Thu, 17 Jul 97

Title: Cicely's Gardens of Light
Author: Susan Proto
Category: Story, Angst, UST, Cross-over with Northern Exposure.
Rating: PG for language
Spoilers: Through fourth season of X-Files/major events are mentioned
and/or alluded to; through final season of NX.
Summary: Mulder & Scully visit a quaint town named Cicely to check out a
possible X-File and with the help of a few of the citizens of Cicely,
discover a lot more about themselves then they realized possible.
Archive: Yes
Double Disclaimer: The characters of Mulder and Scully belong to 10/13
productions and Chris Carter. The characters of Fleischman, O'Connell,
Ed, Erick, Ron, Shelly, Holling, and Marilyn, as well as the town of
Cicely, are a part of the television show Northern Exposure. Northern
Exposure is a trademark of Universal City Studios, Inc. All Rights
Reserved. Since I still have fits of delusions of grandeur and
occasionally think I know what I am doing, I am borrowing all of them. I
promise I won't keep them forever (unless Mr. Carter and Universal City
Studios would like me to) and I'll give them back at the end of the story.

Introduction: X-File fans, please don't let the fact that this is a
cross-over story scare you. Give it a chance, okay? It's an X-File story
first, which just happens to use a setting and characters from another
show that I love! This is a story that I have been threatening ;-) to
write for a while.
Northern Exposure was my first television
obsession, beginning on July 12, 1990, but alas CBS canceled it in July of
1995. I and few die-hard fans refuse to let it die, however, and we still
post on the NX ng and chat in #thebrick on the IRC, Friday nites.
Hopefully I've done justice to the NX characters to appease the
mooseketeers, but I think I've given enough character detail to make this
an enjoyable story for those unfamiliar with NX. (Try to find a video to
rent if you aren't, or wait for A & E to start airing the eps in October.
It's a real fine show!)
Again, as I am humbled by all of the wonderful fanfic I
continue to read on the ng and the archives, I would like to thank all
those who took the time to send me feedback and constructive ideas on my
first piece, Abah. You have no idea what an ego boost you all were to me,
and certainly an inspiration for me to start formulating ideas for an Abah
follow-up, as well as to complete this saga .
Any and all feedback and constructive criticism are welcomed, but
I remain a sensitive soul and can do with flames. And if you like it?
Please, please, let me know!!

E-mail me at:

Cicely's Gardens of Light
by Susan Proto

"Mulder, you have got to be kidding!" howled Dana Scully, as she
stared at her partner with a most incredulous expression on her face.
"I kid you not, Scully," Mulder replied.
"But Mulder, Moose mutilations? You've had some incredible
theories on what constitutes an X-File before. But this one has to take
the cake."
"Common Scully, hear me out before you make the final judgment,
okay?" requested Mulder.
"You've got exactly twenty-five words or less to convince me?"
replied Scully.
Mulder looked at his partner of five years. He knew she was
serious, yet at the same time, he knew that if he asked her, she would
follow him to the ends of the earth if necessary. He was most grateful
for that, because as much as he had tried to fight against the feelings,
he was totally and hopelessly in love with her; his partner, his best
friend, his life. Unfortunately for him, he felt helpless to confess
these feelings to her, because he had no real idea if his feelings were
reciprocated. So, how could he possibly tell her the real reason for this
newest "search for the truth."
"Okay, we all know that our 'raison d'être', so to speak, is in
solving the unsolvable. Well, when you find almost ten moose lying around
in rather close proximity to one another, with their stomachs cut open and
certain parts of their anatomy missing,, it seems to me that there's
something strange going on. The local authorities don't have a clue as to
what it's all about, so I thought it might be something for us to check
out," stated Mulder, hoping that he sounded more convincing than he felt.
"Mulder, did anyone from the local authorities contact us on
He had been hoping to avoid having to answer that question.
"Well, no, not exactly."
"So, where, exactly, did you learn of these moose mutilations?"
she quizzed.
"Ummmm, well, you see. I kind of discovered it by accident in a
reference source and," Mulder hemmed and hawed until Scully interrupted.
"MULDER! Tell me this source is not that rag, The Informer??
Please tell me you are not chasing X-File cases again based on that trashy
tabloid??" pleaded Scully.
"Well , yeah, I guess it is, but Scully" Mulder was pleading
himself at this point. "But Scully, I figured it would be a great excuse
for us to see another incredible phenomena the Aurora Borealis. Haven't
you ever wanted to see the northern lights?"
"The northern lights?" She had heard of the incredible light show
in the northern skies, and was actually quite curious to see them. "Where
were these moose mutilations anyway?"
"In this little town called Cicely. Cicely, Alaska," he replied.
He cringed a little as soon as he said the word Alaska.
"Alaska? We are not going to Alaska again. Alaska and you do not
get along, remember?" She remembered all too vividly the emergency room
in Alaska where Mulder fought for his life against the retrovirus. She
was not about to endure that kind of ordeal again.
"Scully, this is not the arctic; this is a nice, ordinary, little
town in Alaska. Common, please? I mean there are these strange moose
mutilations, but the northern lights are supposed to be near their peak in
brilliance at this time of year. Please???" begged Mulder, using his best
wounded puppy dog look.
"It's after seven, and I'm going home. It's been a long day.
I'm tired. I'm going to take a long, hot, bath with my favorite herbal
scented bath oil beads, and 'm going to luxuriate in that bath for as long
as the hot water holds out, and for your sake that better be a good long
time, since who the hell knows if they even have hot water in this God
forsaken place called Cicely, Alaska!" Scully ended on a crescendo. .

She looked at him, wondering how in heaven's name he did that;
how did he get her to do exactly what he wanted every time! She got her
jacket, and as she walked to the office door, she turned to look at him
again. It was then, looking at the childlike joy that appeared on his
face when he realized she had relented, that she was able to answer her
own question.
She was totally, hopelessly, and completely in love with this man.
The burden of this unrequited love was getting more and more difficult to
bear; she wished she knew if he held similar feelings for her. Yet, as
much as she trusted this man with her life, she didn't feel safe enough to
share her true feelings with him.
Mulder was her partner, her best friend, and the one person with whom she
shared a crucial, mutual trust. As much as she wanted to confess her love
for him, she didn't want to risk the possibility of losing his friendship,
or his trust, forever.

The flight into Anchorage was uneventful, and the two agents were
getting ready to catch the commuter flight to Cicely. An attractive,
petite woman approached Mulder and Scully as they gathered their luggage.
Mulder was the first to look up and notice the short-haired brunette in
the brown leather bomber jacket walking towards them.
"Excuse me,are you Agent Mulder?" asked the woman.
"Yes, I am," replied Mulder, softly. His eyes slowly traveled up
and down the lovely form before him. At this point Scully cleared her
throat in a somewhat exaggerated manner. "Oh, this is Special Agent Dana
"Hi Agent Mulder, Agent Scully. I'm Maggie O'Connell, and I'll be
your pilot for the flight to Cicely," stated Maggie.
"You're the pilot?" responded Mulder, remembering he spoke with a
woman when making the reservations for himself and Scully to take this
commuter flight. Since the trip was considered official FBI business, he
had indicated to her their job titles.
"Yep, t'is me!" answered Maggie.
"Let's go, Mulder," said Scully, nudging Mulder forward in the
process. Scully was not too sure what she was more annoyed with; Mulder's
incredulous reaction to an attractive young woman being a pilot, or the
fact she wished this young pilot was not nearly so attractive, a lot
older, and a lot more male! At this moment, Scully hoped for a rapid
closure of this case.
"If you've got everything, the plane is right over there. It's
the Cessna 170 to your left," said Maggie. "I just have to pick up the
meds over at the office, and then we can get going."
"Meds?" inquired Scully.
"I make an Anchorage run one every two weeks or so for Fleischman.
I mean Dr. Fleischman. He's the town doctor; anyway, I stop off to refill
his medical supplies whenever I make the run. Sometimes it's just
bandages, sometimes it's antibiotics, and sometimes it's more exotic, like
bagels, if I can find them for him. Or any New York newspapers or
magazines with articles about the Knicks-"
"Knicks?" inquired Mulder.
"What is it with you two? Do you only speak in monosyllables?
'Meds,' 'Knicks'." Maggie chuckled.
"Sorry," replied Mulder. "Agent Scully is also Dr. Scully; she's
a forensic pathologist. And I've been a die-hard Knicks fan for as long
as I can remember."
"Which is a tad unusual since Mulder doesn't live in New York,"
interjected Scully.
"Not so unusual. DC doesn't have their own pro team, and NY is
close," responded Mulder.
"But Mulder, you're originally from Massachusetts. You would
think that your favorite team would be the Celtics, no?" asked Scully.
"I don't hold too many fond memories of Massachusetts," murmured
Mulder. Both women noted the change in disposition of the tall, handsome
man walking between them. The conversation stopped for now.

Maggie picked up the medical package and carried it to the Cessna.
She helped her passengers with their luggage and opened the door to the
plane. Scully stepped in first and sat in the rear seat. Mulder stepped
up next and climbed into the co-pilot seat while Maggie slammed the door
shut. Maggie went around to the other side and climbed into the pilot
seat. She checked her passengers to make sure they were buckled in.
Maggie noticed Scully looked a little pale.
"Agent Scully, are you okay?" asked Maggie.
"I'm fine," replied Scully.
Mulder turned around upon hearing those infamous words- Scully was
not fine. She was discovered to have cancer in the nasal passage, and as
yet, they hadn't found a cure. But Scully was a fighter; she refused to
let the cancer slow her down or let her stop doing her job. Her strength
was one of the traits that made her so endearing to Mulder. However, that
was not the cause of her worry at the moment.
"Scully is what we would call a reluctant flyer, Maggie,"
announced Mulder.
"Oh, Mulder, I am nothing of the sort. I fly a lot, and you know
that! It's just that...," Scully hesitated.
"This isn't exactly a 747, is it?" responded Maggie with an
understanding smile.
"Well, no, it's not." She looked warily around the minuscule
passenger compartment.
"I will try my best to make this the smoothest flight you've ever
been on, Agent Scully," said Maggie, "Promise!"
"Thanks, I've never been enamored with small, little, commuter

The flight took about forty minutes, and Maggie O'Connell proved
to be a pilot of her word; the flight was smooth and uneventful, with
perhaps the one exception being of the constant attention her partner had
paid the capable pilot. Mulder asked Maggie what seemed like hundreds of
questions regarding the plane's instruments and the trip to Cicely. What
he did not ask about was their supposed reason for being there: the moose
mutilations. But he sure seemed interested in everything she had to say....

The plane landed and a young, dark , long-haired man was waiting
for them. "Hey Maggie, welcome home!" he shouted from the beat-up pick up
truck on which he sat.
"Hey Ed, good to be back!" As Ed started walking towards them,
Maggie got out of the plane and opened the cargo area. She unloaded the
luggage and other items when Mulder and Scully appeared. "Ed, this is
Agents Mulder and Scully. Agent Mulder, Agent Scully, this is Ed
Chigliak. He's our resident film director and Shaman in training."
"Shaman in training?" asked Scully, looking puzzled.
"Well, I've been called," responded Ed, "but I'm not sure if it's
the right way for me to go."
"Agent Scully is a doctor, Ed. Maybe you could consult with
her?" said Maggie.
"That would be great!" he replied with a large, bright smile.
"Sure..," said Scully, "I'd be happy to answer any questions you
might have."
Ed gave his thanks and helped everyone with their luggage.
Maggie said her good-byes and told her passengers she'd probably see them
again soon. "Cicely isn't exactly big enough to get lost in, ya know?"

As they climbed into the truck, Ed asked the agents where they
were staying, and Mulder mentioned a Bed & Breakfast that wasn't supposed
to be far from town. "Oh, you must mean Ron and Erick's place, right?" Ed
"I spoke with an Erick Hillman, I think," said Mulder.
"Yep, that's the place I figured. You'll really like it. Ron
and Erick really made it up nice. It's funny, cause at first no one
thought they would actually be able to buy it 'cause Maurice really didn't
want to sell the property to them 'cause of the way they are, you know?
But then they offered such a good price that Maurice couldn't pass it up
and even though he wasn't happy selling it to them, Maurice is just too
good of a businessman to pass by a good deal, you know?" Ed rambled on.
Scully and Mulder kept looking at one another with wry smiles on
their faces, wondering what this B & B was going to look like, when they
came to a stop in front of a beautiful, rustic, looking building. "Well,
here we are," announced Ed.

