Title: Zone of No Signal
Name: Branwell
Spoilers for S8
Date Finished: Oct. 29, 2000
Rating: G
Category: V, A Vignette, Angst Post-Requiem
Spoilers: Maybe for Season 8. "Closure" and "Requiem" for sure.
Archiving permission: Anyone may archive this. Just keep my name with it.
Disclaimer: Chris Carter, Gillian Anderson and Ten Thirteen productions created and own the characters you recognize. My writing is for fun, not profit.

Summary: Scully prepares herself for her double mission.

Thanks: I owe thanks to Tiny Dancer's website and to Deep Background. I also thank bugs for friendship and advice, and for the beautiful website she created for my stories. See the url below.

*Destructive Interference* "Sound moves in waves. A trough is called a rarefaction; a crest is called a compression. A particular location along a medium may experience the interference of a compression and rarefaction from different sources. The two sound waves cancel each other out, and no sound is heard. Once the two pulses pass through each other, there is still a crest and a trough heading in the same direction they were heading before interference." --"The Physics of Sound for High School Students"

During her residency, Scully stood unmoved during postmortems that crumpled her colleagues to the chilly, concrete floors. "Don't lock your knees next time," she'd advise them, with a sympathetic, but superior smile. "It interferes with circulation." Now she felt like a fool. It was ridiculous for any healthy, pregnant woman to faint, much less a doctor with her background. She had to devise a diet and exercise program that would put a stop to this foolish weakness.

She had still been in the hospital, waiting for the results of a CAT scan, when Skinner informed her that he'd be assigning another agent to the X-Files. "Just until we find him," he hastened to explain. "We'll need all the help we can get to find him."

Scully agreed, but how would she know help when she saw it? There was no one she could trust, not even Skinner. There was no reason to think an agent of his choice would be any more reliable than Spender, Fowley, or Krycek had been. She had to be on her guard. Any weakness at all could be fatal to both her and Mulder. And to their child.

But there was no point in dwelling on what couldn't be helped. The first step was to stabilize her blood sugar levels.

Mixed raw nuts for trace elements, protein and monosaturated fat. Granola for fiber and fortified vitamins. Yogurt for calcium. Broccoli for folic acid. The list grew in neat columns on a yellow legal pad. Dried fruits for iron. But what if green, acidic blood wasn't based on iron?

She instantly banished the thought to the vacuum bubble of thoughts that she refused to think about. First things first. "Grocery shopping," she wrote on the second page of the pad. "Read Doggett's file," she wrote under it.

Frohike had delivered the grubby folder to her apartment yesterday. Whoever Agent Doggett really represented, he'd be amazed at the extensive dossier the Lone Gunmen had assembled on him from on-line sources.

Tomorrow she would meet Doggett for the first time. Data was valuable. Knowledge was power. She still believed that. Mulder had broadened her vision and taught her that knowledge came in many forms. She hadn't dismissed reason and science-just learned to supplement them.

This time it was reason that would save them. If she lost herself in her feelings about Mulder and what might be happening to him right now ... . Scully bent over and put her head down close to her knees.

No. No. No. Grocery shopping. Then read Doggett's file.

She stood up carefully and stretched. A quick exercise routine restored her circulation to its normal state. She went to the bedroom to get her purse.

*Boundary Behavior* "The behavior of a wave when it reaches the end of a medium is called boundary behavior. If a wave is moving toward a fixed end boundary, the reflected wave is inverted. When a wave moves toward a free end, inversion is not observed. A crest that reaches a free end returns as a crest after reflection; a trough returns as a trough." --"The Physics of Sound for High School Students"

As she checked her reflection she felt the sickening jolt that hit her every time she looked into a mirror. Her gold cross was gone. She'd given it to Mulder and Mulder was gone.

There was no limit to the horrors she could visualize happening to Mulder. Death. Death would be the easy way out for him. She should have let him die after that inhuman brain surgery. It would have been kinder.

But then there would have been no child. How her heart had bounded with the happiness of carrying a child in the midst of her misery at learning Mulder's fate.

It was too much to absorb. She dreaded the end of the numbness. Soon there would be hard facts about her pregnancy that would lead to hard choices.

She knew where to go for early tests on her own blood. There were methods of isolating miniscule numbers of fetal cells for DNA analysis that worked as early as eight weeks into gestation. Clinical trials were still going on, but the results would prepare her for an unfavorable outcome from chorionic villi sampling. She would abort if she carried anything other a fully human child. There would be no more Emilys, born for short lives of suffering, if she could help it. There would be no more Cassandras, monstrously engineered for alien purposes destructive to the human race.

Scully had steeled herself for the worst possible outcome of her pregnancy. She couldn't even imagine the worst possible outcome for Mulder. She wouldn't allow herself to speculate. Perhaps she'd never know the truth.

He might simply be gone, as Samantha had gone. It had taken Mulder more than twenty-five years to come to terms with his sister's disappearance. In the end, he'd fantasized an acceptable end to Samantha's story. Scully knew she could never settle for a vision of starshine in an empty field.

While she stared at a face like a mask in the mirror, Scully's hands had been busy in the drawers of her dresser. Her fingers moved in automatic sweeps through layers of clothes and over the smooth paper that lined the drawers. She'd buried the long, narrow box under scarves and sweaters that she never wore anymore.

When she left home after high school graduation, Melissa had taken it with her, but Scully had never seen her wear it afterwards. The grown-up Missy had always hung crystals on the ribbons she wore around her neck.

Her mother had proffered the box to Scully after Missy's funeral. "Here. I thought you should have this," her mother had said, her wounded eyes full of pain and something else. Later it occurred to Scully that those eyes held accusation, as well as pain, and that the presentation had been intended as a small punishment for her sister's death.

Scully had accepted the chastisement as her due. Until her cancer diagnosis she'd draped the necklace over Missy's picture on her bedside table. Then she'd suddenly found she couldn't bear to see it anymore. She'd returned it to the box and hidden it from herself among the bright, soft clothes that no longer fit into her life.

*Constructive Interference* "When the crest of one wave meets up with the crest of a second wave at the same location in the medium, the two waves reinforce each other. The net effect is to add the amplitude of the two waves. This is called constructive interference. If two sound waves interfere at a given location in this way, the result is a very loud sound." -- "The Physics of Sound for High School Students"

As she watched herself fasten Melissa's necklace around her neck, Scully felt sudden pain on swallowing. It was the first and only warning of a wave of overwhelming emotion that engulfed her seconds later. It sank her into despair so deep she feared she might never surface again.

She dropped to her knees and wailed out loud. Her cry ended in a harsh intake of breath that forced its way out in a choked sob. She hunched over, hugging her own body, trying to comfort herself and stem the uncontrolled weeping. The effort was futile. Her sobs didn't end until the room had darkened into twilight. Exhaustion left her limp and quiet.

Scully knew she didn't have the strength to rise from the floor. She did it anyway. She thought she might be using strength borrowed from Missy and Mulder, and perhaps even from her mother. They all knew the secret to going on past reason and past hope. The secret was love, and Scully had it in abundance.

This time it was reason and love that would save them. She would go to the living room and read Doggett's file until her eyes and nose were fit for the public view. Then she would go out and shop for nuts, broccoli, granola, yogurt, and dried fruit.

Scully sat down on the couch and opened the folder labeled with a tiny, cramped "D" done in black marker. She touched the little gold cross at her neck and remembered the impossible moment when she heard her sister's voice on the phone, two years after her death. Taking the legal pad from its place on the end table, Scully added to her list of things to do.

"Consider extreme possibilities," she penned with heavy pressure. "Leave all channels of communication open, no matter how unlikely."


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