Date: Monday, June 26, 2000

Category: A/U, MulderTorture, MS/Marriage

Rating: PG13

Spoilers: None for CC's universe, however you might want to read previous
Life Cycle stories to help this one make more sense.

Disclaimers: The characters, Mulder and Scully, and any other recognizable
character, belong to 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement intended.

Thanks to Vickie Moseley for sharing her insight on this one and reminding me
it's time to go in other directions.

Also, special thanks to Shirley Smiley, keeper of the site (and to Laurie
for putting a spiffy new image up on it for us!) Check it out at:

Archive: Yes, to those with prior permission. Thanks for respecting my
wishes to keep track of my stories. Much appreciated.

Summary: Just a normal trip to the amusement park, right? Yeah, right.

Life Cycles 20: Riding the Rails
By Susan Proto (

Part 1/6

"Daddy, do you think I'm finally big enough to ride the monster rail?" he
asked for what was perhaps the hundredth time that weekend.

"I don't know, Adam. I told you, we'll have to measure you against the chart
at the ride's entrance," Mulder responded in measured tones for what seemed
to him the thousandth time.

"Okay, you two, enough," refereed Scully. "If we're going to meet the
Goldfarbs on time, then we've got to get this show on the road!"

She quickly shushed him off to the bathroom, and told him that when he was
finished, he was to get his jacket and go wait by the car. Eight-year-old
Adam always knew when his mother meant business; he knew she wasn't angry,
but he also knew she could easily become angry if he procrastinated any
longer. He quickly walked toward the bathroom.

"Dane, if he asks me one more time about that damned__," Mulder began.

"__Roller coaster," she interjected, "and I for one would love to know why
you're getting all bent out of shape over it?"

Mulder averted his eyes and muttered, "Never mind."

"Never mind? Fox, what's going on here? This child has been talking of
nothing else for the last three weeks about going on the monster coaster with
his daddy, and your attitude has been, well, quite frankly, really shitty.
Now, you're gonna tell me what's going on here, G-man, or am I gonna have to
shoot a hole in the other shoulder to get it out of you?"

"I just don't think it's a good idea for me to ride on a mega-type roller
coaster, what with my back and all, you know?" he offered in explanation.

"No, Mulder, as a matter of fact I don't know. The orthopedist gave you
clearance for active duty almost a month ago; there's no way you're going to
convince me you're less physically able to ride on a damn roller coaster than
you are to run after the bad guys. Now, G-man, cut the crap and tell me the
truth. What's going on?"

Mulder sighed and finally returned his wife's look. "Umm, I'm not quite sure
how to say this," he stammered as all the color drained from his face and his
pallor turned a sickly shade of alabaster.

"Mulder, please, just tell me," she now said more gently.

He returned his gaze to the window, looked at Scully's reflection in the
pane, and whispered, "I'm scared to death of them."

"What?" she practically shouted.

"Damn it, Dane, don't!"

"Mulder, I'm sorry, I just can't imagine how you can be afraid of roller
coasters. I mean, you're the same man who flies without a care, while I sit
in the seat white knuckled and reciting the rosary.
Surely, you're not going to tell me, man who jumps onto moving trains and
climbs on top of rising cable cars, that you are afraid of heights?"

Mulder slowly shook his head. He wasn't sure if he could explain the totally
irrational fear that he'd carried with him all of these years. "It's not so
much a fear of heights as it is of roller coasters themselves." Mulder
paused to find the words to explain. "Ever see a movie called "Bridge on the
River Kwai?"

Scully nodded and said, "Yes, but what does that have to do __?"

"__I'm coming to that," he said, cutting her off. "Look, I know this makes
no sense, but at the time it made perfect sense to my eight year old brain.
You see, in that movie, they blew up that suspension bridge, right?" Once
again, Scully nodded. "Well, that sucker came down like a house of cards,
and I guess, in my head, that bridge reminded me of the roller coaster.

"I know it seems ridiculous, Dane, but ever since I saw that movie I've
refused to go on a roller coaster. I took a lot of razzing from my friends,
hell even from Samantha. She used to go on the damned things, but I just
couldn't bring myself to do it. And I really don't want to go on one today,
but Adam seems to have other ideas. Dane, I don't know how to tell him, but
I simply cannot go on that ride with him."

"How about just tell him the truth, Mulder. Adam's a pretty compassionate
kid; I suspect he'll be a lot more understanding than you're giving him
credit for."

Mulder nodded at this, but then wondered to himself if Adam was still too
short to meet the height requirement. Maybe it would be a moot point in the


Mulder carried the "Magic Bag" as he'd been want to call it all of these
years, because it never seemed to fail to hold just the needed object at the
needed time. When the kids were first born, Mulder left packing the bag to
Dana, but as they got older, Mulder found himself taking over the job more
and more.

Unfortunately, he tended to over pack, and the darn thing felt like a lead
weight on his shoulder. He pushed the stroller that held Dawn and her
ever-present bunny, while Dana kept a close eye on Adam in the parking lot of
the amusement park.

"There they are!" cried out Adam upon sighting the Goldfarb family. He was
about to take off, but Scully moved faster than her almost eight-year-old son
and grabbed his arm.

"Adam, no!" she ordered, and the youngster stopped dead in his tracks.
"Adam, look around you. Where are we?"

The child looked contrite and muttered, "A parking lot."

"Exactly. The cars have the right of way in here, and they may not be
looking out for child running in between the rows of cars. Please, Jason
isn't going to run away."

"Sorry, Mom," he responded. Dana smiled at her eldest child as she realized
that she wouldn't be able to hold onto his hand for very much longer. Time
was going by so fast. Her children were growing too fast.

"It's okay, Little G-man, just try to think before you act," she encouraged.
"Now, look before you run off." They made their way to the same row as the
Goldfarb's parking space, and it was at this point that Scully let go of her
son's hand. "Okay, go!"

The two boys greeted one another with high fives and a brief hug. Mulder
watched with awe at how easily they displayed their affection for one
another. That was something that had taken him a lifetime to learn.

Of course when he was within reach of Richard Goldfarb, Mulder mimicked his
son and reached out to hug his good friend. Suddenly, however, Mulder felt
the wind knocked out of him when he felt another pair of arms reach around
his waist. Twelve-year-old Rachael greeted Mulder in much the same way as
she had when they'd first met, accidentally, eight years ago in the temple.

Mulder threw his head back and laughed as he returned Rachael's greeting.
Meanwhile, Dana embraced Leslie Goldfarb and kissed her on the cheek. The
two families were close, but due to Mulder and Scully's hectic and somewhat
erratic schedule, they didn't get to spend nearly as much time together as
they would have liked.

Today, however, they'd planned well in advance. It was considered a post
birthday present for Jason and a pre-birthday present for Adam. Both boys
were ecstatic at the idea of celebrating their birthdays at the amusement
park. Both boys were hopeful that they would be tall enough for the mega
roller coaster this year, and both boys had been pestering their parents
about it for the last three weeks straight!

"Ready for the mega coaster, Jason?" Adam asked excitedly.

"Yup. What about you?" responded his friend. When Jason saw Adam's head bob
up and down enthusiastically, he then asked, "Ya wanna sit up front?"

