Title: The Third Wheel
Summary: After the events at El Rico Air Force Base, Mulder and Scully are reassigned to the X-Files. The catch is that another agent has been reassigned to them
AUTHORS NOTE: I have nothing against Robert Patrick, but I didn't like the way that John Doggett was force fed to me and other fans of the X-Files. This story and the ones that will follow it are my way of showing an alternate version of how the X-Files should have dealt with the introduction of another character. I hope you enjoy them.
Whenever Fox Mulder sat in the exterior of A.D. Skinner's office, he always felt that he had been called in to see the vice principal. Like he'd been caught by at some activity calling for a disciplinary infraction, and now was his time to suffer the consequences. He shifted his weight, wondering for a moment what his punishment would be this time.
It wasn't as if he wasn't used to disciplinary action. As he would be the first to admit (no, as Scully would be the first to admit) he had the tendency in the pursuit of his work to "push the envelope". Politely put, he violated the rule book's codings on a regular basis.
He looked over at his partner, about to remark about his last thought. A look at Scully's face changed his mind. Something about the analogy he'd made had him feeling it would cut a little too close to home, and right now that was the last thing he wanted. God knew that things had been awkward between the two of them for the last several months, and right now she could very easily live without his usual witticisms. Besides, she probably felt feel the same, like she was being called to the principal's office. In her case though, she probably felt like the parent of a perennially disobedient grade schooler always being chastised for her child's failings. In this case, though, the disciplinary actions were being put on the mother as well as the child.
The irony was he had no reason to feel as suspicious as he did. By all indications, they were going to be put back on the X-Files. The literal firestorm of events that had concluded in the horrors at El Rico had convinced many people at the bureau that he and Scully were necessary to the success of the unit. He therefore had every reason to be looking forward to this meeting with anticipation.
Why was it, then, that he felt a sensation of impending doom, as if there was about to be one more ironic twist in his corkscrew existence at the bureau? If he told these feelings to any of his friends (most of whom, he thought wryly, were sitting in this room with him) they would likely tell him he was being unduly paranoid. Perhaps he was, but as he had told Scully early in their partnership: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you."
The door of the office opened. "Agents." As always the voice of the man in the office seemed to contain a mild note of disapproval
Without even looking at each other, the two federal agents stood up and walked into the office, wondering what consequences awaited them behind the door.
Skinner never seemed particularly comfortable when he had to give them any sort of news, pleasant or (as was usually the case) unpleasant. This time, however, he seemed more reluctant than usual to speak, though he tried to maintain a cheerful tone.
"First of all, let me be the first to congratulate you. As of tomorrow, the two of you may officially return to the X-Files."
This was the best news that Fox Mulder had heard in over six months and the only thing that he could think of was: "What string are they putting on it now?'
"However, it is the decision of those higher up at the bureau that your return be conditional.
Here it comes, thought Mulder.
"Agent Scully was assigned to the X-Files six years ago to provide a scientific rationale for your work. However, it is the belief of the board that in the time that has passed since that your influence on her has caused her to lose the perspective that she was supposed to have brought."
Under other circumstances, Mulder would have found the AD's choice of words amusing. What he was saying boiled down to that he had somehow convinced Scully to cross over to the Dark Side of the Force when in fact she had remained almost stubbornly realistic. However, he didn't like where the conversation was headed.
"What are you saying sir? That because I am not willing to outright dismiss Agent Mulder's work, my judgement has been impaired?" Scully seemed calm, but both men could tell by her attitude that she was furious.
Skinner attempted to calm her down.
"I'm saying nothing of the kind. It is, however, the belief of the Bureau directors that in order for work in the X-files to be completed successfully, someone must provide a view that is absolutely impartial."
"Are you saying I will no longer be working with Agent Mulder?" Scully sounded confused.
"Your skills in science are still considered necessary to this unit. "
It suddenly dawned on both of the agents what the AD was talking about. Mulder spoke first.
"Who else is being assigned to the X-Files?" There was a note of barely controlled hostility in his voice.
Skinner sighed. "In an effort to assure that an impartial voice will be present in your area, it is the decision of the bureau that a new agent shall be reassigned to work with you in your unit."
Both Mulder and Scully took this in for a few seconds. Mulder was about to launch into a rant as to a third agent was not only unnecessary but also indicative of the distrust of the powers that be in his ability to run this unit. (Though Scully didn't know it, he had gone off on a similar diatribe when he had first learned that he was about to be assigned a partner.) However, Scully (as she so often did) saved him from making a series of statements which would have made him sound foolish.
"Sir, with all due respect, this strikes me as insulting to Agent Mulder and I." Again she spoke calmly, her fury barely resetrained beneath.
"Agent Scully, this is not a reflection on your work...."
"Bullshit." Scully put her hand on his, but for once he would not let her divert him from speaking even if it got him into further trouble. "What else are we supposed to think of it as?"
"Agents, I no more like this arrangement than you do. To assign a third member to your unit will create a series of budgetary problems, not to mention difficulties in travel arrangement. However, the board's mandate is simple: either the two of you work with another agent or you will continue to work outside of the X-Files."
Realizing their hands were being forced, Mulder and Scully shared a look which indicated that they weren't wild about being assigned another team member, they would tolerate it in order to get back to their work.
"We are trying to introduce this new agent with the interest of one who would interfere least with your work. To that end, an agent has been chosen who has no prior involvement with either you or the X-Files."
"Who is he and where is he now?"
"He works out of the Boston field office. He'll be joining you tomorrow.Kim will supply you a copy of his jacket"
As the two agents got up to leave, Skinner added:"If it is any consolation, the agent involved gives every indication that he will be an asset to the two for your work."
"How so?" Mulder asked, not really caring; his only wish was to get out of the office.
"In the years you have worked on the X-Files, he is the only agent who has voluntarily requested to be transfered to your unit."
As much as he didn't want to be, Agent Mulder was curious. "Who is he?"
"Agent Daniel Torrance."
As she rode the elevator down to the basement she realized that she would always consider her office no matter how many months she had been kept from it, Special Agent Dana Scully thought back to the first time she had gone to the office of the man who had, not entirely unwillingly, become the most important figure in her life.
Then she had been a woman with longer hair and a more frequent smile, a woman convinced that science could provide an explanation for everything, one who believed in the basic honesty and integrity of her government---in short, a woman who was more Dana than Scully.
All that had been before she had become involved with Mulder and his quest for the truth, before her orderly view of the world had been inverted a nd subverted. Blood had been shed--- some of it their own--- often with nothing to show for it. Sometimes she wondered: if she had known what awaited her when she had first walked into Mulder's office, would she have still worked with him? Would she have walked away?
The question was not one she liked to dwell on, yet she knew that it was a presence in the thoughts of both. Mulder, in particular, thought about it frequently, not because he cared so much what happened to himself, but because he regretted having dragged Scully down with him. She had tried to encourage him, tried telling him that he was not alone on this journey, and it had seemed to appease him. Recently, she had begun to wonder whether it was worth all the suffering and anguish. Furthermore, in the past couple of weeks, when Mulder had made it plain that he still trusted Fowley despite all the evidence of her betrayal, she had been hurt that Mulder still trusted that woman over her.
That's right. Keep pretending that this is only about trust. Damn. The voice which she always seemed to hear when she was thinking about her relationship with her partner had returned. You're not jealous of that woman because she has some hold over Mulder. No, you and Mulder don't have that sort of relationship. Never mind what almost happened in that hallway all those months ago, or what he tried to tell you in the mall after that chewing out we got from the board, or what he said in that hospital after you found him in the Caribbean....
With an effort, she shut the voice up.
As the elevator came to a stop in the basement, Scully wondered why she was dwelling so much on the past. She realized that before she had been sidetracked, she had been trying to put herself back in the footsteps of a rookie agent so that she might understand what this new man would be thinking when he walked in the door.
She didn't know much about the man outside the information in his file and that Mulder was automatically opposed to his presence. Scully was less certain. It was true that of the handful of agents who had worked with them on the X-Files, most had been cold, unpleasant, and often downright hostile . However, most had been experienced agents who had only asked the help of "Spooky and The Ice Queen" when it was the only choice left. Agent Torrance, however, had been at the bureau for only two and a half years, not nearly long enough to form any lasting alliances. Furthermore, even though he had doubtless known the reputation of the X-Files as a hangout for the lunatic fringe of cases, he had nevertheless requested assignment to the unit. That had to count for something.
She walked down to the hall and found the first sign of the impending changes that were sure to be coming with this new arrival. For as long as she could remember the door to Mulder's office had only bore his name.It now read:
Her name was on the door. Scully decided she already liked this new agent, if he had brought this about. She opened the door to find another pleasant surprise.
Mulder was at his desk, a file in one hand and a pile of shells from the sunflower seeds he always munched on lying next to the other one. This was an old and comforting sight to her eyes. Her partner looked more like himself.
And there in the corner---was it? Could it be? Yes, after years of subtle (and not so subtle) remarks to people in charge, including Mulder, another desk was in the office. For a second, a chilly thought-- what if its for Torrance --- ran through her head. Her apprehension on her face must have been visible because Mulder looked up at and smiled.
"It's yours. Happy Birthday."
Aware of the relief she was sure was plastered on her face, she tried to pass it off as a joke.
"My birthday isn't for a week."
"Well, I figured I owed you a present."
"Let him work for it. He lasts for five years, I'll get him one, too."
As she moved to the unfamiliar area that was (believe it boys and girls) her desk, she couldn't restrain herself. "Well, I'm starting to like this guy already."
"Don't get overexcited, G-woman. You haven't even met our new babysitter yet." More sarcasm, but Scully could detect the bitterness in his voice.
Mulder shook his head."Apparently, Agent Torrance does not count punctuality among his virtues. He's half an hour late already."
"What have you learned about him so far?"
"Hey you know as much about him as I do." Scully shifted and looked at him."All right, so I did a little background check on him. It's what we've been doing the past few months."
"Well, he graduated from high school at seventeen at the top of his class, Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth on scholarship, master 's degree in clinical psychology, with internships at John Hopkins and the Special Crimes unit in Baltimore, a rising star at Quantico, and after only three years here he's considered one of the rising stars at the Bureau.."
"So why did he ask to be transferred to this unit?"
"A good question, and one which nobody seems able to answer. His decision to come here has come as a shock to almost everybody that I spoke to." Mulder paused reflectively, a bitter smile on his face.
"One of the people that I talked with was Tom Colton."
Scully nodded understandingly, remembering the difficulties that they both had dealing with the arrogant son of a bitch.
"When I mentioned that Agent Torrance was joining the X-Files, he said, and I quote: 'Don't ruin him like you did Scully.'
Scully winced. "Leave it to Colton to end the discussion on a high intellectual plain." When Mulder remained silent, she got a little concerned. Bashing Tom Colton was normally one of his greatest pleasures. "Please don't tell me you're taking that jerk seriously."
Mulder looked at her sadly. "Let's be honest, Scully. I have the habit of bringing down those who work with me. And now it looks like the powers that be are giving me an opportunity to make history repeat itself."
Scully sighed. Here we go again. "Mulder, I don't know how many times I have to go over this with you. You didn't twist my arm to be here. I want to be on this journey. And apparently I'm not the only one."
Mulder took this in, managing a small smile. "How long do you think it will take for us to turn Torrance into a laughing-stock."
Scully smiled back. "Probably about the time he turns in his first report on a killer who can squeeze himself through an air-conditioning duct so that he can dine on the livers of his victims."
As if that was his cue, there was a firm knock on the door.
The two agents looked at each other for a moment. Then Scully, with a small smile, shrugged her shoulders and took the initiative.
"Come on in. Nobody here but the FBI's most unwanted."
Special Agent Daniel Torrance stood in front of the door of the X-Files (his new office, as the door clearly said) and tried for the umpteenth time that day to get the butterflies in his stomach to calm down. He was not terribly surprised that this attempt was just as unsuccessful as the others.
Get a hold of yourself, Danny Boy. So you are standing on the threshold of the FBI's office for dealing with vampires, aliens, witches, and other assorted things that go bump in the night. That doesn't mean your new co-workers will automatically be able to tell why you transferred into their unit, and it certainly doesn't mean that they have what you have.
This was probably true. And yet Danny could not escape from the feeling that he was about to reach another turning point in his life, one that would shape his future in some remarkable way. He had faced a great may of these points in his life before--- the first had come when he was only five years old-- and he had always been able to deal with them, perhaps not always calmly but at least with a certain amount of the maturity he had possessed since an early age. So why did he feel so unsettled?
Because for the first time in a long time on this journey, I'm going to have companions. And that's a scary concept. I've always traveled alone. Sure, Mom was as supportive as she could be, but she never really liked what I had. And Dick was there at the start, but he wasn't there all the time. I've never traveled with people--- at least not normal people-- who might be able to understand what I carry with me.
True. He had always made friends easily---he had been a companionable boy and had grown into a congenial man---- but despite his natural cheerfulness there had always been a point in most of his relationships where he had shut out a lot of his friends. Part of it was that it is very difficult to be friends with people when you are struggling to not read their thoughts. But most of it was that when he was with people much of the time he had a feeling of being somewhat incomplete. A sensation that he was different from them and always would be. This feeling had continued through college, his internships and in to his early days at the bureau.
When he had first heard of the X-Files, he had, like most of his colleagues, laughed at the supposed misadventures of "Spooky" Mulder and his Girl Friday. Secretly, though, he had wondered. In their cross country searches for aliens and witches and ghosts (oh my), was it not possible that they had encountered others like him? Was it possible that they might understand what made him and others like him ---- tick? And continuing in this line of thought, was it not possible they themselves could somehow...
At first, he was inclined to dismiss the possibility. The rationalist in him was certain it was unlikely, if not impossible. After all, he had met a few people in the bureau who had what he did and were totallyunaware of it. Why should these two be any different? But the more that he heard about these unusual agents who were assigned to cases that were classified as 'unexplained', the more he had come to believe in the possibility. Then, almost a year ago, when he had heard of their involvement with the chess prodigy who supposedly could read minds, he had decided that regardless of whether or not they were like him hey would at least be capable of understanding what he was. He had applied for a transfer to their unit, but by the time that his request was processed, the unit had been shut down. At the time, he had thought that would be his last opportunity to work with them. Yet here he was, about to finally realize some part of his ambitions. No wonder he felt so unsettled.
Get a hold of yourself, Doc. Doesn't matter whether those people have the shine or not. Only thing that does matter is you said you wanted to work with them and you should do just that.
Not his own voice that time. That was Dick. He had died just over a year ago, but Danny still heard him in his head from time to time. The psychologist in him said that it was just a variation of his own subconscious, but the rest of him thought that Dick was somehow shining from wherever he was now. In any case, Dick had always given good advice when he was alive and he figured it was just as valid now.
He knocked on the door to his office. A woman's voice--- Scully, he thought--- told him to come in.
Here we go, he told himself, and opened the door.
The first thing that struck both agents was how young Daniel Torrance looked. According to his file, he was seven years younger than Scully and ten younger than Mulder, yet he looked like he had barely graduated from high school, let alone Quantico.
Part of it was his face. His hair was a darker shade than Mulder's--- black with brown highlights. He stood just over five and a half feet tall and was wiry with narrow shoulders. He appeared to be relatively fit and muscular. The overall impression he gave off was that of a gawky teenager.
What made him seem mature---perhaps even more so than the people around him---were his eyes. A darker shade of blue than Scully's, they somehow seemed older than the rest of his face. Indeed, his eyes seemed very old and very tired--- like someone who had seen a great deal--- and had not wanted to see any of it. For a second, Scully thought of Gibson Praise, the twelve year old who had seemed older than she had. What, she wondered, had this man seen to make his eyes seem so aged? She supposed in due time she would find out, but would she really want to know the cause?
For a moment, the three agents stood and looked at each other, measuring each other mentally. Torrance finally broke the silence.
"Is there anyway for me to say that it is an honor to meet both of you without sounding like a total suck-up?", he asked.
"I guess our reputation precedes us, " Mulder said.
Agent Torrance reached out to shake Mulders hand. Before he did, however, he did something strange--- something that might be called spooky. He stared at the wall that was behind both agents at the place where Mulder had ---until the fire--- hung a poster bearing a UFO and the words "I want to believe". Now it was merely a blank space. However, Torrance appeared to be staring at the spot as if he was looking directly at it---almost like he was looking through it somehow. Then he looked back to Mulder and Scully.
"I'm sorry. I'm afraid I'm getting a bit of a headache." Torrance said apologetically.
"That's all right. They come with working here." Scully said.
Torrance gave a faint smile. "Interesting place you've got here."
"It used to be a closet but it was too small." said Mulder dryly.
"Only thing that's missing is a sign over the doorframe saying 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.'" It wasn't a great joke but both of the other agents smiled at it. The inner temperature in the office went up a little.
"You want to ask or shall I?" Scully said, a half smile playing about her mouth.
"You welcomed him here." Mulder countered.
"Ask what?" said Torrance, curiously tinging his voice
"Who did you piss off to get this detail?"
"A.D. Kersh." Torrance said without hesitating.
Mulder and Scully shared a look. "My respect for you just went up a notch. What did you to annoy our esteemed assistant director?" Mulder managed to say the last three words as if he were saying arrogant fuckwad.
Torrance looked around suspiciously.
"Don't worry. We're not bugged. I had some friends of mine sweep the office yesterday." Scully and Torrance both looked to Mulder to see if he was kidding. His face, as it often did, gave two separate impressions. His mouth seemed to say that he was kidding, but his eyes... Scully had known him for five years and she still didn't think that she could say with certainty what was going on back there.
Agent Torrance paused for a long time nevertheless.
"I may have used an obscene term to refer to him in my interoffice e-mail", he finally said in a tone of voice that was equal parts shame and amusement.
"How obscene?" Now Mulder was intrigued.
"While using the Internet, I came up with an abbreviation to refer to the nastiest and most loathsome bureaucrats. In passing, I may have used that term to refer to AD Kersh." Torrance's face was now turning a shade of red that Mulder had previously only seen on strawberry jam.
Another long pause. "OLP" Torrance said
"Officious Little Prick." Torrance finally stammered out.
There was a silence that seemed to go on for longer than the ten seconds it actually lasted. Mulder managed to restrain himself that long before bursting into genuine laughter. He couldn't have helped it. The image of the words that Danny Torrance had used just seemed to fit their previous boss so well. Scully didn't quite laugh, but she did bestow Torrance with a smile that she rarely showed to anyone. In that moment, the three agents came a little closer to being friends.
"You use the Internet?" Mulder said when he finally got over his laughing fit.
"From time to time."
"I would have thought someone of your pronounced viewpoints would stick to using smoke signals or carrier pigeons."
Torrance looked blank for a moment before his face cleared. "You're talking about my thesis at Quantico."
"You really tore into it, saying the Internet is responsible for the breakdown of intelligent communication and for an increase in 'social deviancy'. Pretty strong stuff.", said Mulder. "I have a couple of friends who would be ticked to be described in such terms."
"I'm not saying that the Internet is terrible. I'm just saying that there are more effective ways of expressing ideas. " Torrance took on the tone of a man who was about to begin a debate. "I mean, here we are with the most remarkable device since the telephone to express ones deepest thoughts and what do we use it for? To tell people where to fond the Warp Star in Mario 64, to berate Dick Wolf for replacing Chris Noth on Law and Order, and site after site devoted to hackneyed fiction on TV shows which are barely literate to begin with! If this is where technology has taken America, no wonder the Japanese are beating us in the world market." Torrance stopped, remembering where he was and who he was with. "Of course, that's just my opinion: I could be wrong."
"Aren't you a little young for such deep thoughts?", asked Scully in a half- serious tone of voice.
Torrance gave an amused smile which showed the slightest signs of frustration. "Not down here five minutes and I'm already being questioned on my youth and inexperience."
"I'm sorry, I---"
"Don't apologize, Agent Scully, I actually have a response prepared for this." Torrance than fixed his young old stare on Mulder. "I'm twenty-eight years old, Agent Mulder, which if I am not mistaken is the same age that you were when you first opened the X Files." He then turned to Scully. "And, unless I'm very wrong, that is how old you were, when you were first assigned to work with Agent Mulder. " He then smiled in a manner that was equal parts irritation and amusement. "You're not dealing with the paperboy. Please don't treat me as such."
Another pause. "Touche." Mulder said finally, and the minor tension which had settled in the room dissipated.
"So, have you any more questions that you want to ask me?"
"Actually, I do have one more."
Scully, who thought she knew what was coming, gave a small smile.
"So tell me, Agent Torrance, do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials?" Scully looked at Mulder with some amusement as he asked the new agent the same question that he had asked her when they had first met five years ago.
To his credit, the young agent hesitated before answering, appearing to give the question the seriousness he thought that it merited. Finally, he gave an answer.
"Agent Mulder, do you go all the way on the first date?"
Of the hundreds of possible responses that Daniel Torrance could have given, this was likely the most unexpected he could have made. Mulder was so stunned by his answer that for once he was left without any sort of witty comeback. Scully, on the other hand, did something that was even more unusual for her, something that even Torrance's story about Kersh had not done.
She laughed. Only once and it was only a small chuckle, but the fact remained that Torrance had elicited a greater reaction with one of his remarks than Mulder had managed in over five years of working together. For a second, Mulder felt bizarrely jealous, but he managed to shrug it off.
"The reason I asked you that question, Agent Mulder, was that you are requesting me to grant you a certain level of intimacy that we haven't yet managed to reach."
"So you're not taking me seriously?"
"On the contrary, I consider a very important question. One which if I answer it incorrectly I will lower myself in the eyes of both you and Agent Scully."
"How so?" asked Scully, curious to learn how their new associates mind worked.
"Well, if I were to answer yes, you will no doubt give me a scientific point-by- point analysis as to why aliens do not exist. On the other hand, if I answer no, Agent Mulder will read me the riot act telling me that not only do aliens exist, but that I can find them working in the nearest 7-11. Am I right in understanding how your operation works?"
"Actually most grays prefer working at Wal-Mart. Makes them seem more ordinary." It was a weak joke and Mulder brusquely went on. "You didn't answer me."
"I tend to believe in things that I have seen with my own eyes, Agent Mulder. If during the course of our new association, you find yourself able to show me the body of an alien, be it alive or dead, then by all means I will be willing to take their existence seriously. But you can't expect me to believe in the existence or non-existence of any such creature based solely on your own say-so."
"Well, that was an intelligent, well thought out response."
"But you still haven't given me an answer."
"I know, and you're not going to get one. At least not yet." Torrance gave a small smile. "I don't go all the way on the first date either."
"Come on. " said Scully. "At least give us a hint of which side you're on."
Mulder and Torrance both looked at the female agent with curiosity.
"For five years, I have been trying to help Mulder see that horses with stripes are just zebras...."
"And I've been trying to get Scully to see that they're unicorns." finished Mulder.
"And you were both hoping that I would shift the balance of power one way or the other." said Torrance thoughtfully.
"Well, I didn't know that my new job would put such responsibility on my shoulders." Torrance stroked his chin. "Well, I think for now, you both can consider me... neutral."
"Well, neutral can be taken in a lot of different ways." said Mulder
Torrance thought this over for a moment. "I guess I'm neutral like the U.S. in World War I. I'm staying out of the fighting for now, but I can be persuaded to join in on either side."
Mulder and Scully looked at each other. "I guess that I can live with that." Mulder said finally.
"So can I. " said Scully.
Torrance looked at his watch. "Look, I just wanted to meet the two of you before we began to officially start work together. I have to move some of my stuff in here and then I have to check in with A.D. Skinner, so I'd better go."
"O.K.. We'll see you... soon." He shook hands with Scully and Mulder, and left.
"Well, that wasn't too painful." said Scully cautiously. She had rather liked Agent Torrance--- he had taken the modest grilling that the two of them had given in stride.
"No, he seems like a decent enough guy." Mulder said slowly.
"But...." Scully had seen this look on Mulder's face before. He was about to make some kind of deep insight on into Daniel Torrance's character based on the conversation.
"He's hiding something."
"Mulder, he just met us. He's not going to tell us his life story."
"I'm not saying that he's an axe murderer or anything. It's more like..." He paused. "That story he told us about Kersh and the Internet....you know him; if that had really happened, Kersh would have transferred him to Alaska."
"Do you think he's lying?
"You heard what Skinner told us. He asked to be transferred into this unit. Why would he want to join us?"
"Mulder, not every agent has an vendetta against you."
"That's not it, Scully. If he has an agenda of some sort, I don't think the bosses know about it. He has some kind of personal reason for wanting to work on the X-Files. "
Scully didn't like it when her partner made such leaps of logic, but she had seen him be on the money countless times before. Could he be right this time? What was Daniel Torrance hiding?
As Danny left the office, he had two very clear thoughts about his new co-workers. The first was that for all of the reputation both agents had for being odd, he rather liked them. They had struck him as amusing and companionable, and he thought that he could get along with them.
The second thought was of what he had seen--- or, to be completely accurate, shined. When he had first entered the office, he had sensed that the office was kind of a Bad Place. He had looked at the ground--- and had seen a small pool of blood. Then he had looked up at the wall where nothing was hung---only he had seen a poster slowly curling up into flames. He had even been able to make out the words on it: I WANT TO BELIEVE. As he had now mastered the ability of doing, he managed to make the images disappear with a blink of his eyes, but the impression remained. This office was surrounded in a shroud of darkness. It wasn't as bad as some of the places he'd been in--- he thought that he could work there without a great deal of trouble---- but he knew he would always be a little uncomfortable being there.
As for the other agents, he could not tell right away if they shone or not. Mulder had something coming off him, but he had sensed that aura around other policemen and FBI agents. That didn't make them shiners. He had been equally puzzled by Scully -- he had sensed something fainter, something he associated with all female shiners. But as women-- especially mothers--- all seemed to shine a little, he couldn't tell if it was real or imagined.
Had he made a mistake coming here? The X-Files was considered by most of his fellow agents to be a vast wasteland where nothing was ever resolved, and there was no future for anyone who worked there. Was he committing the equivalent of hari-kari with his career? It was possible.
However, he clung to the hope he had gotten from his peek inside the heads of both agents. They were both resolved to find answers to whatever problems faced them. And he knew that if he were to tell them about his abilities, they would not laugh him out of their office.
Would it come to telling them? Danny didn't know for sure. He had fought the urge to answer Mulder's question about aliens with a vaguely masked one about telepathy and himself, just to gauge a reaction. In the end, his fear had gotten the better of him and he had not. He supposed that the time wasn't right yet. But it would be.
In an office that was open to extreme possibilities, the right time always came around.
Title:Third Wheel II--- Deathfetch
Summary: The newly assembled X-Files team goes on their first case as a unit: investigating the death of an anthropology professor with a background in mysticism.
Author's Notes: This story takes place during the supposed 'rift' in the Mulder/Scully relationship in Season 6. Don't worry, there is a method to the madness. Much of the inspiration for this story came from Darrell Schweitzer's short story 'The Adventure of the Death-Fetch
The smell was awful.
Of all the phrases that Special Agent Dana Scully could think of to describe the location of their latest investigation, that phrase seemed to sum it up most accurately. The place stunk.
This phrase, while it happened to be completely accurate, was not totally descriptive of their current situation. After all, she was standing in the houses bathroom, a location that could hardly be expected to smell the sweetest. Furthermore, this was the room where a mans corpse had been found less than twenty-four hours ago, so the location could be expected to give a particularly unpleasant odor.
Yet that was not what disturbed her about the scene. As a forensic pathologist, she was expected to and had come into contact with the dead under many unpleasant circumstances. Furthermore, in more than five years of working on the X-Files, she had encountered so many odd configurations of dead bodies that this particular location would not normally have even registered on her radar of 'unusual
No, what troubled here was not the presence of death. Rather it was the fact that after more than a day, the smell of decay and rot still lingered so unpleasantly. Indeed,when she had first entered the house of Professor Ernest Jacobson, she had come to the erroneous conclusion that the corpse was still in the house. No one could have blamed her for such a judgment with the rank smell still present.
Internally, she gathered herself. There was no point in focusing on it. The crime scene was here, she was going to have to deal with it. In any event, after being around death if so many forms, she had realized that it wasn't that difficult to handle.
Her partner, Fox Mulder, entered the room. Though he was usually more uncomfortable around the dead than she was, he showed none of the signs of paleness or weak stomach.
"Honestly, Mulder, you always bring me to the nicest places." said Scully lightly. "If it's not crawling through sewers to investigate Flukemen or digging through forests to search for invisible creatures, it's looking at the toilets of college professors."
"Not just any college professor." As always, Mulder seemed relieved to get off the subject of their immediate surroundings. "Ernest Jacobson was one of the leading professors in the field of anthropology in the country. He is the author of several treatises on ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. His book on the ancient tribal rituals of Northwest Asia is considered the tops in his field. "
"And he ends up dead with his throat cut in his home because?"
"Some kid was really upset with his final exam?"
Scully rolled her eyes. There was just no putting up with Mulder at times.
"Where's Agent Torrance?", Scully asked.
"He's downstairs talking with the police."
Though neither agent was willing to discuss it, Mulder and Scully were both curious to see how their new colleague would handle himself when working on an X-File. He had only been assigned to their unit for three weeks, and he had not officially worked on a case with them. In their first assignment back at the X-Files, Mulder and Scully had worked undercover as a husband and wife at a housing project while Torrance had been something of a persona non grata, helping the two agents move their stuff into the house. Though the two agents had been involved in a couple of other unofficial 'cases' since then, this was the first time that the three a had been assigned to a single case together.
As though their thoughts had summoned him, Special Agent Daniel Torrance appeared in the doorway.
"Can we speak somewhere else?"
The other two agents looked at each other. "You have a preference?" said Scully.
"Hey, I don't care where just as long as its away from that stench."
"Hard to argue with that." The two agents walked out of the bathroom,Mulder's hand discreetly moving to the small of Scully's back as they left.
"It doesn't look like anything was stolen." said Torrance, pulling out a notebook. "Jacobson's wallet was on his nightstand. No jewelry or anything else to speak of is missing either."
"One of the uniforms mentioned a wall safe." said Scully.
Torrance shook his head. "Still locked when we came here. The police managed to open it. Cash and Krugerrands that he collected seem to be all present and accounted for. "
"Who found the body?" asked Mulder.
"Cleaning woman. Named Angela Ralston. Miss Ralston claims that she came here yesterday at 8:30 as she has every Thursday. The minute she got in the house she noticed the smell and went upstairs and found Jacobson dead in his bathroom. "
"Does Miss Ralston have anyone who can verify her story?"
"Doesn't need anyone . The house is wired with security cameras."said Mulder.
"How do you know that?" asked Torrance.
Mulder didn't answer but instead pointed to the wall across from them. A small,unobtrusive camera lens answered Torrance's question.
Torrance's face grew red, but he gamely went on. "There is no sign of forced entry and according to Miss Ralston, the door was locked when she got here."
"Which begs the question, how did our killer come in and how did he leave?" asked Scully.
"It also begs the question: what the heck are we doing here? Rob, Laura, any comment?"
Mulder internally winced. Ever since he and Scully had done their undercover assignment, Torrance had been quietly teasing them about it. "You know, it was funny the first few times, but now its starting to get tired."
"Fine, but one last thing; if by any chance the three of us have to work undercover, I'm picking the names." Torrance paused and then smiled a little."So, I repeat: why is this case file different from all other case files?"
"I didn't know you were Jewish." said Mulder
"I'm not, but since I am the youngest here I figured I should be the one to ask." Torrance got serious. "So what's your theory?"
Mulder looked blank. "What do you mean?"
"The killer got in the house because he has the power to walk through walls? The murderer is a mutant who crawled up through the drainpipe? What makes this case an X-File?"
Mulder paused, then gave one of his trademark smiles. "Right this way.", he said and walked into the Jacobson living room.
Scully silently rolled her eyes. Mulder could never simply tell anyone what it was that drew him to a crime scene. He always had to make a big production number out of it. At least he hadn't brought his slide projector with him.
In the living room, Mulder walked towards Jacobson's television---- one fitted with a VCR.
"The first thing that the police did when they got here was check with the home security company to see if they had picked up any intruders atJacobson's house. The security company checked their files and said they had picked up evidence of a trespasser but they assumed it was a glitch in the camera." Mulder produced a videotape and put it in the machine.
Scully and Torrance both watched the television with more than a little curiosity.
The tape, according to the count showed the hallway at 11:35 the previous night. The front door opened and a middle-aged man entered house. No one needed to be told that the man in the videotape was Professor Jacobson. He then proceeded to lock the door behind him and walk up the stairs. The camera then cut to the upstairs hallway where Jacobson walked into his bathroom.
"I don't see the point of all this." said Torrance
"Keep watching. We're coming to the good part."said Mulder
For three minutes the camera showed an empty hallway. Then suddenly another man appeared in the periphery of the image. He was dressed for the outside in a heavy coat. He moved swiftly towards the bathroom door. Just as it reached the door, the figure turned and looked directly at the camera.
The face was clearly that of Ernest Jacobson.
Before any of the agents could remark on that strange turn of events, something even odder happened. The figure suddenly disappeared. Then a horrible, bloodcurdling scream rang out from the television. At this point, Mulder stopped the tape.
"It's not a mutant in the toilet, but it's strange enough for me."
"Is there any chance that tape has been tampered with?" asked Scully.
Mulder shook his head. "I talked with one of the video experts. What you see is what you get."
"And what do you think we have?"
Mulder opened his mouth to begin his lecture, then stopped. "You all right, Torrance?"
Torrance had gone slightly pale after seeing the videotape. His young-old eyes had grown wide as if he had recognized something beyond what Mulder and Scully had seen. He managed to gather his self-control after a moment. "I'm sorry, I just... felt a goose walk over my grave, that's all."
Neither Mulder and Scully quite believed him, but both made a mental decision to not deal with the problem right away. Scully again spoke. "So what do we have?
"In superstition of many cultures," began Mulder again "it is believed that a man who is about to die may encounter his spirit likeness. The Germans refer to this likeness as a doppleganger; other cultures like those in India and the far east call it the death-fetch. These apparitions are held as dire portents if you see them, and if you are touched by one, you will supposedly meet an instant death."
Scully shook her head. "Are you telling me that you think a ghost killed Jacobson?"
"It's as good as any other explanation for what we just saw on that tape."
"Mulder, it is far more likely that someone disguised himself as Jacobson in order to fool the camera and somehow tampered with the tape to make it seem like he ......"
"Vanished into thin air?" said Mulder wryly.
"Mulder, ghosts do not exist, and they do not kill people."
Mulder was about to open his mouth when he suddenly received support from an unexpected source.
"First of all, he didn't say it was a ghost. He said that it was a deathfetch. I'm not entirely clear what the difference is, but I believe it is substantial. Second of all, ghosts may not be able to kill people, but there is direct evidence that they can cause harm to befall others."
Scully looked at Daniel Torrance with a look that was equal parts shock and astonishment. This was the first time that he had come to the scene of an X-File and already he was debating with Scully like he had been dealing with the supernatural all his life. Great, she thought sourly. Now I have to deal with two of them.
"On what are you basing that statement?" She spoke to both agents but it was clear that she was talking to Torrance.
"From your own cases. " Scully was surprised; she didn't think anyone besides Mulder had ever looked at the mish-mash filing systems that the basement office held.
Noting Scully's look of astonishment, Torrance gave a small grin. "Hey, I had to do something to keep myself occupied while the two of you were playing house." His tone became serious once again. "Look, I'm not saying Mulder's right and that thisdeathfetch or whatever killed Jacobson. But looking at this as an impartial observer,I find it equally hard to believe this was done by an ordinary man."
"Men are capable of gruesome things."
"Yeah?" Mulder had that look in his eye. "How many criminals do you know who have the power to enter a house, then stab and dismember a college professor without having him put up any sort of struggle, and then disappear without a trace?"
Torrance looked at his notes and nodded. "The cops have found no sign of foreign fingerprints or any hair or blood from anyone but Jacobson." He then looked at Mulder. "If what you say is true, who do you think killed him? I assume that these spirit likenesses don't just show up on their own."
Mulder nodded. "According to Eastern legend, there are certain priests who have the power to raise these images."
"Like the Voodoo shamans of the Caribbean?" Torrance asked.
"Yes, but these priest----the Chan-Tzo --- are considered far more powerful then those who practice Voodoo. According to the legends, the ability to raise the dead is one of the relatively minor powers that they control."
"And where would we find these Chan-Tzo?"
"According to the writings on them, they live in the Plains Of Leng somewhere in northwest Tibet."
"Which is where Professor Jacobson travelled when he was gathering material for his writing." said Scully thoughtfully.
"And that is why I think we should have a talk with some of the people that Jacobson worked with when he did that research" said Mulder. He headed towards the door, Torrance close at his heels. "You coming, Scully?"
Scully hesitated. It was rare for Mulder to ask her if she wanted to come with him on one of his "fishing expeditions" But she didn't think that she had the strength to handle going with him to listen to a complete lecture on the rites and practices of the Chan-Tzo.
"I'm going to the coroners. I want to see if the autopsy on Jacobson shows us anything." Go ahead, the voice inside her said. Hide behind your medicine. Pretend that everything is rational and ordinary. Science is right; Mulder's wrong. She hushed the voice and it shut up.
Mulder shrugged. "Your loss." He and Torrance left. As they went outside, Scully heard Torrance ask Mulder: "If this deathfetch really did kill Jacobson, shouldn't we tell the M.E. that they should rule it a suicide?"
Mulder paused. "You'd better watch it Torrance, I think that I am starting to rub off on you."
Scully removed her gloves and gave an exhausted sigh. It had been a long day. Normally, she did not greatly object to being left behind to do the autopsies that Mulder usually made her do. It helped her escape from the madness that was the world of the X-Files into the sanity that was the world of forensic science.
The autopsy of Ernest Jacobson, however, was the exception to the rule. She had known that it was going to be messy--- one can not do an orderly examination on the body of a man who has been severely mutilated without having forensic difficulties--- but she did not expect to find what she did, or as was the case of Mr. Jacobson, what was missing.
"Tough one?" Scully looked up. It was Torrance. Alone.
"Where's Mulder?" Even as she asked, she had a vague idea what had happened.
"He went down to Goldley Beacom to see if he could dig up some information on the history of Professor Jacobson. Asked if I wouldn't mind getting the details of Jacobson's autopsy."
"And you said yes." Scully had difficulty restraining a smile. Torrance noticed it.
