Welcome To The Harem
Deathman's Meed by N Y Smith Part 2 of 2
Summary: Deslea's rec: "I kid you not; I unearthed this 1999 gem on a trawl through 5,490 Google Krycek/Marita references - proof positive that archaeology is alive and well in the digital age. A gorgeous colonisation Mulder/Scully novella with a Krycek/Marita subplot."
DEATHMAN'S MEED BY N.Y. SMITH PART 2 OF 2
SEE PART 1 FOR HEADERS
"Damn," Fox Mulder whispered to himself as another
dry heave washed over him. As the spasm calmed he
twisted the shower knobs, then stepped under the steaming
stream. Hot tears laved his cheeks as he lathered away the
evidence of his shame, the evidence of his selfishness, the
evidence of his ardor. She had so little strength, so little
time, and he'd wasted both satisfying his base passion.
What kind of man was he? He turned the water hotter,
tearfully offering the scalding pain as penance.
"Don't cry," a soft voice called to him. A soft hand
stroked his cheek and, in a moment, the water cooled. "It's
okay." She stood on tiptoe to cradle his face in her hands,
the child in her growing tummy pressing below his
bellybutton. Her hands, her entire body, for that matter,
had shriveled, bones showing through papery skin, with the
glorious exception of her belly - and that was his fault, as
He shook his head. "I shouldn't have . . ."
"I'd have been disappointed if you hadn't."
"You need your sleep," he protested.
She shook her head, strings of wet hair dancing on
either side. "I have eternity to sleep. I'd rather spend the
time I have left giving you memories to keep you warm on
the coldest winter nights." Sliding her arms around his
waist, she rested her forehead against his chest, enjoying
the memory of their passion, storing it away for her cold
winter to come, filed under the only category that mattered
End Chapter 6
A false spring warmed the Maryland countryside and
Maggie Scully had taken advantage of the break in the
weather to plan a little outdoor celebration. She smoothed
the yellow linen napkins folded beneath her best silver.
She'd always liked Dana in yellow. She'd bought her baby
girl maternity clothes in the colors of the rainbow, rebelling
against her daughter's customary black attire that looked so
A sob caught in her throat, tears spilling onto her
cheeks. She vainly searched her pockets for a tissue, then
reached for a napkin, stopping when a white handkerchief
floated into view. She plucked the linen from the strong
paw that offered it, turned and buried her face in the broad
chest of its owner. Muscular arms folded around her,
lending her strength in her moment of helplessness.
"I promised myself I wouldn't do this," she sniffled,
lifting her eyes to meet his.
"So did I," Walter Skinner's normally rough voice
"Were you able to keep your promise?"
"Why do you think I had the handkerchief?" he
"Bill hated it when I cried. He said it was a sign of
weakness and maybe he was right." She pulled shyly away,
adjusting the stemware while daubing at her face. "I don't
think I have the strength to face this."
"I know you do." He allowed her some distance.
"With the possible exception of your daughter, you're the
strongest person I know."
She smiled ruefully before folding the sodden square
and slipping it into her pocket. "Four months to go."
"She'll make it."
"Mom?" Scully staggered to the nearest lawn chaise
and flopped more than sat, panting from the walk from her
mother's house. Despite her breathlessness, a sunny smile
split her haggard face which she lifted to the sunshine.
"Mm, what a beautiful day." Her hands stroked her
"You okay?" Mulder kneeled beside her and asked
"Mm-hm," she hummed. "I could stay like this
"So could I," Mulder admitted. "So could I."
It was the model of incongruity-the sight of
man-of-action Alex Krycek in a long, white coat, perched on
a high stool, elbow on tabletop supporting chin, poring
over a stack of the latest lab results.
The glass observation window of the "clean" laboratory
prevented hearing his expletive, but she'd watched his lips
form that particular word enough that she knew it by heart.
She rapped on the glass and his face jerked up, eyes dark,
round and lidless like a mole emerging from his tunnel.
She beckoned him through the glass but he shook his head.
She beckoned more urgently and he responded in kind.
Finally she stabbed the intercom switch. "[Take a
break, Alex. You've been at it for 48 hours straight.]"
"[I'm okay.]" With his false left hand he swirled a spoon
in the tarnished silver coffee-glass. "[See?]" His hand
twitched and the glass toppled, dregs of tepid coffee
spreading across the tabletop. He muttered sharply and she
smiled, recognizing on his lips the formation of the word
that was not only his favorite expression of frustration but
was, in her experience, his favorite recreational activity-the
proof of which was now playing soccer with her internal
"[Oh, I see.]"
He smiled sheepishly and plodded to the door, pausing
to hang his white lab coat on the nearby rack. "[Just for a
little while,]" he admonished, leaning wearily against the
back wall of the elevator car as it whooshed upward seven
stories' height to the cavernous bunker that capped the
abandoned missile silo into which a community had settled.
The doors swished open and he inhaled deeply,
drawing in fresher air to replace the stale, recycled
atmosphere found in the air-tight spaces below them. His
footsteps echoing heavily, she followed him to their
compartments, finding him in their bedroom struggling with
the buttons on his shirt. Her belly brushed his left arm and
he drew a sharp breath. She finished the buttons, peeled off
the shirt, then the undershirt. He reddened at the revelation
of the harness that secured the replacement appendage but
she did not.