"Sure!" he replied with a grin and then the boys wrapped their arms around
one another shoulders and started walking toward the entrance.

"I don't know what we're going to do if they don't meet the height
requirement," Richard said to Mulder.

"Yeah. What are we going to do?" Mulder echoed with little enthusiasm.

"You okay, Mulder?" asked Richard. Mulder nodded, but Richard knew his
friend well enough that he wasn't telling the entire truth. He also knew
better than to press his friend before he was ready to 'fess up'. "C'mon,
let's go check this place out. It's been a while since I've been here. I
think I'm almost as excited as the kids are!"

The two families walked through the main entrance and purchased their day
passes. They walked around and checked out potential rides, but all three
older kids kept looking up at the mega coaster that loomed over most of the

"Can we go? Can we go to the mega coaster now? Please?" the two boys pled

"Yes, yes, we can go to the mega coaster," chuckled Richard.

Mulder followed from behind and pushed Dawn's stroller while he lugged the
'magic' bag. He was moving more and more slowly, when he overheard Rachael's
request for something to drink.

"That's a great idea, Rache," Mulder announced, "I could use a little
something too." He chose to ignore Scully's piercing stare, since he knew
she knew he was merely procrastinating. But when the boys chimed in with
requests for slushies, he knew his plan was succeeding for at least a little

"Okay, you guys. Here's some money," offered Mulder, "and go over to the
concession and pick us all up something to drink. I'd like a lemonade, okay?
Dane, what do you want?" he asked and then proceeded to take the other
orders. He wrote it down on a small pad that he kept in the 'magic' bag, and
handed it to Rachael. Go with her, boys, to help carry it all."

While the kids ran off to the concession, which was well within the watchful
eyes of all four parents, Richard finally couldn't hold back any more.

"Okay, so what's with the diversionary tactics, Mulder?" he asked.

"Diversionary tactics? What are you talking about, Richard?" he asked, but
without the usual bravado. Mulder knew when he was made. And Richard had
become a member of the top five who were able to figure him out all too
quickly nowadays.

"Mulder, I haven't been best friends with an FBI agent for the last eight
years without some of it rubbing off on me," he responded smiling. "But
enough of the procrastinating; what's going on?"


"Mulder," Scully interjected, "be brave, and tell Richard what's going on."
She tried desperately to hide her smile, but Mulder caught sight of it just
before she put her hand up.

"C'mon, Dane. Knock it off!"

"Oh, Mulder, I'm sorry, but I just find the whole thing so ironic," she
answered just before she let out a small giggle.

"Sure, go ahead and laugh. My son is going to think I'm the biggest wuss in
the world," Mulder lamented.

Dana saw that her husband truly was worried about Adam's reaction to his wish
to avoid the coaster at all costs, and she felt a little guilty. Well, very

"I told you to be straight with him. It would have made it much easier if
you'd have just told him the truth back at the house," she admonished gently.

"I know. I know. Look, maybe they'll still be too small for the darn thing,
and I won't have to deal with it," he said hopefully.

"Umm, mind if I ask what this is all about?" asked Richard curiously.

"Mulder is, how shall I put this? Well, let's just say he's roller coaster
challenged," Scully said with a straight face.

"Oh, they scare the hell out of you, eh?" clarified Richard with way too big
of a smile on his face. Mulder chose to ignore him; it didn't make sense to
him to restate the obvious.

"Well, you can stay and keep me and Dawn company," Leslie offered.

"You don't like roller coasters either?" Mulder asked hopefully. Misery
loved company really was true.

"No, as a matter of fact I love roller coasters. I've been on the mega
coaster many, many times," Leslie responded.

"I don't understand. Why would you want to stay behind with Dawn and me?"

"Doctor's orders," replied Leslie with a megawatt smile.


Part 2/6

Mulder stood looking totally confused, while Scully understood immediately
and squealed out in pure joy! As she went over to offer her friend a hug of
congratulations, it finally occurred to Mulder what the celebration was about.

"Oh, God, I am dense. Congratulations, you guys!" He reached over to offer
Richard a handshake and then pulled him into an emotional embrace. He then
traded places with Scully and hugged Leslie while Scully squeezed Richard
into a bear hug.

"When's the baby due?" asked Dana.

"December, sometime around Christmas," answered Leslie joyfully.

"Oh, I am so happy for you both. The kids must be ecstatic!" proclaimed

"Actually," began Richard, "we haven't told them yet. You know with Les's
history, we were afraid to say anything before she entered her second
trimester. To be honest, we weren't planning on another child, but we
certainly aren't going to take this gift for granted. We figured we'd break
the news today, since the kids know how much Les loves the mega coaster,"
explained Richard.

"Oh, right. The coaster," repeated Mulder. He'd almost managed to forget
about that little detail with the news of the impending addition to the
Goldfarb family.

Just at that moment, the children came excitedly back to where their family
had been waiting. They passed out the drinks and then eagerly began
badgering their parents again to go to the coaster.

"Remember," Mulder said seriously, "there's a chance you may not be tall
enough this year."

The two boys looked at one another and immediately sized one another up.
Adam had always been the taller of the two, but Jason had a recent growth
spurt, so they were pretty even with one another. It seemed if one made the
growth requirements, they both would.

"There it is!" screamed out Jason.

"C'mon, let's go!" cried out Adam, but just as he was about to take off, he
paused and turned to look at his mom. "Can I go?"

Scully was amazed that he'd managed that much self-control to 'look before he
leaped.' "Go," she replied with a smile.

And they went. They ran, hopped, skipped, and jumped, and they made it to
the entrance of the coaster in time warped fashion. The boys found the
measuring stick they needed to exceed in order to gain entrance and Adam
stood in front of it first.

"YES!" shouted Jason. "You're bigger than the line!" he squealed.

"I am?" Adam responded in awe. "You go now!"

Jason assumed the same position his friend just had. By this time the rest
of the families had arrived and it was Richard who announced, "Well, looks
like I got me a couple of partners on the Mega Coaster!

Jason began jumping up and down in excitement. Richard marveled at the
sight; it wasn't that long ago that his strong, healthy child laid in bed
battling cancerous cells threatening to shatter his life. Now, in remission
for almost five years, Richard and Leslie dared to hope that the leukemia was
gone for good.

"Daddy, I thought I was going to be your partner!" Rachael whined. "You

"Well, so I did," Richard replied. He looked at his beautiful daughter,
nearing the age of her Bat Mitzvah, and wondered momentarily how he and his
wife could have been so lucky to be blessed with adopting her. "Of course
you're my partner."

"Yeah, and Daddy, you're gonna be my partner, right?" asked a very excited

It was at that moment that Mulder's stomach decided to turn traitorous and
forced him to find the nearest wastebasket. He promptly threw up the
contents of his breakfast while he held onto the sides of the metal basket
for all he was worth.

"Daddy?" whispered Adam. "Are you okay?"

Mulder continued to retch, and as much as he wanted to regain some of his
dignity, his body simply wouldn't cooperate. Though Adam was upset over this
turn of events, Scully was getting downright worried. She hadn't seen this
violent of a physical reaction to a stressful situation in a very long time,
and it concerned her that this particular vomiting session was lasting as
long as it was.

