Title: Where There's a Will, There Is a Way
Summary: Will Van De Kamp's world will change once again and so will the lives of those in his past, present and future. A post colonization story.
Chapter 1: Past and Present
In 2007, the FBI curtailed an assassination attempt on a U.S. Senator, a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. The hit eventually led back to a Gas and Oil Company who had been awarded government contracts to rebuild the oil fields in the Middle East. A thread from one of their overseas offices led to a government conspiracy and that conspiracy ultimately led to the two-term Vice President of the United States.
It was an uncomfortable situation, but one that gave the U.S. Senator a leg up, for as he knew, knowledge is power. Not wanting to taint the outcome of the upcoming election, recognizing the country's morale was already low and in the midst of a serious economic crisis, the President and the U.S. Senator agreed to bury this information and keep it from the public.
This Senator would eventually be elected President in 2008 and take office in January of 2009. In his first 100 days, he granted an audience with the FBI agents who saved his life.
They included a remarkable group of current and former FBI agents plus two others, all of whom were directly involved in the events past, present and future that would determine the fate of the planet.
At the forefront, former FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dr. Dana Scully, the two individuals who fifteen years before first became entangled in this conspiracy against humanity. Their FBI superior Assistant Director Walter Skinner, a man whose integrity had saved Mulder and Scully more than once while putting his own well being at risk.
FBI Special Agents John Doggett and Monica Reyes, who were pulled into this labyrinth of deceit and conspiracy and refused to turn their backs on those who preceded them, and Deputy Director Alvin Kersh, who was used by our own government to further a secret agenda that hid behind national security and free market values.
And finally, former Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations Marita Covarrubius, a duplicitous informant with first hand knowledge and access to those who orchestrated the conspiracy, and former chess prodigy and parapsychological phenomena Gibson Praise, whose genetic make up was known to be a missing link in this war against evil.
The story they told was extraordinary and too chilling to be a lie and the President believed in their patriotism and sanity. He instructed his newly formed Cabinet to vet the individuals and find the truth behind the allegations.
By mid 2009, the President and his cabinet agreed, a covert scientific research project known as Shield had been in place since 1947. Over the next several decades Project Shield had taken on sinister undertones. In the 1970's it had been turned over to the private Sector, where it had gone underground until the late 1990's. At that time a new breed of politicians were coming into office, many of who had ties to Oil Industry. These men had created a shadow government. Their objective, to further the agenda of the conspiracy and in return, control the oil cartel in the Middle East and ultimately become the ones to take charge of the post colonization planet.
In the year 2000, the 43rd President of the United States, his National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State had become pawns in this ongoing conspiracy. They were used, manipulated and controlled by the Vice-President and his supporters, the Secretary of Defense and Attorney General. They agreed to work for the conspiracy and against any attempt to bring a new government into Washington, DC.
The failed assassination attempt had been their downfall and the Vice-President's involvement with the Super Soldier program and his self-serving motives had come to an end.
It has been said before; at every end is a new beginning.
"Mulder, where are you going? It's so early, come back to bed."
"Go back to sleep." He smoothes Scully's hair away from her eyes and tucks the covers around her body. He quietly makes his way to his study at the other end of their house. When Scully walks by Mulder's lair, she knows he's beyond training and she copes by closing the door. There are post it notes, empty coffee mugs, an assortment of magazines and a stack of mail scattered about.
He logs onto his computer and is grateful for the fast internet connection, it's a perk of finally being on the right side.
Mulder runs his fingers through his hair and scratches at his whiskers. Logging on to his email, he scrolls through his Inbox and opens one he's been looking for.
\\ Mulder, Monica's sure it's him. He's good. Don't worry. We'll be back in touch soon. -- JD \\
He reads the email again and his heart beats faster. He'll have to tell Scully, not now, but soon.
Chapter 2: Will
Cherry blossoms flutter down like pink snowflakes on the Potomac shoreline. Like the new growth on the trees, the Capital is teeming with rebirth. War has taken its toll, but from its ruins, a future flourishes. A future that was once in doubt is now certain.
The date is April 8, 2019. It's been almost seven years since the first wave of alien colonization attacked the planet. The world has been left in shambles but the resilience of America and its people has not. North America and South America have been secured and now we continue the battle in other parts of the planet.
Africa, the Middle East and Russia have suffered the worst. Their failed governments and fanatic religious beliefs stood in the way of organizing and defending themselves against the extraterrestrial enemy. In the beginning they resisted foreign aid, holding on to their hatred of the imperialistic west, cultural stereotypes of America, and victims of their own ethnocentrism. As the destruction continued and their nations were falling to the Super Soldiers, they could no longer deny the truth.
In the end, the tide has turned. We are now one world, fighting one enemy.
"Milgard! King! Van De Kamp!"
The R.A. on duty pounds on their door as he calls out their names. Jamal King groans as he lies there with a head filled with cobwebs. Nick Milgard flops out of his bed, grabs his towel, and lumbers out of the room to the showers. Will Van De Kamp rolls over and pulls the covers up around his shoulders.
"Will, get your sorry ass up! Man, you'll be taking a cold shower if you don't get moving!" Jamal spouts off as he climbs out of the top bunk, drags his towel behind him and leaves, banging the door behind him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Will mutters as he throws his arms back and stretches himself awake. It takes him a moment to gather the motivation to kick his covers off and propel himself out of bed to start his day.
The three boys share the seventh floor with nine others. They take turns showering, shaving and brushing their teeth. Will is a novice with a razor judging from the nicks on his face. His only teacher is his roommate, Nick, and his willingness to help him is a tribute to the camaraderie among the boys. They get dressed in the classic and customary teenage garb of jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. Will sports a relic from his past, a well-worn and faded ball cap with a fraying New York Yankees logo.
As they enter the dining hall, the aroma of bacon welcomes them. It reminds Will of his mother cooking breakfast at the farmhouse. He'd race down to the kitchen, his father would be at the table drinking coffee and his mother would fix him a plate of eggs, bacon and pancakes. He remembers she would always plant a kiss on his forehead and his dad would rub the top of his head. The thought creates a lump of regret in his throat and he chokes it down. He grabs another piece of toast and skips the bacon.
Like every morning, breakfast is noisy and the hall is crowded. He sits with the usual kids and grabs a seat next to Petie. She is of mixed Japanese-Scottish-Irish heritage, a pretty girl with light brown hair and hazel eyes. She's a "mutt," like the third term President. Petie has become Will's best friend and family. They finish their breakfast, take their trays to the conveyor belt and head outside.
The cluster of buildings is a hodge-podge of architecture built over a hundred-year span of time. The campus is nestled near the Rocky Mountains amidst terrain filled with iron ore deposits, it's a geological safe haven from alien replicants or Super Soldiers and the primary reason the Department of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security chose it.
A large banner hangs on one side of the old brick building. It reads The National Youth Project, Boulder Campus. This has been Will's home for the past three years, since he was fourteen years old.
By the end of 2009, only biologists and those involved in agricultural studies took notice of the Colony Collapse Disorder among pollinating bees. They would have been shocked to know our government had created a program to eradicate the species thus eliminating the Conspiracy's attempt to spread the alien virus through bee venom. Knowing the delicate balance of nature had been compromised, the U.S. Agriculture Research Service has created a genetically modified bee resistant to carrying alien viruses. They have been set free in hopes of restoring the ecosystem.
In 2010, members from the CDC were chosen to work with a renowned group of biochemists, immunologists, epidemiologists and virologists from the best medical research facilities in the country. They developed a vaccine against the alien black oil using genetic material from Fox Mulder, Dana Scully and Marita Covarrubius who had previously been infected with the alien virus, and from Gibson Praise, a young man with a unique and rare DNA.
At the same time, Mulder, Skinner and Doggett had located another former FBI Agent, Jeffrey Spender and convinced him to join the resistance movement. Spender had suffered terribly at the hands of the conspirators, having been used as a human lab rat. Years before, in an act of revenge and redemption he had injected Scully's infant son with a serum, claiming it would normalize the child's genetic and chemical make up. Through his knowledge and cooperation, a second vaccine was created using a complex compound of magnetite and an anti-viral. This serum would prevent the aliens from using humans as hosts to create Super Soldiers.
A campaign to systematically vaccinate every man, woman and child in the U.S. was mandated by the President. The secrecy that saw this plan through would go down in history as the National Institute of Health's moment of glory. Through their work, coupled with the miracle of science, they have made the impossible happen, and saved millions of lives. All are humbled by the scope of their discoveries.
The Campus runs on two shifts, half the residents go off to class in the morning, while the other half start their chores. Will takes Calculus, Physics, U.S. History and Spanish. In the afternoon he'll work with the grounds keeping crew. If the weather is pleasant and mild he looks forward to being outdoors.
He thinks his calculus exam went well. He needs a score of at least 95% to keep him on the University track. He's a year ahead of schedule in both math and science and approaches the subjects like they are puzzles, unlike U.S. History, where he dozes off bored by the monotone lecture on Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.
He's pulling good grades in his Spanish class. His teacher, Ms. Reyes has been on campus for less than a year. She is well liked by her students and always takes time for them, especially Will, who she studies a little more carefully than the others.
Chapter 3: Footnotes
Gibson Praise, the telepathic boy with an extraterrestrial genetic structure, has grown up to be the FBI's top profiler and secret weapon. He owes him big time for this.
Mulder looks through the cartons of old X-Files case reports. He believed they'd been destroyed when his office was torched, but in actuality Alvin Kersh, at the time an Assistant Director had personally removed them. Kersh had been assigned to oversee Mulder's probationary period and when he received an anonymous tip about an arsonist and the basement of the Hoover building, he calculated they were worth saving. They had recently been found in storage and sent to the U.S. Government Electronic Records Archive where Gibson saved the hard copies from becoming confetti.
As he peruses the files, every report and every photo brings back a flood of memories. This was the culmination of his life's work.
He laughs out loud. "No wonder I'm so screwed up!"
The dark humor and irony he feels vanishes when he sees Scully's name peppered throughout the files. It is his biggest regret and will always fill him with guilt and remorse.
The last year has been a difficult transition for Mulder, a revolution has taken place since that fateful day in 2009 when Walter Skinner contacted him and asked him to tell his story to the President.
Almost eighteen years have passed since he was officially tossed out of the FBI, and after years of devoting his life to finding the truth and exposing the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity, he found his sole purpose in life had become everyone else's cause and obsession. He's been replaced. There are others who will carry on his work, as they have the tools, the backing and the belief needed to succeed. It's a bittersweet victory.
FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder aka Spooky Mulder in charge of the X-Files, who has spent his life searching for answers to the alien global conspiracy, has become a footnote in history.
In February of 2011, in a supposed response to the nuclear threat from North Korea and Iran, and under the auspices of a Homeland Security Stimulus Package, the Government appropriated the funds needed to re-open and excavate any closed iron ore mines in the country. The mineral would be used by the Department of Defense to build weapons in the form of bombs, grenades and other ammunition. Homeland Security would use the iron ore to reinforce an underground bunker for essential government personnel as well as for protecting sensitive sites such as power stations and water reservoirs. Each State was given funds to build relocation camps, thousands of jobs were created each month including the building of magnetite barriers, which were trucked in to each site. Unemployment was a thing of the past and only elderly, unpopular and overweight talk radio hosts complained of the "unnecessary" Government's spending.
Where does a covert government agent who's spent the better part of a decade hunting Super Soldiers go after halting an alien invasion of the planet? Not to Disneyland, it's been closed for seven years.
He goes and gets a business card inscribed consultant and stands aside while men and women half his age holster weapons and confront conflict. On occasion he provides security for one of Mulder's former informants who now assists the private sector by acting as liaison to foreign dignitaries.
He first saw her in 2002, A.D. Skinner tracked her down and brought her in to testify at Mulder's Kangaroo Court trial and somehow she escaped the makeshift courtroom unscathed and unharmed. The next time he saw her was seven years later, Skinner found her again and brought her in to join them in talking with the President. Her involvement with the Syndicate, a group of men who had conspired to save themselves and their families by cooperating with the aliens, had proven to be invaluable in piecing together the events that led to the colonization attempt of 2012. She worked closely with Skinner on identifying and bringing down the Super Soldiers who posed as government officials.
Since then, their paths have crossed numerous times. He used to be wary of her, but after learning of her past, and the cruelties she endured at the hands of the conspiracy, he has nothing but respect for her. She has proven herself a worthy adversary and a worthier ally.
The Four Season's Hotel in San Francisco, while looking somewhat tired, still reeks of wealth when wealth meant money. John Doggett waits patiently on the sidelines while a meeting between Marita Covarrubius and the Ambassador to the Republic of Korea concludes. As she rises to say good-bye, he can clearly see the man making moves on her, but like the expert she is, Marita makes him feel like a million bucks while telling him to get lost.
"How long you gonna run around the country talking these big wigs into doing business with your cronies?" Doggett opens the door to the Electric Towne Car for her. He slides into the driver's seat and they leave the hotel for the airport.
She gives him that intriguing almost smug smile of hers. "John, we can't all retire with a fat government pension and direct lines to the White House. I work so I won't be bored, like you are."
He laughs out loud. "Damn Marita, you're great for a man's self esteem."
"Seriously, you know I appreciate your help and enjoy your company on the few occasions we work together, but, what are you doing? Why are you here?" Her tone has more than a hint of concern.
He shrugs. "I got put out to pasture, let go. The President refused my offer to go to Saudi Arabia. He actually told me he didn't want my death to be on his conscious."
"Its true, you've paid your dues, your debt to society. It's time to give someone else a chance to be a hero." Marita smoothes back the stray hairs in the French knot she wears.
She likes John and knows he is at loose ends. "You know, I think we're all too old to be alone. Walter and I figured that out. We would rather be together than be alone. Besides, he fills my daddy issues quite well," she says tongue in cheek. Marita has a way of making sly look cheerful.
"We can't all be as lucky as Skinner, Marita."
"Go back to Monica, John. She'll save you from yourself."
2011 is coming to an end and the clock is ticking. A summit among world leaders has been called for the New Year. Our allies now believe in the imminent threat of alien colonization, and the luxury of political posturing has become irrelevant. The President hopes our friends will join us in fighting the takeover of our planet and that our enemies will become our friends.
Dana Scully has been a key member of the alien resistance since 2009. In her previous lives she was a doctor at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital, a fugitive from the law, hunted by Super Soldiers, and Mulder's partner at the FBI.
No one could have told the fresh faced FBI agent that her partnership with a gifted but eccentric young agent would span over twenty five years and set her on a path that would be filled with more loss than any one person should have to endure. No one could have told her of the importance of their work, their mission to uncover the truth and how it would effect every man, woman and child on the planet. And no one would have predicted that Dr. Dana Scully would hold the dissenting vote in the World Health Organization's recommendation to distribute the black oil and host virus vaccine to the continent of Africa.
Morality and science are at odds with each other again, something that Scully has constantly dealt with in her career. What brought Scully here today are her integrity, her belief in science and more importantly, her love of mankind. Some choices are never easy and some should never have to be made, but in this world filled with peril, difficult decisions must be faced.
"Dana, we have all struggled with the moral, ethical and even spiritual ramification of continuing to withhold the vaccine from the African nations. Because their belief system is rooted in superstition, it may be impossible to distribute it effectively. What do you propose?" Dr. Sherman asks.
Scully rubs her temples. "I have no doubt the reasons you give are valid. What I worry about is the judgment in allowing a continent of people to die. It will come back to haunt us. And, it should. Should we not do everything in our power to save these people? It is true, it will be difficult, but is it not worth it?"
"I sympathize with your outlook Dr. Scully, but I feel you are misguided by your emotions." Dr. Benton comments.
Scully fingers the small cross she wears. "Dr. Benton, as doctors, we have taken an oath to save lives not take them. I for one believe this oath is true, and the truth will never misguide us."
For many Americans, the days leading up to December 22, 2012 were filled with last minute holiday shopping and indulging in eggnog lattes. Others were preparing for the celebration of the Winter Solstice when the midday sun is at its lowest point above the horizon and winter officially begins, and some might be contemplating the Mayan long count calendar and the lost civilization's prediction of the apocalypse.
A few, like the President of the United States, were anticipating an alien invasion of the planet.
More than a year ago, her work with the FBI and resistance movement ended. The government had a new crop of intensely dedicated personnel both in the public and private sector and they would carry on the work of taking the planet back. Her contribution to this effort would never be over, but her day-to-day involvement was.
There has been little time for a personal life, no husband, no children, no dog or cat, only her work and her partner. She and John Doggett have been involved for years, possibly out of need and desperation, or possibly, because of the immense trust and respect they have for each other. There have been times like this, when circumstances would separate them and their hearts and body might stray, but no matter where they might be in the world, they would always be able to count on each other, like now.
Monica Reyes will never forget watching Dana dress William for the last time. The decision to give her baby up for adoption was heartbreaking and as terrible as she felt, she could only imagine how much worse the anguish in Dana's heart must be. That day would forever stay with her.
