18 Nov 1997

Abah VI: The Recovery(2/4)
by Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 9/33

AD Skinner's Office
Herbert Hoover Building
Washington, DC

Kim waved Scully right into the office. Upon entry, she realized that she
and Skinner were not alone. She could smell the man from a mile away, or
so it seemed to her.

"Good morning, Agent Scully," greeted Stein.

"Good morning," she echoed. "Sir, is there a new case for me?" she asked,
directing her question to Skinner.

"No Agent Scully, that's not why I called you up to my office. There's
been a new development on the children's cardiac case."

"Oh? Mulder's been working on it pretty much nonstop this past week, ,
except for the time needed for his therapy sessions. I'd be happy to
deliver any new information you might have for him during my lunch hour,
Sir" she replied.

"Well, that's why I asked you to join us. Scully, there's been another
death, and it's not too far from your mother's home," Skinner stated.

"Oh Sir, you're not thinking of____," she tried to say.

"Agent Scully," Stein intervened, "we all know how Agent Mulder works
best, and that is when he has the opportunity to view a crime scene.
Since, as you say, he would appreciate any new information, don't you
think having him go to the crime scene would assist him even more than
merely having pictures or a verbal description?"

"But he is no longer a field agent. He no longer has FBI Agent status.
He is on an unlimited medical and disability leave and is working for you
on a consultant basis only," she retorted.

Then turning to Skinner, she implored, "Walter, you can't really be
serious about wanting him to go to the crime scene. The place will be
crawling with investigators, with bystanders, with the media, and God
knows who else. He can't handle that kind of a situation yet. He's self
conscious enough about going to the hospital for therapy, so how do you
think he would feel about opening himself up to gawkers he's not familiar
with, or worse, agents that he is familiar with?"

"I think, Agent Scully, we should offer the opportunity to Mulder and see
what he wants to do. If he would prefer to have the material second hand,
I would have no objection to that whatsoever. If, on the other hand, he
would like to go down to the crime scene, than I would like you to
accompany him, and me, to the scene," offered Skinner.

"You would go with us?" she asked in a small voice.

"Oh Dana, of course I would go with you. I know what a situation like
that could do to him. I wouldn't let him go within a hundred feet of the
place without _both_ of us," he replied.

"Okay, call him. If he wants to go, I'll pick him up and meet you at the

Walter picked up the phone to dial. He realized that he might have a
difficult time explaining this to Maggie and Elizabeth. Neither woman was
pleased with the amount of energy Fox was exerting in trying to solve this

They all noticed he was more stressed out since he had taken on the case.
The mothers had been determined to help Fox put some weight on, but since
he began to work the case, he had all but given up eating all together.
He actually appeared to have lost a few pounds in the last few days. His
clothes literally hung on him.

So the idea of taking him to the site of the latest death would not sit
well with either of the mothers. It didn't sit too well with the Abah

"Hello Maggie. May I speak with Mulder, please?"

"He's working on the computer, Walter. I'll bring him the phone." As
she walked to the den, holding the cordless phone to her ear, she asked,
"What's going on, Walter?"

"I need to speak with Fox about the case, Maggie."

"What about it?" she inquired.

"Maggie, you'll know soon enough. Please put him on the phone."

Maggie walked into the den and tapped Fox on the shoulder gently. He
startled slightly and looked up at Maggie. She offered him the phone, and
said, "Walter needs to speak to you about the case."

He put the phone to his ear and said, "Hello."

"Hello Fox. How's it going?" Skinner asked.

"Slowly, Walter. Very slowly. Ma'ie sai' you wan'e' to tal' to me abou'
the ca'e?"

"Fox, I can't understand a word you're saying. Concentrate on speaking
more clearly, okay?"

"Sorry. I'm a li'l tire'__ I mean tire_d_. When I'm tire_d_ I forge_t_
the endin_gs_. What is it you wan_ted_ to tell me?" he asked

But Skinner got sidetracked by what Mulder just told him. "Why are you so
tired? Haven't you been sleeping at night?" Skinner asked concerned.

"I'm fi_n_e, Walter. I'm jus_t_ a li_tt_le tire_d_, tha_t's_ all. I
haven'_t_ ha_d_ to wor_k_ this har_d_ in a while, tha_t's_ all. I'll
spea_k_ more clearly, I promise," he said as though he were a young child
seeking approval.

"Uh, hold on for a moment, Mulder." Skinner put him on hold and looked at
Scully and Stein. "His speech is lousy. He says it's because he's tired.
When have you ever heard Fox Mulder admit to being tired? He must be
exhausted. Now I don't know if we should offer him the choice of going
down. I don't know if he could handle it."

"AD Skinner," began Jack Stein, "you and Agent Scully would be there to
protect him. You would be able to determine if he were being overwhelmed
by the circumstances and could, therefore, immediately assist him in
getting off the site as quickly as possible.

"What if you don't offer him the opportunity and he could have handled the
situation. He deserves to be given the chance, doesn't he? Would it not
ultimately make his job easier in the long run?" concluded Stein.

Skinner nodded his head slightly and avoided Scully's ominous glare. He
released the hold button, and began to give Mulder the latest information.

"Where is the new site?" Mulder asked.

"It's at the Jamesville Elementary School," replied Skinner.

"Wha_t_ city?"

"Baltimore," was the succinct reply.

"I wan_t_ to see it, Walter."

"Fox, are you sure? You said you were tired. Are you strong enough to
handle this?" Skinner asked.

"I don't have a choice, Walter. I have to do this. Woul_d_ you or
Scully pick me up?"

"Scully will pick you up and I'll meet you at the site. She'll be there
in about forty minutes, Mulder. But, you listen to me. If by the time
she gets there you've changed your mind, that's okay. Don't worry if you
decide you would be better off with just a report. No one will hold it
against you. I mean that Fox."

"I know, Abah. Thanks." And Mulder hung up the phone.


Maggie Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

Mulder stared at the clothes closet and wondered what the hell he was
thinking. There wasn't a suit in the closet that three of him couldn't
fit into. He didn't have one piece of clothing, with the exception of a
new pair of corduroy jeans and black turtleneck, that fit him.

He hadn't made clothing a priority since the only place he went to was the
hospital for therapy and his sweats were the most comfortable things to
wear. Maggie had picked up the cords and turtleneck in anticipation of
Thanksgiving dinner, when the whole family would be here. Of course, the
pants were probably a little too big now, since he'd lost some more

Mulder didn't even dare try on one of his suits. He knew he'd look like a
little boy trying on his Daddy's clothes. He went with the corduroys and
the turtleneck. Mulder found a belt in the bag too (God bless Maggie
Scully and her foresight,) and tried to loop it in place.

He gave up and figured someone would help him with it later, so he sat
down to put on his footwear. He put on his socks, and then tied his
shoes (bless his OT too.) He stood up to inspect himself in front of the

He certainly didn't look like the standard FBI field agent any longer.
He'd gotten so thin, even he could see it. His hair got longer as well,
and though he kept it neatly trimmed, it certainly didn't meet bureau
standards. The clothes fit, for the most part, but he certainly did not
look as though he were going on an investigation.

An investigation. Did he really want to do this? Mulder was
contemplating this when he heard the front door open and female voices all
talking at once. He grabbed the belt and his walker and went to where
the debate was being hotly contested.

"Hello everyone. Wha_t's_ the discussion abou_t_?" Mulder asked with
great concentration.

Scully, Maggie, and Elizabeth stopped speaking at once when they heard
Mulder's voice. The three of them stared at him, and Maggie let him know
how nice he looked. Elizabeth said he always looked good in black, while
Scully said it was cold outside and perhaps he should wear a sweater under
his jacket.

"I need hel_p_ with the bel_t_, please."

Scully was the first to react and took the belt from his hand. She looped
it into his belt loops and then buckled it for him. She had yet to make
any real eye contact with him, because she didn't want her eyes to betray
her true feelings.

Scully didn't believe Mulder would be able to handle going to the site.
She thought he was going to be embarrassed by his appearance in front of
all the law enforcement personnel and bystanders, as well as the media.

Mulder was a well known figure in the media circles, and though they were
aware that he was ill months ago, no one other than the immediate family
had seen the illness' s general aftereffects.

Scully was worried he would not be able to handle the stress of the case
and of his own needs. She feared he would hair out on the site, and
that was something she wanted to avoid at all costs.

"Mulder, if you are really sure about this, then we'll get going. But
there is one thing I want to establish with you right now. Tell me a safe
word if you feel it's getting too much for you and you need me to get you
the hell out of there fast. Please," she pleaded.

Mulder nodded, thought for a moment and gave her his safe word. She nodded
in agreement and let him know she would inform Skinner of it when they

Scully then helped Mulder put on another sweater. He was going to argue
against the need for a sweater, but then he realized with the weight loss
he was always feeling cold anyway, so he put it on without a peep much to
Scully's surprise.

Mulder gave each of the very worried looking moms a kiss on the cheek and
told them he would be home soon.

End of Part 9/33

Part 10/33

Jamesville Elementary School
Baltimore, MD

Scully's car pulled up behind Skinner's. She saw Jack Stein get out of
Skinner's car and wondered if this was the first time he had ever been to
a crime scene. She looked over at Mulder and saw small beads of
perspiration already forming on his forehead.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah. I jus' forgo' how many people there were always milling aroun' at
these thing'."

Though she could have, Scully decided against reminding him to speak more
clearly. Between his fatigue and nervousness, it would have been unfair
to expect him to concentrate on his speech at the moment. Right now, she
realized he needed to concentrate on getting out of the car without
falling flat on his face.

"Mulder, remember, anytime you want out, just say the word, okay?" she
reminded him. He nodded and began to get out of the car, but before
Scully could even swing her feet out of the driver's side, Skinner was
standing at the passenger door ready to assist him.

