Title: The Way Things Are
Summary: Mulder and Scully's reassignment to the X-Files is jumpstarted by the assassination attempt on a prominant senator. When an injured Secret Service Agent is infected by the alien virus, Mulder and Scully race to find him.
Side Notes: Hey, It's got it all! Krycek, The Lone Gunmen, and Skinner!
Washington D.C. March 1st, 1999
Senator Haley was not having a good week. On top of the controversial "affair" with his black secretary, Haley was facing the fact that re-election may not happen. He sat in his limousine, contemplating the events that lay ahead of him, when his driver/body-guard/secret service agent spoke.
"Sir, there's a detour up ahead," the Agent Rice said, "we'll have to take the alternate route to the White House."
"Sure, fine, whatever," Haley said.
The car drove on, guided by the detour signs. Suddenly, a black sedan pulled up beside the limo and ran it off the road. Crashing into a telephone pole, the car came to a stop. The sedan also stopped and out got two men. The senator stumbled out of the limo, and the one of the sedan-men pulled out his gun. He aimed at the senator, but before he could fire, Agent Rice came around with his gun drawn, firing. He hit the unarmed sedan-man in the shoulder. Before running back to the car, sedan-man #1 fired at the senator. Agent Rice moved in front of Haley, taking a tranquilizer dart in the chest. The men sped away in the sedan, while Rice attempted to keep consciousness.
"What was that?" Haley shouted with impatience. He looked at Agent Rice, and was taken aback by what he saw. The Agent's eyes were swimming with black liquid.
FBI Headquarters Office of Agent Fox Mulder March 2nd, 1999
"What the hell had happened?" Agent Mulder thought to himself as he unpacked boxes in his office. It had been over six months since he had been here. Six months since his office had been burned to ashes, and when repaired had been taken over by Agent Spender. Spender had been shot in this office, by an unknown assassin. Deep in thought, Mulder didn't even notice that someone else had entered the room.
"It's nice to see this room looking the way it's supposed to," Assistant Director Skinner said with a smile. He had a case file in his hand.
"You're telling me?" Agent Mulder remarked with a deadpan demeanor, "I was the one stuck doing dung research for three months."
"This just came across the wire," the Assistant Director stated, "I think it may warrant an investigation."
"What's it about?" Mulder responded.
"A senator was almost assassinated yesterday. Luckily, he came out of it unscathed, his body guard however, did not," Skinner said sternly, "He appears to have been infected with some sort of pathogen, one not unlike this alien virus that you've been pushing for the last few months."
Mulder's eyes perked open wider.
"The driver has since disappeared from the hospital, he just spontaneously awoke from the coma that was induced by the virus," Skinner explained, "He appears to have just walked out, injuring an orderly that attempted to stop him. I think that Agent Scully and yourself are this man's one chance of coming out of this alive." Skinner set the file on Mulder's desk and walked out. Mulder picked it up, and tried to fight the smile on his face.
Agent Scully was reading with a purpose. The file that Mulder had given her was interesting, and was piquing her curiosity. An assassination attempt was something solid, unlike a lot of the cases that came through the X-Files division. She almost dreaded the thought of adjusting to the rigorous pace of the X-Files. The months of doing background checks had weakened her investigative prowess, and a case like this was going to put her through the ringer. She smiled at the thought of the challenge. The smile faded quickly, however, as soon as she saw Mulder.
"What took you so long?" she asked intently. He usually wasn't late, but today he was lagging behind.
"I attempted to call Senator Haley," he said, "but he isn't taking any phone calls." He got in the car and began to drive out of the motor pool.
"So, Skinner thought this would be appropriate for our first assignment?" Scully asked, only half serious.
"Is it not up to your standards, Scully?" Mulder smiled as he spoke, "I guess those months of background checks and scut work toughened you up."
She shot him one of her "annoyed" looks. "Mulder, are you sure that this case has anything to do with us? The Senator was rattled, he could have seen smoke in the driver's eyes and misinterpreted it."
Mulder pulled into the D.C. hospital parking lot. "Well, we're about to find out for sure, aren't we?"
The two walked into the hospital, and asked to talk to the doctor that attended on the senator. Dr. Phables walked up, and the agents began their questioning.
