- Deslea's URL is now http://www.deslea.com or http://fiction.deslea.com.  
- Email address is now deslea@deslea.com.
- May be archived by Scully/Skinner specialty archives only.

This information supercedes all other information found in this file.

Offspring *R* 3/5
Deslea R. Judd
Copyright 1996
This piece was written in 1996 by the author for personal 
entertainment.  It is copyright and may not be used or distributed 
(except for the purposes of private entertainment) without my 
written permission.
This book is based on The X Files, a creation of Chris Carter 
owned by him, Twentieth Century Fox, and Ten-Thirteen 
Productions.  Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner, Bill Mulder, Mrs Mulder, 
Samantha Mulder and her clones, Maggie Scully, Melissa 
Scully, Captain Scully, Sharon Skinner, Kimberly Cooke, the 
Cigarette Smoking (Cancer) Man, the Well Manicured Man and 
his offsider, Frohike, Quiqueg, Gautier, Jean Gautier, Ellen, and 
Alex Krycek remain the intellectual property of those parties.  Dr Karen Koettig, Agent 
Grbevski, Melissa Samantha Scully, Grace Skinner, Clone 1 
(Cynthia), Clone 3 (Carolyn), Clone 4 (Catherine), Dr Sam 
Fieldman, Dr Paul Sturrock, Dr Marion Pieterse, Wendy 
Tomiris, Serena Ingleburn, Amarette, Dr Jillian Maitz, Hallie, 
and Emily Trent are mine and copyright. 
Timeframe/Spoilers:  To Avatar (Season 3).

Rating:  R for low-key sex.

Summary:  When Scully and Skinner fall in love, their troubles have only just begun...

Offspring (3/5) 
Deslea R. Judd 
Copyright 1996 


	Scully lived. 
	The clinicians could offer no explanation for it, and the 
liability insurers for the power plant were perplexed; but when 
fourteen hours had passed with neither sign nor symptom of 
radiation sickness, Dana Scully discharged herself from hospital 
against medical advice.  She snorted at Skinner's suggestion that 
she take a couple of weeks off ("What, to see if I die?" she 
challenged) and became annoyed at the close scrutiny Skinner 
and Mulder paid her.  If she began to vomit uncontrollably, she 
told them, she would be sure to advise them that she was dying.  
Until then, could they please stop fawning over her? 
	In the end, there had been no more vomiting and no 
disorientation.  Not quite so unconcerned as she had made out, 
Scully took a biopsy of her own tissue and samples of her blood 
and studied them closely.  She tested for foreign substances, and 
identified what seemed to be a enzyme of some kind which she 
couldn't classify.  After a battery of tests, she exposed the 
samples to radiation.  Her observations suggested that whatever 
the unidentifiable enzyme was, it had both stabilised the 
radioactive process, prematurely ending its half-life, and 
prompted her recovery.  She was quite unable to explain her 
	Even more interestingly, to Scully, were the results of 
the tests taken while she was in hospital.  These indicated that 
her major organs, including her heart and lungs, which had been 
seriously - even mortally - damaged, had recovered completely.  
That her blood and tissue systems had stabilised was atypical, 
but not contrary to theoretical possibility because of the constant 
replication of cells which took place in those systems.  But 
organs such as the heart did not regenerate.  It seemed a scientific 
	And yet it wasn't impossible.  Because it had happened. 
	Scully was troubled.  Her scientific mind found it hard 
to completely accept that which it could not explain.  And, too, 
she was still shaken by her brush with death.  It was not the first 
time she had nearly died; but before she had experienced it as 
feeling incredibly frail and weak.  Never before had she been so 
racked with pain and suffering.  Physically, she had emerged 
from her ordeal fairly well; but psychologically, she had never 
been so drained in her life. 
	But her final and greatest concern was for her child.  
She had recovered, it was true; but not without cost in the 
meantime.  Could she be certain that her child had similarly 
recovered?  There was a part of her that insisted that it must, 
pointing out with conviction that any such capability must be 
inherited, and that if her own cells - atypically - had self-repaired 
perfectly, then so would foetal chromosomes; which in the 
normal scheme of things could repair incorrectly, causing 
mutations.  The logic, as far as it went, was impeccable; but 
Scully didn't believe it in her heart of scientific hearts.  For one 
thing, this enzyme (whatever it was) was an anomaly.  That meant 
it quite possibly could not be inherited.  For another, it was by 
no means certain that her own body had produced the enzyme - 
she hadn't forgotten the medical experiments which often 
seemed, anecdotally, to take place during abductions, nor that 
many of them, according to Mulder's research, revolved around 
the question of radiation.   
	No, she decided, there were no guarantees that her baby 
was safe.  That she was not only alive but well was an incredible 
gift - or accident.  It seemed too much to hope for that her baby 
might be the same. 
	There had been no tests on the foetus whilst she was in 
hospital.  Her pregnancy had been noticed by her doctor, but he 
had been so sure that both mother and child were doomed that he 
hadn't even noted it on her file.  In the hours following the 
beginning of her recovery, the staff had been so busy monitoring 
her vital organs and her red blood cell count that the question of 
foetal monitoring had never come up.  By the time it would have, 
she had discharged herself.  For the first time, she wondered if 
that had been such a good idea. 
	Scully shook herself.  For goodness' sake, she was a 
doctor.  She didn't need anyone to tell her if she was well or not.  
As for the baby; well, she hadn't miscarried.  That was a good 
sign.  (Or was it?  Was it merely a life sentence instead of a death 
sentence?)  There were studies which could be done; and done 
just as easily on an outpatient basis. 
	The only question which remained was whether she was 
ready to know the results.

