Title: Way of the Cradle
Author: Spooky's Girl
Feedback: spookys_girl2000@yahoo.com
Spoilers: Minor ones from seasons 1-8, probably won't ruin much of anything and unless you've 100% avoided completely and all spoilers pertaining to season 8, then you're safe. It only spoils the major aspects up to Deadalive. After Deadalive it's a lot of my own speculation.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, although I wish they were, I'm only borrowing them, probably a good thing considering what I plan to put them through.

Summary: It's been six years I think. Six years since they took the daughter I never knew.


Author's Notes: Forget Essence and the upcoming Existence exist cause in my fic, they never happened, it's a new take on things. Will be 100% Mulder first person POV so you won't get Scully's POV on anything. There will be names in here that some of you may recognize as your own, especially those who were around way back with my earlier fics such as Chained to You and Dungeons and Demons. That's my personal thank you for stick by. And that's it, the rest of the notes will follow at the end of the fic, so sit back and enjoy, and as always, tons of feedback please.


It's been six years I think. Six years since they took the daughter I never knew. Ripped from the womb two days before her expected birth by masked men with M16s, leaving my partner for dead and me with just enough energy to call for help. How did I know it was a girl? We never checked during the ultra-sounds during her last three months of her pregnancy, and as far as I know she didn't check while I was gone, I only heard the bastards refer to her as a 'she', before they knocked me out cold.

Things have never been the same since. My partner has healed nicely, leaving only a scar on her abdomen as a reminder, and I have since declared vengeance against those who did this to her, did this to us. The world ceased to be since that day, the power-structure of the United States crumbling to its knees, the United Nations declaring a world wide emergency, the Security Council too weak to do anything.

Others soon followed, Canada, Britain, France, Russia, the Orient, Africa, Australia, well you get the picture. The only safe place to be is Cuba, as ironic as it is. It's too hot there for them to survive, but how can you put the entire world's population on one small island? The answer is simple, you can't, therefore many have been sacrificed, and Cuba closed its borders three years ago to new immigrants. Of course us Americans have been shut out six years ago, and unless we can be smuggled in, there's no chance of the US finding safety there.

My partner and I were given entrance to Cuba once. Four years ago we participated in a covert operation fending them off and prevented an assassination of Fidel Castro. We were both guaranteed entrance, and a home, a safe haven. We sent Skinner and Doggett on instead. Despite their protests, we managed to convince them to go, or should I say I managed to convince them go to. It's amazing what a stun gun and Cuban military officers can do.

My partner and I continued on here, knowing that our work was not over yet, and it wouldn't be until we find those who did this to her, and caused the chaos that can be found across the globe. We trudge on from city to city, running, hiding, fighting, and scavenging what can be found. We stay in holes, and go without sleep for days, always moving forward, never looking back.

Honestly, I'm tired, she's tired, and it gets worse with each day that we do this. I don't know why she's doing this, I don't know why I'm doing this anymore, all I know is we've done this too long to stop.

Six springs, six summers, six falls, six winters...six years seem about right I think.

Looking at us now, you'd never be able to tell we were among the bureau's best FBI agents. Hell, these days, people don't even remember the FBI existed, we didn't exist, and we still don't exist. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully died that day six years ago when they left us for dead. Walter Skinner and John Doggett died soon after, leaving a group of four nameless people wandering the land.

We are not unheard of if that's what you're asking. We have gone by many names over the past years, probably the most famous would be the familiar Moose and Squirrel. We weren't going to go with that, but after Skinner insisted it was appropriate, us being the good guys, them being Boris and Natasha, how could we say no? We needed to take something from the past with us.

The code names were known throughout the country, survivors looking for us to help them, and bounty hunters out to collect the bounty put on our heads. Unfortunately we've had many run ins with them, never allowing them to survive long enough though to go back and tell others what we look like.

I look over at my partner, and she is just a ghost of what she was. Her hair no longer flame red, but a dull blonde from bleaching it, a shadow of her red roots showing. She's lost weight, a lot of it, and so have I. Her brown dress hangs from her body, making her look smaller than she really is, her skin pale, and heavy bags under her eyes. The spark that used to be found in her deep blue eyes has long since disappeared, burnt out that fateful day long ago. And I have to say, I'm not much different. No longer feeling the necessity to shave, I have grown a decent beard, using it to hide my face from anybody who may recognize me for who I am.

We can only hope that Skinner and Doggett are in better health than we are.

We walk from city to city, carrying only our most important belongings on our backs, water, a change of clothes, scraps of food, and arsenal. Black market arsenal that I had to trade the Morley's I found two cities ago for. Cigarettes had become illegal five years ago, leaving the addicts always wanting more. It was very rare one came upon one cigarette, let alone an entire package. That one pack of smokes bought us two weapons each, ammunition, fresh bottled water, and dried fruit. We were going to have a feast tonight.

We haven't had one of those in a long time, and as I received the case of dried fruit, I saw my partner's eyes open wide in anticipation, something else I haven't seen in a long time, not since we received our first our invitation out of this land of the dead. However this time, there would be no disappointment.

We sat curled up underneath a blanket in an old abandoned house somewhere in rural Delaware I think, I'm not sure. I'm not sure of anything anymore. This time we would toast to past friends we see no more. To Skinner and Doggett in Cuba, and to the Gunmen underground where ever they are.

We still keep in contact with them, carrying a nationwide transmitter with us, but we don't use it unless there's an emergency, we've used it maybe three times in the past six years. They can track it, they can hunt us down, then it will all be over way too soon. I don't want it to be over this soon, just like that. It would make the work we've done for the past six years worthless, we haven't finished yet, and we won't be until we've made them pay.

I'm not in this for the good of humanity crap. I've seen enough evil and corruption for me not to care whether we go extinct or not. This entire cause is personal, has been personal from the beginning. From Samantha's abduction thirty-four years ago, Scully's abduction fourteen years ago, her cancer, her barrenness, my abduction six years ago and harvest of our unknown daughter. I'm not stopping until I kill the last one of those bastards who decided to make our lives a living hell.

Each one of us on my team has a personal reason for fighting. I did say team yes. As the years went by, word has spread about my actions, and people have joined us, ready to fight along side. I am their leader sort of. I didn't volunteer, they didn't elect me, it was just understood. I understand the most about the situation, gathered information from years of past observation, and investigation into the X-Files...which have long since been closed and destroyed, thanks to the ever wonderful Deputy Kersh, whom I assassinated three years ago.

That's my role in all this. Assassin. Scully's too, and used to be Skinner and Doggett's as well. The three of them took personal pride in my kill. Kersh was an ass to begin with. He made the wrong move on the wrong day in the wrong city. He probably rues the day he decided to ignore the poor bearded man and his blonde friend when they asked him for spare change. Little did he know that poor man packs quite a shot with his old 9mm and silencer. That was the last we've ever heard of him, his death wasn't even on the news despite the apparently high position he held in the 'new' government.

Samantha's dead too. Scully killed her, I couldn't. This was five years ago, not long after all of this had begun, and she suddenly reappeared in our lives. We thought we could trust her, she was my sister, and I wanted to believe. In the end she betrayed us, revealed our current location to the powers that be, and we wouldn't have known they were coming for us if Doggett hadn't decided he didn't trust her, not once. He thought it was too much of a coincidence, a convenience that she had returned just when the world was being turned upside down.

And he was right.

Scully sent a bullet right through the base of her neck and walked away without blinking an eye.

I knew then that things would never be the same.

That's when the militia began. Four of us turned into six, six into twelve, now there are twenty of us who wander, plan, kill. The others are amateurs compared to Scully and I, but we have taken the time to teach them what we know. Spare change collected from the 'higher ups' out on the street, to selling off odd items for food, clothing, and weapons.

Each of them has been trained as an assassin, some of the very best around travel with our small group. I've seen a few of them shoot the bottle cap off an empty beer bottle without breaking the glass. That takes talent. It become a finely honed skill over the years. Not everybody is fortunate like Scully and I to own silencers with our weapons, but we were also in this earlier, before they were made illegal.

We were surprised how many Americans over the years willingly integrated themselves into the 'new society', following the laws of the new government. Most of them probably joined because they saw no alternative and didn't want to die. Little do they know they're dead already. It won't take the new government long to pick certain ones of them out of society and use them for reproduction, letting the offspring feed off of the others around them. Stupid people, they had three options, stay, fight, run. They chose the wrong one.

Anyway, as I was saying before, we each have our own personal story here. Each of us fight for our own reasons, but I think only one of us is in it for the good of the country, everybody else, it's personal. Take Emily Jonson, she's only eighteen, and had been a bright student until things turned bad. Men in the middle of the night took her youngest brother and he hasn't been seen since.

Deneka Michaud, 36-year-old journalist, educated in Canada, but worked the last seven years in Los Angeles for the LA times. She lost a house, money, car, security, and a husband all in one day. So called officers of the new government confiscated all, including her husband.

Cal Hansen and Elizabeth Hansen, brother and sister who lost their parents in the fight. Chuck Lakey, Jon Edwards, Bailey Finnis, Ryan Gunn (now there was a sharp shooter), Kera Wilkinson, Joe Maynes, Jessica Baker, all fighting to protect themselves, and the lives they once led.

Monica Reyes joined two years ago, after losing contact with Doggett when he left for Cuba. She believed in the fight, but as well she grieved for Scully's baby, and fought to protect her, as well as Doggett. Although it seems that she fights for the ideal, for the past, the most patriotic of us all, we know different. Monica doesn't believe in the good of the government, in the good of the people. She was an FBI agent, she knew people could be as evil as they wanted to be, did things to others that no human being should be capable of doing. No, she did this for survival of her, and survival of her friends.

The Gunmen believe what they are doing is right, but like Monica, they are not doing this to save humanity, they are doing this to save themselves, to save us, and to find out what happened to my daughter. John Byers, Melvin Frohike, and Richard Langly are all in hiding, a secret abandoned government facility at the base of Mount Rushmore which they have found, fixed up, and claimed as their own. Langly was able to hack into the government computer system and delete all references made to this location, and has made it official headquarters. They stay behind and fight from within there, sending their two friends out to meet us.

Yves Adele Harlow and James Bond, the two newest recruits to the Lone Gunmen before they had to run. Yves was never much into the journalistic integrity of the paper, or uncovering the truth like Byers, Frohike and Langly were, she was in for profit. For the first little while she would use them to lead her to what she wanted. While I did not have first hand experience with her until a few years ago, Frohike had made mention of her several times.

James Bond was idealistic, that is until he joined my team. Now he fights for himself too. He does believe good will triumph though. I can only hope he's right. I don't even care if we bring the bastards down, I just want answers to what happened six years ago, why they had to come and ruin our lives, as if they weren't complicated enough as it was. James was young when he joined the gunmen, only wanting to help by funding a paper that exposes people for their transgressions.

He's a nice kid really, not overly bright, but he's not stupid either. I'll admit, at first, he was not the first person I'd give a gun to on a daily basis, but I've seen him work under pressure and he's good. He's the type who will shoot first and ask later when push comes to shove, and he never misses his mark. Even Frohike is impressed when he ears of his progress. He's become somber lately, most of his child-like innocence destroyed in that first month that he joined us. I can't help but feel that I did that to him. Frohike says the same as well. He once told me of his dream to start a blind football league, and how he had come so close until the boys told him it was a front. I don't think he ever gave up hope, well not until he joined me that is. Like all things, I've killed his hope.

It seems wherever I go, and whatever I touch, it dies. It's like the Midas hand, only nothing turns to gold, just black. I've killed Jimmy's hopes, Byers' dream, and a possible happy life with Scully. When she asked me those many years ago to father her child, I was touched, and honoured that she would pick me of all men around. Surely she knew others who would have been better suited, or could have found better-suited donors, but instead she asked me. If I had known then what I know now about this child, I would have turned her down. The entire ordeal has caused nothing but mental pain and emotional anguish for the both of us. When this is all over, I plan on doing nothing but taking one long nap, and with any luck, I'll have Scully by my side still, that is if she isn't pissed off with me at that point.

Until then, we eat, drink and be merry tonight cause tomorrow we move out.

"Where are we off to tomorrow, Mulder?" Cal, a native from these parts sits next to me around the fire we have set up. He is like me in many ways, business never far from his mind, except maybe when he's found a woman he enjoys. It may be why he's my right hand man next to Scully of course. Cal has out shone above the others, showing no mercy in what he does, skillfully trained and eager to learn new tactics, just like his sister. There have been many nights around a campfire where the two of us have strategized attacks, created defenses, or plan training sessions for the members of lower skills around here. Tonight would be no different. Everybody would celebrate, we will talk shop.

"Dover I think" I hold my map out on my lap, it's old and ready to fall apart with the slightest jolt of my arm. Out of twenty people, this is the only map we have, and if it falls apart, I have no idea where to find another which hasn't been manipulated or changed by the new government. "It looks to have the most resources readily available to us, and right now it's the closest major city that hasn't been affected as much as the others."

"Do we want to send a team ahead?"

"As always. Five should do for here, go in, check it out and return with information regarding security." Security has always been a big issue. Many of the larger cities have barricaded themselves in and nobody is allowed to enter or exit without a pass. Breach of this policy is punishable by death, or even worse, experimentation. Nobody knows what experiments they perform, however it is needless to say that nobody survives them. If they did not wish for death before, they certainly did once they were forced into the chamber. "Have them check the perimeter first though. Slightest sign of a guard watching post I want to be notified immediately. We take no chances, I will not lose another member due to laziness or over confidence." Rich Medley suddenly flashed in front of my eyes, and I could tell Cal was thinking of him too. We lost him last month just outside of DC. We had been scouting the area and he thought he could sneak past a guard, but ended up getting shot and dragged away instead. We never did find out what happened to him, either way we assume he's dead. It was a painful lesson we learned, but a lesson nonetheless. I take no more chances with my team. They play by my rules or they die, it's simple as that.

"Any idea which five you want to scout ahead?"

"Pick five, just leave your sister behind. I won't chance losing two members of the same family at once. I suggest Ryan, he's got a sharp eye and trigger finger if the situation requires it."

"Jon, Kera, Yves, Ryan and I?"

It takes me a minute to see who we would have left here on camp. I don't want the best scouting just in case something happens. We need people back here, but as well I don't want untrained members going either, each has to be able to hold up on their own. "Sounds good. Scully and I will take the jeep and drop you guys off about a mile outside Dover. Make sure each of you have your radio on and if anything is out of the ordinary, let me know right away and we'll have backup there immediately."

I can see Cal eyeing Scully out of the corner of my eye; it's nothing out of the usual, however he knows that as long as he looks and doesn't touch I won't do anything about it. It's an unspoken rule between the team and I, as far as Scully's concerned, she's out of bounds. She doesn't go anywhere without me by her side, we were partners back at the bureau, and we're partners now, each other's back up, and she hasn't tried separating from me once. Even if she did try she wouldn't get very far; I'd be right behind her.

Cal's been interested in her for a while, she's the untouchable, the one he can't have and that's what attracts him to her the most, other than the fact that behind that run down faade, she is a beautiful woman. He's even gone so far in the beginning to set Elizabeth to distract me while formulating his own plan of getting Scully in bed. What he didn't know was that she's a doctor and used some secret doctor trick to disable him rather quickly. No sooner had he screamed than Skinner, Doggett and I come running to rescue. Cal and I have had long discussions since then, and it's amazing how much influence wielding a gun in front of his face could be. Like I said, we've come to a mutual understanding now.

With a flick of my wrist I have everybody's attention. Even on off days when we celebrate everybody knows the signal of business and will drop what he or she are doing to listen. "Dover tomorrow guys. We're hoping for it to be easy, it might not be so be prepared. I want everybody on standby, weapons in hand and radios ready just in case. I'm sending scouts ahead to check the area out first to make sure it's safe. Jon, Kera, Ryan, Yves, I need you four to stick around, the rest of you are on standby. You can resume what you were doing now."

Quick and easy like that they disperse, finishing their feast and enjoying their free time. The four I have called sit with Cal, Scully and I, Cal on my left and Scully close by on my right. Like I said, she's never far from me, I didn't even need to call her to know that she would stick around. I pull a bootlegged palm pilot I picked up at a shop three weeks ago at our previous destination and pull up an up to date map of Dover. "There's five of you, one central man in the front, and two pairs. You are each other's eyes and ears. Cal will be the front man." I zoom in on the map and enter his position about half a mile from the front gates. "Yves and Jon, you two take the left side, and Kera and Ryan you take the right. I don't want heroics, just information. You've all been scouting before, you know what to look for and what I want to know. No slip ups either; I don't need another Rich Medley on my hands." I wrack my brain for anything that I might have forgotten. I've got this speech rehearsed and down in my mind and it comes out as naturally today as 'hey Scully' did years ago.

"What time?" Yves' familiar British accent is swift in asking the one question I had forgotten to answer in my little spiel.

"Sunlight the seven of us move out and the others will be ready. At my call I want your weapons ready and your radios on and Scully and I will escort you to just outside Dover. From there you're on your own unless back up is needed." I dismiss them with a curt nod and turn my attention back to the now blond red head sitting next to me. She's worrying, the lines on her forehead give her thoughts away to me easily.

I wait for the others to return to the group before speaking with her. My time with her off-hours is intensely private, meaning when we're not on action and I'm speaking to her, the rest know better than to come near. Every once in a while one of the newer members of the team will approach, but they either instantly stop when one of the veterans pull them aside or when I brush them off with a curt 'not now unless it's something that can't wait.' Only once in the last six years have we had 'but it is important' and believe me, we were all up and ready in less than a minute and in combat mode. Somehow I doubt that will happen tonight. That time we were located in dangerous territory while the new government was still establishing itself. Tonight we're in Hicksville nowhere where the new government isn't so dominant, well at least we hope.

"Everything okay?" I scoot in closer to her, handing her a strip of dried apple/banana fruit to munch on. We don't eat nearly enough anymore. The little bit of game we have been able to catch has all been genetically altered somehow by the tests and is deemed unsafe, and meat in the cities is too expensive for non-wage earners as ourselves.

"Aren't you tired of all this? Don't you ever just want to stop what we're doing and just try to live a normal existence, or as normal as possible under the conditions?" Her voice is edged with weariness, and it doesn't take somebody with incredible eyesight to see the bags that have permanently set themselves under her eyes. She's like me, never gets enough sleep.

I answer the only way I can, the truth. "In all honesty, yeah I am tired of all this. Not one day goes by when I don't think of stopping and just settling down in the middle of nowhere where they can't find us, or just get a hold of Castro and try to get our way into Cuba."


"Then what's stopping you? These men here don't need you anymore, Cal is more than capable of taking the lead. What keeps you here in constant danger and self torture when you can be someplace warm where people will cater to you for your so called heroics?"

I run a hand over my face as I sigh. Scully should be the one person who understands what I'm going through at this moment, yet here she is asking the questions. Did everything suddenly lose meaning to her? "Questions keep me here, Scully. Questions I need answers to, like what happened to our daughter? Why did they do this to us of all people? Why did they abduct me years ago and you before that? Don't you see? I don't think I could ever rest until I had those answers. It's like it was with the FBI, the constant search for the truth, only now the truth I'm searching for isn't meant to save mankind, it's meant to save my sanity."

She seemed to accept my answer without question, and I've come to one single realization here, I've killed her too. Sure she's here physically along side me, but her spirit, the Scullyfire is now gone. The Scully I worked with all those years back never followed me without question, and never took one of my answers at face value. She would probe and question and continue to poke at it until she got what she wanted out of it. Maybe my cause was futile. I never wanted to follow it at the expense of my partner, she's too important to me to do that. "Scully? Are you tired of all of this? Do you want to stop this?"

She sighed, and with everything that's going on, I can't tell if that's a good sigh or a bad sigh anymore. "I only want what you want, Mulder."

"That doesn't answer my question. If you want to stop, we'll stop, it doesn't have to go on."

"But you see it does. You said you need to find the truth for your sanity. Where will be you be in a couple of years if you left the cause without finishing it too. Besides I've got my own reasons, like our daughter. Even if I wanted to give up and have a normal life, I couldn't, not without submitting to those who took her, and I can't do that."

That's the Scully I know now, the one who used to be my fiery partner way back in the bureau, the one who took crap from no one and stood up to anybody who got in her way. Maybe I didn't kill her; maybe she just went dormant for a period of time. I don't blame her either for doing so. If I could, I'd have probably gone dormant years ago. Maybe it is my time to give up and let somebody else lead the battle, let somebody else fight the great fight they're all talking about and just go into hiding.

Our daughter is probably dead by now, no doubt having gone through the same experiments the rest of society must now go through, probably the same thing that Rich Medley has gone through. What was once our miracle will soon be our deaths, I can feel it deep inside myself, and once again I find myself cursing to the deities above who put us in this place, who ruined what could have been.

"Don't even think about it, Mulder." I can feel a cool hand being placed on my shoulder and I know it's her. It's amazing how she has a calming effect on me when things get rough. It doesn't matter when or where I am, everything is okay when she is nearby. "I don't believe she's dead. I believe she's out there somewhere. If they wanted her dead, they would have killed us too."

She knows me so well and I have to sigh, I know she's right, but there's still some inkling of doubt within me. "They nearly did."

"But that's not the point, Mulder. They didn't, and that's why we should fight." That's my Scully, always logical no matter the situation or how physically and mentally exhausted she may be. I just don't think she understands this time, so I tell her.

"I don't believe we were meant to live that day. They would have known the implications of keeping us alive if they took our daughter. They would have known that we would be searching for her. Hell, they're looking for us now cause they know we're alive and looking for them. They knew this was going to happen, that's why I don't think we were meant to live."

"You don't know that for sure, besides if they really wanted to make sure we were dead, they would have. They didn't carry those guns with them for decoration you know."

What can I say, she was right again, as always. They either didn't want to kill us, or were very sloppy, and these men aren't sloppy. In my years of experience here, I've never seen one mess up, too much is on the line for them to mess up. Just looking at my partner though I still have to doubt whether it's been worth the trouble or not. Both physically and mentally she is only a shadow of what she used to be. It takes no effort at all to grab another piece of dried fruit and hand it to her, forgoing my ration at the moment. I've lost all appetite anyway.

She doesn't question that small act, not like she used to. It's for the best though. I know I should eat more considering it may be days before we get such a generous helping of food, but I'm not one to care. Tomorrow we hit Dover, we get in Dover, get information, and get out. No need to stick around a city which may not be able to help us more. I don't even know what type of information I'm looking for, but at this point anything will help. I want this end soon, I want to be able to actually sit down and enjoy myself for a change with no worries, I want to be able to sit down and spend time with Scully in a non-stressful situation. If only though...

The sky has darkened considerably, the only light: the stars. I place two fingers in my mouth and whistle three times. They know the drill. The main fire remains flickering as Chuck and Bailey sit by it, armed, loaded and ready for night watch as the rest of us pile into the back of the three jeeps we commandeered four years ago. It's a cozy fit, but it's better than sleeping on the cold ground.

The blankets we use, black knit made by Maggie Scully with wool she had managed to confiscate before her house was taken from her. At the moment she is hiding at center control with the gunmen. We haven't had any contact with her in over a year, I hope she's doing well.

The blankets offer little comfort, however they have been a saving grace when the cold has become too much to bear. With the added warmth of people within close proximity, the northern winters in the back of the jeep become almost bearable.

"MOVE OUT!" It's all business now, unlike last night where everybody felt free to sit and laugh around. There was no time for laughter today as my team got into gear. Chuck had his instructions to get us up at first light, and now that the sun is just appearing over the darkened horizon, everybody is getting in combat mode. Over the years we have managed to procure several pieces used for tactical defense from the black market, helmets, kevlars, visors, about four pairs of combat boots that have been split between Cal, Bailey, Ryan and I, (Scully would have received a pair if her feet weren't so small) and built in radios courtesy of the gunmen.

They were equipped with high-powered binoculars that could zoom in so close one could see the hairs up a man's nose from three hundred feet away. The team only held four such binoculars, one being left at camp, one staying in the jeep, and two being split amongst the four scouts. Each member also held a makeshift utility belt containing ammo clips for their weapon of choice, a hunting knife as a back up, rope and a miniature first aid kit on the insistence of Scully containing a compressor bandage. Unless we're in combat mode, you usually don't see anybody but the on duty personnel wearing the belts. Today everybody is wearing them.

I sit in the driver's seat in the jeep, loading an ammo clip into my M16A2. I know it seems much for a scouting job, but one can never be too cautious. Scully does the same next to me, although she has chosen a slightly smaller weapon, a.44 Winchester. The four going in have hand held weapons, a mix between Smith
Wesson, and Colt Defenders. They don't need anything beyond that, just something that's effective, yet light and small to carry around so it wouldn't get in their way.

The rest of the team holds a combination of weapons. The 'tower men' as I call them each own a tactical rifle which they use to guard the perimeters of camp, while the rest each use either the Colt Submachine rifle, a hand held weapon, and one M203 Grenade Launcher. We don't use the M203 though unless we're in full combat mode and are either taking an area by storm, or defending camp. It has been used before, and much to my amazement, it has been a huge success. I just don't like using it, blowing men to pieces is not what I consider to be fun, especially the cleanup afterwards.

So much innocence has been lost here; even Jessica stopped flinching at the sight of a lost limb at thirteen. That's when I know it has been going on long enough, yet I can't seem to stop yet. Despite what I say, I don't think I want to.

Scully sits next to me in the jeep, cooling calm and relaxed with her bleach blonde hair blowing in the wind, and shades on to block the sun, but I know differently. Underneath she's as nervous as I am. Cal, Yves, Ryan, Kera and Jon all sit in the open back of the vehicle, armed and ready for anything that may prevent us from making it to the city in one piece. It has happened before where snipers sent out by the new government would hide behind rocks and shoot at anybody who passed them by, licensed or not.

Luckily, we've only had one person hit instead of all of us. It was still one person too many, but we knew it could have been much more catastrophic. They were messy in their approach that day and we spotted them before any more damage had occurred, but it was still too late. Skinner lost a wife that day. We were across the country in Denver, Colorado, or at least close by it when a sniper came out of nowhere. The bullet was meant for Skinner, I guess they thought that if they got Skinner out of the way, we'd relent some, they were wrong. Anyway, out of the corner of her eye she spotted the sniper, but didn't have anytime to react other than pushing him out of the way. It was too late and instead of hitting Skinner, he sent a bullet tearing through her body, and Skinner ripped the sniper apart with .223 MT673 semi-automatic. Revenge is only so sweet these days, when one goes down, more just come in their place, it really has no meaning, although without it, where would we be?

"Hey Boss!" Jon's British accent called out his pet name for me, he says it sounds more important than Mulder, and it doesn't confuse the new members as to who I am. "To your right, three o'clock." I shift the rearview mirror slightly and casually glance at it. "Does it look to you what it looks like to me?"

Out of the corner of my eye I can see what Jon was pointing at. Three men a hundred feet away were just sitting there staring at the road. Nothing in hand, not even looking busy, just watching. "Sh*t. Watchers." I mutter under my breath and keep on driving as if I hadn't seen anything.

"What do you suppose we do with them? Could they be have been sent out of Dover or are they watching something else?"

"I don't know. Keep your eyes on them; I suggest one of you get down and discreetly set up a pair of binoculars so they don't see you. I don't like this one bit."

Watchers could be anybody; they could work for the new government, or they could be renegades like us, either way they were up to no good somewhere, and were definitely not meant to be trusted. "They look innocent enough to me sir" Kera was low to the ground on the back of the jeep, eyes peering through the binoculars. "They don't seem to be doing anything but sitting there and looking off in the distance."

"Never trust a watcher, they play both sides and are only out for themselves and whatever suits them. If one of them moves the slightest, I want to be inform-"

A crack echoed through the air loudly, however I don't hear it as a cry of pain coming from Scully rings even louder in my ears. "Sh*t! Get down and in position!"

The jeep swerves off the road and I manage to gain control of it before it falls into a ditch, and pull Scully down along side of me and out of their line of fire before grabbing my M16A2 Commando rifle. "Don't tell me the shot came from them."

"Looks like it sir, the middle watcher seems to be holding a very small object in his hand. It looks like it packs a lot of shot."

The driver's side door opens easily for me as I slip out and round the jeep, joining my team in the back and taking the binoculars from Kera. She's right. The middle man holds a tiny silver object in his hand, but I've never seen it before. Any and all firearms are banned today except those created and registered by the new government. If that's the case than these watchers are not on my side. "Think you can take them out without attracting attention?"

"Not a problem Boss. The other two don't look like they're packing weapons, so it shouldn't be too hard to get at them."

"Never underestimate the watchers Jon, that's the first rule of thumb, it'll only get you killed. I've got the middle guy, Jon you take the left and Kera the right. At the count of three we shoot. 1, 2-"

"Wait, boss!" I hold my gun up for just a sec and look at Jon; we really don't have time for this now. As it is we are behind schedule because we have to deal with these guys, I don't want to get further behind, it will lesson our chances of getting behind city walls. "Aren't we going to take prisoners, one of them may have information we may need."

"No! No prisoners, they won't talk anyway. How do you convince somebody who has no loyalties to tell you everything? They won't. In cases like this it is always better to shoot first, question later."

Okay, so big deal, I sound as bad as them, but this is what happens when you live like I do. Survival is most important, and if you think people would rather die than answer questions, shoot them and be done cause it's plain as day that they weren't going to answer honestly. Way back in the days in the bureau, I would have thought twice before performing such an act, but this isn't 2001 anymore, and there is no bureau anymore and we are not Special Agents...not that I was one back then, but I'm assuming you see what I'm getting at. "Once again, 1, 2, 3"

Three shots echo unanimously across the empty plains, and the three men fall to the ground in a thump. Job done let's move on, only...

"You thinking about scouting this area first, Mulder?" Cal clicks the safety on his weapon and sits up in the jeep following my line of direction.

"Yeah, the middle man was holding up a weapon of some sort, I wanna see what it is, and we may as well see if they had anything on them of worth. It may just feed us soon enough."

They have my orders; they move out, guns high and ready as step by step, the seven of us cross the plain.

The area is bleak and empty, showing no sign of inhabitation other than the three lifeless bodies lying on the ground in front of us. There's nothing here, no shelter, no food, no water, nothing saying that these men were outlaws just like us, which only means one thing, they were put here by somebody else, no doubt to patrol the area and make sure it's safe. It' makes me wonder what's really happening in Dover, and if a five man scout team is enough or should we be better prepared and call for the others?

"Mulder?" I look up to see Cal kicking over a small metallic object my way, no doubt the weapon the middle man was holding earlier. "What do you make of it?"

What I wouldn't give for a pair of latex gloves right now, but unfortunately there are other provisions we purchase that are much more important than latex, such as food and clean water. Instead I search my utility belt for the small scrap of cloth I carry around with me for such occasions. The metal of the weapon feels cool beneath the cloth in my hand, and sleek, made with precision. It's small and lightweight, meant to be travelled with, or if necessary to run with in hand, almost like the Smith
Wesson's Scully and I used to carry around with, only this is later model.

"Definitely Government Issue, I've never seen anything like it before." The barrel is small and stocky, and the trigger nothing more than a button on the side. Definitely not from my time.

"Any idea what we should do with it? It could either aid us in some way or we could sell it."

I don't hear his question as my thoughts are all focused on the metallic implement being held in my hand. There's something not quite right about it, but I can't figure out what it is. I look over at Scully and she senses it too, I can tell by the way she's looking at the weapon that she's not quite comfortable around it. Maybe I should bring it back to Monica; she'd be able to tell me what I need to know about it.

I can't resist however, and hold the weapon out in front of me, making sure the cloth is still covering it and aim at a lone tree in the distance.

"Mulder, what are you doing? Are you sure you want to do that?"

Scully's question also goes unheard as I feel my finger slipping to the button trigger on the side, and within seconds I feel my arm shake and a loud crack fills the sky. This thing definitely packs power.

"Are you done playing yet? Let's take the weapon and go."

I flip it over and see a flashing red light at the bottom. "Hold on" I mutter and take a closer look at it. I may be colour blind, but I can just tell by the shade it is that it's red, and it's flashing in a signal. Sh*t. "Let's go, NOW!"

I toss the weapon to the ground and grab my own in one hand, placing my other in the small of Scully's back, leading her back at a quickened pace to the jeep.

"You're not telling us what's wrong? Mulder, why didn't we just take the weapon and go?" Cal was obviously confused, after seeing the impact one shot from the weapon can make, I pretty much destroyed the tree I shot at with one press of the button.

"It's Government Issue and has some sort of tracking device inside that set itself off when I hit the trigger. It's sending a signal to whoever put the tracking device inside."

"Sh*t" Cal repeated my earlier expletive and suddenly everybody was running back to the jeep at breakneck speed. The signal may be nothing but then again I couldn't be sure. All I know is I didn't want to stick around to find out. The jeep engine revved up instantly, and within seconds I had it shifted from first to fifth and the watcher location was eating my dust.

We continued straight at 70 mph until we reached out intended destination, one mile outside the city limits of Dover, one-mile south to be exact, by this time however, most of us have lost our cool. Scully and I are going to have to be really attentive and hope that nothing happens now. Who knows what that signal was supposed to do. "You sure you still want us in there Boss?"

"Nothing has changed on this end yet. We NEED to get in. I am gonna radio back to homebase though and have them ready to move out at a moment's notice. They need to be aware of the signal too."

I can see Cal staring at me uncertainly, as if trying to second-guess my decision. I know this isn't the way he'd do this but then again he isn't in charge, I am so we do it my way. "Go, NOW!"

The five of them move away from the vehicle slowly, weapons up and in combat stance. Each of their voices can be heard on my end of the radio. They know to talk, silence can only get one killed. Everybody needs to know what's going on everywhere, whether it relates to them or not. It was the first thing that was taught to us in the academy at the bureau way back when. The only way to be successful was through open communication.

Everything's running smoothly at the moment, and after speaking with Bailey back at camp I can finally look at the damage done to Scully. I know I'm going to have nightmares for months after seeing the way the tree was blown to bits by one bullet. That could have been her.

"It's nothing Mulder, a close call that's it." She sits idly in the passenger side of the jeep, shades back in place to cover her eyes and head facing up to the sun, as if she was trying to tan herself. She's either hiding something or is very bored. The latter probably plays a part in it, but I believe it's the former she's trying to do.

"I saw what it did to that tree, just one bullet, you can't tell me that it isn't bad, those things pack a lot of force." I'm determined to win this one yet.

"It just grazed me, barely a hit and barely any blood if that's what you're worried about." I don't fall for any of it. She'd be one to tell me she was fine if she was on her death bed...sorry, she's done that already! Ten years ago she told me she was fine while dying from cancer. She was anything but fine then, and I doubt she's fine right now. Doctors always make the worst patients, I guess there are somethings that never change.

"Don't make me pull rank on you, Scully, I NEED to know."

"Rank? You're talking bullshit now, Mulder! What rank? We're not in the fucking FBI anymore so there is no rank to be pulled. I told you I'm fine, let's leave it at that please."

"Why is it so hard for you to open up like that, Scully? All I'm asking for is an honest answer for a change, yet you still can't give it to me. We've known each other for 14 years now, I would think after being best friends for that long you'd be able to open up just a tad and let me in." I'm shouting at this point, and I don't care who can hear me and who can't. I should be looking out at the road and listening to the radio, but at the moment those are the farthest things from my mind, and I continue on with my rant. "Sometimes I don't even know why I bother. Of course there would be nothing wrong with the unflappable Dana Scully. Everything is always peachy keen. That's just a load of crap and you know it, Scully!"

"And you're saying that you're the epitome of openness and honesty, Mulder? I hardly think so." Yep, I can safely say I've majorly pissed her off here. When the volume of her voice exceeds mine, it usually means that she's about to break. Now I just have to brace myself for when she does. "You wanna see what happened? This happened, like I said, nothing." She sat up and showed me her arm, and she was right, it was barely noticeable.

I am such an ass.


Okay, so I may not be the brightest person in the world and pissing off Dana Scully and certainly not the best move I've ever made, but at least I know she's fine now. Making sure she was okay was worth any fury she may unleash on me, mind you, 'hell hath no fury' like Dana Scully. I can't help but feel the relief was over me, she really was fine, and for a change, she was being honest. Now I can get back to doing my job without worry.

I feel like sh*t for pulling rank on her. I may not be her superior in the bureau anymore, but I certainly am her superior on the team, there's a reason why I'm called Boss and she isn't, although you certainly won't catch me saying any of that around her. I guess truth of the matter is she's always been my equal in everything, despite what I said. The team knows, if I'm not around, Scully's in charge even though Cal is my second in command. It is yet another unwritten, implied rule, which is to be followed to the letter.

"Hey Boss, you in?" Jon's voice cackled over the radio I have set on the dashboard of the jeep. I hope they weren't trying to reach me for too long considering I had the thing completely ignored just a few minutes before.

