Author: Sue (
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- 13/18

In his mind beset with so many non sequiturs,
there was no doubt whatsoever. It was Margot,
groping her way along the Cherokee. It was
she--the woman he'd fallen head over heels for,
faltering her way around the car. She bore no
marks nor any blemishes now. In fact, she
looked radiant, but, a little spooky, to him.

"Margot, I'm coming--it's gonna be all right!"
Langly's feet tripped over themselves as he
scrambled for her. He ignored the fact that
there was something way weird about her overall.
Her movement was erratic and jumpy, and when
she stopped moving at abrupt intervals, it was
as though she was still moving.

Max' face was facial confusion in bas-relief.
Off to the north, overhead, commercial jet
engines were straining to break into cruising
altitude. In Max' present state of confusion,
he wasn't sure whether it was intergalactic
company again paying another visit. He mowed
past Langly, sending him sprawling, and made a
mad beeline for Margot.

If this were she here, now, then who had he
delivered into their eager hands moments before?
Max blocked out Langly's savage cuss words, and
quickened his advance on the woman destined to
be made his equal, who shimmered in the cool,
still air.

A look of dull fascination languished in Margot's
doll-like eyes as she slunk nearer to the open
door of the driver's side, with her windows of
the soul riveted to the laptop's slim screen,
wherein a fireworks display of colorful vibrance

With the gun still clutched in the good arm's
hand, Langly forced himself up from the gravelly
ground into a sitting position. His left arm
hurt like hell, but he steeled himself to ignore
the stabbing throbs as he skewered his lower
lip with his upper teeth, lining Max up in
imaginary crosshairs. Compressing his thoughts,
he squeezed the trigger which didn't budge a
fraction to his considerable shock. The firer
had fused with the rest of the gun.

"Oh, shit!" He dangled the firearm in front of
his angry face, then looked away, obeying what
his eyes were just picking up, as horror siphoned
his breath away. "MARGOT--OHMIGOD! WHAT? WHAT
ARE YOU DOING?" His comprehension froze. "NO!!"

Max had failed. He'd tried to snatch her back
with the lariat he'd fashioned from his belt,
but his toss had missed by degrees, or so he
thought. The snaking line had seemed to loop
about her, but hadn't caught. It had seemed to
pass right through her body. Before he could
try again, she was gone.

Gone--sucked in whole, into the cavorting carnival
of generated, dizzying prismal rainbows.
Following the lightning bright flash, she'd
evaporated into the thinnest air in less time than
it takes to wink.

"Esther...." Langly's outcry swallowed up his
whine, and a sizzling sibilant sound ensued,
filling the deceptive calm. A yawning gap existed
between reality and every arcane sci-fi movie he'd
ever inhaled, and he muttered something about,
"How could she? The witch uploaded her the way
she did herself!" The wind was kicking up, and
lapped at his flushed cheeks. He began feeling
woozy, as though he was going to pass out. "Or is
it downloaded?" He stared in utter disbelief. Was
he Bellevue bait delusional? Having one of Mulder's
bizarrer dreams? "Total weirdness..." Sorrow
tinctured his low, dejected tone. "She really
did it. Dammit--Nairn took her." His voice
fell down the abyss of his esophagus, and he
almost choked. "She took away the one chick who
could have mattered. W-Why? W-Why'd she..."
He couldn't finish as tears swam in his eyes.

Max wasn't so easily put off. His rejection of
what had just happened, and his attempt to undo
it was his undoing. Once his hands had made
contact with the computer screen, the AI lashed
out, delivering a mega-volt jolt of instant
death. His strangled cry of hysteria and his
subsequent solid thud against the Cherokee broke
Langly out of his sad reverie.

In the distance, a siren started shrieking and
red beacons flashed as they whirred. Langly came
to life after witnessing Max' demise, deciding he
wasn't going to hang around for a dragnet to net
Vacating the area was the best plan. Propping
himself up onto his feet, and dragging himself
over to the jeep, he avoided like the plague,
the smoldering sight of Max' smoking, burnt-out
corpse which still crackled. Gingerly, he
stepped way around it.

He forgot about the hurt in his left arm, which
was fractured a hairline. He understood that
there had to be some nasty cuts on his face.
His right cheek stung much too much for its just
being bruised.

Afraid to touch the laptop directly himself now,
he chanced closing down the screen with Byers'
tennis racket which he found after a quick
rummage behind the driver's seat. There was no
way he wanted to deal with Nairn now, nor ever
again. When he started the car up he thought
that if a voice sounding even a little like
Margot's had came across her trim computer, he
would've lost it for sure on the spot.

It was a classic peel-out; the smell of burned
rubber on the wings of a gravel and dust mushroom
cloud choked and lingered in the air.

