TITLE: Double Jeopardy
AUTHOR: XSketch (XSketch@hotmail.com)
CATEGORY: X, S, MSR, MT
RATING: PG-15 (for strong language)
SUMMARY: 42 years after the first incident a UFO crashes in Pennsylvania, except
this time somebody believes they can hand the craft over to Mulder and Scully.
Could it finally be the proof they’ve been after for 15 years?
SPOILERS: The whole VS universe thus far.
DISCLAIMER: Whilst this story is inspired by an actually documented UFO
encounter and the news of NASA’s recent order to investigate the reports, all
characters and plots are this story are completely fictitious and nothing more
than imaginings of my muse – any similarity to people living or dead or any
events is nothing more than coincidental. The X-Files, Mulder, Scully, CSM and
Deep Throat remain property of Chris Carter and are used here without
permission – I make no money from writing this and no infringement is intended.
ARCHIVE: Two weeks exclusive to Virtual Season 15, and then it’s yours as long
as you let me know where and keep my name/all disclaimers attached.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: Mucho gracias to my lovely beta Lisa 🙂 Happy holidays
DECEMBER 9th, 1965
As the wintry Thursday evening drew in and a blanket of clouds tinted with a
myriad of colors unravelled, nine-year-old Josh Kerstein sang along with The
Byrds’ ‘Turn Turn Turn’, which played on the battered wireless that sat beside him
on the large tree bough and watched as his father locked up their barn for the
night. A large smile widened on his face. Despite the freezing temperature
biting at his body, thanks to his mother’s ignored orders to wrap up well, this was
the best time of his life: listening to music and watching his father work.
Randall Kerstein turned, blew into his cupped hands and then rubbed them
together as he looked up toward the heavens, thanking God for another day of
good farming regardless of the weather.
“Pa, we going in now?” the boy called from his perch, switching off the radio.
The wind picked up as Randy glanced at his son, scratched at the stubble on his
left cheek and smiled. “Yep, I do believe it’s that time. Smells like your
mom’s cooking up some of tha–”
Suddenly the ground shook with an inconceivable force, Josh slipped from the
high branch – only just barely managing to grab hold with his right hand before
he fell to the ground like his now-smashed radio.
The air around them was sucked into a vacuum, the icy temperature boiled to a
simmer, and as the elder Kerstein struggled to catch his breath and run to his
son’s aid at the same time, a raging fireball larger than the family’s farm shed
hurtled past them at break-neck speed toward the line of trees on the horizon,
where it crashed with a sonic boom.
…Which was enough to send Josh falling from the tree completely.
As his world faded to black, he could just barely make out the voices of his
screaming mother and father rushing towards him, and at least half of the
townsfolk hurrying for the woods.
DECEMBER 21st, 2007
“What do they know, anyway? Forty years on and they expect us to do what,
The loud, booming voice echoed down the long hallway as the two men – one
suited and one uniformed – hastily made their way along the black-carpeted
“Stupid, fucking government trying to get on the good side of crappy, Podunk
townies in time for the next election.”
Administrator Warren Anderson waved the piece of paper that was tightly gripped
in his right hand in the air, wishing he could just burn it and forget that it had
At the end of October, an order had been passed across Anderson’s desk to open
an investigation into sightings of an unidentified flying object by residents of
Kecksburg, Pennsylvania back in 1965. He’d pushed it aside, hoping that it would
be forgotten, but a faceless somebody higher up apparently had other ideas.
He’d received yet another order, clearly stating that if he did not follow it
immediately, it wouldn’t be long before he’d be struggling to find another job and
the thirteenth NASA administrator was being sworn in.
With the Christmas rush just around the corner, and the January shuttle launch in
jeopardy due to numerous technical ‘concerns’, fulfilling somebody’s Twilight
Zone fantasy was far from the top of his ‘To Do’ list. If it was worth threatening
his job over, Anderson had no choice but to obey – no matter how reluctantly.
He stopped, turned to face his second-in-command and thrust the confidential
piece of paper into the shorter man’s hands.
“Deal with it,” Anderson gritted out, shaking his head to accentuate his
dissatisfaction. “As quickly and quietly as possible.”
The neatly uniformed officer glanced at the order in confusion, but then clicked
his heels together, saluted and barked out “Yes, sir,” without question. He was
about to walk away when suddenly a woman in a lab coat quickly approached
from behind them, calling out Anderson’s name.
“Sir, we have a problem,” the scientist panted, taking a deep, cleansing breath
before finishing, “The Kecksburg anomaly…”
“Oh for–… You really do hate me, don’t You?” Warren groaned, exasperated –
turning his gaze to the ceiling for a moment with both hands outstretched in
defeat. “Yes, what about it?” He sighed, looking back at the woman.
She faltered, dissuaded by his apparent temper, and then replied, hesitantly,
“There’s been another one.”
Anderson struggled to categorize his new mood – was there even a category
beyond ‘pissed off to the max’? “When?” he almost whined.
“That…That would be the problem, sir.”
“You mean *that* wasn’t the problem!?”
“The new anomaly crashed in the same woods in Kecksburg two weeks
ago…and…” Dr Catherine Schubert stuttered to a pause, shooting a cursory
glance at the deputy administrator and finishing, “and has now disappeared
from the crash site.”
It was doubtful that anyone within a five mile radius of where they stood didn’t
hear Anderson’s loudly exclaimed “For fuck’s sake!”