"[How long has it been hurting?]" She nimbly released
"[A day or so.]" He grabbed the false arm with his right
hand and shrugged out of the harness, tossing the prosthetic
onto the bed. "[What time is it?]"
"[Nearly dawn.]" She gently examined the stubby arm.
"[You have a pressure sore. You know you're not supposed
to wear your prosthesis for that long at a time.]"
She disappeared into the bathroom, returning with
salve and bandages, finding an empty room, an open door
and the sound of footsteps on the stairway that led to the
surface. She grabbed two coats and a blanket and followed,
finding him on the crest of the rolling ridge nearby,
shirtless, face illuminated by the first rays of the morning
sun. Winter's snows had surrendered to spring's wet
greening and the breeze warmed her face like a lover's
"[Moses says we don't have much time.]"
She hung the leather coat over his shoulders. "[Are the
vaccines ready?]" She spread the blanket on the ground on
the sunward side of a boulder.
He shook his head. "[Just the one.]" He sat on the
blanket, leaning against the boulder, pulled his knees
akimbo and propped his head on one with a trembling
hand. "[Half the world will die at the end of the first
incubation period and there's nothing we can do about it.]"
"[But the other half will live.]" She settled between his
legs, leaning back into his chest.
"[Maybe. We'll have to continue the research after we
lock down the silo.]" He rested his chin on her pale head.
He burrowed his hand under her shirt, fingers dancing in
tiny circles on the taut, shiny skin of her belly. "[What day
"[Sunday. Your father will be celebrating the Eucharist
soon. He invited me personally last night,]" she said with a
"[Me, too,]" Alex chuckled. "[Do you know how he
referred to you?]"
She felt his hand rummaging through his pocket -- or at
least she thought that was his hand in his pocket. "[I
shudder to think . . .]"
"[He, um,]" Krycek stammered.
Marita tensed; she'd never heard him stammer.
"[He called you my wife.]"
Silence hung between them.
"[It made me think,]" he said hurriedly, "[that he knows
more about us than we do.]"
Slowly he brought up his closed fist, finally resting it
lightly on her tummy. He opened it, spilling the contents.
"[What are these?]" she asked slowly.
"[They're nested O-rings from the rocket's fuel lines.
They're made from aerospace-grade titanium and carry the
same serial number.]" He slipped one of them on his right
hand, third finger. The other he offered to her. "[I have
nothing to offer you but this. My past is best forgotten. My
present is a fool's quest. I have no future but what grows in
your belly, what we made in there. I want my child,]" he
smiled shyly, "[to know I accepted that future, that I
considered him or her the only thing I ever did worth being
"[I thought you were intent on saving the future.]"
He laid his right hand, the metal ring a cool contrast to
its wearer's warmth, on her belly. "[I've changed. I'm
intent on saving my future. Our future.]"
She slipped the matching band on her own hand and
laid it on top of his. "[You know, Krycek, this is the only
thing I've ever done that hasn't gone to hell.]"
"[Fate,]" he said resignedly.
"[Destiny,]" she corrected with a shy smile.
"[Bitch,]" he said tenderly.
"[Bastard,]" she replied hungrily.
And they claimed each other with a tender ferocity, no
longer straining against the shackle of their common
passion, but entering into an ancient yoke, bound about the
heart. Finally they lay, together, sated, in the ebbing
embers of their fervor.
"[You're not coming with us, are you?]" She buried her
face in his left shoulder while his hand danced warmly over
her roundness, fingers finally entwining with hers just
whispers away from their baby's heart.
"[He's kicking a lot today, isn't he? Maybe he'll be a
soccer player when he grows up.]"
"[Answer me, Alex.]"
"[You know I can't live,]" he swallowed hard, "[down
End Chapter 7
In times past he would have found the swim refreshing,
invigorating, but now Mulder felt only the overwhelming
fatigue of heartache. Lap after lap he stroked the water,
each circuit both penance and a prayer. It was a petition
offered to a God whom he doubted but was in no position
to disbelieve. And so he swam on, pushing off from the
side of the pool at every turn, seeking nirvana in his
exhaustion or, failing that, oblivion. His journey was
delayed by the appearance of a dark angel, looming at the
opposite end of the pool, his wings taking the form of a
dark raincoat, his halo a bald pate. As his strokes pulled
him closer he considered the reason for the angel's
appearance. It could only mean one thing: it was The
End. It had come two months too soon. Salty tears
mingled with the slick chlorinated water. Be it one or
both, someone he loved would die today taking his heart
with them. Vacantly he accepted the hand that lifted him
from the water, dressed silently, then turned to the last
page of his life.
It had begun as a dull ache just above the stretched-out
waistband of the borrowed sweat pants that had become
her uniform. She slid her hands beneath the borrowed
shirt, pressing her fingers into the overtaxed muscles just
above her spine. It made her distended belly jut out even
further, if that were possible, putting even more tension
on the complaining muscles. She rubbed harder, wincing
at the discomfort of stretching her already-taut belly
muscles to their limit.
Her partner watched this ungainly ballet with engaged
bemusement. Had she not been so uncomfortable it
would have been funny. She was enormous; he could not
have conceived no pun intended, he smiled to himself
that she could be this big. Of course, he could not
conceive that she would have conceived in the first place
since, supposedly, he'd been genetically engineered to
prevent such things. But Mother Nature had prevailed
and he stood on the brink of parenthood with a woman
for whom he could not form a relational description. She
was not his "wife" as his father so euphemistically referred
to her. That they were in the situation proved she was
more than a business associate, despite his insistence.