"Mulder," she said gently as she placed one of her arms around his chest and
her other hand on his forehead for support. "Sweetheart, it's all right.
It's all right," she soothed softly.

Finally, after several minutes more of dry heaving, Mulder was able to catch
his breath. His legs were now wobbly, however, and Scully felt her support
of him wavering. "Richard?" she called out anxiously.

Richard had to wade through the small gathering of people whom now encircled
his friend, but managed to get to Mulder's side almost immediately. He
wrapped his arm around his friend's waist and led him to the nearest bench a
few yards away, all the while telling the curious onlookers, "He's fine.
Really. Must have been something he ate."

Mulder felt woozy as he finally got to sit, and immediately dropped his head
down to his knees. He worried that on top of throwing up his guts in front
of his family, best friends, and the general public at large, he was now
going to humiliate himself further by fainting.

Scully dropped to her knees in front of her husband and reached over to rub
his back soothingly. "It's okay, Mulder. You're okay now."

Somehow, Mulder wasn't quite as sure. His stomach felt like it was still
dancing the jitterbug, his throat felt as if someone had rubbed sandpaper
through it, and his head felt like he'd had one mega-sized rubber band around
it that someone kept repeatedly twanging.

And then there was the small matter of telling his son he was nothing but a
chicken shit and couldn't bring himself to get on a simple ride with him.

"Well, then, it looks like I'm the one who has the two handsome escorts,"
Scully announced.

"But Mommy, Daddy was going to ride with me," Adam whined unthinkingly.

"Sweetheart, I don't think Daddy's in much shape to be riding a roller
coaster at the moment, do you?" she responded.

The child looked totally dejected, but he nodded. "No, I guess Daddy might
throw up again if went up there."

Mulder couldn't stand the though that he disappointed his son; he couldn't
stand that he wasn't adult enough to offer his son the real reason for
disappointing him.

"Would you all excuse Adam and me for a minute?" Mulder requested. "I need
to talk to him about something,"

Scully smiled sweetly and nodded her understanding. "C'mon you guys, I see a
cotton candy cart that has our name on it. What color do you want, Adam?"
Upon hearing 'blue' from her son's lips, Scully hustled the Goldfarbs and
daughter Dawn's stroller a few yards away to give her men privacy.

Scully knew her husband faced great adversity both in his personal life and
his professional life, but she didn't know if there was any other time that
she'd seen him so brave. It's never easy to admit you have flaws to your own
son. It's especially hard to admit that with those weaknesses often come
fears. This was a very brave thing her husband was doing.

"Adam," Mulder began, "I have to tell you something."

"Are you sick, Daddy?" he asked anxiously. "Are you sick like Jason was? He
threw up all the time when he was sick."

"No, no, sweetheart, Daddy's not sick," he answered quickly. "It's nothing
like that." Mulder paused momentarily while he collected his own thoughts
and saw that Adam took his words of his well-being to heart.

"I didn't throw up just now because of something I ate, or because I'm sick,"
he began slowly. Adam remained quiet; he knew his daddy had to tell him
something and that it wasn't an easy thing for him to say. "I threw up
because I got scared."

Adam looked surprised. "Daddy, you're not scared of nothing," he proclaimed.

"Yeah, Adam," he responded, "I am. I'm afraid of lots of things, but the one
of the things I'm really afraid of are roller coasters."

"Roller coasters?" the child echoed in amazement. He then looked skyward and
gasped, "The mega coaster?" When all Mulder could do was nod in affirmation,
the child shook his head in wonderment and asked, "But why, Daddy?"

Mulder laughed a dry, humorless laugh, and said, "I wish I knew, Adam, but I
don't. All I know is that ever since I was a kid I was scared to death of
going on one of them. And I guess I was too embarrassed to tell you. I
didn't want you to be ashamed of me, little buddy, and, well, I hope you can
forgive me for not going on that thing with you. More importantly though, I
hope you can forgive me for not being straight with you from the very

Adam remained expressionless for a moment or two, but then grasped his dad's
arms and said, "Oh Daddy, I'm sorry you're scared of the mega coaster. I
don't want you to be scared of nothing."

Mulder enfolded his child into his arms with such warmth and love. This
child was so special, so, so special. "I'm not nearly as afraid of things
when you're with me, Adam."

The child smiled, pulled slightly away so he could look directly at his
father, and said with a smile, "Well, it's kind of good in a way. You can
keep Aunt Leslie company 'cause she can't go on the ride."

"She can't?"

"No, it said so on the sign," Adam replied, and then quoted the sign almost
verbatim, "'People with a history of heart disease or seizure disorders
should not ride on this attraction. Also, women who are pregnant should
refrain from participating on this ride.'"

"And Aunt Leslie fits into which category, Adam?" Mulder asked curiously,
since Leslie and Richard had said the kids were still in the dark.

"Aunt Leslie's gonna have a baby, Daddy!" replied Adam as he rolled his eyes
at the thought of how naive his father could be sometimes.

"How do you know that?"

"Rachael and Jason told me. They said Aunt Leslie has been puking all day
and all night. Worse than you, Daddy!" Adam said animatedly.

"Wow," reacted Mulder, "it must be pretty bad."

Adam nodded vigorously in agreement and then added, "Yeah, it was. Jason
said Aunt Leslie wasn't throwing up as much now though."

"But, Adam, how do you know Aunt Les's nausea is because she's pregnant?"

"Because Rachael and Jason heard Uncle Richard and Aunt Leslie talking," Adam
explained impatiently. "Rachael said they didn't want to tell us until they
were sure the baby would be okay. Otherwise, Jason said they'd have to adopt
a baby like they adopted Rachael."

Mulder nodded his head in wonderment that kids were so capable of putting two
and two together. However, Adam then said something that caused Mulder to
rethink that.

"Daddy, Jason said that he was scared of something though. He said that if
Aunt Leslie loses the baby, he's afraid it may be his fault 'cause he had
leukemia and since he wasn't adopted like Rachael was, well, he thinks maybe
that would be his fault."

"Adam, no, sweetheart, no," Mulder quickly said to alleviate the child's
fears. "No, the fact that Jason had leukemia would have absolutely nothing
to do with the possibility of Aunt Leslie having a miscarriage."

The child nodded, but Mulder saw he wasn't absolutely sure of the veracity
behind his dad's statement. Mulder tried again, "I promise you, Adam. It
would not be Jason's fault if something happened to the new baby, and I'll
tell Aunt Leslie and Uncle Richard to be sure to let Rachael and Jason know
that, okay?"

"Okay, Daddy. Can I get my cotton candy now?" he asked calmly.

Mulder started laughing. The man puked his guts up in anticipation of facing
his son with what he perceived as an earth shaking confession, and all the
child could think about now was getting his cotton candy. Sometimes he not
only felt like an idiot, he knew he was an idiot.

"Yes, go get your candy! And make sure they bought one for me, too!" he
called out as he watched the child dash to the cotton candy stand.