Ed got out of the truck and helped the agents with their luggage.
As they entered the foyer-lobby of the B & B, they saw a gentleman looking
seriously through some kind of a book. "Must be a very interesting,"
commented Mulder.
"Oh, hi. No, just the reservations book, not so much interesting.
Just a little confusing. There's something that's not adding up right, and
I can't quite figure out what it is. Anyway, hello, I'm Ron Bantz, and I
am one of the proprietors of this establishment. How may I help you?"
"Hello, I'm Special Agent Mulder and this is Special Agent Dana
Scully. We are here on official FBI business. I made a reservation for
two rooms with your partner, Erick Hillman three days ago."
"Three days ago, Mulder??" Scully questioned. "You mentioned this
little trip to me yesterday."
"Ahh, well, I hadn't had a chance to discuss it with you until
yesterday Scully, and since I know how busy it is this time of year, what
with the northern lights and all." Mulder was snagged and he knew it. He
could only hope that Scully wouldn't hold it against him for too long.
"Agent Mulder," Ron began, "Did you say two rooms?"
"Yes, that's what I asked for when I made the reservation,"
replied Mulder.
"Well son of a gun! That's where the discrepancy is! I couldn't
for the life of me figure out why the numbers weren't adding up!"
exclaimed Ron.
"Mr. Bantz--" Scully began.
"Ron, call me Ron, please."
"Ron," Scully continued, "Is there a problem with our
"Well, a minor one," answered Ron.
"How minor?" asked Scully.
"About the size of one room?" responded Ron.
"But I specifically requested reservations for two rooms," stated
"I realize that, but unfortunately, there has been a mix-up," Ron
said in a most sympathetic tone. "I really am sorry, but the room we have
available is really quite large and quite lovely. I really am so sorry
for the inconvenience."
"Who's being inconvenienced?" asked a second, casually, dressed
"Erick, this is Agents Mulder and Scully. You took the their
reservations three days ago?" asked Ron.
"Yes, I remember speaking with you Agent Mulder. Official FBI
businesses, as I recall," replied Erick. "After I took your reservation,
I gave it, along with several others that I had taken that day, and gave
the book to Marilyn to check into the rooms."
"Marilyn?" asked Ed, "Dr. Fleischman's Marilyn?"
"Yes, Ed. We're always swamped this time of year because of the
Aurora Borealis, so we ask Marilyn to help us out. She does it on Dr.
Fleischman's day off, so there's no conflict. She's a big help to us,"
concluded Erick.
"Except when she makes a big error in the bookings," stated Ron.
"I don't understand. What's the problem?" asked Erick.
"Apparently she put the Mulder reservation under one room instead
of the requested two," said Ron.
"Oh dear. I am so sorry. It was probably my poor handwriting.
There really are no other rooms available?" asked Erick. Ron responded
with a shake of the head. Erick continued, "I'm really sorry about this.
Marilyn has never made this kind of error before. Look, we'll be happy
to knock 20% off of the bill."
"Are there any other places to stay?" asked Scully.
"The nearest place is around twenty miles from here, and not
anywhere near as nice as Rob and Erick's place," interjected Ed.
"Besides, the chances of them even having any available rooms are probably
zero. There's some kind of moose festival going on nearby this week
"I'm afraid he's right about that, Scully." Mulder looked
somewhat sheepishly at his partner. It's not as if they've never had to
share a room together, it's just that the situation was never planned....
Though this wasn't exactly planned either.....
"All right Mulder. Let's go check out our room. You, however,
get the floor." Scully picked up her bag and started to follow Ron.
Mulder did the same.

Ed turned to look at Erick. Erick returned Ed's thoughtful gaze
and suddenly knew what had happened.
"Ed, it wasn't a mistake!!" Erick cried out.
"Marilyn doesn't make mistakes, unless they're on purpose," agreed
"How the hell does she do that? She's never met them. How does
she know?" pondered Erick.
"It's her way," offered Ed thoughtfully.

Ron opened the door to the room and held it so Scully and Mulder
could enter. As Ron started explaining the ways of the B & B, Scully's
breath was taken away. The room was done in a lovely blue and white color
scheme. The four poster bed was made from a rich mahogany, with a lush
down comforter neatly spread upon it.
Mulder looked around with as much wide-eyed wonder as Scully. Ron
finished his spiel, but little of it was heard by the two Agents. He then
informed them of the breakfast times and bid them a good stay. They
murmured their thanks, and Ron left them with a couple of keys. Scully
stood still for a couple of more minutes and then ran into the bathroom.
"Oh Mulder, come look!" she cried out excitedly. Mulder appeared
by her side and took note of what caught Scully's fancy. It was one of
the most beautiful claw-footed bath tubs he'd ever seen. And it was huge!
"Mulder," Scully began, "even you and your long legs could enjoy
taking a bath in this!"
"It might even hold the two of us, Scully," Mulder said softly.
*Oh my God,* Mulder thought to himself, *did I just say that out
"Well, we might just have to check that possibility out," Scully
replied in a husky tone. *Good Lord,* Scully wondered to herself, * tell
me I didn't just say that. Tell me I didn't offer to get into that tub
with him. Tell me he's not going to laugh out loud at the mere thought of
The two agents looked at each other for a few moments. They held
each other's gaze until there was a firm knock at the door. Each of them
stammered a bit, when Mulder said, " I guess we should see who's at the
"Yeah, I guess...." Scully agreed but without much conviction.
Mulder opened the door to find a rather portly man. He was dressed
casually in a plaid, flannel, shirt, yet seemed to carry himself in more
stately, formal, manner. "Yes?" Mulder asked, "May I help you?"
"Are you the FBI?"
"Yes, and you are?" responded Scully, flashing her badge in
confirmation, as she appeared at the door.
"Minnifield... Maurice Minnifield is my name. I'm the one who sent
in the pictures and information to The Informer.... You know, the moose
"Oh, of course. Well, Mr. Minnifield, we've just arrived, and
quite frankly, we're a little beat, what with the time change and all.
Could this wait until we've had a chance to freshen up a little?" Scully
asked sweetly.
"Sure, sure. How about we meet for dinner? That'll give you two
kids a chance to rest up, and then we can talk over these moose killings!"
Maurice agreed. He had to admit he was a little curious about the sleeping
arrangements for these two. It seemed a little unusual that the
government would allow two agents of the opposite sex to share a room.
*Wasn't like that when I was on active duty. Hell, they didn't even have
females doing the job back then.* Maurice shook his head slightly to
bring himself back to the present. "I'll meet you at The Brick around
"The Brick?" asked Mulder.
"Finest moose burgers this side of the Alaskan Riviera!" declared
"Yum," uttered Scully, with a decidedly squeamish look on her
"We'll see you then Mr. Minnifield," said Mulder as he closed the

"Moose burgers?" She looked like she was going to be ill.
"Scully, why don't you lay down and rest. You look a little
green around the gills."
"Yeah, that's not a bad idea. Actually, you look a little tired
yourself. Why don't we both take a nap before dinner."
"Okay, I guess I'll take the floor." Mulder offered.
"Mulder, it's a king sized bed. There's room for both of us to
"Are you sure? I mean, I'll sleep on the floor if you want me
"That's very chivalrous of you, but it is totally unnecessary.
We can share the bed, honest. I'm going to go into the bathroom and
change into a night shirt. I don't want to wrinkle my work clothes."
Scully pulled out a long night shirt from her suitcase, and
walked into the bathroom. Mulder pulled out a pair of sweats and a
tee-shirt, and changed into them quickly.
When Scully came out of the bathroom, Mulder was already under
the covers and asleep. Scully looked at the man with whom she was sharing
a bed. *Oh, this is going to be hard,* Scully thought. *I hope I can
deal with this.*
Scully crawled into bed next to Mulder. He instinctively
rolled over, closer to her. Scully turned on her side, her back towards
him. Within a few minutes, Mulder's left arm was laying across Scully's
waist. Though she knew she should have extricated herself from him, she
couldn't. It just felt so damned good to have him holding her.

Mulder stirred toward wakefulness first. His eyes still closed,
his other senses took over. He heard a rhythmic breathing that matched
his own. His nose appreciated the fragrance of spring flowers, and his
hand felt something silky smooth.
For the moment, in his sleepy stupor, Mulder could not get a
sense as to where he was, nor did he care. All he thought about was how
safe, and good, and deliciously comfortable he felt.
Slowly, Mulder opened his eyes. *Oh my God,* he thought in a
rush, *I'm laying here next to Scully! How the hell did-.., oh, Cicely.
The Northern Lights. One room; only one room available.. Okay, I can deal
with this- oh God, how am I going to deal with this!*
Mulder gently removed his arm from Scully's body, and rolled over
to his side of the bed to check the clock on the night stand. It
registered 5:00, which meant his body really thought it was 9:00 p.m.
*Damn this jet lag,* thought Mulder. *Poor Scully, she looks like
she really could use the sleep.* As if Scully could hear Mulder's
thoughts, she turned toward him.
"Hi there," she whispered.
"Hi yourself," he echoed just as softly.
"What time were we supposed to meet that Minnifield guy?"
"6:30? Yeah, I think he said 6:30," Mulder replied. "He seems
like a bit of a character, doesn't he?"
"Yes, but I suspect he's harmless. I suppose I should get
moving. I don't look very official at the moment, do I?"
"You look-" Mulder hesitated. He so wanted to say 'beautiful'
but he didn't know how Scully would react. She would either be very
pleased that he noticed or so pissed off she would haul off and shoot him,
again! "-fine," he finally announced.
"Yeah, right . Look, do you want to shower first, or should I go
in?" she asked. *Of course,* Scully thought, *You could come in and join
me-* Scully felt herself blushing slightly at the thought.
"Hey Scully, you feel all right? You look a little flushed!"
Mulder said as he reached over to lightly touch her forehead.
"I'm fine, Mulder," Scully retorted. "I'll go shower first!"
She practically jumped out of the bed to avoid his touch. She felt
she was going to faint if she stayed near him any longer.
When Scully came out of the shower, Mulder went in. Scully
dressed in the room while Mulder showered. Scully was sitting and
applying a little eye makeup when he appeared at the bathroom door.
"I've always wondered how women don't get all squeamish putting
that stuff on their eyes," Mulder stated.
"It's no big deal, Mulder." Scully replied, all the while putting
the finishing touches on the makeup. "Do you want me to leave so you can
get dressed?"
"No, it's okay. Just turn around, 'kay?" Mulder replied. Scully
looked at him in response, and then slowly turned her head. She felt
herself starting to take quicker breaths, and started to admonish herself
*Dana, get a hold of yourself, right now! You have already seen
this man in every state of undress, so why now, all of a sudden, do you
feel reduced to a school girl mentality and feel like you're going to
hyperventilate at the mere thought of having him getting dressed with you
in the same room!!??*
She knew why, of course. All of the other times, he was
practically near death; this time he was very much alive, thank you very
much! Dana finally found her voice and asked, "Safe to turn around yet?"
"Sure," Mulder replied.
He was standing in his navy blue silk boxers and matching socks.
Mulder felt Scully's eyes on him, as if he were putting on some illicit
show. It wasn't as though he felt uncomfortable exactly, he just felt as
though his body was going to betray his true feelings for Scully if he
didn't get his jeans on very quickly. Scully watched him through the
entire process, her eyes never left him.
"Hey Scully," Mulder said huskily, "maybe we should put on some
music to dress by."
"Oh!" Scully gasped. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize-" Mulder took
two long strides to reach her and knelt beside her.
"I was kidding. I have no problem with you and I being here in
the same room, together." Mulder stated that last word with a bit more
emphasis. "Common, let's get going to The Brick. According to my body
clock, it's almost 10:30 p.m. and I haven't fed my stomach for a while!!"

He extended his hand to her and she took it. She then grabbed her
coat, and Mulder put on his leather bomber. They headed for the lobby to
find out how to get to The Brick.

End of Part 1/5

Cicely's Gardens of Light
by Susan Proto

Part 2/

Disclaimers in Part 1

Erick gave the two agents a lift to the restaurant bar. He also
promised to make arrangements for them to have access to a car, if the
need rose, by tomorrow. They entered the front door and were immediately
assaulted by the music, the loud banter, the sound of plates and
silverware chinking about.
There was an earthiness, a realness to the atmosphere of The Brick
that somehow made it a very inviting place to be. They looked about to
see if Maurice Minnifield had arrived before them, but they did not see
him. Mulder pointed to a booth, placed his hand on the small of Scully's
back (as was his habit) and guided her to it. As they got comfortable in
their seats, they were greeted by a cute, young, twenty-something with
menus in her hand.
"Hey there! You two are new around here, aren't ya?" she asked.
"Yes, we are," Mulder answered. "We're supposed to meet someone
here. Maurice Minnifield?"
"Maurice? Oh, I know who you guys are!! You're the FBI people,
aren't you?" the young woman announced.
"I'm Special Agent Dana Scully, and this is Special Agent Mulder."
The young woman extended her hand to formally shake with her new
acquaintances and introduced herself. "Hey there. I'm Shelly
Tambo-Vincoeur. Nice to meet ya! I don't think Maurice is here yet....
Hold on a minute. Holling?" she called out to the rugged looking, older,
man behind the bar.
"Yes, Shelly honey?" Holling responded.
"H- these two folks are the FBI people Maurice wanted to talk to
about those poor moose that were killed. Has he come in yet?" Shelly
"Noooo, Shelly. I don't believe he has," Holling drawled.
Turning back to the agents, Shelly stated, "Well, if anyone would know if
Maurice were here, Holling would. I'm sure he'll be here soon though."
"Is Holling the owner of this place?" asked Mulder.
"Yep. Isn't he the greatest? He's the best bar and restaurateur in
the county. And that's not the only reason either. He can still make me
one happy little cheerleader in the sack, let me tell you!"
Scully looked at Shelly in astonishment. "You and he are an item?"
"An item?" she replied. "Well, I guess you could say that We've
been together for over seven years and married for the last three. We had
Miranda Bliss eighteen months ago, and she looks just like her dad!"
"But you're so young-" Scully tried to stop herself, realizing she
was poking her nose where it didn't belong. "I'm sorry. I have no
"Oh don't you worry! I'm used to it, and it don't bother me. I
know what I got, and I got the best man in the world who loves me with all
his heart, and the most adorable and loving daughter in the world. I
haven't any complaints, believe you me."
Shelly spoke with such confidence and love, that Scully felt
herself feeling very envious. "Well, why doncha just look at the menus
and see what you're in the mood for. The moose burgers are really good,
and so's the salmon steaks." Shelly left the couple to look over their

