By Joyce McKibben, Meredith, and MC Akimoto
July 22, 1997

Category: X, A, UST
Classification: R
Spoilers: US4 up to and including Gethsemane

Summary: Skinner, Mulder and Scully attempt to take
control of their lives as they conspire against the Consortium
in an all-or-nothing gamble.

Disclaimer: The characters of the X-files are the
property of Chris Carter, Fox Broadcasting and Ten-Thirteen
Productions, and have been used without permission. No
copyright infringement is intended, nor are the characters
being used for commercial purposes.

All of our normal authorial anxiety is tripled here --
Please send feedback. Lots and lots of feedback.
To us, or to Fictalk.

You can reply to any one of us, and we'll forward
to the others.

Authors' e-mail addresses:
Joyce McKibben: Mckibben@msuvx1.memphis.edu
Meredith: carrie.stetz@mosby.com
MC Akimoto: makimoto@circsol.com

Acknowledgment: Special thanks go to KL Lietz and Jill Selby
for bravely agreeing to beta edit this ever-expanding story. Their
suggestions and support were invaluable in helping us gain control of
a piece that took on a life of its own.

By Joyce McKibben, Meredith and MC Akimoto


D-day -5

June 1, 1997

If all goes as I plan tonight, Mulder will soon be dead.

To me, it will be as if he actually were dead. The strength
of my life -- the will that sometimes keeps me standing --
will be gone. After tonight, we will have no further contact
with one another as our true selves, perhaps no further contact
at all. If we meet again, it will be as actors in a staged scene.
Strangers. We cannot risk otherwise.

I have no doubt that I will be able to persuade Skinner to accept his
role in this deception. By including him, I hope that I can end his
torment and repay, at least in part, the sacrifices he has made for
me. He has few choices left. Mulder, on the other hand, will be
difficult to sway. But there is no doubt that he must be swayed.

Mulder must be released to find the truth. Our only hope lies in his
freedom to take desperate measures. As a dead man, he will be able to
place the bastards in Skinner's hands, and perhaps buy Skinner's
freedom from the deceitful bargain he made. I regret placing such a
heavy burden on him, but desperate times call for desperate acts. I
know in my heart that Mulder will eventually understand this and agree
there is no other way.

Three months ago I began to chronicle a journey, intent on
guiding my partner through the inexorable process of a ruthless
disease on my all-too-human body. I bared my soul to him in a
journal, so that he would somehow come to understand the
decisions I had made about my life and inevitable death. For him, I
told myself. I wrote the words for him.

Three months ago. Three lifetimes ago. Since then I have
experienced life, death, joy and misery anew, each as if for the first
time. How could I have possibly believed I could have eased his
turmoil, convinced him that my choices were valid, confessed all that
he is to me? I had cowardly resigned myself to death, and I used a
journal to argue my decision. But at Penny Northern's deathbed, I
realized my actions were wrong. I could not stop fighting. I could
not, *would* not, let my partner sit in the chair I had sat in,
grasping a woman's cold hand in the hour of her death. I decided to
stop trying to explain why I had given up, and chose life instead.

Yet once again I am drawn to the allure of the crisp, blank page, the
feel of the pen rasping against the sheets. I am once again attempting
to convince myself that I have chosen the proper path. I didn't the
first time. God help me if I have made the same mistake again. This
time I will be alone to face the consequences, and there are more
precious things in the balance than just my life.

It is true -- I *am* dying. The truth can no longer be stoically
denied or circumvented by other issues. Soon it will be apparent to
anyone who looks at me. Maybe I am being selfish in my desire to put
an end to this game before I die. Time is fleeting, and I want to
depart this life with a small measure of triumph.

The next few weeks will be difficult for all of us, but I have to
grasp the hope that this plan will work, and that I will see Mulder
again. In the meantime, I will take refuge from my impending isolation
here, the only place I can speak the truth. I realize the dangers of
recording these thoughts. But if this journal is discovered, our game
will have already been lost by the mere fact that They knew to look
for it. This time, I need to write for me.

It's nearly time to go. I pray this decision is the right one. If I
send Mulder away only to have him meet his real death, my soul will
die with him.



I take pen in hand tonight to begin an official record. An
accounting of our actions and motives as enter this final stage
of battle against the forces that have corrupted the Bureau and
the government for too long. It is critical that these events be
documented. If we survive, there must be a record, and if we fail,
there needs to be a testament.

It has begun.

There is actually an inexpressible relief in being able to say that.
For months I had been living in limbo -- balanced between salvation
and hell, serving an indefinite term to which I had sentenced myself.
But that's a lie. I was in limbo, but regardless of whether the
smoker actually saved Dana Scully, I knew that I had only one final
destination: hell. It was simply a matter of who I would drag down
with me.

The deal had to be made, though. There was never any choice
about that. From the moment Scully announced she had
cancer, but that she wanted to pursue leads about her illness
through the Justice department, I knew. I knew that Mulder
would try to contact that smoking SOB and work a deal, and
I had to circumvent that. Mulder is needed for the endgame
against the shadow government, and he will not make it to
that final round without Scully. So I had to step between him
and the smoker, and the only way to do that was to make the
deal myself.

Mulder surprised me, actually. It took him longer to ask me
for contact information than I thought it would. I was
grateful for that. It gave me time to make my own
arrangements. It's no easy task to make an appointment
with one of Satan's minions. You'd think it would be, but
it's not.

I have been a faithful subject -- for the most part. I have
carried out my tasks, numbed myself to the daily erosion
of my honor, my integrity, my passion, and carefully
maintained the secrecy of my bargain. If occasionally
I try to remember who I was and what I was, excursions
such as the one I took to South Carolina after the children
were attacked by the bees are a useful reminder that I am
nothing now.

I have been dead before. It is a sensation I remember.

And yet, Scully is still dying.

She knows about my deal with the devil. Mulder told
her about it while she was in the hospital during the case
in which he was investigating me for murder. He has never
mentioned it to me again.

Scully and I met once, at her insistence, to talk about it,
although the conversation was brief. She wanted to know
why, and I was able only to tell her that it was a possibility
that had to be explored, and I thought I had a better chance
of succeeding in bargaining with the smoker than Mulder

She accepted the incomplete answer.

I saw little of her in the intervening weeks. Mulder and Scully
investigated a couple of cases out of town, and, truthfully, I
think she didn't really know what to say to me.

But then, unexpectedly she called me at home tonight, insisting
that we needed to talk. We met at Haines Point again; this time
Mulder was with her. I could tell some kind of turning point had
been reached. Her words still ring in my ears.

"This can't go on. I'm....we're running out of time." I could
tell that Mulder wasn't sure what she meant, either, but I
think the despair I saw in his eyes was echoed in mine.

She drew a deep breath and squared her shoulders, Scully has
always been a warrior. But when she spoke, it was only to
Mulder. Steadying him with reassurance from her eyes, she
delivered the blow. "My cancer has metastasized. It has
entered my bloodstream. I have less than 3 months left."

Mulder made a strangled sound of denial -- words clearly
beyond his reach.

In a gesture that took me by surprise, she reached over and
touched his hand, grounding him, that simple touch more
intimate than I could have imagined. I'd always known that
Mulder wouldn't survive long without Scully; for the first
time, I realized that Scully knew it, too.

But when she spoke again, it was to both of us. "We have
only one chance. I've been thinking about this, and I see
only one way out. It's a risk, but I think doing nothing is a
greater risk."

As I listened to her lay out her plan, I was struck by the
forcefulness of her character, her keen analytical mind and
her daring. For all that Mulder is considered the Bureau
wild man, Scully is no slouch when it comes to taking chances.

Mulder, of course, objected to the plan immediately. It would
leave her in the middle of the pack of wolves, with no one at
her back. The glare I threw at him would have stopped a less
desperate man in his tracks, as it was it only phased him a bit.

"With all due respect, Sir, the smoker and his people believe
you to be one of theirs. There would be little you could do to
help Scully openly."

He had a point, but I also thought I heard an underlying question.
"If push came to shove, Agent Mulder, I know what my priorities are."

Scully had plainly had enough posturing from both of us. Giving us a
look that I can only characterize as an exasperated master telling her
very errant dog to "heel," she stood so that she faced both of us.

"It will work. Blevins has always believed that I'd 'return to the
fold' one day. You know about the lunches he invites me to once a
year, 'to check on my progress.' Anyway, Mulder, you've provided me
the perfect excuse. That little excursion of yours to Rhode Island
would be enough to convince anyone that you'd gone over the edge."
The underlying exasperation and caring in her tone shook me to the
core. When the dust from this all settled, I would have to reevaluate
this relationship of theirs.

In the end, of course, we gave in to her plan. Dana Scully is
not easy to say 'no' to most of the time, and this time she was
simply not going to be denied. I didn't like it any more than
Mulder did, but at least I will be here, able to see the game as it
unfolds. Mulder will have to play his role from the shadows, away
from her. It is the much harder part.


D-day +1

7 June 1997, 2 a.m.

Dear Scully,

Well, it's done. We have cast ourselves into the teeth of the
storm with absolutely no assurance that we won't simply disappear into
the maelstrom. This is madness, as I think I have pointed out more
than once. Still, I can deny you nothing. If I was willing to sell
my soul for you, how much easier then is it to sell my reputation,
even my 'life?'

I know you will never read these letters. Our . . . *your* terms will
not allow even the most minuscule touch to bridge the abyss we have
gouged between us. It's been fifty-six hours, twenty- nine minutes
and hell-I-don't-know how many seconds since we last talked, last
touched freely before we donned our actors' masks and spoke our lines
for the benefit of our silent, invisible audience. From that moment
on our privacy was an illusion we could no longer trust. They must
believe we were moving inexorably towards the shattering of our bond.

God, I miss you.

Can you even begin to imagine how bereft I feel cast loose from
my anchor? Even when I was dying on the ice in Alaska I felt you
close to me. I warmed myself in the expectation of your anger - maybe
that warmth hidden in the core of my soul was what kept me alive along
enough for you to come to my rescue.

I have given you so many reasons to be angry with me. I wish I
knew whether what I sense behind your anger is real or merely a
forlorn dream of a lonely man. Each time I awake and catch the
relief and welcome in your eyes, I feel I am closer to
understanding what you feel. Sometimes nearly dying is worth the
stunning warmth of your smile when I wake up and find I have survived,

God, I miss you.

There, I have said it again. Hell, I'll probably say it a
thousand times before this play is ended. Your name was in my
heart as I spoke my final lines; it will be on my lips should
this mad scheme of ours go awry and they make real what we have
only pretended.

Death I can accept as the price of the game we play, but the fear of
failure torments me. If I fail, if I am discovered, I will bring you
down with me to disgrace and ruin. My nightmares have been supplying
me with a steady stream of what-if's. I may give up on sleep

Why couldn't you let me protect you? A suicide note, a bridge, a
witness might make my deception more dangerous, but you would be safe;
a victim of another one of Spooky's selfish jaunts. Now, because you
are as relentless as the sea, you have argued yourself into the dock
with Skinner and me. I would rather have run the risk and known you
could stand aside from our madness, than have you at my side facing
either the law's unyielding scrutiny or Cancer Man's fist around our

You scare me, Dana Katherine Scully. Like an implacable wind you
swept me into this insane gamble; one throw of the dice to unmask the
shadows that have plagued us, you argued. My own gathering insanity,
made desperate by repeated blows that challenged my memory of
everything that made me what I am, was the perfect bait. Maybe I was
insane. I had to be to agree to this damn idea.

So here we are: You among the living, the perfect tool at last
responding to the master's call; I among the dead, discredited
and scorned for a selfish coward. Unnoticed, here in the
shadows, I can be the hound that drives our prey into your net. And
our most unlikely ally will confound our enemies with smoke and
mirrors. I never thought of Skinner as a co-conspirator before, but
then hell, I never thought of you that way either.

