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Moondance
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 Written by
Pamela Joy Stafford

 Series
The X-Files

 Saga
The X-Files

 Rating
Rated NC-17

 Published on
November 5, 2017

 Word Count
38,389

 Read Time
192 minutes

 Summary
Mulder loses his virginity. First chapter of longer fic post season 10



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Moondance
By Pamela Joy Stafford




Chapter one: Come take me out of this Dull World

October 5, 1979. Rhode Island

A 17 year old Fox Mulder breaks the lock of the door to the liquor cabinet at his parents’ summer home. He is stunned by the choices that confront him in alcoholic selection. It is a well stocked bar. He knows he needs some liquid courage, but neither him nor his girlfriend, technically X girlfriend, are drinkers. They are both an awkward combination of scholastic and odd and neither are invited to a lot of parties. Bourbon is dark, he thinks, and so selects it for no other reason and pours them each a glass. They have both lied to their parents about where they were spending this week-end and now they are here for a specific purpose. It was all he could think about for the last two weeks since they had planned it, but…drink, Fox, he tells himself and takes a big swig out of the glass. Oh, God, that is awful. He forces himself to swallow. Fox is graduating high school early in December and is already starting on a reading list for his college classes next semester at Oxford. He has been accepted for early admission, will graduate with his BA in August 1983 and will immediately enter graduate school. The plan is by 1986 he will have a doctorate in psychology from one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Fox finishes the drink he has poured for himself and pours another. He thinks of last Fall when he first met Felicity. She was new to the school. He saw her in the library; her nose in a book about fairies. He had teased her at first about liking fairies and unicorns and then when he saw she was self-conscious about it and that he had hurt her feelings he quickly blurted out:

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

He could have died with embarrassment. What self-respecting boy trying to talk to a beautiful girl would quote a poem about fairies? Still, she had smiled up at him and said. “You like Yeats?” Sometimes it feels like the only time they had stopped talking in the year since is when they were making out. They had told each other everything. They had talked about things like classical music, Eastern religions, occult practices, classical literature, baseball statistics, Route 66 trivia and board game strategies; everything that interested either of them. He had shared with her his reasons for sometimes being brooding: his sister going missing while he was watching her and his parents’ divorce. He had told her that she was his faerie and took him out of his dull world.

At the end of the summer, when he learned that he had been accepted for early admission into Oxford, they had the kind of frank, serious discussion two 17 year olds with genius IQs who trusted each other completely would have and decided to break up immediately. It made the most practical sense. There was no way they would make such a long distance romance work. It was better to agree to be friends forever. Friends forever, deal, swear! Breaking up immediately meant Felicity could have her entire senior year unencumbered with a boyfriend and he could concentrate on getting ready for Oxford without distraction. The, two weeks ago, she had came to him and asked if they could still celebrate his birthday together. He told her his mom had made these big plans because it was his 18th and his last year in the states for a while. Felicity had said the week-end before would actually be better because it was a full moon. Felicity had begun to explore pagan belief systems and kept track of the full moon cycle. He asked what she wanted to do and she had suggested they find a way to spend the week-end alone together. In the last year she had always stopped when he might have continued. Why now? He is trying not to ask. He drinks this time directly from the bottle.

“Fox, it’s such a beautiful night,” Felicity calls from the deck. He loves hearing her say his name…Fox. He liked to hear people talk about them as a couple, Fox and Felicity. He always thought their names sounded so good together.

He takes the drinks to the deck. Her back is towards him and her long flaxen hair always makes him think of gold and corn and sunlight. She turns and fixes her blue eyes on him. He hands her a drink.

“Be careful, it's strong tasting.”

She nods, puts her index finger in the drink and then rubs his lips so the alcohol is on his lips. She reaches up, he thinks to kiss him, and instead licks his lips top and bottom with her tongue and says “tasty”. What the fuck? Did she see that in a movie or something? It was so..

“Isn’t it a beautiful night, Fox? I am so happy.” She is looking out towards the lake and up into the full moon and he is looking only at her. “Let’s dance,” he says. He puts on Van Morrison and they dance to Moon Dance. They are both awkward dancers, but Fox tries a twirl at the phrase “October Skies” which almost takes them both off their feet. At the line “I want to make love to you tonight, “ Felicity pushes her body against him and grabs his ass. After an entire year, now that she has decided yes, she is the more eager and aggressive one. He pulls her back and asks, “Are you sure?”

“Fox, whatever happens in our future, I want you to be my first.”

He swallows hard. He knows what she is saying. “I love you,” he blurts out.

They stand awkwardly now, the music off, suddenly not dancing. “Fox, I’m afraid I might not compare to other girls you’ve had.” He has told her he loves her and she is suddenly afraid of disappointing him.

“Other girls?”

“You know before me or since.”

“What are you saying? We broke up a month ago.”

Fox is on the basketball team and Felicity had heard the cheerleaders had a bet once they knew he was free about who could go to bed with him first. When she tells him he smiles a mischievous grin and says, “Oh, man, I could have had a cheerleader? I didn’t know that offer was on the table.” They laugh together. They are a precious age. They can so easily fall into being children being silly together and yet are about to embark on adult adventures.

“Felicity, I’m a virgin. I want you to be my first.” They don’t rush in the moment, though. They have the week-end. First, they will spend some time with him standing behind her, holding her, looking at the moon.

Close to midnight, each shy, embarrassed and so grateful that this awkward first time had been with someone they so completely trust she says, “I love you too.” He smiles. “Do you think we are making the right decision?” She rubs her hands through his thick hair. “It's a little late now.” He giggles. “No, about not trying to do the long distance thing?” ‘We decided that the friendship was going to last, remember? You made me swear.” “But, Felicity, what if you are the one and only for me, the only woman who will ever understand me.” “It's more likely we are just each other’s first love.” “But you never know, do you, if the first love is also your one and only, and then you could end up alone.” In many ways Fox is a scared, little boy. He is the one leaving, but he is so afraid of being left. He had been so earnest with Felicity when they broke up- swear, friends forever, swear. He has that same earnest look now. “Fox, you are going to have so much opportunity for love. You have such an effect on girls?” “Do I?” She laughs. How could he not know?

“Let’s make another deal. Like we did to be friends forever. If ten years from today we are not married, we will marry each other. It gives us ten years, but if we haven’t found anyone else, then we know it's because we were meant to be together.” He looks so cute and ten years is such a long ways away. How could she say no to him? “How about if you don’t love me in ten years?” “Felicity, even if I love someone else, I could never stop loving you. I will swear to that.” “Ok, Foxy Fox, Fox, in ten years from today, if neither of us are married, we will marry each other.” They begin to kiss. “You know what I heard, Felicity?” “What, Fox?” “Sex is better the second time.” “ Lets try it and see.


Chapter 2: The Morning After on the Bridge (continued from season 10)

Scully wakes up on a bridge with Agent Miller shaking her. The bridge is packed with cars and people who, also, appear to be just waking up. Scully feels disoriented, groggy. Agent Miller helps her to her feet. “What happened?” Agent Miller shakes his head. He doesn’t remember. He just woke up on the bridge himself. They are standing next to his car, but damn if he remembers how it got here. Scully tries to think about what the last thing she remembers is.. She had tried to call Mulder. She reaches for her phone.

“Miller, my phone says it tomorrow six a.m. I mean, I guess it's today but the last thing I remember was early yesterday morning.”

Miller nods. “That seems to be true of everyone around.”

Lost time. Scully remembers the first case she had worked on with Mulder. They had lost time. Just a few minutes, not an entire day. She needs to reach Mulder. Her training and experience in crisis is kicking in, however.

“Miller, we need to establish some order. Get people off this bridge and home. See if anybody needs medical attention.” Scully’s phone rings: Skinner. “Sir?”

“Scully, what do you remember about yesterday or last night.”

“Only trying to call Mulder in the morning. Sir, I am on a bridge. Agent Miller is here and there are people here like me with no memory.”

“Scully, listen to me. Across the country people are waking up in odd places with no memory of the last 24 hours. No one seems to remember. Leaders from other countries are telling us that the U.S. experienced some type of biological attack from disease. We are assuming the lost time or memory loss is associated with this. There is an emergency meeting in one hour with homeland security, FEMA,CIA, CDC, NASA and FBI. They want Mulder and you there. As people are looking through medical records and television and streaming documents, Scully, you were the one who found the cure yesterday.”

“I was?”

“Something about branch DNA and alien DNA. I don’t understand the science.”

Scully remembers having her DNA tested along with Sveta’s. Miller, it appears, has traffic moving on the bridge. She sees a couple of people, she assumes with medical credentials-waking up on the bridge same as her, providing medical assistance to the injured or sick and he has enlisted other civilians to help with traffic flow. He has things well in hand. She tells Skinner she will be at the meeting.

“Try to find Mulder. I keep calling him. It goes to voice mail. I have an agent checking with hospitals. I sent someone to the house. It looks like a struggle took place. As strange as all of this is you know Mulder is likely to be in the middle of it all.”

Scully hangs up with Skinner and tries to call Mulder. She knows Skinner is right. She left Mulder years ago because she knew he would always put himself at risk for his truth. She needed to put some emotional distance between them if she was going to survive the next time he was abducted or found dead. This decision of theirs to return to the X-files! She knew they had no choice. She had told Mulder that. She had to find out what the bastards had done to her when she was abducted. She needed the truth for herself. Their truths so linked. Their lives so linked. Who had she been kidding? She would never find emotional distance from Mulder. She knows instinctively that he isn’t going to answer the phone. Mulder, where are you and what kind of trouble have you found yourself in now?

Chapter 3. This cannot be happening again

Scully has gone over this discussion with the Director of the CDC again and again. She knows it sounds crazy. How long had she denied the truth, but she has alien DNA which is somehow related to an abduction from decades ago. She is glad if that DNA helped to save lives yesterday, but she doesn’t remember how. She will need time to examine the records and information and then she will be able to develop a hypothesis of how she developed the cure. The more time she spends in bureaucratic meetings, the more delayed be there is in her getting to work on the answer.

The coordinating meeting of the various agencies involved in recovering from and preventing further attacks was an experience. The country has never seen this type of attack, this comprehensive and nation wide before.

First: Emergency Management. FEMA, Red Cross and the National guard were making sure families found missing love ones, that orphaned children were provided care, that nursing homes and hospitals were provided extra care. The amount dead was staggering. It was 300,000 when the meeting started and up to 600,000 when the meeting ended two hours later. It wasn’t just the attack from the disease but the time spent with every person asleep over night. People had heart attacks, patients who needed round the care treatment didn’t get it. The number of plane and train crashes alone was mind boggling with pilots and conductors suddenly asleep. The gridlock on most major streets turned out to be a blessing as most cars were stopped or stalled. It would be in the millions dead once they finalized the total. Count on it. Grief counselors were being recruited at the highest level in history by a FEMA that had no forewarning this crisis was coming.

Second: Investigation and record compiling about the time people couldn’t remember. This wasn’t the loss time of typical alien abduction. This was the loss of memory. People had lived their lives in the 24 hours no one could remember. There are records. Phone messages, texts, emails, faxes, hospital records, social media,news broadcasts. Every citizen was being asked to do an accounting for themselves and 800 numbers were established to call if people thought information was critical. Census workers and capital hill office workers were being reassigned to help with the efforts.

Third: Prevention on two fronts: the disease and the unconsciousness/ memory loss. A radical Islamic terrorist group had claimed responsibility for the latter. The science was hard for even Scully to follow. It had to do with the electric power grid and a massive solar flare. NASA had confirmed the solar flare was historic. The worse news. A bigger one was expected in one week. This could easily occur again. NASA had been monitoring these high solar flare storms for several years and developing models for how they could affect the power grid, but hadn’t expected actual manipulation of the power grid by an outside source. The NASA monitoring systems had itself been hacked as part of this plan. Scully remembers Mulder talking about the Solar Flares and how it could impact the electrical grid. This was before their return to the X-files, about a year ago, over a birthday lunch for him. She remembered rolling her eyes and asking him if he had taken his meds. NASA scientists were working on a scientific way to guard against another attack, but the more immediate need was to take down the terrorist group. Homeland security was coordinating with CIA, FBI, and other international sources. Recognizing that this type of attack could occur more globally, international cooperation was the most positive thing occurring as part of this. The medical crisis was not a crisis really. It was odd for Scully to be applauded and commended for something she didn’t remember, but the cure was being synthetically reproduced and distributed with amazing efficiency. The concern was there was no proper trials to know what the side effects were. Could a vaccine be developed? Scully was proud of Skinner who asked pointedly if the terrorist group had claimed responsibility for the disease attack as well. When the answer was no, but the assumption was made the two things were connected, Skinner argued for a separate investigation and for the possibility to be considered of alien involvement or of a human conspiracy using alien technology to be considered. He was told the FBI had a department responsible for investigating aliens and supernatural occurrences. “A department?” Scully wondered again where Mulder was.

Now Scully is sitting across from a CDC representative who keeps talking about the anomaly in her DNA which must be from some sort of mutation and if they could determine if it was a environmental or genetic mutation…. If they think she’s going to be tested and prodded, they’re wrong. She is eager, though, to spend time examining the records from yesterday. While Scully is happy to help the CDC, of course, perhaps those records would help her reconstruct her day. Had she talked to Mulder at all?

Skinner walks into the room apologizing for interrupting. Scully has seen that look before. Mulder has been found. He was located ill with the disease still untreated and bad enough to need special intervention, bruised from a possible beating, naked, hypothermia was also an issue. “But he is alive?” Her voice quivered. Skinner couldn’t help thinking of a similar situation when Mulder had not been found alive. “He is…for now. The prognosis is not good.” “Where is he? Where was he found?”

Can this be happening? He was found in NW Oregon. Scully stares at Skinner. ‘He was found in the identical location of where he had been abducted…” Skinner voice trails off. Scully knows…before the last time he was returned dead, but he is not dead now, not yet. “I need to get to him”. “He’s been flown to a hospital in Seattle. We have a plane waiting for us.” “Sir, I know you have a major effort going on.” “According to the emergency personnel he was talking about the epidemic yesterday, said he knew who was behind it, muttering about a space craft. If he remembers yesterday, I need to talk to him.”

Scully sits in the government plane. The documents recreating her history from yesterday are in her lap, but she is finding it hard to concentrate. Mulder, abducted again? What is it about Oregon? Would they have…torn his chest open, experimented with him? Last time they had tried to make him a super soldier. What if they’ve done something to him? What if he dies? This cannot be happening again.

Chapter 4: Mulder has a family

Feels like he has been here before, Skinner thinks. Not Seattle. Of course, he’s been to Seattle, but at this moment in time regardless of the city. Rushing with Scully to a hospital for Mulder. Watching her trying to keep her emotions together. He’s never understood the strange bond between them which seemed to exist from day 1 and continued regardless of their relationship status. He had once thought Facebook invented the status “It’s complicated” for his two odd but brilliant agents. Someday, he thinks, Mulder will be dead and he won’t come back from the dead. He can’t image Scully in a world where Mulder doesn’t exist.

They rush into the hospital. Bursts through doors as they have done before. He has his badge out to show the emergency desk nurse. Introduces himself and Agent Scully, also a medical doctor. We need to see Agent Fox Mulder. An agent from the Seattle FBI Field office and an hospital administrator comes forward to greet them. This is not the only thing that the administrator is dealing with today of this day of major crisis. He has been counting the patients in his hospital who died yesterday and today, dealing with a staff crisis as so many people are missing, and now, suddenly, FBI swarming around the building, putting up perimeters and the odd matter of the agent’s treatment, on top of that.

The FBI agent gives Skinner and Scully a report. The administrator stands stiffly beside the agent to provide answers as needed and to protect his hospital’s protocol.

“He was brought in near death, no traditional treatments were warranted and he was too far gone for the treatment Dr. Scully developed yesterday, so they are treating him with a completely new radical treatment. Stem cells treatment but since the stem cells didn’t have the DNA anomaly that I guess you have, Agent Scully, the cells were treated so they would mimic the anomaly.”

“My God, how did you develop a way to do that so quickly?” Scully asks the administrator the question.

The administrator looks annoyed. “You realize if this wasn’t a crisis situation we would never have agreed to it, but the man was going to die and so we followed the instructions you had given.”

“I gave?”

“Yes, he came in with written instructions from you on how to modify the cells. The instructions were signed by you. Since you were the doctor who developed the treatment yesterday, we agreed to the unusual nature of the treatment.”

Scully thinks about everything she doesn’t remember from yesterday, but Mulder had instructions from her! “But where did you get the stem cells?”

The agent answered, “From his son, William.”

Skinner reaches out to steady Scully. “You found, William.”

“He found Mulder it appears. They flew in together.”

“I need to see them.” Scully thinks her son, William, is somewhere in the hospital.

The administrator says, “Dr. Scully. I appreciate your concern, but we are following your instructions specifically. The physicians involved are already under stress and pressure. No one will be going in to monitor the procedure.”

Skinner applies pressure on Scully’s shoulders. He still has his hands on her shoulders helping to steady her and give her strength.. The pressure is intended to tell her to let him take over from here. “Does the procedure put the boy in danger?”

The agent looks confused. “The boy?”

“Agent Mulder’s son?”

The administrator, “Not if the physicians are allowed to do their jobs without interruption.”

The agent says, “Just to be clear, though, Agent Mulder’s son is not a boy, maybe a couple of years younger than me.”

“That’s not possible. Oh, my God, it's not his son.” She doesn’t care how much pressure Skinner puts on her shoulder.

“Dr. Scully, I can assure you we matched the DNA. William is Mulder’s son, a young man, I believe to be 25.” The administrator’s voice is cold.

Skinner quickly interrupts Scully. “Tell us how he was found.”

The agent looks at his notes. “He was naked, cold with hyperthermia, had taken a beating of some kind from appearances, conscious but not coherent, asking for you, agent Scully, and talking about the epidemic, knowing who was behind it, a space ship. This is according to the reports of the two people who found him. When he got here he briefly gain consciousness, but didn’t remember being found or who had found him. Seemed surprise when we said he was found by his son and his wife.”

“His son and his son’s wife?” Skinner is confused.

“No, his son’s and Mulder’s wife.”

“Wife!” Scully pushes away from Skinner. “Mulder doesn’t have a wife.”

The agent swallows. Scully is small but looks at this moment as fierce as anyone he has ever seen. “I know his personnel record said he was single, but she had a wedding certificate, legal paperwork related to the changing of her name since it's not the same as on the wedding certificate. Also when Mulder was surprised his wife had found him I asked him if his wife’s name was Felicity and he said yes before he lost consciousness again.”

Skinner notices Scully’s posture changes when the agent says the name Felicity.

“Agent,” Skinner is harsh spoken with Scully just to get her back in this moment and focused. “What do you know about Mulder being married?”

Scully speaks in a monotone, processing to herself as she talks to Skinner. “He was married decades ago, before he knew me, for a year. She left him and disappeared without a trace. There was no son and they have not been in contact since she left.”

Skinner takes charge of the situation. “First is Mulder’s health. From here on out we are kept informed of all medical decisions and how he is doing. Scully is his physician on record. She is to have access to all records, results, these instructions you mentioned, we all lost some memory. She has access to it all. She is working closely with the CDC. Agreed?”

The administrator looks at Scully remembering his debt to her. “I think we would all be dead without you, Doctor. Whatever you need.”

The agent to Skinner. “Sir, do you want to talk to Mulder’s wife?”

Chapter 5: Two Mothers

Skinner says he would talk to her alone, but Scully wants to come. The hospital arranges a private meeting room. As they follow the administrator to the meeting room, Scully tries to remember how Mulder had described his wife to Scully.

“You two are alike in that you are both intelligent, analytical, career women. Felicity was an attorney. She was usually really laid back and mellow. It's none of my business if you don’t make it my business, she would say, but if you got her angry she could be every bit as ferocious as you can be, but I knew she was really mad when her voice got calm and controlled. I guess I like my women strong, Scully.”

She stops when they get to the door of the meeting room. She remembers the first time she had tried to seduce Mulder and he had declined. She was so mortified. The next day he came to her apartment. She tried to dismiss it, said she was drunk, but he said, “Scully , you know I want to, but we’re partners.” “You were partners with Diana. Is it her? Can’t you move on?” “Scully, you are always so hung up about Phoebe and Diana. Do you think they are the only women I have ever loved?” “Mulder, I’m not asking for a list of your sexual conquests. I’m asking why we can’t have a relationship?” “Scully, I was married, or I am married, I don’t know actually if I’m still legally married or not. She’s the reason…”

Scully looks at Skinner and nods. She’s ready. They enter the room. Felicity’s back is towards them. Her hair is long, past her waist, thick and multi-colored to the extreme-red,black, purple, green, orange. Her hair is startling and almost seems like a shield. They walk closer to her and she turns to them. Scully sees an ordinary face of a middle aged woman. Her eyes are a striking blue and she has been crying. She is holding in her hands a photograph and Scully sees with a glance that it is one Mulder also has, Felicity in white, Mulder in a blue tux and an Elvis impersonator who had married them.

