~Lonegunmen characters-Frohike, Langly, Byers, and Kimmy and X-Files characters-Agents Mulder and Scully I've based this story upon are all owned and copywrited by Chris Carter and this story is not sanctioned in any way, shape, or form by Chris Carter. These characters are used without permission and without profit on my part. Rated PG.~
Melvin the Terrible
"Perhaps, before we get into all of this," General Andrew's began, "you should show them your little trick. It will be easier to communicate with you and you will be… less intimidating."
The giant blue head nodded and Skymouth said, "Perhaps you are right. But only if I will be allowed to assist them. On the outside?"
There was hesitation from the General's side. He gave her a long, considering look as the Lone Gunmen stood around looking confused. Finally, the General nodded his acceptance of the proposal and a happy chirp came out of the dragon.
Frohike looked over his shoulder to ask her, "What's going on?"
To which Skymouth replied, "If all of you will turn around, then you will find out."
They followed her suggestion and waited with a curious expectation. A brilliant, silver glow filled her eyes and eventually enveloped her entire, massive scaled body. In a blinding flash, her form shrunk down and with suddenness like the winking out of a blown flame, the light disappeared. Where the dragon once stood, was now a young human female. She was naked and would have had the most supple looking skin the Lone Gunmen had ever seen if it hadn't been for the interlacing of horrifying looking battle scars all over her body. Skymouth opened her blue eyes and with a beautiful grin, opened her arms and put her human body on display for Frohike, Byers, and Langly to inspect.
"My God!" Byers gasped, "You're Candace William's?" He had recognized her face from the photos instantly.
Langly, for a change, was totally speechless as he gaped in wonder at this being that stood before them, bearing all to them proudly without being restricted by the normal sense of human morals to inhibit such behavior. He saw the computer cord was still connected behind her left ear.
Frohike didn't see her body, per se. He was scrutinizing her old wounds. Many looked like teeth marks, deep punctures that must have been painful. Others looked like multiple lines tracing a long runway of pain down her skin in various places. Claw marks, he supposed. The marks started at the base of her neck down her front and on her upper arms and thighs. He imagined that her poor back looked just as lacerated as the front. He also saw the tell tale signs of a healing Y-incision cut across her chest. It was true then, they were cutting her up.
"It is an old trick I learned from my Great Uncle in the Caucasian Mountains." Skymouth/Candace spoke with her human voice and the computer remained silent.
Frohike found his own voice once more, "What shall we call you? Skymouth or Candace?"
"Candace in my human form, Skymouth in my dragon form, or when I must use my dragon name to pull some weight with certain humans while I am human. Sometimes humans tend to forget what I am in this form and some need rude reminders."
Langly managed to say, "I don't see how I could forget this."
She grinned and pulled the cord out from behind her ear, "I believe you gentlemen owe me some cheeseburgers!"
Any lingering doubts as to whom this person was vanished for Frohike when she said that. He sighed, just when he thought he'd seen everything after hanging out with Agents Mulder and Scully and the fearless Lone Gunmen, something else reared its head promising more to come. He eyed her red and white scars once again, a whole lot more.
They were driving down a long span of Virginian road in their van. A fully clothed Candace shared the front seat with Byers who was at the wheel and a slightly uncomfortable Frohike in the middle. Langly was setting up their monitoring system in the back. Silence prevailed. Candace had instructed them on where they should begin their search for Avery. Langly hacked into the Skylab Satellite system and proceeded to try to pin point Avery's location via computer.
Frohike pressed Candace on something that had been bugging him, "Okay. So, how is it that you've been able to keep dragons a secret for over five thousand years?"
Candace answered him, as candidly as she could, "It hadn't been easy. The transformation trick has saved me more times than I care to mention."
It was Byers turn to ask a question, "So, why do you have a contract with the Vatican and the Department of Defense?"
Candace was straightforward about it, "In 1490, during the Inquisition, the Grand Inquisitor Torquemada and his groupies captured me while I was in my true form. They brought me closer to death than anyone had before. They allowed me to live if only I agreed to do their bidding. Worse than making a deal with the Devil, in my opinion, which, of course is all hindsight now. It was of their opinion that I was pretty much indestructible. So, I signed a contract with the Pope and during this century, the Pope has loaned me to the Pentagon for study."
