Title: Things Undone 4: Alchemy of the Word, part 12
Authors: Erynn & Sally
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, LGM, FLO, all others ask first so we know where we're being kept.
Rated: R for grownup stuff
Spoilers: We assume you've seen the series
Category: Gunmen -- angst, humor, a little romance
Summary: Sometimes words are more important in our lives than we think.
Stories in the Things Undone series:
Things Undone, by Erynn; a 5-part story wherein the Gunmen deal with some unfinished business.
TU 2: Mending the Tears, by Sally; a 6-part story wherein Fro and Langly go to the ER.
TU 3: To Carry On, by Erynn; wherein the Gunmen begin to deal with the repercussions of their adventure.
Disclaimers: We don't own the boys, but we sure wish we did. They and the other characters from the series are owned instead by The Powers That Be at Fox and 1013, the boys were created by Morgan & Wong, and they're all controlled by the folks at The X Files and The Lone Gunmen series. Other characters are ours, some of whom are blatantly based on people we know, frequently at their request. Don't blame us, we're being coerced. Quotes from Rimbaud are used without permission. Deepest thanks to Mel, our Tech Consultant Queen and resident cartoonist.
"Without being dazed, let us evaluate the extent of my innocence."
~~Rimbaud -- A Season in Hell~~
MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2000
LONE GUNMEN HQ
When we get back from the med center, Frohike falls into bed after only a
little bitching, and I check my email. Yes! Deb wrote me again! Her response
to "people" was "together." Oh, yeah! I wish we were. I like the way this is
going. 'Together' is such a great word. I answer 'please,' 'cause I really
wish she was here right now. I want her so bad. But I've gotta get to work
shuffling through Sari's computer, because it'll probably be a while before
I get a response from Deb, and somebody has to do it while Byers is out of
I hook up her box to a keyboard and monitor, isolated from our systems in
case of nasty virii. We practice safe computing around here. Damn, this
really is a mess. But I can see that Byers has already done a hell of a lot
with the system. There's a heavy set of virtual viral nastiness here worthy
of my own talents. Whoever did this has some hot kung fu, but mine's still
the best. Too bad the guy's doing idle destruction instead of taking on The
Man, like me and the guys. What we do is pretty damn dangerous sometimes,
but when we score big, it's such a rush. Even our Narcboy Byers gets excited
over a really good hack and crack session sometimes. The adrenaline high is
totally incredible. There's nothing like it on the planet, except maybe a
bungee jump, or... Deb...
Focus, Lord Manhammer, focus.
My nap wasn't long, but I certainly needed it. I'm feeling vaguely human
again when I make my way out to the office, where Langly is actually working
on Sari's computer. "It's a miracle," I say to him.
"Fuck you too, Fro. Feeling better?" He doesn't even look up. Must be an
"Yeah, thanks." I yawn and stretch, then head for the kitchen and make some
coffee and a sandwich. Breakfast was lovely, but it was a few hours ago, and
I need a little fortification before checking out our houseguest and working
on the frame for her ex. Damn, I hate that bastard. It's not just because I
hate men who hit women. It's got a lot to do with him messing up one of my
boys, too. Nobody messes with them except me. Well, okay, Mulder and Scully.
Life wouldn't be the same without our favorite fibbies. I'll have to give
them a call later. Wonder if they've turned anything up?
I sit at the keyboard with my lunch, and Langly looks over at me. "Hey,
where's mine?" he whines.
"You got two arms again, make your own." He sticks his tongue out at me, but
gets up and goes to fix his own lunch. Another miracle.
Ah well, time to get started on my first task for the day: Sarasvati Thomas.
I pull up the basics first; DMV records, employment history, medical
records, credit history, court documents -- easy to find personal
information. It seems that our guest and erstwhile employer was born in
Oregon in 1962, has two siblings named Devi and Krishna (poor guy), and
married her abusive ex in 1995. Her parents are both academics, mom a
Sanskrit linguist and dad a professor of Asian Philosophy. I suppose that
would explain the names. She's got a BS in Environmental Studies and an MFA
in Poetry, both with honors. Interesting combination. She's a member of
several book and music clubs. Owns a tiny place just outside of Portland in
addition to her apartment out here. Two parking tickets, both paid. One
arrest while at Reed, for trespassing. The info says she chained herself to
a bunch of other people around a tree as part of an Earth First! action in
the Willamette National Forest. Not bad. That means she's got an FBI file
somewhere. I'll have to have Mulder look into it. She worked as a volunteer
escort at a women's health clinic for two years while studying at Antioch.