"I'm here, what's up?"

"This place isn't even surrounded by a wall, it's that unguarded. They have main gateways, but it doesn't look that difficult to get into. Most of the guards can be bought off, and one of them on the west side is currently asleep at his post."

"This doesn't sound right, it's capital of Delaware, most capitals have higher security, something must not be right."

"You think the watchers may have notified them of our arrival?"

"That's always a possibility, I can't be sure. Keep your eyes open. We'll wait until nightfall and if things haven't changed, the seven of us will move in carefully. There's an easier chance of them not seeing us if it's dark."

"If you don't mind my asking, why are we going in there to begin with? It's only Dover, isn't the holy grail in DC? We should be trying there."

"I'm meeting a contact in there, she's going to give me information she promises I will like. Call it basic curiosity, but I wanna know what she has that she claims will hold my interest. Besides, we're not ready for DC yet, I don't want to get the lot of you killed. Be patient."

"Yes Boss, I'll notify the others to continue, over and out."

The sun bore down on us like anything today, and not even the cool air from the jeep was keeping us from feeling all hot and sticky. An hour ago we had moved the jeep from the road to a little in-cove on the edge of the woods to keep under the shade, it worked until half an hour ago when the air conditioning died out. If I wasn't on-duty, I'd have remove my shirt by now and would probably be basking in the sun at the back of jeep, but since I can't do that, I can only do the next best thing, just sit and wait for it to cool down.

The heat is affecting Scully too, and I can't help but look as her sweat-soaked shirt clings to every crevice, nook and cranny on her body. It reveals much more than it should. The only disappointment is it's black, not white cause white would offer me a much more generous view. What can I say, I'm a man and she's an attractive woman. I've been attracted to her since the very first day, and after witnessing the strength and intensity behind the physical body, I drowned in her, and I didn't want to be saved.

That was fourteen years ago, this is now. Now things are a lot more complicated. Our time came, and our time passed. We could have had our moment so long ago, but interference was destined to occur, so here we are today, sitting in a jeep and sweating to death while my team is either back at camp keeping cool, or at the city edge scouting it out. Either way, we are a long way from what should have been.

It doesn't take a genius to know that she's thinking the same thing as me as the sun beats down on her. She'd be a lot more comfortable if she took that shirt off; the question would be then, would I be more comfortable? And what if a passer by sees her, or worse yet, Cal? He'd only need one glimpse and he'd declare war on me to have her.

Of course I'd win hands down.

Now she's going it again, and it's going to drive me crazy one day to the point of pushing her up against a wall so I could have my way with her: she's pulling at the collar of her shirt and fanning down herself. Any onlooker would have a generous view here.

I've just got to remember my own rule now. Look, but not touch.

The city is dark and Jon was right, there were minimal guards on the perimeter. It should be a breeze to get in. I had called up four more members of the team to join us, and Chuck, Deneka, Joe and Monica were here within ten minutes. Of course they didn't stop and play with Government Issue weapons they shouldn't have touched like I did, but that's beside the point.

The East Side looked to be the least guarded area. It was also the slums, which probably meant they didn't care who got out. There were no lights in the area, and only two guards patrolling the whole side. Unless the city was under some sort of laser sensor, anybody could get in and out if they wanted to. Let's just hope it's not a laser sensor else the eleven us would be running back to the jeeps like bats out of hell.

The silencer is clipped firmly to my Smith
Wesson I carry to my belt at all times just in case, although I know that if I kill one of them, it would only be a matter of time before the new government officials realize there are intruders in here. "I suggest we try in there. From scouting earlier it looks like it leads right to an alleyway and by looking at the walls, it's not surveilled." Yves stood next to me, dressed entirely in black leather, although I don't know how she could stand it in the heat but here she was the epitome of cool and collected.

She made a very good point with the alleyway; it would probably be the easiest way to get in, however, I needed a second opinion. One could never be too careful. "Monica, what do you think?"

Monica was very good at telling us the best places to go in. It took me a while to get used to her sixth sense, but she ended up being very reliable when it came to reading energies. She was particularly good with people and by one look she could tell me how cautious I should be. Of course I was cautious with everybody, it's in my nature to trust no one, however she gave me an indication of the best way to act.

She scanned the area closely, and appeared to be deep in thought. I couldn't decide if this was a good thing or not. There have been times in the past where she's come back with only negative feelings, yet there have also been times she's come back with positive vibes. After five years of working with her, I still can't tell the difference.

"I have to agree with Yves. While the entire area feels safe enough, I can't help but get that extra vibe from the alleyway. I don't think anything should go wrong, but we should be cautious just in case." She cocked her weapon and proceeded to the front of the line. Normally I would call her back and go in first myself. This is my team, I'm leader, I should make sure it's safe for them but another thing that I've learned about Monica is that when she's onto something like she is now, it's best not to interfere and just let her lead the way. I've almost lost and arm by holding her back once.

And so we go forward.

"Where are we supposed to meet this supposed source of yours, Mulder? It's pitch black out here and unless they knew you were coming in now, I don't see it happening tonight."

"No, noon in the main park in the West End. It's not very far from here to begin with, so I figure we can find a safe place and set up camp for the night." I scanned the streets, most of them empty with the odd vagrant here and there. These must be the people the tests leave for dead, sort of like Scully and I. They are no longer useful therefore are tossed out on the streets to survive on their own. It would have been okay if the officials hadn't passed a law a few years back saying businesses are not allowed to hire test subjects.

They've pretty much handed them a smoking gun and told them to use it. It's not fair, but it's life these days, and as much as I'd like to help them out, I have to think for myself, and therefore can't take on test subjects in my militia. Who knows what has been done to them, and whether they can be of danger to us or not.

We fight to remain hidden to the rest of the city here, no questions are being asked, no answers are being given, and no one follows. Our weapons are hidden on our person, yet easily accessible if need be. At the moment we are no different than any other person living in this town. We have become them, and find an empty street corner to stay upon for the night, although very few of us will actually get any sleep. We tend to be more alert in strange cities where we know we are not welcome.

"I'll take nightwatch guys, I'm not going to be able to sleep anyway, too much going on around here to feel safe."

"I'll stay with you, you need somebody to watch your back." I look down at Scully, amazed that his woman who has had little sleep to begin with is ready to forgo it yet another night. I can't have this though. She needs her sleep, I don't need mine.

"No, you go to sleep." I sit on the corner of the street, back straight against the wall and knees bent pulled up close, and pull her against me so she doesn't have to use the wall. It's uncomfortable for one of us, no need to make it uncomfortable for two. "I'll be okay by myself here, you on the other hand need your sleep. I know you didn't sleep very well last night."

My Scully, stubborn as ever doesn't seem to buy it though. "I make my own decisions, Mulder, you don't make them for me."

"You don't need to tell me that, but I do make them regarding the health of my team, and the team needs you to sleep."

"I'll stay up with Mulder, it's not a problem, I wasn't planning on sleeping anyway either. I'll watch his back." Cal is like me in many ways, he's learned from me, and knows better than to sleep in a strange city, and I trust him to watch my back.

"See Scully? It's okay, I've got somebody to keep me out of trouble."

She yawned slightly, betraying her earlier thoughts of staying awake. "Fine Mulder, you just wake me if there's a problem."

"You'll be the first I wake." And pull her closer.

Okay, so that hasn't been characteristic of me within the last six years, Scully and I haven't been particularly close like this, but tonight I can't help myself and just have to indulge. Scully distanced herself after losing her child to those men, rarely opening up to anybody anymore. It took Skinner, Doggett and me three months just to get her back on a semi-regular dietary track, and even longer to get her on a normal sleeping pattern. She still dreams. I've woken up several times in the night to see her thrashing around beside me, and it honestly pains me to see her like this, but she doesn't want to speak about it.

The first year was spent healing her, helping her get her health back, and after the first six months, her determination in hunting those men down grew. I didn't blame her one bit, I'm sure that if I were a woman who was put in her position, I'd act in the same way. She's told me numerous times that I don't understand, but that's not entirely true considering it was *my* child she was carrying inside of her. I want this just as much as she does.

I came so close to losing her again though today and I can't help but feel my old protective instincts kick in. I've set them aside for the past six years, being the friend I know she needs me to be to her, yet leaving her independence intact. Her independence is something she's always treasured, her ability to make her own choices and live her own life, thus following me on my quest, but what she can't understand is by following me, she has become my quest. In the end everything I do is done for her.

She feels small to me still, despite the fact that she is larger than life. She is still healing in her own way, and I don't want to push things, yet there is a part of me that wants to push, take what I need, and hopefully give her something too. As selfish as it sounds at the moment, I've ignored my own needs for too long now.

Most men at this point would have taken, would have worked their damnedest to get what they want, and I know it would be no difficult task to get her to give me what I want if I played my cards just right, but I can't. I don't let my hormones win, I control them. What she needs is a friend she can trust. How can I betray that?

It's going to be a long night.

The West Park stood empty under the gray skies just before noon. It was quite a contrast from yesterday's blazing sun. Scully, Monica and I were freezing under the trees. Why we didn't pack a sweater, I don't know. The rest of the team members are around gathering further provisions, seeing how much they could beg for and what they could barter for more food, water and clothing. While we are not short in any of the above, it's never harmful to have more than enough. We have been in far too many situations over the past six years of not acquiring the basic survival needs, and by personal experience, we found it imperative not to put ourselves in that situation again.

Each of us is wired up, and radios tuned into the same frequency, except mine which I am not wearing, but Scully and Monica are. I found that I cannot focus on information as well if I am constantly hearing voices in my head. The radios are set up just in case something happens and we have to get out of here. My team comes first to me, it doesn't matter what sort of information is dangling in front of my face at whatever moment, the minute I hear trouble, we run. I just hope we don't run into anything here. We shouldn't, it's only Delaware, I mean who lives in Delaware? It's boring and small and nobody important lives here. The state capitol holds little power if any now. I don't even know why the new government bothered to even include it in their country. Simple enough, it's no man's land, yet here I am standing under a tree in the middle of the park waiting for a woman I've never seen before.

That much I do know, it's a woman, or I should say *she's* a woman. And she wants to meet Scully and me. Well she'll have to deal with Monica as well. I don't meet anybody without her by my side; it's my rule now. There are too many people working against us to just trust our own instincts, I need a third opinion. What really boggled my mind was how she managed to get in touch with me to begin with. It's not like I have an apartment I stay at anymore, or a regular phone number or mailbox. The only way to really know where I could be found was the Gunmen, and they know better than to give out my whereabouts to strangers, unless of course for one of two reasons: they either trusted her, or she had a piece of information to pass on that was too juicy for even them to pass up.

This has got to be good then.

"Mulder?"

Quickly following the line of Scully's gaze, I saw a woman approaching us, 5'5" approximately with brown curly shoulder length hair wearing a black pants suit low one inch heels. They're definitely much more sensible than the three inch ones Scully used to wear back at the bureau, although definitely not as sexy.

She must be the contact though, her approach business-like, yet cautious. I guess eyes are watching everywhere. There is no doubt about where she is heading, she's definitely walking toward us. "Monica? What do you think?"

"If you're looking for a bad vibe, Mulder, I can't find it. She seems clean, at least for the time being." She paused just a second before continuing. "I do feel a dark spot around her though, but I can't pinpoint what it is yet. All I do know for sure is it's not directed at you."

"Keep you weapon handy just in case, Mulder." Scully's hand was next to mine, although her's in a deathgrip wrapping her weapon. It's not that she doesn't trust Monica's abilities, she does so implicitly, it's that she doesn't trust the circumstances, and is a strong believer in the statement 'appearances can be deceiving.' I can't really blame her, so much has changed over the years, and if there's one thing we have learned since being teamed together on the X-Files, it's that appearances are deceiving. There have way too many instances of lost evidence thought to be handed in officially to our superiors and blatant deception by them. Kersh was a primary example of this, although if I think about it, I never really trusted him, and I certainly didn't like him from the beginning.

I smiled the day I shot him, and it's one of the few thoughts that puts me to sleep at night, as malicious as that sounds. There was nothing out of the ordinary about the day itself, I just happened to be panhandling on the street, fighting for my survival and looking for provisions for my team when he flat out ignored my pleas, not recognizing me and walked on. Nothing gave me more pleasure than sending that bullet right through his back and into his cold heart.

Now he lies six feet under while just yesterday I was basking in the sun with a beautiful redhead by my side. It was payback for all of the years of his duplicity toward us. I doubt many people miss him. I actually heard somewhere he had a wife, the poor shrew. How anybody could stay married to that man and remain sane, I don't know.

But that was then, and this is now. Circumstances have changed, and some people are slightly trustworthier than they used to be, especially those fighting the new government alongside us.

Hopefully this woman walking toward us was one of those 'trustworthy' people. I'd certainly hate having to deal with her here. The last thing I wanted here was more bloodshed.

"Agent Mulder I presume? I'd know your face anywhere."

She'd know my face anywhere? I'm instantly wary of this woman who dare speak so bluntly, and confidently to me. Most contacts I speak with are always looking over their shoulder, she's standing straight and tall, well as tall as one could be at 5'5", and she's even attempting to make eye contact. That's not what worries me so much though. Over the past six years I have done what I could to avoid people recognizing me. Like I had stated earlier, the name Fox Mulder died years ago along with the title of Agent. I don't trust her, not if she knows me by name.

My knuckles are turning white from the grip on my weapon, I know it. I'm tempted to shoot her right now and make a run for it just to be on the safe side, but I can't help but wonder what she has that's supposedly so important to me. Scully's eyes are relaying the same fears I have. How does she know my name?

"Oh don't look so shocked that I know who you are, Agent Mulder, we've had dealings in the past, eight years ago to be exact. I don't expect you to remember, we actually have never spoken, but I have seen you around." She seemed way too cool and confident for my liking.

"What 'dealings' would they be if you don't mind my asking Ms..." I trailed off, hinting her at providing her name, which I doubt, would come anyway. She seems too professional to fall for such a classic move.

"My name isn't important, in fact I'd rather forget it myself, and the dealings aren't important either, but if you must know, it was at a black-tie formal dinner your former boss set up. I'm not giving you any more information than that. Like I said, we've never spoken before."

Black tie formal dinner? How come I don't remember this, usually I have an eidetic memory. "That is our only dealing? I guess it would make sense then that you would know my face." What good is a photographic memory if I can't remember such an event?

"Well we've had other dealings, although not directly."

"Meaning?" My patience was wearing thing with this woman.

"You don't get it do you...what you do to those around me affects me, especially regarding my husband."

"Your husband?"

"Yes, my husband. Still don't remember? You tried to kill him once..."

I shot a glare at Monica, this is the first time she's been wrong about the contact, and I'm feeling very threatened by her. Even Scully couldn't keep my arm down as I leveled my weapon at her.

"Just hear me out Agent Mulder, you're not letting me finish. You're not going to get any information from me by pointing a gun to my face." She still seemed oddly calm and confident even looking down the barrel of my Smith
Wesson.

"How do I know this is not a setup? I don't remember whom I've killed over the years. I do know that I've never botched an attempt. Anybody I've tried to kill has died."

"You're going to have to trust me on this matter."

"You don't know me too well then. Trust no one. You have one minute to explain yourself before you find yourself eating my bullet."

"Like I said, you never let me finish. You're wrong about killing my husband. I'll admit you did a very good job, relinquishing him to a wheelchair and he's paralyzed waist down, but you didn't kill him. Somehow he's survived. You've put me in an awkward position here. I want to deal."

"I don't make deals" my voice is gruff, and she has thirty seconds to make some sense.

"You will on this one. I have information on your daughter, but want something in exchange."

"You'll get nothing." Ten seconds.


"Oh I'll get what I want...you're not going to want to pass this up. What I want in exchange is for you to finish the job on my husband. I want him dead and out of my life forever."

Say what? She can't be serious, kill her husband again? Now she's really got my interest. And I know by one look that she has Scully's. Neither of us are stupid enough to pass by information regarding our child. Anything will hopefully be of some help. "Okay, you've got my interest, I'm not putting the gun down though."

She actually had the nerve to chuckle at this. "That's fine. What I have won't take very long anyway. I have to get back to my husband for feeding time. I should really hire a caretaker, but he insists a waste of money."

"Back to business please."

"As I said I have some information regarding Summer-"

"Wait, who's Summer? You said this was about my daughter."

"You're daughter is Summer. Her nursemaid named her that. It's all in the package I'm about to hand you."

I reached for the package she was holding out for me, a large, thick envelope. And I could swear my eyes almost fell out of their sockets when I pulled out the first paper from inside.

"As you can see Agent Mulder, I've handed you a lot of information in there. Everything from birth information to medical records and personal information regarding Summer, not to mention the building she's living in at the moment. Everything you need to know about anything can be found in that envelope."

"Summer..." Our daughter had been given a name. Until now, she was only an object, a goal we were trying to achieve, but now she was a person, a living, breathing six-year-old. Surely we were meant to die out there when they took her from us. What would they want with her though? That was my next question.

"I don't have much more time Agent Mulder, as it is I'm risking my life by meeting you here. Like I said. Everything you need to know is in there. Including maps."

"Maps?"

"Of DC, of their testing lab in Quantico."

"And how am I supposed to get into either of those. Each of them are practically impossible to break into without the proper identification."

"That's where the third map comes in handy. I've got a contact in Cape May, New Jersey who will provide you with 90% of the provisions you will need to get inside, for both you, Agent Scully, and two team members. Pick them carefully if I were you though. We don't have the resources to allow anymore than two inside."

"How will I recognize this contact?"

"You don't, she'll find you. The map will lead you right to her though. The city itself isn't heavily guarded, so it shouldn't be too hard to get in. I wouldn't wait too long for you to get there though; she won't wait any longer than a week. There's a ferry leaving tonight from Lewes. If I were you, I'd get moving."

"Will this ferry take us across without any identification?"

"No, but I'm sure you'll find a way around that aspect, after all you got into Dover all right, but I did have to lighten security for you. If I were you, I'd get moving now if you wanna make it."

"Wait, who's your husband so I can finish the job?"

"That's of no consequence at the moment. You'll know when you see him. I'll be in contact with you later regarding his situation."

Just like that she left, without a second glance or anything while Scully and I stood here with our mouths wide open. She just handed us the Holy Grail, of all things, you better believe we weren't going to pass this up.

"Summer..." Scully was trying the name on for size too, it didn't seem right though, who would name a kid Summer.

"It sounds more like a code name than a child's name. I think I've even heard of projects titled after Summer. From my experience dealing with these assailants, the new government is very fond of that name." I turned to Monica at this comment. Code name? "I suggest once we get to safer ground we look at the documents and see what's in there. I'm sure I've heard her name mentioned before."

Her name a code-name? Could they be using her to achieve their goals of a colonized Earth? How did she factor into it? Was she being experimented on? All of these questions were running rampid in my mind, and I swear if any one of them were true I'd shoot everybody in her building on the spot.

"Heads up guys, we're moving out. We want everybody by the jeeps in fifteen minutes. If you're late, you're left behind. Base camp, do you hear me?"

We were already on the move again, Scully issuing orders over the radio seeing as I didn't have mine.

"Base camp, we're making a break for Lewes, meet us one mile south of the city border and a mile in from the coast. We'll give more information once we see you there. As always, eyes and ears open people, I think we've got the big one. Over and out."

Our corner wasn't very far from the park, and we walked as quickly as possible to find Cal without trying to look obvious. I was just handed what is supposedly the beginning of the end, and certainly didn't want to screw it up. We have a lot at stake here. From the brief glance at the papers, there were men to expose, projects to destroy, and our daughter to find and rescue from the new government.

The new question in my mind now...is this all enough to end colonization? I certainly hope so.

"Let's go"

Cal has the inside team rounded up, sacks full of whatever they managed to collect during the day and weapons out ready to move. We can't take chances anymore. I don't want to take chances. My team knows to shoot first and ask questions later in these types of situations. Our main priority is to get out without incident today, although I'm not sure how long it'll take the new government to realize that there is a lack of security on the perimeter of this city.

"We go out the same way we came in, only this time in broad daylight, which means we make a break for it once we hit the end of the alleyway. Everybody partner up. You're to watch each other's backs. Under no circumstances is anybody to be left behind unless we can't get them out without injuring others. If shots ring, be prepared to defend yourself. Remember, one person is the eyes at the back of the head, one person is keeping their eyes on our final destination."

"You still haven't really told us what's going on here, Mulder." This isn't like Cal, he's never been one to question my orders, especially in a situation this dire. "I'll explain it all once I see it in full myself, meanwhile you're to do what I say."

"Base camp knows where we're heading? Or do we have to go back for them."

"No need to, I spoke to them earlier, they know the coordinates they are to meet us at and in what time period. Now, quit stalling and get moving. We don't have all day you know, we have to get to Cape May by sometime tonight." That's my Scully now, the one I used to know so long ago, the one who doesn't take shit from anybody including me, which is a good thing I guess. While I may not be so bad anymore, at one point I used to do and say whatever I could to get her to tag along with me, and I would find ways for her to do the tough stuff while I went jaunting off.

Equal partners? Although I never once thought her as anything but an equal partner in all things, I guess I just kind of acted otherwise. Anyway, she's equal now, if not moreso important in the grand scheme of things than I am. I treat her as an equal in all ways and so does the team. Orders coming from her are just as good as orders coming from me.

In all honesty, I think hers are better. My Scully's always been logical while I'm highly passionate about things. While I'm better now and think before acting, she does not only think, she plans and plays all sides looking for the best solution. She'll get us to where we need to be.

If not, we'll die trying.

The coast is clear by the alleyway, at least on the inside, who's to say that there aren't numerous guards sitting and waiting for us on the other side. Whose to say that this isn't some sort of setup that we're about to get busted for? I don't even know if all the information in the envelope is official, or if they're fakes planted to deter us in our ultimate goal.

It's no big secret that we're out to destroy the new government. I'm sure they have their top agents out trying to stop us, although they must not be very good if it's taken them six years and they haven't even seen our faces yet. It's not like we're in deep undercover or anything; we're hidden right in plain sight.

I'm even more intrigued about who this mystery husband is of our informant. As far as my recollection goes, I have never botched a kill, and with an eidetic memory like mine, one would remember these things. It couldn't have been a bad kill though if she wants him dead so much, and paralyzed waist down isn't so bad then either for a botched kill. I've seen some men get right up and continue what they were doing before they were shot, acting unharmed despite the large well of blood pooling wherever they were hit. These men don't stop for anything, which is why when I shoot to kill; I always aim directly for the heart, centre abdomen, or head. It's the easiest way to have them go down and not get back up again.

"All clear!" Yves stands at the exit of the alleyway, her compact mirror edged around the corners for a view of guard locations.

"Count of three, everybody runs like they've never run before, and I don't want you stopping until we're at the jeep." They all nod their affirmative, each gripping their partner's hand with one, weapon in the other, and sacs on their backs. I reach for Scully's hand and step behind Yves and Monica, as they're the first to run out on their insistence. "One, two, THREE! RUN!"

The jeep is a good mile away, but none of us care as we cross the large expanse of land in front of us. Scully is trailing behind some, and I find myself slowing down to keep from dragging her along. It's not really her fault, she runs fast for her height, it's just that my legs are longer than hers are so I can stretch them farther than she can. At least she's not in her heels this time, not that she has been wearing heels in the past six years. She's been in runners and boots since we became assassins, or rebels according to the bastards in DC.

"Almost there Scully, how're you doing?" I sneak a look at her before turning back to see the jeep off in the distance.

"Never mind me Mulder, keep running, I'll keep up."

We cleared the field to the jeep without incident, the guards never once appearing on the west side of the city, which makes me even more curious about the power our informant wields. It's not like anybody can control security around the perimeter of a state capital. Mind you, not anybody can also present to us a package of information like she has.

"Cal, take the wheel, we're heading one mile south, one mile in of Lewes. Try to get us there quickly."

"You don't wanna drive, Mulder?"

"I've got other things on my mind at the moment that I have to go over." Like the package. I only got a brief glance of the contents in the city; I want a thorough look at it now. I want to know if it's worth going after.

"You going to tell us what you got?"

"When I figure it out myself I'll let you know." Kera and Yves crawled into the front alongside Cal, women really could never resist him, and Ryan and Jon sat near the back of jeep, giving Scully and I our space with the envelope. The roll on top was activated to prevent the wind blowing papers away, and we were set.

I had the papers spread all over the back of the jeep in front of me, reviewing the content of each. If there was one thing about that woman that I know, it's that she's obviously a very thorough person.

I had plans everywhere, building blue prints, computer network outlines, security system plans, maps of the city, which I already knew by heart, the addresses of each of their facilities, the White House where they kept Summer, character reports on each person running the show, including a woman named Kim, Summer's childnurse and a geneticist.

My question now is why involve a geneticist?

The top of the pile contained the most important paper of all, one that I'm sure will never leave Scully's hand judging by the grip she's got on it now.

"Summer," she whimpered again.

The photo was simple, a black and white mug shot that looks like it would appear on an ID card, or in a school yearbook or something, which probably means that it's a computer generated image used for the purpose of record cleaning. There's no doubt in my mind that it's her though, and there's no doubt in my mind as to who her parents are, at least her mother anyway.

One look at the photo and I could tell that her hair was lighter, probably a light brown with a reddish tint to it, definitely not quite as dark as mine, and her eyes are lighter too. I wonder if they're blue like hers or hazel like mine. I can't tell by a black and white photo.

The nose is Scully's though, thank god the poor kid doesn't have the Mulder nose, it's hideous, but hers is small, and suits the lightly freckled face.

The shape of the eyes and the ears belong to me though, there's no mistaking that, and I'm sure anybody who sees this photo will agree. However there will not be many people who will view this photo, it will be kept in our possession at all times, and like the rest of the information in the envelope, it'll never leave our sight. This will be the only paper that will not be copied. By the time we're on our way to DC, I plan on having copies wired to the gunmen, and the originals alongside me for safe keeping.

There is something about this kid though that bothers me; I can't explain it, however it doesn't seem right, I know I've seen this picture elsewhere, and the fact that Monica recognizes the name Summer also tells me that my intuition isn't far off today. One thing I've learned to trust over the years is my instinct, it's never let me down once.

I don't Summer is a code name for anything, it seems highly unlikely even though it is such a common word, I'm sure I've heard it used in another context though. Being what the country deems an outlaw, I am no longer privy to information like I used to be back when I was in the bureau, especially since the death of Senator Matheson. The gunmen occasionally find a bit of information which can be useful, but they're running out of resources as well, most of their informants being killed off or worse. It's like survival of the fittest again, and they are winning.

Then it catches my eye. "Hey Cal, wanna stop for a second?"

"Find something interesting, Mulder? I though we wanted to get to Lewes as soon as possible."

"I do, we do, just stop though." It takes no effort at all to jump out of the jeep as it slows to a halt, and I see it blowing away. "Damn."

"Wanna tell me what this is about?" Concerned Scully, I'd recognize that voice anywhere, and concerned is good in this case, only she's being concerned for the wrong person.

"Give me a sec" My speed picks up some and finally the paper falls to a halt at my feet.

It's just what I thought; Scully's not going to like this at all.

"What did you find?"

"Nothing of any importance." Despite whatever right she has to know the piece of information I hold in my hand, I don't think I should let her know. She still holds some idealistic view of Summer that I don't want to destroy at the moment. I know better than to let these views continue, especially since I know what must be done when we head to DC, but I just don't have the heart to see her shatter one more time, so I quickly stuff the paper into my utility belt, hoping that she doesn't see me do so and head back to the jeep.

"You must have found something decent to chase after it like you had." And here comes persistent Scully out to play.

"It was a newspaper clipping. I was trying to see if there was a date on it anywhere." So I lied, big deal. I seem to be doing that moreso lately. She'll have my head for it though later.

"Did you find a date?"

"No, it was from the middle of the paper." Well it was partially true. It was very difficult to find out the date anymore since newspapers were only catered to those who were registered citizens and had money. I would be neither so clippings were very important to us for that reason.

There's also the fact that they make good kindling for our fires. There were days when we'd find wet wood or no wood at all and we'd have to rely on other resources. Newspapers were good sources as well.

"I hope you kept it to burn then."

"No, it was too small to make much difference anyway. Don't worry about it Scully, just let it be." I reached for the photo in her hand and watched the emotions fly over her face as she relinquished it to me. "We've got bigger things to worry about, liking getting into DC and finding out more info about Summer."

"You mean on rescuing her from that geneticist."

If that's what she wants to believe..."Yeah that's what I mean. We've got a ride ahead of us. Sit back and relax. We'll take this one step at a time. First thing we'll plan out is how to get onto that ferry."

Yep, by the end of this whole escapade, Fox Mulder will be no more. What I had found out on the road had confirmed all inklings I had about who Summer was, and why she sounded so familiar. Scully will have thoroughly killed me and have me buried six feet under if she knew what I was holding back.

I know where I have heard the name Summer before, I know where Monica has heard of the name Summer before, and we both know that it isn't some code word. I have no doubt in my mind that Monica knows what's really going on, and was just trying to save face for Scully and I. I may have to talk to her later regarding this, meanwhile, battleplans.

The shore of Lewes isn't that far away from us and it's almost dark. We a total of four hours to figure out how we're going to get on this ship without being recognized, and I want as many of us as possible to reach Cape May. This is the type of situation that I had been planning for over the year, I just never thought I'd see it come.

The rest of the team is just ahead of us, located exactly where Scully had told them to meet us, one-mile south, and one-mile in. We have spoken a little of plans on the way, but the ride was mainly spent in a contemplative silence. I have no doubt that Scully was thinking about the life we could have had, the life it seemed we were about to get back, or at least what she believed we'd get back. I know differently. I'm still trying to figure out how to tell her this.

Bailey is standing on the edge of the new camp, with Elizabeth next to his side. Those two have been getting a little cozy lately; they're starting to remind me of Scully and I just before she was due. She's a good assassin too, they would make an excellent pair on the field knowing that Bailey would watch over her, or her over him. I've never asked how Cal feels about all this. I wonder if he's even noticed.

"Everything reported A-okay sir. Nothing happening on the homefront." Now sir is something that took me a while to get used to considering it was what I always called Skinner. Things have changed some.

"Good, I need a team together. Cal is coming along, so are you and Elizabeth and Monica, pull me four more and the rest stay back as backup. We need to get on the midnight ferry. It'll be dark and less crowded I believe."

"Scully coming too sir?"


"Scully goes everywhere I go, you should know that by now." There was no campfire tonight, we can't afford alerting others to our presence, instead the headlights of his jeep are left on and he already had planning sheets rolled out over the hood.

"Any four you'd like sir?"

"Take your pic, you're leading them. Once I get into Cape May, you're on your own with them. We'll meet up after we meet the contact, you're only there as backup. Now, let's figure out how to get on this ferry."

Scully's still unusually silent all through this.

"We may have to go underwater and climb up the side of the ship, it looks as if the entrance way is heavily guarded. Everybody needs papers these days. Whatever happened to the good ol' days where everybody could go where they wanted without question."

It was a pointless question, I knew this, Jon knew this, and even though I knew he knew this, I felt responsible to answer him still, so the others who didn't know this would know why it was pointless.

"Screw idealism, it died out a long time ago when they took away whatever freedom we had. Apparently they thought society would function better with registered citizens. Last time I read about something like this, it was the French Revolution back in 1787, and look what happened then."

"As long as they don't pull the guillotine on us, I don't care. We've lasted this long."

"No, instead we're either shot in the forehead or taken captive and sent to a facility for further interrogation, meaning they go in, but they don't come out. I think we need to stop this idealistic talk and focus on the job on hand. Idealism only gets us killed anyway, we all know that."

"So what's the plan then boss?"

I can't see any other options than the ones already presented. Trying to sneak on board at the main gate was too risky, and with no papers, there was no chance of getting on. I really don't want to go wading through that part of the Atlantic though. By the port, it's dirty and muggy. We may as well be wading through sewage.

"Well?"

"We go underwater. Everybody who's coming put on something black and lightweight. Any and all weapons should be securely fastened to your person, and covered completely in leak proof plastic while under. We leave in an hour."

The command is set, and Bailey sends his men off.

The team is divided into three. Scully, Cal, Monica, Bailey, Elizabeth and I are the first team. We make the first trip out to the ferry twenty minutes before departure. The radio is fastened securely in a plastic bag at my hip, along with my weapon. Each person is strapped like this.

The second team consisting of Chuck, Joe, James and Jon follows behind us, making the second trip out to the ferry ten minutes before departure. We will signal them on board once we find a way in.

The rest of the team consisting of Kera, Jessica, Yves, Emily, Deneka and Ryan are hanging back in this location as backup. I can't risk taking everybody on board with me, and they know what to do if any of us don't return.

Our watches have been timed and coordinated together, and we head out, ten minutes ahead of the others. The port was as expected, dank and murky, it's obviously the part of the ocean that nobody swims in. The ferry sits out about a hundred yards from us, alongside a dock. I hope there are no creepy crawlies swimming underneath that dock. I'm not afraid of fish swimming by me, that's the least of my concerns at the moment, it's jellyfish or sharks, something that could cause any one of us physical harm, or alert the crew as to our presence.

"This is it guys, ready to swim for it, but do so quietly."

"You sure we have to wade through this gunk?"

"It looks like a regular seaport, I'm sure it's nothing that you haven't seen before." Even still I'm not so confident. How much oil and gasoline could have spilled over into here from the ships, not to mention the rust floating around from the abandoned ships sitting at the far dock.

I wade out further into the water, trying to swallow the bile rising up in my throat. I can do this, after all I've been covered in alien goo before and almost digested by a giant mushroom. Walking through water should be a piece of cake compared to that.

It's not.

First stretch is completed though as we come up to a buoy made of old tires. So this is what they did to the ones that they didn't burn. I'll have to remember this when we get a flat on the jeep.

"Not much farther guys."

"Do we have to stick our heads in this?" I can hear the disgust in Elizabeth's voice, and believe me; I'm disgusted too.

"At the count of three, we're not that far, try to stay under as long as you can until you reach the ship. One"

I look down at the green water.

"Two" Take a deep breath.

"Three" I'm going to be sick after.

Maybe sick isn't a good enough word to describe what I'm feeling at the moment. I'm swimming with my hands sticking out in front of me; I refuse to open my eyes in this sludge, not unless I want to go blind or worse.

Mind you, blindness may not be so bad, at least I won't have to look at Scully's face when I show her the piece of paper I found. I won't see her heart crush at the news, her hopes destroyed, and even worse, the pain in her eyes when she finds out that I lied to her about this. Maybe I should open my eyes.

And my hands hit metal, eureka! I lift my head out of the water, and open my eyes to see the huge ferry in front of me. I signal to the others and slowly everybody's head pops out of the water, most of them when a green slimelike substance in their hair, mine probably matches. At the moment I don't even want to think about what that could be, it may be safer not to.

The ferry is an awkward shape with the base much more narrow than the deck and a nearby porthole offers us easy access onto the ship. The ladder to the right offers easy climbing to the top and my hands slip slightly as they grab onto the rusty handlebars. Mental note: next time I decide to climb the ship in the middle of the Delaware Bay, wear rubber gloves.

I look off in the distance and see team #2 making their way into the water, each grimacing apparently as we had. Good, if we had to suffer, so should they.

The inside of the ferry is dark and dank as well and seems to match the night outside, however the bonus is; none of the crew are around. It should be good hiding until we hit land again in an hour and a half.

"I want constant quiet, nobody speaks unless spoken to by myself, or if it's an emergency. Somebody find the light and disable it, that way if it's necessary, we have time to hide. We exit at my call."

Four minutes later the second team enters the ship and the same instructions are repeated. We will be first off in Cape May, they will be second.

Within minutes, nothing can be heard but the not so silent hum of the ship. I hope this works, else we're all screwed.

Ten minutes: Everybody's tense, we've heard footsteps pass by the door leading to the corridor three times already, after the third, I sent Cal to lock it, and Bailey is standing by with a weapon pointed at it just in case somebody's bold enough to come by and unlock it.

Twenty minutes: Somebody jiggled the handle to the door two minutes ago, Cal, Bailey and Elizabeth each have their weapons fully trained on it while the rest of us are located near the porthole just in case something happens and we don't have enough manpower to over come it.

Forty minutes: Things have settled down some now, no more doors being jiggled, and relatively few footsteps, it makes me wonder though, do they know they have stow aways? If so, what are they going to do about that? Visibly, everybody's relaxed, although mentally, we're all on the edge. My wristwatch indicates we have still have half an hour to wait before making landfall. It's too far to swim to shore if we need to, many of us would drown before we ever have the chance.

