Disclaimer: What part of ‘NO’ don’t you understand? No, the X-Files characters are not mine. No, I will not make any money from this. No, I have no money, so you can’t sue me anyway. Everything is CC’s and 10-13’s, and all their other little branches. This is loosely based on “El Paso” by Marty Robbins and I have shamelessly used some of the lyrics.
Author’s Note: So a character dies, so what? That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it. Come on. Live dangerously. Then write me at XScout@hotmail.com and let me know how your trip into the unsavory went.
I had to do it. It wasn’t like I had a choice.
Everyone sits back and thinks about how they could have changed the present, what they could have done in the past to create a different outcome in a certain situation. Why should I be any different? I’ve been doing it for the past twenty-five years, so I’ve had plenty of practice.
I could have gotten the gun sooner instead of staring at the light. I could have grabbed onto her legs to keep her from floating out that window instead of calling after her. I could have run straight to the neighbors to get my parents instead of lapsing into catatonia. Sure, I could have made different choices and maybe Samantha would be here today if I had.
But I only had one choice this time.
“Join us or she dies.”
That is what he said to me. Took a long drag on his ever-present cigarette and threatened me. Not with my life, not with my job, not with my reputation. This time he didn’t dangle tantalizing pieces of information about my sister in front of me or offer to reveal the ‘truth’ to me. No. This time he knew how to get to me. How to pull my strings and make me dance for him.
Threaten my partner.
I tried to take it in stride. Swallow the lump of terror in my throat and laugh at him. “You won’t kill her.”
“Why not?” His voice was level, not even a hint of surprise at my response.
“Because I will kill you before I allow you or any of your goons lay a hand on her.” I meant every word of it.
“Who said anything about touching her?” An exhale of smoke and vodka soaked breath.
I faltered then. What was he saying? I narrowed my eyes at him and tried to divine the meaning of that cryptic remark. I didn’t have to wait long for an answer to my unasked question.
“No one need lay a hand on her. Just on a button. A trigger that will send a signal to the chip in her neck, instructing it to shut down its host’s nervous system.”
It wasn’t until my vision started to blacken that I realized I had been holding my breath. I sucked air into my lungs, my mind whirling with the implications of this man’s words.
“Of course, you could always have the implant removed. Cancer is a long and painful way to die though.”
Yes, it is. I know from experience. An experience that I do not wish to repeat. I couldn’t let that happen, not if it was in my power to stop it.
I had long ago realized that Dana Scully had become a permanent fixture in my heart. Exactly when, I can’t say. But I do know that without her, I would die. Maybe not physically, though the chances of me not putting my own gun to my head would be close to nil. A person’s soul can rot away and die if it loses part of itself. And I have no doubts whatsoever that Scully is the other half of me.
I told her one night. Told her that she made me a whole person. A man who speaks from the heart tells the truth. Although this was a prelude to her being infected with an alien virus and being abducted to Antarctica, I still do not regret what I said. I have already proved that I would go to the ends of the earth for her, sacrifice all that I am for her.
So what other choice did I have?
I had to leave everything behind. From my clothes to my fish tank, nothing could come with me. I had to disappear without a trace. So all I took with me was the clothes I had on my back and the shoes on my feet. Standing there in my apartment, surveying the shadowy lair I had inhabited for so long, I felt no sorrow. One dark haven to another, that’s all. For an instant I wondered whether I was doing the right thing, if I should have told her what was going on. But then her face flashed in my mind, pale and hollow, deep rings under her eyes, lying in a nest of machines.
I knew I had to do this. So I committed one last act of defiance by pocketing a picture of her and then I walked out the door.
That was five months ago.
I became a member of the Syndicate, the shadow government that has plagued my nightmares for the past six years. I learned the ‘truth’ that had been hidden from me for so long, saw incontrovertible evidence concerning the existence of extra-terrestrial biological entities, and yet I feel no joy at reaching the end of my quest. Whom would I share it with?
I have witnessed things that no one should see, committed acts that make me sick to my stomach, been a party to actions that are classified as treasonous, and I have broken more laws than I could ever count. I accept my instructions without asking questions, execute my duties without hesitation, and have never betrayed the confidence that They have put in me. I have become a model member of the conspiracy with no regrets.
Not during the days at least. At night, I lie awake, staring at her picture. My fingers have caressed it so often that the edges are worn and the color had begun to fade. Sometimes the tears come, wrenching sobs that won’t stop until I am too exhausted to continue. Other times, I just look, memorizing each and every detail. Even if I didn’t have a photographic memory, I would have every plane, every angle, etched into my soul.
I have seen the future. And it scares me. Not colonization, not mass genocide, not the destruction of everything the world has ever known. I can’t tolerate the thought of living without her. Being alone is what scares me.