"What condition was Agent Rice in when he and the Senator arrived?" Agent Scully asked the young doctor.
The doctor cocked his head, "He appeared to be in a state of coma that I had never seen before. He had a black substance swimming across his eyes, and he didn't respond to any form of treatment. Let me tell you, it shocked the hell out the staff when we discovered that he had walked out on his own."
"Yeah, I bet it really suprised Mr. Phelps," Mulder stated.
The doctor sighed, "Orderly Phelps attempted to stop Agent Rice from leaving. Hours earlier, Rice couldn't even move, and now he wanted to leave! We had to stop him if only to figure out what had happened to him. Phelps was punched in the face by Rice, and the boy has been in a coma ever since."
Mulder responded, "It must have been some punch."
The doctor forced back a smile, "Yes, it most certainly was."
Scully excused the doctor, and the two agents started walking outside. "Okay, that was helpful," Mulder stated sarcastically.
"How exactly are we supposed to find Agent Rice? He could be anywhere, doing anything." Scully stated to her partner. The two arrived at their car, but didn't get in. "Mulder, why are we out here? We're following the deluded notion that this man may be connected to us in some way."
Mulder could tell that his partner was getting impatient, "Scully, how can you say this? If this man is afflicted with what I think, then you should be trying just as hard to find him as I am. You were exposed to this, just like him."
Scully sighed, "Mulder, I don't remember what happened to me, but according to you I was completely comatose the moment the virus entered my body. If he was afflicted with the same, then how is he able to walk around and assault orderlies?"
"Scully, we've seen this before. Remember the French diver that was exposed while at sea? He wasn't just an incubator for an alien entity, but possessed by one. Maybe that's the case with Agent Rice."
"I remember, Mulder, that the entity you described was last scene inside Alex Krycek. Do you think that he may have something to do with this?"
"I don't know," Mulder said sternly, "but I do know that we may be Agent Rice's only hope of coming out of this alive." The two opened the doors, and got in the car.
Agent Rice sat in the Cadillac, which he had stolen the night before, and watched out of a set of binoculars. He had found the man he was looking for, and now needed only to wait for the right time. A wave of pain shot through his body, and he lurched over in agony. It was coming, and there was no way to stop it. The possessor alien had supressed the generation progress, but it only slowed down the inevitable. Rice was going to die, but not before his task was completed. He raised back up, and returned to watching the building across the street. He smiled as the target of his surveillence walked out of the building. It was time for answers, and he had found the man who could give them: Alex Krycek.
Washington DC FBI Headquarters Office of Agent Fox Mulder
Mulder sat at his desk, reading intently. The case file had come straight from the office Senator Haley, a response to Mulder's deluge of phone calls. He had asked for anything that may have prompted an attempt on his life. What he got was the investigation into a company called Rousch.
"What's so interesting?" Scully asked as she walked in.
"It's a report from Senator Haley," he responded, "Apparently, he was in the middle of a senate investigation. He was the lead person on the case against the validity of a government sponsered company called Rousch." Scully looked at him with a blank stare.
Mulder squirmed in his seat. "Well, according to this, none of the senate could actually ascertain the purpose of Rousch, and that they were attempting to cut it for the budget." He sat up and put his elbows on his desk. "Scully, do you remember the man in Arizona, who was suposedly attacked by a wild Indian? The man who I believe was the host for an alien incubation?"
"Yes, I remember,"
"One guess what company he worked for," he said with a smile creeping on his face.
"He worked for Rousch?" Scully said, almost with a sound of suprise in her voice. "That's very interesting. I've made some interesting discoveries myself."
"Like what?" Mulder asked, positive that his revelation far exceeded whatever Scully could have found.
"Well, Agent Rice had a visitor while he was in the hospital," she handed Mulder security camera photos of the man, "he snuck in while the nurses were switching shifts. Moments after this man visited, Rice woke up. The man seemed to have disappeared, until I cross referenced the photo with the NCIC database. He has been identified as one Palmer Gaines, DOD official."
"Did you get a location?" Mulder asked, suprised by the information.
"You're going to get a kick out of this," she said with a smile, "Gaines current address is in Bismark, North Dakota."
