Welcome To The Harem
Full Measure Justification by Martha Little
Summary: Deslea's rec: "It's not often that a fic captures the way Byers, Langly and Frohike bounce ideas off one another. This one is just a small glimpse into the everyday inner workings of the Gunmen, but well worth a look."
Rating: PG13 - language
Spoilers: The Lone Gunmen (S1), X Files (S6)
Summary: Three news stories intrigue the Gunmen.
Notes: The title is a combination of two typesetting terms,
`full measure' and `justify'; I do not know if there is such
a notion as `full measure justification'. Thanks to Mel W
for introducing me to the concept of spiders. I also make a
mention of Sally's unfinished Gunmen prom-queen
Disclaimer notes: A number of the incidences noted in this
fic happened where I live, with the exception of the missing
intern. Names have been changed or omitted, and comments
made by the characters do not necessarily reflect the
aftermath or my opinion of such events. As always, the
recognizable characters contained in this fic are the
creative property of FOX Broadcasting and 1013 Productions
and are used without their permission.
Full Measure Justification
Lone Gunmen Headquarters
Takoma Park, Maryland
Sunday, July 29, 2001
"Sons of bitches!"
Frohike's voice reverberated around the area of their
warehouse set aside for dining and light reading. Having
poured through his share of the morning newspapers looking
for - and failing to find - anything worthy of his
attention, he had logged onto his laptop to download
messages and began grumbling and cursing almost immediately.
Byers and Langly were quite used to these outbursts and
barely acknowledged the intrusion into their breakfast-
cereal-and-newsprint morning ritual.
Jimmy, still the new guy to the daily routine at The Lone
Gunman offices, was the only one to show any interest in
Frohike's displeasure. "What's wrong?"
Frohike did not immediately answer, opting instead to reread
the message to be sure that he had understood it correctly
in the first place. His fist slammed against the table,
knocking over several playing pieces from the nearby chess
board in the process. "Those bastards at Quinn-Gibbs killed
Byers' interest was finally piqued, as he folded and set
aside his newspaper to join him. "Your spider found another
"Spiders?" Jimmy wondered out loud and then turned to Langly
with a puzzling gaze. "We've got spiders?"
Frohike clicked on one of the icons on the desktop to bring
up a saved file for reference. "That makes four in nine
months that we *know* of. What in the hell is wrong with
"I hate spiders," Jimmy whispered to no one in particular
before gathering up his and Byers' abandoned cereal bowls to
take back to the kitchen.
"Look at this," Frohike pointed to the screen as Byers
walked around the table to read over his shoulder. "The guy
died five days ago, and now they're saying that it might be
Byers began to read the article out loud. "Thomas Woodleaf,
29, an associate chemist with Quinn-Gibbs Pharmaceutical,
died earlier this week from what hospital officials
initially classified as undetermined causes. After further
investigation, officials at the Virginia State Bureau of
Investigation are now directing their questioning to the
events that led up to Woodleaf's death, including that of
previous hospitalizations of the deceased that also involved
"They've been trying to off him for months now," Frohike
interrupted. "Why didn't those doctors catch it the first
Byers shrugged his shoulders. "Arsenic poisoning is not one
of those things that is tested for with every unknown
ailment, and the testing itself takes some time to run.
Unless you suspect it as a cause . . ." He broke off
further comment, being distracted when Jimmy reentered the
room and began to noisily push furniture away from the
walls. "Jimmy, what are you doing?"
Jimmy, now knelt down on the floor with the top half of his
body obscured by the couch, raised the hand holding the can
of Raid that was usually found underneath the kitchen sink.
"I'm getting rid of the spiders."
It took Byers about ten seconds to mentally connect the dots
and reach Jimmy before the latter started to fumigate the
entire building. "No, Jimmy. A spider is a computer
program that we use. It looks for stories on newspaper
sites that involve a specific company or a particular person
and notifies us when it's found one. That way, we don't
miss an event that might be of use to us."
Jimmy scrambled to his feet. "I thought that's why you guys
always have that stack of newspapers to go through every
morning. You know, `reading between the lines' for that
next big story."
"We can't possibly get our hands on every newspaper out
there, and there is always that chance that we might miss a
story, which is why we rely on our spiders to find those of
a particular interest." Having dispensed with the lesson,
Byers turned his attention to refilling his empty coffee
Jimmy smiled and nodded his head, adding this to his mental
scoreboard of the new items that he had learned this past
week. Eager to continue his assistantship with `The Lone
Gunman', he turned his attention to Frohike. "You say that
there've been other deaths?"