Frohike, not sure if he would regret asking or not, "Okay, so, what's keeping you from breaking your contract now? You could waste them easier than I could crush an aluminum can with one hand. One snap of the jaws, munch down on some humans and then disappear."
"The thought had crossed my mind." Candace admitted slowly as if deciding on just what to tell them, "But, I don't know, there is something about you humans… Sawtooth the Red and the others whom are left think I'm crazy, but I find your species intriguing. I've been studying your kind for several thousand years now and I STILL haven't figured you out yet."
Frohike rolled his eyes, "Yeah, well, we humans are funny that way."
"Oh, I meant it as a compliment, I assure you. You are always evolving. If only you could see yourselves from my perspective. It is like the lion watching the wildebeest, and discovering that the wildebeest has grown smarter than the lion."
"We being the wildebeest." Langly grunted, "Cheerful thought."
Candace shrugged, "That's how it is. I have eaten whole armies of people. Why, back in Ancient Egypt, they thought I was a Goddess and sacrificed droves of their kind to me. Of course, I was a fledgling back then and had let it all go to my head. But I'm not that way anymore. Young and angry… now I study you and find it a more rewarding experience for me."
"Lucky for us wildebeest." Langly replied blandly.
"Langly." Byers warned. They had a dragon riding with them. Who knew what it would take for her to go ballistic and kill the lot of them. Besides, Langly's response was kind of uncalled for.
Candace shook her head, "It's alright. I can understand. A race whom was used to being on top of the food chain usually finds it unsettling to discover it is on one of the lower rungs of the ladder."
The computer beeped.
"What is it?" Byers asked over his shoulder.
"We homed in on him." Langly swung back to the monitor and checked out the situation. "I've got his current coordinates. Candace was right. He's in Egypt."
Frohike sighed, "Well, that's just great! I'll just pull a couple of thousand dollars that we have collecting dust under our mattresses and we're off to the Great Desert!"
Missing his sarcasm totally, Candace then said, "There's no need to do that when I've my own plane. We'll take that."
Byers spared her a funny look, "You have a plane? Why?"
"Well, I don't suppose you boys would rather ride dragonback all the way to Africa? I mean, I've never had passengers before, but I don't think that would be too comfortable for you. I've flown that distance before with no problem, but…." She let her voice trail off, "Oh, Egypt. They couldn't have."
"What's so important about Egypt?" Langly asked.
The look on her face wasn't pleasant and Frohike stirred uncomfortably as he felt some strange kind of, well, the only way he could describe it, was power. He felt like he'd been slightly shocked. Like some of her inner power leaked out of her somehow and pulsed through his body for just a moment and thought she must be angry.
'Great,' Frohike thought, 'I'll be the first to die when she goes all dragony on us and decides to eat us.'
"The Nursery is there, our kinds Nesting Grounds. But I've not told anyone where it is. What if they've somehow discovered…?" The horror in her voice was hard to take.
"Well," Frohike said thoughtfully, "they must have found out by some means."
Langly jumped up into a squatting position just behind Frohike an idea dawning, "Hey, maybe someone hacked their way into your brain, downloaded your thoughts, memories and THAT'S how they discovered your nesting place thingy?"
"No, I should know if someone was trying to get into my head." Candace felt sick at the thought. But what Langly suggested made since. The ones who developed the technology to hardwire her brain would have no trouble at all in making a few modifications she wouldn't know about, such as accessing her memory store base. After all, the brain was like a computer. It downloaded information, scanned what it needed for the moment and stored the rest of the information until it needed it for another time. "Let us hope I am jumping to conclusions. We also have a secret compound there. I should call my people in the Baath house and send them over to check it out."
"The Baath house?" Byers was aghast, "You associate with Saddam Hussein's people?"
Candace was not apologetic, "They were the only one's who gave me refuge at a time when I needed it most even after knowing what I was. This was long before Saddam was born, but I still feel a certain loyalty to the family. I know some of what I tell you may be unpalatable but there are times when you can't choose your friends. Besides, I don't feel any real loyalty to the United States. I'm not really a citizen of any country to tell you the truth. Dragons tend to be wanderers."
"We've heard you've a castle in Italy." Langly interjected from behind.
"Oh, yes, well, Davinci left me his castle in his will. I really just use it for storage space. Dragons tend to collect stuff and I have a lot of stuff." Was her reply.
