Lone Gunmen's dwellings
Mulder pounded at the door until he was afraid he would break right through it. "I'm not in the mood for games now, guys. Let me in." Little pig, little pig. Truth was, he hadn't the slightest what the Gunmen's latest password was.
"Frohike, open the door," Scully said, her voice commanding.
"For you, anything," came the reply. The door swung open, revealing Mulder's
three paranoid friends.
"Hi buddy, why didn't you _say_ you had brought your lovely partner?"
Mulder pushed past them, and made his way through the cluttered room. Taking a seat on a stool by the computer, he said, "What'd you find for me?"
Byers sat down next to him and began typing on the keyboard. A screen popped up. "Apparently Allyanna was ended abruptly in 1978, as I told you before."
"And..." Scully inquired.
"And, for the early Allyanna at least, I came up with a whole stack of information, but its all random. Dates, places, first names. Nothing fits together. I even tried to decode it, but it seems pretty straight forward. As nothing." Byers showed them the list.
Mulder squinted in concentration. "Print me out a copy of that, will you?"
"Sure." They did, and Mulder put the printout into his extensive file of Marcus Berkowitz.
"I'll take a look at those later. Now what did you find about the re-emerging Project Allyanna?"
Langly shrugged. "Not much. A legal lookin' document and some signatures."
"On the database?" Scully asked.
"Yes. I'll print that out for you too, if you want, but it's not too clear. It apparently was scanned on, and the nothing but the signatures is clear."
"I think we'd be interested in those," Scully said slowly, with a look over to Mulder, who nodded.
The printer hummed, and a single page shot out. Mulder slipped it in his file. "Anything else?"
"Want to see what we did to our copy of Mortal Combat? It's now interactive and you can play with up to eighty-six players, plus you have a choice of various nuclear and biological weapons as well as the normal machine guns and such."
"I'll take a rain check, thanks," Mulder said. "See you, gentlemen."
Walking to the car, Scully had to take several quick steps to keep up to one of her partner's long, determined strides.
"They really didn't help us much, Mulder."
He shrugged. "We'll work with what we can get. These guys are the best, we're not going to get any better than this info here."
Scully peered up. "I've never heard you give in so easily."
"Well, let's just say I have a feeling we can get something out of this."
"Yeah? Want to share with me exactly _what_?" Scully asked. They had reached the car and she pushed Mulder over to the passengers side.
"Are you sure your feet can reach the pedals on this car? I'm not sure exactly what. But I know a good source for analyzing signatures, and I think I can get something out of those dates and stuff."
"That's still not a lot," she argued.
"Well, if we get bored, we can always go over and play Mortal Combat."
"Scully, I got something."
"Hm?" Scully looked up from her own pile of dates, places and first names. She had been getting nowhere and hoped Mulder was having more success than she. Hearing his voice was a great relief to her, especially saying the words "I got something."
"Yeah. Look at this date, October 9, 1986."
"What about it?" she asked.
"All the other dates are before 1978, when the project terminated. But this is eight years after. And I think I've seen this date before, I'm not sure where."
"One of Kennedy's files maybe?"
Mulder shrugged. "I don't know. Can you look for it, and I'll keep going through these? I think I've got a system to connect the places to the dates, but I'm not sure about the names."
Scully, hopeful she could outsmart her partner at one thing, said, "Tell me the names, maybe I'll get it."
"Um.... Henry, Oliver, Hart, Martin, Alloicious."
She winced on the last one. "Are those any of the names that have shown up in Kennedy's documents, or Caleb Berkowitz's?"
He shook his head.
Scully stared at the ceiling for a minute. "How about middle names?"
"Actually, I don't know. You may be on to something. See what you can do, okay? I'll be right back." He stood, arched his back in a stretch, then headed for the bathroom. Closing the door after himself, he stood in front of the sink, placed his hands on the rim and leaned forward to get a good look in the mirror. His eyes, he noticed, were bloodshot, and his complexion pale. His head had been pounding for a while now, but he hadn't wanted to mention anything, lest he startle Scully back into her doctor mode. He let the water run for a minute, until it was as cold as he could get it, and cupped his hands under the faucet and brought the water up to his face. It woke him up a bit and, after a three more splashes, he wiped his face with a towel off the rack and returned to the living room.