One hour: Scully's leaning against the wall, still silent. I don't believe she's spoken one word since we left base camp. It's too dark in here to read her face, but I know it's a contemplative silence. Well contemplative mixed with disgust, I know she's not enjoying the fact that there's sludge running throughout her hair at the moment. How could one enjoy that? The minute I find clean water somewhere, I'm bathing. I wonder what'll take for her to bathe with me?

That's my fantasy at the moment, the thing that's keeping me sane in all this madness, the chance to see Scully skin, she's still very reserved around me even though we're as close as we ever were. I want to break through that barrier of ice she has surrounding herself, and even though I know she hasn't given up, it looks like she has. She has to know there's so much more worth living for than revenge at the moment.

While the situation and conditions may not be ideal, there is a better life out there, I just have to get through this one here and hope to God she follows me.

The engine stops, and the ferry is silent. Nobody's walking by, nobody's moving, nobody's speaking, nothing. It makes me wonder, have we been set up? The porthole slides open and the sea breeze hits my face as I take a peak out, they're unloading, all of the men are busy.

The rusty old ladder is only an arm's reach away, I'm sure I could grab it and pull myself out, if only I had some sort of distraction though. Then I could just dive into the water, at least this side of the Bay is cleaner than the other side. Maybe I can actually get some of this green sludge out of my hair before meeting this new contact of mine.

Then we get it, I don't know what it is but it makes just enough noise to cover any sound we may make jumping into the water. It almost sounds like cannonballs blowing off in the distance, only nobody uses cannonballs anymore.

"I'm going to jump in, I want everybody to follow single file, Team one first, then team to, and try to time it right to coordinate with the banging. I'm going first, Scully follows, then Cal and Bailey. The rest of you decide what order you want to go in. I'm out." I time the bang just right and my jump into the water is not heard.

I was wrong about the cleaner water though, and just about scurried up as I felt something slither about between my legs. I hope it was just a fish, you never know these days what saltwater critters seem to be floating about. I feel as if I'm going to lose my lunch trying to decide whether to remain calm and cool or scream and make a dash to shore. Speaking of upset stomachs, I'm surprised the ferry ride hasn't made me sick. Maybe if I worry more often about things and ignore the little things I won't get sick again on the way back.

Just thinking about the ride back is making me sick, that combined with Mr. Tentacles swimming between my legs is giving me enough energy to make it shore in record time, only...

A second splash drowned out by a bang signal the arrival of Scully. Now I can leave, and believe me, I don't think anybody's ever managed to swim that quickly. All those years of laps back at the bureau pool haven't been for nothing, and Scully seems to have no trouble either. It's the rest of the team I'm worried about.

Slowly, we all make it to shore and sneak out of sight of the Ferry. The next one isn't until morning. I want to get in, meet the second contact and get out. I have every intention of being in DC by the end of the week.

Nothing, not even those damn walls will stand in my way this time.

The entire team made it upon shore in twenty minutes, and thankfully without incident. We were pretty lucky with our timing as the banging stopped only three minutes after our last man jumped into the water. We still don't know what it was, mind you, I don't really care.

Scully holds the map of the city inside her waterproof pouch and pulls it out upon inspection of the city. One would think that a coastal city such as this would have more security, but I guess not. Maybe the expect vagrants such as us, and we walk in unnoticed. Cal, Bailey, Elizabeth and Monica escort Scully and I in the city while the others remain on guard around the perimeter, they're the back up, led by Jon, I trust him enough to know what to do.

The city streets are once again empty, although they do contain tell tale signs of fish markets, I guess the city specializes in seafood, although everybody knows that the best can be found in New England, particularly Maine Lobster. It's almost as good as the lobster fished in Nova Scotia although as an American, you won't catch me saying that aloud.

Nova Scotia no longer exists now though. As a major link to the rest of Canada, the international new government has taken it over and destroyed it. I guess they didn't want it, but didn't want anybody else to have it. It makes sense in it's own twisted way.

Cape May smells of raw fish, and I'm sure I can probably find bits and pieces lying around from the fishermen who work here during the day. I won't think about that now though, it'll just add to my disgust of green sludge and slimy tentacles. Thankfully after leaving that one spot I didn't encounter that creature again. I'll have to watch for it though when swimming back to the ship later.

"Who are we looking for, Mulder?" I haven't filled Cal in on the situation yet, which is unusual, but what do I tell him if I know nothing myself, so I answer the only way I can.

"Somebody who knows Scully and me."

"And who would know you and Scully? I didn't know you've been to Cape May before."

"I haven't, but apparently this person knows who I am, which is not surprising, I've dealt with many people in the past who's probably moved locations. I'm sure we've got nothing to worry about. We'll know her when we see her."

"And who's her?"

"Her would be me." A slurred voice could be overheard from around the corner.

Bingo.

A short dark skinned woman stepped out of the dark alleyway, and unless the statement 'appearances can be deceiving' is true, she is not the one I'm looking for. Hell, she's wasted as it is. I wonder how much she has had to drink in the last our or so if her speech is that bad.

"I know what you'rrrrrre thinking, Mr. Mulderrrrr, let me tell you" and she was waving her finger at me at this point, "that I am who I am, I am who you're looking for, the want you want."

"And you would be?" Cal stands behind me with is weapon pointed at her, obviously not entirely trusting of this drunk hag who stands before us speaking nonsensical words.

I don't blame him either, I feel like leaving now.

"You can call me Miss. Ashley, I've always wanted to be a teacher, so Miss Ashley sounds very nice indeedy. Now, to set a price. I have something you want, Mr. Mulder, something you and Miss Scully need, desperately, so it ain't gonna be cheap, it'll cost you a pretty penny."

Joy of all joys, I'm sent to see a drunk on probably the most important mission of my life here. I should shoot myself now and put me out of my misery. I can't believe I swam in the Delaware Bay for this.

Scully obviously does not find the situation as amusing as I do though, then again she doesn't know what I know, and she doesn't know for what reason I'm going into DC. "What's your price. Keep in mind we don't have much as we're just vagrants like yourself."

"What I want you have, it's simple. You see it's lonely here out on the streets, I just want a companion that's all."

"We're not into people selling, that's off limits."

"Well that's too bad cause then you ain't receiving no information." She turned to walk away, but Scully stopped her.

"Wait, isn't there something else?"

"No, it's simple" she extended a finger our way, "I'll give you the documents for him."

Bailey visibly swallowed the bile that was rising in his throat at the thought, and he wasn't the only one doing so. I knew people trading was a common thing these days, but I swore to myself six years ago that I would never participate in such a practice. By normal standards, it's extremely unethical, however we do not run by the norm anymore, so I guess people do as they wish.

"You can't have him, find another price, he's not for sale, I told you, we don't do people trading."

"Well no documents then, I guess you have no way of getting into DC then."

"Damnit, there has to be another way, think woman! What could you possibly want other than him?"

"Absolutely nothing, I'm content, I have my hovel, I have my liquor, and soon I'll have my man, there is nothing that I need."

Well there's only one thing left that I can do, and I look at Bailey dejectedly. While like I said I'm not into people trading, Scully would not forgive me if I couldn't get what I wanted. "Give me a minute to talk to my man" and I pull Bailey aside, refusing to look at Elizabeth while doing so. I don't think she's going to forgive me anytime soon.

"You can't be serious, Mulder, I will not go with her."

In a hushed voice I continue, "be patient, I've got a plan running through my head, but it's going to require your cooperation, and the rest can't know, especially Elizabeth for effect."

"You've got my attention, anything as long as I don't have to be left behind."

"Good" Plan B is discussed and we return to the group, Bailey playing his role out perfectly making him seem disgusted by staying with the woman, not to mention the way Elizabeth is freaking out at the moment.

"Okay, we'll trade, where's the documents."

Well Elizabeth hasn't shot me yet so that's a good thing, although I still refuse to look her in the eye. Knowing her she'll probably shoot me after I get what I want, I just hope Cal has enough sense to hold her back when she attempts to. Hell, she's his sister, he knows her best, he knows what she's capable, and other than Bailey, he knows her best. I'll admit to not really getting to know her as well as I could have. I know the basics about her, just the same as I know the basics about everybody else, but that's it. I at least hope she holds back until I have time to follow through.

Obviously Miss Ashley's not too brilliant if she isn't holding Bailey at gunpoint while getting the documents. One would usually think about doing things like that in today's world as insurance, especially when it comes to people swapping. Instead he's just standing next to her, his weapon hidden just in case. Even if plan B doesn't follow through I have every confidence that he will not remain along side Miss Ashley if he can help it.

"You get four sets of papers, one for you, one for Miss Scully, and two are left over for whoever you decide to take with you, with the exception of this young handsome stud here who will stay by me. Inside you'll find everything you need with the exception of photos, which you will have to Laurel, Maryland for. A woman who only answers to the name Chiquita will take the photos for you and apply them to the papers. She's an outcast much like myself and an expert in falsification."

The envelope seemed light in itself, mind you four sets of papers wouldn't weigh much to begin with. Now to start plan B and take our leave.

"We thank you for the papers, you have been much help to us, however are you sure there's nothing else we can offer you instead of this young man? He's really quite useful for our team and cause."


"I really don't care for your team or cause, Mr. Mulder, besides, I like them young, hard and lean. He matches all three criteria, so he stays."

I can hear Elizabeth screaming and swearing, both at me and at the hag. I had hoped it wouldn't come to this, but unfortunately I can do the only thing I can at the moment.

Bailey shoots me a look as Cal grabs onto Elizabeth to hold her back. Within a blink of an eye it is done.

One: ready

Two: aim

Three: fire

The silencer muffles the sound of the shot as the bullet enters the hag square in the forehead, allowing her to fall to the ground in an ungraceful slump.

Plan B: Success.

Let's move on

Next stop is Laurel, Maryland, how I expect to get there so soon, I don't know, we still have the issue of crossing the Delaware Bay again to get back to the jeeps. I don't know if I want to do that again, what if the tentacle creature decides it's hungry again? I can always take the hag and throw her in to feed the fishes, but that requires too much time and effort, as it is we have to get away now so the local authorities don't spot us. I never planned on cold-blooded murder tonight, I was saving that for DC and the higher ups there, but if the situation called for it, who was I to say no?

It was simple enough, Bailey or the hag. I'm not ready to give up Bailey, and obviously neither is Elizabeth, as she doesn't seem to be letting go of him anytime soon, so it was Ashley who had to go.

And I don't regret a thing about the encounter either. That's probably the biggest change in me over the years, I don't care anymore when I kill somebody. I used to think it made me some big horrible monster whenever I shot somebody out of coldness, that I was one of the many monsters we used to hunt while in the FBI. Maybe I have become one of those, but then again, do I really care? Not anymore. It's survival of the fittest out here and I don't intend on succumbing anytime soon. I don't intend on letting any one of my team succumb too and that's what I would have been doing if I chose to let the drunkard live and keep Bailey as her companion. Man I think he'd be declaring war on me if I ever did that.

The important thing at the moment is I have the papers, four sets to be exact containing two forms of Government Issue ID, and a passbook. Information is easy enough to falsify these days, all I have to do is find four people, three men, one woman that look like us and take their information. That shouldn't be too hard to do, we'll do that in Maryland as well. If I'm lucky, that photographer woman I'm supposed to meet will look enough like Scully that I can use her too, else I'll just have to look around.

The night air gets considerably cooler. I'm surprised that the meeting didn't take as long as I thought it would, I was half expecting Ashley to have more professionalism than she did, almost like the first woman we met earlier today. Now, unless we swim across the bay, we have to wait a few hours before the next ferry comes by.

"Hey Mulder, take a look" Bailey points off in the distance while still clinging to Elizabeth, and I see it too.

"Thank God."

Somebody had left a motorboat at a dock with the key in it, obviously a very trusting person. I didn't know whether to shout for joy or make a mad dash and never return to Cape May or the Delaware Bay again.

"How many people do you think it will hold?"

"Five including the driver, we'll probably have to make two trips. Anybody know how to drive a powerboat?"

"I can. Mulder, Cal, Monica, and Jon get on now. I'll take you across and come back for the others." As always, Scully's orders go unquestioned, except by me. There's no way in hell I want to leave the others, but I also don't want to leave Scully alone at any point. I know she can take care of herself, but I can't help but feel protective of her, I always have. I guess it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, I can still try though.

"Take somebody else with you, I'm going to stay back with the others until you come back. I'm not leaving them in such a dangerous area."

"Mulder, you're the most important person here. You've got the documents, I'm not leaving you here, even with the protection of the others."

"Figure something else out" I hand her the envelope. "You take the documents with you then, but I'm not leaving. As important as this all is to me, I can't risk the members of my team unnecessarily, and that means leaving them in a dangerous city. You can't ask me to do that."

I can see the mental battle inside of her, I know what's going on in her head. She knows I'm right, but there's also something else that's keeping her from acknowledging it, and I can't help but smile with the knowledge that she cares for me. That's why she doesn't want to leave me, I'm still her best friend in all of this. She's nothing without me as I'm nothing without her.

However I cannot relent at the moment, as tempted as I am, therefore she gives up. "Fine, Elizabeth with me now."

They turn off down the dock while I stand with the remaining members of the team in a contemplative silence...well until I heard the words "There's a problem."

My first thoughts were 'what, no keys?' That's easy enough to solve though and Scully knows how to hot-wire practically anything now, she wouldn't be saying there was a problem if she knew how to solve it.

That brings me to my next thought, there's a whole in the boat and it's taking on water. However the fact that it's still floating above the water where it should be quickly deflates that thought as well.

Maybe it just can't take as many people as we thought; then again an extra trip won't hurt anybody. It may take up more time yes, but it's better than loading the boat and having it take on water in the middle of the bay.

"Sh*t" Cal's voice breaks through my thoughts and I realize that I'm now the only one on shore, everybody's on the docks checking out the problem, and I quickly make my way to them, pushing in front only to copy Cal's explanation.

"What the hell is it doing in there?"

"Somebody probably forgot it, or they're getting help to unload it."

"I don't think it's forgotten, I think the owner it's dinner."

They're all speaking at once around me, I'm trying to figure out this problem, and how we can still use the boat.

"Is there anyway we can push it overboard?"

"Yeah right, and have it eat my arm, I don't think so, why don't we just kill it. Shoot it and be done with it."

"Cause I don't want to waste ammunition if we don't have to. They're skin can be extremely tough and dense depending on what it's been through. I've seen men killed trying to kill one of these."

"Then what do we do?"

"Well if anybody is willing to make sure the boat is tied securely to the dock, someone can find a metal pole or something and push it overboard."

"Sounds like a plan, I think I saw something back there."

My team has gone into action, Jon running for whatever it was he was looking for. I'm still standing here like an idiot muttering 'sh*t' over and over again.

It was still alive thrashing around in the small boat, I hope it doesn't destroy anything else we'd have to make our way through that grimy water again to the ferry. I'm going to shower as it is but I do not want anymore Delaware water soaking my clothes or green goo in my hair than is necessary at the moment. And if we're going to push jaws here into the water, I'm not swimming with him nearby.

"Boss, you take one, I'll take the other. Two people grab onto each end of the boat to make sure it doesn't flip, just watch your hands." Jon passed me a long metal pole and held a matching on in his hand while Chuck and Cal each grabbed the boat, pulling it to the dock as tight as they want while avoiding the thrashing teeth of the beast. I thought sharks weren't native this far up the coast. "At the count of three, we stick the poles underneath it and try to push it into the water. Ready-"

"Wait, can we club it first? Not enough to kill it, just render it unconscious for a couple of hours while it sinks to the bottom, I don't want to have to deal with an irate shark if he decides to stick around shore."

"Why don't we just feed the hag to it to placate it so it would hopefully leave the rest of us alone."

"No, the hag can rot in the streets for all I care, I want out, and I want out now. Simple as that."

The metal pole was large, but by no means extremely heavy, and in one quick blow, it stops thrashing, however I can see by the gill movement that it is still breathing. Good, now to get this thing in the water and out of my sight.

"One, two, THREE!"

This thing is certainly no lightweight, and if any of us knew better, we'd keep it and grill it for dinner, but I'm not much of a shark fan and don't feel like trudging it around. The pole feels like it's going to snap any second now, and with one last push from the both of us, we watched it sink into the water, hopefully never to be seen again.

"You five, go now, we'll see you in a couple of hours." I can hear footsteps in the background now, men from the city and I hope they make it to the other side safe and sound, meanwhile time to find a place to hide so they don't find us. "Come on, before they see us, I don't know if they're to be trusted or not and I won't risk finding out."

We arm ourselves, and make way up to a little fisherman's hut at the top of a hill. This should do nicely I hope.

The footsteps walked back and forth at the base of the hill the cabin was on, but it didn't look like the men were armed or would be dangerous, but you never know these days. They could be watchers again, in Cape May for their own agenda and trying to leave, or they could live here and spend the night watching the coast. Either case I knew that if they weren't gone by the time Scully pulled up in the boat again, I'd have to shoot all three.

The silencer on my weapon is set in place just in case, and I'm sure the shark that I sent to the bottom of the bay here won't mind and evening snack.

It's been about an hour give or take since Scully's left, and I can only hope that everything's all right. We lost radio contact forty-five minutes ago, but that can also be due to any number of things, including the frequencies the boat traffic give off or the fact that she's turned it off to prevent frequency crossover and have somebody discover us. Neither option keeps me from worrying though. I knew I shouldn't have allowed her to go by herself, I should have caved in on her insistence to tag alone with the first ride, but it's too late to regret the decision now, all I've got to do is sit and wait.

And hope those three fishermen sitting on the dock aren't up to anything funny.

Everybody's climbing walls here, the hut isn't big to begin with, and cramming it with five people fills it up easily. We have raided their cupboards thoroughly, taking any food and dried fish they may have and stashing them in our bags, as well as bottled water, matches, and other paraphernalia that might come in handy while bartering it.

They even had a bottle of Amaretto lying around, a full one that is and I'm not about to pass the chance for free alcohol. While I do not allow my team to drink heavily and become drunk, a small toast won't harm anybody, especially if we dilute it with something, I'm sure there's cream around somewhere we can drink it with, or at least the younger ones can drink it with, I've always preferred it straight, enjoying the rich, thick flavour of it as it goes down.

That gets thrown in my, and it's not much longer before I hear the returning sound of the speedboat, and a glance out of the window confirms my suspicions of it belonging to Scully.

We're going to have to do something about those three men as they rise and walk down to greet the boat, guns in hand.

Well it's now or never, my sig is certainly getting a workout tonight.

She's smart, she's on her guard already, the five of us sitting in the hut here have silently made our way down to the bottom of the hill, three feet behind the men who obviously have no training in stealth combat, else they'd realize we're nearby, and even moreso, that we're armed. Maybe we don't have to kill them, maybe, we can just knock them out cold like we did to the shark.

They're moving closer to the dock, raising their weapons as she speeds into a halt, and she remains expressionless as they're yelling obscenities at her. I can hear every single word they're saying, and while she may look like this isn't affecting her one iota, it certainly was affecting me. By the time I'm through with them, they'll either be dead, or begging for their piddly lives while showing her the utmost of respect she truly deserves.

My team is watching me carefully, I can feel their eyes on me, gauging my reaction, they know this is serious stuff now, they know what gets me off. Well too bad boys, they've crossed the line now so they're going to pay. When I hear them calling my partner a crude form of the word describing a certain female body part, which will remain unnamed as I do not like that word, well they'll be facing hell in a moment.

Hell hath no fury like Fox Mulder regarding his partner.

And she realizes this too, which is why she isn't saying anything. If there's one thing that has changed about the old Scully, it's her lack of self-defense. It's not that she's lost in any way, shape or form, she's still got it, but she doesn't mind me sticking up for her now, it saves her the effort.

Well it's not like she'd have much of a choice today, I certainly am not going to take a back seat in this argument.

And the indentation my sig makes while poking the flesh on the back of the first man is not nearly enough to satisfy my need at the moment.

"Hello boys."

The one with the gun in his back jumped a bit, and the others were soon to follow when they each felt one in theirs. I knew my team would back me up, always. "What's your name pal?" I attempted communication with the one that seemed to be leader. It would be much more effect to talk to him using it than just calling him what I really wanted to. I may not get the answers I want then.

"Jeremy" he pointed to the man on his left "Walt" and the man on his right "Rick."

"Well Jeremy, I suggest you, Walt and Rick throw your weapons in the water now and apologize to the lady for your comments."

"Hey, hey, we don't need to apologize to red there, she stole our boat, we just want it back."

"She didn't steal it, she borrowed it with no intention of returning it. And speaking to her the way you just did wouldn't have helped the situation either. Now, drop the weapons in the water and apologize."

"Or what? You ain't the kid or the guard, we don't need to listen to you." The kid? I know about the role of the guard, each city has one guard in charge of it, sort of like mayor, but instead of him/her being democratic, it was all authoritarian. Now the kid was something, and I couldn't help but feel that it was only validating my previous thoughts regarding Summer.

I've got to talk to Scully and fast, meanwhile, Jeremy, Walt and Rick were top of the priority list for the moment.

I jam the sig harder into his back for emphasis. Words aren't needed to tell him his options again, and after crying out from pain, his gun flew silently into the depths of the bay.

"Now your friends."

The other two stood in silence just staring at Jeremy for the word, and with another jab in his back, it came right out of his mouth, "do it."

"Now apologize."

His eyes were ablaze with anger, I bet he didn't think that Scully would have back up, well too damn bad, he's gonna suffer now.

Only...

I didn't even see it coming.

He got the better of me, within a few seconds he had managed to flip one of his legs around mind and pulled me down to the ground, taking him with me. My lungs hurt from the fall, the wind being knocked out of me and I can vaguely hear the shouting voices around me, Jeremy struggling free from my grip and only when I manage to catch my breath again I felt his fist connect with my jaw.

For a few seconds, I saw nothing, I heard nothing, except red, and the pounding my head. The pain was intense and continued to spread throughout the side of my face.

And my spleen.

My gut now felt as if it was on fire from his incessant kicking. Why must everyone kick when they fight? It would make it a lot easier for me to get up without feeling his foot pound into my hip every second or so.

"Mulder!" Scully's voice now enters the mix, and a sense of sharp awareness overcomes me and I realize where we are, what we're supposed to be doing, and who these fucks were that we're supposed to be dealing with.

"Motherfucker."

A swift roll to the left and I manage to get on my feet again, and face level with Jeremy who's still swinging his arms out in an uncoordinated fashion, leaving me to believe that he wasn't really trained to fight anyway. I may just have the upper hand again.

"Mulder!" I toss a look Scully's away again and in a second she's tossing me her sig and silencer.

He freezes instantly when he realizes I have the gun back, and am not afraid to use it.

"What do you want? If you want the boat, fine it's yours." As if I'm going to let him off that easy. I don't think so.

"Oh, I have every intention of taking the boat, whether you want me to or not, the choice to do so was never in your hands to begin with."

"I'll apologize to the lady." He turned to Scully. "I'm sorry ma'am, I shouldn't have called you what I did, you're none of the above."

"Not good enough Jeremy."

"Please, you wouldn't kill an unarmed fisherman would you?"

"Would I?"

"Please..." There must be something in my eyes now, he's begging.

"I'm going to tell you what I'm going to do, come here." He stepped cautiously forward. "Closer." He stood inches from my face.

Good enough.

And the butt of my gun came crashing down on his forehead, and my backup soon mirrored my move.

"Toss them in the water and lets move, we've wasted enough time already."

The six of us crawled into the boat and Cape May soon sped out of sight.

We were just lucky on returning before the boat took on water. Scully had returned with most of the lightweights on the first trip in, leaving only us bulkier ones on shore, so it was risky as it was in shark infested water to place six people on a five person boat, combine the weights though and it'll seem like there's seven. We took the trip much slower than we would have if there were five of us, extending the return time to two hours instead of one and a half, but none of minded that much, it gave us time to think things through, how long we may have until people realize the hag is dead and three fishermen are missing.

~(~(~(

Hopefully with their boat missing as well it won't be a problem, especially if they surface in the water and pulled out by other men, then everybody will have assumed they've just gone under, no fowl play involved. The identification documents were all important now, and who knows if anybody knew we had them. People would kill for something like this, I just did, so I'm not about to let anybody else get their hands on this.

And the team's not going to know either except for those who met the contact with me. Last thing I need is a mutiny of sorts, somebody from my own team taking the goods and run into DC on their own, hopefully looking for protection of sorts from them, or their own vengeance.

As far as I was concerned, there were only four of us who's going to know what to do with them, Scully, Cal, Bailey and I. This is DC, of course I'm going to take my two top men, especially when they each of military experience. They'd know the drill better than I do.

Word has been sent ahead to the gunmen via James and they know our schedule and our timeline, and what to do. They'll make sure our plan is flawless, they'll provide us with any necessary equipment we may need, they'll make sure everything is in working order.

And finally, they'll give us a layout of the city, hack into their files, pull the info, pull the maps, look for the weaknesses, and verify what I have learned about Summer.

Maybe, just maybe if I'm lucky they can tell me how to break the news to Scully. Lord knows I can't do that myself yet. It means destroying the one thing that kept her sane for the past six years.

I can't do it now though, this can wait until after Maryland. After Maryland I'll tell her.

First stop though, Chiquita, hopefully she'll recognize me as I don't even know where to begin looking for her there.

And hopefully this time she won't want one of my men and I won't have to kill her too. I'm getting tired of all this death, it's not who I am, its not who I wanted to become.

The sun burns down on us again, and the further west we seem to go, the more intense the heat becomes. Most of us are sprawled out in the back of the jeep, water bottles in hand and shirts off just bathing in the light, well not the women, they're still wearing their tops although I wish they'd take them off too.

We had stopped to bath at a near by spring in an abandoned cottage about an hour outside of Lewes. The water seemed clean enough, well at least compared to what I swam in just last night, and felt cool to the skin, which was a nice contrast to the blaring heat. It seemed like an endless supply, and we all took the time to bath and fill up jugs for drink and cooking later.

It almost felt like an oasis, but like all oasis, one can never stay as long as they like, we still had work to do, people to meet and places to go. We left the spring once clean and loaded up, and now we drive again.

Scully sits next to me in the back, her normally white skin turning pink from the constant exposure to the sun. She of all people should be covered; instead she's wearing a black tank top and khaki shorts. I wish we had managed to pick up sun lotion somewhere, she's going to be in a lot of pain later, and cranky as hell.

My skin has bronzed however, forming an even tan covering my arms, legs and torso, and I'm not worried about covering up, enjoying the feel of the sun on my bare chest. I never took a vacation long enough while in the bureau to tan, so I'm making up for it now. Only too bad I can't sit long enough to enjoy it.

I wonder if Scully will notice though? I highly doubt it, with men like Cal around, and Bailey who's obviously enjoying the sun just as much as I am, she doesn't need to pay attention to me, none of the women here do.

Her red hair is starting to seep through the blonde, we'll have to fix that if she wants to get into DC without being recognized. Last I heard all redheads were being shipped to Quantico, their top testing lab just because they feared her.

If that was the case you may as well throw all brown-haired men in there as well since that is my hair colour. It's a stupid reason to do something like that, then again though, I never said the new government was smart.

After all, it was run by Deputy Director Kersh until I killed him way back.

"Hold on boys, stop for a second, I think I saw another newspaper clipping."

The jeeps slow down and I jump out before it has a chance to stop all together and grab the clipping from the rock it's stuck under.

Well this certainly makes the show a little more interesting.

KERSH WOMAN CHOSEN AMERICAN WIFE OF THE YEAR

Denise Gilliland USA Today Staff Reporter

WASHINGTON, DC - It was no surprise yesterday when the people committee chose Nancy Kersh as American Wife of the Year.

Nancy Kersh, 36, stood shocked and proud yesterday as the announcement was made on Capitol Hill declaring her the 2007 American Wife of the Year, ending the three year reign of Barbara Holeman, wife of former senator Brian Holeman.

Kersh, wife of Allen Kersh, former Deputy Director of the former Federal Bureau of Investigation and current Commander in Chief, has been recognized for performing her wifely tasks beyond the call of duty.

"It's really no hassle," says Kersh. "I'm just doing what any wife would do in this situation." This situation meaning the current state of the High Commander.

The High Commander Kersh, 55, was shot in the back by the rebel leader only known as Moose three years ago leaving him paralyzed neck down and in a wheelchair. He has since been left in the care of his wife, both opting out of hiring a live-in nurse.

Kersh describes her duties as talking him out for walks in the park for fresh air, feeding him dinner, putting him to bed, changing his clothes as well as aiding him with all hygienic practices.

Her activities even extend to the office where she prepares and signs all documents for him, acting as both assistant and partner.

"I love my husband, and I'm would do anything for him. Taking care of him myself is one of the only ways I can show him how I really feel."

Continued page A12

"Hey, Scully, I think I found out who our mystery informant is."

"Chiquita?"

"No, Dover." I hold up the picture attached to the article, bearing an exact resemblance to our informant standing and smiling next to a very familiar face sitting in a wheelchair.

"Deputy Director Kersh?"

"High Commander now. I thought I killed the bastard."

One mystery solved the identity of our mystery informant. Now that I look at her picture and see her name, I do recognize her from the bureau function eight years ago. She has changed some, hair colour is off, she used to have red highlights, and it was longer back then too. Not to mention she looked more professional than she did now.

The confidence was still there though, the way she walked, the way she spoke to me, it was all coming back, and it was the same as back then.

"Do you really think she means it when she wants us to kill her husband?"

"Let me put it this way Scully, would you want to be married to Kersh and change his diaper every time he goes to the bathroom?"

The look she gives me is priceless, I'll take that as a no.

"You gonna kill him then, or at least try to again?"

"I have every intention of putting her out of her misery. I only wish I was a better three years ago then she wouldn't have to worry about taking care of him."

"She may really care about him, Wife of the Year and all that."

"I don't think so, I think it's a facade, I just don't know why."

"Well let's get moving then, I don't know about you, but I want to find out her reasoning behind all this."

The trip into Maryland was long and hard, we've been driving way too long lately, and everybody's getting tired and edgy, including me. It must the heat that's getting to us. Normally between trips we have a couple days to rest and relax, spend some time just sitting around and enjoying what we have left of life. We've been go go go since speaking to Nancy Kersh, and most of us haven't slept in over 24 hours.

We haven't been like this since the beginning of this entire mess six years ago when everything went to hell. We were constantly on the run, trying to keep alive and regain Scully's health. We could never stay in one spot at the same time fearing they would find us. They had to know that we were missing. Things have calmed down since then. They're still looking for us, but now for an entirely different reason. We are no longer a threat due to our genetic make-up, for what we know about the entire thing, we are a threat because of our activities, our attempts at shutting them down. I mean, who isn't afraid of rebels or in our case, assassins.

"Think we can take a break boss?" Poor Jon has been driving for hours now and hasn't had a chance to rest either considering he's been on the very active end of the team lately.

"After we meet this Chiquita woman. We'll rest for a couple of days before going to DC, we're going to need it."

"Nothing before hand?"

"If you want to trade off with somebody else and catch a nap, you're free to do so." I quickly motion to the other jeep behind us carrying the rest of my team to pull aside.

"We need a driver here, somebody who hasn't been so active lately. Who's been able to catch a nap lately?"

Jessica, our youngest team member speaks up and trades off with Joe. She may only be 15, but she's been trained to fight like the rest of us. We picked her up three years ago; a twelve-year-old abandoned by her parents as they fled for their own lives. Bastards. I don't know any parent who would be so selfish, well maybe mine but they're also the exception. And they're dead.

We don't bring Jessica into very many 'outings' with us, she's too young to lose, not to mention it would devastate Scully. While Jessica has never really been innocent to the world, Scully has done the best she could to protect her and shield her from the horrors of our job, and even attempted to mother her some. They're really close. I on the other hand have done my best to break her into our nomadic way of life, teach her how to use a gun and easiest and best way to kill a prospective enemy or watcher. In the past three years she has killed four watchers, and god knows how many other assassins as well as become a very active participant in covert operations and stealing information.

She's not afraid to use herself in any way to get what she needs, and I mean that in every way. It's amazing how many corrupt public officials like younger girls. If this was the old days it'd be illegal, however today anything goes, and she's not afraid to use that to her advantage.

And I'm not at all surprised she offered to take Jon's place. If he'd open his eyes at all he'd be able to see that he's her next conquest so to speak.

It seems like everybody has somebody these days, Elizabeth has Bailey, and Jessica wants Jon, Kera and Joe are hitting it off, and well, Cal is after Scully (although he knows he won't get within ten feet of her without me tearing his limbs off). Even before her death Skinner had Tammy, both of them probably the happiest couple I've seen in a long time.

"What are you thinking about?" Scully's sleep-filled voice echoed in the small corner of the jeep we were curled up in, her head still on my shoulder. It's unusual, despite the lack of closeness we've felt over the past six years; we still sleep arm in arm. That's something we never did before all this happened. It's like this damned war has brought us together, yet pulled us apart.

"Couples, Tammy and Skinner mainly."

"Hmmm...unfortunate"

"I know." She nestled in closer to my arm. God I wish could just spend all day like this, only with the emotional attachment. That's the problem, I've got to be emotionally detached here. "You going to go to sleep again?"

"No," she paused for a moment before continuing. "They were really happy weren't they?"

"They were."

"It's so rare to see happiness these days, so much violence."

Happy was not the word I would use to describe them. They were very happy, but they were more, almost confident in themselves. It's a rare quality in a married couple.

"Do you remember their wedding day? It was the one nice day of the year, no watchers in sight, nothing."

"Yeah, it was also the next day that she was killed."

I pull her closer to me, that's one fate I will not allow Scully to succumb to. "Nevermind the getting killed part, but I can see you're going to need to perform another wedding again soon." She glanced over at Bailey and Elizabeth huddled together trying to get some sleep."

"When it happens it happens. How come you're still awake? You usually sleep for much longer than what you have."

"Worried about you. You need sleep, Mulder, and lots of it."

"I'll sleep after Laurel."

"No now. I'll continue watch."

"But-" She shuffled forward in protest and pulled me against her.

Whatever, Doctor's orders, I was never one to complain about sleeping with Scully.

Her arms are warm and strong around me, easily lulling me into a light slumber. It won't be enough to catch up on all that I have missed so far, but enough to rejuvenate me somewhat. And enough to let me dream.

I haven't dreamt anything in so long that I was beginning to think that I have forgotten how to dream. Today was different. It wasn't war ravaged or survivalist like now, it wasn't a nightmarish revisitation of the past such as Samantha's abduction or the theft of my child before, it was simple, basic and pure. Something that I had never let myself see the possibility of until now.

And I don't know why I'm letting myself see the possibility; there really is no possibility.

I picture Scully and I in a different life, one where she is happy, and I am happy, with no Summer to worry about, no new government, nothing. She's a doctor, I'm a psychologist and living our lives separately.

She has her husband and her house and her children while I have my sister, and two loving parents.

Like I said we're both happy.

And I can't figure out why.

I knew the first day that I met her that I could never be happy without her, so how is it possible that I can be happy in this dream sequence?

Then suddenly it switches to something just as happy, but more along the lines of what I want, and my body shifts in response.

She better quit touching me if I want to end this without making a fool of myself...

Her hand moves up and down my leg, stroking lightly and softly over the denim of my pants. The tip of her fingers are curling against the inside, and I can feel the light touch deep within me, electrified and amplified as it traveled northward and hit home. The featherlight touches increased in their confidence and my already eager member rose to the occasion. The combination of denim against Fox Jr. was enough to set me on fire.

Her hand set in motion in time with the beat coming from the jeep stereo while other pressed itself against my chest, pushing lightly until I'm forced to lean back against the jeep wall and allow her to straddle myself.

The denim became more restrictive with each moment, and each touch cause my hips to wiggle and move some, trying to find a way to make myself more comfortable.

"Mulder..." her voice was husky and slurred as her face neared mine, the scent of her intoxicating her red lips entrancing me, holding me in a spell like stupor.

"Mulder..." her lower hand pushing further against me, rubbing and caressing, and it feels so good that I could probably die happy right there.

"MULDER!!!"

My eyes open wide and suddenly nobody is touching me anymore, and Scully who has apparently been calling my name for the last five minutes is standing on the ground outside the jeep trying to wake me up instead of rubbing herself up and down me.

Damn!

I just hope she didn't notice my current condition.

"Mulder, you're awake"

Yes, she really is quite observant.

"We're in Laurel. Let's get moving."

"Scully?"

"Yeah?"

I take one quick glance in her eyes as I quickly slide my weapon over myself and realize that she hasn't seen anything she isn't supposed and it takes some quick mental work to calm myself down, mainly the one thing that works on every man, picturing their mother in a bikini, or at least that always works on me. "Ready?"

Well 'ready' to me at the moment holds two entirely different meanings. 'Ready' to continue where my dream left off at? Oh hell yes, I'm ready for that, but 'ready' to move on and visit this Chiquita woman? No, I need a few more minutes to compose myself and think nasty thoughts.