3170 West 53 Rd, #35 
Annapolis, Maryland 
December 24, 1996

	It was about a week after Scully's release from hospital 
that Skinner came to see her at home. 
	She wasn't surprised to see him.  She had expected him 
sooner, in fact.  "Hello, Walter." 
	Skinner gave a tentative greeting.  "How are you?" he 
asked, following her into the living room. 
	Scully gave him an amused smile over her shoulder.  
"You've asked me that in the same solicitous tones every day this 
	She pre-empted him.  "I'm fine, Walter, really.  Please 
don't fuss.  I'm all right.  I haven't felt better in months, actually."  
Not that that was such a recommendation, given that the last four 
months had been spent largely suspended over a toilet bowl with 
morning sickness; but why rain on his parade?  She motioned for 
him to sit, and did so herself at his side. 
	Skinner shifted nervously, and Scully braced herself.  
She was fairly sure of what was coming, but that didn't help.  
"Dana, I wanted to talk to you.  About the baby," he said.  "And 
the accident." 
	She held his gaze.  "You're worried." 
	A fearful look flitted across his face.  He nodded.  
	She didn't answer him for a moment, but took one of his 
hands and looked away, out the window.  Finally, she admitted, 
"So am I." 
	"What can we do?" 
	She looked back at him.  "We can't //do//   anything, 
Walter.  The damage, if there is any, has been done.  All we can 
do is find out about it, and prepare ourselves as best we can."  
She didn't add that there might be no way of preparing for the 
kinds of problems this child may face, or that quite possibly it 
would die at such a young age that the question was a moot one.  
There are some things, she thought, which it isn't necessary to 
inflict on people.  Especially people who are in pain.  The idea 
that she, too, was a person in pain was something which never 
occurred to her, perhaps because she was not in the habit of 
thinking of herself in those terms. 
	Skinner nodded slowly, as though her reply did not 
surprise him.  "But we can find out?" 
	Scully nodded.  "Yes.  Minor injury we might not be 
able to detect.  But any mutations and chromosomal damage we 
could find out about through DNA studies.  That's easy enough." 
	Cautiously, he asked her, "Do you want to know?" 
	She looked at him, genuinely puzzled.  "What do you 
	Skinner chose his words carefully.  "It's just that - if 
there is anything - serious - it might put you in a position of 
having to make a choice that you don't want to make." 
	Scully spoke firmly, resolutely.  She didn't think twice.  
"There will be no abortion, Walter.  No matter what.  I'm sorry if 
that's different from what your own choice would be.  But it's not 
	"And that's not what I want, or what I'm suggesting.  All 
I'm saying is that, given that your decision is made, knowing 
might be more painful for you than not knowing.  And to no 
benefit."  He didn't tell her that he himself was not completely 
sure that he wanted the power or the decision that these tests 
might bring in their wake. 
	"Do you //want//   to know?"  Scully's voice was 
piercing.  It demanded the truth.  Oddly, the demand enabled him 
to search his heart, and find it. 
	He hesitated only a moment, before nodding firmly.  
"Yes, I do.  I'm frightened.  I don't want to be frightened if I don't 
have to be.  And if I do, then I want to know what I'm up 
	Scully's response didn't surprise him.  It was the 
response of someone who spent her life searching for the truth.  
"So do I." 
	"So we'll do it?" 

GenTest Pty Ltd 
Annapolis, Maryland 
December 27, 1996

	Three days later, after a Christmas filled more with 
anxiety than joy, Scully and Skinner consulted a highly 
respected authority in genetic counselling, one Samuel Fieldman.  
Fieldman ran the GenTest Centre, a high-profile genetic testing 
facility often mentioned in celebrity paternity disputes.  
However, behind the plush, mass market appeal of his offices lay 
one of the best-equipped laboratories in the country and a 
plethora of lower-profile speciality testing facilities. 
	Fieldman himself was a little Jewish man in his mid-
forties, a personified combination of shrewd business acumen 
and scientific expertise.  He made no apologies for his obscenely 
opulent waiting room.  However, he knew that Scully was a 
doctor herself, and he wasted no time in regaling the two of them 
with his resume; knowing as he must that interior decorating 
would not impress. 
	Succinctly, Scully outlined the situation.  Fieldman, it 
transpired, was aware of some of the details.  "I did read a 
snippet in the //Lancet//   about your case, Dr Scully.  
Spontaneous cell recovery after massive radiation exposure.  I 
wasn't aware that you were also pregnant." 
	"Most people weren't," she said dryly. 
	Fieldman took the hint and dropped it.  "Well, anyway, 
you're right to be concerned.  As you're of course aware, 
chromosome damage arising from radiation exposure, along with 
faulty self-repair, can cause the most devastating mutations and 
malformations.  I don't wish to sound pessimistic, but even with 
your quite inexplicable recovery, the picture is not promising." 
	Scully nodded slowly.  "I know that." 
	Fieldman took up a pen and paper.  He took their 
names, addresses, and brief medical histories.  He paused for a 
time whilst entering the details of the accident.  "Now, how far 
along were you at the time?" 
	Scully said promptly, "Four months." 
	Fieldman nodded.  "Much of the foetal development 
was complete, then.  But everything is still immature, including 
vital organs and the central nervous system.  That's not good."  
He paused.  "I presume you've already given some thought to 
your options for investigation?" 
	Scully nodded.  "Full DNA studies.  We want as much 
information as possible.  We want to be ready for if - well, if 
there's a problem." 
	Fieldman wasn't surprised.  "I think that's best.  We'll 
need blood samples from each of you so we can do comparisons 
that might tell us if there's been any mutation; and we'll need a 
sample from the foetus by amniocentesis." 
	Skinner spoke for the first time.  "What exactly is 
involved in amniocentesis?" 
	Scully answered him.  "A long needle is introduced 
through the abdomen into the uterus.  Ultrasound - a sonogram - 
is used to gauge where everything is.  A sample of amniotic fluid 
is taken.  The fluid has cells that can be used for analysis in it - 
shed skin cells, that sort of thing." 
	"Any risks?" he asked. 
	Fieldman spoke.  "About a one in a thousand chance of 
	Skinner looked at Scully dubiously.  Scully grinned.  
"For God's sake, Walter, this kid has survived a thousand rem.  
You think amniocentesis is going to make a difference?" 
	He summoned a smile.  "All right," he conceded.  
	Fieldman said, "Well, we can take the blood now."  He 
rustled through his papers.  "We had a cancellation this morning 
for an amnio, so we can do that this afternoon, if you're free.  
Otherwise you'll have to wait a week.  The appointment is at two-
	Scully said, "That's fine-" at the same time that Skinner 
	"I have an appointment, Dana.  It's not something I can 
cancel without consequences." 
	Scully shrugged.  "It doesn't matter, Walter.  It's only a 
needle.  I can manage."  She favoured him with a faint smile.  
"Don't be so protective.  I'd really  rather not wait." 
	"It's an awfully //big//   needle." 
	She laughed outright.  "And doctors make the worst 
patients.  Don't worry.  I won't faint." 
	"Are you sure?" 
	She took his hand.  "I'm sure."