"Fleischman, you're nuts!" Maggie shouted to the back of the curly
topped head of the brown-haired man in front of her.
"I am not nuts, O'Connell, and you know it!" Fleischman replied.
"And if you would just take a minute to see my side of this, you
would see that I am absolutely right about this. There's no other
explanation for it! You've got to be totally meshuganah to believe in this
"Oh, give me a break, you are soooo----ARGHHGHH!!" Maggie cried out
in exasperation, when she turned her head and noticed the two FBI agents
were now watching her with wry interest. Maggie felt herself blushing,
and pulled the young man, Fleischman, toward her.
"Come with me, Fleischman. I want to introduce you to some
people." When they were standing by the booth, Maggie looked at the two
seated people and said, "Hey there Agent Scully, Agent Mulder."
"Listen, just call me Mulder. No 'Agent' stuff necessary, okay?
And I'm crazy for wanting to investigate this." Dana looked at her
partner, puzzled. *Crazy? What brought that on?*
"And feel free to call me Dana. Somehow, I just don't think we're
going to be on 'official' business long enough here to warrant using the
titles, you know?"
"You see?!! Even the FBI knows there's absolutely no reason for
anyone to make a big deal about those damn moose!" exclaimed Fleischman.
"Oh, Fleischman, that's not what Dana said, and you know it!! Now
common, would you just calm down long enough so I could at least introduce
you! Agent- I mean Mulder, Dana, this is Fleischman, Dr. Joel
Fleischman," introduced Maggie.
"Ah, the Knicks fan!" stated Mulder.
"And lover of bagels," added Dana.
"And general pain in the ass!" interjected Maggie.
"Look, I really don't need to take this kind of abuse, O'Connell.
If you don't mind, I'd like to chat with these fine visitors from the
normal part of the world that actually knows what a bagel is and who the
New York Knicks are!" Fleischman replied.
"Have a seat," Mulder offered.
"Thank you, Mulder," Maggie answered. As she and Fleischman took
their seats, she next to Mulder and he next to Scully, Maggie stated,
"Mulder is a very unusual name."
"Not as unusual as his real first name," muttered Scully, a little
too loudly to not be unheard.
"Thanks a lot, Scully," Mulder retorted.
"What?? Oh, sorry," Scully replied with just a hint of a smirk on
her face.
"What is it?" Maggie asked, "Unless, you really, really, really,
don't want to say-"
"Fox," blurted out Scully.
"Scully!!! What the hell's the matter with you?"
"I'm sorry," Scully answered, but with a good deal less sincerity
than she had intended. She didn't know what made her "squeal" on her
partner, but she just couldn't seem to help herself.
"Fox. I like it." declared Maggie. "There's something very, very,
virile about it, doncha think?" Both Scully and Fleischman looked at
Maggie with their mouths somewhat gaping, and then turned towards a now
very blushing Mulder.
"Ve-ry," said Scully and Fleischman in unison. At that the two
doctors dissolved into a fit of the giggles, while Maggie and Mulder took
their turns to stare.
Once everyone finally calmed down, Scully finally asked the two
residents what they were arguing about. "What don't we argue about!"
replied Maggie.
"O'Connell, that's not what she meant!" Turning towards Dana at
this point, Fleischman continued with his explanation, "We were discussing
the so-called moose mutilations that Maurice is so up in arms about."
"Fleischman, how could you be like that! There were obviously dead
moose out on that field, with no explanation for them being cut up in the
way they were!" Maggie argued.
"Oh common, some hunters got carried away, and when they realized
they were way over the legal limit, they decided to 'create' an
unexplained phenomena that would cause gullible fools to believe that
aliens were taking over Cicely." retorted Fleischman.
"Who are you calling a gullible fool?" inquired a rather irate
Maurice Minnifield from behind Joel.
"Thanks a lot, O'Connell you couldn't tell me he was behind me,
could you?" Fleischman hissed at Maggie, who replied with a mere shrug of
her shoulders. He continued, "Maurice, I was not calling you a gullible
fool. I was merely saying there are any number of reasonable explanations
for the moose's predicament."
"This is obviously a man of science and has a very reasonable
outlook on life," Scully declared with a big smile on her face. "It's
rather refreshing, don't you think Mulder?"
For some reason, Mulder felt like he had just been slapped in the face.
Scully was embracing a person with views that were the antithesis of his
own, and she hadn't a clue as to how badly that made him feel. He looked
at her, as she continued a quiet discussion with Dr. Joel Fleischman, a
man Mulder decided he
despised at the moment.
"Well, I'm ready to eat!" Maurice suddenly announced. "Let's order
some chow and then this gullible fool can discuss what he felt was so
damned important that two Federal agents felt it necessary to fly in all
the way from Washington, DC. Okay?"
The four younger people deferred to their elder seated at the head
of the table. Maurice waved for Shelly and she came to take their orders.

The group of five were just finishing up their meals. Mulder and
Maggie were busy licking their fingers of the last of the ketchup that had
managed to attach itself while they were dunking greasy french fries and
chowing down on enormous moose burgers. Scully and Joel on the other
hand, were chewing up the last of their very sensible turkey sandwiches
and salads. Maurice Minnifield was downing the last of his dark beer, as
well as his large, rare, steak and baked potato.
"Mmmmm, that was really good! Scully, you really should have
tried the moose burger. They're incredible!" Mulder enthused.
"No thanks," Scully replied, "I'd like my arteries to have a
fighting chance, even if the rest of my body is falling apart!" Mulder
winced at the last remark. He knew Scully was referring to the cancerous
tumor that was laying, for now at least, dormant in her nasal passage.
"She's absolutely right, you know," started Fleischman, having no
idea about the seriousness of Scully's last remark or the somber effect it
had on Mulder. "Red meat should be eaten very rarely, if at all."
"You're right, Fleischman, it should be eaten very 'rarely,'
never, ever, well-done!" guffawed Maurice. Maggie started to giggle
uncontrollably, and Mulder joined in the laughter. Even Scully couldn't
repress a slight smile. As he realized the old adage, "If you can't beat
'em, join 'em" was truer now than ever, Fleischman slowly started to
"Touché, Maurice," Fleischman remarked. Maurice lifted his beer
glass up in response.
"Now, let's get to the business at hand!" Maurice announced. "We
have to figure out why Cicely is becoming the equivalent of the elephant
grave yard for Alaska's entire moose population??"
"Don't you think you're exaggerating just a little? I mean aren't
you making more of a 'mishegaas' out of this than necessary?" asked Joel
"Why do you think he's making a big deal about it?" Mulder asked
"There were only four or five moose found dead," he replied.
"Four or five?" echoed Scully. "Mulder, I thought there were
supposed to be over ten!"
"So did I." responded Mulder. "Mr. Minnifield, I was under the
impression we were dealing with a more acute problem here." Minnifield
looked a little uncomfortable at this point. He started to speak, but
Maggie interrupted.
"You see, 'Fox,' you have to understand that this area is a true
haven for wild life. Anytime a part of our wild life population faces
danger, we, the citizens of Cicely, consider it to be a major problem!"
Maggie declared.
Scully watched Mulder very carefully throughout Maggie
O'Connell's entire little speech. *She called him 'Fox'!* Scully thought
in alarm. *She called him 'Fox' and he didn't bat an eyelash! I've known
him almost five years, and he doesn't allow me to call him 'Fox.' Damn
him! Damn her!!*
"Well, I suppose as long as we're here, it does warrant some
attention," Fox agreed with a slight smile on his lips. Scully couldn't
take any more.
"I'm afraid you're going to have to excuse me. The jet lag and
the time difference is catching up with me. Joel, would you give me a
lift back to The B & B?"
Mulder looked at her in astonishment. She asked for a lift back
for herself, not for both of them, just herself! *What the hell is going
on here?* Mulder wondered to himself. He knew Fleischman was attracted to
Scully; hell, what man wouldn't be? He couldn't decide if the attraction
was mutual.... He realized he couldn't bear it if it were......
"Sure, I'd be happy to give you a lift back You look like you've
had enough 'tsuris' for one day," Fleischman responded.
"Scully, if you're worried about this case...." Mulder started.
"I'm not worried; why would you think I'm worried? I'm just
tired," she replied.
"I'd be happy to give you a lift back later, Fox," Maggie
"Umm, yeah, thanks," Mulder mumbled.
"Please, let's go then," Scully sputtered. Fleischman slid out
of the booth and Scully followed him. Scully said a general good night to
all, and told Maurice she would see him tomorrow. Mulder watched as she
left the restaurant with Dr. Joel Fleischman. Mulder was not a happy

As Scully and Fleischman got in his beat up, old, pick-up truck,
a pair of intense, thoughtful eyes followed them in the dark. *This
couldn't be what she had in mind, could it?* wondered Ed Chigliak. *Is
this what Marilyn's 'mistake' was supposed to do?* Ed planned on seeing
Marilyn tomorrow, in Dr. Fleischman's office, where he could share his
concerns for his friends.

The car ride back to The B & B was a quiet one. Fleischman
realized Dana was tired, in fact she looked rather pale all of a sudden,
and he was a little concerned. "You feeling all right?" he asked quietly.
"I'm fine. Really, it's just the time difference. Your watch
says 8:00 and my body says it midnight; get thee to sleep!" Scully replied
with a smile of assurance. Though she was feeling more drained then
usual, she really did want to chalk it up to the change in time zones.
"Thank you for the ride back. If I know my partner, he'll stay at
The Brick for as long as anyone will listen to his hair brained theories!"
Scully said with just a hint of annoyance and a small glint of affection.
"How is it that you two are teamed up? You seem so completely the
antithesis of one another," Fleischman asked.
"I was assigned to Mulder's department for exactly that reason,"
Scully said quietly, remembering back to that first day.... *Nobody here but
the FBI's most unwanted,* he had said. How wrong he was; if he only knew
how much she wanted him.
"What do you mean?" asked Fleischman, shaking Scully out of her
momentary reverie.
"I was assigned to debunk Mulder's theories. Since I have a
strong science background, the powers to be felt that I would be able to
keep Mulder in check, so to speak.
"And has it worked?"
"We're partners. We don't always agree on things; hell, we hardly
ever agree on anything, except perhaps one thing. We're partners, and we
trust each other with our lives," Scully answered earnestly.
"I guess in your line of work that's pretty important." They
pulled up in front of The B & B. "Listen, it's late, and you look
bushed," he said. "I'd like to see you again. It's not very often I get
a chance to talk shop with anyone."
"I suppose it must be hard when you're the only doctor in town... of
course there's always Ed, Cicely's Shaman in training!" Scully said with a
lightness to her voice that was missing only moments before.
"Don't remind me, please!" snorted Joel in laughter. "I'll look
for you tomorrow. Go get some sleep." Scully nodded in agreement and
opened the car door. She murmured her good night and walked into The B &

Back at The Brick, Maurice, Maggie, and Mulder were enjoying a
beer. Moments late, Ed came in and Maurice called him over to the table.
"Ed, get yourself a beer and join us!"
"Uh, thanks Maurice...maybe I'll just have a root beer though." He
thanked Holling at the bar for the soda and joined his friends at the
booth. "I saw Dr. Scully leave with Dr. Fleischman. Everything okay?"
asked Ed.
"She's just tired, Ed. I'm sure she'll be fine by the morning
when her body's had a chance to catch up with the time change," Mulder
said, though more to convince himself than anyone else at the table. "We
were just talking about the moose mutilations. What do you make of them,
"Oh, I don't know," Ed said rather shyly. His natural manner
suggested that Ed was somewhat slow in his thinking process, when in
reality, Ed was quite brilliant; his IQ was once tested in the genius
Ed's gifts tended to be more in the intuitive and artistic areas
rather than the pragmatic and practical ones. Yet given his extraordinary
ability, Ed was unused to people asking him for his opinion. It was as
though they assumed he wouldn't have one, so having this visitor address
him took him by surprise.
"I'd have to think about it. I guess it could be what Dr.
Fleischman thinks; it's just the result of a bunch of hunters covering
their tracks. But I suppose it could also be Maurice's theory of aliens
visiting earth. There was a tale I heard once as a child..."
"Oh, now Ed, let's not get into that native mumbo jumbo stuff,
okay??" Maurice scoffed.
"Well, that's okay, Maurice, maybe another time," Ed replied most
"Listen folks, I've really enjoyed hearing all of your theories.
Ed, I'd like to chat more with you too, but if I want to be able to
think clearly tomorrow when I look at the sight, I'd better get some sleep
myself. Maggie, may I take you up on that offer to drive me back to The B
& B now?"
"Sure, 'Fox,' it would be my pleasure." Mulder, for the first
time tonight, winced slightly at the utterance of his first name.
"Maurice, if you could pick Scully and me up tomorrow morning, we
could all go out to the site together. I don't know if Ron and Erick will
have been able to arrange a car for us by the morning," he suggested.
"How about nine hundred hour, Mulder?" Maurice asked.
Mulder nodded his affirmation and then slid out of the booth. Both he
and Maggie wished Ed and Maurice a good night. As they walked out the
door, Maurice eyed them with curiosity.
"Now don't they make an interesting couple?" remarked Maurice.
"You think?" Ed pondered. "I wonder what Dr. Fleischman would
"Sure would get his dander up, wouldn't it?" chuckled Maurice.

