Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (15/24)

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. 
______ 

"Dense with portents, 
It is a labyrinth 
Of furtive curves 
And endless branching" 

~~Heather Allen -- The Gift of Tongues~~ 
______ 

SUNDAY, APRIL 4, 2000 
LONE GUNMEN HQ 
LATE NIGHT/EARLY MORNING 

FROHIKE: 

"I'm going to walk Sari down to her car," Byers announces to me. 

"Make sure you put a jacket on, it's cold out there," I remind him. 

I hear Sari say to him when they think I'm not paying attention, "Is he 
always this bad?" 

Byers chuckles and says, "No, he's usually much worse." Well, somebody has 
to keep these kids in line, and it seems the task has fallen to me. So what 
if Langly makes clucking noises at me when I remind him to dress warmly, or 
watch the stairs, or ask if someone needs to use the facilities before we 
leave. If I didn't do it, nobody would. My present Herculean labor is to get 
Blondie's sorry ass awake. If he thinks I'm going to take pity on him just 
because his chickadee's asleep in the next room, he's got another thing 
coming. Well okay, I will take pity on him. Later. Right now, we've got a 
situation on our hands, and he's supposed to be monitoring. I make up a full 
pot of espresso, God's gift to the night owls of the world. For Langly, I 
add a dollop of caramel and streak it with some steamed milk. 

"Dude, wake up." I shake his shoulder. 

"G'way," he mumbles, not bothering to open an eye. 

"I've got a caramel macchiato for you," I trill at him, trying to tempt him. 

"No." He swats at me like I'm a fly, or a particularly annoying mosquito. 
"G'way." 

Okay, time for some hardball. "Langly, you can drink it, or I'll pour it 
over your nads. Your choice." 

Highly unkind, but I get the desired result. He begins to stir, pushing 
strands of hair from his face. "You know, you're a real asshole, Frohike." 

"Thank you." I take it as a compliment. He sits up, adjusts his glasses, and 
takes the steaming mug of macchiato from me. "Byers back yet?" 

"Nope. Probably still with his chickadee." The front door closes. 

"She is *not* my 'chickadee!'" Byers snaps at us. Both Langly and I are 
completely punchy, and burst out laughing. He can deny it all he wants, but 
his face turns bright red when we tease him. That's the fun thing about 
hassling Byers -- getting a rise out of him. 

"Oh, relax, Byers. Don't get your shorts in a bunch." He should know we're 
just jerking his chain. It's how we show him we care about him. 

"If you must know, we were just talking," he asserts grumpily. I'm sure they 
were. Right. After they've been snuggled up on the sofa for how many hours 
now? He glares at Langly. "Not all of us are completely hormone-driven." 
Yeah, Byers. Then how do you account for your obsession with Susanne? 

Langly's sipping his macchiato, still half-asleep. "Huh? Did I do something 
here?" 

The phone rings again. "It's gotta be Mulder. Or some telemarketer who 
really wants to hit a new low in obnoxiousness." I grab it. "Lone Gunmen, we 
deliver." 

"Good, because I'm at the County Extension Office. You guys ready to pull 
out your magic bag of tricks?" It's Mulder. He sounds fine. "Scully found 
Jackson, did she call you?" 

"She did. Langly, ready for some action?" 

"Uh, yeah, sure." He's still not completely conscious, but he was the one 
that insisted he could pull this job off in his sleep. Now let's see if he 
can put his money where his mouth is. 

"Once you're inside, turn off your cell phone," I warn Mulder. "Don't want 
anyone tracking you from the radio waves." 

"It's not cellular, it's PCS." He's obviously watched way too many Sprint 
commercials. There was this guy who did one a while back that sounded a lot 
like him. Then again, I'd had quite a few beers when I heard it, so it could 
have been my imagination. 

"Like that makes a difference. Leave it off unless you actually want your 
ass nailed. Langly?" 

He holds up two fingers. "Two minutes." 

"You weren't followed, were you?" 

"Don't think so. I kept checking. Fortunately, the weather's bad enough that 
anyone with anything resembling sanity stayed in tonight." 

