Chapter 6


Well, once again, my friend, we find that science is a
two-headed beast. One head is nice, it gives us aspirin and other
modern conveniences... But the other head of science is bad!
Oh, beware the other head of science, Arthur! It bites! 

- The Tick

Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital 
Acute Care Unit
Gallup, New Mexico
72 Hours later

Dana Scully was sure Joann Short was one hell of a nurse.  As
she woke from her nap, Scully was happy to see the woman
walk into Mulder's room.  Nurse Short was tall, of course, thin
-- full of energy, the model of professionalism with a kind heart.

"Dr. Scully, I'm getting tired of telling you that we have a bed
for you in the doctor's lounge.  You're going to need back
surgery by the time this one finally wakes up."  She put a
thermometer in Mulder's ear.

"You don't understand.  I'll be sleeping in the lounge when he
finally wakes up." Scully smiled and stretched.  "This is the best
way to deal with him when he's sick."

"You keep saying he's a bad patient but so far...."

"So far he's unconscious.  Last year he got shot in the head and
walked out of the hospital about 20 minutes after he came to."


"Yes.  Once he's up, I think he'll be pushing for release

"Well, Billing won't let him go anywhere until they get Mr.
McKenna's insurance info.  Your credentials may be impressive
but honey, you don't get a band-aid around here without
someone being billed."  She took Mulder's chart and made a
few notes.

"Does his color look better to you?"

"He looks better to me but to be honest with you, he looked
pretty good when they wheeled him here yesterday.  We don't
get too many good looking men in the 30's around here.  Thank
God I guess."  She finished her work and started to leave but
stopped.  Turning back to Scully, she said, "I know you've been
eating his food and everything but I have a break in a little
while.  I can watch him if you want to ..."

Scully shook her head, "No thanks, though that's a wonderful
offer.  I showered a few hours ago and someone was nice
enough to drop off clean scrubs."  Scully had a feeling it was
Nurse Short, but couldn't be sure.  "I know the minute I leave,
he'll wake up.  Just out of spite.  "  

After Nurse Short left, Scully stood and started working out a
few of the kinks.  Stretching and yawning, she gave Mulder
another good look.  His color was back.  When she opened his
chart, she saw his temperature was back to normal.  So were his
vitals.  He just had to wake up.

As she popped the last "crick" in her back, the door to the room
opened bringing a most unwelcome visitor.

"How's our patient?" the Smoker asked.

"How did you get here?"  Scully made her way to Mulder's side,
taking his chart out of the Smoker's reach.

"Oh Dr. Scully, you're not a hard woman to find."  He raised his
right hand to the back of his neck.


The Smoker seemed offended, "Who do you think helped your
Agent Mulder get that piece of equipment?"

"Then you knew where we were five days ago.  Three days ago
I was back in D.C. as I'm sure Agent Fowley reported after she
was detained."  Scully smiled a little at the memory of that. 
"Why did it take you this long to find us?"

"And here I always thought Agent Mulder was the one with the
problem ego.  Agent Scully, you and Agent Mulder weren't a
top priority."

"So that's why Krycek was dispatched to bring Mulder back?"

"Alex Krycek has been missing for years."

"More bull.  And Alex Krycek told us everything we need to
know."  What the hell, Scully thought, two could play at this

The Smoker seemed a little startled.  "You've seen him?"

"Bleeding in Mulder's hallway.  I bet if Mulder didn't own that
apartment he'd have been evicted years ago."

The Smoker put his hand into his jacket pocket and pulled out a
pack of Morleys.  "Agent Scully, this isn't going the way I

"So little in life does.  This is a non-smoking room."  Scully
punctuated her declaration by pulling a gun from her waistband. 
When Byers flew to New Mexico as FBI Agent Byers, he
brought Mulder's ankle weapon.  Scully was glad he did.

"I have something that might cure him.  I think I know what is

"I know what was wrong."  Scully tucked the weapon back into
her scrubs.

"You know?  What was?"

"This."  She opened Mulder's night table drawer.  Scully
removed a jar with about two ounces of a thick black liquid in
it.  "It was in Mulder's system."

"You don't know what you have." he said nervously.

"No I don't, but the CDC, Harvard, Hopkins, UCal Berkley,
The University of Chicago, Columbia, AU and of course
Maryland all are studying it.  I'm sure they'll tell me what I have. 
Oh, I sent it with warnings to be very, very cautious.  I
remember what it did to Dr. Sacks."

"You can't do this."

"I can.  I have.  All of those organizations agreed to work
together on this material.  Since I know the FBI doesn't share
its work, I excluded them but a few of my original choices
wouldn't share either, so they were dropped.  All the
universities and the CDC are going to share the work with me
and who knows, maybe we'll be published."

"I can stop it."

"No you can't.  Did you see the news this morning?"  If the
Smoker didn't think this conversation was going the way he
planned, this morning's news was definitely not on the agenda.

"Your Dr. Burks is getting a lot of attention."

"What a press conference:  CNN, SkyTV, the major networks
and news services all on a mountain top with just an amazing
view of the craft.   Personally, I think having Carl Sagan's
widow there was just a stroke of genius."

"You seem to be enjoying this small victory."

"What victory?  A little of what you've desperately tried to hide
is out.  Big deal.  Mulder's sister is still missing, he spent the last
week flat on his back or in terrible pain.  I don't have the time or
inclination to go into what I lost....."

"What you have gained, your health, can disappear with a few
strokes to a computer keyboard."