Who said he didn't know when to leave when it was
time to go? The gaping hole Langly tore open in
the security gate, (of course he'd have to explain
about the jeep's mangled grillwork) would be his
calling card. Eat his dust.

As he sped away from the death scene, an acute
sense of loss hounded him. 

Little did he fully realize just how much of a
toll on him this latest loss would take.


Shenandoah National Forest
Two Days Later. . .
1:22 A.M.

She awoke cold. She shivered, pulsating with
a dread she couldn't shake, even after taking
several deep breaths trying to calm herself. She
felt as if she'd been high on a mountain top, and
had just fallen to earth. It was pitch black,
and the ground she sat upon was damp. The air
smelled dank.

....I'm *not* dreaming, nor was I.... But what
in the name of all that's rational happened to
me? She froze in mid-thought. Nothing made any
sense, and the fact that nothing did frightened

The last thing she remembered was being slammed
unconscious. But by whom? Her memory lapsed
again, and heightened her fright. For several
fitful moments then, she imagined she was dead.

....NO, silly, you're most certainly *not*.... 
If you were, you wouldn't care about being
practically nude....

She pulled the thin tatty blouse, the blouse
that once upon a time recently had been new,
although to look at it now, one would never have
thought so, around her more securely. A lot of
good that did. She shielded her semi-exposed
breasts with her chilled arms. Her slip--there
was no skirt anymore--was in tatters too. She
wondered what had become of her bra? When she
worked ferverishly to remember, she remembered,
caving a little.

....He raped me....Gustin raped me....and left
me for dead....

She felt ruined, as though left in the squalor
of a back alley in the East End.

....Charles Dickens.... Despite her desperate
state of mind, the mere thought of her favorite
author's name brought a smile to her lips.
....What would you have me do if I were one of
your characters?....

What was she going to do? Out here, wherever
here was, shoeless, clueless, and scared
stiff. She shivered harder beneath the starry
heavens, peering up at stars, the members of
constellations which she knew. They'd guide
her. If only she could use a tiny fraction
of their illumination to light her way out of
this...forest? The place had the feel of one,
a huge one.

When she heard stirrings of hesitant movement
some twenty or thirty yards off, her heartbeats
stepped up. What was it? Some wild animal
who'd picked up her scent? Gustin returning to
make sure he'd truly finished her off? She
hunkered down deeper in the thick undergrowth,
straining to hear more clearly.

She rued the savage beating of her heart.
Whatever or whoever it was, was sure to hear,
and she held her breath as though not breathing
would garner her safety. The beating of her
heart quickened.

Maybe the unknown would go away if she wished
hard enough for it to, into the nothingness of
deep night. Her resolve to be brave whithered
when the sounds sounded too close for comfort.
Long, penetrating swathes of beaming light knifed
through the thick greenery. One long-range
resplendant beam fell upon her hiding place.
Timidly, she peeked through the shivering blind,
hoping that somehow, she would go unseen.

"Hey, over here! Guys!" a booming male voice
heralded as the jubilant searcher's blazing beam
swept over the spot where she was holed-up. "I
think I've found that lost camper..." No you
haven't, Margot thought apprehensively. Softly
to the teeth-chattering woman her finder said,
"You're fine. You're okay now. Everything'll
be all right, ma'am." Good-looking woman, he
thought, even if she is pretty beat-up. "What's
your name? Don't be afraid." He removed his
large olive-green jacket and spread it over her
carefully. "I'm Tim. Timothy Ducasse at your
service, ma'am... C'mon, tell me. What's yours?"
When his fellow Rangers joined him, Tim said to
them, "She's in shock--"

"No-no I'm not." Margot blocked the blinding
flashlight light out with her hands, putting them
up. Her rescuers got more than an eyeful of her
bosom than they should have. "My name's Margot."
There was more to it than that she sensed.
"Margot?" She didn't know what more to say, and
her shivering increased. "Mar-uh?"

"That's fine, ma'am; you're doing great. We'll
have a transport here shortly to take you to
the nearest medical facility. Just relax." He
indicated to another Ranger to make that emergency

"Margot... Mar...Ma..." Tears pooled in the
corners of her eyes, and began sliding free
before she could stop them.

"It's going to be all right, Margot." Ducasse
dropped to his haunches. He wondered how badly
injured she really was. He put his arm around
her shoulders, trying to assess. Her shivering
intensified, and he fitted his jacket about her
more securely. She asked first, and when he
said, "Sure," she took his flashlight and began
surveying the environs for herself. There was a
valid reason for the heavy fragrance of pine. The
evergreens' branches were enormous. "Didn't think
we'd find you," he whispered, and she nodded,
deciding to accept the role of lost hiker, or
whatever they thought she was.

