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Cierta Gente Solo by David Hearne
Summary: In "Sixth Extinction," Dana Scully is having visions. Someone was having them long before she did. See also sequel Forsaken.
TITLE: CIERTA GENTE SOLO (1 of 1)
AUTHOR: DAVID HEARNE
CLASSIFICATION: Post-ep for "Sixth Extinction, Part I"
SUMMARY: In "Sixth Extinction," Dana Scully is having visions. Someone
was having them long before she did.
ARCHIVING: Anyone who wants it can have it.
SPOILERS: "Sixth Extinction," "Two Fathers/ One Son"
The title of the story comes from "Cumbia De Los Muertos," a song by
He first saw the woman on July 2, 1947.
He had been in a small bar, the nearest one located to the military
base at which he was stationed. Today was a permitted day of
relaxation from the usual routine of army life. His idea of relaxation
was to settle on his bunk and read. Bill, however, had insisted that
he come along to The Last Outpost. Bill pestered him so long that he
decided on a compromise. He would come to the Outpost, but with a book
tucked under his arm. When he arrived at the bar, he settled into a
corner table with a beer and continued reading.
Bill concentrated on another variety of pleasure -- flirting with any
pretty, unattached woman in the bar. The jukebox vibrated with the
sound of a woman demanding a pig foot and a bottle of beer as Bill
received giggles for his jokes and smiles in return for his grin.
Finally, Bill came over to his corner and told him that he had not
one, but two females on the hook. How about being a gent and helping a
fellow soldier out here?
"Surely you're man enough for two women, Bill."
"Oh, for chrissake, I'm doing you a favor here."
"I'm perfectly happy just reading my book."
"It must be a pretty good book."
"In fact, it's *the* good book. The Bible."
Bill rolled his eyes. The man with the Bible was a good friend of his,
but he was also a tight-ass. Bill referred to him as "The Puritan" for
his abstinence from smoking, alcohol and apparently sex.
old. Their drafting had occurred just before the devastation of
Hiroshima saved them from the horrors of the frontline. They found
that they liked the army and decided to stay in it. Bill liked it
because the army was America's most prominent symbol of what could
only be described as its empire. The rest of the world was struggling
in the ruins left by tanks and bombs. America, on the other
hand...America had the most money, the most influence and one hell of
a weapon. Sure, Russia was looking a little dangerous, but was there
any doubt that the U.S.A. could make a rug out of that mangy bear? As
of this moment, America appeared to Bill as the promised land for
which he never had to search.
His friend, on the other hand, seemed determined to just stick his ass
in the mud.
"So, you're finally getting religion?" Bill asked.
"No. But I appreciate good prose. Listen to this. 'And I saw a beast
rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten
diadems upon its horns...'"
Bill lifted up his hands. "Forget it. If you want to sit here with
your book, fine. Just don't say that I never did anything for you."
Bill returned to the two women he had charmed. His friend just smiled,
took a sip of his beer and returned to a tale of the final days. He
considered Bill a friend, but also regarded him as an incorrigible
hedonist. Bill was satisfied as long as he had a woman in one hand and
his other hand on the wheel of a big, roaring car.
The man reading at the table wanted more. What he wanted exactly was
unclear. Ever since the Axis had been defeated, it was clear that a
new age had dawned in mankind's history. He had stayed in the army
because that looked like the best place to view the changes coming.
And maybe the best place to take advantage of them as well.
Would he see his opportunity coming? Would he have the strength to
"But the angel said to me, 'Why marvel? I will tell you the mystery of
He waved a hand in the air next to his ear.
"'...and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries
He waved his hand again. He looked like he was chasing away a fly. He
assumed that was the thing bothering him. The Last Outpost was little
more than an old shack, its attraction based on nothing more than
being the only bar in this particular area of the desert. A wide
variety of insects had made their home in the walls and a few snakes
were crawling under the floor.
"'After this, I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having
There were no flies around him, though. He realized this yet he
couldn't shake the feeling of something close to him.
Something trying to get his attention.
He looked everywhere until he noticed the window. Outside, a woman was
standing outside the bar, looking straight back at him.
He carefully closed his Bible. Then he walked out the front door.
She was old. Her weathered, brown skin was far removed from either
youth or a life spent in air-conditioned comfort. Yet she was
beautiful in a strange way. She arrested your eyes with just the look
on her face. With a shawl wrapped around her in a defensive gesture,
she stared at him as if she knew every secret in his heart.
At first, he could only stand there and look back. Behind her was a
long road reaching across the desert like a line to a drowning man.