"Am I missing something here?"
"Welcome to the club. You have just received your first Mulder ditch."
"Every time Mulder and I look at a case, he asks me to stay behind---do an autopsy, talk to witnesses, whatever--- then he goes off by himself to investigate some wild theory that he has about the case. He always gets into some kind of trouble and I always have to bail him out."
Though she had tried to sound amused, Torrance detected the presence of something else in her tone. For a moment, he paused considering the pros and cons of talking about personal matters with people that he hadn't known for that long.
One of the drawbacks of his 'gift' was that he was aware of particularly strong emotions felt by relative strangers. Right now, he was sensing that Agent Scully felt some very deep emotions towards her partner, and one of them was resentment. Not because of anything Mulder had done towards her, but something he had done for someone else---- some woman that Scully thought of as "that dark-haired bitch" He supposed that he could look closer into the female agents mind, but he didn't like doing that--- he thought of it as peeking. It would be better to make a vague suggestion and then lead the conversation in a direction that would end up revealing the truth to both him and Agent Scully.
"So what's the deal with you and Agent Mulder?"
Scully was flummoxed. No one ever directly asked her about her relationship with her partner. Even her mother knew better than to ask her about their relationship. It was understood that she and Mulder were only partners. To assume anything else was to violate the well established boundaries that she had laid out.That was the story that she had told herself and that was what everyone else agreed too.
But Daniel Torrance either hadn't been around long enough to learn these rules or else knew them and was setting them aside.
"Agent Mulder and I are partners. That is all we are."
Realizing that he had stepped over some imaginary line with her, Torrance tried to backtrack. "Look, I didn't mean to insinuate anything by asking you that. I understand that the two of you are professionals. Its just that...." He trailed off, unsure of how to proceed.
In for a penny,in for a pound thought Torrance. "Ever since I started working here the two of you have been acting like you don't... like each other."
Now Scully was truly flabbergasted. She had thought things had been fine between her and Mulder. It not taken them long to fall back into their old patterns working cases---- he taking the role of a wild believer, her being the rational skeptical one. Everything had been going normally.
Or had it? Scully found her mind going back to the events before El Rico. She had gotten the Gunmen to gather information on Diana Fowley and she had tried to prove that the woman that Mulder put such faith in could not be trusted.Mulder had stubbornly remained loyal to the idea of her trustworthiness even though the evidence strongly suggested otherwise. The situation had been as close to an actual fight that she and Mulder had ever had in all of their years of working together.
When they had been reassigned to the X-Files, she had thought that they had put the unpleasantness behind them. But it suddenly occurred to her that they had done nothing to resolve the situation. Like so many other things in the course of their partnership, it had been tabled for a later discussion, and the subject had not come up again. But it was still there And the hostility that she and Mulder had worked up between them over this issue was apparently evident--- obvious enough for a relative stranger to have picked up on it.
"Look if this awkwardness between the two of you is there because of me, let me transfer out."
Scully was surprised--- and a little moved--- at Torrance's eagerness to repair the situation that had arisen between the two of them.
"This has nothing to do with you, Agent Torrance. This is something that Mulder and I have to work out for ourselves."
Torrance looked at her and shrugged. Apparently, he had touched on a subject which was very sensitive to his partners character. Maybe later he could get the two of them talk about their problems,but now was not the time for it to be dealt with.
"What happened to Mr. Jacobson?" he asked.
Scully looked at her notes, glad that the conversation was no longer dealing with her partner. "This is a real case of overkill. Death was caused by extreme trauma to the skull from some kind of blunt instrument. I couldn't tell you to a medical certainty what it was."
Torrance seemed a bit surprised. "I thought his throat was cut."
Scully nodded. "Ear to ear. I believe however that it was done post-mortem. The killer also committed a number of other injuries to the body after he killed him. He tore most of the flesh away from the skin and managed to carve something into the bare bone of the forehead."
Torrance looked a little revolted. "Talk about insult to injury. You have any idea what these symbols mean?"
Scully shook her head. "They're not Chinese or Japanese. I sent a photo to the bureau and asked if they could find some way of translating them."
"So what do you think happened?"
Scully pondered the question. "The murder was committed in a very ritualistic fashion. Given that and the carving on the forehead, I believe that this was committed by an Oriental cult that Mr. Jacobson may have encountered in his travels in the Far East. A member of this cult disguised himself as the Professor in order to mislead the security cameras and the investigators, caught Jacobson off guards and killed him."
"And the carving on the forehead?" asked Torrance.
"A warning to others."
"Well, that explanation would probably satisfy the bureau."
"But you don't agree with it?
"Well, who are you trying to convince with this story. Me? Agent Mulder? Yourself?"
Scully could have lived without Torrance's observations being so accurate. She was about to make a remark to that effect when her cell phone rang.
"Scully, its me."
"What did you find at the professors office, Mulder?"
" Do you have any idea what the lettering on Professor Jacobson's forehead is?"
Scully wasn't sure where this conversation was going, but she decided to play along. "All I can tell you for certain is that the language is Asian."
"Could it possibly be Burmese?"
"I don't know, Mulder; I failed Oriental dialects in college."
Mulder ignored the strained witticism. "I just ran into one of Jacobson's colleagues, Professor Stanley Nessen. According to him, the week before he died Jacobson began to receive a series of letters that alarmed him.
"What did they say?"
" I don't know. Apparently they were written in some kind of foreign dialect. Professor Nessen says that its Burmese, but he doesn't know the language well enough to provide a translation, I couldn't say for a certainty, but the dialect in the letters resembles what was carved on Jacobson's forehead"
"Mulder, do you have any idea what this is about?"
"Jacobson spent most of his career investigating the distant past. Maybe something from that far back finally caught up with him."
FBI CRIME LAB
"Interesting specimen you provided us with." Professor Nen looked at the three agents.
"It's Burmese? " asked Mulder.
"Yes but not just Burmese. This is an archaic form that was most often used by criminals in the Far East. It's so out of date I doubt that there are barely a hundred people in the world who still use it. No one in the Bureau is as expert on it; we had to get three different translators in order to get a complete translation."
"What does it say?" asked Torrance.
"It seems that someone went to an awful lot of trouble to send this letter, but the writing is that of a madman. The author indicates that heis dead and has been for several years."
"Does it say how he died? " asked Mulder.
"That's even more odd. He claims that the priests of the Chan-Tzo murdered him, but first they performed acts of horrible torture on him. The authors says that they finally killed him and that they brought him back to life as a--- corpse man--- what we would call a zombie. And that he has come back to bring about retribution upon those who have wronged him. It's absurd, of course."
"Have you ever heard of the Chan-Tzo, Professor?"
"My grandfather used to tell me frightening stories about them. He said that in the distant past, the Chan-Tzo were the most powerful magicians that ever existed. Supposedly they had the power to bring the dead back to life and the ability to control these demons as their slaves. Ridiculous, but it scared the heck out of a nine year old."
"Do you have any idea who wrote this message?" asked Scully.
"The writer never directly identifies himself. The closest he ever comes to doing so is this phrase here. It roughly translates to 'the one you left behind' Handwriting analysis doesn't match with any known criminal, either here or abroad."
"Can you get anything from the paper?"
"Its an old Oriental rice-paper. No watermarks or anything else that we could use to trace it. "
"Is there anything you can tell us?" A hint of exasperation showed itself in Torrance's voice. "A hunch, a guess as to what this writer wanted?"
"There is something in this last passage. The authors says that he 'will deal with you and all the others who betrayed me.'
"So maybe our guy is going to kill again." said Torrance thoughtfully.
"Maybe he already has.", said Mulder. "What about the letters that were carved into Jacobson's forehead?"
"They're similar to the writing that was in the letter. There isn't a proper English phrase but they directly translate to: the closest we can make it out to be 'Justice Revenge."
As they left the crime lab, Mulder pulled out another document. "I just received this from the teletype. Five days ago, a French professor of archeology named Armand Pujois was found dead in his bedroom. His throat had been cut from ear to ear and his body was horribly mutilated. "
"Any connection between Pujois and Jacobson?" asked Torrance.
" Ten years ago Pujois spent three months in America collaborating with a Goldley Beacom professor on the mythology of the Soul Eaters." said Mulder.
"Jacobson?" asked Scully.
"Professor Stanley Nessen."
FAIRFAX 7:23 P.M.
A middle aged woman opened the door of the home of Professor Stanley Nessen.
"Excuse me is Professor Nessen in?" asked Mulder
"I'm his wife; what is going on here? "
"Can we speak your husband?" inquired Scully.
Mrs. Nessen hesitated for a moment and then gestured for them to come in. "Is this about Ernest?"
"Mrs. Nessen, in the past week two people who your husband were familiar with have met unnatural and brutal ends." said Torrance.
"You don't think that my husband...No, its not possible. He couldn't have."
"Because in the last five days my husband has not left this house."
Mulder and Scully looked at each other. Torrance hadn't known the agents for that long, but he had a good idea as to what it meant. Something spooky was underneath this story.
"Are you sure? " asked Mulder.
"This past week has been a nightmare. He has canceled all his classes, he refuses to leave his study, but that's not the worst of it. I think he is going mad."
"What makes you think that?" asked Scully. Torrance could tell that she was switching from FBI agent to medico.
"He has removed all the mirrors and reflected surfaces from the house. He smashed the screen to his computer, he's boarded up the windows, he won't even eat with silverware. He won't give any explanation."
Before anyone could even proffer a hypothesis as to what was happening,, a husky voice thundered from upstairs. "Linda, who's in the house?"
Mulder headed towards the landing. "Professor Nessen? My name is Agent Mulder. I'm with the FBI. I'd like to have a talk with you." He began to make his way upstairs, Scully and Torrance close behind him.
There was a long pause. "How do I know you are who you say you are?"
"Open the door. I'll show you my badge."
"Absolutely not. Slide your badge under the door."
Mulder paused for a moment and looked at Scully. Some kind of signal passed between them before Mulder got to his knees, took his badge out of his pocket and slid it down through the gap between the door and the floor.
There was a long pause beforethe door opened with the click of a lock being undone. Standing there was Professor Stanley Nessen. He was an ordianary looking man shorter than Mulder with thin graying hair, a modest athletic build and dark eyes hidden beneath a pair of spectacles. Under normal circumstances he would have been the perfect model for the typical academic. However there was a certain level of frantic worry in Nessen's eyes, an impression that was made doubly unnerving by the growth of stubble on his face. It was evident that som,ething had thrown the fear of God into Nessen.
"I may be crazy to do this, but I can't spend my lofe hiding." said Nessen.
Mulder entered the room, Scully and Torrance discreetly moving behind him. He hesitated before speaking to him as if he knew what question he wanted to ask him but was afraid to. Finally, he plunged ahead.
"Professor, have we ever met before?"
"Of course not.I haven't been out of this room in three days."
"So we've never spoken about the death of Ernest Jacobson."
Upon hearing this Nessen's faced showed concern---but not surprise. 'Ernest is dead?" Mulder nodded. "I knew this would happen. I tried to warn him, but he was convinced that it was impossible..."
"Then you know who killed him." Scullywas determined to keep this conversation rational.
"Of course I do. I've known for a week."
"Then why didn't you go to the police?"
Nessen barked a laugh. "Because if it is who I think it is t there isn't a safe place in the world for me?"
Professor, I think you had better explain to us just what this is all about. When Nessen hesitated, Mulder added: "It may be the only way that we can save you."
Nessen paused for a moment before beginning to speak.
"Twenty years ago, I was going to college in Paris. There I met Armand Pujois. He had a great interest in the mysteries of the East, particularly of the unexplored regions of Tibet, an area which after hundreds of years had been explored by few men. ujois was convinced that great wealth and fame awaited those who had the fortitude to explore the great unknown. He convinced me, Jacobson, and half a dozen other people to put up the money for an exploration in search of the Plateau of Leng. What I didn't know until after we had begun the journey was that in order to raise the appropriate funds, Pujois had corresponded with several known criminals and that one particularly vicious one named Victor Javert was to accompany us."
"When we arrived in Rangoon to begin our journey in earnest, Pujois revealed that he had a map written in an obscure Burmese dialect that would supposedly lead us to the Chan-Tzo. He and Jacobson were the only ones who could read, so they were put in charge of the expedition. However, after we set out, Javert made it clear that he was in charge. He kept the ammunition and the supplies and he made it quite clear that he would decide what we did on this voyage."
"The trip was a disaster. Much of our supplies either went bad or disappeared. We all suffered from the climate. Many of the native guides we hired misled us. Then as we started to explored the jungles, members of our expedition began to die in suspicious accidents or diseases that could of been poisoning . We suspected Javert, but we could prove nothing."
"Finally after the fourth man died, we told Javert that we would not travel any further. He pulled a gun on me and ordered us to give him a translation of the map.. The others agree, and when Javert was satisfied, he took the map and all the supplies that we had left and left the remainder of us to our fate in the jungle. We wandered hopelessly after that for several days until by sheer luck, we stumbled into the camp of some nomads who managed to lead us back into the Chinese provinces."
"After that failed expedition, the three of us vowed to live far more sane lives. We thought that Javert had perished, and none of the people who financed the expedition seemed content to leave him to rest in peace. Until two weeks ago, we all thought that we were safe."
"But then you started to receive letters from Javert." said Mulder.
Nessen nodded. "In his communications, Javert claims that he reached the Plains of Leng. There the sub-human priests of the Chan-Tzo murdered him after what may have been years of indescribable tortures, and then brought him back to some kind of half- alive form as a hideously disfigured zombie. According to these letters, he is driven by both the will of his masters and his own desire for revenge on those who he believe betrayed him. He knows all the secrets of the Chan-Tzo priests and he will not hesitate to use them against me."
"At first, I thought he had to be lying, even after I learned of Armand Pujois' death. Then, five days ago while I was shaving, I saw a second image appear in the mirror, as if an exact duplicate of myself was looking over my shoulder . I turned around and slashed it with my razor blade. It disappeared like a soap bubble. I tried to tell myself that it was a hallucination, but that became harder for me to believe when I saw it three more times. Then I had the sense to remove all the mirrors and reflective surface from the room. I am sure that is how it gets in Agent Mulder."
"Mulder, you're not taking what this man says seriously" asked Scully.
"Why not? Its the only realistic explanation for what's happening."
"I can think of a far simpler one. Javert somehow managed to survive being abandoned in the Tibetan jungles and has come back to seek revenge on the people who tried to kill him."
"And how do you explain how he managed to enter the houses of both his victims without being seen? How do you explain that he hasn't managed to leave of trace of evidence that he was there?"
"Mulder ,you don't have to be Houdini to enter a house without any sign of forced entry and you don't have to be Jack the Ripper to commit a brutal crime without leaving any evidence."
Mulder turned from Scully to Torrance. "Do you have any opinion?"
"It seems to me that the two of you are in agreement as to what's happening. Its this fellow Javert who is behind all this. You just don't seem able to agree on whether he is alive or dead."
"What do you think?"
"Doesn't matter." Mulder and Scully both looked at him in surprise. " If he's really behind this, we have to stop him. I imagine that it will be easier to do so if he is alive, but it really doesn't matter. WE have to stop him somehow."
Mulder and Scully shared another look. This one said that they would be willing to set aside the process of hashing out who was right until after the current crisis had passed.
"Scully, you and Torrance stay here and guard Professor Nessen."
"What are you going to do, Mulder?"
"I'm going to search for Javert. If he's really still stalking him, he's got to be nearby." Mulder made to leave, but Torrance put his hand on his shoulder.
"Oh, no you don't. You've already abandoned us once during this case. Now, you think you're going to leave us to go ghost-busting. I'm coming with you."
"That's OK, I can--"
"No it's not. I've been assigned to work with you, and I'm going to do it."
Mulder looked at Scully with a mixture of concern and amusement.
"Fine. Torrance, let's go."
As the two male agents headed downstairs Torrance turned to Mulder. "There's still one thing I don't understand. Nessen said he hasn't left home in the past five days, but you talked with him yesterday. How is that possible? " "I don't think I talked to him at all." said Mulder. "I think that I talked to a taelus." When Torrance looked at him confusedly, he explained. "A taelus is an evil magic spirit that can assume the shapes of any one a person thinks of."
"Let me guess, the Chan-Tzo are adept at summoning these demons, too." When Mulder nodded, Torrance asked: "But what purpose would it be to send an image of Professor Nessen at Goldley Beacom. Javert surely must have known that he wouldn't find anything about Nessen there."
"I don't think it was sent there to learn about Nessen. I think that Javert sent it to gather information about me.
And the others who are investigating this case. I think he wanted to learn all he could about us."
Before Mulder could answer, they heard a woman scream. Mulder prepared to ash upstairs, but Torrance stopped him. "That scream came from down here." Drawing their guns, the two agents fast walked into the kitchen. When Torrance saw what awaited them in that room, he could not stop a gasp of horror from coming out of his mouth.
Linda Nessen had apparently been attempting to keep herself busy by washing the dishes in the sink. And despite the fact that her body had been horribly mutilated in a manner very similar to Ernest Jacobson, from a distance it still looked like she was standing over the sink washing the dishes.
For a moment, Torrance was at a complete loss for words. Then he managed to gather himself together and say : "But how?"
In answer, Mulder reached into the sink and pulled out a plate. It was evident that it had been cleaned and polished so that a person could look into it and see ones reflection. The inference was clear.
Torrance paused for a moment. "Mulder, do you have any idea how we can fight this thing?"
Mulder looked at Torrance grimly. "There might be a way but we have to find him". He stood up. "And it doesn't look like we'll have to go very far". Mulder pointed towards the window over the sink. Outside Torrance could see a pair of burning red eyes.
Torrance followed Mulder outside the house, wondering what fresh horrors he was going to have to face.
Scully was on full alert, realizing that Nessen was probably at a great risk. She had heard the scream and had been about to head downstairs when he stopped her b reaching his hand to her arm.
"That was Linda?
She didn't say anything, but instinctively she knew that he was right---Linda Nessen was dead. She didn't need the body for confirmation. "Stay here" she whispered and slowly headed for the stairs, knowing that she and Nessen were not alone in the house anymore.
As Torrance followed Mulder behind the house, he could see a vaguely human figure standing in the bushes. Instinctively he knew that here they would find the source of the violence that they had been tracking.
"Nicholas Javert!" yelled Mulder. "Come out with your hands up."
The figure in the bushes paused for a moment, seemed to hesitate, and then laughing stepped forward. Torrance could not stand the sound of that laughter. It crawled over his skin like the sound of breaking glass.
Then he saw the figure and it took his breath away.
The figure was in the shape of a man, but it could only be considered a human being in the loosest possible sense of the word. The skin was gone from his face, showing a horrible skull. His eyes lay sunken into the remnants of his head. His nose was gone. His mouth held teeth that were horribly deformed and stained a blackish gray. There was a gaping hole in the cavity of his chest right over where his heart should have been. In its place, Torrance could see a bright roaring fire. His hands were held out in front of his body. In them was a statue of some kind. Torrance could see it very clearly as the fire from the mans chests gave out a bright glow. It appeared to be a small dog with the wings of a bat carved out of jade.
Torrance's hands began to shake uncontrollably and he nearly dropped his gun. Though Mulder gave no sign of it, Torrance could tell that he was shaken up too.
"Raise your arms and put the idol down."
The figure laughed its horrible chuckle again and began to chant in a sinister sounding foreign tongue.
Scully couldn't believe what she was seeing. She wanted to blink but she was afraid that if she did what she was seeing would disappear.
In the corner of her eye she could still see Professor Nessen sitting at his desk, holding his rifle. Yet the figure that was approaching her from down the hallway looked exactly like Nessen---only different. It was hard to tell from the distance away that the figure was, but the other Nessen's face looked strangely different somehow --- it was contorted twisted into a malevolent glare that seemed to represent hatred and malevolence.
"Hold it right there!", she yelled and held her gun in front of her. The other Nessen gave no indication that it had heard and continued to approach. Almost without thinking, she fired at him. The bullet seem to penetrate the chest--- but it did nothing to stop the figure.
Without thinking, Torrance pointed his gun at the figure. "Stop or I'll shoot!"
The figure laughed again without stopping its chanting . Torrance fired at the figure. The bullet hit it in the chest---- and nothing happened. The chanting continued.
"Javert! Stop this now!"
"Or what? What will you do, mortal?" The figures voice filled him with an unspeakable horror. Torrance would never be able to explain what it was that bothered him the most about Javert's voice. All that he could say was that it sounded wrong. It sounded dead.
In answer, Mulder fired his gun. Only he didn't aim his piece at the figures head or chest. Instead, he aimed his shot directly at the bat-winged dog.
The instant the bullet shattered the idol, two things happened simultaneously. The figure gave off a loud and inhuman scream, and a huge flash of light filled the air. Mulder and Torrance both had to shield their eyes. When at last they could see again, the figure of Nicholas Javert lay prostrate on the ground.
The three agents were all hard at work. At least agents Torrance and Scully were working on their reports; Mulder was busy tossing a basketball up the air.
Torrance looked up. "I'm just about finished with my report. Would either of you like to look at it; see if were on the same page."
"No that's OK I'm sure that everything will be fine." said Mulder
"I'll take a look at it." said Scully.
After a moment, she looked up. "Your report gives the final forensic findings on Nicholas Javert?"
Torrance nodded. "According to the autopsy, the state of decay on Javert's body was indicative that he had been dead for several weeks. But Agent Scully---"
"If you write what you said about seeing a dead man wreaking a kind of magical havoc on his supposed tormentors, then it'll be a matter of days before they ship you to accounting."
Torrance sighed. "Agent Scully, I don't believe in aliens or ghosts. But I tend to believe what I saw. And I saw a dead man chanting incantations. I saw a man with no heart standing. And I saw a bullet pass though his chest without any effect on the body."
Scully sighed. "Certain diseases like leprosy can give the evidence of the kind of decay that you saw on Javert----"
"Forgive me, Agent Scully but that is just bullshit. The man I saw wasn't suffering from any illness. He looked perfectly hale and healthy."
"Except for the fact that he was dead." Scully's voice gave away nothing, but her eyebrows spoke volumes.
Torrance understood the logic of what she was saying but went ahead regardless."I know what it sound like, but if they ask me what I saw. How do you explain the things that happened to you. The image of Nessen comin g to attack you, the thing that only disappeared when Mulder shattered that strange idol?"
Scully gave a sigh. She didn't know if she had the energy to go through this thing twice. Nevertheless, she gathered her strength and went on. "Look, I've been where you are right now, and unless you try to accept a rational explanation of these events, then you will begin to lose your credibility."
"And God knows we wouldn't want another agent wasting the bureaus time with spooky stories about zombies and ghosts. " Torrance angrily took his report off Scully's desk. "You write what you want to. I'm sticking with what I saw. " Angrily, he stormed out of the room.
Mulder, who had observed this exchange with equal amounts of humor and nostalgia, stopped tossing his basketball up in the air. "I can't say that I'm not sympathetic.What's your report going to say?"
"That Nicholas Javert returned from Eastern Asia seeking revenge on the men who he believed abandoned him to his death, that he was responsible for the murders of Armand Pujois, Ernest Jacobson, and Linda Nessen, and that he would have killed Stanley Nessen if you and Agent Torrance had not stopped him. " Scully paused.
Mulder nodded, waiting to hear her scientific explanation for the events which had occurred. He was therefore shocked when the conversation turned in another direction altogether.
"Mulder, I'm sorry I went behind your back with Diana Fowley. I know that-- she was a friend of yours and I didn't have any right to investigate her. I was callous and cold about her and for that I'm sorry."
Mulder was stunned. "What brought this on?"
"Things haven't been right between us since that night before...you know." Mulder nodded. "I think that its important that with all these changes that our going on with the X-Files; we have to trust each other and things can't be like..... I had no idea things were getting to be so cold between us."
Mulder finally recovered a little. "Scully, you had every right to be angry with me. With Diana, I treated you like an outsider and I had no right to be as selfish and I gave you the idea that I trusted her more than you. I'm sorry for being like that with you. You are so much more to me, and I'm sorry if I gave you the idea that I trusted you less."
For the first time in a while, the tension that had been between the two agents for a while lifted.
"How do you think the new kid did his first time out?" asked Mulder with a hint of humor in his voice.
"I think he did OK. He seemed to take the strange stuff like he's been dealing with it all his life."
"Give me a few months and I think he'll be seeing UFOs in crop circles."
Torrance stood outside the door of the X-Files office, listening to his new partners rate him. He still had some questions about how the case had gone, but he thought he had managed to do fine.
"What was with that stuff about ghosts he said when he saw the tape of Jacobson?"
"I think he knows something about the paranormal that he's not telling us about."
Torrance listened to that comment and again felt a shiver pass through him. He would have tell them both about how he knew about ghosts and otherworldly beings, but later. Now was not the time. But soon.
Author's notes: To my parents, who have been a source of inspiration to me, to my sister Deborah who taught me how to use the computer, and to my best friend Allan who helped edit this story.
Thanks to all of you who have been reading "The Third Wheel Saga" The stories will continue.
Title: Third Wheel 3---- Fact Or Fiction
Summary: Acting on a lead from the Lone Gunmen, Mulder, Scully, and Daniel Torrance investigate a bizarre series of ritual murders in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.
Author's Notes: For those of you just joining us, this story is the third in a proposed series of adventures that take place in a world where Agents Mulder and Scully have been partnered with Danny Torrance from Stephen King's The Shining. You don't have to have read the other two stories to know what's going on but it couldn't hurt. I haven't thanked Michelle Blankenship for writing "Dark Places" the story which provided me with the inspiration for this version of Danny Torrance, so thank you.
OFFICES OF THE MAGIC BULLET
Danny Torrance nervously looked around and thought about the circumstances which had led him to this remote outpost of the city at an hour when he should have been sitting at home watching television.
He had been sitting around the basement office that had become his place of operations over the past six weeks, writing up the notes on their most recent case. It had been a weird one (though he had begun to realize that by the very definition looking into cases on the X-Files meant that would be investigating cases that were very unusual). Still this one had been weirder then most---it had involved the case of a man who had suddenly been able to transform himself into a dog. Danny still wasn't entirely sure how to write up these kinds of cases, so he had just written down the fact and decided to rely on Scully to change it into a form that would be acceptable to the powers that be.
Then the phone on Mulder's desk had rung. For a moment he had stood around not entirely sure what to do. Mulder didn't object when he touched his stuff but he was a little possessive about it. But neither Mulder or Scully was in the office so he picked up the phone wondering who on earth would be determined to reach Mulder at his office rather than calling him on his cell phone.
"Hello." he said feeling a little foolish.
For a moment there was no answer. In the background he could hear some weird noises --- like someone turning on a recording device.
"Who is this?" The voice at the other end sounded surprised.
"This is Danny Torrance." He hated when he talked on the phone. He always sounded like such a geek.
"Where's Mulder?" Now the voice at the other end sounded guarded and a little out of his element. Danny could sympathize.
Fortunately Mulder chose that moment to reenter the office. For a moment Danny had felt oddly ashamed--- like his mother had caught him in the bathroom with a Playboy. He handed the phone over to Mulder without saying another word..
"Hello." A pause. "Hey Frohike." Another pause. Danny just stood there, feeling that Mulder should dismiss him. "You sure? OK. I'll drop by after work."
As he hung up the phone, Scully had entered the office.
"Hey Scully, that was Frohike" It meant nothing to Danny but Scully nodded. There seemed to be something in her mood that he couldn't measure.
"What did they want?"
"He says that they might have a case for us. Something that called for our kind of labor."
"Mulder, the last time we listened to a tip from the Gunmen..."
"Come on, Scully." As was often the case when Mulder and Scully were in the same room, Danny felt like he had somehow disappeared from the room.
"I don't want to end up in Las Vegas making a fool of myself."
"Scully, that was a one time thing and they apologized for it."
"Would someone mind filling me in?" Danny was sick of being treated as a second class citizen.
Mulder and Scully had looked at each other for a moment before Mulder finally spoke
"That was a friend of ours. Scully and me." Danny was surprised. In the brief time that he had known Mulder, he didn't think that he and Scully had a lot of friends. "He and a couple of other guys have done some work for us from time to time."
"Other FBI agents?"
Mulder hid a smile. "No. I guess you could call them freelancers."
"And they have information about a case for us?"
Mulder paused. "They didn't say. They just told me that it was something that might call for law enforcement."
"Come on, Mulder, they probably just want to show you the Zapruder film again."
"Look, you don't have to come Scully. I'll wait till after work and handle it myself."
"You mind if I tag along?"
Both Mulder and Scully looked up at Danny surprised. Danny didn't blame them. He was feeling a little amazed at his sudden boldness.
Scully recovered first. "Why not? He's going to have to meet the Gunmen eventually."
So that had been it. He had shown up in the garage that night and gotten into Mulder's car. He had not expected the long drive to the farthest reaches of Washington. He hadn't known that D.C. held that many alleys and side streets. When they had finally arrived after more than half an hour, Danny wouldn't have been surprised if they were still on the East Coast.
"Are these guys that far away or are you that paranoid?" he had asked Mulder half-humorously. Mulder had just looked at him and said. "One from column A and one from column B."
Now that they were here at last, Danny wondered what he was going to see when he looked behind the doors of this office that had taken so long for them to reach. Whoever these people were, he could tell that they were very security conscious--- the front door was practically camouflaged into the wall. However, Danny wondered what good that precaution would do if they noticed the fairly conspicuous lens that clearly belonged to a security camera. He nudged Mulder and pointed to it. Mulder merely shrugged his shoulders and said: "Smile, you're on Candid Camera."
"Hey, Allen Funt was a great American. I took his passing very seriously." Mulder looked a little surprised at Danny's comment, then he just shrugged again.
The door finally opened a crack (Danny wasn't surprised; he had heard at least eight latches being opened before the door finally moved).A man with dirty blond hair, glasses and a Ramones T-shirt peeked through the crack.
"Who's the guy with the hat?" he asked.
"It's OK, Langly. This is Danny Torrance."
The door slammed shut. Danny thought he heard some heated whispering before the door finally opened. "Come in." He looked at Danny for a moment. "Nice hat." Danny then remembered that he was wearing his brown fedora and took it off his head.
Danny walked into the room unsure of what to expect. The offices of The Lone Gunmen were filled with all sorts of technological devices that he had never seen before. He was tempted to ask Mulder what some of these devices were for but he had a feeling that he didn't want to find out. The room was also filled with hundreds of newspaper clippings. Some of them were clearly tabloid headlines ---- ALIEN CRASH LAND IN VEGAS was the mildest looking one, SADDAM TESTS MANDROID ARMY IN IRAQI DESERT was the most outrageous.
The man with the dirty blond hair--- Langly, thought Torrance walked to the back of the room towards the computers. Sitting near the keyboard of a computer was a tall man with a short beard and a neat brown suit. Next to him was a small man with dark hair and thicker glasses then Langly's.
"Come on, Byers. This is your party." The tall man with the beard turned around and faced Danny and Mulder. Danny felt a little nervous as this relative stranger looked at him with one of the stares that all strangers seemed to give him.
"So you're Mulder's new partner." Without turning around, he could tell that Mulder had frozen up a little. Danny knew that for some reason the situation had suddenly gotten tense. He moved to ease it.
"Mulder and Scully are partners; I'm just sharing office space with them." It was the right thing for him to say. He could tell Mulder was relaxing a little by him and the temperature with the three other men warmed up a little.
"Speaking of which, where is the lovely Agent Scully?" This came from the short man with the glasses.
"At home. She didn't think that your message was as serious as you made it sound, Frohike. So what's the big deal?"
"It's Byers' thing. Let him explain it."
The tall man with the beard---Byers, guessed Danny, seemed a little nervous to be dealing with him as well as Mulder and the two other men. Eventually, he gathered himself and plunged forward.
" A week ago, I received a phone call from an old acquaintance of mine. Her name is Shelly Monarch and she is a magnetic media data recovery specialist."
"She's a technology wizard." piped in Langly. "From time to time she gave us help on our work."
"Not as good as us, but she has promise." added the short one---Frohike, Danny supposed.
"When I asked--- Shelly what she had been doing recently, she told me that she had been hard at work on a project that would reveal a killer."
"Did she tell you who was involved?" asked Mulder.
Byers shook his head. "She said she didn't want to give details until she was ready to proceed."
"And when did she say that she'd be ready to do that?"
"A couple of days."
"I take it that something has gone wrong."
"You could say that." said Frohike. Byers shot him a look that seemed to indicate that he wasn't taking what had happened seriously
"I called her office yesterday afternoon. The police picked up the phone."
"According to the police, Michelle Monarch has been missing for two days." added Langly.
"Do the police suspect foul play?" asked Danny. Byers looked up at him, apparently surprised that he could talk.
"We were---hoping that you could find out for us."
Mulder seemed to hesitate for a minute.
"We realize that this isn't your normal field of expertise," said Langly.
"But whenever a colleague becomes involved in what is a potentially dangerous situation...."
"It becomes necessary for some one to take an interest."
Danny was amazed at how the three of them seemed able to finish each others sentences. He had seen this happen with Mulder and Scully from time to time, but these guys had it down even colder.
"What do you want me to do?"
"Mulder, you're not telling me that you're going along with all this?" At that moment, Danny would not have been shocked to learn that he was speaking in atone that mirrored Scully's nearly perfectly.. Mulder noticed it and gave him a smile.
"Agent Torrance, a crime has been committed. Miss Monarch may have been kidnapped or murdered. This therefore merits the service of the FBI."
Danny sighed. He hadn't known Mulder for that long, but he knew that when Mulder was determined to get involved in something, he always went in full throttle. This person's disappearance apparently qualified.
Sighing to himself, Danny turned to the Gunmen. "Where does Miss. Monarch live?"
"Elizabeth in Baroake County, New Jersey.
"You didn't have to come with me, you know." Mulder said to Danny for what was either the third or fourth time since they had left this morning.
Danny shook his head again. "Somebody has to keep an eye on you; make sure you don't go off half-cocked." He smiled at Mulder. Mulder gave back a wounded look. It wasn't the same kind of smile that he gave to Scully whenever he got into trouble, but it was close. "The police just refused to give any information over the phone?"
Mulder nodded. "Its an old act. The guy was one of those tight-ass cop. Just kept saying we can't release any information on Miss Monarch's disappearance. Like I was some snooping reporter instead of an agent with the FBI."
"You think that carrying a badge for Uncle Sam would pull more weight. Instead they keep treating us like were second class citizens. " Danny was being slightly;y disingenuous. On the two cases that Mulder, Scully and himself had worked, he had been treated with a surprising amount of respect. Mulder and Scully own the other hand had been treating by other law enforcement agents and by people in general with less respect than people occupying their positions should receive. He didn't know if given enough time in the X-Files, people would starting regarding him with less respect but he figured that eventually would find out.
"Here we are." Mulder pulled over. They had finally reached Michelle Monarch's house. It was apparent that someone was still there. A single police car stood in front of the house.
Mulder and Danny got out of the car and walked over to Monarch's house. A nervous looking police officer was guarding the door. He looked younger than Danny was .
"Excuse me, I'm Special Agent Mulder. This is special Agent Torrance. We're with the FBI. " He showed the office his badge. It seemed to take the young officer a few minutes to take this in before he recovered himself and let Mulder and Danny into the house.
A detective in an old raincoat was standing over a desk. He appeared to be looking over Miss Monarch's appointment book. He looked up at Mulder and gave him a firm glance.
"Who are you?" Mulder was still holding his badge out and he flashed it in front of the detective. The detective looked at it a moment before turning away. " Paul Donahue, Baroake County Police Department. I should have figured that the Feds would be coming around to stick their nose in this."
Mulder paused a moment. Despite not knowing Mulder that well, he knew him well enough to know that Mulder was about to make one of his intuitive leaps. However, Danny had already figured out why the cops were here and decided to cut Mulder off at the pass.
"Michelle Monarch is dead, isn't she " He could tell by Mulder's face that the agent had already taken his reasoning that far. The detective showed an equal lack of surprise. He nodded his head.
"Six hours ago, her body was found in the Pine Barrens. She had been dead for at least twenty four hours according to the preliminary coroner's report."
"How was she killed?" asked Mulder.
"Her body was found wrapped in a plastic sheet." Danny looked around the room they were standing in. It had a plastic set of curtains wrapped around the wall of the room. One side of the curtains appeared to have been torn off. His eyes turned back to Detective Donahue, who gave a nod. "We're thinking that the killer attacked her at home, struggled with her and wrapped her body in one of the curtains.
"Do you have any suspects?"
Donahue shook his head. "No, and were pretty much at a loss as to who could have done it and why. We're a pretty small county, Agent Mulder, and this is the biggest crime to have hit us in a couple of years."
"Any clues from Miss Monarch's job?"
"I don't follow you."
"At the time of her death, I understand that the woman was working on some kind of big project."
Donahue shook his head again. " We're looking over the house for some sign of the work that she was doing at the time of her death. Someone trashed her computer. We're trying to put it together so that we can figure out what she was working on."
"Is there anything in her appointment book?" asked Mulder.
According to it, the last major project she was working on was with someone whose initials are DL. We're trying to work on her phone records, but..."
At this point, there was a commotion at the front door. "I need to see the police.
Danny walked over to the door. A tall thin man with dark hair was engaged in a serious conversation with the policeman.
"Excuse me, sir, who are you?"
The tall man turned towards Danny. "My name is David Leigh. I'm a filmmaker."
"David Leigh?" Danny turned towards Mulder and mouthed the letters DL.
"Mr. Leigh., could you come inside. We have a couple of questions that we'd like to ask you."
BAROAKE COUNTY POLICE STATION
"O.K., Mr. Leigh. Why don't you just take it from the top."
Danny watched the interrogation room. Detective Donahue and Agent Mulder were in their with Leigh. Leigh had been surprisingly calm when the [police had asked him to come with them to the police station, asking if he could bring his camera with him. Apparently Leigh was working on some kind of documentary and he wanted everything to be done according to the rules of film.
"Over the past few months. I have been making a documentary on the Fact Or Fiction murders. It was supposed to be a film which explored the crime and gave an explanation...
"Excuse me, but I'm not familiar with the Fact or Fiction murders. Would you mind explaining about that to me?"
Detective Donahue looked at Mulder with an expression of mild surprise. "Two years ago, three men who went into the Pine Barrens for some public access television show were murdered by the man who guided them there. The man who killed them was arrested and sent to prison. That pretty much what you were going to say" He turned to Leigh. "That pretty much cover it?"