	In the end, Scully didn't go alone. 
	She telephoned Mulder to let him know where she was.  
Mulder insisted on coming along, despite her protests.  Privately, 
she was glad.  The amniocentesis didn't worry her, but she was 
looking forward to the sonogram.  She had so far not gone to 
another doctor at all, preferring to monitor her own pregnancy 
until the late months (doctors really did make the worst patients, 
she suddenly reflected with a grin), and as a result had not been 
for one.  She didn't really want to see her child for the first time 
alone.  She had a feeling that she would become quite 
irrationally emotional, and she wanted someone there.  That was 
not something she would have admitted to anyone, including 
Walter; hence her insistence that he leave her. 
	Mulder arrived in a rush just as it began.  The 
technician was moving the sensor over her abdomen when he was 
allowed in by a nurse, and he came around the machinery to her 
far side. 
	"How are you?" he asked. 
	Scully smiled.  "I'm okay.  You didn't have to come 
down," she chided gently. 
	"What, and miss the only sonogram I'm likely to see?  
You think I'm going to make it to the altar while my 
contemporaries are of childbearing age?  Optimist." 
	She grinned.  "Shut up and watch the show." 
	They turned to the monitor.  Scully watched in 
complete scientific detachment as her child was silhouetted from 
every angle.  She was fascinated, as she always had been, by the 
use of ultrasound technology, but she made no connection 
between the image and the life within her. 
	But when quite suddenly the shape moved and drew a 
shadowy limb up to its face, she jolted on the gurney, startled.  
She watched in fascination as it unmistakeably sucked its thumb.  
Why, it - and for the first time, she felt self-conscious using the 
impersonal pronoun - it was a real person!   
	For Scully, educated in a world where a child was an 
anonymous embryo or foetus from the first week of gestation 
until it was born (or at least capable of being born alive), this 
was a stunning idea.  She had been protective of the child within 
her, it was true; on the other hand, that was mostly 
philosophical:  it was alive and therefore, to her Catholic heart, 
absolutely sacred.  But the idea that there was any kind of 
individuality or personality involved was new, and somehow 
invigorating.  Just how she drew the concept of personality from 
an involuntary, instinctive gesture, she couldn't have said; but it 
was as though it had awakened in her a long-buried instinct.  She 
continued to watch, enthralled, and barely noticed when the 
needle was introduced. 
	Mulder, on the other hand, had certainly noticed the 
needle.  Scully became aware of him tightening his grip on her 
hand, and when she looked up, he was positively green.  She 
suppressed a grin as he determinedly studied the ceiling tiles.  
She waited until she felt the needle leave her body, then said, 
"It's gone, Mulder." 
	He looked down at her, a little shamefaced.  "So much 
for moral support," he reproached himself. 
	She laughed indulgently.  "Do I care?  You were here.  
That's what counts." 
	Mulder was suddenly interrogative.  "Do you mind that 
Skinner wasn't?" 
	Scully's smile faded somewhat as she thought a 
moment.  She chose her words carefully.  "I wish he had been, 
because he would have liked to have been," she conceded, "but 
not really.  I could have put it off if I'd really needed him.  It was 
my choice to have it done today.  I don't regret that."  She 
suddenly smiled and pointed to the box the technician was 
labelling, even as they spoke.  "Besides, I can always invite you 
both over for a video night."  The technician held the tape out to 
	Mulder snatched it from her grasp.  "You can bring the 
popcorn!"  He made a gleeful escape to the waiting room. 
	Scully looked up at the affronted technician.  //Damn it, 
Mulder, do you  to offend people you don't know?//    
Groaning inwardly, she offered the woman a smile, and set about 
placating her.  

5th Floor 
Federal Bureau of Investigation 
Washington, D.C. 
19 January, 1997

	The phone rang. 
	Dana flipped it open.  "Scully." 
	"Dr Scully?  It's Sam Fieldman at GenTest Centre.  Can 
you talk a moment?" 
	Scully nodded automatically, then remembered he 
couldn't see her.  "Yes, that's fine." 
	"Dr Scully," the cultured voice crackled down the line, 
"I think that you and Mr Skinner should come down here right 
	"What is it?" she asked, hardly daring to breathe.  
Mulder walked in and caught something of her alarm. 
	"Look, you know I can't go into details over the phone.  
I will tell you that something is wrong, but it doesn't seem to be 
to do with your exposure to radiation.  We've found some DNA 
that we can't classify.  It's like nothing we've ever seen before.  Dr 
Scully, I really think you should come in.  Today." 
	Scully breathed out, shakily.  "We'll be there as soon as 
we can."  She flipped the phone shut and shoved it into her 
pocket, suddenly clumsy and uncoordinated. 
	"What was that all about?" 
	She looked up.  Mulder was there.  Mulder was always 
there.  And that was best, because she had a suspicion that before 
the end of the day she was going to need him, badly. 
	She was silent.  "Well?" he insisted. 
	Ruthlessly setting aside the little voice in her head 
which was already mulling over the implications of what she'd 
been told, she steeled her shattered nerves by pressing her nails 
into her palm until they hurt.  She told him. 
	Mulder's expression was one of gratified excitement.  
"Unclassified DNA.  By definition, alien.  Alien - do you know 
what this means?"  Suddenly, he asked interrogatively, "Scully, 
when //exactly//   did you get pregnant?" 
	Scully began to shake even before she answered.  She 
suddenly felt very cold, and the tight little bundle kicking against 
her insides suddenly seemed oppressive...malevolent.  "The day 
you and Skinner found me.  That night...he came to me."  She 
clung to that.  //Skinner came to me.  He said he loved me. That's 
how it's meant to be.  You make love with someone who loves 
you, and you make a baby.  That's how it's been since the dawn 
of time.//  
    	Except that //wasn't//   how it was, was it?  For every 
child born of love, there were four or five born of desperate 
loneliness, of recreation, of abuse, of prostitution, of 
domination, of youthful impetuosity.  The term "love-child" was 
a misnomer, in or out of marriage.  Love was no guarantee. 
	But what about monogamy?  Surely that was a 
guarantee?  Pregnancy wasn't like HIV, for God's sake; it wasn't 
catching.  She had only been with Walter. 
	As far as she could remember. 
	Mulder's voice was sharp.  It seemed intrusive.  "One of 
the days you lost?" 
	Scully made a quick, uncontrolled movement, averting 
her gaze from Mulder's.  She got to her feet, shakily.  "I don't like 
what you're saying, Mulder," she said warningly.  "I don't want to 
hear it.  This baby is Walter's, do you hear?"  Unable to take any 
more interrogation //(From him?  Or yourself?)//    she stormed 
	Mulder could have kicked himself.  He'd been so 
excited about the prospect of new information on the abductions 
- and, by God, a real, live, alien foetus - that he had forgotten 
that this time, it wasn't just a case. 
	This time, it was Scully.  And Scully's child. 
	He ran after her.  "Scully, wait!" he called.  "I'm sorry!" 
	He was too late.  She had run out the door. 
	//Damn it, Mulder, you've done it again.//

