Author: Sue (email@example.com)
Rating: M-14 (for mature audiences)
Category: Gunfic (Story)
Spoilers: Those you recognize.
Timeline: Events happening not too long after 'Three
Of A Kind.'
Summary: The discovery of a deep-cover covert
operation doing the Government's dirty work
in plain sight under the guise of environmental
activism and charity projects... And many
other discoveries along the way.
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters and
references are property of C. Carter and Company,
Morgan & Wong, 10-13 Productions and FOX. The
British chick's mine.
Thrown Back - 12/18
Byers counted to ten, and felt better. The terrain
was hilly now, very, and phone service had become
sacrificial. Trying to phone Langly to learn his
exact location was abandoned. About an hour
earlier, Frohike had met with similar failure.
He'd lost his temper to such an extent that he had
agreed to let Byers have a crack at it, to no avail.
They'd arrived nearly an hour and twenty minutes
ago, somehow expecting their younger, more
headstrong associate being here, their designated
rendevous, way ahead of them already. They'd had
the problem in-transit. When Frohike had spoken
to Langly hours ago, he'd sounded as though it was
all smooth sailing.
So, why wasn't he here yet, the scrapper wondered,
with stooped shoulders inching up involuntarily.
Frohike tossed Byers' silhouette a frown, with a
disagreeable sounding sucking of teeth, and
opened the door roughly, to step out for some air.
He left the door open, ending the total darkness.
After stretching expansively, he turned himself
around, ran his hand over the van's rust-pock
marked window frame. "Think we should go on to
Chester Gap without 'em?"
Byers loved the air up this way. He'd always
toyed with the idea of buying some property,
hiring a contractor, build that house, end of
story. Susanne and he could begin their family,
and rusticate to their hearts' content, while
keeping the on-line door always open, of course.
Reluctantly, he pulled his mind out of the
illusionary dream house, and away from what he
and Susanne were doing across its threshold.
"Let's say we wait until eleven-forty-five.
Chester Gap isn't far. Most likely he can't get
through to us either if he's trying to call."
Nodding, "Maybe," Frohike said, kicking at the
brand new front tire. "Man, this place is givin'
me the creeps..." He looked over his shoulder,
thinking he'd heard a 'crack' like a twig snapping,
or something. "You hear that?"
"Hear what?" Byers tested the air like the way
he did when testing the waters, figuratively as
well as literally.
"Like rustling. Like I said, it's creepy here.
Not my idea of a fun place to hang."
"Then get back in the van." He decided it was
as good a time as any to consult the dogeared
road atlas which bore a host of routes plotted
out in a rainbow of magic marker colors. "Don't
shut the door I'm trying to--"
"I definitely hear someth-- Damn!"
"Shut the door--douse the light," Byers hooted.
Frohike did as told, and the two huddled close
to one another, slowing their breathing down,
and waiting to hear if they would hear anything
more, which they hoped they wouldn't.
"You're right," Byers whispered, his voice coming
from his gullet, "I hear it too."
"Somebody's out there, man," Frohike replied,
matching the way Byers sounded.
Getting braver, Byers semi-called out, "Langly?"
"Margot?" Frohike softly chimed in, and raising
himself more erect added, "You guys?"
All was silence until...
"Sounds like scratching," Byers alerted.
"Yeah, it does. Against my door." Frohike
fingered it lightly. "It's faint, but it's there
all right." The two were nodding, and he reached
for their newly-bought Hapersteen flood-flashlight
underneath the driver's seat. "Time a little light
was thrown on the subject." He turned it on,
immersing the van's interior in near blinding light,
and shone it through the open window.
Already, there was the frenetic gathering of many
moths at the light source's arc.
When Frohike pointed the beam of the penetrating
light down, the night caller held its humanlike
paws up in response to the bright assault, shielding
its little furry head with those amazing paws as
though it had been caught redhanded.
The perimeter's masked infiltrator had lots of
"What is it, Frohike? What do you see?" Byers,
after having wheezed that, edged in closer to
Frohike, but the older man was too caught up in
the fascination of the moment to fill him in.
"What are you looking at?" Byers implored,
exasperated to the point of duress.