Mulder and Scully’s SUV completed a second circuit of the store’s full car lot as
they struggled to find a free space. Having gone from one exhaustive,
tumultuous case to another within a matter of days in the last month, they hadn’t
had time to even think about Christmas, let alone shop for the occasion. So now,
on the last, Saturday three days before the big day, they’d hoped to make a last-
minute attempt at buying in all of their gifts, decorations and food.
If they could just fight their way through the hordes of weekend shoppers,
carollers, and eager street merchants.
To make things worse, at some point during the busy blur of case files and
hospital visits they’d agreed to have the Scully Clan over for the festivities. Which
the partners would have forgotten about, had it not been for Maggie’s phone call
late last night – as they’d finally, literally, dragged themselves into bed – to check
if she needed to bring anything with her, The agents could live without the lights
and formalities of the season in their own company, but they needed to make this
a special time for Margaret in the wake of yet another death in the family – no
matter how long-overdue they believed that particular comeuppance might have
“Just one more try,” Mulder grumbled, refusing to let the lazy last-minuters that
actually could have been out getting their supplies whilst they’d been putting
their lives on the line, beat him as his sweaty palms clenched a little tighter
around the steering wheel. Dana’s calm streak was far from faultless when it
came to making preparations for family get-togethers, but today she was
relatively relaxed compared to her partner’s frantic disposition.
“Mulder, you said that twenty minutes ago,” she sighed, resting what she hoped
would be a soothing hand on his arm. “Come on, let’s go for coffee, take a
break, and then maybe try another mall.”
He shot a glance in her direction, noted the concern etched in her features, but
then shook his head and returned his attention to the tarmac and gravel. “We
can’t let your mom and Tara down–”
“Mom will just be happy that we’re there, alive and well,” Scully quickly
countered. “One more lap and I think I’m gonna be ill from motion sickness!”
Once again the male agent diverted his gaze to momentarily study his partner.
Scully gave a wry smile and felt a wave of relief as she saw the stubborn
determination that had been creasing his features slowly dissipate.
Suddenly there was the sound of screeching tires, and Dana’s head whipped
round in time to see a red 1997 Ford F-150 braking to a halt half-way out of a
parking spot not far ahead of them.
“Mulder, look out!”
Thanks to lightning-speed reflexes honed over the years at work, Mulder’s foot
slammed on the brake pedal before the whole of her exclamation registered in his
brain, or he’d had chance to turn his own head.
A little surprised by the near-collision, both agents sat still and watched as the
sole occupant of the other vehicle got out the drivers’ side and moved around the
rear bumper to approach them. The man was tall, walked with a limp, and bore a
prominent scar down the right side of his clean-shaven face; there was no sign of
malice in his stance or expression, yet Scully still scrambled for the holstered gun
in the glove compartment nevertheless.
“Hey, sorry about that,” Mulder courteously smiled, winding down his window as
the stranger stopped beside him and bent down to peek into their vehicle.
The other man looked from one agent to the other, shot a shifty glance over his
shoulder to check nobody was watching, and then turned back to lean further in
through their open car window. “You’re M-Mulder and Sc-Scu…Scully, right?” he
Memories of an evening almost eleven years ago and a woman claiming to be
Max Fenig’s sister interrupting her birthday celebrations echoed in Scully’s mind
and she sharply sat up straight in her seat, tightening her hold on both Mulder’s
arm and the gun now concealed under her jacket.
“Yes,” Mulder replied skeptically, sensing her unease and feeling his own paranoia
brimming to the surface.
Yet again the man checked behind him for any onlookers before responding, “M-
my name’s Josh Ke-Kerstein…I h-have a UFO f-f-for you…”
A car horn suddenly blared from behind them and Kerstein quickly raised a hand
to shield his face from view of the other drivers.
“M-meet me in the Starb-b-bucks across t-the street in five minutes i-if you’re
interested…Please, I- d-don’t know h-how much longer I c-c-can hide it from
them,” he implored, with a solemn shake of his head before rushing back to his
own car and vacating the lot.
Finally, a free space!
Mulder bit down on his lip, watching the departing pickup truck as he weighed up
their options. He just wanted to pull into the open lot and do the planned
shopping spree as soon as possible so that they could have a nice, relaxing
evening, but his gut…dammit…His gut instinct was telling him, for some reason,
to find out what the stranger had that was so important.
Of course, she knew exactly what he was thinking, and any other time she
probably would have let him, but three days before Christmas Dana hoped that
even Fox Mulder couldn’t be lured by the hint of a case right now.
Without a word, he pulled their Saturn hybrid into the deserted space and slipped
out of the driver’s seat – activating the automatic locking system once his partner
had left the vehicle also, and then pocketing the keys as he walked around the
bonnet to stand beside her.
The driver who’d been impatiently honking his horn behind them, sped off,
shouting expletives at them through the open passenger-side window as he went.
“You go ahead and I’ll catch you up in a couple minutes,” he smiled reassuringly,
leaning in to place a kiss on her cheek.
Scully’s hand quickly raised to intercept him, though.
“Please don’t say you going to give that guy two seconds of your time,” she
exclaimed, pinning him with a scolding stare. When he didn’t try to even lie his
way out, she knew the answer and her frown deepened.
“Mulder, we have to put up with enough crackpots during the year as it is, don’t
you think there might actually be a few extra rolling around at Christmas?”