I miss you more than you could ever believe possible. Your
strength has always sustained me. Over the last four years my
faith has narrowed down to an unalterable trust that you believe in me
and will not let me be swallowed up by the shadows that haunt our
lives. When did we lose faith in all else but each other?

Now we have cast ourselves adrift from each other with nothing
more than that trust to bring us back together. So much unsaid, so
very much more uncertain between us. Hearts and minds in a tangle of
conflicting and confused emotions. Love there is, but whether between
soul mates or lovers, I am unable to say. The words must wait until
we stand together once again.

I can write about these things now, when there is little or no
chance you will ever read these letters. For the first time I
can allow myself to say the words, admit to my passions, confess my
total confusion where you are concerned. Being dead is turning out to
be a very liberating experience.

Frohike tells me you are looking thin and ravaged. I know you
would just tell me 'I'm fine' and expect me to believe you, but I
can't - not anymore. I worry about you. Please, Scully, let the guys
know if you need anything. They're breaking their butts trying to
find a cure in their own crazy, paranoid fashion. They want to help
and not just because they're my friends - they're your friends now
too. Remember that.

I have to close now. It will be dawn soon and I should try to
sleep at few hours at least. You know me, it's almost against my
nature to sleep. Maybe I'll dream and we'll be back in the basement
arguing about extreme possibilities.

Bon chance partner,



D-day +2

June 8, 1997

I have betrayed Fox Mulder.

Outside a storm is raging, the thunder and lightning testament
to the resulting chaos of a world coming to an end.

I saw Special Agent Dana Scully, MD, in the darkened room,
as if from a great, blurry distance. She sat so calmly at the table,
explaining his naivete, his vulnerability, his selfishness, his tragic
flaw. She detailed the evidence, damning his actions with every
syllable. How effectively her voice broke, how touching her tears as
she described his suicide and revealed the secret of her losing battle
with cancer. In a mere 30 minutes, she destroyed his life.

Believe the lie, you fucking bastards. Believe the lie.

The tears were no act. I knew the necessity of my actions today, but
even I was shocked and sickened to hear those treasonous words leave
my mouth. I barely made it to the basement restroom before vomiting 2
cups of coffee and choking through the resulting dry heaves.

Forgive me, Mulder, if you ever discover what I said to save
you. You alone know the truth.

I can only be grateful Skinner wasn't there. Somehow I know
his steadfast presence would have made my testimony easier,
making me feel less alone. I needed all my misery today.

Skinner has been perfect throughout this cursed scenario. Mulder
understands how much faith I have had to place in Skinner, and
his willingness to trust my judgment has not been lost on me.
Mulder is wrong to now hold him responsible for my life, though.
But I can forgive his protectiveness. I always have.

But that undivided loyalty to me was the largest hurdle to
overcome in convincing Mulder of the necessity of my original
plan. We nearly came to an impasse over how to convince the
Consortium that Mulder's death was genuine. Although we
locked horns in our usual style, I refused to back down. There is no
way I would allow Mulder to pursue his investigations alone if there
was a single doubt in my mind that we had not fully convinced the
world of his death.

My god. He worries about *me* remaining here unprotected. It is
he who is alone and vulnerable. I would have never conceived this plan
just to send him away only to be systematically hunted down by those
whom we work against. As it stands, I have placed him in too much

Skinner, too, has accepted a high level of risk. I don't know how he
procured the body; I couldn't ask. He had assured us at our
clandestine meeting that he could arrange for that prop. His typical,
clipped tone conveyed a simple warning -- he had learned certain
things during his sentence as the smoking man's slave, things on which
he would not elaborate. Ever.

The power has just sputtered and died. Candlelight alone now
illuminates these pages, casting ominous shadows across the
walls and my shaky hands. The loss of electricity shouldn't
affect me this much at 2 a.m., but I suddenly, irrationally, fear the
dark. For both of us. I wonder helplessly about where he is, what's
he's had to fight, who might possibly know he's alive.... I need to
know; he's never been good at avoiding danger alone, and now...

God, I miss him. I've never...

Dammit, I hate this.



The opening moves have been made. Scully has testified. Mulder
has "died." And I conveniently absented myself from the hearing
and the subsequent ruling on the fate of the X-Files. It was no mean
feat, getting myself removed from the chain of command and
responsibility of my own division, but you don't rise to the level of
Assistant Director without learning a subtle bureaucratic maneuver or

I did manage, however, to retain supervisory authority over
Agent Scully, an important victory and key part of our plan.
It was a near thing, but she will remain an active agent for the time
being, despite her admission of the status of her cancer to the board.
I was able to call in a lot of markers and have her assigned to one
of the new self-directed investigative units in my division.

She does not look well, although it is impossible to determine if it
is Mulder's absence or her spreading cancer that is the primary cause.
She is pale and withdrawn, diminished in a way I had never expected.
It helps maintain the fiction of Mulder's demise, of course, but it
worries me. If something happens to her, I know that I will wake up
one night to find Mulder standing over me, and it will be the last
thing I see.

God help us all if something happens to her. She is the only one as
yet untainted in all this, the only who can pull us out of this

I have further corrupted myself, although this time in the service of
our plan. It is a small, cold comfort to know that my purpose is
honorable, although my actions are nothing but abhorrent. I have
become a grave robber. Well, not precisely, but it is the principle.

Utilizing the "skills" I've acquired under the smoker's tutelage I
procured a body for our masquerade. It served the purposes of
convincing the shadows of the reality of Mulder's death. I am sorry
that Scully had to identify the ruined carcass. Even knowing that it
was not Mulder, even with her forensic training, the bloody mess of
the body's face must have been a shock -- looming as it did over a
body wearing Mulder's clothing. But we all have given up certain
freedom and choices. We are committed to victory, knowing the cost
will be substantial for each of us.

Damn that smoking son-of-a-bitch and all of his incarnations. I
have sold my soul and am owed a miracle. But perhaps it is true
that there is no honor among thieves. I am still being strung along.

They know our weakness -- without Scully we are lost. I can
only hope that they think they are winning. That we are all just
biding our time waiting for her to die.

In the meantime, the field is in play, and I have work to do.


D-day + 5

11 June 1997, 1:30 a.m.
New York City

Dear Scully,

Had a scare today. I was scouting a certain building in New
York and nearly ran smack into Cancer Man. I spotted him
about a minute before we would have collided in the lobby.
Actually I smelled him before I saw him. First time I have ever
been grateful that the man reeks of cigarette smoke.

He looked almost smug. I could almost swear I heard him
whistling, but since I was trying to imitate a wall at the time, I
could have been mistaken.

He was accompanied by a certain blond-haired bitch. I wish I
knew what game she was playing. Thank God I don't trust her
enough to include her in our little play. She seems to pop up in the
oddest places with the strangest men.

I am scared, Scully. We are walking a tightrope above the
yawning caverns of damnation, all three of us. One slip and
Cancer Man will own us, body and soul. He already has a down
payment on Skinner's soul and mine, though he is unaware of my
intrusion in the game. Skinner treads a perilous path subverting the
truth to uncover the truth. It is a task he has grown used to, but
this time it is for *his* own purposes, not the Cancer Man's goals.

I really wish you were going to get this letter because I could
then tell you to tell Skinner that the security in the New York
Bureau office sucks. If I had been a terrorist, the body count
would have been awful. Apparently no one thinks to check out the
cleaning crew at night.

If I do say so myself, I wield a pretty mean mop. If this scheme
collapses, but we both manage to survive, I may need the experience.

I think the FBI also needs to hire Frohike and the guys to come
up with a better computer security system. It didn't take me
more than half an hour to break into Bureau Chief Sanderson's
account. Apparently no one ever changes the basic access code to the
system. Of course the fact that his password was the name of his
brand new son didn't hurt either. Maybe I'll forego a career as a
janitor and go into high-tech burglary. Career options are everywhere
it seems.

It didn't hurt that an Assistant Director of the Bureau was the
one who gave me the access code to begin with. Skinner was
right, Sanderson is so deep in Cancer Man's pocket that he
couldn't find his way out with a map. Now I have the proof. In a few
days, Skinner will have it as well. Frohike is being extremely vague
about how they are getting the information to Skinner. I know they
are not about to get anywhere close to a direct contact with him. I
hope they are being careful. There are jackals out there who are
waiting for a chance to pull Skinner down quite apart from the Smoking
Man's agenda and they'll take anyone down who gets in their way.

Sanderson is an arrogant SOB. He keeps a list of his contacts on his
hard-drive. Skinner will not be happy to learn how many of his
*trusted* assistants are also getting paid by the Consortium. Rather
explains how they're keeping two steps ahead of us all the time,
doesn't it? My God, Scully, the damn smoking bastard practically owns
whole sections of the FBI.

If we ever manage to crack open the Consortium, I think Skinner
is going to be very busy eliminating the cockroaches infesting
the Bureau. I'll be more than happy to help him hunt. There are more
than a few butts I would just love to kick down the stairs.

While I was browsing through Sanderson's files I happened to see the
official report detailing my many sins against FBI protocol and
integrity. It was really quite impressive. Personally, I'd have
voted to hang me, you were so damn persuasive. You led Blevins and
his motley crew of hangmen on quite a merry dance, partner. Quite a
devastating report on the sad life and delusions of the late,
unlamented Special Agent Fox Mulder.

Did you have to be quite so convincing? I mean, it rather
sounded as if you were enjoying yourself just a bit too much.
Remember, most dearly cherished partner of mine, this is a play
we're putting on. Don't get too enthusiastic about debunking me in
public. I don't want you developing any bad habits while I'm gone.

Everything seems as it should. Apparently the Bureau firmly
believes that you have come to your senses and returned to the
fold. The prodigal returns to the bosom of her family amid great
rejoicing. At least we now know who Blevins's hatchet-men are.
Excuse me, I did note one female member of the hanging party; make
that hatchet-persons. I hope we didn't go to all this trouble just to
flush out the rats.

I wish this was all over - one way or the other. I would give
anything to just hear you say my name in that tone that I have
come to think of as belonging just to me. You know the one - you
manage to mix exasperation and affection and make me feel like an
errant ten-year-old. Or even to hear you snap out 'I'm fine.'

Are you? Fine, I mean. I hate this separation; this silence.
I must depend on my heart to tell me that you need me. Would you tell
me if you did? I greatly fear you intend to hold to this play no
matter what. Do you have any idea what a hollow victory it would be
if we bought the truth with your life?

I better close before I wax sentimental. It's a lovers' moon
tonight and I am alone in the shadows.



D-day +6

June 12, 1997

Skinner has "granted" me two weeks' leave -- necessary to
maintain the charade, but an interminable amount of time to
be left so rudderless. Only a few days into my sentence and
restlessness has overtaken me, despite my ever-growing fatigue.

When I hatched this desperate plan, I had no idea that the role I cast
myself in would be such a strain. I bear a tremendous guilt for
sending Mulder out unprotected and alone, and for offering Skinner no
alternative. They are in the worst positions and are most vulnerable.

But this shell, this empty husk of a woman I see in the mirror is no
part-time method actress adequately portraying a broken, grieving
woman a mere 10 hours a day. She is vacant, her soul draining out of
her a little more with each second of broken contact. She is me.

I think of him every minute of every hour.

I went to the funeral. My mother insisted on coming and seemed
horrified at my attempt at refusing her company. I can only
attribute her acceptance of my odd demeanor as her perception of
my fathomless grief. In truth, she's not far off. I have told her in
no uncertain terms that I won't talk about Mulder. She, so far, has
respected my need for privacy and distance.