"Well, dragons and castles go kind of hand in hand, at least that's what all the fairytales I've ever heard have said." Frohike muttered. He still felt uncomfortable. Here they were, shooting the breeze with, go on and say it, Frohike, an honest to God fire breathing dragon. "But I never even attempted to believe any of it. My mistake."
Candace chuckled, "Yes, those stories are misleading for a reason. If your kind was made to believe that we were only a myth, then we wouldn't have any fear of being hunted by a dragonslayer."
Langly shook his head disbelieving, "You guys made all that stuff up, a plant to throw humans off your scent! Who'd've guessed that fairytales were conspiracies! Clever."
"You humans have added on to the fairytales of course. Very imaginatively too. And very gullible." Candace added with a smile playing on her lips. Vatican forbid, but she liked the Lone Gunmen. She could smell their fear and admired them for controlling it enough to chat seemingly in a normal way. Frohike, though, seemed most affected by her. He was terrified of her. She sighed quietly. She knew this might happen if she was to show herself to them. But it happened all the time. Most humans, however, never lived to tell about her existence. After watching their actions closely over the years, she liked to think she knew them. But humans were still so strange to her that she didn't think she'd EVER understand them completely.
"So, where are we going then?" Byers asked.
"Back to DC. My plane's there, you don't even have to pack anything, I can buy all you need once we get to Egypt." Candace said returning her gaze out of the passenger window.
Frohike sighed, "How did you acquire King Tut?"
Candace shrugged, "I knew the man; a horrible way to die. Very generous towards an ever living Goddess such as I was."
"Goddess? Which one?" Langly asked conversationally.
"Isis. They thought that feathered wings were more esthetic than dragon's wings. Goddess of life and death." Candace said monotonously.
"Not a bad occupation." Frohike commented.
Candace snorted, "More like the Goddess of Death. I used my anger to manipulate those with all the power. They would hold great feasts in my honor." She continued with the honest shame she felt seeping through her words. "They would give me hoards of their slaves and transgressors of their law, put them in a huge corral, and I would swoop down on them from my perch atop one of the gold tipped pyramids and pick them off, one by one. I hated humans then. For a long time I honestly thought humans were vermin and I did my best to control the numbers. But… but… I don't believe that anymore." And her voice, now a hollow thing, trailed off into that place of memories you wish you had no way to revive.
Frohike had been from sea to shining sea in America. He'd traversed the wilds of Canada and even sauntered into Mexico a couple of times. But he'd never left the continent of North America. Now, the hammer-like fist of African heat that wrapped around him as he stepped off of Candace's plane made him wonder why he'd broken tradition. He saw a string of white limo's standing at ready and a row of well-dressed gentlemen. He couldn't believe it. Candace had told them what to expect when they landed in the small, out of the way Egyptian airport. Frohike stared; amazed that he was in the presence of the Prime Minister of Egypt Atef OBEID and some of his flunkies.
There was much bowing done by the Prime Minister and his staff and Candace talked back and forth in Arabic with the PM. There seemed to be a minor disagreement but Candace seemed to have gotten her wish, whatever it was. She nodded and the Prime Minister bowed again.
"We get one of the limo's. We're not going to have dinner with his family tonight. We're going straight away to the lab. See if we can catch them there." Candace watched the rest of the limo's depart. She shrugged. Humans and their flaming traditions! This was more important then holding the traditional dinner she received whenever she returned to her homeland. "He wasn't too happy about it. He thinks I'm a national treasure. I am not. I am just me."
The boys piled into the limo's plush trappings. Candace got behind the wheel and peeled out of the airport with the tires kicking up a trail of red dust behind. The boys peered out of the tinted windows, admiring what view they could see. The way was filled with the traditional manner of housing one found in Egypt, the caked brick and stucco. Everything seemed to be white and beige and everything seemed to be wrapped in a wavering heat haze.
On the way, Langly watched as Candace with one hand on the wheel open the black bag she had lugged with her with the other. In it was a laptop, which she flipped open by hardly looking. There was a long cord connected into a port on the portable hard drive and she took the male end of the opposite end and plugged it into the connector behind her ear, directly into her brain. Langly shuddered at the thought. The ultimate hands free, he thought. But that was taking it just too far.
