looked at his partner as if to say

“Feds!”. Shrugging, he turned the key and the engine

quieted.

“Do you hear that?” Scully asked, tense.

“Hear what?”

“That noise. Sounds like an engine….”

Simmons and his partner reluctantly got out of the

squad car. “Look, Agent Scully, it’s probably someone

warming up their car up the road or something- ”

“No.” Scully began walking in the direction of the

noise. It seemed to be coming from a small garage at

the extreme right hand side of the property. And the

closer she got to it, the surer she was. But why

would a car be left running in the gar– Oh, God.

“Call for an ambulance!” Scully screamed, running up

to the garage.

“But–”

“Do what I say. Now!” She threw the garage door up,

but not before noting the leaves piled at its base.

Instantly, a cloud of concentrated exhaust smoke and

fumes poured into the night air. Coughing and

gagging, she reeled back. She covered her mouth and

nose with her hand and pressed forward. Beside her,

she could feel the police officers brush past her in

their rush to the car. One shut off the engine while

the other opened the back door. Between the three of

them, they pulled Mulder’s unresisting body from the

car, out of the garage and stretched it out on the

grass.

“Light I need light,” panted Scully.

“I’m on it!” Derrick Wilson replied. He ran into the

cottage and hit the switch to illuminate the front

yard. The single light bulb did not improve the

situation significantly.

“No good,” Scully said. “Let’s get him inside so I

can see what I’m doing.”

In seconds, Mulder was stretched out on the couch in

the bright lights of the living room. The second she

saw her partner’s coloring, her heart sank. “Where’s

that ambulance?” she spat.

“Coming. They’re on the way,” assured Officer

Simmons.

She quickly checked Mulder’s pulse and found a very

weak carotid rhythm. “Oxygen. He needs oxygen. I

can’t do anything without–” Her voice broke.

At that moment, Wilson came in with a small portable

tank, complete with tubing and mask. “Can you use

this?”

“God, yes!’ Quickly, she turned the flow of oxygen

all the way to maximum and placed the mask over her

partner’s face.

In answer to Simmon’s questioning look, Wilson

explained, “From old man Gifford, when we took him to

the hospital that last time. We left it in the back

seat when we brought him into the ER. I was going to

return it but then I heard he died, so….”

Scully pushed her hair back from her face with a

shaky hand. “This is helping, but he needs to be

intubated. Where the hell is–”

The whine of the ambulance siren grew in volume until

it became deafening and then suddenly cut out. Within

seconds, voices were heard outside and then the

paramedics came rushing in. “What have we got?””

“Carbon monoxide poisoning,” Scully said. Quickly,

she poured out what she knew his vital signs, a

quick history, the results of her exam when she first

found him.

“How long?””

“I don’t know.”

“He’s bad,” the other paramedic said from Mulder’s

side. “Sir, don’t try to talk.”

Instantly, Scully was there. She grabbed his hand,

folding it in her own. “What is it, Mulder?” she

asked, tears shining in her eyes.

His skin bore the unmistakable cherry-red coloring of

carbon monoxide poisoning, and his chest heaved with

the effort to pull air into his lungs, Mulder gasped

out – “Book…. In pile… Polite Con…-

versation…. Must… get… it… I…

was…right….”

“Lady, we gotta sedate this guy so we can intubate

and flood him with O2, or we’re gonna lose him.”

She nodded and turned her attention to her lover.

“Mulder, they have to put a tube down. We have to get

as much oxygen in you as we can, and it’s the only

way… Mulder?”

His eyes rolled back in his head and his hand became

limp in hers.

“Okay we intubate now. Step back, lady.”

In a state of shock, she complied as the paramedics

tore in to a flurry of action around her partner. In

seconds, he was intubated and one of the paramedics

was bagging him, forcing the attached oxygen into his

lungs.

“We’re taking him to Westerly Hospital. You can

follow, if you like,” said the lead paramedic.

Scully pulled her eyes from Mulder’s form on the

gurney with an effort. “Thank you. You go ahead.

There’s something I have to do here first. Perhaps

Officer Simmons…?”

“I’ll take you there, Agent Scully. No problem.”

She nodded. “Please take good care of him,” she

begged.

“We will, ma’am.” The paramedics hurried out the door

as fast as the gurney would allow.

“Officer Simmons, Officer Wilson I need your help.

Come with me.”

Resisting the urge to stay with Mulder with every

fiber of her being, Scully moved from the living room

and quickly began looking into the rooms of the

cottage to find what her partner had been trying to

tell her about. When she snapped on the lights of the

study, she knew she was on the right track.

The room was knee-deep in piles of books. “Officers

we’re looking for a book, probably a diary, so it

will be hand-written. Mulder said ‘Polite

Conversation’. I’m not sure what that has to do with

finding this diary, but he wouldn’t have wasted his

breath on it if it weren’t important. Please, search

as fast as you can. I need to get to Mulder.”

They each started on a pile. Five minutes later,

Derrick Wilson held up a small volume bound in dark

red leather and marked with faded gold letters. “I

think I found it.”

“Let me see.” Scully grabbed the book. Feathering the

scripted pages, she caught only a few of the words,

but they carried a wealth of meaning. ‘Consortium’.

‘Alien’. ‘Spender’. “Yes, this is it,” she said.

“Thank you, thank you so much. Now, let’s go to the

hospital.”

Simmons negotiated the back roads expertly and

speeded up when he reached the Old Post Road. They

were in Westerly at the hospital only a few minutes

behind the ambulance. Scully blew through the doors

to the ER as if they weren’t there. “Where is he?

Where is Agent Mulder?” she demanded.

“Just a minute. Are you related to the- ” The Unit

Clerk didn’t get any further.

“You have a choice you can step out of the way or I

can go through you. What room is Fox Mulder in?

Wisely, the woman stepped out of the way. “Trauma

Room Three. On your left.”

“Thank you.” Scully brushed by her, intent on finding

Mulder’s room.

That’s when the overhead speakers sprang to life.

“Code Blue, ER. Code Blue, ER. Code Blue, ER.”

“Mulder, don’t you dare!”: Scully breathed. She

followed the crowd of staff, running into Trauma Room

Three.

“Clear! …Okay, we have a rhythm. What’s the word

from the Hyperbaric Center in Providence?

“Assuming we can get this guy stabilized, the

arrangements are all set. The doc in charge and the

tech are on their way in.”

The crowd that had gathered to assist with the code

began to disperse, giving Scully the opportunity to

approach the physician who seemed to be in charge of

Mulder’s case.

“Who are you? Are you this patient’s primary

physician?” he demanded.

“In a manner of speaking…. Yes, yes I am. What is

Agent Mulder’s condition?” asked Scully.

“Riggs, stay with him and monitor his vitals. I want

to know if he even blinks, is that understood?”

The ER nurse nodded. “You got it.”

“Alright, Dr….?

“Scully.”

The man looked puzzled. “I don’t recall anyone on

service here by that name.”

Scully pulled her badge and displayed it. “This man

is my partner. I am, however, a medical doctor and

his personal physician. Now,” Scully said, leaving no

doubt she wanted answers, “what is his condition?”

The physician glanced over the ID, nodded, and guided

her outside the treatment room. “All right. I’m

Doctor Steven Rosenfeld. Your partner is in critical

condition, but of course I don’t have to tell you

that, I’m sure you’ve figured it out. He has acute

carbon monoxide poisoning. Again, I’m sure you know

that. We lost his heartbeat in there for a minute or

two, but we defibbed and it came back quickly. He’s

in sinus rhythm, a little tachy, but under the

circumstances, not bad at all.”

“I sense a ‘but’ coming,” Scully commented, with a

sinking feeling.

Rosenfeld shrugged. “You know CO poisoning. Even if

we can get him over this hump flush the carbon

monoxide from his blood, get him stable and keep him

that way, and that’s a big if then there’s the long

term effects.” He frowned. “This man was an FBI

agent?”

“*Is* an FBI agent,” responded Scully firmly.