Mulder was quiet as Maggie drove him back to Ron & Erick's B & B.
He realized the beer was probably muddling his thought processes at this
point, but he couldn't help imagine what Scully was thinking when she
asked Joel Fleischman for a lift home. *Is she mad at me?* he mused.
*What did I do now?*
Mulder really did not know Scully felt jealous; he couldn't know,
because he was so unaware as to how other people responded to him. Mulder
was the most unaffected person anyone could ever know. He was extremely
naïve in his self-assessment of his appearance and personality. Mulder
considered himself an ordinary looking man with an ordinary personality,
yet with a predilection for getting those he felt closest to into tragic
"Hey," Maggie queried, "you okay?"
"Oh, yeah... sorry. I guess I'm just tired," answered Mulder.
"Flying can take a lot out of you. Believe me, I know," said
"How long have you been a pilot?" asked Mulder.
"Oh, almost ten years now, I guess," Maggie replied.
"Have you always lived in Cicely?" asked Mulder.
Maggie laughed, "No... I'm originally a Grosse Point, Michigan girl.
I lived a lifestyle that was really quite different."
"How so?" probed Mulder.
"Well, Daddy was the youngest CEO in automotive history. Remember
that cute little car style called the 'hatchback'?" Maggie asked
"Sure, though I can't remember ever being able to find one large
enough to fit in comfortably," replied Mulder.
"Well, apparently there were enough people out there who could
fit, and those people shall be forever grateful to dear ol' dad."
"Your dad?" gaped Mulder. Maggie nodded in the affirmative. "So
what the hell are you doing out here in the great wilderness of Alaska?"
asked Mulder.
"It's my wilderness to conquer; not my mom's, not dad's, not my
brother's. Mine." declared Maggie. It was at that moment that they
pulled up in front of The
B &B. "Here we are," announced Maggie. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
As Mulder stepped out of the vehicle, he murmured his thanks.
When he turned, Maggie gave him a delicious smile, which Mulder was too
tired and too preoccupied to even notice. "Good night," he said and then
turned to go into The
B & B. Maggie watched him enter the building, uttered a small sigh, and
then drove home.

Mulder walked in quietly figuring Scully would be asleep. As he
moved toward the bathroom he could hear her rolling over. "Scully," he
whispered, "you awake?" Receiving no response, Mulder pulled off his
shoes and then padded over to the bathroom. He flicked the light switch
so he would have some light in the room. He went into the bathroom and
stripped to his boxers. He washed up, brushed the beer taste out of his
mouth, and then turned off the light.
Walking over to the bed, he looked at the alarm clock on the
night stand. He set the clock for 7:30, though with his unusual sleeping
habits, he was quite sure he would be up and about well before that.
Sleep and Mulder were not normally good companions.
Ever since his younger sister's abduction, so long ago, he'd
endured sleepless nights due to some pretty horrific nightmares. Mulder
often would force himself to stay awake just to avoid them. Now, however,
he really felt tired and hoped tonight would be different. He crawled
into bed next to Scully.

"Ouch!" she yelled. Scully felt the heavy "thwack" against the
back of her head, and it startled her so that she jumped in search of her
gun. She finally turned around and realized what the situation was.
Mulder was having one of his bad dreams again, though tonight's incident
might be characterized more as a night terror. He was thrashing about so
much, she feared she would be black and blue by morning if he didn't calm
down. "Mulder, Mulder, wake up! Mulder, wake up! You're dreaming, wake
up!" Scully insisted.
Mulder's eyes popped open suddenly and without focusing on any one
person or object, he just kept turning and twisting his head all about as
if in search of something or someone. "I'll save you... I promise, I'll
save you..." Tears were falling down Mulder's cheeks. "I'll save you, I
Scully gathered her partner in her arms. "Mulder, shhh, it's
okay. It's just a dream, shhh."
"Scully?" Mulder looked at his partner with intense hazel eyes.
"Is it you?"
"Yes, it's me. Who did you think it was?"
"Oh God, Scully, I thought--."
"Mulder, were you dreaming about Samantha?" she asked gently.
"No," was Mulder's plaintive response. "No, it was about.. you."
Scully responded with an all to audible gasp of air. "I thought,"
Mulder hesitated, "I thought you were dead. I thought the cancer took you
before I could save you-"

Scully didn't know how to react. She wanted to help her partner
who was obviously distraught; who obviously needed some support and
There was a problem, however, because all she felt like doing was
crawling into a hole somewhere to console herself. She didn't want to be
reminded of her death sentence; she was more than well aware that the
cancer could take her life at any time. She needed her strength to deal
with that knowledge; she didn't know if she had any to spare for her
partner right now.
*He can't keep thinking he can cure me,* Scully thought to
herself. *I don't want him to believe he'll be my knight in shining
armor, because when he fails, and he will fail, he will fall apart, and I
don't need that on my conscience. Damn you, Mulder! Damn you for making
this about you; it's me who has the God damned cancer!! Not you!!*
Scully swung her legs off the bed, got up, and went into the
bathroom. She closed the door, and promptly threw up the very sensible
turkey sandwich and salad from last night's dinner.

When Scully reappeared from the bathroom she found Mulder sitting
in the rocking chair that faced the large bay window. He sat quietly,
rocking back and forth, seemingly using the rhythm as a means of
comforting himself. When he heard the bathroom door open, he slowly
turned toward Scully's direction and looked at her. Before she could say
anything he looked back toward the window, and simply said, "I'm sorry. I
won't let that happen again."
Scully looked at her partner and wondered aloud, "And how do you
propose to keep that promise. You have nightmares, Mulder. That's a
"Yeah, but now they're about you, and you can't handle that," he
*How does he do that? How does he always know what I'm thinking?*
she wondered. "Mulder," she whispered, "neither of us can handle it."
"I know, but you shouldn't have to be a witness to it. I'll see
about getting another place to stay." He felt so old at this moment. He
felt so old and tired at always feeling the weight of the world on his
Scully eased over to the rocking chair. "Mulder, there's no place
for you to go. You know everything is booked up, so you don't have a
choice. You have to stay here.... And Mulder...?" She gently placed her hand
on his chin and turned his face toward hers. "I want you to stay.... I need
you to stay." And with that he took her hand and kissed her palm ever so
"Are you sure?" he asked.
"I'm sure. You're my partner; you're my best friend." The alarm
started ringing. Maurice Minnifield would be there to pick them up in
ninety minutes.

It was such a beautiful morning, Scully and Mulder had their
morning coffee and croissant on the front porch. They sat comfortably in
their jackets, jeans, and hiking boots, looking very little like the FBI
agents that had arrived yesterday.
They were just finishing the last bite when Maurice showed up in
his classic cadilac. Maurice pointed to the front seat, and seeing there
was ample room for the three of them, Scully climbed into the middle spot,
and Mulder took the passenger's window seat. Blasting from the newly
installed cd player was the overture of the Broadway musical, 1776.
Maurice began to explain, "One of my favorite musicals. Very
patriotic! I remember in my younger days when I was an astronaut, people
weren't afraid to show their patriotism. Young people today don't know
the meaning of the word!"
"Really?" Scully reacted with a slight smirk.
"Holy shit! You're that Maurice Minnifield? You're Maurice
Minnifield, the astronaut?!" cried out Mulder. Scully looked at Mulder
"You're serious?" she said, looking at Mulder. "You're serious?!"
she said, looking at Maurice.
"Of course I'm serious! Did you think I would send information
into The Informer without good reason!? I have experience in this field
for crying out loud!!"
Scully looked at Minnifield with new eyes. Perhaps this wasn't
just another, run of the mill, cracker jack, lunatic with a lot of time
and money on his hands who was out to get his fifteen minutes of fame. If
he was an astronaut, then he must have had his share of the spotlight
Scully then looked at Mulder and let out a small giggle. Mulder
didn't even notice; he was in such a state of hero worship, he wouldn't
have noticed an E.B.E. if it walked up and smacked him on the nose!
Mulder had told Scully that, as a boy, he had been so enthralled with the
space program, at one time he had even expressed a desire to try out for
the program, but the FBI beat them to it. She reached into her pocket and
fingered the commemorative Apollo key chain Mulder had given to her as a
birthday present. It really was a special gift...
"Here we are darlin's! This is the spot. Let's grab the
equipment I stowed in the trunk and then we can go investigate. Then I
dare you to come out and tell me something strange isn't going on."
Maurice said. The agents got out of the cadilac, and Maurice opened the
trunk. Inside was a myriad of items that one might need for an
archeological dig.
"You were an Eagle Scout, weren't you Maurice?" asked Scully.
"Always be prepared, my dear, always be prepared." The trio
grabbed the various backpacks, flashlights, ropes, shovels, water bottles,
and other assorted materials. They piled the equipment nearby the actual
site and then began to look around the area.

end of part 2/5

Part 3/5

Back in town, Ed Chigliak entered Dr. Fleischman's office. He
looked at the stout woman with the long, straight, black hair and rich
skin tone indicative of her Native American heritage. "Hey Marilyn," he
"Hey Ed." She remained silent, waiting for Ed to state his
"Uhh Marilyn? I have a question for you.." he began. Marilyn
continued to sit mute. "I, uhhh, I don't think your mistake is working,"
he said.
As if what Ed said made all the most sense in the world, Marilyn
responded, "It will work, when it needs to work." As if a psychic force
took over, the two conversed in a manner that befitted their friendship
and shared heritage.
"But Marilyn, I saw Dr. Fleischman take Dr. Scully home last
night, cause I think she got mad at Agent Mulder, and Agent Mulder stayed
with Maggie at The Brick, and she was calling him 'Fox' all night long,
and I don't even think he likes being called 'Fox,' but he never said a
word to her... never," concluded Ed breathlessly.
"They each have to take their own garden path," Marilyn stated.
"Oh," responded Ed, trying to understand Marilyn's cryptic
message, but then, "Marilyn, What garden path?"
"It is like the story of the gardens. You know it?" Ed shook his
head, but his face showed eagerness, as a child's might when presented
with the possibility of being told a new story. Marilyn pursed her lips
together in a small smile.
She began to speak in a manner that was so unique to Marilyn
Whirlwind. She spoke softly in a clipped, sparse, manner. Though her
voice was almost monotone, there was a hypnotic rhythm to it that drew the
listener into whatever story Marilyn had to tell.
"There were once two men who each had a simple home and beautiful
garden to enjoy. The first man lived an orderly life, with everything he
needed in its own nook. The second man lived a more complex life, with
everything he needed scattered about. Each man looked upon his life as
though it were right, and so it was.
The two men each had a beautiful garden. The first man's garden
was a field of simple, but beautiful wildflowers, placed in swirls of
color by nature. The needs of the garden were simple; an occasional
weeding or thinning of some flowers where they grew too dense and
threatened to strangle one another, and an admiring word, every now and
then, to praise the great one for this gift.
The second man's garden was a melange of colors and textures that
painted the small landscape with wonder. The needs of this garden were
complex; constant attention was paid to watering, and weeding, and
feeding, and pruning, and daily, tender greetings of his blossoming
companions. Each man looked upon his garden as though it were right, and
so it was.
One day the two men met on the path and came to talk of their
gardens. Each expressed a desire to see the other's garden, and they did.
The first man remarked upon the delicate beauty of the exotic flowers
that made up his new friend's garden, and wondered aloud how good one
must feel to have the responsibility of tending to such exquisite, yet
fragile flowers.
The second man, upon seeing the wildflower garden, remarked upon
the hearty grandeur of nature's work before him, and wondered aloud how
good one must feel to have so little of a burden to carry in order to
enjoy the splendor of nature's offering. Each man looked upon the other
man's garden and thought it was right, and perhaps it was.
The two men agreed to trade their homes for a week, so they might
get a chance to enjoy the other's garden. Some days passed when the first
man realized he had undertaken too much. He was accustomed to a garden
that was independent in needs and required only occasional attention. The
garden before him required more than he could give, and the flowers began
to wilt with sadness.
The second man felt he should do more. So, though the
wildflowers didn't need his extra attention, the second man began to
weed and prune, creating so many bare spots that this garden, too, began
to wilt with sadness.
The two men met again on the garden path. Each one looked at
one another and nodded. Each man knew what was right, and so it was."