"Have a looksee for yourself," Frohike recommended,
drawing back out of the way so Byers could. After
Frohike said, "Rocky Racoon's a knockin'." Byers
gained control of the flashlight and shone it in
the direction of the glinting body of moonstruck
"The area's crawling with them," he said, his
tone drenched with mystification. "Now there's
scratching on my side too. How many do you think
there are ? Why are they out there like this?"
"I'm no game warden, buddy." Frohike made Byers
bring the flashlight back in. "It's like they're
holding a funky fur-lined racoon's convention."
Jackie Gleason in his club uniform popped into
Frohike's imagination. "Ralphie boy, eat your
Three of the nocturnal 'bandits' were
accessorizing the VW's windshield, handling the
the wipers with dexterous paws. Byers eyed their
nimble exploits, as though they were putting on
a show, warily. "They seem somewhat crazed,
Frohike." Byers reared back from the racoons
on the windshield who were attacking its glass
with their teeth.
Giving it a 'thumbs up,' Frohike said, "Maybe
they hate Volkswagens."
"Have you ever witnessed anything like this
before?" Byers asked a gawking Frohike as he
lost no more time rolling up his window, which
Byers quickly imitated.
"Not behavior like that. Not at any zoo or
wildlife joint I've ever been."
"What do you make of it?"
"What do I know from animals? Except the long-
haired one we live with." Frohike reached for
the ignition and turned the key stuck in it.
"Let's get the hell outta here before the
infestation squirms in through the tailpipe."
Byers got them underway, but his environmental
mentality compelled him not to squish any of the
out of control creatures, so he was careful as
he drove away from the area. Back on the access
road, he gunned the van, speeding them on their
Not more than five minutes into the conversation-
less journey, Byers slammed on the brakes without
"What the hell!" Frohike spat like a scatter-gun,
nearly having been thrown out of his seat.
"Frohike--that buck leapt out of nowhere," Byers
said shakily. It gradually dawned on him that
he'd hit the frenzied animal. The naturalist
side of him shuddered in lament.
"I wouldn't go out there to inspect your roadkill
if I was you, John," Frohike advised, watching
his jittery friend opening his door.
"He could still be alive," Byers objected, not
setting his leg back inside.
Frohike reached across Byers and banged the
door shut, reminiscent of the time recently when
he'd closed the door behind them to their bunker
up in the Appalachian Mountains. Mulder's
warning of the invasion going down had been
premature, but he, Byers, Langly and Mulder
thrived on the motto, 'Any day now.' "Let's
switch. Slide over."
"But..." Byers hesitated. Frohike didn't let
him re-evalute too long.
"Now, do you hear *that*?"
He picked up on where Frohike was coming from
in a flash. He slid over into the passenger
seat and Frohike into the driver's. "It sounds
"You're too shook up to handle this. Take a good
look back and see what I already have," Frohike
told him insistently.
The air in the confines of the weathered van
pulsed. Byers concentrated harder in the tense
darkness, and although unaided night vision wasn't
their strong suit, both pairs of their eyes were
much better acclimated to the night's velvety
shroud of pitch-blackness.
"See?" Frohike gritted out in a ragged rasp.
Alarmed, the probing man most certainly did,
keying his hearing in then too on the progression
of building sound, coinciding with the rushing
outline of the sea of antlers. The maddened
thundering of many hooves rampaging nearer.
"Stampede!" Frohike boomed as he gunned the
constrained engine in a split second, and ground
the pedal into the VW's soiled, greasy floorboard.
The van lurched forward convulsively, but under
the calm, nerves of steel handling of the
ex-Marine, it shot forward smoothly in a blurred
convection of speed.
"Hurry, Frohike," Byers ordered, his eyes pasted
to the van's rear window. Through it, he saw the
surging wave of the bobbing antlers gaining on
them. He was discovering a lower level in the
pit of his stomach.
Driven by pure instinct, Frohike outmaneuvered
them to save their squirming butts. They
could never hope to outrun the fleet-footed
herd, not in this old gas-guzzler.
The quick thinker peered, and aided by the
newly-replaced headlights, he spied a narrow
outcrop of road which led them off from the charge
of the driven ruminant brigade. Frohike brought
the van to a sharp halt, and the anxious men
watched as the flow of spooked beasts roared past.
Afer a straggler or two streaked by, they got out
of the van. When they finally spoke, their
comments fell far short of their usual standards.
