Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (19/24)

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. 
______ 

"The jaws of Leviathan 
Were closing upon me." 

~~Czeslaw Miloz -- Bells in Winter~~ 
______ 

MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2000 
SIERRA CLUB OFFICES 
8:30 AM 

SARI: 

"Your guys are weird, but they've been everything you promised," Rob says. 
I'm sitting in his office, after the morning briefing. Most of the systems 
are back up and running, and I'm sure Ringo will have the rest taken care of 
by mid-afternoon. I saw him for a few minutes in the corridor when I came in 
half an hour ago, eyes half closed, his nose nearly buried in a latte cup. I 
was almost afraid he was going to drown himself, but then he burnt his nose 
and yelped. I imagine John has removed the bucket from Mel's room by now. I 
only wish I could be there to see Dana light into him after she gets the 
tape, but I have a meeting tonight. 

"Thanks Rob. I knew they'd come through for you. But that wasn't what I 
wanted to talk to you about." I sigh and lean back into the chair. 

"You aren't here to gloat?" He shakes his head. "So now what is it?" 

I'm tapping my pen nervously on my cast, which is not normally my habit. 
Then again, I don't feel like anything's normal right now. After a restless 
moment, I pull one of John's bug detectors out of my backpack and wave it at 
Rob. "Do you mind?" I ask. 

He just looks confused. "What the hell is that?" I start scanning the room 
with it, and as I pass it over his desk, I get a chirp. He starts to say 
something but I shake my head at him and he remains silent. I start clearing 
things away from the beep, but there's nothing. We check under his desk pad, 
and still nothing. I point to his drawer, and he nods and begins checking 
the contents. Nothing there, until I reach into the drawer and feel the 
surface under the top of the desk. Something hard meets my fingertips, and I 
pull it carefully off the wood. We both look at the tiny chip and 
microphone. Rob, a handsome, very dark African-American man, goes pale and 
his eyes widen in disbelief. 

"If you'll excuse me a moment," I say, and motion for him to follow me out 
of his office. I drop the bug into his half-full coffee mug as we go. "Let's 
take a coffee break." 

"I think I need one," he says quietly. "Rebecca, I'll be at a meeting, no 
interruptions." She nods and continues talking on the phone, making an 
appointment for Rob this afternoon. 

Ten minutes later, we're safely several blocks away from the office in a 
nondescript mom and pop diner. It's got a few tables of late breakfasters, 
but enough privacy that our discussion won't be notable. We get a couple of 
glares from rednecks, but it's DC, and not really all that far from goober 
central. We ignore them. "You want to tell me what's going on, Sari?" He's 
not that queasy shade of grey anymore, but he's still sweating a little. To 
tell the truth, so am I. 

"Remember how I was telling you about Pinck, and that hacker?" He nods. 
"Well, over the weekend, I got confirmation that the office crash was 
definitely caused by the same guy. My source inside Pinck was nearly 
kidnapped or even killed Saturday out in Topeka, and her place was trashed. 
But we found out what's really going on with that Pinck project we've been 
following." 

"And that is?" He looks like he doesn't really want to know. I don't blame 
him. 

I lower my voice to a whisper and lean in close. I don't want this overheard 
by anyone. "It's called Wildfire -- DoD, biological warfare. Third-world 
genocide planned as their 'field test' -- some speck of an island in 
Indonesia inhabited largely by one indigenous tribe. It's some kind of 
spliced and diced E. coli with a very toxic rider, designed to get into the 
groundwater and cause, at the very least, severe neurological damage, 
miscarriages and birth defects in an entire population. You bring in your 
military with lots of bottled water after a few weeks, and you're home free 
in a demoralized and very pacified enemy territory." 

Rob shudders and looks nervously over his shoulder. "You have proof?" 

"Yeah. We've got a sample of the stuff being analyzed by the FBI right now. 
Got papers, statistics, documentation on the connections between the DoD, 
Pinck and the Indonesian WTO rep, and I have my source ready to spill 
everything." 

Rob takes a deep breath. "I think the best thing for you to do is to make 
yourself invisible for a couple days. I'll have Rebecca cancel your 
appointments and put in for some vacation for you. I might be able to 
retroactively get you paid administrative leave, but until this comes out, I 
don't want any more suspicious talk than necessary. I'll arrange a press 
conference for you Thursday. I'd do it sooner if I could, but I don't think 
I can swing it that fast. If anyone asks, you've had a family emergency, and 
that's the line I want you using until the conference. In the meantime, if 
you can get out of town, that would probably be a good thing. Call me 
Wednesday night, at my home number, and I'll fill you in on the details. And 
no, I don't want to know where you're going. If I don't know, no one can 
beat it out of me, can they?" 

"Out of town? Are you sure that's necessary? Why would they hurt you?" He 
looks at me as though I've lost my mind. 