"Krycek," she called sharply.
His, he thought before wordlessly leading her to the
military-surplus sofa, sitting sideways on it, and settling
her back into the crook between his legs. She rested her
head against his chest and he slid his hands around her
pendulous belly, taking some of the weight from her
tortured muscles. Gently he kneaded her, relishing the
little jabs as tiny elbows and feet protested the additional
"[Better now?]" He glanced at the clock on the wall as she
nodded. "[How long have you been hurting?]"
"[A few hours,]" she murmured. "[It's happening, isn't
it?]" Her voice trembled.
"[Probably.]" He kissed the top of her head and spread his
fingers so they covered her belly.
Her fingers crept up to interlace with his where they
stayed for a long while the gentle soughs of their
breathing interrupted only by the cooking of another
batch of replicated DNA-vaccine.
She shifted, then swung her feet to the floor, perched on
the edge of the worn seat cushion. "[Aren't you afraid?]"
"[Of what?]" He returned to his perch at his work table.
She followed him. "[Of everything! What if the amnio
was invalid and there's something wrong with it?]"
"[Him,]" the prospective father corrected. "[I told you that
the amnio results were just as we expected.]" With
surprising gentleness, his mechanical hand tucked a
stubborn lock of hair behind her ear.
She smiled shyly and stepped into the V made by his legs
propped on the stool-rungs. "[What if we screw him up?
We're not Ozzie and Harriet . . .]"
He pulled her belly-close.
"[Or even Gomez and Morticia.]" She rested her forehead
on his chest, arms circling his waist.
"[More like Boris and Natasha.]" He nuzzled her hair,
hands stroking her back. Her back muscles tensed, then
her belly muscles hardened.
"[How long has it been since the last one?]" she gasped.
"[Five minutes.]" He turned her sideways, stroking both
her back and her belly as the muscular bands hardened.
Her knees buckled and he joined her crouch, whispering
hopefully soothing noises in her ear. She gasped again
and leaned into him, her lungs no longer pumping.
"[Breathe,]" he reminded. "[Makes the pain easier.]"
"[Shut up, bastard,]" she growled. "[How would you
"[I know,]" he whispered and deathly-cool fingers stroked
Tears rolled down her cheeks. "[I'm sorry, I'm such a
bitch and now you're stuck with me and a baby and . . .]"
He chuckled, planting a small kiss on her glistening
forehead. "[That's okay. When Stasi goes into labor we
never know whether to call a midwife or an exorcist.]"
Her features softened as her muscles relaxed. "[It's really
stupid.]" Tears coursed down her cheeks again.
"[What's stupid?]" He stood, then pulled her up into his
"[Bringing a baby into a world that has no hope of
"[Maybe.]" He whispered a few words into the intercom
before resuming. "[But hope is alive so long as even one
human is. That's why you'll both be down in the silo with
Papa and Stasi. Besides, I'm a pretty hard kill.]"
"[He won't even have the chance to know you,]" she
"[No great loss.]"
The delivery room was eerily quiet despite the throng of
people and machines attached to and working on the
petite patient. Mulder sat at her head, her eyes only
occasionally focusing when she drifted in, and out, of
consciousness as she had in recent days. The lights were
sun-bright but the voices were muted, nearly obscured by
the beeping machines that monitored both mother and
"This may pull a bit," the doctor warned, seemingly
elbow-deep in patient.
The patient, herself, nodded vacantly, mumbled, "Just take
care of the baby."
The father sat stone-silent, tears streaming down his
An awful slurping sound preceded the production of what
appeared to be a cream-cheese-covered baby doll draped,
silent and motionless, over the doctor's hand. The
mother's hand reached for it but in an instant it was gone,
surrounded by gowned figures, moving feverishly.
"How is she?" the mother asked.
The father cooed into her ear.
"Please tell me she's okay," the mother begged.
"BP's dropping," the anesthesiologist warned.
"Do something," the father begged.
"Is she okay?" the mother insisted, groggily.
"Stay with us, Dana," the doctor ordered.
"Do something!" the father insisted.
The doctors held a terse conversation amidst a flurry of
activity. "She's closed," one doctor announced.
"What about the baby?" the mother cried. "Please, please
. . ."
The activity in the corner slowed and a faint mewling
broke the silence of the room.
"Samantha?" the mother called desperately. "Mulder,
please," both arms quivered as she held them toward the
sound source, "please, I have to see her, to feel her . . ."
The father shot the doctor a questioning look.
"Dana," the doctor replied calmly. "The baby is two
months premature. She's having trouble breathing and
needs to go on to the NICU."
"No, please," Scully's arm flailed toward the incubator,
"please let me touch her before you take her away."
"Scully, they can't," Mulder stroked her forehead. "She
needs some help right now."
"Please let me touch her . . ."
"Scully, you'll have plenty of time to hold her," the father
comforted, but his eyes begged the doctor for help.
"Please, oh God, please, just a touch."
The doctor nodded and a glass box appeared at her side,
its lobster-colored occupant flailing about like an upended
beetle. Instinctively, the mother's hand found the opening
in the side and, in a heartbeat, her finger was gently
stroking the prominent ribs and deceptively puffy cheeks.
The tiny form calmed, as if recognizing someone
intimately familiar. The father slipped his hand inside the
box, too, his large paw ruffling the cinnamon-colored fuzz
on the baby's head.
