Welcome To The Harem
Wrong Kind Of Paradise by Martha Part 3 of 5
Summary: Post ep. A different beginning for Season 8. MSR, Krycek/Marita, Gibson, LGM and more. See also Lost Boys And Golden Girls and Tear A Petal From The Rose.
The Wrong Kind of Paradise III
Spoilers: Requiem (US7). Certain aspects of Tempus Fugit,
Max, The End, and The Beginning are discussed.
Summary: A continuation of a different beginning for S8.
The Wrong Kind of Paradise III
Scully sipped the lemonade slowly in the simmering heat of
the not-yet-summer afternoon. Lounging with her feet up on
the ottoman with the ceiling fan twirling slowly just above
her, she kept a watch on the county road from the house's
screened-in porch. Mercifully, the porch faced east, and
she was spared the full force of the afternoon sun.
Earlier that morning, Susanne had taken her to a local flea
market to pick up some clothes. She had initially
hesitated at the idea of doing so, but Susanne had assured
her that there would be a quality of selection to choose
from - albeit of a casual variety - and she would need some
items to tide her over until the Gunmen's promise of
funding came through. She had found one of those long
tannish gauzy skirts with a pullover top to her liking
along with a chambray skirt and blouse. A faded pair of
jeans and a man's Hawaiian-print shirt rounded out her
purchases. She had made Susanne wait in the parking lot
while she went back inside the building to hunt down a pair
of sandals at the last moment.
Susanne had given her one of her cotton nightgowns to sleep
in, the kind that had the little blue flowers printed on it
and ribbons threaded throughout the bodice area. She had
changed back into it to take a nap when they got home, and
she wore it still. Her mother had warned her that she
would have moments of fatigue and to take the time to lie
down for twenty minutes or so to rest up, but Scully
thought that she was talking about later on when she had an
additional twenty or thirty pounds to lug around. The
morning sickness that had dogged her sister-in-law Tara
was, thankfully, a no-show so far. Even her mother's
warning about the smell of coffee becoming an adversary was
not panning out as Susanne only kept tea in the house. And
the orange Pekoe of ordinary Lipton soothed what morning
stomach jitters she had.
Susanne had warned her that she would probably go out while
she was sleeping to buy more food and reminded her of the
alarm situation. There was the code for the two entrances,
the front door and the door leading to the porch. The
windows were never to be opened and were on a separate
alarm keypad. A second generator ran the household
lighting and computer equipment in the event that any wires
were cut. The house was at the end of the county road so
there should not be any traffic coming towards the house;
the person delivering the mail used the driveway to turn
around but would never pass the perimeter fence.
Scully set down the empty glass on a side table amid a
cellphone and her weapon - another one of Susanne's
suggestions, to keep both within line of sight at all
As of eleven o'clock last night when the Gunmen had called,
there was still no word from Marita and no further
information or leads on Mulder. Susanne had let her speak
with Frohike first, where she promptly started to scold him
for the new name she had been saddled with. He apologized
profusely, blaming the last-minute heads up that they had
received and offered to change it. Scully turned him down,
knowing that they had probably already gone to great
lengths to set up a suitable new background for her based
upon that name. Frohike had said that a package would be
arriving Tuesday via the usual channels and that Susanne
would know what that meant.
Byers had then gotten on the line and given her a message
from Skinner that he would be seeing her mother in the
morning to let her know what happened and that Scully was
safe. After thanking them, she handed the phone back to
Susanne and watched her as she slipped to the other side of
the room to continue the conversation in hushed tones.
Scully had felt like a voyeur, eavesdropping on moments
that were meant to be private, so she quietly walked back
into the extra bedroom and settled in for the evening.
The unfamiliar sound of an automobile coming up the unpaved
driveway interrupted her recollections. Scully reached for
her weapon and tried to focus on the driver - there were
simply too many white Camrys on the road these days to be
able to quickly distinguish as to whether it was Susanne
returning from the market or someone who was going to
become very unwelcome. She had quickly settled down and
released her hold on the weapon as Susanne waved out the
open driver's side window, as if to reassure her that a
friendly presence was approaching.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport
Skinner fastened his seatbelt buckle as the Northwest
flight crew underwent its pre-flight announcements.