"Which is why you're out in it." 

"Frohike, you're a cruel man." 

"Just stating the obvious, dude." 

"One minute," Langly calls out. Byers is standing behind him, watching me. 

"Okay, get ready to go in." 

"Thirty seconds." 

"That's it. Call us when you're out." I hang up without waiting for another 
Mulderism or complaint, which means I move fast. And he'd better, too. We 
drink more espresso and wait. The phone rings about ten minutes later, but 
it's not Mulder, it's Sari, letting us know that she's arrived home safely 
and that the Cardinal is protesting her late arrival -- loudly. I can hear 
my kitty-boo screeching over the phone. I'm glad she called; she didn't look 
good to drive, and we don't need any more people in danger than we've got 
already. 

"Byers, go to bed," I order him. It's late, and he needs to rest. He's got 
another appointment Monday. If he's a good boy, he might be released to 
watch TV and read large type, and part of being a good boy is getting enough 
rest; something he's not been doing recently. His doctor's been saying he 
isn't recovering quite as fast as he should. 

"I'm not really tired," he states as he sips his latte. I can smell the 
nutmeg from here. 

"Man, you should take him up on it," Langly yawns. "I would." 

"You've still got work to do, boy," I remind him. 

"So like if I get my eye all banged up, does that get me out of it?" he 
asks, teasing. 

"Maybe." The phone rings. It's got to be Mulder. I let Byers take the call. 
He puts the speakerphone on so that we can all hear, and I watch as his face 
turns pale. The call is brief, but the message is clear: Mulder's got the 
data from the County Extension Office. He's obviously had no time to examine 
the specifics of the documents, but he says it's ugly, even uglier than we 
thought. 

Andover Community Medical Center is about a forty-minute drive from the 
Extension Office, so once again, we wait. Byers lies down on the red couch, 
but doesn't look like he's planning to sleep. Langly puts his head down 
again; espresso just isn't working its magic for him. "I just wanna go to 
bed," he groans. 

"I don't think your chickadee's going to provide much action right now," I 
comment. 

"Who said anything about action? I need *sleep.*" Byers and I both flash 
each other a look and grin. 

"Boy, one shot and she wore you out," I can't resist teasing Blondie. I 
can't really resist teasing either of them, but Byers took such offense at 
my last potshot that I'm laying off him for a while. This has nothing to do 
with charity, and everything to do with not wanting to deal with one of his 
rare but intense temper tantrums. 

"Go fuck yourself Frohike, you're the only one that will," Ringo mutters 
back, eyes closing, head on his arms on the desktop. 

We're going to have some dead time here. I owe Ms. Scarlett an email. I'm 
still debating as to what to say to her. "Dear Mel, just a normal day at the 
office: a few government conspiracies, a pharmaceutical company cover-up, 
someone in mortal danger, a little running and hiding." Hmm, I wonder how 
that would go over. Deborah seemed rather ill at ease once she saw what 
really happens here. I hope she's not going to be so upset that she decides 
that Langly isn't worth the trouble. The truth is, I haven't seen him this 
happy in all the time I've known him. Hell, I wouldn't mind finding some 
happiness of my own. The problem is that in our universe, happiness is 
rather more problematic than usual, and much more elusive. Still, it'll kill 
a half an hour at least, just trying to think of what to say. Langly conks 
out, and my intentions of writing Ms. Scarlett are tossed by the wayside 
when I discover that Byers is suddenly in a loquacious mood. 

"I'm really worried about this," he says softly. "I hope Nicole and Scully 
get here safely." 

"Scully knows what she's doing," and she does, but I share his concern. "We 
just have to wait for Mulder to get in at Andover, and get out, preferably 
in one piece and with all the documentation." 

"From what Sleeping Beauty described, Andover's going to be a little 
trickier than the Extension Office," he points at Langly, now conked out and 
breathing the slow, even breaths of one who's truly exhausted. 