"I love you, baby girl," the mother whispered urgently.
"She'll be alright," the father whispered strongly. "She has
her mother's strength."
Too soon, much too soon, the incubator was wheeled
away, leaving the parents with empty arms and broken
"[One more push, baby, and it'll be over.]"
"[That's what you said the last time, Krycek.]"
"[So I lied,]" he breathed into her ear, struggling to
maintain their position on the birthing bench while she
pushed back into him.
"[Again,]" she grimaced, tensing again with the
He leaned forward into her back, his arms circling above
her belly. "[Push, baby.]"
"[I see the head,]" Anastasia announced, her hands
moving feverishly but confidently.
"[Now, Alex,]" Marita grimaced and Alex Krycek looked
over her shoulder, witness to the most amazing sight of
Sound ceased for him, shouts diminished to muted
whispers. Time slowed to a blessed crawl as he watched
his son emerge, inch by inch, into the waiting hands of his
mother. She cradled her child while the pulsing cord was
tied, then severed, his lusty cries filling the room. She
nuzzled him to her breast and he, following primal
instinct, suckled ferociously. "[His father's son,]" she
Anastasia, having finished the ablutions, led them all to
their bed and with a kiss, disappeared. The new parents
clung to each other, their child between them. Joined
now by much more than simple passion, they gazed into
each other's eyes, solemnizing this joyous event with the
only promise that counted at this moment.
"[I love you.]"
End Chapter 8
Walter Skinner rounded the corner to a familiar sight:
Mulder, surrounded by a coterie of doctors. His posture
reflected the months of agonizing waiting he'd endured
the most recent weeks being the worst. Scully had been
in torment, the pressure of her growing tumor causing
blinding headaches and violent mood swings. She'd been
kept sedated for the most part, awakening only when the
pain became too great. The baby named Samantha, of
course had nearly died, her premature lungs suffering
the burning effect of oxygen. But, with copious treatment,
she'd survived and had improved to the point that she could
leave the nursery to room in with her parents for short
periods of time which, judging by the warning sign on
the door, was where she was at this moment.
Mulder stood at the breech, fending off this squad of
medicos, swollen, purplish lids hooding his now-perennially-
bloodshot eyes. The older man paused, lending privacy to
the younger man, until Mulder's lids fluttered and he swayed
like a tall, withered plant in a strong wind. In an instant
Skinner's hand clasped his upper arm, steadying him.
"While the baby is ready to leave, Ms. Scully's condition
continues to deteriorate," the youngest of the doctors
intoned. "For her comfort we suggest that she remain here until . . ."
Mulder swallowed hard. "She doesn't want to stay;
she doesn't want to be separated from Samantha for a moment."
"We understand that, Mr. Mulder, but Ms. Scully's condition . . ."
"There's nothing you can do for her. She doesn't want to
A robed nurse pushing a bassinet scooted past them
into the room.
"I know you're concerned, Mr. Mulder, but I don't think
Mulder's face turned red. "Oh, I understand. My wife just
gave birth to a daughter she won't live to see grow up. I'm
going to spend the rest of my life trying to make sure that
little girl gets to know a mother she won't even remember."
Mulder's eyes flashed fire, the first sign of life Walter
Skinner had observed in the younger man in
months. Then tears quenched the flame.
"She wants to go home. As kind and caring as your
staff has been, she wants to die in peace, surrounded by
all the people who love her." The voice cracked, "Please."
The nurse rolled the bassinet, baby Samantha snoozing
contentedly on her belly, through the awkward silence. The
doctors studied their shoes for a moment.
Walter Skinner's head jerked up suddenly. "Um,
nurse?" He followed the nurse and bassinet. "Nurse?"
The nurse froze, momentarily, still facing away.
"May I see your identification please?" Walter
Skinner advanced warily, right hand gripping the weapon
under his suit coat.
The nurse remained silent. Skinner continued his
advance, followed by the baby's father.
"Call security," the father ordered.
"Step away from the child and put your hands
in the air," the AD ordered.
The nurse, taller than average and stoutly built,
complied slowly, leaning against the nearest wall. Skinner
kicked her feet further apart while patting down the limbs
and torso. Then she flickered and, in the blink of an eye,
he found himself facing a tall, blonde giant of a man with
a face like chiseled cold steel. Cat-quick the former nurse
swung, knocking the weapon from the AD. Lightning-quick
the old soldier responded by planting a spike in the base
of the nurse's neck just as Mulder snatched up Samantha
and ran toward Scully's room.
"Get out of here," Skinner ordered, shielding his eyes
while retreating from the noxious fumes emitted by the
nurse's body. He followed Mulder, first standing guard,
then running rear guard as they made their escape to
someplace safe, wherever that might be.
Scalding water streamed over him, coercing overtired
muscles to decompress. In months past he would have
waked up Marita and found his release in their white-hot
passion. But tonight he settled for showering, toweling
dry, and sharing warm, snowy sheets with his lady and
his son. Rolling on his side to face them, he slid the
arm-stump under his pillow, tangling his feet with hers and
stroking the tiny back that slumbered peacefully between
his parents' hearts.
"Hi." Her water-blue eyes blinked sleepily as he
brushed a gentle, adoring kiss across her lips. Then
he did the same among the cottony tufts on the baby's head.
"[Did you finish?]"
He swallowed hard. "[Sort of.]"
Her silence begged him to continue.