I couldn't say more than a few words to Mulder's mother. Long
ago I gladly accepted the position of his next of kin in her stead. In
fact, it helped our position in that I was able to claim the body and
proceed with funeral arrangements quickly enough to avoid any serious
examination of the body. Although I know she is grieving, I don't feel
guilty over deceiving her in this charade. I have my own protective
instincts regarding my partner -- the mothering part of my affection
for him will never forgive Mrs. Mulder for the emotional pain she has
inflicted on him, both knowingly and unknowingly.

I have also seen Frohike. We met for a drink at a dingy DC
bar. At any other time he might have joked about our "date,"
but even he understands the seriousness of this situation. I
reiterated the terms of their involvement, that Mulder and I
will not use them to transfer information to each other. They
will, on the other hand, be available to pass along vital items
between Mulder and Skinner, only if absolutely necessary.
I refuse to add their names to the list of the Consortium's most
wanted through any association with me. After that meeting,
I warned, we could no longer meet or communicate in any
manner. Another tie to my former life has been cut.

Other than a clandestine meeting with a mildly perverted
voluntary social outcast, I spend my days in meaningless
actions prompted by my lost sense of purpose. My closets
are clean. My life is organized. My estate is in order. I could
serve brie and Merlot on my bathroom floor. Trivial, menial
duties around which other people's lives revolve. It's apparent
I'm exhibiting all the classic signs of a patient with a terminal
disease finally ready to accept the inevitable. It's still no comfort,
though, and I feel no sense of peace or closure. I have become so
distanced from reality that I feel if I'm not protecting the world, my
life has no meaning.

In exchange for the depth of life I have traded the breadth. I have
exchanged normality for Mulder, for the dysfunctional world we two
have created. But no matter how stunted that world, I know now I am
lost without its parameters. Its passion. Its urgency. I need it. I
need him.

His intensity, the intensity he brings out in me, scares me.
Seduces me. Our world is narrow, but its potent depth is my
destiny. It continually lures; my soul would go willingly, but
my heart will continue to hesitate until... until it's time.

I now know that time may never come.


D-day +7


A U.S. Department of Justice-wide memo on the importance
of computer security, regularly changing one's passwords, and
never leaving workstations logged on to secured accounts
suggests to me that Mulder is at work in the shadows. It could
simply be coincidence, of course -- we do get periodic reminders about
these things -- but this memo had an undercurrent of panic I could
almost taste. This wasn't the standard, some-kid-has-
tried-to-hack-our-website annoyed tone. Someone got into some very
important information. I have to think, I have to hope it was Mulder.

I have not been idle, either.

Being the smoker's lackey for the past months has taught me
some useful skills. The SOB is either much better connected
than even I think he is, or he is overconfident. Since Mulder's
"suicide," I have had almost no assignments, and it would seem that I
am only under sporadic surveillance.

Fortunately, my duties for the chain smoker have made my
schedule so irregular that I don't think even my sometime
watchers have a clue when I'm supposed to be anywhere.

Mulder's task is two-fold. He is to execute the initial stages
of the plan to unmask the conspiracy, beginning with that son-
of-a-bitch Sanderson. But once he completes the work in New
York, we leave Scully's script and begin our own plan.

Mulder will concentrate every effort on finding a cure for Scully. We
are certain that one exists, but equally certain that the black-
lunged SOB will never give it to me. I have become a far too useful,
and amusing a tool for the SOB. I will continue to play the bastard's
games, but in the meantime I will focus every effort on destroying him
and all that he represents.

We must bring the entire organization out into the light. It is
the only way to destroy shadows...or monsters.

I began with that obvious plant Kritschgau. His Federal
Employee Database record was bone fide. He had indeed
served in the agencies and positions listed. It was what was
*not* there that was telling. I never thought I'd live to see the day
when inter-agency rivalry and suspicion would be a helpful thing, but
it has been. After my recent tenure in charge of the anti-terrorism
task force that "successfully" apprehended that poor SOB Teager, I had
the perfect excuse to go down and ask a couple of the guys in the
domestic terrorism division about the possibility of agents in other
agencies, including Defense, being agitprops. It's a popular topic.
The FBI hates all the other intelligence agencies just as much as they
hate us.

I threw in several red herrings, seemed to pay especially close
attention to a couple of their responses, and then finally tossed in
Kritschgau's name. They lit up like pinball machines. Seems our boy
Kritschgau has been the source of FBI speculation for some time, only
he's so damn good that they've never been able to really even open a
file on him. Just seems that whenever there's something big and nasty
happening, he's there on the fringes somewhere.

They had some interesting surveillance photos of him, too. One
in particular caught my eye. It had been taken approximately
2 years ago at some place in Rock Creek Park. It looked like
it was winter, and Kritschgau and his contact were standing
by the water, angrily gesturing at one another, and then in
the next photo they were laughing. His contact was a haughty
African American man, whose face bore evidence of a recent
fight. I tried not to wince and touch my own head. I
remembered that elevator all too well. Oddly, the agents had
been able to uncover absolutely no information on the man
Kritschgau was talking to. It was as though he'd never existed.

I stayed long enough to toss a few more false leads into the
conversation and finally left, convinced that Scully and Mulder
had been right about Kritschgau. The connection to Mulder's
former source was troubling, but not perhaps, unexpected. The
complete inability of the domestic terrorism branch to uncover
any information on him is more troubling, and a good
reminder -- the game has always been deeper and more
complex than even Mulder believed.


D-day +10

16 June 1997 8 a.m.
New York City

Hey Scully, it's me,

It is beginning to get really boring being dead, but I am
starting to make some progress. You were right, partner, with me
dead, their attention is turning inwards, back to their precious

Still, our enemies are wary, their victory has come too easily.
'Spooky' Mulder was supposed to be more resilient, a rubber ball built
to take all of their abuse and bounce back for more. If I could still
laugh at anything right now, I would laugh at their stunned
incredulity when their blatant ploy worked. It was only meant to be a
single thrust, the latest in a series of assaults calculated to cloud
my memories and drive a wedge between us. Just another crack in the
fragile shell of my sanity.

For some reason, incredible denseness and male chauvinist
stupidity no doubt, no one seems to doubt your willingness to
meet their terms. After four years of damned persistent loyalty to me
in the face of all common sense, why should you suddenly agree to
fulfill your original mission and debunk my work just because they
offer you a chance to reclaim your place on the career ladder to the
top? Apparently they believe you so lacking in honor and loyalty that
you would crucify me for their thirty pieces of silver.

What really infuriates me though is that they smugly believe you would
be stupid enough to believe someone like that Kritchgau, Kitchgoo,
whatever. God, the man reeked of a setup. You played him well,
Scully, but next time (please God don't ever let there be a next time,
but you know what I mean) curb your urge to flay me alive just a bit.
For a few moments in the warehouse, I almost began to believe you had
converted, that the words you spoke came from your heart, not from the
desperate play we were performing. Scared the shit out of me until I
remembered how you held me when we committed ourselves to this
charade. A deep embrace to remind ourselves of what we meant to each
other, to carry us through the harsh words we must recite for our

That last dig about them giving you the cancer to make me believe was
perfect - a little too close to home perhaps. I didn't need you to
remind me of what I have done to your life. That was putting a little
too much reality into your performance. I blame myself enough
already. If I thought it would buy you your life, maybe I would have
blown my brains out all over my couch, who knows?

I actually did briefly entertain the thought of eating my gun,
but decided I was shaking so hard that I might miss and just
injure myself. I didn't want to be alive to catch your reaction to
that kind of stunt. Skinner wouldn't have been happy either since
he'd have been the one to clean up the mess.

>From everything I have managed to gather, you are considered
'safe' again; purged of the taint of being my partner.

With Frohike's help, I have bugged the office of one of Cancer
Man's lackeys, one of the contacts mentioned in Sanderson's
files. Not a very important man. I wouldn't even dignify him by
calling him a rat; more like a sleazy groundhog.

Based on what the bug picked up, Frohike says that our target
seems to be a keeper of lists. I'm hoping to slip in one night
and peruse them. Of course with my luck, they'll be ten years
worth of laundry receipts and restaurant tabs, but I'm trying to be

The guys have been working in twenty-four hour shifts hacking
into every medical research facility they can find, here and
abroad, trying to find some treatment that might help.

Frohike says that you are looking pale. He is quite worried
about you. He seems reluctant to tell me how you are doing. I
think he is afraid I'll rush back and blow this whole fucking
charade to hell. I am tempted, Scully, but I promised you I
would trust you to handle your end of this deal.

What did you say to them, Scully? They won't talk to me about
you, except in vague general terms that cannot completely hide
their worry. What is it that you don't want me to know?

This is driving me mad! Damn you . . . no forgive me. Damn me
for dragging you into the morass that is my life. I should have shut
you out of my life and my work on that first case, but you trusted me.
Dear God, do you realize how devastating that was to my aloof

Simple trust extended to a man you had been told was a flake, a
borderline candidate for the looney bin, the antithesis of
everything you believed in. Did you realize that from that
moment on I was yours?

Have you ever wondered why I ditched you so many times? Well I
know you have, but you have never even come close to the real
answer. Overprotectiveness, even callous disregard, is excellent
camouflage. To be honest, I am terrified of the power you hold over
me. One word from you and I would have stayed at your side and
followed the logical sane path. I never gave you the chance to ask me
to stay, did I? Not until I was already hurtling away on the winds of
impulse past the point of return. My quest, my insane gambles, became
my shields against your incursion into my heart, even into the
fortress of my soul.

If I had listened to you, followed your paths of science and
logic, I believe the results would have been the same:
obfuscation, misdirection and lies, but I will concede I might
have spent less time in the hospital. What success we have had
stems from our differences. That is why we are so dangerous to
them. Intuitive logic coupled with scientific reasoning - a
deadly combination they forged when they assigned you to debunk
me. I have used you shamelessly to further my ... our quest,
trusting that you will forgive me for the sake of what we have
learned, if not for my own sake.

Now you are the one who has ditched me. Cast me out into the
shadows to search for answers while you follow the trail out
there in the light. God help Skinner if he fails to keep you
safe. I'll kill him if it's the last thing I do, and it probably
would be.

Frohike's at the door. We're going weasel hunting today. Byers
hacked into one of their databases and reported that Krycek is back in
town. I have a few things to discuss with that man. Frohike's along
to remind me to tidy up if I forget Plan A and jump directly to Plan B
- beat the shit out of him and break every bone in his body.

I'll write more tonight. Even though you aren't reading these
letters, they make me feel closer to you.

I miss you. I can barely remember to breathe without you at my



D-day +11

June 17, 1997

Today was the day of reckoning. The prodigal daughter returns.
Judas makes her entrance to the bullpen in a crisply tailored
black suit. I've been consigned to hell.

There were a few awkward murmurs of sympathy, but I was
beyond determining which, if any, were genuine. A few, of
course, were so kind as to sympathize with my plight of being
saddled with such a "disturbed" man. From the range of cloying
conversations I've had today, I can piece together what distorted
rumors have been feeding the insatiable gossip machine. Truly, at this
point I don't mind the damage to my reputation, but it disgusts me to
know Mulder could be thought of as that much of a coward. Damn
self-righteous flock of sheep. For all the advanced degrees and
sharply trained minds in VCS, they are so ignorant of the evil working
in their midst. None of them knows what we are fighting. None of them
knew Fox Mulder.

Skinner has not contacted me since our meeting at Haines Point
Park except in official capacities as my supervisor. I am
desperate for any sign that Mulder has made inroads, that he is
still alive. Skinner has done what he can to alleviate some of
the pressure of playing my part. He has assigned me to a self-
directed investigation unit, a diverse team of agents, sparing
me the pain of taking on a new partner. I met with them today
to be briefed on their open cases. How much they know about
the state of my cancer I can't tell; they offered the same vague
condolences that left me wondering what they were actually
sorry for -- Mulder's death? My humiliation? My illness?
My part in this may be the easiest to play, but I may end up
seriously injuring my mouth from all the times I'll have to
bite my tongue.

