X-Seven Chapter 4
Aids to the reader: list of characters in the X7 Trilogy and a glossary.


Mulder talking to himself: "Most men live their whole life as a whole man; in control of their whole mind. Some men trade away a part of their mind for wealth or health or peace of mind. I've had a piece of my mind stolen from me. I want back what I once took for granted, I need to be once more in control, but each step I take to recapture what I have lost pushes me further away. In some philosophical traditions it is taught that motion only comes once complete stillness is attained. If I wait and watch will my captors forget their duty and let me slip from my bonds? If I wait too long will anything of me remain?"

The Lone Gunmen approach the door to Mulder's apartment. Frohike says, "Three, answer two, one, answer three." Langly knocks three times on the door, "Rap, rap, rap." They wait. They look at each other. Byers raises his arm to knock again, but Frohike jumps up and grabs his fist. Inside, Mulder looks through the peep hole and knocks twice on the door. Langly smiles at Byers and Frohike and knocks one more time. They hear Mulder give just two more knocks. Langly looks at Byers in horror and mouths, "Two knocks?"

Frohike shouts, "Run for it!" and takes off down the hallway. Mulder opens the door and pulls Langly inside.

Byers strolls in calmly, and says to Langly, "I told you it was 3-2-1-2."

Mulder looks down the hall for Frohike, sees nothing, and closes the door, throwing two dead bolts. Mulder says, "Tell me again why we need a pass code for a poker game?" Mulder, Byers, and Langly sit down at a card table and start buying poker chips from the bank.

Langly says, "It was Frohike's idea. Man, has he been acting weird."

Byers and Langly keep looking at each other and giving each other signals with their eyes and gesturing towards Mulder. Byers says, "I tried to tell him that there's no need for a code."

Mulder looks up from counting his poker chips and sees them each trying to get the other to ask Mulder something. Just then Frohike knocks at the door. Mulder sighs and goes to the door and lets him in.

Frohike looks at Mulder sheepishly and hold up a six pack. "Forgot the beer in the van." Mulder takes the beer.

Langly and Byers are still arguing quietly when Mulder and Frohike come over and join them at the card table. Mulder puts the beer on the table and Frohike throws down a twenty. Frohike says, "Hey, Fox, what's wrong with the Yanks this year?"

Mulder gives Frohike some poker chips and while Mulder is looking down counting chips Byers and Langly and Frohike are all silently mouthing to each other and gesturing towards Mulder. Mulder says, "There's nothing wrong with the Yankees that another 200 million can't fix." Mulder looks at each of the three. "Come on, guys, what is it?"

Byers says, "Truth is Mulder, Langly has not been well, either."

Langly says, "Hey, you're worse off than me, man. He’s been wetting his bed." Mulder can't stop a grin from reaching his face. "Really, he pissed in his bed!"

Mulder says, "Did I ever tell you this? First week at the academy, they show us this set of crime scene images. Blood and body parts. It gave me a nightmare and I messed my bed. Literally scared the-"

Langly pops open a beer bottle and foam squirts out all over Mulder. "Damn! Sorry, man." Mulder goes to the kitchen and gets a towel. As soon as Mulder leaves the room, Byers, Langly and Frohike are whispering frantically.

Mulder comes back to the table and Byers asks, "How about you Mulder, how are you doing, now?"

Mulder picks up a deck of cards and sets it in front of Byers, who cuts the deck. Mulder says, "Five card draw." He deals the cards. "No better than last week. In fact, I'm probably worse. You know- Ante up." They all put a chip in the middle of the table. "For a while I was sure that Dana was on the Moon. Now I do not feel that any more. I've lost her, totally lost the connection."

Langly says, "Pass".

Frohike asks, "Connection?" And adds, "Pass."

Byers shrugs and says, "Spooky Mulder. Pass."

Mulder says, "I don't know, I just feel it." He bets a chip and everyone stays in.

Langly discards, "Three."

Frohike says, "Three." Byers takes three and Mulder takes four cards.

Frohike observes, "He has an ace up his sleeve."

Byers asks Mulder, "Any word from your sources in the Bureau about that missing artifact?"

"I saw Doggett a couple of days ago. The artifact is gone without a trace. The crew members of the Floreana were in better shape when they reappeared than we were. They have not been having the same problems we developed after getting back. No flashbacks. No sleep disruption. "

Langly throws his cards down, "Fold."