“You’re the agents who work with Fox?”

Skinner introduces himself as Mulder’s boss and Scully as his long time partner. They sit at a conference table. It is formal. Felicity has no way of knowing about Scully and Mulder’s romantic history or that Scully has her own son named William. “Agent Scully, I’ve been told you are, also, Fox’s physician.” Scully nods. “I’m so glad. I don’t have any of his medical knowledge to tell the doctors here. We’re separated. I haven’t seen him in a few years.”

“Decades,” Scully cannot contain her rage. “Decades ago you left him with just a note and disappeared.”

“That’s correct.”

“Yet, you are here today still claiming the right to call yourself his wife.”

“When a spouse is missing, the remaining spouse can easily divorce the spouse through posting the legal notifications in major newspapers. Did Fox ever take the steps to legally divorce me?” Her voice is calm and controlled. Scully shakes her head. “Then, I am, as a legal point of fact, his wife.”

“You abandoned him.”

“I went into hiding because my son’s life was in danger. I don’t know if you are a mother, Agent Scully, but if you are, then you can understand. A mother will do anything to protect her son.”

Skinner touches Scully on the arm again with his right hand and holds his left up in front of him. “I never knew Mulder was married. Can we start from the beginning?”

Felicity tries to tell them in a precise way the details they needed to know, but with each statement she experiences the flashes of memory she had been having all day; memories so strong and so vivid.

“We were high school sweethearts.” Friends forever, swear, swear! “We had made a childish pact that if we weren’t married to anyone else by October 5, 1989 we would marry each other.
Of course, we dated other people in college.” Fox calling her from England- Phoebe had broken his heart. Her walking down an aisle in white and seeing Fox in the pews. She had invited him not expecting him to come. Their eyes met and she turned leaving her fiancée at the aisle. Fox and her talking about it later. It wasn’t Fox’s fault. He just isn’t the one. Fox asking if it was because the other offer on the table was better. His mischievous, smug grin! “We saw each other in May 1989 over Memorial Day. He was home to visit. He told me he was beginning to explore these cases called the X-files. He was so excited and he was in love with a woman named Diana. I didn’t remind him about the deadline coming up because I thought he was telling me he had found someone. Then, October 5 there he was asking me if I was ready. Diana and him had asked to officially be assigned to the X files and he didn’t want to be partners and romantic.” He had told Felicity besides he thought the other offer on the table was a better one…if the offer was still on the table. “So we flew to Vegas.” She looks at the picture in her hand.

“How long were you together?” Skinner cannot believe Mulder never mentioned this.

“Exactly a year. Diana and Fox had received permission to begin the X-file full time by November 1990- giving them a month’s notice in their other departments. We were going to have a big celebration dinner in honor of our anniversary and the X-files. I had gone to the doctor in the morning because I thought I had a bad flu bug, but I was pregnant. I was so happy knowing that Fox would be happy. We just moved into the first house we were buying because we had decided to start trying.”

“What happened?”

“As I was leaving the doctor’s two men grabbed me. They took me to see a man. He said he was an old friend’s of Bill Mulder’s. I could see he was evil. I kept asking him to put out the cigarettes because I was gagging.” Scully and Skinner exchanged looks: the cigarette smoking man. “He said the work Fox was doing now with the X-files was critical and there were men who would stop at nothing to keep him from being distracted. He said they would kill my baby. I believed him. He told me he would help me change my identity and we could go underground. It was the only way to keep my baby safe. So I went home, packed up some belongings, wrote a note to Mulder and walked away from my life. “

Scully bangs her hand on the table. “You didn’t just write him a Dear John note. You were specifically cruel.” Scully remembers Mulder, again on the night he told her about his marriage, telling her that Scully was his everything. If they became romantic and he screwed it up and she left, they would lose the friendship. He was so afraid of that. It had happened to him before and Scully was his everything. He was so afraid of losing her.

Felicity is having a similar memory of a 17 old Fox begging her: friends forever, swear. “I had to make sure he didn’t look for me. Fox and I ..if I was unhappy with our marriage, thought we made a mistake, I could have told him and we would have stayed friends. He would never buy that kind of letter. So I told him that during our year of marriage I had grown to hate him so much that not only did I want a divorce but I never wanted to see him again. As long as I was throwing away our wedding vows, I was also throwing away the promise I had made to him in high school to be friends forever. I hated him.” Felicity gets up from the table. She is getting the impression Scully is more than Fox’s work partner. She doesn’t need anybody reminding her of how much she had hurt Fox. She has thought of it daily for 26 years. “I didn’t want him looking for me.”

“He did look for you -for months. Him and Diana both.” Scully remembers another night a few months after he had told her about his marriage; her promising Mulder that nothing would ever hurt their friendship, but they had a chance for something more. Please trust her even if all these other women had hurt him, please! Her taking his hand and taking him to bed.

“Diana knew exactly where I was.” Felicity spits Diana’s name out with contempt “She came to me in the hospital the day William was born. She wanted to make sure I didn’t change my mind and try to contact Fox. She said he had sold our house and moved into an apartment. The night…the night I left him…he was back in bed with her. She had pictures in case I didn’t believe.”

Scully remembers Mulder telling her. He was so afraid of being alone and Diana and him had a history. He just escaped in her until she left him, too. “You named William after Mulder’s father?”

Felicity shakes her head. ‘It's Fox’s middle name. Soon as I heard I was pregnant I wanted a boy and for him to be a junior, but that was too dangerous so my son is William M Fox and my name became Moondance Fox. I wanted to keep whatever I could of Fox in our life.”

“Ladies, let's get to today. How did you find him today?” Skinner’s cell phone has not stopped beeping and buzzing. He needed facts about who had been behind Mulder’s abduction and then to turn his attention to other things.

“A man came to me. He told me that Fox had been abducted to save him from the memory loss. They told me where to find him, but that only my son could save him. They gave me the instructions you had given them on the treatment.”

A nurse interrupts: “Excuse me. Agent Mulder is awake and asking for Agent Scully. Also Mrs. Mulder, you can see your son now.”

“Agent Scully, I sense you and Fox are close. Please try to make him understand that everything I did was to protect our son. A mother will do anything for her son. Please ask him to forgive me.”

“I am close to Mulder. I call him Mulder. I think he will understand.”


Chapter 6: Women always leave Mulder

The nurse walks both Felicity and Scully to the respective patients’ rooms. “How did your son take learning about his father?” Scully is thinking about her son William who she gave up for adoption. “He’s known about his father forever.. That he was a hero fighting crimes in the FBI and made some enemies, that he never knew he had a son, but that he should be proud his father was such a great man. My son went to the police academy, but had trouble with authority. He takes after his father. Now he’s a private detective. He reminds me so much of Fox. I’ve told him everything I could think of about Fox.” The nurse stops at a room and tells them it is William’s room. “Do you want to meet my son, Agent Scully?” Scully says some other time. She turns and follows the nurse to Mulder’s door. “I need a moment,” she says and sits on a chair by the door.

For years she had hated Felicity on principal almost as much as she hated Diana. The two women who had broken Mulder’s heart and made it so hard for him to love her. It was hard to blame Felicity now. Besides who is she to judge. She remembers Mulder yelling at her. “Go ahead and leave me like every other woman!” When she was packed and ready to drive away Mulder was sitting in the dark in the living room. She went back in. “Mulder, are you going to be ok?” “Why do you care, Scully?” “Mulder, I care.” “You are my only family, Scully. I have no one else.” “We are still family.” Mulder laughed in that way he had picked up recently; that mirthless laugh. “I’m not leaving you in the same way the other women did.” “It looks the same. It feels the same.” “No, Mulder, we will still see one another. We will have dinners and see movies and still be friends.” “Pity dates?” Scully shook her head. “But not real dates?” “Mulder, we will be friends. We are friends.” “Remember when you were so desperate for me, Scully?” When they argued, Mulder never let her forget that she had propositioned him, made the first move after years of innuendoes, glances and stolen touches. “Mulder, I will never be sorry for being your lover, but couples break up. Still we are friends, we are family, we always will be.” She stood up to leave and he stopped her as she was at the door.”Scully, thank you for saying that.” “Call me, Mulder.” That night at 11:21, he had called her. “Scully it's me. I wanted to make sure you were safe.” “Mulder, I’m fine. Are you ok?” “I suppose you don’t want to tell me what you’re wearing?” Then the next night to tell her about a documentary on television, but the phone calls and the dates became fewer and farther apart. Until Skinner called and the X files were opened again. Then suddenly it was ok for them to hug, hold hands, be there for one another without romance because they were working together again. Breathe, Scully. Put one foot in front of the other. Mulder is alive.

She hadn’t expected the change in his physical appearance. She remembered seeing him two days ago, but now he was slim, gaunt and the hair at his temples were gray. How had that happened so quickly? She picks up the chart to read it.

“Back from the dead again?”

‘Mulder, I have never found you joking about the time you were dead funny.”

“But how many people can joke about the time they were dead? Come hug me, Scully.”

She hugs him quickly and returned to looking at his chart. “Scully, is something wrong?” “No, it looks like you are going to live.” “It's because of you. So many people are alive today because of you.” “Over a million are dead.” “Scully, what’s the matter?” “I just told you, more than a million people are dead.” “But we’re here. I expected more emotion from you. Have we cheated death so often that this is passé to you?” “Mulder, you are the only person in the whole country who remembers yesterday. I need you to tell me everything you remember.”

Mulder tells her of his encounter with the cigarette smoking man. He was behind all of this. He tells her of Miller rescuing him and when they were stuck on the bridge Scully coming to him. He had heard Scully talking to Miller about William. Mulder stops . He waits for Scully to say something. “Then what, Mulder?” “A ship appeared and pulled both you and I up into it.” “Both of us?” “When I first saw the ship I thought, no, not again. I couldn’t take it again. Then, when I remember you were there I thought, please take me instead. Then they took both of us and I thought, well, at least we’ll be together.” Scully couldn’t help but smile. “Always the romantic, Mulder.” “Well the couple that travels together they say stay together. But they weren’t the bad guys. They are a small group fighting the cancer man.” Mulder shut his eyes for a minute and Scully rushes over to him. ‘Mulder, you’re tired. This is too much for you.” He smiles weakly. “I just wanted to get you closer to me.” Scully sits beside him now holding his hand. “I’m here. Finish telling me.”

Mulder tells her that “Old Smokey’s” plans were ruined by Scully finding a cure, but he wanted to divert attention, throw the blame elsewhere, so Smokey gave the information about the solar flare and power grid to the terrorist group to help them set up the charge that would cause everyone to pass out and lose their memory. No way could this group have the technical skills without the CSM and his subordinates’ help. Both incidents would be rolled up into one and the terrorist group would be blamed for both. “Oh my god, Mulder, it's happening. That is exactly what is happening.” “We need to stop him, Scully.” “Then what happened.” “There were scientists on board who said they were close to changing stem cells from non alien DNA to mimic alien DNA. You worked with them and found the answer, Scully. Scully, have I ever told you how brilliant I think you are?” “So how did I end up back on the bridge?” “They had developed only one prototype box to protect a person’s memory from the power charge, but there were some dangers to it. It was more important for you to be alive to help with the recovery. The world would lose so much more if you were gone than me. So you went back to the bridge. The ship flew to Oregon. The box and I were transported down and the plane went to wherever it was going to land. Scully even the pilots of the plane don’t remember yesterday because they gave me the box, but they wrote down where I was and the details of yesterday so they would know once they woke up.” ‘‘Mulder, you weren’t found in a box.” “I said there were dangers, Scully. When the charge occurred the box bursts into flames, a coolant inside the box released putting out the flames. It also froze my clothes so I had to get out of them and then I wandered away until I passed out.” “Mulder, why didn’t you tell the scientist everything you knew and had one of them get into the box? Why did it have to be you?” “I want to be one to take down that bastard.” Scully wants to scream at him that he could have died from immolation, then hyperthermia and all that before radical stem cell treatment. Did he know how lucky he was to be alive? She refrained. It was the reason she left him. It was her hell. He was always going to put himself in danger. Leaving him hadn’t changed him and hadn’t stopped her caring about him getting hurt. “Mulder, there’s another solar flare in one week..” “Yes, so much time will be focused on either taking out the terrorist attack, developing a way to develop a defense or in preparation, everyone will forget the disease attack that started the whole thing.” “Mulder, I have to get this information to Skinner.” Scully gets up and begins to leave.

“Scully, damn.” She turns around surprised. “You really are not going to tell me you found our son?”

She comes back to him shaking her head. “The nurse told me the stem cells came from my son, William, and he was doing ok. You found our son?”

“Mulder, no. Do you remember being asked this morning if your wife’s name was Felicity?” “I thought it was a dream.” “Mulder, Felicity found you this morning and she was pregnant when she left you….”

Chapter 7: Fox, Foxy Fox, Fox

Mulder wakes. Felicity sits in a chair by his bed. She has pulled up another chair to use as a table and has laid out tarot cards on them. She doesn't notice Mulder is awake. He gazes at her. She is a woman he has loved, hated, mourned, assumed he would never see again. He understands now he doesn’t have the same right to hate her as he once thought, but still seems to have some residue of anger unprocessed. It is interesting to look at a woman he met at the age of 17 now at the age of 56. He realizes it is impossible for him to think of her as anything but beautiful and that he has no objectivity in that conclusion. ‘If you are reading my future, I don’t see a death card.” It startles her to hear his voice and when she quickly turns to look at him, she is startled to look into his eyes. She is startled twice and then sits frozen unable to do anything but stare; wondering how long he will let her stay and expecting he might immediately throw her out. It is her first opportunity to see him awake in 26 year. Mulder expects her to say something first. Presumably she is here to talk to him, right?

After several minutes he says “ well, it's been great visiting.” She immediately gets up and begins to put her cards away and he says, “I’m kidding.” She sits down again but doesn’t say anything still for several minutes. They both sit not looking at each other directly but trying to take side ways glances at each other. “I thought I would never see you again.” He says it in an accusatory voice. ‘I’m so sorry” she begins. He holds up his hand to stop her After waiting so long for her to speak, he is not sure now he wants to hear anything she has to say. “Scully told me. I went to both of your parents’ funeral to see if you would show up. I expected that you would at least show up for that.” Felicity had never wrote to anyone but the one note to Fox. He was left to tell her parents she had disappeared and to listen to their recriminations and blaming him. Felicity sits up straight and looks at him fully. There are things she will be blamed for and things she will not. In a calm, cold voice she says, “I would like to believe that if my parents knew the reason I did not attend their funeral they would understand and forgive me. Just as I hope you would.” “There was never an opportunity to contact me?” She fixes her bright blue eyes on him. “Can you tell me he wouldn’t have harmed our son? Did I over react?” Mulder thinks that the man is responsible for more than one million deaths yesterday. Mulder shakes his head. “What I haven’t had the knowledge to understand is why he wanted me out of your life so badly?” Mulder thinks. “I think it was so Diana would have more access into my life, be able to report back, be able to manipulate me more.” Felicity nods. She still doesn’t understand but she doesn’t want to talk about Diana.

“We have a son?” Felicity smiles “ and a granddaughter.” Mulder is stunned. ‘I’m a grandfather?” “Samantha in honor of your sister.” Mulder smiles. “I tried to provide as much of you as I could in our son’s life. He knows all your family stories I knew and all of ours. He’s probably going to ask you to recite Yeats when you meet I have told him about our meeting so often.” “His last name is Fox?” “William M. Fox. No actual name for the M so every time someone asks him what it means he has a different smart Alec name. He is a lot like you in his humor and wit.” “Your last name is also Fox?” “Moondance Fox.” Fox smiles again. He can’t help but smile at the memories. “You never remarried?” “We’re still married, Fox. You could have divorced me, but I would have had to come out of hiding to divorce you.” Mulder nods. “But there were other men?” Felicity shakes her head “you know I can’t be in a relationship if I can’t be honest. So, I never. I never.” She said the last part in a way he would understand. “My god, Moondance, it's been 26 years. Weren’t you lonely?” “I had a part of you in our son.” He asks her the question he didn’t think he could have asked any other woman, even Scully, “Weren’t you horny?” She laughs, “what do you think?” He is beginning to absorb how much she sacrificed. “Your career?” “Law? I had to give it up.” “You gave up everything.” “No, I had William and I kept him safe,” she says this with some pride, but Mulder can feel the loneliness coming off of her.

He reaches out to touch her hair. “What’s with the hair?” “I find its best to hide out loud and outrageous. If you do, no one will ever know you’re hiding.” “I was in hiding for many years myself.” He suddenly wants to tell her everything. “I had another son, but his mother gave him up for adoption because it was dangerous.” “Your family?” “They’re dead, too.”

He realizes he is no longer simply stroking her hair but has both hands entwined. The colors are mesmerizing, the length and the texture. He lifts up a handful of her hair and slowly drops it to see the colors blend together. She laughs. “Feel free to play with my hair as much as you want. Our granddaughter does that same thing by the way,”. Mulder finds himself smiling broadly and laughing loudly. He has a granddaughter. 26 years of anger and hate fades away and he is giddy with lightness this brings to him. He remembers the summer they were seventeen sitting on her bed with the door open; finishing up one board game and looking around to decide what else to play. Mulder bends towards her and lightly and quickly touches her lips with his. She is surprised. It is exactly how he had first kissed her fearful her parents would walk in. She smiles at him so broadly. “Do you know what I would like, Moondance?” He says her new name slowly, enunciating every sound, teasing her about the choice while letting her know he approves of it. She shakes her head. She would give him anything. The only man she has ever loved seems ready to forgive her and she will give him anything he wants in return. “Say my name the way you used to say it.” “Fox, Foxy Fox, Fox.” He bends his lips to her in the adult way he had once routinely kissed his wife.

Chapter 8: Retrospection

Skinner has been on the phone since Scully went to see Mulder. The coordination required with so many agencies and countries involved! In all his years, Skinner has never seen any cooperation and coordination quite like this. All leaders including the ones in the Mid East understood that their self-interest was the same. The attack(s) had been on the US, but it could have occurred anywhere-anywhere people were vaccinated and anywhere a power grid was connected. He has made Scully wait while he finished his phone calls.

She tells him all that Mulder has told her.

“Agent Scully, there is going to be a major take down of terrorists internationally tomorrow evening. All orchestrated so only people with top security clearance know the details and with major initiatives simultaneously timed to the second. I’ve just made arrangements to give you that security clearance. I will need your help tomorrow night.”

“Mulder should be released tomorrow.”

“I have not increased his security level. I need you to help me with this, Dana.”

She nods.

“I filled the CDC in on the stem cell treatment that cured Mulder. They are waiting for a full analysis from you still on your review of documents and now a report on this treatment as well. You realize it has implications for other diseases. They are talking about nominating you for the Nobel Prize in science.” Scully doesn’t say anything. “How are you doing with all this, Dana?”

“It would be different if I could remember doing the work I’m being praised for. As it is my mind is just onto other things that need to be taken care of, sir.”

Skinner wants to know how she is doing with the presence of Mulder’s wife and a new son, but he has never pried into their relationship.

“This box that Mulder was in and the scientists who created it. NASA and homeland security will want to know more about that and as quickly as possible. We know that taking down this terrorist cell doesn’t put the genie back in the box. The disease, the anomalous DNA issue, that will be ongoing with the CDC.”

“Mulder is right then. The real monster who masterminded this will just be forgotten.”

“Agent, if we focus our resources on him then the terrorist cell or any terrorist group has us by the balls. What would you have us do?” Scully doesn’t say anything. “I’m not saying we forget about it. Just that the terrorist group is the FBI’s focus for the next 48 hours, but we opened up the X-files again to assure that Mulder and you would be focused on the extreme possibilities and there will be time to focus again on CSM. Assuming you still want to be part of the xfiles?”

“Sir?”

“Dana, your medical career has just hit a pinnacle. Name your price…any hospital, the CDC, university, Grant research. Think of how many lives you saved yesterday! You want to work in a basement office as an FBI agent instead? Whatever your loyalty to Mulder! I don’t know that I can have a Nobel prize winner working underneath me. How would I ever keep you in line?”