"Hi. How ya doing?" Skinner asked lightly.

"Okay, I thin', I mean, thin_k_," he replied.

Skinner observed the nervous appearance, and again wondered whether the
information Mulder gained from this on site visit was worth the trauma it
might cause him. Skinner held the walker steady for him and watched as
Mulder grasped the handles of the walker.

Mulder stood up and tried to steady himself, but he felt a little
lightheaded and feared he would fall. Skinner remained in front of him to
protect him from falling forward, while Scully came around and grasped his
right arm. When he felt someone grasp his left arm, Mulder turned to see
Jack Stein lending his support as well.

Mulder looked at Stein quizzically. Stein merely nodded slightly and kept
his grasp firmly in place until he saw Mulder had steadied himself. Once
he started walking, Stein and Scully both let go, though Skinner remained
in front of him, and attempted to talk to him to help ease him into the

While Mulder stopped for a moment to just look around and get his
bearings, Scully went up to Skinner and motioned for him to bend down.
She whispered the safe word into his ear and then returned to her position
next to Mulder. Skinner smiled slightly and then walked over to the roped
off area as a way of preparing the investigators already on the scene for
Mulder's appearance.

There were no other FBI agents on the site at the moment, though that
would most likely change within the next twenty minutes or so when the ISU
agents arrived from Quantico. The investigators already there watched the
rather odd looking scene before them.

The local police officers noted the handicapped man wearing casual clothes
and sporting longish hair walking with what appeared to be "Suits" or FBI.
They murmured among themselves and wondered who the younger man was and
how did he come to be allowed onto the crime scene. They stared as he
sometimes struggled over the grassy terrain toward the body of the victim.

He moved slowly over the grassy playground area. The playground equipment
was set on a sandy area, and Mulder would have to negotiate that section
with help, but for now, he was able to walk with only occasional glitches
to where the body laid.

The child was covered with a plastic coroner's tarp and Mulder leaned down
to remove it in order to view the body. As he moved awkwardly next to the
body and to lower his own, he could sense many pairs of eyes on him. He
shook off the feeling of discomfort and focused on the task at hand.
Mulder had to look at the body in order to see if there were any clues
that others had missed.

He asked one of the uniformed cops to remove the tarp while he kneeled
beside the body and tried desperately to maintain his balance. He knew he
wouldn't be able to keep it up, and feared he would land face first on top
of the body. Scully, as if she sensed his concern, moved behind him and
held onto his shoulders to help him maintain his balance.

"Thank you, Scully."

"No problem, Mulder."

Mulder looked only at the torso and extremities of the eight year old
child lying on the ground. There appeared to be no physical
abnormalities other than a bluish discoloration under her fingernails due
to the lack of oxygen incurred during her cardiac arrest. He then asked
for assistance in rolling her over onto her back.

"What are you looking for, Agent Mulder?" Jack Stein asked.

Mulder heard his name and flinched slightly at the use of the title
"Agent" as he knew it didn't really apply to him anymore. But he
understood it as a sign of respect, and answered him in the only way he
knew how.

"I'll know when I fin_d_ it."

Mulder looked at the back of the child's head, arms, and legs with great
scrutiny. He then reached over to raise the child's long, dark brown hair
away from her neck. As he looked very closely at her neck, Mulder
announced, "I foun' wha' I'm lookin' for."

"What the hell did he say?" asked one of the uniforms to no one in
particular. "Geez, who the hell is he? One of those idiot savants that
can see things no one else can see?"

Scully was about to let go of Mulder to give the tactless uniformed cop a
quick, painful, lesson in manners, when she saw Skinner walked over. He
gave that particular officer a glaring look and directed him to go over to
crowd control.

When the young fool started to object, Skinner whipped out his ID badge,
informed him he was speaking to the Assistant Director of the FBI, and he
told him if he kept up the insubordination he would personally be
responsible for his future transfer to the least desirable area he could
think of. The young man moved quickly.

"Did you find something, Mulder?" Skinner asked.

"Yeah, I thin' so. Loo' here on the neck. Do you see the sligh' redness?
I thin' our young victim ha' an implan' embedde' in her neck. Di' any of
the other victims have implan's, Sir?"

"I don't know," he replied. "Scully, did you note anything about implants
when you reviewed the autopsy reports?"

"No, Sir, I didn't. But there's a good possibility the ME's missed the
scarring. Mulder and I know what to look for, whereas anyone unfamiliar
with implants might very easily overlook them."

Mulder next said, "I thin' we nee' to see if the other children ha'
implan's. I think it woul' be an importan' link."

"I agree," said Scully. Skinner nodded in affirmation.

Mulder then asked for assistance once again in turning the body back over.
This time he did what he avoided doing when he first arrived. Mulder
looked carefully at the young girl's face. He shuddered at seeing the
child's face, as she was a remarkably pretty child. Mulder touched it
lightly, shook his head sadly, and then noted the oily appearance on the
child's nostrils. He looked up at the closest investigator.

"Di' you obser'e any bla', oily su'stan'e come ou' o' her no'e or ear'?"
he asked.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch what you said," the investigator said.

Mulder cocked his head a little bit because he was having difficulty
himself, deciphering the man's speech due to their very close proximity to
a busy traffic intersection.

Mulder had to discriminate between the sounds of the officer's speech, the
cars driving by, the wind blowing, and the chatter of other people all
around them. Unfortunately, he was not succeeding all that well.

Scully noted his confusion, and translated. "Mr. Mulder wants to know if
you observed a black, oily substance near the child's nose or ears."

"Oh, right. Yes, we did and we bagged it for evidence," he replied while
looking at Scully..

She knelt down, looked directly at his face, and told him it was already

"Where is i_t_?" Mulder asked Scully instantly. He was no longer
comfortable speaking directly to anyone he didn't know.

Scully repeated the question and added that they would like to see the
evidence. The investigator assured them it was safe, but Mulder and
Scully both insisted. They followed him over to the police van that held
the evidence crate. He began searching the crate, and slowly but surely,
he became a little more frenetic in his search.

"It' no' there, is it, Scully?" Mulder asked.

"Doesn't look like it, Mulder," she replied prophetically.

"Shi_T_," he cried out clear as a bell. "Now why doesn' tha' surprise
me?" Mulder angrily pushed his walker to the side and leaned against the
van for support. He felt a trifle weak-kneed and didn't trust himself to
maintain a standing position on his own.

At that moment, a green Taurus parked just outside the barrier. Three men
and a woman got out of the car. Agents Jackson, Browning, Anders , and
Hernandez, walked directly toward the body. Mulder and Scully observed
the quartet walk decisively to the victim and give a perfunctory
examination of the body and the area.

Agents Richard Jackson and Dave Browning began sweeping the area when they
noticed Mulder leaning against the evidence van.

"Well, look who's here, Browning. Do my eyes deceive me, or is that good
old Spooky Mulder? Hey Spooky, what the hell are you doing here? And
what's with the outfit? Guess when you're stuck in the basement a dress
code doesn't matter anymore, does it?" he chuckled as he spoke. His
partner, Agent Browning, laughed right along.

Mulder knew he shouldn't let it get to him. He wasn't even sure as to
what the agent said exactly, but he knew it made Scully tense up, so it
couldn't have been complimentary. It was at this moment that he wondered
if coming here was a good idea.

Mulder turned his face away from Browning and Jackson. A few minutes
later, Elena Hernandez and Jeffrey Anders joined their colleagues to
confer. As they came closer they noticed Mulder and Scully standing with
Browning and Jackson.

Hernandez and Jackson were equally surprised to see Mulder there, but
both of these agents were well aware of his bout with meningitis, and so
were merely surprised that he was still active. Anders had gone to the
Academy with Mulder, had always liked his rebel ways, and offered his

"Hey Mulder, it's good to see you're up and about," said Jeffrey Anders,
offering his hand.

Mulder, a bit unsteady, nonetheless offered his trembling hand for Agent
Anders to shake. "Than_k_ you Anders," he replied softly.

"Are you here in an official capacity, Mulder or are you here out of the
kindness of your heart to assist us poor ignorant fools?" Anders asked him
directly, in a lighthearted, yet sincere, manner.

"Official," Mulder said. "I'm a consultan'."

"A consultant? Who the hell asked you to be our consultant, Spooky?"
jeered Richard Jackson.

"I did, Agent Jackson. I assume you'll find that acceptable?" interjected
AD Skinner.

Jackson and Browning both looked dismayed to see the AD on the site. They
couldn't quite figure out what reason he would have for being here.
Anders and Hernandez, on the other hand, acknowledged AD Skinner with a
"Sir," and a nod.

"Mulder, have you seen anything new?" Skinner asked.

"Sir, the evidence is gone," Mulder replied.

"What evidence?"

"The Bla' Cancer was bagg' for evidence, bu' now i's missing," he reported
in a defeated tone of voice.

"Is this true?" Skinner asked of the police investigator on the scene.

"Yes Sir, it would appear to be true."

"Damn it!" Skinner cursed. He walked defiantly over to the Smoking Man,
in the hope to discover that he might be aware of who was responsible for
the missing evidence.

"I don' un'erstan' Scully. How coul' it disappear righ' un'er our noses?"
Mulder pondered.

"I don't know, Mulder. I just don't know."

I wanna go look over there aroun' the playgroun' equipmen'," Mulder told

As Scully nodded her understanding, she reached for his walker and placed
it in front of him. He worked to steady himself in back of it. The four
late arriving agents watched this display with some shock, as it was the
first time they were aware of the walker.

Mulder looked at Anders and said, " See ya aroun' Anders." Jeffrey Anders
nodded in acknowledgment and watched Mulder struggle to a bit to regain
his equilibrium.