Frohike comments, "Such bravery. I bet 25." He throws a chip into the pot.

Mulder has been struggling with a vague memory of something Scully said on the Moon. Or was it something she had said many years ago? Mulder asks, "Do any of you remember Scully talking about a way for us to remember what had happened to us? A way to prevent the clones from erasing our memories?"

Byers says, "I'm in," And adds to the pot.

Langly says, "All I remember is Scully saying she was going to stay with the clones."

Frohike says, "Do you really remember her saying that or did the clones tell us that?"

Byers warns Frohike, "Don't start that again."

Mulder says, "Your 25, another 25."

Frohike says, "Oooo. A pair of aces? I'm all a tremble. 25. Call. "

Byers starts to sweat profusely. Frohike kicks Langly under the table. "Byers is nervous about losing his lunch money again."

Mulder looks at Byers with concern. "You alright, Byers?

Byers' hand slowly moves to pick up a chip, and then he flips it into the pot. "Drugs!" He blurts out, and then sits panting.

Mulder gets out of his chair and does a little victory dance. "Yes!" He pumps his arm. "Scully said it would be possible to block the memory erasure with drugs. Byers, what is that stuff you take?"

Byers wipes sweat of his brow. "Amantadine."

Mulder snaps his fingers, "Right. What if the amantadine in your system kept some of your memories intact? What else do you remember?" Byers starts to get very dizzy. Mulder is still excitedly pacing around behind Byers and can't see the green color of his face. Frohike is watching Mulder and Langly is staring at Byers with sick fascination. Mulder pounds a fist in his palm, "There was something else. Something about her....brain."

Frohike says, "Brain?"

Langly asks, "Her brain cancer?"

Mulder puts a finger to his lips and warns Langly and Frohike, "Quiet, you two. Byers is my man."

Byers suddenly rises out of his chair knocking over the table. Poker chips, beer bottles and cards go flying and Byers turns and vomits on Mulder's feet. Mulder jumps back and Byers continues retching unproductively. Langly brings some towels from the kitchen. Frohike is at Byers' side and says, "He's trying to say something."

Byers says, "" He sits on the floor with his head between his legs for a minute while the others clean up the room. Finally he says quietly but clearly, "cingulate cortex. She was talking about the cingulate cortex."

Langly says, "What the hell is that?"

Mulder says, "I remember that!" He is very happy with each tiny memory that he can recover. "Dana was talking about memory and the cingulate cortex. She had a theory. A way to prevent the clones from stealing our memories."

Langly says, "Bull shit, man. This is the worst kind of bogus memory recovery. You might as well get out your Ouija board."

Frohike says, "Maybe Langly is right, Mulder. You have to relax and trust Scully. What can you do? Think what we are up against. You’re just making this hard on yourself"

Mulder comes crashing off of his enthusiastic outburst. "Ya, ya. Drugs. Cortex. It leads me no where."

Langly says, "Maybe it’s better to let it go, Fox."

Mulder scowls at Langly. "Come on, spill it, guys. What are you hiding from me? If it's news about Scully, I'll....I'll...." He looks desperately at each of them then turns away.

The Lone Gunmen start their act again, each trying to get the other to tell their news to Mulder. Without turning, Mulder says, "Tell me. I need to know. Is she dead?"

Byers says, "No, Mulder! No. Nothing like that. It's Langly's work."

Langly says, "Maybe it means nothing."

Frohike says, "Just tell him."

Langly explains, "We still have a tap into the FBI video feed from Scully's computer, her webcam. One of the clones searched her house again yesterday."

Mulder says, "A clone was looking for Scully?"

"He did a quick tour of her house, then left."

Mulder turns around, "The clones are looking for Scully?"

Byers nods. Mulder knows that Scully is back on Earth. He nods knowingly. That's why she's not on the Moon. She's on Earth! Mulder decides that there is only one way to find Dana. If the clones are back on Earth searching for Dana, she must have escaped from them. If the clones are back on Earth, then the FBI will be tracking them. Mulder knows he must shadow Doggett and Reyes. He runs out of the apartment leaving the Lone Gunmen standing there looking mystified.


