TITLE: "Mikhail's Fire VII: Judgment Day" (1/1)
CATEGORY: V, WIP, Krycek/Other, Character Deaths
SPOILERS: Up to One Son, S6
ARCHIVE: Yes, please.
DISCLAIMER: All characters from the X-Files are property of Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and FOX Broadcasting. No copyright infringement intended.
SUMMARY: You gain some...you lose some...
NOTES: Continuation of the Move Heaven and Earth saga. Previous installments can be found here: http://www.angelfire.com/ak3/expositions/mhae.htm
CORRECTION: D'oh again! In chapter six of Mikhail's Fire, New World Disorder, I mentioned the Utah base that is considered the new Area 51...and while I was supposed to write down "the Green River Complex," instead I confused it with the "White Sands" range in New Mexico. I have NO idea how that happened. Somebody slap me! At any rate, I've made the corrections to the version of the chapter on my site...archivists, please use that version. I blame the cold medicine!
For Shael, for calling me on uncharacteristic behavior *before* I posted the chapter! What would I do without you? And for Diadem, my own little cheerleader.
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero."
(Seize the day, put no trust in tomorrow.)
The old man clearly thought he'd gone mad. He let out a surprised chuckle, resembling a cat with a mouthful of canary.
"You have no cards left, Alex. You're surrounded by guards. You lose."
Nodding slightly, lowering himself to set the Glock on the ground, Alex let out a heavy sigh. "Things would have been so much easier if I'd just shot you long ago."
Before Spender could react, Alex raised his arm and pulled the trigger...aiming not at Spender himself, but the mustached German man beside him. Two shots hit him solidly in the chest, knocking him backwards, pitching him hard against the shiny Rolls behind him. And as the guards were poised to return fire, the poisonous cloud started to release.
Gaseous green fumes filled the air, spilling out of the man as copiously as the bubbling alien blood dripping from his wounds. Gasping and choking, their lungs filling with the toxic billows, the guards were helpless. They tore at their clothes, their skin burning and brilliant red. Only those who had been exposed to the vaccine, Alex, Spender, Mulder and the women, remained unaffected.
Outdoors, the toxic gases quickly began to dissipate. Redirecting his aim, centering on Spender's chest, Alex nodded his head towards the aircraft. "Move."
His eyes still wide with shock, staring at Strughold's oozing body, Spender stumbled as he was forced into movement. Alex glanced towards Marita. "Get the keys out of the guard's pocket, uncuff each other. I'll be back."
She glanced momentarily at Scully, who was leaning over her badly wounded partner, and nodded.
Shoving Spender forward, Alex continued following him towards the craft. "He's one of them." Even with a gun to his back, Spender couldn't help the backwards glance at Strughold. "How did you know?"
"Lucky guess, dipshit. Didn't you find it the slightest bit suspicious that Strughold was missing during the El Rico disaster? Keep walking."
"What are you planning? You'll never make it. There are more guards just down the mountain--"
"Which is why you'd better shut up and get moving!"
"And what about the colonists? Do you really think they'll let you get away with this?"
Jerking Spender to a stop just before the landing zone, he watched the plane slowly lower its wheels to the snowy surface. Gusts of wind roared out from the engines, causing the surrounding field to shudder. His coat whipping away from his body, snow flying at his face with whip-like force, Alex winced. He had to shout to be heard over the sound of the air, even though the plane itself barely made a whisper.
"Which would you rather I do, Spender? Walk away now or let the colonists meet Mulder? I'm sure they'd have quite a time with his eidetic memory. Or did you forget that the man could recite every one of your sins?"
"My sins? I've done nothing--"
"The vaccine? You think they'll let you keep your immunity with that knowledge?" He laughed slightly, taking in a deep breath as the Aurora's engines slowed and the craft settled fully onto the ground. "What made you think they would ever honor their promises anyway? You'll be a slave just like the rest of us."