"What the hell was that all about?" asked Agent Browning.

"You two are really certifiable morons, you know that?" replied Anders.
He then went on to put the two ignorant agents out of their misery and
explained about Mulder's illness over four months ago.

Meanwhile, Mulder was on his way towards the playground equipment, when
Skinner called out for Scully to corroborate a piece of information with
the local Medical Examiner. She looked at Mulder and asked him if would
be all right for a few minutes. He assured her he would be, and to go do
her job. He'd be just fine.

Mulder managed to pick the walker up and use it to walk about on the sand.
He couldn't push the walker as he was used to doing, but by picking it up
and placing it in front of him, it forced him to walk a couple of steps to
"catch up" with the walker. The sand kept his feet firmly in place, so he
felt surprisingly secure.

When Scully caught up to Skinner, she first asked him if Cancerman had any
clue as to what happened to the Black Cancer evidence. Skinner replied
that Stein stated he was totally unaware of any theft regarding the Black
Cancer, and for once Skinner said he believed him.

"He appeared to be genuinely upset that the evidence was missing, Scully,"
Skinner said in amazement.

"You think he's telling the truth?" Scully asked.

"Yes, Scully. This time, I really do think he is."

Next, she remarked that she was very surprised at how well Mulder was
holding up. "I was really nervous when he viewed the body," she
remarked, "I honestly thought he would lose it, seeing that beautiful
child dead," she said.

"He almost did, but I watched him fight it. I thought he'd lose it when
those idiots that called themselves law enforcement gents started ragging
him," he said.

"I think he's just become desensitized to it all, Sir."

"Perhaps," Skinner replied absent-minded.

So it came as a very big surprise to everyone concerned as to exactly what
it was that caused Fox Mulder to lose it and use the safe word.

End of Part 10/33

Part 11/33

Jamesville Elementary School
Baltimore, MD

Mulder walked around the equipment thinking things were sure different
since he was a kid. The playground looked like a castle with turrets and
a bridge, as well as nooks and crannies that would make any child shake
with glee. He remembered being happy with a sliding pond, a see-saw and a

Which is precisely when he saw it, hanging from the hook of the tall
wooden pillar. The black rubber tire sat still, yet in his mind's eye
Mulder saw it swinging wildly off of its hook, throwing his young sister
through the air.

He began to visibly tremble, and he felt his knees begin to give way.
Mulder was soon on his knees, with his fingers, knuckles white from the
pressure, still grasping the handles of the walker.
He began whispering something to himself in a tremulous voice.

As he felt all of the day's pressures catch up to him, the tears began to
fall silently down his face. Mulder continued to imagine his little
sister in pain as a result of the fall. He relived the helpless feeling
as he repeatedly called for the only person he knew, as a young child,
that he could count on.

"Abah. Abah. Abah," he whispered tearfully over and over again.

Mulder felt a gentle pressure on his shoulders. As his memories of that
day replayed in his mind, he also remembered the sense of security a
similar gesture gave him all those years ago.

He remembered feeling the gentle arms of his Abah surround him after his
own father beat him savagely for supposedly allowing Samantha to get hurt.
The fact that it was Bill Mulder's fault for using defective equipment
hadn't deterred the young Fox from accepting the blame his father so
willingly bestowed upon him.

But it was his Abah who came to rescue him from the deep despair, and to
let him know that Sam was going to be fine.

So when Mulder felt the supportive hands on his shoulders, he felt safe
again. Mulder called out softly, "Abah..."

"It's time to take you home, Fox."

Mulder looked up to see Jack Stein helping him up from the ground. He
felt his mouth move, but no sounds would come out as Stein continued to
assist him in becoming upright. Suddenly, both Scully and Skinner
appeared at their sides.

"Mulder? Mulder, are you all right?" Scully asked anxiously.

"He's going to be fine, Agent Scully. I just think it's time to take Mr.
Mulder home now," stated Stein.

"I think we should let Mulder make that decision, Mr. Stein," Scully said

"I assure you, Agent Scully, he did," said Stein firmly. Then, in a much
more gentle tone, he looked at Mulder and asked, "You said the safe word,
didn't you, Fox?"

Mulder nodded wordlessly.

"Okay, Mulder. Let's take you home," agreed Skinner.


The Jamesville Caf‚
Baltimore, MD

"One coffee, large, black with three sugars," the uniformed cop ordered.
"And let me have one of those apple turnovers, okay? Wrap it up to go."
While his order was wrapped up, he walked over to the rear of the diner
where the rest rooms were located. There was a booth in the back where
two men sat quietly and drank coffee.

As the uniform passed the booth, he dropped an orange, 8 X 12 envelope on
the table and was heard muttering, "Place me on crowd control, will he?
Son of a bitch can't threaten me." He then continued on to the rest room.

The two men sitting at the booth very nonchalantly placed the envelope in
a briefcase and continued to drink their coffee.

"Interesting that they were all there, don't ya think?" the first man said
in a raspy, gruff voice..

"Yes. Especially him. What do you suppose ever possessed him to come out
in the open like that?" the second remarked in heavily accented English.

"He must be getting desperate. He knows his orders won't be sanctioned
for much longer," the first man declared.

"Well, I don't know about that, Franks. I think you might be jumping the
gun. However, I did find it especially interesting to see the four of
them together. I half expected to see the mother show up too. Now
wouldn't that have been a cozy little affair." He chuckled at his double

"That one doesn't look well does he?" asked the thin man. "It should make
our lives a lot easier."

"Yeah, it will make for an easy pickup, won't it?" Franks agreed.
"But Lidofsky, why now? Why do ya think they want us to nab him now?"
asked Franks.

"He's getting too damned close, that's why," replied Lidofsky adamantly.

"Close to what?" asked Franks.

"How the hell am I supposed to know?! I just do what I'm told, Franks,
and if you know what's good for you, you'll stop asking so many damned
questions and just do what you're told too," admonished Lido.

The uniformed cop came out of the bathroom and passed by the booth without
so much as a nod, while the two seated at the booth quietly finished their


Margaret Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

Mulder had fallen asleep on Scully's shoulder in the back seat. Skinner
drove Stein and the young couple back to the Scully residence, having
arranged to have Scully's bureau car driven back to the lot by another

As they pulled into the driveway, Scully gently started to awaken Mulder.
"Mulder? Fox, we're home. You can wake up now."

Mulder began to stir and slowly opened his eyes, but he didn't focus them
immediately and appeared to be a little lost. "Scully? Where are we?"

"Mulder, we're back at Mom's house. We're home, Fox."

"Oh. I don'___," he said in confusion.

"It's okay, Mulder. You're home now, and you're safe. Let's get you
inside, son," said Skinner compassionately.

Stein got out of the passenger seat and opened the door for Mulder.
Scully got out her side to retrieve the walker from the trunk, while
Skinner got out and walked over to actually assist Mulder from the car.

As Mulder climbed out of the car, he looked at Stein intently. Stein
returned the gaze. Mulder stood in front of Stein, and very quietly said,
"Thank you." Stein acknowledged Mulder with a simple nod of the head, and
then proceeded to follow them into Maggie Scully's house.

Meanwhile, Maggie and Elizabeth were waiting nervously for them to return.
When they heard the car enter the driveway, both moms rushed to the door
to meet them. They took one look at Mulder and knew it was not an easy
day for him.

"Fox," Elizabeth said, "Go lay down. You look terrible."

Mulder looked at his mother and chose to ignore her. He knew if he tried
to answer her, the words would come out totally jumbled and the tone would
be hurtful. He didn't want to deal with her deplorable attempts at
mothering him.

He pushed the walker into the kitchen and pulled a chair out from the
table. He saw his mother approach him and he flinched imperceptibly as
she got nearer. "You should eat something, Fox. You're too thin now, so
you should eat," she droned on and on.

Of course, if his mother purported to know anything about her son, she
would have realized the last thing he would have wanted after visiting the
murder scene of a beautiful eight year old girl was food. But Elizabeth
Mulder had only one style of motherhood, and that was either all or

At this moment, Mulder would have preferred nothing. He wanted an iced
tea, to take a leak, and then sit down at the computer in order to get his
thoughts in order before they became a jumbled mess in his mind.

He couldn't eat, and he couldn't sleep. The only person who knew this
already was the woman he planned on marrying the day he could walk down
the aisle in a straight line without falling flat on his face.

Scully went to the fridge and brought him the pitcher of iced tea. She
poured him a glass and watched him drink it down without stopping. She
then poured him a second glass, and from this one he took small sips.
Next, he stood up and excused himself to use the facilities.

Elizabeth began to harp on Mulder in his absence. "He should eat
something you know. It's not healthy for him. He needs to get his
strength back and all you ply him with is iced tea. My God, he's wasting
away before our very eyes."

"Elizabeth, we can't force him to eat. He'll just vomit it up five
minutes after we've forced it down his throat," Scully explained. "He'll
eat when he's hungry enough, but not right now."

Mulder returned from the bathroom, stopped to take another sip of the
drink and then headed into the den to work on his computer. He sat down
at the desk, turned the machine on, and immediately began to type.

Scully had followed him and watched him from a discreet distance. She
marveled at how he was able to stay focused enough to type something that
was not only remotely coherent, but usually right on target, even though
she knew just how emotionally drained and exhausted he felt. He remained
at the keyboard for an hour and a half before he called for her.

"Scully!" he cried out.

"I'm here, Mulder."

"I can' do thi' anymore," he sobbed with fatigue.

"You don't have to now, Fox. C'mon, it's time to take a break. You
really do need to take a break before you collapse. Let's go G-Man."
She grasped his elbow to help steady him. The sofa bed was open already,
and Scully merely had to lead him to the side of the bed and gently push
him down into it.