The family slowly made their way back to where Mulder remained seated.
Scully came to sit next to him and handed him a small cola drink. "Here, you
may want to drink this before attacking any other food. But drink it slowly,
Mulder." He nodded and thanked her, as he realized he was extremely thirsty
all of a sudden.

"Are you okay?" she asked. He nodded. "Did Adam understand?"

"More than you know," Mulder chuckled.

"Can we go on now?" the kids pleaded.

"Please? We've been waiting for a really long time, you know," Jason
proclaimed with the others echoing their agreement.

"Okay, okay. Who's riding with whom?" Richard asked with a wink.

"I'm riding with Daddy!" called out Rachael.

"And Jason and me are gonna be my Mom's ex__, ex__," he began trying to
recall the label his mother used earlier, but when he failed to remember, he
announced, "We're gonna be Mom's partners!"

Everyone chuckled at Adam's 'save' and the riders proceeded to take their
place on line, while Leslie, Dawn, and Mulder remained behind as the
cheerleading section.


Part 3/6

As they watched the group wind their way around the line to the coaster,
Mulder broke the news to Leslie.

"You need to have a talk with the kids, Les."

"I know we should tell them about the baby, it's just that Richard and I were
so surprised by it and then I was sicker than a dog, and __."

"__Les," Mulder interrupted, "they know."

Leslie Goldfarb stared at her friend. "They know?" she repeated.

"Oh, yeah. They know, big time."

"But how?" she asked in complete surprise. "We never said anything to them."

"I know, which kind of leads to this little misunderstanding__," Mulder
began. He then proceeded to fill Leslie in on the conversation he had with
Adam regarding Jason's fears that his own illness might have an adverse
effect on the pregnancy.

"Oh, no! How could he think that?"

"The same way I could get myself so worked up because I didn't think my own
kid would understand that his old man was human," Mulder answered with an
understanding smile.

Leslie nodded in understanding and sighed. "Guess we sometimes have to be
reminded of what great kids we have."

They sat on the bench facing the ride and kept Dawn happy with sticky gobs of
cotton candy, while they waited for the happy adventurers to ascend the rail
course. As he stood up to better watch their progression up the line, Mulder
heard their kids' squeals of delight as they finally climbed into the cart.
He saw that Rachael and Richard took the front seat, while Dana, Adam, and
Jason sat directly behind them in the second seat.

He was a tiny bit envious that only Dana and not he would be sharing in this
adventure, however not nearly enough so that he could swallow down his fear
and take the plunge with them. He knew this one would have to be a vicarious

Suddenly, several gasps were heard, while even more screams cried out from
those waiting in the line.

"Hey, watch it, fella! Damn it lady, watch where you're stepping!"

"Wait in line like the rest of us!"

"Ouch! Stop pushing, damn it!"

"Hey, Mister, get you and the little missus the hell in the back of the line!"

"Mommy, they pushed me, Mommy!"

Several more panicked voices rose above the crowd and Mulder strained to see
who was causing the problem. Finally, the crowd seemingly cleared a path for
the man, and when Mulder adjusted his position to see more clearly, he was
able to see why they'd parted like the Red Sea.

A tall, balding man with a thick mustache and strong, burly arms held in his
grasp a young woman with a baby in her arms. He was strong enough that he
was able to hold her with one arm. The fact that he wielded a 42 caliber
weapon in the other probably helped part the throng of patrons as well.

"Oh, shit," Mulder whispered aloud.

The unknown assailant dragged his young hostages into the third seat of the
roller coaster.


While the perpetrator and his hostages began their ride up the mega coaster,
Mulder quickly pulled out his cell phone immediately to call the bureau for
backup. He also contacted his father-in-law, Walter Skinner, at home, as
Mulder figured a little extra backup couldn't hurt. Next, Mulder called out
to Leslie to go to safety with Dawn.

"I'm not leaving here!" Leslie shouted back obstinately.

"Leslie, please! I don't know if this guy is going to start firing his
weapon or not. I need you to protect Dawn for me, and you need to protect
your unborn baby. Please, Les, move away from here. Go be safe," he begged
as he kept moving closer and closer to the front of the line.

"Federal Agent," he announced as he moved easily through the still open path.
When he reached the front of the line, Mulder asked about how the attraction
worked; he needed to know the logistics of the ride, so he'd better know how
to proceed.

"Is it possible to stop the car that's moving now, but have one from behind
move up towards it?" he asked hopefully.

"Yeah," the attendant, a man definitely past retirement age, answered,
"that's how we get repair guys up there."

"Okay, okay," Mulder said as he breathed hard. "I'll need to get up there,
but you need to stop their cart so I can catch up to him. Stop him first at
the top where he's most visible and get me as close as possible.

"Do you have any walkie-talkies that we can use in case we need to change the
plan for any reason?" asked Mulder next.

"Uh-huh," he responded and reached down to grasp the set of communication
devices. ''You want me to stop the guy's cart now? Looks like he's getting
close to the top."

Mulder looked questioningly at the attendant until he noticed the video
monitor the older man was looking at. Mulder could see fairly clearly where
the cart was, and it was definitely heading upwards.

"Yes, stop it when it reaches the top, then get me the hell up there," Mulder
directed, but not without a great deal of trepidation.

He fought back the fear doing a hula dance in his stomach. Mulder now had a
job to do; he had something to focus on that would hopefully stave off the
pangs of fear as he climbed into the seat.

Mulder also figured a short little prayer wouldn't hurt either.


Amazingly, Skinner had a full team out to the site within twenty-five
minutes. The attraction was cordoned off, and the park was basically shut
down. Though most of the park patrons didn't have a clue as to why, they
were evacuated out the main entrance as well as the side entrances into
parking lots and not allowed back in by members of the park's security force
and the local PD. Shuttle busses were provided for those whose cars were in
other area parking lots. It was as orderly an evacuation as the AD could

Now all he had to deal with was saving the lives of just a few of the most
important people in his life.

"Walter, please, tell me what's going on," begged Leslie as she came up
behind him pushing Dawn's stroller.

"Leslie, I'll keep you informed, but as of this moment all I know is Mulder's
car is within sight of Richard and Dana's car. I'll be making voice contact
with him again soon." He reached around to put his arm around her while at
the same time he looked at his granddaughter. "Leslie, we'll get them down
safely, I promise."

Leslie nodded and wiped away the tears that escaped her eyes. Walter urged
her to take Dawn and go to the safety of the command center in the
administration building and wait there for word. He promised her he would
send someone over there as soon as he learned of anything new to tell her.

Meanwhile, Mulder's car had edged up to within a few yards of his wife's car
and stopped according to the prearranged plans he'd made with the ride
operator. Now, he didn't want to startle the perp, but he needed to
establish some kind of contact to see what the perp's state of mind was.

Mulder left the walkie-talkie on the seat, picked up his cell phone, and
dialed the AD's cellular line. When he answered, Mulder informed his boss
that he was going to attempt to establish contact.

"Mulder, go very slowly. Don't rush him and don't antagonize him. And
whatever you do, don't let him know you're related to anyone on that car,"
warned AD Skinner.

"Yes, Sir. I know the protocol," he replied to his boss.