Marilyn looked thoughtfully at Ed when she had finished. Ed
returned Marilyn's gaze, and grinned. "Garden path."
"Garden path," echoed Marilyn with a wry smile.
Joel Fleischman appeared from the clinic's back office. "Marilyn,
do you know where Maurice's chart is? And where the hell is he? He was
supposed to be here for his pressure check! Oh, hi Ed." Ed nodded to Dr.
"In the file cabinet. He canceled," Marilyn said succinctly.
"What do you mean he canceled? Damn, that man is infuriating
sometimes!! Doesn't he know how important it is for his health to keep
his high blood pressure in check? What the hell could he have to do
that's more important than his health?" Fleischman ranted.
"Checking the moose mutilations with the FBI agents," declared Ed.
Fleischman looked up, a little startled. "Oh, right... the moose
mutilations... "Well, maybe, since I have the time slot open, I'll just
take a ride over there and see what Dr. Scully and ....Agent Mulder
have found. When's my next appointment, Marilyn?"
"1:00,"she said. Joel Fleischman nodded, grabbed his coat and
headed out the clinic's door.
"You really think he knows which path leads to his garden?" Ed
"He needs to discover this himself... they all do," she replied.

At the moment Fleischman pulled up to the moose site, so did
Maggie O'Connell. "Hey Fleischman. I'm a little surprised to see you
here, seeing as how you think it's all a bunch of bullshit."
"Hello O'Connell, and yes, I do think the whole story stinks of
dreck, but I can be as inquisitive as the next person, okay? I was
curious to hear Da-..., Dr. Scully's take on the whole situation."
Fleischman's hesitation in using Dana Scully's first name did not escape
Maggie O'Connell.
"Oh... well, I was curious to hear Fox's opinions as well."
O'Connell's emphasis on using Mulder's first name did not escape
Fleischman. As was often the basis of their rather unusual relationship,
(having once described themselves as "mutually attracted non-compatibles")
conflict was in the air between Fleischman and O'Connell.... again.

Mulder and Scully looked up to see Maggie and Joel approaching
them. Maurice was overseeing the area like a general leading his troops.
"Mulder, come over and get a look at this. Agent Scully, you
need to see this too..." he ordered.
Mulder followed Maurice's lead, not because he believed there was
anything of great import to see, but out of deference and respect for the
former astronaut's role in history. Scully followed Mulder, simply
because she got a kick out of seeing Mulder willingly kowtow to someone
for a change! The two Cicely residents joined the trio to observe a
narrow, but passable, opening in the side of the mountain that made up the
walls to the valley where the butchered moose were found.
"What's in there?" asked Maggie.
"Be damned if I know! But there's a trail of dried blood that
leads from the site where the moose were found right in that little
opening!" exclaimed Maurice. "We'd better go on in there and find out
what it's all about!" he said excitedly.
"Not with your propensity for high blood pressure, you're not!"
shouted Dr. Fleischman. Maurice shot him a glare that could have wounded
anyone else on sight, but Fleischman would not budge. "You missed your
appointment this morning, Maurice. I cannot in good conscience, as your
physician, allow you to enter that cave," Fleischman pontificated.
Just as Maurice was about to make an argument, Scully chimed in
with her agreement, letting him know that it could exasperate any medical
problems he might have. Maurice just stood there, looking as though he
would like to fight, but then thought better of it.
"Common Mulder, let's go," Scully said.
"Hold on partner," Mulder asserted, "you're not going anywhere."
"Mulder?" Scully looked at him totally perplexed.
"Don't 'Mulder' me, Scully. You just confirmed Dr. Fleischman's
recommendations regarding Maurice's intentions of entering that cave-
well, for reasons we do not have to go into right now, I suggest you
follow your own medical advice." Mulder looked at her with such
intensity; he was attempting to will her into complacency.
Scully returned his gaze, unsure as to whether she should feel
mortified that he would even think to bring up the cancer issue now, in
front of all these people (albeit they hadn't a clue as to what the actual
problem was.) or thankful for the fact that he always seemed to be
thinking of her well-being, even when she chose to ignore it.
"Okay, but you can't go in alone," Scully acquiesced. Mulder let
out his breath, which he hadn't even realized he was holding.
"I'll go!" Maggie O'Connell volunteered, a little too
enthusiastically for Scully's taste.
"Ummm, I think Dr. Fleischman might be a better choice," Scully
said. Maggie, Mulder, Maurice, and Fleischman each had what amounted to a
giant question mark on their faces. "I have a good reason," she said.
Maurice, with just a slight smirk on his face asked, "And what
might that reason be, Little Lady?" Scully threw a dagger's look at
Maurice that told him the next time he called her "Little Lady" she would
shoot first and ask questions later. She turned to address her partner.
"Mulder, if you don't think it's in our best interest for me to
investigate the cavern with you, then I will not argue the point. But I
do believe it's in the best interest of this case for you to be
accompanied by someone who has a solid background and knowledge of
science and shares a similar viewpoint with me on the plausibility of this
I think it's important for you to have someone to bounce your
theories off of, and then be able to give some balance to those theories.
Maggie has already indicated a predilection for believing Maurice's
position, while Joel has indicated a belief I share, that there is a
rational, scientific, reason for the moose to have been dissected."
As much as Mulder wanted to disagree with his partner, he couldn't
argue with her logic. That was one of the many qualities that he loved
about this woman, her ability to persuade him with unflinching logic.
*How does she do that???* he wondered with a smile on his face.
"Okay, Scully. You win, but that's only if the good doctor agrees
to join me on this little adventure. Fleischman, are you game?"
He wasn't sure. He really was still a city boy at heart. The
closest thing he had come to 'playing nature boy' when he lived in Queens
was going to the Bronx and visiting the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
He couldn't stand the stench of the zoo, and he sneezed incessantly in
the gardens. But, then again, he wasn't too sure he liked the idea of
Maggie O'Connell accompanying Fox Mulder into a deep, dark, cave. No, he
didn't like that idea at all.
"Sure, I'm game," he said. Maggie looked at him in surprise.
"Fleischman, are you sure? I mean exploring unknown entities in
deep, cavernous, black, holes is usually not your idea of fun." Maggie
studied him, trying to get a fix on why he was willing to subject himself
to something that he would normally shy away from without question.
"Yeah, O'Connell, I'm sure. Look, this whole situation has had a
lot of the folks in town skittish, so I figure if there's a way for me to
help put people's fears to rest, then I'll help out. Besides, I got an
FBI agent with me, and he has a gun." Turning to Mulder, Fleischman
deadpanned, "You do have a gun, Mulder, don't you?"
"My mommy even lets me play with it every now and then," Mulder
replied playfully.
"Goody for us," Fleischman muttered. Before he could change his
mind, Mulder gathered some equipment in a backpack and headed into the
dark hole's opening. Fleischman followed suit and holding a flashlight
in front of him, followed Mulder into the darkness.

The two men walked down the long, dark tunnel. They were
venturing downward, closer to the earth's core. Mulder, the taller of the
two, needed to occasionally hunch his six foot frame over, all the while
keeping a steady, clenched hand on the flashlight that shone the way.
Fleischman, some two to three inches shorter than his companion, followed
closely, also holding a flashlight to guide his way. Mulder stopped, and
the lack of warning caused Fleischman to literally walk right into him!
"Whoa!" Fleischman cried. "Doncha think you ought to give a guy
some warning if you're gonna stop?"
"Sorry, I didn't realize I was going to stop."
"What's the problem?" Fleischman asked curiously, with just a hint
of worry.
"Which way?" Mulder said, holding his flashlight up to show there
were three, no, four, possible exits to other tunnels...
"How about we let the evidence dictate it, G-man?" responded
Fleischman. He pointed his flashlight on the ground and shone it on a
trail of what appeared to be dried blood that led to the second entrance
toward the right side of the cavern.
"Not bad, Doc, not bad...." Mulder mused. "Okay, let's follow the
red-stained road."
They continued on and saw another rather long, blackened tunnel before
them. As they were walking, they felt a fairly strong tremor below their
feet. Mulder looked back and asked, "What did you make of that, Dr.
"I would guess..," Joel began hesitantly, knowing he had little
hard knowledge of the earth sciences, "I should think since we're well
below ground level, any shifting of the earth's plates would be readily
"Well, Fleischman, you're no Dr. Scully, but in a pinch you'll
do. That's about the way I figured it too. At least it sounds feasible,
especially when neither one of us hasn't a real clue as to what the hell
it is!!"
Mulder smiled broadly at this and managed to put Joel Fleischman
much more at ease. "Common, let's see where this trail leads to."
Fleischman continued playing follow the leader, when Mulder said, "It
looks like we have an another entryway. See how the light broadens over
there?" They continued walking when they came upon what could best be
described as an open doorway.

This entrance was unlike the first one they had taken. That
access point seemed to have been created by nature; the sides of the
entrance was rough and irregularly shaped. This one, however, was smooth,
and shaped into a definite rectangular shape. It was a low, narrow,
opening, so the two men went through one at a time into the darkened room.
Mulder reached into his supply backpack and pulled out a small lantern.
"How Maurice knew this would come in handy, I'll be damned if I know,"
Mulder stated.
"If you end up staying in Cicely for any length of time, Mulder,
you find the people of Cicely are notorious for doing things like that....
I have been back and forth from Cicely, and I still don't know what it is
about these people; this place."
Mulder lit the lamp and held it up so they might get a better
view of the area.
"Holy shit!" gasped Fleischman. "Toto, it doesn't look like we're
in Kansas anymore"
"Hang in there with me Dr. Scientist. You're supposed to be the
cool, rational one and keep me in line, remember?" Mulder replied. "But
you're right; holy shit!" The two men looked up and down and all around
the room. There were shelves carved out of the rocky walls with different
types of earthen containers in multitudes of colors.
Some of the stone receptacles held the dissected moose organs,
while others held multi-colored, small, smooth stones. There were still
others that contained what could only be described as small artifacts,
reminiscent of some kind of ancient civilization.
"Mulder, this is incredible!" Fleischman started scurrying around
like a small boy in the dinosaur section of the Museum of Natural History.
"Look at all of these things! My God, I wonder what Indian tribe these
belonged to?"
"Indian tribe?" Mulder repeated.
"Well, of course. Who else do you think could be responsible for
all of this? It must have been a very ordered society- kind of like the
ancient Incas. I wish Marilyn were here; she could probably tell us all
about this!
"Marilyn?" Mulder repeated.
"My receptionist. Marilyn Whirlwind. Damned near strangest
person you could ever mee; actually she's a lousy receptionist, but for
some reason I can't fire her. I actually did once, a long time ago.
Biggest mistake I ever made, well second biggest."
"What was the biggest?"
"Leaving Cicely. Returning to New York. I thought I was
returning to something I always wanted, even needed. I didn't last a
year. It wasn't the same anymore. I had to return here, to my home,"
Fleischman said thoughtfully.
Some minutes later, Mulder called, "Fleischman, look over here."
Mulder had started investigating the four walls, thumping them as he
walked. "Listen. Tell me this doesn't sound hollow." Mulder tapped
again, and sure enough, it did have a different sound from the other
thumps. Fleischman joined him in search, and came upon a stone in the
wall that seemed loose.
"Mulder, check this out," he said as he pushed the stone gently
back and forth. Mulder walked over and asked him if he could pull the
stone all the way out. Fleischman started to pull, when a portion of the
wall began to shift. Both men seemed to yell, "Shit!" simultaneously as
they jumped back.
A short, narrow doorway miraculously appeared before them. Fleischman
looked at Mulder, and graciously said, "After you, G-man." Mulder hunched
over to crawl through the opening. Fleischman too, had to stoop as low as
he could, in order to get through the doorway.
Mulder held up the lantern. Both men were awestruck by the sights
before them. They also saw in here many built-in shelves along the walls,
holding containers and pottery of varying sizes and shapes. But what
really stood out was the two stone tables in the center of the room. On
each table appeared to be a mummy; bodies covered in white shrouds.
"We're in some kind of ancient Indian tomb," murmured Fleischman. Mulder
walked over to the bodies to investigate more closely, while Fleischman
walked over to inspect the walls. "Then again, maybe we're not," he
gasped. "Mulder, I think you might want to get a look at this."
Mulder walked over to where Fleischman was standing. He held up
the lantern to get a clearer view. "Well, I'll be damned," he started.
"Nothing personal, Fleischman, but I really wish Scully was here right now
to see this. She won't believe me without seeing it..." Etched into the
wall in front of them, Mulder and Fleischman saw carvings of what
appeared to be life forms, not of this world.
"They look like little green men...." Fleischman reflected.
"Gray," Mulder corrected. Fleischman looked at him questioningly.
"They're not green, they're gray."
"Really? And you have first hand knowledge of this Agent Mulder?"
"As a matter of fact, I do..." Mulder replied softly. "But right
now we have to figure out how we're going to get these things out of
"Out of here?" Fleischman echoed.
"We've got to gather this up to study it. We've got to figure
out if these two bodies are human or alien. We've got so many pieces of a
puzzle here that just might lead us to the truth!" Mulder was pacing as he
enumerated all of the reasons they needed to disturb this resting place.
"Come on, Fleischman, you're a man of science!! Think of the historical
significance of this find!!"
Fleischman remembered another time, a couple of years back, when
he had found a woolly mammoth, frozen in Alaska's glaciers of long ago,
but then emerging under a Spring sky. He was so thrilled at the thought
of being a part of a team that would unearth more knowledge of earth's
ancient history. He invited an archaeologist and other experts to come
extract it from its icy tomb and study it with him.
The only problem was, when they arrived, they came to find the
beast gone. One of Cicely's seniors, Walt Kupfer, a former Wall Street
Investor, and now full-time trapper, found the body and proceeded to make
mammoth steaks out of it.
Fleischman remembered feeling devastated at first, but then he saw
it from Walt's point of view. That sucker would make enough meals to last
an entire winter! It was a natural thing to do.
So as he looked at Mulder's face, he could appreciate the agent's
excitement. He really could; he just didn't think it justified
desecrating a burial tomb. How was he, the supposedly scientific,
rational one, supposed to explain that to Agent Mulder?
As Fleischman was ready to offer his opinion, he felt his body
start to pitch. Mulder looked at him with some of the excitement now
leaving his face and a look of surprise taking over. The next thing they
both knew, dust and stones and rocks were flying everywhere. The two men
tried to reach out to one another, but they were thrown to opposite sides
of the room by the heavy force of the underground quake.