"Hey, you're the one with the bug detector. And didn't you just say somebody 
tried to kill your source?" He has a point. 

"Well, yeah." 

"And didn't this hacker hit your personal system first?" 

"Yes, he did." 

"Then he knows where you live. They might even have somebody watching you 
right now." 

The thought sends a chill up my spine. "I suppose that's possible..." 

He's going all pale again. "Go home right now. Pack a bag. Get yourself out 
of here. I can't help but feeling that you're all but radioactive right now. 
No offense, Sari, but I don't want to glow in the dark." He gets up and 
leaves in a hurry. I pay the tab and head back to the Sierra parking lot to 
get my car. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER 
NOON 

BYERS: 

Sari came by unexpectedly and picked me up for my appointment, saving me 
from having to wake Frohike. It's just as well, I wasn't in the mood to live 
that dangerously this morning; my vision is probably clearer than his at 
this point. She told me about Rob Harris' reaction, and I had to tell her 
that I agreed. Laying low makes a lot of sense to me, but we'll discuss it 
later. She's out in the waiting room at the moment, while I'm talking to my 
doctor. 

"Well, Mr. Byers, it looks like for the most part you've been doing what 
you're supposed to. There are no organic problems developing, and you're 
recovering. Now, I still don't think you've been getting enough rest, but 
your eye has finally improved enough to release you for limited amounts of 
reading large type, and for watching movies and television, although you 
shouldn't do it on a screen smaller than 19 inches for a while yet." I can't 
help but smile at that. It means I'll be able to help out with the Black 
Widow hack we have planned for tonight. "You'll need to continue your 
medications routine for the next two weeks, and make an effort to get more 
rest, but you're well enough that I suspect I'll be able to release you for 
normal reading at the end of that time. If you're good, you'll be able to 
drive then as well, although I might restrict you from that for an extra 
week if you don't pay attention and follow my advice. Get more sleep." 

"Yes, Doctor Perez. Absolutely. Large type only. Large screens. More sleep." 
I nod vigorously. As long as he doesn't change his mind before I leave the 
room, everything's fine. My release for large type and video is only two 
weeks later than originally projected, and it probably was delayed by my 
tendency to stay up late. I can't help it, there's always something that 
needs doing. 

"Now go be a good patient for once, and come back on the 20th. Tom will make 
a new appointment for you. And get more sleep!" I'm waved back out into the 
main clinic, where I have to talk to Tom, the clerk at the counter. I can 
feel Sari come up behind me. 

"How'd it go?" she asks as I make my appointment. 

"Great!" I tell her. She smiles and gives me a hug. I can't possibly express 
how wonderful I feel right now. 

"It's about time. Wanna celebrate?" Sari has a wicked glint in her eye. 

"What did you have in mind?" 

"There's a matinee of 'The Maltese Falcon' at the Replay," she offers. I 
love that movie. Haven't seen it recently either. Hell, I haven't seen 
anything recently despite the fact that my vision's been getting less 
blurry. The Replay's a tiny revival house, and a fairly nice place. 

"Now that sounds like fun." Ah, stale movie theatre popcorn. Only fifty 
seats. I can't wait. 

LONE GUNMEN HQ 
EVENING 

LANGLY: 

I hope Frohike didn't roll over and croak from getting so plastered last 
night, because I wanna kill him. The stupid bastard knew I wanted to stay 
home so I could be with my sweetie, so what does he do? Goes out and gets 
himself totally liquored up. So what if he's got the hangover from hell? 
It's the least he deserves. He owes me big for this one. I mean, I was the 
one that had to get up at 6 and drag my ass on over to Sierra, when he was 
supposed to do it. And I thought Byers was an asshole for needing me to get 
up at 10. I shouldn't have hassled him. It's like, bad karma. 

So instead of being home with Deb, having hot sex and checking things out 
every once in a while to make sure Black Widow's not on our ass, I end up 
hauling myself out of bed, leaving my sweetie there without me, and 
listening to Frohike snoring his ass off in his room. Good thing he shut the 
fucking door; everybody'd think it was an earthquake otherwise. And it 
wasn't like there was anything cool to do at Sierra today. We're down to the 
dirty work, the stupid stuff, and I think I've gotten the monkey boys 
reasonably well educated on it. At least Jessie was civil to me. Kind of 
surprising in view of the hangover she walked in with. I can tell what kind 
of weekend she had. Sierra might have to call us in now and then, but I 
think we're done here, and I handed the AP person our invoice and headed out 
before it got totally dark. Personally, I'd rather have spent the day trying 
to nail Black Widow. Frohike better have gotten his butt up at some 
respectable hour and gotten on it, or I'm gonna kill him even deader. 
"Honey, I'm home!" I call out like some sitcom dude when I get inside. 