She pulled off his sneakers and then unbuckled his belt and slacks and
pulled them off as well. She didn't bother with the turtleneck, since it
was cool in the den and she didn't want him to catch a chill. She rolled
him over under the covers and pulled the comforter up to his chin.


"Yes Mulder?"

"I love you, Dana."

"I love you too, Fox. Go to sleep."

He was sound asleep before she finished her declaration of love.

End of Part 11/33

Part 12/33

Margaret Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

"He's asleep," Scully announced quietly to the others sitting around the
kitchen table.

"Right, shall we start taking bets now as to how long that will last?"
Walter asked dryly.

Everyone murmured in acknowledgment of Skinner's remarks, since they were
all well aware of Mulder's nightmares. However, his terrifying dreams
tended to become worse when he was on a case, something to which only
Scully could really verify.

"It was that bad today?" asked Maggie.

"No, that's the odd thing. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, at
least not until the end, and I'm still not sure what triggered it,"
replied Scully.

"Not as bad?" questioned Skinner. "Scully, what are you talking about?
He had dozens and dozens of people staring at him, some of whom humiliated
him because of his condition, he haired out in the middle of a public
school playground, and you don't consider that bad?"

"I didn't say that Walter. I said it wasn't as bad as it could have
been." She looked thoughtfully at him and wondered if she should
continue. She considered it and realized he, as well Jack Stein, could
stand a dose of reality.

"What he experienced today wasn't too different from any other time he had
to work with bureau investigators that were familiar with his work and
reputation," she stated.

"What are you talking about, Dana?" asked Walter. "He was verbally
harassed today. You're going to tell me he was badgered by fellow agents
all the time?"

"Walter," she said softly, "that's exactly what I'm telling you."

"But why?" asked Stein.

"Oh, I would suspect for any one of a number of reasons, but the most
telling, as we saw today, was jealousy. Mulder had the reputation of
being a trouble shooter, a brilliant trouble shooter at that.

"When other agents saw him brought on the job, they knew it was because
they had failed to find answers that he could find. Many agents resented
him for that, but not all, thankfully, were like Jackson and Browning.

"Some actually had a healthy respect for his abilities like Agent Anders,
but those were far and few between. And people wondered why he wanted out
of VCU? He had to get out. He had to save his sanity," she concluded

"I knew Mulder had a reputation around the bureau, but I had always
thought it was something people dealt with behind his back. I never
realized to what degree he, himself, had to contend with it. Why didn't
he ever say anything?" he asked.

"He never wanted to make a big deal of it. C'mon, you know Mulder. Half
the time he felt he deserved the crap he took from the other agents."

"So, Scully, why didn't you ever say anything to me?" Walter asked

"He wouldn't allow me to, Sir. Mulder figured once he was done with the
case, so was the harassment. If I were to say something, and disciplinary
action was taken against other agents, Mulder feared the tormenting would
continue even after the case was closed. He was afraid he wouldn't be
able to deal with that, so he made me promise to keep quiet," she replied.

"So what happened out there today? Why did he fall apart?" asked Skinner.
"I mean, he seemed to tolerate the verbal crap being thrown at him by the
other agents and uniforms, so what provoked the breakdown?"

"I don't know," Scully replied honestly.

There was a few moments of thoughtful stillness when Stein broke the
silence by saying, "He saw the swing."

Maggie looked at Jack curiously and said, "Well that stands to reason, if
the child died on a school playground. Don't you usually find swing sets
on a playground?"

"It wasn't a regular swing set." Stein then directed his gaze at
Elizabeth and said, "It was a tire swing."

Elizabeth gasped slightly and shuddered with an instant recollection of
her daughter's accident. Samantha had broken her collarbone as a result
of it, but Fox had actually suffered much more than his sister.

While Elizabeth had stayed in the hospital with Sammy, Stein had rushed
back to the house to find Fox huddled in the corner of his room. He had
black and blue marks all over his torso, front and back, and was in a
great deal of pain and fear.

Stein remembered the horror he had felt when he tried to convince the
young child he was neither to blame for Samantha's accident, nor deserving
of the beating his father had given him.

Maggie's voice finally brought Jack out of his revelry when she clarified,
"He saw the tire swing and remembered his sister's accident."

"Yes," replied Stein. "Did he tell you about it?"

"Fox? No. Elizabeth recalled it for me when Fox first became ill,"
Maggie replied.

Elizabeth simply nodded, as she wasn't sure there was anything left to say
on the subject. She just knew they should be prepared to comfort him if
the nightmares attacked as she was sure it would.


And like the good son he was, he didn't disappoint his mother.

Mulder had been so exhausted he slept through dinner and no one had the
heart to wake him except to give him his meds which was done quickly and
quietly and without Mulder waking up totally.

But midnight rolled around and the house jarred awake with his screams of
terror. Scully wasn't asleep yet, as she was trying to compile a report
on the day's events on her laptop. She jumped when she heard his screams
because there was no warning. He hadn't moaned or groaned or cried out

He just started screaming and sobbing his heart out. The rest of the
family quickly ran in from the kitchen and watched as Mulder had sat bolt
upright shrieking at the top of his lungs.

Mulder did indeed wake up with a night terror and had everyone in a total
state of distress. Even Stein witnessed it, and it reminded him very much
of those times when he was called upon to reach out to a young Fox and
provide comfort.

It saddened Stein a bit to see Mulder accept consolation from the others,
yet maintain an obvious distance from him. However Stein also realized
there was a time when Mulder would not have willingly remained in the same
building with him, much less the same house or room. So Stein realized
there was progress being made in Mulder's developing at least a tolerance
for him, though to what ends Stein wasn't quite sure.

The others watched Scully as she tried to comfort him, but she quickly
realized it would take more tonight. She got up to get her medical kit
and reached in for a sedative that she could inject into him. While she
tended to that, Skinner sat down on the bed with Mulder and tried
desperately to gather him securely in his arms.

The entire time Skinner kept murmuring that everything was okay, and that
he was just having a nightmare. He was going to get something to help him
relax, and everything would be fine. Scully injected the medication, and
within a few minutes Mulder quieted down.

He refused to talk about it, though he kept stealing looks at Stein.
Stein calmly returned his glances and occasionally nodded towards him.
Mulder again accepted that without any additional words, and only one
person seemed to notice this silent communication.

Elizabeth Mulder was more than aware of her son's discomfort around Jack
Stein, but now the reasons for that discomfort were vastly different.

Before, Fox looked upon the man they called Cancerman as the enemy. Fox
could blame all the ills of the world on the Cancerman. But now the
perception was changing.

Elizabeth realized Fox was starting to remember. Fox was seeing more than
just an enemy. His memories of a time long ago, when he was protected by
a different Abah, were slowly sneaking back into his consciousness, and
her son was obviously disturbed by them. As much as Fox wanted to keep
Jack Stein at a distance, it was proving to be more and more difficult.

After a while, Fox got out of bed and went to work on the computer.
Though Scully had given him a sedative to calm him down, it was mild
enough to not put him out. In fact, he was up for the night and he knew

Everyone else was exhausted and wanted to go to sleep, but they felt
uncomfortable retiring to bed while Fox remained up after his somewhat
traumatic day.

Mulder finally insisted that everyone leave him alone so he could get his
work done. So, Stein left for the night, Elizabeth scurried to her guest
room, Scully, though unwillingly, went upstairs to her old room to sleep,
and Skinner and Maggie reluctantly left him as well. Mulder, on the other
hand, reveled in the luxury of having the room to himself without anyone
else around him.

It's not that he was ungrateful for all of the love and support his new
family gave him. He was very grateful, but Mulder missed his own
company. He was never a social creature, which is not to say he wasn't
good in social situations. He was, and given the right set of
circumstances, he was actually _very_ good in social situations.

But he missed the opportunity to be alone with himself by choice, such as
when he went running, A long run always cleared his mind, and gave him
the chance to think things through.

He wished he could go for a run now to think things out. There was
something to the puzzle he couldn't grasp. He knew the piece was out
there somewhere, he just wasn't sure where or when it would appear. But
Mulder did know that there would be another victim soon, unless he could
figure it out. It was times like these that Mulder felt it was a helluva
a responsibility to be "Spooky" Mulder.

He sat back down at the computer and brought up the search engine. One of
the similarities Mulder had determined was that the children's medical
histories if for no other reason than they were at the age when certain
inoculations and booster shots were required for school at certain ages.

He typed in "childhood immunizations" and put together the short list of
childhood diseases for which children were expected to be inoculated. He
noted the list as diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella, polio and
pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, and he noted the recommended
ages for each immunization.

Next, Mulder created a chart that included each child's name and headings
which listed the name of the immunization, the date it was given, the
doctor's name who administered the inoculation, and the location in which
it was given.

He didn't notice anything unusual about the children's immunization
histories as he plotted them on his chart. Each child received the
appropriate vaccine according to the recommended schedule.

Mulder looked over the illegible charts again. He wondered if Scully was
required to take "Bad Penmanship 101" in medical school, or if it was
just an elective. The scrawls on the chart were beginning to blend
together and he almost wished Scully was still up to help him. He
realized he was getting tired, because he was positive he was looking at
something important, but he couldn't focus on what it was.

Until, that is, he looked beyond the list he had created. "Oh my God!"
he shouted aloud. "Tha's it! Tha's the link!!"

No one had noticed before because the word was embedded in the list of
prescribed vaccinations. The illegible scrawl looked as though it
belonged, but it didn't.


Each of the children had received a smallpox vaccination.

Mulder found his puzzle piece. Now to make it fit in.

End of Part 12/33

Part 13/33

He continued to search the net for any and all information on smallpox and
smallpox vaccines. Mulder wanted to determine where the vaccines came
from and to see if there was anything that could tie the children's deaths
together from that angle.