"Find anything?" he asked.
Scully shook her head. "But I'll keep looking," she said. "Why don't you get back to work on connecting dates to those places."
He nodded and collapsed back on the floor, crossing his legs Indian-style. Swallowing a yawn, he picked up his stack of papers, slid his reading glasses on, and began working.
Mulder sighed as he turned yet another page. He had found nothing and the pounding in his head that had been a minor problem before was slowly becoming a major difficulty. The words were beginning to blur before his eyes. After all, wasnt Scully warning him that one of these days he would get eye strain.
He squinted, and was relieved to see some of the words more clearly than he could before. He glanced at Scully, glad to see her engrossed in her own notes. For a minute he just looked at her and smiled. Her eyes were quickly scanning the written text before her, the light reflecting off her own pair of glasses. Her hair fell into her face and she looked so involved, so determined. So .cute.
"Are you okay, Mulder?"
He looked up at her voice, and let the papers fall to his lap. He felt a yawn wanting to come on, but fought it off. "Im fine, Scully, he replied, though his voice sounded a little weary to his own ears. He hoped Scully didnt notice.
No such luck. Immediately, she put her own papers down and turned more of her attention toward him. "Mulder, youre squinting."
Immediately he denied it. "No Im not."
"Yes you are."
"Im not." Mulder suddenly felt like he was about to get himself into a game of "are, not", a game he had last played as a child. These days it seemed less a game, more a bargaining chip.
Scully, meanwhile had moved closer toward Mulder. She took his glasses off, folded them neatly and placed them on a table. She took the papers off his lap. "Mulder," she said with a sigh, "when were you going to tell me you felt bad?"
"I feel fine," Mulder repeated beginning to hate those words and the meaning they conveyed.
Scully ignored his words and pushed forward. "How long have you had the headache?" she asked an a no-nonsense voice. Mulder knew it wouldnt be long before she launched into her "doctor" voice and the actions that came along with it. He relented, knowing he wouldnt win. When did he ever win, anyway?
"Not long," he admitted and she raised her eyebrows in a look that said, "tell me the truth, Mulder." He sighed. "Ok, well maybe a little longer than that."
Scully let her expression relax and sighed. "Mulder, this has got us both occupied now that neither of us can think straight."
"But were close, Scully."
"Arent we always, Mulder? Close to the truth, too close. Mulder, I dont want to think about getting too close. Think of all the times you got too close."
Mulder nodded, recalling the pains he endured from getting to close to "their" plans. Of course he never thought that the "they" he was searching for could be as close as immediate family. Hed always known his father was involved, he just didnt want to admit to himself that his father had Samantha taken. He had fooled himself, and denied the truth.
Scully was next to him as soon as he slumped. "Mulder, you need some sleep," she reasoned, "and some Excedrin." She got up and walked into the kitchen. Mulder heard the tap run for a second then Scully reappeared, glass and pills in hand. She handed both to him and watched him swallow them carefully.
"Off to bed," she said getting up and offering him a hand. Normally he would have shrugged her hand off and gotten up himself, but he was too tired to be macho. He accepted her hand and she helped him regain his footing. He had barely gotten up before Scully was steering him into his bedroom. He noticed she had pushed the junk he usually kept on his bed off. To where, he didnt know. She pushed him down onto the bed gently, and he landed with a soft thud.
"Scully, you need rest too. Go home," he told her.
Scully smiled at his remark. "And leave you alone with just your conscience to follow orders? In your dreams, Mulder."
"On the contrary, Scully. Having you stay is part of my dreams," he teased and he thought he saw Scully do a very unScully-like thing: blush.
"Did I just see Agent Scully blush?"
Scully smiled and pushed him down, and took his shoes off. "I think your tired mind is seeing things." She sat down on the edge of the bed and took a good "doctor" glance at him. She gripped his wrist, taking his pulse, and watching her watch.
His hand gripped her wrist as she finished. "Im fine, Scully. Just a little tired."
"There is no such thing as a little tired for you, Mulder," she teased as her head brushed his forehead. She paused slightly then moved it away. Mulder knew she was checking his temperature and trying to do it without him knowing.