John, a father who had lost a son himself, shared her sentiments. The sacrifice of this child is something neither of them would accept. Together, someday, they would find him. That vow is the reason she is here today, a Spanish teacher for a government run program, for orphaned teenagers.
Chapter 4: Colonization
The planet Earth was formed over four billion years ago and is home to millions of species, including humans. It is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist, or so we were led to believe.
As the sun rose over each continent on the 22nd of December 2012, alien aircraft appeared, hovering over abduction sites signaling them like beacons instructing them to leave behind the unfortunate souls fated to become Super Soldiers. Like chameleons blending in with their surroundings, these alien replicants infiltrated sparsely populated areas, their only goal, to serve an alien master, stop the resistance and multiply their army.
The United State's House and Senate were brought together under a common understanding, and with the exception of only a handful of non-believers, the strategy to defend the country was established. Convincing our leaders of the threat was not an easy task, but when one of their own State Department personnel, once known as the "Toothpick Man" was exposed and his alien biology explained, and the traitorous nature of the former Vice-President of the United States was uncovered, they could no longer deny the truth.
Every branch of the military and all law enforcement across the country were inoculated with the alien vaccine against the black oil and host virus. Antibodies were added to public water systems and over time, those who drank it became immune to the alien infection and the hypnotic bidding of the extraterrestrials. The first defense against colonization became free will.
Recognizing the effectiveness and crucial time limit at hand, immunizing the entire population of the planet became a priority. Our government went to the World Health Organization and a privately run foundation funded by a billionaire in the high tech industry and with their cooperation, a campaign to inoculate against swine flu became the means by which the defense against aliens was implemented.
Rural America was no exception, however, not everyone participated. Religious beliefs and suspicions against the government were two large reasons for their reluctance. These individuals would still run the risk of alien abduction and become hosts for Super Soldiers. Their destiny would lie in the hands of the Military, the President issued a directive that loss of human life was unacceptable, but ultimately the Super Soldiers must be destroyed by any means necessary.
At first, subterfuge was used to take the alien replicants out one by one. Armed with information on identifying the enemy by the protruding vertebrae at the back of their neck, they defended the planet with specially developed weapons that carried silencers and discharged magnetite bullets. Like the Super Soldiers, our Military hid among the general population and a carefully orchestrated plan to stalk and destroy the alien replicants was instigated as they fought a dangerous ground war like no other.
By the summer of 2013, mass chaos and fear rippled throughout the planet. The battle against alien colonization was prevalent on every continent, and a war between two worlds was well underway. Together, the President and the Prime Minister of Canada had commandeered the airwaves from the mainstream media, and their voices relayed the gravity of the situation.
"We are confronting an unprecedented and historic world crisis. We face more challenges than any of us could ever have imagined and the actions we take will define the way citizens of the world will live in the 21st century. There is more work to be done, sacrifices to be made and grave responsibilities to bear."
"These are extraordinary times for us all. As Leaders, our single most important responsibility is to keep our planet free and safe. This is the goal we must strive for when we awake in the morning and the last thoughts we must consider at the end of the day. We must stand together. There is now one law, fight or die and one rule, resist or serve."
It's a warm spring afternoon in Boulder. John watches Monica cross the courtyard toward him. She is the picture of health with her rosy cheeks and bright eyes. Her hair has a smattering of gray, her face a few more lines, but he thinks she is every bit as beautiful as she's always been.
"John!" Monica runs up to her most trusted friend in the world and wraps her arms around him.
"Jesus Monica, you are a sight for sore eyes. I've missed you. How's life in academia."
"It's good. I actually love these kids. It's the most optimistic I've felt in thirty years."
John gets a serious look in his eyes. "Are you seeing anyone?"
She never tires of looking at him. The life he's led is imbedded in every craggy line on his face and the intense emotions in his eyes are as clear as ever.
"Only you!" she teases.
He takes her face in his hands, leans down and kisses her soundly.
She blushes and thinks how silly, but is pleased she can still feel this way after all these years.
His smile says it all and it feels good when he slings his arm around her shoulder.
Monica beams at him. "I've got news for you, on William. I think you'll be pleased."
Mulder paces around his study before seeking Scully out. She's at the kitchen table, on her computer, tapping on the keys. Her hair is pulled back in a thick braid. He imagines she looked like this when she was a college student. His heart swells with emotion as he studies her.
"Scully, I have to talk to you about something."
"What is it Mulder? Can it wait until I finish this paper?"
"No." He is uncharacteristically nervous and fidgety.
Scully saves her document and pushes back from her computer. She looks at him with curiosity.
Mulder sits down across from her. He is filled with apprehension at what he is about to say.
"Last year, Doggett went to Gibson and asked him to do some digging around. He asked him to see if he could find any information on William."
Scully's face turns pale. "Mulder, I'm not sure this is such a good idea. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of him, but finding him after all these years, I don't know if it's right. Did you ask him to do this?"
"No, he took it upon himself. He told me he's been looking for years. Before the resistance, anyone associated with the X-Files was a pariah, afterwards, accessing records was next to impossible, he could never get anywhere until now. He found out a few things. Having an inside with the President has been useful. Seriously, more than free cable internet." Mulder smirks.
Scully looks at him cautiously.
"William was adopted by a family who lived outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Their last name is Van De Kamp. Mary Van De Kamp worked as a teacher's assistant at the local school and Gordon Van De Kamp worked for the local PUD."
"I don't know what to say.... I've imagined every scenario in my head."
"Scully, I know. I've done the same." Mulder takes her small hands in his.
"Doggett looked at what was left of the local police records. There was nothing to indicate the family had any trouble with the law. But, Scully, this next part isn't good, it's pretty tragic."
Her eyes well up with tears. "Go on."
"During the first wave of colonization, the local population around Cheyenne was pretty much in denial. Wyoming being the home of our most famous two-term Vice President, there was a movement to disavow the government warnings. Most of the population eventually understood the gravity of the situation and relocated to the protected areas near the iron ore mines. The Van De Kamp's stayed behind. They believed their faith in God would protect them and they took refuge with about 300 others in a church compound."
"When it became evident they were in serious danger, the military came and took two busloads of children to the protected area. There wasn't enough room for everyone, the parents and adults sent the children."
"My God, Mulder, those poor people."
"Those children included William Van De Kamp, he was eleven years old. The adults that stayed behind did not survive. The area was one of the pockets they hit with magnetite bombs. It took out the Super Soldiers, but it also took out the civilians. The Van De Kamp's were never found."
"What happened to William? Where is he?"
"William was placed with a foster family who cared for him for almost three years. These people took in nine children from the ages of two to thirteen. They must be Saints, they did more than their share."
"Mulder, where is he?"
"Right before William's fourteenth birthday, his family's property in Wyoming was appropriated by the government. In exchange, he would become part of The National Youth Project. He would be cared for, educated and given the opportunity to pursue an advanced degree. He's in Boulder."
"How can you be sure it's him? What if this information is wrong?"
"You know how Monica wanted to get away from D.C. and try something new?"
"She told me she was thinking about social service work or... Oh my God... she said she was taking a job as a Spanish teacher in Boulder."
Chapter 5: Danger!
The car exits off of the Capital Beltway onto Beach Road in Kensington, a neighborhood just outside of D.C. The narrow road winds through a greenbelt that borders a small creek.
"Hello, Skinner," he answers his car's voice activated phone and glances at the clock on the dashboard, the blue digits indicate it's just before midnight.
"Walter, we have a serious problem. We need to meet as soon as possible..."
The conversation is abruptly interrupted by the sound of bullets bouncing off of the car's windshield. The next shot takes out the tires.
"Shit! Hang on!" Skinner shouts hanging on to the wheel as the car swerves, it's tires screeching. He barely has control of it as it skids on the shoulder of the road and goes over the embankment.
"Get down!" he orders. They cower in the car and look out into the darkness, seeing nothing but the occasional headlights from cars passing above them on the road.
"Skinner! Are you there?! Are you all right?! Christ... stay where you are, I'm dispatching a security patrol to pick you up."
"Walter, are you all right?" Marita whispers from the floor of the car.
"Yeah... you?" She nods at him as she pulls a weapon out from under the seat of the car and hands it to him.
"Skinner, they'll be there in three minutes. You need to both come to my office, now." Gibson's tone is grim.
Alien colonization had dashed away the dreams of college students across the country, their Universities and Colleges were closed one by one and their students were recruited to fight for survival of the planet. The next few years were crucial and a fast moving time for the resistance. The President made a vow to anyone whose college life had been interrupted, serve your county and when peace is restored, you will be paid to return to school and finish your education.
By summer of 2015, with the majority of the population immune to both the black oil and the host virus, the aliens retreated from both the United States and Canada. At their government's request, our foreign aid moved into Mexico and Central America. New leaders emerged from these strife-ridden countries. With a successful campaign waged against the aliens, they put the good of the people first and fought the corruption that had plagued them for decades.
Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile working cooperatively with the U.S. and Canada. United, they came to the defense of Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Ecuador and Columbia helped overthrow the Venezuelan dictator and the new government aligned themselves with the rest of South America. The end of 2017 had secured the countries of Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana.
For the time being, both North and South America had won their battle against alien colonization.
Petie Reynolds is seventeen and like Will, has been a resident at the campus for three years. When she first arrived, she was an awkward tomboyish girl and she and Will became friends when they discovered they shared a love of fantasy books and movies. They were both painfully immature and would escape into their own world. Traumatized by losing their families they retreated from the others and turned to each other for support and comfort.
Over the last year, Petie has morphed away from a self-conscious young girl and blossomed into a beautiful young woman. Likewise, Will, a tall, gangly and clumsy boy has filled out and become a handsome and athletic young man. The other girls on Petie's floor tease her about Will and this secretly pleases her. Will is as devoted to her as any one person can be to another.
Two months ago, they slipped away from the watchful eyes of the adults and the prying eyes of the other residents, and found a place to be alone. It was a windowless room with a skylight that sat next to the grounds keeping storage building. Will swept away the layer of dust on the floor and stole a padlock from the gym to keep it secure.
The first time Will brought Petie there they sat on a blanket and talked about the other residents, school and tests for college. They were both shy and tentative but excited about their clever independence.
The second time they met, Petie had brought candles from her floors emergency preparedness kit and amidst the flickering light, they talked about their future and what it meant to them. He had kissed her that night and it felt awkward, almost forbidden.
The third time they met, their kisses felt dangerous and needy. Their touch was clumsy, there movements self-conscious, but the uncomfortable familiarity gave way to something they both craved. To be loved. It had been years since they had felt a mother's touch or father's embrace and that night they found a little of both in each other.
"How are you doing?" Mulder leans over her and wraps his arm around Scully.
"I'm not sure, I guess I'm feeling conflicted. I'm doing this for me, it feels selfish."
"We said it, no decisions until we get there."
She sighs. "That's right, we did, but I can't stop wondering. Who should make this choice? William has never had a choice. Everything has been decided for him. Is discovering who his biological parents are going to hurt or help him"
"Scully, I don't know the answer. Maybe it will be clear when we see him. Maybe you'll just know." Scully snuggles against him and she dozes off into a troubled sleep.
Mulder lays awake thinking about his failed relationships. Family is a theory to him, a hypothetical concept used to make him feel like a bigger loser. He can't look at Scully without wondering when she'll wake up and see what he is, a relationship train-wreck.
Maybe this will be his salvation. Maybe this will make up for the losses in her life. Mulder wants to make things right, he's taken so much away, now he wants to give Scully her son back.
By 2017, the Australian Defense Force had mobilized and with aid from the U.S. and Brazil, their army, air force and navy were vaccinated against the black oil and host virus. Following Brazil's successful military strategy and using weapons provided by the U.S. they effectively defended themselves against the army of Super Soldiers and took back their continent. An agreement between the Australian government and Brazil ensured they would extend aid to the other Oceanic Countries and in turn they would protect the waters between the Tropic of Capricorn and The Tropic of Cancer.
The European Union and Turkey worked together to form an alliance. The infiltration of Super Soldiers into Western Europe was surprisingly sparse and they managed a successful campaign against the enemy. Russia had closed its borders and rejected aid, choosing instead to send up a nuclear missile that misfired and detonated in mid flight over the Ukraine. The EU severed ties as communications with the panicky country went dark. The Super Soldiers moved east toward the Russian border and south to Northern Africa and the Middle East.
"Who knows about this?"
"Inside this building, the three of us, his secretary, the Director, the Attorney General and two security guards. Outside? The shooter, and whoever sent him."
"Where is he?" Skinner asks. He's sitting across from Gibson Praise in his office at FBI Headquarters. Marita sits next to him, her expression is stern.
"He's been taken to a private facility, the Director arranged it through the White House. An inch to the left and the bullet would have severed an artery. Kersh must have reacted just in time to save his own life."
"What else has happened?" Marita asks quietly.
"We had met for an early dinner at the University Club. We both came back to the building, Kersh said he had a briefing with the A.G. in the morning and wanted to finish his notes. I have several reports that I wanted to work on. I was in the office for about an hour when I felt his presence, the shooter, I felt him in the building. I looked at my watch at exactly 8:27 pm and knew something bad was going down. I called security and they found Kersh." Gibson maneuvers his wheel chair ninety degrees to his right to face his computer.
He taps on the keys and a security image appears. "The shooter gained entrance to the building through the security check point, took the elevator to the seventh floor, got off, walked down the hall, knocked on his door, opened the door and shot him with a .350. He's clearly seen on the security tape."
Marita emits a startled gasp and Skinner shakes his head and grimaces. "What the hell is this?"
"I haven't had time to piece it together... but someone or something got to Kersh in a building with maximum security. Walter, you and Marita were almost killed in a moving car. All of us are in serious danger. We need to contact Mulder, Dana, John and Monica. They need to be warned.
Chapter 6: Adversary
"For Christ sakes, they looked like you asked them to rob a bank," John harps as he and Monica enter her faculty-designated cottage.
"Asking students to meet after dinner isn't uncommon. All teachers are considered advisors." Monica drops her briefcase on the floor next to the door.
"I've got some red wine or beer, hard liquor is hard to come by when you're surrounded by four thousand teenagers."
"Beer is fine." John tosses his overcoat on the back of the sofa and sits down. "I mean it, I missed you."
She smiles and hands him a beer. "I heard you've been Marita's sidekick for the past few months. Should I be jealous?"
"Give me a break. You think I'd want the wrath of Skinner on me? She won't have him hanging over her on official business," his eyes light up with humor "he tends to over react."
"So tell me about the kid. What's your impression of him?"
"He's exceptionally bright. Like so many of these kids, they have a lot of emotional baggage, and William's no exception. He's still has one foot in childhood and the other in adulthood and it makes it hard to know which one you're dealing with. His grades aren't a problem, he just needs to ace his proficiency exams and he'll have his pick of any University."
"I'm not surprised he's smart, look at his mother and father, what about his adoptive parents?"
"I know they were fairly conservative and religious, but from what I can ascertain, they walked the walk. William seems to have good values and a strong work ethic. I peeked at his psych file, and it sounds like he was pretty angry with them, but seems to be working it out."
"Does he know he was adopted?"
"That's something I hope we can find out."
Midway through 2017, the war against the alien colonists continued to rage on in Africa. The attempts to bring the vaccine into the country had failed when mass hysteria broke out and those who had the knowledge and power to mobilize their people were abducted, killed or fled. The decision to withdraw foreign aid was made when it was determined that almost one quarter of their population had been abducted, returned and reborn as Super Soldiers. The African's belief in superstitions led to false information and that that led to deadly consequences, convincing the rest of the planet they had no choice but to withdraw. A new tactic would have to be developed, one where their cooperation might not be necessary.
The Middle Eastern countries faired no better, their allies and enemies warned them of the genocide they were bringing upon themselves, but the Clerics who ruled the theocracy declared Jihad against the infidels and those who aligned themselves with them. The Resistance movement retreated when the Holy War unintentionally strengthened the alien objective.
Petie and Will look stiff and uneasy as Monica ushers them in to the living room and motions for them to sit down.
John tries not to stare too hard at Will, but he's fascinated by the resemblance he bears to both Dana and Mulder.
"So how's life, do they treat you okay?" John directs the question to Will.
"Yeah, I guess so. I like school pretty much. The guys on my floor are all decent."
"Petie, what about you?" John smiles at her reassuringly.
"It's okay. I hate sharing a bathroom, but it's better than the group home."
"You're both here for another year and Monica says you're on the fast track to be accepted to a University. Any idea what you'd like to study, or where you'd like to go?"
Both teenagers look uncomfortably blank, especially Petie who colors up at the question.
"John's connected to some of the schools in the northeast, he's here to offer suggestions."
"So tell me a little about yourselves, where you were born, something about your family, maybe that's a good place to start." John suggests.