“You mean besides the one that’s standing in front of you now?” he tried to joke
with a goofy grin.
She let out a despondent sigh, shaking her head. “Well, I guess I can’t argue
“C’mon, I’ll just be five minutes. I swear.” He started to bounce excitedly on the
balls of his feet, which usually meant he was about to take flight, no matter how
against the idea she may be. “I don’t know why, but something’s telling me to
find out what this guy’s hiding.”
“The same feeling that got us trapped one Christmas Eve in a house that
“Oh, for God’s sake…” Anybody would have thought he was a small child
begging to see Santa Claus. “Okay. Sure, fine, whatever,” she finally relented.
“But *no* cases until after Mom, Tara and the kids have visited. I can handle an
abbreviated Christmas, but I won’t ruin
it for them.”
With the widest grin imaginable, Mulder swooped in to attempt to kiss her again
and this time she let him, returning the gesture. He turned and started to quickly
wind his way through the parked vehicles, but slowed down when he suddenly
felt her arm slip through and hook onto his own.
“Miss me already?” came his surprised, puzzled retort.
Dana shook her head and smiled enigmatically, “If you think I’m letting you loose
on your own to get up to mischief, you can think again. I know you – I’ll look
away and you’ll wind up in hospital within three seconds with some idiotic injury.”
“And…you think I’m how old?”
“It’s happened. Need I remind you of last year’s drama when you were entrusted
to put up the decorations by yourself? Let’s just find out what this particular
nutjob wants, and if you’re good maybe we’ll go see Santa after we’re done
“Well, alrighty then!”
They found Kerstein sitting in the farthest corner of the cafe, nervously eyeing
everyone that entered and exited the building as if they were out to get him.
Scully inwardly chuckled at the thought – no wonder Mulder felt so drawn to what
the stranger was supposedly offering: they were probably kindred spirits
separated at birth.
The middle-aged man stood to greet them – shaking each of their hands in turn –
but just as quickly sat down again, as if he’d exposed his location by popping into
view above eye-level. “T-thank you f-f-for coming,” he started with a nod of his
head. “You’ll have to f-forgive my s-speech… I w-w-was in an accident when I
w-was a k-kid. B-b-banged my brain a b-bit.”
Both agents nodded in acceptance of the apology as they seated themselves also.
“How do you know who we are, Mr Kerstein?” Mulder queried, leaning forward
slightly onto his elbows to help allay the older man’s paranoia.
“I read an a-article about y-you both in the P-P-Pennsylania T-Tribune a few y-
years back when you investigated s-some alien abduction c-c-claims…I w-was
gonna contact y-you then to s-share m-m-my story, but I kinda c-chickened o-
out,” Josh explained, looking closely from one agent to the other and back again.
“When the second one c-came, though, I-I knew I h-h-had t-to get to y-you,
before they g-got to me.”
Mulder shifted uncomfortably on his stool. No invisible deity would be able to
protect him from the wrath of Scully if this had been a wasted detour from their
schedule, and despite his refusal to regret the decision he’d made to listen to
Kerstein, he hoped the guy started speaking in plain English soon and spat out
what he wanted them to know. “It’s been a rough few weeks, sir,” he breathed,
wiping a hand across his suddenly-dry mouth, “so please forgive my stupidity
when I ask ‘what are you talking about?'” He felt the sharp pain of Dana’s foot
kicking his right shin, but the relieved glance she shot his way let him know that
she’d almost been bursting to ask the exact same thing.
Kerstein watched the silent exchange between the two agents, but didn’t
comment as he elaborated, “I was b-b-born and br-brought up in K-Kecksburg,
Pennsylvania…L-lived there a-a-all my l-life. B-back in sixty-five a fireball the s-
s-size o-of…” Both of his arms outstretched as wide as they could go in a
grandiose demonstration of the size scale he was struggling to explain with
words. “I-it was almost a-as big as the f-field at Yankee Stadium… A-anyway, it
flew s-straight past our f-farm and c-c-crashed in the woods w-with such a force
t-that it made me fall out of the tree I-I’d b-b-been watching m-my dad from…”
He gulped and his eyes quickly looked down and away as he almost whispered,
“That w-w-was the last time I saw–…. Dad calling m-my name as I-I hit t-t-the
ground was t-the l-last time I heard his v-voice…”
DECEMBER 9th, 1965
The acrid stench of smoke mixed with something less distinguishable filled the air
as plumes of black reached up for the heavens from the horizon. The fifteen
residents of the town rushing towards the line of trees didn’t seem to care about
that, though – one man even waving his wife off when she ran after him with
a gas mask raised in the air.
Randy Kerstein glanced up at the mob, feeling the tug of curiosity, but then
turned his attention back to the prone body of Josh at his wife’s scream.
“My baby!” Jessica wept, falling to her knees and cradling the boy’s head in her
lap. Her fingers immediately started to comb through his hair, but one hand
sharply pulled away only milliseconds later when her skin came in contact with a
warm, steady flow of blood. “Oh, my God! Randall! He’s bleeding!”
Without hesitation, despite how numb and leaden he suddenly felt, her husband
quickly hauled himself to his feet. “Take care of him. I’m gonna go get Doc
Thruxton,” he instructed, turning to make his way north.
“Randall, wait! Just call the operator for an ambulance!”