"[We've gone as far as we can with the current antibody pool.]"
"[Still ninety-eight percent effective for Rh-negative
subjects; not even fifty percent for Rh-positive subjects.]"
"[Those numbers don't sound too bad, Alex.]"
"[The numbers lie. The vaccine is virtually ineffective
on the O-positive antigen type. Thirty-nine percent of the
world's population is O-positive. Despite all of our work,
over two billion people will be defenseless against the alien virus.]"
"[But I thought you said the antibodies in the baby's blood
would be stronger . . .]"
"[They were,]" Krycek soothed the suddenly restless
child. "[The antibodies from Itzhak's blood made the
difference for two-and-a-half-billion people, Marita. But
you're type A-negative and I'm type AB-negative which makes
him type B-negative. We can splice the antibody sequence into
all the AB-antigen types and even the O-negative type. But we
can't get a good graft with the O-positive DNA. It won't accept
the antibody sequence.]"
She covered his trembling hand with hers. "[You, your
father and Anastasia have done in a short time what the
Consortium failed to do in fifty years, Alex. The vaccine you
developed will save most of us from bondage. The world will
survive because of your work.]"
"[Not all of the world.]" He rested his forehead against
hers, silent, shame-filled tears glistening in the half-light.
"[Most of it.]" Angel-kisses, full of hope, wiped away the
tears. "[Alexei,]" she paused, eyes burning brightly, "[you're
a hero.]" She brushed a wet kiss across his parched
lips. "[You're our hero.]" The tender kiss hardened,
demanding, and receiving, and ardent response. Her
smooth calf caressed his, her knee lingering at his
thighs expectantly. "[It's been three weeks.]"
He groaned as she coaxed her knee even
higher. "[Nearly four,]" he rasped. "[But,]" with a final
kiss he pulled away from her, "[Stasi will kill me if we
don't wait a while longer.]"
"[Two more weeks,]" he sighed, dejectedly.
He could feel, and see, the heat rising in her
cheeks. "[You discuss our sex life with your sister?]"
"Nyet," he grinned. "[She discusses it with me.]" His
hand brushed her cheek. "[And she says wait until you're stronger.]"
"[There are times when your family is a little too close-knit.]"
She mirrored his rueful smile. Little Itzhak stirred,
his tiny cry piercing the silence. She pulled the child
close, unbuttoning her soft sleep-shirt, his tiny mouth
seeking, and finally finding, succor.
"[Lucky,]" the father teased, curling himself
around his family.
"[Lucky to have a father like you.]"
"[No,]" Alex protested but she stopped it with a kiss
that warmed him not only with passion, but with hope.
"[How long can you stay with us?]"
He stroked Itzhak's leg and nuzzled her
cheek. "[Distribution begins day after tomorrow.]"
"[The sooner we start, the more lives we
save. Moses says the advance reconnaissance raids
are already under way.]"
"[I thought we'd have more time.]" A tear rolled down her cheek.
"[We will,]" he vowed, tightening his embrace,
both of them ignoring for a moment the reality that would
make a liar of him.
End Chapter 9
Header and disclaimer in Chapter 1
"Where are we going?" Mulder had asked sometime
during their first night.
"Mount Nebo," Skinner had answered, never taking his
eyes off the road.
Three days later he was equally cryptic, but infinitely
more grouchy after sleeping little more than a few hours of
the previous seventy-two. He'd done most of the driving,
allowing Mulder and Maggie Scully to spell him when sleep
overtook him. Somewhere outside Minneapolis he'd pulled
into a used car lot and traded his land-barge Crown Victoria
for an older Suburban.
"State car of Texas," he'd grinned sheepishly as he'd
transferred the luggage while Mulder carried Scully and
Maggie transferred baby Samantha.
"Where are we going, Walter?" Maggie Scully had
asked after everyone else had drifted off to sleep.
"A safe place. Maybe the only safe place."
"But where, Walter?"
Skinner stared into the rear-view mirror, watching for
any signs of wakefulness on the part of the occupants.
Satisfied that they were, essentially, alone he responded to
Maggie Scully's question with a question of his own. "Do
you know what's coming, Maggie? Not just for Dana, but
for the world?"
"Fox has said some things, tried to tell me some pretty
unbelievable stories about alien invasions "
"Believe them, Maggie. They're true."
An oncoming car illuminated the shocked look on her
face. "Little green men and "
"They're gray, actually."
Her jaw practically grazed her chest.
"Over forty years ago representatives of the major
powers agreed to collaborate with an alien race to buy time
to develop the means of survival a vaccine against a virus
they were planning to use to destroy us. In the meantime,
another alien race has become interested and now we are
the spoils in an extraterrestrial war."
They rode in an uneasy silence for a long time, until
the first rosy tendrils of dawn shone in the rear-view mirror.
"What about the vaccine?" Her voice shook as she
finally spoke again.
The hum of asphalt had been replaced by the crunch of
large gravel. "The government research has been
spectacularly unsuccessful. But " He guided the heavy
vehicle to a smooth stop. "Recently, scientists loyal to the
growing Human Resistance have developed a vaccine that
is nearly seventy percent effective."
"And that's where we're going?"
He nodded. "That's where we are." A metallic
scraping preceded the appearance of his weapon in his
large paw. "Wait here," he ordered, stepping out into the
coolish pre-dawn. The slamming of the passenger door
confirmed for him that Dana Scully had inherited her innate
curiosity from her mother.