"Yeah, not that anyone gives a damn." Frohike was still
grumbling, unhappy at the lack of enthusiasm from his
longtime colleagues to the new developments in his pet
Frohike looked up from the laptop to Jimmy's face, bright
with puppy-like eagerness and an intellect to match, and
thought about dismissing his interest but reconsidered. An
audience was an audience, he thought as he took a deep
breath to begin. "Okay. About nine months ago, a woman
named Sheila Dodds fell from an overpass onto the interstate
highway below. She might have survived the fall if she
hadn't been run over by a semi. The local police got
reports from eyewitnesses that said that a man was seen
walking with her just prior to the fall, and they later
identified that man as her husband whom neighbors said was
verbally abusive towards her. So the police question the
guy and, lo and behold, he confesses to pushing her over the
side because - get this - a voice told him to do it.
"Next up - Lorenzo Maness. Six months ago, Lorenzo stopped
his car at a train crossing when the signals started going
off. Then, for reasons unknown, Lorenzo puts his car on the
tracks just as the train approaches the intersection. The
people waiting in the car on the other side of the tracks
gave a sworn statement to the police that another car rammed
Lorenzo's deliberately to push him into the path of the
train, but no one on the train notices this second car. The
official cause of death is still listed as suicide.
"Then last month, Deanna Moore is found drowned in a motel
bathtub. No flags are raised until the autopsy reports come
back that showed that she had high levels of something
similar to Ecstasy in her bloodstream. Then they just wrote
her off as a junkie who got careless."
Jimmy stood there, mouth open in disbelief at the
strangeness of the story being told. "And all three of
these people . . ."
"All three of these *dead* people also happen to be employed
by Quinn-Gibbs, same as this guy who was poisoned several
days ago. Sheila was a secretary, Lorenzo and Deanna were
lab assistants, and now this associate chemist. I need to
start making some calls to find out what department he
worked in. If I can find that they've all been working on
the same project, then there's the motive for silencing them
"Here we go," Langly snorted. He dropped the last of his
newspapers to the floor with a thud and scraped the chair
across the floor as he got up from the table. "You've been
beating this dead horse for months now."
"What?" Frohike yelled to Langly's retreating form. "Don't
tell me that this is just all coincidence. Four strange
deaths within the same company?"
Byers reentered the room in the middle of the outburst,
passing by Langly who was mimicking their partner with
exaggerated face gestures. "Frohike, Quinn-Gibbs has over a
thousand employees just at that one location. It *is* just
"No it's not. I have the official findings from the train
accident that report unaccounted for markings on the rear
bumper of Lorenzo's car - like it had been rammed like those
"The same report also concluded that those markings might
have been made by debris upon impact with the train, and to
be fair, only the driver of the other car reported that
there might have been another car involved. The passenger
said that he saw no other vehicles." Byers returned to the
breakfast table, intent upon finishing his portion of the
Frohike would not take the hint and drop the subject.
"*Might* have. And then there's Deanna. Her parents and
those who worked closely with her say that she would *never*
have taken drugs."
"What parent wouldn't say that?" Langly called out from
across the room. "And as far as her co-workers go, what do
you expect them to say? That they get high together every
weekend?" He looked to Byers to finally put the lid on
Frohike's speculations about the matter.
Byers obliged. "The official autopsy on her showed no signs
of bruising or that there was any kind of struggle that
would suggest that she was forced to take the drug."
Frohike still had a card to play. "Which is why I'm getting
her parents to demand a second independent opinion."
"Oh, gross, man. You want them to dig her up?" Langly
could again taste the bile that appeared when he once viewed
a fresh body ready for autopsy and could not imagine having
to work on one that had been lying in the ground for several
weeks. "Can't you just leave them in peace?"
Jimmy had been intently watching the three-way volleying and
kept silent until Frohike had finally stormed out of the
room in disgust. "Guys, I don't get why you're so down on
Frohike about this. Isn't this exactly the kind of odd
coincidences that we investigate?"
Byers spoke up from behind his newspaper. "If it was any
company other than Quinn-Gibbs, I'd say yes, but Frohike has
had it in for them for years. He'd love to be able to pin
something sinister on them."