Doggett and Reyes are moving with the mass of passengers that just arrived at National Airport from Portland. Doggett is holding a tattered suit jacket in one hand and Reyes has her left arm in a sling. As they come out past a security check point and into the main concourse, they see Skinner waiting for them. Skinner had reached them by phone and told them that the FBI image analysis section had some new matches for the men who had abducted Scully. Skinner asks, "What happened to you?"

Doggett says, "We were making an arrest and the guy told his dogs to attack us."

Skinner says, "I know you've been on the road for a week, but I really need you in San Diego." Skinner leads them into a small room through a door marked "Security". They sit down at a small table and Skinner opens the file folder that is on the table. These are the three recent image matches." He spreads the three prints across the table.

Reyes says, "They must know that we are watching for them. It's like they want us to notice what they are doing."

Skinner nods. "Yes, I think they do want us to notice. I got another call from their spokesman; he even told me his name. He calls himself Rupert. He asked for our help."

Doggett laughs. "Oh, that's real funny." Doggett notices that Skinner is dead serious. "Come on, how can they abduct an FBI agent, two former agents, and assorted others and then come back asking for our help?"

Skinner explains, "They want our help to find Scully."

Doggett slaps his forehead, "Of course, it had to come to this. Kidnappers asking the FBI to help find abductees." He notices that Reyes has her hands up at the sides of her head and is massaging her temples. "What is it , Monica?"

She is struggling to tell them something she remembers about what the clones had said while Reyes was being held captive, but the harder she tries the worse she feels. She gives up and tries to get John to figure it out for himself. "It does make sense, John."

Doggett can see how she is suffering and he starts to try to understand what she is hinting at. "Do you think Scully escaped from Rupert? If she did, why wouldn't she contact us?"

Skinner says, "Rupert told me that Dana was taken to San Diego back in May."

Doggett can’t believe his ears. He asks, "Rupert took Scully to San Diego in May? She’s been on Earth four months?"

Skinner thinks about Rupert's exact words. "He just said that she was taken there.” Skinner picks up one of the photographic prints of a clone. “We've had no sighting of these clones on the West coast." He holds the image of a clone so that Doggett can see it. “Recognize where this one was?"

Doggett looks closely, "Is that Scully's house?"

Skinner replies, "Yes. I think Rupert is seriously searching for Dana. The clones might have lost her after she reached San Diego. Do you remember the Floreana?"

Reyes feels a wonderful relaxation of the pressure in her head as her thoughts follow Skinner’s question and she stops obsessing over the fragment of memory she has been trying to share with Doggett. She says, "That crew man we interviewed in San Diego back in May could not remember who had shot him. If Rupert and his brothers were involved in the abduction of the crew of the Floreana, would they have involved" As her thoughts return to Dana, a fresh wave of pain slams into Monica. She is again breathing heavily and clenching her fists over eyes that feel like they might explode.

John shouts, "Stop it, Monica! Enough! Quiet!" Monica, smiles and eases back in her chair. She can tell that John has realized what she is going through, what he must do in order to ease her pain- and what he must do to make it worse. "Okay, there is something you want to tell me about the clones. Maybe something you heard during your captivity.” Doggett continues thinking out load, using Monica’s reaction to his words to guide him in the network of possibilities. “The clone brothers brain washed you in order to keep certain secrets, but I’m guessing you have remembered something important. You have remembered but you are not free to talk about it?” John sees Monica wince with pain and open her mouth. “No! Don’t try to talk! What ever they did to your brain is causing you pain if you try to talk about your memories." He says to Skinner, "We have to figure out what Monica has remembered. What do we know about how Rupert and his brothers operate? Dana was zeroing in on DNA evidence, indisputable evidence of aliens, and they had to act to silence her."

Skinner speculates, "Assume that the Floreana found an alien artifact on the sea floor. Rupert was probably forced to act again.”

John agrees with Skinner’s guess. "But Scully did not just stumble across alien DNA. She had been infected with it as part of some experiment."

Skinner says, "It is natural to assume that Rupert was responsible for the infection and was trying to cover it up."

"But that is an assumption." Monica groans and clasps her arms around her head. John suspects that if Monica is feeling pain every time she tries to say something that Rupert wants kept secret, then he can use her cries of agony as an indication that he is guessing correctly. "An unsupported assumption. So let’s try assuming something else" Monica shrieks with pain. Doggett tries to harden his heart and keep at it. "If someone else infected Scully….and if Rupert....why would Rupert have to cover up what someone else had done?"