"Stop!" a voice ordered from the treeline.
They obeyed, Skinner's free hand ushering her behind
"What do you want?" the voice boomed.
"I need to see the head of the research team. I have a
new antibody source for the vaccine."
Maggie Scully gasped and tried to pull away but his
firm grasp detained her.
"And who might you be?"
Dana Scully shifted stiffly, her fluttering hand seeking
the velvet warmth of Samantha's tiny body that was
strapped into the giant car seat. The pink dawn had
become a glorious morning the sun painting gold on
everything in its path. Samantha cooed at her touch but did
not stir. Her father snored gently, head lolled against the
door, feet stretched all the way over to her side of the
vehicle. Scully nudged him gently with her toe and he
moaned, his moans could be delicious she remembered,
but this moan conveyed only sorrow and exhaustion.
She tried to lift her head but it had been too heavy for
some days now, just as she'd been unable to completely
focus her vision since the baby's birth. So she relied on
hearing and feeling and right now she felt stillness and hear
only the rustle of the wind in the grasses. They had
stopped, in the middle of nowhere it seemed, and Skinner
and her mother were not in sight. She nudged her husband
again, eliciting a groan, but the sight of black-clad strangers
made the next nudge a kick. Their hand on the car door
elicited a feeble but anguished cry, turning to a kitten-roar
when she realized what, or who, they wanted.
Samantha. Gloved, evil hands were reaching across
her, ignoring blows from her rag-doll arms, to steal her child
away. She kicked, scratched, cursed, nothing stopped
them, not even Mulder's fierce but weak attempts at rescue,
but still she fought, like a dying lioness for her only cub,
until a bright, white pain engulfed her.
She awoke to a terrifyingly familiar voice. Opening her
now-dull blue eyes she focused enough to recognize the
face of the voice's owner a face looming over her
Samantha with a syringe in hand.
"No!" Samantha's mother cried with as much strength
as she could muster. She pushed herself to her feet but the
world tipped and she toppled into Mulder's nearby arms.
"He killed Melissa!"
The child uttered a cry then bawled, the sure hands of
an older woman holding her down gently but firmly.
"[Quiet, quiet, sweet little one,]" the woman cooed to
the frightened child, "[it will be over soon.]" She continued
to hum and shush comfortingly and, after a moment, the
child quieted. She could make out Krycek swishing around
a vial of red before he scooped up the child and deposited
her in her mother's arms with surprising gentleness.
"We've been working on a vaccine for several years,
but our antibody sources carried the negative antigen." His
hands moved swiftly among the machines and the dishes.
"We managed to overcome the Rh-factor problem in the
AB-types but the O-positive type remained resistant. That
meant the vaccine would not be effective on nearly thirty
percent of the population. Two billion people would face
the alien virus unprotected. We needed an O-positive
"Samantha," Scully breathed. "You can't have her,"
she tucked the child deeper into her embrace.
"Relax, Agent Scully. I already have her--at least what I
need of her." Krycek swirled a crimson test tube.
"They just needed a blood sample," Mulder comforted.
"No," she raged. "He killed Melissa, and your father,
and now he wants to kill Samantha!" She struggled to get
up until crimson gushed from her nostril. Swiftly, Mulder
scooped up his daughter, handing her to her grandmother,
and pulled his wife's head down into his lap, tilting it back
and wiping away the blood with the towel Anastasia Krycek
had offered him. She raged on but he held on until she
stilled, sobbing, her tears diluting the blood to a watery
Krycek didn't try to hide the shock on his face. "Rough
"End-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma." Skinner
snarled from only inches away. "It should have taken her
months ago but she held on until Samantha was born
despite being unable to take her treatments."
"How long?" Krycek's voice trembled.
Skinner merely shook his head. "What you did to me,"
he said pointedly. "Can that help her? Get rid of the
Krycek watched Mulder's tender ministrations. The
bony hands stroked her face so gently while tears flowed
freely from sunken sockets. The skin hung loosely, dully,
with no fat to soften the skeletal angles. "Mulder looks like
"That's where he's been for the last eight months."
Krycek dragged his right hand down his stubbled,
weary face. "It could kill her if the cancer's metastasized."
For the first time Skinner noticed the dark metal ring
Krycek wore on his third finger. Terror flashed through the
icy blue eyes, mirroring that in Mulder's, of a husband
facing the reality of watching his lady love being taken
away so horrifically. He moved stiffly toward an opened
safe, but stopped, instead accepting a prepared hypodermic
Anastasia Krycek offered with a knowing nod.
"What's that?" Mulder asked suspiciously while Krycek
sought a viable blood vessel on Scully's scarecrow arm.
Scully did not move, her eyes fixed and glassy.
Krycek ran his fingers over her papery skin until he
found a strong blue line along the inside of her upper arm.
"NBTV. Non-biological technovirus."
She did not flinch at the needle prick and Krycek
depressed the syringe's plunger. "They're in," his reply
preceded the sound of clicking computer keyboard keys.
"That's what you did to Skinner and he nearly died,"
"Yeah, well, he didn't and the little buggers did the job
they were sent to do."
"Short of a miracle, Mulder, you know it's her only
hope." Skinner had moved behind the stained naugahyde
sofa and was whispering softly.
"How's the upload, Stasi?" Scully's skin had become a
mottled blue, blood vessels thickening dangerously.
"Ninety-eight, ninety-nine percent, it's done."