And nasty thoughts they were. They evolved my mother in her bikini to CGB Spender parading around in a pink thong. Getting close. CGB lying totally nude on the grass sunbathing himself, a few more minutes of this and I should be able to move.

"Mulder, we can't see her without you or have you forgotten?"

Shit, no time for that, time to pull out the big guns.


I mentally prepped my mind for the images about to enter, CGB doing what we humans like to call the naked pretzel. Finally some shrinkage.

"C'mon Mulder, we have no time." She was already making her way into the town, her semi thrown across her back.

CGB Spender doing the naked pretzel with that hag Ashley...

That did it!

"Coming!" My Smith
Wesson is strapped to my ankle and my semi strewn over my shoulder as I make a quick dash to catch up to Scully and the rest of my team.

"Gee Mulder, what took you so long?" Scully throws a quick glance back at me and I realize that she's known all along...

Double shit.

The town is busy today, people crawling everywhere running errands and living their everyday life. Its nice to know that this town has remained untouched by the new government, although I wouldn't necessarily say it's uncorrupted. It's where the outlaws go, the town with the highest murder rate in all of what's left of the US. Weapons are expected here, and I know with the type of ammunition we're packing on our backs, nobody'll touch us. Well hopefully.

Once again we're looking for a woman who will recognize us, not vice versa, and in a town like this, I don't feel like waiting for long for somebody to pull us aside and introduce herself as 'Chiquita.' I'd rather go back to the jeep and continue with my dreams. They were just getting good as Scully woke me up.

Speaking of Scully, I've got to wonder what she's thinking right now. She didn't exactly catch me at my best there, well she did but she didn't. It's not something that's really appropriate to let your best female friend see especially when the dream causing it was focused on her. If I thought there was a chance in hell that it might actually come true, then by all means I'd tell her every minute detail and help her in every way possible to replicate it.

Alas it is not meant to be though, Scully and I that is. After fourteen years one would think it would have already happened.

"Hey doll, wanna have some fun tonight?" A bearded man stood next to Scully, his hand already reaching out to grab her.

I hold up and stop my team members behind me, a smirk no my face. We're here just in case the situation escalates, but I'm more than confident enough to know that Scully can disable him quickly enough.

And she does.

We can't hear what she's saying, she's speaking so low, but one look in his eyes shows us that he doesn't like what she's saying.

"C'mon guys, time to get moving, Chiquita's waiting for us, no more dawdling." We catch up to Scully and move on. Hopefully one of these street urchins around here is the one we're looking for...

Seven out of eight streets appear to be empty, vacant, like they were abandoned long ago. Much of the buildings are getting rustic, paint chipping everywhere, shutters falling off, weeds growing, etc., as if the people living here no longer cared for them. I guess they really don't. Laurel is a city where people don't own the land or homes; they just live in them for as long as they need to before moving on. The only material possessions they seem to own are the clothes on their backs, whatever money they have carrying around, and weapons. There is no shortage of weapons here, which is why I wear mine on my back and on my hip.

"Mulder, how are we supposed to find Chiquita if we don't know anything about her. I mean the drunkard in Cape May wasn't all that helpful, especially after you shot her."

"Please! Can we not bring up the hag" Bailey interjected into the conversation, "I know I'm gonna have nightmares for the rest of my life now. You do not know how much I wanted to hurt you when you said 'deal,' Mulder."

"Relax will you, you should know better by now, you can trust me. And I we'll find this girl, she's gotta be around here somewhere." "No Mulder, living with the hag for the rest of my life would be like you living without Scully for the rest of yours. You frightened poor Elizabeth here, I thought she was going to slit your throat for a second."

Now that's something I haven't thought about, how would he take to living with Ashley. Bailey knows how close Scully and I are, and how long I would survive without her, I know he wouldn't joke around like that about that. I'm feeling worse by the second, he should have trusted me though.

"I knew what I was doing, and I doubt she'd overpower me. Anyway, we're not here to discuss your current lovelife and mistresses" oh he was going to hurt me for that jab, "we're here to find Chiquita."

"What exactly is she giving us boss?"

"ID's, passports, photos, etc. For Scully, for Cal, for Bailey, and for me."

"What are the rest of us going to do while you're in DC?"

"Well I'm hoping to get a few of you in too, if we're lucky, we can copy them and go."

"Don't we already have the IDs?"

"We do, we need photos though, and that's what Chiquita's for, when we find her anyway."

"And you have" a young girl's voice appears out of nowhere.

"Tee hee."

What I see before me totally shocks me. I expected another sordid old drunkard woman, but instead I'm presented with a child in rags. Well she's not really a child; she looks to be fourteen at the most, but she's not exactly grown up either.

"You're Chiquita?" The surprised look on Cal's face as she says that must mirror mine, like I said, I expected a drunkard here.

"I'm the one, let me guess, one of you is Mulder, I'm judging it's him seeing as he looks like he has brains in his head."

We all follow her finger and end up laying our eyes on Ryan. What am I? Another pretty boy here? I've had just about enough of her already.

"I happen to be Mulder" I clarify curtly and hand over the documents. "We need photos and now, we're kind of in a hurry."

"How much will you pay me?"

Oh crap, if she so much as mentions a companion...

"How much do you want?"

"Two bottles of water and a small weapon, preferably a handgun."

Once again, I'm sure everybody's expression mirrors mine. "A handgun, what the hell do you need a handgun for? If you think I'm gonna give you a handgun, you're crazy, how can I trust you not to shoot any one of us in the back?"

"You can't, but such is life. Hey, a girl needs to defend herself somehow around here; I'm running out of options. So, deal or are you going to try to get into DC without photo identification?"

There's really no alternative other than killing her, and I refuse to end another life without suitable reason. It just means that we have to be more cautious. "Deal, Ryan, pull out the extra sig and two bottles of water, now missy, it's your turn to ante up. Photos please."

"Of course, say cheese." Instantly her camera is out and a bright white flash blinds me. "Tee hee."

This kid has got guts in order to do that. I would have been okay if she had given me some warning other than 'say cheese' before blinding me, that way I could have at least prepared myself, but no, she had to do it her way. I should shoot her right here and now and take the rest of the damn pictures myself.

"Next in line please" she called out quickly. "Which one of you broads are Scully?" She glanced down at the papers before looking up again. "You, with the red hair dyed blonde, front and centre please."

Scully stepped forward; I can see her just waiting to blow up all over Chiquita for calling her a broad. Nobody calls Scully a broad and lives to tell about it. Surprisingly she doesn't, she puts on her somber face and waits for the photo to be taken.

"Okay, two more photos, let's go, who's next?"

I call forth Cal and Bailey, both seem kind of unsure of themselves seeing the previous two performances by Chiquita, and the blinding flash of the camera. They also seem very unsure of the weapon we left for her as well. Somehow though I don't think she'll use it against us. She's not nave like most young people are, but she's not stupid either. She knows that one shot against us and we'll have her rotting on the ground so quickly she couldn't say 'tee hee' again.

"Okay, handsome, step up to the batter's plate, your turn" she waggled her finger at Cal and snapped the shutter before he could blink. Bailey however was prepared, and stood right where he was supposed to, not moving once. "Beautiful, strike a pose and say cheese."

The camera flashed once again, the rest of us thankful that we didn't have to see that horrid light one more time. This girl was too much, she's way too outgoing for her own good, she'll get herself killed in no time.

"Anybody else want any pictures taken while I've got film left?" We all look at each other with wide eyes, and a thought dawned on me.

"Do you know anything about forging papers?"

"Sure, I've done that tons of times. Why do you think I'm still alive here. I'm the only person in this city who can get you legal papers that *will* pass at the gate. Why, you need some more?"

"Two more if possible."

"It'll cost ya"

"How much?"

"Two ammo clips for this weapon, one per document."

"Done, Joe, ammo clips please." He tosses them up front and I add them to her growing pile. "Elizabeth, Monica, line up." The two of them step forward at my command. I've learned from experience that having extra women around can always be beneficial.

"All right you two, smile for the camera!"

Chiquita led us inside her shack she called a home. It wasn't that bad really considering the town she lived in and the type of people who live here. She even had her own darkroom, which was useful for her so-called career. Naturally, however, not all of us could fit in her hovel, so only the six of us who's photos were taken entered and took a seat somewhere on the dusty floor while she did her work, and looked around.

It was a basic two-room place, her dark room, and her living space. In the far corner against the wall sat an old cot, mattress torn and falling apart, but I bet it's better than sleeping on the floor, or in the back of a jeep. Mind you, neither is too bad as long as I have Scully curled by my side.

She had one chair, and it wasn't really even a chair, more like a ratty bean bag chair she made herself, although by the looks of Bailey stretched out on it and Elizabeth in his lap, it's probably quite comfortable. I don't think I'd have sat on it though, in this town, who knows what kind of dirt and germs and crap like that is going around. I'd be safer sitting on the ground.

Her table in the middle is a basic wooden table, flat top, four legs, nothing to it. The surface is rough and unfinished, and in the corner the words 'tee hee' are carved into it, as well as 'CB'. I wonder what the 'B' stands for.

Across from her cot is a water basin, well a plastic bowl to be exact, and it's clean enough to tell me she doesn't use it as a toilet. There's probably a washroom hidden somewhere in here. The water is most likely from the pump, but that doesn't answer my question of why she would be in such dire need of water.

Her shelf above her bed was stocked full of bottled water, was she just adding to her collection, or was it just in case of an emergency? With skills like she has, it's not like she can't afford to go out and just buy some.

"All righty, photos are developed, I just need identities for each one of you. You obviously cannot go in as Mulder and Scully; you wouldn't last two minutes at the front gate before getting caught and being hauled off to Quantico."

"Any ideas guys? You all pick your own names, I'm going with Justin Treveau, not very common so it should stand that I'm not a fake since it's common names they're looking for."

So Scully went with Therese Hatcher, Cal is Calvin East, Bailey is Patrick Trossol, Monica is Josephine Taylor, and Elizabeth is Elisa Grey. Simple, yet complicated enough hopefully that they won't figure us out.

It takes all of twenty minutes before the photos are set on the papers and all proper identification is thoroughly forged. I've seen professionals take hours with this stuff, Chiquita really knows her stuff.

"There we go, safe journey out, thanks for the water and protection, and while you're there, say hi to Nancy for me!" She winked and turned around.

And that's the last we ever saw of the girl known as Chiquita.

We never did find out why she wanted bottles of water, and she never did threaten us with the gun. We handed each over to her and without asking any of us to stay and watch and prove her point that she wouldn't hurt us, she opened a small wooden box with a picture of a banana on it and placed the weapon and ammo inside it, and placed it underneath her bed. She probably wanted it for protection reasons only, after all it must be tough for a kid to live in a city as bad as Laurel.

We exited her shack with the six sets of papers and photos in hand. We were set. And we were off to DC.

Well about fifteen miles outside of DC to be exact. We need a place to set up shop, get our act together and find a way to storm the place, getting everybody inside even though we only six identification papers. Not to mention finding a way to get the weapons inside. We need to plan, and practice and plan and practice again. We need to sleep and eat and gain all our energy back so we're at maximum peaks.

I need to talk to Scully, that's what I really need to do.

Everybody's nerves are on overload at the moment, my team knows what this means. We are this close to achieving our Holy Grail, however, we only have one shot at it, so it better be good. Cal, Bailey, Elizabeth, Monica, Scully and I each have our identities in hand. Over the next few days we're gonna create the lives of these people, how they lived, what they did for a living, etc...once again Mulder and Scully will cease to exist, only this time they're taking the rest down with them.

Jessica immediately heads for the drivers seat of our jeep, once we get her going, she usually doesn't stop until she tires out. It doesn't matter to me, gives me more time to think about what I have to tell Scully, to figure out a way to break the news about Summer to her.

How do I do it without letting her down? Ruining all hopes and dreams she may have of a normal life with her?

"Scully?"

Her blue eyes usually so dim are bright today as they look up at me. "Yeah?"

"There's something I should tell you..."

"Mulder, whatever you have to say, save it, I know it's not going to be good news anyway. I don't want to spoil the moment, we're about to get our daughter back."

"I know, but-"

"But nothing. After six years I'll finally get to hold Summer, she'll be mine again, like she was meant to be."

"You're not listening to me Scully, you see there's a-"

"I'm not listening to you cause I don't want this moment ruined."

"I think this is more important than the moment."

"Nothing is more important than getting Summer back. Listen" she placed her finger on my mouth, my lips to keep me silent. It was warm and all I could think about was slipping it in my mouth, damn the consequences, but instead I hold back and just listen to her. I won't interrupt, she's made it very clear that she doesn't want me to. "We have documents, we have a well trained team who know what they're doing, within a few days we're going to have a solid plan. There's no way we can fail."

I conceded then, she looked up at me with wide blue eyes full of such hope and dreams, how could I destroy it? I'd be the monster here, not Summer. "We are going to get her back aren't we, Mulder?"

The back of the jeep has become silent as the rest of the team have listened onto our conversation. I don't want silence, I want them to mind their own business and ignore Scully and I, and the look I toss them seems to do the trick, they've all moved away from us and started chatting idly by themselves.

I can do nothing but wrap my arms around her and pull her close and reassure her. "Of course we'll get her back. I promise you Scully, everything will work out in the end."

Then something remarkable happens, something I've only been dreaming of for fourteen years and obsessing about for the last 6. Out of nowhere, doesn't matter all of the team members surrounding us, she leaned in and for one second of heaven, all I could feel were her lips soft and pliable against mine, and only then I knew her sheer joy over the situation.

And I couldn't have been more afraid.

We rode for an hour before parking ourselves outside DC, I wasn't paying attention though when we finally stopped and I was asked for approval. "Sure, fine, whatever". My mind was still on Scully, and her mouth, full, swollen from our kiss only a few minutes before, and it was turned in a smile I haven't seen in six years, not since she found out I was alive and I woke up. It was really something to see her smile that full wattage smile at me back then, it being the first thing I saw, but it was even more now considering I haven't seen it since then.

I was in robot mode, doing whatever I was supposed to do, but mind not focused on the task at hand. Targets are set up, obstacle courses are created, and tents are put up all around as well as guard posts. My mind is so far off I don't even see Scully setting our tent up further away from the others, I only register it when I go to put a few items inside and it's not located anywhere near our usual spot near the fire pit.

Her only response to the questioning look in my eye is a wink of hers. She's got something up her sleeve, and she's still smiling.

We found ourselves in a secluded area of woods just north of DC; it should be no problem getting some training done here without the notice of the new government, and if we're really lucky, we may be able to avoid some watchers too. They're everywhere around DC, it's the hot spot in the US, people hoping to get in, catch people going in, or just observe and sell information.

I don't trust any of them, one minute they may be your best friend, the next they can be your worst enemy.

"Hey, Mulder!" Cal's standing two feet in front of me, waving his hand in my face, I must really be dazed here. "You okay man?"

"Yeah, just a lot on my mind, what's up?" The topic is officially closed for further discussion.


"I need you to pick a tree. You know DC the best out of all of us, which tree would be the hardest to get up and tackle?"

The trees in the area are all similar, how the hell was I supposed to compare a piece of shrubbery to the walls of DC, which were heavily guarded in all areas? "Umm...I think that one probably." I point out the first tree in front of me, a large oak with a few sparsely spread out branches, it's certainly more than a hop, skip and jump to each level.

The camp was setting up nicely, everybody doing their fair share of the work; even Scully who was helping Kera and Jessica set up the tackle ring. We haven't used that thing for months now, it'll be good to get the guys back into shape again. I want nobody slagging this time.

"I'm gonna take a walk a little ways out and contact the guys. They should be updated on the situation, I don't think they want to miss out on an all-scale war on DC, besides, we may need them."

"Care for company?"

Scully's eyes are still bright, and she's still smiling, amazingly.

So I smile back, and it feels good. "Always."

She's still smiling when we say our good-byes to the team, ammo up and take leave for the afternoon. I've got the radio in hand and want to make it several miles into the woods before I use it. We could very easily take a jeep with us, but the walk will do me good, it'll clear my mind some and give me more quality time alone with Scully to break the news of Summer to her.

Problem is she won't smile again after I tell her, and I don't want to do that after seeing it for the first time in six years. She seems genuinely happy.

I haven't told anybody yet about what I've found out, and I suspect that if I don't get it out in the open soon, I'm gonna regret it. But I'm also gonna regret wiping that smile off her face. For a change she looks alive.

The road through the woods is quiet, and peaceful for a change. Usually the silence is eerie, it gives off the sense that somebody or something is watching us, but today there's no sense of that. I still don't feel really safe here, but I don't feel threatened in anyway either.

A few minutes ago she took my hand in hers, it feels all to familiar that I'm honestly scared. It takes us six years to return to the level of intimacy we shared before colonization occurred, and I have a feeling that after Summer, it's gonna take another six years to so to get this back, that is if we aren't killed in the battle first.

"According to the palm map, there should be a clearing another three miles or so west. We can probably use the radio there, it's far enough from civilization for anybody to care about two wanderers."

Scully continues to make her calculations on the palm pilot while I pull my compass out to make sure we're in the right direction. I've certainly learned over the years that I'm not always at my best when I'm searching, my instincts have honed down some. That's where I have Scully, her's are still razor sharp, and she's not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong.

"Gunmen are going to be surprised to hear from us, it's been over a year since our last communication with them."

"Yeah, but they also understand why. It's worth the trouble it may cause, Mulder. Let's get the clearing and make the call to them, and get the hell out, I have other things I want to do tonight."

That's my Scully again, even when smiling, she's still practical as ever.

"Other things? Like what?"

"Getting in shape mainly. I have various exercises planned to help me out."

"Such as..."

"Such as never mind, however you're free to join me if you want." I contemplate the idea, a workout with Scully. Sweaty Scully, tight shirts, shorts, muscles stretching, she'd just be one hundred percent eye candy, but so much more because she is Scully.

"We enter a large clearing with a rock in the middle. The pasture is green with long grass and a few smaller evergreens, very nice, reminds me of Bambi. I never did like that movie, it was way too sad for my liking. "Good enough, Mulder?"

"Good enough." I pull the radio from my side and set the frequency to the gunmen, I only hope it still works. "Guys, come in, Moose reporting it with Squirrel."

Moose we read you loud and clear, over.

"Hey, guys, what's happening, have we got some news for you?"

You finally got laid? I looked over at Scully and flushed while she rolled her eyes.

"Hardly, we're moving in for DC in three days."

I could just picture their faces as I told them this news, and I can hear the quick scuffling of chairs to know they have all just moved in closer to the radio, so I continue. "We have identification for six of us, we're moving in, grabbing Summer and leaving. It should be a quick operation, we only need technical backup just in case."

Don't worry, we're there, anything you need at all.

"Good, locks, security, emergency, anything like that."

Good, got it. And Mulder?

"Yeah?"

Who's Summer?

Now that's the million-dollar question here, I can't break it to them without telling Scully, but I don't want Scully to continue with these delusions of finding Summer to be actually good, but I don't want to ruin her spirits yet, and not this way of telling them, but not her. This situation is getting more and more complicated by the moment.

"Summer is my daughter, Scully's daughter, what we've been searching for all these years."

I can hear the silence over on their end. I want to end this call quickly, I don't want to chance anybody tracking us down. So far so good, another two minutes before shut down.

What are you gonna do when you find her?

"Simple, take her out of the life she's in now, prevent what ever's gonna happen from happening."

You think Summer's the link?

"She's always been the link."

We're leaving for DC in half an hour, Byers, Langly and Maggie are packing up whatever equipment we need, give us your coordinates and we'll be there in two days.

"Not necessary guys, we just electronical backup..."

Shut up Mulder and just give us the damn coordinates, we're going whether you like it or not.

One minute. I sigh and give in, explaining to them our location and that they have three days to get there before we move out. We only have a limited timespace to do it in.

Thanks buddy, see ya then, over and out. I'm so gonna kill Frohike. I didn't need them out here, knowing them they'll only stir up trouble of some sort. They're the greatest friends anybody can have, and I know they'd do anything for Scully and I, and they'll do it to the best of their ability, but they still have a tendency to screw up.

Damn them.

"Come on Scully, we should head back and warn the others that the guys are coming down, I'm sure most of them want to make sure all of their weapons are stored away properly." I go to grab her hand to walk away, but she didn't let me, instead she stood in her place. "Scully?"

"Do you mind if we stay for a few minutes longer? I really like it here, it's peaceful."

"Sure." Anything for Scully.

"Come here Mulder, come look at this."

I walk back to her stand in front of her. "What do you want me to look at?"

Her eyes are a clear blue, and sparkling.

"Nothing, just this." And I find myself being pushed back up against a tree, Scully's hands on my chest, and her tongue joined with mine, in a dance we've never really forgotten.

The sun beat down on us in this clearing, and the bark of the tree was chaffing my back through the thin top I wore, but I don't care, nothing matters but the feel of her hands sliding up and down my chest. Even through the cotton shirt they were scorching, setting my skin on fire wherever they traveled, up, down, over, under and around. And I reciprocated action for action.

It didn't take me very long to register what she was doing to me, and like any hot-blooded man, I responded, but not for the expected reason. She would not be another fuck for me like some of the woman I have met over the years; she was a lifetime commitment, one I intended to follow through with whether she wanted to or not. However I think she was thinking along the same lines as I was, in all honesty, our time had come.

Her body was pressed deliciously close to mine; I could feel every inch of her against me as we continued to explore each other's mouths. She tasted like cinnamon and fruit, and I wanted to devour all of her. Her tongue, however small it was, was powerful in it's approach as it danced with mine, her lower lip jutting out just enough for me to get a grasp.

It tasted as good as it looked, even better.

My hands automatically reached for the hem of her top, trying to lift it over her head without moving even an sixteenth of an inch away from her, however the stubborn thing refused to lift. Without losing eye contact, or separating from her sweet breath blowing puffs of hair into my mouth, I reached for my dagger.

The damn shirt was gonna come off come hell or high water.

"Wait." Her voice was muffled against my mouth, my tongue desperately seeking hers as it left when she pulled back.

"No." I reached forward again, only to be blocked by a hand.

"I need a shirt to return to camp with, give me two seconds to get it off myself."

"No." I was pouting and reached to grab for her again. My lower lip was instantly pulled into her mouth like a tender piece of meat, and while still in a daze, she let go, and her shirt fell ungracefully to the ground.

And mine fell soon after.

Scully and I stood topless in the middle of a clearing against a tree on a hot and bright day, and neither of us cared much. For all we knew, there could be watchers out, watching, planning, aiming, ready to take a shot, but that didn't stop us. My fevered hands continued to explore, splay against the soft tissue and hard muscles of her abdomen, the roundness and firmness of her uncovered breasts. I've always loved Scully's breasts, so small, yet so perfect, enough to fill my hands, and my hands only. I growled at that thought.

Scully has been mine for fourteen years in mind, heart and soul, and now I'll possess her body as well, just like she possesses mine. I was made to love her, to worship her as no other man can do, and that's what I'm doing now.

The tree was chaffing, enough of this, there's a rock over there, and I guide her backwards, pushing her against it as I try to move closer, her bare skin on mine is too incredible for words, and I find it's time to pay attention to somewhere other than her mouth.

She whimpers as I move my mouth away from hers, only soon again she's gasping for breath as I find a soft patch of skin behind her ear. My mouth goes to work, nipping, suckling, whatever it can do to elicit more of those sounds. It's probably the most erotic sound I've ever heard. I want to know how else and where else on her body I can make her do that.

The exploration starts off slow, I want to memorize every detail of her, I want to know what makes her hum, what makes her moan, what would make her scream. I want to know all of her sensitive spots, all of her soft spots and hard spots, which would make her laugh, and which I should avoid for the safety of my own particular body parts.

She wants fast, I want slow, we compromise. I don't want fourteen years of pent up frustration solved in two minutes against the tree, and that's what I tell her. We don't speak; instead we let our eyes do the talking. Hers are deep blue and clouded over, glazed as if on a high, and I know my hazel eyes are just as dark and glazed too.

My hand reaches her stomach, it's flat and warm and oh so soft. I've already found a new home at her navel, where there's a nice little hollow that's absolutely perfect for me.

She's perfect for me.

"Scully? Are you okay here?" My mind has had enough sense to ask her this question even though I already knew the answer. I can tell you right now, I never imagined my first time with her in the middle of a clearing against a rock. I do have a semi-romantic side to me.

I can't tell you exactly how I pictured us getting together, there are so many fantasies that it's hard to keep track, but all of them were from before this all happened, before chaos filled our world. I guess I just gave up hope after Summer was taken from us. She closed herself off from me and gave me no indication that she even cared about an 'us'.

I was wrong.

I had her pushed up against the rock, and was readily enjoying the feel of her body when her mouth had discovered the sensitive spot on my neck, the hollow between it and my shoulder, and as quiet as I was trying to be in the clearing, I couldn't. Even I had trouble distinguishing whether the growl came my own throat, or if it belonged to a wild animal somewhere near by.

I was obviously very wrong.

Together we nipped and tugged and bit and licked and tasted and teased and explored. I explored every crevice, hollow, spot and scar on her skin. I can also remember the story behind each one of those scars too. I still have nightmares about many of them. No longer though, feeling her against me today has allowed me to recognize the fact that she's still alive and breathing.

And that she wants me.

"I'm more than okay here, Mulder, now shut up and kiss me again."

God I love this woman.

Her hands found my shoulders and she pushed herself up, pulling me closer and wrapping her legs around my waist and pulled my head down again.

Christ, I could feel her heat through my pants, and if she didn't slow down soon, I was gonna lose all control. I want this too much to let it all go within a matter of moments. Her tongue was hot inside my mouth, frantic as it dueled with mine and ran itself along the top of my mouth, once again sending shivers through me, and making me harder than I ever thought possible.

Only Scully could do this to me.

She slipped down from me and her hands went straight to my belt buckle, pulling down my pants and boxers at once.

"Oh God." I had died and gone to heaven.

Her mouth was on me in ways that I have only dreamed of a million times before in a million different ways, yet all with the same result. Even my vivid imagination compared to what I see in front of me now doesn't come close, nothing does.

I've got my arms pressed against the rock for support and despite how much I want to close my eyes and savour the moment, I can't take them off her, and how she's working herself up and down me. All common sense left my brain the minute she pushed me against the tree earlier, and I certainly didn't expect to see it again anytime soon, but somehow just a bit returned, telling me to stop this before it was too late.

Now the problem is letting the words come out of my mouth. It was an impossible task seeing as I couldn't form any sounds beyond moaning.

And was I ever moaning.

I had to stop this and now.

"Scully?" I breathed out, but automatically went silent as a hand joined her mouth and gave me a slight squeeze, not enough to be painful, but just enough to send a wave of arousal over me, taking me closer to the edge than I was a minute ago. "Scully!" It was more of a growl than anything, but good enough to catch her attention.

"You wanna say something while you can?" She was smirking! She knew exactly what she was doing. How many other men has she done this to to get it down pat like she had it now? That would be a question to ask her once we're finished. Then, after Summer, I think it's time to get a list of names and see if they're still around. After all, I'll need to keep my assassination skills up somehow...

"You have to stop."

"And why would I want to do that?" I almost exploded right then as she reached out and let the tip of her tongue touch the base.

"Oh fuck, Scully, I said stop, I'm nearing fifty here, I'm not that young anymore, I can't hold out any longer."

"Just how long can you hold out?"

Christ, another lick.

"If you knew what was good for you, you'd get the hell up and now, unless you want this to be over in less than a minute!"

One raised eyebrow, that's all I get for my command, a fucking eyebrow. Then it dawned on me; she didn't plan on stopping. Despite my warnings she wanted to continue, she wanted me to lose control while she was on her knees in front of me.

Christ!

My restraint held out long enough for me to reach for her, pull her off the ground and press her to me, "You wouldn't be getting anything if you had held on one minute longer Scully. What's the saying? An eye for an eye? How can I possibly reciprocate when I'm dead on the ground from the sheer pleasure of it all?"

My mouth slammed against hers head on; I wanted her to feel everything I was feeling, physically, mentally and first and foremost, emotionally. She needed to know what was going through my head, and how I felt about her and the situation...she had to have no doubts that whatever we were about to do, it was right. Once I cross this line, I have no intention of going back.

Her tongue melded with mine in a fevered dance, twisting and tasting and stroking and a mutual exploration as we silently shared what was happening in our heads.

Her mouth said it all; she is mine as I am hers.

That one thought however shot straight downward to the point where I was nearing pain.

My hands made quick work of her jeans, sliding them down her hips to her ankles, while she not so gracefully shook them off her feet, and I was granted with the second best sight I have ever seen, no panties. I guess in this day and age panties aren't a requirement, in fact they're rather scarce, but I never thought Scully one to forgo them. Not that I mind.


I stood there for all of three seconds before I was hit with the most powerful scents, and officially my favourite scent. I wanted to eat her alive and absorb that smell into my being.

However according to my more than ready cock, we don't have time for that, so I did the next best thing.

And did she scream as I hoisted her up around my hips, took aim, and went for the kill.

The field surrounding us disappeared into a mindless nothing, as all I could focus on was the feel of being inside her, wrapped in her heat. At this point in time, I don't care whether we were against a hard rock, or on a soft bed, I don't care whether we have mood lighting and music or silence. It's perfect the way it is; it's perfect for us.

We have lived primitively and instinctually for the last six years, it only makes sense that we cross the line that way, using primitive instincts.

And it's primitive instincts that make us move the way we do, the natural need for humans to procreate when things are coming down on them, but to Scully and I, it's so much more.

That is what this is, an expression of everything we've held within ourselves for the past fourteen years being released in one passionate fury against a rock.

But like I said, I don't care where it's being released, as long as it is.

We move together like we always have, in perfect unison, I thrust she moans, she clenches, I growl and together we go forward, edging toward what would be total oblivion.

Her cries were becoming increasingly more frantic, and I knew I wasn't far off myself, I'm surprised I've lasted this long to begin with.

"Mulder..."

She presses herself to me tighter, legs locking around my back.

My mouth searches out hers, as much as I want to make her scream, I know I can't, too dangerous. Even the dangers of the outside world remain on my mind while I'm other wise occupied.

"Too much, Mulder...."

Clench.

No, not enough, I need more of her, I need all of her, all she has to give me at this moment.

Thrust.

"I need you with me."

"I am with you."

I reach down with one hand and in a shot her cry echo throughout the skies, followed by mind. Fuck the watchers. Fuck the new government, I'm happy right here thank you very much.

I'm sure the way I was feeling was written all over my face as I returned to camp, even Cal looked resigned when he saw Scully and I enter hand in hand. I guess I don't really have to worry about him anymore moving in on my woman...although I'll never tell Scully I think of her that way. I doubt I'd be getting very many moments just like I had if she ever did find out.

My team is working steadily on the training grounds, setting up shop for the next couple of days, target areas, obstacle courses, tree climbing, running grounds, the works. We won't fail this time, we can't fail, and they understand this. They know Summer's on the line and that I will personally kill anyone of them who comes close to botching this up for me.

There's really only one obstacle preventing this from going smoothly, and that's Summer. I want to bring her home to Scully, I really do, however I know that it will be impossible. I'm starting to believe I really am related to that cancer stricken son of a b*tch, after all, I have a hidden agenda here.

This is the first time I've ever really kept anything from Scully, and looking at her now, with her eyes wide and bright for a change, I don't know if I can continue to keep this from her. I certainly don't want to.

"Scully, we still have to talk."

"I know" Her blue eyes bore into mine, but I'm sure she wasn't thinking of the same thing that I am.

"Well now would be a good time."

"How about tonight, I want to clean up. I don't know about you, but sex leaves me all sweaty and in this humidity, it's becoming rather uncomfortable and sticky."

"Okay, tonight then." Tonight would be better opportunity anyway, no interruptions, no questions, and a tent away from everybody else so nobody would be able to over hear.

"Listen up everybody. Tonight will be your last night to rest up and enjoy yourselves. Starting tomorrow at dawn we begin training, and we won't stop until just before bed. The next three days will be like this, so eat, drink and be merry tonight. You won't see another day like this for a long time." I make my announcement and sit down; I need to think things through before talking with Scully later.

We certainly aren't a quiet bunch here when we don't have to be. I can't complain, as introspective as I am most days, I love the noise; I love the sound of celebration. Ryan has an old guitar he takes everywhere, and tonight he's got it pulled out by the campfire and playing music from the eighties and nineties, old rock. I've never been overly fond of it, but we don't hear music anymore, the airwaves have been taken over and now controlled by the new government. Censorship has been enacted in almost everything, even information on cereal boxes have been censored to a degree, not like we actually eat cereal around here. I think the last time I had cereal was two years ago, and it was only half a bowl a vagrant gave to me.

With no milk.

Well tonight the music will play on. The food has come out, the bottles of wine we have collected over the years have come out (although I've put a limit on how much one can drink seeing as they need to be in top form tomorrow) and everybody's lively and dancing.

Well, everybody but me.

Somebody has to be on the look out here, we are far from out of danger, in fact we are in even more danger now than we have been in the past 6 years. Who's to say that they don't know we're coming; that radio transmission might have been too long considering what short range we are from DC. I do not want to worry the team about it though, which is why I'm on guard duty tonight. Well Cal and I.

He doesn't need to be asked to join me, he'd rather guard now and host a two person party later in his tent. Something tells me with the wine and high spirits, he won't have trouble finding somebody, there are many women in camp here who happen to enjoy his tent.

Just not my Scully, thank God.

And she's dancing too.

The last time I've seen Scully dance was the last time I danced, nine years ago at a Cher concert, and she's at it again. Tonight it's a two step quick jig that Bailey's trying to teach her.

And she looks happy, incredibly happy.

I wish I could make her this happy all the time, but I know it's gonna be short lived, she may as well enjoy it while she can, I may as well enjoy it while I can. "You two finally fucked didn't you?"

I didn't even have to look to know it was Cal, he's the only one who would put what we did so uneloquently. "Who's to say we haven't before?"

"Oh come on, Mulder, this is me we're talking to. One look at you two and one could tell you've never laid a finger on her."

"So?"

"So, I don't know why you waited till now, she obviously wanted it. All the guys here wants to fuck her, but we don't touch her cause we know she's yours, so why wait this long?"

"It's complicated."

"That's a pretty basic answer."

"It's always been complicated, right from the very beginning."

I looked back at her, her eyes were sparkling by the fire, her hair, usually a dull blond with a little red mixed in it was shining to full capacity, she looked alive. "How long have you two been together?"

"Fourteen."

"Fourteen years?!" Cal looked utterly astounded and I could do nothing but laugh. "Fourteen years and it's taken this long. Man, you must be superhuman, I'd have had her in bed after a week!"

"Oh I don't know about that, something tells me she would have had something to say about it."

"Oh yeah? You'd never know, they didn't call me Calvin the Stallion for nothing back in the day." That deserved another round of laughter from the both of us. I honestly don't remember having this much fun talking to the guy, about sex no less.

"So, how hot is she?"

"Hey Mulder!" I look up and see Scully waving me over. "Come dance with us." Oh why the hell not.

"You'll be okay on watch on your own?"

"Oh yeah, go have fun with your lady tonight. Who knows, you may get lucky again."

"Thanks pal. Oh, and Cal? She's very hot."

I couldn't help myself with that remark; I had to shove it in Cal's face. Next to Scully he may be my best friend here, certainly a great ally, but I guess as the saying goes, boys will be boys, and one can't help but brag about their conquests. Civilization as we knew it ended when colonization occurred, but locker talks lives forever.

And apparently so does Scully's smile, I could swear it grew wider as I walked toward her. This is a Scully I haven't seen in a long time, this is a Scully I'd like to see more often.

She reached and clasped my hand soundly inside of hers and pulled me around the fire, the light in her eyes even more brilliant than the dancing flame in front of me, and started to spin me around. "It's simple, follow Bailey's lead and he'll show you how it's done."

Bailey grabbed Elizabeth from the seats in front of the fire, and within moments both of us, as well as the rest of the team were doing the same jig to Ryan's music, which had turned upbeat as the more of us joined in. I had watched Scully and Bailey from a distance, and from that simple observation, I had already known the dance, but I wasn't going to let them know that.

Letting Scully take the lead, she showed me the steps, taking care on keeping her hands on me at all times, and she actually laughed when I would purposely mess up. I wanted to hear that sound again, and again, and again. That's why it took me three whole songs to figure out the first part.

And her laughter alone sounded better than the music, it was my own music that I danced to. Together we moved around the fire, skipping with each step and pressed so close that people would think we're one and the same.

Which in essence we are.

"I wish we could stay like this, Mulder."

"We can one day, I promise you, or I'll die trying."

"With Summer of course. We'll have to teach her how to dance like this once we get her back."

I pulled her closer, "yes, we will."