He feared for their only child’s life as much as his wife, but she was falling apart,
and he knew that one thing they definitely couldn’t do if they wanted to help
Josh was lose their heads. “Jess…” Turning back, he crouched down beside her
and stared into her watery eyes. There were no words to say that could reassure
either of them, but he soothingly sighed, “That’ll take too long. Look, I’ll go get
Doc from up the street. I’ll be back before you realise I’ve gone, okay?” At
her slightly whimpered nod, he weakly smiled, placed a gentle kiss on her
forehead and then headed back towards the dirt track road.
Where he literally ran into Doctor Herb Thruxton, who was also heading for the
“Doc! I need–”
Thruxton greeted the other man with a slightly impatient smile, but then grabbed
Kerstein’s arm and pulled him along with him as he refused to divert from his
The doctor was an oddity in the small God-fearing town, and only had interaction
with the other residents through his work as a result. He was what they hatefully
called a hippie, with long hair and non-conformist clothing, and several of the
more strict busy-bodies of the community had even gone to the AMA with their
wild theories in the hope that they could get his medical license revoked for
possession of marijuana, which had repeatedly been proven as false.
He should have suspected that Kerstein’s greeting was for more than sociable
reasons, then, but he was so intrigued by what might have just crashed to earth,
that his mind was too pre-occupied to process anything else, let alone any logic.
“Yo, Randy! You headed for the crash site as well? Excellent – I’ll walk with you!
So, what do you think it is? A plane or an asteroid?”
“Whuh?” Kerstein, caught off-guard and still trying to regain his bearings, tried
unsuccessfully to pull out of the other man’s grasp as he sputtered out his
“You never know, it might be a sign from God!”
“No, you don’t understand–”
“Looks like the whole town’s going to find out.”
“But, Josh–” Suddenly Randall’s voice died in his throat as he found himself
looking down into the large crater that the fireball had made amongst the trees.
“Holy mother of God…”
An eerie silence filled the air as the seventeen souls stood in awe and fear,
staring uncertainly at the large, dark, acorn-shaped object, which must have
measured at least three meters in diameter at its widest point. Several of the
residents crossed themselves, certain that it was a sign of coming apocalypse,
whilst Mrs. Pitney, the local butcher’s wife, passed out altogether.
“Wow,” Thruxton exhaled, letting go of Kerstein’s arm and slowly, carefully
climbing his way down the crater’s rim with both arms outstretched in front of
him = intoxicated, instead of repelled, by the blue/black putrid clouds of smoke.
At the back of Randall Kerstein’s brain, he knew he should be running back to his
farm and calling the operator, as his wife had initially begged him to do, but
he couldn’t stop staring at the unknown craft and the strange writing engraved
around the base; hypnotized by the ancient pictures as if able to interpret but not
fully process what they were telling him.
The doctor approached ever closer, fingertips literally tingling as his splayed
hands inched nearer to the craft’s metallic surface. The smoke was causing his
eyes to water furiously and his chest to almost seize up from the thick gasses
percolating and suffocating his air passages, yet it was as if there was something
else – a power – taking over his (and everybody else’s, in fact) senses, and he
couldn’t have turned away even if he’d wanted to.
Closer, until he was barely a hair’s breadth away.
Both eyes rolled back into his head and trembling fingers reached to close the
And a gunshot rang out in the air.
The spell broken, Herb Thruxton fell to the ground like a dead weight, clawing at
his throat and chest in a desperate bid to reclaim cleansing oxygen that his lungs
were long beyond the point of being able to find or use to any effect.
Randy shook his head, unable to dispel the image of the strange lines and
markings that had seemingly burnt themselves onto the back of his eyeballs, and
struggled to remain standing as a wave of dizziness wracked his body. Rubbing
his temples between forefinger and thumb, Randy staggered towards the exit of
the woods, only to find his path blocked by an armed soldier dressed in full
“Stop right there!” the other man ordered, immediately raising his weapon.
At least twenty military personnel swarmed into the clearing, surrounding the
cowering gathering of civilians.
Kerstein would not be deterred, though – he had to get back to his family,
dammit! He’d left them for too long already as it was. “I have to get back,” he
rasped out, still barely able to focus properly.
“Sorry, sir, but you have to stay here. We need to question you about what you
witnessed here today.”
Two men in white, protective body outfits carrying a boxed-in stretcher, bumped
past the farmer and briskly headed to where Thruxton’s body now lay completely
“No!” Randall stumbled, but regained his footing and tried to dodge around the
soldier, only to be pushed back and blocked yet again. “I have to get to my son!”
Despite the headache disorientating him and the armed man forcing him to stand
still, Kerstein had had enough and was ready to do whatever it took to get away
from these woods and back to his injured son’s side. He sucked in a breath,
straightened his back, and stared at the other man for a contemplative moment
before charging ahead as quickly as his still-unsteady legs would allow on the
cold, loose soil.
A struggle ensued as the soldier fought to force Kerstein to the ground, either by
hand or weapon, and the farmer used all the strength he could muster to wrestle
and twist his way out of the other man’s grasp in his bid to make a run for it.
Yet another gunshot rang out.
Except this time it hadn’t been a warning shot into thin air.
Kerstein staggered backwards, wide eyes blinking furiously as he tried to work
out what had happened and then looked down at his blood-drenched hands and
clothes. A guttural groan escaped past his quivering lips as pain worse than
anything he’d ever experienced ripped through his abdomen and he fell to his
The soldier looked on stoically.
