Title: Things Undone 5: Snipe Hunt (23/24)

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 blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere 
The ceremony of innocence is drowned" 

~~William Butler Yeats -- The Second Coming~~ 

1:53 PM 


As I hear the crack of the gun, Sari is slammed back into me, screaming, 
dropping us both to the ground. We hit the wall as we fall, and I try to 
cover as much of her as I can from the gunfire. We're too exposed. She's 
been hit, and she's moaning, but she's lying still beneath me. All I can 
think is she's not dead, she's not dead, but I have no idea how badly she's 
hurt. Another shot rings out, and several more. I hear one hit the wall, too 
close. With a slight turn of my head, I see that the bullet struck less than 
an inch from my skull, and there's no room in me now for anything but 


Deb and I are almost to the van when we hear the shots. I grab her arm and 
drag her down to the sidewalk with me, taking cover behind the rear tire of 
the van. We'll probably be safe long enough for Mulder and Scully to do 
something. I scan the scene fast. The fibbies already have their guns out, 
and they're looking around, like trying to spot the shooter. Frohike dives 
for cover, but Nicole freezes, panicked. "Run, dammit!" I shout, but it's 
too late. She takes a bullet in the chest and crumples without a sound. Deb 
screams and tries to get up and go to Nicole, but I won't let her. No way 
I'm gonna let her get shot in this mess. I've gotta keep her safe. She'll 
leave me when this is over, but at least she'll be alive to do it. 


Damn. I'm scanning the rooftops as Scully sweeps the street for potential 
snipers. The people on the street are hitting the sidewalk, taking cover, or 
running into buildings as fast as they can. "There he is!" I shout, taking a 
shot at our would-be assassin. 


The gunfire snaps me to total alert. I'm back in 'Nam in a heartbeat, and 
move with the reflexes I had when I was just a twitchy kid in the jungle. 
I've been nervous and hyper-vigilant since we fled the office, but now all 
my senses are at their height. I can smell the blood, and without thinking, 
I run for Nicole and drag her toward the van. You never leave your people 
down under fire if you can help it. "Deborah, Langly, help me get her 
inside!" The two lunge for her, pulling her out of the line of fire and 
getting her onto the floor of the van, where Deb starts a fast damage 
assessment. Byers and Sari are helpless and exposed where they are. They'll 
both be killed if that sniper gets off another shot or two. Hang on, Byers. 
I can't lose you, not like I lost my kid brother, back in the jungle in '65. 


Another shot rings out, striking the sidewalk next to me. That was too damn 
close. I'm going to die. Somehow I always knew it would come to this. One 
high, one low -- the next one will hit me; the sniper has me. I just hope 
that the mass of my body is enough to keep Sari from being hit again. Scully 
shouts "Byers, get Sari to the van! We'll cover you." I don't need any more 
urging. As their pistols fire, I drag Sari to her feet with me. Once she's 
upright, she begins running for the vehicle of her own accord. I'm trying to 
keep her head down and shield her as we move. It's only a few feet, but 
right now it feels like the Appalachian Trail. 


Nicole's been hit bad. If I can keep her going, she might make it to the ER 
in time. God, I'm scared. I've never been so scared in my life. I only half 
believed the guys about the danger until yesterday, when I saw how they 
reacted to Mr. Skinner's arrival at the beach house, but even that didn't 
drive the point home like this. I'm moving frantically to rip open Nicole's 
shirt so I can get to the wound. Frohike has her head cradled in his lap. 
She's gurgling, bleeding profusely, and bloody foam is gathering at her 
lips. Looks like a solid lung shot, arterial bleeding. No sign of 
consciousness. "Ringo, I need your shirt." He pulls the 'speed saves' shirt 
I gave him off his body in record time. "Hold it to the wound as hard as you 
can, you have to stop the bleeding," I tell him, and put one ear to her 
chest to listen to her lungs. God, it's worse than I thought, and there's no 
first aid equipment in immediate reach. Just then, Byers and Sari stumble in 
almost on top of us as I'm trying to clear Nicole's airway. "Watch it!" I 
snap at them. 