"I've looked it over as well, and yeah, it's a bit more involved than the 
Extension, but nothing we can't handle. The only real problem will be if the 
labs are guarded by live bodies. From what we could gather, though, there's 
only one security guard at the information desk and one in the emergency 
department. They're mighty trusting in the Midwest." 

"Which is probably why Pinck decided to take up roots there. If they were in 
New Jersey, for example, they would be subject to greater scrutiny." 

"True." New Jersey is the pharmaceutical company capitol of North America, 
which accounts for all the uniquely colored rivers and lakes there. 
Regulation's lax, and tax breaks abundant, but they do monitor one another; 
not in the name of public safety, but in the interest of finding out each 
other's corporate secrets. "Wichita isn't exactly where you think of when 
you think high tech and biotech research. It's got a fairly limited economic 
base, so it's no wonder Pinck was welcomed with open arms by the city 
fathers. Good jobs, better tax base, it must have seemed like a win all the 
way around." 

"Once again proving that things are not what they seem." A shadow passes 
over Byers' face. "Which brings up Black Widow." We haven't been following 
Black Widow tonight. We've got other, more pressing concerns at hand. We'll 
catch him. I just hope it's in my lifetime, and that finding him doesn't end 
anyone's. "Everything seems to point to him being in Arizona, but we're 
obviously missing something." 

"We don't have any more information to go on at this point." 

"Perhaps there'll be something in what Mulder and Scully have found that 
will lead us to him." 

"Don't hold your breath." 

"I'm not, but..." the phone jars us again. I take it this time, instructing 
Byers to do the impossible and raise Langly from the dead. "What's up?" 

"Let's go, guys. I don't have much time." 

"You got guards around there?" 

"Only one in the lobby, but they've got two outside the lab, and that's 
weird, because for the most part, this place is easier to get into than a 
7-11." 

"Hang on. We might be able to locate a ventilation duct." Mulder's going to 
need an alternate route. "Blondie, get with the program. How can Mulder get 
in the lab?" 

"Tell him to use the fucking door," Langly groans. "Piece of cake to 
disable." 

"Little harder to disable the two linebackers standing outside it." 

"Fuck." Langly gets the architectural plans of the building, which we pulled 
up earlier this evening. We locate an air conditioning shaft that he might 
fit through, assuming he didn't overindulge in airline food. Mulder's the 
only person I know who doesn't mind airline food. Then again, he liked 
cafeteria mystery meat when he was growing up. It really does make me wonder 
if he's actually of this world. Langly talks Mulder through to the entrance 
of the shaft, and Byers and I are sweating right there with him. I hope he 
went in the right one. The agreement is that once he's inside the shaft, 
we'll break contact again, resuming it when he emerges... he's inside. "Can 
I go to bed now?" Langly whines. 

He really does look tired, and he's done enough heavy lifting for tonight. 
"Go on, curl up with your chickadee," I admonish him, and he stumbles off, 
still semi-comatose. 

"You going to let him sleep in tomorrow?" Byers asks me when he's 
disappeared into his room and into the arms of his beloved. 

"Yeah, I'm gonna let him sleep. I just hope she doesn't leave him before he 
gets up. Deborah seemed pretty tetchy about everything by the end of the 
night." 

"It's scary," Byers nods. Now if that's not the understatement of the 
millennium. "I worry about having brought Sari into all this too, all the 
time." 

"She's a really together lady." Which she is. "I think she understands the 
implications of what we do. That's where I'm concerned about Deborah, 
though. I don't think it's clear to her yet." And oh Christ, I hope she 
doesn't have to learn the hard way. That might be too much for her, and if 
she left, it would mangle Blonde Boy about like Byers was after Mata Hari 
jumped ship. 

"I know, and she says she's used to danger. But I don't think her friend 
Nicole is." He tenses up whenever Nicole's name is mentioned. The buzzer 
rings. It must be Scully and Ms. Jackson. Now I'm nervous. It's 
oh-dark-thirty in the morning, and I look like shit. Then again, Scully's 
seen me at this hour, utterly inebriated and an emotional wreck, so perhaps 
a little stubble won't offend her. 

