Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (11/24)

Authors: Erynn and Sally

Archive: Ephemeral, Gossamer, LGM, FLO, all others ask first. 

Rated: R for grownup stuff

Spoilers: We assume you've seen the series. There are some slight spoilers
for the LGM Pilot. This little Gunmenverse takes off from the main line of
the X Files canon universe after 3oaK but before FPS (which happens in this
timeline in early May).

Disclaimers: You know who really owns these guys and the other XF
characters. It ain't us, much as we'd like to. Some characters are blatantly
based on our friends. They made us. (BTW, you guys, you can put down the
red-hot pokers now) Others, we just made up for our amusement. Chapter
opening quotes used without permission. Remember, love not money is the
motivator here -- like anybody would ever pay us for this stuff.

Category: Gunmen action/adventure, humor, angst, a little Langly romance,
and a budding friendship.

Keywords: Lone Gunmen

Summary: It's hacker season. Do you know where your computer is?

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; a vignette wherein the Gunmen begin to deal 
with the repercussions of their adventure. 
TU 4: Alchemy of the Word, by Erynn and Sally; a 17 chapter novella wherein 
words are more important than they seem, and Byers starts to get a life. 
If you haven't read them, you may be confused here. 

Author notes: 
Sally say: Special thanks to pigs in slop. We only want you to be happy. 
Erynn say: I never thought Things Undone would turn into its own little 
universe, but it's been a hell of a lot of fun writing with Sally. Thanks to 
all of you folks who have been enjoying the story and encouraging us to 
write more. You're the greatest. 
______ 

"They that know nothing fear nothing." 

~~Frances E. Willard -- A Wheel Within a Wheel~~ 
______ 

SATURDAY, APRIL 3, 2000 
LONE GUNMEN HQ 
8:00 AM 

LANGLY: 

Oh, man, that was a long night. Mulder wanted to know *all* the hits Black 
Widow's made, and where and when. Piece of cake for guys like us, right? Not 
even -- it's hard, boring work. We did more scouting for Mulder and found 
more stuff. We can date it, but the problem is where it came from, and we 
still can't tell where he is. We tried to nail him again while we were 
online, but he started backtracking us again, and things got freaky. Byers 
made it to about 1 a.m., but he was really fried by then. He would have 
tried to stay up longer, but Frohike made him go to bed. I was tired and not 
having a real good time, and I wished the little troll had made me go to bed 
too. I mean, Deb was zonked; it wasn't like we could do anything, but the 
idea of climbing in bed next to her, feeling her next to me, I was so hungry 
for it. Fro and me finally gave up around 5 a.m. I crawled in next to my 
girl, and it was so awesome. 

"Ringo?" she whispers in my ear. At first I think I'm dreaming, but it's 
such a glorious dream. When I finally wake up, I'm so beat, but there she 
is, right next to me, and it's better than any dream. It may be the only 
time in my life I've really felt like waking up. 

"What time's it?" I'm still pretty muzzy. 

"Around eight." 

I just groan. I doubt this is a good time to tell her I never get up before 
the crack of noon on Saturdays, and that's only if I haven't been drinking 
too much. She leans over and kisses me, real gentle. I think I've died and 
gone to heaven. This is good, because if we're getting up right now, I'm 
gonna be dead on my feet the rest of the day. "What time did you get to bed, 
babe?" She's stroking my hair, and god it's so nice. 

"I think... it was like five or something." Well, that's what Frohike told 
me. He could've been lying. Sometimes he does, if it suits his purposes. 

She runs her hand over my chest, down to my stomach... You go any lower, 
girl, and you better mean it. "Well, if you get three hours, you're usually 
okay. If I can't get three hours, I just stay awake. Better that way." 

Well, she's a lot more macho than I am, what can I say? Younger, too. "You 
slept a long time," I run my hands through her soft hair. She feels 
delicious. 

"Don't worry, I'll be able to use a nap later. I've got lots of sleep to 
catch up on. Thanks for letting me get some." 

"No problem." I lean over and kiss her neck, and she purrs like Cardinal 
Richelieu. 

"Ringo, I have something to tell you, but I didn't want to say it on the 
phone or on line." Oh shit. Those words are usually lethal. If she has a 
boyfriend or a husband or she prefers girls, please, just kill me now and 
get it over with. She must see the look on my face; she laughs. "It's a good 
thing, Ringo!" 

"Shoot." 

She sits up and leans on the headboard. "Back before I even met you, I 
applied for a trauma surgery fellowship. I was notified a few days ago that 
I'd received one." 

"Oh wow, that's great." It is, but if it means I'll see even less of her, 
it's also gonna suck. 

"Guess where?" I've got blurry vision, but you could be blind and still see 
her smiling. 

"Where?" 

"George Washington U, right here in town, and I start in June. I am so 
excited! I was excited to get the fellowship, but when I got it at GWU, I 
was just thrilled... Ringo, what's wrong?" Her face falls and she looks all 
disappointed. 

This wasn't the kind of news I was expecting, and I'm running on empty right 
now. "Nothing, babe. Nothing's wrong." 

"I thought you'd be happy." She's upset; maybe I didn't show the proper 
enthusiasm. 

