Title: Bringing Up Baby
Author: Amber "Sunny" Howard
Rating: PG-13

Summary: I never liked post-colonization stories, and I'm nowhere near Rachel's level, but here goes anyway. After all, nobody forces you to read anything I write. *Semi-Spoilers for "Three Of A Kind"


Prologue

The dark haired man opened his eyes. The concrete of the shelter was cracked but still largely intact. Annabelle sat contentedly in the corner chewing on the Darth Maul doll she'd found somewhere.

"Will you stop that? Where do you think it's been?"

Annabelle glared at him through her icy blue eyes and went right on chomping. "Spam," she said. She'd named the doll after her favorite food. As crazy as her father.

"Why the hell did I pick you up? It's your fault this happened."

Out of a sense of responsibility, he supposed. After leading Mulder and Scully to their little hybrid, and seeing that they escaped, he had inadvertently trigged colonization, or some pitiful form of it. Why, oh why hadn't that idiot learned his lesson after Cassandra? Now the colonists, rebels, and a few humans fought over what remained of Planet Earth. Such is glory.

"Fuck. C'mon stupid, let's go," he said, picking the little toddler up.

"Uck." replied Annabelle, clutching the unfortunate drool-covered Spam. She truly delighted in picking the swear words out of his mouth.

"I ought to wash your mouth out with soap."

"Soap?"

"Yeah, soap."

He'd found the little girl in Scully's ruined apartment, clutching Mulder's still hand. He'd assumed the blast had killed them. Unless the little terror here had. Now that was a thought.

"Al-ex?"

"What?"

"What's that thing up there?"

Alex looked up and jumped to the left as the laser beam slammed into the sidewalk beside him. "Shit!"

"Sit!" shrieked Annabelle as Alex ran back into the shadow of the concrete slabs. She wiggled up on his shoulders, waving Spam and screaming at the attackers. She was such a valiant, if idiotic, little doll. He could almost love her.


Chapter 1: Genesis

The compound sat in the middle of the Nevada desert, its dark shuttered windows and soundproof rooms giving not the slightest hint as to what went on inside. Behind three airlocked doors, all guarded by lasers and guards with dark eyes and quick trigger fingers, lay the first room, where men and women moved slowly under ultraviolet light, hunching over petri dishes, test tubes, and freezers.

First whole ovaries of human eggs were defrosted, artifically ripened, and immersed in a thawed solution full of lively sperm taken from the designated male until all were fertilized. They were then moved to petri dishes where the now precious Reticulan E.B.E DNA was injected into the cells, then moved to test tubes and closely watched as they divided and grew. The tubes were then labeled with parentage, batch number, gender, and number of chromosomes. The tubes were loaded on racks, and pushed into a second room, where women of all races and ages, in various stages of pregnancy, lay on stainless steel tables, the hybrid infants growing in their wombs. Stern-faced nurses prowled around the room, giving each woman an injection of nutrients three times a day.

After the babies were taken by Cesarean, and the scars on their surrogate mothers' bellies erased by lasers, they were loaded by group onto carts and taken into nurseries. The women would wake up in alleys, on hills, in hospitals, dazed, with no memory of what had happened to them.

In this hybrid factory, the child who would become known one day as Annabelle Rose Mulder was born, if you could call it that. Her mother was subject Scully, Dana Katherine, her father was subject Mulder, Fox William. Unlike the other babies, she was not part of a group, destined to become a factory worker or farm hand on a Colonized Earth. Little Annabelle, or subject #35290467, as she was known for the first six months of her life, was created with only one purpose.

To quietly rid the world of the nuisances that were her parents.


Chapter 2: Three Gunmen and a Baby

Evading their security was child's play. Krycek smiled. How ironic.


The doorbell buzzed. Langly shuffed out into the living room, in the process tripping over three pizza boxes, a Zip Drive, Frohike's stack of vintage Hustlers, and a case of Relenza flu inhalers, being tested for the next issue. The air momentarily turned blue.

He looked out the peephole, then checked the security camera. His eyes opened, closed, then opened again. He took off his glasses, wiped them on his Metallica t-shirt, rubbed the snot out of his eyes, and looked in the camera again. He checked the equipment for malfunction. Nope. Slowly, he unlocked all eight locks and peered down. Yep, a wicker basket, covered with a blanket.

He closed the door and searched the main room until he found a hollow softball bat that had once held ten D&D collector cards. Opening the heavy metal door a bit, he poked the end of the bat through it and inched the blanket off the basket. Not a sound. <Must be on a timer,> he thought.

