Title: The Time After
Author: Amperage (livengoo@tiac.net)
Date: June 1995
Disclaimer: This story is based on the characters created by Chris
Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. Used without
permission and no infringement is intended. Not for resale. No
redistribution without the express permission of the author.

Summary: There had been another world. There had not always been Visitors. My father had loved my mother and my mother had died, but he loved her still.

The darkness is eternal. My father taught me that, not in words, but in deeds. He sat through black stuff nights and static heat echoing with the rumble of distant thunder. Crickets sounded along the perimeters and through the endless summer heat. And he knew night was eternal, that it never ended and that, in it, the monsters moved. He was a tall man, sinewy and strong, and his eyes were sad, even when he smiled. He sat up most nights, looking into the skies pretending. Pretending that Mother was not dead, that everything was perfect; pretending, I think, that it was not dark at all.

Karol Ann, an Ab woman who cooked and cleaned for us and at night slept with Ryan over the stable so that she could make babies, told me that once there had been another world. There had been no aliens, no lights in the skies. She taught me young not to question my father or the shadowy world of the Visitors which kept us among the privileged few.

It was a long, lazy day. Selections were being made in the ghettos, so I was forbidden to go riding in the parks; occasionally an ab who was chosen found his way into the parks, so they were off-limits to me on such days. I was bored, being restricted to the household grounds, and I began a quiet exploration of the house in frustration. I was not allowed into fathers' study, but I went into his bedroom sometimes, to say good night. I did not know much about his bedroom, but it was not a very frightening place. Once upon a time there had been a television, but now, only Abs watched it. Privileged were told not to, because there were signals on it. Karol Ann watched it and I said nothing to her, but I did not watch. I knew, because of that, because of the lulling "stories," that she would not catch me rifling through my father's things, and so, on some whim I cannot name, I looked through his nightstand. I found two guns, two flashlights, two clip-on ID tags marked FBI in large letters, two folded leather badges.

I opened the first badge and stopped exploring, stood there, biting my lip, staring.

She had red hair like mine, and eyes that fairly glittered in the sunlight. She had my name as well. Dana. I stood staring, I do not know how long. Dana Scully. With red hair and blue eyes and a raised chin. My mother.

I did not hear my father come in. Suddenly he stood in the doorway of his bedroom in his uniform of blue jeans and shirt--I never saw him in any other clothes, he said the Visitors didn't care what he wore and he liked those clothes. He said nothing, staring at me, merely tightened his lips. He was always tired on days of selections, although he had very little to actually do with selections. In the past, I had heard him yelling at Karol Ann and Ryan, at the workers who came to our house on occasion to disturb him. He yelled at most people, and they jumped to obey him; if they did not jump fast enough he hit them. I had seen him whip a man once, taken him out in the yard and belted him until the man could only quiver. I knew he got angry, impossibly angry. I had seen him thus before.

He never yelled at me. I thought he would for this though, and I welcomed it. I welcomed his rage. I had seen ab women beating their children with belts. I thought my father would take the belt out of his loops and hit me. Instead he stared at me, steel-eyed. I thought he would be angry.

"Your mother was a beautiful woman. If you want to see other pictures, they're in the bottom drawer of my chest. I'm sorry I don't talk about her. It's too hard for me." He dropped his head.

I nodded, mouth still dry, hands still trembling with fear. I must have been all of 8. I stared at him a long time. "What does this mean? Federal Department of Investigations?" I asked, finally.

"It was. . .hasn't Skinner begun your history lessons yet?" he looked at me, stared into my eyes.

I shook my head. "There was a thing called the United States once. I know that. Karol Ann told me that they took care of people and things were nice then."

Father's mouth twisted cruelly. "Karol Ann needs to learn her place and that the past will never come back. Tell Skinner he is to begin your lessons into why."

I frowned, puzzled.

"Skinner will understand." Father assured me.

I considered the badge. "May I keep this?" I asked.

He shook his head. "I need her credentials to sleep some nights or Headmaster has to come and help me sleep."

Headmaster was the Visitor assigned to my father. When father was what Karol Anne called "fragile" or really upset then Headmaster came and made things better somehow. He came fairly often.

"Dana Scully. " I said softly and put the badge back where I had found it.