And so we continued to dance until both our feet hurt. It was strange not to be on guard all the time, but I'm telling you now, I didn't mind it one bit, and besides, I trusted Cal implicitly to keep watch, he wouldn't let trouble happen by else I'd be the first to hear about it. Now if it were one of the younger, newer members of the team, I'd be a little weary about leaving them alone, except Jessica, I have no doubt in my mind that she'd do whatever she had to in order to keep harm away from us. I've seen her in action; let's just say she isn't afraid to use her own body to help us. No girl should be raised like that, Scully would be the first one to tell you that, however Jessica has risen above it, it's made her stronger and I admire her for it.

Tonight she's dancing alongside Scully and I, practically draped all over Jon. I think he's a little old for her, will have to tell him so. I don't want to act all fatherly, but that's how I've come to feel for Jessica, and I've never seen Jon stay with a woman for more than a night at a time, I don't want him hurting her. Unless of course that's what she wants then by all means she can have it.

I have my Scully, that's all that matters, and she knows she has me. We haven't so much said the words yet, but we don't need to say them, not when we're so confident in each other like we are.

"Hey Mulder, we should toast something before we finish this wine." Ryan stops the music and Joe starts passing around cups to each of us, only a quarter full, but as long as something's in there, that's all that matters.

"All right guys and gals, what shall we toast to?"

"Us!" The cry came from Kera across the way. "To us and our successes over the years. Even if something does go wrong in DC a couple days from now, we'll always have our successes."

"I don't plan for failure guys, you should know that by now."

"We know, but what if your informant was setting you up for failure, that's a possibility we need to keep open."

I don't want to argue tonight, so I shut up and do the only thing I can think of at the moment. "A toast to us guys, to our past successes and failures, and to learning from our mistakes so we can succeed again."

The rest join in and soon we're all polishing off the last of the bottle, just before I catch Scully's eye and see her watching Elizabeth and Bailey as they edge off toward his tent, their purpose clearly on her mind.

"Problem?" I whisper in her ear so as not to really startle her much.

"No, I think it's great they're happy. Somebody should be."

"Aren't you?"

"Yes, but not as happy as I could be at the moment." Her eyes haven't dulled any, but I need to know what her comment mean. I see her sauntering off toward our tent, then she looks back, a different look in her eyes this time. "You coming?"

Oh hell yes.

The music faded into the night as I followed Scully back toward our tent. I now know why she pushed it far back as she did. Neither of us was exactly quiet back in the clearing. Her step had a certain bounce to it, one that I had never really seen before, and now just becoming familiar to it. I like to call it her 'I'm about to get laid again', at least I hope I'm right on that. The look in her eyes earlier indicated that it was what she wanted.

"I'm surprised she hasn't killed you yet you know." Scully's eyes were still partially following Bailey and Elizabeth, even though we were heading to our own tent.

"Same here, I thought I'd have at least one attempt on me by now."

"I wonder if that's why they're just getting together now, desperate situations always seem to bring people closer together."

"Maybe." I shrug, but then another thought occurs to me. "Are you saying we're together because of a desperate situation?"

"Have you so little faith in my decisions that you actually believe that?" Her eyes were now looking deep into mine, my god; I'm about to make her cry. "I'm with you now cause that's where I'm supposed to be, it's where I was always supposed to be. If the reason you're with me now is because of a desperate situation, you better say so now Mulder, before we continue this even further."

"No, no, that's not it, Scully. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have questioned it, I guess its just old insecurities that are speaking up there."

"I don't want any doubts here, what we have is right." Her hands came up and started playing with the hem of my shirt, tugging it lightly from jeans and lifting it slowly, the warmth of the pads of her fingers burning as they dragged along my skin, and I couldn't suppress the shudder I felt from them.

"No doubts whatsoever." I moved my mouth closer to her neck, inhaling her fragrance before diving in.

"Good, cause after this it'll be you, me and Summer, and we'll be happy."

There's that name again. No more secrets, not after this. I stop what I'm doing and grab her wrists.

"What are you doing?"

"We need to talk."

"Now?"

"Now."

It takes no effort whatsoever to pull her inside the tent, and for a reason other than the obvious, I'm glad our tent is further back from the others. The flap falls lightly behind us, and before even opening my mouth, I tie it together. I don't know why I do that considering I wouldn't stop her if she ran from me, okay, I'd try but I know I wouldn't succeed, but force of habit makes me tie it. I don't even know where to begin with this conversation, how do I tell Scully about Summer? However way I do it, I know what we have is now screwed. That much I'm confident in.

"What's so important that you have to stop my seduction for?"

"First off, there's no need to seduce me, I'm a willing partner all the way, believe me on that, and what's important is Summer, there's something I found out about her a while back that you need to know."

I've got her, she's all ears now I know. I plow straightforward, nothing better than the blunt honest truth I guess, even though I know it's gonna cause trouble. Better now than later. "I found a newspaper clipping a while back on the road, it had an article about her. It wasn't good."

"Has something happened to her? I'll kill those bastards single-handedly if so. Give me the paper, Mulder, I want to read it, I need to read it."

"No, no, it's not that." I reach into my pocket to pull it out, only it's not there anymore. "Dammit, it's lost."

"Well what did it say?"

I recite to her everything stated in it, and my suspicions about it, all the while gauging her reactions. She remained tight-lipped the entire time, eyes gone hard and cold.

And suddenly realization dawns on me, she doesn't believe me. Her next words confirmed everything.


"Damn you! This is just your paranoia speaking again isn't it, she's just a child, how can she be what you say she is?"

"I don't know, but-"

"No buts, there's no way what you're saying is possible, she's our daughter, how can you even think that of her."

"It is poss-"

"Get out of my sight! I don't want to hear another word of it, it's all lies, she can't be what you say she is!"

"Scully, you have to believe me." I'm pleading, I'm not above pleading now, for her sake and mine.

"No! She can't!" She unties the tent flap and runs, and I don't try to stop her. I had one afternoon of happiness today, I knew it wasn't going to last very long. As near as I could tell, it was going to be a very long night, I only hope she comes to her senses by the time we get to DC, I can't let anything happen to her.

I can't say my night has been spent in peace even though it's quiet out; I'm worried about her. I'm really worried about what might happen in DC if she doesn't come to her senses soon. This is what I was afraid of when I first found the newspaper article, it's the whole reason why I didn't want to tell her, but Scully has always trusted my judgment, surely she'd trust it this time. At least I hope she will.

I haven't seen her for the past couple hours, mind you, I also haven't moved from outside my tent. What I wanted to do was follow her when she ran out, chase after her and hold her and told her I lied about everything, but I can't do that, I have to let her accept it or reject it for what it is, I hope she chooses the former though.

One thing is fairly certain in my mind, what we had earlier this afternoon won't happen again, as much as I want it to. Tomorrow will continue on, business as usual. I've already started formulating the drills in my head, planned them to the letter, who's gonna lead what teams, who's gonna be on each team, what we're looking for, where we're going, how to overcome obstacles and such.

The gunmen sent me an up to date map on DC, and all of its traps that they manage to steal from their computer systems. Those of us who are going in the front door have to practice our roles; we have to make them believe we are who we say we are.

And those who are going in the back door better damn well know what they're doing. This all means though that it won't give Scully and I much time to rectify what's between us now, we have to work with this rift, and if anything is gonna fail this mission, it'll be that one rift.

As a non-believer, even I have to say this: God help anybody who suffers because of the truth, it's dealt Scully and I a bad hand and I know it's not gonna stop anytime soon.

The skies opened up on us a half-hour after everybody moved out of their beds. I guess it's suited, I've never seen a movie where soldiers are running drills in the sun, always in the rain. Actually rain is perfect, matches my mood today. Scully didn't return until half an hour ago, and I think

she's spoken all of two words to me since. If she wants to play that way, fine by me, who am I to give a rat's ass anyway.


DRILLS DAY ONE

"I want four teams put together, and only the best of the best will go in, so if your name is not mentioned, you're not entering the city, however that does not exempt you from running today's sequences."

My team stands in front of me, already soaked to the bone due to the heavy downpour falling upon us. None of them are covered in mud yet, however I'm sure that'll change within minutes.

"Team one is as follows: Cal, Bailey, Elizabeth, Monica, Scully and I. We are the ones who walk through the door; the first line of defense if all others should fail to get through. You five, over to the left, I'll join you in a few."

I see them separate and stand by a tree for shelter, Scully still refusing to make eye contact with me.

"Team two includes Yves, Jon, and Kera. You three will enter by the right wall...there's actually an underground tunnel about a mile back that should get you through." I hand Jon the map. "Jon, you'll be team leader, take care of the map, it'll tell you exactly where all video surveillance is located and how to bypass it, as well as any sort of traps that may be awaiting you down there."

The three of them step to the right, sitting under another tree for shelter.

"Team three, Ryan and Joe. You two will be together yet separated. Joe, you'll perch yourself by the main gates, and Ryan to the right wall. Each of you will act as sniper. You're job is to clear the way for the rest of us to get in, as well as a backup in case anybody in injured along the way and we need an extra man. The choice of weapons is yours, however try to choose something silent seeing as we need the element of surprise."

The two of them nod and I'm moving onto team four.

"Team four, Jessica, Jimmy and the guys when they arrive. You two seem to excel when it comes to computers and the likes, you'll be working with them. This, like the unmentioned doesn't exempt you from drills either, except with the gunmen actually arrive, then you'll go off with them. You're to follow their orders unless I override, got it?"

They nod.

"The rest of you are backup, only to go in when needed, that is why you're not exempt. Until the word is called, you sit on the sidelines. Reason is so we don't lose everybody at once, I need some people left to carry on."

They nod.

"Okay, rules are as follows."

I feel like a drill sergeant, I guess I am a drill sergeant in this case, but still, I don't want to feel like one. If I'm anything like the drill sergeants that Cal worked with in the past, then God help us all. Seeing drill sergeants in the army and marines is one thing, a drill sergeant for the Seals was probably even worse.

Which is why Cal will be helping me head up the drills today. With his background, we should be able to get everybody into shape in no time at all.

"Rules are as follows, EVERYBODY participates, including Cal and I even though we're heading this up. Nobody is allowed to drop out, and nobody is allowed to leave a run unfinished. If you screw up and can't finish it the first time, you're gonna keep doing it until you can finish it. Then you're gonna do it again and again and again until you're perfect at it.

"Your teammates are your family now, the people you're going to be working closely with right until the end. There is to be nothing but absolute trust between you and them. If you're going to fall, they are going to catch you; there will be no question about that. Same goes if you see them fall, you go catch them. You will not leave any of them behind, either in drills or in the actual event. You stick together until the bitter end.

"Today we start with the basics from wall climbing and dropping, crossing between trees one hundred feet apart on a single rope tied between them. The rope will be no higher than eight feet high however just in case. I suggest you wear pants and your gloves for that one, I'm sure Elizabeth won't have any time at all today to deal with rope burns while she's doing her own drills."

The team looks up at the rope I've set up between two large oak trees. There are no real branches low enough to the ground for them, only the odd stump of a branch sticking out. They'll have to climb up to the rope. They know this, although I know they don't like it. Tough luck.

"We will then continue with ground work. Running, jumping, climbing small obstacles, crawling underneath obstacles. In the far field you will notice many ropes set only eight inches above the ground. You are to crawl underneath without touching them.

"In the evening, we will put it all together in one massive drill, teams competing against teams. Winning team will get an early night; the rest of the teams will run the drill one more time before crashing.

"We will break three times only today. Once for lunch, once for dinner, and once before final drills so you can collect yourselves together. I suggest during those breaks you consume any water you want to and use whatever facilities available. There will not be another time to do so. Any questions?"

No questions, just the sounds of multiple groans over the schedule of their day. Good, that's what I want to hear. If they were actually excited I'd have to add extra courses to today.

"Great, lets go, Team one and two, we start over at wall climbing. Three and four, you're on the tree rope. MOVE IT!"

The rain poured down all day, relenting only in time for us to make a switch in activities. It had taken all morning for us to tackle the wall, many people unsure of walking down at a ninety-degree angle without falling. It was all about trust, something these people seemed to lack today. You had to trust your team, they would be the ones supporting you, and yet, we still had troubles with the wall.

We all wore gloves and pants to keep away from rope burn. For the most part we were successful; I had let the rope slip a bit due to the rain and ended up with a nice red mark on my forearm, however I will live. I'd bandage it, but I'm sure even that won't protect it from the rain or mud, so I don't even try.

Cal and I had demonstrated the drop numerous times. It was very simple really, wrap the rope around your waist, and then around your hands. When at the top, lean all the way back until you're perpendicular to the wall, and drop. Slowly jump down the wall. Keep your feet spread at shoulder length, and push and drop. I don't know why some of them were having trouble with it, but if you trust the person at the top with part of the rope, then really there is nothing to worry about.

Climbing the story was a different story though. All of us managed to do that fairly quickly, each being able to pull our own weight. Once Cal and I managed to get to the top, we grabbed the ropes and helped the others along. Not a single one of them had trouble from that, other than sore arms.

Tough luck, they can remain sore. They know this isn't a spa vacation here.

Mid-morning came and we switched, now heading to the tree ropes. If they thought climbing down the wall was fun, they ain't seen nothing yet. Cal, in demonstration quickly climbed the tree, using every knot he could find in it. Of course it won't be as easy for everybody else as it is for him, he's a trained seal, but they'll learn. Facing toward the tree he wrapped one gloved hand around the rope, and the other behind it. Slowly he repeated the gesture, moving each hand behind each other until his feet could barely touch the tree anymore. At that point in one fluid motion he swung his legs up and wrapped them along the rope, and pulled himself to the other side using just his hands.

It was not as easy as he made it out to be. Over the course of the morning the rain had poured down hard enough to create a pool of mud underneath the rope, and with the wet rope and gloves, many of us including myself found ourselves falling into the pool.

By lunch I was covered in mud, however every one of my team members had successfully crossed the rope three times each. We were hungry, and ready for a break. The fire from the night before had long since burnt out, however it didn't prevent any of us from sitting on a nearby rock to soothe our aching muscles. Only this time, instead of sitting next to me, Scully sat at the opposite end. She wasn't speaking to me, she wasn't looking at me, she wouldn't even glance my way.

I wanted to find a way to crack through that wall she has built around herself, only I know this time I can't, she's the only one who can. She has to believe what I said or learn for herself when the time comes. I hope it doesn't come to that, but she's a good agent, she always has been, and one thing I know for sure, over the past six years not only has she learned to become stronger, both physically and mentally, she's also honed her instincts down to a 'T'. She's one of the few of us who can sense trouble before it happens. She'll come around soon.

The lunch break didn't consist of much and didn't last very long. I'm lucky; I managed to grab a piece of fruit and some water before the rest was taken. It doesn't matter really, I can live off one piece of fruit.

The twenty-minute lunch break was up and we were welcomed back to the open field by another torrential downpour, which didn't let up till after dark. All after noon I found myself either crawling in mud, or slipping on it after jumping waist high walls. None of us were clean. Each one of us had mud covering us from head to toe, my black jeans and shirt now brown, my face smeared and mud underneath my hair probably caked to my scalp. Even my small beard was caked with mud. I've never liked it anyway; I'll shave it off tonight, that way there's less chance of it getting in the way of anything.

The hurdles I didn't mind so much, it was crawling on the ground, whether on my back, which I had to do at some points underneath the ropes, or crawling, almost worm like on my stomach, using only my arms and hips to guide me. Knees are useless, if you bend them, it'll stick you're ass in the air and make you noticeable. No knees, arms and hips only to wiggle.

I had to say though that crawling in the dirt was more fun than crossing a rope between trees. My arms certainly weren't sore from it. The best part was after only a few rounds of it myself; I could turn back to drill sergeant.

Cal and I spent the majority of the time walking alongside people, helping them if they weren't doing it properly, and most of all, making the team redo everything until it was perfected.

We did time runs. Our goal was for the team to finish the course in thirty seconds. Our first run was over two minutes.

We had a lot of work to do today, I don't intend on anybody not knowing what do in two days time on instinct. At the end of all this, my team will have learned not to think, only to act.

And to act right.

"Fifty-five seconds!" I stood with a stopwatch in hand as everybody ran through the course, and they looked semi hopeful at the time they managed to complete it in. Who am I to keep hopes up anyway? "Not good enough, again! I said thirty seconds and I mean thirty seconds. Less if we can, but not more."

Cal and I had to chuckle at their groans as they all took their positions again at the beginning of the course. "Mulder, as much as I agree with this training of yours" Scully actually speaks again, I'm actually surprised at it, although I already know what she's going to say. I let her continue anyway. "We all need a break, bigtime. We've just spent almost the entire afternoon running through this course on our own, then in these time drills. We're exhausted, *I'm* exhausted. Keeping us up like this is only going to make us go slower, not faster."

"Sorry Scully, but DC isn't going to give you a break. If you go too slowly there, they'll kill you. You know that, I know that, we've seen it happen before. If you feel tired and rest there, they'll kill you. Hell, even thirty seconds can seem slow, especially to a trained marksman, so no break. We work till we get it to thirty seconds. Once we run through it twice at thirty seconds, we'll break for dinner. This time it'll be a longer rest while Cal and I plan the final 'activity'."

"Mulder, you're not being fair."

"So what, life isn't fair. Has any of the past six years been fair to you, Scully? Is DC going to be fair to you? You weren't fair to me last night, but we're not going to go there right now in front of everybody else." At this point I'm yelling, and I don't care anymore. "We work, despite all issues of fairness. Nothing will ever be fair in this world, so we're not even going to contemplate the very idea. Now, back to your places."

Cal stood by me smirking. Oh boy, was I ever going to pay for that. He knew it too, he was probably counting down the hours till my impending death to take over as command and sweep Scully off her feet.

No chance in hell buddy. "Three, two, one....GO!" The team sprang to life and ran through maneuvers again. This time faster, but not much and I could see them all catching their breaths as I uttered the now famous words. "Forty- five seconds, AGAIN."

We finally made it to thirty seconds after several more long trials. I think my team hates me, I really do. Cal is laughing at them, and they're all grumbling to their spots by the firepit for dinner. None of them are looking at me, much less talking to me. I'm tired too though. They're forgetting that I had to run it with them every time, however I have a driving force behind me.

Summer.

So does Scully, she seems to be getting through no problem, and Cal is doing fine too, but he was also a US seal, he could run the course in fifteen seconds flat probably. It's the rest of them that I know are going to hate my by the time I'm through with them. Maybe I'll make the dinner rest an hour and a half instead of an hour. It'll give me more time to set up the course for the night.

Dinner is light, although heavier than lunch. Cal while waiting for the rest of us to finish had managed to snag a rabbit, so in between runs he was prepping it. Now you may think that rabbit for dinner isn't light, but it is when you've got to ration a small rabbit to 15 20 of us. Nobody's vegetarian, it's too unhealthy to be a vegetarian now. Back when we were all citizens and not rebels we could shop for our food, we could cook it to our liking. We could put different foods together whenever we wanted to suit our nutritional needs.

Not anymore.

We're lucky if we can eat all four basic food groups in a day. I haven't had milk in ages, I'm surprised my bones aren't crumbling a lot. It's also harder finding iron rich foods and even some potassium. So when now we eat what we can, and if it includes rabbits, then we eat rabbits.

The group sits staring at it as it roasts over the fire; I swear I could hear all their stomachs grumbling. Another reason I chose an hour and a half, we have to let it digest some. "Hey Cal, how much longer pal."

"Gee Mulder, I didn't realize you were that hungry, you didn't go through as many paces as the others."

"The others also didn't do the displays and didn't set up the course. Besides I've got to have time to set up for tonight, and you better believe I'm taking a part in that. It'll just be like breaking into the city almost."

"Another fifteen minutes and it should be done, relax and sit down." He tossed me a bottle of water, which I gratefully accepted. My throat was parched from the constant yelling and 'drilling' and such. The water was much needed and I would have sighed at the relief from the cool liquid running over it, if my mouth weren't full from it. I wasn't about to stop drinking just to sigh.

The smell of the rabbit roasting was becoming almost too much for my stomach. I hadn't eaten all day, usually that's not a problem for me, but after running those drills myself I find myself getting very hungry.

I glance over at Scully and can see she's in an animated discussion with Kera and Joe. I wonder what they're talking about. I'm hoping it's something to do with relationships seeing as Kera and Joe were once engaged. I guess they still are, but chances of getting married legally around here are slim to none for rebels. They'd rather throw a noose around your neck then marry you. Sad really.

We were lucky with Skinner and his former wife. We found a Native priest (yes, there are some still around) who was willing to marry them. However I doubt will see any in this neck of the woods. We need another wedding around here. We need something cheerful. After DC we'll set a wedding for them, come hell or high water I'll find a priest or Chaplain or somebody to marry them. I want to see them happy, even though they already are.

"Mulder!" Cal interrupts my thoughts, however with good reason. The rain had come back again, this time pouring down harder as everybody is running under trees for some semblance of shelter. "The rabbit, help me cover the fire some, we need to keep it going."

I grab a tarp from a nearby tent and grab three others as we hold it high over Cal. The smoke instead of rising up however is hitting the tarp and filling up underneath it pretty fast. "Somebody grab a knife and put a hole in it." I shout, but nobody moves. They're all standing under the trees just staring at us. "Do it! Not over the fire, to the side of it, but if somebody doesn't put a hole in it soon we're all going to get sick due to smoke inhalation and the rabbit will be ruined."

This gets a bit of a stir, and Chuck runs up with his pocketknife, cutting a nice sized circle in the tarp about a foot away from the fire. We all breathe as it slowly shifts its way from underneath and through the hole. I definitely need this hour and a half break now. And once again, my throat is parched. I'm getting too old for this.

We stand like this for another 10 min, and finally the rabbit is done. The tarp gets thrown to the side and we all dig in happily.


Well as happy as one can be knowing they're just going to be running maneuvers again in a short while.

The rabbit doesn't go very far between all of us, maybe just a small piece it, but still, it is better than nothing. We eat nuts and dried fruit along side it, and the last of some vegetables we plucked from some poor schmuck's garden a while back. Still it isn't very much, and by the time we're finished, I don't find myself nearly satisfied as I could be. I guess nobody else is as well. We'll make do though, we always do. I just hope we can make it through the next few days. Once that's done I'm sure we'll succeed. I feel that we're ready, or nearly ready, and that says a lot. Like I said before, I've seen one of my best men killed because he didn't think when he tried to get into DC. Nobody will make that mistake this time, I guarantee it. And they know that whoever isn't ready will get left behind, and as far as I know now, nobody wants to be left behind. Each and every one of us has a reason for attacking the new government.

All of us, at some point over the past six years have had someone dear taken from us. Bailey, his ex-fiance, although I'm sure Elizabeth doesn't really mind that. Her and Cal, their parents, and the list goes on. All of us want revenge in some way, well all but James, he's just a patriot, so all of us are going to give it one hundred percent when going in.

This is why I think the whining is just that, whining. In the long run, I'm sure they don't mind the trials I'm running through. Speaking of which, I call Cal and Bailey over to help set up the final run through. It's a combination of everything. It'll be the reason why they all worked so hard today; it's going to be the first stage of the set up of DC.

Tomorrow will be the second, but we'll get into that then. Cal is leading combatives tomorrow while I trek out in the morning in search of supplies. They should enjoy that much more then running in the mud.

The high rope and wall are left where they are, it's the hurdles and the crawling grounds we need to work around with today. Each of us grab the large planks of wood we've been using to jump our way over, and move them around the threes in question. I also grab another rope, a surprise of sorts and manage to climb one of the trees and tie it securely to a branch. Although we didn't run through this routine this morning they all know what it is. Each and every one of them had to do it at some point in gym class, and I know they've done it before while on my team in monthly skill's sharpening day.

The rope is not knotted, because it won't be in DC, but they all have gloves, they should be able to survive. Cal doesn't seem the least bit surprised that I put it up, despite us having to do a rope climb on the wall. The thing is the wall requires support, what if somebody has to climb a hole in the ceiling and they start in the middle of the room? There's no wall nearby to offer them support while climbing.

Several of the team are watching me, probably watching in dread as I tie it to the tree and wondering what other slave driving I have in store for them tonight. However tonight is going to be an easy night, it's tomorrow they all have to worry about. Then the following day when we all meet and plan with our own teams.

Cal and Bailey and I also use the time for the common guy chat, although I really have nothing to say about anything. Both of them have been aware of Scully's lack of communication with me...well okay, excess communication since I could read her body language loud and clear, but they know it's been negative. Not to mention my little outburst at her earlier today.

We continued to move along the course, reviewing each section and what people are supposed to do when they reach each section. We stop however when Bailey points straight ahead. "Hey, are those what I think they are?"

Cal and I look up from the ground where we were marking our pacing; astounded at the site we see in front us, how could we even miss it? Especially when we're as hungry as we are. "Macintosh I believe by the looks."

"Are they ripe?"

"Looks like it." Cal makes quick work of the closest branch and pulls it down to eye level. I reach and grab an apple and twist it off the branch. It looks red enough, and clean. I turn it slowly gazing at the surface, clean with a patch of green on one side, and no insect holes. All three a good sign. "Hey, somebody pass me their knife, mine's dirty from the mud.

"Here, I keep a spare dug deep in my boot, it's fairly clean." Bailey tosses me a small switchblade, and I peel back the skin of the apple. "Well does it look good or not?"

"White, and looks juicy." One more flick of the knife and I cut a fresh piece from it and pop it into my mouth, savoring the sweetness of the apple. "September/October" I mutter.

"What?"

"September/October. That's when Macintoshes are usually ripe. It means we're nearing if not already in the fall season."

"So it's ripe?"

"It's ripe. Come on, we'll grab one for everybody now and then come back later tonight and give them each another. It looks like we have a food source for the next couple of days, we just can't waste them."

I can honestly say we look like a bunch of monkeys. We pick the apples from the top of the tree first knowing they're the first to fall prey to birds and such, and we can't let that happen. So I'm at the top while Bailey and Cal are at the sides, all of us trying to balance ourselves as we pick apples. When I signed on to be a G-Man so long ago, never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine climbing trees in the middle of nowhere for food.

I guess it's not what anybody really imagines.

"How many does everybody have?"

"I've got five good ones."

"I've got seven god ones."

Five plus seven, twelve. Not bad, only a few more. "Why don't you two try to get down, I'll grab the rest."

By the time we returned to the camp, the team was setting up for the final leg of this evening's activities. I knew they didn't mind the slave driving so much. "Take an extra five minutes guys." I toss an apple to each of them, all of them just as astounded as we were. "Five minutes we'll start. If everything goes well tonight, there'll be more where these came from." Hey, I'm not the first to buy my team's favor; one has to do that every once in a while you know.

I don't even glance at Scully as I toss her apple to her, just move on and toss the next apple to the next person, and soon enough there was silence in the woods with the exception of everybody taking bites from their apple. Hopefully this'll score me bonus points, especially with the three teams who end up losing tonight's maneuver. They're not going to want to redo it while the winners sit comfortably by the fire for the evening.

Once I have their complete attention, I continue on with my spiel regarding the maneuver for tonight.

"Two teams tonight, instead of breaking our group into one and two, then three and four, we're going to split things up a bit. Teams one and three will be team one and teams two and four will be team two. That way we have a mix of people who learned this afternoon's activities in a variety of ways. Not to mention even though we're separate teams going in, we still work as one and we have to trust each other to get the job done right, no matter what the job is. So we're mixing our skills this way.

"Course is very simple, yet no easy task as well. It's going to be a mix of everything you learned today. We start off simple. To the left of you are a group of trees, dense and thick. You're going to move through there, trying not to get caught. I've set up several traps along the way; you'll figure it out while you're in there. Nothing hard, just a task to keep your eyes open.

"Once you make your way through the trees, you'll come to a river, about ten feet wide, it's shallow, but we're going to pretend it's deep. There are two tree trunks acting as bridges. Make you're way across, however don't fall else you're out and I'll make you run the course again. Falling marks failure, I will not risk the failure of any of you in DC.

"Once you cross the bridge you'll find the climbing wall. This one however is higher, eleven feet. Make your way up and then you'll find a rope which connects to the other tower, like the one between the two trees. This one however is three times as long, still only eight feet above the ground though. Cross to the other wall and climb down the wall and continue on.

"You'll come to an open field with several logs knocked over, and ropes. Keep your eyes out for those, they'll signal when you have to crouch and crawl and when you don't.

"At the end of the field there are two poles, each with a red flag. Last person to arrive to the post grabs the flag, that way the entire team is there. Then you're doing the course again, but backwards. By the time you get back here there will be one pole here set up, with a blue flag. Last man from the first team to arrive grabs the flag and that team wins. The other team will then run the course two more times again before settling for the night. Any questions?"

Everybody immediately started talking at once and I knew I had to get things under control. "Hold up! One at a time. We'll do this just like we're in school, hands up if you have a question and I'll call on you."

Chuck's hand went up first. "What about you, Mulder? You and Cal know all the traps on the first run. Everybody can just follow you guys of sorts."

"Actually they can't. Cal and I won't be on first run; it'll even the teams out though. However we will be running the last two runs with the losing team since they will already know the traps set up. So we're not exempt from it either."

Jon's hand went up. "That's still not fair, Mulder. Some of us will have three runs while you and Cal only have two."

"We also worked out butts off setting this thing up, moving things over, knocking things down etc while the rest of you were relaxing and eating. Not to mention tree climbing. I think that's equal to a third and fourth run of the course. Besides, the course does need monitoring. Cal will be stationed with the red flags; I'll be by the blue. I'm also looking at timing guys. If timing is really good, I may cut it back to one run for the losing team, not two."

Scully's hand shot up and I found myself swallowing a lump in my throat before allowing he to speak. "You can't possibly expect us to run the course a second time do you?"

"I can and do expect it of you, like I said earlier, this extensive training I'm putting you through is no joke. Everybody's equal here, and I expect everybody to excel, that doesn't mean though that I can't push them or you to their limits."

"You don't seem to be equal amongst us." Her eyebrow was raised; I was getting the famous Scullyglare, one that I always hope to avoid.

"I am also running the course. There has to be somebody to coordinate all this. *I* know what DC is like, *I* know how easy it is to lose a life there, I saw our last guy dragged off there. And foremost both *you* and *I* know what's at stake here. I'm sure you'll whole heartedly agree to what I'm doing."

"Don't bring Summer into this, Mulder."

"And why not, she's the whole reason we're going in to begin with. No slip ups, no screw ups. Everybody knows what they'll be doing. This course will ensure it."

I had finally had enough questions at the moment to last me a lifetime, not to mention I didn't want to get into another verbal battle with Scully in front of everybody. Why couldn't she see I was right anyway? I signal to Cal to make his way to the other flags via the quick route and lined up the others along the beginning.

Once I received a signal he was at the other end, our agreed one shot in the air, the others were off, and I was left at the finish to think things through. I have to find a way to convince Scully that her belief in Summer at the moment is only going to cause her trouble.

I used the time alone to think and contemplate, it would be a good hour before anybody returned, and that's the fast ones only. People like Jimmy and Deneka who hates to run will most likely slow the group down. Then there are those who are exhausted from today's earlier exercises, they'll be slower too, so technically i had all the time in the world here. I knew what we were heading into, and I let Cal and Bailey in on it earlier on the walk back from the apple tree. The three of us were prepared, and Bailey knew to prepare Elizabeth for it as well, however it was Scully we were concerned about.

We hadn't mentioned it to Monica yet, although I plan on it. Maybe she can enlighten Scully onto the fact that I'm telling the truth here. Scully seems to trust her sense of perception, her sixth sense, so maybe if Monica can convince her, I won't be so worried about the whole operation. Tonight I'll speak to her and I'll let her work on Scully for the next two days, that's if she can get past her stubborn pride.

I still needed to figure out what to do with Summer. I asked the boys this earlier in the woods, and will probably ask the Gunmen when they arrive, but I wasn't totally positive I'd leave DC with her in hand. I don't know how bad things are, I only know what I read, and even though I don't like what I've read, I don't know if I can change things. I certainly hope I can, but we all know there's a possibility I won't be able to.

But what then?

What if I have to do something drastic? What if I can't leave it alone? You all know me, I can never leave something alone. I know I'm going to have to take one course of action or the other, I can't just ignore the problem, but right now, all I want to do is close my eyes and forget this ever happened, that this world even exists, forget everything. Well everything but Scully.

She was another situation completely. If I can't do what I want with Summer, where does that leave me with her? Closing my eyes is sounding more and more pleasant by the minute, just Scully and I, somewhere, anywhere, but here.

I was on cue with the hour mark when the first member started running in, and to my surprise, it was Deneka, and she had the red flag in hand which meant she was the last member of her team to arrive at the flag, so how did she manage to come in first here. I eased myself off the ground, yes, I'd been sitting down leaning against a tree while the team ran the course, can't say much in my defense about it either.

The second team member, Chuck, also from her team came running around the corner, and soon I saw three, four, five more people all making their way around, urging their last player to speed it up to make it to the blue flag first. I kept track the members, team two had two more left to arrive while team one had three. I hope team one wins, needless to say I don't really want another argument with Scully. It took a lot already to get her to run this course, I can't imagine trying to get her to run it two more times. Or hell, one more seeing as their timing was half way decent.

She was one of the first to arrive from team one, I'm not surprised about that, we've kept fit over the years being able to run for a while if we have to. We've had to before. When your truck breaks down and you've got alien authorities on your tail, all you can do is run, miles and miles at a time. I also happen to know she has the energy to do the run a second time if need be, but can I make her do that? Probably not.

I can play on Summer again, but there's only so many times I can use the kid as a card in this game with her, and so many times Scully will actually take shit from me. She's only doing so today cause she knows I'm right in making everybody work. Who's to say the rest of the night will be the same.

Hell, even with all this training I'm putting them through, I don't even know if it will be enough, or if I even need to put them through this much. Only one way to find out.

The last of team two, Jimmy, comes running up and grabs the blue flag, leaving team one, Cal and I to run the course. I give them the out, tell them one run instead of two...he and I will be at it an extra hour.

Scully gives me a glare then walks off, this is a battle lost, I cannot and will not force her to run again. Tonight for sure I'm talking to Monica, and tonight, hopefully, Monica will talk some sense to Scully, at this point I'm counting on her.

Running the course myself, I clearly find that I've set the limits a little too high. At this point we've only cleared the first field and I'm almost wiped. Like everybody else, I know what to expect here, where to duck and where to jump and avoid hidden objects. They all discovered it through trial and error; I knew where they were hidden the entire time. As did Cal. He, Bailey and I run side by side, fortunately for Bailey he only has this run to go on, he doesn't have to follow suit with Cal and I.

Over the past week with planning, the three of us have become fairly close, not like Scully and I, but close enough that I consider them friends above team members. They are also my best men, which is an added bonus, and with all the planning, we talk about things other than what's going to happen. They're the only ones I feel safe talking about Scully with, other than Doggett and Skinner, who are both not here and currently residing in Cuba, no doubt developing a killer tan.

Damn them, here I had to get my tan through hard work, at least in the winter I don't lose it, we just spend our time out in the former states of Florida, New Mexico, or depending if we're that far west, southern California. It's just traveling through the other states that are a pain in the winter, although I like those nights best. I'm pressed close to Scully for body heat, and everybody has to share a blanket, no person bunks alone.

I hope on the log over the river and cross it as swiftly as I can without losing my balance, it's certainly not as easy it seemed when I thought it up. At least none of the team members got lost in it that's a bonus. All of us make it to the other side without too much difficulty. Now time for the wall. The wall is easy, I used to climb trees at the vineyard after Samantha was taken and just stare at the stars above me. I've been adept at climbing things ever since, and I'm the first to make it up and grab the rope to cross over.

None of us speak during the run, it would require too much energy, energy we can't really waste needlessly at the moment, especially Bailey since this is his second run. Tomorrow I'll set the standards of the course a little easier seeing as we're combining today's stuff with combat and weaponry that they'll learn tomorrow.

I continue to hang onto the rope as I make my way across to the other tower, thankful for thick gloves knowing that my hands would have been chopped to pieces from rope burn without them. This is the hardest part of the course, of course it could be much worse, I could be trapped in a snow tunnel with aliens up my ass instead, so I'm kind of thankful of being in the air at the moment.

I chuckle at that thought and the others turn to me. I flash them a look, 'later' and we continue on, hoping we're not suspended in mid air for much longer.

We manage to finish the first run without collapsing and the second with a slight lapse on the wall. Despite Bailey having run his two runs, he joined us on our second, making it his third. He's fucking nuts. Even I won't run this thing a third time, although I know it's a good sign. The boy has initiative and I can trust him in any given situation. He can trust me too, I know this, he was forced to trust me when dealing with the hag. I certainly didn't let him down. I wasn't allowed to, Elizabeth would have me dead six times over.