I do take small satisfaction that I will once again be working,
giving myself another purpose for whatever time I have left and
making all this waiting a little more bearable. The team has three
open serial murder cases on which my forensic expertise may shed new
light. Concentrating on the cases may also help drive away the
dangerous self-pity I've been fighting these past few weeks.

Those feelings were difficult to fight tonight. The MO in one
of the cases sounded familiar to a file that had crossed Mulder's desk
a few months ago. We had routed it back up to VCS, but the details I
recalled didn't quite match any of the victims in this case. More from
a longing for familiarity than a need to follow all possible leads, I
made my way down to the basement after most agents had gone home,
hoping to find a copy of that forwarded file. The desire to be near
Mulder -- or at least in his den -- had become overwhelming during the
day. But as I pulled out the silver key that has been on my chain for
four years, I noticed the lock had been changed. There was no
nameplate on the door. My past is being stolen from me as much as my
future is.

I'm trying to hold my head high, but the weight of despair grows
heavier each day.



Mulder's unlikely accomplices have contacted me for the first
time. At least I presume it was them. I didn't see or hear
anyone, but an envelope was shoved under my door
sometime between 2 and 4 this morning. It contained a
printout listing names and what appear to be payments. A
number of the names looked startlingly familiar. A quick
scan of the New York Bureau office employee database
confirmed that they are all Special Agents and Special
Agents in Charge at the field office. This must be
information that Mulder downloaded from Sanderson's
files. It took longer for it to arrive than I anticipated. I
can only hope this does not indicate some deeper trouble
for Mulder.

Tapping into the general Bureau database I discovered that all
of the agents on Sanderson's list had served in the DC office
between 5 and 7 years ago, in one of two special investigative
divisions -- financial investigations or hate crimes/arson -- both
areas under Blevins' direct supervision. There were no agents from
either my section, or from AD Susan Jameson's division. I am
cautiously optimistic that I may be able to get some assistance from
Jameson when it is time to bring down these networks.

I am beginning to understand why Mulder trusts no one but
Scully, but I recognize that I will sooner or later I will need
help from within the Bureau. AD Jameson seems a logical
choice. She has long impressed me as a woman of true
integrity and professionalism. In the same way that I
have instinctively distrusted Blevins, I have trusted her.

As I continued to run random scans of agents in other bureau
field offices to cover my electronic footprints I found myself
reflecting that sometimes it's a bitch being right. That scum
Sanderson is so deeply involved in Consortium activities that
they really should be paying his health insurance premiums.
And the sheer number of other agents that he's managed to
subvert is truly depressing. The reach of the shadow
organization is deeper and broader than I had imagined.
Worst of all, I can make no overt moves against them at
this point. I must stand by and simply watch as they
continue to suborn justice and further corrupt the integrity
of the Justice Department. But at least I know who to
watch now. If we survive all this I, or my successor,
will be very busy.

After all, I am one of those corrupting the integrity of
the bureau right now. I must remain in place long enough
to ensure Scully's cure and Mulder's "resurrection" and
reinstatement, but after that I think there will be questions
that I will not be able to adequately answer to anyone's


D-day + 12

18 June 1997, 1 a.m.
New York City


If there is a god for weasels, Krycek owes him big time. I
missed him by half an hour - a bloody fucking half an hour!

God how I wanted to *talk* with that man. I should have killed
him in Russia, but at the time all I could think of was escape. I
felt your need pulling at me, demanding my return. Your need was
stronger than my desire to kill Krycek, barely.

We're still not certain whether Krycek just happened to decide to
leave or if someone warned him. I've been on three buses, four
subways and damn near hiked across this city and haven't seen anyone
on my tail. Logic says that if I am still alive and free, I am not
being followed, but when has my paranoia ever listened to my logic.

At the moment I'm sitting in a filthy bus station in an area of
town I normally wouldn't enter without backup and heavy
artillery. I fit right in. You wouldn't recognize me - at least I
hope you wouldn't. Three days worth of beard (itches like crazy - I
have to resist the urge to claw the bottom of my face off), hair that
is beginning to look decidedly unkempt and stringy and an old army
fatigue jacket and pants. At least the shoes are mine, but I wince at
the mud job I had to inflict on my new track shoes.

Frohike left early yesterday morning. Apparently someone tried
to hack into the guys' computer system and came pretty damn close to
getting in. Frohike looked shaken when he got off the phone. I told
him to get lost. Byers and Langley need him more than I do at the
moment. If I am being tailed I don't want to drag a friend down with

As I sit here surrounded by the ripe denizens of the lower New
York subculture, I try to amuse myself envisioning Frohike and
the guys surrounded by their high-tech armada preparing to repel

You might laugh at them, Scully, but I'd rather have the guys on my
side than most of the agents that belong to the alphabet soup we call
our national security forces; yourself excluded of course.

I miss your keen mind at my side. Well, not just your mind, but I
don't think I have time to list all the things that I miss about you.
Considering my current state of hygiene and appearance, your mind is
probably all that you'd be willing to share with me and that most
likely from a distance.

Better close. Some of the inhabitants of this place are
beginning to notice me. I don't want to elude Cancer Man's
agents only to turn up on a slab in the New York morgue because
some thugs decided they wanted my shoes. Time to start moving

Wish I could wish you were here, but you are far better off where you
are. At least I hope you are.



D-day + 13


I have received a report of a possible sighting of Alex Krycek
in New York City. As his former supervisor, I am
automatically copied on all information that surfaces on the
former agent. I cannot help but speculate that it is no
coincidence that that rat has surfaced in New York at the
same time that Mulder is there.

Krycek remains one of my great failures. Although I was
given little choice in assigning him as Mulder's partner, I
should have found some way of better controlling him or
of warning Mulder about what he was. I had counted on
Mulder's essential paranoia to prevent him from trusting the
rat, but somehow all the normal systems failed.

And then Scully was abducted.

It is clear to me that her cancer is linked -- directly or
indirectly -- to her abduction and missing time. Even before
Mulder found the records in the fertility clinic, even before
Kritschgau told Scully his theory about why she has cancer,
I knew.

I suppose my decision to make my deal with the devil was
partly driven by my own guilt in the matter. If I had been
better able to control Krycek, who I am convinced was
instrumental in Scully's abduction, none of this might
have happened. It was, it is still my division, and I, alone,
bear the responsibility.

Mulder should be departing shortly for his true mission --
finding Scully's cure. We are both clear about the necessity
of deceiving her about our actions. He is clearly torn by the
guilt of lying to her, however obliquely -- given that they
will not speak again until the charade is over. I have fewer
qualms. I have, in fact, been lying to both of them, in
various ways, for years. Even before my deal with the
smoker, I was not a completely free agent within the Bureau
-- none of us are. As a senior manager in a highly visible
agency that is continually under scrutiny by the legislative,
executive and judicial branches of government, I have
always been forced to make compromises.

But no more.

This deception and subversion of Scully's plan is vital to
our larger objective. We must, we will find a cure for
Scully, and Mulder and Scully will bring down the
shadows that have darkened the halls of the Justice
Department for too long. I will aid them in every way
I know how.

It is time to remember who we all are. Why we joined the
Bureau in the first place. I will not compromise any longer.


D-day +15

21 June 1997, 1 a.m.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Perched now on the brink of betrayal, I spare a moment to wonder
if you will ever forgive me for what I am about to do?

This plan, crafted for the purpose of breaking the hold our
enemies have over us, was always your plan, not mine. As we used the
plan the Consortium devised to discredit me as cover for our own
purposes, so I am using your plan to put me beyond your reach to
pursue my own goal. Did you think me so dense that I could not see
into your mind? Do you think the protection you are striving so
desperately to create for me will matter at all if you are dead? If
you die, I will sweep down upon the men who condemned you to this
lingering death and send as many of them to hell as I can before I
join them there.

Sorry, partner, but I cannot stand by and watch you die.

You might be surprised to learn that Skinner is as adamant as I
am that, whatever the cost, you shall not die. We make unlikely
allies, he and I; double conspirators against the shadows and against
your carefully crafted plan. We only had to meet once and then only
briefly to pledge ourselves to your salvation. We will pay the price
of your choosing, Scully; as long as you are alive to judge us.

What are you hiding from me, Scully? Frohike refuses to tell me
anything other than you insisted on a strict policy of no contact.
Forced him to give his word. Now how did you know Frohike's word
would hold him silent, even with me? He doesn't give his word often,
but when he does he is like a fucking stone wall and I can't break
through it to touch you, even second-hand.

The guys are there to help you, damn it! I would never have left you
alone if I had believed for one moment you would sever contact with
them. Did you suspect I would use them to check up on you?

Frohike looks like a man caught between a rock and a hard place. I'm
not sure which he fears most, you or me. He is caught between two
desperate people who have nothing left to lose, except perhaps each
other. He has reluctantly agreed to help me once I made it clear I
would do this with or without him. He cares for you and I used that
care ruthlessly to get my way. I am my father's son, Scully - whoever
the hell he is.

I will endure your anger, even the shattering of your trust, but I
will not, cannot, endure your death.

I am off now to hunt for the extreme possibility that I can find a
cure for you. The impossible dream that I can find the cure and make
everything all right again drives me deeper into the darkness that
hides the truth.

Forgive me.



D-day +20

June 26, 1997

Some say there's nothing like anger to make you feel alive. At
this point, I should thank Blevins for making me feel immortal.

That self-righteous bastard actually thinks I'm an ally.

I was summoned to his inner sanctum this morning for my
progress report -- a claustrophobic, unsurprisingly smoky office that
was probably harboring countless eavesdropping devices. I could
practically hear their communal buzz. He began the meeting with
glowing praise for my recent work with the investigative team and
sickening "regrets" about my medical status. I greeted both with
nonchalance, firmly believing that after I expressed my cool thanks
for his compliments and concern, I would be dismissed. I was not so

In a tone that sent shivers down my spine, he began speaking
conspiratorially, in double-wrought phrases that confirmed
my suspicions that we were not the only parties privy to this

"You and the late Agent Mulder were excellent investigators,
frequently devoting your personal time to pursue unorthodox
leads.... for the greater good, isn't that so?"

Unorthodox? Yes, to protect our families, innocent people, and
each other from the subversion of government entities established to
protect. Yes, *perhaps.*

"Wouldn't you like the chance to shed light on some of your more
off-the-record cases, to explain more fully your side of the story?"

Why, I'd love to. I'd love to explain how you set up a young,
innocent agent to destroy possibly the only man brave enough to
confront the blatant corruption in these halls. And how when she
failed to comply you found ways to punish her, and him, for her
disloyalty. I'd love to be given half the chance.

"It would be a shame if the accomplishments of the X-Files were
not appreciated because of the tragic events surrounding their
closure. They should be respected for what they were, for what
you helped them become. Don't you agree?"

Wholeheartedly. And when Mulder comes back from the dead
and you and your bosses are destroyed, they will once again see
that respect.

To all his questions I responded in a weak, noncommittal voice. I gave
him no comment to second-guess, yet no answer to reassure. He saved
his final dig for last.

"You look good, Agent Scully. You'll go far in this organization, I
have no doubt."

Liar. I look like I have one foot in the grave. I couldn't leave that
comment unchallenged.

"Sir, my life is coming to an end. I am attempting to be the best
agent I can in the time I have left, but I'm afraid 'far' is not
I'll be going."

His answer stung like a slap in the face.

"Medical science makes breakthrough advances daily, Agent
Scully. Part of the reward of working outside the basement is
that you get to know the right people. Hear the right things from
people who might be aware of the latest medical miracles. I wouldn't
give up hope yet, Agent Scully."

I quietly thanked him for the vote of confidence and silently
told him to go to hell.