*Pa, we going in now?*
Several of the townsfolk cried out in horror, but they were quickly hustled away
into an awaiting unmarked truck by half a dozen of the uniformed men whilst the
rest continued to secure the area. Not diverting their attention away from their
own work, the two unknown men in hazmat outfits rushed back past carrying
their own dead body.
As darkness drew in, Kerstein scrabbled at the ground, for the soldiers legs –
anything that could offer help. His weak hands gained no purchase, though, and
he was left to writhe in agony alone. Josh’s last words to him played over and
over in his ears, the strange symbols from the craft flashed behind his eyelids,
but as the pain faded and everything faded to black forever, the last thing
echoing in his mind was the dulcet tone of the song that had been playing on his
son’s wireless before the fireball appeared.
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
STARBUCKS CAFE, WASHINGTON, D.C
“Nobody t-talks of the i-i-incident in town m-much anymore – n-nobody d-dares
to – so I don’t know a-all the details of w-what h-happened,” the grown-up Josh
Kerstein relented, sipping at his newly-received cappuccino and staring
thoughtfully at the mug for a moment. “I o-only know what t-tales they u-u-used
to tell and t-tiny snippets I’ve managed to find on t-the internet, and that
somebody d-d-demanded that a-an investigation be o-opened into it…”
Mulder nodded and glanced at Scully with a raised brow, silently asking ‘Would
you think me crazy if I said I believe this guy?’. When she flashed him a
reassuring smile, he let out a sigh of relief and returned his attention to the older
man. They’d both read in the newspaper about the orders NASA had received,
but hadn’t had the time or energy to give it much thought due to their workload.
“All I d-d-do know for c-certain i-is that two w-weeks ago, very early in t-t-the
morning, something a-almost identical to w-what the reports s-say crashed in a-
almost the e-exact same spot,” Josh finished, looking up and staring at them both
seriously. “I d-don’t t-think anybody knows what h-happened as they were p-
pretty much all in bed…B-but I was up and s-saw it…So I d-dug my pa’s old gas
m-mask out, took the t-truck up t-t-to the woods…and collected it…Hid it in the
family b-barn.” He paused, surveyed their surroundings once again and then
reached inside his coat pocket to pull out a Polaroid, which he handed to the male
Wondrous silence fell as the two FBI agents stared disbelievingly at the photo of a
large acorn-shaped metallic structure.
“Why…Why would you risk your security – your life – by taking and hiding this?”
Mulder finally asked, needing to cough to clear his suddenly raw throat. He
himself had taken many chances and risks over the years in his search for the
truth which had cost both he and Scully highly, but even he knew that there
would be far too much at stake if he ever did what Kerstein had done by
concealing this supposed UFO from the government. “Surely you realise that
sooner or later they’ll figure out that something did land and then they’ll come
Sensing the concern in his voice and instinctively understanding where his
thoughts had wandered to, Dana rested a hand on Mulder’s knee under the table.
“Agent M-Mulder, I have no f-f-family. From that day u-until the day she d-died,
m-m-my mother made it a d-daily c-chore to d-drum it into me that Pa put his
curiosity before the life of his only son – she n-n-never forgave him. I d-don’t
know how he e-ended u-u-up in those woods, and I know I never will, but I
n-never believed her – I guess even something like t-that can’t stop a kid looking
up to his father.”
Once again Scully gave Mulder’s knee a gentle, reassuring squeeze.
“My d-dad died, and if it’s b-b-because of w-whatever they’re t-trying to cover-
up, I need to e-expose it. You were the o-only people I c-c-could come to.”
A solemn, thoughtful pause, and then Mulder rose to his feet. “Would you excuse
us, please, Mr Kerstein, whilst my partner and I speak in private?” he asked,
outstretching an arm to rest a guiding hand on Scully’s back when she stood also.
“I know what you’re thinking, Mulder,” Scully started when they were finally out
of earshot, “and despite my logical reservations, any other time I wouldn’t argue
with you, but in three days time we’ve got three expectant bodies going to be
turning up on our front doorstep, and I, for one, am not goin to be the one to
leave them out in the cold. Are you?” That was an unfair low blow, and she
quickly retracted it by adding, “Do you realise how much trouble he can get into?
How much trouble *we* could get into if we’re caught helping him? And what are
we even supposed to do about it?”
Mulder stared at her for a long moment, surprised by her words and question.
“What has it ever been about, Scully?” he queried earnestly, never breaking eye-
contact. “Finding and exposing the truth. If there’s proof–”
“And what if there isn’t? Look” – she reached for his hand and held on to it tightly
– “you know I’ll follow you no matter what – that whatever the risk, every battle
we fight will be together. But I don’t want to put either of us in the firing line for
the sake of one craft that the conspirators will easily deny the existence of and
sweep under the carpet within a matter of hours.” She saw the mixture of
acceptance and denial warring for dominance in his eyes, and realized she was
losing. “I saw that photo too, Mulder, and as a scientist I want the answers as
well, but be honest with me: does that really sound worth it to you? That man
has nothing to lose and retribution to gain, but we–”
“–have to do our jobs.” He’d already made up his mind.