Behind him, The Last Outpost bore its name well in a land where it was
five miles back to the military base, an insane distance to travel on
He waited for her to make the first move.
One arm pulled itself away from her body. Her shawl unfurled its brown
and red colors as if it was a bird's wing. She motioned for him to
come forward. He did just that.
She placed one of her hands on his cheek. His skin never felt so
smooth and young as when that rough palm touched him.
In a whisper, she said, "Cierta gente solo puede ver espiritus
bailando entre la gente."
Then she unfolded her other arm and pointed to the sky. His gaze
followed her direction. As usual, the sky was a dense blue with only a
few clouds to hold back the sun's fire.
He saw a dot streak across the heavens. Like the descent of an
executioner's blade, it arced towards a final spot located at the
horizon. Its landing let out a boom, softened by the distance and
unheard in the jukebox's din.
He thought, "'And the fifth angel blew his trumpet and I saw a star
fallen from heaven to earth...'"
He felt the hand leave his cheek. He was not entirely surpirsed when
he turned and saw that the old visitor had disappeared.
Bill was whispering in a woman's ear when his friend came back inside
and said, "Something crashed."
The colonel -- a man who had seen more than half of his friends die
over the years, a man who had three times received the sting of hot
metal on his body, a man who had led other men through one European
charnel house after another --- looked at the people under his command
and said, "I have no idea what to do."
There were six other people in the hangar with him -- one captain, two
lieutenants, two corporals and a private. All of them shared his
unease and confusion.
Almost all. One corporal had a blank expression which looked calm or
just shell-shocked, depending on your viewpoint.
"That's a helluva thing to say," the colonel said. "Yet I'll be a fool
to claim that I know how to handle this situation. Nothing in my
training...nothing in my whole *life* gives me anything to put this
into context. I am completely adrift."
The corporal looked away at the piles of shiny metal collected in the
"Washington is going to have to know about this. And they'll take
change of the whole situation. But you can bet MacArthur's ass that
they won't know what to do with this situation any more than I do.
They're going to ask me for a plan simply because I was the poor
son-of-a-bitch with a bird on his collar who arrived on the scene
first. Whatever I tell them will play a big role in how the entire
agenda is shaped."
The colonel spread out his hands. "What should I tell them, boys?"
None of the other men looked at him.
Then the corporal turned back his head and said this --
Over ten years later, Bill and his friend were standing on the front
porch of a Virginian house. The month was October and both were
looking up at the night sky. Bill has long since left the army for a
job in the State Department. His friend...well, Bill was not entirely
sure what he did for the government. There was not a lot he could have
told you about the man with him. He didn't even know when "The
Puritan" had taken up smoking. ("The Puritan" wasn't sure, either.)
The smoking man blew a grey plume towards the stars. "I wonder if we
can see it from here," he said.
"Beats me," Bill replied. "I'm still wondering how the bastards got
one up there in the first place." He took a sip from a glass of harsh
yellow liquid -- his own personal vice. "You know what this means,
don't you? Those damn Nazis have got a blank check to do whatever they
want. All they need to do is point up."
He gave the smoking man a sour look. "Of course, the space race was
won a long time ago, right? And we all lost."
"That's why we agreed to keep quiet on a certain matter. We decided
that some information was too devastating for the public to handle."
"You mean, you decided."
The smoking man turned to Bill and blew another plume in his
direction. "No one twisted your arm back then, Bill."
Bill said nothing for awhile. Neither did the smoking man. They were
as silent as the stars.
Then Bill said, "I want to get married."
The smoking man lifted his eyebrows and said, "Why, Bill, this is so
sudden. But shouldn't we date each other first?"
"Oh, he still has a sense of humor, does he? Well, I mean it. I want
to get married and I want to be a father."
"Because I'm thirty years old and I'm lonely. Isn't that a good enough
The smoking man shrugged. "I suppose. I just hope you find the right
"The same to you."
"I already found her."
"Huh? You have? Who?"
The smoking man's face bent into a crooked smile. "Why, Lady Liberty,
On November 22, 1963, he had a nightmare.
In the nightmare, he was standing in a cemetary full of blank
tombstones. The old woman was standing at a distance from him.
"I did the right thing, didn't I?" he said in an anguished voice. "I
have done many crimes for less reason than this. I have the blood of
more than one innocent on my hands and he was less innocent than them.
It was necessary. It was important to..."
He rubbed his hands together as if he was trying to fit them into the
appearance of prayer. "Why am I so troubled, then? Why do I feel like
I've stepped over a line not to be crossed?"
He pointed a finger at her. "You bear responsibility. You showed me
where to go. You showed me things few others have ever seen. And you
must have known what I would do."