The hatch on the back of the aircraft lowered, sliding down from the belly of the plane like a tentacle, and he almost expected an army of bug-eyed mutants to come scurrying out of the hold. Instead, dressed in black and still wearing his helmet, the pilot stepped down the plank alone. He took one look at the man holding a gun to his superior and froze in his tracks.
Unlike the rest of the men writhing on the ground, military pilots didn't carry guns. He had no defense, and the thought made Alex grin.
"What's your name?"
"Colonel Ian Bradshaw." He paused. "Sir?"
He supposed it was a smart idea calling an armed man sir. "Who else have you got with you, Bradshaw?"
The colonel bristled visibly, before carefully reaching up to remove his helmet. "Lieutenant Colonel Derek Voorhies, Sir."
At the sound of his name, Voorhies appeared on the loading plank and immediately dropped his mouth open at the site before him. A man holding a gun, directed at his superior, surrounded by dozens of dead or dying men. Most crying shrieks of agony as their flesh melted away, leaving them exposed to the icy temperature.
"Just the two of you?" Alex asked.
He didn't like the way Bradshaw said 'sir,' with such disdain and contempt, but he didn't have time to dwell on it. Directing the men away from the plane, his finger still plainly visible on the trigger of the Glock, he motioned them towards where Strughold stood. The man was already healing himself. No matter how many times he saw it happen, he was always amazed at the rapid recovery of the colonists. The wounds seemed to be closing up before their eyes.
Marita stood, fidgeting, next to where Scully knelt on the ground, breathing for her fallen partner. Alex swallowed heavily. He'd never intended for the shots to be fatal. Yet as he saw the gaping holes in Fox Mulder's body, one in his chest and the other in his stomach, he felt like he was going to be sick. The man was damned near dead already.
The unlocked cuffs in her hands, Marita hurried over as Alex approached. "What the hell are you doing, Alex?"
"I need your help, and Scully's."
Scully's eyes shot up, meeting his with such a devilish glare he actually flinched. He wasn't prepared for the moment she shot up from the ground, lunging at him, her bloodied hands reaching for his throat. He only managed to keep some semblance of control by shouting to Marita to grab a gun. Although she didn't understand, she actually did it.
Before the raging woman before him could latch on, he grabbing her flailing wrist and held on. "Damn it, stop this before you get us both killed!"
"You shot him!" Her voice was so hoarse it broke.
"And now I'm going to save him."
"Don't you fucking touch him. You son-of-a-bitch." As Marita came back with the gun in hand, Scully reached for it. "Give it to me, so I can kill him!"
Ignoring Spender's sudden chuckle at the situation, Alex said, "Marita, take Spender and the colonel. Cuff their hands around the trunk of that tree." He roughly shook Scully's shoulder, getting her attention. "You stand watch. We don't have much time, damn it. You can hit me all you want, later."
"I'm not leaving him."
"You don't have a choice!"
Her eyes darted between his gaze and where Mulder lay on the ground, before she hastily took the gun from Marita and pointed it towards the two men. "You heard him. Let's go."
Muttering under his breath, Alex managed a strained "thank you" as he grabbed Voorhies' arm and headed towards where Strughold stood. Looking more than a little worried, Voorhies glanced over his shoulder.
"What do you need me for?"
"You're going to fly us out of here."
"I don't fly that thing by myself."
"There's always a first time."
"What about the other two?"
"They're going to stay right here and watch, while I get exactly what I came here for. Spender was wrong. I win."
Not even four in the morning, and the President was already announcing a state of emergency. As she sat on the counter of the kitchen, Jolie's hands shook so violently she nearly drenched herself with the glass of water meant to soothe her parched throat. The Gunmen, as Sabryn had come to know them, sat in the living room, updating them on the events in the news. It was more of a courtesy than a necessity--Jolie got visibly nervous every time one of them came near. Only with Walter and her aunt was she the least bit calm.
Which really wasn't saying much.
Her eyes ringed with red, her face smeared with tear tracks, she could barely breathe without her breath hitching on a sob.
"Jo, are you going to tell us what happened?"
She shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut. "They t-took him."