"She's not here," Frohike snarls at me. He's sitting at the computer, but 
from the looks of it, he died and someone just propped him up. 

"So like where the hell is she?" She didn't say anything when I left. Oh 
man, I hope she didn't bail out on me. 

"She left a note, said she was going over to GWU to meet with her advisor," 
he snaps. Okay, that's cool, I don't have to shoot him for giving me bad 
news. 

"So when's she coming back?" 

"What, you think she left me details?" 

What a dick. "Where's Byers? Thought he'd be back from the doctor's hours 
ago." 

"Do I look like I'm on Byers watch?" 

"Y'know, Frohike, you shouldn't drink so much, it doesn't look good on you." 

"Fuck you, punkass." I'd fire back on that one but the buzzer goes off, and 
sure enough, my sweetie pie is standing there. 

"Perfect timing, babe!" I sweep her into my arms and enjoy how she smells 
and tastes with every ounce of my being. I wonder if she'd have a problem 
with a little before-dinner snack. 

"Can you two keep it decent?" God, he sounds like one of the nuns that used 
to come around and stick a ruler between couples -- 'leave enough room for 
the Holy Ghost.' Well, sorry, I'm not into threesomes. I'd say something, 
but I'm too busy getting some tongue action from my girl. Sooner or later, 
we gotta come up for air, though, so I ask her how it went over at GWU. 
Deb's all excited. She says her advisor's sorta okay; he's kind of a dick 
with the residents but he seems good with the patients, and that's what 
really matters, she says. She can't wait to start. Mmm. I can't wait for her 
to start, either. Says she checked out some apartments near the U, can't 
believe what rents are around here. 

"Now you know why we live here," I tell her. I'd tell her she could stay 
here, but really, I don't know if Frohike or Byers could handle it. Or us. 
I'm not sure we're like where we could live together right now. I'd like to, 
but the thought kind of scares me. "So Frohike, what's for chow tonight?" 

"Whatever you come up with." Ooh, we are hung over, aren't we? "If you think 
I'm cooking..." 

"Hey, I bailed your ass out by going to Sierra this morning, least you could 
do is make us something to eat..." 

"Ringo, take it easy, I picked us up a snack while I was on my way back." 
She's got a paper bag from the 7-11, and in it she's got... Chocodiles. Oh, 
God, I love this woman. 

"Got something for me?" Frohike's trying to be cute with her, but failing 
miserably. I glare at him. I think he flipped me off, but I'm too busy 
ripping open my Chocodiles to notice much. Deb and me feed each other the 
snacks. Chocodiles are this chocolate cake thingy, with chocolate frosting 
and chocolate filling. Man, I love my theobromines, but not as much as my 
girl, who looks so damn adorable licking the frosting off her fingers. Then 
she grabs my hand and starts licking my fingers. Frohike makes this gagging 
motion. 

"Hey, we all have to look at you and you don't see us heaving," I say to him 
through a mouthful of cake. I'm waiting for him to come back with what he 
thinks is stinging repartee, or even bitch-slapping me, but we've got more 
people straggling in: Byers and Sari. They look way too happy. Wonder what 
*they* were doing since Byers left the doctor's. "Hey, like Sari, where were 
you?" I ask her. "Didn't see you around after this morning." 

"Langly, don't talk with your mouth full," Byers says. "Since I've been 
officially released for TV and movie viewing and large type reading, we 
celebrated with lunch and 'The Maltese Falcon.'" Okay, at least they went 
for a cool flick. The Black Bird movie's a great one. Mary Astor was a big 
girl, just like my Deb, and was she hot. 

"How'd you get the day off?" I ask Sari, kind of mad that I had to be there 
and she didn't. Before she answers though, the buzzer goes off again. What 
is this, Grand Central? Gimme a frickin break. I check out the video. It's 
our redheaded fibbie. "Hey Scully, whassup?" 

"I need to have a few words with Frohike." Uh-oh -- wonder what this is 
about. She doesn't sound happy. Scully stomps right past me, her heels 
making little clacking noises on the floor. I still wonder how she runs in 
those things. She's carrying a videotape in her hand, waving it at Fro. 
Byers motions Sari, Deb and me to follow him into the kitchen. I mean, yeah, 
she probably wants to talk to him alone, but no way are we gonna miss this. 
She looks major pissed off. 

"Frohike. Thank you for the present." Her voice gushes sarcasm. He looks 
kind of puzzled at first, then like a little kid who got caught taking money 
from Mom's wallet. "Now I'd like an explanation." Man, she sounds cold. If 
words could freeze, Frohike'd be iced like that cave dude from the Alps. 

"What videotape?" I whisper to Byers. 