They sounded like men who knew in their bones
that they'd just witnessed something that could
not be easily dissected, categorized or
dismissively catalogued, with the memory of the
raucous racoons still fresh in their embattled
"Wow..." Frohike finally managed, following several
steadying breaths. He looked up at the twinkling
sky until he was breathing more normally. The
air around them was eerily still, and he knew it
would be a while before they'd be going anywhere.
"Wow, me too," Byers accorded, some pitch above
The rattled conspiracy theorists shook their heads,
at a loss to explain what had just happened.
They doubted that even Langly, if he'd been here,
with his treasure trove of far-out theories, would
have one to make some sense of it all.
Mulder would, for sure. Mulder, any day or night
of the week.
CRS DIVPlex - OCF Development Tract
Chester Gap, VA
Langly squinted at his watch for the third
time by laptop light, realizing that since
Frohike and Byers hadn't been at the rendevous,
like they said they would be, he wondered what
had happened to them now. He frowned disagreeably
at the empty screen. Nairn had zipped off again
and, true to form, hadn't really given him a
reason for another departure. 'She' had thought
about giving him one, but had decided against,
reasoning that the explantion would be way over
his head anyway, and it would waste time.
He was parked at the outer boundary of the
society's headquarters, and as he waited for
'Nairn' to return, he fueled his resolve that
nothing was going to stop him from saving
He patted the gun nestled between his waistbands.
The firearm dug into him, but it was a sizeable
comfort knowing it was there, and he would use
it the way he had decided it would. Nairn could
take her two cents and shove it.
He massaged the hard bulge, and thought about how
he'd never shot to kill anyone before, not even
small rodents for fun. The Modeski thing didn't
count because it had all been staged. Regardless
of how many times he'd plugged Susanne, she'd
lived. For Margot though, he knew he was more
than capable of doing what it would take to 'ice'
Thinking about her was making him braver, and he
closed his eyes after making sure that no one was
sneaking up from behind in the side view and
rearview mirrors. Before he could conjure up a
fantasy of any kind, the missing-in-action-AI
rocked his world instead.
"What the fu--" Looking foiled, a rare mix of
cherubic and guilty as sin, he gave a weak smile.
The laptop seemed to be glaring at him. "Hey, I
wasn't asleep, ya know. I was uh..."
'...YEAH, SURE...I KNOW... FACE IT, IN YOUR
CASE IT'S TOO LATE FOR BEAUTY SLEEP...'
"You're a real bitch, ya know that?" 'Nairn'
made a sound that would have easily passed for
'...OF COURSE I AM... A BABE IN TOTAL CONTROL--
Langly had no immediate comeback for that zinger
of a one-liner. He thought it was wiser to ask,
"How soon before they get here?"
'...SOON, BUT THERE'S A PROBLEM...'
"What kind of problem?"
'...I NEED MORE POWER... THE LAPTOP'S BATTERY
IS WEAKENING... IT REALLY BITES...'
"Think I can help out there," Langly said,
sounding like a harbinger of ingenuity. Before
Nairn could reply, he perked, "I'll hook the
lap' up to the car's juice for an energy boost."
'...HAVE YOU EVER DONE IT BEFORE?...'
"Well, uh, not exactly, but I've thought along
those lines if something like this ever came up.
Yeah, it's tricky, but I think I can do it."
'...YOU THINK?... LOOK, I'M NOT VOLUNTEERING
TO BE YOUR GUINEA PIG... YOU CROSS THE WIRES
AND YOU'RE LIABLE TO FRY ME...'
"Don't worry, I won't." Langly was already
out of the car, and promising through the
window. "I'm smarter than you think."
He took the AI's silence for his green light,
owing to her trusting him. If he could have read
her 'mind,' he would have been disappointed.
"Gotta get the cables," he said, heading for the
back of the Cherokee.
Still, he received no acknowledgement. So
he went ahead without it, first paring down
the cable feeds to compensate for the laptop's
requirements. He seated himself behind the
wheel once everything was in place, and
started the engine, crossing his fingers while
holding his breath.
The delicately-timed recharge took less than
eight minutes, and once he'd removed the cables
from the car's battery, his breathing regulated
to normal. He'd done the 'jixie' and nothing
had caught on fire, and he smiled broadly,
calling for 'Nairn' to say something so he'd
know 'she' was all right.
"Feelin' stronger?" Langly asked, standing
alongside the Cherokee, rewinding the cable
he'd modified. His eyes were glued to the
computer screen perched on the left fender.
