Title: Blaze of Glory
WARNING: Character Deaths. It won't be too depressing though, give it a shot. I didn't label is a tragedy on purpose.
I couldn't remember the rock-metal thing that kills supersoldiers, so I just made it up. I wouldn't even know where to look for that information.
July 10, 2016
Mulder finished unhooking the winch and cables and stowed them on the truck bed alongside their tarp-covered cargo. Scully finished securing the tarp, and he took her hands to help her off the old pick-up. They slammed the back closed, and climbed into the front, Mulder starting the engine and pulling away. Better description.
Scully wiped at sweat, and pushed her sunglasses higher up on her nose. She felt Mulder's hand close over hers and squeeze gently. These little excursions away from the compound, these little moments to themselves, they lived for these. No one asking about their newest plans, dragging them to makeshift conference rooms to discuss and confirm strategy, and nobody to look up at them with hopeful eyes and ask them to promise them the future.
Everyone hated when they went out alone together. They were too valuable, too important to the cause to risk losing them. But, god help them, they needed a break from it all now and again. The stress, the pressure, of so many people counting on them got to be so overwhelming at times. They hadn't asked for their new titles, for the power, but they were the only ones qualified to take it. So, they did.
"What do you say to hot chocolate when we get back?" Mulder turned and smiled at Scully.
"Mulder, it's ninety degrees out." She smiled back anyway.
"Well, I'd suggest ice cream, but clearly, that's not going to happen."
"How about chocolate milk then?"
He laughed. "Scully, you told me a decade ago that you'd keep me guessing, and you haven't disappointed."
"What? You get your chocolate and it's cold. It makes perfect sense."
"That it does, that it does."
While they still had refrigeration facilities and basic electricity from generators, powered by sun and wind, they had opted against dragging an ice cream machine to the compound. Necessities only, they decided. Leave as few tracks as possible, and keep the compound hidden as much as possible. On occasion, when there was surplus milk, someone would round up the kids and a few coffee cans, and make homemade ice cream. They all tried to do what they could for the kids, to keep them kids, and in return, the children at the compound idolized them.
They were more than leaders, they were heroes, protectors, defenders; they were the USA's hope for a future without extraterrestrial overlords. A future where they weren't slaves, and they children grew up free and safe. They had the started the resistance 23 years ago in a basement office of the J. Edgar Hoover building. December 22, 2012 hit, and suddenly, everyone believed them, and they were herding survivors to safety, and vaccinating everyone they could find with a cure drawn from Scully's own blood.
They had found their son among those survivors, an eleven-year-old boy, running terrified into their sanctuary with his parents in tow. He was fifteen now, and wanted desperately to be an active part of the resistance. They wouldn't let him. The leaders of the compound had decided long ago that they wouldn't arm children under sixteen; they wouldn't ask children to kill. They were going to cling to whatever humanity they had left.
William didn't know how much danger he was in; he didn't know that his heroes were his birth parents. Five people in the whole world knew that William Van De Kamp was the child Dana Scully had given up for adoption years ago: Mulder, Scully, Doggettt, Reyes, and Skinner. When they had realized who he was, they told their closest friends, their longtime comrades in arms, but no one else. If the opposition were to find out who he was, he'd most certainly be taken and ransomed, not for money but for cooperation.
And, they wouldn't be able to give it. They would have to let their son be murdered. The good of the many out-weighed the suffering of the few, that had been their mantra for two decades. Their pain and grief was a small price to pay to protect a world full of innocent people, to bring justice to those denied it for so long. So, William's identity was still kept a secret, and it killed them not to tell him who they were, who he was, but it was just one more blow in many. They'd survive. They always did.
Scully reached her hand across the console, fingers reaching for Mulder's. He gave his hand almost immediately, squeezing hers and kissing her fingers. Neither of them were very comfortable showing affection in front of others, they were both so private, and it took them so long to be romantically intimate without feeling like the sky would come crashing down on their heads. But, here alone in the truck, they were comfortable acting like the couple they'd been for the last fifteen years.
"What do you say, we drop this off, and then sneak in the back way, and run off to bed early?" Mulder asked, rubbing his thumb across her knuckles.