"I was born in Oregon, both my parents were in the army, so we moved a couple of times. I don't remember anything from when I was really little, but I started elementary school at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. Then we went to Fort Lewis, in Washington. That's were both mom & dad were deployed. I staid with my grandma in Bellefleur, Oregon, but she got abducted because she had never gotten immunized. When she came back, they took her to the hospital. I never saw her or my parents again. I went to a group home in Salt Lake City... came here three years ago, when I was fourteen."
Petie looks matter of fact. Her tragic story isn't uncommon, but it still tugs at both Monica's and John's heart.
"Was there someplace you really liked, someplace you'd like to go back to?" Monica asks gently.
"No, I'd like to go someplace I've never been. Maybe Los Angeles." Petie gives them a big smile.
"What about you, Will?" John asks.
He looks hesitant to say anything, but once he gets going, it's like a floodgate opening.
"I was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming. My parents had a farm, well not a real farm, but a big place with land and animals. I had a dog, named Miracle and we had sheep and chickens and a llama. When I was eight, I went to sleep away camp in Utah. I was ten, almost eleven when the colonization happened. My parents didn't believe, they thought it was a big hoax to scare everyone in supporting the President. We staid at the church compound with the congregation in Cheyenne, but then the army came and said they would be fighting against the Super Soldiers. All the kids got on a couple of buses and we went to a camp that was set up in the iron ore quarry and we waited there for a long time. At least two weeks. They told me that they went back for my parents but it was too late."
John interrupts him. "You were born in Cheyenne?"
He looks at him funny. "Yeah, well sort of, I was adopted when I was a baby."
A coup to overthrow the splintered Russian Federation's government was successful and marshal law was declared. Western Russia, together with the former soviet block countries banded together to form a coalition. They were given aid from the European Union, the U.S. and Canada and by December 22, 2017, the fifth anniversary of the planet's resistance against alien colonization, victory was declared as the enemy retreated into Eastern Russia.
China, India and the countries adjacent to them, as well as Japan and both North and South Korea became allies and fought with determination against the Super Soldiers. Their superior knowledge of technology combined with the addition of more foreign aid enabled them to fight an effective battle against the alien adversary. When the fighting ended, and for the first time, the East Asian countries put aside their history, differences and racist views and found peace amongst each other.
Monica and John stand at the doorway and watch the teenagers walk hand in hand down the path toward the dorms.
"You remember being that young and in love?" He puts his arm around her waist and draws her closer to him.
"Mmmm, oh yeah, his name was Joey and he had an ass kicking Camaro..." She raises one eyebrow and gives John a mischievous look.
"Agent Reyes, I'm shocked. I didn't think you had a bad bone in your body." He leans in towards her and whispers in her ear. "Except for Follmer..."
"Ouch!" John barks as Monica twists his arm behind him. "What's the matter, no sense of humor?" He laughs as he pulls her back into the cottage.
He closes the door behind them, when suddenly an enormous blast shakes the ground and knocks them both over. John instinctively covers Monica's body with his, as splinters of wood and shattered window glass fall down on them and a cloud of smoke and wallboard dust fills the air. They are both stunned by the explosion and time is lost, the thick air causes them to cough and blink particles out of their eyes, before they can comprehend what has just happened.
"Jesus... Monica, you okay? What the fuck...!" They scramble to their feet and shake off bits of glass and debris. With the smoke swirling around them, he takes her hand and they stumble outside where the sound of approaching fire sirens and the concerned voices of the other faculty members is barely audible through the ringing in their ears.
A crater, thirty feet wide is billowing smoke and the cars parked in the lot next to Monica's cottage are on fire.
Scully is no stranger to stress and adversity, her life's been a roller coaster ride and the dips have been filled with tragedy and grief. Somehow, this situation with William overwhelms her. She never allowed herself to think she would meet him, only believing that giving him up would ultimately save him. To know the hardships he's faced at such a young age fills her with guilt and sorrow. She wants to see him, but is afraid to meet him.
They've flown into Denver, an hour's drive outside of Boulder, and are waiting for an agent at the car rental office.
"Hey Scully, seems like old times, us in a rental car, you pissed off, me oblivious." Mulder teases her, he knows she's filled with anxiety and is trying to ease her discomfort, the same discomfort he feels himself.
"Mulder, I know what you mean, it's like dĂ©jĂ vu, you being oblivious that is." She manages a smile for him when her cell phone vibrates and she answers it.
"Hello.... What? Are they okay? Oh my God! How's his condition? No we're in Denver on our way to see John and Monica.... Who... I don't understand... It can't be..." Scully's face goes pale and her eyes are wide with astonishment.
"What is it?" Mulder takes her aside away from the line of car rental patrons.
"Its Gibson. Skinner and Marita were run off the road in their car when someone opened fire on them, and Kersh was shot in his office, he's lucky to have survived. They have a suspect on the security camera digital tape ..."
Scully pauses as if finding her voice and whispers "It's Alex Krycek!"
Chapter 7: Uncertainty and Strife
As the battle for human survival on earth entered into its sixth year, U.S. missile strikes hit eastern Russia and tragically, the humans in the region perished alongside the Super Soldiers. Although the Russian people were devastated by the destruction and loss of life, their darkness was tempered with the newly found democracy that had filtered its way into their government. Blame was intangible and as the new leaders vowed to rebuild, a sense of optimism arose as the shackles of an oppressive rule were removed.
The successful air strikes set precedence and leaders of the free world met to solidify their plans for Africa and the Middle East. The time for action had arrived as the alien enemy's ranks grew larger everyday. These were the most difficult decisions to be made and the toll on human life was shocking. No perfect answer or solution existed and no explanation could satisfy everyone. Only the knowledge that more lives would be saved than lost could justify the means to an end.
The National Youth Project in Boulder, Colorado is the largest government run youth program in the United States. It houses more than four thousand residents who have lost their families at the hands of the alien colonists. They are the unintentional casualties of war, the children of deceased or missing military personnel and of abductees infected with the host virus.
The President, a father of two young women, believed the government had an obligation to help these children become contributing members of society. The First Lady would oversee the massive undertaking of ensuring that each child would receive a world class education, mentoring and psychological counseling. In return they will be asked for their service in rebuilding the country.
At eighteen, many of the residents will go on to join the WorkCorps where they'll be placed in jobs or apprentice in a trade. The need to rebuild infrastructure is unprecedented, and the work is there for anyone willing to join.
Others will enlist in the Military where they will join the ranks of a million strong who are fighting to rid the world of the alien Super Soldiers. Many of our men and women are being sent overseas to administer the vaccine and prevent further alien abductions. Unlike many other wars, this battle has one common and true meaning throughout the world.
The top ranking NYP residents will take a general proficiency exam and psych evaluation, those who pass will have a third option, to attend a University and continue their education. These exams are usually administered the year before the resident's eighteenth birthday or in their third year of studies. Taken over the course of a month, they consist of a battery of tests that determine an individual's aptitude and interest in a variety of subjects. Years of research have proven what most individuals already know, we excel in work we enjoy.
The scores have come in and Petie's are decent enough to allow her the option of a college education. As she ponders her future, a nagging feeling of guilt clings to her and she can no longer deny her true feelings. She doesn't want to disappoint Will, but losing her parents in this war has not diminished her idea of joining the military. She's an army brat and it's in her blood. As she's grown, she knows she wants to serve her country, but more than that, she wants to see the world. She's already lost her family and her home and one thing is for sure, she doesn't want to lose her independence.
Will's scores are in the top one percent, his chosen field of study is chemical engineering and he has the luxury of selecting the University he would like to attend. He imagines his and Petie's life as college students. They'll be eighteen and can live together, they'll have an apartment with a private bathroom and a little kitchen. They'll study together at the kitchen table and walk to class together. They'll learn to cook their own meals and spend their free time watching old movies. He'll get a video game set, maybe a next generation 360 Z-Box...
He's obsessed with the idea of having a home of his own and subconsciously wants to recreate the life he had with his parents. He yearns for his mother's loving face, and truth be known, he longs to see the same expression in Petie's eyes.
"Will! Come on... we got a game going. We need your three point shots. Get your ass over here!" Jamal's yelling causes his thoughts to evaporate.
"I'm coming!" he yells as he runs over to Jamal and Nick. As easily as flipping a switch, he becomes a kid again as they head over to the gym. Jamal slaps Will on the back and needles him about zoning out while Nick leads the way, dribbling the basketball in front of them.
"Scully, when have we ever let anyone stop us, especially Alex Krycek. You know... we both know that we have to go. Doggett and Monica have made William real. I've played the denial card before, it's always a bust." Mulder tries his best not to clench his teeth as he drives down the highway away from the airport.
"I'm not afraid of someone coming after me, least of all a dead man... What do you want me to say, Mulder? This wasn't my idea... if I wanted to find William, I would have searched for him myself. We are damned if we do and damned if we don't." Scully's voice has an edge to it that she doesn't try to hide.
"What do you mean, damned if we do? I won't accept that... this isn't a mistake. And don't forget, he's my son too." Mulder instantly regrets his words. He knows that claiming fatherhood is hypocritial, he wasn't there for William or Scully when she needed him the most. He loathes the forces that compelled her to give their baby up for adoption. He detests himself for his part in it.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean that, I know I have no right. What I meant to say is that I care. I would never hurt you or William more than I have. I love you."
Scully looks out of her window not wanting Mulder to see the large tear drops falling on her lap, she doesn't doubt his sincerity, but she's not convinced that this right.
"Where are they?"
"Boulder, Colorado. They went to see Monica, Doggett's there too."
"Their timing is a bitch. This is a hell of a time to make a social call. They must realize the danger..."
Gibson shakes his head at Skinner. "They aren't there for a friendly visit. It isn't what you think. Mulder and Dana have gone to find their son. I helped Doggett dig up William's adoption records when he and Monica wouldn't let it go."
"Good God, no wonder they wouldn't turn around and come back to D.C." Marita sits back in her chair and takes a deep breath.
They are sequestered in an undisclosed and secure FBI safe house under 24-hour guard along with Miya, Gibson's wife. Skinner paces the living room, while Marita sits quietly on one end of the sectional couch with her computer panel open, scanning files.
"I don't suppose this place has anything worth drinking?" Miya gets up and goes to the wet bar and rummages through the cabinet.
"Looks like your choice is Scotch or Scotch. O'Sake is too much to ask for, eh Gib?" He smiles at the petite Japanese woman, who as an intern doing research on the genetic anomaly known as Gibson Praise, also found a place in the anomaly's heart.
She lines up four glasses and fills each with ice and pours a healthy three fingers into each.
"Have you spoken to any of them since you talked to Dana on the phone?" Marita asks, taking the glass of amber liquid from Miya.
"No, but the information has been sent to their computer panels." Gibson pivots his wheelchair and backs it up reaching for his drink.
Skinner finally sits down and holds his drink to his head. The cold glass feels good against his temple. He is on the verge of speaking when Gibson encroaches into his thoughts.
"Alien bounty hunter." Gibson gives him an apologetic look "We haven't seen one since I was about twelve years old and at the Flemingtown School for the Deaf. I have to admit, the vibe I'm getting is all jumbled up. It's Alex Krycek, but then it's not. This is just plain weird." An uncharacteristically perplexed expression crosses Gibson's face.
Skinner still remembers being blinded by the toxic fumes from that incident, but the scene in his head changes, and he looks at Marita knowing they both have a history with the man in question. "I don't know if any are still alive, but I do know, without a doubt that Alex Krycek is dead." He tries to shake off the memory of pulling the trigger.
"Why go after us and Kersh? It makes no sense. None of us have the influence to exact change. After all this time, I had this vague idea that our lives might have some semblance of normalcy." Marita scoffs bitterly. Her regrets are many and although she knew it was necessary, her involvement with Alex Krycek heads the list.
Miya looks at Marita sympathetically. "Maybe it's not what you think, from what I understand, it never is."
The skin on his face and neck is still taut and the lines around his eyes are negligible. His hair is dark and thick and his hazel colored eyes are clear with better than perfect vision. His body is hard with defined muscles and the hair on his chest, arms and legs is still dark and soft. There were many more like him, but he is the only one to have survived. The others had been taken, some transformed into alien replicant warriors, others used for further experimentation. They were sacrificial lambs, fighting against humans, humans half like him, and half nothing like him.
The reflection in the mirror pleases him and he chuckles to himself as he flexes both his arms. He remembers what The Original said to him when he was just a boy. "Whatever happens, always remember this, you have nothing to lose because I'll lose it for you."
Chapter 8: Decisions
The United Nations passed a resolution in late 2018 authorizing missile strikes in targeted areas throughout Africa and the Middle East. This was a painful and difficult decision for leaders throughout the globe but they felt they had no choice, alien colonists must be destroyed or humans will perish from the planet Earth.
South Africa separated from the rest of the continent and agreed to a military base that served as the UN's central strategic command. The missiles they deployed were swift and proved effective and the casualties of war were many. Like Russia the loss of life was staggering, but for a few, the Super Soldiers had been almost completely decimated and the focus on saving the remaining population and rebuilding the continent became the priority.
During the chaotic first wave of colonization, the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan took control of their crippled governments and attempted to use nuclear warfare against the enemy. The alien's aircraft detonated their warheads in mid-air and the Super Soldiers systematically infiltrated the Middle Eastern organizations. The UN's primary target became a mountainous route between Afghanistan and Pakistan known as the Khyber Pass. As the missile strikes bombarded the area, it destroyed and showered the militant terrorists camps with magnetite and iron ore granules. When the region grew silent, out of the destruction emerged a people who were free to choose life over death, democracy over theocracy and friends over enemies.
A new kind of battle had begun, a ground war advanced across the planet, and it became a game of hide-n-seek without rules and no one knowing who is "it" and where "home base" exists.
The Syndicate's Human/Hybrid Cloning Project had created him alongside the Kurt Crawfords, Samantha Mulders and The Gregors. His DNA came from a pair of Soviet Scientists, cold-war immigrants, who had cloned their own son before they were imprisoned.
When The Original had found out about the existence of his clones and the fate of his parents, he had little choice but to leave his FBI post and join the Syndicate as their agent. He came to the organization with the understanding that his life and his eventual death would be filled with crimes and contradictions. The anger he felt against his mother and father and their work in cloning him was palatable, but once he realized his fury was to no avail, he decided to cut a deal. He would work for the Syndicate under one condition, in return for his service, his parents would be freed and at least one of his clones would be sent away, giving his replica a chance to live and work independent of the conspiracy's evil and manipulative ways. In some small way he felt this might atone for his sins. An agreement was made, an agreement among men who live by lies and deceit.
In 1994, the incoming CEO of an oil and gas conglomerate, the former Secretary of Defense who had also served as a Wyoming Congressman became the benefactor for Krycek III, known as Alexi. Alexi was fourteen, fifteen years younger than The Original and sent to Saudi Arabia where he was passed from oil worker to oil worker. He survived the first Gulf War and eventually found himself at Taif Air Base located in the central foothills of the western mountains of the country. After 9/11, the goals of the religious extremists became clear and the second U.S. & Middle East conflict finally became a war of ideology and oil. Alexi was sent to Indonesia for a while, then to Western Australia and finally Argentina before he was eventually sent back to the U.S.
The Syndicate is gone, the Super Soldiers on the road to defeat, and The Original is dead, but the former government forces who are nothing more than traitors against their county have sent for him. They claim it's for justice, but Alexi, knows it is hatred and revenge that drives them. His benefactor and their leader has been kept alive with medical intervention and artificial organs, he is bedridden and delusional in his old age. He still believes he will someday take over the stewardship of the planet, but even a second-generation clone knows the former Vice President has gone mad.
He checks his weapon, making sure the clip is full before tucking it into the small of his back. His vintage leather bomber jacket is heavy compared to the new textiles and faux leathers on the market, but he likes the weight and smell of it. He hides behind his dark glasses and baseball cap, but a disguise is not critical, after all only a handful of people would know him by appearance.
"You're extremely lucky to be alive, but I'm stating the obvious. Jesus, Doggett you really do take a lickin' and keep on tickin' don't you?" Mulder cracks a smile.
But Scully isn't at all amused. She crosses her arms tightly around herself and furrows her brow.
After arriving at the NYP and learning of the attack on their friends, they've made their way to the Boulder Medical Center where Monica and Doggett have been treated. The news of Skinner and Marita and Alvin Kersh has brought light to their attack and they realize they were targets.
"I can't believe no one was killed. I used to think that living next to the parking lot was a drag, but thank God it took the brunt of the destruction." Monica adjusts the sling on her arm and holds it close to herself. She and the others now know it was a long-range missile that missed her cottage.
"Who the hell is trying to kill us? I wanna know why." Doggett winces with pain as the laser closed wound above his left eye pulls. "Christ Dana, those kids left less than ten minutes before we got nailed."
There is an uncomfortable silence and Scully is the first to speak. Her words mirror what the others are all thinking. "Just being near us could be dangerous. We can't bring this down on William." She looks at Mulder. "We have to leave."
The spring semester at school is almost over and the summer session will start in mid-June. The residents are anticipating the new season, many will take challenging wilderness trips, some will work as interns in major cities and still others will prepare to leave the NYP and start their new lives as tradesmen, soldiers or college students.