"Sari's hit," he says breathlessly. She looks pretty pale and she's 
obviously in pain, but I don't see blood. Wonder where she took the bullet. 
If she's moving like that, it can't be too bad, but then, I've seen people 
do impossible things in the depths of the adrenaline rush. 

"Okay, I'm okay," she says, then she sees Nicole and wails, and she's right 
here taking Langly's place so he can scuffle for the first aid kit in the 
back storage unit. Byers is crouched behind Sari, a hand on her back. He's 
about as freaked as I am. The only thing that's holding me together right 
now is that I have a patient to save. There's shouting everywhere. I can't 
make out who's saying what, but I think that the FBI agents are calling for 
backup and an ambulance. 


Oh, God, she's shot. Don't puke, man, don't puke. 


The shooter ducks as we cover Byers and his friend. I'm off after him as 
fast as I can run, shouting to Scully to call for backup. Devi didn't even 
get out of the building before the shooting started, and I haven't seen her 
since, so I think she's still inside the diner. I hope so. She'll probably 
be safe if she avoids the urge to rubberneck, and she's away from the 
windows. The building across the street is only about three stories, and I'm 
pretty sure I can cover the back exit before the shooter gets all the way to 
the ground floor. Scully will be able to observe the front entrance from 
where she is. 


I can hear the commotion in the van. I'd be in there helping Nicole myself, 
if I didn't have to stay here and cover for Mulder as he charges across the 
street. When he yells for backup, I hit the emergency button on my cell 
phone and request backup and an ambulance. From the looks of Nicole when she 
hit the ground, she's going to need one. I have no idea of Sari's condition, 
only that she made it to the van on her own two feet. It's the only positive 
thing about this whole damn situation. 


I'm hit, I know it, but I don't know why I'm still alive. My cast arm is 
screaming with pain, but Nicole is down, and it doesn't look good. When 
Deborah starts up CPR, John holds the cloth to Nicole's bloody wound while I 
start on respiration. Deborah manages the cardiac portion. She's counting 
out frantically while I breathe in the right places. Frohike's hovering 
anxiously. I don't know how long we can keep this up. Stay with us, Nicole, 


I hear the sirens as help arrives. We're still doing CPR on Nicole, but 
there's no response whatsoever. It's possible the medics can revive her with 
the defibrillator, but it's been almost five minutes now. I have a very bad 
feeling about this. The amount of blood she's lost looks fatal. We've all 
taken turns breathing for her, but we're exhausted. Where the hell are the 
medics? There's more gunfire and shouting, and finally the ambulance crew 
arrives. "She needs a defib, plasma, and saturated saline, stat!" I shout at 
them. They look at me. "I'm a doctor dammit, *move*!" They do. One comes in 
and gets the details of Nicole's condition from me while the other runs for 
the equipment. He comes back again in short seconds that I swear feel like 
hours, pushing the equipment on a gurney. 

They go into their routine like smoothly oiled machinery, as we all move 
back to give them room. Sari's curled up into herself between the front 
seats, crying, and Byers is holding her, rocking her gently back and forth. 
After our work, she's got blood all over her, and I have no idea how much of 
it's hers. "Sari, let me look at you." I'm in the van again through the 
front passenger door, giving her a once-over as best I can in the awkward 

"It hit my arm," she says, cradling the arm that's already cast. The plastic 
stuff we use now would never have stopped a bullet, but when I see the 
condition of the bracelet on her wrist, I understand what happened. She'll 
need x-rays, but I don't think the bullet ever got past the metal cuff. It's 
mangled where the bullet hit, deflecting it so that it didn't enter her 
body. The impact may have shattered her wrist, though; it certainly damaged 
the cast. We won't know until later. Thank God she likes heavy jewelry, or 
she might be in Nicole's condition. 