"I told you if she dies, I will put you in the ground." A voice
warned from the hospital bed.

The Smoker seemed startled but not unhappy to see Mulder
awake.  "Nice to see you Agent Mulder.  You should have been
more careful on your Russian trip.  But then again illegal travel
to dangerous areas can cause all sorts of health concerns."

"Hi Scully," Mulder smiled at his partner, "is Mr. Spender your
guest, because he sure ain't mine."

"Oh, I wouldn't want to interrupt the touching reunion but when
his health fails again, you may not be in such a strong
bargaining position."

"I keep repeating myself with you.  No deal.  Not with you. 
Not now.  Not ever."

"Get out." Scully ordered.

"It's good to see you recovering Agent Mulder." The Smoker lit
up just as he left the room, "And it will be good to have you
back in the game."

Scully sighed, "I suddenly feel like taking a shower."

"You really are going to leave now that I'm awake."

"No, I'm..."

"You told the nurse that you were waiting for me to wake up to

"I was teasing, you know that."

Mulder pushed himself up a little more into a sitting position. 
Tapping his temple he said, "Actually, no I don't."

"You don't hear anything?"

"No, it is really quiet."  Mulder took a deep breath, "I kinda like
it.  Pick a number one to ten."



Scully said nothing for a minute.  

"It was a guess, I swear."

"I picked two." She smiled at him and started walking to the
door. "I had you.  I'll be back with Dr. Kaplan and Ms. Short. 
They're dying to meet you."


After a good twenty minutes of poking and prodding, Dr.
Kaplan, and more importantly, Nurse Short gave Mulder a
passing grade.  While Mulder was coughing and holding his
breath on request, Scully used a waiting room pay phone to call
the Gunmen with the good news.  

"So when is Mr. McKenna getting out." Mulder asked when
Scully returned to his room.

"Your temperature is stable, fluids are good, probably 24

"I want to go now."  She just stared at him.  "Did all that really
come out of me?" he pointed at the night table.

"No.  Actually it is some rancid coffee with some apple sauce
mixed in for consistency."


"Byers was here while I was working on your cure in DC. 
When I returned, he stayed.  He went back with what came out
of you."

"Did you send samples to all those places?"

"How long were you awake?"  Scully sat on the bed with

"Long enough to know Nurse Short thinks I'm a looker." 

"A real Fox." Scully added dryly.

Mulder made a face.  "I'd like to know where my body fluids
are, please."

Scully knew Mulder was back -- same petulant self.  "The list I
gave him were the official ones.  A few of the unofficial outlets
include the Gunmen."  Scully picked up the TV remote and
clicked on CNN.  She knew they'd be running Chuck's footage -
- the world was running Chuck's footage.

"Chuck owes us forever." Mulder marvelled at the coverage.

"The dig site is called the Scully-Mulder."

"Wow."  Mulder smiled, "Hey, how did you get top billing?"

"Ladies first?"

"Age before beauty probably."

"Pearls before swine."  Scully mumbled as she handed him the
remote.  "Chuck got some of the oil -- I had it sent to him with
some interesting results."

"O.K."  Mulder was wary.

"You got sick when etchings of the artifact were around.  You
had a seizure when it was put near you.  During your seizure,
some of the oil ...."  she searched for the right words, but
couldn't find them, "bleed through your nose."

"That's how I was exposed in the first place."

"Well, I had Chuck test it next to the craft."

"The suspense is killing me."

"It moved on its own.   Flowed, crawled, whatever you want to
call it, right up to the craft and was absorbed by it."

"How did you get it out of me then?"

"Vaccine.  When you came back from Russia and got checked
out, I had Dr. Duncan take a biopsy of the area around the

"I remember that -- it made wearing a tie a bitch for a month."

"If I wasn't so tired, I'd have some snappy comeback about your
ties."  Scully suppressed a yawn to prove her point.  "Anyway,
the vaccine that was left in your neck had same make up as the
vaccine I was given last summer."

"How?"  Mulder didn't remember having the vial when he woke
up, but remembered that he was out longer than she was when
they were hospitalized in Auckland.

"I had the remainder of the vaccine analyzed and put in my file
but when we lost access to the X Files, I didn't think much
about it.  When we got them back, well, we had other agendas."

"So you saved me."

"Yeah, well, don't let it go to your head.  You still have second

"It's amazing.  I have these friends and they meet you and
suddenly they can't do enough for you.  The Gunmen, Chuck..."

"This was all done for you Mulder.  None of these truths we've
uncovered would mean anything if we lost you in the process." 
Scully choked up a little at the end.

Mulder took her hand.  "You're gonna regret this.  A month
from now you'll wish ..."

"A month from now you'll be a pain in the ass with some
whacked out idea who found encouragement in the fact that I

"You OK with all of this?"

"When I saw what was in you, I was afraid Mulder.  I
remember what that did to Dr. Sacks.  I prayed all the way to
D.C.  All the way back here."  She put her hand in her scrubs
pocket and pulled out rosary beads.  "Then I thought about
what you said.  About creationism and evolution. About God's
hand shepherding us through."

"Said a few hail Mulders?" he tried to kid but he knew she was

"I prayed Mulder.  Prayed you'd survive, prayed the science
would saved you." Scully pointed to the muted CNN coverage
of Chuck's press conference, "And now that you're here with
me, I realize I don't have anything to fear.  I have my faith,
science can explain what Chuck is investigating and you're OK."

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