Petie fidgets nervously and looks at her watch. She told Will to meet her after her writing class. It's time to tell him of her decision to join the army instead of going to college and she knows this news will anger him, but even worse, hurt him.
Will is waiting outside of the Science building for Petie. He is excited to tell her about the Chemical Engineering program at Purdue University. His advisor says he's already been accepted, he just needs to get his application in to make it formal. He knows she'll like Purdue and he'll help her find a program she'll be excited about too.
"Petie! Guess what!" He runs over to her and picks her up in a hug, "I've got great news for you!"
"That's good, but I have news for you too. Me first, okay?" She leads him off to the outskirts of the square and they sit down on a set of concrete stairs to talk.
"How's Kersh?" Gibson asks. He already knows, but Skinner's brooding about Alex Krycek has become annoying and he wants him to think about something else.
"His recovery is going well, he's out of intensive care and if his progress continues he should be discharged in about two weeks. Kersh is one lucky son of a bitch. I hope he appreciates that."
Skinner points to the open case file on Gibson's desk. "How's the investigation going?" He's referring to the missile that barely missed Monica's cottage.
"It's slow. The only things they've determined, is it's origin is Saudi Arabia. No magnetite or iron in it so that leaves out a friendly fire scenario. Our people turned it over to the DoD and they're picking up the fragments and trying to determined if it had a jamming device in it. They can't get a reading on where it was launched."
"What about Mulder and Scully? How long are they going to stay in Boulder? They're next if this is a systematic attack. What the hell do they think they're doing?" Skinner's questions are indicative of his mood. He feels like a caged animal and anxious to get out of the safe house.
"And you, have you thought about the danger to you and your wife?"
Gibson looks at Skinner and reads the spin of emotion in his thoughts. "Yes, we have. It's never easy, Walter. Anything and everything is never easy with Mulder and Scully, much less Alex Krycek."
It's the afternoon chore shift and Jamal and Nick are in the dining hall wiping down tables and benches. They kick at stray milk cartons and utter expletives when they find undetectable items stuck to the tables.
"What's with Will? You know what's troubling that boy?" Jamal asks his work partner.
"What else is there? You know the same old shit that gets everyone here the dreads... Workcorps, military or college and with Will it's the double whammie, he's got Petie trubs too. She told me he's making her feel trapped."
"What the fuck? She and Will have been like Velcro since they got here."
A serious expression crosses Nick's face. "Will doesn't see it, but it's time to move on. She's thinking about her future, Will's making up a fairy tale in his own head. We've all heard it, idealizing the past and how you can never recreate it. But Will's not ready to give it up. His dreams, you know?"
"Yeah, I guess, but I've seen some of those college girls.... Mmm.. Mmm! I think there's a lot to look forward to!" Jamal's eyes twinkle.
Nick shakes his head. "I just hope he doesn't do anything stupid. Like giving up on college or doing something lame like making Petie feel guilty... you know the kind of shit that some of them pull. Too much drama."
He pauses a moment as he scrapes at something on the bench. "Hard to believe, but I think I'm actually going to miss this place." He's completed his stay at the NYP and will be leaving this summer for California to begin his apprentice as an electrician.
"No, man... I get what you mean. Growing up in this bubble hasn't been all bad... Shit, Ya know you're going to miss the enchiladas..."
The two boys burst out in laughter.
Chapter 9: Heartbreak
As earth's inhabitants celebrated their victories against the alien replicants, our leaders devised a strategy designed to end further human abductions. Although these mass abductions had become a rare occurrence, reports of missing persons continued, and it was clear, the alien colonists had not given up in their battle to colonize the planet. Technology was supplied by Japan and India, weapons made in Brazil and China and a line of attack developed by the U.S., United Kingdom and Australia to identify and rid the atmosphere of alien aircraft. Science fiction had come to fruition as lasers and magnetic fields were used to trap and overcome the enemy's force fields, and sophisticated missiles were deployed to destroy their aircraft. Success seemed eminent as the enemy retreated.
"Monica, you need to take it easy, trauma injuries are serious," Scully says following her down the corridor.
They enter Monica's campus office and she motions Scully to sit down. It is small and cluttered with books on child psychology and Spanish language piled on the bookshelf and teaching guides and file folders thrown haphazardly on her desk. She plugs in her computer panel synching it up to her laptop, then hands the panel to Scully, hoping it will add clarity and not confusion to her decision.
"Dana, you've come all this way, you need to meet him. I know seeing him will give you and Mulder some closure and offer you both possibilities."
Scully touches the image of William in her hands. The young man with his dark brown hair and soulful eyes looks up at her from Monica's computer panel. He looks like Mulder, but his expression is all Scully. "I feel lost, I don't know... "
"We both know there is danger, but we've faced this before. You have spent a lifetime doing for others and now you need to do this for yourself. Stay just long enough to meet him. Please." Monica looks at her former colleague and friend with pleading eyes. "We're all here to protect him. John's contacted the Denver's field office. They can arrange a safe meeting place and William doesn't have to know anything."
Scully is silent for moment as she contemplates Monica's words. "All right, how are you going to work this out? You'd better arrange it before I back out."
Monica looks at her reassuringly. "Don't worry, it will be okay."
Will wanders off as he kicks at the pebbles on the brick walkway he's supposed to be sweeping. The landscaping crew sensed his foul mood and has given him a wide berth.
He's familiar with this empty, confused and scary feeling. It's the same as when the social worker told him his parents were dead. Petie's claim that she was enlisting in the army instead of going to college stunned him. He thought she was joking until she started sobbing and apologizing. He didn't know what to say to her, he felt like he'd been sucker punched in the heart.
All the plans he made, the dreams he had for them are gone. She said she didn't want to break up now, but later. How is that supposed to be okay? He doesn't even want to try and understand and he doesn't know how he'll get through his last year of school. He wonders if they ever really loved each other and he wonders if he'll ever fall in love again.
He's made his way to their place, the empty storage shed that they used as their hide away. It's cold, dim and vacant inside, like his heart. He sits down against the wall, his head falls into his hands as he lets the tears of sorrow and bitterness flow freely.
"Walter, we know it can't be Alex Krycek. For one thing the man on the tape, he looks like he's in his late thirties, Krycek should be in his mid fifties by now. For another, it's been almost seventeen years since you shot... since he was killed. Where has this person been all these years? There's something else happening here." Marita's voice is smooth and steady as usual, but Skinner hears the confusion and concern in her tone.
Skinner tries to tone down his own brusque attitude as they talk over the events of the last few days. The surveillance on their home has been increased allowing them to return from the safe house.
"I know. We've eliminated the Alien Bounty Hunter. The chances of that are unlikely and the evidence is weak. Gibson is doing a background check on Krycek. His file was closed when he died, but that was a decade and a half ago. Information has loosened up in the last year, maybe something of interest will come up." Skinner removes his glasses and pinches the bridge of his nose in his own characteristic way.
"They've got the bulk of the Denver field office out in Boulder keeping an eye on Mulder and Dana, Doggett and Monica too, but we both know this situation raises all sorts of questions and concerns and my biggest one is that our lives are being threatened, once again."
"If I ask you not to go, will you listen to me?" Marita asks pointedly.
Skinner looks at her with hard eyes. "If I ask you to stay here, will you listen to me?"
They stare at each other for a moment, before Marita speaks. "I'll pack for both of us, you'd better let Gibson know what we're doing."
The diner is almost empty with the exception of a stray man at the counter having coffee with his pie and a couple of young men watching an old NFL game on a computer panel.
Mulder and Scully sit in a booth waiting for their food, the adrenalin from the news of the day has subsided and fatigue has settled in on them. Neither is hungry, but over the years they've learned, to feel normal they have to do normal things, like eating.
"I found a place to stay outside of Boulder, it's out of the way, not on the main highway. Doggett's arranged to have extra agents on campus and at out hotel," Mulder says as Scully nods and sips her water.
He taps his fork on the table in front of him nervously. "I want you to know, I share your doubts and I'm with you on this... we have to be careful, but Scully, if you could leave right now, without the need to justify or explain your actions to anyone, would you?"
She pauses a moment and lowers her eyes. "No, would you? "
"I've screwed up so many times, I just want you to be sure." His eyes can't hide the anguish he holds within him.
Scully's heart breaks at seeing Mulder like this. His life has been held hostage by a series of riddles and she realized long ago that none of them have been fully answered. His obsession is his only crime, but she has forgiven him time after time and followed him without coercion, for she understands he has given his life in search of the truth.
The waitress brings their order and sets it down in front of them. As they stare at their food, both wonder how they got to this place and time and what is waiting in the wings upon their arrival.
The campus has been buzzing with the news of the missile attack on the school. Homeland Security, the FBI and local police have kept much of the information under wraps for fear of fear itself. The story they stand by is it was one of ours, a test that had gone awry. The residents and faculty member's gawk at the destruction in the parking lot, it's unsettling to many reminding them that the battle with alien colonists has been won, but the war is not over.
Monica and John have been moved into temporary quarters on campus with added security at their door. They've had a restless night concerned for their colleagues and themselves, and on top of this, they know Mulder and Scully are anxious about meeting their son.
The commotion from their attack has settled down and Monica has her own mission to accomplish. This morning she has slipped out on her own in search of Will.
She stops Nick and Jamal as they leave their dorm. An eerie sense of dread has followed her. "Have you seen Will?"
The two boys look at each other before Jamal answers her. "He got up really early this morning and left, must have been way before wake up call."
"Left? Left where? It's important that I talk to him."
"Shit, Ms. Reyes... sorry... I don't know where he went, but I do know he's in a sad way. He and Petie broke up and he's taking it hard." Jamal's tone worries Monica.
"Where can I find Petie? Any ideas?"
"She's probably in class, if we see her, do you want us to tell her you're wanting her?"
Monica's nods and looks off into the distance. She wonders what Will is feeling and what he is capable of doing.
It's late in the day and the snow-capped mountains look spectacular against the blue sky casting long shadows on the city below them. The air is clean and cool, not like the desert or crowded slums he's known intimately.
Alexi shrugs as he hangs up his cell phone. His benefactor is not happy with him and he demands to know why the end results on Skinner and Covarrubius' car accident and Alvin Kersh's shooting had failed. He berated him, stating there is no excuse for the failed missile launch, the distance it traveled was less than two hundred miles and the cost of smuggling in the Saudi produced weapon was substantial. Eliminating the former FBI Agents is the mission. Failure is not an option... or else. Alexi thinks to himself, or else what?
He gets out of the electric car, and uses his computer panel to scan the landscape. He's followed Mulder and Scully to this school for orphaned children. He's curious about this place, the concept is foreign to him, his home and upbringing revolved around the shantytowns outside of Jeddah. He doesn't often feel emotions, his genetic make up precludes it but the thought of a place especially for children without parents hits a nerve, a human nerve. He shakes it off and wonders if this game he's been drawn into will have a winner.
Chapter 10: Taken
Memorial Day, May 27, 2019
"On this Memorial Day, we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice not only for their country, but for their world. These women and men are the heroes of our time and will always remain in our hearts, they will never be forgotten."
"Because of them, we claim the right to inhabit this planet called earth. Their lives have taught us that our differences may define us, but they will never separate us for there can be no better goal then the preservation of life and the guarantee of a future. Our common ground is our humanity, we are one world with survival of our species as the mutual thread that has brought us together."
"Let us pray for the safety of our women and men deployed at home and around the world. They stand guard at the gate of free will and through them we can continue to strive for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
The President of the United States of America
The lives of young couples across the planet have been changed permanently since the alien replicants attempted to colonize earth, but for these two, even more so. With increased security hovering about them, Gibson and Miya have quietly returned to their D.C. condominium. From the 31st floor high-rise, the city twinkles below and like a string of holiday lights, the beltway snakes it way into the distance.
"Gib, I never interfere with your work, but this time I may be able to help." Miya passes his crutches over and he uses them as leverage as he pulls himself out of his wheelchair. They have a strange way of communicating, replying with words to each other's thoughts. Not many know how similar and different they are.
"I am not stubborn, just careful. Besides, I don't know what you can accomplish..." Gibson heads toward the kitchen opens a cupboard and gets down a box of frosted flakes.
"Arrogant? I resent that," Miya says responding to his state of mind.
"He's a murderer."
"Attempted murderer, don't you think it's strange that he's failed?"
Gibson can't deny it. He's always known that the human mind is unpredictable, his work at the FBI has reconfirmed this and he instinctively knows there are other forces at work here.
"I agree. We're already involved, we have to discover a motive. Will you..."
"Yes, I like Marita and can keep her company, and you can keep an eye on Walter." She grins at him.
"Miya, if you're right, this could have serious repercussions that will come back on us. Are you prepared for that?" Gibson looks at her sternly.
She looks at him knowingly. "Yes, I understand and someday the rest of the world will too."
Alexi scrolls through the images on his control panel. There's one of John Doggett and Monica Reyes leaving the Boulder Medical Center. He's read the file his benefactor had on them and he considers the work they've done since stopping the assassination attempt on the President in 2007. It's impressive how dedicated they are, not only to the job, but also to each other.
The next image is of Walter Skinner and Marita Covarrubius, taken as they climbed into the FBI chopper after he ambushed their car. He knows that Skinner shot The Original in cold blood, and with good reason it seems. He looks at Marita and wonders what it would have been like to make love to her. Neither of these are his memories, but the facts are documented and read like a pulp fiction novel. These two have had a difficult past with The Original, the more he learns, the more he understands to what degree they were manipulated by him.
The third image is of Gibson and Miya Praise. It's an older image, archived from almost two years ago. They are standing together, he in a suit and tie, she wearing a pink dress and holding a bouquet of flowers. It's curious that his benefactor has extensive background on him, but little information on her. Alexi studies the image carefully and he sees something in them, something familiar.
The fourth image is of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. They are at the Denver Airport outside the car rental kiosk. The files on them are extensive, much more complicated than the other agents. Having read only a third of the material, he's tried to understand what the motives were behind their actions but the dynamics of their relationship is confusing to him. Mulder's relationship with The Original was contentious but they had a rapport that is intriguing.
The last image is of a teenage girl and boy. The girl has a quality about her that speaks of resilience. She has a determined expression on her face. The boy is just beginning to bulk up but still has some growing to do. There is loneliness in the young man's eyes and he recognizes it as the same emotion he sees when he looks in the mirror. An uncomfortable feeling bubbles up to the surface, when he remembers his benefactor telling him to eliminate them as well.
John Doggett stands outside of the vehicle rental office and flips his cell phone closed. He wouldn't normally make a call like this but Monica asked him and he couldn't refuse. He knows his contact at the Secret Service is the best person to secure a safe place for Dana and Mulder to meet Will. After all these years, reestablishing their relationship with Will might be the best thing that could ever happen to them. An image of Luke flashes before him and he realizes the hole it's left in his heart will never heal. Maybe it can be different for Dana and Mulder.
The calendar on his computer panel pings, he checks the entry and heads over to his rental car. With Gibson, Miya, Skinner and Marita arriving, there will be eight of them in close proximity to each other. How easy and convenient for Krycek or whomever this maniac is to take them all out at once. He knows the others will see his reasoning and they'll understand, they have to disperse making it harder for the perpetrator to find them. He takes a moment to record a message saying as much and hits the send button to all.
He's meeting with SAC Paulson from the Denver Field office. She's promised her agents will give their full cooperation. Doggett could hear it in her voice, she's looking forward to meeting Gibson, his tenure with the Bureau has been short but his reputation as a profiler has become bigger than life, and Mulder and Scully, their names and cases are now legendary in the FBI.
He walks toward the standard American made rental car. His own car was destroyed in the missile attack and this one will have to do for now. He swings himself into the driver's seat and turns the ignition. As he pulls out onto the street heading toward SAC Paulson's office, he has no idea that he'll never get there.
Petie's eyes are puffy and red rimmed from crying. Will's been avoiding her, when she last saw him he turned away. She feels guilty for making him so unhappy and wonders if she's made a mistake. Maybe she should make up with him, but the feeling of guilt is replaced with dread when she thinks about his needs and not her own.
Ms. Reyes had asked for her help in finding him. She said it was important that some people from Washington, DC had come to meet with him. Petie was a little alarmed at the way she acted, like it was a big deal, so she agreed.
She thought he'd be at the shed, but when she got there it was open and empty except for the lock and key in the corner of the room. She's not sure where else to look, but knowing Will, he wouldn't have gone far. As she walks back toward her dorm something catches her eye, it's Will's ball cap with the NY Yankees logo. Petie picks it up and her heart begins to race, she instantly knows something is wrong. He would never have thrown it away, it meant too much to him.
Worried about Will, she starts to walk faster along the path. She suddenly feels like someone is watching her and her skin starts to crawl. She looks over her shoulder and the shrubs rustle and move, a panicky feeling comes over her and she breaks into a run, as she hears footsteps behind her.