Upon the end of the second run, I collapsed by the fire where the others were enjoying themselves, relaxing and talking amongst themselves. Honestly, I'm wiped; I'm definitely getting too old for this. Tomorrow fortunately I won't be making the run; I'm not even participating in combat. I'm laboured for breath and I don't even want to move. I'm so exhausted at the moment I can't even think of moving let alone trying to. Bailey must feel worse, however he gets to bask in the glory of being exhausted, he has Elizabeth taking care of him, I have nobody, Scully's still pissed at me.

"Here, drink."

Although not pissed enough to forgo bringing me a bottle of water. I look up at her as she brings the bottle down my now parched lips and I savour the feel of the cold water entering my body, although not nearly as much as I savour the sight of her standing over me. I wonder what's brought about her change of mood though, does she finally believe? Did she find the article regarding Summer herself? Although how can she when it's still in my pocket?

I look up at her with inquiring eyes, my mouth too full of water to speak.

"No, I haven't changed my mind, but you're still my partner, Mulder, and I will still fight next to you." She kneels down next to me, her hand cool from the rain reaches out and touches the side of my face. "I just can't promise you I'll fight with the same goals, that's all."

I lift the bottle away from my mouth at this point, what the hell did she mean by that? I should be grateful she doesn't want this to put a gap between us, but I'm still confused.

"Same goals, Scully? What do you mean?" I narrowed my eyes at her. I need her on the same wavelength as me if we're to succeed.

"I know what you want to do to Summer, Mulder, I've heard you talking to the others, I'm not going to let that happen. I'll fight with you all the way until we reach her, however once there you're on your own, I'm going to do everything to protect my little girl."

"Scully, she's evil."

"She's six years old, there's no possible way for her to be what you say."

"Think about it, Scully, she was raised by a geneticist who works for THEM. Who's to say that she didn't change her into anything."

"She's part of us, they can't change her from who she really is deep down inside."

"They can, especially since they raised her from birth. Scully, there has been several experiments of raising children to who parents want them to be. Want them intelligent, educate them and interact to them while young. Want them vulnerable, cold, untrusting, abandon them, leave them alone. What you do to a child in the first five years will impact the way they behave and think for the rest of their lives. It's the easiest way to mold them to what they want."

"Do you think I don't know that, Mulder? I'm a doctor, they teach that to us in med school. Not to mention I did take a psychology course or two in my time. I'm not totally oblivious to the way it looks, but I highly doubt she's as bad as you say."

"But Scully-"

"No buts. Look at the facts, she's six years old, she belongs to us. She's going to have an intuitive instinct about us, she's not going to hurt her biological parents."

I pull myself up from the rock I was resting on and the water bottle back to her. I see I still have a lot of convincing to do, but I've achieved step one, she's willing to acknowledge some of what I see. Now to get her to acknowledge the rest of it. "I'm just trying to look out for you, Scully, I don't want you to get hurt."

"I won't Mulder, I'm certain in this, she won't hurt us. Not when she recognizes us for who we are."

I reach for her hand and proceed to walk us to our tent; I'm ready to pass out for the night. "I hope you're right Scully, I really do."

My clothes are soaked through from today's rain and stained with mud. As a kid I remember how much I used to love to play in the mud, just because we weren't allowed too...when did the novelty of it all wear off? It does remind me though, I need to wash, and shave, although I may just trim the beard instead seeing as the picture on the passport has me with one. Even still the features are the same, with or without a beard, I'm sure I'm pretty identifiable. It will also be easier to work with inside without one, I don't have to worry about it getting caught on anything, or allowing a stray hair block my view, it's happened before. I'll still miss it's warmth though, it's proved very handy in the winter seasons.

"What are you thinking about?" Scully interrupts my thoughts, and I realize I'm just standing there with my shirt in one hand, and my other resting against my cheek.

"I need to bathe and get this mud off of me, and I need to shave."

"Well there's a river just down the way there, I'm sure we can get you cleaned up in that. Do you have any shaving cream?"

"No, haven't needed it in years."

"Hold on." I get a generous view of Scullyass as she bends down and digs deep into her bag, pulling out three items. One is a pair of scissors, one is a razor, a decent mens one at that, and the last is a pink can of foaming shaving cream.

"Where did you get those from?"

"Black market of course. Mulder, I'm a woman, and when I wear shorts in the summer I don't wear pantyhose. While I know this isn't necessary, it's one of those things that is force of habit. Six years in a living hell isn't going to change that. Besides, don't you want to smell like baby powder?"

I must have wrinkled my face at the thought cause the next thing coming out of her mouth had me convinced that baby powder was the best thing in the world. "Come on Mulder, after smelling like dirt for six years, baby powder is going to make me want to do some wonderful things to your body, things we only began to explore out on that field last night."

Oh hell yes I was following her out the tent and back to the lake, I'd have to be a eunuch not to!

The river was brown and mucky, although I'm not really surprised due to the amount of rain we had today. I don't know how I'm supposed to fully clean myself in here; it looks almost as dirty as the mud pits we created back at camp. I guess in the long run it would be cleaner, more water compared to mud in here, and it's only slightly brown, but even still, if I wanted to bath in mud, I'd have found my way up to the mud pit and just soak in there. However I've learned to adapt over the years, no more hot clean showers, I make do with what we have, and unfortunately, we have a muddy river.

Scully's already stripped out of her clothes and made her way into the river, only she hasn't ducked under, I'm not surprised, I don't want to either. She has the scissors, razor and shaving cream in her hand, and is beckoning me into the river with her. Her hair is plastered to her face due to the rain, the red roots prominent next to the bleach blonde. Her eyes are wide and dark, I know what she wants, how can I refuse her.

My clothes end up a muddy mess on the ground as I toss them away from me and walk toward the banks. The water was freezing, however once again I'm not surprised. It's September/October, the water would be cold by now, and getting colder as winter arrives. I try not to think about it, and hope to god that it's not too cold to do some damage to me.

Scully's body is warm as I approach her, and I see her intentions clearly in her eyes, and suddenly the water around myself is warm. She hands me the razor and shaving cream to hold onto and sets away with the scissors, trimming it down to a length where the razor will work. Muddy clumps of dark brown hair fall into the river and float away with the tide, and I'm come over with a feeling of nostalgia, I've had this beard for six years, do I really want to get ride of it?

She continues to snip away, being extra careful not to cut me, but getting in as close as she can. She hands me the scissors and takes the foaming gel from my hand, her soft hands smoothing it over my face. Knowing her she's making it perfect, evenly spread out and every inch of what's left of my beard is covered. I trust her implicitly while doing this; she would never hurt me. She then takes the razor from my other hand and starts running it over my face.

She takes her time, leaving nothing untouched, and the only thing I can hear around here is the sound of rain landing in the water, and the slow rasp of the razor over my cheek. She moves slowly, in an upward motion giving it the right amount of pressure to clean away what I have left of my facial hair, yet not too hard to cut me. Her eyes are still dark and on mine while she does this, and finally it's done

And I'm undone.

I can see little puffs of white foam float away in the distance, I don't care. Nothing can make me care right now. Her hands are on my face, smoothing away the last of the cream, and for the first time in six years, I feel her bare hands on my cheeks. I know instantly why I shaved, I missed this, the small touch that used to send shivers down my spine, like it is now.

Only now it's different, it still sends shivers down my spine, but it has a destination this time, one that's standing ready and eager to please.

"Your hair Mulder, duck under." Her hands sit on top of my scalp as she lightly pushes me under. I don't have to try to keep my eyes shut to keep the mud out, the feel of her fingers lightly scratching and massaging my scalp is enough to make me willing shut them and enjoy the feeling. I forget about the mud and the dirty water, I forget to lift my head and breath periodically, I just let her clean me and pull me from the water when she's ready.

This is Scully, I trust her implicitly, she won't drown me.

Her hands pull me from the water, and I still don't breath, I'm drowning, but not in water. I can see her intentions clearly. Her hands now run over my face as I stare transfixed at her eyes. Her palms rest lightly on my cheeks, exploring the newly exposed flesh that the beard once covered up.

Sadly this isn't what I want though. We've been at odds since last night and despite that she still wants to make love. I can't have that; we're still at odds despite our chat. Next time I want us to be together I want us 100 per cent on the same wave length. We're not there yet, not when I don't know what she's going to do to keep me from completing my mission with Summer.

I swallow hard before placing my hands on hers, pulling them away from my face. "No."

"No?"

"No." I look into her eyes, we've always communicated better without words.

"No" she concedes; she understands, and walks away.

God, I hope I never have to do that again, it's been the hardest thing I've ever had to do in all the fourteen years that I've known her.

My clothes are a muddy pile on the ground, rain soaked and brown. After getting clean I don't want to put them back on, however there's no way I can walk back to camp nude like I am. Gray knit boxers stick out from my jeans, they'll do. I run them through the river then ring them out before slipping them on. This'll be as clean as they get. I do the same with my shirt, taking more care in washing the mud off before handing it to Scully. I sure as hell ain't letting her walk back to camp with nothing on. Even though the camp knows she's off limits doesn't mean I want her showing off her stuff. That's for my eyes only.

We tread back slowly, Scully in front of me as I watch her ass sway. I can't help myself. My shirt is drenched and clinging to every curve, she's never looked so sexy, and that shirt has never looked so good on anyway until now. She can have it for all I care. Besides, I want to get into dry clothing before I nod off for the night. At least tonight I won't have any trouble sleeping. With Scully by my side and exhaustion from today's rounds, it should be no trouble.

We enter the camp, and make our way to the other side, everybody stopping and staring at me as we walk by. Most of them have never seen me clean shaven before, I know it's a shock. I feel refreshed now though, don't miss the beard as much as I did when it first came off. I think that's a good sign. By now the new government knew they were looking for a man with a beard, appearing at the door without one should startle them some.

I gave a little wave to the small crowd sitting around the fire and continue on, the slip inside my tent. I have a pair of sweats set aside to sleep in at night, and at the moment, dry clothes seem like heaven. Scully shameless removes my shirt from her in front of me and slips on an oversized shirt we found her before nestling in the linen, or the rags we call linen.

I curl up beside her and throw a large knit blanket her mother made for us over top. Like I said, sleep should be no problem. She moves inward and rests that bottom of hers right up against me, rubbing in slow movements while she settles in for the night.

Forget what I said, I'm wide-awake now.

The night was long and cold and Scully was nestled too close for me to get up and throw on another shirt to keep warm. I just didn't want to wake her up, like me she'll be making a long trek out to remote towns gathering supplies. We'll have the jeep with us for the extra storage space, not to mention it'll save us from walking, but even still, it'll be a long day.

My face feels weird sleeping against my pillow without beard, I can honestly say I'm not used to it anymore, and I miss it. It kept me warm in weather like this, I'm freezing, and I'm not selfish enough to wake up my partner either to do something about it. I pull the black knit blanket higher around my face, I'm thankful for the hard work Mrs. Scully has put in these things, and I'll be even more thankful when the gunmen arrive in two days with the winter stock. No doubt Mrs. Scully has been knitting up a storm since we last received the summer blankets.

They're all the same, plain black knit, lighter wool in the summer, chunky in the winter, although where she gets her wool, I don't know. She must sheer her own sheep or something. They're perfect too. They're all the same size, one foot longer than the tallest person here, which happens to be Joe who's 6'4" and wide enough for a double bed, and she sends 20 of them, more than enough just in case something happens to one.

I don't really wonder where she gets her time for all of them though seeing as she's living with the Gunmen underground. There isn't a lot to there except hack into government databases and find their weakest link, a point of focus for an attack. I'm sure she's gotten the guys to show her a thing or two, and buy this time she's probably better on a computer than I'll ever be, but she's honestly no Langley, which leaves her with knitting. I don't think she minds so much either, her daughter is leading the team, she's gotta do what's best to support her. So she helps the rest of us. We're all her children now, at least that's what I think, 'Mama Scully' Jessica calls her. She's not far from the truth. The entire team looks up to her and respects her, and there's always kind words to be said about her when our shipment is dropped off.

I could really use for one of those blankets now though, I'm damn cold still. Scully's body is hot next to mine, but it doesn't help my backside much now does it.

The morning light creeps into the tent, and the sound of the other team members awaking can be heard throughout the camp. I of course, did not sleep a wink last night. Tonight I'll pass out for sure...even if I have to separate myself from Scully, the next two days are going to be crucial and I need my rest. She'll agree with me on that fact.

My entire body is stiff from yesterday's exercises and a groan escapes me as I sit up. Nothing wants to function for me today; all I can say is thank god I'm getting out of combat for the day. "Stiff Mulder?"

Scully's sitting straight and tall next to me, the long shirt she wore to bed now bunched at her waist, nothing else on underneath. The picture painted in front of me entrances me. "Just a tad, I probably overdid it last night or strained something."

"Now you know why I walked away from the second run. However while everybody was running, I did my stretches, loose as a board today."

"Yeah yeah, quit it. I get your point."

"I hope you don't expect the others to work as hard today, they'll be exhausted come the time we go to DC."

"I'll cut final activity out tonight and let them rest. A day of combat should be enough."

"Good."

She gets up and flings the shirt off her, it landed in a thump on my head....mmmm...smells like Scully. She's naked as the day she was born while tromping around the small tent looking for a set of dry clothes to change into, the wet ones will be hung out today to dry.

However right now all I want to do is grab her and pull her right into my eager lap. I think joining the others can wait a bit longer, and I was obviously wrong in turning her down last night, what was I thinking? I go to lean forward to do just that when I heard a crack echo in my back, and pain shoot through, dammit!

She's smirking at me. "Back massage, Mulder?"

"Yes please" I say while grimacing.

"Well too bad your own fault." She slips on a pair of khaki capris we found before this all began and a tight black tank. She stops at the flap of the tent and looks back. "You best hurry up you know, people are hungry and need their apples, somebody needs to climb the tree."

She turns and exits. Payback can certainly be a bitch.

Of course she's right, the entire team are sitting out by the fire just awaiting my arrival so Cal, Bailey and can climb trees, and they all seem to be maneuvering pretty well, except Bailey, but he also ran three times yesterday instead of twice, and some of them only ran once. I'm probably the only one who's sore here, maybe I'll get somebody else to climb and I'll just spot them.

The morning is turning out to be nicer than yesterday though. While the ground is still damp and muddy, the rain has stopped. It may start up again, the sky's still overcast, but I hope not, I've had enough mud to last me a life time thank you very much. I did manage to find dry, clean clothes however inside, a pair of black jeans and one of my old gray tees...I though I ruined them all, I guess not. My boots are still muddy, but it's not like it makes much of a difference. As long as they get me up that tree, I'll be okay.

"All right boys, lets head out, we have some hungry campers to fill." The three of us trek off camp to the apple tree we found last night, this time we have a bag with us to put the apples in.

"Mulder, I think you two are climbing today, I'll spot ya and catch the apples." Bailey's limping, he must have really done in his muscles last night.

"Sorry pal, I think I'll be spotting you two and catching, there's no way I'll be able to climb the tree today."

"But that's no fair, I did twice as much work as you yesterday and still have to participate in combat today while you're out heckling. I was an architecture student; not some military bravado like Cal or a FBI agent like you. I'm sore."

"You've also been with me for four years now, you can't pull that bull on me. I've seen you at your best, yesterday was nothing compared to it."

"You just don't want to scratch your face on those branches."

I had to laugh at that comment, in all actuality that was the farthest thing from my mind at the moment. "My face has nothing to do with it. It's the fact that at the moment I couldn't climb a tree even if I tried that has everything to do with it."

"Never admit a weakness to your people, Mulder," Cal interjected. "Bad form and may cause a mutiny of sorts."

"This is just you guys, besides this is my show, anybody who chooses not to follow doesn't have to. That's been clear from the beginning, you can leave whenever you want, my weakness be damned."

"That's true, you've been quite clear on that."

"So now that that's established, I'm not climbing that tree."

"Well neither am I."

"You're both wimps, I'll climb, Mulder you spot, Bailey you catch. It can't be that hard to pick 15 or so apples."

The tree stood in front of us, large and looming and full of apples ready for us to eat. Cal grabbed a branch and hoisted himself up. Now who looks like the monkey...

The paved road ran out long ago as Scully and I drove away from DC in search of the munitions town the gunmen had radioed into me while Cal was up climbing the tree. We didn't have a map to lead the way, the town was unmapped and well hidden, supposedly the home of many other rebels of the new government, each fighting in their own way to overcome the corruption of the new government and possibly defeat them. I really don't forsee any problems in heckling with them.

After six years of fighting, not to mention twelve years or so in the bureau, I knew my weaponry. I know which weapons will be effective in what we need them for. I know which ones will get in undetected and which weapons will basically create a huge hole in the wall.

I wanted both.

We drove on for endless miles, taking in the sun and the breeze. The clouds had cleared some since we left camp, and only blue skies lay in front of us...blue skies aren't what we need at this point in time though, blue skies doesn't protect us from being discovered. The cloud cover at least blocked some of the air and satellite equipment they're using.

Either way, it was too late for them to do anything, we're going in day after tomorrow whether they're ready or not, it just means that if they're ready for us, we have to be ready for them. I truly believe we can take them on if they're prepared, although I'm seriously hoping for the element of surprise here.

"Take a left at the fork," Scully muttered, her head leaning against the back of the seat, hair blowing in the wind and shades on her face. If I didn't know her so well, I'd say she's looking rather relaxed at the moment.

Scully's like me though, despite her cool exterior, she's keeping an eye open for anybody or anything that may hinder us in our mission. Watchers are all over the place, they've been known to surround DC before, the further away you go, the less there are, but they're still there.

Her hand sits at her hip, next to her weapon holster, she's nothing if not a quick draw.

I make the left and we end up on another dirt road, the dust from the ground flying behind us like a cloud as we continually move forward. Civilization is growing sparse here, I know we're headed in the right direction. These guys don't mess around, when they hide, they hide well, which is why they're so successful munitions wise. I've heard about them taking down entire cities, read articles about them from scraps of newspapers lying around, however the agencies of the new government haven't realized yet that we're two separate rebel groups. In all the articles, they've noted me as the key figure in all of the attacks, giving me the credit, I just hope the boys inside the town are okay with that.

As rebels they should be, less attention drawn to them, however some people are in this just for the glory, not for the fight or the idea of freedom. They just want their names written down in history as the person who saved humanity from colonization.

However they didn't save humanity, humanity can no longer be saved. Aliens are among they lead the people of the world. Replicants can be found everywhere, hybrids, you name it, it's somewhere on this earth, adapting. It's become survival of the fittest, and I'm inclined to believe that they will never be wiped off the planet completely, we just have to try to eliminate their source of power and that'll be the start. I'm sure there'll be rebellions and wars between them and us for the next thousand years after we do so.

I can see buildings up ahead, three large concrete ones surrounded by nothing, I know this is the place cause no other town that is not government sanctioned is this fortified. I feel like we're entering the pentagon again, although the pentagon in the sense that we once knew it no longer exists. Now it is a breeding ground for new hybrids, ones that will colonize the earth further. Damn why didn't I go to Cuba when I had the chance, we could have at least lived in safety.

Scully's perched up in her seat now, and I'm driving up slower, both of us scanning the horizon. I've seen these guys work before, if you rush on in, they'll kill you.

A loud shot rang out and immediately the two of us ducked in the cheap, and remained ducked as four more shots rang loudly into the air.

I guess even if you arrive cautiously they'll still kill you.

"STEP OUT OF THE VEHICLE, NOW!"

A feeling of dread came over me, this could be one of many things. They think we're watchers and they're going to kill us, they think we're government and they'll kill us, they are watchers are going to kill us, or government and going to kill us, or hell, they could be rebels too and still going to kill us.

"I said step out of the vehicle" I could feel the cool metal from his weapon poking into the side of my head, dammit.

I reached out for the door handle; pulling it gently and allowing them to yank open the doors and pull me out. I glanced over at Scully, apparently she was getting the same treatment, and her gun already ripped out of its holster.

"We're not here to cause trouble."

~(~(~(~(~(

"Shut up! We'll do the talking here." A large man pushed me front first against the jeep. "Hands on the vehicle, legs spread apart."

He didn't really need to tell me as he kicked my feet apart, hard, nearly knocking me from my stance, and probably on my ass if he wasn't holding me up so tightly.

"Number two, over here now, let number three deal with the broad."

They just called MY Scully 'broad'. I'll kill 'em for that, never mind, Scully will kill them for that comment alone. I'll watch happily, nobody calls her broad, and anybody who has hasn't come out of it alive. One good thing about the past six years, it allows us free violence without charges if need be. Okay, it allows us with free violence without charges if we're not caught, that can make the difference.

I know the new government isn't afraid to hang us on a noose, which makes me wonder about these guys.

'Number 2' arrives and I can feel him pinning me down further against the cheap as the first guy places his weapon aside. They don't need to pin me, I'm not going to run as long as they have those weapons pointed at me. The first guy's hands are on my shoulders, moving quickly and effectively as he frisks me.

Bye bye hip holster and my back-up as they're removed from my person.

Scully gets the same treatment soon after, thankfully they're just as professional with her as they were with me, pulling her dagger from her pocket.

"What do you make of the guns."

"Old, they look government issue."

I want to tell them to aim it at their heart and test it for themselves; I keep my mouth shut.

Well shut until I can feel the cool tip of the power weapon slammed against the base of my skull again.

"Who the fuck are you? You have till the count of two before I fill your head with lead."

The tip of his weapon pressed even harder into the base of my skull, this guy wasn't kidding around, I know he'd kill me without a second thought, probably dump my body somewhere and continue with his day to day routine, like I have so many times.

"ONE"

I have no other "Fox Mulder!"

"Not possible, Fox Mulder doesn't end up getting caught like you have and most certainly doesn't reveal his identity to anybody."

Damn him, he's right, six years I haven't gotten caught, and I certainly haven't revealed who I am.

"I am Fox Mulder, check the glove compartment, my old bureau identification can be found in it. Her's too."

"And who does she happen to be?"

It was Scully's turn to speak up, probably the first time she spoke "Dana Scully."

"Now I know you two are faking it, of course she would say Dana Scully if she's traveling with you, the entire world knows that Dana Scully doesn't leave Fox Mulder's side. Now where's John Doggett and Walter Skinner, aren't they supposed to be with you?"

"They were granted leave to Cuba, they're toasty warm right now, it's only the two of us."

"Prove it."

"The identifications in the glove compartment."

The man holding me turned me around to face my would be killer, or maybe my will be killer depending on how this all turns out. He motioned to the man holding to the glove compartment while he still held me at gunpoint. He grabbed the Ids and tossed them to the first man.

He held each of them open, glancing back and forth at the pictures and at each of us. If they didn't convince him, I don't know what would, we haven't changed much over the years, aged some, I've developed more muscles than I had before, but even still, facial features haven't changed. Anybody who's familiar with identification would know this.

"Pretty damn close I'd say."

"Of course they're close, they're us six years ago, convinced?"

"No, I want proof." The damn gun was in my face again.

"Proof? What do you constitute as proof?"

"Something other than identification, these can be faked."

"I don't know what else to tell you-"

"Los Angeles, five years ago."

My mind filed to the event. I've been to LA many times over the past six years, but I know specifically what even he's talking about, I just don't know what aspect. "What about it?"

"Universal, FOX, Warner Bros., do those all ring a bell?"

"Yeah, all blown up simultaneously, an attack made against the propaganda films now made there. It was all over the airwaves by their television companies after they did that. Last I heard though they were rebuilt."

"Exactly, what explosive was used there?"

"How the hell should I know, I wasn't there, it wasn't my job."

"Yes, but according to the papers and news it was, your name was labeled all over it."

That was the connection, I knew instantly. They're the ones who did the job, I got the credit and they knew I had nothing to do with it. The rest of the world believes that Fox Mulder did that job, only those of us gathered here know where the true credit goes to. "My name may be all over it, but I wasn't there, I didn't do the job. I was over in Denver at the time, I only heard about the studios going in flame two weeks after the fact, and through confidential sources of mine. Contacts who led me to you today. We were marrying off Walter Skinner at the time."

"Hold on, Mulder..." I took a quick glance at Scully, hoping not to piss off the man in front of me too much seeing as he had an armed weapon next to me. "How come I didn't hear about the job in LA?"

"Cause you were too busy working with Skinner and his bride to be, it wasn't our job, I didn't want to detract you from what you were doing with details that mean nothing to us."

I looked back at the man; his weapon was lowered to the ground and suddenly he didn't seem as overbearing as he did when this all started, I think I finally got through to him.

"So you're THE Fox Mulder eh, I think we've got to talk."

His weapon lay low, and his hand now extended in friendly greeting, however I have to admit I'm still wary of him. This change seems too sudden, but he's right, we do need to talk, I just hope I'm not surrounded by his goonies when we do, Scully and I need the upper advantage. I also want my weapons and identification back, which I state outloud.

His men look back at the first guy and he nods. Within seconds my weapons are thrust back into my arms, I suddenly don't feel so naked anymore. "You okay, Scully? They didn't manhandle you too much?" I glare at the leader of the group, he shrugs. If he weren't so valuable to what I wanted right now, I'd probably hurt him greatly.

"Yeah, I'm fine, they didn't do anything." She joined me at my side and glanced at the compound. It's exactly what we're looking for.

"Listen, I'm not apologizing for the mix up, Mulder-" how dare he get on such familiar terms with me right away, mind you I'd probably have told him to call me that anyway, "-but we never know who's who anymore. I believe you said it best yourself, trust no one."

His men fell by his side. "We can't risk government officials appearing on our compound, we don't know who's on our side anymore, hence we stop anybody who comes close. I believe though in the four years my group has been together you and your lady friend here are two of five to get past the barrier alive, the others we haven't hesitated in killing."

"So you are rebelling against the new government like the rest of us?"

"Yes, we all have our own reasons, we just want to take them out of power and restore the US to what it once was."

"That isn't possible you know."

"Anything's possible if we make it."

"No, you don't understand, you don't know these guys like I do, it will take a millennia to get them completely out of power. What we're trying to do is just start what is going to be the recovery of the US."

"Why don't you come inside and you can help me understand. Then you can tell me why you're here." He extends his arm to the compound and Scully and I start our decent to it. "By the way Dr. Scully, I meant no disrespect with the broad comment."

Scully stopped and looked at him. I saw the familiar gleam in her eye and tried not to smirk. The bastard didn't know what hit him as her fist connected with his face. "Not a problem number one" was her reply as she followed me inside.

The compound was bare and empty, or so it looked anyway. The walls were made of stone, painted in shades of gray and white, the doors a thick metal painted cobalt blue. There were no windows in the hall, no pictures hung on the walls, the tiling a basic white and gray marble pattern. It reminded me of a jail.

Doors were lined up on either side of the hall, your basic wooden door with brass handles. They were all labeled similarly, a black plate, white numbers. There were no names, nothing to personalize this place.

Our footsteps echoed throughout the halls as numbers two and three led us down a long corridor with one single window at the end for light. Number one was no doubt trailing behind us trying to nurse his injured nose. I'm surprised that's all Scully did to him for that broad comment, I've seen her do way more for much less. Finally number two came to a halt outside large wooden double doors, marked 263. Number three opened the door and held it for us as we entered.

The interior of the room was much like the hallway, nothing personal. Instead of gray tile, the ground however was covered with a blue carpet, worn down and stained in several places. In the middle sat a large work desk, painted gray and only holding a phone, two pieces of paper and a pen. I'm surprised there's no laptop with these guys, I'm sure they could hook one up somewhere. The walls are the same white brick as out in the hallway, and bare, except for one covered with a large topographical map of the US, singed around the edges and no doubt one from happier times.

The only modern luxury was the two black leather couches in front of the desk, which Scully and I take a seat in. The lighting is dull, no windows and fluorescent lights only. How these men worked in here day by day, I didn't know, I certainly don't pity them.

Number one sat himself down on the ledge of the desk while numbers two and three took the other couch and just looked on at us. I could see Scully giving them the patented raised eyebrow look out of the corner of my eye. This is the one I would define as 'what the f


are you look at?' The men obviously got the hint and look away.

"I believe some introductions are in order, Mulder." Number one started to speak.

"Yes, I think so, you seem to know who we are, but we have no idea who you happen to be."

"Moe Doiron, I'm the leader of this operation here. Number two is Jim Denver and number three is Pierre Goldruff, my second and third in command. All three of us served for the Agency until the world turned to sh*t." I nodded at him and allowed him to continue. "I suppose you want us to tell you what we're all about?"

"I have an idea, I've followed the reports, but yes, enlighten me please."

"What do we get out of it?"

"A chance to achieve your goal if you cooperate with us."

His interest was piqued; not very many people get to hand him his dream on a silver platter here. "Where do you want me to begin?"

"From the beginning."

Moe's face was grim, he wasn't sure how much he could trust and with what information. I saw that much on his face, and it didn't take the profiler in me to figure that out, I'm sure Scully saw it too. He really has no other choice. I need his cooperation in the matter yes, but I can also limit the extent of his involvement too, or throw him off track, he knows this, I'm sure he'll spill.

"Eight years ago."

I nodded my head at him to continue I'm not surprised that this started eight years ago with him, I know he'll also verify my theory.

"I was one of the top agents in the Agency, Central Intelligence Agency if you didn't know, the CIA. The existence of extra-terrestrial lifeforms were not unknown to us then, Mulder, I've spent years before hand covering up the evidence long before you showed your face in town trying to deconstruct what I had built around it. It was Denver, Goldruff and I. We saw colonization coming but not to this extent, so we didn't prepare for it as well as we should have.

"We started an underground association, one that was kept secret from the powers that be at the agency, very difficult to do, but successful. Over the span of the two years before this all began we started smuggling weapons into a secret compound hidden in the woods, the one you're sitting in now. We started rationing provisions, each man doubling their weekly shopping and sending half of the non-perishables here and taking the other half home for their families. Those who chose to follow us did, the others found themselves facing threats of demotion if they opened their mouths. We didn't let the higher ups know about this, they were all in on it with the aliens, as well as the higher ups with the bureau you know.

"They allowed some information to leak to us, they only told us half the story and what to cover up, we did and our jobs went on. It was only maybe six months before the shit hit the fan where we found out about their true plans and it was too late to do anything about it. At that point a very mild form of colonization had begun. Replicants were placing themselves all over the world and men involved were waiting for one more piece to the puzzle, then it was set."

"Summer" I concluded.

"That's right, Scully's daughter. Four of the men who took her I served with, they're long since dead, I killed them in a raid three years ago, however what had been done was done. Colonization was in full swing once they took her. I don't know what role she plays in it all, I haven't heard anything about it, once we went underground ourselves; we were thrown out of the loop. To this point we hear just about as much as you guys do, only we make sure we have a paper around to read the stuff in."

"If you're not in the loop anymore, how do you fight?"

"Like you do, we attack the structure, anything that might influence the people who follow the new government. We look for weaknesses, something we can use to get the upper advantage. We use brute force, go in for the kill and leave the mess behind. We plan, run through, execute and return no failures. We've taken out studios to prevent propaganda, we've taken out various testing grounds."

He looked me in the eye for the next one.

"We took out Area 51."

"YOU WHAT?" I'm sure my eyes were as wide as Scully's when he said that, and I'm certainly shocked even moreso. I remember my time at Area 51; we were blocked at the roadstop by men and told to turn around. I know something happened there, can't remember just what though. All I know is upon returning home I suddenly had a waterbed and mirrors on my ceiling that I didn't put there. But that's beside the point, Area 51 is the pride and joy of both the old United States and the new government. Once a cover-up facility, it has now become a testing ground, among the worst out there, until Mr. Moe here decided to blow it up. How come I didn't hear about this?

"You heard me, Mulder. We took out Area 51." He smirked slightly, "impressed much?"

I knew his game then, he was trying to get the upperhand, make me join him. "Not really, I knew it was only a matter of time. Not to mention security has decreased big time since my last visit there. So it's not really surprising."

"Your face showed otherwise."

"Well yes, Scully and I were planning on taking it out ourselves at one point" I was lying through my teeth. "We were just surprised now cause we've made all these plans and now we don't need them anymore."

"Well yeah it's gone, so are many of the federal penitentiaries around the country, and many federal offices. Our first goal was to take out their experiment centres, but we found that as soon as we took one out, another would rise, and suddenly there were too many of them. If we passed by them, we'd take it out, it wasn't foremost on our agenda anymore. Surviving is now."

"We're actually a little surprised to see you here though, we thought you were off fighting the great fight outside DC, trying to get your girl back."

Scully nudged my arm to keep my mouth shut, however in times like this I know how it goes, give a little get a little. We needed Moe's help, we needed the help of the compound members, I know this and so does Scully despite her protests. The only way to get this is to show a little trust in them, of course I may kill them yet if I find out they may hinder our plans. "We are on our way, we have a plan set in motion, this is why we're here today. Our first goal is to get Summer back, however to do so we may have to tackle the entire power structure."

"And you want our help."

"Partly, we need weaponry. We need ammunition and weapons that'll get past the main gate. We need something powerful enough to get us what we want."

"What makes you think we can help you?"

"If I wasn't so sure, I wouldn't be here now asking. I know about your stash. While you admitted to stashing food away, I'm not so stupid to think that you didn't think about weapons. You're top of the CIA, if a lowly bureau agent such as myself and Agent Scully here can think of that, surely you can."

"Bureau agent huh, you're no agent Mulder, neither is your Scully, not anymore."

"Same goes for you. Right now we're two men fighting for a common cause, both capable of wreaking destruction on the new government. This is why I'm here. I'm asking for you assistance in this, to help me and my team get what we want."

"What do I get in return?"

"I've told you already," I looked him straight in the eye. "You get what you want, you can get a crack at the government structure, help us take them down, help us with the beginning of the end of colonization."

"I'm all ears, Mulder, tell me what you've got in mind?"

"We're taking on DC, day after tomorrow. My team is prepared, I've been running them through drills for approximately seventeen hours of the day, basic weapons training, combat, they've done wall climbing and crawling and they do this rain or shine. We've got computer techies coming this way and they're going to infiltrate their security system. Six of us are going to walk through the front door, fake identifications made from one of the best fraud artists in the US."

"Ah I see you've already met Miss Chiquita, you're right, she's good."

"The rest of the team are going in through the sides, underneath, whatever. I plan on having full back up inside and out."


"What do you plan on doing once you're inside, Mulder, trying to take out DC won't be as easy as Area 51 was you know."

"Oh I know, I don't plan on taking out the entire city, just a few choice people, mainly the men holding Summer, and the one person who's running the entire operation. With the main authority structure weakened, it will become easier to end colonization over time."

"Once again, where does that leave us?"

"You'll be the people who helped, who gave us the arsenal needed to do this."

"Not enough."

"What more do you want?"

"I want a piece of the action, I want to be part of this. You said it yourself; we're working toward a common goal, why not work on it together. You'll need our help going into DC, it won't be as easy as you think it will be, not to mention we have some of the most sophisticated computer equipment unauthorized by the new government. You're friends could work out of here. You'll need the manpower, you'll need the backup."

This wasn't what I wanted, although I'm starting to see the advantages of it. More manpower will give us a stronger chance of getting what we want out of it all. "You'll fall under jurisdiction of Scully, and I, and our second in commands Cal Hansen and Bailey Finnis."

"We fall under jurisdiction of nobody."

"This is my show Moe" it was the first time I'd actually said his name, and I know he could tell I meant business with the tone of voice I said it in. "My rules. My team obeys me and me only. This isn't a game, I won't allow for any screw ups. You want to help, you play by my rules, you got it?"

"And if we don't want to?"

"Then we'll walk right out and leave you behind, no glory for you guys, when history's talking about the end of colonization a thousand years from now, you won't be mentioned, it'll be my name once again that gets written down, not yours."

"Damn you, Mulder."

"We need the weapons, we could use the manpower, but it's not necessary. What's your choice Moe, to live as nobodies who could have done something, or follow in what will probably be the greatest battle in history, us against them?"

His answer was clearly written on his face. My profiling has not been totally lost on me, it was fairly easy to size up what kind of man he was, and that he hated the fact that I got credit for his work. He'll listen to me because he knows he has no choice in the matter, not if he wants his name written down in history, which I doubt it will be anyway. By the time colonization has ended and the human race has reclaimed what's left of the earth, we'll be dead and long forgotten, but he doesn't have to know that.

He's in it for the glory, I'm not, I'm more than willing to share it with him, I just hope he cooperates.

"And Moe, if you screw up and don't listen to what I have to say, I won't hesitate to kill you or your men off." I narrowed my eyes to his. "I'm a trained assassin remember, both Scully and I are, and so is my team. We trained them together, none of us would flinch, there would be no remorse, we'd just move on."

I could see the look of disbelief in his face, he needed proof. "It's been done, I've killed out of cold blood, so has Scully. She's killed somebody very dear to me."

"Samantha" she vouched.