Works a lot at food banks. Spent a year in some Hindu ashram outside of
Benares, India. No funky finances. She's published some poetry books and an
amazing selection of articles on a lot of subjects, from politics and
natural history to an analysis of the Kama Sutra (ooh, baby), as well as a
variety of essays. Won quite a few poetry prizes too. Seems like our guest
is a real hotshot in her spare time.
The biggest parts of her history are the court and medical records
surrounding her abuse, divorce, and subsequent years of trying to keep Barry
Guertzen from killing her. She's been in and out of the hospital like a yoyo
since 96, when she moved out. A dozen broken bones, at least, including a
fractured skull. Damn. Byers got off lucky with a damaged eye and a minor
concussion. No wonder she's been so worried about him. Sari's been in and
out of shrink offices over the years too, but that doesn't really surprise
me. She's pretty damn together for a woman who's been through what she has.
Astonishingly, unless the FBI file on her reveals something really strange
that nobody else knew about, our Ms. Thomas is clean as a whistle. Not even
a whiff of secrecy or conspiracy about her. I don't think I've seen a
cleaner personal history in years. Looks like my day for miracles. It also
looks like my guts were right. This woman is no Mata Hari, thank God.
"Hey, Langly, check this out." He's returned with his lunch and leans over
my shoulder at my amassed information.
"Impressive," he says through a mouthful of BLT. "Almost too good to be
I chuckle. He's right, of course. But those traffic tickets and the protest
arrest attest to the fact that she's quite human, as has seeing her around
Byers. And the ex puts her firmly in the realm of the real. "No shit,
Blondie. But real enough. I'm gonna ask Mulder to check for an FBI file on
her later today, though. That'll be the last thing I need to see on her.
Seems like, aside from the ex, she's pretty safe to be around."
"Yeah," Langly says, "aside from the ex. I doubt that Byers would say she's
safe to be around." He rolls his eyes. Well, there is that. But we're taking
care of that particular annoyance. At least then Byers will be safe with
her. He really needs someone to help him get over Susanne. She may not be
hot for him -- yet -- but I still think that Byers has it bad for her.
There's definitely something between the two of them, even if they only just
met. After all, it only took a look in the eyes for Byers to get lost in
Frohike dug up a lot on Sari's history, but she's like so clean she
practically glows in the dark. Kinda spooky, really. We just don't meet
people like that in our business. She seems for real to me, though. I can't
really imagine it being a coverup for anything. I'm working on her computer
again, almost done destroying the virus complex, when my email goes off.
It's the Deb Song! Time to see what my private doctor prescribes. I pull up
her email and read 'beg.' Oh, God, she's gonna drive me crazy. What should I
say next? Words, man. They are like so powerful. And she's got me on my
knees with that one.
LATER THAT EVENING
"I cancelled out on dinner with my mother for this, I'll have you know," I
chide Mulder as we pull up to an empty space near the Lone Gunmen's HQ.
Secretly, I'm relieved. Bill's in town for the night, and I'm happy to skip
the latest in the family melodrama. But why pass up a perfectly good chance
to guilt Mulder?
"And I'm supposed to feel bad about this?" he asks. Well, it was worth a
"I was hungry." The truth is, I'm starving, having spent my lunch hour
working on this Barry Guertzen thing. I only had a cup of yogurt and I'm
ready for some real food.
"Shouldn't be a problem. Frohike's usually got something good working in the
"Mulder, you can't just invite yourself to stay for dinner."
"Sure I can. Besides, when they see what we have for them, they're going to
"Mulder, I can understand why the Bureau might be interested in this man,
but why the guys? This RICO stuff isn't really what they deal with,
certainly not on any direct level. And wouldn't that be 'owe us'?"
"Let's just say, it's payback time."
Yes, but for who? Frohike greets us with "you want to get through security,
you have to get through me first." When he lets us in, I note that the lair
is slightly neater than usual. It's still a disaster, but there seem to be
fewer crushed cans, empty beer bottles, and crusting plates left lying
around. It's about on par with Mulder's apartment. It hasn't looked this
clean, relatively speaking, since January, when the guys' lives went to
hell. I don't know who did this, because Byers is still at GWU, and he'd be
in no shape to do this even if he were here.
"Where's the blonde bombshell?" Mulder has noticed, as have I, the lack of
"His turn to babysit Byers."
"So what's cooking, Frohike?"
"Excuse me, do I look like Julia Child?" Frohike demands. I almost burst out
laughing. Frohike as Julia Child; now that's an image.
"No, you're uglier." Mulder's lack of manners is appalling, but I remind
myself, I am now in that scariest of alternate universes, the Guy Zone.