GenTest Pty Ltd 
Annapolis, Maryland 
19 January 1997

	Scully pulled into the parking lot.  Without speaking, 
she switched off the instruments and the ignition.  She stared 
straight ahead for a moment. 
	"Dana?"  Skinner's voice was strained. 
    	She didn't answer. 
    	//"Dana."//    He touched her arm. 
	She turned to face him.  "What is it, Walter?"  Her voice 
was devoid of character or expression. 
	Skinner looked at her.  Her skin was pulled tight across 
her face.  Her normally beautiful features were set in a grimace.  
Her eyes were distant.  Scully, he knew, was not far away from 
the edge.  But- 
	"I have to know, Dana."  She looked away.  "I'm here for 
you, no matter whose child this is.  But I have to know.  I have  
to."  He paused, but she wouldn't look at him.  "Dana, when you 
were away..." he trailed off momentarily, hesitated.  There was no 
way to ask that wasn't cruel.  "Dana, could you have been raped?" 
	Scully didn't answer him.  Her expression stony and 
cold, she opened the car door and walked away.  He leaped out 
and followed her, breaking into a run.  "Dana!" he called.  He 
caught up and grabbed her by the arm, dragging her around to 
face her.  "Dana!" he cried out.  "Damn it, could you have been 
    	//"I don't know!"//   she cried in sudden anguish.  "I can't 
	One look at her face, and Skinner was gone.  He 
wrapped her tightly in his arms and held her, crying unashamedly 
the first tears he had shed since Sharon had died.  Scully held 
on, shaking violently against him. 
	But still she didn't cry.