"Do something," Mulder demanded when her limp
body went rigid.
"Krycek," Skinner admonished.
"It will take a few minutes for them to respond," Krycek
answered, his warm, beringed hand brushing against her
again-ashen cheek. "Stasi?"
"Contact with the cancer cells," the older woman
responded. "Commencing self-destruct."
"What?" Skinner grabbed Krycek. "I thought you were
Krycek wrested his arm away from the larger man. "I
am. The self-destruct sequence is an electronic overload.
The current released will destroy adjacent tissue the
cancer-- and cauterize any compromised blood vessels."
Mulder thought for a long moment. "And if the
"She won't suffer." Maggie Scully, who'd been quietly
rocking Samantha, gasped at Krycek's reply. "It will be over
Mulder pulled his wife closer into a desperate embrace.
"I'm not ready for it to be over." Sorrow choked his voice.
Comfort came from an odd corner. "Our hearts never
are, Mulder." Tears glistened as though the icy eyes were
melting. Krycek backed away slowly, silently returning to
his work while watching the computer screen.
The minutes ticked by, silence interrupted by Mulder's
and Maggie Scully's snuffles, Skinner's pacing and Krycek's
restless manipulation of the lab equipment. The only sound
Scully emitted was labored breaths which slowed, spacing
further and further apart until . . .
"Alex," a sharp, desperate voice cried from the door.
Its owner rushed to the lab table, to Krycek who
immediately drew them Marita and the baby she
clutched closer. Her whisper rang around the concrete
walls, echoing back seemingly a thousand times. "There's
something wrong with Itzhak."
End Chapter 10
Fox Mulder stood before the half-closed door, the voices from
inside echoing through the empty bunker. He'd come to express
his thanks to a sworn enemy thanks for saving the life of his wife
who lay, resting comfortably and happily, six stories below them.
But now, standing at the door, he realized that his enemy had no
time for his thanks.
"[When did you know, Krycek? When did you know Itzhak would
"[The amnio,]" he replied emptily. "[The reactivated DNA showed
up on the amnio.]"
"[And you didn't tell me?]"
Mulder shifted uncomfortably. Despite the language difference, he
picked up the drift of the conversation.
"[There was no point to it.]"
"[There was no point to telling me the baby I was carrying was
infected with an alien virus that would kill him?]"
"[He wasn't infected, Marita. He was genetically altered in utero
by the tests to be immune to the virus. But the process caused
genetic damage, enough that he could not survive."
"[Then why would you let him be born in the first place?]" Her
eyes grew wide. "[The antibodies,]" the pitch of her voice rose
with the volume. "[You bastard, you wanted the antibodies.]" She
was screaming now, her fists thudding against his motionless form.
"[You just wanted him for the vaccine. Ghoul!]" Her fists
pummeled , her voice a ragged banshee cry. "[You sacrificed your
son for the sake of your precious vaccine!]"
"May I help you?" Krycek's voice boomed from behind the very
large Glock that was now pointed at the center of Mulder's
Mulder swallowed hard, but not from his own fear. He choked at
the tinny notes of terror he heard in his enemy's voice, at the tear-
stained face. "I, uh," he swallowed again. "I just came to say
The Glock disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. "You're
welcome." The flat, lifeless intonation thudded off the concrete
Mulder shuffled his feet restlessly.
"Was there something else?"
"No. Yes." Mulder studied the ring on his hand. "I'm sorry.
About your son."
Krycek gazed mistily across the concrete bunker. "Yeah, well, it's
probably what I deserve--meed for the deathsman."
Mulder shook his head. "Nobody deserves to see his child die. Or
"It's the ultimate irony. I was created to end lives; he was born to
save them. But to do that he had to die to pay for my sins, I
think. He was my Pascal Lamb." Krycek's eyes remained
unfocused after a long blink. "She was yours, you know. Emily."
Mulder cast his eyes down before meeting Krycek's now-focused
"But the biology didn't matter, did it? She was always yours in
"It's funny, you know. How you can become attached to
something, someone, in a mere eighteen days."
Krycek nodded, eyes squinching shut while Mulder's footsteps
scurried away. He stood, silent, motionless, etching for all time
the shape of his son's face on his memory until a hand circled his
arm, gently pulling him back inside.
"[I know why you didn't tell me,]" she clutched a tiny, empty
blanket. "[You didn't want to spoil it for me.]"
He chuffed. "[I wish I were that noble.]" He tugged at the tail of the
tiny coverlet, pulling her into his embrace. "[He was my firstborn
They shared the wracking sobs, the first since they'd returned their
son to the Earth in the sighing shelter of a knotty pine tree, until
they stilled, breathless, tearless, supported only by their shared
"[How long?]" she whispered. "[How long until you have to
He smoothed her hair. "[Six hours.]"
"[What if the vaccine doesn't work? What will you do?]"
He pressed his lips against the top of her head. "[Stay. Topside.
Until they're gone or we are.]"
She shuddered. "[Don't leave me here, Alex. Don't leave me here
"[You won't be alone,]" he cooed. "[You'll have Papa and
Anastasia and her family and ]"
"[Don't leave me here alone. Empty.]" She nuzzled his chest.
"[It's too soon, love, too soon, too soon . . .]" His protests
"[Please,]" she begged, tugging at his heart. "[Please.]"