"Yeah, ever since his story about an AIDS treatment that
they were developing blew up in his face, he's had a sore
spot where that company's been concerned," Langly further
explained. "Frohike found that a number of participants in
some clinical trials a few years back were dying at a rate
statistically faster than they would have without the pills.
He was in the middle of writing the story when Quinn-Gibbs
stopped the testing and announced that it was dropping the
development of that drug."
Jimmy was silent for a moment, pondering the story. "Well,
that's a *good* thing, right?"
"Not as far as Frohike was concerned. He convinced himself
that the company deliberately shut down the testing just to
thwart his investigation and made a public announcement to
minimize any talk about it."
"Yeah, but they stopped it, didn't they?" Jimmy was
pleading Frohike's case for them. "I mean, that's what he
wanted done, was for those people to stop dying."
Byers set aside the section of the paper he had been
reading. "Jimmy, they were AIDS patients in the last stages
of the disease. Frohike was angry at the company; he
thought it gave them false hope and robbed them of what
little time they did have left."
"It seems to me that's what that company did." Jimmy raised
his voice. "We should all be angry."
"But not to the point of jumping to a conclusion without any
facts to support the story. You see, Frohike went to one of
Quinn-Gibbs' shareholders' meetings after it stopped the
testing and demanded to know why the company was using
patients with only months or even weeks to live. One of its
spokespersons told him that the company had an obligation to
at least try to help those most in need, and did he want the
company to withhold a probable treatment because they were
too sick without knowing if it could have helped at all?"
Byers paused, making sure that Jimmy was following his
story. "The company publicly embarrassed him; that's why
he's angry and hell-bent on finding something sinister going
"Here." Langly dropped another pile of newspapers on the
table and pulled a chair back for Jimmy. "Why don't you go
and look through some of these papers? See if you can find
some work for the rest of us to do." Langly circled the
table, pausing behind Byers and whispered, "That should keep
him quiet for a few hours," before heading out of the room
to check on his morning mail.
The next few hours did pass peacefully, with the exception
of Jimmy's foray into the various Sunday comic sections that
sent peals of laughter into the various corners of the
warehouse. It was not until he got hold of The Philadelphia
Inquirer that his shouting got the attention of the others,
sending Langly and Byers scurrying back to the dining table.
"Hey, guys, you've got to see this."
"Okay," Langly replied, slightly out of breath. "Who died
Jimmy was surprised by the comment. "Whoa, you must be
psychic. Um, Byers, have you ever lived in Philadelphia?"
"No, I haven't." Byers was straightening his tie from dash
down the stairs at the commotion.
"Your birthday's November 22, 1963, isn't it? The day
President Kennedy was shot?"
"Yes. What's this about?"
Jimmy looked back down at the newspaper and then back at
Byers. "Do you have a twin brother?"
"No, I don't. Why do you ask?" Byers circled behind Jimmy
to see the article that had so captured his attention. The
picture above the obituary notice stunned him. "Oh, my
Langly had now joined the two at the table. "Good grief,
Byers; that's you."
"Not exactly," Byers replied, noting that the person in the
photo was clean-shaven but acknowledging that there was a
Together, the three of them read the accompanying article:
PHILADELPHIA John Fitzgerald Byers, 37, died
yesterday of injuries received in an automobile
accident. A graduate of Central High School and
Lehigh University, he had worked as a systems analyst
for the past eleven years.
A memorial service will be held Monday at 2:00 pm at
the Hawkins Funeral Home at Federal and Market
Born November 22, 1963, he is survived by his parents,
Thomas and Brenda Byers; an aunt, Mary Jane Austin;
and several cousins.
"The service is tomorrow." Byers removed the page from the
section of newspaper and looked closely at the photo. "I
think that I should go and check this out."
"You're just gonna freak out the family, Byers," Langly
replied. "Why do that to them?"
Jimmy was puzzled. "You don't think it's odd that someone
with his name and the same birthdate who looks somewhat like
him . . ."
"Not somewhat. Just like. We've seen him without the
"You have?" Jimmy had understood that Byers had sported a
beard since the first time the Gunmen met. "When was this?"
"A few years back. Mulder got us to dress up as prom queens
for Halloween and . . ." Langly abruptly stopped when Byers
flashed a `don't go there' stare. "Never mind. Any chance
that guy was related?"
Byers shook his head, reading back over the accompanying
article. "None of the names look familiar, but anything is
"So, you still going?" Jimmy called out as Byers began to
exit the room.