Byers gets this real malicious shit eating grin on his face. "It's a 
videotape of Scully in the shower. Frohike took his 'surveillance' out of 
bounds here, and we just felt she should know about it." He looks mighty 
pleased with himself. "I had it couriered over to her this morning." 

"Whoa, didn't know you had it in you, dude." Then again, this is the guy 
that messed up my bed last night. Still, you compare what he did to Fro and 
what he did to me... no comparison. I got off lucky. 

"That is so tacky," Deb is narrowing her eyes and glaring. "I'd sit on him. 
I'm big enough to hurt him that way." 

"Yeah, but she's got a gun," I point out. 

"Agent Scully..." we've got Frohike groveling. This is just too damn much 
fun. "Please accept my apologies... I realize that I violated the bounds of 
privacy and good taste." 

"You did a lot more than that, Frohike." Oh, man, Scully is ready to pop. 
You should never fuck with a redhead, especially not one who's armed. "What 
you did was enough that I could report you to the authorities, were I so 
inclined. Fortunately for you, I'm not." 

"Agent Scully, I promise, I'll never do anything of the sort again," he's 
pleading for his life now. He sounds about five. She has him by the collar, 
nose to nose with him. 

"Good, because if you do, you'll be peeing through a catheter, you drunk 
little toad. Got that?" 

He gets on his knees -- oh, this is so rich. We're loving it, and Byers and 
Sari can barely keep it together. I wonder how much she had to do with all 
this. It's always the quiet ones, man. They're trying not to laugh, but 
these hissing noises keep coming out of them. "Scully, I deeply and truly 
apologize from the bottom of my heart, and I promise that I will never, ever 
violate your privacy again." Oh, like hell. He'll be back at it in a week, 
just watch. Then again, maybe not. She's a pretty good shot. And those heels 
could hurt if she decides a few well-placed kicks in the nads are what he 
needs. Man, watching him grovel and beg, that's just wicked fun. 

"I want every copy of this tape there is," Scully shouts at him. 

"That's th.. the only copy." Poor Frohike. He totally deserves this, the 
bastard. "I promise." 

"That had better be true, or I will formally end all opportunities for you 
to ever have a sex life again, real or imagined." She pockets the tape, 
turns, and stomps toward the bathroom. Frohike comes out to the kitchen and 
glares at us. I know he wants to kick Byers' ass big time, but he's got no 
leg to stand on and he knows it, so he just settles for looking nasty. He 
grabs a beer from the fridge. I get one for me and one for Deb, and ask Sari 
and Byers if they want any, but they pass. Scully comes out a few minutes 
later. She's looking a lot calmer than she was. 

"So tell me what's going on, boys," she says, taking a seat at the table. 
Frohike offers her a beer. He almost bows when he serves it to her. 

"I was on line from about eleven on, trying to nail Black Widow, but every 
time I'd get up close and personal, he'd slip down a hidey-hole somewhere." 
Well, well, the bastard was doing some work today, will wonders never cease. 
"Gotta say, he's got some slippery kung fu." Y'know, we could almost respect 
Black Widow, if he didn't do such crappy shit. There's something to be said 
for technique. Too bad he's on the wrong side, we could learn a lot from 
each other. "And I was being pretty damn discreet about it." 

"Uh-huh," Scully says acidly, and I almost spew my beer. Frohike's anything 
but the soul of discretion, if that tape is any indication, but that's only 
in real life; on line, he's like this total shadow warrior. Yeah, my kung fu 
is the best, but even though I'd never admit it to Frohike, his is pretty 
damn hot too. 

"Sari, have you made your organization aware of these events?" Scully asks 
her. Sari nods. She looks kinda scared. Deb looks at me kind of like, should 
I be scared? I don't wanna answer that, so I just take her hand. 

"Did you get back any test results on the Wildfire sample?" Byers asks her. 
"Is it the real thing?" 

"I have some preliminary results, and it's definitely a neurotoxin we're 
looking at. Sari, I hope you and your friend are prepared to take some heat 
on this. We'll protect you as much as possible, but it might be good if you 
got out of the area for a while and didn't let your whereabouts be known. Is 
Nicole still with Devi?" 

"She is," Sari says. That puts her on Sri Lankan soil. Not that that would 
protect her, but maybe the Marine guards they got outside the place might. 
Those boys do not look friendly. 

"So all that's left is to figure out who and where our hacker is," Scully 
says. 

"We're working on that," Frohike assures her. "Believe me, we want him, 
too." 

"Well, I want some dinner," Scully announces, which gets Frohike to slip 
into his chef's hat and apron. Well, we couldn't get him to cook, but leave 
it to the ravishing redhead to motivate him. "A little salmon en croute, 
anyone?" 

"I'll take that with one hacker to go," I say, heading for the office. Time 
to kick some Black Widow butt. 