Trust no one.
Words to live by. Lucky for me, Cancerman didn’t quite follow the simple rule. For some unknown reason, he trusted me. Told me all his dirty little secrets, gave me the most sensitive information on the project. He probably counted on the fact that I wouldn’t risk Scully’s life.
He was right.
But he should have been a bit more careful about what he let me have access to. Did he really think I wouldn’t try to find a way to free her from the control of the chip? That I wouldn’t make a copy of every piece of evidence he passed my way?
It’s not risking her life if I have the cure.
And have it I do. Stored on a disk that is tucked away in my coat pocket. Every sordid detail I have gathered on the Syndicate and their Project is all here, ready to be downloaded. My personal record of my dealings with the Devil, the reasons behind it, they are all there, along with countless others. The very first file is the formula that will set Scully free.
All I have to do is get it to her.
So here I am, traveling down the black highway, counting the seconds. It won’t be long before they realize I’m gone and figure out where I’m heading. And they will try to stop me. They don’t know that I have the disk, but they do know that I have an eidetic memory, and that makes me alone almost as dangerous.
It has occurred to me that they may decide to flip the switch that will extinguish the vibrant flame that is my partner, but I doubt it. If she dies, they know nothing will stop me from exposing the entire operation that they have so assiduously guarded. They would kill me before allowing that to happen.
Even knowing this, I do not care that my life is forfeit. There is only one life worth saving and nothing is going to stop me. She is the only person who I have ever loved without reservation and I refuse to let her go on for another day without knowing that. Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me but tonight nothing is worse than this pain in my heart.
Dawn is fast approaching and I once again curse at my misfortune of obtaining a motorcycle as transportation. It was the only vehicle that was available and I was too anxious to care. But now I realize that it wasn’t such a bright idea. It will be easier to spot me than if I were in a car. Certainly much easier for them to take shot at me.
As though Fate decided to turn my thoughts into reality, I spot a black sedan following me, trying to be inconspicuous. As if I wouldn’t recognize the standard issue Syndicate car. I’ve driven them often enough. I am only minutes away from Scully’s apartment, so I exchange stealth for speed. They know I have spotted them and they increase their speed as well, their tires screeching on the damp asphalt.
I turn a corner sharply and I lose control all of a sudden. The fading street lights spin around me and water sprays in my face, kicked up by my tires. Then I am moving forward again, by some miracle still seated on the motorcycle. My love is strong and it pushes me onward, flying down the streets, putting my driving skills to the test. They are gaining on me and are now drawing their guns, ready to kill the man who has worked by their side for the past five months.
Bullets whiz by, hissing in my ears as they come within millimeters of their target. I don’t waver from my course, make no attempts to dodge the hailstorm of bullets. Scully’s apartment looms before me and I prepare myself to make a mad dash for the door. Something is dreadfully wrong, for I feel a deep burning pain in my side. Though I am trying to stay on the motorcycle, I’m getting weary, unable to ride. The cycle topples to the ground on her lawn, throwing me to the right. I can hardly get my legs and arms to respond to my mind’s screams to move. I am so tired, my eyes threatening to close and end the chase right here. But my love for Scully is strong and I rise where I’ve fallen, drawing my weapon. Shouting and shooting, I can’t let them catch me, I’ve got to make it to Scully’s front door.
Just as I reach the porch, I turn to gauge the distance between me and my pursuers. I see the metallic glint of light on a gun barrel, I feel the bullet go deep in my chest. My legs buckle underneath me and I collapse onto the hard concrete. The car pulls up and the men begin to emerge. Suddenly, gunfire erupts and bullets pepper the hood of the black sedan. The men duck back inside and drive away without waiting to find out who was firing on them, having decided that I was dead.
From out of nowhere, Scully has found me, kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side, telling me that everything is going to be okay. A gun in her right hand, her phone in the left, I can hear her calling for paramedics. I want to tell her that as long as she’s with me, it will always be okay. But I barely have enough breath to get out what I do.
“Everything is on the disk.” I gasp as I push the bloody compact into her hand, hoping that she’ll understand.
“Oh Mulder, what have you done?” she whispers as she tucks the disk away in her clothes. She has somehow divined the essence of what was behind my disappearance. She knows that I made a deal which would save her from the trappings of the Syndicate. “Why?”
I push aside the weakness and strain to sit up enough to reach her. I gently press my lips against her own, savoring her taste through the tang of blood. “My love is stronger than my fear of death.”
Darkness is swirling in on me, sounds and sight wavering as my body shudders in pain. I feel her hot tears spatter on my cheek and I can hear the sorrow in her voice as she whispers, “Mine is just as strong.”
Cradled by two loving arms that I’d die for, one last brush of the lips, and we are both set free.