"Yes," Byers whispered to himself, pausing at the foot of
the stairs as he folded up the paper and pocketed it inside
his jacket. "I wouldn't miss this for the world."
Jimmy beamed at Langly and snapped his fingers. "Nothing to
this newspaper thing."
Langly scowled at missing out on the small coup to the new
guy and pointed at the remaining papers. "Why don't you see
if you can find something that would interest me? Emphasis
on the word `interest'."
Although he was tired from several hours of reading, Jimmy
dug into the remaining papers with renewed zeal. And as
beginner's luck would have it, he soon had occasion to seek
out Langly with a story of possible interest.
Jimmy found him at one of the office worktables, replacing a
cd drive on a laptop. "Langly?"
"You have a lot of t-shirts of rock bands, right?"
Langly still had not looked up to acknowledge him. "You
can't borrow any."
"No, it's not for me. There's this picture in the paper of
an old Grateful Dead t-shirt that was found, and they want
to know who it belongs to."
"I'm sure that the DC area still has a head shop or two in
operation. Maybe you should go track them down and ask.
You might get a coherent answer." Langly dropped the old
drive into a box under the table. "Why is anyone looking
for an owner of an old t-shirt? There could be a million
Dead shirts in the back of people's closets as we speak."
"Because the guy who was last wearing this shirt was found
dead, and he's apparently been dead for some time."
Exasperated, Langly finally turned around to face Jimmy.
"Why didn't you say so? Give it up."
Jimmy clutched the newspaper to his chest. "Hey, I found
it. I want to help on this one."
"Sure, you can help." Langly got up from the stool,
snatched the paper away from Jimmy, and returned to the
worktable. "Just let me see the story first."
. . . Two hikers in Green Ridge State Forest found a
partial skeleton late Wednesday afternoon. The
Maryland State Police were immediately notified, and
the bones were sent to Annapolis for identification
purposes. It was not evident to the two eyewitnesses
as to a possible cause of death; according to one of
the hikers, "we couldn't be sure if it was a girl or a
guy." All that was apparent was that the deceased was
wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a Grateful Dead logo.
Langly scanned to the top of the page to note the date.
"Saturday, huh? The Cumberland News Times. This could be
turned into something." He took the paper with him to
another workstation and began to log onto several sites.
Jimmy followed him. "Hey, you said I could help."
"You can. Just don't crowd me, and you can take notes."
Langly entered another flurry of keystrokes before finding
what he was looking for. "There. We're now logged onto the
Mid-Atlantic States' Missing Persons Database, and we're
going to do a search for anyone who's gone missing in the
past five years who was last seen wearing jeans and a t-
Jimmy looked over Langly's shoulder, watching the number of
hits increase. "Wouldn't somebody have done this already?"
"You'd think, but most of the law enforcement around here
have got their shorts in a twist over a missing intern. Not
too many people are gonna care about trying to ID someone
who's been dead for a while and certainly not on a weekend."
Langly turned to face Jimmy to drive the point home. "See,
this is exactly why our paper exists - the officials
couldn't care less about investigating something that won't
give them some air time but there's a family out there who
is still waiting for this person to come home."
"Wouldn't the local police know who it was?"
"Not likely. If the person was local to the Cumberland
area, the paper would have mentioned it as a possible lead.
There would have been plenty of time before the Saturday
edition for the human interest side of the story that these
little towns just lap up. Standard procedure has them
sending the body to the state capital for final ID purposes
anyway, but chances are that the person was unknown to the
local police and they'd just as soon dump off that
responsibility to the state level if there isn't a local
Jimmy nodded his head along with Langly's explanation.
"Okay, then, why are we looking for someone who went missing
five years ago? Wouldn't the t-shirt have disintegrated by
"Good point, Jimmy, but we have to allow for time for the
body to be reduced to just bones. It could have been out
there for twenty years, but the search time will be shorter
if I break it up into blocks of time."
"So they don't catch us on their website?" Jimmy understood
that the guys sometimes trespassed where they should not in
the interest of getting to the truth.
"No problem there. The database is available to almost
anyone. Besides, if they run a check, all they'll find are
requests for searches by the Allegany County Sheriff's
"Oh." It took Jimmy a moment for that comment to register.