Mulder looked closely at Leigh. "But what?"
"Last January, I received the remains of a tape."
"Who sent you this tape?"
"I don't know.
"What was on this tape?
"I didn't know. That's why I came to Shelly with it. I wanted her to restore the tape and tell me if it was genuine..
"Did Shelly restore the tape?"
"Parts of it.?"
"What was on it?"
"It was video footage of the Pine Barrens the night that the men were killed. It showed that the men who were killed were still alive at the time that the police ruled that they were dead."
Detective Donahue looked at Leigh with greater interest. "Do you have any of this footage?"
"Yes its at my home. But that's not all that the tape revealed."
Mulder looked at Leigh. "It showed them being attacked didn't it?"
"Yes. There was a frame that showed the face of the killer. Shelly was working to restore that frame of the footage. Three days ago, she said that a face would finally be visible that afternoon. I went over to her house that afternoon and ... She wasn't there."
"Do you have any idea who could have killed her?"
Leigh shook his head. "I don't have any idea."
Mulder got up. "Excuse me a moment." He got up and left. A moment later, he was standing in the antechamber with Danny.
"Do you think that he's telling the truth?" he asked.
Mulder nodded. "As he knows it, I think he's being accurate. Nit that it really matters."
Danny looked up at Mulder, a little surprised. "What do you mean?"
"Agent Torrance, you were assigned to my division to help me investigate the X-Files. Unless Miss Monarch was killed by the ghost of the real murderer, this case is not an X-File. It's not even a matter for the Bureau. When Skinner finds out, that we wasted an entire day on non-bureau matter, he'll have your head and mine"
Danny paused a moment gathering himself. "You're right, Mulder. There are no ghosts or aliens involved in this case. But you've told me that the X-Files are about getting to the truth. Well, it looks like the truth has been hidden here. A woman has been murdered probably because she was trying to help Mr. Leigh get to it. If we go back to Washington without investigating won't we be allowing this deception to still exist? And these other killings --- from what Mr. Leigh has been telling us, the truth was hidden there as well. We have to do some investigating."
Mulder looked at Danny with what appeared to be an equal measure of exasperation and respect. "You missed your calling, kid. You would have made a hell of a salesman."
"Besides, if it turns out that we can solve an actual case with a real solution, it might convince some of those higher up that the X-Files isn't a waste of time and money."
"Ah, enlightened self-interest." said Mulder with a smile.
"Its the best kind."
"All right. I'm gonna call Scully and ask for her help with the case. Maybe she can find something in Michelle Monarch' s autopsy that the coroner may have missed. In the meantime, I want you to go and find out everything that you can find about the Fact Or Fiction murders."
"Shelly Monarch's body was dumped in the same place as the crimes that she was researching. I don't think that its a coincidence. "
"You figure that we figure this out, we'll understand why she was murdered?" Mulder nodded. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to look into the background of our filmmaker. See if there's something that he isn't telling us."
BAROAKE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEYS OFFICE
Danny Torrance managed to suppress a yawn. He had spent most of the previous night up, going over most of the records of the Fact or Fiction murders. When Mulder had asked him to do the research on the murders, he had not known that it would involve going into such elaborate detail. But he liked a challenge and therefore the tiredness that he felt had been suppressed by the adrenaline rush that usually came to him when he was working on a big case.
Mulder and Scully walked into the room. Both had a serious expression on their faces. Danny knew that Mulder and Scully always kept a serious attitude towards their work, but he wished that they would smile more often. They always appeared like everything was a life or death matter. Though he had to admit, at least in this case, that it was.
"Scully, glad to see you." Danny got up.
"Well, I have to admit, I was intrigued. Mulder usually asks me to conduct an autopsy on people who have been victims of vampirism or sawed in half ... Or something...."
"Spooky?" Mulder finished the sentence with a half smile.
"Did the autopsy of Shelly Monarch show anything unusual?" asked Danny.
"First things first." said Mulder. "I only know some of the story behind the Fact or Fiction murders and Scully doesn't know anything at all. So fill us in on what you learned.
"Where do you want me to start?"
"With the basics. Who were these people?"
Danny looked down at his notes. " In 1997, two men named Steven Avkast and Locus Wheeler formed a public access television show called 'Fact or Fiction' You would have liked it, Mulder, it was a paranormal variety show where they looked into events that were unexplained."
"Sounds like my kind of people." said Mulder.
"The show was on for most of 1997, but gradually the audience for the show began to diminish. By October, Avkast was desperate to do anything to help recover the shows popularity. So he began turning to viewer mail and suggestion on the Internet. Apparently around this time someone suggested that they do a show about the Jersey Devil."
Mulder suddenly smiled and looked at Scully, who also gave a half smile.
Danny looked at them both. "Did I say something funny?"
"No. It's just that... One of the first cases that Scully and I worked on together involved a some kind of monster that the local people called the Jersey Devil. "
"It was in Atlantic City." said Scully "I saw that some kind of creature was disturbing the population. The police eventually killed it, but the autopsy was inconclusive as to what the creature actually was."
"But it identified the creature as a female and told us that it has possibly given birth."
"Mulder, there was no prove that the creature was a monster---"
"Scully, you saw the thing...'
Danny thought that it was best for this conversation to be shot down before it developed into a full fledged argument. "Could we possibly have this conversation after I finish this?" Reluctantly, Mulder and Scully both settled down.
"Apparently, the Jersey Devil lived in the Pine Barrens and so Avkast decided to go to the Pine Barrens and do a live broadcast on cable and the Internet. This broadcast was there hope to restore the shows popularity and it was such a big deal that they decided they needed help. They ran several ads on TV and did a bunch of interviews and eventually they hired two men to help them with their project: Rein Clacken, an expert when it came to audio recording and Jim Suerd, a supposed psychic who was supposed to lead the group into the Pine Barrens." Torrance paused.
"Suerd was the man who was arrested for killing the others, right?" said Mulder.
"Was Suerd a psychic?" Mulder asked with half a smile.
"I doubt it. Suerd 'supposedly proved that he was a psychic on the day that he met with Avkast and Wheeler by performing a card trick and having a psychic fit."
"How do you know all this? I don't think that this is the kind of thing that Suerd would just tell the police."
"That's the thing about this case Avkast and Wheeler kept extensive videotaped record of their planned excursion into the Pine Barrens. Including their first meeting with the others. Maybe if I show you the tape, it will help explain things better than me alone."
Mulder looked at Scully and they both nodded. Danny walked over to the VCR and pressed play.
The tape show a young man with dirty blond hair----Suerd -- being restrained by a man in a red shirt. Eventually Suerd broke free of the other man and ran towards a pan which seemed to contain ashes. Suerd grabbed at the plate and threw some of the ashes on to his arm. He began rubbing both his arms until finally some writing began to appear on one of the arms. The camera slowly moved in on it..
Danny paused the tape as the camera closed in on Suerd's arm. A date was clearly visible on it. It read 12-13-97. "That date was the proposed first date of the trip. Eventually they changed it to December 15. The state of New Jersey argued that this was a sign of premeditation."
"Based on this?" Mulder replied dubiously.
"No. On the day of the trip, Wheeler and Avkast kept the same kind of extensive records that they did on everything else. The prosecution edited the videotapes so that they could illustrate that Suerd was the killer."
"How?" asked Scully.
"They edited the videotape so that it showed that Jim Suerd was leading the party farther and farther into the Pine Barrens away from any access road. The tape also showed that Jim Suerd had a potentially violent streak."
"How did they prove that?
Torrance grabbed another videotape and stuck it into the machine. The camera showed a picture of Suerd Behind him was a short man with a beard and a white hat and a taller man. Both were bundled in thick coat a The background showed that they were in the Pine Barrens during the winter. The voice of the man holding the camera spoke up. "Jim. Are you a psychic or a psycho?" Suerd clearly got angry at the question and moved forward saying: "Look, man." There was then what appeared to be some static that appeared because Suerd had pushed him. The camera then faced Suerd. "I'll see you back at camp, man !" He said angrily.
Torrance stopped the tape. "That was evidence? " Mulder said incredulously. "That's just a single outburst taken after an aggravated event. It doesn't prove anything."
"Maybe not" said Scully "But I can see how such an event can be taken out of context to prove that Suerd was a violent man. What else did the tapes show?"
"Short version? The tapes showed that Suerd was introverted and unlike the others who seemed to be enjoying their trip to the Pine Barrens, Suerd appeared to be angry and scary."
"Do they show anything about them being murdered?"
"No. According to the prosecution's recordings the last of the tapes shut off at 1 A.M. There was some discussion on the last one about changing tapes, but there was no indication that this was done." "Unless the tape that Leigh received in the mail is accurate." Torrance nodded. "Tell us about the murders themselves. How did the police get involved".
"Around 9 AM the day after the broadcast a 911 call was placed by Jim Suerd from a pay phone in which he said that the people he had driven out to the Pine Barrens with were nowhere to be found. Eventually the police went out there and found the dead bodies of Rein Clacken and Locus Wheeler.. Both men had been stabbed to death several times.
"What about the other guy--- Steven Avkast?"
"His body was never found. All that they found of him was a patch of blood and his hat. They figure he lost so much blood that he must have been killed also."
" When did they arrest Jim Suerd?" asked Scully
"Suerd was arrested three days later."
"Did they have any evidence other then the fact that Suerd was the only other man there?" asked Mulder.
Torrance reached for another document. "After they arrested Suerd, they searched his home. They found a shirt that was his that had some blood on it. DNA testing that was done on the shirt proved that the blood belonged to all three of the victims. Forensics did a preliminary test on the wounds and showed that they were made by a man who matched a man of Suerd's height and weight. It also was clear that the wounds were made by someone stabbing with both hands."
"Was Jim Suerd ambidextrous?" asked Scully.
"All that evidence is circumstantial. Did they find the murder weapon?" asked Mulder
"No." Danny paused. "And the blood on the clothes... That was odd too"
"Are you saying that the DNA testing could be wrong?"
" Take a look at this.. " Danny handed Scully a picture of Suerd's shirt.
"What am I supposed to be looking at?" asked Scully.
"How much blood would you say is on the shirt?"
"Not a great deal. What are you getting at?"
"The doctors said that there was the equivalent of fifteen eye droppers full on the shirt. If Suerd was really the architect of the murders, how come there was so little blood found on his shirt?"
"He's right Scully. By all rights, his shirt should have been soaked in blood."
"Mulder, blood spatters funny. It's possible that he could have killed the men without getting much on him."
Mulder turned his attention back to Torrance. "Did Suerd have any explanation as to what happened?"
Torrance shook his head. "He said that he really wasn't paying attention to what was happening at the camp site. He claims that he was on Internet Relay Chat all night."
"Do the computer records bear that out?"
"Yes and No. The computer records have him on line from 8 PM until around 3 in the morning."
"But..." said Mulder
"According to the IRC logs there was a forty minute gap between the comments that Suerd made online. The prosecution argued that Suerd could have used that gap to kill the others."
"And all of this played with the jury?" said Mulder.
"Apparently so. The defense tried to raise all these points at trial but none of them seemed to really stick with the jury. The only victory that they really managed was getting the murder of Steven Avkast dropped from the indictment. Suerd was convicted of the murders of Clacken and Wheeler and was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment.."
For a moment, the three agents all sat in silence as they absorbed the implication of what they had just gone over.
"Do you think Suerd is guilty?" asked Mulder.
Torrance thought it over for a moment. "I don't know. A lot of the evidence that the police gathered seems shaky at best. I can see how the police would believe that Suerd did it, but I think that the evidence is shaky enough for him to be innocent. I'd like to talk with Suerd himself."
"That's not possible." said Mulder.
"Because Suerd is dead."
"What?" said Danny genuinely shocked.
"On January 6 of this year, he was found dead in his cell."
"Was it another murder?"
"The death was put down to causes unknown." As Danny took this in, Mulder added. "That's not the only odd thing that I found about it. Two days after Suerd's death, David Leigh received the remains of the video tape that he asked Shelly Monarch to restore."
"Hell of a coincidence, wouldn't you say?"
"I don't believe that in this kind of coincidence.
Danny shook his head. "Did Shelly Monarch's autopsy reveal anything out of the ordinary?" he asked Scully.
Scully shook her head. "Cause of death was asphyxiation do to suffocation. Based on the position of her arms and legs I am assuming that she put a struggle. My guess is that she was taken by surprise and tried to put up a fight before she died."
"Did you find any fingerprints any skin under the fingernails, anything that might lead us to the killer?'
Scully shook her head. "Plastic doesn't contain finger prints very well. We found a couple of prints on the sheet, but they don't match any that are in the system."
"So you've got no idea who could have killed her?"\
"I have a theory." said Mulder.
"You're not going to tell me that the Jersey Devil is the killer are you?" said Danny sarcastically.
"No. The only monster that is here is the man who committed these murders."
"Do you believe that the murders are connected?" asked Danny.
"It would be a pretty big coincidence if they were not."
Before Mulder could precede any further with his theory Mulder's phone rang. He answered it. "Mulder." There was a long pause. "Are you absolutely sure?" Another pause. "All right sit on him until I get there." He hung up the phone.
"The police matched one of the prints found on the plastic bag that Michelle Monarch was suffocated in."
"How come they couldn't match it before?"
"Because they just took the fingerprints of the man."
"You mean its...."
"Our friend the filmmaker."
BAROAKE COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
David Leigh sat in the interrogation room with what appeared to be an enormous amount of patience. Danny had no idea what Mulder was about to do but he had an inclination that it would not be pretty.
"Mr. Leigh, would you mind explaining how well you knew Michelle Monarch?" Mulder sounded very polite.
"I hired Shelly to do the data recovery on the tape that I found."
"You didn't know her before you found the tape?"
"She was an acquaintance. The friend of a friend.." Leigh paused. "What is all this about?"
"I'm just trying to gather background information. Trying to make sense of this. "
Danny turned to Scully who was watching with him in the antechamber. "Do you have any idea what Mulder is up to?"
Scully shook her head.
"When was the last time that Mulder did this?"
"Led an interrogation of a suspect."
Scully thought for a second, then shook her head a second time. "It's not that often that Mulder has a chance to interview a real person."
Danny looked at Scully for a second. The statement that she had just made had implications which he did not want to explore. He turned his attention back to Mulder and Leigh.
"Why did you begin this project anyway? Why did you want to explore the Fact or Fiction murders?" asked Mulder.
Leigh still seemed perfectly calm as he answered. "Originally I wanted to see if I could discover the reason that Jim Suerd committed these horrible murders. And I thought that it was interesting that the murders were all what you might call children of a digital age."
"Everyone involved in the Fact or Fiction murders were involved in the world of the media. "
"That's all very interesting, David----you don't mind if I call you David, do you?
"No, you can go on ahead." Mulder moved closer to Leigh.
"Did you ever see Fact or Fiction?"
Leigh seemed a bit surprised at the question. "Of course I did. I watched several episodes while I was making my documentary..."
"No, I mean did you watch any episodes before you got the idea to make this documentary."
Leigh paused for a long minute . "What's all this about?"
"Why do you think the murders took place? I mean if Jim Suerd isn't the real killer, who do you think the killer is?"
Leigh seemed to relax. "I don't know . In my documentary, I have a segment where I ponder on those same possibilities. Steven and Locus ---the hosts said that there was a suggestion made from IRC and also that someone mailed in a suggestion. But its almost impossible for an IRC call to be retraced back to the source."
"Yes, it would be almost impossible. And even if you could there's no guarantee that the computer this 'person' used even belonged to whoever it was who came up with." Mulder gave off a sigh. "It seems that it would be nearly impossible to track down the man who committed those murders. "He got up and walked closer to Leigh. "So lets talk about a murder that we can solve." Leigh grew tense again.
"We dusted the plastic sheet that Shelly Monarch was wrapped in. And we got a couple of solid prints. When we ran them through the computer database to see if we could come up with a match, you know what we found?"
"Since you're talking to me, I guess that you found my prints."
"Agent Mulder, I was at Shelly's house at least half a dozen times or more. I imagine that my prints are all over her house."
"They might be., David. But I find it very hard to believe that it was pure chance that you put your hands at the exact same spot where Shelly Monarch was suffocated. "
There was a long pause. Leigh twisted in his seat.
Danny turned to Scully. " Is that true?"
Scully shook her head. "They found a lot of prints on the plastic but most of them were smudged. "
"Did they find his prints anywhere?"
"They were in the house, but he's right. Those prints could have been there for weeks."
"Hell of a bluff."
Scully looked at Leigh, who was now noticeably uncomfortable. "It looks like it's working".
"How do you explain that, Mr. Leigh?" By now, Mulder was looking Leigh directly in the face.
"Agent Mulder, why would I kill this woman? She was going to help me solve a crime."
"Wrong. She was going to reveal your crime."
Danny turned to Scully. She was surprised but not astonished. She was used to Mulder's amazing leaps in logic and this was one where you didn't an Oxford education to make the connection.
"What are you saying?"
"The face that Shelly Monarch found on that tape---- the face of the killer---- it was yours."
"You're out of your mind!"
"No." said Mulder calmly. "You are, David. " When Leigh didn't respond to this comment, he went on." You sent in the email to IRC that suggested that they do a show about the Pine Barrens. You knew when and where they would be there because they advertised it for weeks in advance . Then on December 15, you waited in the woods . You killed Steven Avkast first. And then when Locus Wheeler and Rein Clacken came out following him you killed them too"
"I didn't kill anyone!" Leigh's voice was becoming more frantic as if he was trying to convince himself as well as Mulder.
"Then why are your prints all over the house? Why are they all over Shelly Monarch's computer?"
Leigh just paused. Danny could tell from his face that the filmmaker was weakening.
"You know what bothers me the most. The killings in the Pine Barrens, they were so well planned and carried out... " Mulder paused again. "But the killing of Shelly Monarch, that was done so damn sloppily and haphazardly. Why did you do such a poor one?" Mulder paused deliberately. It was as if he knew that he had reached the critical point of the interrogation.
Leigh just stared at Mulder. "She caught me by surprise. I went over to her house to .... do it. I didn't even knock. But she took me by surprise. When she saw... that it was my face on the tape, she slugged me and ran. I caught her foot and tripped her. I wrapped her in the plastic because it was the closest thing there.. I didn't know she'd put of such a struggle. Even when she was dying.... she kept fighting me. " Leigh stopped. "She just kept fighting me. That's all." Another paused. Leigh then just stared straight ahead. "Could I get something to drink?"
Danny and Scully entered the basement office. Mulder was on the phone.
"So that's where you were. " said Scully. It may have been Danny Torrance's imagination, but he thought that Scully seemed more cheerful than usual. He knew that the upcoming ceremonies would have put a smile on his face
"Come on Mulder. They're going to start without us."
Mulder paused and then hung up the phone. "I find it highly unlikely that they would do that. Its hard to give a commendation to three agents without the agents to be honored about to be present."
" I can't believe it. Skinner's actually smiling."
That brought a smile of disbelief to Mulder's face. "That I gotta see." He walked towards the exit.
"Who were you on the phone with?" asked Danny
"The district attorney for Baroake County. David Leigh is going to plead not guilty by reason of insanity."
"Interesting strategy." said Scully
"The argument is that Leigh suffered from a psychopathic obsession with 'Fact Or Fiction" which caused him to plan and commit the murders in the Pine Barrens. That same obsession also caused him to take the tape from the cameras of the Fact or Fiction crew and mail it to himself anonymously, and then went to the trouble of having Shelly Monarch restore the tape."
"Did he also kill Shelly Monarch while he was supposedly insane?"
Mulder paused. "They didn't explain to me how it was going to work."
"Do you think its true?" asked Danny.
"I think that David Leigh is a very disturbed human being. Who committed a very disturbed crime. He is insane in the same sense that all killers are insane but I don't know if that qualifies as a legitimate mental defect." Mulder paused again. "That's one of the things that I hate about these kind of crimes."
"It's one thing to look into paranormal and unexplained events. Those are by their definition very difficult to understand. But in order to understand the workings of the human mind, I could spend years studying it and never come close to finding a legitimate explanation why certain people commit heinous crimes. That's one of the reasons that I started investigating the X-Files in the first place. I'll take the paranormal crimes over normal ones any day "
Both Scully and Danny turned to Mulder in surprise--- Scully because she wasn't used to hearing him philosophize about the criminal mind, Danny because he wasn't used to hearing him philosophize period.
Danny recovered first. "Well, investigating a normal crimes does have its upside."
"Yeah, we don't normally get congratulated for solving an X-File." said Scully.
"Maybe not now, but after we take our bows for the camera, I've got a classic X-File that'll put us on the front pages."
"Of what? The National Enquirer?" said Danny humorously
Mulder paused. "How did you know?"
"How did I know what?"
"Where I got the lead?"
Danny rolled his eyes. Even though he'd known Mulder for over six weeks, he had begun to feel that he had already understood how his mind worked. "Come on, let's have our moment of glory."
Author's note: As I said before, several of the characters in this story do not belong to me. You know that Mulder, Scully, Danny Torrance and the Lone Gunmen don't belong to me. What you probably didn't know was that David Leigh, Shelly Monarch, Locus Wheeler, Steven Avkast, Rein Clacken and Jim Suerd don't belong to me either. They are the property of little-known film called "The Last Broadcast" by Steven Avalos and Lance Wheeler. If you have enjoyed this story(or even if you haven't) I highly recommend that you see it. Some people who see it may say that it reminds them of the better known film "The Blair Witch Project." However, this film came before anyone had ever heard of that movie. And though I have revealed several of the secrets of the film in this story, it still remains an entertaining film to see.
Title: Third Wheel 4: No Place Like Home
Summary: The X-Files team joins forces with a Staten Island policeman to investigate a series of violent deaths that they discover may be linked to a riot at a maximum security prison.
Author's Note: For those of you who are fans of Oz, I know that the Oswald State Correctional Facility has never been specifically set in any state . However given that the show is filmed in New York, I don't think that its a huge stretch to say that it could take place there. Also this story takes place between the second and third seasons of Oz. Alvarez, Adebisi and Diane Wittlesey are here; Claire Howell and Sean Murphy are not. Also for those of you who are Law and Order fans the events in EXILE have not taken place
There was no polite way to say it. Officer Francis Yood was an overweight, bigoted, foolish redneck who had all the keen detective instinct of a blind man. How it was that Yood had ever graduated from the academy, let alone become a police officer was beyond Logan's comprehension. He wasn't alone in feeling this way. As far as he knew, Yood didn't have a friend in the squad room. Logan wasn't exactly Mr. Popular, but he had made an effort; Yood never seemed to open his mouth except to either eat a doughnut, say a racial epithet or browbeat the Mets. It was a wonder that no one in the squad had shot him; it was a miracle that Logan hadn't done it.
He sighed. Logan knew that this was not a constructive way to expend his energy. When you got right down to it, he knew that he had only himself to blame for his circumstances. He had set the circumstances in motion that had led to his being dropkicked from a detective shield in Manhattan to walking a beat here in the barren wasteland that was Staten Island. Much as he wanted to have someone else to lay it all on, he had to admit that the problem ultimately must come up at his doorstep.
So rather then give into his base instincts as Yood reached the end of a long diatribe in which he seemed to be criticizing the Mets, the New York City Fire Department, Paul Simon and Andrew Cuomo ( though no one really listened to what Yood had to say, he had to marvel at the marvels of the all-encompassing complexities that seemed to cover everything under the sun) Logan simply turned to Yood and spoke two very simple words: "We're here. " Then he pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car quickly in order to avoid another rumination.
The call had come in twenty minutes ago. Dispatchers in the Staten Island police department were not under any obligation to give a detailed account of a crime scene, usually revealing no information as to what had actually occurred. The dispatcher had simply noticed that a 911 had come in from 517 Parker Street reporting that police assistance was necessary. This could be a catch-all that could include anything from an ordinary a domestic disturbance to something a little more complex breaking and entering. Neither officer thought that it could involve anything more complicated then that. Staten Island may have been the fastest growing place in the state of New York, but compared to its neighbors, it had nothing even approaching the level of crime that Manhattan or Brooklyn did. That was one of the reasons that being transferred to here was used to punish cops like Logan who had crossed the line in one way or another.
So when they arrived at the address and saw that an ambulance was waiting for them, Logan still didn't think that anything that serious was on the agenda. Perhaps someone had gotten a little bruised in a fight or maybe some one jumped the gun and fought that someone was hurt enough to require a paramedic.
The first real sign that there was trouble came when Logan saw that the medical unit was just standing around. Only one of them seemed occupied with work. The lack of activity told Logan that something a little more complicated then a robbery gone bad or a domestic disruption had occurred. He took out his badge and put it in the collar of the leather jacket he was wearing. As was always the case when he put on his police officers badge he felts a little disconnected feeling that he was masquerading as something that he wasn't. He inwardly straightened himself out. This was no time to be feeling homesick.
"Officer Logan. This is Officer Yood. . What have we got?" he said turning to the chief doctor. He took in that most of the medics were looking a little pale---- never a good sign. "Samuel Wells. There's a dead body in there. " In the background, he could hear Yood go "Ah, shit. " Logan turned and glared at him. Unlike Yood, he didn't object to violent crime. He had gotten a stomach for it in Manhattan. Besides it beat the monotony of writing traffic tickets and breaking up barroom brawls.
"Any idea who the dead guy is?" As he spoke he tool out the pad and pen that he carried with him
Wells nodded. "His wallet was on the counter. Harold Goergen. Construction worker." "Who made the 911 call?"
Wells gestured towards the ambulance. "Edward Foley. Worked with him. Says he came here to pick him up for work and found him."
"Any sign of forced entry?"
Wells looked at him strangely. "Isn't that your job, officer?
If he had been the type, Logan would have blushed. For a split second he had thought that he was a New York City detective instead of just an ordinary cop. He might still be wearing plain clothes, but he was just a foot patrolmen with a badge. He quickly recovered and turned to Yood. "You want to take Foley's statement?" He was surprised that Yood answered in the affirmative so quickly. Then he remembered that he wasn't crazy about violent crimes and probably wanted to stay as far away from them as possible.
"Where's the body?"
"In the bedroom." Wells turned back to Foley
Logan approached the house with a certain degree of nervousness. All right, there was an actual crime here. It had been a while since he had investigated a real homicide; there weren't a great deal for him to inquire on. But doing any kind of police work was like riding a bicycle; you never really forgot how to do it. Start with the crime scene. .
The door was hanging open. Either Foley had left it open or he had discovered it that way. . Logan entered the house cautiously. It was still possible that the killer was still inside. Again he noted that he had never considered before the complexities of the jobs that the cops back at the 27th had to take whenever they had went into a crime scene.
The hallway was empty. Nevertheless, Logan felt for his revolver. He didn't think he'd need it though. The detective instincts that he had used for over a decade came into focus very rapidly. Whoever had committed the murder was long gone. The only thing that was still in the house was the body.
As he approached the bedroom the tension he felt in his stomach noticeably increased. He couldn't tell why he was so nervous. The only thing he was going to see was a dead body. He'd seen dozens, maybe hundreds of them in his long career. Admittedly it had been a while since he had seen one, but still a corpse is a corpse. To try and alleviate his nervousness he inspected the windows in the house. He looked into the living room. The windows were closed and it didn't appear that any of them had been tampered with. He quickly scrawled down "Check windows. " As he finished writing, he realized that he had reached the bedroom. There was no need to open the door. Wells or Foley or whoever had been in the house had left the door of the bedroom standing open.
Nevertheless, he paused and wrinkled his nose. There was definitely a smell present in the air. It might just have been the normal (if you could call anything related to a homicide normal) of the remains of a dead man. However, for a moment Logan thought that he could sense the aroma of something else. Something that he associated with some kind of spices. He shook his head and walked into the bedroom.
The body of Harold Goergen was lying on the floor of his bedroom, resting on his stomach lying. Even the most casual observer would have been able to tell what had killed him. There were several small holes in Goergen's back and a fairly sizeable pool of blood had formed at the feet of the body. Logan wasn't an ME, but it would not have taken a rocket scientist to tell what had killed Goergen. Someone had taken a knife and had turned him into a pincushion. As he walked around the body, he checked the windows of the bedroom. They were closed and shut from the inside. Whoever had committed this crime hadn't come in through any notable point of entrance.
For a moment Logan considered whether or not he should wait until someone from the coroners office showed up. He then made a unilateral decision to take a closer examination of the body. Suddenly it seemed very important that he get a good solid look at what Goergen's face looked like. He knelt to the floor and very carefully turned his head so that it faced him.
The expression that was on his body gave Logan the impression that Goergen had died in a state of total shock. Whatever it was that had happened to the man, it had caught him completely and totally by surprise.
Slowly Logan stood back up. For some reason looking at the expression on the dead man's face had unnerved him. After a moment, he realized why it was bothering him so much.
When a man receives a quick death, like a bullet through the head or a letter opener in the neck, the last expression (if there is one at all) is one of shock, as if whoever it happened so quickly that it seemed that it has come as a completely and utter surprise. But with a more prolonged death involving multiple attacks there was at least a sign that whoever it was involved in the attacks at least had tried to fight back. There was no sign of this Goergen's face. Even after he had been stabbed the first few times, he still had a look of astonishment on his face. As if whatever had happened had taken him completely by surprise.
OF course these were not rules that a man could live be as if they were unalterable. There were at least several other rules that you had to observe whenever you were examining a dead body. Yet it was the look of surprise on Goergen's face that bothered Mike Logan most of all. Somehow, he knew that the man had never seen it coming.
What kind of monster could enter a man's home and stab the owner several times without not only an sign of forced entry but with the victim not even noticing him until the very last moments of his life? The image bothered Logan as he got and prepared to talk with Yood.
Despite the shock that he felt at seeing Goergen's body, Logan could feel the faintest bit of energy crackling as he prepared to begin the investigation. Though he would have never admitted it to Yood, he was beginning to feel like he was a detective again. Part of him hated the feeling and knew that this was still a man's death that was on him. But part of it made him feel like he was a cop again instead of a glorified patrolman. Part of him hated the feeling but part of him treasured it. Savored it.
Twenty four hours later, Mike Logan had lost whatever energy had suddenly come over him when he had first began to investigate the stabbing of Harold Goergen. Instead a feeling of frustration had begun to overcome him. It was the feeling that he always got when a case got stalled along the way.
Immediately after he had examined the crime scene, Logan had finished inspecting the house. There was no apparent sign of forced entry and when Yood had finally managed to get a statement out of Foley, he had learned that Foley was the only other person that had an extra key to get into the house. The door had been shut and locked when Foley had opened it, according to him.
An investigation into Goergen's background had turned up little. Goergen was thirty seven, single and had no family to speak of. He wasn't involved with any women and he didn't have any outstanding debts or any loans that had gone bad. The house had belonged to his father and Goergen had inherited it when he had died five years ago, so that led nowhere. Furthermore, it seemed that he hadn't had much free time during which he could have possibly run into bad company. He was just a bricklayer in a construction company. That barely earned him enough money to make ends meet, so he spent his weekends in the National Guard serving Uncle Sam. Looking into his friends and colleagues led nowhere. There seemed to be no reason why anybody would want to kill someone like him.
By the time Logan had finished with the cursory check into Goergen's background, he had hope that the forensic analysis had found something. That hope quickly proved to be ill-founded. Apart from the blood at the crime scene, there was little evidence to be found. There were no fingerprints at the scene that didn't belong to the victim; there were no hairs or fabrics available for trace analysis and the medical examiner (after taking a long time to investigate the body could not reveal much other than that Goergen had been killed between 10 P. M. And midnight the previous day and that he had been stabbed.
All and all, the inquiry into the murder of Harold Goergen was going very badly. So when Logan received word that his captain wanted to see him in connection with the investigation, he assumed that it would be to chew him out for doing such a piss-poor job. Lieutenant Harris didn't like him much to begin with, so he really wasn't looking forward to this conversation.
As he entered Harris' office, he saw that there were two men and a woman waiting in the office with him. All three were dressed in clothes that screamed that they were higher up on the law enforcement food chain then him. One of them looked a lot younger than the other two. He was trying to make up for by wearing a black leather jacket and a natty brown fedora that for a moment reminded Logan of his first partner, Max Greevey. The other man was wearing a dark suit and appeared to be in conversation with the Lieutenant. "You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?" The older agent turned around to face Logan.
"Are you Officer Logan?" Inwardly Logan winced. Four years at Staten Island and it still hurt whenever someone referred to him by his current title instead of detective. Outwardly, he nodded
"I'm Special Agent Mulder. These are my partners, Agent Scully and Agent Torrance. We're with the FBI." At this point Harris finally turned around and faced him.
"How is the Goergen investigation going?" The big prick even managed to sound condescending while appearing to look concerned. . With a tremendous effort, Logan managed to shove down the feeling of resentment that he felt towards his superior. .
"Why does the FBI have an interest in his death?" Agent Mulder turned towards Logan and handed him a manila folder. Logan opened it. The first thing that caught his eye was a photograph of a man lying in a pool of his blood with several stab wounds in the back.
"On April 10, Lyle Thurman was found stabbed to death in his bedroom in Brooklyn. There was no sign of forced entry and no evidence that someone entered the house at all... " Mulder pulled out another folder. "On April 14, Gerald Halleck was killed in a similar manner."
"You think that the three murders are somehow related?"
At this point the other male agent----Torrance--- turned to Logan. "Was Harold Goergen a member of the National Guard?"
Logan nodded. "Were Thurman and Halleck?"
"Yes, but we're not sure that it means anything. There are over forty thousand men in the New York division of the National Guard, so there's got to be more to this then three guys deciding to serve their country."
"What we were wondering was if we could possibly see the folder on this guy Goergen. See if there is anything else that connects him to these earlier murders, " said Mulder. "And Agent Scully is a forensic pathologist, so possibly she could have a look at Goergen's body."
"Does that mean that you are taking over jurisdiction on this case?" asked Harris.
This time the female agent answered. "The bureau must become involved in the event of a possible serial murder. However we would appreciate any help that you and your partner could give us."
When he was a detective, Logan hadn't had much use for federal agents. Whenever they had decided to get involved in a case, the end result was almost always got involved in a whose was bigger contest. These Feds, however, seemed somewhat different. They seemed to realize that they were in a situation that defied easy characterization. They probably would be willing to take a little help
"I should probably talk with my partner."
"That won't be necessary. Officer Yood is testifying in the Rodriguez case today."
Logan looked at his lieutenant with a certain measure of surprise. The Rodriguez case was a simple armed robbery. The police involvement had been minimal at best. Furthermore, Yood was almost as bad at testifying in court as he was with everything else involving police work. Harris was deliberately trying to get Yood out of sight for this case. And if Harris was concerned about procedure, then this must be more serious than he had thought it was.
For a moment Mike Logan began to think of things that he had not dared allow to cross his mind in three years. Maybe this was the case. Maybe these deaths would be the key that he could use to get back in to the Manhattan police. His mind warned him that these were dangerous and foolish thoughts to have go through his mind, but nevertheless he allowed himself to think them.
All this passed through Logan's mind in a matter of seconds. He gathered himself and turned to the three agents and simply asked: "All right. Where do you want to begin?"
Danny Torrance had been working on the X-Files for slightly more than two months. During that time he had been trying to detect a pattern that his partners on the unit had developed in over six years of working together. There had been a few events that he had noticed. Usually Mulder led the way in these investigation, . He would enter the office and cheerfully proclaim that a certain bizarre event had taken place. He would then illustrate with a series of slides. Then he would proclaim that he had bought three tickets to Intercourse, Pennsylvania or whatever to bit town the "paranormal activity" that had caught his attention. Scully would then try to bring Mulder down with the almost frustrating and infuriating calm that she brought to everything. . Sometimes Danny couldn't understand how Mulder could tolerate her maddening rationality in the face of all the things that they had seen in the past two months, let alone everything that she had seen in the time she and Mulder had been working together. Eventually, they would find that the case was usually closer to Mulder's perception of it then Scully's but she would usually work on the reports and see that whatever it was they had investigated whether it be zombies that killed by touch or humans that changed into mythical dogs had a rational spin on it. Danny wasn't entirely sure that he liked her approach to work but he had to admit it saved them a lot of trouble with the powers that be.
This case, however, was different. For one thing, it had been brought to their attention by A. D. Skinner. In the time that he had been working in the basement Torrance still wasn't quite sure of what to make of his new boss. Whenever he had to give him a report, Skinner didn't seem to care what paranormal events they had been investigating just as long as they filled out the paperwork properly. He always spoke guardedly as if there was some kind of line that he was walking and trying hard not to cross over. . Danny hadn't tried to read his thoughts but he got the impression that Skinner was keeping something from him and his partners. They hadn't received a plethora of details on this case, either. Skinner hadn't told them a great deal only that it was possible that someone was brutally killing people in New York and the victims had nothing in common except that they were men and they belonged to the National Guard.
"Why are you asking us to investigate this case?" With that remark, Danny had immediately drawn attention to himself. He didn't care; since he had been very young he had always believed in challenging authority.
Skinner had turned to him and fixed him with a glare. Danny had stared right back. The temperature in the basement dropped several degrees but neither man backed down. Finally Skinner blinked and said in a calm voice filled with authority "This is a serious matter, Agent Torrance. Three people have been murdered. WE believe that this department of the bureau can best come up with an explanation as to how and why this crime occurred. You will investigate and you will help us solve this crime. DO you understand?"
Danny hadn't and would have no doubt responded in the negative. However at that point Mulder had spoken up and told Skinner that they would be on the next train to New York. This had surprised him and he thought that it had surprised Scully too.
Now after hours of travel on trains and boats and cars, Danny finally had a moment to talk with Mulder alone as they walked into the Goergen house(Scully had gone to the coroners office).
"Mulder, what the hell are we doing here?" Mulder fixed him with a puppy dog look that Danny had seen him give to Scully whenever he had wanted to make mischief.
"What's wrong Torrance? Don't you like the Big Apple?"
"Don't fuck around, Mulder; it has been a lousy day. Besides doesn't it bother you that we were called out on this case?"
"Why should it bother me?" Mulder said innocently
"Because this isn't an X-File. If there was something unusual about the case I'd understand. But these are just straight forward homicides. There is nothing about them that calls for someone whose method of thinking is. . . ."
"I was going to say outside the box, but if you want to use that particular adjective that's fine. " Both men smiled before Mulder spoke to him.