And when the AD admonished him to be careful, Mulder replied, "I will,
Walter," to his very concerned father-in-law. He also informed him that he
was leaving the cell line open so the contact would be available to his ears
as well.

"Go ahead, Agent. Establish contact."


"What can I do to help you?" Mulder shouted over.

Scully and Richard looked over and were startled to see Mulder in the car
several feet away. Both of them realized what it was taking out of him to be
in that car.

"Who are you?" the perp called back.

"I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder," he called out loudly, in as calm of a voice
as he could manage, "and I'm here to help you get out of this situation
without anyone getting hurt."

The perp looked at him as carefully as one could from a few yards away, but
he wasn't allowing the agent the satisfaction of knowing anything more than
absolutely necessary.

"Sir, what's your name?" Mulder called out. When he was met with only
silence, he called out again, "I need to know how to address you, Sir."

The perp looked at the young woman who crouched in fear while she held a
small toddler who looked no bigger than Dawn. The man stood silently and
debated for a few minutes over what to say.

Scully, meanwhile, glanced over at Mulder and then at the two small boys
sitting on either side of her. She prayed neither one blew her cover and
tried to indicate to both boys to remain quiet. She hoped the children and
Richard realized it was to their advantage that the perpetrator did not know
she too was an agent and that she was, indeed, armed.

"Please, Sir, I want to end this without anyone getting hurt. What do you
need?" Mulder called out again and worked hard to hide his growing


"What?" replied the confused agent.

"Call me John," he called out. "And I want my kid. The bitch can't take my
kid away from me." It was the first sign of real agitation from the armed
man, and it caused some anxiety for both agents in the area.

"Look, no one wants to hurt your child, and I'm sure you don't want to hurt
the children in the cart with you. Why don't we let the others go so you and
I can talk. I'm sure there's a way I can help you," Mulder cajoled.

Much to Scully's dismay, the perp was considering it. She thought to herself
that the last thing she wanted to happen was for Mulder to be alone up here
with that lunatic. She didn't know what the guy's problem was, but it was
obvious he wasn't very stable.

Before Scully could think of anything immediate to do, she heard the perp
say, "Get that car over here, and you and I can go for a ride."

Scully's eyes flew to Mulder's. She was desperate to communicate to him that
this was a mistake. Of course she knew that if there was anyway he could get
her, Richard, and the kids to safety he was going to do it no matter what.
Even it was at the expense of his own safety.

"Okay. Hold on, I've gotta let the attendant know to move this cart closer,"
placated Mulder. He picked up the walkie-talkie and immediately got the old
man on the speaker. "I need to get to the other cart. Now. Right NOW."

Slowly the cart edged forward toward the hostage car. When the cars were
close enough, John boomed out, "Gimme the baby."

"No," moaned the small woman who refused to look into her kidnapper's eyes.

"Give me my child," demanded John.

"NO, he's my child. You're going to hurt him, someday John. Maybe not
today, but if you don't take your pills you're going to hurt him," she cried

"Damn it, woman, the boy is mine. Now give him to me, or do I shoot this
cute little kid right here?" he asked as he pointed his gun to Adam's head.

"Oh!" gasped Scully. "NO, please, no!"

"Give me the kid!" he ordered again.

The woman looked helplessly at Scully. She realized she was endangering the
red headed woman's child, but she couldn't just hand over her baby to that
madman. As she observed the father of her son cock the gun, she cried out,
"NO, John__, please, no!"

The woman felt lost. If she didn't hand over her child to a madman, an
innocent child may lose his life. If she did, her son may be killed. She
held onto her son fiercely.

Finally, Scully said softly, "It'll be okay. You'll see, the baby will be

For whatever reason, whether it was a question of faith in God or trust in
humankind, the woman heeded Scully and offered her son to the child's father.
He grabbed him, though not roughly, and handed him to Mulder, so he could
climb into the agent's cart.

Scully was about to jump up and assume the role of agent, when Mulder shouted
out, "Stay seated ma'am. We don't want anyone needlessly hurt." She wanted
to kill him and hug him at the same time. She remained seated and looked on
helplessly as she heard Mulder give the command into the walkie-talkie, "Move
the first cart back down to ground level.

"Safe trip, Ma'am. Sir," he said to Scully and Richard. Mulder than sat
back down in the cart, while he held the small innocent close to his heart.


Part 4/6

The younger woman sat mutely and in shock. She didn't understand what
possessed her to hand her baby over to her husband. It was obvious he was
off kilter today. He'd neglected to take his medication for his
schizophrenic condition for the last three days, though she hadn't realized
it until they arrived at the park.

He'd begun ranting and raving about needing to be closer to God, and that the
one place he could be guaranteed to get as close as possible was to go on the
huge roller coaster at the park. No amount of telling him that the baby
wasn't allowed to go on the ride deterred him, and he grabbed the child from
her and insisted she follow him.

When she'd refused, hoping that would make him stop and think rationally, he
pulled out his gun and held it to the baby's head. She knew he would never
hurt Erik, but she wasn't sure if he wouldn't take his irrational rage out on
anyone else. She couldn't have that possibility weighing on her conscience.

All of the occupants remained silent until they'd descended to the bottom by
the exit. Walter Skinner was there to meet them. He quickly picked up Adam,
hugged him, and told him how brave he was. He repeated that for Jason, who
was not nearly as accustomed to the adventures Adam's parents were often
involved in.

Next, he shook hands with Richard before embracing him in a brief, but
emotional hug, and told him Leslie was waiting with Dawn in the
administration building. Walter pointed out the officer who would accompany
him and the children to the building to see and wait with her.

"I'll be back here in few minutes to see if there's anything I can do to
help," Richard offered, but Walter immediately declined.

"Richard, he's got a gun. He could start spraying bullets at any moment, so
I thank you for your offer, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to refuse your
offer. It's important that you stay with Les and the kids while Scully and I
deal with the situation.

Richard nodded his head as he noted the gravity with which his friend spoke.
He also noted Walter's referral to his stepdaughter as Scully instead of
Dana. When he and Leslie became friends with Mulder and Dana and the rest of
their family, he'd never envisioned the near catastrophes they'd experienced
together with them.

But he wouldn't trade those times with those good people for all the calm in
the world if it meant they couldn't be a part of one another's lives. Walter
and Maggie, as well as Dana and Fox were the kind of friends that came once
in a lifetime; you didn't do anything to jeopardize that friendship.

He nodded at Walter, kissed Dana on the cheek, and then took the boys to see
Leslie and Dawn.


Dana immediately became Special Agent Dana Scully. She had to, or she felt
as though she were going to die.

"Sir, this young woman is the mother of the baby still on the coaster with
the perp and Agent Mulder."

"My baby, my poor baby," the young woman moaned softly over and over.

"Ma'am, what's your name?" Walter asked gently.

Scully's head jerked slightly when she realized that was one piece of
information she didn't have.

"Rosa," she said quietly. "My name is Rosa Silva, my son's name is Erik, and
his name is John." She shuddered slightly and rasped, "Oh, John." Then
tears fell silently down on cheeks.