The old woman's face remained impassive.
"I can't take it anymore. I'm tired. If you have anything else to show
me, then save it. Nothing can make me go on with..."
She pointed her long, ragged finger at him.
Then she directed it to the ground.
He looked down at the vibrant green grass which covered even the
A black oil pushed its way out of the ground. It slid across the grass
as if it was a ghost floating over the corpses buried under his feet.
Teena opened the front door and found him there. The date was August
"What are you doing here?" she said with more rudeness than she
"Any reason why I shouldn't be?"
She cleared her throat and showed the politest face she could. "I...I
just thought that you would be in D.C. now. With Bill. Now that the
Resolution is being..."
"That business has already taken care of itself. May I come inside?"
Teena considered the man and speculated how to get rid of him. She
realized that she was only staving off the inevitable. If she didn't
let him in, then he would find another entrance. No house could keep
She stepped aside.
"Where's your son?"
"He's in the living room. Playing."
"I heard that you and Bill are planning to have another child."
She nodded again.
"Well...I'll let you get back to whatever..."
"You still haven't explained why you're here."
He smiled. "I'll be gone in a minute. I just need..." He hesitated,
looking for the best words. "I just need to see something."
Again, what could she do to get him out? She went to the kitchen,
though she didn't do any work. She just listened for any sounds from
He was perfectly quiet. All he did was go into the living room. In
there, a small boy had claimed his own spot on the rug. Toy rockets
and little astronauts were involved in dramas only he could
The man didn't bother to sit down nor did the boy take notice of the
adult standing behind him. He continued marching the astronauts across
the rug and aiming the rockets towards the ceiling.
Then he stopped.
He looked straight ahead of him.
The man studied the boy very carefully. He become convinced that the
boy was seeing someone else in the room.
The boy kept his eyes fixed on what only seemed to be empty space. He
stayed like that for a minute, motionless and attentive.
Then he turned around and looked at the man behind him.
"They're coming," he said.
The man let out a long breath. He gave one last look at the boy, then
left the room and the house. A little time passed. Then the boy went
back to his games. He would forget what he saw.
At the State Department, Bill received a phone call. When he heard the
caller's voice, he said, "Where the hell have you been? Everything you
set into motion is..."
"Remember the crash, Bill?"
Bill hesitated before saying, "What of it?"
"The search team for that crash is about to arrive."
November 27, 1973.
"I can't do this..."
"You have to."
"No. There has to be another way."
"There is no other way."
"Enough, Bill! Enough! No more words! I had to make a choice and now
you have to!"
A hum no earthly engine could make.
"I can't...I can't choose."
A sigh. A struck match, then the inhaling and exhaling of breath.
"Then I'll tell you who to choose." A spoken name, three syllables, a
The clearing of a throat. "Why her?"
"Because your son is...special. In time, he can serve his own purpose.
He might even transcend the project itself."
A choked sob.
"I know, Bill. I know."
Silence of two men. Hum of an engine.
"If I do this...if I make this choice...then you have to promise that
no harm will come to him."
"Your own standing among the group ensures his safety, Bill."
"I'm part of the group no more. Now promise me."
"All right, Bill. But never said I didn't do anything for you."
He watched his television in the fall of 1989. Images of people
standing on a wall shined on the screen. His expression showed mild
interest. "Well," he said. "that's one less problem to deal with."
Then he reached to a side table. He picked up a file lying next to an
ashtray and a gun. He read the contents of the file. It was the resume
of a FBI agent. He studied the file closely.
Then he sensed someone else in the room. He looked up and saw her.
"He's the wild card, isn't he? He could go either way and change the
She made no response.
He looked back down at the file. "All right," he said to the photo
inside the file. "Your move, my boy."
The time is now.
"He's finally done it.
"He's broken through.
"Over the past ten years, I've watched him and I've manipulated him. I
made him think that he was running in circles when all the time he was
spinning around a bowl, dropping lower and lower to the center.
"Now, he's reached his destination and he doesn't like what he's
found. Or what he's become.
"It's our task to make him accept these changes. He needs to get past
his hatred of me and understand that I'm his best hope for survival
just as he is our best hope.
"I need you more than ever. Make him understand. If he does
understand, then our work can reach a plateau we had only imagined
reaching. And you will be reunited with him.
"Go to him. Bring him home."
Diana nods. She goes to the door, then stops there. She looks back and
says, "I wish I could see what you could see."
He smiles. Then she leaves.
No, he thinks. You can't.
Cierta gente solo puede ver espiritus bailando entre la gente.
Only certain people can see the spirits dancing among us.
And only I know how to dance with them.