"From time to time, Skinner used ask Scully and me to look into cases that don't involve any supernatural element. I don't necessarily like doing it, but the cost of doing business in the basement is that from time to time we have to look into things that don't usually correspond with our area of expertise."
"So that's why you didn't put up a fight?" Mulder nodded.
"Besides you saw how much acclaim we got from investigating the Fact Or Fiction murders. Maybe if we solve these murders we'll get a piece on the six o'clock news."
By now they had reached the bedroom door. It was surrounded by police tape. Officer Logan who had been walking discreetly behind them while they had their conversation walked ahead of them and pulled the tape back .
Whenever he, Mulder and Scully had investigated a case that required the presence of local law enforcement, most of the time they had taken an attitude with them. Policemen and federal agents had troubles getting along usually. Logan, in contrast, had been unusually helpful. It could be that he was just sucking up to his lieutenant, but Danny was able to glean from their interaction (part of it was his ability, part of it was his police instincts) that Logan didn't give a rat's ass what Harris thought. There was more to this man than met the eye, Danny was sure of that
As he walked into the bedroom, Danny suddenly began to smell oranges. A cool feeling began to fill his entire body. He knew what that sensation meant and as always he felt a bit afraid. Evidently his condition became noticeable to Officer Logan. "You gonna be all right?"
Danny hated it when people no matter how well meaning they were patronized him because of his unusual behavior. Mulder and Scully sometimes did the same thing and it bugged the hell out of him, despite the fact that sometimes he needed the help. With a great deal of effort, he managed to submerge the feeling of chills that had begun to run up and down his spine "I'll be OK."
Goergen's bedroom looked no different then the normal bedroom in any one of the houses in the state of New York--- if you could ignore the chalk outline that was painted on the ground and the now dried pool of blood that lay on the carpet.
Danny knelt to the ground to take a closer look at the ground, trying to ignore the sensation that was now filling his entire body. "Officer Logan, you were first on the scene."
"What were you impressions as to what happened." Mulder picked up the thread of the conversation.
"What do you mean, my impression. I thought that somebody turned this guy Goergen into a pincushion."
"And you didn't think that there was anything odd about it."
Logan seemed to think about it for a moment. . "Now that you mention it, I did notice something a little out of place. Goergen was stabbed in the back and the chest according to the coroner, right?" Mulder nodded; Danny struggled to keep his composure. "So that means that at one point, Goergen was facing his attacker."
"There were no signs of a struggle and no defensive wounds on the body. Now I could buy that the killer might have been able to sneak up on Goergen if this was a shooting, but. . . ."
":But considering that this was a stabbing and the number of wounds, its pretty hard to believe that Goergen wouldn't have put up some kind of a fight. " Mulder finished the sentence
At this point Danny could no longer hold back his power. He let the shine over take him.
-----He was standing in Goergen's bedroom. Everyone was exactly the same as it had been a minute ago. But Danny could see that wasn't true. The police tape was gone. The chalk outline was gone. The dried pool of blood had disappeared. The room looked as ordinary as any of a hundred other rooms in New York City.
Except that was wrong too. Danny was alone in the room---but he wasn't. He couldn't see anybody. He couldn't hear anybody. But someone or something was in the room with him. And he knew something else. Whether it was his instincts as a cop or those of someone who 'shone'. He knew that there was a presence in the room.
And it was hungry.
The door opened. The light came on. A man was walking into the room. Though he had never seen him outside of photos where he had been in a prone position, Danny knew that he was looking at Harold Goergen.
Get out, he tried to scream. Get out while you still can. Except nothing came out. Why should it? After all he wasn't actually here. For all intents and purposes, Harold Goergen was alone in the room.
Except that somehow he wasn't. And something must have caused something in Goergen's mental wiring to . There was an expression on his face. One that was equal parts suspicion and fear. "Hello?" He walked over to the closet and opened it. He found nothing there. But that did not stop whatever it was that was making his alarms go crazy. He walked from the closet over to the bedroom window. "Anybody there."
Run, Get out! You know that something is here. Get out before it comes.
Danny didn't know if he was actually talking or whether or not he was just speaking with his mind. He knew that Goergen couldn't hear him but he was helpless to stop himself.
In either case it didn't matter.
The first wound appeared in the small of the back. It was about the size of a dime. . The second wound appeared about an inch lower. Goergen let out a scream, but his mouth choked on the blood. The third and the fourth wounds appeared a second later. He was trying to say something, perhaps some plea for mercy, but it stuck in his throat. Torrance looked frantically for the killer, but nothing was there. And yet he could still feel that other presence Then the first wound struck him in the chest. At this point Goergen had dropped to his knees. The look on his face was still one of frantic disbelief. His hands lay at his side. For a horrible second he looked like he was going to going to start singing " Then he grasped at his chest. . The second and third wounds then appeared below the first one. It was then that Danny got his only glimpse of the something else that was their . The presence of a shadow standing a few feet away from Goergen. Suddenly he saw something the faint outline of a man. Danny could see the man. He was barely visible. He then fell forward and----
"Torrance? Torrance are you OK?"
Danny felt that he was coming back to himself. He noticed that Mulder and Logan were standing near him. He wondered if he had passed out, but according to his watch if he had it had only been for a few seconds. For a minute he felt like saying "I'm fine. " but Scully had the habit of saying that when she clearly was not feeling up to par.
"I'm all right."
Logan looked at him for a second. "You sure? For a moment it seemed that you were really out there. " Danny almost laughed at his appropriate phrasing, but quickly covered it as that would lend little credence to his actually being all right
"Mulder? I just had a thought."
"Really. I've actually got a theory."
"Let me guess. The reason that Harold Goergen looked as if he never saw it coming is that the killer was someone who couldn't be seen. "
The look of astonishment on Mulder's face would have given Danny a great deal more pleasure if he was in greater possession of his faculties. As it was he still took a certain amount of satisfaction. Officer Logan, on the other hand was looking at him as if he had just gone crazy. Danny wasn't disturbed by it. He had gotten used to seeing it on peoples face whenever Mulder sprang one of his theories on local law enforcement.
Mulder recovered quickly. "How did you figure that out?"
"It just came to me."
"Wait a minute. Are you telling me that Goergen was snuffed by the Invisible Man?" Logan had recovered quickly
"Not necessarily invisible, Officer Logan. There are hundreds of documented case studies of people being attacked by unseen forces. These poltergeists often appear in case where a particularly violence has been done. "
For a moment Logan didn't respond. "Unseen forces. Poltergeists."
"Or it could possibly be the work of a voodoo practitioner. Someone who works with those kinds of forces could have performed this kind of work."
Logan paused for a second taking in what Mulder had just said. "What exactly is the X-Files ?"
Danny was afraid to say anything because he believed that anything that he could tell Logan would cause him to drop in his perception. Mulder, however, could give a tinkers fart about what people thought of him, did speak.
"Agent Torrance and I investigate paranormal phenomena and supernatural activities"
Logan just looked at them for a moment. Danny could imagine what thoughts must be running through his mind. "So your telling me that we have three dead men and the bureau sends out to investigate three people who chase ghosts for a living?"
"Officer Logan, I know that how hard this may be to believe but we are very good at what we do. " Danny hated how foolish he sounded defending his position.
"I'm sure that you are. But I've seen my share of mysterious death in locked rooms before. And I'm sure that there has got to be a simpler explanation then --- poltergeists, was it?"
"Well then you tell me Officer Logan. There is no sign of forced entry; there are no fingerprints or signs of trace evidence; how do you think a killer managed to sneak into the house without even leaving a sign that he had been there?"
Before Logan could begin to form a response to the question, Mulder's phone rang. "Mulder. " He paused. Danny thought he knew who was on the other line. He could tell by the body language. "You sure?" Another pause. "OK. We'll meet you back at the station. " He hung up and turned to Danny.
Mulder nodded. "She just finished with Goergen's autopsy. No great revelations, but. . . . ."
"She said that there was something odd about the nature of the wounds."
"The wounds were shaped differently than the usual kind of puncture left by stabbing." Scully said as she showed him the photograph of the wounds. Danny could have done just as well if he had gone without seeing them. "If the killer used a knife, he didn't use one that I've seen before."
"And these stab wounds are consistent with the wounds found on Halleck and Thurman?" asked Mulder.
"Without having done an examination of the bodies, I can't say with any certainty but I would think that it's a pretty good bet."
"So the killer is able to strike without being seen and uses a brand of knife that doesn't match with any kind of knife in the book. . What kind of killer uses that kind of attack?" mused Danny
"I must admit that I'm a little perplexed by the use of stabbing. Most of these paranormal attacks involving the men being strangled or severely beaten--- like that case in Philadelphia remember?" Mulder looked at Scully. She looked blank for a moment., then her face cleared
"Yeah that woman who had an invisible protector." When Danny looked at them with a blank expression. "Old case. Before your time."
"Besides in that case the ghostly force was protecting a person, not hurting her."
"None of that answers the questions what kind of attack did this killer use?"
"Maybe the killer didn't use a knife." All three agents looked at Officer Logan in surprise. The agents had asked the police officer to help them go over the file. However, they had not spoken much to him and he had not offered anything until now. .
"What are you talking about?"
"The reason that you couldn't identify the wounds on Goergen's body might be because they are not from a knife. I've seen these kind of wounds before."
"Where?" Mulder spoke for all of them.
"Excuse me?" Danny was a little puzzled but he was beginning to see vaguely what Logan was talking about.
"In prison, men can fashion shanks out of anything. From toothbrushes to bed springs, those kind of knives are the greatest products of the penal system. They can be pretty crude but they work and that's all that matters."
"What makes you so sure that its that type of weapon that is being used?" Mulder had a look on his face that was equal parts dismay and admiration. It wasn't often that someone beat him to making a connection on any kind of case and while it must have galled him, he still wanted to see this case closed.
In answer, Logan handed them a file. "I asked them to put the crime over the wire. In addition to Goergen, Thurman and Halleck, a man in Camden, New Jersey named Oliver Brown was found dead of the same kind of wounds that killed the other three guys."
"Was Brown. . ."
"Yes. Brown moved to New Jersey earlier this year. Before that he was a member of the National Guard in New York," said Logan.
Scully looked at the file with a certain measure of perplexity in her face. "Officer Logan, do you think you know what it is that links these crimes together?"
"Think about it. Four members of the New York National Guard are found dead by weapons that resemble prison shanks. What major event happened not that long ago that would link these things together?" With that, it suddenly clicked for Danny.
"The prison riot upstate," he said
Logan looked at him with a certain measure of surprise and admiration in his face. "Exactly."
Mulder and Scully looked blank. Mulder spoke first. "I hate to say this but I don't think that I completely follow you. "
Logan looked baffled as if he didn't realize how someone could not have understood what this was all about. Danny, however, thought he understood. Outside of the work, Mulder and Scully didn't pay a lot of attention to things that took place outside of the X-Files. Danny decided to explain.
"Two years ago at the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary in Upstate New York, there was a riot in one of the units of the prison. The prisoners ceased control of the prison and they took hostages of the guards. The governor called in the National Guard to suppress the rioters and rather than negotiate with the prisoners, the governor told them to take the prison back by any means necessary."
A look of comprehension was appearing on the faces of both Mulder and Scully. Apparently they weren't absolute strangers to the events of the world outside the basement. "The Guardsmen shot up the prison?" said Mulder
"Yeah. They killed a bunch of prisoners and a few of the hostages. " said Logan. "There was a lot of controversy about whether or not it was necessary to use such excessive force."
"I remember. Wasn't there a commission established to see whether the governor had been justified in using extreme methods to bring the riot to a conclusion?" said Scully.
"That's right," said Danny. "And that commission found that no one was responsible for the riot. There was a lot of controversy about the committee's reaching that conclusion. A lot of people in high places were pissed off."
"Maybe people in low places were upset too," said Scully.
"What are you thinking?" asked Mulder.
"Maybe a prisoner who was unhappy got released and went back into the general population pissed at how the system screwed him. Maybe he finds out the names of some of the people who went into the prison and decides to take revenge on those who were involved. A good prisoner might be able to break into their houses without leaving any sign. And he might have killed those men like that in order to send some kind of message"
Mulder had a strange look on his face. Danny thought that it was one of dissatisfaction. "How would a criminal in a maximum security prisoner find out the names of those men who were in the National Guard at that time?"
"All he'd need was a computer, Mulder. " Logan had a look on his face that said that he had found a way to crack open the case.
Danny wasn't too sure. He knew what he had seen in his vision. An invisible force had killed Harold Goergen and most likely killed the other three men. Could the crimes somehow be linked to the events at Oswald? He thought that they were. But there was something supernatural about what had happened. He just wasn't sure what. But he couldn't explain that without revealing his secrets. If it were just Mulder and Scully involved, he might have done so anyway, but with this other cop around he wasn't entirely comfortable revealing this to him as well.
All he said was: "I think that Logan might be on the right track with his theory. I think we should look very closely into what happened at this prison. Let's call them up and see if we can find out if there is any prisoner released who might be capable of this."
9:11 P. M.
As Mike Logan dabbed at the last piece of chicken lo mein, he thought again that this was the first time in a long time that he had felt like being a cop. He thought that nearly four years of being a glorified patrolman in what was considered the dead zone of New York had killed all the urges that he had towards police work in general.
But it turned out that the instinct of a detective that he had involuntarily let lie dormant for so long were actually still present and ready to go
Take this afternoon. He hadn't really done any leg work. He had just done background checks on the names of fifteen prisoners that had been released from the Oswald Prison in the past month. Some had been hard at legitimate work trying to keep their parole boards convinced that they were capable of earning a decent living. Others had found real life so dull that they had decided to return to a life of crime. All, however, had alibis for last night and none had been within striking distance of New Jersey where Oliver Brown had met his end.
Mulder and Scully had done some background checks on the four murdered men. Though information on the riot was sketchy, they had learned that all four had been among the first ones to enter the unit after the riot had broken out. This did not distinguish them; according to the files almost one hundred troopers had gone into Oz. Information was scarce on where exactly Goergen, Thurman, Halleck and Brown had been when the shooting finished.
None of this had proven anything on the murders. But just the feeling of doing real police work again had made him feel more alive then he had in God knows how long.
He had reached the decision that he liked the federal agents that he was working with. Mulder still seemed a little out there and he didn't know if he could completely trust a man who thought the way that he did. Torrance, on the other hand, seemed to be a warm and genuine companionable person. He had treated Logan like an equal and he appreciated that. As for Scully, --- well he thought that he was developing something of a crush on here. It had been a long time since he had met a woman who was a real deep thinker and who attracted him in anyway. He had wanted to ask her if she wanted to get a cup of coffee or something, but he figured that it would be inappropriate at this point in the investigation. So he had asked Agent Torrance if the three of them would be willing to get some dinner in order for them to review what they had learned so far in the probe. So they had ordered from the one decent Chinese restaurant in Staten Island and had gotten to it.
"All the criminals on the list that I got from Oz had an alibi for last night," said Torrance.
Scully looked at him. "You're calling it that too?"
"What do you mean?"
"Everybody that I talked to calls the prison Oz."
"So what's wrong with that?" Mulder added. "You know what they call the unit where the riot took place?" When Scully silently indicated that she did not know, he went on: "Emerald City."
"Those prison officials have a screwed-up sense of humor," said Logan. "Did you get anywhere talking to this guy Case?" Alvah Case had been the head of the commission that had led the inquiry after the riot.
Mulder nodded. "Managed to speak with for about ten minutes. He didn't say much that wasn't in the report. He did say one thing that interested me though."
"What was that?"
"He said that no one person was responsible for the riot, but if he was asked to evaluate blame that the Governor was as responsible for the riot as anyone in Oz."
"Well, Mulder, I don't think that Alvah Case is an individual who has a lot of love for James Devlin. I mean he's expected to run against him in next year's election."
"Getting political on me, Scully?"
Scully fixed him with a stare. Logan had seen her pull that trick on Mulder a few times. It usually meant that she was slightly irritated and mildly amused.
"Hey Case may be a politician but his word should count for something. The man has a reputation for integrity," Logan said.
Mulder turned to him. "You don't think that much of the Governor, do you?"
"The guys a grubby little worm. He's been involved in scandals since he got into office. Financial problems, questions about his integrity, his wife has left. He keeps focusing his attention on crime in order to distract people from what's happening up at the office."
"I guess that was both barrels," said Torrance with a touch of admiration.
Logan shrugged his shoulders. "We're getting off the topic. Did you get anywhere trailing the list of criminals that you got?"
Torrance shook his head. "If a criminal has been committing these murders, he hasn't been one of those released. Besides none of the fine outstanding citizens that the people at Oz have let out have ever been involved in really violent crimes."
"That doesn't mean that they couldn't have graduated to murder."
"Two of them did. They are currently on trial for violent felonies. " Torrance paused. "Besides, I think that we might be on the wrong track looking for a fugitive from Oz is somehow responsible for these deaths."
"You're not going to go back on this invisible force kick, are you?"
"I just think that we should keep our minds open and not rule out anything until we can prove or disprove it," said Agent Torrance. Mulder nodded his head in agreement. Logan looked at Scully very carefully. She hesitated for a long moment before responding
"I think that we have carried this investigation as far as we can by logical means. We may have to consider some---" she paused "extreme possibilities if we want to solve this case."
"I agree," said Mulder. "I believe we have to carry this investigation to the next level if we are going to solve it."
"And what is the next level?" said Logan, though he thought that he knew.
"About an hour ago I spoke to Leo Glynn, the warden at Oswald."
"What did you tell him?" said Torrance curiously.
"That we suspected that some element from his prison may be responsible for a series of deaths. " He paused noticing the looks that he was getting from both his partners. "No I didn't mention invisible forces attacking people, if that's what you wanted to know. I'm saving that little tidbit for when we see him tomorrow."
"He agreed to let us investigate?"
"He wasn't what I would call thrilled about it, but he said that he and his entire staff would we willing to aid us in our inquiry. He's expecting to see us tomorrow at 3:00. "
Logan took in this news with a certain amount of equilibrium. He knew that eventually he was going to be left behind on this investigation and had tried to prepare himself for it but it still stung. It therefore came as something of a surprise to him when Torrance turned to him.
"Would you like to come with us, Officer Logan?" He wasn't alone in his shock. Mulder and Scully both turned and faced him as if he had lost his mind. Torrance ignored them and continued. "This is your case as much as is it ours. We probably wouldn't have been able to connect these murders to Oz if you hadn't helped us. Besides, we're going to need all the help that we can get investigating up there."
If Logan had been more dictated by his emotions, he would have impulsively embraced Torrance. However, he was calmly able to say: "I'll have to clear it with my lieutenant first."
"Go ahead. We'll have to clear it with our boss, but I don't imagine that it will be that big a deal."
Logan got up and walked towards the office of his lieutenant. That feeling of excitement was back with a burst. He practically felt like he was floating.
"You had no right to do that," Mulder told Danny as soon as Logan left the room.
"What do you mean I had no right? I know the way that you operate, Mulder. You would have just left him behind without a word of information about the case. He carries a badge, and what's more without him we'd still be spinning our wheels on this."
"That's not the point," said Mulder still indignant.
"Then just what is the point?" Danny knew that he had Mulder when he had to hesitate in order before coming up with a response.
"The point is that you are a junior agent on the X-Files. A decision involving personnel should have been cleared with us first. " Mulder was reaching and he knew it. Scully fixed him with one of her looks.
"Well then I'm sorry for going over your head. But the fact is that Oswald is the biggest prison in the state. The three of us could be up there for days before we find whoever is responsible. And you know how reluctant the brass is to give us extra help on the X-Files. We are going to need all the assistance that we can get. "
Scully then took advantage of Mulder's pause to add. "He's right. We owe Logan more than a phone call when all this plays out."
"You're not gonna get into a pissing contest with me over this?" Danny said with a smile. Finally Mulder smiled back.
"All right. But you have to clear it with Skinner and that guys lieutenant."
Danny smiled as he took out his cell phone.
"Relax this case is just starting to become interesting."
OSWALD STATE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
"Leo, I can't believe that you went along with this shit!"
The large black man sitting at the head of the table resisted the temptation to sigh. His job as the warden of the largest prison facility made his life difficult under normal circumstances. That would be OK except there never seemed to be any indication that normal circumstances were ever going to exist at Oz. He always seemed to be involved in one crisis after another. If it wasn't the Aryans up in arms against the Muslims, it would be the Italians against the Gangstas, or the Hispanics against the Italians, or it Irish against the Christians, or anyone of a hundred different permutations that all led to the same end product: Trouble. And when trouble came to Oz, the end results were usually violence and death.
Leo Glynn didn't want to complain. Compared to the series of violent actions that had ultimately climaxed in the riot two years ago, things at Oz had been relatively peaceful. True, Oz still did a big trade in narcotics, or tits as the inmates called it and occasionally the Muslims and the Aryans would make eyeballs at each other in the cafeteria, but otherwise things were relatively calm. But he didn't fool himself into thinking that everything was hunky-dory. He knew that Oz was a powder keg of violence, just waiting for someone to throw a match into it.
These feds, for example. Leo knew that there was a big potential for nastiness if the crimes that Agent Mulder had described to him did have any relationship to someone behind the walls of Oz. Perhaps he should have talked with Governor Devlin before letting the FBI getting involved in the matter. But in the end he had decided to let them investigate, in part because he had decided after the riot not to let any possibility of violence have the slightest chance of escalating .
"Tim, I know that you aren't thrilled with having the feds investigate. But I would think that you would want to make sure that nothing untoward is going on in Em City."
"Untoward? Are those your words or theirs?"
This time Leo did sigh. He had been working with Tim McManus at Emerald City for about three years. At first their relationship had been amicable if not entirely friendly, but he had thought that it had improved when he had pushed hard to have Em City reopened after the Governor had fought so hard to keep it closed down. Evidently Glynn still had to prove something to him.
"I finally think that I might be close to restoring some kind of order and these Feds could fuck the whole thing up. Besides, you know that the Governor is looking for any excuse that he can find in order to shut Em City down" Leo was about to respond when another voice piped up."
"I think that Tim is right, " Diane Wittlesey, the head security officer of Em City. "The situation is fragile at best. You remember what happened last time the Feds were here. They turned a bad situation into a worse one. We don't need any more trouble."
Leo was a little surprised that Wittlesey was taking Tim's side. But then he had long since given up trying to understand the relationship that the two of them had. He wondered idly if the two had started sleeping together again. It would explain why Tim had asked to have her reassigned back to Em City after asking her to leave three months earlier. He closed his mind off to that possibility--- at least for now.
"Look, I know that nobody is thrilled that the Feds are coming here. But if we just let them ask there questions quickly and neatly, we can get rid of them faster. Could we move on?"
McManus looked stubborn for a moment. Then he looked across the table at Wittlesey. They seemed to do more then just exchange glances. There seemed to be an entire conversation hidden behind it. Leo knew that he could fathom it if he wanted too, but he knew that there were some lines that you should not cross.
"All right. But they meet with the staff and they get our per mission before they talk to any of the prisoners."
"And you have to tell the prisoners that they're coming."
"Fine. " He sighed silently. A headache was forming behind his eyes. It was a sensation that he was familiar with since coming to work here. This was going to be a great day.
"So why did you insist on separate cars, Agent Torrance?"
Danny turned around and faced Officer Logan in surprise. He had been quiet first on the ferry ride back to Manhattan and then on the drive upstate (It was more than an hour and a half ride up to Oswald from Manhattan) At first he had asked him a few questions about the case, but then he had fallen silent. He wasn't entirely sure why he had requisitioned a second car; Skinner would probably mad as hell to see that he had added another expense to their report. All he had known was that he had thought that it might be best for everyone if Mulder and Scully rode up to Oz in one car and he rode up with Officer Logan
"My partners have a complicated thought process. For some reason it generally works better if the two of them are just able to sit together for an extended period of time. I thought that it might be better for the case if they were allowed to work together."
All Logan said to that was: "I see" They drove in silence for about a minute before Logan spoke up again. "You know, smoking's a real bad habit."
Danny looked down at his hand in surprise. He wasn't quite sure how the cigarette had gotten there. Oh, he had known that there was a pack of Marlboros in his jacket pocket, but he had not intended to actually smoke them. He was going to quit this time. Really.
"I'm sorry is it bothering you, Officer?"
"No actually. I was going to ask you for one."
"Oh, sure. " He reached for the pack and handed one to him. Logan only took his eyes off the road ahead of them for a moment as he took and lit the cigarette.
"So these X-Files, how long have they been open?"
Danny thought for a moment. "They have been open on and off for about six years, I think."
"SO you're telling me that you and Mulder and Scully have been running around across country chasing ghosts and little green men for six years?" said Logan incredulously.
"Little gray men. I once made a joke about it; they told me that the aliens they investigate are gray."
Logan looked at him for a moment. "You're kidding."
"Well, I haven't seen any aliens so I couldn't tell you what color they were."
"You've been working for six years and you haven't seen an alien?"
"Well, I've only been working there for two months. Mulder and Scully have seen a lot more than I have."
"And the government really pays you to chase after these---paranormal events."
"Look, I know that are methods may seem odd to you, but I can assure you that I have already seen some strange things in the short while that I've worked there."
"So do you really think that it's possible for a ghost or something to have killed four people?"
Danny shook his head. "I can tell you with all honesty that I really don't know what the fuck happened to them, but I think that your theory that it has something to do with the riot up at Oswald. I just don't know what."
"Well, I'm sure that the supernatural must be fascinating work, but I'll take a good old fashioned homicide over one of these mystical events."
Danny smiled at him strangely. "I say something funny?"
"No, its just that you seem unnaturally enthusiastic to get called on for a typical homicide."
Logan suddenly seemed to shrink a little. "Well, its just that I don't get to see all that many murders out -- where I work."
"How long have you worked at Staten Island?"
"You've only been a policeman for that long?"
"No, I've been in the NYPD for almost thirteen years. " Suddenly Danny made a connection in his head about Logan.
"Who did you piss off to get stuck on this detail?"
"It's a long story and we're almost to Oz. " They weren't but Danny thought that it would be unwise to press Logan on how he got here.
"OK, I'll make you a deal . Once we solve this case, I'll buy you a drink and I'll tell you all about the X-Files if you tell me how you got stuck walking a beat in Staten Island."
Logan only paused for a moment. 'That's a deal."
They rode in a comfortable silence for about a minute. "That's odd." said Logan suddenly.
"The prison was called the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary."
"Take a look at that sign."
Danny looked out the window. There was a sign for Oswald up ahead. Only this sign read: "Oswald State Correctional Facility: Level Four." For some reason, this struck Danny with an ominous shiver.
"I guess that this is political correctness gone amok," said Logan
Logan looked at the pensive agent. "What do you think about it?"
"Maybe it's truth in advertising"
"Maybe by getting rid of the word penitentiary there implying that. . . . That nobody's penitent. Nobody's sorry."
Logan thought it over. "You sure think a lot of deep thoughts, Agent Torrance."
"Danny. . " he said without really thinking. For some reason the sign troubled him He thought that it was a bad omen. END OF PART ONE
3:15 P. M.
Fox Mulder had honestly had no idea what he had been getting into when he had agreed to help Skinner with the series of murders that had involved the National Guard. He wasn't even entirely sure why the A. D. Had been so insistent that they investigate these deaths. Normally he would have just written up a profile based on the little information that they had. But after the third homicide, he had decided that things had reached a point where an investigation was warranted
Since then things had been going downhill. First there was the presence of Officer Logan. Mulder understood the need to work with local law enforcement, but that didn't mean that he had to like it. At first he had thought that Logan would be another colorless addition to the countless number of policemen who had been involved in the X-Files. He had not been happy when Logan had made the deductive leap that had led them to Oz He assumed part of it was a petty jealousy ---- he was supposed to be the top notch profiler, but part of him thought that Logan would somehow use the case to boost his own standing in the precinct. It hadn't helped that Agent Torrance had taken to Logan so quickly.
He hadn't been exactly thrilled to learn the that they were involving themselves in another investigation which had a great deal of possibility for controversy. The prison riot and the subsequent inquiry had created a huge amount of political controversy. The idea that he might be working to aid the governor in some perverse way did not appeal to him.
All in all, he had come to Oz with something of a chip on his shoulder. He tried to restrain it as the attractive blond woman--- apparently Glynn's secretary---- told them that the Warden would see them in a moment.
"What do you intend to tell Glynn ?" Ever since Torrance had joined the X-Files had been persistent in insisting that they be as honest as possible in informing authorities about the exact nature of their work despite the possibility that it might lead to utter humiliation.
"The truth as we know it. "
Scully apparently didn't like that. She was about to say something to that effect to Mulder when the secretary interrupted. "The warden will see you now."
Mulder turned to Scully and the four of them walked into the office. There they were somewhat surprised to be greeted by not one but two men. The one behind the desk was a medium sized black man with dark hair and a mustache. The other one was standing, a medium sized man with a balding forehead and a short cropped beard. He did not seem particularly happy to be there.
"Agent Mulder. We talked on the phone. " He offered his hand to Mulder and shook it. Mulder noted that Glynn had a strong grip. "This is Tim McManus the unit manager of Emerald City"
"These are my partners Dana Scully and Daniel Torrance. " he said. And this is Officer Mike Logan of the Staten Island Police Department ."
"Pleas have a seat. " Scully and Torrance did; Mulder and Logan for some reason did not.
"You told me want you were looking into when we spoke but I was hoping that you could possibly go into greater detail. " Mulder nodded and took out the files.
"Over the past two weeks four men were brutally murdered . They were all brutally stabbed with a weapon that has been identified as resembling a prison shank. All four men were at one point members of the New York National Guard. More specifically all four went into Emerald City to suppress the riot two years."
Glynn looked at the photographs of Goergen and Halleck without so much as flinching. Mulder wasn't surprised. The warden must have frequently been a witness to such brutal crimes frequently "And you believe that someone in Oz is responsible for these deaths?"
"That is the assumption that we are making," said Scully.
McManus spoke for the first time. "Why?" The tone seemed to be neutral but Mulder could sense the hostility that was lurking just below the surface.
"Well is there anything that you have found in your investigation to link these murders to anybody in Oz?"
Because Mulder was such an expert at moderating his emotions he did not appear to be at all disturbed by McManus' question. Inwardly however, he was beginning to squirm. He could tell that McManus didn't care for him and it wasn't going to improve his mood when he told him exactly what he expected had happened to these men. He plunged ahead.
"We do not have any physical evidence linking these murders to anyone in this prison. " Mulder started slowly "But it is our belief that someone in this prison has decided to take revenge upon the people."
"You think a former inmate might somehow be taking revenge."
Mulder shook his head. At first we thought that it might have been a possibility. But we ran down all the inmates who have been released in the past year and they all have airtight alibis."
"So you think that someone in Oz is somehow ordering the murders."
Mulder nodded. Here came the hard part. "Or possibly committing the murders themselves."
For the first time Glynn and McManus exchanged a look. Mulder knew that look. Knew it all to well. It was the expression of two people considering the possibility that the person they have been talking to might well have taken leave of his senses.
"Would you mind explaining that again?" said Glynn "Yeah, Mulder, explain. " That prick Logan wasn't helping. At this point Torrance decided to lend a hand.
"There are several inconsistencies with the deaths of these men. There is no noticeable point of entry. There are no signs of a struggle, no defensive wounds. We believe that somehow the killer or killers is using certain methods to murder these men."
McManus nodded. "And what methods are these?"
"It is possible" said Mulder slowly. "that the killer is capable of transporting himself from Oz to the site of these murders."
"I see. And how exactly did they do this? They beamed themselves there like Doctor Fucking Spock?"
"Tim, there's no need for that. . . ."
"I'm sorry Leo, but this is bullshit. Look. " he said turning towards them. "The people in Oz are bad men . I know it. That's why they're in here. In here. If they could get out don't you think that they would teleport the fuck out?"
"Tim. " Glynn's voice contained a certain level of warning. "I must say that I'm inclined to agree with Tim. I think we'd know if a prisoner heard started teleporting out of his cell. We do keep a pretty close eye on them."
Mulder slumped inwardly. He had lost them. He had known that it was risky explaining his theories to unbelievers (which he had to admit included most of people) He didn't know how he was going to recover from this blow. Then Scully saved him again.
"Warden Glynn, I know that this may seem odd to you. But my partners and myself have investigated several cases in which the criminal was able to either disappear from enclosed areas. '
"You're not being serious are you?" said McManus still incredulous.
"I believe that it is far more likely that a prisoner in Oz is somehow passing on messages to someone on the outside. Do you think that it is possible?"
Glynn looked at her, then nodded. "It's possible. We try to monitor all calls that are made outside the prison, but we can't keep track of them all."
Torrance spoke up. "I think that whether the methods of death are supernaturally based or more grounded in reality that we need to carefully investigate the prisoners in Oz."
"You are welcome to do that. But Oz is the largest correctional facility in the state. Do you really intend to investigate every prisoner here?"
Mulder spoke up attempting to recover his role as leader. "I think that we should limit it to prisoner who were in Emerald City at the time of the riot. As well as any new prisoners who have entered Em city who may have known someone from the riot. That should cut down the number fairly drastically."
"We're also going to need to interview your staff in order to get a background on the prisoners. "
"I've already spoken to them. They'll give you all the help that you need," said Glynn.
"Yeah, I'll get you the files," said McManus.
"Tim, I can have Gwen. . ."
"No, Leo. " McManus walked to the door. "I feel like taking a walk. " He left the room.
"I'm sorry about. . ."
"It's OK. I'd feel a little territorial too," said Torrance.
'Is there anything else that I can help you with?"
"Yeah. " Logan spoke up for the first time. "When the riot broke out two years ago, who were the major leaders of it?"
"Any particular reason you want that information?"
"If a prisoner at Oz really is responsible, It's more likely that one of them could inspire enough loyalty to convince another prisoner to kill for them."
Glynn thought for a moment. "Well there were five men who actually were considered the leaders of the riot. . Kareem Said was the main leader. . ."
"You mean the author and black leader?" spoke up Torrance. Glynn nodded and continued.
"Then there was Scott Ross, Simon Adebisi, Miguel Alvarez and Ryan O'Reilly. Those were the main five."
"Did you say Ryan O' Reilly?" said Logan. Mulder looked towards him. The policeman had paled slightly.
"Nothing," said Logan quickly. "Are these men still in Em City?"
"Said and O'Reilly are."
"What about the others?"
"Ross was killed during the riot. Alvarez has been transferred to solitary for attacking a CO. Adebisi is in the psychiatric ward. He had some kind of mental breakdown six months ago"
"That makes it less likely that one of them gave the order. Still we should probably talk to both of them," said Mulder
"Are you going to want to speak to them now?"
"I think that it would be best if we spoke to your staff first. " said Logan. Mulder looked at him sharply but he went on anyway. "Could you give us. . ."
"I had my secretary make a couple of lists before you came here."
"Thanks for your help."
As they walked out of the wardens office, Mulder turned to Logan. "What gives you the right to tell us how to run our investigation?"
"Yeah, I wouldn't want to do that, seeing as you're doing such a bang up job. I'm amazed that Glynn didn't run us out of his office right then and there."
"Even so, we are in charge. You're just coming along for the ride, Officer Logan."
Scully made a move to separate them, but Torrance got there first. "Listen if you two want to step outside and settle this, go ahead . WE don't have time to get into a contest to see whose is bigger. "Mulder and Logan glared at each other for a long moment. Finally Logan broke the tension by looking away. He said nothing to Mulder
Torrance then turned to Mulder. "How do you want to handle this?" For a long moment Mulder also said nothing. At least he turned to Scully. "Give me the list. " Scully handed it to him without speaking. There was another long pause while Mulder studied the list. .
"I think I'll start by interviewing Peter Marie Remondo, the prison psychologist. Maybe she can give me some insight as to who among the prisoners might hold some kind of grudge against the staff. " He handed the list to Scully. She looked at the list.
"Scully, why don't you interview Gloria Nathan, the prison doctor?" She looked up at Mulder in surprise.
"Any particular reason you want me to talk to her?"
"See if you can find out if any prisoners have been exhibiting any strange medical conditions recently."
"What exactly am I looking for ?" Mulder favored her with one of his mysterious smiles.
"I think that you'll know it when you see it. "
Torrance took the list from her and handed it to Logan. After a moment, he handed it back to him.
"I think that I'll talk to the people in charge of Emerald City:McManus and Diane Wittlesey?"
"Any particular reason?"
"Yeah, I think that you guys ruffled him with that science fiction talk. I think they will be more willing to talk to someone like me."
"You mean somebody who isn't certifiable?' Mulder couldn't resist. Before Logan could respond to that, Torrance interrupted them. "I'll talk to the chaplain, Father Mukada. According to the commission he was in Em City when the riot went down. Maybe he has an understanding as to what happened and who might have a desire for vengeance."
Mulder looked at his watch. "It's 3:45. Lets meet back at the front gate around six. By then they'll probably have assembled a list of the prisoners together then. That all right with you, Logan?"
Logan nodded. "That will be fine."
As they separated, Mulder wondered for a second just what it was about the prisoners that had unsettled Logan so. He hoped that it was nothing serious. Mulder had always had this image in his head of what nuns should look like. Not being a Catholic he had always based his images on television. This led to his belief that all nuns should resemble a cross between Julie Andrews in The Sound Of Music and Sally Field in The Flying Nun. ---cheerful and upbeat. Since he knew that they weren't anything like that, he figured that most of them were like the Mother Superior, looking old, stiff and cheerless.
None of these cliched images could have prepared him for Sister Peter Marie Remondo. About all that she had in common with those nuns was that she was old--- in her mid-sixties according to Mulder's best guess. She did not seem old, however. Her hair was mostly salt-and-pepper, her eyes were vibrant and alive, and her face appeared cheerful. Nor did she wear the black and white habit that Mulder associated with most nuns. Instead she wore a pantsuit with a grey sweater. The only indication that she was a nun at all was the large crucifix that was on the wall of her office. Cheerfully she welcomed Mulder into her office.
"So you're the FBI agent that was raising such a fuss. " Mulder found himself wanting to blush.
"Well, I do tend to cause something of a cirrus when I get called in on a case. " he said cheerfully shaking her hand
"I'm willing to whatever I can to help the authorities. " she said with a smile.
"Then we shouldn't have a problem," said Mulder.