Scully smiled. "Tempting, but you already promised to tell some of the kids about our adventure with the circus."
He sighed dramatically. He didn't always mind telling the kids stories, sometimes it was even fun, but other times, he really just wanted a little time alone with Scully. "How did I become the resident story time guy?"
"You're the post-apocalyptic version of Batman. If they weren't hanging on your words, they'd be hanging on your legs." She and Mulder had more running away from bad guys stories than the entire compound combined, and the kids loved to hear them--the watered-down versions at least.
"Hmm, I always did look for signals in the sky," he turned to her and smiled. "But," he added, "that would make you Catwoman, wouldn't it?"
"I'm no thief, and I don't know that I could pull off skin tight vinyl."
"Oh Scully, I beg to differ. I believe you could make it look very good." He leered at her, his sense of humor had not changed over the last decade and a half.
She regarded him, one eyebrow raised. "You know, if there were costume shops still around, I might have been able to make that more than just an image in your head."
"Careful Scully, I might have to pull this truck over, and be less than a gentleman."
She stifled a smile. "Who says I'll stop you?"
His head shot toward her, mouth open slightly in surprise. Scully continued trying to hide her amused smile, as Mulder just stared at her, trying to figure out if she just offered to have sex with him in the truck. He didn't get a chance to accept her offer, she was already tapping his arm, and looking troubled.
"Mulder, do you hear that engine?" Below the loud hum of their trunk was the low sound of another engine not far in the distance. Unusual, it was only their people out here.
"Maybe they already got nervous and came looking for us?" Suddenly the single engine revved loudly, and they could see the large truck behind them. It was shiny and black, and not one of theirs, which had all been painted in camouflage.
"We need to get out of here." Scully's grave voice came as he was already slamming the gas pedal to the floor.
He sped down the road, glancing up in the rearview to see the truck following behind them, gaining speed as he did. He sped around a sharp curve, barely keeping the trucks tires on the ground, Scully gripping the dash with white knuckles. The black truck disappeared momentarily, but was soon behind them again. Mulder scanned the area, and formulated a plan.
"You have your seatbelt on, Scully?"
"Yeah. Go for it." She trusted him to do whatever was on his mind without even knowing what it was.
Mulder waited until the last possible moment, then gunned the engine, and twisted the wheel, barely making the turn onto the dirt road, gravel flying up behind them. Mulder kept his foot heavy on the pedal down the road, tires hitting potholes, pushing the truck in all directions, and bouncing them in their seats. Scully hand one hand on the door handle the other on the dash, trying to stop her body from flying all over the truck cab. Mulder had his entire concentration on trying to get them through the dirt road in one piece. He actually breathed for a moment before he saw the truck speeding again behind them.
"Shit, shit," he muttered. Scully glanced into the rearview.
"You focus on driving, I've got this." Mulder simply nodded, but glanced at her as she reached into the back.
He had a nice view of her ass for a few minutes, before she appeared again with an semi-automatic rifle, and an extra clip in her hands. She dropped the clip onto the seat, and rolled down her window, sticking half her body out of it, so Mulder once again, had a great view of her ass.
Scully aimed first at the windshield of the truck, and fired off four rounds, just as she'd been taught with her much smaller FBI issue handgun. While the driver was trying to maintain control, she aimed first at the left tire and fired twice, once actually hitting the tire. The truck careered toward the left side, and Scully took aim at the more clear shot of the right tire, and fired three times. The driver of the truck lost control, and spun off the road. Scully slid back inside in cab, and looked at Mulder.
"Taken care of."
He nodded and smiled. "This may not be the appropriate time to mention this, but I'm very turned on right now."
Scully shook her head, amused smile creeping onto her lips. "We better drive around a while, away from the compound, until we know it's clear."
"We'll take a safari through the back roads, try to get them lost," he agreed.
For a good ten minutes, the road was quiet, except for their truck bouncing around potholes. If they'd been in a rental sedan like old times, they'd have bottomed-out by now. Both their hearts were beginning to slow to just above normal rates, even though Mulder was keeping the truck at a steady 80mph. It had been close, but it seemed like they'd make it back alive tonight.