	A few minutes later, rather more composed, the two of 
them walked through the doors to the GenTest Centre.  Skinner's 
unnaturally bright eyes were the only clue to the recent storm.  
They were shown into Sam Fieldman's office, and in due course, 
Fieldman joined them.  They rose and shook his hand in turn.  
"Dr Scully, Mr Skinner.  It's good to see you again." 
	"I wish I could say the same," Scully said ungraciously, 
on edge.  She chastised herself.  It wasn't like her to be rude.  
"I'm sorry," she apologised. 
    	Fieldman gave her a compassionate smile.  "Doctors 
make the worst patients.  And so would anyone, in the 
circumstances.  Take a seat." 
	Both Scully and Skinner took their seats, Skinner 
moving his fractionally closer to hers.  She might want to be 
stoic, but he had a feeling he would need her before they were 
through here, even if she didn't need him.  As it was, his mind 
was jamming with every possible terrible twist to this horrid 
saga.  //Radiation.  Cancer.  Alien.  Rape.  Death.//    The words 
swirled monotonously through his brain, like a surreal tape on 
life's little jukebox.  He realised that Fieldman was speaking, and 
endeavoured to clear his head. 
	"As you know, we were initially looking for mutations 
and interruptions in the DNA chain which might indicate 
problems arising from your exposure to radiation.  We did that, 
and found some disturbing information."  Fieldman paused until 
he judged that they had had a chance to prepare themselves.  
(Not that any amount of time could prepare themselves for this, 
of course.  Fieldman had a feeling that he had seen the most 
bizarre thing he was ever going to see in his career - if not his 
	"Firstly, the question of radiation exposure.  This in 
itself was fairly straightforward, and I might add, rather 
surprising, given the levels to which you were exposed, Dr 
Scully.  The very fact that you are alive after exposure to over a 
thousand rem is incredible - all the more so as you show no signs 
of permanent injury."  That wasn't precisely true, Scully knew; 
her internal organs had recovered, but her teeth seemed more 
brittle, somehow.  She suspected that the same applied to her 
bones.  She had noticed no further deterioration from the time of 
her recovery; but they hadn't completely recovered, either.   
	Fieldman continued.  "The foetus - do you want to 
know the sex, by the way?"  Both nodded, and he continued, 
"Well, it's a girl.  The foetus showed no signs of radiation 
damage or sickness of any kind, either.  No mutations to control 
genes, nothing to even suggest that she might have a higher 
susceptibility to cancers than the norm.  It's quite amazing, in the 
circumstances."  He turned to Scully and looked at her, 
curiously.  "Also interesting to me personally was your own 
body's response, Dr Scully.  As you know, in the end we took a 
small sample of your tissue to test for changes, and we did that 
on-site, in one of the specialist labs.  We exposed the tissue to 
radiation.  The cells showed typical signs of radiation exposure 
for a period of around five hours.  However, the radioactive 
process inexplicably ended quite suddenly, and the cells then 
began to spontaneously recover.  By the time a further five hours 
had passed, everything was normal.  As far as we could make out, 
some sort of enzyme-like substance was involved, but we can't 
identify it.  Whatever it was, it kick-started an auto-repair 
response, one which caused or enabled a complete recovery - 
even in the most seriously damaged cells.  This does not differ 
substantially from your personal findings or those of your 
clinicians, Dr Scully; but I did feel that it was important to see 
for myself exactly what happened in case that shed some light on 
your child's situation.  In the end, of course, it was a wasted 
exercise, because we can't explain it, or even document how it 
was done.  Quite fascinating scientifically, as you will 
appreciate, and also quite inexplicable."  He paused.  Neither 
Scully nor Skinner registered any signs of relief, and Fieldman 
was glad, given the rest of what he had to say. 
	He hesitated maddeningly, then cleared his throat.  "I'm 
afraid, Dr Scully, Mr Skinner, that the good news ends there.  
There's no easy way to tell you the remainder of our findings, and 
it's even harder because I don't understand them myself."   
	He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, then went on 
cautiously, "In the course of DNA studies, we made some other 
findings.  One of these was the presence of human DNA which 
was unidentifiable.  It originated from neither of you, but a third 
party.  This in itself is not unusual - it's not uncommon for a 
couple to genuinely believe that a pregnancy is theirs, when it 
isn't.  I say that without judgement on either of you."   
	Skinner looked away with a swift movement.  Scully 
bowed her head suddenly.  She didn't try to defend herself:  there 
was no need.  He knew that.  Still, it hurt; he wouldn't deny that.  
He couldn't bring himself to look at her, but he reached out 
blindly and took her hand in his.  She held it, tightly. 
	Fieldman continued, his eyes fixed discreetly on 
Scully's file for a time.  "What makes it so unusual is that there 
are signs that this party's DNA has been altered, presumably by 
genetic engineering.  I don't think this level of interference can be 
explained by natural mutation, particularly given the nature of 
the alteration.  The interference seems to involve some kind of 
splicing of DNA with foreign genetic material, although exactly 
how this was done is impossible for me to say because we don't 
recognise the foreign material.  It bears no resemblance to either 
human or animal DNA.  It's in a completely different category, 
and we just can't classify it.  The main areas in which this 
appears are sectors determining immunology and the central 
nervous system, although there are traces everywhere."  
Fieldman's features tightened with the effort to convey that 
which he didn't understand.  "Dr Scully, I don't have any answers 
for you.  I don't know how this happened, or even exactly what 
has happened.  All I can tell you is the outcome." 
	Scully said cautiously, "And the outcome is that this 
child is not entirely human."  She seemed completely devoid of 
emotion, save for a certain stiffness in her body. 
	Fieldman hesitated.  "I didn't say that, Dr Scully.  Not 
on the record.  The most I will say is that there are genes present 
which are not consistent with human DNA at any of its 
evolutionary stages."   
	Skinner gave him a withering look, but Scully 
understood.  She would not have committed herself to such a 
statement, either.  Skinner himself should also have understood, 
but she was beginning to realise that the professional Skinner 
was quite different from Skinner, the person.  For Scully, who 
was so buried in her work and her science that analysis had 
become her way of life, this was foreign - and intriguing.  
Fieldman went on, "Off the record, I would suggest that you 
think over your options.  We don't know how the effects of all 
this may be manifested in the foetus or her offspring, assuming 
she's capable of reproduction at all.  We don't know what this 
child will look like, whether she will be superhuman or 
subhuman in her abilities and skills - we just don't have the 
technology to find out whether this - this //lifeform//   will be 
capable of existing in human society.  It's an extraordinary case." 
	"It means something else," Scully said.  She didn't want 
to continue, but it had to be said.  She tightened her grip on 
Skinner's hand.  She had only just realised what it had meant to 
her for him to be with her in this pregnancy.  With a pang of 
regret, she knew that whatever support he gave her, she was now 
essentially alone.  "This isn't Walter's child." 
	Fieldman's response was unexpected.  He was silent for 
a moment, but they could see his mind working.  Finally, he said 
slowly, "Dr Scully, you're both right and wrong.  It's true that this 
foetus cannot possibly have originated from the two of you.  But-
	" 'But'?"  Skinner's voice was tight with confusion. 
	"Mr Skinner, your inherited DNA was unmistakeable in 
the foetus.  It's Dr Scully's which is absent.  The foreign material 
- whatever it was - originated with the ovum.  Dr Scully, there's 
no easy or kind way to tell you this, but genetically speaking, 
this isn't your child." 
	Scully's jaw dropped, thunderstruck.  She sat back 
suddenly in her chair, as though she had been hit.  She said, 
slowly, "Oh, my God."  She was silent for a long moment, before 
saying quietly, "I'm not the mother.  I'm a - host-" she broke off.  
Skinner watched her, alarmed. 
	Fieldman dropped his gaze.  "I wouldn't have put it so 
brutally myself, Dr Scully.  I know a lot of IVF mothers of 
children born of donated ova who would disagree." 
	"They chose," she said simply.  "I didn't." 
	Fieldman nodded silently.  Then, in response to 
Skinner's suggestive frown, he rose.  "I'll give you some time 