“I don’t have the answers to my questions about what happened to me.”

“Don’t you trust Mulder to look for those answers without you? Are those answers more important than the other contributions you can give to your country?”

Scully couldn’t process the accomplishment. She couldn’t remember the events or the work. She was just herself, the same as she was two days ago. Skinner wanted to get Mulder’s statement recorded and transcribed. He had a highly classified intelligence device delivered for that purpose. He wants to be sure that –whatever happens there are record, electronic and hard copy paper, of Mulder’s memories.

Scully and Skinner enter Mulder’s hospital room to see Mulder’s hands playing with Felicity’s hair. They hear him say, “say my name the way you used to.” “Fox, Foxy Fox, Fox.” They see the kiss. Scully wonders: Is that the reason he doesn’t let me call him by his first name? Mulder had told Scully even his parents didn’t call him by his first name, but that wasn’t true. His mother did. He let her mother call him Fox. Diana had. Mulder had told Scully about his marriage. He had talked from time to time about Felicity, but never shared the intimacies; the simple things between couples that become part of their routine, part of their secret message of love. She has just witnessed an intimacy between Mulder and his, God help her, his wife. He had a romantic, sensual reaction to the way she said his first name.

Skinner clears his throat loudly. Moondance gets up to leave. Mulder holds onto her hand. His eyes question her. “After this with the FBI and you rest, William and his wife want to come to meet you.” His eyes still questions and he still grips her hand. “I will be with our granddaughter so they can come.” He isn’t letting his grip or gaze go. “You will see me again.” He releases his grip then and reclines back on his pillow for a moment.

Moondance leaves. Skinner pulls Mulder’s table tray across the bed. He sits in the chair by the bed near the tray. Scully sits in the other chair between Mulder and Skinner but away from the bed. Skinner pulls the small packet that has been delivered out of his coat jacket, opens it, removes the contents and puts it on the tray. Scully watches Skinner. Mulder stares at Scully. She finally lifts her eyes to his. “Scully, do you remember that weatherman who said I used to gaze at you?” She nods. “I did. All the time. Whenever I thought you weren’t looking. I still do.”

Skinner clears his throat again. Mulder smirks at him. “Hello, skin man.” “Mulder, don’t call me that.” “Can we just take a second to appreciate this moment? A million dead, but after all this time we are still here. The three of us! Like a band that can’t seem to stay broken up. Should we do a reunion tour?”

Skinner looks at Scully. “If he is on pain medication, his statement might be questioned.” Scully shakes her head, “Nothing that wouldn’t make him lucid, sir.”

“I just think we should appreciate any time three good friends can be together.” In fact, Mulder feels a little high, but not from medication. It is like an acid trip where everything seems clear and confusing at once and time speeds up and slows down simultaneously. He has so much to process. Yesterday he was about to die beside a woman he loved, but with whom he was no longer romantically involved. Today he is alive. A woman he used to love who he thought he hated, but now remembers he had sworn that even if he fell in love with someone else he would still love her, has suddenly given him a son and granddaughter. Scully saw him kiss that woman and a part of him doesn’t care because she walked out on him and another part would rather die than hurt Scully, but he isn’t sure that Scully cares if he loves someone else. But if Scully is anywhere near him he is going to gaze at her and wish there was a way back to her. Also, he is ridiculously happy to see Skinner. When he is uncomfortable he hides it with humor. He is uncomfortable now, but, also remarkably at ease because life doesn’t make any sense and you have in fact no control, really, of anything. It is a revelation and a floating sensation, being so confused about everything, but seeing this one issue of lack of control so clearly.

Skinner says, “I don’t have time, Mulder. I need to prevent more losses and devastation.”

Mulder thinks how often they have all ran with no real sense of direction, often just instinct, to try and help mankind. It is kind of cute, really, Skinner and Scully being so serious when everything you love can be taken away senselessly and everything you could want given to you in a blink of an eye. “What can I do?”

Skinner explains he wants to record his statement about yesterday and then he had some questions. Skinner hands Mulder a headset which includes a microphone placed in front of his face. Skinner sits up the smaller than palm size square device. He looks through a small optical device which does not seem to be connected to the square device, but he moves the square device on the tray as he looks. He tells Mulder that once he hits a button on the device a camera will record him. The microphone is for the transcription which will occur simultaneously. The device is encrypted and will download directly into a Homeland security document database-both the recording and transcription. When he turns off the button the transcription will print out in a Washington office and the hard copy will be filed immediately. Skinner explains it is used by intelligence officials in highly sensitive cases during interrogation when having real time access to information is critical. The device is small enough to be easily hidden.

Mulder blurts out, “I miss having techno geek friends.” Scully and Skinner stare blankly at him. “I mean, I miss the lone gunmen for a lot of reasons. They were my drinking buddies and watched movies with me Scully wouldn’t and just my guy friends, but I miss them for keeping me up to date on techno stuff. Don’t you think it's ridiculous that someone as intelligent and nerdy as me can’t figure out phone apps?”

Skinner says, “if you are not going to take this seriously.” Scully stands up, angrily and confronts Mulder. For just a moment all Mulder can think about is how sexy a fierce Scully is. “Damn it, Mulder, we need a record that it was that smoking bastard behind this. Think about all he has done, all he took away.” Scully storms out of the room. Mulder does think- he thinks about it all. Now he adds to the list the years he could have spent with Felicity raising their son. The pain he caused to her. He has two sons he didn’t raise and two women he loves who have been hurt by that son of a bitch. Mulder’s high is gone. Reality sinks in palpable as the wet on a rainy day. He is ready to give his statement.

Chapter 9:Family Leave

By the time Skinner finds Scully she is calmer, but contemplative. She is relieved to know Mulder has cooperated fully; giving Skinner a complete and clear statement and answering all of Skinner’s questions. Skinner is heading back to DC and wants Scully to come back as well. Mulder is on his way to a remarkable recovery. There is something about the modified stem cells that speeds recovery. There is no need for her to stay. She wants to return tomorrow with Mulder once he is released.

Skinner reminds her that he wants her to lead the raid against the terrorist cell in DC. 15 simultaneous operations will be going on in cities across the US and 27 globally. He does not need Mulder to be part of this. Let Mulder concentrate on working with NASA. Scully insists she wants him on her team, under her command. “Agent, he might not be strong enough yet, and he’s never worked as a subordinate to you.” Scully has never led this type of action. She would just feel more comfortable if Mulder is involved.

She waits until after Mulder has met his son and his son’s wife before she goes to see him again to say goodnight. His eyes are closed. She reads his chart. She goes to his bedside and just gazes at him. Without opening his eyes he says her name. She kneels down on her knees so her face is directly at his face level and says “yes?” “I love to hear you say, Mulder, you know.” She sighs wondering if Skinner had told him she had heard his and Felicity’s conversation and had seen the kiss. Of course he had. Mulder opens his eyes and looks at Scully. “I’m sorry if any of this is hard for you.” Scully runs her fingers through his hair. She looks at the doorway and sees Felicity standing there. Felicity walks out of the room. Mulder is still looking at Scully. “You should sleep, Mulder.” He closes his eyes again.

Scully leaves the room and sees Felicity by the door. “He needs to sleep.” “I will just say goodnight.” Scully unconsciously positions herself to block the door. “I told him I would see him again. I don’t want him to think I forgot.” Scully nods and moves away from the door. She peaks back into the room as Felicity goes to the side of the bed. In the reflection in the hospital window she sees Mulder’s broad smile as he says the word “Moondance.” Scully leaves the hospital.

Scully spends the rest of the evening reviewing the records from yesterday and instructions she had given related to Mulder’s stem cell treatment. She realizes that she might well have been the only one who could have created the cure, but it wasn't because of any genius. It was the combination of her medical knowledge, her DNA and her X file experience that gave her the belief. She writes her reports and sends to the CDC with a copy to Skinner. What she is being asked to do by Skinner has nothing to do with any expertise. She will lead a group of armed agents against a group of terrorists. Skinner wants her because of a calm head and an ability to handle crisis and because he wants someone he could trust. She knows that he is right that Mulder is not the correct person for this job. He has other attributes; an ability to see patterns, read people, passion and instinct, arrogance to push back bureaucracy and walls. She doesn’t need Mulder tomorrow, she realizes, but she feels a stubbornness about leaving together. If they leave tomorrow together, they will be Scully and Mulder united in fighting the bad guys. There is no logic to it, just symbolism, that they are still a team.

The next day on her way to the hospital Scully remembers to stop and buy Mulder a suit. He was found naked. When they had lived together he had gladly allowed her to take over the task of buying his clothes, so she knows his size, his style preference, the color that best brings out the green in his eyes. It is a wife like duty she thinks, but pushes the thought out of her mind. It is a partner’s duty.

At the hospital desk she stops: Mulder! Her mind goes back to the first time she had went to the basement office and a ridiculously good looking man with glasses swiveled his chair around to greet her. It must be Mulder’s son: 6 ft tall, brown thick hair, same profile wearing glasses. When he turns to look at her his eyes are not Mulder’s.. They are the blue eyes of Felicity. His arm is around a woman her height with frizzy red hair and Scully smiles to think Mulder’s son married a woman who resembled a younger version of herself. “Dr. Scully,” he reaches for her hand. “Your picture has been all over the news.” He tells her that both him and his father have been cleared for discharge. He is just signing the paperwork. Scully startles a little to hear Mulder referred to as “father.” Scully asks about Felicity. She flew home on a commercial flight last night after saying goodbye to “dad.” They have chartered a private plane today, a little bit of a luxury, and will be leaving this morning. They all live in Portland. Scully’s heart soars. Soon her and Mulder will fly back to DC and his “family” will be in Portland and, for at least a couple of days, they can forget about this drama and focus on their jobs.

She walks to Mulder’s room. He is up. He is wearing jeans and a brown sweater with a green scarf. A red headed toddler sits on his lap playing with the scarf as Mulder makes google noises and faces at her. He turns and sees Scully. “Come say hello to my granddaughter, Scully”. Granddaughter! Mulder can tell by Scully’s face that she is disturbed by the sight of him and his granddaughter. His hands tighten around the child as if to shield her from any negativity. “What's with the suit, Scully?” “I bought it so you would have something to wear. You’re meeting with folks from NASA today”. “Not today, Scully. I thought you went home last night.” “No I stayed to go home with you.”

Mulder hears the frustration in her voice. His granddaughter smiles up at him. “I’m going to Portland today, Scully. I’m taking a personal day to spend with my family.”

“Today? Mulder, do you know everything that is going on right now?”

“I’ll take the suit, Scully. I will wear it tomorrow when I return. I will return, Scully, tomorrow.”

His son comes to the door and tells him that they are ready when he is. Mulder stand ups with his granddaughter cradled in one hand. He reaches and takes the suit. Mulder and Scully stand looking at one another. “Scully, how many times have you told me to consider my priorities? I had a major medical procedure yesterday. I am taking one day off to spend recovering with my family. Don’t worry. I will be back tomorrow.”

“But, Mulder, are your sure you will be ok?”

“Scully, don’t worry. I will be with my family.” Mulder turns and leaves. Scully is left standing alone in the hospital room. “Mulder, I thought I was your family.”

hapter 9:Family Leave

By the time Skinner finds Scully she is calmer, but contemplative. She is relieved to know Mulder has cooperated fully; giving Skinner a complete and clear statement and answering all of Skinner’s questions. Skinner is heading back to DC and wants Scully to come back as well. Mulder is on his way to a remarkable recovery. There is something about the modified stem cells that speeds recovery. There is no need for her to stay. She wants to return tomorrow with Mulder once he is released.

Skinner reminds her that he wants her to lead the raid against the terrorist cell in DC. 15 simultaneous operations will be going on in cities across the US and 27 globally. He does not need Mulder to be part of this. Let Mulder concentrate on working with NASA. Scully insists she wants him on her team, under her command. “Agent, he might not be strong enough yet, and he’s never worked as a subordinate to you.” Scully has never led this type of action. She would just feel more comfortable if Mulder is involved.

She waits until after Mulder has met his son and his son’s wife before she goes to see him again to say goodnight. His eyes are closed. She reads his chart. She goes to his bedside and just gazes at him. Without opening his eyes he says her name. She kneels down on her knees so her face is directly at his face level and says “yes?” “I love to hear you say, Mulder, you know.” She sighs wondering if Skinner had told him she had heard his and Felicity’s conversation and had seen the kiss. Of course he had. Mulder opens his eyes and looks at Scully. “I’m sorry if any of this is hard for you.” Scully runs her fingers through his hair. She looks at the doorway and sees Felicity standing there. Felicity walks out of the room. Mulder is still looking at Scully. “You should sleep, Mulder.” He closes his eyes again.

Scully leaves the room and sees Felicity by the door. “He needs to sleep.” “I will just say goodnight.” Scully unconsciously positions herself to block the door. “I told him I would see him again. I don’t want him to think I forgot.” Scully nods and moves away from the door. She peaks back into the room as Felicity goes to the side of the bed. In the reflection in the hospital window she sees Mulder’s broad smile as he says the word “Moondance.” Scully leaves the hospital.

Scully spends the rest of the evening reviewing the records from yesterday and instructions she had given related to Mulder’s stem cell treatment. She realizes that she might well have been the only one who could have created the cure, but it wasn't because of any genius. It was the combination of her medical knowledge, her DNA and her X file experience that gave her the belief. She writes her reports and sends to the CDC with a copy to Skinner. What she is being asked to do by Skinner has nothing to do with any expertise. She will lead a group of armed agents against a group of terrorists. Skinner wants her because of a calm head and an ability to handle crisis and because he wants someone he could trust. She knows that he is right that Mulder is not the correct person for this job. He has other attributes; an ability to see patterns, read people, passion and instinct, arrogance to push back bureaucracy and walls. She doesn’t need Mulder tomorrow, she realizes, but she feels a stubbornness about leaving together. If they leave tomorrow together, they will be Scully and Mulder united in fighting the bad guys. There is no logic to it, just symbolism, that they are still a team.

The next day on her way to the hospital Scully remembers to stop and buy Mulder a suit. He was found naked. When they had lived together he had gladly allowed her to take over the task of buying his clothes, so she knows his size, his style preference, the color that best brings out the green in his eyes. It is a wife like duty she thinks, but pushes the thought out of her mind. It is a partner’s duty.

At the hospital desk she stops: Mulder! Her mind goes back to the first time she had went to the basement office and a ridiculously good looking man with glasses swiveled his chair around to greet her. It must be Mulder’s son: 6 ft tall, brown thick hair, same profile wearing glasses. When he turns to look at her his eyes are not Mulder’s.. They are the blue eyes of Felicity. His arm is around a woman her height with frizzy red hair and Scully smiles to think Mulder’s son married a woman who resembled a younger version of herself. “Dr. Scully,” he reaches for her hand. “Your picture has been all over the news.” He tells her that both him and his father have been cleared for discharge. He is just signing the paperwork. Scully startles a little to hear Mulder referred to as “father.” Scully asks about Felicity. She flew home on a commercial flight last night after saying goodbye to “dad.” They have chartered a private plane today, a little bit of a luxury, and will be leaving this morning. They all live in Portland. Scully’s heart soars. Soon her and Mulder will fly back to DC and his “family” will be in Portland and, for at least a couple of days, they can forget about this drama and focus on their jobs.

She walks to Mulder’s room. He is up. He is wearing jeans and a brown sweater with a green scarf. A red headed toddler sits on his lap playing with the scarf as Mulder makes google noises and faces at her. He turns and sees Scully. “Come say hello to my granddaughter, Scully”. Granddaughter! Mulder can tell by Scully’s face that she is disturbed by the sight of him and his granddaughter. His hands tighten around the child as if to shield her from any negativity. “What's with the suit, Scully?” “I bought it so you would have something to wear. You’re meeting with folks from NASA today”. “Not today, Scully. I thought you went home last night.” “No I stayed to go home with you.”

Mulder hears the frustration in her voice. His granddaughter smiles up at him. “I’m going to Portland today, Scully. I’m taking a personal day to spend with my family.”

“Today? Mulder, do you know everything that is going on right now?”

“I’ll take the suit, Scully. I will wear it tomorrow when I return. I will return, Scully, tomorrow.”

His son comes to the door and tells him that they are ready when he is. Mulder stand ups with his granddaughter cradled in one hand. He reaches and takes the suit. Mulder and Scully stand looking at one another. “Scully, how many times have you told me to consider my priorities? I had a major medical procedure yesterday. I am taking one day off to spend recovering with my family. Don’t worry. I will be back tomorrow.”

“But, Mulder, are your sure you will be ok?”

“Scully, don’t worry. I will be with my family.” Mulder turns and leaves. Scully is left standing alone in the hospital room. “Mulder, I thought I was your family.”

Chapter 10:Mental Preparation.

Scully is shaking as she leaves the hospital, but composes herself by the time she gets on the plane. She had thought that it was so critical for her and Mulder to come home together, but it isn’t in terms of the work. It simply isn’t and that’s what they are to each other now. They are partners and they are friends. They are no longer lovers. That had been her decision. It is somewhere in mid flight that the truth dawns on her. She has repeatedly imagined what it might be like for her to have another lover. She is reaching the age where women have sexual surges and she has always assumed there would be another man in her life someday. Whenever she thought of it she thought more of how she would prepare Mulder and keep his friendship then what the man would be like. She would encourage Mulder to move on and eventually he would. She never thought of Mulder finding someone else before she did. She thought he would be ok with his pornography and mourning her. He had denied himself, after all, for years when they were partners. He had wanted her but waited until she made the move. She had never counted on his wife showing up. Shouldn’t she be happy for him? It was the fault of the CSM that Felicity had left Mulder. Maybe Felicity is and has always been his true love.

Then what is her future? It might be unprofessional but she won’t work with Mulder if he is involved romantically with someone else. She has a lot of choices now. It frees her in a way to think about other career options and she realizes the thought of working at the CDC makes her happy. She imagines a future where her and Mulder bump into each other at some function for federal employees. They would kiss each other politely and say what has it been, ten years? If they aren’t in each other’s lives, she wouldn’t know if he is abducted or putting himself in harm’s way. That would give her the emotional distance she thought she was getting when she left him romantically. If she is not going to get away from him completely and she has another chance, then she will commit completely. In for a dime, in for a dollar. She will move back in with him and not try to change him. If she ever got another chance...Otherwise, now that he had a family and would be ok, she would get as far away from him as she could.

Meanwhile, she needs mental toughness to get through tonight.

In DC Scully meets briefly with Skinner. She tries to cover for Mulder. One thing she will never be is unloyal to Mulder while they are still partners. Skinner shakes his head at her. ‘Mulder left me a message that he was taking a personal day to spend with family. In truth it's a relief. I don’t need to worry about him going off on his own. Not tonight.” ‘He’s an excellent agent, sir.” ‘Yes, in the right circumstances Now my question, agent, is do I have to worry about you?” ‘Sir.” “I don’t need any body distracted by personal considerations, Agent.” “I’m ready, sir.”

She meets her team; 9 men and 5 women. She has worked with only a few of them before. She reviews their records and their names utilizing a memory trick Mulder had taught her to remember names. Then she attended a phone conference of the 15 lead agents across the country who would be connected by voice together and taking instruction from Skinner. He would be sitting next to his equivalent in the CIA who would have the CIA operatives assigned to each foreign initiative on his ear. Scully and all the other leads would be wearing a camera on their lapel and Skinner and the CIA operatives would be viewing on a wall of monitors. They would be tied in as well to the the President, Vice- President, Sec. Of Defense, National Security Advisor and Joint Chief of Staff. There had been a complaint about whether or not this was a war time activity and should be a military operation. The decision had came down to put military on high alert with a plan to go into different countries, especially in the Middle East, should any hints of deception on the part of those leaders become apparent.

Scully had never expected to be in this position within the FBI. She is, though. She owes it to Skinner and her country to do her best.

Chapter 11: Can I Just Have One More MoonDance?