Making it onto a smoother road, Mulder feeling more steady, reached over and took Scully's hand again. They'd dodged death once again, and as his fingers slid over her hand, curling around her fingers, he sighed. It was worth it. The running, the hiding, the fight would always be worth it. On the hope that they could survive this take-over, that they could defeat the aliens and take their home back. That little speck of hope for the future was what he clung to, and he knew, what she clung to as well.
Scully had just barely closed her eyes, when the sound of a large engine sent them both looking into the rearview mirror. A black SUV was behind them, and coming up fast. Mulder released Scully's hand, and took the steering wheel with both of his, slamming the gas pedal to the floor. Scully reached for the gun again, her hand winding around the cold metal barrel before she froze.
Mulder followed her gaze back to the mirror, and saw two SUVs had joined the one following them, followed by two large pick-up trucks with engines roaring like delivery trucks. All five vehicles were speeding down the dirt road, some half-riding on the grassy shoulder, snapping twigs and crunching leaves.
"You watch the road, I'll--I'll work on this," Scully nodded behind them.
"Uh Scully, you're good with a gun, but you really think you can handle all that?" Mulder looked uneasily at the army behind them, they all had to be armed, and Scully by herself...he didn't like that.
She checked the clip, shoved it back in and shrugged. "I guess we'll find out, won't we?"
He swallowed nervously and nodded, watching her crank down the window, and lean out of it like some gangster from the twenties.
She aimed and fired over and over, as Mulder pushed the old truck to speeds it was never meant to travel at. The truck vibrated in time with the loud thud as a bullet hit near Scully's side. Mulder turned to her, eyes roving her body desperately for signs of blood. There was none, she ducked close to the car, away from the oncoming fire and continued shooting back. Mulder shook his head worriedly. How the hell did Clyde keep himself in control while Bonnie was getting shot at?
Scully ducked as another round whizzed two inches from her body. Her heart was racing, and she tried desperately to keep her hands from shaking as she aimed the rifle. She got three out of five windshields, but was having trouble with the tires, especially now with bullets flying at her. This was never part of her Bureau training, though since colonization...well, hanging out the side of a truck with an semi-auto rifle didn't seem that strange anymore.
"Shit!" Mulder cursed as bullets continued pelting the truck, one taking his side mirror off.
Scully turned quickly to look at him, and with her focus diverted didn't duck quick enough.
"Ah!" She cried out as a bullet clipped her just above her hip.
Eyes wide, Mulder yelled to her. "Scully, get back inside!"
She was already sliding in, one hand pressed against her wound, blood already visible seeping between her fingers. Her breathing was rapid and shallow from shock, but upon removing her hand and seeing the actual wound, it wasn't so bad. Still, her eyes were glued to the hole in her side, and her hearing had tunneled to block out all but her own thoughts. Until a bullet took out her side mirror.
"Damn it, Scully, answer me! Are you okay?" Mulder was glancing frantically from her to the road and back. How many times had he called her name already?
"I'm okay, it's not too bad." Her voice wavered slightly, the adrenaline pouring through her brain making her jittery.
Mulder released a breath. Oh good god, he'd been terrified when she didn't answer him. "Good." He nodded at her, and then focused back on the road. He caught a glimpse of the gas meter and his stomach fell toward his feet. Bullets were flying around them, launching in the truck, the block of stone in the back, and the trees surrounding them.
"Mulder, we can't outrun them, we can't hide, and we're terribly outgunned." She spoke calmly, as if it were the nonsensical pieces of an X file she were listing.
"And, we're running out of gas."
She opened her mouth to protest, that couldn't be right, they'd started with so much more. The speed and maneuvering, she realized, it was sapping their gas fast. "How much have we got?"
"I don't know, maybe not quite a sixteenth of the tank?"
"So, what twenty more minutes if were lucky?"
"Maybe." Mulder chewed his lip, wishing for a pack of sunflower seeds. "We can't let them catch us, Scully."
She nodded. If they were caught, they wouldn't be killed outright. As soon as the supersoldiers realized who they were, they'd be tortured for information. And, when the proved unsuccessful, they'd be ransomed for cooperation. While they believed Skinner, Doggettt and Reyes would make the right choice in that situation, they couldn't put them in that position. Their friends would end up carrying that guilt to their graves.