No amount of arguing would change it now. “I get what you’re saying, Scully – I
do,” the tall agent finally sighed, shaking his head slightly. He knew he was
being stubborn, but he felt like he’d passed the point of backing down and his
mind was too set on the idea of finally having something to show for their work in
the paranormal field. “I’m just as tired and cold and ready for some rest as you
are, but this could be the credibility we’re looking for. Surely you, as a
scientist, want some answers to rationalise what that thing might be? All we
have to do is go, take some pictures and surface scrapings and other evidence for
analysis, and then we can be back home by tomorrow afternoon – plenty of time
to do our shopping and relax before the festivities kick in.”
There were those pleading puppy-dog eyes again, and Dana cursed herself for
still not being able to resist their pull after all these years.
“Okay,” she finally relented, closing her eyes in disbelief that she’d let the words
pas her lips. “But if we’re not back in D.C tomorrow, you can explain it all to
“It won’t come to that, I swear.”
They were on the road, headed for Pennsylvania within the hour, following
Kerstein’s pickup in their SUV.
As snow lightly smattered against the window of his office, head administrator of
the organization Warren Anderson disconnected yet another conference call and
shifted in his chair to scratch at the annoying itch just above the center of his left
Typical that someone would pick that exact moment to knock at his office door
and then enter without verbal admittance.
“What the hell?” Anderson growled, quickly withdrawing his hand out from the
seat of his pants. “D’ you wanna, maybe, try that again and actually wait for me
to say ‘come in’ this time?”
The intruding scientist adjusted her glasses and whispered an apology, but didn’t
seem to be in any rush to do as he’d ordered. Instead, she handed him a file
folder. “My apologies, sir, but this is urgent. We have managed to locate the
second Kecksburg fallen angel, and a team have been sent to investigate.”
Anderson shot out of his leather chair – bloodshot eyes almost popping as they
snapped wide open. “You mean it really does exist?” he almost choked out. Up
until now he’d considered the whole investigation order a waste of the
administration’s time and resources – believing the claims of a crashed UFO just
another in a million made-up sensationalist tales about aliens that appeared in
the tabloids each week. When Dr Schubert gave a subtle nod of her head,
Anderson exhaled a deep breath and looked through the folder she’d given him.
“Do we have any idea what it actually is yet?”
“No, sir. As I said, a team are en route to the site.”
“Good. Good…” He paused, wiped a hand across his mouth. “Let me know
when there’s any more news.”
With that, Schubert left the office, quietly shutting the door after her.
Warren watched her departure and then picked up his phone, pressing the first
speed dial button on the keypad. He only needed to wait one ring before the
other end of the line picked up. “It’s me,” he simply announced into the receiver.
“We have it.”
“You better, because they’re on their way,” a deep, foreign voice boomed back,
causing the hairs on the back of Anderson’s neck to stand erect, “and we can’t
have them going anywhere near it.”
“Gonna give me any clues what you got me for Christmas, then, G-man?” Scully
chuckled, shifting into a more comfortable position in her car seat so that she
could stare at her partner.
It had been a relatively quiet, pleasant drive, and 0071w there were only a
handful of miles to go. At one point the car heater had packed in and they’d had
to freeze for at least an hour before it decided to kick in again, but that had
pretty much been the only eventful point in the journey – both too busy
wondering if they would truly be able to expose the truth of a real UFO crashing
to earth, and how much (if at all) it would affect their jobs if they did.
“Something black and sexy,” Mulder smiled enigmatically, keep his eyes on the
“One of your porn videos?” she snorted with a mixture of mock shock and hurt.
“Really, Mulder, you shouldn’t have!”
“Well, you’ve ruined it for yourself – there’s no point you having it now you know
what it is.”
They both laughed companionably as Dana swatted his arm. They were
exhausted and car trips always seemed to have that ability of sapping every last
ounce of energy from their very bones, but this was nice…relaxing.
Kerstein’s truck, a little further on ahead, took the turn off the interstate, and
Mulder did likewise.
“Besides, it’d be no fun if I gave you clues,” he continued, briefly diverting his
eyes away from the road to shoot a wry smile in her direction. “I mean, would
you give me clues about what you’ve bought for me?”
“Who says I’ve gotten you anything?”
The remark definitely made him turn his attention away from the road, and he
glanced at her to see the playful glint in her eye. “You’re an evil woman, Dana
Scully. Does that make me a masochist for loving you?”
“It’s a start,” she replied dryly, shifting even more in her seat. “The only clue I’ll
give is that it’s not black.”
“But ‘sexy’ is still involved?” Damn, why did she have to be this playful when he
was driving and had to keep his attention on something other than her?
She rolled her eyes and both lips thinned into a straight line as she held back a
smile. He was starting to get a little antsy, and if the growing bulge in his pants
was anything to go by, he was one more innuendo away from stopping the car
and having his way with her on the side of the road, so she sobered and nestled
against him – sleepy despite the afternoon hour.
*Now there’s a Christmas package I’ll never tire of unwrapping,* she inwardly
sighed, indulging herself with another glance at his crotch. Whoever said love
couldn’t last forever had definitely never known Mulder.
Their SUV passed the Kecksburg town line half an hour later and pulled in at
Kerstein’s farm five minutes after that, only to be confronted by two men in black
suits and half a dozen military personnel, who were forcing Josh out of his Ford
pickup. Mulder holstered his gun and flicked a quick, wary glance at his partner
before switching off the ignition.
“Get out of the vehicle now!” one of the soldiers ordered, running towards their
car with his weapon aimed and ready should they make a wrong move.