“I am shooting hoops with my son,”Fox Mulder cannot stop thinking about the miracle of this moment. He had imagined what it would be like to play basketball with the son he knew he had, but here is a son he never imagined playing basketball with him. William M Fox had shown his father pictures of him playing in high school, said he guessed it was genetics, and had brought out an annual of his mother’s she had given him. He had told his father about growing up in fear of being found, moving every few years, the time his mother had ran into someone she had known in DC and they moved to another state overnight. Move after move they had left various things behind, but this was always with them. The one non nerd like extra curricular activity which Mulder Fox had participated in was basketball. The annual, from his junior year, had the picture of him shooting the basket which won the state’s championship and, since this was Felicity’s annual, beside it was what Fox had written to his girlfriend. It said to my faerie and was the verse of the Yeats poem with one brief additional line: thank you for taking me out of my dull life. It was signed The Fox. He quickly looked for the picture of Felicity. He stared at it for a few minutes. William asked if he could tell him what his mother had been like as a teenager. He spent about three hours doing just that as son and father walked around the streets of Portland.

It is getting near the end of the day now. They are playing outside of Moondance’s home which is up the hill from her shop. When William graduated from high school and entered the police academy, Moondance stopped worrying about protecting him. She purchased a home and opened up a new age “Moondance” shop which sold books on astrology, crystals, and tarot cards. Part of William’s motivation for entering the police academy was so his mother would know he could take care of himself. The other, he said, was because he wanted to be like his father, but out of the academy and in the force, he quickly found himself having trouble with authority. Mulder said he was definitely like him, then. William was a private detective now and ironically specialized in finding missing persons. William makes a long jump shot and Mulder holds up his hands. “That’s enough for your old man.” William needs to go home to watch Samantha soon anyway. His wife is a nurse working a night shift. “Mom, always made sure you were a presence. I felt like I knew you and that it would make Mom happy if I became like you. I tried joining an UFO group, but that wasn’t me. You are pretty much just what I expected.” Fox Mulder simply doesn’t know how to respond. He is overwhelmed with this feeling of family and belonging he never has had before and grateful to Felicity for the way she kept him present in his son’s life. William asks if he is sure he won’t come home and stay with him tonight. Mulder shakes his head. He thinks he should spend some time catching up with his mother. William’s tone changes then; becoming a little protective. “You know there has never been anyone else.” “It's hard when you’re hiding.” Mulder thinks of his own experience hiding with Scully. “It's hard when you’ve never gotten over a lost love.” William is making clear-father or not- his mother is his first loyalty. “You don’t need to worry,” Mulder reassures his son, “your mother and I…” “Have known each other since before I was born.” “You must have gotten that dry sense of humor from your mother.”

Mulder says goodbye to his son and rests on the porch of Felicity’s house. He wonders how Scully is doing and thinks about calling her, but he does not want to make her think he needs her or worse make her think he think she needs him. He remembers the conversation with Skinner when they were alone after taping.

“You know, you having a whole new family is kind of hard on Scully.” Skinner and Mulder always had an unusual relationship. “I didn’t know I had a son with Felicity but given that without him I would have died I’m kind of glad he showed up. Scully should be too.” “I get that you didn’t know about your son, but how obvious do you have to make your reunion with your wife? Oh, Foxy Fox.” Skinner said the last in a falsetto voice. “Do not make fun of my wife.” Mulder’s eyes were cold as he looked at Skinner. “I think I will ask Scully to leave with me tonight to go to DC.” “I always suspected there was something between the two of you.” ‘Mulder you’re an ass.” “So, I’ve been told.”

Skinner shook his head. “Do you know what she just accomplished? Do you know how valuable she is to the country right now? Do you realize how significant her career options are now?” Mulder sighed. “I’m Scully’s biggest fan, Skinner. She’s a genius.” “Then why should she be spending her time patching up your bullet holes and tending to your bruised ego issues. If it is love which I always thought, but if it's because she thinks you can’t survive without her and you are ready to move on or backwards with your wife, then let her go Mulder. Stop holding her back.”

When Scully came in later he wanted her to talk to him about her feelings. The first time she called him Fox during a stake-out it did just make him think of Felicity, but he did love hearing her call him Mulder; especially in a passionate embrace, but she wasn’t interested in that aspect of their relationship any longer. He had given her an opportunity to share her feelings when he apologized if any of it was hard on her, but she had looked at his chart and told him he needed sleep. He was in fact just a patient to her. He remembers back to when she moved out of their house. He was so pathetic. Telling her she was the only family he had. He didn’t want to hold her back because he needed her. He was surprised when she came in this morning with a suit for him. He needed her to know he had a family now. She didn’t have to worry about him. She could have a career away from him, date someone else. It was hard to imagine life without her, but she deserved so much more than he had ever been able to give her.

Mulder stops thinking about Scully when he sees Felicity leave her shop and begin to walk up the hill. She is more slender and in better shape than when she was younger. William had told him it was part of life on the run. She had never been athletic, but on the run with a child in danger she had started weight training and took up kick boxing. Her hair in the sunlight! He had loved her flaxen hair, but he was mesmerized now by her multi color long tresses. Felicity had saved him as a teenager, married him as a woman, taught her son to love and respect him despite his absence, and had never stopped loving him.

Felicity reaches the house and tells him to let her get out of “costume.” She wears a kaftan and beaded jewelry, long earrings when she works. It is, like her hair, to present an image. Fox notices a CD player and begins to look through her collection. Still a classical musical lover, not a bit of Elvis in the bunch, then he finds it…Van Morrison, he puts it in the CD player without turning it on. She comes out in a casual dress. Her arms are bare and the dress is shaped to accentuate her bosom. She wears no jewelry. She is carrying two glasses of bourbon and asks Fox if that is still his drink. It is when he drinks, but he has never told her the story of how it came to be…because it was dark. There is a long sweater on a chair on the porch. It is hand made, worn and she puts it on now and relaxes into a chair opposite Mulder. He imagines her routine is like this nightly. When he sees the moon starts to rise he smiles. What would be the chances?

She asks him if he is over tired. She is worried with him just getting out of the hospital, but he has been here on the porch resting and thinking for a while. Thinking about anything special she asks in a quivering voice. He tells her that he has thought about the lack of control in life. Life can take everything away and then suddenly hand you everything you ever wanted. He wonders if he shouldn’t learn to enjoy when life offers him some pleasantness.

“Moondance, two days ago I thought I was dying. Today I played with my granddaughter, shot hoops with my son and now I am drinking a glass of bourbon on a porch with one of the most beautiful women I have ever known and, look, the moon is full. It is a good day.” They take a swig from their bourbon. It is not for courage but for the mellow feeling it gives, a pleasant warming in their mouths and chest. “I should have looked for you harder. All those years I searched for my sister, I should have been looking for you.”

‘Fox, you saw your sister abducted. I left you a note telling you I hated you and left. I’m glad you moved on and lived a life without me. You did the right thing.” She remembers how important it has always been for Fox to do the “right” thing.

“You did too. In leaving me, protecting our son. I never want you to feel sorry or apologetic. I have a son, a granddaughter and you sacrificed everything for them. Never let me hear you say I’m sorry or forgive me again. You have nothing to apologize for.” Felicity’s eyes fill with tears. All these years she had heard Fox’s voice telling her friends forever, swear, knew how desperately scarred he was from the experience with his sister and was so afraid of being alone, and she knew the note she left. Her reasons had been good, but it harmed him, deepened the wounds he already had. She was sure of it.

“There is one thing left to make this evening perfect? Will you dance with me?” He stands and holds out his hand. She stands, takes her sweater off, and takes his hand. He pushes the play button. They dance to a song they had danced to many times before. With the lyrics, “October nights” he spins her expertly and she executes perfectly. As a young, married couple they had practiced. With the lyrics, “I want to make love to you tonight,” she moves back from him embarrassed. Fox brings her close. He is not a young boy. He is a strong man. “All you have to say if you don’t want to is no.” Moondance looks him fully in the eyes without saying a word. With the lyric, “Can I just make some more romance?” He stops fully and looks at her. This woman he thought he would never see again, here on a full moon, in his arms, another chance with this woman. He kisses her fully and passionately. His lips go to her shoulders and he reaches behind and unzips the dress.

Moondance grabs his hand and they run through the house into the bedroom. Now she is against the wall in the master bedroom. The moon shines through the window. Fox takes the straps down her arms and pulls the dress down. A bra was made into the dress and so her breasts are fully exposed with the moonlight on them. She closes her eyes and moves her head to the side. “What is the matter? Do you want to stop?”

“I don’t look like I did the last time you saw me.”

Mulder cannot believe she thinks he will care. “Let me see”. His voice is husky. He takes the dress to the floor along with her panties and holds her hand while she steps out of them. She kicks her clothing away and he puts her fully back against the wall so the moon light illuminates her. “I can’t compare. The girl at 17, the woman at 27, the woman at 55. You are different but each one is beautiful and when I look at you now I kind of see all three. You are just beautiful.” Now his hands are on her hips and his lips are on her breasts. He goes down on his knees. He remembers she liked to be kissed behind the knee caps first and then for him to work his way up to her ass and then around. She stops him. ‘It's your turn first for me to see.” Fox can be silly with this woman he has known since they were teenagers. He takes off his clothes as if doing a strip dance. With his shirt off he gestures to his chest- dada and she laughs. He starts to take off his pants and as he pulls them down turns around, sticks out his ass and is shaking it as the pants come down. He steps out of them without turning around and is still dancing. After a few minutes she says,”hey, you’re not showing me the part I want to see.” He stops with his ass out and his hand on his knees and says coyly “and what part is that?” She is laughing now, the tension of the moment gone and he says “say it, if you want me to turn around.” “Fox, Foxy Fox, Fox.” Her voice is full of emotion at the end and Fox turns around. He is completely naked, vulnerable and exposed before her, his penis long and thick and starting to become larger. She reaches for it hungrily and now he is against the wall, looking down at that mass of multi colored hair. He stops her, brings her up to him, kisses her mouth with a hunger and a passion from deep within him. “Felicity,” he now calls her in a gravelly deep voice “even though I did fall in love with another woman, I never stopped loving you, I swear it.” He knows it is true. He could never not love this woman. She lifts one leg up around his waist and he enters her. Their rhythm is perfect, natural. As their breathing deepens he stops her again. He disengages, walks her to the bed. “I want to do all the things I remember you like and then some things I never tried and then”. His mouth sucks her clit. Her breathing quickens. Her hips rise. “FOXXY FOX, FOX FUCK,FUCK, FUCK,” and then as he removes his mouth and enters her again. “Fox…”

Chapter 12: On The Count of One

Scully stands against the wall in a bullet proof vest, gun drawn, a headset in her ear and a separate microphone at her mouth. On her lapel is a camera Fourteen men and women agents are waiting for her command which she will issue when she gets the command from Skinner. She know across the globe multiple other sites are prepped in the same way. Everyone is as quiet as they can be. She will follow two other agents through the front door. Two more will enter through the back. Four agents are perched with tow ropes suspended from the roof at four different Windows to crash into the Windows. Two agents are on the roof. One monitors the rope. The other provides reconnoissance on the yard and perimeter setting. Three agents have set up an exterior perimeter and one agent is there with alternate communication systems to step in should Scully’s communication fails or if something happens to Scully. It seems like both a large and small team to Scully. Large for her to manage but small in terms of the magnitude of the task in which they are engaged. However the more personnel the more potential for mistakes and the number assigned has been carefully considered There will be no real countdown. There are too many players involved. Skinner will say one. She will say now. It will begin.

Skinner sits in a command station next to a CIA Assistant Director. Rows of monitors display the different sites. They both know the powers that are also connected into this command center, but it is Skinner and his partners responsibility to make the call. If there are orders from the White House situation room, then they have failed. In the White House situation room they are also monitoring military contingency forces in countries not usually considered friendly but cooperating in this effort.

Skinner checks his monitors: LA, NY, San Francisco, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Boston Philadelphia, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Billings, Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Chicago, DC. His teams are ready. There is more coordination and more monitors for his partner. His agents wait. This quiet time can actually be the most dangerous time. Waiting too long once agents are in place and prepped can increase the nervousness. Skinner’s partner takes his eyes off the monitors to look at Skinner and nods. In this room they will have a silent countdown to three. Skinner begins. His teams are ready. He holds up one finger. His partner checks the monitors again. Nods. Skinner holds up the second finger. They each check their monitors,nods to each other at the same time. Skinner holds up the third finger and they both yell in their microphones one.

‘Now” Scully orders her team and the absolute quiet becomes loud, chaotic but structured. Glass breaks, doors are broken and everyone yells FBI, get down, get down get down. Scully enters to see four men on the ground handcuffed with the agents who came in first and two from the Windows looking to her for instruction. No shots have been fired. She gestures with her head for two agents to begin the search in closets, with a finger points to the agent to stay in this room and points to the other agents to lead the way for her to go into the other rooms and check on her other team members. In one of the bedrooms there are children lined up against the wall. One agent has a gun on them and the other agent is stepping out of the closet. She tells the agent in a whisper. They need to be checked. The agents nod. They have done this actually more than she has. They have seen situations where children had guns or bombs. In the kitchen one agent has three men handcuffed with his gum aimed on them. He seems to be focused on one man who is still squirming. The other agent, a female, is holding a rag to her stomach. Scully goes to her. “I took a knife.” Scully wants to look but the agent stops her. ‘That’s not your role here.” Out of her peripheral vision, Scully sees the door to the pantry begin to move. As it opens she ducks. A barefoot man aims at the agent with the gun on the prisoner. The barefoot man and Scully fires at the same time. The barefoot man is dead. The agent is down. The man who was squirming rolls to get the agent’s gun and Scully fires again. The squirming man is dead . She quickly turns when she notices the door to the garage opening. She pulls up her gun. It is another agent. He had also had his gun drawn; aimed at her. “This room is cleared,but you are going to want to see it.” “Cover them.” She points to the two remaining prisoners. She walks into the garage . An agent remains in there. ‘Are you sure it's clear?” He nods. “There are agents injured who need first aide in the kitchen.” She takes a quick look around the room. Computers, printers. This is their hub. This is the room she will want to carefully supervise the collection of documents. First she has to check with the agent on the roof and on the perimeters before she could signal to Skinner they are cleared. Then trucks would role to collect the prisoners, to collect the documents. She knows there are medic vans waiting. She doesn’t know how the other sites are going. She is focused on her role.

As she moves back out to the kitchen a document catches her eye. She tries to focus on one thing at a times and clearing the site, but, dammit, it said Mulder’s name on it. She looks at the document. It is a hard copy transcription of Mulder’s statement. What the hell? As she picked it up she sees another document: blueprints for the machine Mulder had been in. These would be valuable, but how did they get them? She looks at them a little more closely. The machine was not intended to save Mulder. It was intended to freeze him. She looks at the documents. She knows what the protocol is, but she also has learned to trust her instincts. She wants to take these documents herself and not let them go through the typical collection procedure. She knows she is wearing a camera. She remembers a secret Mulder had taught her. She holsters her gun, reaches beneath her bullet proof vest, beneath her shirt. With one hand she rubs the sweat from her armpit onto her fingers and then rubs the sweat on the back of the camera. The camera will short out temporarily. It will look like a minor technical issue and then will reset. She quickly folds the documents and puts them in her bra. She then proceeds with her job to clear the site.

Chapter 13: On the Count of 2.5

As Skinner and his partner said “one”authorizing the actions 5 of the monitors on his partners’ side of the screen showed explosions. Three Middle East locations, Paris and Berlin. Damn. The explosions seemed time to a half count after the second count, but there was no way for anyone outside of Skinner, his partner and individuals in the White House situation room to know when the count of two occurred- was there? Coincidence? How the hell did they explode at the same time? Someone had to be orchestrating carefully. It was too late to stop the initiatives in the other cities. The White House didn’t quite know what to do…Paris? They weren’t quite prepare to send military counter insurgency forces into Paris. Skinner’s partner issued orders and monitored the other actions. The White House decided to delay military action. Skinner kept an eye on his screens. There were immediate issues in LA, shots fired and suspects running on foot. Meanwhile NY and Billings had cleared remarkably quick. Chicago had a suspect with a bomb. He is quickly shot in the head. That was the agreed upon action. Every one hold your breath. Decision had been made in advance. Better to blow a city block, if necessary than to deal with negotiations, etc with this many actions, but the man lands and the bomb does not explode. A bomb unit is in place to enter quickly. A similar thing occurred in two European Cities. News was coming in. In the first five cities with explosions, a suspect had been spotted in a bomb vest. The site leads had all given orders to shoot to kill. The simultaneous explosions were a coincidence after all. LA has cleared but with suspects who had escape. Seattle, NY, San Francisco. DC shots are fired and agents are down. Seems like it is under control. Skinner is distracted by Chicago. The bomb had been defused. More cities clearing. What the hell? DC ‘s camera is off, then quickly it is back on. What was that a count of two seconds down? Skinner wondered why Scully had sabotaged her camera.

Chapter 14: The Sign

It is 6 a.m. in Portland. Fox had been awake at 5. He has slept well. Felicity and him had fallen asleep around midnight. He has a habit of counting orgasms and he considers it a win if whatever woman he was with had more than he did. By his count Felicity had three and he had two. She had an orgasm early with oral stimulation and then after he entered her they both had a quick orgasm. His second orgasm had again been quick. She hadn’t had an orgasm that time so he had gently massaged her clit until she came. It wasn't the earth shattering screaming orgasm of her first one. She had squirmed and gasped and breathe deep as he stared at her face the entire time and then she had one quick deep breath and then smiled with her whole body relaxing. He loved that women had different types of orgasms. He had apologized for being so quick, but just the thought that he was actually with her had made him so excited . She had looked up at him in a way that he remembered from some of their more successful evenings of pleasure when they young; those nights of five to six hours at a time. He realized he had made her happy and he was happy and that, at his age, sex wasn’t an endurance contest. They had spooned while they fell asleep, but this morning he woke up in the position he had for an entire year every morning while they were married and living together: him on his back and her on his right side in his arms.

He raised himself a little so he could sit while he held her. He knew he wouldn’t wake her. He knew she would stretch briefly like a cat and then roll over onto him more and hug him tighter. He knew this because it had happened every morning in just that way for a year. In exactly one hour she will wake up, he thinks, and by then his brain would go through calisthenics. He would try to remember his dreams, he would remember strands of poetry, he would process some article he had recently read. All the while feeling her in his arms and breathing in her smell. That year he always felt real rested and mentally prepared for the day. That was before she left, he moved into apartment 42 and would sleep or rather not sleep on the couch. Often waking up in the middle of the night and turning on a movie and finally falling asleep and dragging himself to work groggy and tired and with no hour of mental calisthenics. How many things in his life had changed when she left him? This morning, though, is exactly like the happiest year of his life except as he looks down her hair is longer, stretched over his chest and down to his waist in all those splendid colors. It is a change he likes.

It is 6 a.m., an hour after Fox woke up, that Felicity wakes and looks at him. She smiles broadly. “It is exactly 26 years, 7 months and 13 days since I woke up with you in my arms.” Felicity is silent thinking of the magnitude of the years and the distance. She then tells him. “I remember every detail of that morning. What nightgown I was wearing, what book was on the nightstand, what poem you told me you were thinking of when I asked you. What I made you for breakfast, getting sick while I was cooking-as it turns out from morning sickness. I thought about it over and over so I could revisit it in my mind whenever I needed it. Of course I remember, as well, that we made love.”

‘I hated you for that. Fucking me in the morning and leaving me with that note in the afternoon. I couldn’t figure out if, even though you hated me, you still liked fucking me or if you had done it as a joke or to play with my mind. Fucking me so sweetly before you left.”

Felicity looks at him with sadness and despair. He hugs her tight. ‘I’ve been thinking of that morning and I have it back now as a sweet memory along with all the others. After you left I remembered things we had done and things we had said and thought is that when she started to hate me or oh I thought she was teasing me that time in the park about my shirt but maybe that's really was her telling me the truth. I doubted all the memories. I never went back to that cannoli place down the street or the park where we used to go for concerts. It's why I got out of that house so quickly, but now all those memories are back and sweet and ours and real.”

‘I so loved you and I was so happy. ‘

“I am a man who for a year of his life was happily married, buying his first home, planning children and even though it got taken away that year was real.”

“Yes,” Felicity hugs him as tightly as she can.

“As oppose to I am a man who deluded myself into thinking I was happy and in love when, in fact, the woman hated me because I really don’t deserve to be love.” Felicity looks up at him again.“I know it's 26 years ago and the facts of that year haven’t changed, but I woke up this morning a changed man because I have the memory of you and us and that marvelous happy year of our marriage back. It changes me, do you see, if I think of that year differently.”