“Maybe not anymore. I don’t mean to be cruel, Dr.

Scully, but you know as well as I do the future that

many survivors of CO poisoning have in front of

them… severe neurological and sensory defects,

organ damage, possibly severe psychological problems.

All this, on top of whatever made this guy want to

kill himself.”

Eyes flashing, Scully drew herself up to her full

5’2″. “My partner did not try to kill himself, Dr.

Rosenfeld! This was a murder attempt made to look

like suicide. Someone put him in that car, started

the engine and shut him in the garage.”

He looked skeptical. “How can you be so sure?”

“Unless Mulder found a way to pile debris around the

outside of the base of the garage door after locking

himself in, someone else had to have done it. Officer

Simmons is checking the neighborhood now, to see if

anyone saw or heard anything. Now what’s your

treatment plan for my partner?”

“I’ve arranged for him to be transported to

Providence General as soon as he’s stable. They have

a hyperbaric oxygen chamber there. Although most of

the carbon monoxide will be flushed from his system

by the time he gets there, current theory seems to

support the use of hyperbaric oxygen for CO poisoning

to lessen the possible long-term effects. If he wants

to keep his career, I’d say it’s a must.”

“I agree,” Scully said.

“He has IV fluids running, a sedative to prevent

excitability from the CO in his system and to keep

him out while he’s intubated, and corticosteroids to

try to combat any inflammation and toxicity from the

CO. I’d like to keep him on the vent at least until

he arrives in Providence, unless he starts fighting

it seriously. Once he gets there, they’ll probably be

able to pull the tube, unless he has any more

episodes of arrest. Will you be going with him?”

She nodded.

“Well, get yourself a cup of coffee. It’s going to

take us about an hour to get him ready for transfer.”

“I’ll stay here with him, if you don’t mind.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself. Good luck, Dr. Scully,

to both you and your partner. You’re going to need

it.”

Act 1 Scene 2

The helicopter ride from Westerly to Providence was

one of the longest Scully had ever taken. Although

Mulder’s heart rate stayed steady and the ventilator

continued to pump oxygen into his lungs, she sat on

the edge of her seat. Her eyes were glued to him, to

the equipment, watching for signs, either of his

regaining consciousness and fighting the ventilator,

or worse, signals that his condition was going

downhill. When not consumed with that activity,

Scully spent her time wondering two things: who had

done this to Mulder, and was the information in the

little book that she carried worth it?

As far as she was concerned, nothing was worth the

risk to Mulder, although she knew he considered

himself expendable to the greater good, the Truth.

She turned the leather volume over in her hands,

forehead wrinkled in a frown. Part of her wanted to

read it – not to assuage her curiosity or the need to

know the Truth, but rather to see what its effect

might have on Mulder. It already had nearly claimed

his life, and his prospects for a normal future were

in danger. But beyond that, what if this little book

claimed a far greater emotional toll? If there were

things in this book that Mulder shouldn’t see until

he was stronger, she wanted to know about it.

But then did she have any right to do that? It was

Mulder who had been so certain that his mother’s

death was more than it seemed. Mulder again, sure

that Teena Mulder had reached out to him from beyond

the grave, to save his life and to urge him to find

what she had left for him, her legacy to him. And all

Scully had done was to preach the obvious, the safe–

in short, what others had wanted them to believe.

And now it looked like Mulder had been right once

again. Someone had tried to kill him, undoubtedly

someone close to the Consortium. And if they had

tried to murder him, how great a leap was it that

that person was also responsible for his mother’s

death? Both had been set up to look like suicides.

She knew for a fact that Mulder wasn’t suicidal;

perhaps his mother hadn’t been either.

Yes, she had swallowed the bait – hook, line and

sinker. She shook her head. Sometimes she felt as if

she were as much of an impediment to his search for

truth as the Consortium was. Someday she would have

to look deep inside herself for the answer to why she

resisted those flights of fancy of his that had such

an uncanny way of hitting the nail on the head.

Mulder, if you pull out of this… I’ll try, my love.

I promise I’ll try harder.

When they arrived, Mulder’s gurney was hustled into

the ER. Scully took up her post, pacing by his side

until the hyperbaric lab was ready for them. When

someone in a white lab coat finally appeared, Scully

pounced.

“Where the hell–”

The tall young man held out his hand. “I’m Tom

Daddario, physician in charge of the hyperbaric

therapy department here. You have Dr. Rosenfeld’s

written orders? We’d rather not deal with the fax

copies.”

Taken aback by the man’s cheerful, friendly manner,

Scully handed him the papers, which he looked over,

nodding. “You’re Dr. Scully, I take it? All right. I

hear Mr. Mulder did well on the way here. When was

his last dose of sedative? I’d like to be able to

explain things to him before the procedure so he

doesn’t wake up in the hyperbaric chamber. It can be

a bit … upsetting.” The doctor smiled, a peculiarly

charming and boyish grin. “Besides, I want him off

the vent in there.”

As if reacting to the sound of his name, Mulder

stirred.

“I believe the paramedics stopped the valium and

other sedation when we were about ten minutes away

so it’s been approximately thirty minutes.” Scully

tried to keep the accusatory note out of her tone.

“Sorry. Unfortunately we can’t just walk in and flip

a switch for this ”

The alarms bleeped suddenly, as Mulder began to cough

and force the endotracheal tube from his throat.

Respiratory therapists seemed to appear from nowhere.

“Okay, push 2 mg of Valium IV I just want this guy

so I can talk to him, not so he’ll be snowed,”

Daddario ordered. “And suction him quickly please.”

His orders were carried out in seconds, and after a

couple of minutes, Mulder relaxed.

Daddario took his hand and bent over the gurney. “Mr.

Mulder, can you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can

hear me. Good! Okay, stay with me while I explain

something. You have carbon monoxide poisoning, and

you’re getting better, but we feel you’d benefit from

some hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Squeeze my hand if

you understand. Very good, you’re doing fine, Mr.

Mulder. We’re going to let you breathe on your own,

off the ventilator, and then do some blood gases. If

you’re still doing okay, we’ll take the tube out and

move you to the hyperbaric chamber. How’s that

sound?” Daddario laughed as Mulder squeezed his hand

so hard it hurt. “Well, it looks like you approve of

getting off the machine. I’ll be back when we have

the results of the ABG’s. No, don’t try to talk, Mr.

Mulder. The tube won’t let you talk. Wait, here’s

what you’re looking for, I think.”

The physician turned to Scully and motioned her over

to the side of the gurney. “Dr. Scully will stay with

you, Mr. Mulder, until you go into the hyperbaric

chamber. No visitors there, I’m afraid.” He grinned

at his own joke, nodded to the staff and went to the

nurses’ station to start writing down his orders.

As technicians and nurses went to work around them,

Scully bent over Mulder, tears shining in her eyes.

Although he was drowsy, his eyes focused on hers, and

she knew he could understand. She could also see the

frustration on his face with his inability to speak.

She gave him a watery smile. “It’s all right. I’ve

got it, love. I have your mother’s diary.” His eyes

closed briefly in relief and he squeezed her hand.

“Now promise me you’ll do everything you can to get

better.”

This time he both squeezed and nodded. They clasped

hands until the technician came to draw the arterial

blood which would determine whether he would remain

on the hated respirator. Ten minutes later, and the

respiratory therapist was removing the endotracheal

tube and placing an oxygen mask over his face.

Dr. Daddario strode in, clapping and rubbing his

hands together. “All set? Okay, Mr. Mulder, you’ll be

in the chamber about three hours. You won’t feel any

different, and you might best be advised to get some

sleep. I would also suggest that your partner do the

same. She looks ready to drop.” He raised his right

eyebrow in a manner that would have done Scully

proud.

She stood up straighter and her expression was

unequivocal. “If you can show me where I can wait for

Agent Mulder, I would prefer to stay nearby until he

is settled in his room after the treatment.”

“Scully ” Mulder’s voice came out as a weak croak.

“Mr. Mulder, save your breath. You’re going to lose

that argument, I can tell by the look on her face. My

wife’s Irish, and when she gets that look, well….”