End part 19 
______ 

"The jaws of Leviathan 
Were closing upon me." 

~~Czeslaw Miloz -- Bells in Winter~~ 
______ 

MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2000 
SIERRA CLUB OFFICES 
8:30 AM 

SARI: 

"Your guys are weird, but they've been everything you promised," Rob says. 
I'm sitting in his office, after the morning briefing. Most of the systems 
are back up and running, and I'm sure Ringo will have the rest taken care of 
by mid-afternoon. I saw him for a few minutes in the corridor when I came in 
half an hour ago, eyes half closed, his nose nearly buried in a latte cup. I 
was almost afraid he was going to drown himself, but then he burnt his nose 
and yelped. I imagine John has removed the bucket from Mel's room by now. I 
only wish I could be there to see Dana light into him after she gets the 
tape, but I have a meeting tonight. 

"Thanks Rob. I knew they'd come through for you. But that wasn't what I 
wanted to talk to you about." I sigh and lean back into the chair. 

"You aren't here to gloat?" He shakes his head. "So now what is it?" 

I'm tapping my pen nervously on my cast, which is not normally my habit. 
Then again, I don't feel like anything's normal right now. After a restless 
moment, I pull one of John's bug detectors out of my backpack and wave it at 
Rob. "Do you mind?" I ask. 

He just looks confused. "What the hell is that?" I start scanning the room 
with it, and as I pass it over his desk, I get a chirp. He starts to say 
something but I shake my head at him and he remains silent. I start clearing 
things away from the beep, but there's nothing. We check under his desk pad, 
and still nothing. I point to his drawer, and he nods and begins checking 
the contents. Nothing there, until I reach into the drawer and feel the 
surface under the top of the desk. Something hard meets my fingertips, and I 
pull it carefully off the wood. We both look at the tiny chip and 
microphone. Rob, a handsome, very dark African-American man, goes pale and 
his eyes widen in disbelief. 

"If you'll excuse me a moment," I say, and motion for him to follow me out 
of his office. I drop the bug into his half-full coffee mug as we go. "Let's 
take a coffee break." 

"I think I need one," he says quietly. "Rebecca, I'll be at a meeting, no 
interruptions." She nods and continues talking on the phone, making an 
appointment for Rob this afternoon. 

Ten minutes later, we're safely several blocks away from the office in a 
nondescript mom and pop diner. It's got a few tables of late breakfasters, 
but enough privacy that our discussion won't be notable. We get a couple of 
glares from rednecks, but it's DC, and not really all that far from goober 
central. We ignore them. "You want to tell me what's going on, Sari?" He's 
not that queasy shade of grey anymore, but he's still sweating a little. To 
tell the truth, so am I. 

"Remember how I was telling you about Pinck, and that hacker?" He nods. 
"Well, over the weekend, I got confirmation that the office crash was 
definitely caused by the same guy. My source inside Pinck was nearly 
kidnapped or even killed Saturday out in Topeka, and her place was trashed. 
But we found out what's really going on with that Pinck project we've been 
following." 

"And that is?" He looks like he doesn't really want to know. I don't blame 
him. 

I lower my voice to a whisper and lean in close. I don't want this overheard 
by anyone. "It's called Wildfire -- DoD, biological warfare. Third-world 
genocide planned as their 'field test' -- some speck of an island in 
Indonesia inhabited largely by one indigenous tribe. It's some kind of 
spliced and diced E. coli with a very toxic rider, designed to get into the 
groundwater and cause, at the very least, severe neurological damage, 
miscarriages and birth defects in an entire population. You bring in your 
military with lots of bottled water after a few weeks, and you're home free 
in a demoralized and very pacified enemy territory." 

Rob shudders and looks nervously over his shoulder. "You have proof?" 

"Yeah. We've got a sample of the stuff being analyzed by the FBI right now. 
Got papers, statistics, documentation on the connections between the DoD, 
Pinck and the Indonesian WTO rep, and I have my source ready to spill 
everything." 

Rob takes a deep breath. "I think the best thing for you to do is to make 
yourself invisible for a couple days. I'll have Rebecca cancel your 
appointments and put in for some vacation for you. I might be able to 
retroactively get you paid administrative leave, but until this comes out, I 
don't want any more suspicious talk than necessary. I'll arrange a press 
conference for you Thursday. I'd do it sooner if I could, but I don't think 
I can swing it that fast. If anyone asks, you've had a family emergency, and 
that's the line I want you using until the conference. In the meantime, if 
you can get out of town, that would probably be a good thing. Call me 
Wednesday night, at my home number, and I'll fill you in on the details. And 
no, I don't want to know where you're going. If I don't know, no one can 
beat it out of me, can they?" 

"Out of town? Are you sure that's necessary? Why would they hurt you?" He 
looks at me as though I've lost my mind. 