Frohike had no idea how long they had been traveling but at least it was comfortable. There was tea and a kind of cracker thing that was very good. All too soon a building very unlike the kind that they had seen so far, a very large warehouse, which gave the Lone Gunmen a curious homey feel, came into view. It was a massive complex yet it boasted neither sign nor any markings of any kind to identify it.
"Um, won't we be detected?" Langly asked nervously.
"No." She responded with a hint of triumph, "I just hacked into their systems. After all, I was the one who put them there in the beginning, the amateurs. We are invisible out here."
"Someone's trailing us." Byers concerned comment caught everyone's attention.
"What?" Candace demanded angrily.
Byers pointed out the back of the limo's rear tinted window and through their trail of dust, they could see another trail following them.
"Who could that be?" Candace asked more to herself while grinding her teeth agitatedly.
She slammed on the brakes, throwing the boys forward, causing Langly to spill his drink all over the leather interior. The Lone Gunmen looked behind them at the approaching auto. Once the limo rocked to a halt, in her fury, she almost ripped the door from its hinges as she opened it. If it was Avery… she'd flame him, even WITH the Lone Gunmen watching. But as she sniffed the sweltering air, she could sense that Avery was inside the compound with his people. There were two people in the car, she could smell them faintly as their scents leaked from the air conditioner units. No, three. The black car neared them and slowed eventually stopping a few feet behind them. It was shrouded in dust. When the doors opened, their scents hit her full force. Three. A male and a female and… one she couldn't identify. That disturbed her. Her five senses were extremely keen and she prided herself on the learning and memorization of scents. Then she noticed the female was pregnant. That explained the third then. She knew they were also armed, she could smell the gun oil and powder.
"Federal Agents." The male with movie star good looks and sunglasses looked more at home in L.A. than in Egypt. He pulled his wallet out of his trousers pocket and flipped it open, showing his identification. The woman with short red hair and slightly angelic face on the passenger side mimicked him, showing her own I.D. Both had badges hooked onto their belts as well. "Identify yourself." He positioned his hand over the handle of his holstered gun.
F.B.I.? What were they doing here, Candace mused, quirking an eyebrow at their self-important manner. She could flame them both just as easily as if they had been Avery, and she could also survive multiple gunshot wounds to the head and the chest.
"You will call me Candace." She decided to play the game.
"Step away from the vehicle." The woman ordered with her gun already out of the holster.
The passenger doors of the limo opened slowly, the Fed's guns, for the man had pulled his out too, both swung about, pointing at the movement.
"Get out of the limo!" The male barked.
"Jeeze, Mulder! You can put your guns down already. It's us!" Langly's voice came from inside the limo.
"What?" The man now identified as Mulder said with a bewildered look. The woman's face looked just as confused and amazed as the Lone Gunmen slunk out of the limo cautiously and guiltily.
"Well, you did want us to work on that case for you." Frohike began and relaxed a bit more when the agents put their pieces away. "So, what are you doing here?"
"Wait a minute." Mulder took a good look at Candace once more. "THIS is Candace Williams? The one in the file I handed you?"
"It is." Byers nodded primly. "We found her and have discovered something much more… bigger than you could imagine." He finished without letting the agents in on her big secret.
"Mulder." The woman prompted, "We have to get in the warehouse."
"You haven't explained why you two are here." Frohike reminded.
Mulder gave in, "We have been tracking a string of mutilated bodies with organs missing. At first, we thought it was a black market dealer who specialized in body parts, but it all led curiously to Egypt… to this warehouse."
The smirk was wiped from Candace's face when she heard that. "What kind of organs?"
Mulder replied, "Brain and heart. We had thought it was odd that it was just these two that were taken when liver, kidney, and lung are much more sought after. Scully noticed all were done with the same blade that sliced into the skin and the same extraction tool."
Candace glanced a weary eye in the direction of the warehouse over her shoulder.
"When was the last victim discovered?" She asked and looked like she knew something she wasn't about to tell.
Mulder looked across the car at Scully who shrugged, "Two days ago. Why are you interested in this?"
"Then we may not be too late." The dragon said more to herself.
"Too late for what?" Scully demanded.
"They're still testing the initial reactions of the D.N.A. on human tissue. Avery's not a fool after all." She went on.