He shot Mulder a look of mock commiseration. “Might

as well just go with the flow.”

Mulder sighed and nodded.

“There’s a staff lounge near in the hyperbaric

department,” the physician suggested. “The coffee’s

bad and the sofa’s lumpy, but you’re welcome to

them.”

“Thanks. And I’m sorry about jumping all over you

when you came in.”

“No problem. It’s been quite a night for you two.”

Two orderlies appeared. Along with a nurse, Dr.

Daddario, and Scully, they made a somber parade down

the corridor to the elevator, up two floors and down

several hallways until they finally arrived at the

hyperbaric therapy department. She stayed with him

until he was settled in the chamber, squeezing his

hand in farewell. “See you in a few hours, Mulder.”

clip_image005

He waved weakly, then settled himself into a more or

less comfortable position. Scully found the lounge

with the help of one of the technicians, coming on to

duty for the day shift. After a few techs came in,

poured coffee for themselves and left, Scully sat on

the couch, propping her feet up on the table in front

of her. She intended to glance quickly through the

journal, to get an idea of what sort of information

it contained, but her eyelids began to grow leaden.

The shrill of her cel phone popped her eyes open, and

resignedly she reached for it. “Scully.”

“How’s Mulder, Scully? Did he make it?”

Scully’s eyes narrowed and her tone was cold.

“Krycek. How did you get this number?”

“Haven’t you learned by now that you can’t keep a

secret from me?” His voice was light and teasing, but

then became more somber. “Seriously, Scully how is

he?” Almost, Scully thought with surprise, as if he

cared.

“Alive, no thanks to whoever tried to kill him. I

don’t suppose you’d know something useful like that,

would you, Krycek?”

“I might,” he replied, but did not continue.

Scully sighed. “All right, I assume you want

something for the information. I don’t know what I—”

“No, I don’t. Well, I don’t want anything you can

give me, not at the moment, at any rate. No, it’s not

that. I just wonder whether you really want to know

what I know, Dana. Can I call you Dana?”

“You can all me Agent Scully. So what do you know?”

“I know who set up Mulder’s ‘suicide’. But I’m not

sure you’re ready to hear it.”

Scully felt a frisson of apprehension. “Why wouldn’t

I want to know who tried to kill Mulder? Why wouldn’t

I be ready? Tell me who it was.”

He sighed. “All right. But don’t say I didn’t warn

you. It was none other than your dear brother

Charles, Agent Scully.”

The words hit her like a punch to the gut.

“You’re– you’re lying,” she croaked.

Krycek chuckled sadly. “Scully you know I’m not. I

was tipped by the person who tipped Charlie to Agent

Mulder’s whereabouts and his mission. A guy playing

both ends against the middle, not that he will

survive long at that game. He told me that Charlie-

Boy had been keeping tabs on you two. Mulder haring

off to Teena territory was enough to… shall we say,

set several things in motion. First among them was to

motivate Charlie to pay a social call. He’s been

chewing on the idea that Teena may have left

something behind that would be inconvenient for him

and his colleagues. Care to comment, Agent Scully?”

She clenched her jaw. “No. No comment.”

“Very wise–you never know who might be listening.

Because hypothetically, you understand if Teena

did leave behind certain records or documents or

whatever, whoever possessed said evidence would be in

very grave danger. Hypothetically speaking.”

“I understand.”

Krycek chuckled again. “I’m sure you do. Well, give

Fox my best for a speedy recovery.”

He hung up before a stunned Scully could reply.

All thoughts of sleep vanished. Charlie. Her own

brother had tried to kill Mulder. Not only that, but

he had tried to make it look like a suicide, which

made the act all the more detestable. And he at least

suspected the existence of the journal that rested in

her handbag. She had no doubts that Charlie would

kill her for it as mercilessly as he would squash an

insect. My God, what happened to him? Scully thought,

nauseous. How could that monster have come out of the

same loving home that she, Bill and Melissa had come

from?

And what the hell was Krycek up to?

Act I, scene 3

April 28, 2003

Providence General Hospital

2 PM

After taking Mulder’s vitals, the nurse left the two

agents alone. Scully could tell her partner was

itching to get at the journal, find out what message

his mother had left for him. There were other things

to consider, however. She told him what Krycek had

said. And just like last time, there was no

condemnation, no pity in his expression. All she saw

was understanding and compassion.

“We can’t go back home,” she said, taking his hand as

she perched on the edge of his bed. “They’ll be

watching for us.”

“For me, you mean,” he said, absently rubbing his

thumb over the palm of her hand.

“For us, Mulder. I don’t think either of us is safe

from this point on. I think I should call Skinner,

let him know what’s going on and see what we can do

about finding a secure location.”

“I have to read the journal, Scully. We won’t be

safe until we find out what’s in it.”

She nodded slowly. “I agree. But even here, in the

hospital, we’re too compromised. Anyone could walk

in and . . .” She couldn’t look at him, not when she

was thinking of how close they’d come, yet again.

Somehow, knowing that it was her own brother who had

tried to take Mulder from her this time made it a

thousand times worse. How could she face her mother

again, or even her brother Bill? Was there anyone

left she could trust?

“Unless there was a police report, he might not know

I’m alive,” Mulder said softly.

“That would buy us some time. But we still need a

safe house, somewhere only Skinner knows about.”

Mulder nodded. “Call him. Set it up.”

Scully left the room to find a payphone and Mulder

lay back against the pillows. He’d been completely

out of it this time. He couldn’t remember anything

past finding the journal. From the amount of

equipment he’d had around him upon waking, he was

pretty sure it had been a real toss up if he’d

survive. He swallowed hard. There was still too

much work to do, too much to uncover. His hand was

still warm from holding Scully’s much smaller one.

He had everything to live for, and he’d be damned if

anybody was going to take it all away from him.

The door creaked open and Scully entered. “You

should be resting,” she chided, resuming her seat.

“I think I’ve done plenty of that in the past 48

hours,” he replied. “What did Skinner say?”

“I’m to call him back in an hour. He’s going to give

me directions to the safe house. We’ll leave in an

unmarked car from a back entrance to the hospital.”

“Do I get to wear a disguise?” Mulder quipped.

“Yes, I’m getting you a ‘Nurse Nancy’ costume in a

few minutes,” she shot back. “Seriously, Mulder,

Skinner agreed. This wasn’t an accident. It was a

premeditated attempt to take your life and make it

appear a suicide. From the tone of his voice on the

phone, I’m pretty sure the AD is pissed.”

“He just wants to make sure I’m around to kick my ass

when his fantasy football team loses,” Mulder said

with a grin. “So, when do we blow this popstand?”

“The doctor will be around shortly. I don’t think

we’re going to even bother with the paperwork this

time. I don’t want to leave an AMA form with a time

and date stamp lying around.”

“Dear Diary, today Scully flouted procedure and

helped me break out of a hospital. It was almost more

than my poor heart could stand!”

“You’ll think ‘more than your poor heart could stand’

when I get through with you, mister,” she growled in

response. “Oh, another thing. Skinner wants the

journal.”

Mulder held the book possessively close to his chest.

“After we read it, naturally,” she added, and he

relaxed his grip a little. “He wants to make copies.

Several copies.”

“Are we going to hide them among our ‘Native American

Brethren’ again?” Mulder asked.

“And a few well-placed safety deposit boxes across

the country. There will be no chance that this

journal will disappear. Skinner assured me he’s going

to take personal responsibility for its safe keeping.”

The doctor showed up a few minutes later on his usual

rounds, and while he was examining Mulder, Scully

slipped out and made the second call to their

superior. When she returned, Mulder was trying to

get out of bed.

“Take it easy, we have a few thousand things to

disconnect first,” she scolded. With practiced ease

she removed the IV and the heart leads, silencing the

monitors quickly and efficiently. He marveled at how

quickly she untangled him from his web of medical

technology.