Skinner suggests, "Scully had been turned into a walking display case for advanced alien DNA technology. It must be Rupert's job to keep hidden such advanced technology and evidence of aliens being on Earth." Reyes kneels next to the waste basket and vomits into it. Doggett takes that as a good sign.

Skinner moves to go to the aid of Reyes, but Doggett restrains him. "She'll be okay." Doggett turns his back on Reyes and tries to ignore her suffering. "Then someone else is doing the dirty work, infecting Dana with branched DNA....maybe these others were not done with Dana. Maybe they took her away from Rupert. Do they want to continue their experiments on Scully?"

Skinner shakes his head. "It does not add up. Why would Rupert wait from May to September before trying to recover Dana?"

Doggett notices that Reyes is quiet. He turns and finds her sitting on the floor watching him. She smiles weakly and says, "Rupert is clearly a step behind the- these others. What if it took all these months for Rupert to figure out that Dana was in danger, or back being used by these others?” Reyes thinks back to how Dana got into this mess in the first place, with Mulder using her as bait. But if Mulder only managed to attract the attention of Rupert and not those who had infected Scully….maybe Rupert is kicking things up a notch. Maybe he is trying to use Scully as bait, too. And maybe Rupert knows how to catch the real perps! “Now Rupert is doing everything he can to correct his errors, including asking the FBI for help."

Skinner hands John a pair of plane tickets. "You better go or you'll miss the flight." He asks Reyes, "Can you make this trip, Monica?"

Monica smiles weakly, stands up and wipes her mouth on her sling, "Oh, I feel much better now. The two of you figured out what I was trying to say. It's like all the weight of the world was lifted from me. Rupert is on our side in this. John and I have to go to San Diego and figure out who Rupert is up against. That will lead us to Dana." John takes Monica's arm and they hurry out of the little security room and rush off to catch their plane.

Skinner leans against the wall and heaves a deep sigh. He goes to the table and puts the photos back into the file folder. He turns to go and the door opens. It is one of the clones. Skinner draws his gun. Rupert says, "Don't do that, Walter." Gas starts hissing from a hole in the heal of Rupert's shoe. "Tell me how things went with Doggett and Reyes."

Skinner’s finger tightens on the trigger. Suddenly his eyes blur and his legs feel like rubber. He sinks into a chair, his gun resting in his lap. Realizing he has been drugged, Skinner tries to again point his gun at Rupert. Rupert bats the gun out of Skinner's hand and grabs Skinner's jacket in his fists. "Do they know what they're getting into? Do you have any idea what we are dealing with?" Skinner’s muscles go lax and he slips into a state of dream-like consciousness.

Rupert keeps one hand on Skinner and pulls two chairs together so he can sit knee-to-knee with Skinner. Rupert delivers a series of brutal slaps to the sides of Skinners head and Skinner's eyes open to hate-filled slits. Rupert says, "Listen to me Walter. This is important. We finally got a lead on Scully. The lab in San Diego isn't where Scully is. But someone there probably does know where she is. Have your agents search the San Diego lab and question everyone they find there." Rupert takes a slip of paper out of his pocket and tucks it into Skinner's shirt pocket. "Get some backup for Doggett and Reyes. Don't underestimate what they are up against." Rupert lets Skinner slump onto the table. Rupert stands up and adjusts his suit. Just before he steps out into the concourse, his face morphs into that of another man.

After leaving the poker game, Mulder tried to find Doggett and Reyes, certain that they would be trying to track the clones who had abducted Scully and who were once again showing themselves on Earth. Mulder reached Doggett by phone and learned that Doggett and Reyes were flying into National Airport. Mulder decides to meet Doggett and Reyes at the airport and stick tightly to them until they are told about the new sighting of a clone at Scully’s house.

Mulder learns the location of the gate for the flight from Portland and positions himself to wait for its arrival. Fox tries to figure out a reason why the clones would take no pains to hide their appearance. He mutters to himself, “No fear. No fear.” Mulder is not surprised to notice Skinner arrive and take up position to wait for the arrival of Doggett and Reyes. Certain the Skinner has already spoken to Doggett or Reyes during their flight, Mulder is tempted to call John again. Mulder forces himself to relax and not tip his hand. Watching Skinner, Mulder contemplates just walk up to him and asking what he knows about Scully. But as Mulder makes a move to start walking towards Skinner, he is suddenly paralyzed with fear and a visceral distrust of Skinner.