"Hey, ya there? I took care of it."
'...QUICK--GET BACK IN THE CAR--THEY'RE
"Byers and Frohike?" He peeked around from
the storehouses the Cherokee was sequestered
behind, some forty feet from the facility's
western entrance. The wind was kicking up,
but not much else, he judged.
'...*NO*, MISTER WIZARD...*MARGOT AND THE
"But I don't hear or see noth..." He cut himself
off in the next second, because 'she' was telling
the truth. It was no longer a strain to hear.
Quickly, he closed the car's hood and piled into
the Cherokee with the laptop, positioning the
computer on the seat and waited until the gleaming
Beetle whizzed by on the oil-splotched road.
Langly tried getting a glimpse of Margot as it
passed, but he cursed the fact that he was too
far away so saw no sign of her. A cold, odd
feeling swept through him.
"The fuck--if he's--"
'...MOVE NOW... HE'S GOT TEN YARDS BEFORE
REACHING THE GATE, AND WE'RE GOING TO RIDE IN
ON HIS COATTAILS... DON'T THINK--JUST DO!...'
Obeying, Langly shot out from behind the gloomy
makeshift structures and onto the dusty blacktop,
falling in smoothly behind the nemesis. As he
neared the entry booth, the jittery Gunman
realized it lacked flesh and blood security,
manning the point of ingress. As far as he could
see, there wasn't even one CCTV tracking feed
anywhere. He forced himself not to think about
the tracking devices he couldn't see, but had to
be picking him up.
The sole 'welcomer' was a glaring red beacon that
winked off, then back on once they were through.
Worrisomely, there was still no sign of Margot
in the car.
"Weird there's no actual person monitoring here."
'...OH, THERE IS... THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS
I SUFFERED A POWER DRAIN...ON THE SENTRY'S
MONITORS YOU READ AS A GHOST... YOU'RE NOT HERE
FROM HIS STANDPOINT...'
Langly breathed a sigh, and felt heady for
moments, and he gulped down what felt like a
giant tumbleweed, his throat, one vast desert.
Oddly enough, though, the distinct odor of
seawater flavored the air. Since when had the
Shenandoah moved closer to the Atlantic, he
The Beetle racheted to a screeching, pavement
searing halt a stone's throw from an enormous
building that could have easily doubled for an
armory; the main headquarters. Max spilled out
of the car, and slugged the driver's seatback
forward, the action having an affinity with a
sealed vault being ripped open. He leaned
inside, crouching, and as though playing out in
time lapse, he extracted the object of his
Langly forgot to breathe. "Margot..." Grimly,
she lay boneless, for all intent and purposes,
lifeless, in his muscular arms. Her prim face,
with the shadowy patterns of the chain-link
fence on it, was bloodied, devoid of its comely
animation and ashen in the high-intensity Soltis
lights which splashed illumination everywhere.
Anger, like molten heat, welled-up within Langly's
heart, wreathing it. Whatever rational thought
he'd entertained about getting her away from
Max was obliterated in the wake of his rage, as
he rocketed out of the Cherokee before he was
aware that his legs possessed the unsteadiness
of quaking ground.
"You're mine, you fuckin' bastard--" Langly lashed
out, and he whipped out the gun violently, as he
prepared to squeeze off shots, made murderous by
the horrific sight assaulting his eyes.
As with most of what is unexpected, what happened
next did so much too quickly.
There was the kaleidoscopic, cacophonous tumult
of time being suspended, as though it was all
occurring at once, but apart, defying the space
time continuum of this world, or any other nearby
in this neck of the solar system.
Langly's knowledge of his whereabouts slipped and
blurred, leaving him tingly, and disorientated,
badly frightened, but curious all the same. When
the gun turned white-hot in his, what looked to
be, shrinking hand, he was forced to throw it down.
Incredibly, the weapon didn't fall to the earth.
Rather, it whirled about within a mini cyclone,
suspended within a suspension of rocks and dirt.
In the shrieking melee, Langly's gasp was lost.
Before he knew whether or not he'd been knocked
down, he was lying on it where he experienced
the titilating sensation of a thousand furry
frenzied things pawing his body. The touches
were light, as though he was on some spacey
LSD trip. He felt very itchy, but couldn't
scratch because his hands wouldn't move. He
was re-living many a cold turkey day of rehab
without benefit of methadon chasers.