I have received word that Mulder may have located a lab with
information about Agent Scully's illness as well as a source of
a possible cure. He is apparently on his way to the lab, and I am,
in the meantime, to begin discretely finding a biomedical lab
that can take the information he uncovers to process it and
synthesize the resultant substances to heal Scully. We hope.

It occurs to me that I should be detailing the ways in which I
am tracking Mulder's movements and actions -- however
indirectly. It was, of course, my intent that this serve as an
official record of these events. But we are far from resolution.
Victory is not yet certain, at this point not even probable, and I
find I am reluctant to jeopardize our precious few allies. If Mulder,
Scully and I fail, the game will be badly tilted in favor of the
shadows, but it will not yet be lost. We have found a handful of
friends and resources in unlikely places, who might be able to
continue this battle without us. If we lose, and this record falls
into the smoker's hands, our allies would be destroyed as surely as we
will be. I cannot risk naming them now. If we win, I will come back
and clarify this record.

Through one of our more unlikely contacts, I have located a
lab in the western part of the US that will create any biologic
or chemical compounds that Mulder can discover on his
current excursion. It is a privately held research facility that has
never accepted any government funding. The lab was originally founded
by an eccentric movie star in the twenties who was convinced that with
enough time and money, science could find a way to reverse the aging
process. He ran out of time before he ran out of money -- dying of
brain cancer at the age of 38. His entire estate was used to endow
the lab in perpetuity to research cancer. Their independent approach
is matched only by their reputation for integrity. They will suit our
purposes nicely.

I am worried about Mulder. Scully's plan demanded absolutely
no direct contact between the "dead" and the living. I know
how badly the strain of separation is wearing on her. I can only
imagine that it is twice as hard on him. I receive sporadic updates
on his progress, but the messages, by necessity, are one way and as
brief as possible. I have no way of reassuring him of our progress,
nor of assessing his state of mind.

I remember from past cases how Mulder's focus and concentration
on his perceived endpoint would block out all other considerations
-- to the point of irrationality, really. But this time the stakes
are so much higher. Can he bear this burden alone? He, of all people,
knows the dual consequences of our failure.

We lose Scully. We lose to the shadows and the "truth" is
forever obscured. From his perspective, it's difficult to say
which is the more drastic outcome.

We cannot fail. We have gambled all on a single daring plan.
I have the utmost faith in both of my agents, they will
complete their parts of this action to the letter. I must only
maintain my double life of renegade and smoker's pawn
long enough to let them work.


D-day + 30

6 July 1997, 10 p.m.
Burlington, Vermont


It's a good thing you won't see this letter - you would need a
cryptologist to decipher my handwriting. Of course I seem to
recall that you never have thought highly of my cursive script. Right
now, however, I'm on a bus rattling down Route 7 heading to points
south. With luck I should be in Savannah by late tomorrow night.

I am so tired I ache, but I don't dare sleep. We pulled off a
coup, Scully. At least I hope it's a coup and not a pile of day- old
shit. If Skinner ever finds out what I have done, I won't have to
worry about Cancer Man. There is a trail of broken, bent and mangled
laws lying in my wake across five states. The bastards are scurrying
around like angry wasps from a disturbed nest, but they are looking
for outsiders or even a coup within their ranks - not a dead man.

Using the scraps of information I plundered, Byers hacked his way
through a labyrinth of computer networks hidden behind a perfectly
innocent Department of Transportation systems network until he
stumbled across a back door someone carelessly left open. I won't
even pretend to understand what he did or how he did it. Anyway, he
jumped in and then he and the guys spent the better part of thirty-six
hours dodging defenses and safeguards gradually moving towards the
main file directory.

Alarms went off when they finally broke into the main directory.
Byers was rather closed-mouthed about what happened then, but said
they managed to grab a few files before abandoning ship. He did
mention leaving behind a rather nasty little virus. It won't destroy
files, but it randomly changes file names around and will continue to
do so every fifteen minutes until eradicated. It will also create a
wormhole which should destroy any trace the system tries to place on
their hacking. Why did I hear a silent 'I hope' coming from the other
end of the phone line?

Would you be terribly surprised to learn that your name figures
very highly in the research notes of a small, remote clinic in
southern Georgia studying the mating habits of the Urocyon
cinereoargenteus? Either some bastard in Cancer Man's
organization has a damnably cold sense of humor or we're on to
something. Have any relatives among the fox population, Scully? The
clinic records clearly show a lab animal registered under the name,
Scully. By the way, your namesake is the proud mother of a litter of
eight cute little grey fox kits.

If I had known that fur turned you on, I would have borrowed my
mother's fur coat years ago. It's the little things I don't
know about you, Scully that drive me nuts.

At first I thought this file was too good to be true; the ideal
bait to sucker in anyone left to care about you, but Byers
told me that the defenses were too elaborate to waste on bait.
As a ruse Frohike pilfered a bunch of files listing grant numbers and
access codes to research projects on several potentially profitable
ventures. Byers is hoping the clinic will just assume this was a
routine pirate raid, but he sounded just a little frightened. I
haven't heard that same note of fear in his voice since the Thinker
pulled his little coup.

He gave me the name of the clinic and a whole series of
scientific names and file numbers before he cut the connection. I
haven't heard from the guys for nearly two days now. I'm worried.

Have I just destroyed them, Scully? Is it my fate to lure my
friends into taking risks for me that ultimately destroy them?
If we succeed in this game, Scully, I may have to give serious
consideration to trying to persuade you to find a safer partner.
You have already paid too high a price for your loyalty and
friendship. I wish I knew whether it was more than just
friendship, but I am almost as afraid of your answer as I am of
my own.

Meanwhile I'm sitting here on this bus, heading south, trying to
remember how to pray. I think it would help if I believed there was
anyone out there listening.

You are my faith Scully.

I am out here in the shadows on the simple trust that you believe I
can find the answers to the doom that is closing in on both of us.

If one day I find the courage to tell you that I may face my own
oblivion from their experiments, will you be able to forgive me for
hoarding this secret? It would do no good to tell you. Why burden
you with something you cannot cure when you are bravely defying the
cancer that is eating its way towards your brain?

The journal I was not supposed to read said you needed to know I was
out here, following my leads, pounding on the gates of heaven or hell
for answers. How could I take your hope away by revealing my own
selfish need to find the truth? I am a mirror image of your journey.
Where you go, I shall follow, in their time.

It's getting too dark to see the paper.

Good night, partner.


July 6, 1997

It was important that I see Skinner, to warn him of Blevins'
likely deeper involvement in the game. Oddly, Mulder and I
had never given him enough credit to consider him as anything
more than a minor Consortium flunky. But I feel there is a
strong possibility that he may represent more than we thought.
I could be wrong, but Skinner had to know. I also admit that I
needed to see him. This self-imposed exile is wearing me down,
and I needed to feel his comforting presence, at least for a while.

We met for a late dinner in a crowded Georgetown restaurant
popular with investment bankers and stockbrokers. We blended
in with our dark suits, and I was confident of our anonymity.

As with the other dominant conversation of my week, we spoke
in vaguely concealed codes. Yet this discussion was warm, with
an undercurrent of compassion and mutual understanding. For
the short time we were together, I drew strength from the calm
passivity of his gaze.

We spoke of my "uncle" and his new promotion. How he wanted
me to join his firm. How I had avoided making up my mind just
yet. We spoke of my "friend," who has lupus. How she is doing
-- fine, for the time being.

He then told me about his nephew.

His young nephew had been traveling lately, working on his thesis
about law enforcement. He communicated to the family only
sporadically, when it was convenient. He always did have a selfish
streak. He had actually sent a draft of his thesis home to his father,
who forwarded it to Skinner for his opinion. Skinner thought the
information his nephew had gathered was quite interesting and may shed
light on how efficiently different law enforcement organizations work

But it would still be a long time before Skinner's errant nephew would
make it back home again. He still had much work to do. And Skinner's
edits would take some time to organize.

At least, I said softly, trying desperately to blink back tears, at
least you know he's all right.

We worry now and again, he responded. But we have to let him
live his own life.

I left for home with a sense of hope in my heart that has been
missing for far too long.


I now have enough information to at least temporarily cripple
the smoker's networks. It is the first step in being able to
bring Mulder back when he has found Scully's cure.

The contact information that asshole Sanderson left floating
around on his hard drive for Mulder to find has proven to be
a Rosetta Stone of sorts. I have quietly -- very quietly --
followed the web of consortium agents into nearly every
critical agency in the government. Using old fashioned
surveillance (with the indirect assistance of some of Mulder's
"friends") and electronic tracking, we now have enough
information to shut down what I estimate to be a significant
portion of the consortium's U.S. operations.

I am not naive. This is clearly a conspiracy of international
proportions. And that's the catch. The information we have,
while damaging, is probably not enough to do more than
temporarily set back the shadows' activities.

They have been clever. They are using closed-cell networks
of agents-in-place. It is clear to me that none of the consortium's
double agents know of more than 4 or 5 others. There are what I've
designated controllers -- people like Sanderson who manage large
groups of cells. We have so far identified four other controllers: 2
in Defense, 1 in the ATF and 1 more in the Justice Department. Thanks
to Scully we have been able to verify that Blevins is the second
controller in Justice. He has not been as sloppy as Sanderson, but I
have enough information on him to buy leverage at some point in the

It is not clear if any of the controllers know of or contact each
other, although we think they do not. More troubling, we have been
completely stymied in our efforts to discern to whom all the
controllers report. We must trace this network up at least one more
level of power if we are to inflict any lasting damage on the
organization. Most troubling of all: a lot of the leads to the next
level are dead-ending in the UN. They are not consistently leading to
the same office, but no small number is leading to or through the
SRSG. Mulder's contact looks more and more dangerous.

We are still hunting, but the prey is elusive, and time is
running short. Scully's latest medical report gives her a
prognosis of 2 months. It is time to hear from Mulder.


D-day + 33

9 July 1997, 1:30 a.m.
Sour Springs, Georgia


You would be proud of me, my most skeptical partner. Your voice of
reason and skepticism keeps ringing in my ears. You see, Scully,
while I might not always follow your advice, I do remember it. Since
I can't have you at my side, I have to do the next best thing - recall
some of your more eloquent lectures on method and reason and try to
follow them. I miss the raised eyebrow, folded arms and looks of
sheer incredulity that usually accompany the lectures, but I suppose I
can't have everything.

A quick trim and a change of clothes in the bus terminal bathroom
erased the disreputable ruffian who fled Vermont and replaced him with
a spectacled professorial type in battered but clean jeans and a white
shirt. I have become the epitome of a yuppie professor complete with
neatly trimmed beard and pipe. No, I haven't taken up smoking, but
the prop seems to put people at ease. Stereotypes are so useful in
creating disguises. I still want to claw the bottom of my face off,
but the beard actually looks rather nice now that it's trimmed. Maybe
I'll keep it.

I haven't exactly broken all my bad habits. The Sea Breeze Inn
here in the quiet hamlet of Sour Springs, Georgia, would have
been a four-star motel in the Fifties, but now the best things
about it are the price (low) and the fact that the bed doesn't
sag. It must advertise on the cockroach circuit, however. I
have killed eight of the Sherman tank varieties so far. Big
fuckers. One of them actually took a direct hit from my shoe and
merely looked up at me as if to ask: 'who the hell are you?' I don't
think I stopped pounding him until he became one with the carpet.

As I said earlier, you would be proud of me. I did not rush
headlong into disaster in my usual inimitable style. Instead, I have
carefully scouted out my objective and its defenses, eavesdropped
shamelessly on local gossip and spent nearly two days poring over old
newspapers in the local library digging up information on the center.