"Rosa, what kind of medication is John supposed to take?" Scully asked
gently. She remembered the fears Rosa expressed while up on top of the

"He's supposed to take the risperidone everyday. It helps him. He acts
normal when he takes his medicine. Oh, Miss, he's a good man when he takes
his medicine. Really." She took a breath and looked at the slightly
skeptical expression on both Walter and Dana.

"He does so well when he's on the medicine, he thinks he can just stop. It's
like a challenge that he feels he must overcome. Only he doesn't win; he
never, ever wins. Every time he goes off his medicine he does something
stupid. Last time he lost his job, because he started yelling and screaming
at the grocery store that there were killer-bugs in the food, and that they
were going to kill him. So he trashed the loading dock with whatever food
was waiting to be off-loaded.

"How do you explain to a boss that the man he'd hired and who'd worked so
hard just yesterday, was a raving lunatic now and did enough damage to cost
thousands of dollars damage in wasted food. You don't. You just pray he
won't sue you," she lamented.

"Rosa, has John ever hurt anyone when he was off his medication?" asked
Scully more anxiously than she intended.

"Hurt? No, never, but __." Rosa stopped. She looked at Scully and then
said, "You and he? You're together, aren't you?" she asked with sudden
realization. "Oh, dear God, he's the father of the little boy," she cried
out with anguish.

"Yes, Agent Mulder is my husband, Rosa. He's Adam's father," Scully affirmed

"Oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," Rosa said, "but he'll help my baby, won't
he? He won't let Erik get hurt!" she pleaded.

"Agent Mulder will do everything in his power to prevent anyone from getting
hurt," stated Walter Skinner. "Rosa, I'm going to have you go over to the
administration building for a few minutes with one of my agents to answer
some questions. Your answers will help us do our job in getting John and
your baby down safely."

"But I want to stay here," she begged.

"I know, but you'll help us so much by answering Agent Becker's questions.
Please, Rosa, you know if there's anything we need you to do here, we'll get
you," assured Scully, and then she added, "Please, Rosa. It's for the best
for now."

Rosa nodded, one mother to another, and left with Agent Becker.


"How the hell did this go down, Scully?" asked Skinner.

"Did you know Mulder was deathly afraid of roller coasters?" she

Walter looked directly at her to see if she was as serious as her tone
indicated, and when he realized that she was, he simply shook his head, no.
What could he say to that? What could he say that would help alleviate her
sense of helplessness?

"He was in control, Walter. Mulder had it under control. He was holding the
baby, a male, between eighteen and twenty-four months. Not as big as Dawn,
though," she said as an afterthought.

"What about John? Do you think he'll use the gun?"

"He was angry, Walter, but he seemed genuinely concerned about the child. I
don't think he'd intentionally use it," she replied.

Walter went back to the monitor where one of his agents was observing the
situation. "They're just sitting there, Sir. No conversation going on that
I could see," he informed.

"Does he still have the cellular on?'' asked Walter.

"No, Sir. It appears the cell phone is no longer in operation."

"The battery probably died, Walter. He never remembers to charge his
battery," she said with a sigh.

"Sir, look!" called out the agent on watch duty. "Something's going down!"


"John, I'm not sure what you're hoping to accomplish up here," said Mulder in
the most even tone he was able to muster.

"I want my son. Can you understand that?"

"Yes," Mulder responded softly as he held the small child in his arms, "I can

"She thinks I won't treat him right," John stated.

"She has her reasons, John."

"No. I would never hurt Erik," he replied adamantly.

"But you've put him in an unsafe situation, John." Mulder pointed out evenly.
"Think about this; he's in danger right now. Is it possible she might have
a good reason to be afraid?"

"I would never hurt Erik," he repeated but with more anger.

"What about Rosa? Would you hurt her?" Mulder asked. When John withheld his
answer, Mulder decided to try to push the envelope and asked, "Would you hurt
someone else, John? Would you hurt me?"

The big man sat in the bucket seat and shook his head while still gripping
the gun. Mulder sighed with a bit of relief and then asked his captor if he
wouldn't hand over the gun so they could end this thing right then and there.

"No, I'm afraid I can't do that. I must wait for a sign before I can do
that," John explained.

"A sign? What kind of a sign?"

John merely looked up at the sky as if the answer to Mulder's question was
written in the clouds. Suddenly, the small toddler became restless and
started twisting about. Mulder was initially surprised by the child's sudden
activity, so he quickly tried to adjust his position so the child would
remain safe.

Erik had other ideas.

He began screaming, "Mama, Mama," repeatedly, and flailing his arms and legs.
Mulder was having a difficult time keeping an eye on John's gun, while
trying to keep the baby from falling out of the roller coaster's seat.
Mulder's stomach began to do flip-flops. He became more nervous, and he said
as much to John.

"He needs you to hold him, John. He doesn't understand what's going on. You
need to pick him up and comfort him."

There was no reaction from John to Mulder's demand other than his looking
skyward. Mulder worked on soothing the baby, while John sought solace in the
sky. When John remained distracted by the cloud formations, Mulder became

"Damn it, John. I thought you wanted your son. Well, if you want him so
damn much, then start acting a father and hold him!"

John turned his face toward Mulder and the expression startled both Mulder
and the baby. John's face was so contorted, that it was impossible to
decipher what emotion was most obvious on his face. Was it fear? Anger?
Frustration? All of the above?

John's next act answered any questions Mulder might have had. The gun shots
rang out clearly, two of them hitting Mulder as he'd quickly bent over to
protect the child still squirming in his arms. The first one hit him in the
right shoulder, while the second grazed his right temple.

The third hit the camera that had been feeding the video to the monitor on
the ground. The fourth and fifth shots were sprayed indiscriminately, which
caused the bureau observers on the ground to duck quickly for cover.


Part 5/6

"What the hell was that?" Skinner demanded.

"Shots fired, Sir," replied Agent Obayashi who had arrived only moments

"Riichi, when did you get here?" asked Scully breathlessly.

"I was called in for the second back-up, Dana. What the hell's going on?"
Riichi asked.

"Perp is up in a car on the top of the coaster holding two hostages," replied

"Let me guess," stated Obayashi knowingly, "one of them is Mulder."

"And the second is an eighteen month year old boy, the perp's son," added

"Damn," reacted Riichi. "So, what's the plan?" he asked.

"Well, first we need to see what's going on up there. We've had access to a
video feed since the beginning," Skinner replied.

"Not any more, Sir. Apparently the perp shot out the camera, because the
video feed is gone," replied Agent Sean Clayton.

"Can you get it back?" asked Skinner.

"Not unless someone climbs up there and replaces it, Sir."

Skinner considered this, but quickly discarded the possibility. It was as
good as sending an agent to his death, because he had to assume the perp had
an ample supply of ammunition with him. Even if he didn't have anymore
rounds, Skinner couldn't take the chance that the baby, Mulder, or the agent
wouldn't be harmed.

"We need to get another car up there," Skinner said. "I'll go up."

"I'll go with you, Sir," announced Scully immediately.

"No, Scully. You don't get to go on this trip." Scully was about to
protest, when Skinner beat her to the punch with an explanation, "You are way
too close to this one, Agent Scully. It is not wise to have a married
partner work a rescue operation when the spouse of said married partner is
one of the principals in danger."

