Chapter 1


Psychos do not explode when sunlight hits them, I don't give a fuck how crazy 
they are.
 - Seth Gecko


Susan Morgan's Rehoboth beach house
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Scully struggled to wake up.  She hadn't been that tired 
since...since...since a bad day a few years ago that started with 
"identifying" Mulder's body and ended in the hospital.


Scully dragged herself up from the recliner and panicked.  Mulder was gone.

Jumping up, nearly tripping over the footrest, she quickly discovered him 
standing on the balcony staring at the ocean.  

Walking to the balcony door, she noticed he was showered, shaved and in his 
jeans, black tee-shirt and Nikes.  He was scratching his side and studying 
the horizon.  Self-consciously, she combed her fingers through her hair.  

Scully was relieved. It was not the man on the video screen.  

"What did you think of Susan?" he asked without turning to her.

"Seemed nice enough." she yawned, "Fit the profile." she let slip.

"The profile?" Mulder turned his attention to her, "What profile?"

Scully blushed a little, making Mulderís day, "The Mulder "ex" profile.  
Bright, brunette, beautiful."

"Any other "b" words?" he teased.

"Probably.  She's the reason you're out of the hospital.  She found a judge 
that signed a court order releasing you."

"Diana probably didn't like that." Mulder scratched his side and turned to 
the ocean again.

"I got us an order of protection against Diana.  Skinner too."

"Makes you a "b" word -- busy."

"I have a lot to tell you, but I need to know what happened to you."

"You know what happened."

"No, I don't.  I went to see Albert and got a call from Skinner saying you 
were in the hospital.  I get back and you're in the psych ward, Dr. Harriman 
is worried about a stroke...."

"And a lawsuit." Mulder interrupted.

"And Diana Fowley was making things difficult again."

Mulder turned and smiled at Scully again.  She noticed the smile was a 
peaceful one, not the sad smile she thought was uniquely his.  "Come inside, 
I want to show you something."

Scully followed Mulder back into the bedroom.  She returned to the recliner 
while he sat at the end of the bed.

"Pick a number one to ten but don't make it two or three since that's your 

"Mulder, we don't have time for party tricks." Scully complained.

"One to ten.  Think about it when you pick it."

"This is stupid" Scully told him, but picked a number anyway.

"Seven," Mulder told her, "two, two, three equals seven."

Scully was surprised but told him "Lucky guess."

"One to one hundred.  No reason to pick the number either, just pick one."

She waved her hand dismissively, "It was a lucky guess Mulder, you won't get 
this one."

"Seventy-one Scully.  You can't keep picking numbers that mean anything to 

"What does seventy-one mean to me, Kreskin?" she challenged him.

"It was your family's first home in Japan, not the one you lived in the 
longest, but Housing Unit Seventy-one was your family's first stop."

Scully was shocked.  She didn't even remember Housing Unit Seventy-one, it 
was just the one her mother spoke about the most.  "Mulder, I don't 

"Yes you do," Mulder cut her off, "you just need to believe it.  It is why 
you got the Gunmen to give you their copy of Gibson Praise's CAT scans.  You 
want to compare them, see if mine look like his."

"Do they?"

"Don't know Scully, you tell me."  Mulder scratched his side again, "Whoever 
Diana is working with thinks so."

"What do you mean?"

"She has a copy of the etching.  She's carrying it with her."


"So?  You have a copy of it too, somewhere near here because I can do the 
Kreskin thing when it's around."

"I still don't understand."

"Diana's working with the people who experimented on Gibson.  People who 
would be very happy to start working on someone with similar brain scans."

Scully was horrified, "My God Mulder."

"That's why I fought the doctors at the hospital, why I wouldn't sleep.  Not 
until you saw me, Skinner saw me.  If I just disappeared, both of you would 
have known Diana was involved."

"Skinner's dirty."

"Skinner's got another keeper.  Alex Krycek is back in the picture."

"He told you that."