"Hey, you're the one with the bug detector. And didn't you just say somebody 
tried to kill your source?" He has a point. 

"Well, yeah." 

"And didn't this hacker hit your personal system first?" 

"Yes, he did." 

"Then he knows where you live. They might even have somebody watching you 
right now." 

The thought sends a chill up my spine. "I suppose that's possible..." 

He's going all pale again. "Go home right now. Pack a bag. Get yourself out 
of here. I can't help but feeling that you're all but radioactive right now. 
No offense, Sari, but I don't want to glow in the dark." He gets up and 
leaves in a hurry. I pay the tab and head back to the Sierra parking lot to 
get my car. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER 
NOON 

BYERS: 

Sari came by unexpectedly and picked me up for my appointment, saving me 
from having to wake Frohike. It's just as well, I wasn't in the mood to live 
that dangerously this morning; my vision is probably clearer than his at 
this point. She told me about Rob Harris' reaction, and I had to tell her 
that I agreed. Laying low makes a lot of sense to me, but we'll discuss it 
later. She's out in the waiting room at the moment, while I'm talking to my 
doctor. 

"Well, Mr. Byers, it looks like for the most part you've been doing what 
you're supposed to. There are no organic problems developing, and you're 
recovering. Now, I still don't think you've been getting enough rest, but 
your eye has finally improved enough to release you for limited amounts of 
reading large type, and for watching movies and television, although you 
shouldn't do it on a screen smaller than 19 inches for a while yet." I can't 
help but smile at that. It means I'll be able to help out with the Black 
Widow hack we have planned for tonight. "You'll need to continue your 
medications routine for the next two weeks, and make an effort to get more 
rest, but you're well enough that I suspect I'll be able to release you for 
normal reading at the end of that time. If you're good, you'll be able to 
drive then as well, although I might restrict you from that for an extra 
week if you don't pay attention and follow my advice. Get more sleep." 

"Yes, Doctor Perez. Absolutely. Large type only. Large screens. More sleep." 
I nod vigorously. As long as he doesn't change his mind before I leave the 
room, everything's fine. My release for large type and video is only two 
weeks later than originally projected, and it probably was delayed by my 
tendency to stay up late. I can't help it, there's always something that 
needs doing. 

"Now go be a good patient for once, and come back on the 20th. Tom will make 
a new appointment for you. And get more sleep!" I'm waved back out into the 
main clinic, where I have to talk to Tom, the clerk at the counter. I can 
feel Sari come up behind me. 

"How'd it go?" she asks as I make my appointment. 

"Great!" I tell her. She smiles and gives me a hug. I can't possibly express 
how wonderful I feel right now. 

"It's about time. Wanna celebrate?" Sari has a wicked glint in her eye. 

"What did you have in mind?" 

"There's a matinee of 'The Maltese Falcon' at the Replay," she offers. I 
love that movie. Haven't seen it recently either. Hell, I haven't seen 
anything recently despite the fact that my vision's been getting less 
blurry. The Replay's a tiny revival house, and a fairly nice place. 

"Now that sounds like fun." Ah, stale movie theatre popcorn. Only fifty 
seats. I can't wait. 

LONE GUNMEN HQ 
EVENING 

LANGLY: 

I hope Frohike didn't roll over and croak from getting so plastered last 
night, because I wanna kill him. The stupid bastard knew I wanted to stay 
home so I could be with my sweetie, so what does he do? Goes out and gets 
himself totally liquored up. So what if he's got the hangover from hell? 
It's the least he deserves. He owes me big for this one. I mean, I was the 
one that had to get up at 6 and drag my ass on over to Sierra, when he was 
supposed to do it. And I thought Byers was an asshole for needing me to get 
up at 10. I shouldn't have hassled him. It's like, bad karma. 

So instead of being home with Deb, having hot sex and checking things out 
every once in a while to make sure Black Widow's not on our ass, I end up 
hauling myself out of bed, leaving my sweetie there without me, and 
listening to Frohike snoring his ass off in his room. Good thing he shut the 
fucking door; everybody'd think it was an earthquake otherwise. And it 
wasn't like there was anything cool to do at Sierra today. We're down to the 
dirty work, the stupid stuff, and I think I've gotten the monkey boys 
reasonably well educated on it. At least Jessie was civil to me. Kind of 
surprising in view of the hangover she walked in with. I can tell what kind 
of weekend she had. Sierra might have to call us in now and then, but I 
think we're done here, and I handed the AP person our invoice and headed out 
before it got totally dark. Personally, I'd rather have spent the day trying 
to nail Black Widow. Frohike better have gotten his butt up at some 
respectable hour and gotten on it, or I'm gonna kill him even deader. 
"Honey, I'm home!" I call out like some sitcom dude when I get inside. 