“Gee, Scully, I should have you do this every time I

break out,” he said happily. She gave him an icy

glare. “One time offer, huh?” She nodded with

pursed lips. “Well, then, I better enjoy it while it

lasts.”

He was a bit wobbly on his feet, and Scully pushed

him back on the bed while she got out his clothes.

With little assistance, he was dressed and ready to

go. Scully glanced at the clock on the wall.

“Skinner said the car would be there at 3:30. It’s

twenty-five after now.”

“We should take the stairs,” Mulder interjected.

She looked him over. “I don’t want to risk you

falling down them and dragging me along for the ride.

We’ll take the elevators. Just look like you’re a

visitor.”

“Yeah, right, that always works,” Mulder muttered.

Scully shot him another glare and quietly stuck her

head out the door. The nurses’ station was semi-

deserted, just one aide sitting behind the counter.

The hall was empty. After a minute, the elevator

indicator light shone and Scully grabbed Mulder by

the arm, helping him to his feet.

“Move, G-man!” she whispered and together, they

hightailed it to the elevator, slipping inside the

compartment just before the doors slid shut.

They both chuffed out a laugh of relief as the

elevator started its descent. Scully suddenly looked

around. “Oh god, the journal!”

Mulder reached under his shirt, producing the book

with a broad smile. “You need more practice at this

‘escaping’ stuff, Scully. I’ve got it covered.”

Scully looked at the book in his hands and leaned

against the wall of the compartment, relief visible

on her face. “Mulder, what if it turns out to be

nothing?” she said just before the elevator stopped

at the first floor.

“I don’t think Mom would have gone to those lengths

to contact me if it were nothing, Scully,” Mulder

said as they waited for the doors to open. “This

journal is a key, Scully. Maybe a key to

everything.”

Act II scene 1

April 28, 2003

Safehouse, location unknown

8 PM

Mulder got comfortable on the sheet-covered sofa,

Scully settling in next to him. A lone table lamp

cast its circle of light in the otherwise darkening

room. The moment they had both been anticipating and

dreading was at hand. He licked his lips and opened

the leather-bound cover, flipping toward the back to

several handwritten pages. A glance over to his

partner for fortitude and he began to read in a clear

voice.

clip_image007

>>My dearest Fox. I know you will think this missive

too little and far too late, but I hope that someday

you will understand my motives. I wanted nothing

more than to save you, my son. I knew from your

conception that you’d never truly be safe, not safe

in the sense of the millions of other sons and

daughters throughout the world whose lives have not

been touched by the evil of the men I’ve known and

their misdeeds. I know that you, who value honesty

above all else, will find it hard to forgive me. But

at the same time I feel it would be an even graver

injustice to leave you without trying to make you

understand the events in our lives that have shaped

us more than either of us could imagine.

As you know, Fox, your grandparents, the Kuipers,

were not without means. In an era when monetary

wealth was held by a privileged few, they were among

the privileged, and I, as their only daughter,

enjoyed that life as well. My father, in order to

‘fit in’ with the uppercrust social circles he

traveled hid much of his heritage, including our

Jewish faith. When I was little, we practiced our

religion in secret, in our own home. As I grew

older, it became less and less a part of our lives,

until even our servants were unaware of our beliefs.

In this same regard, I was considered quite bright by

my teachers, but my mother schooled me in how to get

a ‘good’ husband, keeping my intelligence under wraps

lest I offend or frighten a prospective man. That

might sound laughable in this day and age, but

believe me, Fox, it was a much different world then,

simpler in some respects but all the more complex in

others. I never grew accustomed to ‘playing dumb’

and that got me in a great deal of trouble later on.

Trouble that I fear I passed on to you and your

sister.

When I was attending finishing school the war was

just ending. Even with our wealth, we were still

involved in the war effort. I left school and became

a secretary for the War Department. That is where I

first encountered Wilhelm Strughold. Remember that

name Fox, keep it close to your heart. It is a name

to be feared. Strughold was a German defector,

working for the Allies. I was amazed at how trusted

he was in the upper echelons of our government. I

was even more amazed when one day he plucked me from

the typing pool and made me his personal secretary.

Do not be misled, I never fully trusted this man.

Although he claimed he came to the United States to

escape the horrors of the Nazi regime, I saw in him

the same ruthlessness, the same disregard for human

life that we were beginning to see evidence of in the

concentration camps in Europe. But somehow, he saw

something in me, something that in my innocence and

perhaps my vanity, I failed to hide from him.

Looking back now, I understand how foolish I was.

I’d been working for him for about four years when he

asked me to stay after work. It wasn’t unheard of

for him to have me take dictation or transcribe a

late meeting. This time, he just wanted to talk.

When he said the words ‘special assignment,’ I have to

admit my heart skipped a beat. I was young,

impassioned. I wanted to do whatever I could to help

my country. I was finally getting the respect I

thought my mental abilities deserved, so I almost

missed what the assignment was about. The War

Department at that time was very much a place of

‘cloak and dagger’, much intrigue. The OSS was

becoming the CIA and Strughold seemed to be playing a

part in that transition. So when he asked me to

‘keep an eye’ on a certain young man, my reason was

replaced by fancy. I saw myself as a modern day Mata

Hara. That certain young man was named William

Mulder.

Strughold gave me very little to go on. Just that a

group of Allies had formed for a special purpose,

beyond that of the dealings of the Cold War. Bill

Mulder was working for that group as a young agent

and a member of our military. I was given a

transfer and went to work the very next Monday as

Bill’s secretary in the State Department.

At the same time I began working for Bill, I met

another young man very close to Mr. Strughold, Carter

Giles Benjamin Spender. Carter had come from a once

wealthy family who lost everything in the Depression.

He was handsome, assertive, confident. Bill, on the

other hand, was quiet, seemingly unaware of his good

looks and incredibly committed to his work. The

foolish young woman that I was, I fell in love with

both men.

To say I took my assignment to heart might be an

understatement. With Strughold’s encouragement, I

found myself spending a great deal of time at the

office with Bill. From a strictly professional

relationship, I grew to care for him. Bill would get

so involved in his work he would forget to eat, to

sleep. He brought out the maternal instincts in me,

assuming I ever had any. Carter, at the same time,

was dark and dangerous. He brought out the same dark

and dangerous elements in me. For a while I thought

I was the luckiest girl in the world. I had an

important job and the attentions of two handsome men.

All that changed one Friday afternoon when Bill took

me to lunch and proposed to me.

I was flattered, of course. But I was also torn. I

begged for time to consider. Always unsure of

himself in matters of the heart, I could tell Bill

was hurt, but he told me to take as much time as I

needed. That night I found Carter in his favorite

bar. We went back to his apartment and I told him of

Bill’s proposal. I guess I expected Carter to make

his own proposal, or at least to beg me to reject

Bill’s. I was horrified when he smiled at me and

told me to accept the offer. I was confused and

hurt. But what Carter said next frightened me then

and causes me great shame now. “Nothing has to

change. Bill doesn’t know about us now, he never has

to learn of us in the future.” I walked to the altar

already intending to commit adultery.

It grieves me, Fox, more than you could know, that I

can’t tell you which man is your father. You have

qualities both men shared. As the years went by, I

prayed that you were Bill’s son, as I learned to hate

Carter more than I thought I could ever hate a man.

Bill was ecstatic to have a son and never questioned

anything about your arrival. And to be perfectly

honest, I grew to believe the lie. Bill was a good

man, he doted on you and on me. It was a perfect

life, except I felt such unbearable guilt at my

betrayal. I tried very hard to be the ‘perfect

wife’. I also continued to focus on my ‘assignment’.

I was still working for Strughold, still feeding Bill

information from Strughold. And, on rare occasions,

I would see Carter, but I found my time with him

devoid of all caring. I met his needs, needs his

wife didn’t meet. Maybe it was just that he held a

part of me that would never belong to Bill.

Through the years I learned a great deal about the

organization, the ‘consortium’ as they called it.