Mulder takes a seat and waits. When Doggett and Reyes arrive, Mulder decides he must wait until they leave Skinner's presence before he can approach them. While Skinner, Doggett and Reyes are in the security holding room, Mulder tries to imagine why the sight of Skinner now elicits crashing waves of fear.

Mulder thinks about the drugs used by the clone brothers on their captives. He wonders about the significance of the fact that of all the people who knew Scully was a carrier of an alien DNA virus, Skinner was the only one not to be subjected to the drugs used by the clones to control their victims.

Mulder turns to the man sitting in the chair beside him. "How about those Nationals?"

The man lowers the sports pages he has been reading, revealing a Yankees baseball cap. The man glowers at Mulder. Mulder does something he has not tried to do since having been abducted by the clones; he tries to tell a perfect stranger about his abduction. Mulder gets his mouth open then starts to sweat, feels nauseous and a sharp pain grows behind his eyes. The Yankees fan goes from looking annoyed to looking afraid. He stands up and walks away from Mulder. As Mulder abandons the idea of telling a stranger about the clones, the pain in his head evaporates. Mulder is almost back to normal when he sees Doggett and Reyes rush out of the security room.

Mulder follows John and Monica to the security check point leading back to the set of gates that includes the gate where they had just arrived from Portland. He curses the fact that he cannot follow them to their departure gate without going through security. Judging by how John and Monica are rushing, Mulder guesses their flight is scheduled to depart soon. Mulder looks at a monitor showing the departing flights. There are three flights scheduled to depart in the next ten minutes. Remembering the Floreana, Mulder guesses they are catching the flight to San Diego. Mulder sees that there is one more later flight to San Diego. He goes and gets in line to buy a plane ticket, confident that Skinner has put Doggett and Reyes on assignment to track down either Scully directly, or at least one of the clones. Mulder needs to confirm their destination. Mulder pulls out his cell phone and calls Doggett. A breathless Doggett opens the connection, "John Doggett."

At the last second Mulder realizes that Doggett will probably be able to tell by the background sounds that Mulder is at the airport. "John, I came to the airport to give you a lift home. Did I miss you?"

Doggett says, "That’s might friendly, Fox, but you should have saved yourself the trouble. We're turning right around and going back to the West Coast."

Mulder tries to sound surprised. "Are you kidding? Did you forget something in Portland?"

Just then Doggett relaxes into his seat next to Reyes. He says to Monica, "Mulder came to the airport to give us a ride." John tells Mulder, "Skinner thinks that Dana might have been in San Diego after the crew of the Floreana was abducted. We're going to go check out that lead."

Mulder steps up to an automated ticket dispenser and uses his credit card to buy a ticket on the next flight to San Diego. "Well, maybe we can have a beer in the terminal before your flight. Where are you?"

Doggett explains what Mulder already knows, "We're already on our plane. Looks like they are ready to close the doors. Let's catch up when I get back from San Diego."

Mulder expresses disappointment at having missed them. "Give me a call if you find anything on Scully, otherwise I'll buy you dinner when you get back in town"

Doggett signs off, "Right. Later."


September 24, 2005

About 12:30 am a custodian finds Skinner slumped over the table in the security room. "Sorry, sir.” He starts to back out of the door, then realizes something is wrong. “Ah, sir?" The custodian shakes Skinner’s shoulder and manages to wake him. Skinner is horrified to find his gun on the floor and then the memories of Rupert start to come to him in a confused jumble. Skinner pulls himself to his feet and stumbles out of the security room. By the time Skinner has walked back to his car, he has a fairly coherent version of Rupert's words assembled in his mind.

Skinner calls Doggett but the call goes to voice mail. He gets through to Reyes. "Reyes here."

Skinner says, "I have an address for you. A molecular biology lab in San Diego that Scully may have had dealings with during the past few months."

Monica asks, "Is this more information from Rupert?"

Skinner replies, "Yes. I'm counting on you and John to start getting us some leads of our own."