"Took who?" Setting down the glass, Jolie curled her legs up beneath her, her sneakers on the counter, and slowly began rocking herself. She didn't even seem to notice when Sabryn rubbed her back. "Sweetie, I need to know--"
"G-man, we've got a problem," Frohike murmured from the doorway, looking exceedingly uncomfortable.
Sabryn glanced at Walter, but his eyes told her to stay put. "I'll be right back."
When he was gone, leaving Sabryn and Jolie alone in the kitchen, she grabbed a stool and sat down directly in front of her niece.
"Did Mr. Larsen come back here?"
Jolie nodded, slightly.
"Did--Did he take them?" She swallowed heavily at the thought. "Is that who you were talking about?"
"No, that was after." Her voice was almost inaudible.
Her little face scrunched up, bright red and quivering, reminding Sabryn so much of when she'd been a baby. She'd changed the girl's diapers then. Seemed like a lifetime ago. But as Jolie spoke, her voice high-pitched and strangled, she remembered it all too well.
"They shot my mommy!"
It was like being on that spinning carnival ride, just after the floor dropped from under your feet. A sudden terrifying panic, the knowledge that sheer force alone kept you upright. And for a few seconds of disbelief, all she could do was stare.
Jolie's whimpers finally snapped her into movement, and she wrapped her arms around the girl tightly. Pressing her small face against her shoulder. And when Sabryn looked up to see Walter standing in the doorway, she knew. With absolute certainty, she knew everything had just gone to hell.
Hefting Jolie's weight into her arms, she headed towards where he stood and prepared to hand the girl over to him. He stepped back suddenly, holding up his hand.
"What are you doing?"
"I want to see."
She didn't bother arguing with him. Depositing Jolie against his left arm, barely waiting for him to get the kid situated on his hip so he wouldn't strain his other shoulder, she turned and headed for the living room. She didn't think about it, didn't even consider turning back. And when the Gunmen saw the look on her face, they immediately stepped away from the back door.
Stepping through the opening, pushing the heavy screen door out of the way, she shivered. No less from the cold than from the sight before her. Scattered footprints dotted the deck, leading towards the stairs and down to the backyard. From where she stood, she couldn't see much of the ground below...but the light dusting of red on the otherwise pure blanket of snow said everything.
Her legs shook, barely supporting her as she neared the steps. Eyes misting over, the heat burning as unshed tears tried to escape. And when she saw them, only the grip of her hand on the railing kept her from pitching down the stairs.
Lying in their own blood, face down and shot from behind, Caroline and her son were still holding hands.
Mulder was wheezing badly, barely breathing on his own, glaring at Alex as he neared.
Trying hard to ignore the sickening sounds coming from the ground, Alex forced Voorhies to his knees and opened the bag of guns. Strughold was almost completely healed, and he swore under his breath. The more strength the man had, the harder it would be to control him. And he desperately needed the healer under his command.
The sleek metal cylinder slipped out of the side pocket of the bag with a whoosh between Alex's fingers, making Strughold flinch. He knew exactly what the weapon was, and started hurriedly backing away.
Before he could take more than two steps towards the disguised colonist, Alex was knocked off his feet, wrestled to the ground by the Aurora's copilot. A vicious blow from Voorhies' fist crashed his teeth together, bringing stars to his eyes. He fought wildly for control, reaching for the fallen gun, but the man was too much of a match for his strength. The harder he struggled to get free, the tighter Voorhies' grip held. They were at a draw, Alex no closer to gaining control than Voorhies was to subduing him, when Scully's welcome voice shouted, "Get off him! Now!"
Voorhies looked up to see Scully standing over them, her weapon pointed at his head. He slowly backed off, his hands raised. As Alex crawled to his feet, grabbing the gun and plam, tucking the first into his waistband, he saw Marita escorting Strughold back to where they stood.
He was starting to get damned pissed off. No more than ten minutes had passed since he shot Strughold, but that was more than they had to waste. Grabbing the healer's arm, he shoved him to his knees before Mulder and unsheathed the wickedly sharp thorn of the plam.
"Heal him, now."