"Scully, I know I've broken promises before, but this isn't going to be one of them. You can call the shots. I can live with or without this." The diner seems to have become their conference room as they talk over coffee. The FBI agents sent to protect them are sitting at the counter scanning the news on their computer panels.
"If you're changing your ways Mulder, than maybe we can talk about a few other things." Scully gives a half hearted smirk.
"Like I told you, Monica and John are setting this up. They'll find us a safe place to meet and Monica will bring him over. They're using my affiliation with World Health as the pretense for the visit."
Scully's eyes light up, "He wants to go to Purdue and study chemical engineering. I haven't the right to be proud of him, but I am."
Mulder nods his head affirmatively. "I wanted this for you but now I want it for myself too. Besides, giving birth this time around will be easier for you, and I'll actually get to be there. I guess it's too late to cut the cord."
They smile through their grim expressions and reach over the table to take each others hand.
The Towne car rolls down highway E470 towards Boulder. The FBI agent sent to pick up Marita and Miya at the Denver airport was cordial and professional but has said little to them.
Miya breaks the silence first. "I asked Gibson to reconsider, but he insisted this was for the best. John's message made an impression on him, he has a good point, don't you agree?"
"Yes, caution is important but it's also important we share information, I dislike being kept in the dark." Marita adds, she and Skinner had quarreled about the arrangement, but in the end he would not back down. They are being taken to a secure location where they'll eventually meet the others.
"Excuse me, Agent Nelson, how much further is it?" Miya asks timidly.
The FBI Agent looks over his shoulder at them. "We should arrive in another twenty minutes." He turns back abruptly.
Marita is surprised to see her friend's face turn deathly pale. Her eyes are filled with distress and she knows something is wrong.
"Agent Nelson, Mrs. Praise isn't feeling well, please pull over!"
The car turns off onto the shoulder of the highway and Miya turns to Marita whispering "Just do what he says, he doesn't want to harm us."
"Who are you talking about, what do you mean?" Marita answers in a hushed tone. The words are barely out of her mouth when Agent Nelson turns around with his weapon pointed at them. He reaches with his free hand under the collar of his dress shirt and grabs at his flesh. As he pulls at his neck a synthetic mask comes up and bits of artificial skin sprinkle onto his dark colored suit.
"She's right Ms. Covarrubius, I don't want to harm either of you." Alexi looks back at them with a knowing smile.
Chapter 11: Looking for Answers
SAC Aimee Paulson is an athletic and handsome woman in her late thirties with a reputation for being competent, analytical and professional. She fought her way through the FBI ranks to Special Agent in Charge of the Boulder field office after solving the murder of an associate project manager and exposing a plot to undermine the National Youth Project's reconstruction. At the moment she has the less than enviable position of facing an agitated and irate Walter Skinner and an unnervingly quiet Special Agent Gibson Praise.
"Let me get this right, the agent you sent to pick up our wives at Denver International has been found in the airport parking garage, drugged, tied up and stripped of his gun and badge. His vehicle, Marita and Miya are all missing? Jesus Christ, Agent, they were escorted onto that plane and were to be met at the gate, how the hell do these things happen?" Skinner demands, his anger is palpable.
She gives him a dark look, but is reluctant to speak.
Gibson sorts through SAC Paulson's defensive thoughts. "Agent Paulson, he... we have every right to be angry at the situation and although you're seemingly correct in your innocence, this isn't about blame. We need to find them."
"I understand Agent Praise, you have my full cooperation, but there is one other thing you should know..."
He stares at Paulson and takes a deep breath. With a troubled look on his face he turns to Skinner.
"Doggett and two students from the NYP are missing, too."
"Monica, none of us is without fault." Scully's shoulders sag with fatigue. She is weary from the stress and anticipation of meeting her son for the first time after almost seventeen years, only to learn he may be in harms way.
"Where's Gibson? He's our best shot at finding any of them," Mulder says tapping his fingers on the conference room table. Their meeting with Will was to take place here, at the former refugee intake center's conference room.
"You were right. You said it wasn't safe, you feared this would happen and now it has." A look of pain crosses Monica's face. "Who could have gotten to John, after all these years... unless he's..."
"Agent Reyes, you have no bases for that conclusion. You'd best stop it before you talk yourself into something that's not true," Skinner says entering the room, followed by Gibson and an ill at ease SAC Paulson. He looks at his former subordinate and knows his words have little credence, for his fear is as real as hers.
Monica rises out of her chair, composes herself and bends down to greet Gibson and then shakes Skinner's hand. "Assistant Directory, I'm glad to see you again. It's been far too long."
Skinner greets her by nodding his head and says, "Monica, this isn't over. We'll get to the bottom of this, we have too." He turns to the others and gives Mulder and Scully a look they've seen hundreds of times since they first met. It's one filled with questions, concerns and determination.
Gibson gives Agent Paulson a curt introduction. He wheels himself toward the table. The emotions in the room are thick with fear. They've learned that five people, important to them all have vanished, their whereabouts unknown and a family reunion has turned into a manhunt for loved ones.
Doggett groans as he struggles to regain consciousness, he can feel the hard, cold floor under him as the sensation in his limbs slowly returns. In the dim light, the ceiling slowly comes into focus.
He wrestles himself up into a sitting position, his head reels and he closes his eyes and takes a few deep breaths willing the nausea in him to subside. After a moment, he looks around his surroundings and sees he's in a small room, possibly a basement by the looks of the hard surfaces. The only light comes from an illuminated panel of buttons on the wall.
He rolls over on his hands and knees and stands tentatively holding his arms out for balance. As he adjusts to being upright, he moves toward the door looking for a knob or handle, but none exists. His hands move toward the panel of buttons to the left of the door, he pushes one and a row of fluorescent lights shines down on him.
The room is larger than he thought, maybe fifteen by twenty feet. There is a metal table with two chairs in the center, to the right of the door is a counter with a small sink and a built in refrigerator. Above it is a shelf with paper cups and a paper towel dispenser. In the corner of the room he sees an open door into a bathroom with a toilet and small sink. As his eyes follow around the room he sees two cots, one is empty, the other holds the prone body of a man, but on second look, Doggett recognizes that it is in fact a boy, a boy named Will Van De Kamp.
Gibson insists that SAC Paulson and her team continue their investigation. They will look for new leads and follow up on locating Doggett's missing rental car and the vehicle that was used to abduct Marita and Miya.
Skinner and Monica have left to talk with Agent Nelson and go over the details of what happened with his assault at the airport. They have the report including his debriefing, but neither is willing to take a passive role in this investigation.
Scully's has gone into the adjoining office to return calls to the World Health Task Force. The fatigue on her face is evident, as she sits down with her computer panel and cell phone.
Gibson sits while Mulder paces as they discuss the case. He can feel the tension rolling off of him and knows this won't be easy. "I know you and Dana want answers, we have known each other for a long time, you have to trust me."
Mulder gives Gibson an incredulous look that he knows all too well. "When we first met, I knew I was practically alone in my beliefs. I was on a crusade to prove the existence of aliens, expose the men who sought to sacrifice humankind, and to find my sister. That may have changed over the years but what hasn't changed is that it is still personal. I know I've been a selfish asshole, but this time it's not about me. It's what I owe to Scully, this can't end badly..."
Gibson stops him in mid sentence. "I know. Like I said, trust me."
Marita, blindfolded with her hands bound behind her, is led by gunpoint into a building. She has walked up a ramp and down a long hallway before ascending a set of stairs. Alexi stops her, cuts her loose and pushes her into a room, the door closses with a bang behind her. She reaches up and pulls the blindfold off and as she looks around, she sees a young girl huddled up on a cot in the corner of the room.
"Don't be frightened, I'm not here to hurt you. Who are you? Do you know where we are?" Marita asks slowly inching her way toward the girl.
"I don't know where we are or why I'm here. Petie answers, her voice is small and she starts to cry. "A man grabbed me at school..." Between gulps of airs she stutters on "I tried to fight him... but he said he'd drug me... if I didn't stop."
Marita sits next to her and says soothingly "My name is Marita. The man who brought us here said he wouldn't hurt us. Try to calm yourself."
Petie throws herself into Marita's arms and holds onto her, she cries uncontrollably and Marita hugs her back, stroking her hair out of her face.
"Sshhh, we'll be okay," she says in her most convincing tone. "What's your name?"
"Petie" she answers haltingly. "Petie Reynolds."
"Petie, that's a really sweet name. My friend and I were on our way to meet our husbands when this man tricked us and forced us here. What can you remember, please tell me?"
Petie stops to catch her breath and wipes her nose with a tissue that Marita has pulled out of her pocket and handed to her. "I live on campus at the NYP, I was walking back to my dorm room and I heard a noise behind me. I started to run, but a man caught me from behind. He told me to be quiet and said he wouldn't hurt me. I fought him but he was really strong and I couldn't get away."
"Go on. What else?"
"The man took me to his car and forced me to get in. He drove me to an alley, I don't know where... He made a phone call and told someone to meet us there right away. It seemed like a really long time, but a car pulled up next to ours and the man in it was Ms. Reyes boyfriend."
"Reyes? You mean Monica Reyes? The man was John Doggett?" Marita asks trying to process the information.
"Yeah, I met him at Ms. Reyes cottage. The man held me up in front of him and told Mr. Doggett to drop his gun. I was really scared and started crying." Petie says sniffling.
"He laid his gun down on the ground and the man told him to turn around and put his hands on top of the car. He pushed me back in the car and then he stuck Mr. Doggett with a needle, a syringe and he fell down. He put him in the trunk of the car."
"Petie, could you tell if he was seriously hurt? Was he still alive?"
"Yes, he was breathing but unconscious. The man put a blindfold on me and tied my hands behind my back and he drove us here. He put me in this room."
"How long have you been here? Do you know?"
Petie shakes her head. "A while, it feels like forever." Her eyes fill up with tears.
"It's okay, is there anything else?" Marita asks.
"He asked me about my parents and where they were. Then he asked me about my boyfriend. He wanted to know if we were in a fight and what it was about. I thought it was weird."
"Your boyfriend? Why would he... who's your boyfriend?"
"His name is Will Van De Kamp."
Marita instantly recognizes the name but she's not sure where this piece of the puzzle fits. The fact that John has been taken worries her, as does Miya's whereabouts and what Walter, Gibson and the others must be thinking.
"Marita? How do you know Mr. Doggett?" Petie asks.
She shrugs in response. "Petie, let me think for a minute, I promise I'll tell you what I know."
She finally takes the time to look around the room and goes to the sink and draws Petie a cup of water. The room mirrors the one next-door in size and layout and unknown to them all, it is the room that imprisons John Doggett and Will Van De Kamp.
Chapter 12: Explanations
In the years leading up to the war against the alien replicants and under a government subcontract, the Department of Defense had authorized building the facility as a military storage site. Known only to a very few, his benefactor had added a row of underground rooms in the fashion of cold war bomb shelters and had used them to hide during the first wave of colonization. The little visited building is still used for storage by the military and the rooms were sealed off until recently, when Alexi had been given the access code.
"Where have you taken Marita? Neither of us are a threat to you, why are you doing this? You know they'll be looking for us, please, what is it that you want?" There is a hint of fear in Miya's voice, but she is calm and when he pulls her blindfold off, she looks him straight in the eye.
"I told you, I wouldn't hurt you or your friend. Don't make me change my mind." He looks at her intently. She is perhaps thirty, a slim woman with a fair complexion and black hair that is pulled back into a ponytail. He's unable to detect an accent even though the background information he has on her says she was born in Tokyo.
"I have questions." Alexi is uncomfortable saying these words.
They study each other carefully. There is an awkward moment as she looks for the right words. "I think you need to find your human side. I know it exists. When you do, it will free you from the emptiness you're feeling."
Alexi's eyes flash with anger. "How can you say these things to me? You don't know me. You don't know what I feel," he says defiantly, grabbing her arms hard enough to make her gasp.
Miya trembles but refuses to be intimidated by her captor. "You're wrong. I do know what you feel, and I do know who you are."
Will takes another drink of soda that Doggett found in the refrigerator. He's starting to come around as the sugar and caffeine kick in.
"I don't remember anything after he came into the shed and stuck that needle in my neck, except, he told me he was sorry. What time is it anyway? They'll be looking for me, I skipped out of class this morning."
"Skippin' school is the least of your worries." Doggett hesitates for just a moment. "Will, do you know where Petie is?"
Looking up at him he sees the concern in his eyes. "Why? What about Petie, she's back on campus... right?"
"I gotta call, telling me to go to an alley outside of town and warning me that if someone was hurt, it was on my shoulders. When I got there, she was okay but that bastard had Petie." Doggett hates himself for telling the truth when he sees the look come over Will's face, but he knows, keeping this information from him ultimately won't protect him.
"Why? I don't understand." Will sounds like a frightened kid, even with all he's gone through, he can't escape who he is.
"Look, I don't know what's going on, but if he wanted to kill... hurt us, he had his chance." Doggett's words are far from it but he tries to sound reassuring.
"Mr. Doggett, why is this happening? Do you know what's going on? If you do, I think I have a right to know."
"Yeah, you're right, you do have a right to know. It's a long and involved, I'll tell you what I know, but you have to remember, there's more than one side to every story."
In 2010 Walter Skinner left his post as an Assistant Director with the FBI to become a consultant for the government resistance movement against alien colonization. Marita had convinced Skinner that his efforts would be more effective with the resistance and he had taken her advice. Along with Mulder and Scully, he had finally found a meaningful avenue for his knowledge and insight, and with Marita, a meaningful and fulfilling relationship.
The years of following bureaucratic protocol have taken its toll on him and he doesn't try to hide it. At the time he departed the FBI, he also left his patience behind with his post.
"Agent Nelson, I was appointed an A.D. when you were still in high school, so don't bullshit me. What else? All of it matters, every detail." Skinner glares at the Special Agent.
Monica hangs back and watches Skinner grill the FBI agent. She observes his mannerisms and body language. "Agent, please bear with us, we just need to hear it again. Are you sure there isn't something else?
"Ma'm, like I said, I drove into the parking garage, parked, exited and locked the vehicle and turned to walk toward the elevator. The next thing I know I'm being stabbed in the neck with a needle... I swear, I never saw the perp." The FBI agent face is shiny with perspiration and his hands fidget around his face.
"Sir, with all due respect, why the hell do you think I'd fuck around with you? You think I'm stupid enough to try and hide something?"
Skinner gives him an icy look and Monica thinks his balls would freeze off if he had any. "What happened after they knocked you out?"
"I don't know how long I was out. When I woke up, my wrists and ankles were zip tied and a couple of Baltimore P.D. were standing over me asking me if I'm okay."
"Baltimore? You mean Boulder Police, right?" Monica says without a hint of suspicion in her voice.
"Yeah -- right, Boulder." Nelson stutters and looks confused. "Unless you have a reason to detain me... Mr. Skinner, Ms. Reyes, is there anything else?"
Skinner abruptly dismisses him with a nod and Agent Nelson backs out of the room.
"That he is Assistant Director. What now?"
"Agent Reyes, let's tail him and see what he's hiding or if he's just a twitchy son of a bitch."
"It's bullshit! Gibson, he was a liar and a traitor and would have sold his own mother out to get what he wanted. Besides, it's not him. I was there when he died. I saw it with my own eyes."
"Mulder, listen to this. I found evidence that two scientists from the former Soviet Union, a married couple were imprisoned by the State Department in the mid-nineties. They were being held as spies and accused of genetic espionage. I find it strange that they were abruptly released and deported back to Kazakhstan when it was determined they were not a threat. The paper trail is convoluted but a Dr. Dale Gayheart came forward and vouched for their credibility as doctors looking for a legitimate cures for a series of genetic diseases."
"Why is that name familiar?" Scully asks. She's been uncharacteristically reserved and both Mulder and Gibson are reminded she is an important part of this investigation.
"Jesus Scully, Dale Gayheart was one of the Gregor series of clones." The wheels in Mulder's head turn as he digests the information.
"Dana, I believe the Russian Scientists were working on the cloning project that included Samantha Mulder and Kurt Crawford. I also believe they were Alex Krycek's parents. The man who appeared on the security tape at FBI Headquarters looked liked Alex Krycek because he was a clone."
"What? Where has he been and why has he suddenly turned up. It doesn't make any sense," Scully says.
"There are a lot of missing pieces to this story, but the NSA/FBI/DOJ cross referenced database popped this out. Somehow there's a connection and I have a couple of agents searching for what it is exactly, but between his stint as Secretary of Defense and the White House, our favorite Vice President was appointed guardian to a fourteen-year old boy. The paperwork is signed off by a Dr. Harvey Buchanan..."
"...who was also a clone from the Gregor series." Mulder breaks in. Gibson what else have you found?"
"The boy was listed as parents deceased. Anya and Oleg Cryczech. Not very sophisticated, but it worked and Alexi Cryczech was sent overseas as an employee of the VP's oil conglomerate."
Mulder stands abruptly and the chair he was in skids across the floor. "Christ, that Bastard VP's still trying to screw with us."