As I look up, I realize that there's blood in Byers' hair. "Lean over here, 
John," I tell him. A quick exam reveals that he's got a few small cuts from 
flying shrapnel. Must have been too close to where the bullet struck. He's 
all right, thank you God. He won't even need stitches, just a little cleanup 
and disinfectant. 

The medics continue their work, and I return to help them, but with each 
successive charge of the defibrillator, more hope dies. "Damn you, Nicole, 
come back!" I scream. I can't lose her, this is too important. She's got a 
press conference. She has a new life waiting for her. I'm a good doctor; 
I've saved so many lives, so many stupid fucking goober guys who get 
themselves hurt in unspeakably ridiculous ways -- why does someone whose 
life means something, like Nicole, have to be the one to die? When the 
medics declare her dead, all I can do is sob. 

2:36 PM 


We rush into the building, Mulder, Scully and Frohike hauling the boxes of 
press packets. The building is crawling with security. Langly has an arm 
around Deborah, who's barely functional. They're going straight to the green 
room to get cleaned up and rest, if Frohike has anything to say about it. 
Sari's boss meets us at the door. "Where ha..." He stops when he sees that 
Sari is covered with blood. "Oh my God. Are you alright?" 

"No," Sari says, and keeps walking, so her boss leads us all back to the 
green room, where the stage manager is waiting, looking frantic. 

She almost panics when she sees the blood on Sari as well, but all she says 
when she sees Sari's face is, "Come this way. Everyone's waiting." 
Assistants scurry to gather the boxes and run to get the packets out to the 
waiting press. The tall, blonde woman approaches the podium, situated before 
a large Sierra Club logo. "Our speakers have arrived. We're very sorry for 
the delay, but now we can begin. The Sierra Club would like to welcome Ms. 
Sarasvati Thomas and Dr. Nicole Jackson." The room rustles and mumbles, and 
Mulder and Scully walk onstage, guns exposed but not drawn, flanking Sari 
and me. Silence cuts the room abruptly when she approaches the mike, 
clothing soaked in blood. My own is as well, but it's far less noticeable on 
my suit jacket than it is on Sari's brilliant white shirt. I'm sure we 
present a suitably dramatic tableau. 

Sari is terribly shaken, but I've never seen anyone more steeled for a 
public speaking engagement. "Members of the press, good afternoon. My name 
is Sarasvati Thomas. I am a lobbyist for the Sierra Club." She looks like 
hell, but her voice is clear and strong, if quiet, with only a hint of 
tremor. "My... my long-time friend and associate, Dr. Nicole Jackson, 
formerly of Pinck Pharmaceuticals, is unable to join me as planned." Her 
voice nearly breaks, but Sari's determined to get through this. "She was 
assassinated half an hour ago, to prevent her from speaking to this 
assembly, and an attempt was made on my own life at that time as well. In 
Dr. Jackson's place, I have asked Special Agent Dr. Dana Scully of the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation to join me in describing the medical and 
chemical details of the information we will be presenting. Also speaking 
will be Mr. John Fitzgerald Byers of Aegis Consulting, on the relevant facts 
concerning acts of computer espionage and sabotage regarding this matter." 
Compared to what I've already been through today, a little public 
presentation won't even register. I'm here to address the matter of Black 
Widow's identity and activities without revealing my own or my partners' 
role in the matter. "What I bring before you today is a matter of the utmost 
urgency, and involves a knowing, willing conspiracy between Pinck 
Pharmaceuticals, elements within the Department of Defense and the United 
States Military, the World Trade Organization, and factions within the 
Republic of Indonesia..." 

4:00 PM 


Langly and Deborah have been back here with me during the conference. 
Deborah has been alternately watching the conference on the monitor and 
pounding herself for losing Nicole. Langly's tried to talk to her, but 
Deborah insists that she should have been able to save her. I've tried 
talking to her as well, but she ignores both of us, inconsolable. 