"She's not here," Frohike snarls at me. He's sitting at the computer, but 
from the looks of it, he died and someone just propped him up. 

"So like where the hell is she?" She didn't say anything when I left. Oh 
man, I hope she didn't bail out on me. 

"She left a note, said she was going over to GWU to meet with her advisor," 
he snaps. Okay, that's cool, I don't have to shoot him for giving me bad 
news. 

"So when's she coming back?" 

"What, you think she left me details?" 

What a dick. "Where's Byers? Thought he'd be back from the doctor's hours 
ago." 

"Do I look like I'm on Byers watch?" 

"Y'know, Frohike, you shouldn't drink so much, it doesn't look good on you." 

"Fuck you, punkass." I'd fire back on that one but the buzzer goes off, and 
sure enough, my sweetie pie is standing there. 

"Perfect timing, babe!" I sweep her into my arms and enjoy how she smells 
and tastes with every ounce of my being. I wonder if she'd have a problem 
with a little before-dinner snack. 

"Can you two keep it decent?" God, he sounds like one of the nuns that used 
to come around and stick a ruler between couples -- 'leave enough room for 
the Holy Ghost.' Well, sorry, I'm not into threesomes. I'd say something, 
but I'm too busy getting some tongue action from my girl. Sooner or later, 
we gotta come up for air, though, so I ask her how it went over at GWU. 
Deb's all excited. She says her advisor's sorta okay; he's kind of a dick 
with the residents but he seems good with the patients, and that's what 
really matters, she says. She can't wait to start. Mmm. I can't wait for her 
to start, either. Says she checked out some apartments near the U, can't 
believe what rents are around here. 

"Now you know why we live here," I tell her. I'd tell her she could stay 
here, but really, I don't know if Frohike or Byers could handle it. Or us. 
I'm not sure we're like where we could live together right now. I'd like to, 
but the thought kind of scares me. "So Frohike, what's for chow tonight?" 

"Whatever you come up with." Ooh, we are hung over, aren't we? "If you think 
I'm cooking..." 

"Hey, I bailed your ass out by going to Sierra this morning, least you could 
do is make us something to eat..." 

"Ringo, take it easy, I picked us up a snack while I was on my way back." 
She's got a paper bag from the 7-11, and in it she's got... Chocodiles. Oh, 
God, I love this woman. 

"Got something for me?" Frohike's trying to be cute with her, but failing 
miserably. I glare at him. I think he flipped me off, but I'm too busy 
ripping open my Chocodiles to notice much. Deb and me feed each other the 
snacks. Chocodiles are this chocolate cake thingy, with chocolate frosting 
and chocolate filling. Man, I love my theobromines, but not as much as my 
girl, who looks so damn adorable licking the frosting off her fingers. Then 
she grabs my hand and starts licking my fingers. Frohike makes this gagging 
motion. 

"Hey, we all have to look at you and you don't see us heaving," I say to him 
through a mouthful of cake. I'm waiting for him to come back with what he 
thinks is stinging repartee, or even bitch-slapping me, but we've got more 
people straggling in: Byers and Sari. They look way too happy. Wonder what 
*they* were doing since Byers left the doctor's. "Hey, like Sari, where were 
you?" I ask her. "Didn't see you around after this morning." 

"Langly, don't talk with your mouth full," Byers says. "Since I've been 
officially released for TV and movie viewing and large type reading, we 
celebrated with lunch and 'The Maltese Falcon.'" Okay, at least they went 
for a cool flick. The Black Bird movie's a great one. Mary Astor was a big 
girl, just like my Deb, and was she hot. 

"How'd you get the day off?" I ask Sari, kind of mad that I had to be there 
and she didn't. Before she answers though, the buzzer goes off again. What 
is this, Grand Central? Gimme a frickin break. I check out the video. It's 
our redheaded fibbie. "Hey Scully, whassup?" 

"I need to have a few words with Frohike." Uh-oh -- wonder what this is 
about. She doesn't sound happy. Scully stomps right past me, her heels 
making little clacking noises on the floor. I still wonder how she runs in 
those things. She's carrying a videotape in her hand, waving it at Fro. 
Byers motions Sari, Deb and me to follow him into the kitchen. I mean, yeah, 
she probably wants to talk to him alone, but no way are we gonna miss this. 
She looks major pissed off. 

"Frohike. Thank you for the present." Her voice gushes sarcasm. He looks 
kind of puzzled at first, then like a little kid who got caught taking money 
from Mom's wallet. "Now I'd like an explanation." Man, she sounds cold. If 
words could freeze, Frohike'd be iced like that cave dude from the Alps. 

"What videotape?" I whisper to Byers. 