	"It must have been while I was - gone." 
	The self-evident fact was said tonelessly, with neither 
hope nor despair.  Her emotionless veneer was starting to 
frighten him. 
	"How?  Skinner asked.  "Don't they do that surgically?  
Wouldn't you have known?" 
	"Laparoscopy," Scully said automatically.  Her brow 
furrowed as she thought.  This was a scientific question; she 
could bear to dwell on this.  "I might not have known, Walter.  
They shot me in the stomach.  That's where the wound from a 
laparoscopy is - right in the navel.  I wrote off all the discomfort I 
had that week or two afterwards to being shot.  My God," she 
said in dawning realisation, "that's probably //why//   they shot 
me there."  She was silent a moment, thinking.  "This is 
obviously part of some kind of breeding program.  They couldn't 
have counted on me to have gotten pregnant to a man in the 
normal scheme of things.  It must have been complete embryos.  
An unfertilised ovum - that would have been like deliberately 
setting a timebomb.  That must have been a mistake."  She 
paused, the lines of her face etched deeply as she frowned.  "It 
wouldn't be hard to find out - about the laparoscopy, I mean - 
there will be a hairline scar.  I'll look when I get home." 
	"Dana-"  He broke off. 
	She turned to face him, almost puzzled at his concern.  
"I'm fine, Walter." 
	Skinner's voice was penetrating.  "Are you?  Dana, 
you're so wrapped up in the science of this that you've lost touch 
with your own feelings."  She flinched; her sister had said 
something similar to her only days before she had died.  Scully 
didn't answer him, and they were silent for a time, each lost in 
their own thoughts. 
	Skinner considered the situation.  He knew what Dana 
had said about abortion before.  But surely this was different.  
For God's sake, the child wasn't even human.  It was a grotesque 
existential accident of mammoth proportions.   
	And yet, that wasn't the whole story.  It wasn't even 
//most//   of the story.  Whatever the genetic facts, in every way 
that mattered, this was his child with the woman he loved.  He 
wanted the child.  He didn't want to lose any more in his life.  
But could he make her give birth to it (he had to say 'it'; 'her' hurt 
too much right now), and raise it?  What if she just //couldn't?//    
It hurt him more than he had ever been hurt in his life to do it, 
but he took her hands in his.  "What do you want to do?" 
	She met his gaze.  She recognised the surrender of the 
decision to her in his eyes, and she loved him for it.  She gave a 
sad little smile. 
	"No," she said resolutely.  "No abortion.  No more 
deaths to these people."  She paused.  "This child is a creation of 
my own actions.  I chose to be with you.  And yet she's not mine.  
I have no right of control over her destiny."  She looked at him 
squarely.  "It's still a life, Walter; a blameless life.  I don't have 
the right to make this decision." 
	He nodded, and for him, that moment would always be 
the moment that he committed himself irrevocably to his child.  
"All right." 
	Fieldman came back into the room, clearing his throat.  
Scully looked up as he retook his seat before them.  "Dr 
Fieldman, could you reconstruct as best you can the substance of 
the foreign human DNA before it was tampered with?" 
	Fieldman's brow furrowed.  "I can try, Dr Scully.  But 
don't expect 100% accuracy.  A certain amount of guesswork will 
be involved.  I can also give you a reading of the incomplete data, 
which will be accurate as far as it goes." 
	"All right.  Send it to me at the Bureau, as quickly as 
you can."  Scully paused, thinking furiously.  "Tell me, have you 
billed my medical insurance for these tests and consultations 
	Fieldman shook his head.  "Probably not.  We were 
going to claim it against the FBI's employer liability insurance, 
in light of the fact that you were working during the power plant 
incident; and presumably they would have referred it to the 
power plant's liability insurers. We only send non-standard 
claims once a month.  I can go and check, if you like." 
	Scully nodded.  "Please do.  I'd like to settle privately, 
if it's not too late to do so.  Today, if you'll take a check." 
	His eyebrow rose, even as Skinner turned to look at her, 
surprised.  "It's a lot of money, Dr Scully.  Thousands." 
	"I don't care." 
	Frowning, Fieldman rose and left the room. 
	As soon as the door clicked shut behind him, Skinner 
asked her, "Why?" 
	Scully turned to face him.  "If any of this is even half 
true, they will be watching me to see if I am pregnant.  They will 
be watching for any transfers to desk work, any attempt to claim 
my employment benefits for pregnancy, and probably my medical 
insurance as well.  If it's complete embryos they were aiming for, 
they must know that the chances of implantation are slim; but I'm 
sure they will still be watching, just in case."  Skinner nodded 
slowly.  She laughed suddenly.  "I'm starting to sound like 
Mulder.  //They//   this, //they//   that." 
	Skinner's voice was gravelly.  "If anyone's got a right to 
be paranoid, it's you, Dana.  My God-" 
	"Not now," she said crisply, and as if on cue, Fieldman 
returned to the room with a sheet of computer paper. 
	"Your invoice, Dr Scully."   
	As she fished in her purse for her checkbook, Skinner 
took it from him.  It //was//   a lot of money.  Not a fortune, but a 
nice deposit on one.  He took out his own checkbook.  "Dana, I 
think maybe this should come from my account, don't you?" he 
asked, pointedly. 
	Scully looked at him, instantly on guard.  "Why, yes - 
yes, you're right.  Thank you."  She watched him write out the 
slip of paper and hand it to Fieldman.  //I nearly left a paper trail 
straight to this place,//   she thought, suddenly completely 
unnerved.  She struggled inwardly to keep a grip on things, going 
through the motions of farwells and shaking hands.  She walked 
out of the building at Skinner's side, and when they reached the 
car, she fumbled with the lock, dropping the keys with a clatter. 
	Skinner swooped them up.  "I'll drive.  You're in no fit 
	"And you are?" she demanded, her voice hollow. 
	The accusation was fair, so he didn't respond to it.  
Instead, he maneouvered her into the passenger seat, got in, and 
drove off. 
	"Where are you taking me?" she asked wearily.  She had 
seen that he wasn't taking her to the Bureau, and although her 
surroundings were familiar, she was in a fog and she just couldn't 
piece together the route in her head. 
	"Home.  You're going to sleep and then we're going to 
talk to Mulder." 
	She nodded in mute agreement, then lapsed back into 
her stupor. 
	Skinner wondered when she would break.


3170 West 53 Rd, #35 
Annapolis, Maryland 
January 19, 1997

	In the end, she broke quite suddenly. 
	They were in the kitchen of her apartment, and Skinner 
insisted that he get the coffee.  It wasn't only solicitude.  He 
feared she would burn herself, she was shaking that badly.  But 
Scully kicked up the most infuriating fuss, accusing him of 
patronising her and trying to be big and strong instead of 
expressing how //he//   was feeling.  (The pot calling the kettle 
black, Skinner reflected).  She became furious, then 
overwrought, then suddenly collapsed on the floor in floods of 
tears, her arms crossed over her head.   
	Alarmed but not surprised, Skinner dropped at her side 
and cradled her there, until later, much later, she quietened, 
making little breathless hitching noises every now and then.  
Then their lips met, and suddenly they were comforting each 
other in the only way they could, losing themselves and their 
pain in one another.  They moved to her bedroom and undressed 
one another, and even when, tenderly, he entered her, even when 
they came together, still they held each other with their eyes, lost 
in one another's agony.   
	When they were spent, they lay with their hands linked 
over the swelling in her stomach.  Then there were more tears, 
his; and he wept in that unashamed way that a man does only 
with his lover in the bed that they share.  Deeply moved, Dana 
held him and kissed away his tears; and he was comforted.  
Finally, they fell into a fitful sleep, their embrace tightly 
	Skinner was woken by a rattling outside Dana's 
apartment.  There was the sound of a key in the lock, the turning 
of tumblers.  He extricated himself from Dana, quickly pulled on 
his trousers and threw his shirt on.  Not bothering to button it, he 
drew his weapon, went to the living room, and trained it on the 
doorway just as the door swung soundlessly open.  "Federal 
agent.  Drop your weapon and place your hands behind your 
head," he demanded as the shadow of a man presented itself. 
	Mulder complied, stepping into the light.  Skinner 
lowered the gun.  "Don't you ever announce yourself?" he 
demanded.  "Or knock?" 
	"Only at your office, Sir," Mulder said wryly, lowering 
his hands. 
	"And usually not then, either."  He put the gun down on 
the coffee table and turned away to button his shirt, suddenly 
self-conscious.  "What are you doing here?" he asked, turning 
back to face him. 
	To his surprise, Mulder was red-faced.  "When neither 
you nor Agent Scully returned to the office, Sir, I became 
worried.  I thought you'd had bad news.  I didn't think - I mean, I 
didn't realise-"  he broke off, discomfort showing in his 
expression.  "I didn't mean to intrude," he apologised softly. 
	Skinner held up a hand, dismissing this, frowning.  
"Unfortunately, Agent Mulder, you were right.  The news is bad - 
very bad."  He regarded him for a moment. 
	"You'd better sit down."