Bill was being used to perpetuate a lie. His job in

the State Department allowed him access to

information the consortium needed, access to the

personal and medical records of every American born

after 1945. He was being used to create the

smokescreen necessary to hide the real project. My

job was to keep an eye on him, to make sure he didn’t

suspect what was really happening and to report back

to the group anything that might indicate Bill wasn’t

accepting the information he was being fed. After a

while, I learned what information to pass along and

what to keep to myself. I was intent on making sure

I had enough information to serve me in the future.

I had no idea that information would be necessary to

keep you alive.>>

Act 2 Scene 2

Safehouse

10 PM

“I need a drink.”

“No alcohol, Mulder.”

“I’m just going for an iced-tea, `Mom'” he said with

a bite that would normally never penetrate their

playful banter.

“No caffeine either,” she called after him as he

rounded the corner into the kitchen. She could hear

him exhale loudly in frustration, then the

refrigerator door slamming shut with a tinkle of

glass objects inside.

“You want some ice water, while I’m out here?”

“You don’t have to yell so loud.”

She came up behind him, and stroked his back with her

fingernails, causing him to jerk in surprise. They’d

just read through some pretty heavy material in that

journal, and Mulder was understandably distracted.

He hadn’t heard her get up from the couch, nor her

footsteps on the vinyl floor of the kitchen.

“Do you want to take a break?” she asked.

“No,” he said softly, but with an edge that spoke of

desperation. “I knew Mom had to have some idea, some

curiosity with what was happening with my father; but

a spy? I never would have guessed she was involved.

I’m reading that whole journal, no matter how much it

hurts.”

He filled two glasses with ice, then ran tap water

into each one, filling them to the rim. He took a

swig out of one glass roughly, dribbles of water

running down the side and pattering onto the floor.

He stared out the window with no regard for the mess.

She watched him breathe and drink for a while,

relieved that he could do at least that. He seemed

normal in all respects, but she mentally promised

herself to keep a sharp eye out for any symptoms Dr.

Rosenfeld had mentioned. It was a long shot, as he’d

recovered quite well after the hyperbaric tank, but

she was always worried about Mulder.

He glanced down at her, finally noticing her

attentiveness. She didn’t falter. It had been a

long time since she’d blushed at being caught

staring. A corner of his mouth twitched in

recognition.

“You up for the next round?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

They made their way back into the living room and

hovered over the open book. Mulder drained his glass

of water before they reached the bottom of the next

page and was up for another as the ice cubes bumped

against his lips.

“Ah, damn,” he cursed under his breath. He pinched

the skin at the bridge of his nose and stood hunched

forward.

“Mulder? What’s wrong?” A sudden panic rose in

Scully’s chest.

“I got up too fast. Head rush.”

“Oh.”

He shook the dizziness out from behind his eyes, and

suppressed a smile as he went into the kitchen.

“Jesus, Scully, don’t you like me when I’m well? I

don’t get hurt on purpose, but if I get this much

concern from you, I’ll be sure to get some kind of

illness at least twice a week.”

“You’ve filled your quota, Mulder. You can be sure of

that.”

When he returned, Scully held the journal cradled in

her lap, flipping ahead through the next few pages.

“What do you say I take this turn reading?”

Mulder plopped into a chair next to the couch, leaned

his head back, closed his eyes, and cuddled a soft

pillow to his chest. “OK, I’m ready for my bedtime

story. You gonna tuck me in?” He feigned sleep, but

cracked open an eyelid to watch for her response.

“Later,” she said flatly. “I don’t want you to get

nightmares.”

Scully began to read.

>>Bill had no problems talking about his continued

work with the consortium. He trusted me, confided in

me, because he thought I could understand having

worked with the same people for a time. It was the

kind of conversation one would have with a coworker

over the water cooler, but a more honest confession

to me as his wife.

I’d of course relay all information to the

consortium. Bill believed that the consortium’s

purpose was to make contact with the aliens. He knew

some of the key players were a little more than

power-hungry, but he `needed to know the truth,’ as

he’d said to me time and again. Sound familiar, Fox?

He was only allowed to gain so much information in

order to carry out his duties, but was cut off,

stopped, or given a barrier every time he ventured

too far above his position.

But even so Bill was getting too close to their true

goal. And I’d seen the lengths to which the

consortium went to combat those who rubbed them the

wrong way. I feared for Bill, as I fear for you now.

I felt compelled to continue working with the

consortium, not only because of curiosity and

dedication, but because of an underlying uneasiness

that I had slowly become aware of over the years.

Something was dreadfully wrong, and I wanted to know

what.

Outside of keeping an eye on Bill’s involvement, and

passing information on to Strughold through Carter,

it was becoming clear to me that extensive

experimentation had begun. Under the guise of

creating a vaccine to protect the world from imminent

alien invasion, samples were being gathered from

every living human being in the form of smallpox

vaccinations…>>

“What?!” Mulder spat out. He sat up in his chair, the

pillow forgotten as it fell from his lap to the

floor. “She *knew* about that?”

“Mulder, it seems like your mother knew a lot more

than she was letting on, at least to you.”

“But if she was so involved she must have realized

what we…”

“Maybe she did. And maybe she didn’t have a choice.

You know what these people are capable of.”

Mulder shifted in his seat. “What the hell else did

she know?”

“Well,” Scully glanced down at the journal, then back

at her partner with a quirked eyebrow.

He leaned back against the soft cushion of the chair

once again. Flipping his hand up in an exhibit of

defeat, he said, “Go on.”

Scully turned the page over and continued.

>>What the consortium told Bill was a lie. As I

pieced together nuggets of information from Carter, I

began to resent the fact that I was being used to

perpetuate it. And not only to the world, but to my

husband.

The consortium knew Bill would find out certain

things; enough to keep him curious, keep digging, and

without him realizing it, leaving trails for

outsiders — skeptics and believers of alien

existence — to feed off. He was a pawn, and I

watched it all happen.

I did love Bill — enough to feel that maybe what I

was doing wasn’t the right choice. I had you and Sam

to think of, besides. And even though I began our

marriage doubting my own feelings for him, we were a

family now. Call it maternal instinct, something

deep and primitive.

I was beginning to have my doubts. I still kept in

contact with Carter, but it was no longer romantic.

He managed to convince himself otherwise, saying he

didn’t want to lose me in this madness. My feelings

were interfering with my work, yes. But at the same

time, I knew I had to do something. *Some way* had

to be right.

All this plotting had me whirling. I needed time to

think. My only comfort was to fall back on raising

you and Samantha. Ironically, that was the very thing

I had wanted to avoid. I yearned for a `freedom’ when

I was young, but instead, had gotten myself into an

entanglement with powerful men.

You’d been developing so fast, Fox. There were

moments when I’d look at you and wonder how I would

have felt about you under different circumstances.

You will always be *my* son. I will always love you.

But back then, I was afraid of what might become of

you. And Samantha being so young… I just hoped to

avoid any confrontations. I didn’t want to get hurt

anymore, and I ended up closing off my feelings to

everyone. For that, Fox, I have regrets.

Especially for you.”>>

Scully peeked up from the pages to check on Mulder.

He held his fist clenched tight and pressed it

against his lips. She quickly picked up by reading

the next line before he noticed her voyeurism.

>>I tried so hard to keep things out of the house,

but Carter would sometimes come to fetch Bill on

important assignments. Worse still, he’d come

straight to me. And I’d find things out I wish I

hadn’t.

I knew the real plan, and I found out that Bill knew

more than he was letting on in casual conversation

with me. They’d been monitoring his actions, and

having me hang so closely to every word because he

had hit on the truth they were trying to cover up.

Their plan to string him along had backfired.

Carter had told me as much one night while trying to

cover up his insistence on my report. He’d begun to

yell at me, and I begged he keep it down for the

children’s sake. He grilled me for information, a

heated angry interrogation that scared me.

Carter always tried to protect them. Nothing about

me. His work and his existence was all for the

consortium’s greater power. The power of a few men,

holding the world for ransom.

There was always that question about the outer forces

beyond our control. How much information were they

gathering, and how far would it go?