"That's where Krycek went when he was possessed by the alien," Mulder said, astonished, "The missle silo, the answers are there." Mulder got up from his chair, grabbed his coat, and walked out without a second glance. Scully slowly stood up, and walked out behind him, shutting the door.
Bismark, North Dakota March 3, 1999
Mulder and Scully pulled up to the residence of Palmer Gaines, a nice suburban house with everything an upstanding American citizen could ask for. They got out of the car, and walked up to the front door. Scully knocked on the door, but no one responded. She continued to knock, and Mulder walked around to the back. He walked onto the back patio, and looked through the glass doors. Inside, the house was completely ransacked, with everything knocked over and smashed open. He drew his gun, and shouted for Scully to meet him inside.
He pulled open the back door, and began to search the house. Nothing had been left untouched, whoever had done this had done a thorough job. He had seen this kind of damage inflicted on his own apartment more than once. His thoughts were interupted by Agent Scully, who was shouting from another room.
He entered the bedroom, and saw Scully standing in the room with someone tied to a chair. It was Gaines, who was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
"Somebody obviously didn't want him to talk to anyone," Scully stated, breaking the silence. "Hollow point to the base of the skull."
"Damn it," Mulder muttered, "there goes our suspect."
Scully walked around to the end-table. She rifled through some papers, and paused at an opened envelope. "Check this out, Mulder," She showed him the return address on the envelope, and it read Rousch Technologies.
Alex Krycek stood in the rain, attempting to flag down one of the cabbies that owned the streets of DC. He hated rain, and he especially hated getting rained on. But, he had someone to see, something to do, and it couldn't wait for the weather to clear up. He waved in vain, unable to persuade the drivers.
"Alex Krycek?" an unknown voice said behind him. Krycek spun around to see an unfamiliar man standing within inches of himself.
"Who wants to know?" he asked, unnerved that someone was able to suprise him.
"I think you already know," the man stated. Krycek looked at his face, and saw his eyes swimming with the black oil. Krycek immediately pulled out his gun, and fired three times at the man from point blank range. Agent Rice, however, was faster than the bullets, his agility enhanced by the alien's presence. Krycek's gun was knocked from his grasp, and Alex felt Rice's fist connect with his stomach, sending him several feet back.
"You took it away from me," the alien said with Rice's voice, "and now you die." He advanced toward Krycek, but was stopped by voices behind him.
Using this distraction, Krycek realized that this was his best chance to run away into the crowded streets. Rice turned to find three police officers with their guns drawn. Rice smiled, and an intense light surged from the Secret Service agent's body. The light faded, and the officers, along with several passers-by, were burned beyond belief. Rice turned again to find Krycek gone, and then vanished into the crowd himself.
Outskirts of Bismark, ND
Agent Mulder opened the door to his car and stepped out, with Scully following suit. The agents then surveilled their surroundings. It had been three years since they had set foot here, three years since they were carried off by the Cigarette Smoking Man's military entourage. This missle site, believed abandoned years ago, was the site that Mulder thought to be a hiding place for an alien space craft. They had followed Alex Krycek to this place all that time ago, and have come back to this place in order to find the location of another man.
Scully walked to the silo door entrance, and pointed out that the lock had been broken. Mulder pushed the door open, and turned on his flashlight.
"Time for us to see what we can see," he stated before walking into the dark hallway. They made their way along the silo doors, looking in each one, until they made it to number 1013.
"Mulder, what happened here?" Scully asked, shocked at what she saw.
"I honestly don't know, Scully," he stated in confusion. The door to the silo had been blown completely from the hinges, and inside the destruction was even worse. Remnants of something large and mechanical laid scattered across the silo, burn marks etched and scarred the walls and floor, and several skeletons were strung throughout the debris.
"Mulder," Scully started as she examined one of the charred corpses, "these are radiation burns on this man."
"Just like the soldiers we saw the last time we were here," he replied. He remembered that the alien being that the believed to inhabit the body of Krycek was able to emit a radioactive light that burned it's surroundings.
The two walked out of the silo, but Mulder stopped halfway to the car. "Mulder, what is it?"