The smile faded. "Well we might have one at that. " Suddenly Mulder had one of those flashes of insight that had made him such a great profiler. She wasn't just going to bend over and help Mulder find out exactly what she wanted to know. She had convictions towards justice but she also sternly believed in helping these prisoners. She wasn't going to give him any more help than she would give on her own terms.
"I am willing to help you but I'm not going to violate my patient-doctor privilege. Nor am I going to reveal any kind of information that prisoners may have confided in me as my capacity as a nun."
She relented. "You can call me Pete."
"OK but that's going to sound even odder. " he said with the trace of a smile. "I'm a psychologist, too. I know the rules of doctor patient confidentiality. And I know that they don't apply when you learn that your patient has revealed that he is going to hurt somebody"
"I'm aware of that. And if somebody said that they were planning to kill those men, I would have told Warden Glynn right away."
"OK, have any prisoners expressed hostility about the events that happened in the riot?"
Sister Pete thought for a moment "You have to understand. I believe that the riot broke out in Emerald City because there was too much emotion running around unchecked. When you take away mens freedoms one after the other---the hostility just gets greater and greater until eventually it explodes."
"So you think that the riot was just a natural progression?"
"You're misunderstanding me. There is no excuse for violence. But these men were violent on the outside. I do my best to try and rehabilitate and reform them . When I try to help them, I try to convince them to let go of their anger. And that's not easy for me who have spent their entire lives with this kind of tension built up inside them."
"Sister Pete. . ."
"I'm trying to answer your question. After the riot I held psychiatric meetings with both inmates and staff, trying to convince them to let go of the hatred that they had. It was not very easy. The inmates were -- and still angry because they had they had finally inspired feelings of fear and respect. The CO's were angry because they had lost their ability to command respect. The situation was very bad. I'd like to think it has improved over the past year, but. . . " She shook her head. "They say that time heals all wounds, Agent Mulder. They lie. It only works on some of them. With the rest of them the wounds fester and inflame until they drive men to violent action."
"Do you think that a prisoner might have been capable of plotting events of this magnitude?"
Sister Pete paused. "In those interaction sessions that I talked to you about, I don't believe that these inmates would be capable of these murders. Some of them want revenge, but most of them just would focus anger on CO's. If certain guards were being murdered I'd believe that a prisoner was behind it without question. But to execute this kind of long distance planning on complete strangers, I don't know of any one whose capable of that."
Mulder sighed. "What about the leaders of the riot? Are they capable of such things."
"You mean men like Kareem Said."
Mulder nodded. "I've read his books. He seems like a man capable of inciting people to violence."
"I know Said pretty well. He believes that the system of justice is flawed and perverted. He might be capable of inciting a prisoner to violent action."
"But you don't think so."
"Said went through some kind of change after the riot. He now seems determined to use the law to show that he is right and the world is wrong."
"You believe that he wouldn't incite any kind of violence?"
Sister Pete shook her head again. "No. The man has come through some sort of change. Last year, he refused to take a pardon from Governor Devlin because he considered the man corrupt."
" All right what about the other leaders?"
"Well, Alvarez is in solitary and even before then he went through a falling out with the Hispanics. I don't think he has much influence on anybody . Simon went through some kind of breakdown after someone that he befriended died. He lost a lot of power there. As for Ryan O'Reilly, his brother got sent to Oz earlier this year and he has spent most of his time taking care of him."
" What about Scott Ross?"
"He's dead, Agent Mulder. '
"I know that. Was there anyone who knew Scott Ross? Someone who might care about his death?"
Sister Pete hesitated. "He was friendly with the Aryans and the bikers so maybe one of them might have been angry enough."
"But you don't think so?"
"The Aryans have a code, Agent Mulder. They only kill someone who offends that code. Beside they no better than to attack ---someone outside of Oz. "
Sister Pete was hesitating. She knew something about Ross' death that she wasn't telling
"I'd like to have a look at the files of some of the Aryans and the Bikers."
For a moment, Sister Pete looked like she was going to refuse him. Then she thought better and went to her filing cabinet. Mulder thought that he might have stumbled on to something.
Scully had not liked that she had to come to Oz. She had not been happy when early in her career in the X-Files, she had to enter the prison where Luther Lee Boggs had been about to go to gas chamber. Part of it had been a feeling of unsettledness that she had felt with the death of her father and Boggs apparent ability to communicate with the dead. Ever since then she had intensely disliked being in prisons. Since she had realized that this was not a constructive attitude to take if she wanted to hold on to a position in the criminal justice system, she had managed to adopt an attitude of neutrality whenever she had been forced to come in one.
She was therefore somewhat surprise to find how comfortable that she was in the infirmary of Oz. Part of it was being in an area which was under direct medical supervision. Seeing doctors and nurses at work was an immense comfort to her. She could almost forget that there were armed guards standing not that far away.
A tall Latino woman with black hair approached her. "May I help you?"
"Dr. Gloria Nathan?" The woman nodded. "I'm Special Agent Dana Scully. I was hoping that we could have a few minutes to talk"
Dr. Nathan made a motion towards the hospital beds. "I'm fairly busy at the moment."
"Well perhaps I could help. I'm a doctor" Scully didn't know why she had volunteered that particular information. For some reason she wasn't particularly eager to help these men on the road to recovery.
Dr. Nathan looked at her for a second and seemed to reach some decision in her head. "If you'd be willing to talk while I do my work. . ."
"Of course. " Dr. Nathan walked towards the hospital bed. "Why are you here?"
Now came the hard part. . How do you tell a relative stranger the weird theories of your partner and still maintain her respect. For nearly six years she had been negotiate this choppy terrain, but it was never easy. Best to just plunge ahead.
"You know that we are investigating a series of murders."
"And you think that someone from Oz is somehow involved. " finished Dr. Nathan. She gave a sigh which contained the presence of something that Scully couldn't quite understand. "Look, I know all too well how dangerous the people in this prison can be. If you came to ask me how capable these prisoners are of those murders, I'd say that they all have the capability. Other than that I don't know what help I can be to you. " She walked towards a man who was lying in a bed with casts around his arms and legs. Her mood changed and she became a little gentler. "Tobias, its time for your medication. " The man stirred and opened his mouth. Gently, Dr. Nathan counted out some pills and poured him a glass of water. Very carefully she put them inside his mouth.
Scully watched with a certain amount of compassion. When Dr. Nathan looked up, she asked: "What happened to him?"
"Six months ago, some sick fuck took him into the rec room and broke his arms and legs. " she responded.
"Do you have any idea who did this to him?"
"He claims that he has forgotten who did this to him."
"Do you believe him?"
Dr. Nathan shook her head. "No one ever tells on anybody. Goddamn code of silence."
Scully took the opportunity. "Over the past few weeks have any prisoners come in with some illnesses that you couldn't classify?
The doctor thought for a moment "Now that you mention it, a few days a go a prisoner was found unconscious in his cell. When they brought him her they ran a few tests including a CAT scan and an EEG and they found that the was experiencing heightened brain wave activity. But we couldn't find any explanation as to why this happened.
"Who was this prisoner?"
Dr. Nathan looked over the charts. "George Novak. No previous record of any unusual brain activity.
"May I see his chart?" The doctor hesitated then handed it to her. "Have there been any similar cases?"
"Well, if you wAnt to you can look at some of the old charts. But there are quite a few of them. ."
Scully favored her with a smile. "Well, I've got some time."
CHAPLAINS OFFICE 4:35 P. M.
One of the benefits of Danny's "gift' was that it enabled him to see beneath the veneers of politeness that people put up and allowed him to get an insight as to whether people were essentially good or essentially bad. He had gotten a good read of Officer Logan and that had led to his sudden liking to him.
He had not gotten any kind of read of Father Ray Mukada, the prison chaplain., but he thought that he liked him, in part because he was not the picture of the typical priest. Part of it was that he was young (Danny thought that he was in his late thirties), partly that he was Oriental and partly because when he entered his office he found that the priest was smoking a cigarette. Unlike Mulder and Scully who seemed to have a great measure of disgust towards people who smoked, Danny found that he trusted people who smoked---it made them seem more human.
To try and relax the priest he took out his pack and asked him for a light. Mukada seemed to relax a little bit and some of the tension went out of the room.
"What shall I call you? Father Mukada? Father Ray? Do you have a preference?"
"Just Ray will do. Have a seat, Agent Torrance."
"Thank you and its Danny. '
"OK Danny. " He sat down.
"The warden said that you have some questions to ask about these murders. I'm more then willing to help you but I'm not sure what assistance I can provide you with."
"Well, I would imagine as a spiritual leader of sort, you would be proxy to certain information."
Mukada smiled. It was not a very content one.
"Did I say something funny?"
"Yeah. Only I'm the joke. When you called me a spiritual leader, that was the first time that anyone hear at Oz has referred to me as one. Kareem Said he's more of a spiritual leader than I am"
"I don't know that much about Said, but from what I can gather from the reports on him, the man gets his power from militant behavior and attacking the establishment."
"Maybe, but he seems to have a better relationship with the Muslims than I have with the Catholics. They seem willing to trust him while most of the inmates here think that I'm nothing but a hack in black."
"It can't be that bad. " For the first time Danny's mind wasn't entirely on the case. For some reason it seemed important that he reassure this man that he did matter.
Mukada looked at Danny as if he was remembering something painful. "I was in Em City when the riot broke out. I watched as a man that I thought I had a relationship with let me get beat up and then became the head of the riots forces. That's how much power I have. " He sighed for a moment and then went on. "Anyway, you didn't come here listen to my problems. What is it that you want to know?"
Danny remembered what was going and spoke. "I know that its difficult given your relationship with the prisoners, but can you tell me whether or not you think that any of the prisoners might still be feeling anger about the riots."
Mukada thought for a moment. "With the prisoners in Oz people can only deal with things in the here and now. They are so concerned with the short view they don't care about things that happen in the past."
"SO you think that the prisoners are over the riot?"
"Just because they care about the present doesn't mean that they for get the past. Prisoners have a long memory, Agent Torrance. And in Oz, grudges can be held for a very long time."
"Do you know of any inmate who might he capable of holding a grudge like that?
Mukada thought again. "After the riot, there were a few prisoners who came to me saying that they felt upset at the way that the riot was handled He said something like somehow they will pay for this."
"Did you tell the warden about this?": asked Danny.
"I'm trying to get rid of the reputation that I'm just a hack in black. I keep certain confidences."
"Can you tell me which prisoner mentioned it?" Mukada hesitated. "It would be a big help.
"The only man I know who held a grudge who spoke about it to me was a biker named George Novak."
"Was he in Em City during the riot?"
"No, he only came to Oz a year ago."
"Then why was he so upset."
"His brother was in Em City. Apparently he was one of the first prisoners killed when the soldiers came in."
From the office of Tim McManus, Mike Logan looked down at Emerald City. He could see how significantly different this unit was from the rest of the prison Instead of being held behind bars, the prisoner were held behind double thick glass doors He could that they were electronically sealed by a control panel Most of the prisoners were watching television, a few were playing checkers some were playing cards. Everything seemed calm and orderly. But Logan knew that it wouldn't take much to turn the orderly calm into an explosion of anger.
"You run a very tight ship. " he said turning to McManus. The program director---or whatever the fuck he was----- gave a tense nod. He seemed to have calmed down a little since his angry exit from Glynn's office but Logan could tell that he had a chip on his shoulder.
"The prisoners in Emerald City are kept on a pretty tight leash. WE managed to keep order here. '
"So I suppose that there is no drug problem in Em City. " A look at McManus and he could tell that he struck a nerve. "And I supposed that there is no traffic in contraband."
"I'm not saying that we don't have our problems with illegal activities but we keep a tighter leash on prisoners here then we do in other units. In exchange, prisoner receive a greater amount of freedom."
"McManus, I'm not with the governor's office. You don't have to sell me on the productivity of Emerald City . I don't care how the prisoners in this unit are treated. What I'm trying to find out is if any of them are capable of being behind these murders. '
McManus looked at r Logan. "You're not telling me that you believe that bullshit story that those FBI agents are telling."
"If you mean that bit about killers who have the power to turn invisible, then my answer is no. But if your asking me whether or not I think that a prisoner is responsible for these deaths, then I would have to say Yes."
"And how exactly do you reach that conclusion? How would they be getting the word out? Passenger pigeon. We monitor all the calls that the inmates make. If they tried to get word out, we'd know about it"
"Yeah because no one says shit in Em City without you knowing about it. ."
"Look our system isn't perfect. . . ."
"Let me make it simple. Do you think that its possible that someone in Emerald City could have ordered a hit on these people?"
McManus gave a deep sigh. "Yes. I suppose that its possible."
"Do you have any idea as to who would be the most likely to give the order?"
McManus thought it over for a moment. "The Italians usually kill over honor so its possible that they subcontracted the hit. The gangstas would care more about it if they thought that they had been wronged. But there in something of a state of flux now."
"What about the Muslims? That guy Said seems to inspire a lot of loyalty. "
"Maybe. But Said is more into justice then the vengeance. Ever si nce the riot he has been big on using the system to prove that the white mans laws can be manipulated for the black mans truth."
Logan paused thinking over the other criminals. " What about the Irish? They can believe in revenge pretty strongly."
"You mean O'Reilly?" Because Logan was good at keeping his emotions to himself, he managed to listen to the remark without any sign of flinching.
"I read his file. He ordered the death of a man outside the prison."
"Preston Nathan. Yeah, we know. But that was his brothers doing. Most of O'Reillys is bluster. He's good a t manipulating people but he doesn't do much outside his family."
McManus fixed him with a look. "Do you know more about this then you're telling me?"
"All I know is what in the file, Mr. McManus. Look, I'm going to have to see the files of all the prisoners that you have written up. '
McManus narrowed his eyebrows. "That's over fifty prisoners. You sure you want to go through all this on wild goose chase?"
Logan fixed him with a smile. "Its the FBI's goose chase not mine."
ALEXANDER HAMILTON MOTOR LOUNGE
Danny Torrance looked up from the pile of files that he had gone through with a feeling of something close to exhaustion. For the first time since they had begun the investigation he was beginning to wonder if there was anything to their theory and that the crimes might be focused on something else altogether. He had been looking through the pile of files for over three hours and he had yet to encounter anything that even seemed to give them a leg up in figuring out who the killer was, if he was in fact a prisoner from Oz.
He looked across the table at his partners. Mulder was still poring over the files with the same energy that he had when they had gotten started. Scully, on the other hand, was looking up from time to time with the expression of one who was becoming increasingly frustrated with her work. And Logan matched her look of dismay and aggravation.
"Mulder maybe's its time that we take a break," said Scully.
Mulder looked up. "Scully, we have to go through everything if we want to be prepared to talk to the prisoners tomorrow."
"And ask them what?" said Logan. "You really think that some hard ass whose been doing time since before we got into the bureau is just going to come up to us and say "I killed those people by teleporting from there to New Jersey. Go ahead and dry my arm for a lethal injection."
Mulder fixed Logan with a very hard stare. "Coming to this prison was your idea Officer Logan. Don't tell me that you don't have the balls to see it out."
At this Logan stood up. "Do you really want to get into a discussion about balls, Agent Mulder?" Torrance stood up and put a hand on Mulder' shoulder. "Look its been a long day and we're all a bit on edge. Could we please not get into a lot of macho bullshit now?"Reluctantly, Mulder and Logan both sat back down. "Mulder, have you got any theories as to how the killer might be doing this?"
Mulder sat down. "Actually I do have a theory. Scully what was the name of that prisoner who began suffering from unexplained headaches?' Scully lifted up his file. "Prisoner number 98N511 George Novak. In prison for two counts of aggravated assault. Sentenced to 15 years. ' Nor is he the only prisoner suffering from these unexplained headaches. Two biker buddies of his Jazz Hoyt and Carlton Wick who also came to Oz less then a year ago have come to the infirmary on a couple of occasions with similar problems.
"Did either have any unexplained fainting spells?" Danny could see Mulder/s eyes dancing; it was a sure sign that he had adapted his theory to fit the circumstances
"Actually yes. ."
"There are reports that certain people who have learned the ability to successfully astral project themselves suffer from unexplained headaches and fainting spells. '
Logan took this in. . "Great . I liked the first theory better. You're telling me that these prisoner have somehow come up with a literal Get Out Of Jail Free card and instead of using it to leave the prison there committing these crimes."
"Astral projection does not preclude the possibility that they are invisible killers. Certain astral projectors have been able to disappear from one location only to not completely appear at one other place."
"Astral projection and invisibility? Jesus X. Christ. Must you turn everything into a paranormal circus, Mulder?"
"I'm inclined to agree with Officer Logan," said Scully. "There is no evidence--- scientific or otherwise---- to show that these crimes were committed in such a manner"
As he always did whenever he was faced with opposition, Mulder did what he always did: try to convince Scully that he was right. "Scully how else do you explain the lack of entrance, no signs of defensive wounds or fingerprints? How else do you explain how the killer managed to get in or out without being seen?"
"The killer made a very clean entrance and exit. There is nothing on the crime scenes that can't be explained by the presence of a very capable criminal ."
"And very capable criminals is what were dealing with, Scully. I'd think that would be clear by now. ."
"What is clear is that you are so determined to bring the paranormal into this investigation that you can not see what is obvious to everyone else. " Logan got up, walked to the door and left slamming it in a huff. For a moment Danny hesitated unsure how to proceed. Then he got up and followed Logan outside He was becoming frustrated with how the investigation was proceeding as well. But he could also see that there was something else on Officer Logan's mind.
"I don't know how you stand working for him," said Logan as Danny approached him. Danny took out his cigarettes offered one to the police officer who shook his head and then lit one.
"I find that when I work with Mulder its a good idea to put logic and reason on hold. The hell of it is, he's right more often then we are."
"So you think that his creepy theories are going to turn out to be right in the end," said Logan dubiously.
"Yeah, but I didn't come out here to talk about the case. Something about this investigation has been rubbing you the wrong way since we got started."
Logan hesitated before speaking. "This I search into what really happened at Oz. There's all kind of corruption going on. I mean I looked at the file and at least one man was murdered. Not killed in the riot, murdered."
Danny nodded. He had read some of the Case report and it was clear by what was said and what had not been said that one man had died at the hands of another.
'You think that the murder of this man has something to do with these crimes that were looking at?"
Logan shrugged. "I don't know, but it would come as a huge surprise to me if it did not."
"That still isn't what's really bothering you is it. What's really bothering you has to do with that criminal that the warden mentioned----Ryan O'Reilly. " When Logan made a movement as if to deny it, Danny spoke again. "Come on. I saw how you reacted."
Logan stood still for a few moments "When I was growing up, the O'Reilly's lived three blocks away. Ryan and Cyril ran the westies from my neighborhood. ."
Danny looked at Logan with a certain amount of surprise. "You ran with them."
Logan shook his head. "My mother said that they were nothing but trash. It was one of the few things that me and her really agreed about. I got into a couple of fights with them . They fought dirty even back then. " He paused. "When I was working as a detective in Manhattan, I heard that Ryan had jumped from minor thug to major felon I never expected to cross paths with him again. Sure had that wrong. " He heaved a huge sigh. "Hearing his name made me see how much things have changed. Maybe it's from hanging around your creepy partners but I have the feeling that me running into the O'Reilly's is some kind of sign."
Danny walked up to the cop. "You want to beg off, I'm sure that my partners wouldn't mind."
Logan thought it over for a minute, then shook his head. "I never ran away from a fight in my life. But I think maybe it would be best if one of you handled the interview."
"You think that O'Reilly's involved in this?"
"I think that all the crimes in this prison are somehow all tied together."
"Well we already have figured out that much."
Logan shook his head. "I meant that the crimes that took place during the riot are somehow tied to these death. I think that if we can figure out who did what there, we'll know who the killer plans to strike next."
One of the things that Mulder had noticed when going over the files of the prisoners at Emerald City was the rather large number of famous or infamous criminals. Antonio Nappa the Italian Mob boss, Raoul Hernandez the Hispanic gang leader, Jackson Vayhue, the basketball star in jail for rape and Shirley Bellinger, the first woman to be sentenced to death row since 1840 or so. However he had no doubt that he was about to interview the most notorious of all the prisoners in Oz.
Kareem Said stood before him. A medium sized black man with a dark beard and hair graying at the temple his eyes flashed with anger. He carried himself with a sense of pride and righteousness that Mulder imagined that few men in or outside of this prison could have matched.
Said looked at him in silence apparently determined to have Mulder make the first move. After a few seconds, he did. The attractive prison guard who had led him --- Wittlesey, Mulder thought that her name was ---followed Said from a distance. Mulder wasn't happy that a guard was going to hear all of the questions that he was going to ask but it had been prearranged with McManus that a guard be with them throughout the interview. Mulder decided to give in to his demands
" My name is Agent Mulder. Please sit down, Mr. Truitt," said's eyes flashed and he knew that he had struck a nerve.
"My name is Kareem Said. It has been for five years. Goodson Truitt is no more."
Mulder nodded. "So I've heard. You rejected your past ever since you found Allah."
"I did not reject my past, Agent Mulder. Nor have I forgotten it. Ever since I came to Oz, I have never forgotten the man who I was. I am now far more aware of myself than I have ever been."
"Yes. I have seen how you have made yourself a powerful man inside Oz."
Said smiled It was not a very pleasant smile. "You think that I am a powerful man. Agent Mulder, I have lost all the freedoms that I once had . I may appeared to be a big man, but I am a giant among midgets if I am a giant at all. Anyway you didn't come here discuss my power."
"Then why are we here, Minister?" Mulder gave the word an inflection of irony that he didn't know whether it was intentional or not.
"I am here because Tim McManus told me that I must see you. You are here because you believe that I am responsible somehow for a series of murders."
Mulder stood up. "Do you know who Harold Goergen is?"
Said shook his head. "I have know idea who that man is."
"He was one of the men in the National Guard who came in and shot the place up. According to the ballistic report he killed Kamul Adbullah, one of your followers."
Said's eyes showed a trace of sadness when Mulder mentioned his followers name but his voice gave away nothing. "I never knew who it was who killed Abdullah."
"How about Oliver Brown? His name ring any bells?"
"I assume that he was another of the men who entered Emerald City :"
"Oh, be did a lot more than that. He was reprimanded for severely beating a prisoner after the riot."
Said smiled grimly. ":There was much needless bloodshed after the riot. ."
"Supposedly the man that he beat so severely was you. " Again Said's eyes flashed but his voice remained full of pride and restraint.
"I never cared to learn his name."
"So then you are telling me that you don't care that these men and two others who entered the complex who beat prisoners, who killed prisoners are now dead."
"Don't misunderstand me, Agent Mulder. I mourn these men even though they did tried to kill me. They are more victims of the random violence that continues to plague our street. They are victims of the Governor's determination to subdue the men behind these walls."
"So they are more martyrs to your cause?" said Mulder. He was becoming frustrated with Said's holier- than- thou attitude.
"You think that I had something to do with their deaths? If you had read my books you would know that I believe that violence should only be used in the most extreme of cases and only after all other attempts have failed." "So you don't think that one of your followers could have acted out of some misguided effort to administer justice?"
"If someone from outside the prison decided to kill these men, Agent Mulder, I didn't tell them to do it. If anything, I would have urged them to allow those men to live."
"And why is that, Said?"
"Since the riot, I have been gathering prisoners and the members of the families of the prisoners who died to join me in filing a class action suit against Governor Devlin, the state and the National Guard. So it would not be in my best interests for these men to die."
Mulder took this in. He had been pretty sure that Said wasn't responsible for the death and his behavior only seemed to confirm it. "Do you plan to argue this case yourself?" "I will be doing most of the argument, yes. But if you want proof that I am serious, call my lawyer Abraham Zelman. He is doing most of the outside work as I cannot for obvious reasons."
Mulder took down the name of the lawyer. He knew what he would probably find if he investigated further. But he refused to show Said any preferential treatment.
"Now, if that is all, I would like to return to my cell."
"One last thing, Minister. In the months since the riot, has anyone approached you with the attitude that those who were involved in the riot needed to be punished?"
For a moment Said appeAred that he would answer no. Then for reasons that Mulder could not even begin to fathom, he responded quietly.
"About six months ago, a new prisoner a pproached me about the riot. He said that he had read my book and asked me if I was interested in handing out a punishment to those who had violated the spirit of the law ."
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him that I was not interested in any kind of approach that he would have made. He then told me fine and walked away."
"Why did you refuse him?"
"Because I didn't trust the man. He polluted his mind with all sorts of drugs. ":
"And he was white. " Mulder finished
"That was the least of my concerns with the man."
"What was his name?"
Said paused for a second. "Novak. George Novak."
In his many years as a cop, Mike Logan had come to think of all criminals as equally reprehensible. It didn't matter if he was white or black, Jewish or Catholic, if they had committed a crime, they were all deserving of his disgust. However of all the lawbreakers that he had to deal with, Logan had come to detest those who committed hate crimes. In point of fact he had gotten himself kicked out of the Manhattan police force because he had expressed his disgust towards a man who had committed a very specific kind of hate crime--- the murder of a homosexual. It was true that his own prejudices had their effect on him in that last case, but he knew that he would not have acted the way that he had if the crime had not been so vicious. All of this did not make him feel particularly eager to interrogate the next prisoner that he was going to talk with. Not only was he a leader of the Aryan brotherhood in Oz, he was suspected in a series of racist a ttacks on the Muslims the blacks and a Jewish man Furthermore he was assumed to be involved in the attack of two other prisoners in the last six months. . One involved the crucifixion of a former priest and the other involved the beating of another prisoner that had left him in a full body cast. The man was racist filth and Logan was not crazy about being the one to talk with him. However, since the investigation was going to lead to Emerald City which had its own series of problem and since because of his upbringing was the most likely to get something out of this man, he had agreed to interview him.
Vernon Schillinger entered the room. He was a medium sized man, almost bald with whatever hair that he still had was turning gray. He had a small scar around his left eye--- Logan did not want to speculate how he got that. .
"Take a seat, Mr. Schillinjer," said Logan without looking up.
"Schillinger. " He said with emphasis on the last syllable. Logan didn't particularly care for the mans attitude. But then he didn't care a great deal for the man.
"All right then Mr. Schillinger. I have a few questions to ask you." "What's all this about?"
"The Staten Island police in connection with the FBI are investigating. . . ."
"A bunch of murders, yeah, yeah I've already heard about that shit."
This unsettled Logan. He had expected word to get out about their investigation but he didn't like that it had already leaked this far. "What have you heard?"
"You think that guys around here can leave and come back without anybody knowing. I can think of a lot of places nicer than Jersey that I'd rather go. " Schillinger spoke pleasantly . "They actually pay you people to think these theories."
Suddenly Logan had had enough. Ever since this case had started he had been pushed around. First by his boss, then by the Feds, now he was taking abuse from this Nazi prick. . It was just too much for him.
"No they don't pay me the big bucks for think up these things. You know what they really give me the money for? Locking up scumfucks like you. " The moment that he said the phrase he knew that he had made a mistake. He had surrendered whatever advantage he might have with the man at the price of assuaging his ego. It was a mistake that the newest rookie wouldn't have made.
For his part, Schillinger didn't noticeably react. He simply stood up and knocked on the window. "Lopresti. " A guard with graying hair walked into the room. "I believe that this man was threatening me. ."
Lopresti looked at him for a moment, then he looked back at Logan. "This guy giving you any trouble?"
"No just a minor disagreement. " As Lopresti left, two things occurred to Logan simultaneously. The first was that Schillinger must not be very popular even within the close community of Oz. The second was that he was going to have to do some backpedaling if he wanted to get any information about these murders.
"I apologize, Mr. Schillinger. This case has brought up a lot of tension. You know what that's like tension builds up, you react even though it isn't necessarily the smartest thing to do."
Schillinger seemed to take the apology with a certain amount of equanimity. "Sure. A man gets angry he loses control."
"And you're probably getting tired of being accused of things that you had nothing to do with. "
"It does drain a man," said Schillinger.
"So why don't we talk about something that you did do. " The Aryan looked at him with a perfectly blank expression.
"About a year ago, you were accused by Diane Wittlesey of conspiring to murder another inmate."
"That's horseshit, the bitch framed me. " Schillinger continued to speak with a certain amount of calm.
'So you accused her of killing a man during the riot in Emerald City." Logan looked down at the file in front of him "Scott Ross."
"Yeah. " Schillinger maintained his poker face.
"Were you telling the truth about that or were you just bullshitting those in charge?"
"Hey, I know what I saw. That cunt shot Scott in cold blood."
"Have you told anyone else about this?"
"Shit, yeah. I told both my attorneys and I testified to it on a hearing."
"How about anybody in Em City?" For the first time Schillinger seemed to think it over a little."
"I may have told a couple of the bikers. Some men who were his friends."
"Did you tell George Novak?"
"How about Jazz Hoyt?"
Schillinger paused. "I may have mentioned it to him in passing."
"Look, I've had enough of this shit."
"So have I. You can go now."
The Aryan leader looked at Logan for a minute. "If you breathe a word of this to anyone else in Oz, I won't confirm a word of it."
"Don't worry," said Logan with a smile. "As far as I'm concerned this conversation never happened.
The more time that Scully spent behind the walls of Oz the less she liked it. She didn't know why she felt so uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because of her general dislike of prisons or maybe it was because she felt a repulsion at seeing men being treated so badly even if they were only one step better then scum.
Being in the psychiatric section of Oz did not make her feel more comfortable. Here however she could pinpoint a reason why she felt so unsettled. These were criminals who the system had given up on. The men here had lost their sanity as well as their freedom and in her mind this made them especially dangerous. True they were mostly medicated to the point that they should have been harmless, but that did not reassure her much.
She wasn't all that comfortable to get ready to talk to the inmate here, Simon Adebisi. Apparently before he had his mental breakdown, he had been one of the biggest problems in the prison. A heroin addict, he had run the gangstas and had used his brute strength inspire a lot of fear throughout the prison. A month before his breakdown, he had beaten a Mafioso to a pulp and had raped another one. (In a grim irony, that inmate had been sent to the psych ward as well. ) Then a few weeks later he had some kind of breakdown and was found doing some kind of tribal dance near the body of another prisoner.
Since then Adebisi had been kept in the psych ward and medicated on lithium and Prozac. Supposedly the medication had kept him balanced and he was making a recovery. This made it somewhat unlikely that he was the man who had ordered the murders. Scully couldn't figure out why Mulder wanted her to speak with him., but then she didn't care as much about it as he did.
She walked into the ward where Adebisi was lying down. She managed to get a good look at him before she talked to him. He was a very big black him with a thin scruff of hair on his head that was badly in need of a comb. He had brown eyes which did not seem to be in focus. He looked to be in need of a shave.
For a moment Scully was stymied how to proceed Then she pulled herself together. "Simon. I'm Special Agent Dana Scully. I'd like to ask you a few questions."
Adebisi just looked at her for a moment. "You want to talk to me?"His voice had an accent that made him sound moire foreign plus his speech was slightly slurred-- no doubt an effect of the medication that he was on
Again Scully felt somewhat confused. Then she went on. "I'd like to talk to you about the riot."
Adebisi frowned for a second. "That was a bad time. I did bad things then."
Scully wondered if the breakdown that Adebisi had led to an effect on his intellect. Medically that shouldn't have been possible but still she was curious. " What did you do?"
Again a pause. "I snorted dope. I beat people up. I tried to kill another man over drugs. " He looked up at Scully His eyes seemed glazed. "I don't do those things anymore."
"Since. . . You came here, have you talked to anyone from Emerald City?"
Adebisi shook his head. "I miss my friends I would like to talk to them again. But they're afraid I might do bad things. And they might be right."
Scully realized that coming here was a waste of time. Adebisi was in no condition to talk to here, let alone plot these murders. She didn't know whether it was possible for a criminal to be broken by drugs but it was clear that something in this man was broken; perhaps beyond repair.
"Thank you, Simon. " she said and walked away.
She never looked back and therefore never noticed that the glazed expression on Adebisi's face slowly disappear and change to something more calculating. Almost sinister.
"Hey asshole! You ever gonna fix my shower? It stinks in here."
"You are one ugly motherfucker!"
"Suck my dick, you scumwad!"
"Be quiet! I'm trying to jerk off!"
Danny had thought that the prisoners in Emerald City had gotten loud when he and the other agents had gone in to say that they were going to have to talk with them. However, the noise seemed almost quiet compared to the foul mouth shouting that greeted him when he entered solitary confinement. He supposed that he shouldn't be that surprised. These were men who were on the final borders of the criminal justice system. Men who had proved themselves unacceptable to live even in the high standards of a maximum security prison. Now they were locked into rooms that were even smaller then their cells. Left alone with only themselves for company. Most of them were probably only a step or two away from madness. He hoped that Miguel Alvarez was closer to sanity then the others.
The guard that he was walking with came to a stop in front of a bolted door. It looked no different then any other bolted door . He opened it to reveal a barred door. A medium sized Latino got to his feet. Danny could tell that the man looked skinny and malnourished. He wondered what he had been eating. Then he remembered what the file said that Alvarez had done to come here. He had cut out the eyes of a CO. He was willing to bet that the other CO's could not have been very happy with this man.
"Alvarez?" he said slowly unsure of how to proceed.
"That's me. And you must be from Publisher's Clearing House. Shit. I never thought that you'd received my letter."
Danny turned to the guard. "Did you frisk him for weapons?" The guard nodded. " Leave us alone."
"That's not advisable," said the CO.
"I'll take my chances . " The CO looked at him for a second then shrugged. He shut the barred door and then closed the iron door over it. For a second, Danny was unsure how to proceed.
"What can I do for you?" Alvarez said. His tine suggested that he meant to be sarcastic. However, all that Danny could detect in his tone was exhaustion.
Awkwardly Danny started to reach for his badge. "I'm with the FBI. I'm here to ask you a few questions."
"Hey you want to ask me something you go right ahead. That doesn't mean that I'm gonna answer you.
"I understand that you used to run the Latinos in Em City."
Alvarez nodded . "Yeah, I was a big man till that bastard El Cid came to Oz. Now I got this cushy suite all to myself."
Danny took this in. "You're in solitary for blinding a CO. You saying that was done under orders?"
"I ain't saying shit to no cop."
"I'm a. . ."
"Yeah, I know what you said you were. IT's all the same shit to me. I ain't gonna snitch on nobody."
Danny sighed. He had known that this wasn't going to be an easy interview.
"Look Alvarez. I know that you're in a shitty place."
"Yeah, what do you know about being in shit. How old are you? Eighteen, Nineteen?"
"Really? I'm twenty nine. You want to know what the difference between us? You're gonna spend your thirtieth birthday surrounded by your friends and family. I'm gonna spend it surrounded these four wall s and my own shit. This shit is all I got to look forward now. Nothing but this for the rest of my fucking life."
"S o what? You want me to go a way and just leave to yourself? Alvarez sighed and sat back on his cot. Danny moved next to him slowly "Look Miguel. I understand that you're in a shitty place."
"Master of fucking understatement here."
Danny ignored him. "The way that I figure it, you don't have anything left to lose. So come on. Help me out."
"And if I help you? What do I get for that?"
"You get to live with yourself."
Alvarez thought it over for a moment. Then he almost unnoticeably made a motion forward.
"While you were in Em City, did you know any prisoners who were particularly pissed at how the riot turned out?'
The prisoner shook his head. "Man that shit was almost two years ago. Everybody's moved on "
"So what are you saying: that everyone's forgotten about the riot."
"Man you don't forget shit that big."
"But you said. . ."
"You live in a place like Oz; you can only deal with shit that happens in the present. You don't forget anything; you just choose when you want to remember it"
'Is there anyone in Em City who might be capable of taking a longer view?"
Alvarez thought for a second," said was always talking about stuff like that. But then he always waves his dick around whenever things got too quiet. " There was another brief pause " Adebisi sometimes did some weird stuff. But then I hear that he got transferred to the loony bin, so I guess he ain't much of a suspect."
There was another long pause as Alvarez considered the question. "A couple of guys from the bikers were pissed off that one of their guys got whacked."
"Remember any names?"
"Nosek, Noth, something like that. I don't remember."
Danny stood up. "Thank you for your help. " Even as he said the words he knew how pathetic that he must sound to this criminal. "He rapped on the door. 'I'm finished here" The door opened. Alvarez didn't move as he left.
Scully was beginning to wonder if she was really getting anywhere. None of the prisoners that she had interviewed were willing to reveal much. They gave bits and pieces that when added up did not reveal a great deal as to who was behind the killings. Feeling frustrated after here last series of fruitless inquiries, she had chased down Mulder. He had been somewhat discouraged as well but he had told her that he believed that he had found a possible source who might be willing to give them the inside dope as to what was going on in Em City.
"What makes you so sure that this man will be of greater help then anyone else?" Scully asked dubiously.,
"He's been in prison longer than any inmate in Em City. Longer then lost of the men in Oz for that matter. He knows how things work around here. Besides his behavior has been marked as . . . Unusual. '
"You'll see. " was all that Mulder would say.
Now as they sat in the library, an old man approached them. He was in mid sixties and had lost most of his hair. His face was lined and wrinkled and he moved slowly. It was his eyes that held Scully. Most of the prisoners that she had seen had seemed dead when one looked in their eyes. This old man seemed to have something different. Experienced was the word that came to mind.
"Bob Rebadow?" said Mulder. The old man turned to them with an unsurprised look on his face. When she had time to reflect on it later, Scully would think that she had been unsurprised to see them.
"I'm Agent Mulder. This is Agent Scully. We'd like to ask you a few questions. " Rebadow approached and took a seat. For a moment he looked at Scully.
"Charlie has decided to propose to Linda. " he said to Scully. He might have been mentioning the weather for all the fuss that he had made.
Scully was stunned by Rebadow's remark. Normally she armed herself with a barrier of skepticism that she used to keep Mulder from overwhelming her with his strange theories. However, this old man, this criminal had managed to hit her right between the eyes with that simple remark.
"How did you know that my brother was going to. . . How did you know that?" Scully sputtered out at last.
Rebadow just smiled contently. "God told me."
With that remark, Scully managed to regain some of her equilibrium . "You talk to God."
"On occasion. Actually it has been a while since he last gave me a message. I don't know why he bothered to tell me that."
"Well, I guess congratulations are in order. " Mulder sounded cheerful.
Rebadow was still looking at Scully. "I know that you think that I'm mad or deluded. Perhaps I am. But I do know that I am able to see things that men keep hidden."