The locals think I'm researching a local folk legend involving a
Spanish pirate who buried his treasure, along with four of his men, on
an island accompanied by the usual bloodcurdling curse. In the
intervening three hundred years the island has become part of the
mainland and its exact location is now unknown. The curse has
magnified so that there are now at least a dozen angry ghosts guarding
the treasure that binds them to this earth. Every disappearance,
every strange illness is blamed on the pirate curse. Fascinating case
of mass hysteria passed down from one generation to another. Useful
as well for the center. Any lapse in haz-mat security and the
resulting calamity will be automatically blamed on the curse.

If I find your cure I may drag you back down here and do some
serious treasure hunting. You would love this place. It would
confirm all your suspicions that unbridled belief in the
paranormal addles the brain. Consider it my treat.

Oh, you were wondering what I found out about the center?
Patience, partner, I'm getting there.

The Bio-Rescue Research Center showed up five years ago, bought
150 acres of scrub land and poured close to two and a half
million dollars into the local economy. They hired all local
labor to construct the labs, offices and living quarters for the
twenty-odd scientists and guards residing there now. Their supplies
(except for the really high-tech and bio-hazard stuff) are all bought
locally. The BRRC is highly regarded here. If the locals knew I was
here with intentions on invading their beloved benefactor, I would
probably end up as gator food. Puts extra incentive on not getting

Thanks to a couple of loquacious construction workers who drank
enough beer to sink a battleship, I have been able to draw a
fairly accurate map of the center. According to these men, the
BRRC had to pay double the going labor rate because one of the
favored locations of the fabled cursed treasure was right on the site.
After his eighth beer, one of the men confided that he had seen
ghosts wandering around the meadow late one night when he left his
bunk to find a friendly tree.

Five-foot tall, grey ghosts, Scully! I know, I can hear your
exasperated sigh, but what if there are aliens here? Yeah, I
know, I'm clinging to the words of a drunken man who saw
something in the fog five years ago, but what if?

As always Scully, wherever there is a benefactor greatly beloved by
the community, there will be heretics who claim the hero is the devil,
not a saint. They whisper of strange experiments and mutated animals
found in the nearby swamps. They speak in hushed voices about a thick
grey smoke that clings greasily to cars and windows when the wind
shifts and blows across the facility. Whispers are all I heard, no
one speaks aloud of their doubts. It's just animals after all. How
can anyone measure the welfare of animals against the welfare of
people in need of the money this center spreads around in the local

I am reminded of the studied ignorance of the Germans living near the
concentration camps. What is the price of human souls these days? Or
the price of ignorance?

In the past two days, I have become convinced that part of the
answer to what was done to you lies within the walls of the
Bio-Rescue Research Center. This is a place of secrets,
zealously protected. It is time some of those secrets see the
light of day.

Tomorrow night I'm going in. Time to put to the test what
Frohike has taught me about security systems.

Until tomorrow then,



July 6, 1997

Human beings see in three dimensions because of the refined,
interconnected relationship of one eye to the other. The eyes
work in tandem, focusing together on a distant point, jointly
bringing it into focus, relaying to the brain a measure of
distance -- how far away an object is, or how close. Yet
each eye has a separate optic nerve, separate cornea, separate
lens. A person's two eyes can even be two different colors.

When the eyes have trouble focusing, either together or separately, we
can fix the problem with corrective glasses, contact lenses, or even
surgery. In the most severe of circumstances, when one eye is lost to
an accident or disease process, we resilient humans can still see with
one. But the world loses depth, images become flattened, perspective
distorts along the edges. We can make do, we just have to recognize
that what we now have is functional, but imperfect.

This morning I awoke to an astounding amount of congealing
blood on my bedclothes. The clinical part of my nature marveled
at the sheer volume of it and how I could have possibly slept
through the tremendous nosebleed. Blood was matted in my hair,
dried on my face and neck, adhered my nightshirt to my skin. I
blinked repeatedly in stunned confusion.

And blinked again.

And again. I couldn't seem to fully grasp the details of the
tableau or bring the images into proper focus. I stumbled into
the bathroom and cleaned myself hurriedly, unable to look in
the mirror at the surely gruesome sight.

Even cleaned, with my glasses on, I couldn't comprehend what
had happened. My bed looked like the scene of a murder.
Perhaps in the next few weeks, one morning when I don't wake
up, it actually will be.

Today is Sunday, thankfully not a workday. A day of rest. A
day of reflection. A day of facing the truth.

My meeting with Skinner seems like a dream and the glimmer
of hope I felt is long gone. Both have faded into the distance,
their promise of relief a tantalizing mirage. Heat lightning in a
summer sky, teasing with a promise of rain never to be fulfilled.
There is nothing now but an endless, yawning black, waiting to pull me
in forever.

If I've again been flirting carelessly with denial these last few
weeks, I'm being punished for that transgression now. When I finally
braved the bathroom mirror, I was forced to confront the terrifying
image of reality. The sclera of my right eye was awash in vivid red.
Burst capillaries had flooded the white, leaving a bloody sea
completely surrounding a dim blue cornea. For a moment, I simply
stopped breathing.

Dammit! Why now? Why when I'm finally given confirmation
of what I knew in my heart to be true -- that Mulder is alive,
and possibly succeeding? I need to see this through. I *can't*
die before Mulder returns. I need to feel his arms around me
again, telling me that we have succeeded, that all our sacrifices have
been vindicated by the truth. I need to tell him.... I need to tell
him so many things.

Mulder, we've always left so much unspoken. When Skinner
left us alone that fateful night, we knew there was a good chance we'd
not meet again, but we refused to say it aloud. That's so like us
isn't it? Never admit the possibility defeat. Perhaps you knew the
same thing I did -- that if either of us had shared precious words,
fate would not give us another chance. By saving them once again, we
were hedging our bets. We might get another chance. The embrace we
shared embodied that hope.

But I had temporarily forgotten that we won't have another
chance. Even if I'm alive when you return, it won't be for long.
I want to survive until then more than anything.

Maybe it's good that you are far from me tonight. If you were
here and opened your arms as refuge to me, your strong Scully
would fall into them and disappear, dissolving into miserable
tears of regret.


D-day +34

10 July 1997, 11:30 p.m.
Bio-Rescue Research Center


It all comes down to this moment in time. I'm perched in a
tree writing this by the light of a very inconveniently full
moon. God, it's like daylight out here. No one in their right
minds would be foolish enough to try to break in when the moon is this
bright. On the other hand, lunacy has always been a habit of mine.

I've been up this tree since just after twilight, watching the
guards patrol a fenced perimeter and trying to memorize their
patterns. Apparently the manual for guards does not mention
looking up for intruders. Good thing since I really don't look
much like a squirrel and I doubt if they'd believe I was just an
abnormally large tree fox.

Someone has been careless. If I am very careful and nimble I can
crawl to the end of a branch and from there make a flying leap over
the fence. When I first climbed the tree the branch looked as wide as
a bridge and sturdy as a rock. The longer I am up here staring at it
and listening to the snap, crackle, pop of small creatures frying
themselves on the fence, the more insecure it looks. Meanwhile I am
providing a late-night snack for a swarm of very thirsty mosquitos.

I can't help but wonder if I can pull this off. I don't exactly have
a good track record in doing this sort of thing. Maybe this is
payback for all the times I've ditched you thinking I could handle
everything myself. This time you won't come riding to my rescue if
things go wrong. You may never know what happened or why.

Now I am alone.

We are both alone and this is wrong. We always function better
as a team. Even when we argue and spit bitter words at each
other, there is still a connection between us. Challenge one,
face both.

Scully, would you think less of me if you knew how afraid I was? Not
for myself, though I'll admit to an extreme reluctance to experience
pain. I am afraid that I won't be fast enough or smart enough to find
the answers you need. You have put your trust in a very frail knight,
my lady partner.

Do you realize that in all the times I have broken into secret
facilities I have never once been afraid before I went in? I
believe I always felt that somehow I was protected by the
righteousness of my cause. Of course as things began collapsing
around my ears, as they usually did, fear and I became very intimate
acquaintances, but I always began the operation feeling as if I was

I am drawn to this place like a moth to a flame. All or nothing. I
must believe that salvation for you, my Holy Grail on this strange
quest, lies before me or I will never screw up the courage to leap
this fence. I am not invincible this time. I am going in knowing
what the cost of failure will be for you. I have to believe you are
with me, whether you are by my side or not, and together no one has
ever stood against us.

Keep believing in me Scully. It is all I have to cling to now. Your
faith in me is my shield and my comfort. Righteous anger at what was
done to you blazes around me and I want to go in like a fiery angel of
vengeance. However, as much as I would like to kick some butt
tonight, stealth is the better part of valor. You need the cure, not
a dead or captured partner; a silent mystery swallowed up in darkness
leaving you to wonder as your life dwindles away.

The guards have just been relieved. Time for this Fox to live up to
his name. Pray for me, Scully. God and I haven't talked much since
Samantha was taken. He'll listen to you. If he'd just listen hard
enough and provide a miracle for you, I'd forgive His silence of the
last twenty-four years.

Maybe I'm that miracle.

Couldn't resist just one last megalomaniacal phrase.

Bye for now,

F. M.

P.S. Somebody out there - please let this work for Scully.


D-day + 35


My main point of contact with Mulder has evaporated. In a
rarely scheduled information "drop" I was due to hear from
him yesterday about the outcome of his excursion to the
southern lab. There has been nothing but a very troubling
silence, broken only by a visit from my smoking master.

I have seen very little of the smug bastard since Mulder's
"death." I have had only one assignment from him in the
past five weeks, and that seemed to be more to remind me
of my bargain than to actually accomplish anything of import
for his group. The fiction of Scully's miracle still hangs
between us, but increasingly not even he seems to believe in it.

On the morning after Mulder was to have staged his incursion,
the smoker drifted into my office.

"Well, Mr. Skinner." He stood looking at me for a long moment.
"Been busy, have we?" Oddly, for the first time since our
confrontation over the DAT, he actually seemed nervous, as
though for once he didn't have all the answers.

"You would know." I was in no mood to play games. "You
haven't exactly required my 'services' lately." I deliberately
turned my attention back to the file on my desk.

He remained standing in front of my desk for another minute.
"And how is Agent Scully doing?"

I met his gaze again, this time allowing my contempt to show
through, "She's dying, actually. Do you have something for me?"

"Not yet, Mr. Skinner, not yet." He left my office stinking of smoke.

It was an odd encounter. I could only hope it meant that Mulder had
achieved his objective. His continued silence was troubling, but
surely the smoker would have thrown it in my face if he had Mulder.
Suddenly, for the first time since the charade began, I felt a small
measure of hope.


11 July 1997, 6:00 a.m.
Sea Breeze Inn

Hey, Partner,

I'm alive.

Now before you raise your eyebrow and give me your patented
exasperated glare for stating the obvious, you need to know that that
simple statement is tantamount to a miracle. I may have to start
believing in God again.

The damn place was set up like a giant Venus Fly Trap with me as the
fucking fly. Easy in, damn near impossible to get out. The guards
were just inattentive enough, the door locks just a hair shy of being
impossible to pick and the security system state-of- the-art but just
a smidgeon less than air-tight. In other words, I was suckered by
difficult, but not impossible barriers.

Thank God (or whoever) I am as paranoid as they come.
Unfortunately it took its own sweet time to kick in. I was so
caught up in the thrill of beating the system, I didn't notice
how fast I was moving into the heart of the center. Like a fly
to honey. I let my fucking ego take over. By the time it
occurred to me that I shouldn't be getting through the security
safeguards as easily as I was, it was damn near too late.

The trap snapped shut as soon as I accessed the main computer
files. I really didn't even notice because I had run into
several files with your name attached. You make an absolutely
delectable lupine, Scully. They even had a description that
would make any male fox's heart turn lustful: soft brown eyes,
silver-tipped thick fur shading to a soft cream color on your
breast and legs, a petite, but muscular body, narrow feet and a
long bushy tail with a cute little dark grey tuft of hair at the end.
Be still my heart.