"Yes, my sister. Scully killed her. You think I'd worry about killing a pathetic life form like you who's only after the glory? I'd think again. You'd be nothing more than a thorn in my paw, so if you want to help, you play by my rules, you follow who I say you follow and you do as I say. Is that understood?"

"Whatever you say Mulder, I want to take these bastards out as much as you do."

"Good." He extended his hand toward me, seal the fate I guess. I took it and shook firmly before releasing his stead grasp. "Let's begin, you got a board room in here or something where we can assemble your teammates and go through this thing?"

"Of course Mulder." He looked over at his two men on the other couch. "Go down to the living quarters and assemble everyone. Tell them they're to be in conference room A in ten minutes, anybody late or not present will be shot and killed and placed in a ditch, this is the big one, they have to know that."

Moe turned back to Scully and I, a smile growing on his face. "I can see you and I are going to get along rather fine, Mulder, we seem to have the same tactics, however I should tell you one thing, that woman Scully killed, that wasn't your sister."

Scully raised her eyebrow at him; I'm honestly not surprised he knows. "Of course it wasn't, she was a hybrid, like many of the others we encountered, Scully wouldn't have killed her otherwise."

"Smart tactic of yours though, certainly had the other two convinced. You did kill it properly though didn't you, not like how most people think it's supposed to be killed?"

"Base of the neck, I saw her melt to a messy pile of green slime at my feet." Scully sat up from her seat on the couch and headed to the door. "Are you two going to join me or no, I do believe we have a meeting in conference room A to attend to."

"On our way, Dr. Scully" Moe bowed, half mocking her, half acknowledging her authority. He better watch it if he'd like to remain in one piece, that nose of his wasn't looking in too great of shape.

The conference room was large, could hold maybe 75 people seated, and even moreso standing. The front wall was covered with a large plasma screen, like those on laptop computers...where they got the energy to run such a thing he never knew. It didn't matter however; it would be beneficial for the following meeting. People beyond people started piling into the room, men, women, and children. He was disgusted to say the least, he only hoped the children didn't fight, they certainly didn't need to be at this meeting. "Moe, send the kids out."

"They're part of the team too."

"What do you mean part of the team?" Scully narrowed her eyes at him, challenging him to answer her question; I sat back and watched the show, confident that she was going to get her way.

"Meaning they come along with us."

"You allow them to fight?"

"Yes. They're equal to every single one of us."

"Not in this battle. You set aside five people to look after them, I will not have children sacrificing themselves in this battle."

"You have no choice, Agent Scully."

"Wrong, you have no choice, our rules remember or you don't get any of it at all, send the children out." Anger flickered across his face, and I knew Scully had won. He abruptly sent the children out and I pulled out my palm pilot that the gunmen had handed me a couple years back and began uploading my screen onto the large screen so it displayed a large map of DC. Then I turned back to the crowd, all of them watching with curious eyes after seeing their head commander listen to an outside woman of all people.

"Listen up folks, this is Fox Mulder and Dana Scully." An audible gasp was heard throughout the entire room, I glanced to Scully to see her smirking, it was odd being *this* well known, especially since we had never met any of them. "Mulder and Scully and I have combined forces, we're going to DC day after tomorrow."

The team erupted into loud cheers, it was obviously what they had wanted to hear, and they were all probably looking for an end as badly as we were. "Okay, what you see in front of you is a map of DC." I began my outline our basic plan of attack, noting where the easiest entrances were located, and how each team will get in and during which times. Times will be coordinated with the gunmen as they hack into the security system knock each section out for a period of five minutes, long enough to get people in, short enough not to be detected.

The team was split up into three groups, those who were with team two, team three and those sticking back with team four. Team one will not have any added members, too risky.

A list of artillery was handed out and immediately people began hunting through their supplies for it. Team two members were to meet team one members after five minutes at the National Mall where they will proceed to hand us our weapons seeing as we'll be searched at the entrance.

Those in team four will hang back at the compound here where my team four members will meet them. The rest of them were heading back to camp with me tonight. Plans were set and underway, with the help of Moe, we hopefully will have a better chance of success.

The halls of the compound were busy now, people rushing to get the supplies they'll need for the attack on DC, packs, weaponry, water and food. Who knows how long we'll be inside for, I want to be prepared for every eventuality. Moe has assured me his men and women are well trained, each day they've been put through maneuvers in the gym in the basement to keep fit, as well as worked in the gun range in the back. All of them were a good shot and all of them could keep up with my teammates if they had to.

Scully designated several parents of children to stay back with them. They can help as part of team four, however she didn't want a parent of a child killed in battle, frankly I agree with her. This attack will cause a full out war between the new government and the 'rebels' as they like to call us. I still like to call myself assassin. It sounds dangerous and it's what I really am. I go out and I kill anybody I see in control. This is my mission in DC, to seek and kill; however I'm not letting Scully know that.

I know she has every intention of stepping between Summer and I, but I know there's nothing more that I can do. I loved watching the kid grow in her stomach, but six years and I've never met her. As much as I miss her, it's best to do what I'm about to do, for the sake of humanity.

Scully will probably never talk to me again afterward though.

"Catch!" I have just enough times to hold my arms out before Moe flings a large backpack into it, and it feels like there's a human in here it's so heavy.

"Jesus, what the hell do you need in here?"

"The basics, blades, five different forms of ammunition depending on the weapon, grenades, low key boomers, pistols, silencers, head wire radios for everybody in my team, not to mention enough for your team."

"We have those already."

"No, not these ones. These ones I've had rewired so transmissions can't be interrupted and nobody can pick their signals. I also left a good dozen back at the compound here for your men. Six of them also won't be picked up at the gate by the detectors. They're in a gray box; you can look at them later. One sticks on your ear like an earring; I suggest the matching copy to make it look normal, and the other piece is a tooth cap you stick at the back of your mouth. You can hear through the earring and the tooth cap will pick up your voice and transmit back to us."

We walk out to the jeeps and start piling the vehicles with personnel and provisions, a few more minutes and we'll be ready to drive.

"We have one problem with that. While my man Cal has a pierced ear, Bailey and I do not, and it would look entirely unnatural for us to go in with freshly pierced ears."

Moe packs the bags into the back of the jeep, opposite to where he and Denver will be sitting. "Mulder, they're power magnets, it makes them look like pierced earrings, but the two pieces are magnetized to stick together through the ear. Cutting edge in CIA technology, only in the past six years we've developed them more. You won't find better anywhere else, including the new government.

He hops into the back, the vehicles lined up behind outs. "LET'S GO GUYS!" Moe hollers out and we're off, heading back to camp, and entering the home stretch.

The various vehicles on the road remind me of the good old days when Scully and I used to break into military bases and they'd come chasing after us. It was like a parade of military personnel, only this time they weren't trying to detract us from our missing, they were going to help us. Eight years spent trying to uncover government conspiracy after government conspiracy only to be foiled by them, it seems kind of ironic that they're going to help destroy what they have worked so hard on protecting. I can't say it's an irony I'm against either, I happen to like this one.

We're in the homestretch here, I can see the anticipation on Scully's face, we sleep tonight, plan tomorrow, break off early and teams two and three get to DC early. I think what's even more ironic than these men helping us is the fact that the most sought after assassins in the world at the moment will be walking through their front door and they won't even know it.

"Pull aside, Mulder." We pass by a little town and we stop, the calvary stopping behind us as she heads into a small shop. I want to follow her, however I want to keep an eye on the others as well. As much as Moe has proved himself to be on our side, I can't trust him quite yet.

So I sit and wait. The group is looking at me silently asking me why we stopped. I can't answer them, it was Scully's choice not mine however, whatever Scully says goes. She emerges several minutes later with a box in hand. "Hair dye. They're looking for a red head, red roots will give it away some, I have to cover them up tonight." I pull the box from her, Blondissima, a hair stripper. "By the end of the night I'll have the blondest hair you've ever set eyes on."

I pull onto the road again and we continue our journey, we're only an hour away from camp now. Scully's still holding onto that box of hers like it was a lifeline. In essence I guess it is, it helps our chances of getting inside. "What did you give up for that?"

"An apple I snagged and stuck in my pocket. So few people actually get fresh food these days it's of high value. I'm surprised more people aren't suffering from malnutrition with the way food is rationed these days." She looks down at her box. "Hell I'm surprised we aren't suffering from it."

I place a hand on top of hers. "I'm not, we have Dr. Scully with us, Dr. Scully would never let us suffer from any sort of malnutrition. In fact the Dr. Scully I know makes sure we're at the top of our game day in and day out."

"I don't know, Mulder, I guess I'm just worried about our luck lately, it's bound to end at some point. What happens if it ends when we enter DC day after tomorrow?"

"Then it ends and we're killed and life goes on for everybody else, but that's not going to happen. We have a plan, it's sound, and we've got the two top teams in the world combined ready to take them out. I have every confidence we'll succeed. Day after tomorrow the new government will never know what hit them." I pause for a second and look back at the other vehicles behind us before shouting. "Isn't that right guys?"

A few cheers erupted from the back.

"We're not going to let them beat us!"

The group started to cheer louder.

"Day after tomorrow, the new government will no longer exist!"

Everybody went full force screaming as we drove down the road at that comment. Nothing like sounding determined to increase the spirits and confidence of everybody. Even Scully's got a small smile playing on her face.

The team is waiting for us as we roll around the corner and into camp, it appears that Cal has decided to give them a break for the dinner hour. Nothing is prepared yet, I guess unlike yesterday they haven't been able to find anything to eat, however tonight they won't be living off rations and apples, Moe made sure to bring enough food for everybody to last us a week. Tonight we feast again; it'll be the last time till this place all goes to hell.

Cal and Bailey step to the forefront, their eyes on the third passenger I have in my vehicle. I can see Cal holding a tight grip on his weapon, Bailey reaching his, just in case they see that Moe is not a friend. Scully and I hop out of the jeep with ease, Moe quickly follows and tosses me a large sack with food. Cal and Bailey still stand on guard as I put the sac down by the firepit before walking back next to them, them on my right, Scully to my left.

"This is Moe Doiron and his merry men," I say, noting the look of amusement and disgust on his face. He obviously doesn't like being referred to as that, tough shit, my show that's why he won't speak up. "They're all former agents of the CIA. They knew about colonization before it ever happened and is now fighting against it like we are. They've come to join us in the strike against DC day after tomorrow."

"You sure they're trustworthy, Mulder? I mean what have they done to prove themselves?"

"Well first off Moe has agreed to full cooperation if he fights with us, anything less than that won't be tolerated, he knows that, and he knows what happens to anybody who presents any sort of threat to us." I see them send a glare his way and he nods back in response. I think that settles part of it for them.

"What about his accomplishments?"

"The Hollywood studios, everything we've taken credit for and haven't done, several testing sites, area 51..." I list the sites off like a grocery list, and I can hear Cal exhale a low whisper at the last one.

"Area 51, remarkable. Hell even as a navy seal officer I had low rated clearance into that place and I was among the elite, it was that damn secretive and security was extra tight."

"Yes, it was, Cal Hansen right?" I swear Cal's eyes just about bugged out of his sockets. "1991, classified hostage situation regarding the president's daughter. I had that case until you guys came in and took over. I never forgot."

"Yeah..." he seems bewildered, as am I. I look over at Scully, president's daughter in a hostage situation, I was never aware of that, even with Senator Matheson as a contact. She shrugs her shoulders at me, we're not CIA or Navy Seals, I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

"Um guys, now that introductions are made, let's eat and get down to business shall we?"

The calvary was brought in and needless to say, we feasted. We ate food that we had only begun to dream of lately. One of the sacs contained a pig they had raised and slaughtered for the occasion. I haven't had ham or pork in years. The closest thing to normal meat I've eaten was that small rabbit from the other day, and the occasional piece of dried kippered beef we can find around in a town that we believed not to be contaminated with the alien virus. I know the new government is not above using cattle to test their products, and they call us rebels savages with the way we live.

I spit a small bone into the growing pile nearby. Everybody's eating tonight, and getting along extremely well with the new visitors. Some of the men such as Bailey and Joe have already staked claim to their women so as not to allow the new men to touch them. Other's, like Cal, is out and about looking for a prospect for tonight. I don't know how much he can accomplish with an entire camp crowded around, but Cal has never been modest, he's always let the camp know when he's just been laid.

Which is probably why he knew about Scully and I, he's in tune to these things.

Scully's enjoying herself too, talking to some of the new campers and munching on a roasted potato. I told you it's a feast tonight, we've got everything.

Moe brought in several bottles of wine as well, however I want the team alert and ready to go tomorrow. Hangovers have a tendency to prevent that and there's a greater chance of a slip up. I'm still trying to figure out a way to incapacitate Scully in DC when I do what I have to do. I know she'll do everything in her power to stop me, I can't allow that, and I can't hurt her either. She'll kick my ass for it, but it's for the best.

"Hey Ryan," Joe called out to his tentmate. "Pull out your guitar guy, it's a party going on tonight, why aren't we playing anything."

"This is starting to remind me of a night we celebrated earlier on this week" I mention to Bailey. "Only much more fun since we have the company."

"Enjoy it Mulder, you know it'll be our last for a long long time." He's holding tight onto Elizabeth, who rises from her seat and pulls him up along side her. I can see her whispering something in his ear and he's off with a grin, "see ya pal." She's giggling along after him.

And suddenly, I want Scully, consequences be damned. Bailey's right, tonight will be the last night for a while, probably forever for me; I want to take what I can get. Scully catches me staring after them and walks to me with a knowing smile on her face. "Let's go, I'm yours for the night."


The early morning sun broke through the flaps of our tent, almost hurting my eyes as I tried to open them. I can't sleep past sunrise anymore, it was always the safest time to make a run at something, plan a kill, etc. Force of habit now has woken me up, although this morning I don't want to move. Scully's body is curled up along side mine as usual, the wool blanket covering us both, however today is the first time I've woken with her skin pressed against mine. There has always been clothing between us preventing us, and I've always been happy just holding her like that, however this morning is different. What I thought was happiness before doesn't compare what I feel like today waking up with her like this.

Our first time was against a rock, fast, furious, rushed. It was appropriate. The new 'us' doesn't have the luxury of time anymore, we're always on the go, looking for the next big hit that would lead us closer to destroying what has become of the world. We live off the land and survive on a day to day basis. The first time reminded us of who we are.

However, last night was different. Last night we took our time exploring. It was about savoring the last of the time we really have together. We had the luxury of creating a semi-soft space, piling many of Mrs. Scully's blankets on top of each other. I don't think this was what she had planned when making them. We spent hours with each other. When we weren't trying to get down each other's pants, as crude as that sounds, we talked. We only fell asleep a matter of hours ago. This was who we once were, and for once, it was really nice visiting the past like that, without ever really leaving the present.

However we both knew today would come. Team members are already out and about getting the supplies together and planning for tomorrow. I know we have to join them.

I shake Scully's shoulder slightly, she wakes instantly and smiles, and my heart breaks knowing I won't wake up to this ever again. "Come on, ready to go face the world?"

I kiss her forehead softly, before rising and pulling on my clothes. We've got work to do.

We've broken off into our individual teams, the last three having grown a significant amount in size due to Moe's team joining us. The two of us is running this operation of sorts. Moe knows who he's supposed to report to, however on team two, he's running the show, my guys know they're to listen to him unless we override the orders.

The least of my worries however isn't how they act though, at the moment it's about getting ourselves inside the front gate. I've got two days growth on my face again, it compensates somewhat for lack of a beard, however these men must know that guys shave. Scully's red roots have been touched up as well. They're slight flaws, but visible nonetheless. I doubt they'll look at them though. These are the same guards posted day in and day out, nobody is that vigilant after working that long looking at papers. It's sort of like Id'ing people when buying alcohol these days, a brief look at the date and the picture. Anybody who has worked in store that sells liquor doesn't look at the Ids very hard anymore. Well that was before the new government banned alcohol. Even still, these are things we have to take into consideration.

Everything but the timing right now is being planned, the timing has to wait until the gunmen arrive, but that doesn't mean that we can't plan the rest of the specifics. Those of us entering by gate can't carry in weapons. All six of us will be clean. They're gonna scan us for weapons and any evidence of us being rebels, such as radios and such. That's why we're using the electronic earrings. They look as such, yet according to Moe they won't be detected at the gate. I certainly hope not.

We're vagrants, people moving into the big city in search of job sanctioned by the new government. None of us have had previous employment according the papers, and any employment listed from before they took over will be mediocre handiwork such as construction, craftsmanship, etc. There will be nothing to indicate that we worked in positions that required government training. There will be nothing to give away the fact that we were once Special Agents Mulder, Scully and Reyes of the FBI. There will be nothing referring Cal as Cal Hansen, US Navy Seal. The others are insignificant enough, but the four of us will be known.

Tomorrow I become Justin Treveau, a steelworker from New York, born in Quebec, Canada. Scully becomes Theresa Hatcher, the widow of my supposed dead brother who now goes by her maiden name. She was a teacher. Cal becomes Calvin East, a college football coach. Bailey becomes Patrick Tossol, a former craftsman who lost his job when money no longer became useful. Elizabeth is Elisa Grey, traveling architect who can no longer travel due to restrictions, and Monica is Josephine Taylor, an employee of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream company, before it went out of business that is.

Our story? We met on the road of course, all of us crossing the country heading to DC for any work and go to know each other along the way. We became traveling companions. It isn't unusual to see that these days, many people meet others along their travels, it's how our team grew to be so large, so there should be no problem in making this story believable.

Getting into the new government headquarters, the White House, will be an entirely different story however. Once team two meets up with us, we'll only have a limited amount of time before the officials there to notice we're packing and have every intention of taking them out. There are secret tunnels under the building itself; Moe knows the layout of them being a former top CIA agent. Cal would know them as well; it's just a matter of how much security is there around them. There may not be much, they may not even know about them, then again they may think them a weakness and heighten the security around them. Who knows.

We all have extra ammunition as well as handguns and silencers we can use if all is are guards. Anything more and the gunmen will have to find a way to bypass it for us. Nothing these days seem to be impossible for them, especially with the equipment at Moe's stronghold. With that technology it should seem like a breeze for them.

Team two will be carrying extra weapons for us, then all pretense of being vagrants is gone. We're after one thing and one thing only, to take out the new government. Scully thinks otherwise, I'm not letting her in on the secret. The others know, there's nothing more I can do; however I can't let her know.

I have a list of all the top officials printed as well as a layout that Moe handed to us before leaving. Many of the names I recognize, two of them being our own Director and Deputy Director of the Bureau. So much for looking out for the best interests of the American people. Some were important senators and house representatives...those who weren't in on the conspiracy was sent off to Area 51 and died during experimentation, including the former president and his family. Doctors were listed, several in fact, many of them medical, the rest scientists in their own rights. Leading the doctors was Dr. Kim; the geneticist who helped raise Summer, followed by Dr. Kristy and Dr. Ariel, the two who helped in the process. Only the most important subjects, and I say subjects meaning like guinea pigs, were treated by the three of them. I haven't heard about the last two.

The very top of the list however didn't surprise me since I had already read that newspaper article. Officially the most powerful person in the world is a child. It explains why she was taken from us, and it explains why what has to be done is going to be done, however, what I need an explanation of is how did she become like this? Was she born with this intent in mind or was it instilled into her? I'm assuming this was where Dr. Kim came in. I haven't given Scully the list, she doesn't know I have it, and I intend to keep it that way for the time being.

The only thing I couldn't figure out was how the Kersh woman factors into all this. I know Kersh's role in all this, it's stated simply on this sheet and in that other article, however how am I supposed to assassinate him during all this, it doesn't work out properly. She knows once I have my hands on Summer nothing else will matter, so my next guess would be, is this a setup? This whole operation is based on faith that her information is indeed what it appears to be. I still follow the rule 'trust no one', however this time I had to make a choice, and in a situation like this, I really had no other choice but to believe. I can only hope she comes through for us.

"Yo Commando Mulder, six years since I've last seen you and you don't even greet us at the door?" The voice of Frohike startles me out of my thoughts, and I can't help but grin. He's right, it's been way too long.

"Frohike!" I dart up from my spot around the pit and embrace the guy, I'm as happy to see him as he is to see me. Frohike has always been my favourite of the three, probably cause I could relate to him more so than the others. Byers is way too straight laced for my books, and Langly, well he's just Langly, there's nothing more to be said. The other two soon follow behind, Langly's hair is longer and for the first time ever, Byers is wearing jeans. I guess when there's little opportunity to go out and find clothes that fit you these days, you go with whatever you find. Business suits just don't grow on trees you know. I don't see how the guy ever did it, I mean sure, I wore suits day in and day out, but the minute I could get out of them, I did. He just wore them around his pad as everyday attire.

"Mulder, long time no see," Byers extends his hand, like way back when, he's still conservative, enough of that crap though. It takes no effort at all to pull him into a hug; I think I've shocked the guy though. However, after six years of not seeing some of your best buds, you don't allow them to greet you with just a handshake, not allowed.

Scully rises from her seat and looks off in the distance, I know who she's looking for, her mother. The guys would not leave her by herself while they came out to help us here...hell, she wouldn't let them if they tried. Within moments Mrs. Scully appears from their vehicle, another pile of warm blankets in hand, bless that woman although I don't know when we'll need those again. I stand next to Frohike watching the two women embrace; once again it's been six years since she's seen her, and they've only spoken a handful of times since.

The team gathers around us in a curious awe, those of them who have been working with me know of the guys, but have never met them. Those in Moe's group, well they could probably care less. I look over at the two women again and they're off walking in the distance, no doubt to the river to catch up. I know Scully is armed, I know she can take care of herself, however Mrs. Scully isn't armed, and there are certainly enough watchers in the area who could easily take her out without her noticing them. Scully's been trained in all this, Mrs. Scully hasn't. I pull Jessica aside and hand her one of my weapons. She's small enough to hide in the bushes and not be seen, and I know she won't let anything happen to Scully.

"All right guys, let's take a break, enjoy lunch or something, I've got a lot of catching up to do before we get down to business. In case you haven't noticed, these guys are the Gunmen, the brains behind this all. Byers is the one with the beard, Langly is the blonde, and Frohike is the short one. Those of you in team four will meet with them after lunch, they'll be heading up your team at Moe's compound. The rest of you won't see them again after today. One hour, then we get back to work."

Despite the fact that I had given the hour for basic catch up, it didn't take long to get right down to business. The guys knew the only reason they were here was to work and help us plan. There would be no decent time to catch up anymore, and I guess after six years of working together on the same thing, just in separate places, there wasn't much to catch up on. Only thing was Scully wasn't back with her mother yet. I know they're safe, but there is work that needs to be done, Scully of all people know that.

"They'll be back shortly Mulder, Ma Scully knew when coming down here she wouldn't get to spend a lot of time with Scully, I think they're just wanting to spend some time alone while they can."

"Ma Scully Frohike? When did Mrs. Scully suddenly become Ma Scully?"

"She's always been Ma Scully. Hell, we wouldn't be here without her, she makes herself useful by keeping us healthy. I haven't had a cheese steak in over five years you know."

"Where would you even begin to find a cheese steak? I thought those things disappeared with the rest of humanity."

"I have my ways. Anyway, I suggest give them the time they need. They'll be okay. Scully's a quick learn, update her on whatever plan you're going to undertake then. She'll catch on quickly. Meanwhile, back to business. We've thoroughly marked out every single hideaway, underground tunnel and security system that can be found in DC. With the time frames we give you, getting in there should be a piece of cake."

I call team one and team two over, lunchtime is over for them, and they have the hardest jobs out of everybody else on the team. Frohike immediately pulls out a large sheet of paper, an underground map of the city. The entrances we planned on using are still the same as they were in the past but he's right, security is heavy. "Laser technology, think Mission Impossible guys, think Entrapment. Those are the types of lasers we're looking at, only much more advanced. You can't see them, you can't hear them, they're there, and the slightest movement can trip them off. There are two entrances to the tunnel, one on either side of the city, and each require a sequence of random letters and numbers, as well as keycards to get in. You won't need those. When we give you the cue over the radio, type in any five digits you want and swipe anything with a magnetic stripe. Langly's able to hack into the system to take whatever you use and accept it as true identification."

"Where the hell are we supposed to get credit cards? Don't you three nitwits know they haven't been used since this whole thing began?" Moe was clearly not impressed with them, however, he obviously doesn't know how easy it is to come upon expired cards these days, or how useful they are when it come to jimmying locks. I reach into my back pocket and toss him two of mine, both from six years ago and Bureau issued won't they be surprised when they find out that it was their property that got the two most wanted rebel groups into the city and begin the downfall of their system.

"What else, guys? Is there much more to their security?"

"Oh man, what we've just explained to you is just the tip of the iceberg, Mulder, I certainly don't envy you guys going in at all."

Frohike was certainly right when he stated it was the tip of the iceberg, I don't believe Fort Knox is as well secured as this city, mind you Fort Knox doesn't really exist anymore either except as a stronghold, world's gold has become useless. The new government doesn't need it, they can take what they want, the people barter with useful things these days. In a way I like it's simplicity, however it's too medieval for it to work in the long run.

Back to the security systems though, while the guys had figured out ways to get around it, Moe knew it wasn't gonna be so easy to get by, especially if one of them slipped up that day. They were going to have to work on their pacing, become precise in their measurements and timing, and if one member fell behind, that's it, no going back for them and that member was stuck where they were so as not to trigger any more alarms. It was risky, it was dangerous, but it had to be done. Moe seemed up to the challenge though, and I know my guys could master it no problem, especially after the intense training sessions they had just run through these past couple of days. They had speed, they had accuracy, and they had timing.

Team three had their plans on the outskirts and would have to find another way in if needed be seeing as the security system in the underground tunnels were too sensitive to try and pass them again. They'd figure out something for sure and we wouldn't have the element of surprise on our hands.

I briefed a glance over the horizon, Scully still hasn't returned and I was getting worried. I wanted her here to listen to the guys speak, they could say it so much better than I could, but I know she needs time with her mother. Time alone. Jessica was watching, she wouldn't interfere, but still, I can't help but worry.

"Who's tagging along with us back to the compound, Mulder? We should leave now if we want to get there by nightfall and set up what we need to. Not to mention proper introductions as such." Byers stood by the truck, in his jeans which still shocked the hell out of me...I'm sure he knows that too.

"Team four, get moving, you'll be following Byers, Langly and Frohike. You're to listen to everything they say and tell you to do. I will be in constant contact with them as well as you guys the entire time and while final say still lands with me, don't bring it up to me unless it's absolutely urgent. I trust these guys with my life, I expect you to do the same." Jimmy was already perched in the back, his gear packed up and chatting quickly with Byers, probably catching up on old times as well. I can still remember the first time meeting him too, and I'll have to say my impression of him has changed, he's certainly not as dimwitted as he first seemed.

I take a trip down to the riverbank, both Scully and her mother are standing in a close embrace, I think she realizes this will probably be the last time she sees her for a long time. I don't know what they've talked about, if Scully brought up Summer at all, I hope she didn't, it'll only make my mission all the harder to accomplish, but I could understand why if she did. Scully sees me out of the corner of her eye, I saw her glance my way and I decide it's the right moment to approach the two of them. "The guys are waiting for you, Mrs. Scully, you'll like this place, a lot cleaner than probably what you've been staying in for the last while."

She smiles at me as we walk back to the camp. "It's not the same. For the rest of my retired life I lived in a simple house with my children and watched them grow up there. I've got memories of Christmas' from years back, birthdays, and general visits. That was taken away from me, no matter how nice the place is, it'll never be home you know."

"I know." I can't say I've ever had a home, at least in the case of a permanent dwelling, home to me has always been more of an idea, in this case being alongside Scully. Wherever she goes, I go. That's home to me, no matter the location.

"I guess this is goodbye then till this is all over." She stands by the truck, waiting to get inside although I know she's not all that eager to leave. "Watch Dana for me, don't let anything happen to her."

"You know I wouldn't let that happen." She embraces me too, like a mother would a son and it touches me. I know she's always thought of me like that, but it's been far too many years to remember something like this.

And they're gone. Just like that, and business will go on as usually. Scully watches until they disappear around a bend and sighs. She knows business must continue on as well, although I know she doesn't want it to. "What did I miss?"

"A heck of a lot, but nothing we can't tackle."

"Good, start from the beginning, I want to know everything."

"It's complicated, team two certainly has their work cut out for them, we don't have to worry about much other than getting through the front gate, but the others have a labyrinth of security traps to get through."

"Labyrinth Mulder? Surely it can't be that bad."

"Well they use every trick in the book. Combine Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider and Labyrinth, that's what you have. It's a twisted mess full of false leads and very real danger. It's just like the movies, everything has to be exact for them."

"I thought you said we can handle it, it doesn't sound like it..."

"No, we can. The thing is the Gunmen have figured out how to disable about 95% of it, the other 5% can't be disabled; however it can be avoided. Moe has been handed an electronic and paper copy of the map and what do to. The team has only a limited amount of time to make it through the disabled security features, but they can do it, especially with the speed tests we had running. Both Moe and Jon are going to keep in contact with the guys about everything they see or do. They're running through their paces now, they know timing is everything. We're all synchronizing our watches tomorrow just before we head in."

"And what about us?"

"We go on acting as us. We remember our new names, our identities, we act as how our papers say we act. We'll carry the necessities to make our stories look real. We each carry our own bag filled with some clothing and bare necessities. No weapons, nothing to alert them to anything remotely suspicious. We should be able to hand them our papers and walk right through that front door. Then we hang out at the Mall until we meet up with the others. Moe is our guide to getting into the White House. We move from there."

"And if Moe doesn't make it through?"

"He will, he's determined enough to have a significant role in this all, and he knows failure isn't tolerated." Her face was calm, her eyes were worried, I've never known Scully to feel that out of control, and she is. She knows there's a lot at stake here and a lot could go wrong, hell I feel as if this situation is out of my control too. "Relax, everything will go smoothly. We're ready today. Forget about what happened last time, this time will be different. This time we know what we're up against and the two groups the new government fear the most are working together."

"I know, I'm just thinking back to what my mother asked me earlier that's all."

"What was that?" My hand reaches for hers. Hers is soft and warm, and strong and everything that Scully is, like I said her physical appearance is the epitome of calm and collected.

"She asked me if it was all worth it, giving up our existence now in a risky battle that in essence we really have no chance in winning."

"How does she figure we won't win?"

"Well not in our lifetime anyway, I mean the fighting will continue to go on for years after you and I leave this place, Mulder, it won't stop for a long while. That's what she means, you and I will never see the end product of our struggles. We're alive right now, and relatively safe seeing as we can defend ourselves from the powers that be at the moment, but we're putting it all on the line tomorrow."

"And what did you answer? Do you think it's worth it?"


"I haven't decided that. I can't help but think there's a downside to all this, but I hope it's worth it, I can't let myself think any other way about it. If we don't go in now, Mulder, chances are we won't ever again. The timing's right, we're at our peak performance wise and apprehensions within the city itself are low. If we skip out, we'll be spending the rest of our lives asking the 'what ifs' and never knowing if it could be any different if we had gone in."

"So you do think it's worth it?"

"Like I said, I don't know, I told my mother yes, but somehow she can probably read right through that lie and see my uncertainties."

"But you still want to go in?"

She stops suddenly and turns to face me. Calm, cool and collected Scully is gone, now all I see is scared Scully, and nervous Scully apprehensive Scully. I don't know what to say or do to relieve any of those Scullys, I never have, and it's beginning to scare the hell out of me.

"Yes, I still want to go in, if not for anything but those very reasons I listed above. I don't always want to live on the run, what's the point."

"You're right." I continue to hold her hand and we walk to the river in silence, planning the rest of tomorrow be damned till later. There's not much more we can do now anyway, not till we hit DC and meet up with Moe at the Mall.

"She was ready to come with us you know." Scully started chuckling, a strange and unfamiliar sound to my ears, but certainly very welcome.

"Who? Your mother?" We sit on a nearby rock, watching the current as it flows by us quietly.

"Yeah, I spent half the time arguing with her telling her there's no possible way for her to join you and I on this thing, that the best place she could be is with the guys."

"I can just see it now, Ma Scully storming her way to the front wearing commando boots and a grenade launcher in hand demanding the new government to hand over Summer."

She giggled. "They'd probably hand her over without question too."

"Surrender all their power." I moved in closer to her, hands still intact.

She giggled again. "Leave our planet."

"Tell me why we didn't sign her up?"

Her giggling changed to full force laughter and I couldn't help but join in, the picture of Mrs. Scully in mind was just too much. We need more days like this, but then again that's what we're working toward. Soon. Soon we'll have more days like this, I guarantee it.

Our laughter soon died down as we realized the seriousness of the situation. As a psychologist I know laughter in tough times is the best medicine to keep sane, the idea doesn't want to apply to me, I almost feel guilty for laughing just before we go into battle. It's funny, I've got the Catholic guilt down pat and I'm not even Catholic. All we can do right now however is wait, and we need to pass the time somehow.

We sit by the river in silence after our laugh, both of us contemplative, and although tomorrow is foremost on our mind, for a change, I'm sure neither of us are thinking about it.

I'm remember times before all this happened and while we had some great times together at work, nothing beat out times together out of work. I remember movie nights, sitting on her living room floor and laughing like we did tonight with a beer in our hands. I remember empty boxes of pizza and multiple bags of Chinese. I miss those nights. We need more of them as well.

It doesn't take long for the sun to set and we're still sitting in a comfortable silence, enjoy the other's company. Tonight's our last night together, at dawn we move out. I'm getting anxious now, all this apprehension from earlier seems to have left me tonight and I want to get in there and fight.

I want to take back what's rightfully mine.

"Mulder?"

"Yeah?" I look over at Scully, she has the same look in her eyes that I do, the idea of basic vengeance, there's fight in her yet.

"I think we should head back now. They're probably preparing dinner and I want to catch an early night. You probably should too if you want to be ready at dawn."

"Doesn't matter," I mutter. "It's not like I'm going to sleep anyway, my mind is too active for that."

She extended her hand in a way that I couldn't find a way to refuse, "You're right, but I do need to go over everything at least one more time and I want to see the progress of the other groups."

"You know, there are some things that never change, Scully."

"And what's that?"

"You still need that element of control, the perfection and the idea of no surprises."

"Well of course, working with you all these years it's become a necessity."

"Oh harsh."


Dawn


The sun was breaking over the horizon, hues of reds, orange and purples. We were already on the move. The first vehicle carrying team two was on the way out, team three were packing up and those of us in team had already started hiking. We had to show up as weary travelers wanting in, we couldn't achieve that look by taking the jeep to the gate entrance.

Our radios were tested and functioning, Scully and I entertaining the gunmen in some brief chit chat before getting down to business. We were an hour's walk outside of DC, team two were approaching their entrance within five minutes. Timing was going well.


10 minutes


If I didn't know better, I'd say we're going in circles, however I do know better, and Cal has a compass guiding the way. I'm walking on pins and needles. Scully is walking on pins and needles, everybody is walking on pins and needles and I have yet to figure out a way to come out of this with a reasonable solution.

The sun is fully up now; Moe and his guys have made it to the entranceway and past the first security trap with no problems. They're on their way to the second hoping for no surprises. There shouldn't be, if anything, the guys are extremely thorough.

All six of us walking however are silent. We're too close to think of anything to say, I think we're concentrating too much.

I'm concentrating too much.

I need to get Summer away from Scully and fast. Fuck it all, this is going to be way too complicated.


30 Minutes


We can see the city walls now, tall, gray, and definitely uninviting. It's been years since I've been inside the city of DC, it brings back fond and not so fond memories for me, but I guess I could never really call it home. Scully might, it was the first permanent residence she's ever had after moving across the country with her father all the time. But it was never mine, I liked adventure more than sticking around, probably the underlying reason why I became a field agent, other than Samantha of course. Samantha turned out to be a mistake, however searching for her lead me to Scully, which could never be a mistake.

There's a large open field before the city gates. We don't see the gates, they're on the the south wall, we're facing the west wall. We've still got a hike yet, but I don't like the open field. Open fields lead to danger, all sorts of assassins laying low in them ready to take their prey like hunters plucking birds out of the sky. I should know; we act the same way. DC is the most heavily guarded city in the world, the power base, of course there are going to be assassins around, and watchers and guards, and all it will take to end it all right now is accuracy and one bullet. Sure the rest would continue on, but like the birds, we'll all soon go down.

So one step at a time we walk across the grass and dirt to our final destination. We've got eyes and ears like a hawk, we won't let anything happen to us.


50 minutes


We're ten minutes ahead of schedule as we approach the gate, large doors made out of some metallic alloy. There must be at least ten guards watching it, and they all look bored out of their minds. I'm sure they're young people who'd rather be out with the troops fighting the rebels than standing here all day and checking passports. They'll do their job because it is in their genetic make up to do the job, but the human part of them wants adventure. If I could, I'd tell them it's not all it's cracked up to be, but then I'd be giving myself away.