"Umm, begging your pardon, Sir," replied Scully with more than just a hint of
ire, "but doesn't the fact that this _same_ said married partner is your
son-in-law preclude you from participating in this rescue attempt as well?"

"That's why he's taking me up with him, Dana," interjected Riichi Obayashi.
When both AD and Special Agent looked at him with surprise, Riichi continued,
"Look, none of us are going to be able to totally remove ourselves from
feeling any anxiety about Mulder being up there, but Scully, it does make
more sense for you to stay down here.

"Forget the fact that it's foolish to put both of Adam and Dawn's parents in
danger if it's not absolutely necessary. Let's just consider the fact that
you're better equipped to run things down here if the AD is insistent about
riding the rails. Now, I'm not about to try and talk him out of this,
especially since it's quite apparent that he's made up his mind. However, I
can go up with him and cover his and Mulder's backs.

"What do you say?" he asked. It didn't take but a moment before they both
nodded their approval.

Scully reached out to clasp her friend's hand. "Thank you, Riichi," she
whispered earnestly.

She watched as both her stepfather and friend got into the car to make the
slow ascent to the top.


"You okay?" asked John, who was becoming more and more anxious as the ordeal
wore on.

"Yeah, yeah I'm fine," Mulder lied. The head wound was superficial, but
since the bullet grazed soft tissue near the eyebrow there was a lot of blood
to make it look worse than it really was.

The shoulder wound was another story. The bullet nicked the lung as it
traveled downward and Mulder began to feel the effects. The lung was
deflating, albeit slowly, but he began to have difficulty breathing.

Mulder inspected the now crying baby in his arms. He wasn't sure if any of
the bullets had hit the child, and he tried to turn the squirming toddler
around in attempt to discern whether he was injured or not. It appeared to
the agent that the blood that splattered all over Erik was not the child's
but Mulder's.

When John finally realized what Mulder was doing, he asked him if Erik was
all right. When Mulder nodded that he was, the child's father let out an
audible sigh of relief.

"He may not be next time, John," Mulder panted slightly.

"I won't hurt him," John declared vehemently.

"John," Mulder whispered in an effort to save his breath, "did you want to
hurt me?"

"No! No, I didn't mean for anyone to get hurt. I just need to get closer to
Him so I can get the answers I need," John replied quickly.

"But John, you did hurt me," answered Mulder. "If you shoot the gun off
again, what's to prevent you from hitting Erik?" Mulder paused for a moment
to catch his breath. It was becoming more and more difficult for him to
breathe and speak at the same time. He wondered if he should push John
anymore than he already had.

As it became more and more difficult for him to catch his breath, Mulder
realized he was running out of time. He had to push the man now, for when
Mulder lost consciousness there wouldn't be any choice in the matter.

Mulder panted between each word as he challenged, "John, you almost hurt the

"NO! I won't hurt the baby," John cried back defiantly.

"Look at him, John. He's covered in my blood. It could have just as easily
been his own," Mulder said breathlessly.

"NO! I would nev__," he argued when suddenly they'd heard a screeching sound
come closer and closer.

Mulder turned around and saw a second car, with two figures in it, coming
toward them. He prayed that one of those figures wasn't Scully. John was in
a psychotic episode, and Mulder had no idea how the perp was going to react.

When he saw who was in the car, Mulder felt no less relief. The last person
in the world he figured to make the climb was Walter. Mulder assumed he
would remain at ground level coordinating things. Then he noticed with some
surprise his colleague and friend, Riichi Obayashi.

It took Mulder only a few minutes to realize there was no way Skinner would
ever allow Scully to be up here, but there was no way Scully and Riichi would
allow Skinner to do this on his own. If it didn't hurt so much to breathe,
Mulder would have let out a sigh of relief.

Unfortunately, Mulder now had to pause several times before he finished the
sentence, "John, there are people coming to talk to you. Are you ready to
talk so we can end this now?"

"What do they want? I just want my kid. I want them to all leave me the
hell alone and let me have my kid! Oh, God, hurry up and give me a sign.
Hurry, God, please. Tell me what to do, tell me what to do!" John cried out
increasingly frenetic.

Skinner and Obayashi's car crept forward and was soon with a few feet of
Mulder's. Skinner noted the blood all over his agent and called out to make
contact. "Mulder, how ya doing?"

The lung injury now precluded Mulder from being able to speak loudly enough
to be heard. He couldn't take in enough air to shout his response, so he
looked at John and told him to answer for him.

"Tell him my lung got nicked," Mulder coached.

"How do you know?" John asked seriously, to which Mulder could only gasp out
a chuckle and told John to trust him; he was all too familiar with collapsed

John looked at the agent who sat slightly hunched forward in obvious
discomfort, but who still managed to keep a tight grasp on the small,
writhing child.

The big man looked up and over at the newcomers, and called out Mulder's
words. He noted the bald man looked almost pained upon hearing the words,
while the Asian guy's expression remained unchanged.

"John, Agent Mulder is hurt. Let us take him down with us so he can be
treated. Let us take your son with us, so he doesn't get hurt," Skinner

"My son stays with me. I have to wait for a sign. They told me to get close
to God so I could see the sign. They told me. Now go away!" John shouted in
frustration. "Go away, or the sign won't come!"

Skinner and Obayashi had a plan, but neither was sure if it would do more
harm than good. They'd left instructions with the ride operator that if they
heard any more gunfire, he was to start both cars moving immediately. Now
that they saw Mulder's condition, both men were leery of putting him through
the loop-d-loop.

Skinner was especially worried; he'd only just learned that his agent was
actually terrified of roller coasters. The thought of making him go through
the motions of one while he was injured seemed too cruel, even if it was
their best option to end the standoff without anyone else getting hurt.

"Do we have a choice?" asked Obayashi.

"We could wait him out. How much ammo do you think he has with him?" Skinner

"Don't know. I wonder if Mulder has any idea. If the perp doesn't have
anymore, then maybe we could start the cart going down without fear of him
firing," Obayashi considered.

Skinner nodded, but neither man knew how to ask Mulder about the perp's ammo
supply without the perp knowing about it. And Mulder was hurt, so there was
little time to waste.

"We could just ask him," suggested the agent.

"Who? Mulder?" queried Skinner.

"No, Sir. John."

"Beg pardon?" responded the AD confused.

"We've got nothing to lose in asking him, Sir. Just ask him and see how he
reacts; let's see if Mulder can give us any indication if he's seen anymore
ammo," explained Agent Obayashi.

"This is crazy, Riichi," Skinner said in dismay, "but I don't see we have too
many options, and it's just crazy enough to work." He paused and then
encouraged the younger man to try and get the perp to talk.

"So, John, how much longer can you keep us up here?" shouted Riichi.

"As long as it takes for God to tell me what to do," he called back.

"John, I gotta ask you a question, and I'd appreciate it if you give me an
honest answer." Riichi paused and waited for his target to look at him.
When he made eye contact, the agent asked, "How many more rounds of ammo do
you have in there with you?"

"Enough to keep you off my back," was his quick reply.