"Look, babe, I'm real glad that you got the fellowship, and of course I want 
us to be together." 

"So... what's the problem?" 

Time for some major damage control. She's not happy, and if I don't do 
something quick, she's gonna grab her stuff and bail at lightspeed. What am 
I gonna say to her? Byers says I have to tell her the truth. Oh yeah, easy 
for him to say... Okay, maybe it's not so easy. Not like he's got a great 
history either. He was right about the sheets, though; maybe he's right 
about this, too. 

"Ringo?" Time to get my story together here. I take a deep breath. 

"Deb, like, you know what we do, right?" 

"I know that you're a computer consultant, and publish an underground 
newspaper. It's kind of interesting, though I have to say that I can't 
believe you'd buy that alien shit." 

Well, I have proof, but we won't go there. I have more important stuff to 
discuss right now than editorial content. "It's a little more... involved 
than that." 

"In what way? You're not going to tell me you're some kind of spy, are you?" 
She sort of laughs. 

"Actually, in a way, we are." She stops laughing. "You've only seen a couple 
sample issues, and it's been pretty slow the last couple months, but things 
are starting to heat up." 

"What kind of things?" She sounds like she doesn't believe me. 

"You ever heard of Pinck Pharmaceuticals?" 

That gets a good laugh. "Ringo, I'm a doctor, we use their shit all the 
time. It's everywhere. They're a major supplier." 

"Well, what do you really know about them?" 

She stares at me like I'm some kind of moron. " I know that when their 
detail people show up, we all run and hide. But we do love the samples." 
Hmm, samples. I didn't think of that. I'll have to ask her if she gets 
anything good. 

"But what do you know about the company itself?" 

"Ringo, babe, I'm a doctor, not a pharmacist. It's their job to know that." 

"Well, I'm not sure any of the pharmacists at your hospital would know the 
kind of stuff that's really going on there. Actually, we're not even 
entirely sure, which is why we're looking into it." 

"What, are they spiking their Viagra analogue with saltpeter?" I really need 
to get her to listen. 

"Hey, if it was just that, Frohike'd be the only one suffering. No. We got 
this friend. Well, she's Byers' bud, but she's me and Fro's bud too; her 
name's Sari Thomas, and she works at the Sierra Club, which is where we're 
consulting right now." 

"Hey, that's great." Okay, now she's gonna take me seriously. I forgot; 
she's not a dropout like me. Credibility counts with this chick. So be 
credible, you idiot. 

"Actually, the reason we're there is because a few weeks ago, Sari was 
preparing a white paper to present to a Senate subcommittee on some of the 
really ugly shit Pinck's been doing. Seems that our pals at Pinck have been 
engaging in some covert genetic experiments." 

"Ringo, go to any medical school, there are a hundred genetic experiments 
going on, and 'covert' is in the eye of the beholder. They refer to it as 
'proprietary,' and they keep a lid on it so they can patent processes, 
drugs, and organisms." 

"How many of these experiments get funded by pharmaceutical companies?" 

"Lots. Which admittedly doesn't always make for good research, but I'm not 
all that interested in research unless it's patient-based. I'm a clinician. 
I like being in the trenches, and I only do as much research as I have to." 

"How many projects does Penn have funded by Pinck?" 

"That's easy to find out, we just check the research database. I have a 
password." Cool, that saves some time. "But why are you so interested in 
Pinck?" 

"Because some of the stuff Pinck's done has been a hell of a lot less than 
kosher, and I don't think they've changed their evil ways." 

"Why does this surprise you about pharmaceutical companies? To physicians, 
they're a necessary evil, but it's not as if they're out to destroy us." 

"Yeah, well, they're out to destroy anyone who doesn't think too highly of 
their research." 

"Sniping at each other in journal articles is just the way things get done, 
Ringo." 

"If that was all they'd done, we wouldn't be working at Sierra." 

"So what did they do?" 

"Took out the entire computer system. SCI got slashed, poisoned and burned 
big time." I'm sitting up now. 

"Pinck did that?" She doesn't quite believe it. 

" Pinck doesn't want to do their own dirty work. They hired somebody. A 
hacker. And he's a mean one. Remember Byers' friend Sari? He started small, 
hit her home system first. He figured if he hit hard enough, the Club 
wouldn't have time to pull it together for the hearing, and she'd be ruined 
too. But she went ahead and made the presentation, and you know what? She 
got 'em with their pants down, and now she's getting Congressional support, 
even from a few of the most free-market conservatives there. So Pinck got 
mad and got even, and fried some bigger fish to do it, namely, SCI's 
computers." 

"How bad was it?" 

"Bad enough that we're in the catbird seat for the next few months. It was 
ugly and they're paying some serious bucks for us to de-uglify it. The guy 
didn't just hit the main office, he took out a bunch of regionals in the 
Midwest, too, near some critical Pinck test fields; ground zero for a sudden 
spike in human and animal birth defects." 

"Do you know who did it?" 

"Only by his nym. We been trying to get this guy for years. So's the FBI, 
but we're way ahead of 'em; we always are. The problem is, he's tricky. He's 
got damn good kung fu." And it's pissing me off, too. I know I'm a sore 
loser, but I won't be a loser long. We are so gonna nail his ass. 