Byers gets this real malicious shit eating grin on his face. "It's a 
videotape of Scully in the shower. Frohike took his 'surveillance' out of 
bounds here, and we just felt she should know about it." He looks mighty 
pleased with himself. "I had it couriered over to her this morning." 

"Whoa, didn't know you had it in you, dude." Then again, this is the guy 
that messed up my bed last night. Still, you compare what he did to Fro and 
what he did to me... no comparison. I got off lucky. 

"That is so tacky," Deb is narrowing her eyes and glaring. "I'd sit on him. 
I'm big enough to hurt him that way." 

"Yeah, but she's got a gun," I point out. 

"Agent Scully..." we've got Frohike groveling. This is just too damn much 
fun. "Please accept my apologies... I realize that I violated the bounds of 
privacy and good taste." 

"You did a lot more than that, Frohike." Oh, man, Scully is ready to pop. 
You should never fuck with a redhead, especially not one who's armed. "What 
you did was enough that I could report you to the authorities, were I so 
inclined. Fortunately for you, I'm not." 

"Agent Scully, I promise, I'll never do anything of the sort again," he's 
pleading for his life now. He sounds about five. She has him by the collar, 
nose to nose with him. 

"Good, because if you do, you'll be peeing through a catheter, you drunk 
little toad. Got that?" 

He gets on his knees -- oh, this is so rich. We're loving it, and Byers and 
Sari can barely keep it together. I wonder how much she had to do with all 
this. It's always the quiet ones, man. They're trying not to laugh, but 
these hissing noises keep coming out of them. "Scully, I deeply and truly 
apologize from the bottom of my heart, and I promise that I will never, ever 
violate your privacy again." Oh, like hell. He'll be back at it in a week, 
just watch. Then again, maybe not. She's a pretty good shot. And those heels 
could hurt if she decides a few well-placed kicks in the nads are what he 
needs. Man, watching him grovel and beg, that's just wicked fun. 

"I want every copy of this tape there is," Scully shouts at him. 

"That's th.. the only copy." Poor Frohike. He totally deserves this, the 
bastard. "I promise." 

"That had better be true, or I will formally end all opportunities for you 
to ever have a sex life again, real or imagined." She pockets the tape, 
turns, and stomps toward the bathroom. Frohike comes out to the kitchen and 
glares at us. I know he wants to kick Byers' ass big time, but he's got no 
leg to stand on and he knows it, so he just settles for looking nasty. He 
grabs a beer from the fridge. I get one for me and one for Deb, and ask Sari 
and Byers if they want any, but they pass. Scully comes out a few minutes 
later. She's looking a lot calmer than she was. 

"So tell me what's going on, boys," she says, taking a seat at the table. 
Frohike offers her a beer. He almost bows when he serves it to her. 

"I was on line from about eleven on, trying to nail Black Widow, but every 
time I'd get up close and personal, he'd slip down a hidey-hole somewhere." 
Well, well, the bastard was doing some work today, will wonders never cease. 
"Gotta say, he's got some slippery kung fu." Y'know, we could almost respect 
Black Widow, if he didn't do such crappy shit. There's something to be said 
for technique. Too bad he's on the wrong side, we could learn a lot from 
each other. "And I was being pretty damn discreet about it." 

"Uh-huh," Scully says acidly, and I almost spew my beer. Frohike's anything 
but the soul of discretion, if that tape is any indication, but that's only 
in real life; on line, he's like this total shadow warrior. Yeah, my kung fu 
is the best, but even though I'd never admit it to Frohike, his is pretty 
damn hot too. 

"Sari, have you made your organization aware of these events?" Scully asks 
her. Sari nods. She looks kinda scared. Deb looks at me kind of like, should 
I be scared? I don't wanna answer that, so I just take her hand. 

"Did you get back any test results on the Wildfire sample?" Byers asks her. 
"Is it the real thing?" 

"I have some preliminary results, and it's definitely a neurotoxin we're 
looking at. Sari, I hope you and your friend are prepared to take some heat 
on this. We'll protect you as much as possible, but it might be good if you 
got out of the area for a while and didn't let your whereabouts be known. Is 
Nicole still with Devi?" 

"She is," Sari says. That puts her on Sri Lankan soil. Not that that would 
protect her, but maybe the Marine guards they got outside the place might. 
Those boys do not look friendly. 

"So all that's left is to figure out who and where our hacker is," Scully 
says. 

"We're working on that," Frohike assures her. "Believe me, we want him, 
too." 

"Well, I want some dinner," Scully announces, which gets Frohike to slip 
into his chef's hat and apron. Well, we couldn't get him to cook, but leave 
it to the ravishing redhead to motivate him. "A little salmon en croute, 
anyone?" 

"I'll take that with one hacker to go," I say, heading for the office. Time 
to kick some Black Widow butt. 

End part 19

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