I forgot to tell Skinner the next day. Skinner lived in the worker sector and came over every morning to teach me. He was older than my father and sometimes forgot to make the proper obeisance. Father ignored it. He tried to make life easier for the man, had gotten him the post as my tutor. I did not know anything else about Skinner then. Though I would learn.

That afternoon, however, when lessons were over and I had taken my exercise on Cheyenne, the roan mare father had gotten me for my 6th birthday, riding through the parks, I went back to the house, changed out of my riding clothes and sat in front of the drawer.

I did not understand much. There were photos of a short red-headed woman. She was usually smiling, although one photo, of her in faded shorts, with her hair back in a ponytail, showed her frown. She was not in many photos with my father. There were other people in many of the photographs. There were some pictures of my father. He smiled sometimes, sometimes not. He looked very different. He did not look like the stern taskmaster he was when I knew him, one of the privileged. There were none of the scars on his face or legs. At bottom there were a very few photos of a girl. With dark eyes and dark hair. She was with a dark haired boy in one or two. I wondered who she was, who they were, briefly, and went back to the photos of my mother.

He came in when the shadows were low across the land, and he found me there, staring at a large portrait of my mother, trying to see myself in her face. "Did you talk to Skinner?" He asked.

"No, Father." I rose respectfully. "I forgot."

Father nodded. "I regretted asking Skinner to tell you. He still has a great deal of bitterness. . ." Father did a strange thing for him. He knelt down on the smooth stone floor, motioned for me to follow. We looked through the photographs silently. My father brushed the big formal portrait I held. "Once, many, many years ago, the Visitors were myth and rumor."

"Karol Ann told me that."

Father nodded. His eyes cataloged something. I felt a shiver of fear for Karol Ann.

"When I was 12, they took my sister. Her name was Samantha. I had been babysitting her when she disappeared." He took out a photo of the girl. "This was Samantha." The picture stayed in his lap.

Samantha was my middle name. I did not know there had been a Samantha before me. I stared at the photo. She did look like my father.

"I didn't know what had happened to her. . .I felt guilty. They thought someone had kidnapped her. . ." His eyes travelled to some distant place I could not go.

"I was educated at Oxford University--that veritable institution that refuses to die; you'll go there when you're 14--I went to work at the FBI afterwards. In those days there were governments, independently run. Ours, for this part of the world, was known as the United States of America. Skinner will teach you those political systems as you get older. Right now, know that I was an investigator for this system and the department was called the Federal Bureau of Investigations. FBI. When really bad things happened I came and I tried to figure it out. For a long time I caught serial killers. Those were people who killed many people over a long period of time."

It sounded like noble work. "Is that what Mother did?"

Father smiled. "Let me get to it, little Dana." He paused.

"I started remembering Samantha's abduction and I became interested in UFO's. In things that were unexplainable. And those were the things I investigated. I believed there were Aliens and very few people, in that time, did. I was ridiculed, called insane. Your mother was sent to spy on me, so they could say I was either crazy or I did my work in such a way that it was inadequate. Instead she became my best friend. She was an investigator like me."

"And you fell in love and got married." I prompted.

"No." Father smiled, a smile I rarely saw. "No. We never fell in love and married. She was like my sister."

"But you had to have had sex." I questioned, puzzled. Even I knew how babies were born. I'd seen Abs doing it in the ghettos.

Father laughed. A real, healthy laugh, rarely heard if ever. "Dana dear, let me finish my story."

I nodded.

"We discovered that the government knew about the Aliens, was doing horrific experiments. Your mother was kidnapped once and. . .used. . ." His throat worked convulsively. "But we worked and did everything we could. . .but there were always those in the shadows moving us like puppets. . .anyway, there was a war. A war is when governments got mad and fought each other. Many, many people died. Our war started as a trade dispute and it got angrier and angrier. Anyway, we started a war. And someone shot this thing down. And suddenly everyone knew that there were aliens. And then they ...umm. . .this is really hard to explain. . ." Father closed his eyes, was silent for a minute or two.

"The visitors stepped in and used our war as an excuse. They said they wanted to help us. I didn't believe a word of it and neither did your mother. We argued ourselves blue, trying to convince people to mount a defensive, not to trust them or trust the government. But no one listened. Anyway, the Visitors came in and...well, there we were. . .and once they were in place. . .we're all aborigines, all except those like you and me whom the Visitors have changed. And they're exploiting us, exploiting the planet."