"Are you saying that you...you're a hacker?" I've got my glasses on now and 
I can watch her face. She looks kinda confused. 

Time for the moment of truth. "Yeah, we are, and it's not very safe." 

"How so?" 

"Well, okay. You remember I told you about Timmy Landau, the guy that messed 
me all up?" 

"Seeing as that's how we met, I could hardly forget." 

"Well, it's a real long and complicated story about how it all came down. 
He's part of it. I'll tell you all about it later, but Pinck's the issue 
right now." 

" All right, so Pinck, you theorize, is hiring someone to trash the 
opposition's computers." 

"I don't think, I know. And he's tracking us while we're trying to track 
him, and that could get nasty. If Pinck's bankrolling him, well, it's not 
our first run-in with them. We know what they can do. We damn near bought it 
last time we got close to them." 

She just shakes her head. "This is incredible. You say you have proof?" I 
nod. "Would you be willing to show it to me?" 

"I will, but I just gotta warn you, if you stick around with a loser like 
me, this is the kind of stuff that happens. The reason I got so weird when 
you said you were gonna be local, it's not 'cause I don't want you around 
me; I want that more than anything. I just don't want you getting hurt 
'cause of what I do. That's what scares me." 

"So you do want to be with me." 

"Jesus, Deb, all I been doing is counting the minutes until you got here, 
'til I could hold you for real. I just... I don't want anything to happen to 
you." 

"Ringo, babe. Look at me." I'd do that anytime, request or no. "I'm an 
emergency medicine physician, and I'm going to do trauma surgery. You don't 
do that kind of work if you're a wimp." 

"You're not a wimp, babe." Hell, that's the last thing I think about her. 
"But like, what if they discover you're my girlfriend and they decide to get 
to me by doing something to you?" 

"I don't think that would happen, Ringo. I tend to be in very protected 
environments." 

She's a smart girl, but way too trusting. I gotta break her of some of that. 
" Lemme show you some of the shit this guy's already pulled, and then we'll 
visit the Penn research database, okay?" 

Now I get a smile. "Only if we eat first." Hmm, a woman after my own heart. 
Food as a priority. 

I can't cook for shit, and neither of the guys are up, so after I let her 
get the first shower, I take a fast one and we head out to Gogie's. Gogie's 
is cheap and good and best of all, the tables are real private. They might 
be hideous orange and purple -- Gogie's doesn't know the fifties ended a 
while back -- but they do block a lot of sound. This is frustrating if 
you're trying to listen in on a Congresscritter's conversation, but great if 
you wanna talk about stuff with your girl. 

She's been real quiet on the way over, but she did let me drive her car. I 
think she took one look at the van and Frohike's boat, and decided we should 
take her car. It's got a nice CD player. We put on the Plimsouls on the way 
over. It's cool she likes the Plimsouls. "You okay?" I ask her after we put 
in our orders and start in on the gallon of coffee the waitress left for us. 
She didn't even ask; I think she took one look at us and decided we needed a 
jumpstart. 

"I'm fine." 

"So what's on your mind?" 

She looks up at me. "It's taken me so long to find someone I feel 
comfortable talking to, who doesn't get weirded out because of my strange 
schedule, and doesn't get all bummed because I can't keep my eyes open 
sometimes. I'm not going to give that up just because you think your line of 
work is dangerous." 

"Deb, babe, I know it is. That's what I'm tryin' to tell ya. You think 
that's the first time I was in an ER?" 

"Obviously not," she sounds kind of dry. "You've got quite a few old 
injuries." 

"Yeah, well, okay, some of 'em I got skiing, but these days we're getting 
messed up an awful lot. I don't want it happening to you. It scares me half 
to death." 

"Ringo, I think you're being too paranoid." 

"'No matter how paranoid you are, you aren't paranoid enough.'" 

She laughs. "Oh, that's a cute one. Did you make that up yourself?" 

"No. Old acquaintance of ours. Well, I said I'd tell you about it. It 
started in '89, in Baltimore." By the time I've told her how it all began, 
the breakfast crowd's gone and the lunch crowd's moved in. 

"You sure you're not making any of this up?" 

"Okay, yeah, it sounds incredible, but that's really how it happened." I 
still don't think she quite gets it. I don't blame her, sometimes I have 
trouble believing how it all went down, too. "You can ask the guys. They'll 
tell you." 

She takes my hand in hers. "I do believe you. It's just... it's just so 
strange." 

"Yeah, well, it gets stranger. What time's it?" 

"Almost noon." 

"Oh, shit. I forgot to tell you: Sari Thomas, she's doing a poetry reading 
this afternoon. She invited all of us, you included. You wanna go?" 

She gives me a big smile. "You keep surprising me, Ringo. A poetry reading? 
I'd love to." I thought she might. She studied Latin poetry as a classics 
major. I love it when she talks Latin to me; I get really hot. She says I 
keep surprising her. Well, I just hope these are the worst surprises she 
gets. Me, I hate surprises. 

We hop into her car and head for the Soylent Bean. 

End part 11

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