Scully was still a little unsure how to proceed with this inmate. Mulder, however, seemed nonplussed and in control. "Do you know what we are here to talk to you about?" he asked Rebadow.
"You wish to ask me what I might know about the deaths of some members of the National Guard who entered Oz on the day of the riot. " Rebadow spoke calmly.
"Did God tell you that as well?" said Scully sarcastically.
"No, I heard that much from the other prisoners. It's hard to keep some things a secret in a place like Oz."
"What do you know about a prisoner named George Novak?"
Rebadow seemed to ponder the question for a moment. "Novak was a biker on the outside. He ran in some of the same gangs with Scott Ross. Was tight with him. He was sure that someone who worked in Oz killed him."
"Why would he suspect that?" said Mulder.
"He read the Case report. Apparently he thought that there was some conspiracy to cover up what happened to his friend."
"How the hell should I know? I wasn't allowed to participate in any of the sessions."
"But you think so," said Scully
Rebadow turned coy. "As far as I know, there was no conspiracy."
"Who has Novak been hanging with in Em City?" Mulder tried to change tracks.
"Some of the bikers. He was pretty tight with Adebisi for a while . Still is."
'That's not possible," said Scully. " Adebisi is barely conscious. '
'Novak works in the psych ward. He still sees him occasionally"
Mulder paused. "Ever notice Novak doing anything strange?"
Again Mulder paused. Scully didn't blame him. How do you explain to a prisoner that it's your job to investigate aliens and ghosts?
"Did he ever disappear from his cell?"
This time it was Rebadow who paused. "There was one occasion a couple of weeks ago. I saw him go into his pod. Then a few minutes later they did a shakedown of his cell. The guards went in and he wasn't there."
"Where did he go?" asked Scully
"I don't know. A few minutes later, they checked his cell a second time and there he was lying in his bunk . He said that he was in the bathroom or some other bullshit"
"Did McManus ever file a report?"
"I don 't think so. Apparently vanishing and then reappearing isn't any kind of a crime."
Mulder got up. "Thank you, Mr. Rebadow."
"Don't mention it."
Scully followed behind him. "Mulder, I kn ow what you're thinking."
"He's been lying to us, Scully. McManus has known that something has been going for a while."
"Mulder, you're going on the word of one inmate."
"Why would he lie?"
"Why would he tell you the truth? Mulder, we need more to go on."
Mulder turned to SCully. "We know that Novak wants revenge . We know that he's been experience headaches. And we know that he disappeared from his cell at least once. WE have to move Scully. We have to act fast."
"Because I think I know who his next target it."
"The one that he's wanted from the beginning. .
Danny knew that he was taking a big chance in interviewing the next prisoner. He knew just from looking at his files that the man in question might be more than a match for him. But he had seen how easily just the mere mention of his name had unsettled Officer Logan and he was determined to try and get him.
Ryan O' Reilly entered the computer room and sat down across from Danny. The inmate was medium-sized, had black hair in a buzz cut that looked a little thinner on top than most prisoners, He wore a green shirt, black pants, and a golden cross. Danny wondered briefly if this meant that deep down O'Reilly was as religiously devout as Scully or if he just wore the cross for decoration.
Wittelesey the attractive prison guard followed O'Reilly into the room. Danny indicated to her that he wanted to interview O'Reilly alone. She shook her head. "McManus was specific that I stay in the room as long as you're talking to him. " Danny wasn't thrilled with this arrangement. O'Reilly didn't seem to object
" Word up, homeboy. What do you want to talk to me about?"
"Well, Ryan. . . May I call you that?"
"Hey I make it habit never to argue with people with guns."
"If that were true O'Reilly, you'd spent less time in the hole. " Both men looked up at Wittlesey in surprise. Neither had expected her to say anything. Danny made a motion for her to keep quiet.
"Do you know why you're here, Ryan?"
O'Reilly nodded his head. "You think that someone in Em City whacked four dicks of the National Guard. I don't really know why you'd think that we would waste our time killing nobodies like those guys."
"Right, because all you dopes in Emerald City are as pure as the driven snow. You wouldn't do a thing to hurt another person."
"Hey, shit happens, Mr. FBI and if you don't think that it does you're a dumber fuck than the hacks. No offense, Wittlesey. " The prison guard apparently knew bullshit when she heard it because she ignored O'reilly's remark completely."
"So I take it that all the rumors I've heard about you are true."
O'Reilly's nonchalant attitude never wavered a bit. "What rumors?"
"The rumors that said since you came to Oz, you've been a major player. Fraternizing with the wiseguys, the gangstas, the Muslims, anybody in order to get ahead."
"I don't have a fucking clue about what you're talking about. I've done business with a lot of people."
"Who soon after you met with them ended up dead. Dino Ortalani, Jefferson Keane, Nino Shebetta. You did business with them and then they ended up dead."
"Hey those guys lived fast and hard Its not my fault that they ended up down for the count."
"And when the riot broke out, you just became one of the major leaders even though you were the only one with no firepower behind you," said Danny stubbornly.
"What can I say? I've got more moves than the Lord Of The Fucking dance. But all this stuff it's before. I'm a different person now."
"Indeed. " Danny looked down at O'Reilly's file. "Last year you got breast cancer and ended up in the hospital. " The smile on O'Reilly's face faded off quickly. "Then after you recovered, you repaid the doctor who treated you by murdering her husband."
"What's the point of your digging up this bullshit? That's last year's shit?"
"My point is that you're a can do kind of guy, O'Reilly. You want to get stuff done or get rid of a person who bothers you. Poof that person's history. . If you had put your mind to it, you could have had all four of those guys greased by proxy."
O'Reillys face had gone all serious. "Listen here Mr. FBI. I didn't kill those guys in any manner. You may think that I've had people to kill. But all the things that I've done, I've done to survive. The only reason that people die in Oz is to survive."
"So no one kills for revenge?"
"Yeah, people kill for revenge/. They kill people inside these walls for vengeance. Nobody is stupid enough to kill people on the outside."
"And Preston Nathan?" Danny refused to let go of it.
For a minute O'Reilly was silent. "I did that because I loved her. I did it for her. And I'm going to pay for that crime. But I didn't kill anybody else. I had no reason to kill those men."
At that moment, someone rapped on the door. Danny looked up. It was Officer Logan. He was a little surprised to see him but he motioned towards Wittlesey and she opened the door. Logan briefly looked at O'Reilly before motioning towards Danny. " Can I speak to you for a moment outside?"
Danny got up and headed for the door. As he passed Wittlesey, Logan made a motion towards her. "Could I see you for a moment?" The CO paused for a moment but then fell in step behind Logan and Danny.
"Mulder and Scully say that they have figured out whose responsible for the murders."
"Well, Mulder said he knew. Scully just said that she wanted to see both of us. And you too. Ms. Wittlesey. " An expression that was equal parts surprise and fear appeared on the guards face. It was there for only an instant but in that time Danny was able to make a quick deduction of his own. Wittlesey had been hiding something about the riot from the beginning. Now it was going to come out and she was scared.
Logan hesitated. "You spoke to O'Reilly?"
"What's he like?"
"Stone cold like every other scumfuck in this prison. " Danny thought that Logan would bring up something more but he didn't Maybe Logan had just confirmed what he already knew.
OFFICE OF TIM MCMANUS
"You've been lying to us since we started this investigation. " McManus looked at Mulder with the expression of hostility that he had more or less been wearing since thee FBI had come to Oz.
"You'd better have facts to back up that accusation. " McManus said seeming calm with a certain measure of anger in his voice.
"Officer Logan asked you if you could think of any prisoner with a reason to want to kill those people. You said that you didn't have any idea as to who would have such a reason. Yet for some reason you failed to mention George Novak to us. "
"I didn't hide anything about George Novak."
"Then why didn;t you tell us that Novak one day managed to escape from his cell?"
Wittlesey for the first time spoke up. "He didn't escape from his cell Someone saw him go into his cell and no one saw him leave When the guards checked his pod a few minutes later, he was still there. He didn't vanish or disappear if that's what your insinuating."
Mulder took this in. "Why didn't you tell us that Novak held a grudge against the people in the National Guard?"
"Look, Agent Mulder I've got to deal with over seventy different prisoners, all of them with there own vendettas. I have to keep the groups that hate each other from the ones who hate them., and in this prison everybody has got some reason to hate everybody else. I try to keep on top of the more important fights and feuds. George Novak's bluster about how he was upset at some strangers who haven't been in the prison since the riot comes in rather low on my list of priorities."
Mulder was about to launch into a furious diatribe about McManus should not be the one to make these kinds of judgement calls when McManus preempted. "Besides, there is no way that Novak could have committed these murders."
"And what makes you so sure of that?"
"I checked the time logs. On the days of the first two murders George Novak was in solitary confinement for beating up another prisoner. There is no way that he could have gotten out or given any kind of order to have those murders committed.
Mulder slammed his hand on the table in frustration. "If my theories about how the murders were committed are correct, Novak could have done it no matter how may walls you out between him and the outside."
"You're not going to give me that bullshit about the prisoners being able to teleport, are you?"
"The actual term for this is astral projection, Mr . McManus. And yes, I do believe that George Novak and possibly more prisoners are able to do this."
McManus and Wittlesey looked at Mulder as if he was crazy. Mulder didn't mind, he was used to it .
"And what makes you so certain that Novak can do this?"
For the first time Agent Torrance contributed to the conversation. "Do you have any idea why Novak went to the infirmary for migraines? According to his charts, he had no history of them on the outside"
"Do I look like a fucking nurse? He had headaches. Dr. Nathan gave him aspirin and he came back here," said McManus.
"Those kind of pains would be consistent with someone who was able to austral project."
"You have no proof of that," said Wittlesey. "Besides if he could really get himself out of prison why would he waste his power greasing complete strangers? "
"Even the most talented astral projectors can only perform it for more than a few minutes. Doing so takes a tremendous amount of energy. That's probably why he needed to go to the infirmary."
"All right, lets say that I accept your theory and Novak has committed these murders. Why?" said McManus. "The man wasn't in Oz when the riot took place. Why would he want to kill these people?"
"I can't explain that. However, I do know that Novak has been hanging around some of the groups in Oz who are angry about the riot. Maybe he thought that killing these people would be a good way to increase his credit."
At this point Scully spoke up. "Mulder, before we headed in here you told me that you had an idea who his next target was. Shouldn't we be focusing our energy on protecting that person?"
"That's why we're here, Scully."
"I don't understand," said Wittlesey.
Then to his irritation, Torrance spoke up. "He's saying that the next target is you, Miss Wittlesey"
"What are you talking about?" said McManus. He said the phrase in such a manner that Mulder was sure that he knew what he was about to say.
"During the riot, you shot Scott Ross, one of Novak's best friends on the outside," said Logan
"I was cleared of that. The commission found that I acted in self-defense. " Wittlesey said it in such a manner that Mulder thought that she was saying it by rote.
"Well whatever the shooting was or was not, you were responsible for Ross' death. That means that he is probably going to come after you next," said Mulder.
McManus and Wittlesey exchanged a look. In that glance, Mulder suddenly knew that the report of the commission had been worded so that the prison guard would not be punished. He knew that Wittlesey was guilty of murder.
"If that's the case, we should get Novak right now," said Logan. "Where is he?"
McManus looked down at a paper. "He should be on work detail in the dress factory."
Mulder walked towards the door. "Then we'd better grab him up. Miss Wittlesey, you'd better get to a safe place."
"No. " The prison guard spoke firmly.
"Diane, maybe you should. . . "
"No Tim. " She turned to McManus "For nearly two years I've been running away from this. Now I'm going to face it. I'm not going to be a coward any more. " She turned to Mulder. "I'll take you to the dress factory."
"I'm coming along" said Torrance. Mulder was about to object then decided not to. He knew that Torrance could be just as firm when he set his mind to something.
"All right. Scully, Officer Logan you check on those other prisoners who suffered from headaches. They might be projectors too and. we don't want any surprises.
"Do you think that we should go to lockdown?" asked McManus. Mulder paused. If he was right about his theory, it wouldn't matter if the other bikers were here or stuck in their pods. Besides this might warn them that their secret was out. He shook his head. "Don't. AT least wait until we have Novak. " He hurried out., Torrance and Wittlesey close behind him.
The dress factory was crowded. Danny wasn't surprised. This was the place where most of the prisoners worked. Wittlesey had talked to the foreman and had asked to let them come through without disturbing the other prisoners. The idea was that maybe they could take Novak by surprise. They walked quickly up the assembly line, the two federal agents trailing behind the prison guard. They walked past the line at a moderate speed. Nobody wanting to give anything away. They passed an old man with greying hair, a younger man with long blond, hair, a black man with as beard on a wheelchair. Danny had time to think that this part of the prison at least was an equalizer. All men were the same in the eyes of the men who worked here.
Mulder saw Novak first and reached for his gun. Danny who was right next to him wasn't sure if this was the correct approach. Novak was a big man six feet four, 250 to 260 ponds easy. He head was shaved completely bald . His eyes were grey and appeared slightly dead. When one got a closer look at him though one could see that they were alive and dangerous.
"Novak," said Wittlesey. The prisoner turned to face the three of them with no expression of surprise in his eyes. Danny sensed that he knew what was going on.
"Well Diane. So you've finally decided to come done and see where the rest of working stiffs do our job. " His tone sounded more amused then anything else. "You know I was going to make an appointment to see you, but I didn't know that you ever got your hands dirty. ."
"These men want to have a little chat with you. " Wittlesey moved aside and Mulder came up.
"And you've brought two suits to see men. What are you, a couple of New York's finest?"
Mulder took out his badge. Torrance didn't move. "Well, well well The FB fucking I. I must have done something really big to rate a visit from you. ."
"We'd like to ask you a few questions, Novak," said Mulder. Torrance decided that he was going to let Mulder lead this discussion.
:"Go ahead and ask. "It seemed to Danny that Novak was leering at them, trying to get a rise out of them. He knew from past experience that it would take a lot more than Novak was currently doing to get a rise out of him.
"What does the name Harold Goergen mean to you?"
Novak didn't even pause. "Not a fucking thing."
"How about Oliver Brown? Lyle Thurman?"
"Not a thing. Mr. FBI."
"How a bout Scott Ross? Or does that name mean diddly shit to you?"
That attracted Novak's attention. "Yeah I knew Ross. He was a friend of mine before his untimely death. " He fixed Wittlesey with a glare. The prison guard had evidently taken a lot worse from far more dangerous prisoner for she managed to keep her gaze level and even.
"You were pretty upset about Ross' death. Everyone says that you were pretty pissed off. ."
"Yeah. I was angry. I was pretty pissed off. This is Oz, Mr. FBI. If you're not fucking angry. you're not able to keep going. Who are these dead guys?"
Mulder narrowed his glance. "I didn't say that they were dead."
"You're with the FBI. The FBI only comes in when somebody important has died."
Danny decided that it was time to enter the conversation. "They were members of the National Guard. They entered Oz during the riots and shot some prisoners. On balance they did a bad thing. . But that doesn't give anybody the right to kill them."
"Are you accusing me of something, sir?"
"We've got agents searching your pod right now, Novak. You telling me that they're not going to find anything that puts you on the scene?
Novak just looked at them. Then he turned his gaze to Mulder. "How did I kill these men, Mr. FBI?"
Mulder finally began to lose come of his cool. "My name is Special Agent Mulder, Novak. Get it straight or. . ."
"Or else what? What can you honestly do to me that will make my life worse then it already is?"
"We can throw your ass into solitary," said Wittlesey. Danny could tell that Novaks calm behavior was starting to nettle her
"I kind of like solitary. Its peaceful. . Gives a man time to be al one with his thoughts. Really have you actually got anything or are you going to just take wild shots at me?"
Mulder glared at the criminal for a moment. Novak did not break the stare. It was pretty clear that he was a hardcore prisoner who wasn't going to just break under constant questioning. "All right, we're done for now, Novak But don't think that this is over. We may not have enough to get you now, but we will soon and we will get you. " Mulder turned around and headed towards the exit.
Danny followed behind Mulder, more then a little incredulous. He waited until the agents had walked out of the dress shop before he grabbed Mulder by the shoulder. "That's it? We do all this work and you just let him walk away!"
"I had to play this kind of game with him, Torrance. Do you honestly think that this man who is clever enough to kill four people is going to be stupid enough to let us just catch him this easily. ?"
"No, but I expected you to try a little harder."
"Don't write me off just yet. I think I know how we can catch this guy. I'm going to need your help Miss Wittlesey."
The CO looked at Mulder in surprise. "What do you want?"
"I need you to start a rumor."
Logan had not liked how this investigation was proceeding. He knew that if anyone else had come up with the crazy theories that Agent Mulder was presenting, he would have been laughed out of the room. But Scully and Torrance who were(from what he had observed ) intelligent capable people seemed to not only view Mulder as if he was serious but also correct in his assumptions. And the way that he had managed to convince people to follow his plans.
After Mulder, Torrance and Wittlesey had returned from their interview with Novak, Mulder had said again that he was convinced that Novak had been behind the murders. This was an assumption that had no concrete evidence to support it. While Mulder had been on his errand, he and Scully had searched the cells of Novak, Hoyt and Wick. They had found nothing to conclusively link the three of them to the murders. This hadn't surprised Logan too much. In his career in law enforcement, he had found out that criminals for they most part are stupid, they tend to get smarter once they end up in prison.
Mulder then presented another theory that had no evidence to support it. He said that Novak was killing these men and that he was doing it after lights out every night .
"What makes you think that he would wait until he was locked up?" asked Scully.
"Because that way he has an airtight alibi for the crimes."
"Well, if that's the case how do you plan to prove that he killed anybody?" Logan had asked.
"BY catching him in the act when he makes his next attack."
Mulder had then unfolded his plan. He asked McManus and Glynn to tell the prisoners that the investigation had been suspended due to lack of evidence and that they were returning back to the city. Nothing was to be done to Novak or any of the other suspected prisoners. This would lull the criminals into a false sense of security and therefore make him plan his next attack. . It was also Mulder's theory that Novak would then proceed to attack his next target: Wittlesey . Torrance and Logan would stay in the prison and watch Novak and his colleagues while Scully and himself guarded Wittlesey.
Logan had not been crazy about this plan. He thought that it led to a lot of unnecessary risks for Wittlesey. Besides there was no guarantee that Novak would necessarily go after the CO. He was relieved that he was not alone in feeling this way. McManus objected to being the pawn of the FBI and putting Wittlesey at risk. Even Agent Scully had been dubious at the possibilities of this plan working properly. However Mulder had overcome all these objections with a simple argument.
"Novak and his friends are most likely responsible for these four murders. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to link him to this crime but no actual proof. If we are to have any chance of stopping him before he kills again--- and he will, I'm sure of that---- we have to try and set him up."
Logan still wasn't convinced that Mulder's plan was reasonable, but at that point Wittlesey herself had said that she was willing to go along with this. McManus had argued vehemently(Logan had had time to think that maybe the prison guard and he had a closer relationship then just being coworkers) but in the end he too had given in.
So far everything was going according to schedule. Glynn and McManus had spread the word that the investigation was suspended. Mulder and Scully had left to aid the deception. When Wittlesey's shift had ended, she had gone home with Mulder and Scully. In the meanwhile, Torrance had gone into the guards room and had put on a CO's uniform. When he had looked at him with questioning eyes, he had said: "If were going to be undercover we might as well dress the part. " Logan had then taken another uniform and gotten dressed. He hadn't objected though he had a flashback to his days as a patrolmen. . While he had dressed, he had asked Torrance if he really thought that this was going to work. The young agent had admitted that this was a bit of a long shot but he had seen some funny ones of Mulder's pay off.
When lights out had been sounded an hour ago, they had reentered Emerald City, figuring that no one would recognize them in the dark. The two men had done a fair imitation of guards circling the unit while really keeping their eyes on three cells: Novak, Hoyt, and Wick'. So far the search was landing them a big zero. The prisoners all lay still in their beds while visions of sugar plums--- or C-Felonies- danced in their heads. Logan would have loved to complain to someone except that in his role as a prison guard, he wasn't supposed to talk to anyone.
He flashed his light past the cell that Novak shared with another biker. Nothing, not a goddamn thing. This was. . .
Suddenly, he brought his light past the door a second time. He thought that he had seen something . His light flashed on Novak's bed. Novak was lying in it. Except something seemed wrong. For a moment Novak had seemed---- transparent. .
He rapped on the pod wall. The prisoner in the bottom bunk moved. Novak didn't even stir.
Logan yelled up to the guard up front. "Open Novak's cell!" He couldn't think of the cell number, and apparently he didn't need to because the guard up top seemed to know what he was talking about. The cell door suddenly moved under his hand and he hurried into Novak 's pod.
"What the fuck are you doing?" snarled the other prisoner in the cell. Logan paid no attention his mind was focused on Novak who still lay perfectly still in his bed. Logan looked at the cell and tried to touch the prisoner. His hand rested on Novak's shoulder and then went through it.
"Oh my God. " For a split second Logan felt woozy as his entire belief system suddenly shifted. With an effort, he mentally pushed it all to the back and did something very brave. He determined not to think about it. He could reflect on what this did to his universe later. Right now he had to focus on making sure that the criminal was caught.
At that point Torrance ran into the cell. He pushed the other prisoner aside and saw what was happening. Logan had time enough to observe that the young agent only needed a second to observe what was happening and then determine what to do. He pulled out his gun
RESIDENCE OF DIANE WITTLESEY
Scully was beginning to wonder if Mulder's plan was going to work. She had noted that it was based mainly on speculation upon speculation instead of any scientific evidence. Basically Mulder was playing a series of hunches and was basing them on a lot of sound and fury. She knew that Mulder had been right before on a lot of his guesses, but it had been some time since he had risked so much on so little.
When the two of them had left the prison, she had flat out asked Mulder if he thought that his plan was going to work.
"I don't know Scully but I can't think of any other way that we can catch Novak. Its my hope that this will effect him enough to put a rush on his schedule."
"Are you sure that its's even him?"
Mulder looked at Scully. "Because I saw his eyes when I mentioned those murders. They had a glow in them. Like he was satisfied about something that he shouldn't have even known about. ."
Scully wasn't quite satisfied with this response but she knew better than to argue with Mulder when his mind was made up abut something. At that point Wittlesey had come out of the prison dressed in street clothes. She had told them to follow her car and they would go to her home. The drive was not a long one; like most of the guards Wittlesey did not live that far from Oz.
Things had become somewhat awkward when they had reached Wittlesey's home. The corrections officer had a daughter who she had called before they had left the prison and had asked her to stay at a neighbors house. Evidently Wittlesey was regarding the threat on her life with enough seriousness that she wanted her daughter to be safe. She had asked the two agents if they had wanted something to eat. Mulder had reluctantly declined. Conversation had lagged until Wittlesey had broken the silence.
"I knew George Novak when he was on the outside. " Scully was surprised that Wittlesey would volunteer this information. "My ex-husband used to run with some bikers. He hung out with guys like Novak and Scott Ross."
"What was he like?"
"A drunken jizzbag like all the other bikers. I didn't like any of his friends. " Wittlesey had paused then as if she was gearing up to answer a hard question. "Do you really believe that all these murders are happening because of Scott Ross' death?"
Mulder had looked startled. "I really couldn't say with any degree of certainty what was the motivation behind these crimes."
"But you believe that all these deaths have been caused because of what happened in the riot. " Mulder nodded. Wittlesey had then paused as if she was unsure what else to say. "After it happened I was so afraid. Afraid that I would get caught. Afraid for my job, my family, my life. But while it was really happening to me, I didn't feel a damn thing. No pleasure, no relief no sadness, no hatred, nothing. I was just completely numb."
Scully looked at the prison guard and really saw her for the first time. She was only a few years older than Scully but her eyes seemed old and tired. Scully wondered about the things that she had gone through in her life: marriage, divorce, raising a child, working at a high stress job, being involved in the riot, a killing. For the first time she wondered why anyone would go through such horrible things and yet still have the inner strength to stay with the job.
Mulder in the meantime was focused on the present. "Miss Wittlesey, are you saying that you killed Scott Ross?" With that remark, the correction officer seemed to realize that she had returned to the present.
"I've said all that I'm going to say about that." She then got up and walked into the other room. "I'm going to call my daughter."
Mulder got up and followed her. Scully was about to comment that she thought he was carrying security over her a bit far and then shrugged her shoulders and followed him. While she moved, she looked at her watch. . "Mulder its nearly ten. Do you really think that this guy Novak is going to strike tonight?"
Mulder had started to reply when suddenly he stopped speaking.
"Mulder?" He held up his hand to her. "What's wrong?"
"Scully, did you just feel something?" She was about to reply with an automatic 'no' when suddenly she fell still. For some reason that she couldn't quite identify, she felt as if their was an unexplained presence in the room with them. She wanted to shrug it off as just nerves, but if Mulder felt it too. . . . .
"Wittlesey!" Mulder screamed. He pulled his gun and pushed the CO. For a split second Scully wondered if this was nothing more then nerves then she saw . . . it.
A vague outline of what appeared to be a man. He didn;t seem to be a solid figure. He seemed to be flickering in and out like he was a television picture fading in and out. Only one part of the man seemed solid: his left hand. To be perfectly accurate the long thin blade that she saw in it.
The man moved like lightning. In a matter of a second, he was on top of Mulder and Wittlesey. Scully pulled out her own gun. "Drop the weapon. " she yelled. The figure did not even respond as if he had heard her. . . which he might not have if he wasn't solid. Instead the figure ran towards her partner.
She fired her weapon as carefully as she could and the bullet went right into the figures chest. . . . and then through it . Scully caught her breath. She knew that she had aimed for his chest. The bullet didn't even seem to phase him. For a moment she was perplexed: how was she supposed s to stop a killer who could take a bullet without even a glimmer of pain? The moment of distraction lasted until she heard Mulder give out a scream of agony. . Novak---- if this was really him--- had just stabbed at Wittlesey by attacking Mulder Her partner let out a scream in pain. Novak paused then moved again. Suddenly the tone of Mulder's voice changed. Now he was yelling. "His hand, Scully. Shoot at his hands!"
For a moment Scully wasn't sure that she had heard Mulder correctly if she couldn't shoot him in the chest what good would one in the hands do? Then she saw that Novak was about to lower his knife again. Without thinking she fired at the phantom's hands. This time she heard another scream of pain.
She looked up at the phantom. Novak was screaming in agony and Scully could understand why . The bullet had hit the blade of the shank and had driven it in forcefully into his palm. Scully had just a second to observe this before the phantom figure of Novak flickered out and disappeared. She then ran over to Wittlesey and her partner.
Danny wasn't entirely sure what was going on. He had heard Logan's scream to open Novak's cell and he had run there as fast as he could; suddenly feeling that in his gut there was nothing that he could do. He had reached the cell of Novak and found Logan in there and Novak not. Logan had pulled his gun and yelled for Novak to stop what he was doing. Though he wasn't sure he had thought that Novak had turned to him and smiled calmly. Danny wasn't sure what they were going to do. The question that he had never put into words in front of Mulder---- how do you stop an invisible killer?---- now plagued him again. How could they stop Novak?
Then suddenly a blood-curdling scream filled the cell. Abruptly the figure of Novak which had grown transparent suddenly became solid. Novak was screaming. "Get it out! AHHHH Fuck, get it out!" As Danny neared the cell he could see why. The shank that Novak had been holding in his hand had somehow been driven into the prisoners palm. He wasn't sure but he thought that he could see powder marks from a bullet wound.
Then Logan (who was quickly getting used to unexplained phenomena) had grabbed Novak by the shoulder and pulled him on to the ground. Novak was still screaming bloody murder (he mused over his choice of phrase and decided that it wasn't as ironic as it seemed at first. ) Danny recovered his presence of mind and shouted out a wasted effort because at that moment three other guards had now assembled themselves outside the cell. Danny yelled to one of them: "Somebody get this asshole to the infirmary."
"And be careful with him! We've got a feeling that he has a lot that he wants to say," said Logan. The guards quickly ran in and grabbed Novak. Apparently the prisoner didn't have a lot of energy to fight ; he went with the guards without putting up a fight. Perhaps he was to busy yelling.
Logan turned to Danny. With the crisis now passed, he seemed to be going through some kind of shock. "I don't believe I . . . He was there and then he wasn't. . How did he. . . " Finally he shook his head. "What the fuck happened, Torrance?"
Danny looked at the policeman for a minute and then shook his head. "I don't know, but I'Ve got the worst feeling that Mulder's theory was right after all."
The phone at Mike Logan's desk rang. Logan sighed. In the days since he had been back at his job, he had been having trouble adjusting to walking a beat again. As hard as it had been working with the feds, he had felt like a real cop again, at least for a short while.
"Officer Logan, this is Agent Torrance. " He perked up a little to hear the familiar voice. Of the three agents he had worked with, Torrance had been the only one to treat him as an equal.
"How did you get this number?" he asked.
"I'm with the FBI. I can learn almost anything. " The voice paused. "I just talked to an assistant of the Attorney General. He's been in a conference with the D. A. 's in Staten Island, Manhattan and New Jersey."
This had come as no surprise to Logan. After the capture of George Novak, there had been a huge circle jerk as to on whose authority Novak fell, . The people at Oz had wanted to simply get rid of the prisoner who had caused all the trouble. Scully and Mulder had argued that the feds should take possession of the prisoner. Logan had put up an argument that he had committed a murder in Staten Island and should be the property of New York. Mulder had countered that since Novak had never actually left the prison to commit the murders, and that possession should be a matter for the Feds. . In the end Logan had left the matter to the attorneys, mainly because his lieutenant had told him that it was a matter for the lawyers.
"What are they going to charge him with?"
"The attempted murder of Diane Wittlesey and four counts of conspiracy to commit murder. "Novak had denied that he had been involved in any of the other murders, but had been forced to confess when the other bikers (who had heard what had happened) admitted that Novak had come to them with the plan to get even. They fervently denied that they had been able to project themselves. Logan thought that they were lying about their degree of involvement but there was not nearly enough evidence to convince the attorneys that they were involved.
"Has Novak said anything about how he can do. . . . What he does?" Even after what he had seen in the cell, Logan was still having a hard time getting his mind around the concept that a man could somehow teleport himself from one place to another.
"No. The most that we have been able to gather is that he learnt the ability while he in another prison upstate. He claims that all he had to do is think of a place and for a little while he can be there. ."
That explained a few things that they had found in Novak's cell. Somehow he had gotten a hold of pictures of the homes of the men in the National Guard as well as the homes of some of the guards at Oz. The pictures had been found in his mattress.
"Do you have any idea who his accomplice on the outside was?"
"No and they don't know if they will be able to get any more information out of him. " Since his arrest Novak had been very tight lipped. . After they removed the shank from his hand, they had gotten very little information from him. He had even denied attacking Wittlesey despite the fact that Agent Mulder had insisted that he had seen him. (Logan wasn't entirely sure Mulder was telling the truth as his account of what happened had changed from his inception at the beginning. Novak had refused to even explain why he had tried to kill Wittlesey, only saying "The bitch had it coming. ":
"I don't think we're ever going to get the complete information as to how and why Novak took it upon himself to exact this kind of revenge on these people. " He sighed.
"Well, at least we stopped Novak. " Novak had been transferred to solitary confinement since his release from the hospital.
"How do we know for sure that we stopped him? Everyone thought that he could be stopped when he was arrested for the first time. And who knows how many prisoners that he managed to teach this ability to? Who knows what kind of Pandora's box that this guy may have opened?"
Logan tried to get himself worked up about the possibility that maybe Torrance was right. He found that he didn't want to think about it. "Agent Torrance, we did everything that we could to stop this guy. The case is closes. I think its best that we try to move on.
There was another long pause as Torrance thought this over. "I guess you're right. We've done everything we can do for this case. I guess the only thing left to do is to file the paperwork and move on to the next one. " He paused again. "Anyway that wasn't the only reason that I called."
"What else did you want?"
"Everything got so hectic the last few days. I just wanted to thank you for helping me and my partners with this case. WE never could have figured it out without you. "
Logan was surprised. It had been along time since he had been congratulated for helping anyone on a case. He was surprised to find that the gratitude really did mean something. "Thank you for saying so, Agent T. . . Danny."
"You're welcome. I hope that we get a chance to work together again sometime."
" That would be nice. " He hung up the phone. For a moment, he just sat at his desk, savoring the feeling of being told that he had done his job well. Then he got up and walked over to Yood's desk. He thought that it was time for him to get back out on the street again.
AUTHORS NOTES When I told my friends that I was going to attempt to do a crossover piece between the fantasy driven world of The X-Files and the ultra-real world of Oz, there were some people who said I was crazy. Well it took me more than a month to get from start to finish but I got it done. I showed them who was crazy. Isn't that right, Mr. Fibble? (Left eyes twitches randomly several times) I don't know how good a job I did so please send appreciation, insults or anything to DavidB226Morris@aol. com
I was originally going to have the role of the New York cop played by John Doggett. But then I thought that the role should be played by a man who for five years epitomized what a New York cop is. Mike Logan is a New York City cop in a way that John Doggett will never be. (I heard a rumor that they considered casting Chris Noth to play Doggett. They should have done it. That would have brought in thousand of fans and might have helped people get over the fact that David Duchovny was leaving) I may have overstepped my boundaries by putting Logan in the story, To those fans of Law
The following characters belong to Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana and Jim Finnerty. : Leo Glynn, Tim McManus, Diane Wittlesey, Sister Peter Marie Remondo, Dr. Gloria Nathan, Father Ray Mukada, Miguel Alvarez, Simon Adebisi, Ryan O'Reilly, Kareem Said, Bob Rebadow, Vern Schillinger and Jazz Hoyt. I apologize to those fans of Oz for not including Chris Keller and only putting Augustus Hill and Tobias Beecher in small cameos. For those of you who wanted to see slash fic, I'm sorry but I don't write that kind of fiction. The character of George Novak is mine and mine alone.
Title: Third Wheel 5: Visiting Old Ghosts
Author: David Morris
Category: Crossover X-Files/The Shining
Spoilers: Brief ones for One Son and The End
Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter and the people at 1013 Productions. Danny Torrance is originally the property of Stephen King. (Though I doubt that he'd recognize this version of him)
Summary: When Mulder, Scully and Danny Torrance investigate a hotel that is supposedly haunted, events force Danny to reveal a childhood trauma that occurred under similar circumstances.
"You walk the street to the corner liquor store
Dana Scully briefly turned her eyes from the road to look at her traveling companion with a mixture of amusement and perplexity. She had known Special Agent Daniel Torrance for four months and while she didn't think that she understood him as well as she did her other partner, Fox Mulder, over the past few months she had thought that she had him figured out. His psychological makeup seemed to be that of a shy self-effacing man who approached life in both work and play with a calm and rational attitude. The idea of him singing along to music on the radio--- particularly such depressing music as this seemed ludicrous. But then, in her scheme of life, the idea of anybody singing seemed ridiculous if not outright insane.
Carefully turning her head towards her co- worker while keeping her eyes on the road, Scully leaned towards her colleague.
"You certainly seem chipper this morning"
Torrance met her look with a cheerful look of his own. "Why shouldn't I be cheerful? The sun is shining, the country is beautiful, I got rhythm, I got music. . . Who could ask for anything more?"
Now that she notice, it was a beautiful day and the landscape was attractive. Suddenly, Scully realized that she had been all over the country for the past six years in her capacity as an agent on the X-Files, but it suddenly occurred to her that she had been to so many different villages that at some point she had just stopped looking at the scenery. This had not always been the case. When she had been younger (for that matter when she had been the same age that Agent Torrance was now) she had been able to appreciate the beauty of the places she had been to.
Take today for example. It was a lovely summer day with no sign of the humidity that was currently gripping D. C. The countryside was beautiful and there was no traffic. It was a nice day and there was no reason that she shouldn't feel cheerful as well. This bothered her a little and for no particular reason she decided to take her fellow travellers mood down a notch.
"Granted that is a lovely day, but have you considered the circumstances that have led up to our being here?"
"Last night around 11 O'clock, I'm sitting in my apartment watching the news, when I receive a telephone call. I pick up the phone; its my partner who has decided to wait until now to tell me that he has just heard of a case that is classic X Files. He then tells me to pack a bag and catch a 7:45 flight to Cincinnati so that I can investigate the death of a man under suspicious circumstances in what he refers to as a "haunted house". I take it that you received a similar call around the same time. " Torrance nodded. " Accustomed to these bizarre calls, I pack my bag and ready myself to go to the wonder that is Ohio. After the long flight, I arrive at the airport to find that Mulder is not waiting for me but has already rented a car and is now waiting for us in the thriving metropolis of Marion. So now I find myself driving at sixty miles per hour down the Interstate with only the vaguest of ideas as to what awaits me at the end of the trip. Doesn't that put the slightest damper on your spirits, Agent Torrance?"
Torrance shrugged his shoulders and smiled at her again. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Agent Scully. I admit that the circumstances which have led to our making this trip our somewhat less than ideal. However, rather then facing them with a dire attitude, why not simply enjoy the journey?"
Dana Scully found that she wanted to smile back at him. Torrance's cheerful mood seemed somewhat infectious and it seemed hard to resist. In an effort to try and bring the conversation down a little. "If you're so determined to keep the mood cheerful, why on earth are you singing along with such a God- awful depressing song?"
"Depressing. That's The Iguanas, Scully. And while I admit that it may not have the most cheerful lyrics, you must admit it has a beat."
"Maybe it does, but couldn't we listen to something a little more cheerful."
"I've got a better idea. " Torrance turned off the radio.
"This sounds serious."
"No, its actually kind of fun. We've got about half an hour until we reach our destination, right?"
"Yes. " said Scully curiously.
"How about we use the time to get to know each other a little better?"
"What do you mean?"
'Each of us asks the other a question about something that we really want to know about the other person. The person can take as long as he wants to answer, but he has to tell the truth."
"I think I've played this game at sleepovers, Agent Torrance."
"Come on Scully. It;s fun. Tell you what I'll even let you go first."
As much as she didn't want to be, Scully had to admit that she was more then a little curious. For months she had been trying to understand the mind of the agent who was working with here and this seemed to be a golden opportunity to do just that. One question almost instantly seemed to come into her mind: "Why did you ask to be assigned to the X-Files?" She stopped herself from asking the question not because she didn't want to hear the answer but because she thought that Mulder should be the one to ask it. So instead she asked the question that had been in her mind since she had gotten to know Agent Torrance. "Why do you always wear a hat?" Torrance touched his hat before responding. It was a beat-up brown fedora that would have seemed more at home on the head of a gangster then on an FBI agent.