Mulder didn't hide his surprise, "How did you know the perpetrator's name?"
Candace said most truthfully, "Because I used to work with him. Not by choice."
"Stay here." Mulder ordered them and he and Scully advanced with purpose.
The dragon wasn't about to have that. "And you think they'll listen to you because you have guns? They don't care. They'll be willing to sacrifice a few of their own for their project to succeed. You F.B.I. are so used to hiding behind your guns. I have something they fear more than guns."
"Your socks?" Mulder said glibly and slightly annoyed.
"My breath." And at that, she grinned.
"Gotta vouch for that one, Mulder." Frohike said.
"Why Frohike, you stud." Scully purposefully misinterpreted.
"You'll see." Candace said.
So, Candace had managed to talk her way into leading the lot of them into the complex. No one had been set to watch the door, so sure Avery and his gang were of their superior technical security system. Candace set her nose to the air, sniffing for the location of everyone inside. They were all in the main lab. How handy.
"This way." Candace waved them towards the lab and they had no choice but to follow her. She knew her way around and they didn't. There seemed to be no internal security either. There were only a very few in the Pentagon who knew the warehouse existed. Candace waltzed through with intimate knowledge. It was still extremely hot within. The only air conditioning was in the computer room. They waded through a maze of file cabinets and other methods of storage. It wasn't long before Candace's keen hearing picked up Avery's voice. She picked up the pace and the others did likewise so as not to loose her in the massive maze.
Soon, they came up on the closed door where the lab was located. Mulder and Scully had their weapons out as they cased the area. Now it was Mulder who shooed them all from the door. He pointed to Scully and she put herself in a helpful firing position for when Mulder opened the door. He looked at Scully who nodded her readiness and checked the Lone Gunmen to make sure they'd be out of harms way and to see if Candace was behaving herself. One more heartbeat and Mulder snaked his hand over the doorknob with his back to the wall beside the door, gun poised and ready.
The door opened and Mulder shouted, "F.B.I! Put your weapons down!"
Chaos rained down upon them. There was shouting from inside the room and loud crashing as heavy lab equipment was unceremoniously dropped at their entrance. Suddenly, they were being pelted by glass objects, beakers, test tubes, and such. The shrapnel from these objects sprayed out as they shattered into a million deadly pieces. The agents ducked and raised their arms over their heads as protection. The glinting shards gave way to heavier lab equipment. Mulder and Scully were now in the room, Mulder well into the heart of it by now as Avery and his crew now were hunkered down beside the freezer and as Candace peeked inside, she saw that Avery himself had a hold of one of the vials that had her D.N.A. inside. She entered the room and the bombardment of objects ceased.
"Skymouth." Avery said as he saw her, nervous and fretting. "You can't stop us. There's no need too. We managed to complete the project testing that the General was too squeamish to finish. All we need now is a human volunteer."
Scully was skirting around the main testing table in the center of the room gun drawn and pointed at Avery and company who were concentrating on Mulder and Candace. Candace herself was slowly but steadily approaching the group and the Lone Gunmen gamely peered around the door, keeping them safely under cover. Frohike had his eyes on Scully's movements and Byers and Langly had their attention on Mulder and Candace.
"You will not. I will flame this entire complex with you in it, destroying what you have stolen." Candace felt her anger rise at this human's arrogance. Her eyes flashed and Avery flinched. Candace and Mulder were so intent on Avery that they hadn't noticed that one of Avery's people break away from his hiding place behind one of the cabinets that was behind Scully. But Frohike had been watching Scully and so he was the first one to notice Scully had become a target. He snuck into the room despite being grabbed at by Byers.
Frohike studied the build of the goon against his own and estimated his chances. Well, at least he'd go down fighting. He also saw that he was holding something in his hand. A weapon? That was it. Scully was pregnant and he wasn't going to let some ugly mug harm her. He grabbed onto the larger man from behind and latched onto him in a bear hug.
This startled the man who called out to his fellows. All attention was now suddenly on Frohike and the goon. Scully had spun around, pointing her gun at them, trying to keep it on the bad guy and not on Frohike. But the big man was struggling and leaned forward, lifting Frohike up off the ground. He swung around and Frohike hung on with all he had, pinning the man's arms to his side.
"Scully!" Mulder called, but kept his gun on Avery, though his attention drifted to the struggle on the other side of the room.