"I know them well. They both worked with my husband at the FBI."
Petie looks impressed. She is eating a protein bar and the color in her face has come back.
"Ms. Reyes was an Agent with the FBI? That explains it. I know a lot of the faculty carry weapons, but she's the only one I've seen that wears one in the back of her waistband. Her boyfriend was an FBI agent too? I mean he is her boyfriend, right?" Petie asks, her face is animated as she chews.
Marita is charmed by this girl and wonders how she has managed to stay unsullied in this post colonization world. "Yes, they have been friends for a very long time. I believe when two people work together closely and the work is dangerous, they develop a particularly strong bond. Monica and John are no exception"
"But I don't understand why she came here to become a teacher. Seems like that would be boring." Her inquisitive look is replaced with concern. "And what does Mr. Doggett... John, I mean what does he have to do with this? Why did that man take us?"
The teenager wads up and tosses the wrapper of her protein bar at the small trashcan near the counter and misses. She goes to pick it up and replace it in the receptacle, when she turns to Marita with more questions.
"Why are you here? What happened to your friend? What aren't you telling me?"
"I'm not trying to keep anything from you, but I don't want to explain away this situation without knowing all the facts." Marita sighs. She smoothes back her hair and replaces the clip. "Petie, it is complicated."
Petie tries her best not to show an attitude but she's not willing to let this go. "Marita, that's exactly what the social worker said to me when they picked me up from my grandma's house after she died. It's complicated. What you're trying to say is you think I'm too much of a baby to hear the truth."
"I... you're right. It's wrong of me to patronize you. What I'm going to tell you will bring up more questions than answers. This all begins before you were born. Promise me you'll hear me out before you start asking questions."
Petie looks at her with cautious eyes. "I promise."
Chapter 13: Voices
Jamal nervously shuffles his feet from side to side as he stands in front of Mulder and Scully while Gibson sits off to the side observing and listening. He had contacted the NYP Security and in turn, they had contacted Gibson.
"I don't know if this will help or not but I had to say something."
"Jamal, you're not in any trouble, we're glad you came to us. Please tell us again what you saw." Scully does her best not to threaten the young man. He's come forward after hearing that Will and Petie have come up missing.
"Nick and I were out, we were on our way to the Dining Hall to do our afternoon chores when I saw this guy. Whenever I see someone I don't recognize I take an interest, you know what I mean? He was like creeping around, looking all nervous and shit and I told Nick I was going to check it out, I'd catch up with him at the Dining Hall," he says with an earnest look on his face.
"I followed the man and saw him go toward the landscaping shed, he was like walking around looking all suspicious."
"There must be a lot of people on campus you don't recognize, what made you think he was suspicious?" Mulder asks.
"Well, I never saw him before, he was dressed in this old school looking black leather coat and no one wears funky black leather no more, he was looking all around, he was out of place. I couldn't hang out because I needed to go back to work, but I know the dude had something going on. Like he was a drug dealer or something. Anyway, I saw his car, it had those nice rims, it was tricked out, and I know it was no rental. I got his I.D. and plate number before I want back to the dining hall." Jamal hands Scully a piece of paper with his scrawled writing on it.
Scully's face morphs to hopefulness when she considers what Jamal has just given her. "Was this the man you saw?" She shows him a digital print from the FBI building surveillance camera.
"Yeah, I think that's him. Mos def. You know he's wearing the same coat. You think this man has something to do with Will & Petie? One of the counselors asked me if they would have run off by themselves, but I just don't see it. There's not a lot out there to run to, ya know." Jamal takes a deep breath and continues on. "So why you trying to track Will down?"
"We knew William briefly as a child and haven't seen him in a very long time. We thought we might reconnect." Mulder and Scully exchange glances, the lie isn't a lie, but it isn't the truth either.
"You've been really helpful. We appreciate you coming forward and telling us what you saw." Gibson contemplates the young man for a moment, he doesn't mind intruding on someone's thoughts when he can use it to their advantage. "Jamal, I think you should do it. The FBI could always use a smart young man like you."
"Really? Thanks!" He gets a slightly confused look on his face as Gibson's words sink in and he looks like he wants to say something, but stops himself. He shakes Gibson's hand, then Mulder's and finally Scully's before leaving.
"He wants to pursue a career in law enforcement, he has good instincts, I think he's a natural. Let's see if we can get a trace on this vehicle I.D."
He's been with the Bureau for over four years, and for the last fourteen months, Special Agent Allen Nelson has been assigned to the Boulder field office under SAC Aimee Paulson's supervision. He's in his mid-thirties, six feet tall with a strong build and dark coloring. At the moment, he is apprehensively perched on the couch in her living room, a shot of bourbon in his hand, and looking quite distraught.
Paulson paces the floor of her condo and considers her actions and choices. He was the only one who she trusted to send out to escort Marita Covarrubius and Miya Praise and get them safely from the airport to John Doggett's location... and fail.
"I think I lost them. Listen, you'd better have my back on this one. Aimee, that ex A.D., he knew I was lying. I staid with the script, but the son of bitch definitely knew something was up." Nelson throws the shot of alcohol back and grimaces.
"For God's sake Allen, get a grip. If they want to find you they will. Don't forget, I have more to lose than you do, if you go down you'll take me with you."
"Is that supposed to be comforting? If it is, you got a lot of mothering skills to master," he says sarcastically.
"They have nothing on you, nothing except for your guilty demeanor." She scoffs at him. "Listen to me, soon this will all be over and when it is, we'll be fabulously wealthy. We can move on out of this dead end assignment. I'm not waiting until I'm sixty to get someplace with this fucked up Bureau." The look on Paulson's face is determined as she bitterly spits out the words.
"Yeah? Say it again, the part about getting rich. I like how it sounds." Nelson smirks.
She laughs out loud and gets a wicked look on her face. "Don't worry Allen, we have friends in high places. Places without limits."
"Gibson, where does your GPS tracker have him?" Monica asks. "We held back on Fourth Street and lost him." Skinner presses a key on the console of his car and the FBI agent comes on the screen.
"His vehicle was left in front of the Chertof Building, at 75 Lansing Avenue. The building has 800 addresses. I've got a database searching for a likely match, I want to cross reference it with some information we obtained from a classmate of Will's." Gibson's voice sounds tinny over the speaker's in Skinner's car.
"What information?" Monica asks.
"Jamal King. He saw our perp on campus and had the wherewithal to follow him. He got a plate and I.D. number."
"Are you alone?" Skinner's voice is somber.
"Yes, what do you need?"
"The truth. I want the truth, I want to know what you know." His question is pointed, abrupt and he can't hide the serious edge to his voice.
There is a hint of hesitation before Gibson's reply comes through the car speakers "Miya says they are all alive, no one is hurt. We don't know where this is leading, but she's trying to find out."
"Gibson, you've talked to her?" Monica asks anxiously.
"Not any longer, who is this?" Mulder asks warily as he and Scully drive away from the NYP campus toward Boulder. His cell phone is balanced on the car's cradle and the voice coming from it sounds vaguely familiar.
"Let's just say I'm a friend of a friend..."
"Alex Kycek?" Mulder raves. "Whoever you are, you bastard! What the hell do you want?" Scully's head snaps around looking at the phone and then Mulder.
"Alex Krycek is dead. You know that, I understand you were there when it happened." The voice on the phone responds.
"What do you want? Do you know where John Doggett, Marita Covarrubius or Miya Praise is? What about William Van De Kamp and Petie Reynolds? Where are they?" Scully demands.
"Your friends are not hurt. Please tell Agent Mulder that the tracking device on his phone will not work." Alexi advises.
"Whoever you are... God Damn it! Tell that Son of a Bitch it's over. He's lost and if he had his sanity, he'd know the game is obsolete. We are through with this." Mulder's anger is evident.
"Why are you doing this? What is it that you want?" Scully questions him again.
"Everyone keeps asking me this. Why? What? It should be obvious." He sighs "Keep this line open, we'll talk again."
Mulder pounds his hands on the steering wheel, he remembers this ruse and he's not happy about it.
Alexi hangs up his phone and takes a moment to ponder the stilted conversation. He should be concerned about the position he's been placed in, but he doesn't care.
He extracts a cotton handkerchief from his pocket and wipes the grime off of his face as he reflects on the many words he's heard over the last few days. ...failure is not an option ...no excuse ...or else ...find your human side ...emptiness you're feeling ...the game is obsolete ...his sanity...
The voices get louder and overlap as they swirl around in his head. He has to stop and lean against the wall for support as he presses his hands over his ears trying to shut out the noise. He emits a low moan as the voices subside and are replaced by the pounding of his heart. Alexi regains his footing and takes a few deep breaths before heading down the corridor toward the adjoining rooms were his prisoners are being held.
Chapter 14: Stories
In her jumpy condition, she had difficulty winding down, but eventually fatigue had taken its toll and she fell into a fitful slumber. Maternal feelings are a rarity for her but a protective cloud envelops Marita as she watches the young women sleep. Petie is like a flower bud, poised to flourish into a beautiful blossom, her intelligence and courage are traits to be admired and they mark her as a survivor.
They had talked for hours, sharing their past and analyzing what fortune had brought them together here, against their will. Marita had tried to explain the relationship she had with Monica and John, her marriage to their former superior, and their relationship with Mulder and Scully. It was difficult to put in plain words without betraying a confidence she felt was necessary to keep. Petie had listened as if it were a bedtime story, accepting the circumstances and believing the tale she heard was true. She was impressed to learn how much Marita knew about the attempted Alien Colonization and how her husband and friends were involved. She pressed her on what the relationship Dana Scully and Fox Mulder had with Will and seemed satisfied when Marita said they knew him when he was very young and Monica found him by chance when she recognized his name.
"So that's why you're here? Is it because your friends wanted to see Will?"
"No, not exactly, we were actually concerned for Monica and John and the missile that almost destroyed her cottage. Walter wanted to make sure they were all right." She's purposely omitted their own close encounter from the explanation.
"Yeah that was really scary, it was super loud and we felt the ground shake. We had just left to go back to the dorms. I don't know how it could have happened, it's not like the military just shoots missiles up by mistake." Many were skeptical of the DoD misfiring a missile, even Petie.
"What about your friend, the woman that was kidnapped with you... is she going to be all right? Why would he want to talk to her alone?"
"I'm not sure," Marita says truthfully. "Her husband is a very gifted FBI profiler and maybe that has something to do with it."
"Marita, I really want to go home." Petie can't hide the emotion in her voice. "What will that man do to us, why won't he let us go?"
Marita puts her arm around Petie's shoulder. "It will be okay. My guess is he's working under someone elses orders and if he meant to harm us, he had his chance. I think we need to get some rest. Everything is better when you're not exhausted. You should try to sleep."
"I'm really glad you're here." She whispers before falling asleep.
His parents were never fully able to grasp what their son was made of and what to do with his gift. They never really understood what it meant. They seemed reluctant to turn him over to the government, but when they realized the danger, they surrendered him and found solace in knowing he would be protected.
Over the years he's had to accept what he is. A genetic freak. There was a time when he was extremely cynical about his future, but Gibson was never very good at rebelling against authority, he learned that outsmarting them was much more gratifying.
He lived a lonely existence amongst many and grew to resent those who would try to exploit him as well as those who pitied him. He eventually left the clutches of his government guardianship and quietly entered George Washington University where he finished his bachelor's and master's degree in four years. As he worked on his PhD, he was once again recruited to submit to a battery of tests, using newly developed and sophisticated micro computer chips.
Having no good reason to refuse, the human lab rat submitted to another round of experiments. Gibson lacked enthusiasm but cooperated as they wired and monitored his brain. He passed the time by allowing himself to get into the heads of his researchers. The majority were straight arrows with little time for frivolous thoughts and he found their dedication to be commendable if not boring. It took him completely by surprise, when a small Japanese woman entered his room and introduced herself without the benefit of verbal words. He had never encountered someone with his same ability and it changed his life.
To others, Miya was shy and reserved, but to Gibson she was filled with life and had a wicked sense of humor. They kept their unusual way of communicating to themselves, fearing what others might do with the information, and an impenetrable bond grew between them.
Even after the testing was completed they became inseperable. When she eventually shared her secret with him, it made no difference, for he had already fallen in love with her. They both knew that being different was an asset and a burden, but the hardships they faced and where they came from was lessened as they supported each other and eventually married.
Gibson knows that Miya and the others are alive, he can sense this and he is certain they are unharmed. She tells him they will be all right, not to let the others force their captor into a situation where he has no recourse. At the moment, in his car driving down I-36, he can feel her soothing heartbeat and it reassures him, but his state of mind is suddenly interrupted by another set of intentions, these coming from a completely different set of people in a place he has to go to.
"So you've worked with the President? That's pretty awesome. My parents thought he was a Socialist and was going to ruin the country. It's funny how things turn out," Will says with a hint of bitterness.
The two have spent the better part of three hours talking over past events in their lives. One of them is barely a man and the other has lived enough for several men. Doggett stifles a few pangs of envy as he realizes what a great kid Dana and Mulder have. This conversation with Will is one he would have loved to have had with his own son.
"Only a very few knew of the conspiracy that was taking place. Fox Mulder was one of the first. He and Dana Scully uncovered evidence that was way out there. No one believed them, let me re-phrase that... no one wanted to believe them. Hell, even I didn't believe it. For years I thought Super Soldiers were a government program. There's nothing like the takeover of the planet by aliens to clear up any misunderstanding," Doggett says drinking water out of a paper cup.
Will laughs at his sarcasm. "I heard that this was going on for years, the alien replicant's plan to colonize earth. It seems to me that all they had to do was connect the dots."
"That's not too far off, but there's a lot of back story in there. Anyway, I gotta tell you, Mulder and Scully are the true heroes, saving the world may seem like an overstatement, but it's not. They made a lot of sacrifices along the way."
"Mr. Doggett? What aren't you telling me?"
"Doggett is fine. John if you'd like. Look Will, I know I've skirted some of your questions, but that's only because I don't know the real answers. Sometimes things aren't what they seem... ya know? It wouldn't be right of me to make certain statements or assumptions, your life, my life, it keeps changing and what you knew, may not necessary be what you'll live by in the future."
Will looks at Doggett sideways out of the corner of his eye. "Yeah? Well talking in circles isn't going to get us out of here."
Doggett knows he can't be humored with big words and smoke and mirrors and nods at him affirmatively. "Look kid, I'll get my goose cooked if you get hurt, but you're right, we got to come up with a plan if we're going to get out of here. You think we can find something to get us into this wall panel?"
Will's face lights up. "All right! Now you're talking."
Daylight had faded into dusk by the time Agent Nelson left the parking garage of her condo and turned out on the street. He knows his own motives and that he is being watched.
"You think he wanted some reassurance from his superior and showed up at her place to discuss our meeting?" Monica asks in a suspicious tone as she changes lanes in Skinner's car to keep Nelson in view.
"Maybe, but he is hiding something and we need to find out what that is." Skinner answers.
"Do you think SAC Paulson has something to do with this?"
"I wouldn't discount anyone at this point. It looks like he's headed for Highway 36 going south. My navigation system has locked in on him, but keep him in sight, it's still possible to loose him."
Monica keeps a steady pace down the highway. The traffic is starting to pick up as they continue driving away from Boulder. "Sir, I don't mean to bring up... I mean I don't want to consider the worst or what may..."
"I am as concerned for them as you are," Skinner says grimly. "Just remember, John Doggett can handle himself and I know Marita is resilient. I have to take Gibson at this word when he says they are unharmed. You know as well as I do he wouldn't play games with his wife involved. Besides, there was a time when we faced this kind of danger and these unknown situations on a daily basis. We may have become complacent in the last year, but none of us is about to go down with out a fight." Skinner's tone is stanch and his expression determined.
"He's by passing Denver and headed north on the Northwest Highway, do you think he's headed for the airport?"
"Maybe... it's doubtful he would go back there. Paulson was unhappy with my interference when I asked Gibson to send over agents to go over the crime scene with a fine toothed comb. If there was something left behind, they would have found it."
"He's going east, he's turned on Carbon Road. What's out here? It's really undeveloped."
"Look-- that sign... Rock Creek Farm. It's a little late to go on a picnic wouldn't you say? Monica, he's turned down the perimeter of the park. The sign says he's headed for the Planetarium."
"I've got a funny feeling about this. Are you armed?" Monica sounds pensive. "Something's not right."
Skinner checks the clip in his weapon and cradles it in his hand. He squints into the shaft of light cast from their vehicle. The lack of oncoming traffic makes the deserted road appear sinister. As they continue to follow the FBI agent, the navigation equipment slows their vehicle down.
"Why are we stopping?" Skinner asks in a hushed tone. "What do you see?"
"It's more like what I don't see. He must have pulled over."
"Oh my God! What the hell is this?" Monica utters gripping the steering wheel as a figure appears in the beam of their headlights and stares back at them.