Above ground, Maggie, Maurice, and Scully felt the earth begin to
tremble below their feet. The startled looks that appeared on each of
their faces did not belie the realization that they needed to get to the
two underground explorers fast! Scully started to run over to the
cavern's entrance only to be pushed back by the cascading rocks that
covered the opening.
"NO!!" Scully screamed. "Damn it!! Damn it!!"
Maggie and Maurice came to stand by her side; all of them staring
at the now blocked entrance and wondering how the hell they were going to
get to Mulder and Fleischman.

Below ground, the dust and rocks continued to swirl around the
burial tomb, albeit without the same speed and power as when the tremor
first began.
Fleischman was the first to stir back to consciousness. He rolled
slowly onto his back and carefully flexed each of his extremities.
*Nothing seems to be broken,* he confirmed to his relief. Next,
he began to sit up, but that proved to be a bit too taxing as he felt the
room begin to swim. He reached up to touch the swelling on the rear of
his head. *No wonder I feel dizzy; damn bump is the size of an apple.*
He slowly tried to get up to a sitting position, and this time he
He looked around the room and was surprised to observe he was
actually able to see inside the room. There was sunlight shining in from
above. He could see there was now a gap of about a foot to a foot and a
half in diameter in the tomb's ceiling, and it allowed Fleischman to see,
for now at least, without the lantern. The lantern, which Mulder was
holding.. Mulder. *Where the hell is Mulder?*
"Mulder?" he rasped. His throat felt like it was coated with rock
dust. "Mulder? You okay?" he called.
Mulder heard his name, and was about to respond when he found
himself instead responding to the very intense pain in his leg. He
reached down to try to rub the pain away, but found he couldn't reach his
leg. One of the stone tables apparently collapsed on top of his right hip
and leg. He grunted aloud in response to the pain. Fleischman heard him
and slowly crawled over to where he had heard the sound. "Mulder, can you
hear me?"
"Mmmph-aughhh... hurts- leg....hurts," Mulder moaned.
Fleischman looked at his companion and then at the table that was
preventing him from moving. He looked from the table to around the room.
He needed to get it off of him, so he could assess the damage to the leg.

He knew he wouldn't be able to lift the table off by himself, but
if his fourth grade teacher's science demonstration of simple machines
worked as well as he remembered, then he shouldn't need much more
than--there!! It was a long, thick piece of stone; it was heavy, but he
could lift it and it seemed to be sturdy enough to take the pressure
needed to use it as a lever to lift the table.
"Mulder, listen to me... I'm gonna try to pick up the table. I
probably won't be able to lift it really high, but hopefully enough so
you'll be able to free your leg. Mulder, you've got to be ready to move
the leg, even if it hurts like hell, and it's gonna hurt like hell. Do
you understand me? Mulder, understand?"
Fleischman was trying hard to get the agent's attention. He could
see Mulder was in pain and possibly in the early stages of shock as well.
He finally placed his hands on Mulder's face and turned his head so that
they were looking directly at one another. "Mulder, I'm not exactly in
Olympic condition here; I'm gonna need you to move your leg as soon as I
lift the table. You understand??"
"Yeah," Mulder croaked, "I understand. As long as you promise to
shoot me and put me out of misery when I pull it out.." Fleischman smiled
gently at this, because he realized that Mulder was probably only half
joking. He stood up and positioned the long piece of stone by wedging
it just under the table.
"Okay Mulder, get ready. On my count of three, ready?"
Fleischman waited a moment or two for Mulder to acknowledge him; he knew
it was going to hurt a lot to move his leg and he figured Mulder would
want to psych himself up for it.
"Okay, Mulder, here we go- one-..two-..three--LIFT!" Fleischman
was exerting so much energy in pushing down the lever that his head
started to pound again. He watched Mulder, in his own agonizing pain, try
to move his leg from under the table.
"Common Mulder! Move it, NOW!"
Mulder pulled his leg with one final, last ditch, effort, and then he
screamed as loud as anyone Fleischman had ever heard scream before.
Fleischman was finally able to drop the stone lever and then he dropped to
the floor to catch his breath and wait for the throbbing in his head to
quiet down.
Fleischman looked over at Mulder and realized he had finally
quieted down. *Must have passed out from the pain,* he thought.
Fleischman slowly moved over to him so he could check him over. When he
got there, he was able to see his face very clearly in the newly acquired
sunlight; he was crying silent tears. *How does he do that? How can he
cry without anyone hearing him?* he wondered.
"Mulder, I want to check you over. Do you understand me? I need
to assess your physical condition." Dr. Fleischman said in his most
professional voice.
"Yes, I understand," Mulder replied meekly, almost childlike.
Fleischman realized this was not going to be a cake walk for
either of them. Joel's head was still pounding, but he realized the man
lying before him could be very seriously injured, and without medical
supplies there wouldn't be a helluva lot he could do for him. *Okay
Fleischman, don't jump the gun. Check him out first and then think the
worse!!* he chided himself.
"Okay Mulder, here we go. I'm going to check your head first,
then your upper extremities, next your chest, and then last, your legs."
Fleischman figured his leg was in the worse shape, so he would
build up to it gradually. As he began his check-up, he noticed Mulder
staring vacantly into space. The agent wasn't focusing on anything in
particular, and Fleischman at first thought he was losing consciousness.
But then he realized that it was as if Mulder was putting himself
into some kind of a trance to save himself from the physical pain.

End of Part 3/5

Part 4/

Mulder could see the room so clearly, he just couldn't make out
the faces of the people in the room. He could smell the food frying. It
had such a distinctive aroma, and one that he never smelled in his own
home. He saw the light of the candles.. it must have been someone's
birthday. There were only a few lights; it was probably Sam's birthday.
*Happy- Happy-. Sam?* "Sam?"

"Who the hell is Sam?" asked Joel. "Mulder, I'm finished. Look at
me. I'm all finished." Mulder's eyes rolled to the back of head for a
moment or two, and then he looked back up at Fleischman.
"My leg hurts," he said.
"No doubt, it's pretty badly banged up. But the rest of you seems
to be in fairly decent condition," Fleischman diagnosed.
"The leg's bad though, isn't it?" Mulder asked rhetorically.
Fleischman merely nodded his affirmation. He didn't see the need to dwell
on it, as there wasn't much he could do to ease Mulder's pain anyway.
"What about you?" Mulder asked. Fleischman looked unsure.
"Hurt?" Mulder clarified.
"A little bump on the head, that's all," he replied.
"Concussion," Mulder stated.
"Probably a light one. I'll be okay," Fleischman commented.
The two men were quiet for a while, and then Mulder asked, "So
what's a nice Jewish boy like you doing in a place like this?"
Joel laughed, "I've asked myself that more than a few times
myself. I was assigned here as a means of paying back my med school
scholarship that the lovely state of Alaska provided me in order to
complete Columbia Medical School. Unfortunately Nadine and Herb
Fleischman spent all of their hard earned money on my bar mitzvah and
orthodonture work. No money left for medical school. It wasn't supposed
to be Cicely; it was supposed to be Fairbanks... a real city, ya know?
Elaine and I were going to do fine,-"
"Elaine?" Mulder interrupted. "Who's Elaine?"
"My fiancee, or my former fiancee- let's just say she dumped me.
No need to go into the sordid details of her marrying a federal judge old
enough to be her great-grandfather." Fleischman said bitter sweetly.
"Actually, we ended up being friends after a time. The judge dropped dead
and Elaine wanted to try again, but we both realized the time had come and
passed. Of course that was only after we had the best damned sex of our
lives together!" he remembered fondly.
"You're lucky that you ended your relationship on a good note. I
wasn't so lucky," said Mulder.
"What was her name?" he asked.
"Phoebe- Dear, darling, verrrry English, Phoebe," Mulder said with
bitterness. "She turned out to be not a very nice person." Mulder
shifted himself in an attempt to move himself to a sitting position. He
gasped as the pain became overwhelming in his leg. "Guess that wasn't the
cleverest of ideas."
"Do you want me to try to help you sit up?" Joel asked.
"Yeah, I would. Thanks."
"Okay, brace yourself, Mulder," Fleischman said as he picked him
up from behind and pulled him back as close to the wall as possible.
Mulder grimaced a good deal in pain, but managed to keep it silent.
"Thanks, it's just easier to talk sitting up."
"No problem," Fleischman said. He didn't want to go back to the
Phoebe topic, as he was quite sure she was not someone Mulder wanted to
remember. So he asked him what he thought was the next logical question.
"So now, you know what I'm doing here.. but the same question
could be asked of you. What's a nice Jewish boy like you doing in the
"What do you mean?" Mulder asked with a stunned expression on his
"Common Mulder. Jewish boys become doctors, lawyers, occasionally
a famous baseball pitcher. But an FBI agent? What Jewish mother in their
right mind allows their son to become an FBI agent?" Fleischman chuckled.
"What makes you say I'm Jewish?" Mulder asked dumbfounded.
"What makes me say... Mulder, look at you! First, you
practically have it engraved in your G-d damned forehead: Nice Jewish Boy.
Second, you responded appropriately to every Yiddish expression I used at
dinner the other night, which by the way, the ever lovely, but definitely
not Jewish, Dr. Dana did not do. What makes you think I wouldn't have
assumed you were Jewish?" Fleischman chided.
"It's just that I'm not all Jewish." Mulder replied.
"Mother or father?" Joel asked.
"Mulder or father what?" Mulder was puzzled.
"Who's the Jewish relative? Your mother or father?" explained
"It's my mother's side. Her mother was Jewish, my grandmother...
She had married my grandfather who was a non-practicing Protestant. He
didn't care all that much for religion one way or the other, but my
grandmother still celebrated the Jewish holidays.
I remember, I remember going over there as a little kid to light the
Hanukkah candles and eat potato pancakes- latkes! There was latkes and
applesauce. And at the Passover seder, she'd make me a pound of fried
matzoh, just for me. Mom never did get the hang of it, but my
grandmother, my Nana was the best cook." Mulder remembered with fondness.