Sari, Byers and our fibbies are finally away from the hounds. Sari is on the 
verge of collapse, and Byers looks like he's not far behind. The conference 
stunned the assembled press and media drones, but with all the documentation 
provided in the press packets, no one can deny what's happened. The 
information is too widely available now to suppress entirely. Nicole's voice 
may have been silenced, but her knowledge has been shared, as was her 
intent. Sari, Byers and Agent Scully revealed everything about Wildfire; the 
secret DoD-commissioned experimentation on an American civilian population, 
Black Widow's exploits covering for the DoD's project and his identity as an 
Air Force officer and National Security Agency operative, the off-shore WTO 
agreement between Pinck and Indonesia to commit genocide as a 'field test', 
the role of the County Extension Office and the Andover Community Medical 
Center in collecting data on miscarriages and fetal and infant neurological 
damage, the distribution of Wildfire through the groundwater, Nicole's role 
in revealing the plan, all of it. 

Sari barely made it through the conference, and under the circumstances, 
even this bunch of sharks didn't descend on her over the sharp, brief cracks 
in her composure. I think the blood all over her was sufficiently exploitive 
and entertaining for them to stay away from her personal grief and shock. It 
was entirely obvious that she'd come directly to the conference from the 
scene of the shooting, and no one was going to make a single comment about 
her showing up late. At least none of the flunkies were insensitive enough 
to ask her how she was feeling. 

"Sari, we need to get you to a hospital now," Scully tells her. "You need to 
have x-rays to determine how much damage was done when you were hit." Sari 
just nods. She's sitting on the green room couch, silent and shaking 
violently, with Byers wrapped around her protectively. "You're also in 
shock, and you need to be treated for that." I think we're all in shock. 
Langly still doesn't have a shirt on. We'll have to get him one soon. 

5:17 PM 


After an excruciating wait in the ER, someone is finally examining Sari. I'm 
staying with her, at her request. While she's examined, an intern swabs the 
cuts on my scalp. It stings, but it's far preferable to what would have 
happened if the bullet had been an inch lower. I'm still shaking. I pull my 
blood-soaked suit jacket around me for warmth, and my finger gets stuck in 
the cloth. I look down, because there's no pocket or button hole there, and 
I don't know why my finger should... oh my God, it's a bullet hole. The shot 
that hit the sidewalk next to me was a hell of a lot closer than I realized. 
Suddenly, I'm dizzy and it's a good thing I'm sitting, or I'd fall to the 
floor. Sari gasps, "John, what's wrong?" and the doctor and the intern have 
got me and lay me down on the examination table. 

"Get him some warm blankets," the doctor says, and the intern runs out of 
the room. "What happened? How do you feel?" he asks. I can't make the words 
come out, so I just hold up my hand, finger through the bullet hole. He gets 
the picture. Sari is next to me in a heartbeat, but the doctor puts her back 
on the table she's been lying on. "He's fine," he assures her, "he's just in 
shock. He's not seriously injured, and he'll be fine. You're the one we need 
to worry about." I watch through a feeling of unreality as he pries the cuff 
bracelet from where it's been wedged into her cast, and then the intern 
returns and starts wrapping me in warm blankets. God, I'm so cold, so dizzy. 
The next thing I know, Sari's gone, and someone's stuck an IV in my hand. 

"Sari, where is she?" I ask. 

"We sent her for x-rays, Mr. Byers," the doctor replies. "We have to 
determine how much damage was done to her arm, wrist, and hand, and whether 
the impact of the bullet re-injured the break she sustained last month. We 
also want to be certain that she didn't break a rib when the force of the 
blow hit her chest. They'll take good care of her, and she'll be back soon. 
For the moment, you need to relax and rest for a while so that you can get 
over the shock." They aren't going to let me move, so I stay where I am. I'm 
not sure I could stand up at this point anyway, and it would be too 
undignified to fall on my face. 

Some time later, an aide comes in, bringing Sari in a wheelchair. Her cast 
has been removed, and her arm is a mess, swollen and purple-black. I prop 
myself up on an elbow. "John, are you all right?" She looks like she's in an 
incredible amount of pain. I sit up and offer her a hand, my dizziness 
considerably reduced. 