Chapter 15: Escape
"They aren't answering. What the hell is going on?" He can't hide his irritation as he continues to press redial on his cell phone. Mulder's been trying to reach Skinner, Monica or Gibson to no avail.
It's been several hours since he and Scully received the cryptic call from Alexi and the frustration of not reaching their allies is eating away at them. Their friends have disappeared and a son they had hoped to meet is in danger.
"Mulder, we can't do nothingâ€”I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin." Scully leans against the motel room wall. She looks smaller than the dynamic doctor and research scientist that she is.
"You're right, come on, it's time to get to the bottom of this."
The two gather up their coats and Mulder takes a small revolver out of his briefcase and tucks it into his ankle holster. They leave the motel room and ask the agents on security detail to follow them back to the Boulder field office where they can access the FBI database.
As they drive down the arterial, Mulder looks in his rear view mirror and barks, "Now Scully!" He makes an abrupt turn on a side street and floors the rental car. The vehicle swerves around the corner and he maneuvers it into a wide driveway with hedges on either side. The shrubs act as just enough cover to obscure them from the street and they watch the FBI agents speed by.
Mulder backs the car out of the driveway and heads in the direction of the NYP as Scully looks over her shoulder.
"That was too easy, they can't be that incompetent. Where are we going Mulder? What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking we're the good guys and because of that we should win."
"I'll ask the questions!" he snaps. "Stop looking at me that way." Alexi pulls Miya by the arm down the dimly lit hallway. He's wound up tight and even in the poor light she can see he is pale and his breathing is labored.
"Where are you taking me? What have you done with Marita? She's done nothing to you, you need to let us go?" Miya pleads.
"Stop it! I told you, I won't hurt you or your friend, but if you don't shut up, I'll have to force you to be quiet. This will be over soon, but you need to cooperate. If someone gets hurt, it'll be your fault. Do you hear me? I can't explain now, but I'll eventually let you, your friend and the girl go." Alexi can feel the pounding of his heart echo inside of his head. He knows the pain will finally subside, but only after he injects himself with a sedative. It's time to get going, they will be waiting for him and it is always awkward to be the last to arrive.
She studies his face and looks into his eyes and sees anguish in them. "Alexi, please, I can be your friend. I can help you."
He stiffens and the look of pain turns to sadness. He stops in front of a door without a handle and runs his hand over a small light that is fixed on the wall. The door opens and he pushes Miya in with enough force that she stumbles forward. The door clangs shut.
She manages to stay upright as she grabs the edge of a metal table for balance.
"Thank God!" Marita says as she rushes towards her friend and hugs her. "Thank God you're all right!"
SAC Paulson hangs up the phone, crosses her arms in front of her and reaches one hand up to chew on her thumbnail. It's a habit she kicked that has suddenly come back to taunt her.
She knows she has no choice if she wants the additional money deposited in her off shore account. It's the remainder of what's owed to her and there is no way she's not going to get it.
Taking her service weapon out of the desk drawer, she slips it into her jacket pocket. She knows the risks and tells herself it is worth it, after all the former VP had made it clear, she was doing a great favor for them and she would be rewarded generously.
Paulson snaps the light off and walks out the door. She takes the elevator to the lobby and just as she was told, a black town car is waiting for her. One of the three men inside gets out of the vehicle and opens the car door for her and she slides into the back seat. The man sitting next to her smiles at her smugly as the car pulls away from the curb.
"It's unfortunate, but these clones are unpredictable. It seems Alexi has chosen to fail. We cannot allow this to happen." The man sitting next to her says.
"I agree and you know I'll do whatever it takes..." Agent Paulson starts to say, but the man in the front seat finishes her sentence for her.
"You'll do whatever it takes to get paid." He laughs and she turns slightly red at the remark.
"I don't need your condescending bullshit so just drop it, okay? I got Nelson to cooperate and play the part of victim so your clone could take over. I made sure he was covered on the school grounds when he went to pick up those kids, and I'm lying through my teeth for you. If you have a problem with me, just say so." She bristles with anger.
"No problem. You get to be the hero." The driver says. "You eliminate them and make it look like the clone did it. After you kill him, like I said, you'll be the hero. We appreciate your help in keeping our hands clean."
"Terminating the collateral wasn't my idea, but I agreed to it so let's just get on with this, okay?" Paulson brushes her hand against her gun and feels a prickle of fear as she considers her circumstances.
After ditching the FBI agents, Mulder and Scully drive directly to the NYP. The short phone call they had from Alex Krycek's clone was unsettling and both of them feel edgy.
"Mulder?" Scully asks. There is no need for her to elaborate. Neither of the former FBI agents is feeling optimistic about the situation as they leave their parked car.
"We have to get some help in accessing some information. I think I know where there might be a couple of future FBI recruits." Mulder is walking toward the boy's dorm and Scully shakes her head in disbelief as he approaches Will's roommates. The boys are conveniently shooting hoops outside.
"Hey Jamal, can we talk?" Mulder waves the boys down. "I need a favor, any chance we can use your computer?"
"Uh sure thing, but why you want to use a couple of kids computer, you must have something a lot better then the wannabe equipment we have."
"The truth is, we could use a little help breaking a code and I bet you boys are just the ones to do it. It has to do with your room mate."
"Are you asking us to do something illegal?" Nick asks.
"Look, it isn't wrong if you're helping someone. I'm not trying to justify myself, but this isn't a joke, lives are at stake." There's an urgency in Mulder's tone, he needs to get his point across to the two boys.
Jamal looks at Nick with reassurance and says, "Look man, it isn't like we are hacking into the mainframe to change our grades. This here has to do with Will. What do you say?"
Nick nods his head.
"Okay, so my man Nick here he can do it... and them some."
The boys run up to their room and retrieve Nick's laptop. They head over to an isolated group of picnic tables and sit down. Nick starts to bring up a wireless connection, when Mulder stops him and hands him a myoptic fiber flash drive. Nick smirks when he sees it and plugs it into his laptop. The monitor begins to search and data files begin to roll up the screen.
"They won't open without a passcode. You think you can crack it?"
"Oh yeah." He mutters. "Jamal, look at this. What sequence you think we should try? How about this one?" He says tapping away at the keys.
"It looks like a standard security level. This wall is lame." The boys continue to discuss the file and encryption for a few minutes, when a huge grin appears on each of their faces.
The smile spreads to Mulder. "Let's start by opening files that were created in the last month."
"Whoa... what is this? Am I looking at something that could be interpreted as a federal offense?" Nick asks looking like the proud owner of a shiny new car.
"Mulder?" Scully says under her breath. "Where did you get this?"
"From Gibson. It belongs to Aimee Paulson and by the looks of it I guess she's moonlighting."
The four of them stare at the data as Nick continues to open files, breaking them up into blocks of readable text.
"Yo, Nick, what's that?" Jamal says looking at a list of data. "Man, I think I know what it is... enlarge that sucker... do you see it?"
"Jamal, what is it? What are you looking at?" Scully asks with tentative curiosity.
"See this, now look, it's a...."
"...map!" Scully finishes his sentence. They look over Nick's shoulder and study the symbol-covered image on the screen. Mulder is the first to see it, coordinates on a grid that point to the DoD's storage facility. "Looks like X marks the spot, come on boys and girl, let's go find the clubhouse."
Miya drinks some water, and can feel the questions the other two women have boring down on her.
"He doesn't want to hurt us, that much I know for sure." Miya is careful not to expose too much.
"He must have told you something. What does he want? Who's giving him his orders?" Marita asks. She wonders why she isn't being more forthcoming. Possibly because of Petie, but Marita is suspicious that something else is going on.
"No, he didn't tell me very much. I was kept in a small room most of the time." Miya lies.
"Well, what is this place, did you get to see any of it?" Petie asks.
"We're in a warehouse of some kind. It looks like it had heavy equipment in it. These rooms are underground. I walked by three other doors, there must be at least four rooms."
Marita looks at the two other women. "Do you think we can escape?"
"I don't know, but..." Miya starts to say as the lights go out.
"Petie, Miya grab a chair... Get on either side of the door," Marita says in a hushed tone.
They do as she says, poised to use the chairs as weapons. They hear a loud crash outside of the room and the sounds of knocking and thumping on their door are next.
The noises stop and it becomes silent and still. In the darkness, the three women look at each other uncomfortably and are startled when the door is suddenly flung open. Petie swings her chair at the figure and misses when it is abruptly jerked backwards.
"Petie, for God's sake it's me... Will!" I'm not going to hurt you.
"Will?" she cries and drops the chair. She runs to him as John Doggett peers into the room.
"Hey now, friend, not foe. Jesus Christ, that's some welcome wagon!"
Chapter 16: We Stay Together
As the narcotic slowly dissolves and seeps into his bloodstream, it sooths away the pain and urges the receptors in his brain to embrace the numbing euphoria. Sitting on the floor and slouching against the wall, with his arm out of his leather jacket and a syringe and needle stuck in his forearm, Alexi looks like a well-dressed junkie who has found his fix.
He picks up his cell phone with one hand and uses his thumb to press the numbers. As it starts to ring, he realizes it's becoming harder to separate the jumble of thoughts overlapping in his head.
"They are unharmed, but you should come now. There are many others and they are in danger," Alexi mutters and presses the end button.
The glow from the emergency illuminators cast a gray pallor on him. Only a few moments before, the lights in the room flickered and went dark and he heard the pounding of doors being forced open. He smiles to himself, the two men a generation apart in age, have been resourceful and found their way out. He knew it could be done and he purposely defied his orders to eliminate them. They will find the women, and if they are as smart as he thinks, they will survive.
He brings his head up and rests it against the wall behind him and thinks of Miya and her offer of friendship and help. Strangely, it made him feel more alone than ever. He understands that being raised in isolation until adolescence, and then shipped overseas where he was surrounded by a culture that embraced a God that had nothing to do with his creation, led him to forsake his human side. He was taught to believe his loyalty would always be with his Benefactor and those who opposed his ideas were the enemy. He has damned human emotions, believing they served no purpose but to perpetuate weakness and vulnerability. What happened?
In the fifteen years prior to alien colonization his benefactor became more distant, although Alexi's loyalty never wavered, he began to understand his motives were purely selfish. By the time the Super Soldiers began their rampage, the world he only observed and never felt a part of began to disintegrate in front of him. He felt apathetic at first, thinking it was only more of humans slaughtering other humans in the name if their God, but as the fragility of humankind became more pronounced and as their existence seemed threatened, he began to understand and respect their resilience and determination. He began his own research on what led to his creation, and the more he learned, the more he began to feel a connection to his human side. Still, he remained loyal to his Benefactor.
Then one fateful day after the U.S. and Canada had successfully driven the Aliens from their countries, he returned to West Virginia where his origins began. He found little evidence of the laboratory where he spent his first years in and instead discovered an outdated facility, privately funded and woefully ignored. No one from his original project was left and he was viewed with suspicion as he insisted on searching the records. They allowed him access once they verified he was a clone that survived the last twenty-five years.
The story behind his origins both exhilarated him and disturbed him and the realization that he was only a tool in his Benefactor's deceptive world angered him.
Knowing The Original asked for his life, as atonement for his own, has become a driving force in him. It took him years to reconcile what it all meant or why it even mattered, but now it all makes sense. Even an alien hybrid life must have a purpose, and that purpose is what provides a reason to live, or to die. If the faith that millions believe in really exists, maybe Alex Krycek, will somehow know he hasn't failed.
"How did you get out?" Petie asks in wonderment.
"A shoelace, the rivets out of a sink stopper and Will's belt buckle. We McGyvered our way out," Doggett says with a snicker.
The teenagers look blank as Marita and Doggett exchange a knowing look.
"We can't stay here, we have to go," Miya says with urgency. "We're in danger."
"She's right, we need to find a way out. It's better if we split up. Marita, take the kids and count to two hundred before following us. Can you do that?" Doggett asks.
Doggett takes Miya by the hand and leads her down the dark corridor and around the corner. They find a flight of stairs and they climb them carefully with one hand tracing the wall for guidance. At the landing, there is another flight going up and a door with an EXIT sign glowing above it.
"John, this way, I remember coming this way." Miya whispers. She leads him through the door and he leaves it ajar as they hurry down another hallway. They can barely hear the others following behind them.
Their eyes have become accustomed to the dim light as they creep toward a set of double doors.
"Any of this look familiar?" Doggett asks.
"Yes... through those doors is a ramp that leads up into in a warehouse of some sorts. Should we wait for the others?"
Doggett weighs the odds in his head. "No. We're like sitting ducks if we stick together. Let's go."
With their backs to the wall they head toward the doorway and Doggett pushes it open. The bright lights from overhead assault their vision and they stagger back blinded.
"It wasn't supposed to be like this. We had no intention of involving any of you, but this began to evolve into something that we couldn't control."
Skinner's eyes flash with anger. "You couldn't have trusted us? If anything, I mean anything happens to Marita or the others, I swear I'll....."
"Sir, please." Monica looks at the others with a cold stare. "It's time to go."
Nestled amongst the foliage is Mulder and Scully's rental car. They have abandoned their vehicle and are making their way by foot. Mulder carefully leads the unlikely group up the road toward the industrial looking building. They crouch between two forklifts and survey the property, a light from one lone security light shines on the loading area.
"What are we looking at?" Nick whispers.
"Sshhh" Mulder replies as his eyes focus on the building. "Scully? You see that car? I think it's Doggett's rental. Do you have your panel, can you do a trace?"
"I don't have to, I recognize it as his. Mulder, what is this place?"
"I hear a car... get down!" Jamal interjects.
The four of them hide between the machinery as the sound of crunching gravel grows louder and a dark sedan pulls up. The vehicle comes to a stop and the passengers step out of the car.
Scully looks startled and gasps, but Mulder's expression silences her. He looks at the two boys and presses his finger to his lips making sure they understand to keep still.
"Well SAC Aimee, what do you say? Good to go?" One of the Men in Black says with a hint of sarcasm.
"I don't know about you, but I got a take a leak." The driver of the car says. His colleague uses his head to motion him toward the trees that surround the storage facility.
"Be right back." He saunters away as the other two men snicker at him.
"Why don't you stay here and keep an eye out. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't have some of those boneheads show up." The one man says to the other.
"You give them too much credit. Hopefully that Jackass Nelson has them on their way to Montana by now."
"Don't underestimate any of them" Paulson says. "They all have nine lives and a reputation for surviving behind everyone of them. Let's go, get this over with and out of here. I'll take care of it, but I want some back up, just in case."
The man nods and they walk toward the loading dock, Paulson pushes an entry code on the door and it buzzes open. They walk in and the door clanks shut behind them.
Scully tugs on Mulder's sleeve and he turns to look at her as she points to the two boys who have managed to quietly sneak off into the woods. Mulder grimaces and swears to himself. He takes Scully's hand and traces letters on her palm and she nods at him affirmatively. Taking a deep breath, she stands up and steps out behind the forklift.
"Excuse me. Sir, can you help me, I think I'm lost," Scully says in her most convincing tone.
The man looks up at her startled by the sudden intrusion and reaches into his jacket for his weapon, but before he can follow through, Mulder stands and with his gun speaking for him says. "Put your hands up now you son of a bitch before I blow them off."
Scully watches him raise his hands and she quickly goes for the gun hidden inside his coat, she pulls it out and points it at him while slowly taking a step back. "Get down on the ground!" she commands. "Spread eagle!" He tentatively drops to the ground and she kicks at his feet to get them apart. She reaches into his pants pocket and pulls his I.D. out.
"Jesus Christ Mulder, State Department..."
Mulder looks at her and then at the man lying on the ground.
"Man, you guys never give up, do you? Not only are you traitors but you're murderers! I should just kill you now before..."
"Hey now, don't talk that way in front of the children!" Jamal says as he and Nick emerge from the woods, the man with the bladder control problem is in front of them. His hands are tied behind his back with his necktie, his feet are bare, his ankles are tethered with his belt and his handkerchief is stuffed into his mouth.
Nick looks very nervous as he holds his gun in both hands, his finger on the trigger. Jamal shoves the man to his knees and pushes him down into a prone position.
"Agent Jamal, why don't you tie up his friend, so they can share the love," Mulder says with a chuckle.
"Two down, two to go..." Jamal says as Nick points the gun at the man's head while Jamal pulls off his necktie. The boys work swiftly.
"It's not over..." the man mumbles as Jamal stuffs his handkerchief into his mouth.
"You're right, it's not over," Scully says.
"Petie, Will.. this way, they went this way," Marita says speaking just above a whisper. The two teenagers followed the woman through the halls of the underground bunker and up a flight of stairs.
"Look, they must have gone through the door, why else would it be open?" Petie says excitedly. "It's a clue right?"
"Petie, wait. I'm sure they went through this door, but maybe that's too predictable."
"I agree," Will says. "John said to spread out, let's go up and see where it leads."
The three of them scramble up the stairs and stand in the dark on the landing the only egress is the door.
"Okay, let's do it. Will, no matter what happens, stick with Petie and make sure she gets out, okay?" Marita says in a worried tone.