"Ever since I was very young. I've always felt that hats were neat. They add something extra to a person. Makes them look more distinguished. I decided when I was a teenager that if it were at all possible I would wear a hat on the job that I took." The day that I graduated from Quantico I went to an old clothing store in Richmond and I bought this hat."
"Why this hat in particular?"
"Because it reminded me of a hat that Clark Johnson and Andre Braugher wear on Homicide. " Scully looked at him blankly. "The TV show? Friday nights at 10 PM on NBC? What don't you watch television?"
"I've heard of the show, I just didn't know that anyone would base their accessories on a TV show."
"Hey don't knock it until you've tried it. It's one of the most realistic programs on TV. It was one of the reasons I decided to go into law enforcement. " " You chose your career based on a TV show?"
"No, I chose my career because of a book. " Seeing Scully's expression of bemusement, he went on. "When I was eighteen, I read David Simon's book. A Year On The Killing Streets. It inspired me so much that I decided that when I graduated from college I would become a cop."
"So why did you join Quantico?"
"Uh-uh. Agent Scully. I believe I said that I would answer one question and you've now asked me three. Now its my turn. And because you asked me so many questions, I get to ask you two related questions."
Scully was a little nervous. She had managed to get a little more information then she had expected to get out of Torrance with her one question. Who knew what kind of probing insight he would get when he asked her one? But she had agreed to the rules that he had set and she had to abide by them.
"OK, ask your question. "
Torrance paused for a few moments appearing to be giving it sufficient thought."
"Why do you and Mulder call each other by your last names?"
Scully looked at Torrance in surprise. "Is it that unusual, Agent Torrance?"
"There you go again. Calling me Agent Torrance. We've known each other for over four months, you can call me Danny."
For a moment Scully paused. She and Mulder had been calling each other by their last names since their partnership had begun. There had been no good reason for it, they just kept doing it after all these. When Agent Torrance (even in her thoughts she couldn't seem to think of him as Danny) they had been sticking to the same kind of pattern with him. However, he deserved as much of the truth as he did.
"Agent Mulder hates his first name. When I called him Fox once very early in our partnership, he told me that he had even made his parents call him Mulder. I've pretty much stuck to calling him Mulder ever since. I guess that he's always called me Scully so that it balances the point of reference between us."
"Why does he hate Fox so much? I think that its kind of a neat name. " said Torrance curiously.
"Well, then you should tell him that."
"Yeah, right. 'Excuse me, Fox. I think that your first name is cool. ' There's no way that I can tell him that without sounding like a brown-nose. " said Torrance
"I'm sure that he wouldn't think of it that way."
"Besides, I haven't known him long enough. Maybe in a few more months, I'll feel comfortable enough to call him Fox."
"What about us?"
Scully felt that she was blushing just the slightest bit, but she went on. "What should Agent Mulder and I call you?"
"I think that for now you had better call me Torrance. Keep the balance of power fairly equal."
"OK, Agent Torrance, I think we have just about arrived at our destination. " They had just past a sign on the highway that read the Bartlett Hotel-- Next Left.
"Is this the place were staying at?"
"I don't know. Mulder just told me to come to make the turnoff. He said that he wanted to meet us in the dining room of the hotel. " When Torrance didn't respond, Scully snuck a look at him. All of a sudden there was a look on his face that she didn't quite understand. "Is everything all right?"
Torrance didn't answer right away. He continued to look straight ahead at the hotel which was looming ever closer on the horizon. His eyes seemed to have fallen to the back of his head and his complexion seemed to have gotten paler.
"Agent Torrance, are you all right?"
Upon hearing her voice for the second time, Torrance looked at her. He seemed to be back in reality.
"Sorry about that. My mind just. . . Went away on me for a moment."
Scully still didn't think that she knew Torrance well enough to see if he was lying. However, she decided to let the statement pass for the truth and let it go, at least until she saw Mulder and learned what this whole journey was about.
"Scully, what would you say if I told you that I just had a gut feeling about this case?"
"What kind of gut feeling?"
"The reason that Mulder told us that he wanted to meet us in this hotel is because that's where the unexplained death took place."
Scully looked at Torrance and mentally cursed herself for not reasoning it out this far. After six years the only places that she and Mulder stayed at were low rent motels with all the charm and ambience of a Holiday Inn. The only reason that Mulder would ever take up shelter in a hotel that was above third class was if there was something supernatural or paranormal associated with it.
"Do you have any feeling as to what Mulder has found that he has considered worthy of our time?"
Torrance shook his head. "I'm sure that Mulder will tell us when we get there."
Over the past five months, Danny Torrance had almost thought that he had lost the ability to shine. Ironically, the near total disappearance of the 'gift' that he had possessed since he was four years old had disappeared at around the exact same time that he had been transferred to a unit where his abilities might not only be acceptable but also welcomed.
The first day that he had met Mulder and Scully, he had what he had begun to refer to himself as "shines". He had sensed the presence of a small pool of blood forming in the corner next to Mulder's desk. Then he had looked up at the wall to see a small poster beginning to slowly curl into flames. He had managed to mask his reaction and eventually both images had disappeared. He had learned from gossip that a murder and a fire had both taken place in the office, but he had not mentioned anything to Mulder or Scully.
During the next few months as he slowly but gradually become accepted into the bizarre world where Mulder and Scully had lived, he had expected to have more 'shines'. While he had been working in the Boston field office, he had encountered several "shines' when ever he walked on to a crime scene. Usually they were only murky images of pain and blood. Sometimes they were more detailed showing the killer at work. He had often been able to use his ability to sketch out accurately what had happened at the crime.
However, since he had joined the X-Files, the images that made up one part of the 'shine' had been coming less often. It had happened once before but even then it had been vague and indistinct So too were the dreams that had used to come that had foreshadowed events to comes. He had not had a dream like that since he had joined Mulder and Scully.
Until last night.
When Mulder had called him and told them that they were going to Ohio to investigate a haunted house.
Then that night he had dreamed of the Overlook Hotel for the first time since he was an adolescent.
The dream started the way that the other dreams had. He found himself in a room that was dark, a room filled with strange (but familiar) furniture. Outside there was a loud booming noise. He knew what it was. He knew before he heard the voice start yelling.
"Come out. Come out and take your medicine, you little pup!" More horrible booming noises, steady, rhythmic, horrible. Smashing glass. Approaching destruction. The hoarse voice. The voice of a madman.
The voice of his father.
Crash. Crash. Crash. Splintering wood. A bellow of rage and satisfaction. In the darkness the booming noises grew louder. Louder still echoing.
And now he was crouched in a dark hallway., crouched on a blue rug with a riot of twisting black shapes woven into its pile, listening to the booming noises approach, and now the shape turned the corner and began to come near him, lurching smelling of blood and doom. It had a mallet in one hand and was swinging it from side to side., slamming it into the walls cutting into the silk wallpaper and knocking out ghostly bursts of plaster dust:
"Come out and take your medicine! Take it like a man!"
The shape advanced on him, the mallet head cutting across the air with a wicked hissing whisper, then great hollow boom as it crashed into the wall. Then the figure stepped into the light, and as the monster advanced upon him, he realized with a sudden horror that the Shape was not his father after all.
It was Mulder.
Then he had awakened with a scream.
He had tried to figure out the implications of this dream. Why was the horror that had stamped itself across his childhood come back now? And what were the implications of his dream, the dream that he associated with the horrible word REDRUM? He had considered begging out of the assignment telling Scully that he had some sort of family emergency. But in the end he had decided to go, realizing that if there were horrors to be faced at this house Mulder and Scully could not--- and should not--- face them alone.
He had shown up and had put up a cheerful exterior, trying to seem happy with an attitude that he figured was obviously false. He had waited with trepidation to see where this journey took them. But when he saw the hotel, all the optimism that he had built up fell away at once. The moment that he saw it, he knew that just like the Overlook, this hotel was a Bad Place. Danger and death loomed over the Bartlett. And if he didn't act responsibly, he-- and Mulder and Scully would somehow fall victim to it.
The lobby of the Bartlett was bustling with activity. There were a sizable number of guests talking in hushed voices. It was clear that some event of high importance had occurred and it was having quite an effect on everyone present. Scully couldn't hear what the people were talking about--- the only words that they heard were 'the man in 306."
Torrance leaned over to Scully. "Did Mulder tell you where he wanted us to meet him?"
Scully shook her head. "Let's just go to the front desk and see if they can find him for us."
Scully walked quickly to the front desk and rang the bell. A small mousy looking women answered her ring. "How may I help you?"
Scully took out her badge. "I'm Special Agent Scully. This is Agent Torrance. We're with the FBI."
The woman behind the desk reacted nervously. "Is this about the man who killed himself?" She looked simultaneously very nervous and excited, as if she was unsure how to react to this.
"Has there been another FBI agent shown up?"
"I think so. Let me just check the register. " She looked down at the notebook in front of her. "Yes, Agent Mulder is already upstairs. Room 402."
"Come on lets go. " She turned around and looked towards Torrance and saw he was looking with a fixed glance at a sign on the edge of the lobby.
"Are you OK Torrance?" She looked at her current partner with a certain amount of concern.
Torrance looked at her with an expression that seemed to be equal parts fear and distaste. "I'm fine. I just . . . Suddenly had a craving for a cigarette."
"I didn't know that you smoked. " said Agent Scully curiously. Today was certainly a day for learning about the people that she worked with.
"I haven't. Not for almost a year. "This was a lie. He had been smoking on and off steadily since he had joined the X-Files. He had just managed to keep it out of sight. The two of them began walking towards the elevator. "I didn't figure that you needed to know seeing that you and Mulder are both ex-smokers."
This surprised her even more than the question about the names. "How did you know that?"
"With Agent Mulder, its fairly obvious. The sunflower seeds that he's always munching on. Classic sign of someone with an oral fixation. With you, its less obvious. Clearest sign is the way that you sometimes play with your hands sometimes.
"I do not. " said Scully. Torrance just gave her a look. "Really?" she said in t a tone that was less then sure of herself. She was beginning to wonder how much here body language was giving away. Torrance was better at picking up on certain body language then Mulder was. She was also thinking that Torrance seemed to be having some kind of major problem with this case. For a moment she considered confronting him about it, but once again she decided to let it wait.
When they arrived on the fourth floor she could tell that there was some kind of argument going on between Mulder and another man in the doorway of his room. Scully sighed to herself. It wasn't enough that Mulder always seemed to drag them out on these long journeys to deal with assorted wild goose chases, he always seemed to get into arguments with those people in authority. She sighed to herself and walked towards Mulder, unaware of the pale expression that was developing on her other partners face.
Danny Torrance was trying desperately to ignore all the signs that were screaming at him that the Bartlett was not only a bad place but possibly a very dangerous one.
The first sign had occurred in the hotel lobby. For most of his childhood and most of his years in the FBI, he had tried to avoid situations which had him waiting in a crowd. It was in place like this that 'the shine' was more likely to effect him. It did so in this case as well because the thoughts of the people were very loud. Using the ability that he had to shut out most of the nasty thoughts, he still found it hard to keep a lot of the thoughts out. The one that kept hitting him over and over was (How could such a thing happen? He was right across the hall from me. ) but it was all mostly a jumble. He supposed that if he made an effort he could separate the important thoughts from the hysteria, but as was often the case, it made more sense to try and avoid them all together.
He had walked out onto the porch of the hotel. Beyond the wide front porch, he could see beautiful well-manicured lawn. On the right of it was a putting green. The lawn sloped away to a long rectangular swimming pool. Beyond the pool was a graveled path that through the trees. And under it was a sign that said LAWN CROQUET.
Just looking at the sign made his blood run cold. Even though he had never heard of this version of the sport, he knew that involved hitting brightly colored balls with a (Come out and take your medicine) mallet. Somehow he knew that this mallet would somehow be somewhat smaller and heavier than the usual mallet, that it would ---- Get a hold of yourself., he told himself frantically. Do you now how many hotels in the country have croquet lawns? It means nothing. Its just your mind playing games with you.
This was true, probably true. But what were the odds that he would end up in the same kind of hotel that had the same kind of aura coming off it that the Overlook did?
He didn't know. But suddenly he had a craving for a cigarette. He knew that it wouldn't do him much good, but he suddenly felt as if he needed it.
When Scully had come over to him, he had again attempted to cover his tracks by asking about her personal habits. (He didn't tell her that he had picked up on her habits by shining her, of course. ) But it was becoming clear that unless he did something soon, Scully would become aware that something was wrong with him.
As they walked down the hall towards where Mulder was arguing with some figure of authority, Danny thought that somehow he recognized the voice of the other man. Once again, he thought that he was going crazy.
The man that Mulder was engaged in an energetic conversation with stood five and half feet tall. Torrance knew that he had never seen the man before in his life. So why was he being visited with an extraordinary feeling of deja vu?
"Agent Mulder, I am not just going to allow you to run roughshod over this hotel. " the short man said
"Sir, this is a crime scene."
"You have no proof of that. " The short man took an indignant tone. "And unless you do, I will not let you turn my hotel into a circus."
Mulder, looking around as if in desperation, spotted him and Scully with an expression of relief. "Mr. Ullman, these are my partners Agent Scully and Agent Torrance. They will be helping me investigate the death of Martin Stone."
Ullman turned around and Danny Torrance could barely control the urge to faint.
Twenty three years ago, a boy named Danny Torrance had gone with his father and mother to work at the Overlook Hotel. His father had been about to take the position as winter caretaker. That hotel had been managed by a man named Stuart Ullman. Though Danny's father had never told him that he didn't like Mr. Ullman, he had known from his father's thoughts that he considered the man an officious little prick. That insult had stayed with Danny as long as the other events that had happened that winter at the Overlook. So had the image of the man that had inspired it. Now after decades, he seemed to be staring at that man or at least his twin brother. Somehow Danny managed to maintain his self-control and shook Ullman's hands without any kind of reaction. Ullman did not give any reaction to seeing Danny, but then he had not expected there to be one.
Ullman seemed to gather a hold of his self- restraint. "Why must you find it necessary to drag the Bartlett through the mire?"
"Mr. Ullman, I understand that you are upset about what has happened here, but a death has occurred under suspicious circumstances in your hotel. Now my fellow agents and I will try to be discreet, but we do need to investigate Mr. Stone's death."
"The police have already been through here. I don't know what you will find that they didn't. " Ullman still seemed perturbed, but Mulder seemed to be wearing him down.
"Mr. Ullman, the sooner that me and my partners can get to work on this, the sooner we will be out of your hair."
Ullman sighed. "Very well, I shall leave the three of you to your jobs. " He was about to leave but Danny stopped him.
"Excuse me, Mr. Ullman, but have we ever met before."
Ullman looked at Danny strangely. "I don't believe we have."
"How long have you been in the hotel business?"
A look of pride crossed over Ullman's face. It was not a very flattering look; it made him look more insufferable than before, if such a thing was possible. "The Ullman family has been in the business of hotels for over seventy years. My father was in the business, as was his father. Why do you ask?"
"No reason. I just. . . thought that I knew you. " Danny finished the sentence lamely. Ullman, however decided to let it go and left the three agents standing around the room.
"What was that about?" asked Mulder.
"Nothing important. Why did you ask for us to come out here?" Danny asked.
Mulder gathered himself. "One week ago, Martin Stone checked into the Bartlett. Stone was a journalist with an interest in the scandal-mongering. He came to the Bartlett hoping for his next big story."
"What is so special about the Bartlett that would be so interesting? " asked Scully.
"The Bartlett is a house with a history."
Mulder looked up at Danny with some surprise. "How did you guess?"
"Why else would you call us here?"
Mulder paused, then went on. "That's right; the Bartlett does have something of a shadowy past. There have been a series of repeated changes in ownership coupled with a number of suspicious deaths over the years."
Danny was beginning to like this less and less. "How were these deaths suspicious?"
"Perhaps I misspoke. Several of the deaths were not suspicious in themselves, it is just that the timing of the deaths always seems to coincide with a change in ownership. When the hotel first opened in 1926, the son of the owner James Bartlett died in a riding accident that took place on the hotel grounds. In 1947, an executive who was on the board of trustees for the Bartlett died of a heart attack."
"What's so suspicious about that?" asked Scully.
"Do the words Nelson Rockefeller have any meaning for you?"
"You mean that. . ."
"He died with his pants down. " said Mulder, the trace of a smirk covering his face. "The papers had a field day with it. In 1955, an actress died of a heroin overdose in the executive suite. In 1961, four writers tried to turn the hotel into a writer's school. That failed when a student got drunk and crashed out of the third floor window. In 1967, the hotel was bought by a consortium of Atlantic City investors. Three years later there was a gangland style execution in the Presidential Suite of a crime overlord and his two bodyguards. After that the Bartlett went out of business for the better part of two decades."
"Why was the Bartlett reopened after so many disasters?"
"From what I can tell the Board of Directors for the hotel consists of people who held degrees in business and believe that they could turn the Bartlett into a money maker."
"Have they succeeded?" asked Danny
Mulder started, then stopped. "Are you alright, Agent Torrance?"
"I'm fine. "
"Are you sure? You look kind of pale."
Danny didn't need Mulder to tell him that he didn't look too good. As he had given his grim retelling of the storied history of the Bartlett (which somehow he knew was similar to that of the Overlook and he would have been right) he had begun to feel weak about the knee and all the spit in his mouth had begun to dry up. He wiped his mouth with his hand. He was dying for a smoke.
Mulder went on. "According to Ullman, the hotel has slowly but surely begun to make a profit over the past few years. He was therefore admittedly concerned that a reporter like Stone with his propensity for muckraking might bring the Bartlett's tarnished history to light."
"You don't think that Ullman killed Stone, do you?" asked Scully.
"According to the medical examiner, no one killed Martin Stone. That's part of the problem, actually."
"What do you mean?"
"The medical examiner can 't come up with a cause of death. There is no sign of any blunt force trauma, there are no points of entry for any weapon, and there are no signs of suffocation."
"Could Stone have died of natural causes?"
Mulder shook his head. "There are no signs of heart failure or any other diseases. He has a perfectly healthy body except for the fact that he's dead."
"So what are we all doing here?" asked Scully. "What exactly do you hope to accomplish by being here?"
"I've got a theory as to what happened to Stone. It's a little out there, but bear with me."
Scully rolled her eyes, but let Mulder go on.
"What if all the deaths that have taken place in the Bartlett's are happening for reasons that aren't quite natural?"
"Mulder, I don't understand what your getting at?"
"In certain Native American tribes, there is the belief the energy from certain negative events can affect a place in a manner that has a lasting effect on the place."
"SO you're saying that there has been a build up of negative energy at the Bartlett. " Scully was skeptical, as always.
"This human place makes inhuman monsters. " muttered Danny. Both Mulder and Scully looked at him. He had been very quiet throughout the entire debate between Mulder and Scully. This was not that unusual as Danny had learned to be quiet when the two of them were having a discussion. However, usually Danny would add something to the discussion. His sullen mood troubled both agents. "Are you all right, Torrance?" asked Mulder.
Torrance paused before answering. "I'm OK. " He swallowed nervously. "Mulder, you got us out here for a reason. What do you want us to do? Hold a seance so that we can try and contact the spirit of Martin Stone? Ask him what happened to kill him?"
Mulder stared at Torrance quizzically before continuing. "Actually you're not that far off. Parapsychologists sometimes suggest that certain paranormal forces sometimes linger around sometimes the area where they were manifested. If they do exist, maybe we can find them in the hotel"
"OK, Lets say that we can locate these 'spirits'. What do you suggest that we do if we find them? Just walk up to them and go 'We're with the FBI. Spirits, would you mind taking a ride with us downtown?"
"Let's just see if we can find these things first. I'm going to ask Ullman if he'll give us the passkey. " Mulder walked towards the elevator, but Danny stopped him.
"Let me talk to him."
"Any particular reason that you want to handle this instead of me?" said Mulder curiously
"You've already teed off the guy enough. Let me talk with him. I'll be subtler. " As Torrance moved towards the elevator. Besides there's something I want to get."
As Mulder opened the door to the Presidential Suite, he looked over at the faces of his fellow agents, trying to interpret their mood.
Scully was acting normally. She had that skeptical look on her face that Mulder had come to know very well. It was an expression which said that aliens will literally have to come down and bite me in the ass before I believe in them. It had initially irritated Mulder but in the course of time he had come to respect and appreciate him . He had realized that Scully's realistic attitude had saved him from making foolish decisions dozens of times. In other words, Scully was reacting normally.
Torrance's attitude, however was troubling. Maybe it was because he hadn't known Torrance for as long as he had known Scully, but he didn't understand what Torrance was all about. Torrance had the habit of being somewhat more open to Mulder's wild theories then Scully did. However, he had odd quirks that he didn't fully understand. For example, Torrance had the habit of looking intensely into places where nothing normally was. Normally, Mulder would have shrugged it off if it wasn't for the expression that came into his eyes.
It looked like Torrance was seeing something that Mulder and Scully weren't. Something that was just beyond the normal perception that he was somehow incapable of seeing. Mulder thought that there was something important that Danny Torrance was keeping from them. He had wanted to ask him, but had decided not to. His behavior after all was not interfering with his work. And so he had let it pass.
Today, however, things were clearly different. From the moment he had showed up with Scully, he had appeared tenser than he usually did. For some reason, the encounter with the manager of the hotel had gotten him even more worked up. It was clear that something was bothering him. Furthermore, Scully, who sometimes could be blind to the problems of others was clearly seeing it too.
When Torrance had gone downstairs to get the passkey from Ullman, he had pulled Scully aside and had asked her if she thought something was wrong with their colleague.
Scully had thought it over before replying. "He seemed cheerful in the car ride over. I thought that he seemed unusually happy. Ever since he got here, he's been acting strange."
"Do you think that he's covering up something?"
Scully thought for a moment, then shook her head. "If he is, I don't know what it could be."
"Well, keep an eye on him while were searching the hotel. See if he does something that is out of the ordinary."
"Mulder, do you really expect to find evidence of ghosts?"
He looked at Scully for a moment, then shook his head. "Maybe, maybe not. But to tell you the truth, I'm no longer interested in looking for ghosts anymore."
"Well, what do you hope to find?"
"That may depend on what the other man in The X-Files does."
Then Agent Torrance reappeared. The first thing that both Mulder and Scully noticed what that he was smoking. Both thought that it made him look older than he was. With his brown felt hat and the cigarette smoke trailing from his mouth, he really did look like a homicide detective. For a moment they both stared at him, struck by the resemblance. Then Torrance walked towards them and the moment passed.
"Where do you want to start?" he asked Mulder.
Mulder thought for a second. "Lets go to the top floor and work our way down. " He walKed towards the elevator; Scully and Torrance following close behind him.
As they entered the elevator, Torrance asked "Anywhere in particular you want to get started?"
"I'd like to take a look in The Presidential Suite." For a second it seemed that Torrance got paler, but if he did it was gone in an instant. Still Mulder didn't forget that. Something was wrong with Agent Torrance.
For what seemed to be the fiftieth time since he had gone down to get the passkey from Ullman, Danny Torrance tried to convince himself not to get nervous or worried. He was not entirely surprised when he failed again. He had seen some scary things in his life--- quite a few of them in the last few months-- but he honestly didn't think that he had felt this scared since he was five years old.
Stop it, he told himself for the fiftieth time. You are not five, you are twenty-eight and you are an agent with the FBI. Even if this place is a lot like the Overlook, remember these things can hurt you.
Suddenly he wished that he had told Mulder and Scully about who he was and what he could do. He would have felt a lot more comfortable---well, maybe not comfortable, but more certain that he could handle things if he knew that his partners had him covered in every sense of the word.
Snuffing out his cigarette in one of the ashcans that lined the hall, he gathered himself. He was as ready as anyone could get for this. "OK. Lets go in. " Upon hearing this Mulder put the key into the door of room 50O, the Presidential Suite. He opened the door.
Scully and Mulder looked at the room. It was bigger than most of the other rooms in the hotel and more exorbitant furnished. In the center of the room was a big brass four poster bed. . Next to it was a large oak cabinet. In another of the rooms corners stood a miniature kitchen with a sink, a refrigerator, a and a small gas stove. On the far right of the room was a doorway that led into the second part of the room.
"I guess this is what you call first class. . " Mulder said as he walked towards the kitchen. Scully followed him with Danny bringing up the rear.
"This is where the gangland hit took place. " said Scully.
Mulder nodded. "In 1966, Mario Zalta, a capo in the Masucci family in New York was staying here to meet with some other members of the Mob."
"I didn't know that the Mafia was that deep in Ohio in the sixties. " said Torrance.
"Neither did I, but apparently during the sixties the hotel was bought by a Las Vegas firm called High Country Investments. That firm was a shell company for several Las Vegas gambling barons. And most of those gamblers were linked to kingpins in the underworld."
"How do you know all this stuff, Mulder?"
"Martin Stone did research. I had a look at some of his notes."
"You peeked at the notes of a dead man?"
"Hey, his research was in the public domain, Scully."
Scully then turned around to look at Torrance who was standing in the hallway looking distracted. "See anything green?"
Torrance looked up, and quickly turned his attention to his partners. "What?"
"What do you think, Agent Torrance?"
"I think that this is a very nice room. Its light years beyond the two dollar motels that we normally stay at. Other than that I don't see anything remarkable."
"Are you absolutely sure?"
Now Torrance looked at Mulder and Scully with irritation. "What do you expect me to see? Bullet holes in the wall? Blood in the kitchen sink. Maybe there was a crime here thirty years ago, but its gone now. Even the ghosts are dead. . You want to waste time digging up the past, you go ahead. But really you should think about it before you go and drag me and Scully into this. " Torrance turned around and walked out of the room.
Scully turned to Mulder with a look that was equal parts amusement and irritation. "I can't say I entirely blame him for being so perturbed."
"Come on, Scully. . . '
"Mulder, why are we here? A man dies in a hotel with a sordid past and you think that its an X-File?"
Mulder paused. "OK. Three weeks ago. I got a call from this Martin Stone. He called me said that he had heard of my work in the FBI and thought that it might come in useful. He'd begun doing his research into the Bartlett and he said that he had found out some very peculiar things in the hotel."
"What kind of things?"
"He told me that he had talked to a maid who used to work in this hotel. She told him that she had seen something odd while working here particularly in the Executive and the Presidential Suites."
"What kind of things?"
Mulder shook his head. "Stone refused to tell me over the phone. All he said was that there were some things in the hotel that warranted investigation. Because of our schedules it took me more then two weeks before we could come out here."
"And by the time we got out here, Stone was dead. " said Scully.
"I think that Stone started to investigate a big story and that it may have killed him."
"You think that somebody who worked in the Bartlett knew about Stones investigation and killed him?"
Mulder shook his head. " He spent the last two weeks of his life here. I think that maybe the hotel killed him somehow."
"Mulder, a hotel is not a person. It couldn't kill anyone."
"All right, maybe not the hotel. But some kind of spirit that was attached to it somehow. . . ."
"Mulder, we've had this discussion about haunted houses before."
"And we've never resolved the question satisfactorily."
"Well, how do you intend to resolve it?" asked Scully.
" First, lets finish going over the hotel. Then let's spend the night at the Bartlett."
"Mulder, this is ridiculous. " Scully expected that Mulder would react to this if nothing else--- he didn't like it when Scully out and out called his theories silly. When he didn't respond, she looked at Mulder and saw that he was staring at the third agent in the hallway. She was about to say something about this. Then, for the first time since they had entered the hotel, she took a good look at Torrance.
He was muttering to himself "Nothing's there. Nothing's there. Nothing's there. " Scully approached him with concern. When she gently tapped him on the shoulder, he whirled around and she saw into his eyes. He was terrified.
Danny Torrance had been having an incredible sense of deja vu ever since he and Scully had come to the Bartlett. That feeling had lingered when they had begun to search the hotel. He had no idea what Mulder expected to find, but he knew that it was probably close to something that he had seen.
When he had entered the Presidential Suite, he had to mentally gird himself in order to enter the room. Upon entering, his eyes had been drawn not to the magnificent furniture or the spectacular view, but at the blue and white striped wallpaper near the bedroom. There on the wallpaper he saw great splashes of dried blood, flecked with tiny bits of grayish-white specks. He had seen enough similar murders since he had begun to work in the FBI, but he didn't have to no about any of them to know what those gray white specks were.
For a moment, he tried to convince himself that the image that his mind was superimposing the image from the Presidential Suite in the Overlook. He had then blinked his eyes several times in order to try and dispel the sight from his vision This had sometimes worked before. Only this time it didn't work. The bloodstain remained present.
All right, Danny boy, get a hold of yourself or your partners are going to be calling for the men in the white coats. So this hotel is a Bad Place. You have been in Bad Places before. These things can't hurt you . Just look the other way and it will disappear.
So he had looked away and the image of the blood and the brains did disappear. What did not go away was the certainty that the longer he continued to stay at this hotel, he would see more of these disturbing things. And that eventually they would rise up and overpower him.
With all these thoughts rushing through his mind, he was having a hard time reminding himself that there were two other people with him. He had tried to cover up his growing certainty that things were getting out of hand by blustering over what he had seen. At the time Mulder and Scully were so busy with their own discussion, they didn;t notice that he was going to pieces.
However when Scully walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder it was almost enough to send him back over the high side. He had recoiled from her touch as if he was being attacked in some way.
"Agent Torrance, are you all right?" Scully looked at him with noticeable concern. He looked to Mulder and saw a similar expression of concern in his eyes as well.
Was he all right? Now there was a question where he could affirmatively answer no. He could see from their looks that they weren't just going to let this go. He decided that it was time to tell the truth--at least some of it--- and the hell with the consequences.
"No, I'm not all right. " He breathed in an gathered himself as he prepared to tell some of the story which had haunted him since he was five. "When I was five years old, my father got a job as the winter caretaker at a hotel in Colorado. As part of the job, my parents and I had to live in the hotel for several months. While I was staying there, it snowed heavily. Stuck indoors for the better part of the winter, my father. . . . " He paused. How could he explain what had happened? ". . . Went mad. He attacked my mother and he tried to attack me. He would have killed us both if. . . . " He paused again. For some reason, he didn't want to mention the shine. Not here. Not in a Bad Place. " Someone from town came up to see how we were doing. He saved my mother and me.
"My God. " He saw an expression that he had never thought he would see on Mulders face. Regret. However, even though his regret, he saw another expression:the curiosity that was as much a part of him as his hazel eyes. "What happened to your father?" Scully shot him a look that told him not to pry.
"Its all right, Agent Scully, you have aright to know. " He gathered himself again. "The hotel had this old heating system. It had an old boiler that had to be emptied everyday. In the middle of my fathers. . . madness, he forgot to empty it. My mother and I were able to escape because he forgot. We got out before the boiler exploded. That's what killed him. " Danny felt tears coming to his eyes. He swallowed and managed to hold them back.
"I'm sorry. " said Scully as she reached out to touch his hand. This time he accepted her touch without recoiling.
"So am I. "said Mulder. " You should have told me. I would never have brought you out here if I had known about this."
"You told me what it was about over the phone. I knew what this case was about. I thought. . . " he paused and gathered himself again. " I thought that coming here would help me lay some old ghosts to rest somehow."
"Was the hotel that you stayed at haunted?"
Danny paused again. The Overlook had been haunted, true, but the ghosts that had been present had only become more than images when he and his family had shown up. His "gift" had made the ghosts of that hotel real. But there was no way to explain that to Mulder and Scully without going into an even more complicated explanation as to what his gift was.
"It was a house with a history, I know that much for certain. My father told me---before he---" He couldn't finish the sentence and went on as best he could "that bad things had happened in that hotel."
"The same kind of bad things that have happened at the Bartlett?" Mulder was still being sympathetic but now Danny could sense something else in his tone--- a kind of excitement.
Danny nodded. "I think so."
"Do you want to leave?" There was sympathy in Scully's tone.
Danny thought about it. Part of him (a really big part) wanted to just that to run away and to never come back to this haunted place. Indeed, there was only one thing that was telling him not to get out of here. That was the thought that even if he did leave, Mulder and Scully would stay. And if they stayed to long at this place, they would almost certainly face the same kind of monsters that Danny had to face at the Overlook. Part of Danny still wanted to run away and never come back and to hell with Mulder and Scully, but a good part of him liked these two agents. They had accepted him as one of their own and were concerned with what happened to him and he did not want to see anything bad happen to them.
So he shook his head. "Lets just get on with it. " He looked at Mulder and Scully with a self confidence that he didn't completely feel.
"All right, lets check out the Executive Suite next."
Mulder sat on the bed typing up his report on the events of the day. He was feeling very tired from the search of the hotel--- a search which had revealed nothing. He was feeling a little discouraged, but he was still convinced that there was something in the hotel that he, Scully, and Torrance just weren't seeing.
Mentally he modified that statement. He hadn't seen anything in the hotel. And he believed that Scully hadn't seen anything either. It was Torrance who remained something of a puzzle. He supposed that it was possible that the only thing bothering him was the trauma that he was feeling visiting a hotel like the one he had stayed in when he was only a child. But it seemed to Mulder that Torrance was still hiding something from him and Scully. There had been several moments during their exploration of the Bartlett where Torrance had just paused and stared out into space. Whenever he had questioned him about it, Torrance said that he was thinking about his tour of the Overlook (a name which for some reason seemed to resonate with Mulder) over twenty years ago.
It seemed like something else was happening though. To Mulder it looked like he was seeing something that for some reason neither he or his partner could see. He had wanted to ask Torrance just what it was that he was staring at. The problem was he had no idea how to ask him that question without sounding crazy or laughable. So he had held off.
After they had searched the hotel thoroughly, Mulder had asked Ullman if they could spend the night. The manager had squirmed, caught between his natural desire to get all figures of authority out of the hotel and his fear of Mulders subtle hints that he might want to have an FBI forensic team go over Martin Stone's room. Apparently his fear won out over his disgust because he had said that the three agents could stay at the Bartlett for the night.
As they headed back out to the car to get their luggage, Torrance had done something even stranger. He had pulled Mulder to one side and had asked him if the two of them could share a room. When he had asked why, Torrance had been even more open.
"This hotel gives me the creeps. Maybe I'm being afraid over nothing but I don't want to be alone in my room tonight. " Beneath the usual maturity that filled Torrance voice, Mulder had sensed something lurking below it: irrational fear bordering on outright terror. That had not been the only reasoning that had motivated Mulder. Somehow, he felt sure that somehow Torrance was a key to understanding what had happened at the Bartlett. He hadn't even told Scully because he wanted to observe him.
Torrance stepped out of the bathroom. Mulder looked at him and had to bite his cheeks to restrain a bout of laughter. He was wearing a pair of blue flannel pajamas that would have seemed modest in the nineteenth century. Torrance must have sensed something in his appearance.
"I know how I look, but I wanted to be up to standard for the dress code."
"You know the rules against fraternization between FBI agents."
"Don't worry Torrance, you're not my type."
Torrance gave a small smile but he still appeared nervous.
"Are you sure you're all right, Torrance?"
He gave a small smile. "We're roommates now. I think you can call me Danny. "
"You didn't answer my question."
The smile faded away. "I'm not entirely sure what I'm scared enough. Logic and my own eyes tell me that there is nothing in this hotel to be frightened of."
"But that's not enough."
Torrance gave a laugh that had very little humor in it. "Over the past few months I've learned that you can't always believe either of them completely."
"You really think that there is something in the Bartlett to be afraid of?"
Torrance shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't ask to share a room with you because I wanted your company."
"What do you think is going to happen?"
"If I knew, I wouldn't be so afraid of it."
"Why do you say that?"
"Just because you know what's coming doesn't mean that you shouldn't be afraid of it."
That seemed to put a damper on Torrance. He said nothing more until an hour later when Mulder was about to turn out the light on his side of the bed.
"There's something that you should know."
"I'm a noisy sleeper. I have vivid dreams which sometimes cause me to toss and turn and speak during the night."
Mulder took this in. "It's OK. I have bad dreams too."
He didn't ask Torrance what has dreams were about and Torrance didn't ask Mulder. Perhaps because both men had enough to handel with their own night terrors they didn't think about the others.
Mulder fell asleep and for a few hours slept quietly. Either his terrors chose to take the night off or they weren't as bad as usual, because he thought of nothing as he slept. What woke him was the sound of a door opening. He opened his eyes just in time to see the door to his bedroom closing. When he looked into the bed across from him, he saw that Torrance wasn't in it.
"Agent Torrance. " No response. He looked at the clock. 1:56 A. M. He considered going back to bed, but then his naturally curious nature got the better of him and he began to wonder what was his partner was doing up. He got out of bed and pulled on his pants. For a moment, he considered getting Scully and then dismissed the idea. She would no doubt be as irritated as hell to be awakened only to find out that she wanted to spy on his other partner.
By the time Mulder got dressed and into the hallway, there was no sign of Torrance. Mulder looked around the hall for some clue as to where his partner could have gotten to. Then he spotted a bellboy.
"Excuse me, did you see anybody else come out of my room a few minutes ago?" he asked.
"Guy in the blue pajamas? Yeah couple of minutes ago he came out of your room and started heading upstairs. Is he all right?"
"What do you mean?"
"He walked right past me and he didn't look right. It was like he didn't even see me."
Mulder came to a decision then. "Listen could you do me a favor?"
"Go to room 314 and wake up my partner. Special Agent Scully. Tell her to meet me in room 406."
"Tell her that I think that there has been a break in the case"
Dana Scully was used to receiving strange calls in the middle of the night. This one, however, was unusual because her partner hadn't brought it to her directly. She sighed to herself wondering what half-assed lead Mulder had decided to chase down now.
As she walked into the hallway of the fourth floor, she spotted Mulder half-dressed and with a look on his face that was equal parts exhaustion and excitement. When he spotted her, a smile briefly flashed on to his face.
"I know what you're thinking Scully. What wild goose chase has my partner dragged me out of bed for at two in the morning?"
"The thought had crossed my mind."
"Well, this time I'm not completely responsible for this."
"Where's Agent Torrance? The messenger that you sent implied that this involved him."
" According to the cleaning lady, he's gone into Room 404."
"Martin Stones room?" When Mulder nodded. "What is he doing?"
"Why don't you see for yourself?"
Mulder opened the door to the room with Scully right behind him. She went inside the room and stopped dead.