Tapping his head, Mulder said "Indirectly."

"Jesus, who isnít involved with this?"

"Where are Gibson's CAT scans?"

Scully got Mulder's X-Rays and compared them to the ones the Gunmen had for 
Gibson.  They were similar, but not identical.  Scully showed the differences 
to Mulder.  Gibson's scans had more activity spread throughout his brain.  
Mulder's brain activity was more centralized.

"That might explain the headaches."  Mulder told her.

"Are they bad?" 

"When there is just one person -- like now -- it's a dull throb.  It's like I 
read too much, didn't get enough sleep, was in a stuffy room -- basically a 
day in my office.  And you're not saying one thing and thinking another.  
That's confusing." Mulder scratched his side again.  "When I was in the 
elevator at work or at AU, it was bad.  The elevator emptied out in Hoover 
before it got too painful but at AU I couldn't get out."  Mulder scratched 
his side again before pulling up his shirt.  "You got anything for this?"  

Mulder showed Scully his side.  She gasped at the evenly spaced burn marks 
below his ribs and looked at him.

"Diana.  When I figured out what she was up to she was, well, less than 
thrilled with accusations."

"That's how she got you committed."  She opened the bag from the Gunmen and 
took out the first aid kit she requested.  

"That's how she got me under control.  A few phone calls while I was drooling 
from a fetal position on the floor and Diana had me as a guest of Georgetown 

"Bitch." Scully muttered, working on his wounds.

"You keep going to those "b" words Scully."  Mulder changed the subject, "You 
want to tell me what you saw in Africa?" 

"How do you know I went to ...."  Scully stopped herself, she knew how he 
knew.  "I don't know what I saw.  Chuck Burks is investigating."

Surprised, Mulder asked, "Not the FBI?"

"Not after I saw what they did to you."  Scully finished on the small burns, 
"Now what?"

"What did Albert tell you?"

Scully sighed, "Nothing, heís dying.  They took him to do that ceremony they 
did to you."

"When did they start the ceremony for Albert?"

"A couple of days ago.  Mulder, Albert is riddled with cancer -- lungs, 
liver, brain."

"The ceremony worked for me."

"A man in his thirties who was a little dehydrated, a lot exhausted and 
coming off an LSD style drug and a minor gunshot wound."

"Not that minor." he teased, rubbing his shoulder.

"If Albert can't translate it, someone on the reservation can or they'll know 
someone.  We need to get to New Mexico, more importantly we need to get out 
of the area.  Sooner or later Diana is going to get the legal means to get 
near us."

"And I don't want to go back to my padded room." Mulder added.

Scully dug through the Gunmen's Knicks bag, "We have ID's, passports, 
driver's licenses and credit cards."  She handed him a plastic bag that read 
"Mulder".  She tore open an envelope with dollar signs on it -- "They only 
were able to put together about a thousand dollars.  That will barely..."

"There's money in my apartment.  A lot."

Scully looked around the well appointed bedroom, "Is the former Mrs. Mulder 
paying alimony?"

"No, " he told her, "after last summer I decided I needed some ready cash for 
quick hops to the North Pole.  When we got the X Files back, I rented the 
houses on the Vineyard and Quonochontaug for the summer.  Money isn't a 

"Getting back there might be if they're looking for you."

"Park a couple blocks away, back door, in and out two minutes.  We need to 
get flight info to Gallup."

"Have the boys take care of that" Scully handed Mulder the cellphone the 
Gunmen left in the duffle bag.  "Anything else?"

"I'm gonna need ear plugs or headphones or something for the plane.  I won't 
be able to sit on a crowded flight with the etching."

"We'll pick something up on the way to your place." She took her overnight 
bag to the bathroom to clean up, "What else do we need?"

"Vegetarian meals on the plane.  The food back from Arcadia Falls a few 
months ago really made me sick.  I can't afford another scene."

Scully closed the door of the bathroom and readied for her fifth long plane 
ride in six days.

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