They don't stand tall, and other than their mandatory uniform, they don't stand out. However, other than the new government's crest sitting on the chest and sleeves of the uniform, army drag is nothing new to us. It's not awe inspiring to us like it is to others. Both in and out of the FBI we've had several run ins with army and the likes, we didn't exactly get along then, and I'm sure with what they stand for now, we won't get along anytime in the near future.

We receive the third degree from them as we hand over our passports, everything from names, reason why we want entrance to full background checks on each of (what can actually be verified by our papers that is) and stating the new pledge to the new government without any slip ups. We hadn't seen this coming, however, once again we'd seen enough people reciting them over the past six years just before they were destroyed to know what the pledge was. All six of us recited it flawlessly.

Instructions were clear, papers passed the tests, we passed the tests and the 'immigration office' as they called it was across the Mall, exactly where we were supposed to head. Go straight there making no stops. It was working to plan.

And so we entered. There's no going back now.

The city inside of the gates was different from what I remembered, martial law having taken effect years ago here. There were constant patrolling of guards and armed officials. Each public place required citizenship papers to enter, random searches of places and people throughout the streets. Nothing seemed to be the same anymore.

I was starting to wonder if meeting up at the National Mall was of the wisest idea considering that while we had papers and all, team two didn't. And not only that, they were carrying weapons that had been banned in the seven continents across the globe. There was only one problem though; we weren't allowed to stray from heading to the Mall seeing as the 'immigration' office was on the other side. No doubt once there they'd inject us with whatever DNA they're using to colonize Earth and we couldn't allow that, but if caught off path they'd kill us on site. One thing is for certain, entry records into the city is kept in the highest order. We'll be monitored until we manage to disappear somehow.

"Hey Mulder." The microscopic radio in my ear started buzzing slightly as Moe spoke. "We're in and under the Mall. There should be an entrance to the tunnels on the left side of the Smithsonian. If you can get around there without being detected we'll be there waiting."

I murmured a quick reply and turned in the direction of the Smithsonian, at least that hasn't been removed. It's still a museum, but a museum of traitors. All those they capture and die while they're experimenting on them go into the Smithsonian as part of their displays. It's a scare tactic, meant to keep those from straying away from them. We're being watched like a hawk, but they won't stop us from going near the Smithsonian knowing what it is. They'll think us looking at it will be beneficial to them. So we enter and find a side exit no problem.

We go in, but they won't see us come out and within a few minutes we're greeted by heavily armed men, our heavily armed men and I couldn't be more grateful than to get my hands on one of the automatics that Moe had lugged around his back.

It's show time in all actuality. The White House is only fifteen minutes away and the tunnels beneath it have remained forgotten, desolate and empty. I don't think they anticipated on anybody knowing them that still lives. Anybody important enough to know about them was killed six years ago. All except Moe, and to an extent, me. Senator Matheson told me about them once.

Senator Matheson had told me a great deal of information over the past several years, and I believe that he also had information on colonization, and was probably using me to prevent it. I was a tool in essence, something to stop the coming apocalypse so he could survive. I failed, but he was also witholding information from me that could have made the difference. He was a strong supporter of the X-Files, however, unfortunately that wasn't enough to reveal to me the necessary means to save us all.

At least I know the tunnels, which is more than any other political supporter know. I doubt this information reached even the highest authorities, lets say the deputy director of the FBI, which makes it an even better way to tackle the whole power structure to the ground. We're going to use what they created against them in a way. True, they didn't create the underground, but it's part of their current powerhouse and if they were really all that intelligent, they'd have found it by now.

"Okay Moe, you're leading the troops in, you're still under my command but you know this area better than any one of us do."

We're moving, like rats in a labyrinth only they don't know that we know that we're around, and they certainly don't know that they're our final target. We walk at a steady pace, any evidence of my disguise to get inside being shed along the way as i stock up on ammunition and get my hands on my weapon. Scully is doing the same, pulling her hair back into a single ponytail at the back of her head while the others are dumping their props along the way. The papers can't help us anymore; we'll keep them anyway just in case

"Team three are you in position?" I whisper into my radio while walking, not wanting to disrupt anything just in case my estimation of the place is wrong and they do know about it.

"Ready and awaiting your orders sir."

"Good, don't move. We'll let you know when we need you in the city, over and out."

Monica is behind me, transformed from her rags and looking no-nonsense in her jeans and tank and a kevlar handed to her by Moe at the entranceway. We all have one of those, just like back in the old days, only this time we know we're going to use them.

The element of surprise will only last for so long before they start shooting back at us.

The entrance to the tunnel underneath the house is right in front of us, and none of us are moving. There's an air of apprehension surrounding everybody, most of it probably emanating from myself. It seems that all confidence I had in controlling the situation has disappeared, and my biggest fear is making a mess of everything and getting the rest of the team killed. I should know better, I mean how can an army of twenty take on a building housing at least a 150 of the country's top ranking soldiers and military personnel? Nothing seems logical anymore to me.

I certainly hope it seems logical to Scully cause now I'm just scared out of my wits. It's not too late, I know we can turn back. I'd be disappointed if we did, but we can, however, we've come to far to even think about it. Then why am I seriously considering it? None of the excuses running through my mind seem valid enough, yet I keep searching for the one reason that will be good enough to allow us to turn back.

"You coming pal?" Moe's voice shook me out of my thoughts and I was the only one waiting behind, everybody else had crossed the threshold and was moving forward. None of the excuses were valid, it's an everybody or no one deal, and so I step over and face another decision.

"Which way are we going?"

"Depends on where you want to go. Different rooms house different people with different powers."

"I want the one with Summer, of course."

"That doesn't help, Mulder, she can be in any of these rooms."

"Well fine, take one six-year-old with the IQ and mentality of all the world leaders that used to be present and figure it out from there."

"We go straight then. That'll lead us into one of the main atriums of the building. We can split and look throughout from there."

"Done, let's go."

Any and all previous thoughts about aborting has disappeared, there's only one thing on my mind...search and destroy, and we won't fail either.

The corridor was bland and lifeless, and not as dark as we thought it would be. For a forgotten section of tunnel, it seemed very well maintained and very well lit. It didn't seem to bother any of us although it should. Scully walked next to me with her weapon held out in front of her just like the old times. Our basic training from the academy was coming back to both of us, do what you can within legal limits to get your man. We're gonna forget the legalities today and just go for it all.

Moe guided us through with an ease that disturbed me. How often had he been in these tunnels before? Could he have been working for one of them? That thought never really left my mind; he could still be working for them and leading us in a trap. I wasn't going to voice these concerns, it was too late for that, but I was beginning to wonder how far I could trust him. He seemed way too comfortable for my liking, nobody should be this comfortable on a raid to infiltrate and take over the new government.

We reached a single black metallic door and with a flick of his wrist, he opened it to a set of stairs. "This'll lead you to the main atrium. I don't know how busy it is, I'd watch your backs if I were you."

"My team come with me" I started splitting the group back into their original teams. "Moe's team, you stay with him and only enter when I give the signal."

"What'll be the signal?" "You'll know it, it'll either be a very loud 'now guys' or a blood-curling scream emitted from any one of us. If we scream, you'll know something will have gone wrong and we need back up to get out. If somebody screams and we don't need you, wait for my 'no'. If you hear no, stay where you are, got it?"

"Right."

They were divided; we were alone ascending the stairs to what seemed to us, the unknown. We had no information about security in the White House, nothing as to where people were located, where to find Summer. My team was small, we could cover a lot of ground if we all went individually, but I would not allow that, we were all gonna stick together, I only hope that we find Summer before they find us.

"It'll be all right, Mulder, we've got your back if need be." Scully's hand was a comfort on my shoulder, but we both felt the same apprehension about opening the second door at the top of the stairs. It was the only thing that stood between us and the final stretch of our mission. I didn't want to open the door, it scared the hell out of me to do so, but there was little choice left in the matter. Another flick of my wrist and it was done, the door was open and we stepped through.

And when we did, we knew it was all over.

My life started to flash before my eyes as I stared down the barrel of a military weapon.

"Shit."

We had come so far only for it all to go downhill like this. There was no way now in my opinion that we'd get to see Summer, no way that I'd be able to overthrow the new government and see some sort of order re-established across the country. Well there was never much of a chance to see order established anyway, not with the fighting that would carry on throughout the years, but this was supposed to be the first step, and now, with the weapon being stabbed in my back as we're guided through the halls of the White House, I really don't see much of anything happening.

I glance over at the others and my head is forced straight again with a jab of the semi-automatic against my temple. I can't think clearly anymore, I can't see Scully, I need to see her, I need to see what's running through her mind and if it's the same as what's going through mine. I need to know that she's confident that things will work out. If she isn't, then I can't be.

I want to see Monica's face too. Her extra-sensory instinct has always pulled us out of various situations, but even she didn't foresee this. I was hoping that even now as we're being guided around like dogs on a leash that she'd be able to see something that would help us out. At this point, anything. They must know this though, why else would they be keeping her directly behind me.


It was as if they knew we were here the entire time; that we were coming, although that wouldn't be possible unless they had extra-sensory like Monica did. This would also mean that they weren't human in origin, none of these guards were or they were human just genetically manipulated, but to what extent?

My mind was running in circles with all these thoughts and ideas inside, there were so many possibilities but only so few plausible answers, and nothing that we can confirm at the moment. These 'men' weren't about to come right out and tell us, yes, their alien, and yes, they could read our minds, nor were they going to tell us how they knew we were coming. It was clear they only had one thing on their mind, to take us wherever they were going to take us.

We passed several unmarked doors which used to house the staff of the White House, now used for god knows what, bunkers maybe for these nameless and faceless men, or perhaps they're still offices used for the new staff of this building, just unmarked because numbers and order no longer seem necessary. Each one of them remains shut tight, the large cedar doors reaching from floor to ceiling allowing no light to shine through the bottom at all.

"Left" the order coming from the man behind me was sharp and to the point, much like the weapon he further jabbed into me to emphasize the point. We stopped at large wooden double doors, and this time it was instinct that told me that behind those doors was the one person we came here to see to begin with. I didn't need Monica to tell me, or these uniformed men, I knew whom we were going to see, I could only hope it would turn out the way Scully and I both want it to.

The doors opened and we were quickly ushered inside and stood in front of a large oak desk surrounded by armed guards and doctors in long white lab coats and hair pinned back in a twist. Scully stood next to me, and it didn't take me long to follow her gaze to the center of the desk, where the guards separated, and there sat none other than a child with brunette hair pulled tightly behind her, intense blue eyes. Eyes that showed intelligence beyond her years, and a body no larger than that of a typical six-year-old.

"Mulder." One word, my name uttered no louder than a whisper coming from Scully's mouth, she had found her holy grail, she had found her daughter, now was the question of what to do about her. My intuition was working overtime today. Standing in front of her was sending all sorts of negative vibes through me, the situation would not end well unless I end it, but how to communicate that to the others, I don't know. Monica's face is showing the same apprehension as mine is now that I can see hers too. She knows the situation isn't good, and when her intuition is working alongside mine, I know I can't be far off from the truth.

However, Scully's face is full of joy and amazement at seeing the little girl we lost six years ago. She's looking at her through the eyes of a mother, someone who is blind to the true reality that is staring us right in the face. So this is what it's like with parents who will stand up and lie for their children in court, who will only see the best in them when there's definitely a problem. It's not that they feel required and honour bound to help them despite the trouble they've caused, it's really because they don't see the trouble, or at least most parents don't. I know not all parents are blind, my parents certainly weren't, and Mr. Scully definitely wasn't, but today, standing here watching Scully, it's transparently obvious that she is.

And I don't know what kind of trouble that'll lead us to.

"Look at her, Mulder, she's got your hair, your hands, my eyes and thankfully my nose. She's ours, just look at her."

"Scully, be careful will you, I don't trust this situation, why would they bring us to her if they thought she'd let us take her away."

"Mulder, once again need I remind you she's only six years old. A child. What can a child do?"

I looked back over at Summer. Her eyes were cold. She recognized us, she knew who we were, yet her eyes were empty, they were like ice. They weren't filled with contempt for allowing her to be taken; they weren't filled with joy at seeing us either. She didn't speak a word though.

"I'm going to her, I need to go to her." She released her grip from the guard easily and took a few tentative steps forward, speaking quietly to the girl about being her mother and how much she looked for her and missed her. It was all too easy, and it was making me uneasy.

"Scully..."

The girl glanced up from her glare at Scully to the guards behind her, not a word spoken still. She was silent, but quicker than one could say boo the guards had pounced on Scully, it was as if she was giving them orders psychically. This was not a good sign.

"Scully!" My call became more urgent as the guards clasped tightly to her, dragging her struggling body suddenly out of the room.

"Mulder, what's happening, where are they taking me?" She was frantic, and I was near frantic too as the guards continued to pull and drag her through the large doors.

"SCULLY!" I tried to leap from my position in front of the desk, but to no avail, it was as if I was being physically held in place without anybody holding me. I needed to get to her, she needed my help.

"SCULLEEEE...." "Where are you taking her!" I turned to face the child sitting at the desk, her eyes still remained cold and she was silent, yet it didn't take much to hear her speak. Her mouth didn't move or utter a single word, but her thoughts were echoing through my mind. The question of Scully's whereabouts remained unanswered, although I now knew why we were brought in front of her.

We were being used.

We were the last of the resistance, and many of us were inoculated against the oncoming virus that caused colonization. We could technically prevent any further colonization if we wished, it wouldn't be hard to use our blood to immunize even more of the population, and they knew that. If we really wanted to, we could make the resistance grow.

We could also be used as a weapon against humanity though, against the rest of the uncolonized world. We created Summer, Scully and I. Our DNAs, both lined with the virus placed in us so long ago created her. Using the same formula, more of her could be created, as frightening and yet stupid as it sounds; our world could be taken over by six-year-old alien children.

"You bring her back then I'll tell you all that, I want her alive first!"

The girl's words kept coming back to the forefront of my mind. She wants all of us, every single last one of us to be used and tested and to help prevent further inoculations. She wanted us all to join her side, aid with alien colonization instead of working against it.

You're mine, she's mine, I want the rest of them too.

She glanced quickly at the guards holding us and without a moment's notice, we were being ushered out of the room, in the opposite direction that they were taking Scully. "I'm not giving you anything until I get Scully back safe and sound. Do you hear me Summer? Nothing!"

My cries were echoing down the hall as they dragged us to the end, placing me in one large room with the unmarked large double door, and the rest of my team in the other.

We shall see, Mr. Mulder, there are other ways you know.

There are other ways. I shudder to think of the other ways she might be talking about, or in this case, thinking about. I had an idea upon entering the city of what we were about to face, this certainly wasn't it, obviously I hadn't looked into the situation hard enough.

I was alone, my team finally forced separate from me and placed in a room similar to mine down the hall. And Scully removed from me altogether, to where, I don't know, I can only hope to know the places that she won't be taken to. Area 51 is gone, piles of rubble on the floor eliminating that testing centre as a possibility, but there were so many others.

Quantico.

That was still up, FBI academy recently converted to testing facility. Experimentation, vaccination, expiration; it plays host to all of these now and more, and for some reason my gut is telling me there. As to why I'm still here, I don't know, and the fact that they've left me alone in this room blows my mind knowing that I'm a trained agent as well as a renegade, a loose canon who's not afraid to go off at will or find my way out of this place.

Not if you want to see her again you won't. Her voice was back inside my head, reading my very thoughts and responding to them in her controlled yet high pitched childlike voice.

Damn her.

There would be no way to leave here with my thoughts constantly monitored, no way to get out and find Scully and save us both and just go join Skinner and Doggett and live out the rest of our days in happiness while the world all goes to hell.

You'll see her, you just may not like what you see, but trust me, Mr. Mulder, you'll see her again.

There were no defenses I could use, nothing to block this child's voice from my head, nothing to keep her from intercepting and reading my inner most thoughts. "Will you just leave me the hell alone for two minutes!" My voice echoes off the walls, but nobody seems to be listening, or seems to care anyhow.

My team is gone, Scully is gone, and I'm left alone to face this demon child who seems to derive pleasure from driving me insane.

A few more hours, it won't be long now.

The room I was trapped in didn't offer much comfort to my wandering mind, although I didn't really expect it to. It consisted of one long table, several chairs, much like a conference room, a leather couch and a large television screen at the end. The ceiling was had at least six video cameras attached to it, and in the middle sat a large modern chandelier. It was basic and plain, nothing remotely attractive in it to keep my mind from thinking about Scully and what they were going to do to her.

Why did they want me in here though? Granted keeping us separated is probably the easiest way to get what they want, but I couldn't help but think that Summer's message meant more than it sounded. They're using Scully for something, but for what I don't know.

The leather couch was something reminiscent of the one in Moe's rebel base. It was only 24 hours before that Scully and I had been seated in one of them, both of us safe and alive, I can't even say that about her at the moment.

Hell I can't even say that about me.

The hours passed by slowly, one, two, four, eight, nothing, no food, no drink, no word of Scully, and no messages from Summer invading my mind. I was neither tired, nor hungry nor thirsty though. I wanted nothing but knowledge about Scully. I should have drugged her and left her back at camp, and if I knew that this would have been the outcome, I would have.

"Mulderrrr..." I spun from where I was standing.

Scully.

She still had her radio on; they hadn't found it yet.

"Where are you, Scully?"

"Don't know." Her voice was slurred, like she had either been drugged or knocked out.

Maybe I can help you, Mr. Mulder.

And the doors to my room opened, several armed military men entered, followed by none other than Summer. This seemed to be getting worse by the moment.

We do know about the radio, in fact we discovered it upon a cursory exam where she's being held, we've just decided not to do anything about it. We figured that having you listen to her both on the television speakers here and right in your ear may have a better effect on you.

What the hell was this kid talking about? Better effect on me how? What were they going to do to Scully that would make keeping the radio in my ear have a better effect on me? It dawned on me then as one of the military guards turned the television set on to reveal Scully in a sterile room of some sorts strapped to a bed with three doctors standing by her, two with clipboards and the other with a syringe in her hand.

I reached up to my radio at that point knowing what they were going to do, and I didn't want to listen to it in stereo sound.

I suggest you keep your radio on, Mr. Mulder, unless you want to see something untimely happen to your partner. Right now we're just going to play with her a bit. If you take your radio off or disable it in anyway then we'll insert a second syringe into her thereby ending what little life she has left, after we take what we need from her of course. You have your choice, a chance to save her, or lose her right away.

As if on cue the red-haired doctor produced a second syringe identical to the one the blonde had in her hand.

I want you to meet our three doctors, they're top in my staff. Dr. Kristy, Dr. Kim and Dr. Ariel. Normally they're referred to on a last name basis, they like to remain professional, however, there's something downright sadistic about the knowing the first names of the people who are about to do what they're going to do to your partner. It makes it more personal and to me somewhat more enjoyable.

She smiled my way. She was enjoying this, my child was enjoying watching me watch her mother about to go through whatever tests they were about to subject her to. The term rebellious teenager came to mind, but Summer was only six, she had a far way to go although mentally she was my age. Then there's the term 'problem child' and while that seems somewhat adequate, I'm sure the psychologist who came up with that never expected Summer to come around cause that seems too mild a term for her.

I'd pay attention if I were you, Mr. Mulder, I wouldn't let your mind wander off while I explain the next parts, else you won't understand as much as I need you to.

"What the hell do you want that you don't already know."

There are other rebel pockets throughout the United States and I know you're aware of them. They're destroying my facilities, and a lot of my men. How do you expect me to continue on with my plans if they're in the way?

"Oh gee, I don't know, how about leaving what's left of the human race as it is, has that thought ever crossed your mind?"

A sense of humor. You know I can't do that, it would interfere with everything. I need whereabouts of these groups, of these cities with these misguided people. Colonized people are living so much better these days now that we're here to guide them. We have an ordered and structured society. People listen to us without question, so much better than the democracy you had before we took over.

"Democracy wasn't perfect, but it made people happy, knowing it was the people first, and everything else second."

Yeah, but that idea grows tiresome. People are like sheep, they need a leader to listen to and tell them what they want. Now tell me what I want to know, where are these rebel pockets?

I looked at her defiantly. I, like many others by nature, am not a sheep, I will not do what she says at her beck and call, and I know she's well aware of this.

I was hoping you'd hold on me you know, she smiled sadistically. In the first syringe in Dr. Ariel's hand is a serum we've found very useful over the past few years. We've fine-tuned it and now it gets us everything we want to know. Call it a truth serum of sorts, only it's not going to make your partner tell the truth, just you. The doctor placed the syringe on Scully's arm, not breaking the skin yet, but close too. The liquid inside will be injected into your partner's blood stream and flow throughout her body. She will start to feel warm, then hot, then like her insides are burning. She won't die, it doesn't kill, but she will be in so much pain that she will want to die. And you get to listen to this all. It will be the most agonizing half hour of her life, and we will continue to do this until you answer my question.

The Doctor's thumb then pressed the tip of the syringe, allowing the clear fluid to enter Scully's body.

The kid wasn't wrong when she told me I'd be hearing everything in stereo sound. All at once the moaning began and instantly turned to screaming as she complained of burning from the inside out. She moved and writhed while strapped to the bed, her piercing cries filling my ears and at that moment I would have given anything for it to stop.

Summer's voice echoed behind Scully's screams, demanding the information she needed, and I'd gladly give it to her if I could process anything running through my mind at the moment, but I couldn't.

Scully's screams were getting louder by the moment and becoming increasingly painful to hear. I wanted them to stop, I wanted to run over and sooth every inch of her that was on fire, however, I didn't know where she was being kept, and I couldn't give Summer the information she wanted to stop.

I wanted to shoot the blasted kid for putting us in this situation to begin with, however, with armed men surrounding both her and I, and Scully's fate in the hands of the doctors, there was nothing I could do but sit out and wait for the next twenty-five minutes to be over. I didn't have all of the information Summer needed though. Granted I have some, probably enough to blow Moe's compound to kingdom come, but I was not about to give that information to her. Scully would never forgive me to allow her mother and the guys to be blown to bits like that.

Ah so you have other friends' lives on the stake, Mr. Mulder. I could guarantee their safety to you if you release the information.

Scully began to scream even louder than I thought possible. The doctors on the screen were suddenly forced to hold her down as she thrashed around trying to lessen the pain, unsuccessfully of course due to the serum inside of her.

"First you lure my partner to believe you're for real, that you're an innocent child used and abused by the powers that be. Then you inject her full of some concoction that will do god knows what to her other than what it already is doing, and now you're expecting me to reveal the whereabouts of other so called 'rebels' who are only trying to restore humanity to what it is?"

This is only round one. We're going to do this until I get the information I need. Her blue eyes bore into mine and possessed and intelligence I would never have believed to have seen in a six-year-old.

She was enjoying watching us suffer, listening to Scully's anguish and watching my confusion.

"I have no guarantees, I can't trust you."

It's a gamble, sure, but isn't life a gamble? You chose to gamble by trespassing on my property, you chose to gamble when you decided to fight instead of join. I could have kept you safe if you had joined, you could have been up at the ranks that Mr. Kersh currently hold right now, but instead you're nothing more than a thorn in my side. I can keep everybody you love safe though. Just give me the information.

And after Scully's last scream, I very nearly opened my mouth to do so.

"Stop this and I'll tell you everything," I manage to spit out between the cries of my partner. "If you want the little information I have, you'll stop this brutality now," putting an emphasis on the last word.

Mr. Mulder, there's no possible way, she's still got ten minutes left. We've developed the serum, but we don't have an anti-serum to counter against it. You'll just have to wait.

Ten minutes more of watching her in agony. I could feel the tears fall down my cheeks at the thought of what she might be going through, knowing it's something far worse than I could imagine or would want to imagine. Her screams were now loud never ending shrieks; it was as if somebody was cutting her up without any anesthesia. The three doctors sitting in that room were now on my 'list'. I knew of the possibility that they may only be following orders because something valuable of theirs were held hostage, or that they may in a way be brainwashed. I doubt they were actually enjoying what they were doing, but it didn't matter. They were inflicting pain on my Scully. It was simple; they were going to pay somehow.


"I said stop this, NOW!"

Mr. Mulder, I've already explained. But you can distract yourself if you'd like by giving us the information we need, it may be enough to keep your mind off what's happening on screen.

The kid was smug, she was smiling, believing she had won this when in essence she had lost, that's if my message had gotten through.

"Shut the television set off and let me take off my ear piece then we'll talk, I can't do this listening to her."

I think not, you may suddenly change your mind. This is my insurance to make sure I get what I want. Don't worry, once I have the information in hand you'll be reunited with your partner and you'll both be well taken care off by my staff. You're both too valuable to the whole operation to lose.

"I don't think you're getting the point, you're not getting any information until you stop this madness."

Oh, I've got the point alright, it's you who doesn't. If you don't give me the information, we're only going to do this again within an hour's time. It's really that simple, either way, I'll win and you'll both lose.

I wanted to know where the guys were, I had given the word twice now, and there wasn't much time left. Scully still had five minutes left of this torture, I still had to listen to it all, and Summer was right, we'd end up losing either.

"I'm not going to lose to a six-year-old child. We'll talk once you're finished with my partner." I sat back down at a seat and stared defiantly at her. She still had the smug smile on her face, and her thoughts were still filling my head, pushing mine out. It didn't take long to block her ways of reading, now it was just a matter of blocking her all together.

Then, it was like a god-send or something. I had never been so happy to see an armed man not belonging to the military here in my life.

"The only person who's going to lose here is you, kid," the large man bellowed standing at the gate, his large automatic staring the first guard in the face.

Moe.

Team two were standing at the door clearly outnumbering the guards in the room. It wasn't enough to detract Scully from the coursing pain, but it was hopefully enough to save our asses and get us out of here.

"Hey Mulder, you want the kid or shall I?" He held a small handgun with a silencer on it so as not to attract the guards, something she was probably trying to do mentally anyway, which means we don't have much time left.

"I'll do it." He tossed the gun effortless to me and for some reason, I felt no remorse in doing this. She was my child, my flesh and blood, but children don't also go around torturing one parent as a means to an end regarding the other. It's just not proper etiquette. I pressed the cool metal of the muzzle of the silencer to the back of her head, and looked down her for the first time with confidence knowing I have the advantage. "I want you to think carefully now. Forget about calling your guards, that ain't gonna happen, kid. Tell me where you've put Scully."

She remained silent and I knew I had no other choice, not when she could have ordered the whole army to march into this room and take us out. I did the only thing I could do considering the circumstances. I only hoped Scully would forgive me for this, and for the first time in years, I said a quick a prayer before my finger reacted, and she fell to the ground in a lifeless lump.

We were moving out again. "We have to find Scully, she could be anywhere and she could be in a lot of danger. The kid had more than enough time to decree anything she wanted and killing Scully may be top of the list."

"What about team one?" A shout came from the back. That stopped me in my tracks, they were right, we had to search out for the whereabouts of my team as well. I wasn't going to give them up without a fight either.

"You're right, we'll split up. Half the men come with me in search of Scully; the rest of you look for the rest of my team. We're all going to get out of here."

Corridor beyond corridor beyond corridor lay out stretched in front of me, all looking the same, all giving no indication as to where she could be. For all I know she might not even be in the building. We continued to open each door however, peering in hoping to find three doctors and my partner.

"Agent Mulder!" I recognized that voice, and if I had been paying attention in the beginning, I probably would have seen him in the room with us earlier. I turned around and before I could even see the top of his balding head, I knew who he was, and was never more grateful to see him, or the man next to him. Walter Skinner and John Doggett, back from Cuba just in the nick of time. And a woman standing next to them too. "She says she knows where you can find Scully."

Well well well, if it wasn't Mrs. Kersh, American wife of the year.

She is a most welcome sight the moment, just hearing the words that she may know where Scully is located. In between the chaos and madness here I forgot what it was I was supposed to initially do in order to find Summer. I doubt his wife forgot seeing as she was so adamant about it happening, and it's not that I minded doing it to begin with, she obviously knows how much I can't stand the man.

"Where is she?"

"In a moment, firstly, get Mr. Skinner off my arm. There is no need for any of his strength and while he is a good looking man and I wouldn't mind his touch, when it gets to be at a bruising force I tend to object. I'm not going to run." I glanced over at Skinner as he removed his hand from her elbow, however, he did not move away. I could see he didn't trust her, but knew enough to listen to her if he wanted to help get Scully back.

"Now, tell me."

"First off, I came through with my half of the bargain, now it's time for you to come through with yours. Kill my husband, I'll tell you where to get your partner."

"How about we compromise. I have no intentions of leaving without making sure the former deputy director is dead, so how about while I go after him, you tell AD Skinner and Doggett where to find my partner. They'll go after her, and I'm at your disposal until I know Kersh is gone."

She seemed to debate the idea for a few moments, but in the end I guess she knew to trust me, she probably knew of all the hate Kersh held for me and knew I'd want retribution somehow, not to mention I've tried assassinating him once before. She nodded her assent and pointed me toward where the former Oval Office was before turning to Skinner and Doggett to give them the whereabouts of Scully. I grabbed one of Moe's men and told him to hand the radio over to Skinner, I wanted word of what was going on, what state she was in, and they all knew that no matter how innocent the three doctors were, they were to be disposed of as well. They listened to the child, they injected her with the needle, they were as guilty as she was and it was only right they endure the same fate.

I, meanwhile, with Moe at my side, ran up a set of stairs around the corner, weapons with silencers in hand, and kevlar's firmly in place. With Summer no longer in control I doubted the guards would care much, but without Summer in place, Kersh was now the man behind the power seat. The only grace in this entire situation was that Kersh couldn't speak telepathically, which means he couldn't notify the guards.

The double oak doors stood looming before the both of us. Moe didn't know much about Kersh other than what he read in the paper, I knew he was deserving of what was coming to him. On the count of three we kicked the doors open, and there, sitting in the seat once belonging to the many presidents of the United States, was deputy director Kersh with his usual smug grin on his face.

There was only one thing different about this time compared to all the other times I went to meet him in his office. I had a larger smug grin on my face, and I was going to win this time around.

The situation was familiar to the both of us, him sitting at the desk ready to chew me out, I on the other side ready to be chewed out. We had both sat here, okay, not this very office but something similar, countless times, and it had always been the same. This time, I wasn't standing here waiting to be chewed out, instead, I was surveying the damage I had caused on our last meeting.

He sat not in the customary leather chair that is used for such an office, but instead in his own leather wheelchair, enjoying nothing but the best that money and power can offer him. It was motorized as indicated by the controls on the right armrest and it was obvious he was only a paraplegic seeing as he had full control of his upper body. Near as I could figure it, if I had just aimed to the left a little more and about an inch higher, I probably could have killed him. It figures I'd miss by something so little. That wasn't happening today, not when Scully's very life depended on his death. "If it isn't the deputy director, nice to see you looking so well sir," my tone hinted mock shock at his current situation.

"Considering the guards aren't in here, Agent Mulder, I'm assuming you killed the kid. I should thank you, this now puts me in supreme control of the country and all of colonization."

"I don't think so, nobody's taking over colonization, we're putting it to an end here and now. It seems somebody wants you dead and has sent me to finish the job I started years ago. You ready to take one last look at the world you destroyed before I send you to hell for what you've done?"

"Everybody wants me dead, my wife wants me dead. You don't think I haven't seen the looks of disgust she throws my way. Agent Mulder, what you see in front of you is the shadow of the man I once used to be, only I hold more power in my hands. You can shoot me if you'd like; colonization isn't going to end. Somebody else will just take my place."

I walked across the desk and placed the muzzle of my gun on his temple, not receiving any fight from him. Maybe he doesn't want to fight anymore, or maybe he really does think he's right. "You're full of shit you know."

"Mulder," the radio in my ear cackled as Skinner came over the little speaker. "We have Agent Scully. She doesn't look very good, she's unconscious, but she'll live. The three doctors are gone, can't find them anywhere in the building. Where do you want us to meet up?"

I thought over the deputy director's words, the fight wasn't over, looking over at Moe behind me we both knew it was true. The war had only begun. The power structures were just beginning to collapse and if we left them alone now, they'd only be rebuilt again, probably stronger than ever. I looked back at the deputy director, staring at Moe and myself calmly, mouthing the words 'you'll never win'. I pulled the trigger; it was a clean shot as he slumped in his chair.

"You can tell Mrs. Kersh she's officially a widow. Hand Scully over to Doggett, tell him to take her back with him to Cuba and to stay there and watch her. There's a war here, we're not finished fighting yet, but she's been through enough."

"She's not going to like this idea when she comes to, Mulder. You know Scully."

"I know, there's not much choice in the matter though. After watching what she went though today, there's no possible way I could subject her to that again. She's finished, she's going to enjoy the rest of her life peacefully in the sun."

"And what about you? Will you be joining her?"

Moe and I turned toward the door, exiting ready to join the others looking for the rest of my team. "Not now. I will when I think I'm ready to, but I need to stay here and fight. She'll understand hopefully. Just take her though, now, the shit's about to hit the fan."

Cal, Bailey and the others were standing in one piece at the end of the hall, armed and ready to take on the world alongside Moe and myself. The resistance was formal. With a weakened power structure it'll be easier to get people on our side.

"Take care then, Mulder, you know Scully is safe with the two of us."


EPILOGUE

For the first time in ten years a peace and serenity had fallen upon me the moment I stepped onto the shore behind a small beach house. Four years ago I would never have imagined the world to be in the state it was. Those hiding had come out for the first time and fought alongside Moe and I, changing our small rebel group to a larger resistance.

Power structures across the country had begun to fall and other pockets of rebels across the globe were picking up and starting to do the same thing.

The gunmen were still hard at work at Moe's camp aiding each of the groups, working as a communications base between one and the other. They send us information we were able to use and vice versa. A network had been established, and Moe and myself named formal leaders.

Our team remained high in the ranks, commanding their own teams, Cal, unfortunately killed in an attack while protecting his sister, who had gone off to marry Bailey and both of them retired and joined Scully in the sun to live the rest of their lives.

Ryan soon became my third in command, coordinating the rest of the resistance groups and has just been promoted to number one along side Moe and continues to fight.

As for me, my time has come to go home. It's been four long years without seeing her or speaking to her, and quite frankly, I was tired. There was nothing more I could do to help the fight and I always knew there would be an end for me somewhere in there.

With the rapid decline in population here, entry onto the island was easier than anticipated, not to mention I'm sure my name had something to do with it. Over the years I had become some sort of a local hero for people, my triumphs over the alien child and virus had become legend and folklore.

None of that mattered though, not right now, now when I was being greeted with a sight too beautiful for sore eyes.

Her bleach blonde hair had grown out back to her natural red and now sat below her shoulders, and instead of rancid muddied black combat gear, she wore a simple black shirt and white wrap around skirt and her feet were bare in the sand. Despite the searing heat and sun she had managed to tan instead of burn, and her face was littered with a light sprinkle of freckles. Looking at her at this one moment made the whole absence worth it.

I took several steps forward toward her, eager to put my arms around for the final time and this time never let go when I was stopped by the sound of the house door opening. "Mama?"

She motioned the little boy forward who eagerly ran into her arms and wrapped his around her neck. And when I had thought that the image I saw before of her standing on the beach was complete, it was nothing compared to what I saw now, her holding a dusty red-haired three-year-old child, and from this

distance, I could indeed see my dreaded nose.

No explanation needed, I now know why she didn't bother fighting and kicking her way back into the fray along my side. She had somebody else to take care of for a change, and seeing them together like they were, there was only one thought running through my mind as I carried myself toward them.

Life was just beginning; I was home.

END

FINAL AUTHOR'S NOTES: It's finally done a year later and nearly half a year after that it's being posted on my site. Whew! Story wise, I have to say this has been my most imaginative piece of work yet seeing as we haven't seen anything of post-colonization yet. This was actually started before Essence and Existence aired so those two eps and everything afterward do not exist in this world. I need to thank my all-star supporters on this one (the ones who have been around for ages and are mentioned somewhere in here, Lizzi, Nancy (who so graciously put up with being Kersh's wife), Lovesfox, Kristy, Ashley, Chiquita Banana, Ariel, Tammy, and of course, how can I forget Summer? She probably had the best role of all!

Must also thank my beta, Nancy (she's newly beta after this fic although she did look at pieces of this one). You're a star, Mrs. Kersh!

The last thing I found absolutely astounding was the many versions of Mulder that my readers on the X-Files Official Forum found.

SurvivalistMulder (SMulder) TreeClimbingMulder RiverBathingMulder DrillTeamMulder CommandoMulder WallClimbingMulder SchoolTeacherMulder SleepingTentMulder ApplePickingMulder

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard at the variations of Mulderclones that were pulled from this fic. You guys are truly the best!




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