"So your immediate family didn't raise you as a Jew?" asked Joel.
"No. My father was Protestant, but didn't practice. He wasn't as
tolerant as my grandfather of Nana's beliefs, but he didn't put up too
much of a fuss about us going over there for holiday dinners as long as he
didn't have to go.
When grandpa died, I remember Nana sitting... shivah?" Fleischman
nodded in confirmation. "Yeah, I remember Dad arguing with my mother and
Nana about sitting shivah. He kept yelling 'He wasn't a God Damned Jew!
Why would you mourn him like a God Damned Jew!?'
Mom and Nana ended up having a short memorial service in a
Protestant church, but I remember Nana shouted back at Dad that she was
still going to sit shivah cause she was a G-d Damned Jew! If there was
one thing you could say about Nana, she was a feisty broad!" Fox chuckled
at this image of his grandmother.
"But Dad wasn't too happy with Mom going over there all week. I
guess he was annoyed cause he had to watch me and my sister on some of
those days.. Damn, the things that you can remember!"
Mulder looked up with the saddest smile Fleischman had ever seen.
A flash of pain crossed Mulder's face as he tried to shift his body.
Fleischman spoke quickly in an attempt to get Mulder's mind off of the
"I have a sister too," Fleischman said. "We don't get to see one
another very often, especially since I moved back to Cicely. Actually,
she was kind of pissed off that I left New York to move back here. I
guess she was upset about losing the free baby sitting Uncle Joel used to
provide." It was Fleischman's turn to look somewhat glum at this point.
"Call her, Joel," Mulder said softly, "promise me you'll call her
as soon as we get out of here." He looked so intense, yet so sincere while
making this request. Fleischman had to look away.
"Mulder, who's Sam?" quietly posed Fleischman.
"How do you know about Sam?" Mulder asked.
"You called out his name while I was examining you," he answer.
"Her." Fleischman looked puzzled. "Not a him, a her. Sam was my
sister.... Samantha," explained Mulder. Fleischman looked at him,
encouraging him to continue.
"We were kids; she was eight and I was twelve. Mom and Dad were
out for the evening at the neighbors. I was baby sitting for Sam. We
were playing Stratego and having our usual argument as to who was going to
take control of the TV. The Magician was coming on at nine o'clock; she
knew it was my favorite show." Fleischman smiled in recognition of the
name of the series. Mulder continued on.
"There was this bright light, and, suddenly, I heard her calling
me. 'Fox! Fox, save me!' I tried to get Dad's gun from the closet, but it
fell away from me. Then this bright light was at the door. That's when I
saw the little gray men. I looked up and watched Sam floating away toward
the window in a stream of light. I couldn't move; I was paralyzed. I
couldn't save her." Fleischman sat there, dumbfounded at the tale he just
heard. Somehow, though, he knew Fox Mulder was telling the truth as he
remembered it.
"Mulder, there's no way you can hold yourself responsible for
Sam's disappearance. You were a kid, for G-d's sake! You were just a
kid!" Fleischman said emphatically.
"Well.. Dad didn't quite agree with you. He let me know that he,
unquestioningly, thought I should have saved her. He liked to remind me
about that a lot." Mulder's mouth twisted into a grimace as he remembered
back to the altercations he and his father engaged in.
"It wasn't as though Dad had never hit me before. He used to get
real angry with me over just about everything. When I was real little I
remember spilling some milk on some of his papers. Damn, was he ever
pissed off with me!" Mulder laughed a joyless laugh.
"Mom was trying to clean up the mess; she kept telling me to go
wait in the car so we could go visit Nana, but Dad came in before she had
finished. He just exploded! He started screaming and yelling that I was
the biggest pain in the ass he'd ever encountered. He just started
hauling off and beating the shit out of me...
Mom kept crying for him to stop, to leave me alone, but it didn't
help. He just kept punching me in my stomach, my back. Funny, he never
touched my face. I guess he didn't want to give the neighbors any ideas.
He finally tired himself out I guess.
Mom was still crying as she picked me up. I remember thinking it
should hurt, but it didn't. I suppose I was in shock. She helped me into
the car and then she put Sam in her car carrier." Mulder recited the
events that were being dredged up from his memory in a monotone voice.
"Car carrier? Mulder, how old were you when this happened?"
Fleischman asked.
"Sam was still an infant. I must have been about four or five; no
four, because I hadn't started school yet. Nana died the year I started
Mom drove us to Nana. She probably should have taken me to the
hospital, but she never did. She was always afraid to do that, so she
drove us to Nana's. When we got there, she came over to give me a big
hug. I started gasping and moaning a little; I never did cry. I learned
real fast it didn't help if I cried." (*The silent tears,* Fleischman
"Nana let go of me and looked at my mother. Mom picked up Sam and
walked into the other room. Nana motioned me over to her, and she lifted
my tee shirt up. I heard Nana gasp when she saw the bruises. My entire
torso was black and blue. I saw tears start falling down her cheeks. She
kept saying something. 'Mein poor shayner boychikel, mein beautiful little
boy, oy, mein poor shayner boychikel.' Oh G-d, I crawled into her arms,
and it was the safest I'd ever felt.
Then she laid me on her sofa; it was a purple velvet and soft, so
soft, and it smelled like Nana. I heard her go into the other room and I
heard her start yelling at my mother. I didn't want Nana to yell at Mom;
but I was too tired to do anything about it. The next thing I heard was
Nana talking into the phone. She started screaming, 'If you ever, ever,
lay another hand on him, I will go to the police. You can be sure this G-d
Damned Jew means every word!!' and then she slammed the phone down hard.
Nana saved me for a year. While Nana was alive, he never laid a hand on
me. And then she died, and the beatings started again...Oh my God!"
Mulder had a revelation of sorts.
"What?" Fleischman asked. "What did you just remember?" he asked
gently. Joel was having a difficult time listening to this horrific tale,
but he was grateful that Mulder was able to open up to him and talk about
it. He suspected that this was a window of opportunity that came very
"I just realized where I went to get away from the pain; in my
head. When the beatings started again, I went to Nana's house, in my mind.
I could conjure up all of the smells that made up Nana's home- The cooking
aromas, the soaps in her bathroom, the hair spray, the furniture polish.
Nana's was the only place I ever felt safe as a child. She was the only
one who could help me forget the pain.
My G-d, Joel, it's been so long since I've consciously thought of
her....I miss her.." he choked out.
Fleischman moved next to him. He wrapped his arm around Mulder's
shoulders to give him physical and emotional support. Mulder turned his
face in toward Joel's body, and though he tried to hold the tears back, he
began to sob. While murmuring gentle offerings of comfort to the man he
cradled next to him, Fleischman could not help but wonder, how the hell
did Fox Mulder survive his childhood?

Scully went into FBI mode and began to take control. That was Fox
Mulder under all of that rock, and she was damned if the love her life was
not going to be rescued as soon as possible! "Who knows this area well?"
she demanded, her voice sounding perhaps a little harsher then she
"Holling was a tracker and a hunter for many years," Maurice
offered, "Perhaps he knows the area?"
"The owner of The Brick?" Scully asked, remembering the unusual
name Shelly mentioned as belonging to her husband. Maurice and Maggie
nodded in agreement.
"You know who would also be good to ask? Marilyn Whirlwind. She
knows every Native Alaskan in the area, and she might be able to find
someone who knows the area." Maggie suggested.
"Good. Here, call them." Scully handed over her cell phone to
Maggie and watched as she made the connections. Maurice, in the
meantime, decided he was going to do a little more surveying of the area.
When she finished her phone calls, Maggie told Scully Holling
would join them as soon as he got his jacket on, and Marilyn would make
some phone calls and then join them as well.
"Okay, it sounds like we have the beginning of a plan." Scully
tried to sound confident, but in the wake of not really being able to do
anything until reinforcements arrived, she began to feel overcome with
helplessness. Maggie looked at her with sympathy and a good deal of
"So, how long have you been in love with him?" Maggie asked
Too tired and fearful to even deny what was so obvious, Scully
retorted, "I could ask the same about you, couldn't I?" Maggie looked at
Scully ,smiled in acknowledgment of being snagged, and then encouraged her
to answer the question..
"I guess I fell in love with him on the day that I met him. I
mean, he looked up at me, so suspicious, so sure I was sent to hasten his
demise in the bureau! The ridiculous thing is, he was right! I was sent
to debunk all of his wild and crazy theories! The problem was, no one
counted on me falling in love with him, least of all me." Scully sighed
with resignation.
"Does he know?" asked Maggie.
"What do you think?" responded Scully.
"What the hell are you waiting for, Dana? You've got to tell
"He's my partner. Damn, he's my best friend, but he's my partner
in the FBI! You're can't go around falling in love with the agent that's
supposed to be covering your back!"
"But you did," Maggie replied gently. "You may not have intended
it to happen, but you fell in love with one another."
"What did you say? Maggie, I don't have a clue as to what Mulder
feels about me!"
"Then you, my friend, are as blind as he is!" Maggie practically
hooted! Dana looked puzzled. "Dana, you really don't see how in love he
is with you?" Dana just stared with her mouth agape. "For crying out
loud, Dr. Scully, you're an intelligent woman. Think, I practically threw
myself at that man."
"Yes, I noticed." Scully said somewhat tersely.
"But the point is, he didn't. He didn't give one good God damn
about me. It's you, Agent Scully, that he cares about. It's you, Dana,
that is in love with." Maggie said with a sigh, "You've got to let him
Scully looked at Maggie, just to make sure she was as serious
about this as she hoped she was. Dana could tell that Maggie really
believed Mulder was in love with her, Dana Katherine Scully. *Maybe it's
true. Maybe he's just as frightened as I am to admit it aloud.* she
thought. Then something occurred to Scully.
"So, Maggie O'Connell, why don't you practice what you preach?"
she asked.
"I'll admit it. I'm scared to tell him again." With that, Scully
looked confused. Maggie went on to explain, "We were actually engaged and
living together at one time."
Scully's head jerked up at that point. "You're kidding! What
"I, umm, kicked him out. For whatever reason, it wasn't working
out. I wanted something from him that he couldn't give me, and he offered
something that I wasn't ready to accept." Maggie looked down. "I wanted
someone to share all of the adventures and excitement that was still
inside of me, and all he could offer me was safety and stability."
"Sounds like it was a pretty good deal." Scully slowly allowed a
small smile form on her lips. "Maggie, you realize you just described my
relationship with Mulder? Only I'm the one begging for the safety and
offering the stability, while he's the one ready to fly to the moon!"
"Funny how neither one of us is willing to trade, isn't it?"
Maggie said.
"Ha - Ha." Scully replied with little enthusiasm.
Just then Maurice came back towards the car. "I see Holling
coming. It looks like he has Marilyn with him."
"Well it's about time!" Maggie said. All three of them ran to
meet Holling and Marilyn.

There was another rumble, though not enough to cause any real
damage, it did manage to stir out Fox Mulder out of the fitful sleep he
had fallen into the hour or so before. Fleischman held his breath and
tightly onto Mulder for a moment, anticipating the worse as usual, but
relieved to see the tremor end quickly. "Were you able to get any rest?"
Fleischman asked.
"Yeah, I guess so. My throat's really dry. Any more water in the
"Hang on, I'll check." Fleischman extricated himself from under
Mulder and went over to the supply bag. "Bingo!" he shouted.
"You found some water?"
"Yep, and I found this!" Fleischman brandished Mulder's cell phone
before him! "So, am I correct in assuming that Dana is # 1 on the speed
dial?" Mulder nodded yes, and Fleischman's fingers pushed the buttons.
"It's probably blocked all the mountains.." Mulder said.
"Have faith, Mulder, 'cause it's actually ringing!" he replied.
He heard the click of the phone on the other end.
"Mulder, is that you?"
"Umm, sorry Dana, it's Joel. But Mulder's right here."
"Is he all right? Oh, I'm sorry, Joel. Are you all right? We
felt that quake. It must have been awful down below ground. " she asked.

"Well, we both got banged up a bit, but right now we would really
love to see someone get us the hell out of here. It's not exactly stable...
there was another tremor about ten minutes ago. Did you feel it?"
"No, not ten minutes ago. It must be the fact that you're below
ground level that you would feel the movement of the earth more easily
than we above ground," Scully said.
"Hey, that's just what I told Mulder when he asked me about it.
We people of science have to stick together, right Dana?" Fleischman
actually found himself chuckling, he was so relieved to be speaking with
someone above the ground. "So when do you think you're gonna get us out
of here?"
"As soon as we figure out exactly where you are. Ummm, do you
think you can give us an idea of where that might be?" Scully asked.
"Hold on. Mulder, Mulder, Dana's on the phone. She wants us to
try to figure out where we are so they can rescue us. Okay. Dana, hold
on, Mulder wants to talk to you." Fleischman handed the phone over to
"Hi Scully, it's me." She was so relieved to hear his voice,
though she could tell it was strained. "Listen, we're not exactly sure
where we are-"
"Mulder, you always did have a lousy sense of direction!" Scully
teased. She wanted to see him and touch him and hold him so badly..
"Thanks Scully, for the usual vote of confidence," he smiled as he said
it because he knew she was right. "We walked a few hundred yards straight
and then hung a right for another couple of hundred yards, and then we
came to this incredible room with the most incredible stuff in it which
led an even more incredible room with two. Scully, you have to see this
place to believe--- Oh, SHIT!!"
"Mulder!! Mulder, what's wrong?" She screamed into the phone,
now disconnected. Maggie came over and touched her shoulder. Both women
felt the ground begin to shake below them. Scully told her the guys had
experienced a tremor about fifteen minutes ago and this must be another
aftershock. Maggie took the phone from her.
"Go ahead and dare to tell me he's not # 1 on the speed dial,"
Maggie said smugly.
"Wouldn't dare," Scully replied.
"It's possible the phone was knocked out Fox's hand. If I call
them, they'll be able to use the ring to locate it." Maggie said
confidently. Maggie listened for a ring, and when she heard it she
smiled. *Now all they have to do is answer,* Maggie thought. On the
fourteenth ring, Joel answered the phone.
"Hi Dan', it-s me, Jo-el."
"It's me, Fleischman. We felt that one a little up here. Are you
okay?" O'Connell asked, not liking the way he sounded.
"Yeah, it was a lit-tle stron-ger than the last one."
"You don't sound so good, Fleischman. Are you okay?" The more
Joel spoke, the more concerned Maggie felt. His speech sounded tentative
and halting. She looked at Dana and motioned her to listen too. "Joel,
talk to me. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm 'kay, O-'Con-nell, just a lit-tle woozy from the
con-cush-shun. I hit my head again this time. At least the sky is big-ger.
God, my head is pound-ing."
"Joel," Dana spoke up this time, "Joel, whatever you do, do NOT go
to sleep. Do you understand, you need to keep yourself awake. Tell
Mulder to keep you awake!" Scully was emphatic, but had no way of knowing
if her words and their significance were sinking into the rather foggy
mind of Joel Fleischman.
"Mul-derrr?. You guys, Mul-derrrr is in lot of pain. We got-ta get
him out-ta here. Dana, he's hurt. We got-ta get him out-ta here"
"Okay, we're going to get you out of there. Turn the phone off
now so you can save the batteries, okay. I'll call you later, but DON'T
go to sleep!! Help Mulder. Do you hear me? Help Mulder!" commanded Dana
Scully. "I'll call you in a little while. Close the phone, Joel." When
she heard the click of the other phone, she shut hers down as well.
"Dana, he could hardly speak. What do you expect him to do?"
Maggie asked in astonishment.
"Absolutely nothing at this point," was the unexpected reply.
"I'm just hoping his Hippocratic Oath 'gear' kicks into overdrive, and
will make him stay awake to watch over Mulder. Joel probably got knocked
out again by the last tremor, and worsened his condition. I don't know
what Mulder's condition is at this point, though it doesn't sound too
good. So, right now, we've got to see about getting them out of there."