So not good.
He tried raising his head, but the force holding
him at bay was too strong. Determined though,
crediting persistence, he managed to lift his
chin up several hard-won centimeters with cold
sweat rippling down from his head, dappling his
gritty neck. The only thing he could raise
any higher were his eyes, and once he had, the
sight which filled them held him firmer in
transfixion than any external force.
A concrete reason for the cloying odor of
seawater became vividly apparent.
Off to the zigzag of what looked like huge
grain silos some fifty feet off, a pair of
killer whales, kin of Shamu and Willie, seemed
to dance before his eyes, in midair. They were
as out of their element as Langly was out of
his, as he all the while hugged the swirling
ground as what seemed like all mayhem breaking
The motionless man, save his wild hair whipping
every which way, lay gasping, beside himself
over the surreal spectacle commanding his vision,
as his eyeballs fairly pressed up against their
smudged lenses. The floating, yin-yang colored
marine mammals were held suspended in the shaft
of stabbing light which was whiter than white,
way whiter than Langly on a sick day.
He forced his eyes to look up higher as he watched
the cumbersome pair disappear into the gaping maw
of the... Denial? Langly balked at the very
notion. It was what it was. And what it was, was
in plain, uncontestable view, and he without the
camera to film the indisputable evidence.
His first UFO before his very eyes. Move over,
Mulder, man, Langly thought. ....And you too,
Scully....move way over....
Like a giant vacuum cleaner in the sky, against
the obsidian backdrop of cluster upon cluster of
star systems, the alien vessel had sucked the
whales, specimens, Langly wondered, up. In vain,
he struggled to keep his eyes trained on the
yawing intergalactic ride in retreat, but he was
tired, almost entirely spent. Flagging, he
dropped his head down, and although exhausted, he
pulsed with the excitement only discoverers know.
He'd seen; he was an eyewitness. This wasn't some
pulp fiction for the National Inquirer; nothing
bogus going down here.
The radical thing about it was he'd always
believed, way before this. He hadn't needed
Mulder telling him to all these years, and now
his faith had been handsomely rewarded.
The gentle breeze tailing in the post-midnight
air gently buffeted his face, and felt familiar
and normal again. His body, no longer felt
leaden and incapable of movement. Freedom of
movement was a glorious thing he rejoiced as he
found he was able to stand in stages. A shaky
hand righted his crooked glasses over the narrow
bridge of his nose.
Craning his neck in the last direction he'd
seen the craft, he wondered what had happened
to it. The skies were empty as he frantically
searched them. The ship had vanished, and it
was then he remembered what had been his chief
concern before the presentiment of the UFO.
"Ma-Margot?" he said, looking around him with
his hands describing erratic patterns of motion.
He spied the gun he'd relinquished, and knelt,
and while in the crouch, he heard a shuffling
behind him. With deceptive slowness, Langly rose
up with the weapon double-gripped, spinning
around on his heels, and sensed he should do what
felt instinctive. He wound his right index around
the curved trigger.
Max cut out from his left, and loomed up before
him, leaving Langly to see his taunting shining
from his dark eyes.
"She's gone...the others, the dominants, came
for her. They lured her with the aquatics she's
made her life's work, knowing she would be unable
to resist going to them if she thought they were
being endangered. They need the vast knowledge
she possesses. They are far superior to our
enemy who deliberately chooses to limit
Langly listened in morbid fascination like some-
one to whom a story whose tragic ending is known
before the conclusion is recited.
"Margot's knowledge like that of those other
researching scientists, will serve them well,
and once it has, she'll be mine forever." Max
went for the gun, but Langly drew back sharply
with Max continuing, "Leave, human, before I
change my mind..."
The rash of disappearances of notable
intelligencia reported on national and
international scales had just been explained.
Mulder needs to be here, Langly considered
soberly, 'stead of visiting The Griffith in La-La
Land. Langly's feverish mind raced.
"Wha'd'ya mean, 'change your mind, assho-?"
Langly choked on his own words when Margot
appeared, slinking from around the far side of
Dumbfounded, but relieved, which outdid imprecise
words, he squinted hard, not so quick to trust
iffy sight. Just one Soltis unit strung high over
head remained illuminated in the aftermath.
"Margot? Is that you?" Langly said with baited
End Part 12