Doggett is asleep in the seat next to Reyes. Monica has been reviewing her computer notes on the Floreana case. "I have the address of the Marine Science Institute."

Skinner is looking at the slip of paper given to him by Rupert. "No, that's not it." Skinner reads off the new address provided by Rupert, an address which is actually San Diego, not Chula Vista. "The lab is listed as Champion Research in registration papers with the state of California. They have permits for doing Level 4 Biocontainment work."

Reyes yawns and says, "We'll drop by first thing tomorrow if you can get us a search warrant. What grounds are there for a warrant?"

Skinner says, "This is a federal kidnapping investigation, we’ll have no trouble getting a search warrant. Call me from your hotel once you get settled for the night. I'll set you up with a backup team from the San Diego office. They'll collect all the paper and connect with you tomorrow." Skinner breaks the connection, starts his car, then thinks better of driving.

Skinner calls the San Diego office of the FBI and directs agents there to obtain a search warrant for Champion Research and to expect agents Doggett and Reyes to arrive to spear head the investigation. He puts away his phone, reclines his seat and almost instantly falls asleep.

Reyes puts away her phone, makes a few notes about Skinner's phone call on her laptop computer, then shuts off her computer. She reclines her seat and tries to sleep. Soon she is cold, but John is stretched out and blocking her from getting to the isle and having access to blankets. She looks around the cabin, notes the large number of sleeping passengers and wonders if all the blankets are in use already. Her injured arm is aching from being bent within its sling all day. She takes the sling off her arm and uses it and her jacket as blankets. She lifts up the side of John's blanket and snuggles under it next to John.

Doggett never opens his eyes but says, "What did Skinner have to say?"

Monica replies, “Rupert coughed up some more information; the location of a research lab in San Diego that apparently has some connection to Scully.”

Doggett had been puzzled by what he could hear on Monica’s end of the phone call from Skinner. “I thought we were following a connection between Rupert and the Floreana. This lab Rupert is pointing at is not part of the Marine Science Institute?”

“I don’t know. Skinner is arranging for search warrants. We will have to see what turns up.” Monica weighs the possibilities. “Rupert may be directing us towards a private lab that does contract work for the Marine Science Institute.”

John opens his eyes and turns his head to face Reyes. He looks into her eyes from just a few inches away, “Why are you so sure we can trust Rupert? My hunch is we are walking into a trap.”

Monica does not agree. “My guess is, these clones could abduct us any time they want. No, they would never have returned me or anyone else from captivity if they wanted anything to do with us. Scully is special. Special because of what was done to her with the branched DNA. And Rupert is NOT responsible for that. As much as I hate Rupert and what he IS responsible for, we have to trust him now. I doubt if he enjoys having to work with us any more than we like working with him. These are desperate moves.”

“I still cannot imagine how Scully could be back on Earth for months without having contacted Mulder or anyone.” John thinks about the poorly veiled desperation that was audible in Mulder’s voice when he called. “Mulder is in a bad way. I think he is close to interfering with this investigation.”

Reyes thinks she can understand Mulder, but she understands how strange their behavior must seem to Doggett. Monica tries to explain to Doggett the extent of the power that the clones have over her and the other former captives. “It's not just that we were made to forget the events of our captivity. Some how Rupert maintains control over us. When there is something that I want to tell you about what I remember from my captivity, it causes me great pain to try to tell you about it.”

Doggett cannot imagine how Rupert can maintain such control over Monica. “Do you think Rupert implanted something inside you? Can he hear everything you say? Can he know everything you think and want to say?”

Monica replies, “No, it's not like that. When we were returned to Earth, a team of experts went over us with every available tool and scan. I think they would have found any implanted transmitters. No, it's more subtle. It's as if I edit myself. Only I could know what would need to be known in order to do that kind of on-the-fly editing.”

Doggett is irritated by the thought of Rupert turning Monica into some kind of puppet and Monica’s riddles are not helping any, either. “Is this brain washing? You are doing Rupert’s will? He ordered you not to reveal his secrets and something inside you will follow his order even if another part of you does want to talk?”

“It must be something like that.” Monica tries to put Doggett’s general idea on more solid ground. “It reminds me of a book I read in college. The book is called ’’The Intentional Stance’’.”

Doggett says, “Sounds like some newfangled football play.”

End of Chapter 4Edit