As she looked around at her rescue crew, Scully realized something was
gnawing at her. *What is it?* she thought to herself. *There's something
I'm missing here, something I'm sure that could help. What is it?*

Joel clicked the power button to shut the cell phone off. He
would have preferred to keep the line open in order to hear their voices
as a means to reassure him, but it made more sense to conserve the
battery. "'kay," Joel said aloud more to himself than to Mulder, "Dana
said I haf to stay a-wake oh boy, I'm in tru-ble, Mul-der ol' fr-end'cause
all I wan-na do is go to sleep." As if on cue, Mulder groaned out loud.
"Oh man, my leg is really pulsing here." Mulder felt pain in other
parts of his body, but the crushed leg just lay there misshapen and
seemingly useless. And it hurt like hell. Joel walked over slowly and
bent down to examine Mulder's leg. What Joel could do for him at this
point, Mulder didn't know. However, he did have enough concussions in his
life to realize that he needed to engage Fleischman in conversation to
keep him from falling asleep and into a coma.
"So, what is the deal with you and Maggie? Are you two a couple, or
what?" he asked, between clenched teeth, in an attempt to engage
Fleischman in a meaningful exchange. Joel sat down next to Mulder.
He spoke slowly in the hope that his speech would be clearer. "We
were a cou-ple, before," he began. "We were gon-na get mar-ried, but then
she kicked me out. That's when I went to live down ri-ver and got to know
what an ass-hole I'd been my whole life. Next thing I did was go on this
quest for the truth with O'Connell, and I end up think-ing the truth is
back to New Yor-k. But it wasn't. I came back here. But I guess it was
too damned risk-y for me to come back.
"Why do you say that, Fleischman?"
In a conspiratorial tone, Fleischman whispered, " Cause Maggie an'
boyfriends don' exactly stay to-geth-er for too longgg." Fleischman
started to giggle. "Mulder, take a guess how many boyfriends die-d on
"Died on her?" Mulder repeated. "You mean literally died on her?"
"Well, not on her, Mul-der but, when she was date-ing them."
"I don't know, two? Three? How many, Fleischman?"
"Six. Six guys die-d on her and not one die-d the s-ame as the
oth-er." Fleischman started giggling again. His head still hurt, but he
was getting a kick out of telling Mulder about Maggie O'Connell's romantic
trials and tribulations.
"Okay, I'll bite. How did they die?" Mulder asked, somewhat
amused but more grateful that Fleischman was able to keep awake.
"Well there was Harry. He died from spoil-ed potato sa-lad at
some pic-nic. Then there was Bruce. Ter-ri-ble , awf-ul, fish-ing
ac-ci-dent. Who else? Oh yeah. Glenn end-ed up on a mis-sile test site in
his yup-pie, pup-py, Vol-vo. It
did-n't meet mis-sile test stand-ards." Joel chuckled at his attempt of a
"Oh, then there's Dave, who got real slee-py and fro-zzzz to death on a
gla-cier. Steve got str-uck by light-ning while work-ing an oil rig, but
the bes-t was Rick. Good ol' Rick got hit by a s-.s- a SSSat-el-lite! It
jush fell from the sky and spear-ed poor ol' Rick like a tuna. Poor, poor
Rick." Joel concluded.
"Shit, Fleischman, are you kidding me?" Fleischman shook his head
earnestly. "With that track record, why the hell did you ever bother to
come back here?" Mulder asked.
"I loved her, Mulder. ' Cause I love her." He sat quietly,
contemplating the simplicity of his reasoning.
"So tell her already, and for Christ's sake, stop calling her
O'Connell. Her name is Maggie!" Mulder replied.
"Now is-n't that the pot call-ing the ket-tle black?" Joel
"It's different for me and Scully."
"Ex-plain, keem-o-sob-ee." Fleischman said.
"We're partners, Fleischman. We deal in life and death situations
and we have to watch each others' backs. We have enemies that could use a
relationship between against us." Mulder explained rationally.
"Bullshit!" Fleischman proclaimed vehemently . Mulder looked
surprised that Dr. Joel Fleischman didn't buy into his very reasonable
explanations for avoiding a romantic relationship with Scully.
Suddenly, Fleischman's head started to feel a lot clearer. "Don't you get
it? If I know you're in love with each other, doncha think all those
en-e-mies of yours probably fi-gured it out by now too? Common Mulder,
are they that much of a shmuck or is it you? When they gave you the ID
badge, did they take away some of your common sense in trade?"
"So, Doc, when did you get so smart?" Mulder asked.
"When you told me I had better tell O'Con- I mean Maggie, I love
her. What about you G-man? Have you smartened up?" Fleischman asked.
"Yeah, if I ever get the hell out of here, I promise to tell
.Dana, I love her, okay?" Mulder shifted his body a bit while he looked
at Joel, and upon seeing a smile of approval, smiled back in kind. Then,
in the next instant, he turned a ghostly white, as searing pain passed
through his leg and hip. He began panting as he spoke, "Oh God, Joel,
this shit really hurts!"
He grabbed the phone and hit speed dial #1. When he heard
Scully's voice, a much more lucid Joel Fleischman spoke. "You gotta get
us out of here, now!" While he was speaking he felt Mulder's head. He
was definitely feeling very cold and clammy. He noticed his breathing was
more shallow, but rapid. Fleischman tried to check his pulse and though
he couldn't be accurate, he knew it was starting to race. "Dana, Mulder's
in trouble. I'm sure the femur is busted up good, so he must be bleeding
internally. Please, you've got to find us."
"We're trying. The sun's starting to go down, and we're really
trying to move as fast as we can!"
"I can see the sun's going down, but you don't understand. He's
showing all the symptoms of shock and I'm worried that---"
"Oh God, that's it!! That's it!!" Scully interrupted.
"What's it?" Joel had no idea what she was talking about.
"We've been trying to find you on the ground level, but you can
see the sky. You said before 'at least the sky was bigger'. Joel, If you
can see out, then we should be able to see in!!
"Damn, you're right. God, why didn't I think of that before? I'm
such an idiot!"
"You're not an idiot; you have a concussion. Okay, get your
flashlights ready to beam up Scotty, 'cause we're gonna get the air search
team ready to go!"

End of Part 4/5

Part 5/5

Maggie got the Cessna up within thirty minutes of Dana's
revelation. She was able to pinpoint exactly where the men were holed up.
Using her excellent navigational skills, Maggie was able to determine the
coordinates of their location for whatever helicopter rescue team Scully
was able to engage.
She also gave an accurate visual description over the radio. It
was so clear, in fact, that both Holling and Marilyn recognized it. He
started getting a team of climbers together to go on foot to the site, and
offer any assistance that might be needed in lifting Joel and Mulder out.

Marilyn looked pensively at Scully and stated, "They are in the
tomb of The Other." Scully returned her gaze. Without waiting for a
verbal comment, Marilyn continued, "Yes, The Other. The tomb has been
known by my people for a very long time."
"Who is The Other?" Scully asked tentatively.
"Those not of this world," she replied simply.
"You mean Mulder was actually onto something for a change?" Scully
asked incredulously.
"It is not his time for knowing The Other. There will come a
time, but it is not today." Marilyn stared at Scully with confident eyes.
"Why not? Why isn't it ever his time?" Scully pleaded. "He's
seen so much, been through so much, but it never seems to be his time.
He's always this close," she said as she pinched her index finger and
thumb together, "but never close enough to prove it to the world. I don't
"It will be some day, when he is ready to accept all that comes
with knowledge of the truth. He must take care of other needs first."
Marilyn stated this plainly and then began to walk away.
"Marilyn, wait!" Scully called. "What needs?"
She turned and quietly replied, "You will know soon."
Scully watched Marilyn walk off and wondered why she suddenly felt
a sense of peace and contentment. *Who is that woman?* Scully pondered.

"Joel, Joel!!! Can you hear me?" yelled down Holling Vancouer.
He and his tracking crew had finally made it to the site. It took them
almost an hour to climb the steep terrain, but were relieved to see the
actual gap in the top of the tomb was surrounded by a fairly level area.
"Holling!? God Holling, is that you?" cried out Joel. "Thank
God," he whispered to no one in particular.
"The chopper should be here real soon. How are you and Agent
Mulder holding up?" Holling asked.
"Okay," he replied. Joel looked over at Mulder who was visibly
trembling. "Hey Mulder, did ya hear that? We're gonna get to ride in a
chopper. Oh joy."
"Yeah," was all he could manage in response. Joel took his jacket
off and wrapped it around Mulder's shoulders.
"Hang in there, man. We'll be out of here soon."

The cell phone rang in Scully's hand. She clicked it open and
heard Joel's voice. "When the chopper comes we'll need a splint for
Mulder's leg, or it'll be a real bitch getting him up into the
"I've already informed the rescue team to have an inflatable splint
and a dosage of morphine ready for you to administer."
"How is he?" she asked.
"It's good they're coming for us soon. There's been a couple of
more rumblings," he deflected.
"They'll be here real soon. Tell him I'll meet him at the
hospital. I'm flying to Anchorage with Maggie, and I'll be there for
"Good, that's a good. Tell Maggie I'll see her there, okay?"

"Hey Joel, they're here. The chopper's here!" Holling shouted
down into the tomb.
Joel knew the chopper was here, as he heard the noise of the
rotating blades for the last few minutes. He had started talking to
Mulder, trying to get him prepared for the rescue lift.
"Okay Mulder, it looks like the whirlybird's just about here.
They're gonna send down an inflatable splint for me to put on your leg.
It'll provide support and help ease some of the pain." Joel heard the
chopper come closer.
"Dana said she requested some pain killers for you, so that should
help." The helicopter was directly overhead now.
Holling didn't even try to speak above the noise of the rotating
blades. He guided the dangling stretcher through the tomb's opening. It
was lowered to the floor of the tomb in a matter of minutes.
Joel unfastened the splint from the stretcher's straps. He then
pulled the tape off of the small box that was attached to the portable
gurney. Inside he found the hypodermic containing the promised morphine.
Unfortunately, it wouldn't provide any where near the amount of relief
required for this task, but hopefully it would take some of the edge off
the pain. With the chopper over head, Joel found he needed to speak
directly into Mulder's ear in order for him to be heard.
"Mulder, I'm gonna give you some morphine. Then I've got to put
the splint on." Mulder winced slightly as the needle pierced his skin
into the vein. "Okay, I'm going to get the splint ready ."
Joel unrolled the plastic splint and then worked to spread it open
so he might pull it up Mulder's leg with more ease. He looked over at him
to see if the morphine took effect. "Mulder, you ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be." He knew this was going to hurt like
"You know, now might be a good time to go visit Nana," Joel said
He began snaking the splint up Mulder's leg. Though Joel was
working as carefully as he could, Mulder's face contorted in pain. When
the splint was finally in place, Joel pulled the tab and watched the
splint inflate. Mulder's face visibly relaxed. Though still in pain,
everything is relative, and right then he felt a good deal better.
Joel pointed to the stretcher, and Mulder nodded. He leaned
forward so Joel could grab him from behind and lift him onto the gurney.
Mulder was able to pivot on his good leg and get onto the stretcher
without too much difficulty. Fleischman strapped him tightly into place.
"You okay?" Mulder nodded and mouthed "thanks." Joel squeezed
his shoulder and smiled in response. He then raised up his flashlight as
a means of signaling Holling to get ready to guide the stretcher through
the gap.

As Joel was being pulled up off the ground, a final rumbling took
over the tomb. He watched in awe as the floor started to crumble beneath
him and the walls fell into the depths of the earth's core. *So much for
Mulder's little gray men.* Fleischman thought. "Get me the hell out of
here!" he screamed up into the sky.

The four of them sat on the porch of The B & B. It was a
beautiful, clear, night, perfect for the light show they all eagerly
Joel Fleischman had been released from the hospital after a
forty-eight hour observation period, but he and Maggie flew back and
forth between Anchorage and Cicely every couple of days to keep tabs on
Mulder and Scully.
The surgery on Mulder's leg went well, but with all the pins
needed to put "Humpty Dumpty back together again," it won't surprise
anyone if he sets off every airport metal detector between Alaska and DC.

"It feels so damned good to be out of there."
"You probably should have stayed a few more days Mulder."
"Scully, you always say that."
Joel and Maggie, at the same time, cleared their throats very
loudly. Mulder and Scully looked up to see them glaring, but with a
twinkle in their eyes. Awareness settled over the two agents, and they
smiled tentatively, first at their friends and then at each other.
"Yeah, I guess I do always say that, Fox."
"Yes, Dana, you do."

Ripples of light danced through the sky darkened and the Aurora
Borealis began its display. The pulsing forms provided them with curtains
of light, and the performing arcs seemed to represent beautiful gardens of
Each of them looked at the sky with wonder and thought how good
they felt; how right it felt, and so it was.