He opened the door to look and was mometarily stunned. In the basket was a sleeping newborn baby, dressed in a little pink sleeper. Beside her were bottles of formula, a small sack of diapers, wipes, a teddy bear, and a rattle.

<What the hell??!?!!?>

He touched the baby to make sure it was real, shook his head, and carried the basket inside. He laid it gently by the computer and headed for the other bedrooms.

"Um, guys? We have a problem," he said softly.


Frohike barged into the other room first. "What is it? You interrupted this great dream about Scully an-"

Langly cut him off in midsentence, his voice a hushed whisper. "Will you shut up? Look!" He pointed to the basket.

Frohike stared, his face blank. "Langly, it's a baby."

"I know it's a baby, you idiot."

"Who's a baby?" murmered Byers sleepily behind them, rubbing his beard. He saw the basket and his eyes opened.

"Where the hell did it come from?" Frohike asked.

"I don't know. Somebody left it on the doorstep. I thought it was a bomb, for God's sake."

"Don't use language like that around a baby, guys!"

"It's not like she can hear us, Byers."

"We've got to call Child Welfare or something."

"Byers, are you nuts? Do you know what they test on kids in orphanages?"

Byers closed his eyes. "You're right. Wait a minute. This could be my baby. Suzanne could have left it here, for....Oh my."

Langly rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right. I think Suzanne would respect us enough to leave a note, even if it was full of Bull...b.s."

Before any of them could say anything else, the baby suddenly wiggled, then began to cry.

"Oh my God."

Byers picked the baby up and rocked her in his arms as she howled. "She might be wet. Clear off the computer desk, or something."

"You are not changing that baby near MY baby."

Frohike sighed. "Langly, shut up and help me. As long as we shut her up, she can short out the computer for all I care."

"Well, at least put the blanket under her."

As Byers unbuttoned the sleeper, Frohike said nervously, "Wait, Byers, it's a girl."

"I know it's a gi--Oh, ech. Langly, bring me the diapers, and some of those wipes."

Langly brought them over. "Do you even know how to change a diaper?"

Byers looked at him. "If we can publish the truth about a global conspiracy, help bust the bad guys once a year, and save half the American populace from mind controlling gas, we can figure out how to change a diaper."

Langly backed away. "What do you mean, WE?"

Frohike wrung his hands. "Yeah, we should call someone. A woman. Scully, I'll call Scully." He stumbled off in search of the phone.


Chapter 3: Scully and Mulder's Busy Morning

Scully arrived in fifteen minutes, bringing bags full of soy based formula, diapers, wipes, and clothes.

"All right, let's see her. Hello there baby..ooo." Scully took the baby from Byers, checking to make sure the diaper was on correctly and alarmingly eyeing the layer of duct tape on it. She sighed and cooed to her. "Ooo..aren't you a little sweetheart, yes oo are, yes oo are...."

Frohike was staring at her, his mouth open.

Scully looked at him. "What?"

"Look at her eyes, Scully. Look at her. She looks exactly like you."

Scully froze, thinking of Emily. She looked at the happy, wiggling baby in her arms. Blue eyes. A tiny tuft of brown hair, which might have been her shade before she dyed it....oh God.

"Where's the phone? I have to call Mulder."


"Where did you find her?" Mulder asked.

"Someone just left her on our doorstep." Langly said.

"Well, someone's been taking care of her." Scully said. "They left her with food, diapers, and her toys." She brushed one of the teddy bear's soft paws against the baby's cheek. "She looks healthy. I can take her to the lab and run some DNA and blood tests, see what I can come up with."


The minute Scully and Mulder walked into the Hoover Building, the rumors started flying.

"Hey, did you see that? The Spookys just walked in with a baby."

"Aw, Spooky Jr., how cute..."

"Is it the Devil's baby? Or an alien....?"

"She didn't look pregnant."

"They probably kidnapped it off a UFO or something. Do you have that file on the Miami cocaine ring?"

"Which one? There's only 87."

"Files, UFOs, or Miami cocaine rings?"


The lab technician was young enough to blush, but smart enough to keep his mouth shut.

"I'll need the DNA and blood typing kits and a box of fine syringes."

"I can do those tests, ma'am. It will take a couple of...."

Mulder leaned over and glared at the lab technician.. "This has to do with a very sensitive, very classified case. You should know that Agent Scully is a medical doctor and quite capable of doing this herself. You will assist her in any way that she needs. Is that clear?"