Felicity is glad for him but saddened by his years of pain, self-doubt, loathing. She tells him her secret. “On the run, I never felt I had a home so I decided you were my home but I knew how much I had hurt you so I decided that if anybody mentioned home- you know, will you be going home for the holidays or where is your home, I would imagine my home was this one portion of your body.” Felicity gestures to the location she was laying on his body. ‘My home is this third of your right leg when my legs are one underneath and one above, the part of your hip bone that presses against my thigh, this tiny right side of your abdomen, but a large part of your chest, and then this half of your right clavicle where my head lays and all of your right arm because you always held me with it.” Felicity is crying openly now against his chest. ‘It’s a small home as far as homes goes, but one dear to me and probably more than I deserved considering how much I hurt you. The thought of home got me through a lot of nights on the run. I just carried an image of how it felt to be home in my brain.”

There is not much they can say to each other in this moment. They hold each other not thinking about how much was taken away but how much they had 26 years ago and the miracle of having it at least for a little bit now. Felicity notices that the blanket over Fox is tenting. She remembers that her and Fox had a sign in the morning. Fox always wanted sex when they were first married and it sometimes felt like he was always asking and she was always saying no although she said yes a lot. They decided in the mornings, since him wanting sex was a given, she would give him a sign. That way he didn’t ask. He knew the answer based on if she gave him the sign. She turns her lips now to that clavicle she had just described. She opens wide and places her teeth as if to bite, but instead her tongue pops out to lick. Mulder smiles broadly, joyfully. “I know that sign.” He sits up fully ,positions her so she is mostly underneath him and says “I love that sign”. Instead of kissing her though he begins to tickle her until she squeals with laughter and then he kisses her with quick kisses on her eyes, nose and checks before a full kiss on the mouth. They look in each other’s eyes and then he gently spreads her legs.

Chapter 15: Surveillance

6 am the morning after the raid Skinner knocks on Scully’s door. She is just out of the shower, in pajamas, cotton robe and slippers and her hair in a towel. It has been less than an hour since she has gotten home after clearing the site, monitoring the collection of evidence, writing a report and then stopping by the hospital to check on the two agents wounded under her command. Protocol states that after leading an action such as last night’s, she would have 24 hours before being back on duty, but she knows these are no ordinary times. Skinner hasn’t slept either and hasn’t had time for a shower. He will easily be at this for the next 10 hours. He has just left a meeting coordinating the interrogation of the suspects, the documenting and cataloging of documents, and how to distribute different levels of classified intelligence gathered to various agencies including NASA and the CDC. The terrorist group might have been taken down, as completely and swiftly as any terrorist group had ever been taken down, but the efforts to develop protections against a power grid/ memory loss attack is urgent. Copy cat groups might form with the huge solar flare expected in a few days.

Skinner had asked for the cataloging of physical hard copy documents from the DC site to be prioritize and he looked at the tape of the DC site. The documents Scully had been looking at before her camera lapse was partially visible. He knew one of the documents was the transcript of Mulder's account of the day everyone had lost their memories. He also knew that document was not in the catalogued documents collected from the site.

He hands Scully a coffee as he walks into her apartment. She walks to the refrigerator and pours almond milk into the coffee. Skinner looks exhausted and she knows his day is not over. She also has a suspicion of why he is here. She hands him an apple.

“Show me the documents you took Scully.” She thinks about pretending not to know what he is talking about, but can tell from his eyes he is not going to be dissuaded. She goes to her hall closet and opens a locked box, takes out the documents and hands them to Skinner. He looks at the document on top: the transcript from Mulder’s statement.

“I had to take these, sir. This means someone from the top levels of Homeland Security is involved with this terrorist group.” Skinner shakes his head. “Or someone tapped into the link as it was being transmitted.” “Is that possible given the level of encryption?” “Scully, this group apparently had the ability to hack into NASA computers and equipment monitoring solar flares as well as hack into the US entire power grid.”

Skinner is beginning to have the nagging thought that someone else was behind that attack after all. The preliminary interrogations and documents just didn’t seem like anyone from this group would have that level of sophistication. It wasn’t adding up. ‘You were right to keep it, though, just in case someone from the government is involved.”

Scully is relieved. At least Skinner isn’t going to fire her or take other action. “I don’t understand this one. This group was involved in saving Mulder?” Scully shakes her head. She lays the document on the table and explains the science to Skinner ending with, “there is no way this could have protected him from the memory loss. It should have killed him from being frozen.”

‘Yet he does have memories and he did survive.” Skinner tries to understand the science. “The instructions you gave for the treatment of Mulder’s stem cell treatment.” Scully assures him that she has double checked that science. It does work. ‘’Mulder’s medical records. He not going to mutate or anything?” Scully remembers the super soldier phenomena. “I will go over his records again today.”

Skinner looks at his watch. He has so much still to do today. “Someone was looking out for Mulder. Someone told his wife where to find him and had the instructions for the stem cell treatment. Of course, that someone also knew that Mulder had been married and had a son and where to find them.”

Scully hadn’t even thought about that. Who knew Mulder had a son? She didn’t and neither did Mulder. The cigarette smoking bastard did. “I will review his son’s medical records as well and order more genetic testing on his son’s DNA.”

Skinner wonders how much he should tell Scully about the investigation of his own he has initiated. The replacement cell phone he had delivered to Mulder’s hospital room had hidden GPS that could not be turned off. At least he knew where Mulder’s cell phone was, if not Mulder. He had placed both MoonDance and William Fox under surveillance and so he knew exactly where Mulder was right now. Also, the Portland field office had started investigating their backgrounds: working backwards from their current location and identities. Certainly he believed Moondance was Felicity Mulder, but what exactly had she been involved in during the last 26 years? “I wouldn’t share too much of this with Mulder at this time.”

Scully was not accustomed to keeping secrets from Mulder. Skinner sees her hesitance. “I’ve already texted Mulder telling him I wanted him to fly back here today on a military cargo plane for his own protection. He should be leaving Portland about 10:30 their time or 1: 30 ours. If I were you I would encourage him to stick to those arrangements and to get back here. Let's plan on meeting up at Mulder’s at 6 p.m.” He starts to leave.

Scully stops him. “Sir, do you think Mulder is in danger now?” Skinner thinks about the latest surveillance pictures he had been sent shot of Mulder and Felicity in her bedroom. If that was danger, then bring it on. “I’m just taking precautions with having him come home on military plane craft. I think he will be fine for now.”

Chapter 16: Offers on the Table

9 am Portland. Mulder is standing in Moondance’s dining room staring out the windows at her porch, her front yard, and the basketball hoop. He is dressed in the suit Scully bought him. The tie is hanging untied around his neck. His cell phone is against his ear. His tone is both exasperated and affectionate, but more exasperated as the conversation continues.

“Scully, I told you I am coming home today, but I am not going on any damn military cargo plane. Don’t you remember my time in a military prison? Why should I trust the military?”

Scully had given him a brief description of her assignment yesterday which began this exasperation in their conversation. Did she think about calling him to tell him she was doing something that dangerous? Didn’t he have the right to know if she was risking her life that way? Scully had given him an earful about the numerous times he had accepted dangerous assignments or just taken off on his own without explanation. He started to say that all those examples were before they were…Then he realizes that now is after they have been… What are the rules when you are partners with someone you had once lived with and had a son with, but with whom you were no longer romantically involved? What were they to each other now? FBI partners, friends, family?

“You can’t tell me why Skinner wants to meet at the house instead of the office?” Mulder has never been able to refer to the house where he now lives, but once had lived with Scully, as anything but the house since she left. In his mind the house was theirs and if she wasn’t there that didn’t make it any more his and so he always called it the house. Scully told him she didn’t know. She has hired cleaning people to go restore it to some order for him. “Tell Skinner I will be there, but I can find my own way home.” Mulder has actually contracted a plane to take him home. He will be traveling with a solar expert who he has asked to help him understand the sun’s magnetic field, the north and south polarities and how solar flares occur. He wants to understand how the attack happened and why his memories were protected.

Off the phone with Scully, he is trying to tie his tie, but he has never been especially good at this and he is frustrated with his conversation with Scully. There is something she isn’t telling him. Moondance has been to the door of the dining room many times with coffee and has turned around without delivering it. She is trying not to hear the conversation, but it is clear Fox is talking to Agent Scully. There is a tone in his voice she recognizes from when he used to be frustrated with her on occasion.

Moondance walks in now and asks Fox if she can help with his tie. First he sips deeply from the coffee she hands him and then he puts it on the table. He lifts his head up and opens his arms resigned to his incompetence at ties. She starts to make the loops. She asks him if he remembers their morning routine and his eyebrows rises. “The one from earlier…” She laughs. “No, our other routine.”

She reminds him every morning for the year they lived together before he left for work she would tie his tie and say to him, she says it now as she tightens his tie, “Are you sure you have to go, G-Man?”

Mulder remembers and says his part of the routine. “The world is dangerous and it's my job to make it safe.”

Moondance opens her eyes wide and says in a coquettish voice “and are you the only man who can make it safe?”

Fox smiles. “Do you remember when I said ‘ hell no’, called in sick and we spent the day in bed?”

“I’m pretty sure that was the day William was conceived.” Fox seems to like that thought. He kisses her lightly on the mouth, a husbandly morning kiss from a 1950s sitcom. “Are you the only man who can make the world safe?” Her voice is not flirtatious. It is sad. “Today, I may be. I have to go.” He pulls her to him for a hug. They hug tight, but not passionately.

She moves away from him, goes to a little desk, opens a drawer and brings out a plain folder and a pen. “Before you go, I drew up divorce papers.” He looks at her quizzically. “I do have a legal background, remember, and this is straight forward. I abandoned you. There’s no property division or custody issues.”

“Is this a performance issue because I can improve with practice…”

“I obviously drew these up before last night.” She puts the folder and the pen by his coffee cup on the dining room table. He nods somewhat curtly. “I’m not signing. I don’t want a divorce.”
They stand quietly for a few minutes. He says softly, “You want to divorce me, Felicity? If you tell me you don’t love me or you don’t want us to try to…I’ll sign.”

Felicity touches his right clavicle and he pulls her close with his right arm. “You will love me forever, but you are also in love with another woman.” “Scully and I are not together like that anymore.” Felicity looks at him straight in his eyes. “It's complicated.”

“She is the mother of your other son, the one who was given up for adoption?” He nods. She continues to look at him. “My sons have two wonderful mothers and because of me they had to make decisions which were hard.” “Those decisions were hard on you as well.” He nods. “Scully thought there was too much darkness within me. She couldn’t take it.” “This morning you said you were a changed man.” “I’ll always be dark, Moondance, I just have a few more places where light can get through today.” Fox and Felicity bring their heads together and he kisses her lips a little more passionately now. Felicity moves her face away but remains in his arms. “Scully isn’t even attracted to me in that way now.” Felicity laughs. “Are you serious?” He looks at her. “Of course she is. Do you still not know the effect you have on women?” He doesn’t know what to say. “It sounds like you are trying to convince me to do something different when all I want to do is celebrate having you back in my arms. If you want a divorce, tell me.”

“All I want to do is get down on my knees and beg you to love me and not her. I,” Felicity voice breaks, “have never loved anyone but you.” Felicity thinks of what Fox had said to her when she left her fiancée at the alter. Maybe she had a better offer on the table. She thinks of his explanation of why he had broken up with Diana to marry her. He had a better offer on the table. “I want you to consider all the offers on your table now because if you commit to me nothing will ever separate us again.” He thinks of how much pride she has. She doesn’t want to be a consolation prize. She begins to move away from him, but then quickly comes back and his arms go back around her. “There is one thing you have to promise me no matter what your choice is about divorce. Even if you go back to live with Agent Scully.” There is an urgency in her voice and he nods and holds her. Whatever she wants. “Promise me we will be friends forever, swear it! Swear it!” He hugs her as tight to him as he can with his eyes closed. Then he cups her face with his hands and stares into her eyes. “Friends forever, I swear.” He kisses her as if she might be the last woman he will ever kiss.

She leaves and he sits at the dining room table. The folder is beside him. He thinks of Scully. He thinks of Felicity. Images and memories of each alternately runs through his mind. By the time his son drives into the drive way to pick him up and take him to the airport, he has made up his mind.

Chapter 17: Relatives of the merchandise.

Mulder gets into the vehicle beside his son. He startles and reaches for his gun when he realizes a man, his son’s age, is crouched in the back. William motions him to stop. ‘It’s ok. We went to high school together.”

The man introduced himself. ‘My name is Adaham, but most people call me Adam. I escaped from the raid on a LA terrorist cell last night. I assume you know all about the raids.”

“You’re an Islamic terrorist?”

“No, I’m part of a small scientific group fighting the efforts of your father.”

“My father’s dead.”

“The man you call the cigarette smoking man, then.”

“You belong to the group I met on the space ship.”

The man smiled. “The space ship and most of the people on the spaceship work for your fa…, the cigarette smoking man, but there were some of us on the ship. Some of us are counter insurgency in terrorists cells, some of us work for Homeland Security. I need for you to get something to your partner.” He hands Mulder a set of plans. “These are the actual plans for the box you were in. Your partner has found plans for a box that is similar, but not the box you were in.”

“What the hell is going on?”

“The entire box thing is a set up. The terrorist group doesn’t have the knowledge or infrastructure to hack the US power grid and NASA computers. That was done by the men who work for the cigarette smoking man.” Mulder had already figured that out.

“As a cover up for the attack through the vaccinations?”

“No, that was just supposed to weaken and scare the U.S. There is a bigger plan at work. The US and other countries will think they can’t prepare for the attack with the next power grid attack and solar flare. They will decide to build boxes like the one you were in to protect some select leaders…that was the point of why the CSM saved you. All the world’s leaders will be in theses boxes the world will prioritize building but with minor variations on the design they will die. Mass assassinations of all the world’s leaders. Creating a vacuum of power in the midst of terror so he can put in his own men.”

“Are you saying we shouldn’t build the boxes? We know they work?”

“Now you know that they can be quickly be modified to kill. Can you trust the people building them?”

“So what can we do?”

“Look at the science. Pay attention to the solar flare and the power grid. Find a solution there.”

“How the Hell do I know that I can trust you and this science coalition. Who the Hell are you?”

“We are relatives of the merchandise.”

They are at the airport and the car is stopped. No one is talking. The three men are barely breathing. The merchandise was what the men in charge of the syndicate called the humans who were”given” to aliens for experiments and to begin colonization. Mulder is exchanging glances with his son. “If you are relatives of the merchandise than you are also relatives of the men responsible.”

Adam nods, “but there is only one original member of the syndicate alive. We are trying to stop him to honor the merchandise and to undo the work that our relatives like the man you call your father, Bill Mulder, did. We have to stop this son of a bitch, Spender.”

William has said very little but it is time, before his father leaves, to tell him the truth. “I told you I had joined an UFO group and it wasn’t for me, but the truth is I have been researching and studying you for a few years. I wanted to know what my father had been up to recently- not just from decades old stories from my mother. That’s when I learned about my Aunt Samantha.”

“Son, this is dangerous.”

“My mom wanted me to grow up to be like you.”

“Does she know about all this?”

“No, I was the one that sent the man to her to tell you where to find you after the box. I was the one that had the instructions and the journal so I would remember.”

“Why involve your mother?”

“I thought it was the time the two of you got reacquainted. She needs to either reunite with you or you need to let her know she can move on.”

Chapter 18: We don’t know what we don’t know.

Skinner calls Scully. It is mid-afternoon. They will meet in a few hours at Mulder's, but he is afraid she will hear the news before then. He doesn’t want her to worry. On the other hand he needs to tell her the whole truth and maybe that will make her worry more.

Scully has spent the morning looking at the science and asking the hospital in Seattle to prioritize lab results. At least her new found notoriety means she can get just about anything done at any medical facility she wants. Mulder is fine based on everything she can determine. He is not going to mutate, turn into a super soldier, or some other hideous creature. The science on the stem cell mutation, which Mulder told her she helped on, seems to be fine. His son is in fact his son and he does not have alien DNA. She has also managed to get the medical records from a hospital in San Diego where Moondance Fox gave birth to a William Fox, father unknown. She has read the emt’s and the FBI’s reports on how Mulder was found and his condition. She does not know how but the box he was in had saved him. So far all she has done is reassured herself, but found no answers as to how the box saved him based on the plans she has found, who told Moondance about Mulder’s locations, or what the connections are between the scientists who made the box, the terrorist cell or how the terrorist cell ended up with the transcript of Mulder’s statement.

Skinner meantime is convinced that this terrorist group is not sophisticated enough to have orchestrated the hack into NASA’s solar monitors or the power grid. They have taken responsibility for something they didn’t do, although they know enough to have sent all the agencies down several rabbit holes today. Skinner had interviewed the surviving terrorists from DC himself, in a far more physical manner than he wished he had to. This was the only site where any scientific evidence was recovered. One of the men had told they were visited from someone early the previous day from the LA group. He had left the scientific boxes of information. Skinner showed him the pictures of the men they had captured in the raid. It was none of them. He showed him the picture of the men who escaped the raid in LA. It was him. Skinner knew just where to find him, too, but for now was keeping that information out of his official reports.

Scully can tell by Skinner’s voice just how tired he is and, also,that he has bad news. “Scully, Mulder wasn’t on the plane- the cargo plane- he didn’t get on it.” “No, sir, he didn’t trust it, but he said he would find his own way home. He will meet us.” “Scully, the military plane crashed about an hour ago. Engine trouble.” Scully is silent. Mulder was supposed to be on that plane. Someone does want him dead. She gives Skinner the results of her investigation that morning. Skinner tells her about the progress of the investigation and of the man who had escaped from the raid in LA. “Sir, we need to find him. Any leads?” Skinner explains to Scully about the surveillance on Mulder’s wife and son as well as the background investigation he has been conducting on them. “Everything seems to be as Moondance claims until a couple of years ago when William started to go to a UFO group.” “He is his father’s son.” “Yes, but he disassociated with that group, but his emails and phone records over the last few months indicate considerable contacts with various scientists- the type of people who would have the knowledge to accomplish these hacks and build the box-one belongs to this terrorist cell in LA, the one who escaped, that’s the only connection between scientists and the terrorist group. He was spotted this morning with Mulder and his son.” “Sir, you don’t think Mulder was involved?” “In a conspiracy to wipe out everyone’s memory, in a branched DNA attack –of course, not, but somehow this new family is involved and Mulder might just be the target.” “Do you know where this terrorist is now?” “Soon as they dropped Mulder off at the airport, they headed to Moondance’s house. The three of them have been at her house since.”

Scully asked why he didn’t just go in and arrest the three of them. They had the cause. “Dana, you want me to arrest Mulder’s wife and son? I had to convince the FBI to let him come back to reopen the X files. This would ruin any chances of continuing. I have them all under surveillance and we will talk to Mulder tonight.”

Scully hopes Mulder gets to the house earlier than Skinner. She prepares to go to the house now. It is best if he hears about his “family” from her.

Chapter 19: Sunny

Mulder gets out of the car at the airport as does his son. They stand there, these men both strangers and family to each other. It was William who had told his father he knew a local expert in solar flares who was traveling to DC today and would love to share the cost of a chartered plane to DC and meet with him. William had only referred to this scientist as “Sonny”. Mulder now asks if this scientist was connected to the underground. William admits to it. This scientist is not a relative of the merchandise, but there were other victims of conspiracies and this scientist is related to another victim. William seems almost apologetic. He tells his father that when he meets Sonny he will understand and he hopes he won’t be mad. Mulder sees that his son so wants him to be proud of him. Mulder grabs him by the neck and impulsively kisses his son on the cheek. He then asks him to do him a favor. “You have to tell your mother about this group you’re in and what you’re doing right away. I can’t have secrets about you from her. She sacrificed everything and raised you herself, you understand? I’m proud of you, but you have to tell her.” William agrees to go immediately to his mother and tell her. Then Mulder turned and walked away from his son without looking back, but knowing his son would keep looking until he couldn’t see him any longer.

At the small airport for contract planes, he goes through the light prerequisite safety checks including surrendering his gun. He meets the pilot and is told the other passenger is waiting for him. Across the waiting room he sees a woman who appears to be in her thirties. She is about 5 ft 5 inches and easily weighs 200 lbs. Her hair is salt and pepper, short and she wears square black glasses. She is dressed as if no one ever told her the grunge period was over. Mulder approaches her and introduces himself. “Sonny?” “Sunny with an u. It's my nickname because I study the sun. My real name is Mary…Mary Frohike.” Frohike? Could Melvin have had a daughter? “Half-sister. Our father met a much younger woman. You know, the story old as they come, but since there were such an age difference between my brother and I we were never close. I’m not surprised he never mentioned me.”