Mulder e-mailed the Lone Gunman for their assistance. As it turned out
they were, as usual, on-line as well, so the LG and Mulder were able to
send instant messages to each other and clarify the request immediately.

<FM> "Need to locate source for obsolete substance that's injected."

<LG> "Substance?"

<FM> "Think tiny mark"

<LG> "Hold on"

<FM> "Should I play the Jeopardy theme music?? <grin>"

<LG> "No need kee-mo-sabee, we have the info."

<FM> "Where?"

<LG> "Two sources. First is in lab at Centers for Disease Control in the
lovely peach state of Georgia. Atlanta. Second is in another lovely
former state, now country, of Russia. Moscow."

<FM> "Why am I not surprised, boys?"

<LG> "Because you're just one smart little whippersnapper, that's why!
<evil grins>

<FM> "Yeah, so now how do I find out which source provided the tiny

<LG> "Well, shouldn't be too hard. Where did the recipients of the tiny
marks get `em?"

<FM> "Different places."

<LG> "Need to check on vaccination lot #'s from different locations. See
if matching."

<FM> "Great idea! <VERY BIG EVIL GRIN> So boys, ya got any plans for
tomorrow night?"

<LG> "Oh goody, our cyber bud is planning a little surprise party!"

<FM> "Unfortunately, I gotta miss out on the fun, but I'll be happy to let
you know at which locations you should party. Together. Safety in
numbers you know."

<LG> "Yeah good buddy, we know. We heard about the latest on the news.
Did you see anything about it yet?"

<FM> "Yes. I was there today."

<LG> "Oh man, are you okay?"

<FM> "Yeah, okay. Stop by tomorrow for info?"

<LG> "No problem. Let us know if there's anything you need, okay? And
for crying out loud, get some sleep!"

<FM> "Okay. I'm a little tired right now anyway. Nite boys, and thanks.
You're the best."

<LG> "No shit Sherlock! Nite good buddy."


Unknown Address
Washington, DC

"It's a go, boss," the surprised man announced from his computer. "He's
just confirmed it with his freaky friends that he's made a connection."

"Well, considering his slower reflexes, I'd say he came up with the
results in record time, wouldn't you Mr. Lidofsky?" the casually attired
man inquired.

"Yeah, I guess so, sir. So now what?" Lidofsky asked.

"Well, now it'll be time to invite our friendly neighborhood former FBI
agent to join a little party of our own. Unfortunately, I hadn't expected
to have him share the information with anyone other than his partner, but
that's okay. We'll manage just the same, wouldn't you agree Mr.
Lidofsky?" he asked.

"Yes, Sir. Whatever you want us to do, Franks and I are your guys,"
replied Lidofsky.

"Our timeline needs to be stepped up a little bit. We'll need to take him
tomorrow. I want to smoke out the Smoking Man, boys. It's time he got a
taste of his own medicine, and apparently the best way to do it is to nab
the SOB that's also been getting in my way all along,

"You'll need to get him alone. I'm not sure how that will fly, but
perhaps we could create some kind of emergency, or diversion, to get him
away from the others. He shouldn't pose too much of a problem."

"But Mr. Krycek, why Mulder? Why the hell would the Smoking Man give a
damn about Mulder?" asked Franks, who was standing nearby the computer
literate Lidofsky and wondering how he worked the damned machine.

"I too was wondering how one man could make Smoking Man so vulnerable,"
remarked Lidofsky.

"Well, gentlemen, apparently the family ties are much stronger than anyone
had ever thought," replied Alex Krycek. "That's all you really need to
know at this point.

"You'll need to set up a stake out in order to determine when he's alone.
If too much time goes by, then create a fiery diversion. That should go
over real well with Agent Mulder."


Maggie Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

Everyone woke up out of sorts.

Scully wouldn't say a word to anyone until she had at least two cups of
coffee in her, preferably intravenously. When she peeked in on Mulder,
she saw he had gone back to sleep and decided not to disturb him. She
wasn't in any shape to discuss anything coherently yet anyway.

Elizabeth still hadn't gotten over her cold, so she was not only tired
from the late hours of last night, but her body was certainly losing the
argument with the cold that had recently taken up residence in her chest.

Walter wanted to stay home badly, but he knew with the latest killing
being so high profile because of the victim's tender age, he didn't have
any other choice but to go in. He wanted to remain home because he didn't
want Maggie to have to deal with everything all by herself. She'd been a
saint about the whole circumstance.

But the circumstances were in a constant state of flux, so judging by
Maggie's dour expression this morning, Walter felt a sense of acerbity
that he had not seen before. Walter wanted to help her work it out, but
he had to leave soon to go into the office.

Maggie dragged herself out of bed. She tied her bathrobe around her and
went into the kitchen. She poured herself a cup of coffee and set about
gathering the ingredients for a quick breakfast for Walter and Dana.

Thankfully, neither were in the mood for anything more complicated than an
English muffin, juice and coffee.

Elizabeth poked her head into the kitchen and asked Maggie if she might
give her the phone number of her personal physician. She was feeling more
poorly than ever, and she felt it was time to break down and see a doctor.
Maggie told her she would call and make the appointment for her when the
office opened at eight o'clock. Elizabeth murmured her thanks and then
crawled back into bed.

When Walter walked in the kitchen he saw Maggie's pensive look. "What's
up, beautiful?" he asked.

Maggie normally appreciated Walter's sweet endearments, but it didn't have
the desired effect on her this morning. She certainly didn't feel
beautiful. She felt tired, and ugly, and put out.

"Elizabeth is sick and wants to see a doctor," Maggie stated.

"Is there a problem?" Walter asked tentatively.

"Is there a problem? Walter, I already have my hands full with one
recovering patient. I'm really not in the mood to deal with another one,"
she said impatiently.

"Maggie, I should think there would be a vast difference between dealing
with Mulder and dealing with his mother," posed Skinner.

"You're right. Fox is sometimes easier to deal with. Listen my dear
Assistant Director, you get to go out in the world and actually deal with
a variety of people. I, on the other hand, have had the questionable
pleasure of dealing with the same two people, day in and day out for the
last three and a half months.

"Elizabeth can be stubborn, self-centered and a royal pain in the neck
when it comes to her ability to deal with her son. Fox can be stubborn,
self-centered and a royal pain in the neck when it comes to his ability to
deal with his mother. Sometimes I feel like I'm in the middle of a tennis
match, watching the ball bounce back and forth between these two rackets,"
she lamented.

"Maggie, I'm sorry. If I could stay home today, I would, but this case__,"
he pleaded.

"Walter, don't start. I know you can't stay home. I accept that, but
don't expect me to be happy about it, okay? I get tired of being stuck in
the house too. I get tired of pretending everything is going to be all
right all of the time.

"The role of Little Miss Mary Sunshine is a lot tougher than is usually
given credit for, and don't you forget it," Maggie exclaimed.

Dana had walked in from the front hallway entrance well before the end of
her mother's lamentations. She knew she had to tip toe as though on egg
shells when her mother got into one of these moods.

They were far and few between when she was a child, but when they did hit,
they hit hard. Luckily, she knew they didn't last very long.

Unfortunately, Mulder did not. He stood listening quietly inside the
doorway leading from the den.. He apparently had become a burden to
Maggie Scully, which of course was the last thing he'd wanted to turn

He listened carefully and when Maggie's tirade was finished, he walked
into the kitchen silently and sat down at the table.

"Good morning, Mulder," Skinner greeted. "I didn't realize you were up."

"Yeah, I jus' go' u'."

"Oh for heaven's sake, Fox, would you please be more careful about saying
those damned word endings? No one can understand a word you say!" Maggie
raised her voice in an angry reaction to Mulder' short statement.

Mulder shuddered slightly at the attack, but said nothing. Dana looked at
her mother with her mouth slightly agape, and asked her in as tactful a
manner as possible, "Mom, was that really necessary?"

"Yes, damn it, it was necessary. You're not home all day, so you don't
know how hard it is to understand him sometimes. I am. Home. All day.
And I am tired of working so damned hard to understand him when I know he
can speak clearly if he would just concentrate and try," she retorted.

"But Mom___,"

"Dana, do me a favor, please. Just go to work. Walter, take her to work.
I would love for everyone to just leave and let me be for even just a
little while. Damn it, this is still my house, isn't it?" Maggie shouted
as she stormed out of the kitchen.

"Walter, Mulder," Dana said, "don't worry. She gets in these moods every
now and then, but she snaps out of it pretty quickly."

Walter nodded in acknowledgment, but Mulder was too deep in thought to
hear what Scully had just said. Mulder knew exactly how Maggie felt. He
had that same feeling last night when everyone had left the den to go to
sleep. It felt so good not to have to answer to anyone for a little

If Mulder could have found a hole to fall into, he would have gladly to
avoid Maggie's caustic mood.

Mulder walked Skinner and Scully to the door as usual, though no one's
heart was really in the morning ritual. Except for the kisses. Mulder
kissed Dana with as much love as he could muster, and she returned it with
equal intensity. Skinner, in turn, tenderly placed his morning buss on
Mulder's forehead as usual.

"Ta'e care of my girl, boss."

"Always, Fox."

Mulder watched them go to work. He realized with a little sadness he
hadn't had a chance to tell them of his discovery, and wished he were able
to follow them into the office. It would certainly give Maggie a little
breathing room.

"Fox," he heard his mother's raspy voice call.

"Yeah Mo_m_?"

"Do you know the name of Maggie's personal physician? I need to make an
appointment and don't want to bother Maggie."

"Yeah, it's Dr. Griffin. She has it on spee' dial, Mom. Number two."