"I think I should be asking you that question," I tell her. 

"I'll leave you two here until the doctor returns from reading the x-rays," 
the aide says, then leaves the room. Sari gets up, then sits on my exam 
table and leans into me. I put my arms around her as she holds me close. 
We're both shaking and crying, clinging each other. We're alive. I don't 
know how it happened, but we're alive. 

I'm not sure how long the wait is, but eventually the doctor returns. He 
gives me a quick once-over. "Youčre looking much better, Mr. Byers. I think 
you'll be just fine. Let's remove this IV, and you can go whenever you want 

"I'd like to stay here with Sari," I tell him. Sari nods. 

"Ms. Thomas, the x-rays show that your arm has been re-broken by the force 
of the impact. Your wrist is shattered, and there's a lot of damage to your 
hand as well. It's going to require surgery to put everything back together 
enough for it to heal. We'll need to insert pins in several places, and the 
small bones in your hand and wrist will make this a long and somewhat 
difficult procedure. There is some chance that you won't regain full 
function in your right hand, but I understand that you're a faithful 
practitioner of yoga and you exercise regularly?" Sari nods. "That will help 
a great deal, particularly because it means your joints are very flexible to 
begin with, and you're in very good general health according to your 
records. The good news is that you didn't sustain any broken ribs or other 

"How long is the surgery likely to last?" she asks. 

"Depending on the complexity of what we find when we go in, anywhere from 
four to six hours, possibly more if there are complications." Sari looks 
down at the floor. 

"That sounds like a very long time to be under anesthesia," she says. The 
doctor nods. 

"But do keep in mind that we perform lengthy surgeries on a regular basis, 
and unlike most people undergoing such long procedures, you're young and 
quite healthy. We'll need you to sign releases, of course, and get you into 
prep." He's being as gentle with her as he can under the circumstances, but 
it's still very stressful. I'm not sure how much more she can take before 
she just passes out. The doctor looks at me and says, "I'm going to have to 
ask you to join your friends in the waiting area, Mr. Byers. We need to 
start prep now, and she can sign the papers while that's going on." She 
looks distressed, but the doctor is very insistent, and has one of the 
orderlies escort me out -- unwillingly, I might add -- to join the rest of 
the crew in the waiting room. 

When I appear, everyone starts talking at once -- how is she, what's 
happening, is she going to be all right -- and it's all I can do to get them 
to shut up while I try to answer them. Langly's finally got a sweatshirt, 
Devi has arrived with her husband and son, and A.D. Skinner is here, as well 
as the guys, Deborah, and Agents Mulder and Scully. It's turned into a 

"Her arm's broken again, same place apparently, she's got a shattered wrist 
and hand, and they're taking her into surgery shortly. The doctor said 
something about inserting a bunch of pins. They tossed me out, or I'd still 
be in there with her." This starts another uproar. 

"How long?" Devi asks, winning out over the others' voices. 

"The doctor said it could be anywhere from four to six hours, maybe more," I 

"Byers, c'm'ere," Frohike says, patting the empty chair beside him "come sit 
down, you look like shit." I feel like shit. "I was afraid you weren't gonna 
make it, pinned down out there on the sidewalk," he says quietly as I join 
him. "Scared the crap out of me." He puts an arm around my shoulders. I put 
one around his back. 

"I didn't think I was either. Look at this." I show them all the bullet hole 
in my jacket, just over the back end of my pocket near my ribs. Langly comes 
over and puts his arms around me too. I think it's only their closeness that 
keeps me from falling apart entirely. I'm so lucky to have these guys for 
friends. "God, I love you guys," I whisper. I don't think I've ever told 
them that. "I was so damn scared. I thought I was dead." 

"You're okay, Johnny, you're okay. We love you too," Langly says, his voice 
cracking. All three of us lose it then, but hearing those words helps, more 
than I can say. 

End part 23

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