How far would the consortium go to keep *their*

secrets?>>

“Stop reading, Scully…”

Scully lowered the book slowly, afraid to see her

partner’s reaction to this multitude of information.

She had good reason.

Mulder got up from his chair and paced the floor

between her and the picture window. His silhouette

grew and shrank as he came closer and moved away,

like he was throbbing from the pain of his thoughts.

“I can’t believe it,” he said, facing her in front of

the luminous windowpane. He wiped a palm over his

forehead and back to slick down his unkempt hair. “I

can’t believe she’d hide all this from me. This whole

time without a word!”

He kicked at the air, squeezed his forearms tight

against his chest. He stood in anguish, biting his

lower lip to stave back the frustration within. He

breathed strong, even gusts through his nose like an

angry bull.

Scully set down the book. “I’ve never heard you say

you don’t believe anything, Mulder. Your mother kept

this information to protect you.”

“Protect me from what? Have you heard my life story

lately, Scully?”

“She obviously had her reasons.”

He chuffed at the comment, turning away from her.

“You’re defending *her*?”

“There’s more left to this journal, Mulder. Perhaps

we should finish reading before we jump to

conclusions.”

She got up and pried the arm with the cast still

binding his wrist out of its confinement against

Mulder’s chest. She held his hand and tried to pull

him back to the couch. When he didn’t give, she

looked up and saw the wet glistening of tears held

back in his eyes.

“Scully, don’t you realize? I–, You–, Saman– ” he

broke off the last syllable, unable to continue

without his voice cracking.

“I know, Mulder. I know,” she consoled, and pulled

him into an embrace. “Let’s just keep reading.”

Act 2 Scene 3

They’d ended up taking a break. Mulder claimed the

need for a bathroom break, though Scully realized he

just needed a moment to get his head wrapped around

everything he’d heard so far.

Scully herself found it difficult to believe that

Teena Mulder was in as deep as she was without ever

giving her son, her adult son who worked for the FBI,

some kind of explanation before her death. If it was

so difficult for her to believe, she could only

imagine what was going through Mulder’s mind.

In the bathroom, Mulder stood at the sink with the

water running, and kept rinsing his hands and face.

For some reason he felt…dirty. It wasn’t as if he

had any choice in any of the decisions his mother

made, but he couldn’t help feeling as if he should

have figured it out. He should have been able to

stop her.

Right. As if he could have stopped her any more than

he could have stopped whoever it was that took

Samantha that night. Realistically he knew that he

had no chance of doing either, but it didn’t keep him

from feeling guilty over his inability to save Sam –

or his mother.

He turned the water off and dried his hands and face.

He stepped back into the room and sat down on the

couch. Scully had gone into the kitchen to get a

glass of water. She offered Mulder the glass as she

sat down next to him.

“Here.”

“I’m okay.”

“I know, but I don’t want you getting dehydrated.”

“Scully, I’m not getting dehydrated.”

“Mulder – just drink the damn water.”

He drank it.

“You read some more while I was in the bathroom,

didn’t you?” he asked with understanding.

She shrugged. “Just skimmed it a little.”

“Give me the journal – my turn,” he said softly.

Reluctantly, Scully gave the book up and watched as

he handled it so gently, almost reverently. Damn,

she thought to herself, this was going to be so hard

for him.

He opened to the next page and began to read.

>>”I’d finally reached my breaking point, Fox. The

day Spender came to me and told me they needed

something more from us; they needed proof of our

commitment. I remember looking at him as if he’d

developed a third eye. ‘What kind of proof?’ I

remember asking. I honestly had no idea, Fox.

I was always a smart woman, but in many ways I was so

na•ve. While I didn’t necessarily trust the people

involved, I did feel an inherent trust that

everything would work out. So, when Spender told me

what it was exactly that the consortium required as

proof, I felt my knees go weak.

They’re shaking now, even as I write this. He was so

calm when he told me, almost as if he were talking

about a shopping list for the local supermarket.

But it wasn’t apples and oranges, Fox. It was more

than just health and beauty aids.

They wanted my child. >>

Mulder looked up from the page. He didn’t look at

Scully; he stared straight ahead. He took a deep

breath and then shook his head slowly, disbelieving.

“I don’t know what to think,” he said.

“Why? You know from Cassandra Spender that loved

ones were being taken, including children,” reminded

Scully.

“I know, but she knew, Scully. She knew all along,

and she still let me continue to believe that it was

all my fault.”

“No, Mulder, we don’t know that.” She reached over

for the book in an attempt to take it from him, but

he shrugged her off.

“No, Scully, I want – I need to read this.” Scully

nodded and he continued.

>>I remember standing there for several seconds

before I asked him, ‘What do you mean, they want my

child?’

I don’t know why I asked him that; it wouldn’t have

mattered. Fox, you have to believe me when I say

that. It wouldn’t have mattered. I was not about to

give you or your sister up, no matter what Spender

said.

Of course his response was even worse then telling me

which of you we were supposed to hand over as a token

of our commitment. He told us that it was our choice

to make.

My jaw dropped in shock. And then I did something

that I believe scared the hell out of him.

I started laughing. Hard. To the point where I

quickly became hysterical. And then I started

screaming at him at the top of my lungs, demanding to

know how he could even think we could make a choice

like that.

Fox, he just stood there and watched me scream. I

started pummeling him and he simply stood unmoved,

until finally, he grabbed my wrists.

It was at that moment that Bill came into the room.

He looked first at me and then at Spender. I guess

we looked suspicious, but it didn’t matter to me.

The man was asking me to do something crazy, insane!

I wasn’t going to do it; I wasn’t going to allow

anyone to take one of my children away from me.>>

Mulder paused to take a deep breath.

Scully looked at him and gave him the glass of water.

“Drink.”

He took a small sip and handed it back to her.

“She wanted to fight for us -” he said more as a

question than a statement. He wasn’t sure; as much

as he wanted to believe that she’d fought tooth and

nail for him and his sister, he still wasn’t sure.

He continued to read.

>>”Bill finally found his voice and asked what the

hell was going on? I remember screaming that he

wanted our baby. Spender shook his head. The soft,

even tones with which he spoke still send chills up

and down my spine, Fox. There was no emotion; he

was so calculating and matter-of-fact.

At one time I thought he cared for you and your

sister; he’d always acted as if he did. However, the

man was a genius at separating business from pleasure,

and this was business. Bill of course looked as

incredulous as I had.

He started ranting and raving as well “How could

anyone expect us to make a decision like this? Could

you? Spender, could you decide which child to give

up?”

Carter shook his head and said, “It’s not my decision

to make. It’s yours.” Fox, he was such a bastard,

but I know he felt relief that it wasn’t his decision

to make. I know it.>>

Mulder brought one hand up to the bridge of his nose

and massaged it. “Can you believe she’s still

defending him, Scully? Why is she defending him?”

“Maybe because she recognized that he was human after

all,” she responded gently.

“No – no way is that bastard any kind of human.”

He read:

>>Finally he told us we had to make a decision or the

decision would be made for us. We both implored him

to make them change their minds. Weren’t we always

there to do their bidding? Weren’t we ready to help

the consortium’s cause at any given moment? Why were

we being singled out?

It was then he said that it wasn’t just us; others

were expected to show their good faith by donating

one of their children. It was then that I realized

that he was talking about himself. Carter had a son,

a little younger than Samantha, and he was being

asked to turn the child in, too.

I’m not sure why, but it made me feel better. Oh,

Fox, not because I wanted Jeffrey Spender to be taken

away; I never wanted to see that happen any more than

I wanted you or Samantha taken. No, sadly it pleased

me to know that Carter was going to feel the same

hole in his heart that Bill and I were going to feel.

It was at that moment I’d realized that we were going

to lose one of you, but Spender swore that the

children were going to be returned in a short period

of time. He did, Fox; he swore to me. Why I would

have thought that he would suddenly start telling me

the truth, I don’t know. Oh, Fox, I so wanted to

believe him. I had to believe him, or surely I would

have gone insane.