"You're in luck. I roasted a chicken with sage stuffing. Agent Scully, would
you care for some?"
"Frohike, you're a god among men." He looks embarrassed, but pleased at the
compliment. For a long time, I felt Frohike was no more than an odd,
paranoid, dirty old man. He is that, but he's also one of the best friends
one could ever hope to have. And he can cook, too.
"Just a moment, let me see if our guest is ready. Sari?" he calls. An
unusual name. I think it's the one Byers kept saying last night.
As I approach the table, I notice a large ginger cat occupying the tool
cabinet that passes for a sideboard. I'm allergic to cats, so I don't
approach. Mulder, however, goes over to it and scratches its ears. "Well,
well, if it isn't Cardinal Richelieu, waiting to move in for the kill," he
says. It purrs appreciatively. It's got a good engine -- I can hear it
across the room.
"Cardinal Richelieu has no taste," I comment to Mulder, joking.
"Actually, he's very discriminating, and not fond of strangers, but for some
reason, he and Mulder seem to have hit it off." I turn my head to see a
tall, slender, dark haired woman entering the room. She walks over to me,
extending her left hand. "Hi, I'm Sari Thomas."
"Dana Scully," I say, shaking her hand. Her fingers are thin and light, but
her grip is confident. Her voice has a certain bearing as well; pleasant,
well-modulated, authoritative, as though she spends a lot of her life behind
a microphone. I wonder if she's staying here. If so, she's a braver woman
than I'll ever be. I spent a night here once, and ended up handcuffed to the
wheel of Frohike's gas guzzling gunboat, with Esther Nairn pointing my own
gun at me. Not an experience I'm eager to repeat.
The dining table in the lair is circular and worn. Probably a leftover from
the same whorehouse where they got that disgusting red sofa. I'm always
nervous about sitting there. God knows who's been on it and what they've
done there. Sari sits at my left and Frohike at my right, with Mulder facing
me. Mulder seemed a bit put out when Frohike took one of the chairs closest
to me. But it gives me a chance to get to know Sari a little better. I learn
that she's an environmental lobbyist, and has been preparing a white paper
to present to a Senate subcommittee later this week. Apparently the boys got
involved when her computer was hacked. I also learn that Barry Gertzen is
her ex-husband. I ask the obvious question, if she thinks he was involved in
the hack. She's not certain, but after a moment she says no. "So why we are
investigating him?" I ask.
"I'd rather discuss that privately, after dinner, " she replies.
Talking to Sari, unlike most individuals I've interviewed, is surprisingly
easy. She's forthcoming and direct, two qualities in short supply in our
lives. It's refreshing to have an intelligent conversation with a literate,
insightful woman. Our talk relates mostly to her work and the work that the
boys are doing for her and then a brief history of how she met Byers, and
where. She understands that I will be checking everything she tells me, but
I don't get the sense that she's hiding things. The only break in her
composure comes when we talk about her ex and how he had beaten her and
Byers. She'd come to dinner wearing a loose shirt with long, full sleeves
and no sling, but it hadn't taken me long to see that her right arm was
cast, and from the swollen, bruised state of her fingertips I knew the
injury was recent. Asshole. I'd kill him if I could. The guys are my
friends. I don't take their abuse lightly.
"I saw Byers last night, after you'd been discharged," I tell her.
"Do you think he'll be all right?" She has good control, but exhaustion and
worry are taking their toll on her. There's an unhappy edginess in her
"From reading his charts and talking to his surgeon, I believe he'll recover
fully. Assuming, of course, that he doesn't try to get on his feet too
"He's such a sweet guy, Dana. I barely know him, but he's done more for me
than most of the friends I've had for years. I hate to see him hurt like
this." She sounds like she's about to cry. I take her hand.
"That's Byers, all right. Always the first to put his ass on the line for
someone else. He'll be alright, Sari, don't worry. Now, I don't know what
your long-term plans are, and I'm sure you have instructions from your
doctor, but my prescription for you right now is to call it a night and get
"I have work to do," she protests. She doesn't know I've worked with Mulder
for eight years. Believe me, I'm a pro when it comes to this kind of
"Your only work tonight is to make yourself comfortable, get into bed, and
sleep. You've been through a lot, and you need to get better."
"I can't rest, not with everyone else working so hard on my behalf..."
"Sari, this is what we do. Honestly, you're in the best hands with these
guys. And in addition to having a lot of useful skills, they have the best
hearts in the world. You're safe here." I'd love to be able to guarantee her
safety from her ex for the rest of her natural life. And maybe what Mulder
and I found today can help her have that.
end part 12