"Damn." Langly swore as he watched the counter continue to
ring up hits. "There are nearly four hundred possibles for
just the past five years alone. Couldn't these people have
walked out the door for the last time in a flannel shirt or
"Does this mean that we're not going to check back any
"We should but then we'll have almost a thousand profiles to
sift through." Langly was beginning to lose enthusiasm in
this portion of the story. "Then we're probably still gonna
have to wait for the final report on the bones to positively
match them to someone and who knows how long that will
Jimmy, still trying to be helpful, made a suggestion.
"Couldn't you use one of those spider things that Frohike
was using this morning, you know, to see if there was a
story out there?"
"Nope, not a spider, but we'll use the next best thing."
Langly jumped onto another laptop to begin a second search.
"The Newspaper Resource Service. If there's been a story
about it in the past fifteen years, it'll be archived here."
The two sat, each staring back and forth at the two
computers as one racked up hits past a thousand and the
other kept searching until a second window opened on the
"Damn, that was quick." Langly maximized the window to
start reading. "Thomas Brooks . . . age twenty . . .
college student from Georgia . . . disappeared after a
Grateful Dead concert near Pittsburgh in the summer of 1990.
That's so close to Cumberland. And we got the parents'
names and address." Langly was quickly gaining steam to
begin work on the story. "*Now* we've got a starting
"But what if it's not him? Like you said earlier, you don't
want to spook out the parents."
"We can start out with a series, like what about all those
other missing persons out there who don't work for
congressmen or whose families don't have lawyers or hired
spokesmen to speak for them. Who's looking for them?"
Langly began copying the data found from both searches for
later reference. "Then we can go on to the obscene amount
of money and manpower being used to find just one person
when no one would've ever spent it looking for Joe Blow down
the street. By the time we get to the third issue, the
state should have their report on the bones and if it's a
close match, then we can break in with a possible for them
and be right on the front door of the parents if they
confirm. If it doesn't match, we still have a human
interest story for our readers - a guy goes to a concert and
becomes one of the missing thousands and is anyone still
looking for him."
"At least it will have a happy ending," Jimmy sadly
reasoned. "Or an unhappy one, if you think about it.
Unhappy that the kid is dead but happy for the parents to
finally know what happened to him but unhappy in that they
know he will never come home but happy that he's not out
there suffering or in jail or living in the streets but
unhappy . . ."
Langly cut him short. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, Jimmy. Come on;
we've got some work to do."
"We?" Jimmy was now all smiles. "Hey, you said `we'. So,
where do we start? Do we go to the Cumberland police first?
Or how about Georgia? I smell a road trip in the making."
"I'm regretting this already."
Monday, July 30, 2001
Byers had arrived in Philadelphia via Amtrak and was now on
the subway taking him downtown. He brought with him only
the essentials for an overnight stay. `In case things got
interesting,' he had told Langly. He nearly missed his
subway stop, being distracted by trying to come up with
plausible excuses to stay longer in the City of Brotherly
Walking down Market Street, he wondered as to how much
longer that they would play these games of placing items in
a particular newspaper to set up meetings. It was still a
given that most of the emails and phone calls into the
office could be monitored by his colleagues. Every time he
left for one of these trips, Byers thought that one of the
others would finally catch on to his deception, but he was
not ready to voluntarily share this portion of his life just
yet. His guilt about tricking his friends quickly
dissipated upon seeing her at the appointed street corner.
She turned at almost the same instant and began to briskly
walk to greet him. She fought the urge to run so as to not
draw too much attention to themselves but could not resist a
quick hug once they did meet.
Byers was content to simply stand still and gaze at her
face. He was at a loss for conversation after having not
seen her for several months but was jolted aware when she
tugged on his arm to start making their way across the
street. Suddenly, the words of affection that he had
planned on using gave way to his thoughts back on the
subway. "Susanne, you took a big risk putting that picture
in the paper. It's a good thing that only Jimmy and Langly
"I've always wondered what you would look like without the
beard," she teased. "Besides, you told me that you monitor
The Philadelphia Inquirer."
"I usually do, but they beat me to it. If Frohike had seen
it . . ."
"He didn't, now did he?"
"The obit should have been enough. How did you ever get a
fake one past the editors? They usually only accept them
directly from the funeral homes."
"I have a boyfriend who knows a few tricks." Susanne
Modeski tilted her head slightly to let him know that she
was still teasing. "Come on, there's this Italian
restaurant around the corner. If you're hungry and if you
have time." The last was spoken as more of a question.
"I have time," he decided.