Coupled with that stunning description and an attached
description of mating habits (prefers nocturnal mating and has a
tendency to play hard-to-get), is a rather human medical chart. You
are buried under three layers of lupine physiology, but you are there.
I can't make sense of any of it, except to recognize certain key
phrases like nasal carcinoma, metastasize and Delta test group along
with the dates that correspond to your abduction and return and the
onset of your cancer.

By the way, I owe Frohike my life, and if these files are useful at
all, possibly yours as well. Before we started this mad charade he
crammed, mostly by rote, the essentials of creating chaos in a
networked computer system into my thick skull. For ten minutes I had
the computer chasing its tail as it tried to figure out where I was.
Meanwhile I downloaded as much as I could as quickly as I could. I
don't know whether these files will be of any use whatsoever, but I'll
be damned if I was going to leave them behind.

By this time, alarms were going off all over the place as the
computer finally gave up and called for its human backup. I
inserted the special disk Frohike had given me and let 'er rip.
Frohike hadn't been too forthcoming about what the disk contained, but
he assured me that once activated the nice little virus it contained
would nestle quietly among the stored files until someone tried to
execute the restore programs.

Scully, remind me never to let Frohike near my computer. I have a
hard enough time finding my files as it is.

Obviously Plan A (slip out as quietly as I slipped in) was now
completely out of the question. I really hadn't come up with a
Plan B so I improvised.

Quit wincing Scully. My improvisations aren't that bad.

OK, so trashing the computer probably was a bit over the top, but I
was getting a bit irritated with it. I know it wouldn't affect the
stored data, I trusted Frohike's little virus to do that job, but I
wanted the damn thing out of commission. Eluding human guards was
going to be quite enough excitement, thank you very much. Besides it
felt really, really good ripping wires out and generally creating

Scully, have you ever seen a mainframe take a bath before? Made for
some nice fireworks. Especially when the lights went out. All those
live wires thrashing about in the water resembled a nest of very angry
snakes spitting sparks. I suppose I should feel bad about the first
two guards who came hurtling into the room, but I don't think they had
very friendly intentions towards me.

It was them or me, Scully. The only way I could have stopped
them from charging into the room was to step out of hiding and
surrender. One of them had time to scream before he died. I
think I'm going to hear that scream and the sound of flesh
sizzling in my nightmares for awhile.

Once the computer was down, the center was plunged into total
darkness, except for the dim emergency lights. Now it simply
became a game of fox and hounds between me and the remaining four
guards. I trashed a few other rooms, released a few of the foxes
being held for research purposes and generally made a mess of things.
I left some graffiti on the walls announcing that this was a raid by
the Wildlife Liberation Brigade.

OK, OK, not very original, but I was rather pressed for time.

Thank God for an eidetic memory. I had memorized the general
layout as I came in, but I hadn't expected to be dodging guards
going back out. I knew if I didn't get out before the guards
gave up and decided to call for reinforcements, my head was going to
be mounted on Cancer Man's wall as a trophy. I must have played hide
and seek with the guards for nearly an hour before one of them decided
to call for help. While they all stood around the main exit, the one
with the emergency light, waiting for their intruder to be stupid
enough to try to leave by the most obvious route, I broke through a
shuttered basement window (I love basements) into a tool shed.

Finesse was not in my game plan by this time so I pelted full
speed towards the fence with three guards chasing after me. I
decided to try my hand at pole vaulting using the extension pole on a
pair of limb cutters I had found in the tool shed. I let go of the
pole and tumbled over the fence seconds before the pole hit the fence
and that entire section of fence lit up. Blinded the guards long
enough for me to disappear into the woods, helped along by the spray
of gunfire. Amazing the incentive automatic rifle-fire provides.

The rest of the night was spent in running away as fast and as
hard as I could. I managed to slip back into my motel room just as
the sun was beginning to be a problem. For the past two hours, I've
been laying in the middle of the floor trembling with exhaustion and
relief. If Cancer Man himself had come in I wouldn't have been able
to raise a finger to defend myself.

I am still shaking so bad I can barely read my own handwriting,
but I needed to feel you close to me; to let you know that hope
may lie within my hands. As soon as I can stand again, I'll get
cleaned up and then try to contact the guys.

We may have won a battle, but this damn war isn't over yet. If
the guys aren't available I'll find a way to get this disk to you
somehow. It's about time Skinner made himself useful as well as

I miss you, Scully, but I can't come back from the dead yet, not until
you have the cure in your hands. When you're well again, I can come
back and the three of us can confound our enemies. I wish I believed
in miracles.

I am surviving, but it's lonely out here without you. Do you
ever think of me? Do I haunt your dreams with the unspoken
possibilities that lie between us as you do mine?

I can pour my soul, my dreams out into these letters which you
will never see, yet I cannot face you with the same honesty. You
deserve that honesty, but as well as I think I know you, I cannot
predict whether it would confirm the bond we share or shatter it. So,
here in the safety of the shadows, I write of things I dare not speak
of, knowing you will never read these truths that I can no longer hide
from myself.

I am so tired, but for the first time I dare to believe that
there is hope in the dawn of a new day. I'll sleep when I know
this disk is safely on its way to you.

Until then,



11 July 1997, 5 p.m.
Atlanta, GA


The disk is on its way.

I am becoming extremely alarmed at the silence from Frohike and
the guys. This isn't like them. Even their emergency 'use-once-
and-forget' number doesn't respond. Have I traded their lives for
yours? I seem to be doomed to make those kind of choices in my life:
my sister, my life and now my friends.

Before I return from the dead, if I return, I will destroy these
letters. They have been a comfort out here alone in the shadows, a
link to you and a constant reminder of our bond, but they will only be
a complication between us if you should read them. I do not want
there to be the slightest chance you will ever read them. You have
never indicated that you understand what I have sacrificed for you
and, if I have anything to say about it, you never will. What I want
between us does not involve your guilt or your pity. I have made my
choices, knowing the risks, and to me alone belongs the blame.
Unfortunately, others always seem to pay the price. I have offered my
life, my sanity, even my soul, but they seem to be valueless coins in
this twisted game.

Your sister once told me that the men responsible for your
abduction and subsequent coma would face an equal or greater
horror. Little did she realize that I am one of those whose fate she
foresaw. My horror is watching you die by inches, defiant yet
increasingly brittle as you grudgingly yield ground before the
cancer's advance. My horror is seeing my friends destroyed because
they tried to help.

Four years ago you were the wild card that was meant to bring me down,
but instead strengthened my hand and validated my quest. Now I am the
wild card that redraws the rules by which we have played up to now.
With all that we have lost, we have bought our places in this game of

We will no longer run.

We will take the offensive.

Until now, when we are casting all of our hopes, our future
and our very souls into the single roll of the dice, I have never
really understood the old Spartan adage: come back with your shield or
on it. Always sounded a bit harsh - victory or death doesn't leave
much room for a middle ground. Now, however, I have come to
understand that sometimes there is no middle ground. We have no
middle ground.

So, I have cast the dice. The disk is sealed in a package
addressed to the alias Skinner set up in case of emergencies.
Barring an act of God or the failure of FedEx to live up to its
motto, it should be in his hands tomorrow and then into yours.

Now it is time for me to fade back into the shadows. I will
watch the lost and found ads in the _Post_ for your signal that
the news is good. This very weary hound of yours would like to
come home and lay his head in your lap.

I've got miles to go before I sleep tonight. When I know you are
safe, I'll burn these ramblings from my heart and come back to you.



D-Day + 40


Mulder's silence, it turns out, was a communications problem
with our middle men. A one-use, emergency address I set up
received a FedEx package 4 days ago with a disk. I have copied
it and shipped it to the lab that we intend to use, and have
received preliminary word that the information is "startling,
but highly promising."

I have heard nothing from the smoker, which confirms my
analysis that this lab can be trusted. Now I have to get Scully to
the West Coast.

There is a case that requires her type of forensic expertise,
but it involves women who are being brutally murdered and
their reproductive organs mutilated. It is the type of case of
which nightmares are made, and I would rather not inflict that
on Scully. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of
bypassing this particular opportunity. It is time to begin
using the information I have to pressure Blevins. It would be
better if he assigned her to this case, rather than me. I still
cannot be sure when the smoker is scrutinizing my moves.

I called her into my office to explain that "Blevins" had
requested her assistance in this case. I was mildly surprised
when she protested the assignment. I suddenly realized how
tired she'd looked in the past weeks, and it occurred to me that
she didn't want to leave town because she was afraid Mulder
might come looking for her and miss her. It was the clearest
indication I've seen yet of the bond between them. It was
almost as though she could sense that he had completed his
part of the drama and was waiting in the wings for his cue to
come back.

In the end, of course, she accepted the assignment. Scully
remains an agent to her core. I think she also realized that
I wouldn't be asking her to take on such a horrendous case
without a very strong reason. It will be an exhausting and
difficult week for her. I have arranged for one of the scientists
from the lab to be assigned as a "consulting scientist" to the Seattle
Bureau, and he will begin Scully's treatments while they work on the
case. The lab assures me that the treatments shouldn't affect her
physically, but it is an untested regime.

I can do nothing now, but wait for word that Scully is cured.
We have traced the consortium's networks as far as we can
within the U.S. government. A lucky break a week ago
uncovered a Senator's aide who apparently controls the 5
controllers of whom we are aware. I remain convinced that
the aide is reporting to Marita Covarrubius, or whoever she
reports to, but the proof remains lacking.

When we know that Scully is well, I will go to the smoker and
offer *him* a deal: I will take down his networks quietly and
with no implication of Ms. Covarrubius. In exchange, Blevins,
who I will have to leave in place for the time being, will allow the
"resurrection" and reinstatement of Agent Mulder to pass with no
interference. Moreover, the smoker will provide me with information
about the bee project, and its purpose. That, at least, is what I
intend to bargain for.

Now we wait.


D-day + 44

July 17, 1997

The last few days have flown by in a surrealistic blur. I am
simultaneously living an excruciating nightmare and an
unbelievable dream.

Blevins has sent me to Seattle as a specialist on a serial murder
case, the horrors of which I haven't experienced since Donald Pfaster.
Someone is killing young mothers and mutilating their reproductive
organs -- a perverse, vindictive act, one borne of some unnatural
hatred. If there was ever a time I felt close to being incapable of
doing my job, it is now. If I can just survive one more day on this
investigation, I tell myself. Only one day becomes another, and then

Yet the horrific murders of five women are not the most
unbalancing part of my life at the moment. Before I left, Skinner told
me a Dr. Steven Conrad would be contacting me here in Seattle. Conrad
was going to lend his expertise to the case, he said. What I didn't
know at the time, and what I was too upset to ask, was in just what

I didn't want to come here. Not so much because of the awful
nature of the case, but because I was nearing the end of my strength.
My tumor had ruptured slightly, damaging my right eye and beginning an
assault on my brain. A future rupture would probably put me in a coma,
if not kill me.

I simply could not face the thought of dying before we've seen the
end of this game, but that was becoming a distinct possibility.

But then I realized coming here would be the best option. If I was
meant to die before this plan has been fully realized, I want to do it
as far away from my loved ones as possible. I simply could not face
the thought of Mulder returning to find me in a coma, one from which I
had no chance of waking. But all that began to change when Dr. Conrad
walked into my life.

In his laid-back, gracious, West Coast manner he introduced
himself to me in the hotel lobby the second day I was here and,
in typical Seattle style, asked me to join him in a cup of coffee. In
the hotel bar he revealed his story, the story of his lab, and the
story of some new information that had been forwarded to him by, as he
said, "a anonymous party with a stake in emerging cancer research."

What he showed me was unbelievable. What I understood was
earth-shattering. A new, synthetic biochemical compound with
fantastic, if unproven, possibilities. I had to consider his offer.