"I'm not an ab." I responded.

Father grinned. "No, you're not. Neither am I. My father had my DNA changed before I was born and the visitors were so interested in what the humans did that they. . . experimented with me and then experimented with my sister too. Your mother was an ab, but then our government experimented on her, so she wasn't an ab either. Umm. . .anyway, they made your mother and me high ups, important people. If we refused to do our work, they killed abs until we went back to work." He sighed heavily, his eyes tracked something floating in the air, something only he could see.

"There are some visitors who think what's going on is wrong. Headmaster is assigned to me, and he thinks its wrong," he said quietly.

"Why is his name Headmaster?" I was too young to understand how completely unheard of it was for a Visitor to take care of a human.

"Because he teaches me. It isn't his name, really; I just call him that. He also keeps me from going crazy. I'm one of the few people who can interact with all the different Visitors for extended periods without going crazy, but sometimes it does hurt me. Headmaster is half Visitor Half human and he knows how to make me better. I have my moments though. . ."

"Like last September when you tore up the house."

"Like last September when I tore up the house." He agreed with a smile. "Exactly. Headmaster had them put me in restraints for a few days. Do you remember that?"

I nodded. He had been impossible to understand, knocking things off shelves, putting his hand through the windows, beating himself against the walls, tearing apart clothes. Headmaster had come with two or three others like him and they had held Father down while Headmaster calmed my father. Then a group of workers came and took him. He came back several days later, very quiet, and Headmaster had been an almost constant presence in the house for several weeks afterwards. I had been frightened, not understanding, and Karol Ann would not discuss it with me. Skinner had said that my father did important work and sometimes he had problems.

Father began speaking again. "They want you to do liaison work, like I do, when you're big. You won't go crazy like I do though. Your genetic structure has been. . .changed. . .more."

I nodded, stopped thinking about Father's bad times."What happened to my mother? How was I born if you didn't have sex?"

"All right. Scully. . .umm. . .we did our work out of guilt. . .I still do. If I ever quit they start killing and don't stop until I start again. . .they took some of my sperm and one of your mother's eggs and changed it and implanted it. As for sex--that was between your mother and me what we did or did not do. But you were not created through sex. They made us have a child because we had enough emotional ties to be able to raise a child together and because of my genes." Father paused. "Your mother was the only person I ever really loved besides you, Dana. My sister, I guess. And Scully. And you." He looked away for a moment and quietly finished his story. "Umm. . .your mother. . .an Ab rebel broke into the central offices and blew up several rooms. Your mother was in one of the rooms, doing her work. She died instantly."

"How old was I?"

"5 or 6 months. Headmaster took care of you for a while. Do you remember that? He put me in a place where I couldn't kill myself and he took you in."

I frowned. "Not really."

Father nodded distantly.

"You tried to kill yourself." The words, the idea was breathtakingly horrifying. I knew he went crazy. I did not know he had done that.

Father smiled, seemed to understand. "I'm okay now, little Dana. I won't kill myself." He pulled something out from under his shirt. "This was your mother's. When I die you may have it."

I looked. A little gold cross. "Why did she have that?"

"It used to represent faith. Belief." Father's voice was soft with grief. "Your mother always wore it. I identified her body by this cross." He closed his eyes.

There was a movement in the hallway. "You should not have told the little one." It was Headmaster. I turned my head. Staring. Different. But not so different after all. He still had fingers and legs and arms. Not like a true Visitor.

Father looked up. There were tears in his eyes. He did not seem surprised to see Headmaster. "I'm fine."

"You are not fine. You will be too fragile for our meeting tomorrow with the Wayfarers."

"She was the only good thing in my life." Father swallowed.

"I know." Headmaster's voice was gentle. "I know. Come."

Like a child, my father went with Headmaster. I heard his sobs, and I heard Headmaster quieting him.

I put the photos back so he would not have to see them when Headmaster left, but I took one small photo. My mother and my father smiling, laughing, caught in a snapshot. He had one arm slung over her shoulder, the other holding an upraised beer bottle, She was drinking from a yellow plastic cup. Their hair was mussed and their eyes were bright and their suits were all askew.