"Bullshit. I've seen it happen. Do it."
"I will not! I'd rather die."
"Die and your colonization goes with you."
He could feel all of them staring at him. Pinching the tip of the plam into the back of Strughold's neck, Alex whispered, "Spender has the hybrid genes in him, doesn't he?"
Although he didn't say a word, Strughold paled visibly.
"Heal Mulder or Spender goes with me. I don't have time for this shit. I can't stop what's coming, but I can make it a living hell for your friends."
Without hesitation, Strughold's hands covered both of Mulder's wounds.
It was like watching a fast-forwarded slide slow. Beneath his hands, Mulder's wounds started to pull together, healing from the inside out, pushing the bullets up and out of his flesh until they rolled innocently to the ground. And the skin beneath looked untouched.
"Jesus," Marita whispered.
Still weak with the loss of blood, Mulder sat up slowly and stared at the holes in his shirt. His fingers shook as they explored his healed skin.
"Now her," Alex said, pulling Marita closer. "Get rid of the cancer. From both of the women."
Scully blinked rapidly, her eyes seeming to tear up as Strughold put his hands over each of the women's foreheads. It was only a matter of seconds before Marita's skin took on a healthier glow, before Scully could move her shoulder with ease. And it was only seconds later before the headlights of an approaching Jeep appeared over the ridge.
Kneeling in the snow, she reached out hesitantly and closed her nephew's open eyelids, before letting her fingers slide down his arm, to cover the place where his and Caroline's hands clasped. They were so cold. So impossibly cold and limp. It was hard to believe this was once the woman who was one of the closest things she had to a best friend. That this was the little boy whom had begged to be held so much that she didn't have time to paint. Tracing the thumb that only recently he had stopped sucking, she felt a shudder rip through her strong enough to take her breath away.
"Who did this?" she asked, sensing Walter's presence before she heard his footsteps crunching across the snow. She looked up to see the top of Jolie's head, just visible as she stood in the doorway. "Who could have possibly shot a little--a little boy in the back of his head?"
His eyes downcast, Walter crouched down beside her and braced his left hand in the snow. "Men in camouflage."
Her gaze flew up to meet his, and he confirmed her horror with a nod. "They drove up to the house, armed, and took the men with them. Larsen and his brothers, as well. Before they left, they--" He gestured helplessly to the bodies on the ground.
Her face was so cold, her eyes seemingly frozen. "Jolie told you that?"
"Not in so many words, but that was the gist of it."
"I don't know."
"That's not good enough!" Standing up, she clenched her fists, as much to save them from the cold as to keep herself from reaching for Chris's delicate little body. "He was a baby. And Caroline--Jesus, Walter, they could plainly see that she's pregnant! They murdered my family!"
Tugging her down to his level, he harshly whispered, "Keep your voice down. That little girl is scared enough. She saw her mother and brother shot...she doesn't need to lose you, too."
"They're dead, Walter." She wasn't sure if she was convincing him or herself.
"I know." He wrapped his fingers around her upper arm, comforting yet not invasively so. At this point, if he'd tried tenderness, she might well have punched him. Or sobbed like a baby. Neither seemed like a good option. "It doesn't make sense. Look at their footprints. They weren't running. Someone led them out here and did this."
The image of Caroline and her son, waiting to be shot in the head, made her sick to her stomach. *I don't feel so good.*
"A small child, barely three feet tall, and a pregnant woman. It doesn't make sense."
"Neither could successfully incubate an alien fetus," she murmured, on the verge of comprehension. "They'd be torn in half--"
Before she could finish the sentence, she staggered away from where he knelt and vomited next to the wooden steps. Her stomach clenching a second time, she could feel his hand on her shoulder and looked up to see him holding out a handkerchief. When her stomach was completely emptied of fluid, considering it was the second time she'd gotten sick that day, her torso was so cramped it brought tears to her eyes. She sat back weakly, wiping her mouth.
"We should get you inside, so you can rest."
Shaking her head, none too violently, she started to get to her feet.
"I've got to go. They have my brother."