"Don't let go of him!" Langly called out from the safety of the door.
Byers clenched his teeth and watched with widening eyes. Candace glanced over once at Frohike and contemplated on the possibility of transforming right there. Then she saw that the man had a syringe in his grip. He continued to whip Frohike about. Frohike felt his grip loosen and he suddenly lost it and was flung to the floor and landed with a thud on his rump.
"Frohike!" Scully called out.
The man, ignoring Scully's gun, gripped the syringe in his hand and leapt upon the prone Frohike. He plunged the point into Frohike's neck and Frohike cried out in pain.
"NO!" Candace screamed and jumped up and over the table in an incredible leap. But she was too late.
The man released the fluid into Frohike in one squeeze. Scully had come up from behind and yanked him off of a now writhing Frohike.
"What was in that vial?" Scully demanded of the grinning man.
"Her D.N.A." Was all he said.
"Frohike!" Candace was now kneeling over the Lone Gunman. Fear was in her voice. What was happening to him?
Frohike had never known pain such as this. He felt like his every vein was on fire, like his blood was now molten. His body jerked in uncontrollable spasms as his pain receivers went into overload. He flopped about like a fish out of water and he started to glow.
"My God." Candace murmured and backed away when she realized what was now going to happen to Frohike. "Everyone, stand back, as far away from him as you can get!"
"What's going on?" Mulder cried out as he inched backwards until his back hit the far wall. Everyone else plastered themselves next to their nearest wall.
Frohike was now enveloped in a ball of light that was all too familiar to Candace. He was changing… changing into the Perfect Being thanks to her D.N.A. He was going to have a rough time of it, she knew as she watched his slow and painful transformation as his humanity was being forcibly merged with that of dragon. Now the light filled the room and blinded everyone. Even Candace had to cover her eyes.
When the light vanished, no one could keep from gawking at what became of Frohike. Where Frohike once stood, now was an almond shaped, armored and shimmering silver being. The light glinted off what looked like wings that were furled up into a sort of mandala that hid the rest of him under the leathern membrane. The wings shivered slightly, a platinum glint shown brilliantly across the mottled surface.
"Frohike. A platinum! What does this mean?" Candace breathed with awe and slowly walked up to the several stories tall computer geek who cowered in the corner. He almost filled up the huge room. Bravely, she stooped under one of his pinions and disappeared into the dark recesses.
Everyone could hear the soft mutterings coming from under the cover of wings from her quietly talking to Frohike. Slowly, almost with visible reluctance, the wings partially unfurled and Candace walked out first while she had a hold of a fistful of a silver, scraggly length of beard and attached to the beard was a metallic platinum muzzle. She led him out. With the air of someone who's seen it all, she calmly walked up to the rest of the group who stood gaping as this towering creature that was now Frohike came closer to them.
"A dragon!" Mulder spoke first, his excitement at seeing such a thing at odds with the concern he felt for his transformed friend.
Scully gawked in disbelief at a terrified Frohike, "That's impossible!"
"Improbable, but not impossible." Candace corrected, "As I'm sure Frohike could tell you."
Frohike ducked his head fearfully. Unaware of his newfound titan-like strength, he dragged Candace backwards across the floor for she still had a hold of his beard. She lost her footing and found herself dangling in the air when he slightly raised his tri-horned head.
"Watch yourselves!" She warned everyone and let go of the beard, dropping to the ground. "You have to be aware of your strength and your size, Frohike. You could accidentally kill someone." She admonished the newborn dragon beside her.
Frohike moaned, a deep, bass sound that sounded like the lowing of a thousand cattle in a cave. Candace patted his platinum nose in sympathy.
Mulder cautiously came up to them, Avery and his gang no longer of any interest. Langly, Byers, and Scully approached them with the same amount of reluctance mixed with concern.
"What happened? How could this be?" Scully wanted answers for throughout her time with Mulder, she thought she had a pretty good grasp on the strange. But this was something new and untoward. "I want answers!"
Candace was silent, like she was listening hard.
"Well?" Scully asked.
"Helicopters." Candace said grimly and placed a hand on Frohike's metallic nose, "You stay here, Melvin the Terrible."
Mulder asked, "What's going on?"
Candace looked the agent in the eye, "We have company."
End Part II: Part III pending.