"You've got an idea?" She asked, voice level, no trace of their dire situation.
"Yeah. We go down fighting. We've got that block in the back, they don't know what it is yet."
Scully considered this, and nodded. "We need to call in, it's too dangerous, I don't want anyone looking for us."
"You take care of that, I'll get ready for this." His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed his nerves.
Scully reached for the car radio, rigged up six years ago, but not touched since. It was too easy to overhear communications, and too easy to trace. Every compound had a radio, turned on to listen for emergency broadcasts--that was the only thing that would ever come over. Two years ago, their compound radio had sparked to life with a man's voice announcing that their compound was discovered and they were setting the detonators, it was too late for escape or help. No more messengers went to that compound, and all radios were shut down for two months to avoid detection.
The radios would come to life again.
Scully pressed the button. "This is Scully and Mulder with an emergency transmission. We've run into some trouble out here, and it's bad...we aren't going to make it back."
Mulder made a two sudden sharp turns within minutes of each other, taking them with as much grace as anyone could at over 90mph. It did what he needed it to--upset the order the supersoldiers were maintaining with their vehicles. They slowed to near-stopping to prevent running into each other. Mulder zoomed ahead to a long stretch of road, and spun the truck in a very tight 180. He was sweating, and his arms ached from trying to keep a hold on the steering wheel. Beside him, Scully, clutching her seat, began to breath again.
As, Mulder brought the truck to a stop, she resumed her radio communication. "The area is full of supersoldiers, and it is important that you do not leave the compound. Do not leave for any reason. Do not try to look for us, it's too dangerous," she paused, resignation settling into her voice, into her eyes. "There won't be much to find anyway."
She calmly returned the radio to it's hook, and raised her rifle up, slamming it down repeatedly on the device. Mulder flinched, but Scully was unmoved by her own actions. The radio sparked, but died an uninspiring death. She turned to Mulder. "Ready?"
"They are," he said, nodding toward the windshield, beyond which their five pursuers had caught up.
Mulder and Scully looked at each other, and locked eyes. Their hands found their way together, fingers intertwining. Mulder turned away first, noting that their trucks and SUVs had stopped, confused at the sight of the stopped truck ahead of them. Still holding Scully's hand, Mulder slammed on the gas pedal one more time, aiming straight for the supersoldiers.
Heart pounding in his years, he yanked Scully across the seat, released the steering wheel, and wrapped his arms around her. Scully mirrored him, planting her face in his chest, and holding him tightly as their truck slammed headfirst into an SUV.
Everything was suddenly loud. Glass breaking and flying all over the place, metal twisting and ripping, and supersoldiers being ripped from their vehicles and hurled violently into the massive block of metallite in the camouflage-painted pick-up. One engine caught fire, and sparks jumped from that vehicle to the others, creating a massive six-car fire. Thick, black smoke poured out, and engines hissed their deaths.
Mulder and Scully never got to feel the shrapnel ripping through their skin, their bodies were crushed on impact, and burning with the cars and shattered remains of the less than human soldiers. As if a grand finale were needed for the fallen heroes, the extra ammunition stored in the vehicles was bit by the flames, and began to shoot off haphazardly with high-pitched bangs.
After all the ammunition was spent, everything became unnaturally quiet. The only sounds were the sizzling of the fire, and a gentle breeze rustling the leaves of nearby trees.
July 11, 2016
It was early evening, and too muggy out to be comfortable, but the massive group didn't notice it. They stood circled around a stone, about four feet tall, one and a half wide, fresh overturned Earth beneath it. Little bouquets of wildflowers were scattered atop the fresh grave, their stems wilted and curved from both the humidity, and the hands that had clutched them tightly. A large X was carved into the front of the stone, the only marker for the grave, but it said plenty.
The eulogy had been said; soft, choked words spoken by several people, but they all still stood around. Part of it was simple disbelief--heroes don't die. The larger than life can't die. The other part was simply that they didn't know what to do without their leaders. For the first time in a long time, the people of the compound looked scared, and even doubtful. It's easy to believe in victory when your leaders refused to give up, even when they had fought alone--just the two of them.