"Scully, are you all right? You must be Nicole Jackson. I'm Melvin Frohike. 
You can just call me Frohike," I say to the tall, well-endowed woman 
standing to her right. 

"I'll be fine, as soon as I use the facilities." Scully makes a mad dash 
toward the bathroom, and Byers comes over, offering to take Ms. Jackson's 
coat. She declines. 

"I'm freezing," she says, now shaking violently. Poor kid. It must have been 
one hell of a night for her. I suspect she's about to snap. 

"Could we get you something? A cup of tea, maybe? It would help warm you 
up." Byers offers solicitously. 

"No... I just... need a moment to... pull myself together." Ms. Jackson's 
voice is barely a squeak, in sharp contrast to her earthy, voluptuous 
appearance. She's really tasty. 

"I'm sure it's been a very difficult night," I say to her gently. 

"Um... not to speak badly of my rescuer, but... um... have you ever driven 
with her?" She shudders, drawing her coat more tightly around her. Byers and 
I chuckle. 

"We've had the privilege, if not necessarily the pleasure," I inform her. 
She seems to relax a little. 

"Frohike? I need to talk to you." Agent Scully, slightly disheveled and 
totally exhausted, but looking as tasty as ever, motions me towards her. I 
leave Byers to comfort and entertain our guest. 

"Sari insisted I call her when you arrived," Byers says. "She's anxious to 
talk to you." I can see Nicole's shoulders loosen and relax at this news. "I 
know she's been very worried about you." He pulls up a desk chair for her, 
and she sits down. 

"I don't think she's quite used to your Mario Andretti style of driving," I 
say softly to Scully as we head into the TV room. 

"Believe me, I wouldn't have pulled that out of the bag unless I had to. We 
were followed." She looks very grave. I can feel my blood pressure elevate. 
This is not good news. "I lost them before we got within five miles of 
here." That still doesn't reassure me. 

"What'd you do?" 

"About 110 in a cloverleaf. They'll be stuck there for hours." A small, 
malicious grin slips over her lips, but it's gone in a hurry. "Has Mulder 
checked in?" 

"He should be calling in from Andover soon. Already been to County 
Extension, went off like silk." Her expression is one of relief, but shifts 
rapidly back to concern. "Andover was a little trickier." 

"Frohike, I don't like it when you things like say that." 

"None of us do. The problem was that there were guards at the lab in what's 
otherwise a very open facility. We had to get him down an air conditioning 
shaft." 

The idea amuses her a bit, but once again, it doesn't last. She pulls up her 
briefcase and opens it. I was expecting the manila envelope, but the small 
stuffed dog is a bit of a surprise. I almost say Scully, you shouldn't have, 
but then I notice the little dog has a ribbon on its neck reading 'Topeka 
State Fair.' "That's how we found her," Scully explains. "She was going to 
take it with her to her safe house, but dropped it, which was actually quite 
fortuitous. She says there's something inside." 

"Well, you're the doctor." 

She winces. "There's a reason I cut up dead people, not live ones. I was 
thinking of letting Langly's girlfriend do it. If she's won a surgical 
fellowship, chances are she can cut it up and put it back together without 
turning into something from a science fiction B movie." 

I can't help but smile. "She's asleep right now." 

"Which, if you don't mind, I plan to do as well. I can't think of anywhere 
safer to keep Ms. Jackson; would you mind terribly if she stays here?" 

"Not at all." We were expecting to put her up, actually, at least for the 
moment. We'll have to find a better solution for the long term, but for now, 
she's welcome to camp out here. 

Scully stands up, preparing to depart. "I'll be back later this morning. Oh, 
and Frohike? Don't worry; I didn't tell her about your fling with Esther 
Nairn." She winks at me. "You and Byers try to get some rest, okay." 

"Once we know Mulder's okay, we will. Thank you, Agent Scully." 

"Don't mention it, Frohike. Good night." She rests a hand on my shoulder and 
squeezes. Oh yeah. 

End part 15

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