So this is how it would end: not in conflagration and immolation
but with assimilation, gestation, then annihilation. Walter Skinner
buttoned his shirt, his handgun neatly tucked inside the waistband
of his jeans. He mulled over his role in the plans he'd set forth
nearly seven years ago when he'd first assumed the role of Moses.
It was time, now, for mankind to leave the Wilderness and step
over into Canaan. If it worked, mankind would survive and even
prevail. If not . . . "[Please,]" he breathed, crossing himself three
"I never knew you were a religious man, Walter." Maggie Scully
sat primly next to him.
"You know what they say about atheists and foxholes."
He fumbled with his collar button and she brushed his hands
away, nimbly fastening the button. He grabbed both wrists. "Find
a good man and be happy, Maggie Scully."
She laced her fingers through his. "Like you found a good
He grinned. "Just my luck. We were both still in love with other
"Yes, we were. Friends?" She wrapped her arms around his waist.
He sighed at the remembrance of the comfort a woman's touch
"Friends," he whispered. "Take care of them."
"Shall we?" he offered his arm most ceremoniously.
"I'd be delighted," she giggled, matching his strides into the
crowded meeting room.
Conversations quieted as he ascended the steps. "By now," he
shouted, too loudly. "By now," his adjusted his volume. "You
each have your distribution assignments. I don't think I have to tell
you that your mission is, very simply, to save the world." He
looked over the sea of faces. "We'll know in fourteen days if we
were successful. You know what you have to do. God help us
all." The room fell oddly silent as the warriors, sick to death of
war, took their leave to do final battle.
"I should be going," Mulder said quietly.
"Someone has to stay," Skinner replied. "I'm too old."
"And I'm too evil," Krycek interjected. "Besides, your daughter
deserves to know her father."
Dana Scully, skin radiating increasing health, pulled her husband
into an embrace.
Walter Skinner continued his trek toward the blast door.
"Be safe, Walter Skinner," Maggie Scully said quietly.
He stopped, grasping her hand between his. "Be happy, Maggie
Alex Krycek lingered. "[I never planned to fall in love with a bitch
like you,]" he whispered huskily, his warm hand brushing Marita's
"[And I never planned to fall in love with a bastard like you.]" She
kissed his hand then spread it against her belly. "[Come home to
us when you're done saving the world.]"
"[I love . . .]"
She sealed his vow with a kiss, long, passionate, hopeful.
Tearfully he followed the teams into the moonlight night, kissing
his ring, then watching and waving as the gaping maw of the
bunker ground shut.
"[I love you,]" she vowed, praying that her empty arms would soon
be filled again.
The communications room became sort of widow's walk where
the wives and families breathlessly watched the news reports of a
global "influenza epidemic." Over ninety percent of the world
was infected with the mild strain, but very few deaths were
reported. No person watched with more intensity than Anastasia
and Alexandre Krycek who, on the third day, as if mankind had
risen from some tomb, pronounced the fateful words, "We've
The first of the teams returned on the fifth day, flush with their
victory. The remainder streamed in over the next few days,
departing with their families back to their normal lives. The radio
crackled on the eighth day, bringing with it a message that "Moses"
had returned to his family in Texas. By the tenth day nearly all of
the teams had returned. By the eleventh day, all of the teams had
returned save one. "[We need you,]" Marita breathed as she
hunched over the short wave, her hand gently rubbing her bellyful
of hope. She stayed by the radio, hardly eating, seldom sleeping
until, on the fourteenth day, a familiar voice crackled the speaker
saying only two words, "[Come home.]"
One Christmas had passed and another loomed only days away
since the world had nearly ended. Samantha Mulder ran more
than walked now, her cinnamon hair flying behind her. Her
mother lunged to keep her busy hands off the holiday tree
bedecked with both angels and dreidels. Prevented from
redecorating she turned her attention to helping her father with his
job, wrapping presents. Joyfully she plopped in the middle of the
paper he'd just cut, as though she were the grandest of presents.
Her father could only smile and sweep her into the dearest of
embraces, sending her on to help her grandmother cook. As her
little steps receded, the computer announced the arrival of
"I'll get it," Mulder spared his again-expectant Scully the task of
getting up from the floor.
A few keytaps brought greetings from Walter Skinner, now a
gentleman horse-rancher in Texas. Spying a few words for Maggie
Scully, Mulder clicked to print them without reading them. A few
more keytaps brought the oddest of messages. The sender's name
was blank, the header information garbage even to a DOD-quality
decryption program. But the hard drive churned and an image
painted the screen. It wasn't just an image, but a movie clip and
Mulder, curiosity getting the better of his common sense, clicked
Christmas music crackled the speakers, peppered with baby
giggles. A cotton-topped child toddled into the picture, steadied
by its mother's strong hand. The mother was pregnant, too, very,
and her face beamed. The view widened to include a dark-haired,
blue-eyed man who teetered atop a ladder adjusting a treetop
"Krycek?" Scully breathed incredulously over his shoulder.
"Well, it ain't Ozzie and Harriet."
"Or Boris and Natasha."
His tree-trimming task completed, the man descended the ladder,
hooking an arm around his wife and child.
As the picture faded to black, Krycek voiced their message.
"From our family to yours, we wish you joy, we wish you peace
and we wish you hope in the future that you helped to preserve."
Fox Mulder pulled his wife into his lap, embracing her as he
prayed to that God in whom he'd gained new-found confidence,
"Shalom to you, Alex Krycek. You've earned it."
End Deathsman's Meed