"The man that was executed worked for Rousch," he stated matter-of-factly, "something tells me that the dead men we saw in there did too. They came here to find the alien being that was locked inside silo # 1013, but instead of capturing it, they were killed. All but Gaines, who was it's host back to Washington, where it 'body-jumped' into Rice. It's all fitting together."
"Mulder, this is purely speculation. We don't know of any involvement from this 'body-jumping' alien that you speak of, we haven't seen any signs. Besides, why would it go to Agent Rice?"
"Because Rice wasn't the original target? The assassination attempt on Senator Haley may have been prompted by his attempted dismissal of Rousch's expensive budget. They were going to infect him with the alien virus in order to silence him, but Rice got in the way and was infected instead."
"Mulder, why would they risk exposing themselves like that? To infect a prominant senator with an alien virus is a pretty good way to blow your cover."
"I don't have all the pieces put together yet, Scully," Mulder said as he opened his car door, "but we're getting close."
Washington, DC 11:35 pm
Michael Gipson walked into his high rise apartment and threw his keys onto the coffee table. He turned on this television, CNN of course, and walked out onto the balcony. God, what a view. He had his job to thank for all of this, he had Rousch Technologies to thank. Even if his latest task had been a serious one, he took his post as head of security with dignity, and was regarded very well.
He looked at his watch and sighed. Only nine hours until he had to go back to work, back to Arizona. He only oversaw this operation personally because of the individual it involved. Senator Haley had become a security liability, and needed to be eliminated. And what better way than by an alien virus that no one could trace? He smiled at his brilliance, and turned to go back inside. That's when the fist hit him in the face.
"Wake up idiot," a voice said, "open your eyes or I'll shoot you right now."
Gipson struggled to regain his sight, and when recovered saw an unknown, prosthetic armed man standing in front of him with a gun. "Who...?"
"Shut up," the man said, "My name is Alex Krycek, a representitive of the men who sign your paychecks." Or, what's left of them, Krycek thought to himself, after the rebel aliens had burned them alive. "You have a lot to answer for, you stupid son of a bitch."
"What's this about?" Gipson asked, about to piss his pants.
"Whatever possessed you to assassinate Senator Haley? With the alien virus, no less! In your pathetic attempt to plug a leak, YOU have become the liability. How did you ever become the head of Rousch security without common sense? You risk exposing the project, and with the recent events, I've been sent to rectify the situation. With extreme prejudice."
Gipson closed his eyes. He knew those words, and he knew what was coming next. Krycek put the service revolver to the man's forehead, and pulled the trigger. "Well, my work is done here," Krycek thought to himself. He dropped the gun, and walked out the front door.
Rice entered Gipson's apartment, and surveyed the dead man's body. Krycek had been here, he was a former host, and was therefore connected to the alien presence.
"I will have my retribution," Rice muttered to himself. he then turned and walked away.
Offices of the Lone Gunmen March 4, 1999
"You boys have got way too much free time," Scully said to the three men standing before her and her partner. They sat in front of their computer terminals, searching for anything available on Rousch Technologies.
"I think I've found something," Byers said. He was the most clean cut, professional looking one of the three. "Rousch Technologies, based in Arizona, is the leading pioneer in biogenetic engineering."
"Biogenetic?" Scully asked, "What is that? A junk science term used to make a company sound high tech when in actuality all they do is cure Athlete's Foot."
"In other words, biogeneric?" Langly, the long haired hippie Gunmen, responded. Scully just gave him a fake smile, hoping he'd drop the teasing.
"I found something as well," This time, Frohike chimed in, "a personnel listing, including the name of your dead boy. It seems that he was a security guard in the Bismark office, and that he answered to this man, Michael Gipson. He's the head of Rousch's security."
"Gipson? I've got a Michael Gipson on a plane into DC on the day of the Senator's attempted assassination," Langly rang in, "He's staying at the Hotel De Marquis Sade about four blocks down."
"Care to get a room, Scully?" Frohike asked. Mulder looked at his partner and cracked a smile, knowing how seriously annoyed she was.
"Come on Scully," Mulder said as he pulled on her arm, "let's let the boys play with themselves while we go to the hotel."