"Yes, sir." The kid's ears turned red.

"Thank you."

Scully took him aside. "You didn't have to do that, Mulder."

"The consortium gets them young, Scully," he said, thinking of Krycek. "You and um....the baby going to be okay?"

Scully smiled. "We will."


Chapter 4: The Dark Mirror

Krycek stood before the table, smoke wafting around him in a semi-transparent cloud.

"You left the child at the appointed place?" The voice was untrusting.

"Yes, sir."

"Dressed, healthy and with supplies to tell them that she has been taken care of?"

"Yes, sir."

"Excellent. The second part of the operation will commence immediately. " He extinguished the cigarette, ending the conversation.


Scully had not worked so diligently since just before her cancer had gone into remission. The baby girl had fallen asleep again, and she looked tenderly at her as she went back and forth. She ran names through her mind. The problem with Moby Dick was that the characters were all men. It would be sweet but not sensible to call the baby "Starbuck."

She ruled out Emily and Melissa. She didn't want to have to think of pain every time she looked at her. She was too afraid that the baby would bring plenty of pain with her.

Annabelle. "God's Gift."

"Hello, Annabelle." said Scully to the sleeping infant as she took a typing sheet out of the developing bath. "I'd love to be your momma."


Seven hours later, the tests were ready. Her fears were confirmed. Not only was the baby hers, but the DNA in her body from her own abduction matched the strange DNA twining around Annabelle's genetic code here and there. But there weren't only two codes here, there were three.

Annabelle had a father. Scully had an idea who it was. There were too many coincidences here.


Mulder walked into the lab. "I told Skinner. He wants a full report as soon as the lab tests are done."

"Roll up your sleeve."

"What?"

"Roll it up, Mulder."


Chapter 5: The Pink Brick Wall

"Defend me from this rage of deadening sorrow, Defend me with your arms and kisses bold--- Make haste, dear love, before another morrow Dawns with its kindless loneliness and cold.

O sweet, these are the days of fleet forgetting, Love's triumphs are small when wars make spawn Instead of children in begetting, And marriages are stifled with a yawn.

These are the days that bode ill to living, Love struggles to be heard above the screech; Men mock their loveless lives, and unforgiving, Dance hate's dances on a lurid beach.

But that lies far below us, love: our path Of trembling brightness is God's Sword Of Wrath!" -Kyril Demys, "Prismatic Voices"

He was shocked as she held up the clear plastic sheet, the pattern exactly matching the missing links.

"How did you know?"

"I thought so, but I wasn't sure until I ran it through the FBI Database. The DNA was close enough that I had to run a blood test. See these extra patterns here, and here? It's a third genetic code. The database couldn't give me an exact match along normal genetic parameters."

"Normal genetic parameters? She's been injected with alien DNA?"

"Mulder, please. Let's not go overboard.:"

"But you were, too, Scully."

"I don't believe it was necessarily alien. You know that, Mulder."

Scully swore that Mulder looked at Annabelle with a hunger in his eyes. "The truth we seek, Scully. It's not only in you. It's in her."

"Mulder, she's a little baby. What if they come after her? You know they won't let any proof exist. How could you live with that?"

Annabelle, now awake, wiggled in her basket and absorbed all in her brilliant blue eyes. Scully, smiling, gave her her teddy bear. She immediately put one of its paws in her mouth.

Mulder didn't spare the baby a glance. "You have to run more tests on her, Scully. We have to find as much out as we can."

"I'm not running any more tests, Mulder. I shouldn't have in the first place."

"But, Scully,---"

"I don't care what you want, or what she can prove. She is not ending up like Emily. And if she does, I do not want her short life wasted on some quest of yours. I've given up my life. Isn't that enough for you?" Scully's eyes now blazed with anger. Mulder backed away from her, bewildered and a little frightened.

"Come on, Annabelle." Scully said, picking the basket up. "Tell Skinner I'm taking the rest of the day. I'm going to give the baby a bath and go shopping."

She left. Mulder looked at the doorway for a long time.


Scully turned off her cell phone and unplugged the home one. She ran a bit of warm water into the sink and took out the baby shampoo she had bought.

Annabelle wiggled her little hands while Scully washed, powdered and dressed her.

<Her darling little hands. How could he?>

Scully thought of Gibson Praise, accusing her of wanting to study him. Not accusing. Knowing.

<Scully, the truth is not only in you. It's in her.>

So what? What have I ever gotten for following him. No answers, almost death. Is the truth worth a life? Is the truth worth a cute little baby?