"I dont have a fever, Scully," he said as he settled against the pillows most comfortably. Suddenly he was having a hard time keeping his eyes open.
"Go to sleep, Mulder." He closed his eyes, the fatigue catching up with him. The last thing he felt as he fell asleep was Scullys hand again brushing his forehead.
Scully was long gone by the time Mulder managed to drag his eyelids open. Actually, considering the long list of recent injuries he had obtained, he wasn't feeling too bad. Walking to the living room where they had been working last night, Mulder discovered that Scully had had some progress.
On a post-it, in her neat script she had written out the names: Henry, Oliver, Hart, Martin, Alloicious. Under that, she had written, Thomas H. Moralis, Edward O. Sigourney, Marcus H. Berkowitz, Benjamin M. Kahn, Alec A. Harris.
Mulder's phone was ringing. He instinctively reached to his pocket for his cell phone, then realized a. he didn't have his cell on him and b. the ringing was coming from the table. He reached up and grabbed the phone and brought it to his ear.
"Hi, it's me. Did you find my notes?" Scully.
"Yes, they're right here. What's all this mean though?"
She said, "Look at the middle initials on all of those names. Each middle initial matches up with a first name on that sheet the Gunmen gave us."
Mulder pulled himself up so he was sitting on the couch. "So those first names are actually middle names."
"If my theory is right, yes. It's a simple way of coding who did what but, I have to say, it did throw me off for quite a few hours."
"A few hours?" Mulder asked. "How late were you working."
On her end, Scully shrugged, then realized Mulder couldn't see her and said, "I don't know. Until midnight maybe."
He frowned. "Are you home now?"
"No, I'm at work."
"Don't worry, _mom_, I got enough sleep. It's pretty late, why don't you come on over now."
Mulder glanced at his watch for the first time that day and saw that it was, indeed, late.
"Sorry partner," he said sheepishly. "I didn't mean to leave you with all the work. Guess I overslept."
"That's okay, you needed it. Come on over when you're ready, I think I found something."
J. Edgar Hoover Building
"What'd you find?" Mulder said when he stepped into the room.
"Good morning to you too," his partner replied. She waved him over. "Look at this. See after every name and place here, right above the letters, is a number? Look, this is one, and two, three, four etc. I put them in order. Then I put all the dates out in chronological order. By using the little numbers after the names and places, you can match them up with whatever date comes chronologically first, or second or whatever. Look." She handed a piece of paper to him.
May 16, 1964 Edward O. Sigourney (Oliver) Melbourn, MA
Nov. 11, 1964 Marcus H. Berkowitz (Hart) Los Angeles, CA
June 8, 1966 Benjamin M. Kahn (Martin) Fort Wayne, IN
August 29, 1969 Alec A. Harris (Alloicious) Hathaway, ML
October 25, 1971 Thomas H. Moralis (Henry) Norwalk, CT
Mulder was shaking his head. "Scully that's great, I would've never thought of that. But what does this all mean? I mean, what is the actual meaning of this connection between the person, place and date?"
"Maybe the 'club's' meetings?" Scully suggested.
"I was thinking that too, but they must've met more often than that." Mulder dropped down onto the couch and, resting his chin on one fist, assumed the thinking position.
"Or maybe they didn't. Maybe that's how they were so secretive, because they hardly met at all. And they kept choosing new locations to meet. So when they "closed down", they just met a bit more infrequently, but still continued the work."
Mulder was silent. Scully watched him consider this, and jumped when he stood abruptly and marched to the door. "All right, well, I'm going on the database to see if I can find anything else. I'll look up those places and dates..... see if I come up with anything."
"What should I do, Mulder?" Scully asked.
He shrugged and flipped on his computer. Scully sat silently on the arm of the couch and waited for Mulder to turn around and give her some order. When he didn't after several minutes, she began to wonder. Mulder had never been like this before. He seemed sort of..... cold. She wondered if he was, perhaps, jealous, that she had pieced together so much information when he couldn't find anything.
"Mulder," she began.
"Not now, Scully, I need to do this."