Mulder and Scully had been gone most of yesterday, but they didn't expect them until late. They tended to take their time when they went out. The couple didn't get much time alone, so they took advantage when they did. But, in the late afternoon the long silent radio had clicked on, and Scully's voice came clear through the command office. Doggettt and Reyes had frozen, and listened, eyes wide, as she told them that she and Mulder weren't coming back. She said not to look for them, but they couldn't listen.
They grabbed a few people, and took off toward the quarry, a three hour drive. Two and a half hours in, they saw the smoke, and followed it to the wreckage. When they saw the camouflaged truck smoking and charred amongst the ruins of other cars, Doggetttt had stopped breathing. The fire had presumably burnt itself out, the last reams of smoke floating out from the truck's hood into the night.
It was pressed into the front of a black SUV, half crushed. The block in the back of the truck was still covered in torn and tattered tarp; the truck itself was battered and stretched, gaping holes ripped here and there. Two other SUVs, and two trucks flanked the site, all the occupants were long gone. The smell of roasted flesh caused Monica to cover her mouth with a hand to stifle a gag. One of the guys with them backed up abruptly, and vomited into a bush.
It didn't take a genius to figure out what had happened.
The small group, sans the vomiting man, moved forward quickly, as if to rescue their leaders, but stopped short only feet from the truck, allowing Doggett and Reyes to approach it themselves. They did, slowly, too in shock to move faster. He yanked to door open, to reveal to charred skeletons curled together in the front seat, surprisingly intact. They moved the block of stone to one of their trucks, and carefully maneuvered the bodies out and brought them back covered in a gray blanket. No one needed to see that. They didn't attempt to separate them, but built a box big enough fit both.
And, last night, they'd sent messengers immediately to the other dozen compounds in the states, to bring the bad news. They'd lost phones and internet a long time ago. Contact was hard to keep among the resistance fighters, especially the groups overseas, but somehow the former FBI agents managed it. To coordinate a fight in the states, to push vaccines, weapons, and the research to replicate it all to their foreign allies. Today people would find out their leaders--their hope--was dead.
Now people wiped at their red eyes, and children clung to their parents. Bill Scully Jr. shook off attempts at comfort, and led his crying mother back toward the compound. He come understand who is sister was, and was proud of her, but he'd still rather have had her alive. A brown-haired teenager reached our with an unsteady hand and touched the stone, struggling against the tears already doting his cheeks. His heroes were dead, and he had no idea they were the people who gave him life. And, he wouldn't until the war was over.
Skinner stood off to the side with a small group of people repeating the same assurances and platitudes they'd been saying for almost 24 hours. They would continue to fight, anything less would be an insult to their memory. Mulder and Scully fought to their last breath, so would the rest of them. No one had given up hope yet, they shouldn't now.
And, on and on. Doggett and Reyes were sick of hearing it, sick of saying. Their friends were dead. They weren't in the mood to make people feel better. Skinner had given them a not so subtle look that said they'd be taking up the reins, and while it was expected, it wasn't a pleasant thought. They'd had to fill these particular pairs of shoes before, and it was hard then, and less intimidating. They could already feel the pressure of leading so many people, of being their hope, weighing down on them.
Reyes took his hand, and laced their fingers together. Blue eyes looked into brown eyes, and he smiled at her. She laid a sunflower along side the children's wildflower bouquets, and with a last whisper, they said goodbye to their friends. There was still an invasion to thwart, and they wouldn't be giving up. The people who followed them still needed someone to believe for them, if they were to keep following, keep fighting.
Mulder and Scully would be forever immortalized for their courage, and their fortitude against all the suffering they'd endured. They'd fought to their last breath, and gone out in a true blaze of glory. Their memory would help people believe, give them the hope of children.
They'd once again believe in heroes.
End note: Okay, part of the purpose of writing this story was to curb my desire to write a colonization fic, which is a hell of an undertaking. The other part was to silence the voice in my head that keeps yelling about Mulder and Scully playing ostrich in IWTB. That doesn't feel write to me, it's not who they are, it isn't the way it should be for them. So, I decided to give them an ending they deserve. Unfortunately, that's an unhappy one.
Thank you for reading, and I hope I didn't bum you out too much!
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