As I grew older I would look at that photograph and imagine I could hear them, could see them, laughing and drinking and celebrating whatever it was they were celebrating. I imagined her teasing him over some small thing and his grin as he answered her back. As they were, whole, before the Visitors came.

I knew I had not gotten the whole story. I did not understand why the Visitors would use humans like my father. That part. He was leaving something out.

Karol Ann told me the next afternoon. She tied her blonde hair back in piece of string, began rolling sweet dough for cinnamon rolls. "They want espers."

"What's an esper?"

"It's. . .your father is a high esper. So was your mother. So are you."

I still didn't understand.

"It comes from the word ESP. Extra Sensory Perception. It's not. . .right, for what they can do, but it's close. It's why they didn't just kill us all." Karol Ann thought a moment. "I have 4 babies and they all have just a glimmer of it. All humans they let live now do. That's why they can use our recruits in their stations. They can hear us think."

I must have frowned. "All our thoughts."

"No. Just some. Your father does it very well and so did your mother. Your father can communicate directly with all of them, because of some of his modifications. That's very rare."

"Did you know my mother?"

"Dana Scully?" Carol Ann smiled. "We were both Special Agents."


"Yes. I stayed friends with her after she started working with your father. That's how I got this job after the Changes. . ." Karol Ann considered the sweet dough in front of her. "I was a CPA. That means I knew how numbers worked. . ." A tear rolled down her face. "Skinner was. . .he was your parents' boss before the Changes. He protected your father, they say. That's why your father protects him. The Visitors have wanted him shipped out," she sighed, turned to her cooking, would not speak to me anymore. I slid out of the kitchen and went back to my study.

Skinner, when I asked him, would not talk about, just leaned over my books and in his dry voice announced that we would be discussing geography today.

Espers. I swirled the word around in my mouth. Esper made us special so they didn't kill us. They let us breed. Some of us they bred 'specially. Like me. If you had any Visitor DNA that made you privileged. Like Father and Mother and me. Why didn't they make all humans privilege? I did not understand then, that some Visitor work required flesh, some required basal workers. Space work mostly, where machines were inefficient, and for our DNA source. Our proteins, the basic material of our structure was so strong, stronger than any other race they had come upon.

They did not want many privileged. They wanted some who did certain kinds of work. They also created those very precious few who were given what father sometimes called "rights" so they could make deals and buy and sell and trade. Father had rights. He was one of few. I would have rights when I was older. My mother, I would later learn, did not have rights, but her relationship to father protected her adequately and her role as womb and mother to father's children protected her completely. Those with rights were a tiny class because there was only a little work we could do. The large quantities were for ordinary humans. For what we had been trained to call the "aborigines." Abs did not need privileges or rights. They were simply used.

I did not, at that time, realize what rights Father had. Other children who were privileged had whole staffs, but father and I only had Karol Ann and Skinner and Ryan. I found out later this was because father was even more fragile around a full household staff. I also discovered that this fragility, combined with his position was the reason for our isolation. My father, in his job as liaison, had broad, encompassing rights. He had a half-alien, half-human Visitor who took care of him. He was pampered through his bad periods. He even had power over many of the Visitors.

I would later learn that his importance was such that the bomb--which destroyed an entire city block--had been meant for my father; the bomber had not cared how many he took out, so long as he killed my father; Headmaster had changed that memory or my father would have collapsed forever. Instead my father only knew what he had told me. No one told my father differently because he had to live.

There were reasons he must live other than his work, although I was kept carefully innocent of this. Other children, Ab children, knew of my father's place, of his second, hidden role, though my knowledge of it would only come much later. My father led the rebellion, led the slowly gathering storm forces of human anger and misery. Headmaster aided and abetted, and many my father worked with helped him. His abilities with the Visitors were unique and could be turned in many different directions. He knew their secrets and he knew he could destroy them.

Skinner was part of the rebellion. A big part of the rebellion. I found that out later, that was why he was so careful not to speak to me about anything important. He knew, he thought they were watching me. Besides I was created from Visitor Spawn. He feared I would betray them all. And when I was grown, I was glad he had been cautious, because I might have without knowing it, or meaning to, or planning it.

But at that time, I was eight. My world had been taken and turned upside down. All that I had known had opened up into a black pit and tried to swallow me whole. There had been another world. There had not always been Visitors. My father had loved my mother and my mother had died, but he loved her still.


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