Chapter 20: Getting the facts straight

Mulder is surprised but happy to see Scully’s car when the uber driver pulls up to his door. The flight back was enlightening for several reasons but, most significantly, because Sunny provided Mulder with information in all the details she knows about the underground science coalition developed to fight the CSM and his own scientific forces. They are involved in counter insurgency as the best way to get information about what is going on, but the CSM is powerful. In many cases there have been splits within family as there is also a second generation assisting the CSM. It has made it difficult to know who to trust. Sunny is on her way to DC to meet with two other operatives to try and find their own plans to counter the CSM’s plans for the next solar flare. The alliance with Mulder’s son had been coincidental, but as they became aware of the CSM plan to save Mulder utilizing the box, they decided to use William to connect with Mulder himself. Sunny says that Mulder, of course, is somewhat of a legend among the group, but they understood had laid low for several years. At his age, it might be time to let the younger folks take over, but mostly the group were scientists –with the exception of William and a handful of others- they really were not the brawn type the way Mulder was.

It was hard for Mulder not to laugh. Only a bunch of science geeks would ever think of him as the brawn type. Within the FBI he was known as a brilliant and eccentric agent who often got his ass kicked and wasn’t as good of a shot as his female partner. He also didn’t like being referred to as old or as if he was obsolete, but he had laid low in the last few years. Initially he was in hiding and then he didn’t want to lose Scully, but had lost her anyway. It was a sign of how out of touch he had become that he didn’t know about this underground science coalition. He was back, though now with the X files and was not going to sit back and let the younger kids take over. He was still relevant.

The science was largely unintelligible to him. Sunny lacked her brother’s ability to explain in simple terms. He knew though the box worked but could be easily sabotaged and he knew the science to the solar flares had something to do with a flaw in the way the power grids were connected.

In DC he had left Sunny to rent a car, stop by the NASA office where, thanks to contract work, she had security clearance, and meet him at the house.

He walked in now and saw Scully from behind, in the kitchen, making sandwiches. The last time he had been in the house there had been a struggle, but there was no signs of struggle now. Scully had even bought fresh flowers and arranged them in a vase on the counter. He wondered when the genius doctor had found time to do that. Seeing Scully, domestic and creating a home atmosphere in their home, stirred up emotions buried deep within him, but he reminded himself that the more time she spent taking care of him, the less time she had to serve mankind and her own interests.

Scully turned now and looked at him. “I hope you don’t mind. I knew both you and Skinner would be hungry.” “Scully, anytime you want to cook for me, feel free.” “It's tuna salad, Mulder, not really cooking.” Mulder picked up a sandwich and bit into it. Scully’s tuna recipe. He ate it greedily.

“Mulder, I wanted to talk to you before Skinner came. I wanted to be the one to tell you that Felicity and William are not what they seem.”Mulder shook his head. Of course, Scully would have a hard time. He should have taken more time with her at the hospital to explain. He begins to explain now and she interrupts him. “Mulder, they are part of a conspiracy to kill you. They are working with Spender.”“Scully, let me tell you what I know.”

“No, Mulder, you need to listen. You didn’t listen with Diana and you almost died.” “Scully, Felicity is not Diana. Not all the women I have been involved with are out to hurt me.”“Mulder, you haven’t seen her in decades. You have no ideal what she has been up to. Trust me, Mulder. I’m the one who has never tried to hurt you.”

“Well, there was that time you shot me.”Scully has not heard that sardonic, bitter note in Mulder’s voice aimed at her since the first year they knew each other. “Mulder, listen to me. I know you want to believe in her, but she left you.” “To protect our son…”

“You don’t know Mulder.”“I actually may know more than you about some things. Have you ever thought of that?” “You always lead with your heart. I’m the cold analytical one.” Scully thinks how much more convincing that statement would be if she wasn't on the verge of screaming it. “Scully, don’t pretend. You may have been right about Diana, but your suspicions were based on jealousy. You are jealous in this case, but in this case you are wrong.”
“Mulder, Felicity and William are part of a terrorist group which is behind this. They are working with Spender against you.” “Scully,” Mulder’s eyes are cold as he looks at her. “Don’t ever say anything negative about my son or his mother again.”

“So what do you want me to do, let you be harmed or put myself in risk to save you?” Mulder is familiar with this argument. They have had it numerous times. It is why he laid low after he was no longer in hiding. There has to be an end at some point to this particular argument.
“Scully! I know how hard it is for you when I’m in danger and I know you went through that again two days ago. I also know how many times you have saved me and I appreciate it always. Only you can decide when enough is enough and when you’re done saving me or when you’re done caring what happened to me. I tried it your way, staying safe, and you left me because you didn't respect me anymore. There was a time when my thirst for the truth, my passion, my fearlessness inspired you. I don’t know when that changed – when you found me dead, when you gave up William, when we had to go on the run..and I get it, I don’t blame you. But I need to be me. I need to fight the fight and if I should die, then, tell my sons they can be proud of how I lived and died.”

Scully knew leaving Mulder hadn’t stopped her from worrying about him. She had already told herself if she ever have the chance to commit fully again, but Mulder wasn’t telling her he needed her, asking her to stay as he had done before. He was actually giving her permission to walk away. “Mulder, I’m your touchstone. The one person who can tell you the truth no matter what. You need to trust me to tell you the truth.”

“I trust you to tell me the truth as far as you know it, but Scully you do not know what is true between Felicity or me. You can be so close to a human being that the relationship becomes bigger than either one of you. I know you’ve experienced that…” He stops and looks at Scully. He touches her hair. “Despite Phoebe and Diana, I am capable of knowing when a woman is someone who truly loves me. Can you trust me enough to believe in my judgement on this?”

She starts to tell Mulder again what she thinks she knows and Mulder interrupts again; once more coldly. “So don’t trust my judgement, but trust this that I will not tolerate you speaking ill of my son or his mother. Trust that I mean it when I say it.”

A knock on the door ends the conversation. Skinner can feel the tension in the air. He apologizes for interrupting and for being late. He was detained because they had picked up the terrorist who had escaped from LA during the raid. They picked him up in Portland. “We waited until he left your wife’s home. Your son dropped him off at the Greyhound bus station. We waited until after your son left before we closed in.” Mulder is giving Skinner no passes because of not involving his family once he quickly realizes the level of surveillance his family has been under. “Were there cameras focused inside the house last night and this morning?” Skinner nods. “And you’ve seen the pictures.” Skinner nods again. “Well, I hope you didn’t see anything to make you doubt your manhood.”

Scully interrupts now. “Mulder, this is what I was trying to tell you.” Mulder ignores her and focuses on Skinner. “You’ve conducted an investigation of their activities for the last two and a half decades.” Skinner nods. “What did you find?” “Since Diana saw Felicity when William was born in San Diego, there are no records of involvement with the cancer man. He might have kept track of them, but they moved around every three months the first five years –sometimes more often. There is no evidence that Felicity has been involved in anything except protecting her son. According to what the agents heard today at the house, today was the first time she had known anything about William’s activities.” Mulder looks at Scully and then back at Skinner. “What information have you received from the man you picked up?” “He’s been fully cooperative in sharing details about the terrorist group, he claims to be some sort of counter intelligence but without any official affiliation.

Mulder then tells then everything about the scientist underground, the relatives of the merchandise, Frohike’s sister, the CSM plan to use Mulder safe use of the box to assure boxes were built for world leaders which would be sabotaged so all the leaders would die on the same day. In the chaos, CSM would insert his own men. He would indeed rule the world. Skinner thinks to himself how frustrating it is that Scully and him have spent all this time investigating while Mulder was, well, Mulder had the more enjoyable day yesterday and yet, Mulder, seems to be the person with all the facts. And he was smug and intolerable about it all too. So damn frustrating, but wasn’t it lucky, Mulder worked for him.

Chapter 21: A Pleasant Interlude

The plan, such as it is, is that Skinner will find some way to add the documents Scully had taken onto the evidence manifest. Mulder and Scully will meet with NASA and homeland security scientists and give them the schematics for the box that will kill instead of save. If the scientists bring the issue to their attention, they know they can be trusted. Skinner will interview the man apprehended in Portland to confirm and verify the information that Mulder has provided. Meanwhile the real work would be completed at Mulder’s house by Frohike and her two colleagues; an expert in hacking and surveillance and a mathematician with an interest in engineering. They would meet back at the house shortly after noon. Skinner leaves after eating a sandwich. Frohike is sleeping on Mulder’s sofa and, after Mulder found her bedding and a pillow, he walks Scully out to her car.

“Mulder, are you sure you want Sunny to stay here? She could stay with me. It's just -a young woman alone with a man. She might not be comfortable.” “It's nice to know you still care, Scully.” Scully looked at Mulder in confusion. “You have been jealous of every woman scientist that I have ever collaborated with.” “Mulder that’s not true.” Remember, Bambi, the entomologist?” “But you were really interested in her.” “Remember Karin Berquist, the canine expert?” “But she was really interested in you.” “Now you’re jealous of Sunny Frohike?” “Of course I’m not jealous.” Scully stops when she realizes that Mulder is laughing at her. It is his way of apologizing without apologizing for the tension earlier. “Don’t you know you are my favorite female scientist to collaborate with?” Scully blushes realizing how many times she had been jealous, but Mulder never seemed to understand his affect on women. “I’ve been jealous of those women because they're your type.” Mulder thinks about how different all the women he mentioned were.“What’s my type, Scully?” “Intelligent.”

Mulder ponders that for a while. Phoebe, Diana, Felicity and Scully. He should probably blame Felicity. Having been in love the first time with a woman with a genius IQ, he could never imagine being with someone who didn’t mentally stimulate him. He had never worked with Felicity, though, and out of the women he had ever been involved with there was no one like Scully for problem solving, analysis, and scientific understanding. “That explains it.” “What?” “My attraction to you.”

He hadn’t expected for Scully to suddenly be crying. “Mulder, do you think I’m pretty?” She hates herself for caring. “What?” “In all the years we’ve known each other you have complimented my intelligence, my honesty, my strength, my marksmanship, my cooking. You have even told me you loved me. But even when we were lovers you never once said that I was pretty or sexy or beautiful or even looked nice.” “That cannot be true and beside I showed you in other ways I’m sure.” “It's ok if you don’t think I’m pretty because I’m intelligent and, you’re right, that's why you were attracted to me. “ “Scully, it may be shallow of me, but I do care about physical attraction if I am having sex with a woman. Of course, I think you’re pretty.” “Then why didn’t you ever tell me?” “I always thought it was just a given. That you would know how beautiful you are.” “Mulder, for a smart man, you are pretty dumb.”

Mulder found himself laughing and, then Scully started to laugh as well. They blamed it on fatigued and being punchy with how tired they both were, but truly it was just so nice to be with each other, outside on a beautiful night, not dead, not angry with each other, and just share a quick laugh before Scully gets in her car and drives away from the house.

Chapter 22: Skinner

Skinner has reflected several times this morning about how different his job is when the X files are open than when they are closed. This morning he has altered the evidence manifesto on the DC raid to add the pieces of evidence Scully took and put those pieces of evidence into the boxes. He has interviewed Adaham. Mulder was with him to assure Adaham that he could be trusted. On paper Skinner was interviewing him about the terrorist activity. In fact, the scientist underground, these relatives of the merchandise, knew more about the CSM operations than he did and the link between the CSM and the terrorist group. They started with discussing the ship that had pulled Scully and Mulder off the bridge. Alien technology. CSM had four of them. They has once actively been part of a misinformation campaign to convince people they had been abducted by aliens and to scare the population with UFO sitings. Today they were seldom used but constantly maintained. Skinner questioned locations and crew configurations. Mulder stopped him. The FBI alone couldn’t bring down the CSM. Too many government officials worked for him. He would be alerted and the FBI would be empty handed, plus it would expose the underground scientists.
Skinner then said ‘ok, from the beginning. Help me understand what the CSM plan was starting with taking Mulder and Scully off the bridge.” The scenario then unfolded. CSM wanted Mulder alive and his memories intact. Mulder was to be the catalyst for building of the boxes for the assassinations of the world leaders. Once the world woke up and realized what happened, Mulder would be implicated in the plan. The CSM didn’t want Mulder dead. He never had. He wanted them to work together- father and son. Or he wanted Mulder destroyed, but not dead. For the plan to work they needed for Scully to help with the stem cell modification since Mulder needed stem cell replacement with the branch DNA and William is Mulder’s only living relative outside of the CSM.

Mulder realized a part of him had been holding his breath this whole time. The scientists didn’t know about his other son and CSM wouldn’t have had to modify stem cell if he had used Scully’s son for the stem cell replacement. The CSM didn’t know where his other son was. The adoption had kept him safe. As Skinner continued to interrogate Adaham, though, Mulder’s fears increased for his older son and Moondance.

When Mulder and Scully were picked up they had been told the scientists on the plane were a group of scientists working against the CSM. Adaham said that was to gain Mulder’s trust. It was a ruse CSM made up. The irony, of course, was. that there were counter insurgents from the actual scientist group which they think the CSM did not know about on board. But then, CSM knew where William, the elder son was. It was CSM’s plan to have William stem cells save his life. Mulder would be put in a box but someone would have the information about where he was and the stem cell replacement orders would need to be given to someone who would know where to find William. Adaham concurred. No matter how Moondance had tried to hide, the CSM always knew where her and William was. “He is, after all, his grandson.”

The plan, from the CSM, viewpoint has gone completely according to plan so far. The only difference is that the scientist who had the plans and the information about where Mulder was happened to have been a relative of the merchandise working with the underground insurgency. He had taken the information directly to William and William had asked him to include his mother.

Skinner asked then about Adaham bringing the box of scientific information to DC. That was not part of the CSM plan. William had overheard the discussion between Skinner and Scully and knew Scully would be leading the raid in DC. They wanted her to find the plans for the boxes that would kill. The transcript of Mulder’s statement? A woman name Longly is part of the underground. She had sat outside in the hallway of Mulder’s room with a high tech listening device in her pocket and had simply typed it out on her laptop. Her typing speed at 200 words per minute, plus her knowledge of listening and surveillance technology, made her the perfect person for the job. The reason for the transcription at first was just for the scientist underground for information on Mulder’s experience in the box. They decided to add a copy to the scientific box being taken to the terrorist group in DC because the profile on Agent Scully is that her desire to protect Mulder overrides any other concerns. The underground assumed that the best way to make Scully really look at the schematic on the box that killed was to first have her see a document with information on Mulder that would make her believe he was in danger.
Interrogation over, Skinner had to talk fast to justify Adaham’s release from custody. Mistaken identity, Skinner said. He wasn’t the man who escaped the raid in LA.

Next order of business was calming down his star agent who was determined to fly back to Portland to protect his son and wife from the CSM. How had Mulder not realized the CSM would have had to know William and Moondance whereabouts? He calmed him down, called the FBI office in Portland in front of Mulder. The surveillance on Moondance and William Fox was no longer to obtained information. No further picture or listening devices were to be used. The agents needed to continue monitoring them with the intention of protection. Mulder called Moondance to alert her that despite all her efforts her and William were still in danger. Please allow the FBI to provide protection.

Now he was contemplating the coordination committee he was to go into-led by none other than the vice-president of the United States and with all the directors of NASA, FEMA, CIA, CDC and add a bunch of other letters in there. He was going to recommend that the focus be on getting these boxes ready. Only way not to alert CSM that they had learned of the assassination plans. Then he would hope the unofficial scientific underground would come up with a better scientific plan to prevent world wide loss of memory in a couple of days when the solar flare occur. Then he would have to come back to these same Directors and government leaders and tell them he was wrong about the boxes and now to try a different plan-all without exposing any of the scientists involved in the underground.

Yep, he thought, just another day as a mid level government official.

Chapter 23: The Future is Female

While Mulder and Skinner were interrogating Adaham, Scully was again meeting with the head of CDC. There are some concerns about the nature of the biological, disease attack coming from vaccinations. Scully shares that for multiple years she and her partner were aware of people being tracked through their small pox vaccination, but, yes, this attack which was multifaceted in terms of diseases was possible only because of the vaccinations people received. The CDC is concerned about a backlash effect which could cause individuals to not become vaccinated or vaccinate their kids. The implications from a health care policy perspective are staggering. Scully agrees an anti-vaccination movement would be short-sighted. The statistics on disease prevention due to vaccinations is staggering.

The CDC Director says they will be launching an aggressive public relations campaign to encourage routine vaccinations, of course researching ways to assure that those vaccinations cannot be used for this type of purpose again, and then seeing what additional vaccinations might be possible through the ability to alter stem cells to include the anomaly in the branch DNA. The CDC will be creating a position to oversee these activities directly. It will be an appointed temporary position until the appropriations committee can meet to discuss additional funding, but given the death tolls now over 1 million just from the disease attack itself the appropriation for the position, research money etc should be forthcoming quickly.
It takes Scully a minute to realize she is being offered this position.

Late morning Scully and Mulder meet with the scientists from NASA. They provide the blueprints for the box which Scully found in the DC terrorist raid. The scientists ponder it carefully. The first thing is they are still unsure exactly how the science works that caused the widespread memory loss. They are getting closer. Mulder thinks from the conversation they are not as close as Sunny Frohike to figuring it out. If they knew how the memory loss occurred,it would be easier to come up with a way to prevent it. So there is no way really then to know why the box in its configuration would prevent the memory loss, but the bigger issue is anybody inside a box using these configurations would surely die from being frozen.

Scully and Mulder are relieved to know that at least these scientists are not working for the CSM. Mulder provides them the different schematic for the box he was actually in. The scientists agree, this combination of chemicals would put out the fire before it burned the human inside and not kill the person inside the box. The variation of adding 1 mg hydrogen instead of 1 milligram helium really is the difference. Not much room for human error, the scientists say, but the risk might be worth it if they can figure out why the box prevents memory loss.

Scully drives as they return to the house to see the progress Frohike and her colleagues are making on finding an alternative solution to the box. Mulder left this morning before the other two had arrived. The only additional information Mulder had gotten from Frohike is that both specialists had grandmothers who were merchandise; continuously abducted and experimented on and then ridiculed when they tried to tell people about it. Scully nods distractedly and concentrates on her driving. She has told the CDC she needs time to think about the offer.

They entered the house to see the living room has been transformed into a work space. The dining room table has been pulled into the living room and three laptops are it along with pads and calculators. Solar flare charts are posted on the wall and several white boards are perched on the couch with mathematical equations and scribblings. Scully thinks both of Frohike’s colleagues looked familiar somehow. They are both women in their middle twenties. The one who introduces herself as Myers is very tall, brunette, dressed in an Armani women’s suit. Scully notices a handbag by her which she is sure cost at least a thousand bucks. The other woman introduced herself as Longly. She is Mulder’s height in her three inch heals, hair a clearly dyed Marilyn Monroe blonde, and her double D breasts are barely contained in a tight, low cut blouse. Scully is sure she had seen her at the hospital in Seattle. Longly is fully focused on Mulder.

Mulder told Scully about Longly using high tech equipment to eavesdrop and transcribe his statement at the hospital . “I am the computer programming, hacking and surveillance expert of the group.” She is staring at Mulder. “You have some terrific biceps for a man your age.” Mulder takes a step back from her. “How exactly does a young woman your age become an expert in those areas.” He remembers Langley and the gaming community hacking geeks he used to hang out with. This young woman didn't seem the dungeon and dragons type. “You would be surprise what skills a young woman like myself has developed.” She says suggestively.

“Dial it down, sister.” Frohike demanded. “Longly developed her skills through an obsession with celebrity. She is what you call a fan girl.” “I have no concept what that means,” Mulder feels foolish admitting it. Longly is eager to show her skills. “I bet you’re a Jennifer Lopez fan. Give me thirty minutes and I could tell you what her calendar is for the day, hack into her email, see what pictures she has recently text. I could sit across a crowded restaurant, hear her private conversations, take pictures of her without her ever knowing it. Now you,” Longly looks at Scully, “you’re a Robert Downey Junior type of girl. You love the whole Iron Man, super hero but with no real powers, just smart enough to design a suit thing, plus Iron Man is broody with a sarcastic sense of humor. I sense that’s your type. I can get you his private phone number if you like.”