He had decided to call the civilian travel office that the
FBI contracted with to book his flight out of National. It
was work related after all, he thought, and it gave him a
good basis for an alibi when he did not return to DC before
Monday morning, when people might start asking about Dana
Scully's whereabouts. Frohike and Langly were planning on
leaving from Dulles in the morning, to give them more time
to sort through their equipment and decide what they could
carry on without setting off any of the airport alarms.
After receiving confirmation on his itinerary, he called
the office and left a voicemail for his assistant, letting
her know that he would not be in the office until almost
noon on Monday. He then called Scully's extension and left
a similar message there - knowing that Scully would never
get that message but that anyone who might be listening in
would and think that they were conducting business as
Before going to the Gunmen's headquarters earlier in the
day, he had kept his promise to Scully by visiting her
mother to explain the circumstances of her disappearance
and to warn her that people may come to interview her once
that disappearance become common knowledge.
Margaret Scully had not been shocked that her daughter was
being pursued, though Skinner thought that she may have
been hiding it well; she appeared to be more concerned with
her daughter's health. Though neither specifically used
the word `pregnancy' during that short visit, they silently
acknowledged that both knew of Scully's condition and
reassured the other that she was aware enough to seek the
appropriate medical attention that she needed.
As he was leaving, Skinner warned her that she may be
watched and that any incoming phone calls might be
compromised. If other family members were to call to
inquire about her daughter at a later date, Mrs. Scully
confidently replied, she would be able to carry off the
conversation without giving the game away. She reminded
Skinner that as a Navy wife, she would spend many months
with little contact from her husband and many times did not
know where on any of the seven seas he may be. She did
insist, however, that some plan be worked out for a regular
update on Scully's welfare and, if possible, to actually be
able to speak with her if circumstances allowed. Skinner
promised her that the Gunmen would make every effort to
keep her in regular contact with her daughter.
Skinner had given a cursory look around the Scully house as
he drove away. If anyone had noticed that he had been
there, he had his explanation at hand - he was simply
looking for Scully to inform her of the latest developments
in the search for Mulder and, when he could not contact her
at her own place, he went to her mother's. Nothing unusual
in that, he convinced himself.
The flight into Grand Forks, North Dakota, passed by
uneventfully, and Skinner picked up his rental car and
started driving west across Highway 2 towards Devils Lake.
That late at night, under the clear sky that the
forecasters had predicted, Skinner had thought that there
would be dozens of stars to keep him company. But the sky
was pitch dark and seemed a bit eerie, and he cracked a
window to let the cool air keep him awake until he reached
his Red Roof Inn an hour and a half later.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Devils Lake, North Dakota
A quick meal of ham and eggs and coffee at the local
Breakfast House started off his day. Skinner debated with
himself as to how best approach the local law enforcement
with his inquiries. He decided to not identify Mulder as a
fellow FBI agent but rather as someone who was a possible
witness to an event. After assuring the lone person
manning the police station that morning that Mulder was not
a criminal nor suspected of any wrongdoing, Skinner was
told that there had been no John Does recorded in over a
month at either the jail or the hospital. As he turned to
leave, the clerk began to tell him that there was a group
of odd people over at the campgrounds off of Route 57. The
buzzer that accompanied the opening door drowned out the
clerk's last comment, and Skinner asked him to repeat it.
"They think they're looking for aliens. Can you beat
Skinner remembered seeing the exit for the campgrounds
earlier that morning and, within thirty minutes, found
himself driving along the road encircling the lake, trying
to figure out how to distinguish alien seekers from your
ordinary everyday campers. He figured that he had found
the right crowd when he came across several silver trailers
with small satellite dishes attached to the roofs along
with other antennae equipment.
He approached three men who where gathered at one of the
picnic tables drinking coffee and pulled out his ID. "I'm
Assistant Director Walter Skinner with the FBI. Can I
speak to the person in charge of your group?"
A tall thin man in a plaid shirt and jeans stood. "That
would be me. Jim McCaskill. Don't tell me those local
police boys went and called the FBI on us."
"Actually, I'm here on a somewhat unofficial capacity. I'm
conducting a search for a missing person, and it's possible
that you might have crossed paths with him within the last
two weeks." He pulled out an old black-and-white file
photo and passed it on to the men. "He's about six foot
one, brown hair, hazel eyes. Name's Mulder."