Maggie remained upstairs while Elizabeth made her own doctor's appointment
for nine fifteen. She told Fox she planned to call a cab so as not to
disturb Maggie.

"Mom, I thin' I'd like to share the ca' with you."

"Why? Where do you plan on going?" she asked in amazement.

"Well, I figure' I' go into the office for a' hour or so. I ha'e some
information I wante' to share with Scully and Skinner. Also, I wan' to
give Maggie a few minute' by herself. She hasn' ha' tha' for a long
time," he said determinedly.

"Fox, do you really think that's a good idea? I mean it's a fairly long
drive between here and the office. And then once you get there, you would
have to walk all the way from the sidewalk to the inside of the
building__," she stated.

"I know, Ma. Bu' I ca' han'le it, really."

"Promise me you won't spend more than hour at the office."

"Sure." When Elizabeth gave him her best "mother's glare" he added, " I
promise. Really."

She agreed, and at eight forty-five a.m., the cab arrived in the front of
the house, ready to deliver Elizabeth to her doctor's appointment and
Mulder to his worst nightmare.

End of Part 13/33

Part 14/33

It was of course child's play for them to intercept the call. They had
the wire tap in place for over a month and were quite capable of
determining who the intended party was within seconds after they completed
their dialing.

They made it so easy for them, so nice and tidy. When Elizabeth Mulder
made the call for the taxi cab and stated there were going to be two
scheduled stops, the man at the other end of the line actually had to
catch his breath. No diversions would be necessary this time. He would
be walking, or in this case, riding, directly into their hands.

Elizabeth had told Fox to get ready as quickly as possible, since the cab
was waiting. Fox had dressed by himself but had to ask Elizabeth for help
with his belt, as he still couldn't manage looping it into place. He then
quickly typed and printed a message for Maggie, since his handwriting was
still rather shaky.

"Hi Mom,
Shared a cab with my mother. She went to doctor for 9:15 appointment,
and I went to office. Should be there by 10:15. Have important info to
share with Big Boss and Dana. Promised my mother I'd stay only an hour.
Be home for afternoon meds and therapy sessions, promise.
Enjoy the privacy. Sorry it had to take so long.
Love you, Mom.

He left it on the kitchen table. Next, he reached for the charts he
created last night, placed them in a clean folder, and dropped it in the
tote bag that he had hooked into place on the front of his walker. Next,
he jammed his wallet into his jacket pocket, grasped his walker and met
his mother at the front door to meet the cab.

The doctor's office was on West Pratt Street, and very close to
Interstate-395, which would made it easy access to go on to DC.
When they arrived in front of the office, Mulder kissed his mother
good-bye and watched her walk through the door.

He had asked her if she wanted him to go in with her, but she had insisted
she would be fine. She had rather Mulder get going to the office, take
care of whatever business needed to be taken care of, and then get home.

The driver drove off when he and Mulder saw his mother enter the building
and got back on I-395. This took them quickly to I-95 which in turn would
bring them to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

There was one glitch in the plan. They didn't wait to get off at the
Parkway, but instead, got off early onto I-495.

"I've never gone this way before. I don' understan' why your going this
way," Mulder queried.

"Yeah, well it's a shortcut," replied the driver.

"E'cuse me? I didn' hear wha' you sai'," Mulder asked a little nervously.

"It's a shortcut! Look, I'm just following orders, Mister. This is the
way I drive ya."

Mulder was concerned. He looked at the driver's identification paper in
the front of the cab, and sure enough it did show the driver's picture and
name. Edgar Franks.

"Hey Ed, woul' you mine' tellin' me where we're goin'?" Mulder asked
lightly, praying this was an innocent detour, but knew in his heart it
most likely was not.

"Well Mr. Mulder, we're going on a little trip," Franks replied.

"Where? Why? Who tol' you to do this?" Mulder begged like a young
innocent. "You don' un'erstan'," he pleaded, "I go' to therapy and ha'
meds to ta'e later. I lef ' a no_t_e for Mom, oh Go_d_, they'll both kill

"Not if we do it first," Franks muttered under his breath.


Margaret Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

It was around 9:30 a.m. when Maggie decided she could face the world
again. She came downstairs expecting to find Elizabeth drinking some tea
in the kitchen and Fox at his computer. She was, needless to say,
surprised to find the house empty of residents.

She discovered Mulder's note and was even more surprised that Elizabeth
had actually let him out of the house. Maggie wasn't sure if she would
have been so quick to let him make that journey all by himself, but she
chalked it up to Elizabeth not feeling well and nor having the strength to
argue with him.

She felt a little guilty at not tending to Elizabeth's doctor's
appointment like she promised, but then realized that Elizabeth was a
grown woman and was obviously capable of dealing with her own needs. She
figured Elizabeth could take a cab back to the house easily enough, while
Fox, on the other hand, was another story.

Maggie decided, as a peace offering, she would go and pick Fox up at the
FBI Headquarters. She knew he still tired very easily, and since he had
his physical, occupational and speech therapy sessions later this
afternoon, it made sense to her to pick him up and bring him directly to
the hospital.

She figured by the time she showered, dressed, and had breakfast, it would
be around 10:30, giving Fox enough time to make it into the office to
receive her message about picking him up. Actually, it was closer to
10:45, which was fine since Maggie knew he would be with Dana and/or

She dialed Dana's and Fox's office number first.


"Oh hi, sweetheart. I didn't know if I'd catch you," Maggie said.

"Mom? Why wouldn't I be here?"

"Well, I thought you both would have gone up to Walter's office by now,
that's all," Maggie replied.

"You thought __both__? Both what, Mom? I'm afraid I'm not sure what
you're talking about," she replied slightly frazzled.

"You mean he's not there yet?" Maggie asked somewhat anxiously.

"Who, Mom? Who's not here?"

"Fox. Fox took a cab to DC to get out of my hair. Poor boy, I think I
scared the hell out of him this morning with my Full Moon Witchy Ways."

"Why would Fox come all the way down here?" Scully asked perplexed.

"His note said he had some important information to tell you and Walter.
But they dropped Elizabeth off for a nine fifteen appointment. He would
have left for DC by then. It takes less than hour to get to DC from

"Dana, he should have been there, even if there were a little traffic."
Just as Maggie cried that out, the front door opened and Elizabeth walked

"Who should have been where?" Elizabeth asked.

"Fox. He's not at the office yet," she replied to Elizabeth. Then
turning her attention back to her daughter, she said, "Dana, could he have
gone up to Walter's office first?"

"I'm sure if he had, Walter would have called me, but I'll check anyway.
Mom, I'm putting you on hold while I ring up Skinner."

Scully dialed Walter's extension and heard his assistant's voice identify
herself and the office she worked for. "Hi Kim, it's Dana Scully. By
some chance, did Mulder come by your way to see the AD?"

"No Agent Scully. I haven't seen him at all this morning. Actually, I
haven't seen him in months. Is there a problem?"

"I don't know," she said trying very hard to contain her anxiety. "Kim,
please put me through to him."

The AD's assistant buzzed him immediately and informed him that Agent
Scully was on the line and needed to speak with him.


"Sir, you haven't by some chance heard from Mulder, have you?" Scully
asked hopefully.

"No, Scully. Why? Should I have heard from him?" he asked, puzzled.

"Mom called under the assumption that Mulder was here. He apparently
shared a cab with Elizabeth this morning which dropped her off at the
doctor's office for a nine fifteen appointment.

"He was continuing on here, and since it's now going on eleven o'clock,
which would have given him approximately an hour and forty-five minutes to
travel a forty-five minute ride with traffic, I am starting to get a
little concerned," she cried out breathlessly. "Walter, something's
wrong. I can feel it."

"All right, Dana. Let's stay calm and try to figure out what's going on.
Come up here so we can discuss this face to face. I'll call your mother
back from this office."

He looked over at the swirls of smoke that were distorting the face behind
it. Jack Stein had a nonplused look on his face as he sat in Skinner's

"I'll be right up, Sir." She clicked back on the line that held her
mother's call. "Mom, hang up. I'm going up to Walter's office and he's
going to call you back from up there, okay?"

"All right, dear. Elizabeth and I will wait to hear from you," Maggie
said while attempting to maintain a calm exterior for both Elizabeth's and
her daughter's sake.

Mother and daughter hung up. Dana headed upstairs to Skinner's office
while Maggie turned to Elizabeth and asked her what other information she
might have to offer.

"I don't know anything more than you do, Maggie. The driver let me off at
around nine o'clockish , maybe nine-o-five, and then drove off," Elizabeth

"Try to remember what he looked like, Elizabeth. I'm sure they're going
to want a description of the car and of the driver."

The phone rang and both women jumped at the sound. "Hello?" answered

"It's me." said Skinner. "Maggie, what happened?"

"Walter, he took a cab to see you and Dana. He wrote in his note he had
some important information for you. Oh God, Walter. Where is he?" Maggie

End of part 14/33

Part 15/33

Somewhere on I-95, VA

It was going on 11:30 a.m. as they had been traveling for almost two and a
half hours. He hadn't sat this long in a car for quite a while, and he
felt his limbs cramping up. His stomach wasn't handling it too well

"Hey E'gar, thin' maybe we coul' pull over for a momen'? I don' feel so
well," Mulder requested.

"What's the matter Mulder? You carsick?" Edgar Franks shouted.

"Yeah, I thin' so," he replied. "I feel really nauseous."

"All right. I'll pull over. Just DON'T throw up in my car," Franks

As he pulled the car over, Mulder began to breathe deeply in an attempt to
ward off the heaves that he knew were coming. He hoped he could postpone
the inevitable long enough to get out of the car.

Franks jumped out of the car when he realized Mulder was having enough
trouble breathing without having to worry about opening the door and
climbing out of the car as well. He ran to the rear passenger's side and
opened the door for him. He literally pulled Mulder out of the car and
practically pulled him onto the ground.