“Nice manners they have around here,” the male agent deadpanned with a raised
brow as he exited the hybrid.
“I’d stop worrying about their manners and start worrying about how to not let
this get out of control,” Dana warned in reply.
They both moved around to stand in front of the vehicle with their hands slightly
raised – the soldier intently tracking their every step as one of his colleagues
came up behind him.
Scully diverted her gaze at the sound of Kerstein’s panicked voice to see him
being man-handled into the back of a green jeep. “Where are you taking him?”
“No questions, unless you wanna go along with him,” the first soldier snarled.
Mulder shrugged, “Depends…Do we get free room service?”
Agitated, the soldier sharply raised his weapon and pointed it at the taller man.
“Why I oughta–”
“Well, well, well. I guess I shouldn’t, but I’m actually quite surprised to see you
here. Really, Agent Scully, you need to tighten Fox’s leash a little more.”
The agents felt a chill run down their spines and they straightened up as they
heard the familiar voice and saw a thin trail of smoke escape through the barn’s
entrance. When CGB Spender emerged shortly after, Mulder took an angry step
forward but was instantly pushed back by the uniformed man.
“You son of a bitch,” Mulder heard Scully curse under her breath beside him
before she called out, “Maybe if you didn’t keep giving us the run-around he
wouldn’t need a leash at all.”
Spender beamed and took another drag on his cigarette as he approached. It
had been a while since he’d seen them due to numerous circumstances and the
number of branches that had unexpectedly started to sprout within the
conspirators’ circle, thanks to Strughold’s meddling that he was looking forward
to having a little fun here. “Of course. Besides, I suppose it’s difficult to keep an
eye on him when you’re busy killing your brother. Congratulations on that, by
the way – it was about time Charlie faced a little retribution…”
Mulder had heard enough and lunged at the smoking man. The soldier struck the
agent with his fist, hard, but the FBI agent refused to be deterred and made
another move for the smoker, so this time the commando used the butt of his
rifle, to more effective results.
“Mulder!” Scully dropped to her knees beside her fallen partner and examined his
bleeding lip and nose. He tried to wave her off, but too much movement and
change in expression caused pain to tear across his face so he let her go about
her examination, wondering if there ever would be a Christmas when he wouldn’t
be high on Demerol for a majority of the festive season.
The wind picked up, blasting them all with its icy chill as the smoking man looked
up to the sky. “It’s a shame that you made such a long journey for no reason,”
he idly remarked. “But then, I never would have pegged either of you to aid and
abet a conspirator against the US government to conceal something of national
“There’s a nice example of hypocritical irony,” Mulder ground out, cupping a hand
over his nose as he shakily raised to his feet with the support of his partner. “We
want to expose it for what it is. You’re the ones that want to hide the truth.”
“And what do you think it is, exactly?” Spender turned his focus on the petite
red-head. “Agent Scully?”
She faltered, and Mulder understood why. Despite all she’d experienced over the
years and what she had seen in Kerstein’s photo, there was no way she would
ever openly call it a UFO until she had collected and examined every piece of
scientific evidence to prove it. And he expected that from her – he wished she
would bend to his way of thinking sometimes, but Scully wouldn’t be Scully unless
she looked for the logical explanation to all his wild theories, and she certainly
wouldn’t be able to keep him as honest and anchored as she always had if she did
“Do you think it’s a flying saucer from outer space?”
“I think it’s something important enough for you to hide from us,” she finally
piped up, never letting go of her partner’s arm as she sent a scowling glare in
Spender’s direction. “Something you think is important enough to kill for.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if you were the one behind the cover-up of the original
crash,” Mulder added in agreement.
Spender shook his head and took a slow drag on his Morley before dropping it to
the ground and stubbing it out. “Actually, no I wasn’t. The man you respected
and trusted as your informant many years ago was, though.”
“You’re a liar!” the injured agent exclaimed, making yet another unsuccessful
lunge at the smoking man. Maybe there had been more to Deep Throat than he’d
known, but he wasn’t ready to play Spender’s mind games.
“Perhaps. But is my claim any more believable than some farmer’s ranting about
a downed spacecraft? You believed him enough to make the four-and-a-half hour
drive on the weekend before Christmas, so why won’t you believe me?”
“Because you’re full of shit,” Dana spat out.
The second soldier raised his gun and Mulder moved to protect her, but CSM
waved the military man down with a satisfied smile, pleased that he’d managed
to pull the reaction out of them that he’d been waiting for.
“We all have to abide by a chain of command, Agent Scully. *All* of us. And on
that particular day, the man you called ‘Deep Throat’ drew the short straw.”
Dana’s frown deepened. “So, you admit something did crash here in ’65?”
“I admit nothing,” Spender replied smugly, reaching for yet another cigarette.
“My plausible deniability card hasn’t run out yet.”
“What’s going to happen to Kerstein?” Mulder queried. The pain radiating from
the center of his face was starting to make his eyes water, and he didn’t know
how much longer he could stay conscious if he didn’t get any medical help and
some good meds soon.
“We’re just going to talk to him…smooth out a few facts about what he may or
may not have seen.”
“Deceive, inveigle and obfuscate all over again, you mean.”
“You believe you know all the answers, Fox, but think: what would happen if the
truth about something like this really was exposed? Two reports in exactly the
same place forty-two years apart? There would be mass panic, countries would
go to war for possession of the craft, and worlds would collide. You think people
knowing your truth would make everything flowers and rainbows and peaceful.”