Six pairs of eyes stared back at him. "Mulder?" MacCaskill
repeated. "Fox Mulder?"
Skinner forced his chest to squeeze out the air that had
become trapped in his lungs. Could it be this easy, he
thought. "Yes, Fox Mulder. Have you seen him?"
McCaskill pointed to him. "Wait right here." He took the
photo and ran over to the second trailer, knocking first,
and then entering it. A moment later, he emerged and was
followed by a blonde woman in jeans and a red sweater.
She had the photo in her hand as she walked up to Skinner.
"Do you know this man? You're FBI, right? Do you work
Skinner realized that the woman did not know him, but he
recognized her from the case file photos. She was Sharon
Graffia, who had somehow gotten Mulder and Scully involved
on a case with a passenger jet and an alien craft that may
or may not have been shot down by the military. The same
case that they were investigating when Pendrell had been
killed. The last he knew of Sharon was that she had
checked herself into a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.
"Yes, I'm AD Skinner, Mulder's supervisor. Have you spoken
with him lately?"
"No," Sharon replied. "We're looking for him, actually."
"How did you know that he was missing?" Skinner looked
around at the gathering crowd. "And why here?"
"We had some help." Sharon turned and motioned one of the
Skinner crouched down as the boy approached. He had
thought that boys of that age grew in spurts, but Gibson
Praise hardly seemed to have aged in the two years that had
passed since he and his agents had seen him last. In fact,
the only difference appeared to be that his hair was now a
dark brown as opposed to the sandy color on the videotape
of that deadly chess match in Canada.
Gibson spoke first. "She's OK, isn't she?"
Skinner began to smile. "Dana Scully, you mean?"
"Yes. You've been worried about her. And her partner."
"He's not here right now. He was, but he went with the
rest of them."
Skinner looked up at McCaskill and Sharon. "The rest of
"You'll see," Gibson reassured him. "We'll find them."
McCaskill tapped the boy on the shoulder, and they returned
to the main picnic table to fix themselves a bowl of
Skinner was still trying to believe his luck in coming in
contact with the child after all this time. "How long has
he been here?"
"We found him just outside Denver about four months ago."
Sharon and Skinner began to walk a bit away from the crowd.
"Or maybe he found us. He just seemed to know the kind of
work that we were doing and started giving us information
about some of the places where we should be doing our
"Did you ask him how he knew these things?" Skinner
noticed that she was hesitating about saying anything
further. "You know that he has gifts in certain areas."
"That he does. At first, he kept telling us that we didn't
need to believe him but that it wouldn't hurt to go and see
for ourselves. He's a very special boy."
"More than you know." They had stopped walking and turned
back to watch Gibson eating his breakfast. "I don't
understand how he's managed to survive. We thought we lost
him a couple of years ago."
"He says that he would approach only those that he knew
wouldn't hurt or betray him. He was with some farm or some
reservation families before he found us." Sharon paused to
remember a face from a few years back. "There's just this
quality about him that reminds me of someone."
"What did he mean by `he went with the rest of them'?"
"Gibson doesn't elaborate much, just tells enough to keep
us in the right direction and stopping us from going about
things in the wrong way. I think that he's still afraid to
trust. I mean, he can clearly see who each of us are down
to our last thoughts. He'll even let me mother him a
little but . . ." She looked up at Skinner, slightly
embarrassed. "That's not answering your question. This
gets a bit weird."
Tell me about it, he thought. "Weird is why I'm here."
"About ten days ago, we were in Rapid City, and Gibson was
looking at our maps when all of a sudden he tells me that
we've got to go to North Dakota. Pointed out this specific
location and everything. Says that they're all here. When
I asked him what he meant by `they', he tells me that it's
all the people in the spaceships and that they're leaving
soon. Well, when he said spaceships, the first thing that
flashed through my mind was my friend Max, and then Gibson
says that no, Max wasn't there but that Fox Mulder was."
"He said that Mulder was here?" Skinner shook his head.
"Gibson only reads minds - how could he have known that?"
"He must have been in contact before with someone who knew.
Every time he says we need to be somewhere, we find things.
So we tell him that we'll be driving this way shortly, and
Gibson's like, no, you have to leave now. So he and Darryl
and I get on a plane, and we're here a couple of hours
"And you saw something."
"Yes." Sharon looked away for a moment before continuing.