Mulder wants to tell her he is appalled. He still has not shaken the thought that an FBI agent was taking pictures when Felicity and him were…but he has been on stakeouts and listened to and transcribe phone recordings. Her skills, however developed, are probably really useful for the underground science network involved in covert operations. Frohike confirms his thoughts. “Longly has been the most successful at locating and eavesdropping on the CSM.” Longly now is serious. “It's a lot more challenging. He has better instincts for hiding and covering his tracks than most celebrities.” Then she brightens again. “Don’t worry I gave up stalking celebrities.” Frohike says, “well, there were those restraining orders.” Mulder says, “so, you’re no longer a fan girl.” “Well,” she isn’t flirting now but matter of fact, “I have a fan girl crush on a real hero, someone who has been fighting global conspiracies and evil at great risk to himself for over two decades.” She turns to her computer.

“I know who you are,” Scully interrupts looking at Myers. ‘You are the young graduate from MIT with a double major in engineering and mathematics at the age of 20, then you got a ph.d in applied mathematics from Harvard, but instead of going into academia you took a job as a financial analyst. You were written up in DC’s 10 women under 30 to know.” Myers nods. “I needed to find a way to help keep this underground association in spending money. Science and espionage are both expensive. So I’m kind of the treasurer, investor for the group and occasionally I get to engineer things and even run mathematical calculations”. Myers is as reserved as Longly is outgoing. Frohike will not let her be modest. “She sees patterns that everyone else’s misses. She can see how a leads to b and then to c in a way no one else can.”
Scully blurts out, “that's Mulder strength as well.” “I know,” Myers looks at her computer and blushes.

Frohike explains. “Agent Mulder is a hero in our organization. We each honor you in different ways, I suppose, but it is not uncommon for the younger females to have a slight fan girl type of crush. They don’t mean anything disrespectful by it. Just the opposite.” Mulder is embarrassed. “Anything I’ve done has been with Scully-not by myself.” “Of course,” Frohike nods “but you are the original relative of the merchandise who refused to forget.”

“Well,” Myers takes control to ease the awkwardness, “we’re not quite ready with our report yet. Let us get back to work so we have something to report when Mr. Skinner get here.”

Mulder and Scully move into the dining room. She looks at the three women working. “Mulder, does this seem familiar?” He is trying to process being an inspirational hero and nods distractedly. “It looks like you found your geeky friends to help with tech stuff, but I don’t think they will do guy things with you.” “Actually it turns out Frohike enjoys girl on girl porn.” Scully looks at Mulder in amused disapproval. “We were talking about her brother and it came up in conversation.” They both look at the women in the living room. “You know, Mulder, it's going to be really hard for me not to be jealous of the other two.” “They’re young enough to be my daughters.” “All the more reason to be jealous.” “You’re just silly.” Scully suddenly stiffens. It has been so comfortable since last night, but Mulder is a married man who obviously still loves his wife. “I know, Mulder, I don’t have the right anymore to be jealous.” Mulder starts to respond but they are interrupted by Myers.

“One of the things we’re struggling with is the neural chemistry involved in short term memory retention. We could really use your help, Dr Scully.”

Mulder and Scully walk into the living room. Scully is instantly included in the group. Mulder realizes he is just standing there. “There must be something I can do to help you ladies.” Frohike looks up, “I would love a beer.” Longly says “Do you have anything diet?” Myers requests water, no ice, lemon if he has any. Mulder looks at Scully. “Can I get you anything?” Scully shakes her head afraid she will laugh if she says anything.

Mulder goes into the kitchen to get the ladies their beverages and the ladies continue in their work to save the world from evil.

Chapter 24: Mulder’s Beautiful Mind.

Mulder is sitting on his porch. He is looking on his phone at a picture he took of Samantha, his granddaughter, napping. He cannot believe there is another Samantha in his life; a child untouched by harm or worry. Can he keep her safe? Can he keep anybody safe? He would die trying, if necessary, to keep her safe and to give her a better world. As if on cue he receives a text from Moondance with an attached picture. When he had called her to tell her about the FBI protection, he had told her to call and text throughout the day, today and everyday. He couldn’t stand the thought that a day would go by without hearing from her- knowing that she was ok. This was a brief text: we’re safe. The attached picture is of William standing in the background, Moondance is in front of him and she is holding Samantha. The Fox family, Mulder thinks. He is looking at that picture so intently he doesn’t realize that Scully is standing beside him. She seems a little sad. She touches him on the shoulder. “It's a beautiful family, Mulder.” “I was just thinking that –the Fox family.” “They’re not going to start using Mulder instead?” He shakes his head. “I gave up using my first name much when Felicity left. It seems appropriate that she took it with her and passed it on. It's appropriate that this should be their last name. The family I started back when I was Fox.”

“Mulder, Skinner isn’t going to make it. He has been in meetings and dealing with this terrorist group. Besides we are not as far as we would like, but we do have something to share with you.” They walk into the living room. Scully, Frohike, Longley and Myers stand on one side of the kitchen table and Mulder stands on the other side. He is a one man audience for their four person presentation.

Frohike begins. “Our focus started with trying to figure out the science of the box. If we could go backwards from the solution to the problem it solved, then maybe we could find a different solution. But we needed Dr. Scully to help us understand how memories are processed and stored.” Frohike nods at Scully to proceed. Scully knows that Mulder has become an amateur expert on this topic himself from his own work on memory retrieval and his efforts to train his brain to remember details, but she wants to lay the foundation for the rest of the discussion. “Short term memories are stored in the pre-frontal lobe. Longer term memories are stored in the hippocampus. Not all short term memories get processed into the hippocampus. You might remember a hotel room number of where you are staying today, but seven years from now if someone asks you what the room number, you couldn’t remember unless there was some reason- say a honeymoon where that becomes a more significant memory. We forget more than we remember. In our long term memory, our neurons interact together to create a memory so our neurons associated with senses such as the neuron that process sound, the neurons that process taste, sight, smells, work together so we have one memory. It's our belief that the event that happened with wide spread short term memory loss was successful in targeting the way neurons interact to create long term memories. Our memories weren’t wiped. Instead they simply failed to become long term memories and so they disappeared the way the number of the hotel room or what we had for breakfast three weeks ago disappears.”

Mulder nods. Frohike continues. “Part of the problem we have had is understanding how the box that protected you work. We spent a lot of time on this. Then Myers pointed out that we were making the assumption that it did, but we have no proof of that.” Mulder stopped her, “except that I remember.”

Myers picks up the discussion “what we know is that you remember. Is that because of the box or because of some other unique feature within yourself?” Scully picks up the explanation. “We know there is no such thing as photographic memory, but there are people such as yourself whose neurons interact with each other in a more efficient matter and who have a better visual memory. Those people remember things in greater detail and longer than the typical person. Additionally you have trained your mind to focus on details, you have learned tricks to help you store memory. So your memory…you have the most beautiful mind, Mulder.”

Mulder smiles at Scully’s statement. “Thank you, Scully, but it is not unique. The percentages would have have to say other people would remember.” “Statistically 2 % of the world’s population,” Myers says. Longly now says, “There are scattered reports on social media of a few people beginning to remember fragments.” “But your brain is unique in another way,” Scully bends down to a box marked “Mulder Medical” she retrieved from a storage closet and pulled out an X ray. “Remember that time when your brain reacted to the etchings of a artifact from that space ship. You were able eventually to read people’s thoughts and became psychic. Your brain was working so fast. The theory was that it was because you had been exposed and then cured from the black oil. Then there was the surgery the CSM did. Then you were dying of a brain cancer remember before you were abducted.” Going through those memories are difficult for Scully and she is speaking fast to get through it-especially painful is remembering Mulder hadn’t told her he was dying. “But then you came back from the dead and you were cure. Remember I made you have a brain scan after you were back and I made you have another before we returned to the X files.” Mulder nods. Probably because he had not told her about the cancer, she has been obsessive over the years about any headaches. “Mulder, normally with the years in between and your age we would notice some slight changes, but the two scans are identical when compared to each other. You have some residual, positive, but residual effects of all that has happened to you.” “Scully, are you saying I am the only one the box would have worked on?” “I’m saying the box didn’t protect your memory. The boxes don’t work – either schematic. You were immune from the effects anyway.”

“So the whole putting me in the box and all of that was completely due to the assassination plan?” Scully nods. “And so if anybody else had been in the box instead of me?” “The plan would have failed.” “I insisted that I be the one that should go in the box.” Frohike holds up her hand to stop him. “Your biological father knew that your memory would be protected and he is a master mind of manipulation.” Longly says “anybody with any knowledge of your history would have predicted that you would insist on being in the box. It's part of the hero mentality.”

“Well for someone with such a beautiful mind, I sure can be easily manipulated.”

Chapter 25: The Hero

Mulder is angry at himself. How often has he let that cigarette smoking bastard manipulate him. They are on a race to assure the loss of life and memory does not occur again. Yet both NASA scientists and scientists from the underground have wasted time on this science of the box which it turns out only exists because with a little manipulation they can be turned into assassination machines. The box itself doesn’t protect anybody’s memory. The whole assassination plot wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for him and his unique damn brain which apparently was unique because of all the horrors he had suffered at the hands of that damn cigarette smoking bastard.

The female scientists, which now include Scully, need a break and to turn off their brains. They all would be spending the night on the couch and in sleeping bags on the living room floor. Scully needs to run into town for her to get an overnight bag and she will buy groceries: “Mulder, what do you eat?” She had asked him as she looked through cupboards and made lists. He had grunted and mumbled at her. “Come on, you are going with me,” she had told him and he had snapped “Why in the hell do you need me to go?” Scully told him for his brawn and he had almost smiled. Frohike must have told her that in the underground he was admired for his brawn which was such a joke. Scully would think it was funny. She had always loved him for his brain which now seems so worthless. He doesn’t have a brain as good as these women and as for brawn, whatever he had, if he ever had any, was degenerating every moment with age.

Scully lets him sit and sulk on the way to her apartment. She knows these moods well. When they lived together they could go for days getting darker and uglier; infecting the house with all the darkness Mulder carried within himself. At her apartment she grabs her overnight bag, always packed out of habit from her days with Mulder in hiding, and her sleeping bag. Mulder looks at her sleeping bag and his mood becomes darker. Of course just because Scully is spending the night back in their house didn’t mean she would be sharing his bed. She would be in the living room with the other scientists because their house is just the house now-not her home-yet, without Scully, it had never seemed like his home. He remembers Felicity talking about her home being the one portion of her body she lied against while sleeping. He wonders if Scully considers her apartment her home. Did she even think about the fact that she is spending a night in what used to be their home in her sleeping bag or did she even care? The sleeping bag becomes the symbol for everything and all the things he had ever fucked up in his life. He throws the bag angrily in the back of Scully’s SUV and then he moves away and turns his back to her, stomping his foot on the ground a few times until he sees an empty trash can on the street a homeowner had failed to bring in following the morning trash pick up. He kicks the trash can over and kicks it some more, pounds it with foot, until the trash can is sunken in- never to hold trash again. His energy spent he returns and sits on the curb beside the SUV where Scully has simply been sitting and waiting for him.

They sit in quiet for a few minutes and then Mulder tells Scully “I really taught that trash can a lesson. There’s brawn for you.” Scully speaks as if Mulder has not just had a temper tantrum. “Mulder, I enjoyed today with those ladies. You said you missed the lone gunmen, but I have not had women friends, really, since Melissa died.” Mulder doesn’t speak. He is trying to come out of his own head and into the moment to hear whatever Scully needs to tell him.

“Those young women, Longly and Myers, they have quite the hero worship for you.” “What could possibly make them think I was a hero?” “They’ve heard all these stories about you from the day and seen some pictures. Special agent Fox Mulder, the incredibly handsome, athletic, brilliant young man fighting evil and seeking truth at great personal risk to himself. Self-assured and bold enough not to care who thought he was a crackpot or spooky. It is exactly the type of a man a young woman that age would have a crush on.” “Did you set them straight?” “Mulder, I was their age when I met you.” She looks at Mulder and smiles. She thinks about how they can say so much with a look. They have whole conversations with a look and a touch and yet they have managed to leave vast amount of things left unsaid between them over the years.

Mulder is coming out of his funk now. Simply sitting with Scully can do that for him. “You grew up and realized I wasn’t a hero”. “You will always be my hero, Mulder.” She leans against him now-her head on his shoulder. “I did grow up and realize how hard it was to live the life of a hero and how hard it was to love one and live with one, but the only time you stopped being my hero is when I asked you to stop. You stopped and tried to change for me, because I asked you to, but you became a sad, bitter, depressed man who drifted through life.” Mulder starts to speak and Scully stops him. “Mulder, the other night when you said you needed to be you, to fight the fight and if you should die tell your sons you lived and died a man they could be proud of. It is up to me if I keep rescuing you and if I choose to continue as your partner and your friend, but I want you to live the life you can be proud of and to continue to be the hero for Longly and Myers and me. The world needs more heroes.”

“I’m a bad hero, Scully. Think of all I have suffered and all you have suffered. Before I even knew he existed that man had decided to take away my wife and my son. I’m not a hero. I’m a failure.” “No, Mulder. The planet was not colonized by aliens was it? Time and time you have thwarted him. You have stopped him. You will stop him again.”

“You are saying you a lot, but Scully it was us. If we stop him, it will be us again.”

“We will stop him, Mulder. I am as sure of that as I am that you’re my hero. This time we will stop him, but there will be another time. A true hero is someone who doesn’t stop fighting no matter what the cost is. I’m not sure I will keep fighting with you. I’m not the hero, but you are and should continue to be.”

Chapter 26: Solar Flares?

Some would say it's low probability, but the damage that could be caused in the event of an EMP attack, both by the sun, a solar event, or a man-made attack, would be catastrophic," said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, at the House Homeland Security Committee hearing in May. "We talk a lot about a nuclear bomb in Manhattan, and cybersecurity threat to the power grid in the Northeast, and all of these things would actually probably pale in comparison to the devastation that an EMP attack could perpetrate on Americans."



As Frohike showers, she thinks about EMP attacks. This is not an unusual subject for her to consider. In fact, it is the number one nightmare she has had since she started studying solar flares, but tonight in Mulder’s shower the subject matter seems more urgent. Of course an Electromagnetic Pulse attack in the nations- no, the world’s power grids- didn’t necessarily have to come from a solar flare. It could be man made. It is a threat which, in her opinion, not enough has been done to prepare for. A catastrophic EMP event wouldn’t just affect power, but telecommunications and financing. It is estimated that in a catastrophic attack, within 12 months, between 75-90% of the American population would be dead from starvation, disease and societal breakdown. It is not as if those statistics came from a crazy fringe group. They came in fact from a national EMP commission in 2008 and then reconfirmed from groups like FEMA and Homeland security since. In 2008 the recommendation to strengthen electrical nodes failed in congress because of the $2 billion price. Certainly there was no time for that type of measure before the next solar flare.

Solar flares big enough to wipe out the power grid in the US were rare. September 1, 1859 was the Carrington event; named for the astronomer who discovered the flare. It caused global interruptions in telegraph communications and sparked fires through telegraph lines. A similar size event in a world dependent on technology would be horrific. Lesser but more recent events had done some damage. In 1972 a much lessor flare had knocked out phone communications in several states. March 13, 1989 a solar flare left 6 million people in Canada without power for 9 hours. July 14, 2000 satellites were knocked out causing some radio outages. In October 2003 there were 9 flares within a two week period. December 5, 2006 a soar flare knocked out GPS systems in the US for about 10 minutes.

The flare from the other night and the one expected in a few days were much smaller than any of those but combined with cyberattacks on the power grid, they could certainly do some damage. She has to admit part of her was happy that a solar flare had been involved in the loss of consciousness and memory attacks. It validated her concerns. People thought her crazy all these years for her campaign for better preparedness. She might as well had been her brother with his conspiracy theories. She felt happy because finally she could be of some use to the underground scientists. Most of the underground scientists were physicists and chemists. While they were happy to have Frohike as part of the group, they had wondered when they would need an expert in solar flares.

Frohike comes out of the restroom in flannel pajamas. She looks stricken. Mulder and Scully are not yet back from town. Myers is wearing pink pinned striped Ralph Lauren pajamas designed for conferences where you are sharing a room with colleagues. She is responding to emails for her financial advisement clients. Longley is wearing kimono style pajamas, sitting cross legged on the floor, and breathing. They both know something is wrong from Frohike’s face.

“I think I have been single minded and not adhering to scientific principle. Longley, were there any actual disruptions in the power grid? Any black outs?””No but we know a couple of relays kicked in and we do know some pulsation went through the lines.” “Any disruption of telephone systems, satellites, gps systems, radio disruptions?” “ no.” “So why do we think a solar flare is responsible?” “Because a terrorist group claiming responsibility for the attack said it was related to the solar flare.” Myers knows where Frohike is going with this. “But Scully said the raid, the interrogations, the evidence gathered suggests that they didn’t have the scientific knowledge or infrastructure set-up to carry it off. They just said what the CSM told them to say.” Longly intercedes “but we know the NASA computers were hacked.” Frohike shakes her head “but when I checked with my colleagues there they said there was no actual damage done to those computers, no data tampered with. They just looked at the information and left it untapped. No viruses were detected.” Myers states the conclusion Frohike has arrived at. “There is no credible evidence or accounts suggesting a solar flare had anything to do with the black outs or memory loss. It's another rabbit hole to waste everybody time.” Frohike nods, “ that means the deadline of the date to coincide with the next solar flare is artificial. A mechanism so the world leaders will all get into those damn boxes at the same time, but really whatever the CSM and his men did to the power grid to cause us all to black out and lose our memories, they could do without warning and anytime they wanted to.

Chapter 27: The Sleep-Over

“He’s a master at deception and misinformation campaigns. I don’t understand why I didn’t consider that so much of this was designed to lead us in the wrong direction. It's classic.” Scully and Mulder brought back pizza for a quick dinner and have been filled in on the latest by the three women. “It's possible, Mulder, that you’ve been distracted,” Scully doesn’t want Mulder to blame himself and return to his dark mood of earlier. ‘Remember you were on the verge of death when you were transported to a spaceship, placed in a box, sent to Oregon where the box was set on fire and the you were treated with a coolant so cold you had to take off your clothes, then you were treated by a radical stem cell treatment.” “Don’t forget to add to that found naked by a wife you haven’t seen in decades and a son you didn’t know you had,” Frohike reminds him. Longly chirps in “and you’re not getting any younger.”

Scully has changed into a conservative, simple two piece cotton pajamas set. The ladies start to lay out their sleeping bags and other bedding for the evening. Mulder carries the plates to the kitchen and the pizza boxes to the trash. He returns, stands in the kitchen, peaking into the living room. Scully is laughing with Longly while looking at her laptop and he hears them talking about Tumblr and Iron Man. He had no idea Scully liked Robert Downey Jr. Mulder thinks about how long Melissa has been dead, now Scully’s mom, Bill and his family in Germany, and no one really knowing from one moment to the next where Chris was. Perhaps she needed female companionship and to be in the midst of intelligent women more than she realized. There must be a degree of loneliness for her now; especially without her mother.

He cleans the kitchen and then finds himself at odds. It is so strange to go to sleep with Scully here. Perhaps he should offer her their bed and he could sleep on the floor beside the bed. He realizes he has just thought about the bed as their bed despite the years that he has slept in it alone. He will just go tell her goodnight. He stops again at the doorway to the living room peeping in. Scully has the other three full attention. She is telling them the story of her rescue after being bitten by a bee. She tells them about his trek through the snow to find the ship and him carrying her on his shoulder and climbing out of the ship. Perhaps, he had shown a little bit of brawn from time to time in their adventures. He feels embarrassed to walk into the living room in the middle of a story where he is represented as some type of hero. He turns and heads for bed.

Scully finishes the story. The two younger women hang onto every word. “It's so romantic,”Longly puts her hand on her heart. “No, it wasn’t like that. We weren’t together romantically then. It was just FBI partners looking out for each other.” Myers is a little more statistical in her approach. “Odds have to say, though, you go through adventure after adventure, constantly saving each other’s life's, you’re both young and attractive, you’re both alone. Eventually all the adrenaline and chemistry and heightened emotion, over the number of years you were partners, eventually you were bound to hook up.” “No, true love, meant to be.” Longly will not be dissuaded. Frohike asks “was there a moment when you knew that you felt differently for him than you had before?” “Honestly, I knew I was attracted to him from the first moment I saw him, but we were partners and there are rules. In time, though, we broke so many rules it seemed silly to keep that rule any longer.” The women laugh and continue to talk.

Mulder has been in his room not sleeping. He can hear the women laughing but not specifically what they are saying. It is nice to hear the laughter of women;, to hear Scully laugh. He is restless. 11:15 pm. It is about the time, if he is up and feeling this way, he would usually call Scully. He reaches for his phone restlessly and sees the picture again of Moondance, William and Samantha. Three hours earlier in Portland, Oregon. He dials Moondance’s number.