She sighed. Partners. "Okay, well I'm going out to get some lunch. Unlike _some_ people, I didn't get to sleep in, and I'm ready for a break." She waited for him to turn around, again, but he just nodded.
"Sure, Scully," he said, eyes glued to the screen. Scully grabbed her jacket off the coat tree and left.
Mulder wanted to throw his computer through the wall, and if it didnt help him soon, he just might. The dates and names drew blanks. According to what he could find, Project Allyanna might as well have never existed. He sighed. It was so frustrating! He slammed his hand on the desk, barely missing pounding his coffee mug into a million tiny pieces.
These man had normal jobs. They had families and wives. They were part of the community, even donated money to the PTA. They were the last people anyone would suspect were involved in dirty government business. They were the perfect next-door neighbors, the ones with the perfect children and the perfect dog.
But Mulder knew looks could be very deceiving. The "perfect" children grew up to be in therapy and became drug addict because of the lack of love they received from their parents. The "perfect" dog was a neglected animal, only cared by the children, who turned to it for their only sense of love and comfort. The money donated to the PTA wasnt always "clean" money, and it always had a few strings attached. Their "wives" were detached, and sought other men to satisfy them. Yes, Mulder knew the game well.
He looked back at his glaring computer and saw his reflection in the screen as the black screen saver came up. A thirty seven year-old man who still didnt know the secrets of his childhood. A man with nightmares of his sisters abduction. One who may be smart, but was never smart enough to find his sister. One who never seemed to get it right.
He shook his head and picked up his coffee cup, downing some of the cold liquid inside. He was failing Samantha, but that wasnt what bothered him as much; what bothered him was that he was failing Scully.
Scully. His partner. The person who, since she had been partnered with him, had been abducted, had been through cancer, and had discovered a daughter that was never meant to be. Maybe if he found out how his father was involved in the big web of things, he could find his sister. But at the very least he wanted to give Scully answers. He wanted answers. The thoughts made his head swim. Answers came with a big price tag today, and Mulder was unsure of his credit card limit before it cut in two.
He had been lucky. Found some breaks. But those breaks usually came with a near death experience. Nearly dying on the ice and in Eisenhower Field and seizures from getting a hole drilled in his head with just a couple. Scully was right, as soon as he good close, he was in danger. They were both in danger.
He glanced around his office and he eyes fell to the filing cabinet. He slowly got up, wincing as a unexpected pain hit his head, and walked to it. He bent down and opened the drawer and located the file he wanted. Well, the files he wanted. Samanthas and Scullys. He looked at both folders in his hand and sighed. A headache was definitely coming on. He took both folders back to his desk, intending to go other thoroughly, hoping to find something he missed the other thousand times he had looked at them. He dropped them on the desk and jumped as he heard a ping. A glance toward his computer screen told him it was his e-mail alert. He frowned and clicked on the icon to open it. He paled at the words the e-mail contained.
A warning, Mr. Mulder. A warning before its too late.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Scully strolled into the building, a take-out bag in her hand. She had gone back home and taken the shower shed skipped this morning, then decided to bring take-out to Mulder in the office. He was distant, and Scully hoped he wasnt going to get himself in trouble. She always tried to stop him, but Mulder got himself deeply involved, always routed to his search. It would take a crowbar to get him away.
She took the elevator down to the basement, watching with a half-interested eye as the numbers lit up. The doors opened and let her into the basement. She quickly made her way toward the office, not surprised to find the door closed when she reached it. She gently turned the knob.
"Mulder, I brought lunch," she said as she walked in, but got no response.
She walked in further and found him staring at the computer, a file in his hands, which seemed to be trembling just a bit.
"Mulder?" she said, hoping to get his attention.
He looked up at her, his face blank and pale, and immediately Scully felt concern for him. "They know, Scully," he said softly, almost a whisper. He let the folder drop back onto the desk.
"Who knows, Mulder?" she asked as she approached his desk to get a good look at him. His eyes seemed slightly dilated, though Scully knew that could be because of the computer. He looked slightly flushed, though not any more than last night, and he had only been mildly warm then. Nothing much to worry about so she let it drop. But he was pale and did look a bit shaken.
"_They_ Scully, he repeated and Scully gripped his wrist.