"Well, no, I didn't see anything. We'd gotten a car at the
airport, and we were driving around. Gibson tells us to
pull over, and he gets out and starts running in this open
field. Darryl must have gotten out and ran after him, but
I couldn't move. I just had this strange feeling - like I
knew what was out there. I could sense . . ." Her words
drifted but she quickly recovered. "I just couldn't move.
And then it happened. There was this bright beam from the
sky, very quick, and then it went out. It got so quiet, no
insects, no wind - nothing - and then I started calling for
the others. Gibson came back to the car alone."
"What happened to Darryl?"
"According to Gibson, he was taken. I told him that this
was not a joking matter - I know what it's like to be
taken, if only for a short time, but he insisted." The two
began walking back up the road. "Everyone else got here
the following evening. At first, we were only staying to
see if Darryl would show up. Personal experience tells me
that if he was abducted by whatever was out there, then
more than likely he'll be returned somewhere close."
"Has he been found?"
Skinner stopped walking when he noticed that Gibson had
left the picnic area and was slowly making his way towards
them. "And yet you've stayed?"
"We've come across some places that appear to be some sort
of gathering or staging area. The ground impressions are
enormous, and no one local seems to be able to account for
them. We're finishing up the soil analysis now." Sharon
was startled when Gibson tugged on her sweater. "Gibson,
are you all right?"
Gibson turned his attention towards Skinner. "Mister? Her
name is Scully, isn't it?"
He nodded. "The lady who helped you a couple of years ago?
"There's someone close by calling out her name."
Sharon played with the boy's hair. "Are you sure it's not
just Mr. Skinner thinking about her?"
"No. There is someone out there, heading this way."
Gibson walked slowly out to the middle of the road and
pointed to a figure staggering alongside a fence in the
Skinner felt a chill run down his spine. "Mulder."
Gibson shook his head. "It's not Mulder."
Sharon began walking towards the other side of the road to
get a closer look. "Oh my god, it's Darryl."
Several of the campsite group, including Skinner, ran down
the road to help their returning member. They tried to
carry him back to the camping area, but Darryl remained
rigid, as if frozen, with his hands clenched in fists and
knees unbending. He was muttering something incoherent,
but it sounded like he was repeating a chant over and over
They got him to finally sit down on a bench, and Sharon
brought a cup of water to his visibly parched lips. Darryl
swallowed some but most of it ended up on his mud-stained
jeans. As Sharon reached for a refill, he started his
chanting again but was quieted when feed more water.
Darryl was silent for a moment, as if not noticing that he
was back among his friends, until Gibson approached him.
They locked eyes, and Darryl began his chant again, only
this time his voice was louder and clearer.
It was still indecipherable to Skinner until Gibson
momentarily turned his way and started chanting with the
returnee: Dana Scully, Dana Scully.
Skinner quickly moved to Darryl's side and knelt beside him
opposite Gibson. He observed the eye contact between the
two, sensing that one was reaching into the terrified mind
of the other and soothing it as the man's chanting became
clearer and softer. Skinner felt himself beginning to
hyperventilate when he realized that the man was indeed
calling out the name of one of his agents - a name that he
could not have known. "How do you know Dana Scully?"
Darryl turned to him and then looked down at his own
clenched fists. He held out his right arm and then slowly
uncurled his fingers. The tips of his nails were caked in
red from blood, and Skinner could see that the man's hand
must have been in that position for some time, desperately
digging into his own skin. It took a few seconds for it to
register that the man was harboring something precious
within that grasp.
A small gold cross necklace.
And the chanting continued. ". . . for Dana Scully. Dana
to be continued
Since I do not have a tape of Requiem, I am taking the word
of a number of Philes that Mulder was wearing Scully's
cross when he was abducted.
Sharon Graffia's backstory is explained in Tempus Fugit and
Max (both US4) while Gibson Praise appears in The End (US5)
and The Beginning (US6). Hopefully, no one has been
terribly spoiled by my mentioning that Pendrell is dead,
though many of us continue to be saddened by this loss.
When certain `spoilers' began to surface during Chris
Carter's public appearance at San Diego's ComicCon over
this past weekend, I decided to forgo a larger posting and
send out this section. I will not elaborate further for
those who wish to remain completely surprised - all three
CONTINUED IN PART 4