The agents walked off of the elevator and headed toward room 383, but were stopped by several police officers that were canvasing the site.
"We're with the FBI," Scully said to one of the officers while flashing her badge, "what happened here?"
"A murder occurred here," the officer responded, "a man was shot execution style."
Mulder and Scully shot glances at each other, "What was the man's name?" Mulder asked.
"Gipson," a voice behind the officer said, "Hello there, I'm Detective Santles. I'm curious as to why the Bureau is already in on this. Nobody I know called you in."
"We're investigating Gipson for the attempted assassination of Senator Richard Haley," Mulder answered.
"Then feel free to have a look around," the detective said with a grunt. He was obviously upset about the FBI horning in on his case.
"He didn't look to happy that we're here," Mulder whispered to Scully as they walked into the room.
"Well, he'll just have to get over it, won't he?" She replied, looking at the dead man's body. He laid on the balcony, with blood oozing from the wound in his forehead.
"He matches the description given by Senator Haley," Mulder stated, "It looks like someone really didn't want this guy to talk."
"Mulder," Scully said with a look of shock on her face, "It says that the gun was left at the scene. That's just like what happened with Melissa."
"Your sister?" Mulder asked. Scully's sister had been shot by men working within the government, only because she had been mistaken for Scully.
"Krycek," Scully stated, "It all leads back to Krycek." She stood up, and Mulder noticed the determination in her expression. "We have to find him, Mulder."
"I think I might have a pretty good idea where to look," her partner confessed, "I found this on the table. A room number for another Rousch securtiy agent, Abraham Vansling. If we can get to him before Krycek or Rice can, then we may have a good starting point."
Scully nodded in silent agreement, and the two agents walked down the hall. They went up to the 36th floor, and knocked on the door to room 327. They stood for a second, and Scully put her ear to the door. That's when she heard the cock of the gun.
"Mulder, get down," she screamed as she shoved herself and her partner to the floor. Gunshots flew through the wooden door, six in total. Mulder waited a few seconds for the man to begin reloading, and busted through the door with his gun drawn. Vansling had backed onto the balcony, obviously scared out of his mind.
He and Mulder stood, guns drawn in a stand off.
"Drop your weapon!" Mulder commanded, "Drop it right now."
"So you can kill me like Gipson?" Vansling stuttered out, "Not freakin' likley."
"There's no way out," Scully chimed in from behind Mulder, her own gun drawn on the suspect.
"We'll help protect you," Mulder told the man, "we're with the FBI. Just put the gun down and tell us what happened. Tell us why you attempted an assassination on Senator Haley."
"He was trying to shut us down, shut down Rousch," Vansling stated in a stupor, "But we overreacted, used the virus. Now he's killing us off, first Gipson and me next. Just like what happened in North Dakota."
"What happened in North Dakota?" Mulder asked, on the verge of putting the pieces together.
"The alien, they were sent to bring it back, but something went wrong," Vansling was talking faster, and Scully noticed a red dot shining on the man, "The alien wants the man that's killing us, he wants..."
Vansling fell dead to the floor, and Mulder and Scully took cover. The red dot disappeared, and a few moments later, Mulder's cell phone began to ring. Puzzled, Mulder took out the phone and answered it.
"Hello Mulder," the voice said.
"That's right old pal, sorry I had to knock off your suspect. Couldn't let him spill the beans, now could we?"
"What's going on Krycek?" Mulder asked impatiently.
"I can tell you this much," Krycek responded, "I have a man tracking me, a man that's infected with the alien virus, infected with Purity. I need you to catch him for me."
"I think I'd rather just let him kill you, you piece of garbage," Mulder stated.
"Listen, Mulder," Krycek said angrily, "This man has the secrets you've been looking for. If you find him, then you find another piece of the puzzle. I know that you would do anything, even let a man you hate live, to further your 'quest'. That's just the way things are, and, I'm sure, the way things are going to stay. Am I wrong?"
"Why is the alien after you?"
"Because I blew up it's ship," Krycek responded, "I'm going to lead him to the parking garage of this building, where you can see for yourself. Dosvadonya." With that, Krycek hung up.
Scully looked at her partner, "Well?"