The car was safe at least. Franks' shoes and clothes were another matter
entirely. Edgar Franks, in his haste to pull Mulder out of the car,
remained standing in front of him when the dry heaving began in earnest.
Next thing Edgar Franks knew, he was on the receiving end of a helluva lot
of vomit.

"God damn it! You idiot! What the hell's the matter with you. These are
hundred dollar shoes, you damned moron!" shouted Franks. He was livid.
Livid enough to not consider they were on a public highway and still
thrust his shoe into Mulder's kidney.

Mulder groaned in pain and tried to roll himself into a ball in order to
dull the pain. It didn't help, and in fact gave Edgar Franks an even
better target, as Franks kicked Mulder hard in the back. When Mulder
changed position again, Franks kicked him again. As a result, Mulder
began vomiting again. Franks walked around to the other side of the car
and stayed a discreet distance away.

When Mulder finally finished puking up, he leaned back against the car.
Mulder soon came to the realization that Franks was done using him as his
whipping boy, for now at least.

It felt so good to stretch his legs and sit still. Mulder was never a
very good passenger and sitting in the back seat was even worse for
Mulder. He was used to sitting up front with his partner.

His partner. *Oh Scully, if you could only hear me now. C'mon Scully,
send me some positive thoughts! Get me the hell out of here!* he thought.
He looked around and noted the traffic was very light. He wondered if it
were possible for him to make a break for it.

When he looked about, he knew the chances were slim to none that anyone
would even notice him. His first two attempts to even stand up resulted
in Mulder just sinking back down, leaning his head back against the car
door, and closing his eyes.

"What's the matter, Mulder?" Franks shouted down to him.

"Nothin'," he replied rather unconvincingly.

"Well, get up. We gotta get going."

I woul' ge' up, bu' my le's have their own ideas."

"Oh, c'mon Mulder, let's get this over with," he said. And with that,
Franks pulled Mulder up to a standing position. Mulder, feeling totally
whipped and exhausted, tried hard not to lean his whole weight onto
Franks, but he couldn't help it.

"Jeez Mulder, get the hell in the car," Franks said as he pushed him into
the back seat. "Oh by the way, from this point on, you can't know where
we're going, so put your hands behind your back."

Franks proceeded to handcuff Mulder's hands and then attempted to tie a
blindfold over his eyes. When Mulder saw the blindfold, he panicked.

"No! No, p'ease don' pu' tha' on! No!, don'!!" he shouted and thrashed

Franks finally got disgusted and punched Mulder hard in the face. The
force of the blow stunned Mulder long enough for Franks to put the
blindfold on tightly. The whack was also strong enough to knock one of
Mulder's hearing aids out of his ear onto the floor in the rear of the

"I don' wan' this on. P_l_ease, take it off. P_l_ease take it off!" he
cried out with as much clarity as he could.

Mulder was suddenly thrown in a world of moving darkness. Mulder was
suddenly thrown into a world of muffled silence.
Mulder was suddenly terrified.


Walter Skinner' Office
Washington, DC

Scully hurried past a concerned looking Kim and walked directly into the
AD's office. She noted Jack Stein, smoking a Morley while sitting on the
couch, and then looked directly back at Skinner.

"He's in trouble. I know he's in trouble, Walter," Scully said, getting
right to the point.

"I wish I could convincingly disagree with you, but I can't. What the
hell would have ever possessed him to go off by himself?" Skinner wondered
aloud in dismay. "Damn it! I don't believe this! When I phoned the
house, Elizabeth was able to give only the sketchiest of details.

"We have an artist going over to the house to try to get a composite
drawing out of her, but I don't know if anything will come of it. As she
said to me, it was just a nondescript cab driver. She never gave it much
thought because she didn't feel threatened.

"Damn it! We're at a dead end before we even begin. He could be
anywhere! Anywhere!" Skinner concluded in frustration.

"But we _will_ know where he is," interjected Stein quietly as he rose to
pick up the phone on Skinner's desk.

"How do you propose that?" asked Scully, dejectedly.

"Wait." He punched in the required numbers. "I'll explain in..-Hello?
Are you prepared? Good. You must proceed now. It is of utmost
importance that we get a clear fix on the position as quickly as possible.
Yes. As soon as you have a locale, call me at the 4245 extension." He
hung up the phone and looked at Skinner and Scully.

"What the hell was that about?" Scully asked with a slightly abrasive

"We have a means of locating Mr. Mulder's whereabouts," Stein responded

"What the hell are you talking about?" Scully asked again, her voice
slightly more agitated.

"Mr. Mulder has an electronic device on his person that will enable us to
pinpoint, with some accuracy, his location," he replied calmly.

While Skinner looked disgusted, Scully looked stunned, and without
thinking she lunged toward Stein, with both of her fists extended.

"You bastard! You God damned sonofabitch, bastard! You set him up! You
set him up!!" Scully screamed at him, all the while pummeling his chest
with her fists.

Stein just stood there for a moment or two while Scully poured her wrath
out on his chest. Finally he reached for her wrists and grasped them
firmly to stop the attack.

He looked at her seriously and in a resolute voice said, "No. I did not
set him up."

Skinner walked over to them, gently put his arm around Dana's shoulder,
and walked her towards the couch. He drew her tenderly onto the couch
next to him. Skinner then motioned to Stein to take the seat in front of

"Stein, talk," was all Skinner said.

"I did not have him set up," he repeated. "I have never had him set up.
In all the years that we have had our encounters, it was never because of
something I instigated.

"Mulder always walked into a situation of his own accord, and any action
I took was always a result of that action. It was never, never, the other
way around.

"It was never my intent to see harm come to him, Agent Scully," he said
determinedly. And then in a softer, more compassionate tone, he said,
"Dana, I could never hurt him."

Dana scrutinized him in the hope of determining whether he was telling the
truth. With all they had been through these last several months, Dana
wanted desperately to believe him, to trust him. She next looked at
Skinner in an attempt to read his reaction to Stein's words. Walter
didn't keep her guessing.

"Stein, your words are touching, but forgive me if I'm having a difficult
time in believing your sudden benevolent nature. You have always had
ulterior motives for your actions, and though you may never have
intentionally ordered a hit on Mulder, I don't recall you ever going out
of your way to see his quest continue unimpeded. And if someone just
happened to try to put a bullet in his head, you weren't going to thwart
that guy either," Skinner suggested gravely.

The two men stared at one another for several moments, before Stein
finally glanced away. While gazing about the room, Stein finally spoke.

"Mr. Skinner, you may believe what you want to believe. I will say this
to you, as well as to you Agent Scully, only one time," he began. Stein
paused at this point as if to collect his thoughts as well as to get his
feelings in check.

"Neither one of you may understand why I do what I do. There have been
times in my life that I doubted the validity of the work, but those times
were only temporary.

"I don't give a damn if you approve of what I do, or how I go about doing
it. You will have to satisfy yourselves with my word that I do what I do
for the greater good. If you choose not to believe that, then that is
your prerogative. But there is one thing I will insist that you do not

"Given all that has happened over the last few months, I should think you
would have recognized my loyalty towards Elizabeth and Fox.

"I was a part of Fox Mulder's life long before either one of you even
conceived of his being.

"Dana, I was a part of his life before you were even born.

"Walter," he continued in a quiet passion, "_I_ was his Abah first.

"If you have not come to the proper conclusion on your own, and do not
have the ability to do so on your own, then I shall endeavor to spell it
out for you.

"I was a part of Fox Mulder's life because I loved his mother, I loved his
sister who was my daughter, and I loved him like a son.

"I still love him," he whispered. "And I don't want to see any harm come
to him. Especially now."

Skinner and Scully both looked at Stein with new eyes. This was the first
time either of them heard him speak with any kind of emotion.

"So why, Jack?" Skinner asked softly. "Why the tracking device?"

"I was afraid for him. When it was decided to bring him in as a
consultant on this case, I knew the deaths of those children were the
result of a consortium backlash. I also knew I didn't have any control
over whomever was involved in this rebel group.

"Mulder was a sitting duck, physically. It had occurred to me early on
that if he did come up with some answers that he was not meant to find, he
would be in danger. Obviously, I was right, and as much as you two might
not want to admit it, I usually am in these type of situations," he

"Jack," Scully began. Stein looked a little startled at Scully's use of
his first name. It was the first time she had acknowledged him on a
personal level. "Jack," she repeated to get his attention, "you said
something about not wanting to harm come to Fox `especially now'. What
did you mean by that?"

Stein pondered Scully's question. He didn't know quite how to answer it,
because his answer would reflect his gut feelings rather than the
carefully sought out facts he and Scully preferred. He wasn't sure
whether he should expose himself more emotionally then he already had.

In the end, however, he realized if he were to work with these two people
to help him in his quest, he didn't have a choice.

"I have no reason other than my gut instinct, a hunch if you will, but I
believe when we find Fox, we will also find my daughter. I believe, based
on the information Mulder found, he will lead us to Samantha."

End of Part 15/33


Part 16/33

Unknown Address
Raleigh, NC

Mulder was dragged in from the car, and dropped on the concrete floor of
some interior room. He couldn't determine what kind of interior however,
as he was still blindfolded and with one hearing aid now missing, his
ability to distinguish sounds was severely hampered.

Mulder knew they had been driving around for some time. He estimated it
had to be at least another two to three hours since they had stopped at
the side of the road for Mulder's unplanned pit stop. Assuming they
continued to drive south, Mulder figured they were in either the southern
most tip of Virginia or they passed into North Carolina.