	Scully woke to voices in her living room.  She sat bolt 
upright for a second, but then she recognised them as Skinner's 
and Mulder's.  She lay back down for a few minutes, collecting 
her thoughts.   
	She thought of the baby moving within her, and of her 
sister, and even of her father.  //Ahab, what would you have 
done?//    But she didn't need his message from beyond to know - 
indeed, once she had rejected a psychic man's offer to give it to 
her.  She already knew:  he was her father.  //I would do what is 
right, Starbuck,//   she could imagine him saying.  //I would do 
what's right, and hope that that's enough.// 
	Even as an adult, she had never really understood that.  
She knew that it was important to do what was right, somehow; 
but she hadn't understood that you could never exert any control 
over the actions of others, whatever you did - not really.  If you 
wanted things to be right, you had to do what was right yourself 
and hope that it was enough. 
	She understood now. 
	And now she committed herself, again, to doing 
whatever she had to do to protect this child with whom she had 
been entrusted.  Because that was what was right; and it was the 
only thing in this situation that she knew was right. 
	Scully dressed in a pair of track pants and a loose shirt.  
She didn't have that many clothes that really fitted her anymore.  
She didn't need them:  she was always swathed in her trenchcoat 
at work.  If her belly strained against her trousers, it didn't really 
matter, because no-one saw them.  Her weekends were spent 
quietly at home; she had stopped seeing her family.  Not that she 
mistrusted or feared them; she simply hadn't thought it a good 
idea for them to know she was pregnant until she was sure her 
baby hadn't been harmed by the accident at Kuringai. 
	And until she knew exactly what this child she was 
carrying was, perhaps that was just as well. 
	She emerged from her bedroom.  Mulder and Skinner 
looked up, Mulder with some suprise.  She was puzzled, then 
realised:  Except for her sonogram, when she had been swaddled 
in a surgical gown and sheet, Mulder had never seen her this 
way, her pregnancy showing.  "You filled him in?" she asked 
	Skinner nodded; then, respectful of the bond they 
shared, he rose and went to the kitchen.  Mulder rose also and 
took her hands.  "I'm sorry, Scully.  For how I acted and for what 
you've learned."  He stepped forward and embraced her, warmly.  
She held him tightly for a long moment, then smiled at him 
gently and pulled away. 
	"How are you?" he asked gently as they sat. 
	She gave a twisted little smile.  "I'm coping, I guess.  I 
wasn't doing so well earlier.  I felt kind of frozen - emotionally, I 
mean; but physically, too.  I was so //cold.//    I felt- I don't know, 
paralysed, somehow." 
    	He bowed his head, ashamed.  "And I was too busy 
playing ghostbuster to be there.  I'm sorry, Scully.  You deserve 
better than the way I treated you." 
	Scully took his hand.  "Don't, Mulder.  It's over.  You're 
here now.  And I don't think anyone could have done anything 
for me before.  It was something I had to break through myself.  
Walter was here, but even he couldn't do very much except stay 
with me through it."  She paused.  "Let it go." 
	Skinner emerged with coffee, and the three of them sat 
silently for a time, lost in thought.  Suddenly, he asked, "Did you 
	Scully looked at him, puzzled, a moment; but then her 
expression cleared.  "The laproscopy?  Yes, there's a scar."  She 
paused.  "The only thing I don't understand is why it's there.  
With IVF, they normally use a tube intravaginally into the uterus.  
Laparoscopy is more often used to collect ova.  It doesn't make 
sense, because the ova used weren't mine." 
	Mulder spoke up.  "I went through this with a cousin of 
mine a few years ago.  They used a program called GIFT.  I don't 
know what it stands for.  But they surgically implanted ova and 
sperm into the fallopian tubes to fertilise naturally." 
	"Gamente Intra Fallopian Transfer," Scully expounded.  
"It's more invasive in one sense, but there's a higher success rate 
than with IVF.  It's also ethically more acceptable because there's 
no question of freezing complete embryos, and no question of 
destroying lives once a decision has been made to thaw the cells 
unused - not that the people who took me seem too concerned 
about ethics," she added bitterly.  "It does make more sense that 
way, medically speaking," she conceded, "but I stand by what I 
said before.  It must have been IVF - complete embryos.  
Implanting unfertilised ova - even if you implant sperm too - is 
just too risky for the purposes these people have in mind.  What 
was to stop me from conceiving with a man with whom I was 
involved - as in fact was the case?" 
	Skinner spoke slowly, thinking it through.  "I'm not so 
sure about that, Dana.  For one thing, they had no way of 
anticipating that you would be rescued.  Chances are they would 
have held you until they had ascertained the success of the 
experiment - maybe even until the child was born, if it had been." 
	"There's something else," Mulder said.  "They'd have 
done their homework.  You haven't been involved with anyone in 
years - hell, I don't think you've even dated in years, have you?"  
She shook her head.  "That's my fault, dragging you into my 
messes and scrapes.  They couldn't have predicted you two 
getting together in the aftermath.  And," he added, "it means you 
haven't been on the Pill, I suppose?  Because that would cause 
problems with you getting pregnant." 
	Scully nodded slowly.  "Yes, that's true...I suppose that 
makes sense." 
	"And maybe that's why you were chosen for the 
project," Skinner pointed out.  "But //why?//    What's it all for?" 
	Mulder answered.  "I don't want to hit a nerve here, but 
I think it's part of the experiments to create an alien-human 
hybrid."  Scully stifled a groan. 
	"But why?" Skinner repeated.  "To what purpose?" 
	Scully put forward her own theory.  "Whatever it is, I 
think it's to do with bio warfare.  I think it's an attempt to alter 
immune and other base responses in order to provide an artiliary 
soldiered by immunes in the event of germ war - not to mention 
to provide the basis of human survival, in some form, were such 
an event to happen." 
	"I think that's part of it," Mulder agreed, "but I'd apply 
the same to nuclear warfare.  The question of radiation exposure, 
all of that." 
	Scully looked at him dubiously.  "Not the radiation 