Agent Torrance was kneeling on the ground. He was staring trance-like near the bed. Scully couldn't tell whether or not he was asleep or awake. He looked extremely pale and appeared to be light years away from everything. The expression on his face appeared to be one of drugged horror
"Agent Torrance. " Scully said. No response. She walked closer to him. "Agent Torrance are you all right?" Still nothing. She waved his hand in front of his eyes and snapped her fingers in front of his face. Suddenly there was a response but it was the last thing that she had expected. Guttural sounds began to come from his throat. It sounded like he was choking.
Now Scully was becoming alarmed. "Mulder, call 911. " When he seemed uncertain, "Mulder think that Agent Torrance is having an epileptic seizure. " Just as Mulder started moving, however, Torrance began to speak.
"Ah-sure. Tournament play. Redrum. Redrum. " Torrance was speaking very slowly and very controlled."
"Agent Torrance, can you hear me?"
Torrance continued as if Scully didn't exist.
"Stroke. Redrum. They took his balls with him. The mallet has two sides. ."
Scully was becoming very alarmed. If this was an epileptic seizure, it was like nothing that she had ever seen before.
"Scully, what's happening? What's wrong with him?" Without any foreknowledge that she was about to do anything, she grabbed Torrance's elbows and shook him hard. It was surprisingly easy; he seemed lighter than usual. Torrance's head rolled backward limply and then snapped forward.
"Redrum. Tony. Tony. " Suddenly his eyes cleared. He turned around and looked at the two other agents as if he was seeing them for the first time.
"Agent Torrance, are you all right?"
Torrance shook his head and then blinked his eyes several times. "What happened? Where am I?"
"You're in the Bartlett Hotel in Marion. . ."
"I know that. " There was a familiar sound of exasperation in Torrance's tone. Scully might have laughed if she wasn't so concerned about Agent Torrance's health. "Where am I?"
This time Mulder answered. "You're in Room 404."
For the first time Torrance seemed to notice where he was and how he was dressed. "How did I get up here?"
"You don't remember walking up here?"
Torrance shook his head. "No. I don't. . . " Then he put his head in his hands. "Oh my God. " He then said something that Scully didn't understand, but put chills down her spine nevertheless.
"It's happening again."
Mulder and Scully took Torrance back to his room. Both had understandable concern about what had happened to the man that they had come to know and respect over the past few months. Neither agent was entirely sure that they could trust him but that did not mean that they wanted to see him come to harm.
For a long time after the two of them had returned to his room they did not speak. Both agents knew that the best way to get someone who has a story to tell.
Finally Torrance seemed to reach some kind of personal decision in his mind. "I'll bet I can guess what the two of you are thinking."
"No, I don't think that you do. " said Mulder
"Wanna bet?" When both the other agents remained silence, Torrance turned to Scully. "You are thinking that I'm undergoing some kind of post-traumatic stress because of what happened in my childhood. " He then turned to Mulder. "And you're thinking that I had some kind of paranormal episode brought on upon me because this hotel is haunted. " Noting the look o f surprise on both of their faces, he went on: "Do I win the stewing chicken?"
Scully recovered first. "Well you could have just intuited that from working with us for a short period."
"Except that's not true and you both know it. Mulder care to take the guess?"
Mulder shook his head. "I'm tired of being the one who always comes up with the spooky theories. Besides this is your story. You should be the one to tell."
Torrance nodded. "Yes, you're right. " He paused again. This time the hesitation was not because he was afraid of speaking but rather because he was looking for a place to begin.
"I told you that when I was very young, I had a terrible experience that changed my life. I was telling the truth, but I was also lying."
"The Overlook wasn't a bad place. " said Scully.
"No, it was a bad place and it destroyed my father. But the reason that it destroyed my father was because it wanted me."
This caught Scully somewhat by surprise. "You? What did you have tha t made this hotel want you?"
Torrance paused again. "I don't know how to explain it, but ever since I was very young, I have had--- I guess you would call it a gift. I've never thought of it as one."
"You've had this since you were a kid. " said Mulder
"Ever since I was three or four . Before I was able to talk."
"You can remember back that far?" This shocked Mulder. Most people--including himself--- had troubled remembering back to when they were so young. If Torrance could remember that far back there had to be something astonishing about him.
Torrance nodded and paused. "I think the best way for me to describe it to you is for me to tell you about the first man who was able to describe it to me. " He paused. Now that he had a place to begin the story would hopefully come easier.
"When my parents and I went into the Overlook one of the first people that we met was the head cook, Dick Hallorann. " For the first time since he had begun to tell the story, he smiled. The memory of the man who had been so special to him was a fond one. "Dick was this old black man. He was I think around sixty when I first met him. He made all these jokes and told me and my family about all the food that was in the kitchen. He kept making jokes that he was going to pack me up in his suitcase and go down to Florida with him. " The smile faded. "I keep playing that moment over and over. Maybe if I'd said something then, I could have. . . . " He paused. "I'm getting sidetracked."
"Take your time, just say what you need to say. "Mulder's tone was gentle now, but there was still a sense of probing. Torrance knew that he couldn't just turn it his inquisitor mode on and off.
"Anyway, after he finished showing us where all the food went. He took me outside to his car. carrying his bag. Then he turned me and told me. . . . He told me that I had the shine. I can remember his exact words. 'You shine on. Harder then anyone that I ever met in my life' Then he told me that I had a knack.
For a moment, he paused. Scully was the first to recover. "I don't think I know what you're saying."
"Neither did I. I had a vague idea, but I wasn't sure. The thing is . . . " Torrance breathed hard showing exasperation. "I was so young. I didn't know or understand a lot. I couldn't even really read then. But I knew things. Ever since I was very young I knew stuff.
"Are you saying that you had precognitive visions?" asked Mulder, his voice not betraying anything
Torrance looked at Mulder. "That's a fancy term for it. Over twenty years I've heard all kinds of names for it. I just call it was Dick did. The shine."
Scully looked at Torrance. "You know you can't just tell us this and expect us to take it on faith."
Torrance nodded. For a moment he hesitated. "There was a murder in your office."
"You could have found that out just by listening to office gossip. " said Scully.
" A father murdered his son. He waited for him to come into the office and then shot him point blank in the chest". There was a brief pause as Mulder and Scully took that in.
Mulder recovered first. "That black-lunged son of a bitch. I always figured that it was him but I didn't know that he pulled the trigger himself ."
"How. . . How did you know that?" Scully was still trying to get her mind around that concept.
"The first time that I walked into your office, I had a brief spell or something. Then I just saw this young man walk into the office and I saw him get shot by a man with a cigarette."
"The detail was that clear. " said Mulder
"And this has been going on since you were three or four."
"Yes, but you have to understand something. I haven't always been able to see things like that. The visions that I get now;they are different from when I was four or five."
"What were they like?'
Torrance paused. . "Sometimes when I concentrated really hard, I would see this boy. He was always standing in the shadows so it was hard for me to see him. And then at the very limit of my vision, I would see this figure dark and hazy. He was always a little hard to see but I could tell that he was older than me---- twelve, thirteen maybe even older.
"Did you recognize this figure from somewhere else?"
Torrance shook his head. "I called him Tony. At the time I didn't know why or who he was. Looking back on it, I now understand it better than I did."
"What do you mean?"
"The boy-- Tony--- was me. If they had called in a psychologist, he would have quickly figured out why it was there and why I had named him."
Suddenly something clicked for Mulder. "Tony--- that's your middle name, right?"
Torrance nodded. "Daniel Anthony Torrance. It all seems very clear to me now. But back then--- it was all confusing to me."
"I can imagine. " said Mulder. "What did you see in these visions."
"Back then, it was mainly things that involved my family. I could tell what my mother and father were thinking. But I didn't want to because I felt that it was wrong. Sometimes Tony showed be what they were thinking especially when they were thinking about. . . ." Torrance trailed off . . . . bad things. " he finished lamely.
Mulder, who had undergone a troubled childhood himself and thought that he understood some of the things that had gone on his house, could extend a certain amount of sympathy to his fellow agent. "You don't have to tell us about it if its too painful. " He put his hand on Torrance's shoulder
Torrance looked at Mulder for a minute then shook his head. "If there's one thing I've learned is that its not good to keep the past buried. " He tool a deep breath and then started.
"I loved my father very much. I know that he was a loving and caring individual. But . . . He drank. A lot. And when he drunk. He became mean. Once when I was three years old and went into his study, I accidentally spilled some beer on a story that he was working on. He came back and saw me and. . . He broke my arm. "He noticed the shock on the faces of both of his partners and continued. "Things were very tense in my house then. When I could read their thoughts, the only thing that I kept seeing was DIVORCE. In big letters. I didn't know what it meant. But I only knew that it scared me. " H e gathered himself together. "After that, for reasons that I don't understand. My father stopped drinking. He never told us how or why. But for some reason he just stopped. Things were good. Then my father got into a fight with a student at the school where he taught. He got fired. A friend of my fathers got him the job at The Overlook."
Torrance paused. "Before we mover to Colorado, a vision of Tony was always something that I considered a good thing. But a couple of days before we went to the hotel, when Tony came to me. I had a scary vision."
"He showed you the Overlook. " said Mulder. Torrance knew the man well enough to know when his partner had just made a leap.
Yes, but I didn't know it at the time. All I saw was this big scary place. Huge and rectangular with a sloping roof. It was standing there in th e snow. I saw a lot of signs that indicated danger and bad thing I don't remember what they said but one of them was very clear. REDRUM. I heard the sound of crashes and wood splintering. And a person screaming. Yelling that it wanted someone to come out and take my medicine. But before I could see the thing, I woke up. " He paused. "A couple of days later, we drove up to th e hotel. And on the way up we stopped at the scenic view and I saw the Overloo k for the first time. And I knew, whatever and thing I had seen in my dream wa s there."
"And then while you were coming in you met Dick Hallorann." said Scully. "And he told you about the shine. "He could tell from Scully's tone that she didn't quite believe him .
"When I heard that I wasn't the only one in the world who had these feelings, I felt this huge weight being lifted off my shoulders . If the power had been just seeing Tony from time, I'm sure that I would have just left it alone. But the shine was-- is -- much more than that."
"What else can you do?" Mulder sounded eager. Torrance couldn't blame him. To have a psychic in his presence must have been one of Mulder's all time fantasies.
"I could tell what other people are thinking. I can't read a persons mind, but if a persons thoughts are loud enough I can tell what a persons emotions are just by listening. Back then, I had only the vaguest idea of what this entail. And it was hampered by the fact that I was only five. So I could sometimes hear peoples thoughts---"
"But you couldn't understand them. " Mulder finished. Torrance nodded .
"Just before I met Dick in the hotel lobby, I ran into this middle aged woman who was complaining about her bill. Eventually she finished packing up and the bellboys helped her pack up her car. Then I looked at her and I got this message loud and clear from the babble of all the emotions and thought that were in that lobby. I'd like to get into his pants."
Mulder blinked. " That's a hell of a thing to pick up."
"I was five, Mulder. I didn't know what she meant. I couldn't understand why she wanted to get into the bellboys pants. I thought that she was cold or something. When I told Dick that I heard this you know what he did. He laughed and told me that I was going to know all about the human condition before I was ten. " He stopped and looked at Mulder and Scully with a melancholy air. "I learned an awful lot about human nature that winter."
"Hallorann didn't just take you aside and tell you about the shine. He wanted to warn you about something else."
"He told me that he had some bad dreams and some bad feelings. He said that there were bad things in the Overlook, but he didn't think that they could hurt me. " Torrance looked at Scully and Mulder. He didn't want to have to tell the next part, but he knew that he had to.
"Then the hotel manager, Ullman, took me and my family on the grand tour of the place. The first place that we went to was The Presidential Suite. I walked into the room and I saw this patch of blood on the wall with gray-white flecks scattered through it. " He looked at Mulder and Scully with a certain mixture of horror. "It scared the shit out of me. But I couldn't say anything because I was afraid."
"No wonder. That's a hell of a burden to have to carry. " said Mulder.
Torrance shook his head. "I don't know what scared me more: the idea that there was something terrible in the Overlook or the possibility that my telling my parents about this would cause my father to lose his job and make him start drinking again. " He paused. "I have spent my life wondering if I made the right choice. But what do you do when all the options are terrible ones? What do you do when all the choices are wrong?" He waited expecting Mulder or Scully to say something but wisely neither one spoke.
Torrance then told the whole terrible story. How his father had become obsessed with the hotel's history. How the visions that he had became more and more dangerous. How the hedge animals had attacked him; how the horrible dead woman in Room 217 had tried to grab him, how the visions from Tony had become more and more frightening. How his power had helped turn the hotel into a place that only looked dangerous to one that actually was dangerous. He told how the hotel had worked through his father to destroy hi m by making him drunk. How he had finally learned what the hotel wanted with him and his family and how he had finally used his shining to call for Dick in Florida. How he and his mother had fought off his father until Dick arrived and how they had run away. By the time that he reached the end of hi s story it was close to five in the morning. He felt emotionally drained but relieved as if he was glad to have everything out at the open at last.
For a long time neither Mulder or Scully said anything. Mulder broke the silence first. "My god. All that before you were six."
"But all that Agents, all that is only the first part of the story."
Scully looked at him in astonishment. "There's more?"
"Yeah. Next comes the second part. Life after the Overlook." Danny looked at his watch. "I'm hungry. What do you say we go down to the kitchen? I'm sure that maybe now we can get some breakfast."
Torrance got up and walked towards the door. Mulder spoke first. "Agent Torrance?"
"Jesus, Mulder, if you can't call me Danny now. I may need to seriously reevaluate this relationship."
"OK, Danny. Before you go downstairs, you might want to consider changing your clothes. " Torrance looked down in shock and realized that he was still in the blue pajamas that he had donned before going to bed.
"Oh Christ. OK, lets get changed and then meet downstairs in twenty minutes. That Ok with you, Scully?"
Scully only hesitated for a minute before she nodded. As she left the room to change, Scully noticed that something about Torrance seemed different. It was not until she was halfway down the hall that she figured out what it was. The haunted look that Danny had in his eyes since before they had begun to work together was gone.
After all his years working the X-Files, Mulder had thought that he was beyond the capability of being surprised. The events of the past twelve hours had shown him that his capabilities had not yet run dry.
For months he had been trying to determine whether Danny Torrance was a spy who had been sent to undermine the X-Files. It would not have been the first time that the powers that be had tried something. Gradually he had become convinced by Torrance's attitude towards the work that the young agent was not working towards any private agenda. Still his behavior had containe d certain quirks that he hadn't been sure he trusted. But for all his suspicion s he had never suspected that the young agent had been hiding a secret of this magnitude Suddenly all the behavior that he had considered odd: his ability to intuit things, his fragile attitude towards ghosts, his determination to see good overcome evil--- made a certain amount of sense.
He would have liked to learn what Scully's reaction to all this was. He knew that from almost six years of working together that she was far more likely to not accept the paranormal at face value. He had watched Scully carefully while Torrance had told his story and was pretty sure that she believed at least some of it. . Half of him wanted to pull Scully aside and question her but the greater half of him decided to exercise restraint at least until Torrance finished his story.
The kitchen was pretty much deserted when the three agents entered it. Mulder figured that the three of them would pretty much have the place to themselves, at least for the next hour or so.
Mulder's approach to getting people to speak was not to press them too hard. He believed that you caught more flies with honey then with vinegar an d that if you were patient enough you could get all the information that you wanted from a person. For that reason he did not press Torrance while the tw o of them were getting dressed, nor when he indicated that he would prefer to have breakfast before telling them any more of his story. It was therefore nearly six before Torrance (Mulder was still having trouble thinking of him as Danny) began to tell the second part of his story.
"After the events at that winter, my mother just wanted to forget that it had ever happened. I wanted to too, but I couldn't. For months after the explosion I had nightmares about. . . What happened. Sometimes I dreamed about the explosions, sometimes I dreamed that the hedge animals were chasing me, but most of the time it was about. . . Dad. . I couldn't stop hearing him chase me through the halls of the Overlook, yelling for me to take my medicine. " Torrance's voice grew shaky.
Scully put her hand on Torrance's shoulder. "You don't have to tell us this if you don't want to."
Torrance looked at Mulder and Scully for a moment, then shook his head. "I've never told the whole story to anyone before. It hurts, but its the kind of pain that you can live with, you know?"
Mulder, who had had to carry certain scars since he was very young, nodded.
"Part of getting better was accepting that I had the shine After that winter, I wished that I had never had it. I wished it would go away. But Dick reminded me that I didn't get any say in the matter and that I had to live with it. He was right, of course. " Torrance paused as if he was remember something that was precious to him. It's a good thing that Dick was there for me. I needed his help in the years that were to come."
"What happened?" asked Mulder
"As I got older the shine or whatever you want to call it got stronger. By the time that I was nine years old, I could walk into a crowded room and almost instantly hear the thoughts of somebody in there."
"That must have been amazing. " said Mulder. Torrance looked at him.
"Spoken like someone who has never had any kind of psychic ability. You walk into a room and you are instantly deluged with dozens of people thinking . The sheer force of the noise from all those people thinking was enough to make me shout out in pain."
Mulder realized that he had made a miscalculation into what it would be like to have the kind of power that Torrance had. He suddenly made a link: the power was not unlike the one that Gibson Praise the child prodigy had demonstrated. The sound of other people thinking was so loud that he could only find peace when he was playing chess.
"Fortunately, I had Dick to help me. He didn't understand what made the shine work much better than I did but he knew enough from his experience to get me to the point where I could focus my energies on a single voice ina room. By doing that I was able to shut out all the other thoughts in the room. It's a good thing that I managed to figure it out; otherwise I probably would have gone mad before I entered junior high. " He said it calmly but Mulder and Scully could tell that he still was carrying some serious pain.
"After the. . . Events in the Overlook, my mother and I moved to Maryland. A friend of my fathers---the one who had gotten his job at the Overlook---- gave my mother a job in Maryland. We lived there until I was twelve, then my mother opened her own business up in Boston . I didn't mind moving. After everything I had trouble making friends. Its difficult to get close to people when you know that you can hear what they're really thinking. Fortunately, I eventually was able to moderate the shine so that by the time I was a teenager, I could only hear the thoughts of another person if I really concentrated on it."
"Can you hear my thoughts now?" interrupted Mulder. Torrance looked at Mulder for a second, then shook his head. "When I was very young, I could only hear another persons thoughts when it was loud. One incident from when I was four or five keeps coming to mind. My mother went into this big store to get some shoes. There was this big kid looking at radios and he kept thinking about stealing one. Then he'd think what if I got caught? And then he thought that I really wanted one. He kept wavering between those two sides and he wa s worrying himself sick. Just listening to his thoughts made me sick. Finally I walked over to him and I said 'Kid don't take the radio. ' And he ran away really fast.
"I'll bet he did . " said Scully.
"Like I said before when I was teenager I managed to block out the thoughts. But I could still tell when people were thinking bad thoughts. For some reason when people are thinking about hurting someone else or doing something wrong, they tend to think louder then normal."
"Maybe it has to do with their consciences. " said Mulder Torrance looked at him in surprise. "The urge to do something wrong goes against mans natural instincts. Maybe that causes people to concentrate on louder thoughts."
"I suppose that it's possible. I spent a lot of time considering the nature of good and evil when I thought about the shine. I figured that with great power comes great responsibility."
'Didn't Spiderman say that?" said Mulder.
Torrance shrugged. "I read a lot of comic books when I was growing up. Anyway, I eventually figured out that if I was going to have such a great power I had to use it wisely. It wasn't until I was in my junior year in high school that I figured out how the use of the shine would best help people."
"What happened?" asked Scully.
"I haven't always been great at choosing my companions. A couple of the friends that I made in high school ran with a bad crowd. One day two of them---- we'll call them Joe and Mike--- robbed a convenience store. I learned about it but didn't tell anyone. Then after a little while, a policeman named Officer Ken Johnson came to talk to me. He said that he just wanted to interview people who might know something about the crime. He took me into a room at school. But before he talked to me, he just stood there and looked at me. And I felt him listening to my thoughts. It's kind of hard to describe if you haven't got the shine but it was like he peeked inside my head and he knew. Then he said:'Those two boys that you know did it. It was George and Mike. '" Now I know that he could have already known that before he interviewed me. But I know that he didn't. That's what its like when you have the knack you just know certain things. That's when I decided that was how I would use my gift."
"Well, if that's the case why did you decide to enlist in the bureau. You could have become a cop or a lawyer. " said Scully.
"When I was in college in my sophomore year, they had one of those career fairs. One of the FBI recruitment officers showed up. I asked him a couple of questions. He asked me some and then I noticed that he was also shining. Very faintly but it was there. I figured that it might be consistent with people in law enforcement."
"And that's why you decided to become an FBI agent?" asked Mulder.
"Well, there was one other reason. All my life I have been trying to understand my power. Where it comes from, why I have it, who else does. I feel that it is essential for me and other people like me to understand the basic purpose behind this thing. I figured with government access I might be able to figure out the basics of this power and why people like me exist."
"So you joined the bureau hoping that you could find a reason as to how your shine exists. " said Scully. Torrance nodded.
"My mother wasn't thrilled about it, but Dick helped. He said that someone like me could do a world of good at this job."
"It's tough convincing people that the FBI is a good career." said Scully remembering how her parents had been sure that it was some kind of act of rebellion.
"In your time in the FBI, have you met anyone else who has your kind of power?" asked Mulder.
"You have to understand. This power is extremely rare. When I fist met Dick, he told me that in all his years he'd met fifty or sixty people who had what he called a little bit of the shine to them. However there was maybe only a dozen who knew that they were shining"
"And how many people have you met who shined?"
"Counting Dick, I've met maybe a fourteen, fifteen people. And of those fifteen, only four or five who knew that they had some kind of power."
"Anybody that we know at the bureau have this power?" said Mulder only half in jest.
"I've only met one person who shined and who knew it. I did a six month stay at Violent Crimes early in my career. One of the top profilers there had the shine and knew that he had something. You ever meet Frank Black?"
"I know of him but we've never met. He shines?"
"Almost as bright as Dick does. But there are others. " He then looked at Mulder and Scully. "You both shine a little."
This calmly delivered news struck both of the other agents like a thunderbolt. Mulder and Scully both began to talk at once. Torrance interrupted them. "I know that its hard to believe, but think about it. Mulder, do you know how may times I've seen you make incredible leaps of logic with only speculation to back it up. Those are the kind of things I've seen done by people with shine. And the way that the two of you communicate without speaking. That's a sign of the shine too."
"Look this is ridiculous. " As always Scully was quick to recover. "The idea that you are partly psychic that's tough enough to believe. But the idea that I am. . . On what are you basing this?"
"Five months of working together and twenty five years of shining have told me this. And I'm not saying that you're psychic. I'm only saying that the two of you both have a trace of something. In your hearts you both know that its true."
For a moment Scully and Mulder both fell silent. Mulder himself was feeling stunned. The idea that this gift that Torrance possessed was hard enough to get his mind around. But the idea that he had some of it too. . .
"Is there anyway that you can possibly prove this to us?" Again Torrance paused, then reluctantly nodded. "I'm going to try something. I don't know if it will work, but it might. Scully, think of a number."
Scully seemed surprised. " Why me?"
"Because you're less likely to dismiss this if I provide you with proof. Think of a number. The larger, the better."
Scully paused, then nodded, Torrance took out a pen. "Write it down."
"Don't you trust me?" said Scully half-humorously.
"I don't want to leave anything to chance. " Scully wrote it down and turned the paper over. Torrance looked straight at Scully for about fifteen seconds.
"25, 786" he said. Scully's face went pale. Mulder turned over the paper already knowing what he was going to see.
"That was impressive. But it still doesn't prove that Mulder and I are have this. . Shine or what ever you call it."
"OK, forget I told you that part. It's not important right now. But its enough to know that I can do what I say I can "
"So if you have this power, why did you decide to join the X-Files?
"I heard about you when I first went into Quantico. There were those people who laughed at you two and the work that you did. I admit that at first I was one of them. But after awhile, I became curious. I began to think that it was possible that with the work might intersect with my own interests. Maybe you might have an understanding as to what people like me were. Then after you got involved with that chess prodigy who could supposedl y read minds, I thought maybe he would be the key to figuring out what I was. I applied for a transfer then, but by the time it processed the X-Files had bee n shut down. At the time I thought I would never get a chance to work with you ."
"Yet here we are. " said Mulder. Torrance paused.
"I was allowed to join you on the X-Files on the condition that I serve as an instructive influence."
"Did they want you to debunk the work that Agent Mulder and I do?" asked Scully.
"They didn't use those exact words, but they strongly implied that I could help my career at the bureau if I could provide perspective to this work."
"I don't know and I don't care. I could give a damn about my position at the bureau."
"You should. " Torrance looked at him in surprise. "You've got a promising career at the FBI. Everyone that I've talked to says so. Agent Scully and I have a personal stake in our work here."
"And I don't, so I shouldn't bother trying?"
"With your gift, you could do so much. There are so many better uses than this."
"I repeat I don't give a damn. I want to work on the X Files, Mulder. If my doing so means that I sink my career here, well, then I'll try something else. " He smiled. "I'd have a hell of a career as a novelist." Mulder smiled back. He couldn't help it, Torrance had a way about him that made him feel confidence in the future. At that moment, he remembered where they were and what was happening. . In his mind he made a connection that should have occurred to him earlier. "So that thing that happened in Room 404. . ."
The smile on Torrance's face disappeared. "That was me having a shine."
"Does your power usually cause you to walk in your sleep?" asked Scully. Mulder couldn't tell whether she believed that Torrance had this power or not, but it was clear that she thought that something was up with her partner.
"Sometimes my gift will cause me to go to places where I shouldn't go to."
"And you think that's what happening this time?" asked Mulder.
"I don't know. But a lot of things have been happening since yesterday. Things that I don't think we should ignore."
Torrance then told them what had veen going on since last night when he had the nightmares that were so close to the bad dreams that he had been having just before they went to the Bartlet He told them about how the manager of this hotel resembled that of the Overlook and how he had seen blood and brain tissue in the Presidential Suite.
"Combined with what happened to me in Stone's room, I'm convinced that the Bartlett is close to if not exactly like the Overlook. I think that its a bad place. " Torrance tried to remain calm but Mulder could sense that there was something else just behind his words. It seemed that Torrance was on the verge of panicking.
"And what do you think that we should do?" asked Scully.
"I think that we should leave the Bartlett as soon as possible."
Mulder had gotten so caught up in the unusual power that Torrance had claimed to have that he had almost forgotten what had drawn him to the Bartlett in the first place. Even so, he was reluctant to call off his search of the hotel.
"But if the Bartlett really is haunted, doesn't that merit further investigation?"
"Why? What do you really hope to find here? You don't even have any proof that a crime has been committed here. All you have is basically your intuition."
"And your shine. " said Mulder.
"Your psychic powers to the contrary, Mulder, there really isn't any reason that we should be here. " Mulder looked at Scully in surprise. "Mulder there is no evidence that any crime has been committed here."
"What about the death of Martin Stone? Doesn't that merit some investigation?"
"Mulder, the coroners report came back on Stone a few hours ago. The man died of a cardiac arrest."
"Don't you find that unusual? Stone was only a year older than me.
"Mulder that's not that. uncommon Heart attacks are not common in young men, but they do happen from time to time Anyway what's your explanation of what happened to him?"
Before Mulder could answer, Torrance interrupted him. "You think that somehow the hotel killed him. " When Mulder fixed him with a look, Torrance responded with a smile. "That thought's been coming off you since we got here, Mulder. I would have to have been blind not to notice that."
"And how exactly did the hotel kill Stone?" asked Scully.
"I don't know." admitted Mulder. He couldn't explain why he was so sure of this. Was this another example of the shine present in him? He shrugged it off for now "Danny what kind of sense did yo get of this place with your shine of the place?"
"The overriding impression that I got of this place is of a great evil lying dormant. I also got the sense that there is some kind of dark force present here that could easily become activated."
"Activated? BY what?"
"By me. Which is why I'm leaving. And I advise the two of you to leave too. " Torrance got up.
As always, Mulder recovered quickly. "Danny, we can't just leave."
"Why not? Mulder, I'm not going to let history repeat itself. Twenty three years ago, I saw my family nearly get destroyed because I didn't follow my first instinct to leave. I'm not going to let the same thing happen again ."
"What makes you so sure that it will?"
"All the signs are there, Mulder. Last time I read them I screwed up. I won't do that again. " repeated Torrance
"All right. That's why you should leave. Why should we?"
"Because you are dealing with dark powers here. They may be able to only use me but they can get in through you and if you stay long enough, they will get to you too. " Torrance was becoming more and more frantic. This bothered Mulder. Ever since he had joined the X-Files, Torrance had been famous for keeping calm under the worst kind of pressure. If he was really upset about this, Mulder was considering that there might be a real cause for concern.
Scully caught up with the two male agents at the entrance to the kitchen. "Mulder, have you talked to Skinner?"
Unsure as to what Scully was thinking, Mulder carefully answered. "I haven't called him yet."
"Did you file any expense reports?"
"Then there isn't any need for us to investigate anything. We can leave the matter to the local police and we can come back to D. C. Without having to tell him what we were doing here."
"Scully. . ."
"Mulder I know that you wanted to investigate this case, but I don't think that there is enough information here to warrant an investigation."
For a moment Mulder thought this over. He had not expected his journey to the Bartlett to take the turn that it had. He was curious to see just what Torrance's powers could do in the right setting. Yet he was loathe to have to give up the investigation
"Danny when you went into room 404, did you get any sensation as to what happened to Stone?"
Torrance thought it over for a moment, then shook his head. "I didn't really get a read of it. There was so much darkness in the hotel I think that's causing my power to go off."
"I'll make you a deal. The three of us go back to the room. If you can't read anything in there that helps put us on the trail of how he died, we can go home and file this thing away. Is that all right with you?"
Torrance mulled over it, then finally he reluctantly said "OK, I guess that's fair. We all go together."
Mulder gave a half-smile. "Scout's honor."
Scully opened the door to Room 404 for the third time in less than twenty four hours. Once she had Mulder and Torrance entered. The three of them stood awkwardly for a moment. "SO how does this work? Does it just come to you?"
Torrance who seemed a little uncomfortable at having to perform before an audience, turned to Scully. "If I can just concentrate I probably can do this. Just be quiet."
Scully was glad to have the peace. Her mind was reeling over of the story that Torrance had just told her. She knew that Mulder in his impulsive way had taken in most in as gospel. Normally she would have been able to convince herself that Torrance's story was guilt brought on from a horrible incident that had taken place when he was too young to do anything about it. However, where her reasoning fell short is why would Torrance feel it necessary to tell this whole story now after months of being silent on his past. And the demonstrations that he had done seemed to indicate the presence of something. The young agent evidently believed that the story that he told them was true. After thought, Scully was inclined to believe most of what she had been told. Where she wasn't convinced was the part where Torrance had told her that she and Mulder had some of what he had. You could not be unaware of some super ability like this and not know that you had it. Yet according to him, this was the norm for people who. . . shined. Scully was having trouble believing any of this. But she was coming face to face with evidence that she could not refute no matter how much she wanted to.
Suddenly she noticed that Torrance had become very still. His eyes had rolled towards the top of their sockets. He appeared pale and pasty. The resemblance to the earlier incident was striking. For a second Scully considered asking if he was OK. Then she realized that whatever had happened before was happening again. Torrance leaned towards Mulder as if he was about to say something. Then he spoke softly. "Cab. Net." Mulder looked forward. "Danny?" "Med. Seen. Cab Net. " Scully was amazed. It was as if the power that Torrance had was causing him to regress back to when he was very young. Mulder had already gotten what he was trying to say and walked into the bathroom.
Scully moved closer to Torrance concerned at how pale he was getting. "Danny are you OK?" He turned towards her. She was appalled at how his eyes looked right at her but did not seem to be focused on anything.
"One pill not enough. Too much medicine. Under the counter. " He was rambling. Scully didn't know what she was supposed to glean from this."
"Scully. Come in here. " For a moment Scully hesitated reluctant to leave Danny alone. However six years of working with Mulder told her that she would do best in following him She went into the bathroom where Mulder was standing in front of the mirror.
"Take a look at this. " He handed Scully a small cylindrical object. It was a bottle of Percodan and it was completely empty.
"I didn't know that Stone was on any painkillers."
"He wasn't. I checked with his doctors."
"But I thought that Stone's autopsy showed no sign of ingestion of any kind of pills."
"So what are you saying happened, Mulder? This is mysterious but it tends to lead me to think that the cause of death was most likely suicide"
"Why would Stone kill himself?"
Scully was getting increasingly frustrated as she frequently did when dealing with Mulder when he got into one of his moods. At that point, Torrance entered the bathroom as well. He had regained his color but he still seemed nervous. "I think I know what happened to Stone."
"Did you see what happened?"
Torrance paused. "I saw something. I looked inside the medicine cabinet and saw the pills appear."
"What do you mean they appeared?"
"I'm not sure exactly but I think that somehow the Bartlett created the bottle of Percodan and then forced Stone to take them."
Scully appeared somewhat baffled. "How is it possible that these pills could just appear out of nowhere."
Now Torrance paused again. "It's not without precedent. When my father was at the Overlook, the hotel created alcohol for him to drink even though there was no liquor in the hotel. I believe that it is possible for places like these to create bad things out of thin air."
"Are you saying that he took sleeping pills that didn't exist?" said Mulder.
"I'm just saying that it's a possibility that we should consider. " said Torrance.
"That still doesn't explain why Stone would take these pills," said Scully
An idea suddenly occurred to Mulder. He rushed from the bathroom and left room 404 all together. Torrance looked at Scully for a moment. "I hate it when he does that. " The two agents walked out of the bathroom and were about to leave the room proper when Mulder reappeared, a piece of paper in his hand."
"The record of phone calls from Martin Stones room. According to this on the night he died, he received one phone call supposedly from the paper that hired him."
"What do you mean?" asked Scully.
"That paper has no record of making any such call to Stone on the night in question."
"What are you saying happened then?" Before Mulder could answer, Torrance jumped in.
"He's saying that somehow the hotel decided that Stone was too dangerous to live, so it created a situation where he would die. IT called him and told him that he was fired. This left him despondent and depressed. Then the hotel created the sleeping pills for him to take and so he did thinking that they would kill him. He believed that they would kill him so his mind convinced his body that he would die. Because the sleeping pills didn't really exist they didn't appear on the autopsy. " He looked at Mulder who was staring at him with an expression that was equal parts amazement and admiration. "How'd I do?"
"You really have been hanging around me too long. " Mulder than turned to Scully
"SO what do we do with this theory?" Scully looked at Mulder. Again Torrance interrupted.
"We leave. " Mulder looked at Scully and his expression now held surprise and anger.
"Why should we leave when we are on the verge of cracking open this case?"
Again Torrance responded. "Mulder, what we have is a theory with no supporting evidence to back it up. We can't even prove that the sleeping pills killed Stone. And how could we explain why we believe what we believe? We got this information from a psychic vision and a hunch. There's no way that we can connect the Bartlett to any of this."
Scully turned to Mulder. "He's right. We don't have any evidence of wrongdoing. There's no case here."
"Mulder, I believe that Danny has some kind of power that enables him to see things that the rest of us can't But that power is not evidence that we can use to prove that there is a case here. I really think that it would be better for all of us if we left the hotel and put this file on standby."
Mulder looked at Scully then at Torrance. Both agents could tell that he was agonizing over this. Finally he turned to them. "All right. I will let this case go. On one condition."
"When we go back to D. C., you agree to submit to a series of medical tests in order tb prove that you have these powers."
"No," replied Torrance instantly
"I understand your desire to get to the truth. But I'm not going to become a guinea pig to your quest. You and I both know the instant that we announce to any one in the bureau about my gift, my career is over."
"Earlier you said that you didn't give a damn about your job at the bureau."
Except this isn't just my career. This is my life. Once you make it public that I 'm a psychic. I won't be left alone by anyone. I'm not prepared to do that just yet."
For a second Mulder paused. Scully could tell that her partner was poleaxed. "What if I can guarantee that these tests will be kept secret?"
"You can do that?"
Mulder nodded. "I have links to people who can make sure that none of the test results come out. NO one would know about it who we couldn't trust."
Torrance paused again. "I guess that would be all right. If you could make sure that it stays between as few people as possible I'd have no objection."
"All right. Then I guess that we can go. " He had no sooner finished that sentence then Torrance was out the door.
Scully looked at Mulder. "Are you sure that you're all right with this?"
Mulder gave a half-smile. "I'm trying to be an optimist Scully. The way I see it, I lose one case but gain another. And this other one is much more interesting. " He then headed for the door. "Come on Scully, let's blow this joint."
From Case Number X-23898
The investigation into the death of Martin Stone must remain inconclusive. While the evidence would appear to dictate that Stone died from heart failure, it appears equally possible that Stone could have died from self-induced ingestion of Percodan, a theory that the Marion Coroner's office could neither confer or deny As for the question as to whether the Bartlett Hotel is haunted, we are forced to conclude that we lack sufficient evidence to either confirm or deny this possibility. If evil does have a residue and fall out, it is likely that the Bartlett possesses some remnant of it. However, neither Agent Mulder, Agent Scully or myself were unable to prove that anything inhuman does inha bit the hotel. Further investigation of the Bartlett is unlikely to bring forth further information This X-File remains unsolved.
Torrance finished typing up his report. He felt a little uncomfortable not revealing the information that his powers had revealed to them. But he knew that he could not trust Skinner or any of the other higher ups in the bureau as to what abilities he had.
Despite the events that had happened in the Bartlett, the emotion which he was feeling the most clearly was relief. For months he had to guard himself with fears of what would happen if his secret was revealed. To finally have told Mulder and Scully filled him with the belief that they would be able to help him through the demons that he was still fighting. He had to admit that he was a little scared about what the tests might reveal but he was more curious to find out if he could learn about himself.
He reached for the pack of Marlboros that he had been carrying in his pockets since the day they had gone to the Bartlett. For a moment he stared at them. Then he picked them up and threw them into the wastebasket. It was time for a fresh start with his partners, with his powers, with his life. Whatever new problems awaited him he was not going to hide from them any longer.
He turned off the computer and walked out of the office to meet Mulder, Scully and this doctor who would examine him. He was feeling energetic and optimistic about things for the first time in a long while.