She thought of the chip in her neck, of the endless rows of burned bodies. No, it wasn't.


As the months passed after Annabelle came, Mulder and Scully slowly but surely grew apart.

Mulder rarely even saw the baby: Scully left her with her mother when they went on cases. But she was there, always between them like a brick wall. He could barely shout through the cracks.

"I need her, Scully." He mouthed through the cracks.

"You'll damn her, Mulder." She mouthed back.


Chapter 6: Dark Firestorm

The doorbell rang again. It had better not be another damned baby.

It was Mulder and Scully. They seemed unusually quiet. The baby was not with them.

Frohike leered. "Well, I see you brought your lovely partner for me to feast my eyes on----."

He stopped. Their blank stares had not changed.

"Scully? Mulder?"

He reached up to touch her face. He had never dared to, but he---

Their skin was as flimsy as tissue paper. The rods they carried burst into silent flame.

And they knew no more.


When Mulder returned from jogging the next morning, the paper lay on the doorstep. He bent down to pick it up and paused. His eyes focused in horror.

"THREE DIE IN MYSTERIOUS FIRE A warehouse on the south side burned to the ground last night, killing three men. The police are still unable to identify the three men. A bronze plaque, pulled from the rubble, seems to hold the only clue. It reads "The Lone Gunmen, Publishers of The Magic Bullet." Anyone with information as to the identity of these three men is asked to contact the D.C. Police Department."

He read the article over. And over. And over again.

One thought crystallized in his mind. The thought of a baby girl with brown hair and blue eyes.

Scully.

Oh. God.


He found Scully on the floor in her apartment, a little trickle of blood streaming from her forehead.

"The baby...." she whispered.

Annabelle was gone.


Smoke drifted across the hardwood table. The men sat around it, staring at the center where Annabelle sat, looking at them with her blue eyes, now nearly two.

"How could the rebels have found out?"

"She has to be terminated."

"We have to turn her over to the rebel force. Make a deal."

The man at the head waved his cigarette, silencing them all. "There is only one solution now. Colonization will start soon. It is out of our hands now. Put the child in reconditioning. With the other hybrids."

The other men eyed him silently. At the far end, Alex Krycek closed his emerald eyes.

He left.

Overhead, the sky turned a dark copper.

The countdown had begun.


Mulder held Scully, wiping the blood off with hydrogen peroxide. "Are you all right?"

"Yes. Annabelle...."

"She's gone."

"She's with the others." said a third voice. "Nothing can save this world now. But you can save her."

"Krycek---"

He left, dropping a folded piece of paper. In it were three passcards and an address.

The paper simply read, I'll be there.


Taking laser equipped rifles from the guards, they walked into the lab. It was abandoned. The sound of crying echoed from the other rooms.

In the nursery, hundreds of nurses bundled up the children. Annabelle sat on a cart, with a group of three-month old male babies with thirty-eight chromosomes, twelve fingers, and green eyes, ironically, all fathered by Krycek.

They pointed the guns at the nurses. "FBI! Back away from them, NOW!"

Scully took Annabelle, looking at the crying boys with pity. Mulder took her by the arm and they ran down the hall.

That was the moment Scully finally believed everything he had said to her.

At the end of the hall, a guard in body armor walked directly into their path and raised his rifle.

A bullet tore through the guard's neck, blood splashing on the walls in scarlet fans.

"GO!" Krycek snapped to the shocked pair.

They ran.

And the world degenerated into a living hell.


Two weeks later

Finally at her apatment, Scully sank to the floor, thanking God for getting them through the horrors that had overrun America. She set Annabelle down beside the bed. Mulder knelt beside her and put his arms around her.

"God, oh God." He whispered.

The blast cut through the ceiling like a blade through silk, killing them both instanly.


"Der." Annabelle whimpered, clasping Mulder's hand.

There was only darkness.


Chapter 7: I'm Not A Damned Babysitter

Washington, D.C. The next day.

A colony of virus infested killer bees had nested in the rubble of what had been the Lone Gunmen's headquarters. Baby grey aliens regarded each other from behind abandoned cars and smoking buildings. Pools of black oil bubbled in the street.

Alex Krycek walked through all of this, plam in hand. The baby greys hissed and made threatening moves toward him, but something in him made them stay away. The consortium doctors, who had been doing experiments on their behavior for thirty years now, would have been shocked. But almost nothing in this new world was logical.