Scully lies in her sleeping bag. The women are beginning to make the noises of sleep. Scully is awake thinking about all the memories in the house-good and bad. Besides, she never falls asleep before midnight. If Mulder calls she always wanted to be able to tell him she is awake. She meant what she said to Mulder earlier. She had asked him to change for her, but, when he did, she didn’t like the result. She liked her Mulder to be the hero, even if she feared so much the consequences of him taking risks. If she ever had the opportunity to commit to him fully again! She decides she will go to say goodnight. Maybe he will invite her into talk and they would sit on their bed and then… She realizes she just thought of it as their bed. How many years since she slept in it?

She walks to the bedroom door. It is slightly ajar. She hears Mulder talking. He must be on the phone. “Moondance, I’m so sorry for all the years I missed.” Scully returns to the living room, but finds it hard to fall asleep.

Chapter 28: The Problem.

Mulder wakes up to the sound of women talking and laughing. He is not as enchanted with it as he had been last night. It is only 4 a.m. He had talked on the phone to Moondance until after 2 a.m. He had told her he was sorry about all the missed years, but would she please tell him anything she could think of about their son growing up. She had told him about his first word, his first step, the trouble he had with the constantly changing schools. He was so smart and just couldn’t tolerate teachers who didn’t understand his learning style. He was suspended a lot, but he was good in sports and that helped in high school. He was very popular; especially with the girls. He won awards for poetry, she said, he wrote poetry –always loved poetry like his father. Mulder told her that wasn’t inherited. She had nurtured it by telling him about his reciting Yeats. At different times both Mulder and Moondance cried and sometimes they both laughed. William reminded Moondance so much of Mulder. There were so many times he could have used a father. Mulder thinks now that he should get up and play host to the ladies. Instead he opens up the picture on his phone of Moondance, William and Samantha and falls back asleep looking at it.

At 6:30 there is a knock on his door. Myers and Longly are standing there in jogging outfits. Scully had told them Mulder was a runner. They want him to come run with them. He shakes his head. When was the last time he ran? Myers explains they are amped up because they’ve found a solution. Skinner is on his way. They are just going on a short run. Come on. Mulder remembers running a lot in the early days of Scully and his partnership. Waking up at 4 knowing she was in a hotel room next door. Needing to release energy so he could be calm and cool. He tells the women to go without him, but makes a mental note to start running again. Myers starts to leave but Longly stays leaning against the wall. Mulder realizes he is bare chested and he pulls the blanket up to cover him. Myers pulls Longly out of the room.

Mulder gets up, dresses, walks to the front of the house and sees Frohike and Scully in the kitchen. Frohike is telling Scully about a relationship she had in college with a woman who was remarkable. “I think when you love that intensely it's hard to move on. Eventually you do, but you never forget. You never stop loving.” Mulder sighs thinking of both Moondance and Scully and the decision he recently made. He is glad Scully has a friend she seems to have bonded with. He walks into the kitchen as if he had not heard the discussion. Frohike is standing with a frying pan and a spatula, “Mulder, I’m making Huevos Ranchero. Do you want some?”

7:30. They are all gathered in the living room. Skinner has just arrived. The ladies had refused to tell Mulder anything about the solution except that it had been Myers who woke up at 3 with a good working foundation and had woken up Longly. Scully quickly joined them and by 4, when Frohike was awake, it was the exact timing for her expertise. Once they had removed all the extraneous misinformation and focused on what they actually knew it was easy to identify the cause of the black out and memory loss. Then, the solution came fairly simply. The ladies are projecting information on the wall as they talked.

Myers begins. “What we know is everybody in the US except Mulder lost consciousness and their memories of the day. No one died from the actual event but from the repercussions- because they were driving, because no one was there to care for them”. Skinner has the final totals 2.64 million dead due to the black-out. Another 1.5 million dead from the disease attack which preceded it. That’s just the dead- not the injured or still in recovery. “We know that the NASA computers monitoring solar flares were hacked but no damage was done. We know that electrical back-up relays across the power grids were initiated.”

Longly continues. “It took some hacking of my own. What we discovered is there were no power surges, no outages, which are supposed to trigger the back-up relays. Yet every relay in the country including the systems for those with alternative energy but still attached to the grid were triggered simultaneously. It would take an enormously complex virus to cause this to occur. Theses relays if they do have starts due to an error are configured to shut off, but they didn’t. They stayed on for a full 15 minutes.”

Skinner asks “With what effect?”

“We had a little problem with that, also. The only effect was a significant, blanketing effect of ELFs. Electromagnetic low frequency field.” Myers is quickly changing screens to demonstrate. “Since the 70’s ELFs have been blamed for a variety of odd health effects- rumored to have created, for instance, the Taos hum, but those rumors have been largely dismissed.”

Scully and Mulder exchange glances. Mulder doesn’t like to remember driving west, excessively speeding, unable to keep his passenger’s head from exploding. “Could the radiation from this large of a field have caused the memory loss, the unconsciousness?”

“No,” Longly is serious. There is no hint of her normally playful side. “This field was used as the disbursement mechanism only. It provided a field across the country. So widespread to affect every area. Think of it as a low lying invisible mist.”

“What was it disbursing then?” Mulder looks at Longly. “I went back over the information from the NASA computer hacks. The only data system accessed was not on solar flares, but on a download of recent activity from a pulsar star. Frohike…” Longly passes the presentation off.

“As I’m sure you know a pulsar star is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.” Frohike stops knowing Mulder will interject. “When they were first discovered in the sixties they were originally named LGM for little green men because they were thought to be transmissions from aliens.” “In fact they occur from stars that have gone super nova. They emit a radio transmission at precise regular intervals- so precise they are known as atomic time clocks. Somehow…and the science of how to do this seems beyond us…but the data collected from this pulsar star- hacked out of the NASA computers- was manipulated to be beamed through the ELF field from 7 different satellites.”

“I’m not understanding why that would impact the human mind.” Mulder thinks to himself that he should be able to follow this science. This is all information he has studied. It is now Scully’s turn to answer. “Remember short term memories become long term memory through interactions of our mental neurons. We all also have a sort of internal clock that regulates all of our mental processing.”

Frohike now explains. “These 7 satellites beamed through data from the Pulsar star, the atomic time keeper, but with the time differentiated of .03 millimeters from each of the different satellites, disbursed through the amplified low lying blanket of electromagnetic low frequency field.”

Scully explains the medical implications. “It essentially shocked all of our internal clocks and caused our mental functions to temporarily shut down and reset. If we could remember, we would remember the world’s most painful headache- like a migraine to end all migraine- causing us to lose consciousness and for our neurons to temporarily stop interacting.”

Myers is calm as if presenting on a typical day before Wall Street tycoons. “Before we present the solution, we thought you might have some questions.”

Chapter 28: The Problem.

Mulder wakes up to the sound of women talking and laughing. He is not as enchanted with it as he had been last night. It is only 4 a.m. He had talked on the phone to Moondance until after 2 a.m. He had told her he was sorry about all the missed years, but would she please tell him anything she could think of about their son growing up. She had told him about his first word, his first step, the trouble he had with the constantly changing schools. He was so smart and just couldn’t tolerate teachers who didn’t understand his learning style. He was suspended a lot, but he was good in sports and that helped in high school. He was very popular; especially with the girls. He won awards for poetry, she said, he wrote poetry –always loved poetry like his father. Mulder told her that wasn’t inherited. She had nurtured it by telling him about his reciting Yeats. At different times both Mulder and Moondance cried and sometimes they both laughed. William reminded Moondance so much of Mulder. There were so many times he could have used a father. Mulder thinks now that he should get up and play host to the ladies. Instead he opens up the picture on his phone of Moondance, William and Samantha and falls back asleep looking at it.

At 6:30 there is a knock on his door. Myers and Longly are standing there in jogging outfits. Scully had told them Mulder was a runner. They want him to come run with them. He shakes his head. When was the last time he ran? Myers explains they are amped up because they’ve found a solution. Skinner is on his way. They are just going on a short run. Come on. Mulder remembers running a lot in the early days of Scully and his partnership. Waking up at 4 knowing she was in a hotel room next door. Needing to release energy so he could be calm and cool. He tells the women to go without him, but makes a mental note to start running again. Myers starts to leave but Longly stays leaning against the wall. Mulder realizes he is bare chested and he pulls the blanket up to cover him. Myers pulls Longly out of the room.

Mulder gets up, dresses, walks to the front of the house and sees Frohike and Scully in the kitchen. Frohike is telling Scully about a relationship she had in college with a woman who was remarkable. “I think when you love that intensely it's hard to move on. Eventually you do, but you never forget. You never stop loving.” Mulder sighs thinking of both Moondance and Scully and the decision he recently made. He is glad Scully has a friend she seems to have bonded with. He walks into the kitchen as if he had not heard the discussion. Frohike is standing with a frying pan and a spatula, “Mulder, I’m making Huevos Ranchero. Do you want some?”

7:30. They are all gathered in the living room. Skinner has just arrived. The ladies had refused to tell Mulder anything about the solution except that it had been Myers who woke up at 3 with a good working foundation and had woken up Longly. Scully quickly joined them and by 4, when Frohike was awake, it was the exact timing for her expertise. Once they had removed all the extraneous misinformation and focused on what they actually knew it was easy to identify the cause of the black out and memory loss. Then, the solution came fairly simply. The ladies are projecting information on the wall as they talked.

Myers begins. “What we know is everybody in the US except Mulder lost consciousness and their memories of the day. No one died from the actual event but from the repercussions- because they were driving, because no one was there to care for them”. Skinner has the final totals 2.64 million dead due to the black-out. Another 1.5 million dead from the disease attack which preceded it. That’s just the dead- not the injured or still in recovery. “We know that the NASA computers monitoring solar flares were hacked but no damage was done. We know that electrical back-up relays across the power grids were initiated.”

Longly continues. “It took some hacking of my own. What we discovered is there were no power surges, no outages, which are supposed to trigger the back-up relays. Yet every relay in the country including the systems for those with alternative energy but still attached to the grid were triggered simultaneously. It would take an enormously complex virus to cause this to occur. Theses relays if they do have starts due to an error are configured to shut off, but they didn’t. They stayed on for a full 15 minutes.”

Skinner asks “With what effect?”

“We had a little problem with that, also. The only effect was a significant, blanketing effect of ELFs. Electromagnetic low frequency field.” Myers is quickly changing screens to demonstrate. “Since the 70’s ELFs have been blamed for a variety of odd health effects- rumored to have created, for instance, the Taos hum, but those rumors have been largely dismissed.”

Scully and Mulder exchange glances. Mulder doesn’t like to remember driving west, excessively speeding, unable to keep his passenger’s head from exploding. “Could the radiation from this large of a field have caused the memory loss, the unconsciousness?”

“No,” Longly is serious. There is no hint of her normally playful side. “This field was used as the disbursement mechanism only. It provided a field across the country. So widespread to affect every area. Think of it as a low lying invisible mist.”

“What was it disbursing then?” Mulder looks at Longly. “I went back over the information from the NASA computer hacks. The only data system accessed was not on solar flares, but on a download of recent activity from a pulsar star. Frohike…” Longly passes the presentation off.

“As I’m sure you know a pulsar star is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.” Frohike stops knowing Mulder will interject. “When they were first discovered in the sixties they were originally named LGM for little green men because they were thought to be transmissions from aliens.” “In fact they occur from stars that have gone super nova. They emit a radio transmission at precise regular intervals- so precise they are known as atomic time clocks. Somehow…and the science of how to do this seems beyond us…but the data collected from this pulsar star- hacked out of the NASA computers- was manipulated to be beamed through the ELF field from 7 different satellites.”

“I’m not understanding why that would impact the human mind.” Mulder thinks to himself that he should be able to follow this science. This is all information he has studied. It is now Scully’s turn to answer. “Remember short term memories become long term memory through interactions of our mental neurons. We all also have a sort of internal clock that regulates all of our mental processing.”

Frohike now explains. “These 7 satellites beamed through data from the Pulsar star, the atomic time keeper, but with the time differentiated of .03 millimeters from each of the different satellites, disbursed through the amplified low lying blanket of electromagnetic low frequency field.”

Scully explains the medical implications. “It essentially shocked all of our internal clocks and caused our mental functions to temporarily shut down and reset. If we could remember, we would remember the world’s most painful headache- like a migraine to end all migraine- causing us to lose consciousness and for our neurons to temporarily stop interacting.”

Myers is calm as if presenting on a typical day before Wall Street tycoons. “Before we present the solution, we thought you might have some questions.”

Chapter 29: The Solution

Skinner understands the science enough, he thinks. It sounds like so much science fiction, but he trusts Scully. If she says she believes this is what happened, then he will trust that. They have stood up and stretched. Mulder has gotten a refill of coffee. The ladies begin by asking the two men- as if it was a college seminar discussion group- if they want to guess at the solution. Myers gives them a hint. “We decided the answer lies in dismantling the disbursement system. Without the extra strong electromagnetic low frequency field blanket , there would be no way to disburse the shock from the seven differently timed pulsar beams.”

Skinner tries. “I would say figure out the virus that triggered all the back up relays to begin at once.”

Longly shakes her head. “If I could do that I would be a rich fan girl, for sure!” Frohike takes it more serious, “We should try, of course, but might run out of time. Than they might develop a better virus. It's a good demonstration of how easy it is to compromise the system.”

Mulder said, “We could dismantle all the back up relay systems but that would leave the grid vulnerable to the solar flares or to terrorist attacks. The power outage that could also destroy our civilization. The reason they exist to begin with.”

Frohike nods. “Much too dangerous. They don’t provide as much protection now as we need, but you are on the right track.”

Myers projects a complex picture of the entire US power grid on screen. Skinner reacts. “How in the Hell did you get this detailed of a grid?” Longly raises her hand. Frohike smirks, “and you wonder why I’m so afraid that our grid could be compromised.”

Myer continues. “This took some complex mathematical calculations. We tried eliminating different back up relays but remember it's the back-up being on at the same time as the regular relays that cause the field intensity. The only way to really prevent the field regardless of how strong their virus is would be to close down a selection of the back up and nodes at the same time. One wouldn’t do it. You would need to do two.”
Skinner shakes his head. “Leave two areas of the US dark at all time?”

Mulder understands. “No. It would be too easy to hack and get them back on. Or people would move and then you wouldn’t need the field over that part of the country.”

Frohike nods. “Random, constant, black outs across the country. Never ending, no preparation.”

Myers has done the math for the least impact. “Over a three day interval, two power outages simultaneously across the country for 7 minutes at a time. Repeated at a different random equation for the next three day interval.”

“At any time of the day or night two areas of the country would be dark for 7 minutes at a time?” Mulder asks.

Scully reassures the men. “Hospitals and prisons have back up generators.”

Myers: “but traffic lights, telecommunications,financial systems would be down for those 7 minutes.”

Frohike “it would force innovative solutions and preparations. In a way that will be good. It will force us to become prepare should a larger blackout occur for whatever reason. Anytime a country becomes so dependent on any technology there should be plans for what to do if the technology fails.”

Myers: “Of course, similar calculations would have to be done in other countries for their power grids.”

Longly: “I was afraid if I hacked into other countries power grids it would create an international incident.”

Chapter 30: What does the future hold?

The presentations ended with a flurry of activity. Skinner asked Myers and Scully to help him present to the Cabinet and President. Frohike had decided to move to DC. Now more than ever there needed to be some legislative effort for emergency preparedness related to failure of technology-for whatever reason. Longly said she would help her look for apartments. Mulder, realizing he had absolutely nothing he had to do, asked Scully to drop him off in town so he could run some errands.

It is 4 p.m. The agents are in Skinner’s office. “If I had suggested this two weeks ago? But this plan will be implemented tonight without warning or explanation. Then tomorrow the President will hold a press conference to disclose. He is calling different world leaders so they can implement similar plans in their own country. Good job agents, really good job.” He closes a folder and puts it away.

“That’s it? Doesn’t this seem a little anti-climatic?” Mulder shakes his head. “How about that cigarette smoking…?” “Gone,” Skinner says, “we sent agents out to the location you told us about. It looks like no one has been there for years. Also we have no proof that he had anything to do with this.”

“If I ever have the opportunity to hold a gun to him again I’m pulling the trigger. Just be aware.”

“I’m not sure I can justify the expense of continued protection for your family.”

“They’re moving here- to DC. I’m not sure I can keep them safe but they will be close and Longly gave me the name of a nanny company for children of celebrities where the nannies are trained in all types of security and defense. Nanny guard it's called. Samantha will have two rotating Nanny Guards- one at all times.”

Scully swallows at hearing Mulder’s family will be moving to DC. She has her own news, though. For the first time she has told Skinner her plans before Mulder. Skinner assumes the responsibility for announcing Scully has accepted a job at the CDC as a vaccination czar. Scully is staring at Mulder to see his reaction. He tells her he is proud of her. “I only accepted it with the understanding that it would be part-time. I will still be working with the X file part time.”

“Scully, I told you years ago you owed me nothing and I owe you everything. It's still true. Only I used to always beg you to stay and I realize that was selfish. I wasn’t being fair to you or to what else you could contribute to the world in other ways. Don’t stay with the X files because you think I need you.”

“No, that bastard hadn’t just hurt you. He’s hurt me and people I care for. I’m staying with the X files so I can be part of taking him down.”

“Thank God, because I was completely bluffing. I couldn’t do it without you, Scully.”

Skinner interrupts their gazing. “It won’t be just the two of you. Due to this recent situation and how essential the X files were to the response, the bureau is expanding the X files. A special agent will be assigned to every field office to investigate unexplained cases involving possible paranormal or alien connections.”

Skinner has already discussed this with Scully. “This type of infrastructure legitimizes your work, Mulder. The X files will never be closed again.”

Mulder smiles and nods. Validation after all these years feels good. He has one concern. “You will still be overseeing it, sir.” “I will still be the assistant director over the department and supervising you, but you will be the department manager.” Mulder looks at Skinner to see if he is joking. “Thank you, but no. I see my work being in the field.” “Agent, it is very uncommon for the bureau to have special agents your age. Besides you and Scully can still work in the field. Do you really want to trust someone else to run it?” Mulder does not want anyone else running it.”but I can still work in the field?” “Of course, the two of you can mentor other agents who I hope will be as interesting for you to supervise as it has been for me to supervise you.” Skinner is smirking. He is looking forward to seeing Mulder in this role. “That is all, agents.”

Mulder and Scully head to their basement office. “Wow, Mulder, you’re my boss now- part-time.” “I kind of thought I always was.” He opens the door to the office. Inside on Mulder’s desk she sees a small rectangular package nicely wrapped. Mulder directs her to sit in his chair. She smiles and opens the package. Inside she finds a Barbie doll size desk which she takes out of the box. She smiles with her lips close. Mulder always gives such interesting gifts.

“I know you always wanted a desk and I thought it was about time. You’ve earned it, Scully.” She moves his name plate and puts the desk in its place. “I’ll treasure it.”

“Scully, I have something serious to talk to you about. My son is a private eye who finds missing persons. I’ve asked him to open up an investigation searching for our son. I know we gave him up so he would be safe, but I don’t think we can be sure he’s safe without knowing where he is and I want to see him. I want to know him. Knowing the son I didn’t know I had…I miss more than ever the son I knew and loved from when he was still inside your stomach. Is it ok if we look for him?”

Scully brushes a tear from her eye and nods yes. It is so ok. They sit silently for a few minutes. “Will Moondance be moving into the house, Mulder?” “No, she will be getting her own apartment.”

Mulder hadn’t wanted to discuss this before now with everything going on. He knows Scully had good reasons to move out of their house. She has given no indication she has changed her mind, but he will never forgive himself if he doesn’t take the initiative now. He probably is making a fool of himself. “I signed the divorce papers before I left Oregon. I will always love Felicity, Scully, but I have the problem of also being in love with another woman.” He walks over to her and bends down so he is on one knee. “I never felt I could do this before now.” He takes a small box out of his pocket and opens it. “Will you marry me?”

Scully thinks of the refrain that has been going through her brain the last few days: if I ever have another chance I will commit fully. She nods yes and holds out her hand. He puts the ring on her finger. He looks up at her. She looks down at him.

“In all these years, Scully, we have never kissed in this office.” “It would be against all the rules. Especially now that you’re the boss.” “I love breaking the fucking rules.” He reaches his mouth up to kiss her, grabs her with both hands and pulls her to the floor on top of him.
The end.

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