Spender paused and glanced up at the cloudy sky briefly as the sound of spinning
rotor blades neared. “It goes much deeper than that, and if you had to make the
choices I have for this world we would have already been re-colonized by Them
A large, black helicopter cut through the low cloud cover and landed not far from
the barn, which the two men in black were locking up.
“It was here, wasn’t it?” Scully blinked against the updraft of leaves, dirt and hay
as she and her partner watched Spender back away.
The smoking man shrugged dismissively and then, without another word, got into
the chopper, followed by the mysterious suited men.
The first soldier glared at the two agents and took another swing at Mulder that
only hit air before making his way to the parked jeep with his colleague in tow.
Awkward silence fell as the ‘copter and jeep made their speedy retreats…
…And remained for several minutes after.
Scully was the first to move into action, reaching to examine Mulder’s injuries
more closely, but once again he impatiently waved her off and stomped over to
the closed barn doors – un-holstering his gun as he did so.
She watched him, worried about his intentions, and then chased after him when
she saw him raise the weapon and aim it at the padlock between the two large
“Mulder, no,” she begged, running up behind him and resting a soothing hand
between his shoulder blades.
“Let’s just leave it and go home. There’s nothing more we can do – you heard
He shook his head and kept the gun steady. “I have to know,” he mumbled,
choking back the blood clogging his airway. “*We* have to know.” He hesitated
and glanced over his shoulder at her longingly. “…Don’t we?” As always he was
putting everything in her hands and waiting for her answer before he took the
She stared at his face – the closed right eye that was beginning to swell and
bruise, the blood flowing from his purpling nose and lower lip – and gave a slow
but firm nod. “We do,” she almost whispered, letting the palm of her hand warm
his back even through his thick winter jacket.
Two sure shots decimated the padlock, and one kick sent the entrance flying
To reveal nothing more than a few bales of hay.
Exhausted, cold, defeated and in excruciating pain, Mulder lowered the gun to his
side, let it slip from his fingers, and then dropped to his knees. Scully followed
him down and cradled him in her lap as she dialled 911,
“It’s gonna be okay,” she sighed, combing her fingers through his hair as she also
felt the crushing blow of defeat begin to sink in.
They’d come so close to finally holding some credibility for the work they did in
their hands, regardless of her reservations concerning the trip, she had put as
much hope in his belief as she’d once put in the possibility of a scientific
breakthrough with Anson Stokes: The Invisible Man. Maybe the only truth they
would ever be allowed to know was that no matter how much of it there actually
was, they would never be able to hold any proof whatsoever.
Anderson picked up the phone on the second ring, wiping a sweaty hand down his
pale face. He’d just received word of the missing status of the crashed craft, and
knew his superiors would not be reacting well.
“They got to it first,” the voice at the other end of the call stated without any hint
of a question. “We’ll have to officially call off the investigation into the original
“B-but what do we tell them? The public will want answers… Hell, I’d like to
know what the fuck is going on.”
“Tell the truth as far as we know it: nothing was found. Make the shuttle launch
your priority. No one can overpower these men, so we shall have to deal as
The administrator hesitated. He’d been handed an order to investigate the 1965
reports, but suddenly it felt as if the recent event was the real one he should’ve
been focusing on and sooner. “You knew about this when you sent me the file,”
he slowly remarked, a little accusatorily. “Why didn’t you tell me about the
second crash earlier?”
“NASA could not know – the courts were after information about the past event,
so that was all you needed to know about. Anything else you had to learn
yourself. We had hoped the farmer would be able to protect it for longer, but
obviously that was not the case. Happy holidays, Anderson.”
The line sharply disconnected and a confused Warren remained standing with the
receiver in his hand for at least three minutes before resting it back in its
cradle. With a deep sigh of frustration he picked up the file from his desk, gave it
one final look over and then dropped it into the waste paper basket beside his
DECEMBER 10th, 1965
“You’re still here, then?”
At the sound of his approaching friend’s voice, the man who would many years
later come to be known as Deep Throat turned and greeted Spender with a nod of
his head. “I hear the negotiations were settled quickly?” he asked, pulling a
lighter from his coat pocket and offering it.
“The most awkward and unpleasant negotiations can sometimes be settled within
minutes, Ronald,” CSM replied prophetically, accepting the item and using it
to light a Morley.
“But they were?”
“Eventually… That’s why I’m here.” Spender paused, exhaled a puff of smoke
and then gestured toward the lights that had suddenly appeared amongst the line
Without a word they both made their way to the clearing in the woods where the
downed spacecraft had come to life.
“So, they get the body and the craft, and we get…?”
Deep Throat asked, tightening the tie on his trench coat and watching as the top
half of the acorn-shaped object begun to rotate.
“Peace of mind and the ability to keep the line of communication open with
It didn’t seem like a fair trade that the Syndicate would normally give in to, but
Deep Throat guessed there must be some kind of reasoning this time and didn’t
push the subject any further.
The whirring noise emanating from the craft gained in volume and the lights
brightened in intensity until the whole thing finally dislodged itself from the frozen
earth. Both men covered their ears and watched as the UFO shot up into space
at break-neck speed, leaving a glowing vaporous trail in its wake across the sky –
never to be seen again.
Or so they hoped.