Mulder looked over at Riichi and shook his head. It wasn't clear to Riichi
if he was shaking his head because John was bullshitting them and had little
ammo left, or if he was warning them not to screw around with him.

Riichi stared long and hard at Mulder in the hope he'd be able to figure out
Mulder's intent. He wished he could be sure, but when Skinner asked his
opinion about the amount of ammo available, Riichi made a gut decision.

"I think Mulder tried to tell us there is no more."

"What about his clip?" Skinner confirmed. When Riichi shrugged his shoulders
somewhat helplessly, Skinner nodded once and then called in the order to the
gate operator. "Bring 'em down, slowly. Not too fast, I've got an injured
agent in that car."

To the surprise of the hostages and their keeper, the cart slowly started
moving but then quickly picked up speed.

Walter was just as surprised to see how quickly the cart holding Mulder,
Erik, and the perp was traveling. The most astonished of them all was John,
who quickly became not only astounded but also angry. The cart was no longer
at the apex of the coaster, and therefore was no longer giving John his
access to the Lord.

John began to scream out in frustrated anger, "Take me back! Take me back,
oh Lord, and tell me what to do! What do I do?"

Part 6/6

Mulder wondered if the elderly man who was operating the ride was still in
his seat down below. Given the speed, with which the car was going, he
somehow doubted it. Mulder looked ahead of him and realized they were
getting ready to dive. The plunges were the worst for him, and since he
could anticipate them, the fear intensified.

An even bigger problem was that he wasn't strapped in tightly enough and
neither was the baby. John most certainly wasn't prepared for the steep
forward movement, and Mulder yelled as loudly as he could his warning.

It was for naught.

As the cart reached its highest point and began to teeter forward to plummet
toward the earth, John let out a bloodcurdling scream and tumbled forward out
of the cart. He plunged downward just as Mulder's cart was going forward as

Somehow, in an amazing bit of tragic irony, John's body landed on the track
directly below and Mulder's cart was going to be heading in that direction
momentarily. Mulder realized with horror that when his cart came to the
section where John's body laid, it was probable that Mulder's cart would jump
the track and he, along with baby Erik, would fall to their deaths as well.

Suddenly, however, Mulder felt his cart make a sudden shift in direction. He
was heading away from where John's body lay, but was instead moving back
toward the stretch that would take him to the loop-d-loop. It was a circular
track that seemingly suspended the car upside down when it reached its apex.
Mulder became nauseated and wondered why they didn't just turn the damn power

Mulder held onto the baby and tried his best to prepare for the trip around
the loop. His stomach felt as though it was going to jump out through his
mouth. The cart traveled at a steady rate, so he didn't have the anxiety of
waiting until it reached its apex and then plummet to the track level below.

It was at this moment that Mulder felt he was going to lose every meal he'd
ever eaten in his lifetime. He understood the dilemma. They couldn't get
the cart down until John's body was removed from the track. For some reason
they had Mulder traveling the loop-d-loop trip over and over again while they
figured it out.

Why they weren't able to stop the car at that point was anyone's guess. All
Mulder knew was that if they didn't get him off of that ride soon, it
wouldn't matter if he were hyperventilating from fear. The bullet pretty
much deflated his lung, and he was unable to catch a decent breath at all at
that point.

And then to make matters worse, Erik began to cry.

Mulder felt very much like joining him.


"SHIT!" screamed out Riichi.

"Who is it?" Skinner demanded to know.

"The perp, Sir. It's John," Riichi reassured.

Walter let out a sigh of relief, but he then asked, "Where's Mulder?"

Riichi held his hand up to his forehead to best block out the sun, when he
spotted the other car. "There, Sir. He's over there."

"Why the hell don't they get him down?" muttered Skinner. "Damn it, what are
they waiting for?" He quickly picked up his walkie-talkie and asked for the
ride operator.

"What's going on? Why can't you stop the other cart?"

The agent looked over at the aged operator and waited for an explanation.

"Look at where your man is," the operator said as he pointed to the perfect
circle. "I had to switch the track so your man wouldn't run over that
madman. I don't know if the guy is still alive or not, but I do know if your
agent's cart ran over him, he'd be killed for sure. Your officer wouldn't be
in too good of shape either. The car would probably jump off the track and
kill him and the child," the operator explained.

"So why don't you just cut the power?" Riichi asked.

"If I cut the power at the wrong time, I don't know how the cart will react.
He could go flying off the track at this point. This coaster wasn't designed
to be stopped in the middle of the loop."


"Mama! Mama! Mama!"

"I've got you, Erik. Swear, I've got you," Mulder panted. "Won't let you
fall. Promise. Hold you."

"Mama, Mamamamamamama..."

The child's pleas for his mother droned on as Mulder attempted to keep a
tight grip on the toddler. He tried desperately to keep in mind that he was
on a modern day mechanism that was perfectly safe and would not snap in two
and end up plummeting him and the child he held onto for dear life to the
ground below.

Way too far below.

While Erik cried out loud for his mother, Mulder found himself calling out to
Scully with equal fervor in his mind.


Skinner took the operator's words in, and then pressing on the
walkie-talkie's send key, ordered the operator to stop Mulder's car as soon
as it was safe to do so. Next, he directed the elderly man to send their car
over to retrieve the perp.

As Skinner and Riichi's car headed back up toward the track where the perp
laid, they could see Mulder's car slowly come to a halt as it came to rest at
the bottom of the loop.

They were finally close enough to pull John's body into their car, though it
was apparent to both agents that the man was dead. Next, they spoke to the
operator via their walkie-talkie and directed him to bring Mulder down slowly
and carefully.

Miraculously, the operator was able to do just that, and Mulder's cart
reached the bottom shortly after Skinner and Riichi's.

Paramedics were all over Mulder and the child immediately. When it was
determined none of the blood that covered the baby was his own, Erik was
turned over to Rosa. Scully, on the other hand, knew all too well that the
blood that covered Mulder's shirt was his own.

She relayed the necessary information to the EMTs quickly and efficiently.

"Sounds like you've done this before," one of the paramedics retorted.

Scully merely nodded, but couldn't help thinking what an understatement that
was. She looked over at Skinner who immediately let her know he'd bring
Adam to the hospital.

The Goldfarbs, as well as Riichi, were to follow them to the hospital. Rosa
was allowed to take her son home, with the knowledge that the bureau would be
in contact with her to finalize their report.

And Mulder's gurney was hoisted up into the ambulance. He sucked in the
oxygen that he received through the mask as he reached out for Scully's hand.
Next, he pulled the mask off so he could be heard.

"Kids all right?"

"Yes, Mulder they're fine, now put the mask back on."


"He's dead, Mulder." When she saw her husband wince, she consoled, "I'm
sorry, Mulder. I know you tried your best."

"Helluva ride, Dane."

"Yes, it was. But you're down on the ground, almost in one piece, and that's
what counts," she replied with a slight smirk.

"Almost in one piece," he echoed in agreement, though he supposed for not the
exact same reasons. "Yeah, helluva ride."

He closed his eyes as Scully replaced the oxygen mask. All she could do was
murmur in agreement, "Yes it was, G-man, one helluva ride."
End of Part 6/6

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