Conrad's institution is open and free, much as he and his staff are. I
sensed no taint of government involvement, no clue that this treatment
was bartered at Skinner's expense or grudgingly given through
blackmail. But if I am wrong and have been deceived, it won't make
much difference at this point.

I've been receiving a series of injections each night for the past
four days. Conrad himself comes to the hotel to deliver the treatment
because the after effects have included some nausea and intense
fatigue. I don't look well, and I don't even feel well, but it seems
the tumor is shrinking.

I may be getting better.

This is the first time I have uttered the words aloud, fearful of
cursing this unexpected turn of events. They feel good on my tongue.

I have not yet consciously thought about what this might mean
to Mulder's and my relationship. If he is able to someday return to
find my life has been miraculously spared, we will have the
opportunity to put right all that has been wrong between us -- the
opportunity to face our own, more intimate truths. I dare not hope for
that day just yet. That incredible possibility must linger in my
dreams for a while longer.


D-day + 50

26 July 1997, 9:30 p.m.
Spokane, Washington

Just a short note this time, Scully.

I'm waiting for a bus that's already two hours late. Saw you on the
news tonight nearly obscured behind the local Bureau chief. You are
looking tired. That was a wicked case Blevins put you on. You did a
good job, partner. The local Bureau should be grateful, but I suspect
they resent your brilliance which saw the significance in the little
details they overlooked or discounted. I can see your fingerprints
all over the meticulous forensics work they used to lay the foundation
of a good solid wall of evidence. So what if the Bureau spokesman
concentrated on the "team" effort. Hell, without your forensics
evidence, a killer would still be walking free.

Always did believe you could play hardball with the boys in
Violent Crimes and win. It occurs to me you might not *want* to
disappear back into the basement when (I am thinking positive) I
return. That thought scares the hell out of me - isn't doing a whole
lot for the 'keep a positive attitude' shit either.

A woman killing other women because she can't have children.
Damn that bastard!

Have they told you that your chances of having your own children are
slim? Did Blevins get some kind of obscene pleasure in sending you
out after that poor sick woman? If I ever learn that he knows about
them stealing your ova, I swear I will strangle him with my bare

Aside from the excruciating silence from you and Skinner, I have been
clinging to one piece of good news. Langley finally surfaced long
enough to answer the damn phone and assure me that the Lone Gunmen
were back in business. Seems a rogue hacker managed to slip past
their defenses while they were in hot pursuit of a cancer treatment
program in Sweden. Hey, that's what they told me. Purely medical
research. Naked female bodies had nothing to do with the reason they
were hacking into the site.

Anyway, while they were hacking, someone hacked them. Crashed
their entire system and sent them scurrying into deep cover.
They are convinced the MIBs are behind the whole thing and spent the
better part of a week hiding out. Then it took then a couple of days
to repair the system.

Please, Scully, if the disk was a dead-end, tell the guys. Give me a
chance to keep looking. The truth is out here, I know it. I won't
give up, not now. We're in the game now. We're players and I'll be
damned before I let the bastards win. I don't like losing (I may be
used to it, that doesn't mean I like it) and I know for certain you
absolutely despise losing.

I think my bus is being called. Heard some gobbly-de-gook that
might have contained the word N'Orleans.

Die and see the country - that's the Mulder motto.

Impatiently yours (now and always),




Scully, it would seem, is on her way to recovery. A discretely
anonymous posting to one of the general news lists I subscribe
to describes the remarkable shrinkage of a brain tumor in a Jane
Doe patient on the west coast. The reporting scientists were
guardedly optimistic about this treatment regime's possibility
for a full cure.

Not only that, but she did an outstanding job on the Seattle
women's murder case -- her forensic examination and evidence
analysis provided the key evidence that led to the arrest of Margie
Gillman. Scully remains in Seattle for the time being, preparing the
forensic evidence testimony that will be used in Gillman's trial. This
also allows her the time to complete her final treatments. The hours
she worked on the case will provide me the perfect excuse to place her
on paid administrative leave to "recover" once she returns to DC.

She is completely exhausted -- physically and mentally. Her relief at
her recovering health is tempered by her clear impatience to see
Mulder again, and to return to the X-Files. She is aware that I am
ready to begin moving against the consortium. I have also made it
plain that she is to stay as clear of those actions as possible. It is
my intent, although I have not told her this, to cover as much of
Mulder and Scully's involvement as I can.

The Consortium must believe that the two of them were driven
solely by a need to cure her cancer. It must seem that I alone
was interested in the deeper conspiracy. It may become obvious,
eventually, that Mulder, Scully and I conspired against the
consortium, but I want any retaliation to focus solely on me. Mulder
and Scully have earned their freedom.

They have completed their parts of the drama. I have only one
final scene to play before the cast can be reunited.

I based my entire offer to the smoker on the premise that
publicity is what the Consortium most fears. Of the gambles
we have all taken, it was perhaps the greatest. But my past
experience with the man over the DAT would clearly
indicate that the shadow of anonymity is that which They
most want.

My meeting with the SOB was less than completely satisfactory.
After the months of degradation of being the chain smoker's
servant, there could have been no real satisfaction unless I had made
him crawl. He did not. But we have won this battle.

I will begin dismantling as much of the consortium's network as
we know about. With AD Jameson's help we will use a standard
series of covers to explain the unceremonious removal of a
number of high ranking agents and officials in the Department
of Defense, Justice and the ATF. There will be vague allegations of
influences by foreign powers, or people will seem to be taking early
retirements. The Bureau, in collaboration with DoD, has established a
debriefing center in an undisclosed location. I have no faith that
the consortium's agents will actually be debriefed, or that wider
action will be taken to root out further agents.

I cannot care any longer. We have temporarily halted the
Consortium's activities. It is a hydra -- it will simply grow new
heads, establish itself in new areas. But for now, we have cured
Scully, Mulder will return shortly, and I am no longer the servant of
the smoker.

As Mulder would insist, the truth is still out there, and we have
bought ourselves a little more time to look for it.


D-day + 55

July 31, 1997

It's five-thirty in the morning, and I am currently gazing at the most
beautiful sight in the world -- Life.

Boats on the harbor in the distance are beginning to stir, as is
the population of the city below. A cool, sweet breeze flutters
through the hotel room window, caressing my face like a lover's
fingertips. The sun is not far from wakening, and I plan on
watching it break the surface of the horizon. An eternal rebirth
from darkness that today includes me. I plan on doing this much
more often. I plan on doing many, many things.

My cancer is gone. Dr. Conrad's injections have shrunk my
tumor into oblivion, according to the preliminary findings. Of
course I need to see my oncologist and verify the results with
other institutions, but it's gone. I feel it. I know.

Despite the elaborate secrecy behind the mysterious appearance
of Dr. Conrad and his miracle cure, I know exactly where it
came from. Mulder. I don't know how or when or at what price,
but my salvation is due to him and his relentless determination
to follow his own path. He is fierce and wonderful and completely,
utterly insane. When I see him again, I don't know whether I'll hold
him so tight that he'll beg to breathe or throttle him until he coughs
up the truth surrounding my cure. Perhaps I'll do both.

*When,* not if, I see him. There is no doubt in my mind now.
For the past two days I've been bombarded by e-mails regarding
the "restructuring" of the Bureau hierarchy, the latest wave of
resignation notices, and a surprisingly long list of upcoming
early retirements. Skinner has been cleaning house. We could
never have achieved this margin of success without him. For so
many things, Mulder and I will always be in debt to him. His
integrity is unmatched, and I will forever hold him in the highest

I fly back to D.C. this afternoon to begin my new life. But first I
have to set the wheels in motion for Mulder to begin his. He is a rare
and beautiful man who can't possibly know how much I've longed for
him. We have many things to discuss, he and I, and the dawning of many
new days to see.


D-day + 56


Scully has activated the pre-arranged signal that should bring
Mulder home. She has requested, and I have granted her 3
weeks of leave. I did not ask her where she -- where they --
would be. They will need this time together. Time to adjust
to the fact that she is not dying, and he is not dead.

I envy them the surety of their partnership. Together they
are a force that is nearly unstoppable. The balance and tension
of their relationship is electric, vital, alive. I know what
Blevins was hoping to accomplish when he assigned Scully
to the X-Files. It should have worked, and yet, he, the
Consortium's tool, unwittingly created the tool of its destruction.

I do not know the exact nature of their personal relationship,
and I will not speculate, nor interfere. What they have,
whatever it is, is necessary to their work, and to the larger
work in which we are engaged. And who am I to interfere
with anyone's happiness? It is a fragile thing, as I discovered.

The shutdown of the networks is nearly completed. The
removal of that many agents from the Bureau alone has created
a minor manpower crisis in certain regional offices, and I am
spending half of my work week in meetings about recruiting
and reassignments.

My part in carrying out the consortium's dirty work has been
swept under the same rug that hides Blevins' involvement,
and the role of Ms. Covarrubius. I am ambivalent about
my continued presence in the Bureau. I am as culpable as
the smoker in some ways. I cling to my belief that I always
acted with the larger picture in mind -- the uncovering and
disabling of the smoker's organization, but there must come
a time of judgement for me, too.

But the war continues, so for now, I do, too.

I was unable to get any useful information on the small-pox
infested bees. In our final bargaining session he gave me the
location of what he claimed to be the central colony of the bees. But
when our teams arrived there, there was nothing but deserted fields of

The smoking man has disappeared.

He will be back, and I will be waiting.


_Washington Post_ Classified Ads

LOST: Chocolate Brown Russian Wolfhound. 5 years old. No
collar. Answers to the name of Max. Dearly missed
companion. Reward. Contact: #E69347.


Author Notes:

Joyce speaking: Well, I assume if you have gotten this far, you might
be interested in how three writers got together to create this story.

It all started rather innocently when I wrote a short piece based on
my interpretation of the events of Gethsemane from Mulder's POV. I
sent it to Meredith and Miki for editing. It was a nice enough
stand-alone piece, but something was missing. The more I thought
about it, the more I felt it needed the POVs of the other
co-conspirators. Since I had rather cleverly, though completely
unintentionally, chosen editors who speak the voices of Skinner and
Scully, I decided to shanghai them into this story.

This whole collaboration has been a wonderful experience.
Weaving three different voices together into a single tapestry
proved to be easier than any of us had thought it would be.
Starting from the single premise of Mulder's letters, Miki and
Meredith expanded and enriched the story beyond my wildest
dreams. E-mails stampeded back and forth like crazed lemmings.
I can't remember when I've had so much fun writing a story.

Miki here: Joyce may *claim* it all started innocently enough,
but I think she had evil designs from the beginning. Actually it was
all quite eerie (spooky even). When Joyce sent me her original draft
for editing, she jokingly suggested that I consider taking the story
from Skinner's POV. I laughed and began reading her great story.
Then it happened: I started *hearing* Skinner and he simply would not
shut up until I wrote what turned out to be the first two entries from
his POV. I sent them back to Joyce as a joke and she took them

Seriously, this has been a wild and wonderful ride, the chance
to work with two authors I not only admire but *like* has been
rewarding beyond the telling. I only hope you had half as much
fun reading as we did creating!

Lastly, this is Meredith. Ditto to what these guys have already said
better than I could! I was supremely flattered to have been asked to
read Joyce's piece in the first place, so when she recruited me to
write for Scully, I was even more tickled. Working with Miki and Joyce
was a supremely rewarding experience that I won't soon forget. It was
a fun, thrilling, challenging and eye-opening project that I hope
brings some measure of closure to the fourth season. I thank them for
including me, and thank you for reading.

Since this is something entirely new for all of us, please send us
your reaction. Did this work or did you find the change back and
forth between the different styles disruptive? Let us know. We're
not begging, but we implore fervently.

Joyce McKibben (Mckibben@msuvx1.memphis.edu)
Meredith (carrie.stetz@mosby.com)
MC Akimoto (makimoto@circsol.com)