"No, we stay together. Marita, I won't leave you." There's a hint of panic in the young girl's voice as her eyes well up with tears.
"She's right, we don't leave each other." Will opens the door, and motions for the two women to go through. He grabs their hands and they race down the hall.
Chapter 17: Conclusion
"Mulder, we can't put these boys in anymore danger. This is crazy, they're kids."
Nick interrupts before Mulder can answer. "It's too late Dr. Scully, we're already involved. You need our help," he says earnestly.
"Yeah Doc, you know he's right. You two can be the brains and we can be the muscle. Come on now, you know it's true." Jamal's tone is cocky.
Mulder looks at Scully and at the two recruits. "Listen up, you have to agree to do what we say. No improvising, that stunt with the goon in the woods, you could have ended up dead." Mulder stifles his smile.
"We promise, right Jamal?"
"Oh yeah, mos def."
Scully sighs. "This isn't a game, you three Musketeers better be on your game. Our friends, your friends are in there. Don't screw up. I'll shoot you myself if you step out of line."
Mulder looks at the boys with an expression that says, "She's not kidding."
The three men turn back to Scully and nod their heads in agreement.
As they start toward the loading dock door, Mulder hears Jamal ask Nick "What's a mouseketeer?"
"This would never have gone down on my watch. We had a right to know what you're little game was. God Damn it Alvin, you used us." Skinner rants from the front passenger seat of the car. He, Monica, Gibson and his former superior are driving en route to the warehouse.
"You have every right to be angry," Kersh says with an apologetic voice. "I had no choice, I took my orders from the Director and National Security Advisor. If you think I enjoy lying, you're wrong." The aging Deputy Director, with his white hair and mottled complexion looks tired.
"There are other forces at work here. As is often the cases, it's not what it seems. I only found out about this myself." Gibson adds.
Monica can't betray her bitterness "Orchestrating this ruse to bring one very old, sick and mentally ill traitor to justice better be worth it, and it won't, if anyone gets hurt."
"We've been after him for years, his network hid him well, and the clone's betrayal was the first really good lead we've had. Look, the President isn't vindictive, but when the opportunity to infiltrate his organization arose, they were all over it." Kersh admits. "Shooting at your car, the missile launched at your cottage, it had to be convincing."
"What about Paulson? You really didn't anticipate her turning, did you?" Gibson asks.
"No we didn't and if Agent Nelson hadn't come forward, we may not have known." Kersh says.
"If anyone so much as gets a scrape, you won't hear the end of this." Skinner threatens. "Monica, step on it."
"What about Mulder and Scully?" Monica asks. "Do they know what's going on?"
"Their cell phone and computer panels have been jammed. We believe the clone may have done this to keep them at a distance."
Gibson looks at Kersh and raises his eyebrows. "Deputy Director, it's pretty obvious the clone doesn't know Mulder and Scully very well."
The Man in Black entered the warehouse quietly behind Paulson. He had purposely lagged behind, he doesn't have much of a stomach for killing, and although he has no qualms about her eliminating the others, he'd rather not be there to witness it. The stacks of crates, boxes and heavy equipment piled throughout the warehouse offer too many places to hide and knowing he's dealing with a government traitor adds to his uneasiness. He contemplates leaving when he hears a distinct thump.
He looks around, and chastises himself for being so jumpy. He slowly steps out behind a pallet holding a tall wooden crate and his eyes are inexplicably drawn over his shoulder and upward. Standing on the crate above him is Jamal, and with a wicked snicker, the young man drops down on the man's back and flattens him with his weight. They struggle, but the youth uses both arms to pin him down and he knocks his gun away. "Man, just give me an excuse to break your arm" Jamal whispers in his ear as he twists it behind him.
Nick steps around the other side of the crate and picks up the wayward weapon. He crouches down with the barrel of the gun pointed at the man's head and says in a hushed tone "Jamal, hey, it's my turn! You got to tie up the last one."
When Doggett's pupils finally opened up enough for him to see his surroundings, the first thing he saw was Miya backing up towards the door they had just come through.
"God Damn it! Miya, what the hell are you doing? Come back!" Doggett's words fell on deaf ears as the door closes behind her.
"John! Over here."
Doggett hesitates, but turns his attention toward the voice, only to find Marita, Will and Petie. He pauses for just a moment and says, "Stay low and stay together. I'm going back for Miya."
The three of them watch as he retreats behind the double doors. Doggett rushes down the hallway and toward the stairwell. He doesn't know why she has gone back, but he fears for her safety as he takes the stairs two at a time.
He follows the path they took, but instead of returning to the same hallway where they were kept prisoner, he turns down another corridor, praying his instincts are right. As he rushes by a door, he stops abruptly and takes a step back. Doggett stands in the doorway and watches Miya as she sits on the floor with Alexi's head cradled in her lap.
Up until a moment ago Alexi's hand gripped hers, now it lays slack in her palm. He doesn't know why, but he understands there is a connection between the woman and Alex Krycek's clone. In time he will learn what it is, but at the moment he only sees Miya's painful expression as she looks at him sadly.
Miya sits on the cold concrete floor and feels the weight of sorrow on her. She thinks about her own life as an alien human hybrid and wishes she could have helped Alexi more. His parting words echo in her ears and will haunt her forever.
"I didn't know, but now I understand. You were right about this human side, this all makes sense now. "
SAC Aimee Paulson walks softly across the floor of the warehouse holding her gun steadily in both hands in front of her. The weight of her weapon, her cold clammy hands, the fluorescent lights humming just a frequency below annoying and her crepe soled shoes squishing under her all add to her discomfort. She steps carefully between the crates, her eyes darting around. As she ventures further into the warehouse, she realizes the man in black she appointed to back her up is nowhere to be seen. She curses to herself knowing that she's got no one but herself to count on.
She has memorized the warehouse floor plan from the data on her flash drive and heads toward the back wall, but freezes when she hears the tussle behind her. Knowing she can't retrace her steps she continues on. A cold bead of sweat drips down the side of her face as she steps out between two towers of cardboard boxes and comes face to face with Will, Petie and Marita.
Will steps in front of the two women shielding them as they cower behind him.
"Who are you? Can you help us get out of here?" He says, his voice quivering with fear. His eyes widen when he sees Paulson raise her gun and point it directly at him.
"No! He's just a boy!" Marita cries out. Her voice carries throughout the building.
Paulson looks startled and falters for just a moment, when suddenly a shot rings out and reverberates throughout the building. It throws the FBI agent back and she lies sprawled on the concrete floor, holding her shoulder and moaning in pain. Scully walks over to her and kicks her gun aside.
Will continues to stand like a frozen ice sculpture in front of Petie and Marita as the two women emerge from behind him. As Scully stares at him dumbfounded, the cloud of doubt in her mind dissipates and her thoughts become clear.
"Dana, thank God!" Marita says exhaling.
"Is everyone all right?" Scully says trying to keep her voice under control.
"Sculleeeey!" Mulder yells "Scully are you all right?" He comes around the edge of the crates and stops suddenly as Jamal and Nick rush up behind him.
Both Mulder and Scully can't take their eyes off of Will and he stares back them uneasily.
An astonishing scene on the storage facility's loading dock greets Skinner, Monica, Gibson and Kersh. Lined up like three toy soldiers are the Men in Black, bound, gagged and tethered with their own clothing. At first glance they appear to be propped up against the loading dock, but in reality the back of their coats are nailed to the wall with spikes.
SAC Aimee Paulson, her shoulder bandaged with the sleeve of her blouse and her arm in a sling, she has her good hand zip tied to the crate she sits on. Her look of pain comes more from defeat than the gunshot wound.
Nick and Jamal are sitting with Petie and Will on the edge of the platform, their legs dangling over the side, looking surprisingly cheerful as Mulder, Scully and Marita stand behind them grinning through their shell shocked expressions.
As they come forward, multiple conversations begin and voices can be heard on top of each other.
"Dr Scully, is everyone all right?" Kersh asks.
Scully raises her eyebrows at him. "We are, thank you. It appears you've made a miraculous recovery yourself."
Kersh brushes off the comment and turns to Mulder. "Jesus Christ All Mighty, I should have known I'd find you here."
Mulder answers with a smug expression. "It's your lucky day."
Marita climbs down the stairs and goes to her husband. "Walter, I'm fine... really," she says taking his hand. "I want you to meet these remarkable children, um, young people. Jamal, Nick and Will." She nods to the boys and they nod back at Skinner.
"And this is Petie Reynolds." The two women look at each other and exchange a smile that only close friends could understand.
Skinner's shoulders relax with relief. As he pulls Marita into his arms, he mumbles "When this is over, we're going to Bermuda for a month."
Special Agent Nelson pulls up to the scene in his car with another agent. They survey the group and exchange looks that can only reflect disbelief. Nelson gets on his cell phone "You'll have to see it with your own eyes," he says.
"Dana, Mulder, where's John and Miya?" Monica can't hide the concern in her voice as she helps Gibson out of the car.
"They're inside and they're okay. Will you help me with my chair?" Gibson says.
Nick hops down from the loading dock and helps Monica extract the wheel chair from the trunk of the car and Gibson maneuvers his way into it.
"Gibson, Miya's been through a lot," Scully says.
He acknowledges her with a look.
"This way. We'll need to take the elevator down to the next level," Gibson says looking at the others. "We'll be fine. There is no danger."
She wheels him up the ramp, into the warehouse and toward a bank of elevators, where they descend one floor, and she pushes him out of the elevator and down the hall, they can hear Miya talking to Doggett.
"My DNA came from a Japanese Doctor named Zama. He had worked on Cassandra Spender, one of the first alien human hybrid clones. Dr. Zama had been involved with a splinter project before his death, one that was personal for him, the cloning of his deceased daughter. I was the only one to have survived and he named me Miya. I was sent back to Japan when I was five and Dr. Zama was eventually killed in an exploding railcar in West Virginia."
"Like Alex Krycek's clone, I too was raised in isolation. I lived at a private facility on the island of Kyushu. Unlike Alexi, those entrusted to protect me, did so with kindness and care. Because of them, I survived the Alien Colonization, and their sacrifice taught me a lot about humanity. Through a twist of circumstances I found my way back to the U.S. but instead of turning myself over to the survivors of the project that created me, I took on an identity of my own making. I eventually enrolled at American University where I became a research intern. My existence took an extreme turn when I met and eventually married Gibson Praise."
Doggett looks up to see Monica with tears in her eyes and Gibson wheeling himself toward his wife.
"Gib, that could have been me," Miya says looking toward Alexi's still body. "I tried to help him," she says sadly.
"You did, Miya, you did help him."
As the fall out of the past twenty-four hours begins to make more sense, the current and former FBI agents finally have time to collect their thoughts.
John Doggett, dressed in blue jeans and a t-shirt is settled on Monica Reyes' sofa. His feet up on her coffee table and his head back against a cushion.
"I gotta tell you, it must be interesting to try and surprise each other if you're Gibson and Miya."
Monica laughs. "I guess! You think they'll ever come out, about Miya's origins?"
"Yeah I do, but for right now, I guess it's the don't ask don't tell strategy."
Monica hands him a shot glass and a beer. "Bottoms up, this'll make you feel... maybe not better, but I guarantee it will help you feel less."
He throws the shot back and chases it with a gulp of beer.
"Jesus, Monica. This could have had a really bad ending. It's not right, using us, putting those kids in danger. I don't know. You think we stepped over the line here?"
"No, I don't." She looks at her former partner and long time friend. "This was about reuniting a family. How could that be wrong? If we had known that Alex Krycek's clone had contacted Kersh and he had told us the ultimate goal was to infiltrate the former Vice President's organization, then maybe we would have proceeded differently, but we did what we set out to."
"I wish I could be as sure as you are."
"John, look at me." The intensity in her eyes is as penetrating as ever. "Your life changed forever when Luke was murdered. I know you'll never be at peace with it, but you have to believe this, you saved Mulder and Scully from never knowing their son and you helped rescue Will, not so much from Alex Krycek's clone, but from being alone. They may never be the kind of family we both wished we had, but they are a family."
Doggett's face, lined with years of hard work, disappointment and strife breaks into a smile. As they have done in the past and will do in the future, they reach out to hold each other, feeling comfort and understanding in each others touch.
"So Mulder, Doc, I gotta say this has been the most ass kicking experience. I'm going to finish school and apply to the FBI Academy." Jamal's face is filled with excitement. "It's so fucking great to feel like I know what I want." He steps over and opens his arms toward Scully, looking for permission to get a hug.
Scully accepts the gesture and laughs when Jamal lifts her off her feet.
"What about you?" Mulder asks Nick. "This experience change you up some too?"
Nick grins back at him. "How could it not? I was ready to head to Southern California, had an apprenticeship as a journeyman electrician lined up and planned on spending my spare time learning to surf, but those decisions were made by someone else."
"So, what do you think you'll do?" Mulder looks at the young man envying his youth.
"I'm going to study some of these new security based computer programs, maybe find my way into the Justice Department or NSA."
"You'll be an asset to your country." Skinner chimes in as he and Marita walk toward them.
"We're leaving this afternoon," Marita says. "But I'll be back for Petie. She's going to intern with my consulting firm this summer."
"She and Will are talking a few things over. He's in the courtyard, if you want to speak to him," Skinner says gently looking at Mulder and Scully.
Mulder and Scully walk toward the dorm and see Petie giving Will a hug. She waves at them as she walks away. Will turns toward them, feeling shy and slightly awkward.
Scully looks at her son, and sees a handsome young man with a brave spirit and loving heart. Her own heart swells with emotion as Mulder extends his hand to shake Will's.
"We brought you a little something," Mulder says handing him a dark blue box tied up with a red ribbon.
Will looks embarrassed but takes the gift. "Go on, open it," Scully says trying hard to keep her feelings in check.
Will pulls the red tie and lifts the lid off the box. His eyes light up with joy as he lifts out a vintage New York Yankees ball cap that's in mint condition.
"Wow! How'd you know I lost my hat?" Will says.
"We didn't," Scully says smiling. "It's Mulder's, but we thought it would suite you better."
Will adjusts the brim of the cap and places it on his head. "So John told me you knew me when I was a baby. That's so weird, meeting up like this, don't you think?"
"Yes, I suppose it is. You got time to hear the whole story?" Mulder asks nervously.
Will looks at the couple and sees something in them that has been missing from his life for many years. It's an uncanny pull, and one that tugs at his heart. It speaks of friendship, love and family.
"Yeah, I do," he says, his eyes welling up with tears. "I'd like to hear it."
The President of the United States has had his morning coffee, oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar and whole milk. A small bowl of mixed fruit sits on the table and he pokes at the grapes as they roll around in the bowl.
"The truth is, he's been a bigger thorn in my side than Bin Laden ever was. How are your agents doing?" The President asks his Director of the FBI.
"Their fine, Sir. Thankfully, there were no casualties with the exception of the Clone. However, his death was expected as his DNA structure was deteriorating. Much like organ transplant failure."
The President looks thoughtful. "It's a God Damn shame, if he hadn't contacted Deputy Director Kersh, who knows how long that son of bitch would have kept going."
The FBI Director nods in agreement. "Technology is a wonderful thing, however in this case it was working for the wrong side. I understand the former Vice President would not have survived without these new experimental procedures. A man with his health concerns, it's truly amazing how long he went under our radar." He clears his throat. "Well, I guess you could say alls well that ends well."
"And the others? How are they?" the President asks, he takes a bite of melon and chews it vigorously.
"Very good. It was never my intention to put the group in any jeopardy or mislead them, however, they seem to be magnets for difficult situations."
The President suppresses a chuckle. He presses his intercom button. The voice on the other end answers crisply. "Yes, Mr. President."
"I'd like to have a small private event, informal, a barbeque, beer, and let's use the bowling alley. Invitations to Fox Mulder, Dr. Dana Scully, Walter Skinner and his wife Marita Covarrubius, John Doggett, Monica Reyes, Gibson & Miya Praise. Oh and you can ask Deputy Director Kersh and what was his name?" The President looks at the FBI Director quizzically.
"Nelson, Special Agent Allen Nelson."
"Yes, and ask them invite a date or a friend. You can get their contact info from the Director."
"Yes Sir," the intercom replies. "Anything else?"
"Why don't we invite those teenagers. They're an especially bright group of kids." The President looks at his FBI Director. "Our future, you know."
He takes a minute, as if going through an inventory in his head.
"Make sure the First Lady knows, she doesn't like to be blindsided. Let her know I've had a hankering for ribs, corn on the cob, that fruit salad with the coconut in it. Domestic beer and Newman's Lemonade."
"Thank you Mr. President, what about dessert?" the voice asks.
"Oh, yes, good idea. I'd like a cake, a sheet cake, make sure it's chocolate with raspberry filling and white butter cream frosting." He breaks out into a smile. "Let's make sure it's decorated, put a big X on it with a circle around it. I think that will do it." The President sits back in his chair and he and the FBI Director share a satisfied smile.
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