He finally told Bill to do it. Bill actually shook

his head, and asked him how he could be expected to

do such a thing. Carter told him that if he didn’t

make the decision, the decision would be made for us.

Bill looked at me, pleaded with me, “Who do we pick?

Fox? Do we give away our first born?”

He’d almost started keening at the mention of it.

Then he looked at me and asked, “Do we give them our

baby? Do we give them Samantha?”

I remember crying out “Not Samantha, not Samantha”

and Bill looked at me and asked “What choice do we

have? The orders came down from on high.” He turned

to Spender and began to call him every filthy name

known to man. He was so angry; he was resigned to

the fact that we had no choice, but he was so angry.

Carter said, in that cold, crisp tone, “Plan to go

out tomorrow night for a few hours. Leave Fox home

to babysit Samantha. Everything will be taken care

of.”

We did just as he instructed, Fox. Everything. We

went to the Galbrands to play cards. You were going

to stay home, play a game with your sister and then

watch “The Magician”. It was a nice, normal winter

night.

— Until I’d lost my daughter to a

ruthless conspiracy made up of a maze of lies and

deceit. And it’s only now as I write the words in

this journal, that I realize that I lost my son

that night, too. I tried to protect you, Fox; I

don’t know if you believe this, but I did. Even Bill

did, and to an extent, Carter.

Carter–I wanted to hate him so much, but he worked

hard, when it wasn’t business, Fox, to protect you.

But you kept getting too close to the business. We

were all too close to the business.” >>

Mulder closed the book and looked over at his

partner. “Scully? What is she saying? What is she

saying to me?”

“That you were loved, Mulder. That no matter what,

you were loved.”

Act 3 Scene 1

Mulder paused and stared at the pages. His face

crinkled in concentration, then confusion. He opened

his eyes wide from the strain, almost as if he

couldn’t believe what he saw in front of him.

“Mulder, what is it?”

He shook his head and turned the book at a slight

angle, as if that would help to clarify his vision.

“The handwriting seems rushed here. It’s jagged, not

flowing like the rest of the journal.”

“The” handwriting, he said. Not “her” handwriting.

That meant he was going into analytical mode. Mulder

seemed to have gotten over his emotional attachment

to his mother’s words — for the moment. He was less

angry, and now, more determined to understand his

mother’s motives. Just when had he made that shift?

“Here,” he said, pointing at a section of the page.

“Scully, look at this…”

>>I know I’m being watched. I know too much, and

people are beginning to figure out what I’ve been

doing. Passing along tidbits to you here and there,

trying to be discreet about it — that was all fine

for a while, when I thought I had all the time in the

world.

Now I know I’ve been discovered, because I’ve

contracted this awful disease.

Yes, Fox , my Paget’s Carcinoma was no accident, nor

was it inherited from anyone in my family. It was

purely man-made — and placed into my body.

There are things that I have not finished yet. I’m

sorry I did not have time to explain more, to tell

you all that I know so that you can beat them at

their own game. But it’s a dangerous game, Fox, and

there is so much more than you were led to believe.

Beat them, Fox. You’re the only one left who can.

I’m a ticking time bomb right now. I don’t know when

or how it will happen, but I will die, and in a most

unnatural way, yet it will appear completely natural

on the surface.>>

Mulder’s voice cracked on that last sentence. All of

a sudden he was back in his apartment, begging Scully

to do the autopsy for him. She pleaded with him not

to. She couldn’t handle the thought of detaching

herself emotionally from someone who was so

personally attached to her life. But she did it,

because she knew that it was *his* life that

mattered. It was his life she shared, and loved, and

she would do anything for him, no matter what the cost

to herself.

He snuffled and dragged a knuckle across wet cheeks

and nostrils. Scully laid a hand on his arm, just the

touch of her warm fingers support enough to hold him

against the tide of emotion breaking through once

again.

He cleared his throat, kissed her forehead and

continued on.

>>You’ll find out what they did to me, and you’ll

have to expose them. It won’t be easy. Be careful,

Fox. They’ll do it to others and they’ll try to stop

you. You have little protection left. I don’t know

how much longer I can count on Carter.

If I’ve taught you anything in this life, I’ve taught

you to question everything. That may not have made

you the most trusting of people, but as you got

older, I could see it was for the best.

I never wanted to lose you to them, Fox, though I may

have lost you anyway. I was never there for you

emotionally, as a “normal” mother. I hope you can

forgive the hurt I have caused you. But you must

know that I love you. I would give my life for you.

I think, now, that is exactly what I have done.

If you’ve found this book, the time is right for you

to know my role in this tangled mess — this

conspiracy.

I hope to see you, so that I may tell you all of this

in person. Perhaps when you return from your case

out West. Writing it all down has come so easily, but

to tell you to your face is what I have craved for so

long. Far too long.

Now, I fear, there isn’t time. I know it will come to

an end soon.

I’m going to hide this book in a place where you will

be able to find it. Somehow, I’ll get a message to

you.

Goodbye, and good luck, my son. My beloved Fox.>>

Mulder closed the book, and stared out at the rising

sun. He held Scully’s hand, and they remained there

until dawn rose from behind the trees, and the light

formed its cocoon around them.

Act 3 Scene 2

April 29, 2003

Safehouse, location unknown

6 AM

The only sound penetrating the room was the soft

drone of electrical appliances. The refrigerator

hummed quietly in the kitchen, occasionally breaking

into a shudder as the motor switched gears. Somewhere

in the distance Scully thought she heard the ticking

of a clock, but she didn’t remember seeing one when

they arrived at the house.

When her stomach grumbled loudly, demanding food, she

suddenly realized they hadn’t eaten anything since

grabbing a quick bite after leaving the hospital.

“Mulder? Are you hungry? I’m not sure what’s here,

but I know Skinner wouldn’t have left us without

supplies.”

Mulder sat as motionless as stone, his hand still

nestled in hers but his mind far away.

“Mulder? Did you hear me?”

He jumped as if shocked by an electric current.

“Sorry. What did you say?”

He pulled his hand from hers, scrubbed at his face

and pushed the heels of both hands against his eyes,

prompting Scully to check her watch. He was overdue

for his meds, and after a full might of reading —

having to absorb what his mother had written– it

wouldn’t surprise her if his head was aching.

Scully unfolded her legs and stood. Laying a hand on

Mulder’s shoulder, she leaned in close and said, “I’m

going to go fix something to eat.”

Mulder’s answer was a quick nod, but his hands

remained over his eyes. He listened to Scully

rummaging around in the kitchen.

Amidst the clatter of opening and closing doors and

the scrape of stubborn drawers, Scully called to him.

“Mulder. You have a choice of soup, soup or soup. And

all of them tomato.”

“Soup will be fine, Scully.” He really wasn’t

hungry, and he really didn’t care. There was an

annoying throb building behind his left eye and the

knot in his stomach was so tight, he doubted even

soup would make it down. But he knew that if he

valued his life, he had to appear to be making an

effort to eat.

He must have drifted off. It seemed like no time at

all before Scully was back with two steaming mugs

and a plate of sandwiches. She tapped him lightly on

the shoulder to get his attention.

Placing the food on the coffee table, she headed back

to the kitchen, returning a minute later with a jug

of iced water, 2 large glasses and a bottle of pills.

She shook two out and handed them to Mulder.

He took them, raising an eyebrow questioningly.

“I know how you look when you’re in pain. Tylenol.

For the headache.” She smiled at him.

He grinned back. “I knew there was a reason I kept

you around.”

They ate in silence. After the first mouthful, Mulder

realized he was hungrier than he’d first thought. He

managed to finish off the full mug of soup and a

couple of bites of a sandwich. But the food wasn’t

enough to distract him from his mother’s journal.

He’d known all along that she hadn’t killed herself.

It was a gut feeling that had never really left him

since the day she died, despite the autopsy findings.

Could he have made a difference if he’d done as she

asked?

“I should have called her.” The words were more to

himself than for Scully’s benefit.