Why anyone would want to kidnap him to North Carolina was beyond his
comprehension at this point. Of course, with the beating Franks gave him,
as well as the severe punch to the face, Mulder wasn't in a condition to
comprehend much of anything at the moment.

"Ah, so you made it," announced the venomous voice.''

Mulder could hear the voice, but without the visual cue that the blindfold
hid from him, it was difficult for him to clearly understand what the
voice said. He remained quiet.

"What's the matter, Mulder? Cat got your tongue? Or maybe I should say
`Rat" got your tongue?" the voice continued. Then he looked directly at
Edgar Franks.

"Ah, Mr. Franks. I see our friend needed some encouragement in order to
make the trip. Did he give you much trouble?"

"No sir, boss. He went and got sick on my shoes and pants which pissed me
off royally, ya know? I just let him know he better not do that again.
Then, he put up a fuss when I went to blindfold him. I had to take him
out, ya know, to get it tied around his head," Franks reported.

"Very well, Mr. Franks. You may go and take a well deserved break. Be
back in an hour to continue your watch."

"Yes sir, boss. Uh, Mr. Krycek, I'm gonna buy some decent coffee. You
want me to bring you back some?"

"Why that's awfully decent of you, Franks. Yes, I'd appreciate that very
much." And with that Franks left the room, while Krycek locked the door.

Mulder wasn't sure, but he thought he heard a familiar name. He was
trying so hard to concentrate on the words, but was finding it next to
impossible. Yet when Franks addressed the other man, the name Krycek
practically jumped out at him and snared him by the throat.

"Kryce'? Is tha' you?" Mulder asked in the direction he thought Krycek
was standing.

"Why Fox, you do care!" Krycek called out.

"Kryce', p'ease ta'e off the blin'fol'. I can' hear too well, an' I nee'
to see your lips so I can un'erstan' you. P'ease, ta'e it off, Alex,"
Mulder pleaded.

"Oh, what the hell. You're not going anywhere anyway," he said as he bent
down to remove Mulder's blindfold.

Mulder squinted as the fluorescent light assaulted his eyes. He looked
up at Krycek and was surprised to see him dressed in casual business
attire, not the bad boy, rat pack look he had become accustomed to seeing
him in.

"Wha' the hell is goin' on, Kryce'?" he asked.

"Oh? Haven't you missed me, Mulder? It's been just too damned long since
our last get together. I just figured I'd invite you in for tea, that's

"Than's, bu' I prefer coffee," Mulder replied sarcastically.

"Right, and I like I really give a rat's ass as to what you prefer. C'mon
Mulder, give me a break."

"Kryche', I really don' know wha' you wan' from me."

"I just want revenge, Mulder."

"Wha'? I didn' un'erstan' you."

"I want the person responsible for this," Krychek said while holding up
his prosthetic arm. "I want the Smoking Man, and you my good friend and
former partner, are just the bait to use to flush him out."

Mulder sat on the floor trying desperately to interpret all of the
information Krycek was throwing at him. He realized he wanted to get a
pay back for the loss of his arm. He'd heard about that through the Lone
Gunmen grapevine, and couldn't fathom the story behind the loss of the

Mulder next realized Krycek blamed Cancerman for the trauma. Krycek wanted
to use him to get to Jack Stein. There was a time when Mulder would
probably have jumped at the chance to join forces with Krycek to get
Cancerman. But time and experience has changed all that.

There was no way he could participate in a revenge plot against Jack
Stein. It still made him uncomfortable to think about Stein as some kind
of an ally, much less as someone who at one time held a meaningful place
in his life, but Mulder knew he could no longer consider the alternative.
Stein helped to save Scully's life. He owed him at least for that much.
It didn't occur to Mulder what it might cost him.


Maggie Scully's Residence
Baltimore, MD

Skinner, Scully, and Stein met the sketch artist over at Maggie's house
shortly before four forty-five p.m. Mulder had been missing for over
seven and a half hours, and though for most people that amount of time
wouldn't mean all that much, for Mulder it was becoming life threatening.

Mulder took medication four times a day. He took the low grade
antibiotics twice a day, once at noon and once before bedtime for his
ears. Since his bout with meningitis, he was much more susceptible to ear
infections which always posed a threat to the residual hearing Mulder had

In addition to that he took mild muscle relaxants once a day, in the
morning after breakfast, to keep his limbs from tensing up so much that it
prevented him from using them effectively.

Mulder also took two 200 mg tablets of Tegretrol, a strong anti-seizure
drug, twice a day. He took this medication once in the morning after
breakfast, and another dose after dinner. It was important for Mulder to
take the medications consistently, especially the Tegretrol.

The doctor had warned him if he missed his daily doses, it could increase
the number and length of his seizures. Spontaneous withdrawal of the
Tegretrol was not a viable option for Mulder. It did, however, look like
a very real possibility if they could not find him.

Skinner looked at the sketch the artist drew based upon Elizabeth's
description. He proceeded to fax it over to FBI Headquarters in DC as
well as to the ISU department at Quantico.

The word had been out since early this afternoon that Fox Mulder was
missing and last seen in a late model, yellow, four door sedan.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth had no idea as to its exact year, make, or model.
She was able to recall, however, the words DC Deluxe Cab on the door
which matched the name of the company she called in the morning to send a
cab over.

After Skinner faxed the sketch , he thanked the artist for his time and
dismissed him. He also faxed the name of the cab company to the AIC at
Quantico in order to his agents researching the possibility that one the
man in the sketch actually works for that company. Somehow Skinner
doubted it would be that easy, but it was worth a try.

Next he handed the sketch to Scully and asked her if she recognized him.

"No sir, I don't recall ever seeing him before." Scully handed the
artist's rendition over to Stein. "What about you? Does he look

Stein took the drawing and studied it carefully. He wished he had
Mulder's photographic memory, as it would serve him well in this instance.
As he looked it over, his memory seemed to flash back to a time when he
needed the services of some "muscle." One of his former subordinates had
recommended a man that looked remarkably like the man pictured in the

"I believe I know of a connection," he said cautiously. "I believe I have
met this man before."

"Who is he, Stein?" Skinner asked.

"He's a two bit, petty muscle man that worked for me once when I needed to
be assured certain people would not hamper the work of the project," Stein

"Really," Scully said with mild annoyance. "Where did he come from?"

"Ahh, there's the connection, my dear Agent Scully. He came from an old
acquaintance of yours. The man who introduced him to me was Alex Krycek."

"Krycek? Shit! Mulder's a dead man. Krycek will kill Mulder, I'm sure
of it," Scully cried out.

"No, Dana. I don't think so, in fact I don't even believe Fox is the
intended victim. I think, my dear, it is me he is after," assured Stein.

"I don't understand Jack," piped in Elizabeth. "Why would this Alex
Krycek person want to harm you? And why would he use Fox to get to you?
Who is this man and how does he know so much about you?"

Stein still had trouble adjusting to Elizabeth's occasional bouts of
naivet‚. She was an extremely intelligent woman, but she often, as the
saying goes, didn't see the forest for the trees.

"Elizabeth, contrary to what you may believe, I've always had a number of
enemies. Some were people who never believed in the project and wanted to
stop me from the beginning, while others were people who became
disenchanted with the project and decided to move on their own.

"Unfortunately, those people also lost my protection, and some were harmed
as a result. Mr. Krycek was in just such a position. He had a rather
terrible accident which resulted in the loss of his arm, and he blames me
for it," Stein concluded. "However, I also suspect Mr. Krycek has found
a new niche for himself in the consortium organization.

"Perhaps, Walter, he is the answer to the renegade faction of the
consortium. I had always suspected Mr. Krycek was more involved in the
consortium than he ever let on, even to me.

"I would not be surprised if we discovered he had a hand in the deaths of
those children. No, I would not be surprised in the least," concluded

"So how does this affect Fox?" asked Maggie who, up till this point, had
been very quiet.

"When the X-Files was closed, Mom, Alex Krycek was Mulder's partner. He's
the one who let Duane Barry escape up the mountain when I was__," Scully
paused. She still had difficulty speaking about the circumstances
surrounding her abduction. "__when I was taken."

Scully looked at Stein momentarily, and then back at her mom. She knew of
some of the pain both her mom and Mulder had suffered through while she
was missing, yet she still didn't know the complete story. She wasn't
sure if she ever wanted to know the complete story.

"Walter," Maggie questioned, "can't you put out an all points bulletin for
this Alex Krycek?"

"Yes, and we will, Maggie, but it won't be easy finding this man. He's
learned to live a life of secrets and lies and has made it very difficult
for us to find him in the past."

"But we have to find him soon. He's missed his therapy sessions today,
and he's due for his medication," Maggie mused almost to herself. She
knew she was speaking the obvious, but she felt so helpless in her ability
to do anything about Fox's disappearance that spouting off nonsense was
about the only thing she could do.

"Jack, when are you going to hear from your people with regards to the
tracking device?" asked Skinner.

"I don't know, Walter. I do know it takes time to establish the signal.
It's possible the signal is being blocked, perhaps by mountains. The
device works in the same manner as a cellular phone signal. Of course, if
there were any damage to the devices, then it might prove impossible__,"
his voice drifted off.

"Jack, I've been meaning to ask you. Just where did you plant the
tracking device?" asked Skinner.

"In his hearing aids".

"When did you do this?" asked Maggie.

"The last time he had a speech and language appointment. I had one of my
people check on the condition of the hearing aids and put in the
transmitters. I felt it was important to have the ability to keep tabs on
him during this case," Stein said.

"I can't believe you would violate his privacy like that, Jack. I'm
really shocked and appalled that you felt it was a legitimate move on your
part," Maggie said sternly.

But then, in almost a whisper, Maggie added, "And I thank God you did,
Jack. We've got to find him. Now. We've got to find him now."

End of part 16/33