She gasped when a bolt of recollection shocked
her. "A-Aparenridge! I'm Margot Aparenridge.
I was kidnapped--"

"Kidnapped? Who kidnapped you?" the level gazer,
Gerard Dunn asked, as he stepped into them
closer, sounding neither doubtful nor a hundred
percent convinced.

"My deranged boyfriend," Margot echoed, dazedly.
"He, he," her voice wobbled as a tiny bell of
further recollection dinged in her mind, "he
handed me over to deformed creatures. Hideous
things. They examined me, probed me like a
specimen." She knew how it sounded, bearing the
brunt of the three pairs of eyes studying her
intently. Shaking her head, she didn't care if
she sounded crazy. Her captors, who surprisingly,
hadn't kept her long, were the ones she knew would
hold her prisoner, one day. She hadn't counted on
their setting her free, though, since she'd always
reasoned once they had her, she'd be theirs forever.

"Creatures?" Dunn asked, with a dulled flatness
in his tone.

"*Yes* Creatures. Al-aliens," Margot forcefully

"You just relax, ma'am," Ducasse assuaged, seeing
if Margot was suffering from concussion as his
eyes washed over her head after he reclaimed his

"I'm fine," Margot said testily, "so's my head."
Ducasse was feeling for a large bump, or one or
two smaller ones. She shook his hand out of her
head. "See, what did I tell you?"

He could have sworn he'd felt a lump, but seeing
how Margot was getting combative, he decided
he'd leave any further medical evaluation to the
paramedics. "How'd you get away?" Ducasse humored.
"The kidnapper... He just let you go? How long
ago, if you know? He did this to you?"

The Ranger's questions were so much white noise.
Margot looked away from him, suddenly feeling
very tired.

"It's okay, Margot," Ducasse apologized.

"Give the girl a chance," Dunn cautioned, giving
his workmate a long, telling look.

"One step at a time then," Ducasse amended.

Margot shrugged, and stared into space
contemplatively. There was someone else. Someone
aside from Gustin she was trying to recall, but
placing a face with a name wasn't happening.
When she trusted her voice sufficiently, she
replied, "I can't remember all that much."

The Rangers fed off each other's curious looks.
Ducasse furthered his line of questioning.
"Your boyfriend, can you remember his name?"

Margot thought hard, still trying to place the
face she wanted with the name she wanted.
Following several more moments, she said, "His
name is...Ri-Richard...Richard Langly."

"He did this to you," Dunn spoke up heatedly.

Margot frowned, shaking her head, and sounding
suddenly childlike said, "No--not *Ringo*."

Sounding as confused as he looked, Ducasse said,
"Who's Ringo?"

"The name of my new boyfriend," Margot fired

"But I thought your boyfriend's name is Richard
like you said," Dunn tossed in, as lost as his

"Ringo is his nickname, you sillies," Margot
said, looking at them scornfully.

One step at a time, Ducasse reminded himself.

"Oh...his nickname," the Rangers sounded off by
way of delayed sequencing, but still looked as
though she was speaking Malay.

"So Ringo," Ducasse arched, "did this to you,

"Nothing of the kind," Margot snapped, folding
her arms across her chest, blocking their
unobstructed view of her generous chest, "Ringo's
an angel." Then her face clouded and she grew
tearful. "It's Gustin--Gustin Max he's a devil.
He did this to me, and--and..." Her voice
drowned in the wash of tears that overwhelmed

"It's okay--it's okay," Ducasse soothed, "it'll
all be straightened out. Once you get into
warmer clothes, and get some hot food into you,
you'll be fine, and the authorities will get
to the bottom of this, so don't worry."

"I hope those aliens of his take him and never
come back," Margot struggled through whimpers.

The Rangers let her rant run its course.

"'Member those campers back a year ago?" Matt
Chenol whispered to his fellow PRs, "the ones
who'd been reported as missing?" Chenol was
always being told how great his memory was.

"Yeah. What about them?" Ducasse raised.

"They didn't make much sense either with their
talk about aliens, and they were in worse shape
than she is." Quickly he thrust in, "No offense,

Margot gave him a vague look. Langly.... What
had happened to Langly?.... Had he ever made
it to CRS'?

Ducasse shot Chenol a lopsided, 'how many times
do I have to tell you' look. It was a look
the more junior man understood, but had a hard
time shouldering. "Chenol, how long until that
medivac gets here?"

"ETA, eight to ten minutes more, sir," he
promptly replied.

"Good," Ducasse said, nodding along with the
brand spanking new rookie. What was there about
this neck of the woods, he considered, lifting
his head, and looking all around. Maybe sometime
before the end of autumn, a hand-to-hand ground
search could be conducted in an effort to discover
what mysteries this particular tract of land held.


End Part 13