Mulder leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees,

absently stroking his bottom lip with thumb and

forefinger as he gazed into the semi-darkness.

“I should have called her when I got back from

California.” Then, more quietly, he said, “She might

be alive today. I might have been…”

“No.” Scully’s voice was firm but gentle. “Don’t do

this to yourself, Mulder. Regardless of the

circumstances of her disease, it was still there and

it was terminal. There was nothing you could have

done to prevent her death.”

Suddenly, Mulder pushed himself to his feet and

strode towards the window, hands propped on his hips

as he stared out at the encroaching daybreak..

“But it was *given* to her. There might have been a

way to…to…Jeezus, Scully!”

He turned abruptly, taking 3 angry paces back to the

couch. In one swift motion he scooped the journal

from the coffee table and shook it in the air. “She

*knew* they would kill her. What were her words? That

she would die in an unnatural way that would appear

completely natural on the surface? She didn’t even

make it that far. They killed her, Scully. It wasn’t

suicide. The pills were a means to an end, but it

wasn’t her decision. Just like those women in New

Jersey.”

Scully reached out and pried the journal from his

fingers, laying it back on the table. Gently, she

pulled him down to sit next to her, turning him so

she could see his face. She lifted his chin with the

tip of her index finger.

“You’re right. It wasn’t suicide. My findings when I

did the autopsy…” She swallowed hard before

continuing. “I was wrong. And…” Scully’s head

dipped, unable to meet his gaze, to bear the raw

emotion she saw in his eyes. “And…I should have

looked further. But…when…Mulder, the cancer had

progressed to such a state that I was sure, under the

circumstances that she wouldn’t have wanted to live.

She was your *mother*. I’m so sorry.”

Mulder huffed a soft mirthless chuckle. “Look at us,

Scully. Blaming ourselves for things that were so far

out of our control it’s almost laughable. All these

years we’ve been manipulated. Pawns in a game. My

father–whoever that might be, my mother, and god,

Scully, even your brother.” He felt Scully stiffen at

the mention of Charlie. “Nothing was left to chance.”

Scully lifted her head, chin thrust forward, a fire

blazing in her eyes.

“Where will it end, Mulder? What is so damn important

that these men feel they can kill with impunity? What

the hell are they so afraid of? What are they

protecting?”

“I don’t know. But I do know one thing.” He picked up

the journal again, weighing it in his hand. “This is

the key to finding out. Everything we’ve been

fighting against for the last 10 years has been a

lie. A monumental lie. And if they have gone to so

much trouble to perpetuate the lie, then the truth

must be something far bigger than anything we can

imagine. And I’ve got to know what it is.”

She’d heard those words before. Ten long years ago on

a rainy night in Oregon. Field work was new to her.

Working with a partner, especially one as eccentric

as Mulder had seemed exciting, exhilarating, but

little did she know what it held in store. And now,

after everything they had lost, and the little they’d

gained, he wanted to start over again. They were back

to square one. And for a second it all seemed too

hard. Scully wasn’t sure she had the energy required

to take on this new quest. But then, she wondered,

did she really have a choice? She looked at the man

sitting beside her. Took in his pale complexion and

pinched features, remembering how close she had come

to losing him, and her lassitude was replaced with a

burning fury. An all-consuming desire to get back at

the bastards who had been controlling their lives all

these years, systematically destroying everything

they held dear to them.

“Scully?” Mulder was studying her, his brow creased

in concern. And then she knew. Of all the things she

had lost in their fight for the truth, there, sitting

beside her was the one thing she had gained. The man

she loved with all her heart. She took his hand in

both of hers, squeezing tight.

“*We’ve* got to know what it is, Mulder. Both of us.”

Mulder knelt on the floor in front of her, leaning

forward and pulling her into his arms. He buried his

head against her waist, holding onto her.

Scully weaved her fingers through his hair. Relishing

the feel of his body wrapped around hers; the soft

rhythm of his breathing as he nuzzled against her. In

her mind’s eye she remembered the sickly red tinge to

his skin when they’d found him in the garage. God, if

she’d been a few minutes later he *would* have died.

Scully hugged him closer. Charlie had done that to

Mulder. Was he the one responsible for Teena Mulder

too? Could he have been the monster who had initiated

the deaths of 11 women simply by making a few phone

calls? Images like a slide show played in her mind.

Charlie. Her kid brother. Holding a gun to her head,

shooting Mulder in cold blood. She couldn’t

reconcile the man she’d seen that night with the

cheeky-grinned boy she’d grown up with. Scully

shuddered, the temperature suddenly feeling as if it

had dropped 10 degrees.

Mulder lifted his head. “Scully? What’s wrong?”

She brushed her hand over his hair, mustering a

watery smile. “Nothing, Mulder. I was just thinking

about Charlie. It’s all so crazy. Your mom, my

brother.” She shook her head. “Both claiming to have

been looking out for us, and yet…I don’t know. How

do we deal with something like that?”

Mulder pulled himself up so he could see her clearly.

“By fighting back, Scully. By beating them, like my

mother said in her journal.”

Scully nodded slowly, wishing she shared his

confidence.

Epilogue

42nd Street High Rise

New York, New York

The mahogany wood and the years of cigar and

cigarette smoke cast a pallor on the room that its

sole occupant didn’t seem to notice. He was sitting

with his back to the door, an unusual occurrence for

one so generally suspicious. The brandy snifter on

the table next to him hadn’t been touched, ignored.

The framed photograph in his hands held his

attention.

It was the photo of a young woman, a dark haired

beauty of no more than 20 years of age. She wore a

sweater with an underlying blouse adorned with a

Peter Pan collar. She could have been a co-ed at

Wellesley, Vassar, or Sarah Lawrence. She was so

smart, so pretty. Her eyes, it was always her eyes

that held him. So deep, like dark pools. He

remembered how, late at night, he would drown in

those hazel eyes. A single tear burned at the corner

of his cheek and he let it fall, as ignored as the

room, as the brandy.

With a wizened finger he traced the contours of the

image before him. He remembered every curve, every

dimple. He remembered where she was ticklish, where

she would moan with ecstasy at his touch. He chewed

absently on his lip, trying to remember the feel of

her mouth on his.

The phone that sat next to the brandy rang, startling

him. He grabbed at hit hastily, almost dropping the

photo to the ground. He caught it just in time.

“Spender, I hear you’ve been trying to reach me,”

Strughold’s voice came faintly over the line. “I’ve

been in the field. What is it you want?”

“I want you to call off your dog. He’s been digging

in my yard.”

There was silence on the other end of the line.

“It’s my understanding that _your_ pet has been

causing some destruction on my property. Finding old

bones that were better left buried. He’s a nuisance.

He should be put down.”

Spender bristled, but let none of it color his tone.

“That’s your opinion. Mine is that he merely made a

connection with his roots, his mother’s past. There

was nothing that is a danger to the project.”

“She knew too much,” Strughold said tersely.

“Which is why you had her killed,” Spender calmly

replied. “Yes, I said I understood. But this is

overkill. He found nothing that would lead him to

his precious truth. He found only a link to his

parentage. I dare say it might lead him directly

where we want him to be.”

There was an ungentlemanly snort from the phone line.

“You are such an idealist, Spender. That’s a

liability in our line of work, you know.”

“I really don’t think you want to test my resolve,

Strughold. Especially over something as trivial as

an old woman’s dying confession of infidelity.”

Again, silence was the reply. He waited, wanting

nothing more than to light up a cigarette, give his

hands something to do. Finally, there was a grunt on

the other end of the line.

“Very well. If you’re convinced nothing will come of

this, I’ll call off my dog. But remember, we can’t

allow them to come too close. We are on the very

brink, and one false move . . .”

“I understand,” Spender said gruffly. “If it comes

to that, I’ll put him down myself.”

“I intend to hold you to that,” Strughold said and

abruptly disconnected the line.

Spender put the receiver back on its cradle. Again,

he held the picture in both hands. He caressed it

once more, tears making the image blurry.

“You can still count on me, Teena. You can always

count on me.”

* * *

End

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