"I think I've got it, Scully," Mulder responded as the police filed into the room to examine the dead man's body. "Krycek said that the alien is after him because he blew up it's ship when he escaped. I assume that he also ordered the retrieval of the being, but Gaines was taken over. Through Gaines memories, the alien found out about Haley's assassination attempt. Agent Rice was infected with the virus, and the alien is using him as a host."
"Why?" Scully asked.
"I think it wants to infect Krycek."
Washington, DC Parking Lot of the Hotel De Marquis Sade
Krycek waited for his chess pieces to arrive. He had orchestrated this entire scenario, salvaging an inescapable, inevitible ending. He had adverted his own demise, and perhaps condemned Mulder and Scully. Rice will kill them to get to Krycek, but Alex WILL kill Rice. He flexed his good arm, and the stiletto in his hand extracted.
"Krycek," a voice said. It was Rice, obviously dying. The Purity virus had taken it's toll, and the being growing inside him would soon birth. The possessor alien knew this, but still it pushed Rice's fragile body onward. Krycek looked to the left and saw Mulder and Scully step out of the elevator.
Rice doubled over in pain, and Krycek used this to his advantage. He plunged the stiletto deep into the base of Rice's skull, killing him instantly. Out of the wound poured the black oil that signified the medium of the possessor alien. It squirmed on the floor for a moment, but then dissolved away.
"Freeze, Krycek," Mulder yelled, gun drawn.
"Just in time," Krycek muttered to himself.
"I'm going to go upstairs and get the police," Scully said to her partner, "Don't let him out of your sight." Scully ran to the elevator and got inside the car.
Suddenly, Rice's body began to convulse. Blood began to shoot out of the chest cavity, and something began to poke through the skin. The alien was birthing from Rice's dead body. It stood, fully grown in a matter of moments. Krycek began to run, and dove behind a small outcropping that he knew the alien couldn't reach under. He had left Mulder alone to face the relentless killing machine.
Mulder fired on the creature, but the alien was too fast. It came from the side, and clawed at the agent's chest. Mulder fell to the ground, losing his gun in the process. The alien bore down on him, and Mulder closed his eyes. However, instead of hearing the alien tear through his own flesh, he heard several gunshots.
He opened his eyes and saw the alien lying dead before him, killed by Krycek. Krycek then took out a small device, "If you want to live, Mulder, then I suggest you leave right now," Mulder didn't respond. "Mulder," Krycek said with a gun pointing at the agent, "I'm going against my better judgement about this. I should kill you, and unless you want to become a martyr, do what I say."
Mulder stood up, and Krycek threw the device on the alien's body. The alien immediately burst into flames, and Krycek repeated the procedure on the body of Agent Rice. Mulder attempted to say something to Krycek, but the pain in his chest finally registered, making the agent black out.
Mulder opened his eyes, and saw Scully kneeling before him, "Where's Krycek?" he said, startled.
"Mulder," Scully said softly, "Krycek's gone. What happened here? Where did this second flaming body come from?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Mulder responded.
End Notes by Agent Dana Scully Case Number X983820383
The events of this case have been a perplexing one. The attempted assassination of Senator Haley has been solved, and the two dead men Gipson and Vansling have been tried posthumously. The body of Secret Service Special Agent Rice was found burned to ash in the Hotel De Marquis Sade parking lot, beside another unidentifiable pile of burning ash. The structure of the ash has been determined as not human. An investigation into Rousch Technologies has been denied by our superiors, despite Mulder's insistance that the company is the government's headquarters for alien/human hybrid experimentation. I have seen little evidence to support this theory, however I do believe that Rousch was responsible for the attempted assassination, and ultimately Agent Rice's death. The orderly injured during Rice's escape has fully recovered, with no ill effects outstanding.
The whereabouts of Alex Krycek are unknown, and the events of this case have been added to his outstanding warrants. Mulder is troubled by the fact that Krycek supposedly saved him from certain death. I believe, however, that despite his being a murdering liar, Krycek chose to save the life of a fellow human being over that of what Mulder believes to be an extraterrestial biological entity. Perhaps these feelings are what will save us if and when the end comes? Only time will tell.
There you guys go. Let me know what you thought, PLEASE, even it it's bad! iXnay