Scully's apartment building sported a nice hole right through the first three stories. He navigated the halls carefully, stepping over holes and making sure the remaining rubble would support his weight. He stopped at the door of Scully's apartment and paused, hearing a soft crying.

"Scully?"

He entered the bedroom. It was the baby, holding onto Mulder's hand and staring at Scully.

"Mama! Der! Der!"

Neither Mulder or Scully responded, and it was obvious why. Most of Mulder's forehead was missing, and Scully had been slammed into the wall so hard her shape was imprinted on it.

The little girl's eyes turned toward him, red and wet. Her sobbing tapered off slowly. She held out her little hands toward Krycek.

He looked down at the baby. He turned. He wasn't a damned babysitter.

Annabelle, seeing that he was leaving, began to cry again. She shakily got up and toddled after him.

"Back, back!"

Alex turned for a moment, just as she fell over. She cried louder, her little fists pounding on the blood stained carpet. God, it was grotesque.

<I don't have a heart. I can't take care of a stupid baby now. She'll slow me down.>

<She'll die.>

<Oh, fuck.>

Alex sighed and picked up the little brat. Annabelle managed to put a smile on her tear-streaked face. She put her arms around Alex's neck and hugged him.


Chapter 8: A Whole New World


Transferred to the new facility, the raising of the hybrids went on like it always had. Two of the nurses came down the hall, pushing the cart of Alex Krycek's twenty-six hybrid sons, who drooled and hissed in a lively chorus, their boneless extra fingers waving grotesquely on their little hands. The nurses opened the door labeled "Conditioning Room 4" and pushed the cart inside.

The nurses unloaded the infants onto the floor, making sure to avoid their sharp little Reticulan nails and four inch fangs. The nurses walked off to the side of the room. One of them flipped a switch. A holographic 3-D video of Alex Krycek giving information to a group of faceless alien rebels played around them. It was right out of a Star Trek movie.

The infants laughed, their eyes opening wide, their extra fingers bobbing up and down as they reached toward the images walking around them.

The nurses waited a minute, then flipped another switch. The babies suddenly screamed as the floor underneath them was electirified, their little bodies thrashing, jerking, and twisting in pain.

"That's enough." The head nurse yelled over the din, and the switch was flipped off. The screams changed to become ordinary infant howling.

"Now turn on the video again." The images appeared around the babies. But the children's reaction was very different. They hissed, shrieked, and swiped with their razor sharp claws at the figures.

"They'll have that little lesson repeated about fifteen times before they go into the age acceleration bath. And be long disposed of before their minds ever develop enough to question their purpose. Killing machines in a week. Take them away."

The nurses loaded the infants onto the cart and wheeled them down the hall, past a team of nurses pushing a cart loaded with beautiful four-month old blond girls with eyes the color of violet crystal, soon to be conditioned in their destined purpose.

A new age had begun.


Chapter 9: Alex, Annabelle, and Spam

Alex had been in so many dirty, run-down quickie marts, he couldn't even remember the first one he'd been in.

Annabelle wiggled around in his arms, giggling. She reached out and grabbed a Scripto see-through lighter.

Alex slapped her hand. "No!" He thundered. She bawled.

He set her down on the floor. "Let's get something straight. If you're going to stay with me, you're just going to have to keep your damned mouth shut."

Annabelle giggled. "Amned!"

"What did you say?"

"Damn!"

"You're not supposed to say that! Fuck!"

"Uck!"

"Shit!"

"Sit!"

Alex gave up and turned his attention to the canned food aisle. 7-11 used to be better stocked then this. He looked at the flies clustering around the hot dogs and Ding Dongs in the front. He grabbed a can of Spam and a bag of Chili Cheese Fritos.

He broke into the house across the street, and fried the Spam slices on the stove. The eggs in the fridge still seemed good, and there was still milk.

He soon found out it was not as easy to feed a toddler.

He spooned up some scrambled eggs and after a long charade, got them in her mouth.

"Sit." said Annabelle critically, and Alex found himself wearing them.

She did seem to like the Spam though, ripping it apart with her fingers and stuffing it in her mouth.

Alex finally gave up pushing the eggs and just sat and watched her eat. It was kind of cute.


Annabelle toddled after Alex wherever he went, dragging her Darth Maul doll and screaming in three octaves if he walked too fast. He didn't know why he kept her around. Only feeling sorry for her wasn't enough to put up with this little brat.

Annabelle stopped suddenly, looking around her.

Dark shadows surrounded them.

They hissed.

And their green eyes glowed.

The End

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