"Mulder, your pulse is racing. What happened?"
Mulder shook his head as if to clear it and pointed to the computer. "That, Scully. I got that e-mail a little while ago."
Scully let go of Mulders wrist and turned to read the screen. She sighed at the words.
"They could just be trying to scare-"
"No, Scully. They know what I want." He sighed and leaned back against his chair. "They are going to bury themselves deeper. If I go any further, theyll take action. And not just against me. That would be too easy."
Scully nodded, understanding. The unspoken risks were left to air out in the moment of silence that passed by them.
"So, were more careful," Scully said finally.
"Careful is only a word, Scully."
"Then we play it their way."
"Their way?" Mulder asked, sitting up.
"Well, usually in this kind of fight, one person is left standing. Well have to make sure its us."
"Thats harder than you think, Scully."
"Everything is harder then you think, Mulder. But weve both got something on our sides that may help."
Scully leaned in closer toward Mulder, her cross dangling. She grabbed Mulders hand. "Faith. In each other."
That night, back at Mulder's apartment, the two agents were spread out on the floor reviewing paperwork with large cups of cold coffee by their sides when the phone rang.
"Agent Mulder, is Agent Scully there with you?" Mulder recognized the gruff voice as Skinner.
"Sure, sir, here you go." He handed the phone over to Scully who gave him a look like "how'd he know I was here?"
"Sir?" Scully asked. She pulled herself up and sat crossed-legged, her back against the wall. When she leaned her head back, her hair spilled stark red against the white, and she seemed to be studying the ceiling as the AD spoke. Mulder watched her listen silently until she said, "But sir, I..." Skinner apparently cut her off and then Scully said resignedly, "All right. Yes, sir. Bye."
She handed the receiver to Mulder who reached over and hung it up. "What'd he say?" he asked.
Scully sighed. "Evidently someone in VCS overheard that I was presently free and partnerless, and they want me to do the pathology report on one of the cases they're in the middle of."
"Partnerless?" Mulder echoed.
"Yes, you, mister, are on vacation, remember?"
"Oh yeah, how could I forget?" He mumbled. "So when do you have to leave?"
"Well the case is in Fairfield so they want me down there tomorrow morning."
Mulder pulled out his folder which was beginning to get dog-eared from constant reviewing and traveling. "Scully, the last meeting that the 'club' had was on October 25, 1971 in Norwalk, CT. That's right next to Fairfield, isn't it?"
"I think so. What are you saying, Mulder?" She asked slowly, not wanting to encourage her partner's idea in anyway until she knew what exactly he had in mind.
"I'm saying how about I go with you? I could say its a trip, not a business trip, but just a trip on my vacation, and I could check out the town where they had their last meeting while you work on the pathology report for the VCS. Then at night we could conference and you could help me. Hey, were you able to connect any name to that set of place and date?"
"Yeah, Thomas H. Moralis, referred to as 'Henry' in the documents."
Mulder sat still for a moment, trying to think of what the documents had said about "Henry". His photographic memory was pulling a blank on him at that moment. "Scully, I'm going to go through and see what these say about 'Henry' and then pack. You go home and get some sleep and I'll meet you tomorrow morning at the airport."
"Mulder, wait, _wait_," she ordered. He stopped from where he had begun sorting madly through the files, trying to find the one he wanted.
"Mulder," she said. "You _can't_ go to Connecticut with me. First off, you're still recuperating, and second, I have no idea how long this is going to take. What if we're still away in Connecticut and Skinner calls up and orders you to come back on duty and you're not at home? Huh?"
"Then I'll come home," he said patiently. "Go, Scully. You need all the rest you can get. What time did Skinner say your flight was?"
Scully stood and shrugged into her jacket. "Eight-thirty five," she said. "Look, Mulder...."
"No buts about it, Scully, this is perfect. See you tomorrow." With that, he pulled open the door, gently shoved his partner through it, and slammed the door.
"He's going where?" The voice was calm, as always, and surrounded in a shadow of smoke.
"Our meeting," the calm voice said. "It was too long ago, he won't find a thing."
"But sir," the other was getting nervous. "He's on to us. He's too close. We _need_ to do something about this."
End Part 04/06