thing again?" 
	Mulder grinned, half annoyed, half amused.  "Scully, do 
you remember those French seamen on the salvage vessel?" 
	Scully nodded.  "How could I forget?" 
	Several months previously, a French vessel on a 
mysterious salvage mission had been found, all but one of its 
occupants afflicted with severe radiation sickness.  Those 
suffering had died within days.  The remaining seaman, a man 
named Gautier, had shown no signs of illness; but had acted 
strangely in subsequent days.  Eventually, Mulder had found 
him, passed out; and when he came to, he had no recollection of 
any of the events leading up to their rescue.  His wife, Jean, had 
suffered the same fate, making her way to Hong Kong before 
being found similarly collapsed.  Corrupt Agent Krycek had 
manifested similar symptoms before disappearing.  Mulder had 
formed the opinion that they had been hosts to an alien lifeform, 
and that the salvage mission had been in the process of retrieving 
a UFO with radioactive qualities. 
	Now, Mulder said cautiously, "I know what you think 
of my theories on that case; but isn't it possible that whatever 
Gautier was host to protected him from the effects of the 
radiation to which he was exposed?" 
	Scully wasn't won that easily.  "Go on," she said 
    	"Presumably, because whatever Gautier was host to was 
capable of rendering radiation benign?" 
	Scully thought a moment.  "Not precisely.  It doesn't 
become benign, as such.  The chain of reactions stops at some 
point - the radioactive substance stabilises.  And radiation isn't 
an entity in the sense that a virus or bacteria is.  You can't have 
an immune response, per se.  It's a process.  It breaks down cells.  
Theoretically, his cells could have self-repaired.  This doesn't 
happen in practice because one, the damage is too great to be 
repaired, and two, the self-repair mechanism itself is also broken 
down and either doesn't work or repairs in a way which is faulty.  
And with gamma radiation, there's never a chance anyway 
because normally the substance - the cell, say - never completely 
    	"For the sake of argument, let's say these creatures have 
some sort of properties which interrupt and stabilise the process, 
and enable their cells to self-repair - perhaps an ability which 
evolved because they live in an environment of high radioactivity.  
As, apparently, do those who are hosts to those creatures - at 
least while they are hosts.  As," he said pointedly, "do you." 
	"Mulder, I-"  Disbelief already showed in her 
	Skinner spoke up.  "Dana, you were exposed to over 
one thousand rem of radiation.  You should have been dead 
inside of six hours.  Can you explain that?" 
	Scully turned to Skinner, stunned.  "You believe this?" 
	"I want to believe that there is an explanation for all 
this.  That it isn't just some cosmic fluke.  I want to believe that 
there is a reason for this, and that there are people who did this 
to you, and that we can find them and make them pay." 
	Scully turned to Mulder.  "Mulder, it's true that foetal 
hormones have been found in minute levels in the mother's 
system - hormones which have been overridden by the mother's 
cells as foreign.  But that's the only known crossing of foetal 
characteristics of any kind into the mother.  For this kind of cell-
repair, she would need appropriate enzymes in enormous 
quantities - quantities far greater than those which could 
originate in the foetus, much less cross into the mother.  And 
anyway, even if that did explain my recovery, it doesn't explain 
why Gautier showed no symptoms in the first place." 
	"Gautier was host, presumably, to a mature, fully-
formed, completely alien lifeform.  The enzyme concentration 
would be greater and stronger.  Maybe his cells repaired almost 
instantly, so that he showed no effects.  You, on the other hand, 
are host to a partly-formed, immature lifeform which is only 
partly alien and therefore would not have the strength to pre-
empt an attack, but which with a greater time frame could still 
induce a recovery." 
	"Mulder, there's been nothing documented-" 
	"Scully, of course there isn't!  They're completely 
different creatures - your DNA testing showed that.  You can't 
expect the normal rules to apply!" 
	Scully became angry.  "Isn't it convenient that nothing 
you work on ever has to make sense?  'It's alien, so it doesn't have 
to.' What a cop-out," she said disgustedly. 
	"You know that's not true.  I think there probably is a 
certain logic to all of this, just as there is in this reality.  But I 
also think that what we presuppose in this world we can't 
necessarily presuppose in another.  That's all." 
	Scully felt ashamed.  She didn't agree with him, but he 
was right - she was being unfair.  She looked away a moment.  
Finally, she said, her tone more even, "All right.  Let's take as our 
assumption that some sort of experimentation has taken place, 
involving GIFT, with a view to creating a life form with certain 
coping mechanisms relevant to defense.  As to the details of the 
source of those properties, let's agree to differ for now - it doesn't 
make that much difference for the immediate moment, anyway.  
How do we go about investigating further?" 
	"I think you were on the right track asking for a DNA 
breakdown on the genetic- on the ovum," Skinner corrected. 
    	A look of pain flitted across Scully's face.  "You mean 
on the genetic mother."   
	Skinner bowed his head.  "I'm sorry." 
	There was an uncomfortable pause; until finally, 
Mulder could no longer stand it.  He broke it.  "You think we 
should run searches against the databases?" he asked, dubiously. 
	"It's something," Scully said. 
	"But Scully, we're probably talking another abductee 
here, not a criminal.  She may not have a record, and if she does, 
it's likely as not to be something that doesn't involve leaving 
bodily fluids at a crime scene - like tax evasion.  So unless she's 
from Virginia," Mulder said, referring to that state's practice of 
taking fluid samples from all criminals, "you won't find her." 
	Skinner spoke up.  "Look, it's a long shot.  But frankly, 
Mulder, it's the only clue we have." 
    	"I still think we'd be better going to the source of it 
all...the railroad.  They had to be taking you somewhere  - a 
holding facility, labs, something." 
	"That's your agenda talking, Mulder," Scully said 
pointedly.  "That railroad branches off everywhere, and as soon 
as my absence was detected, they stopped the train and went 
back, isn't that right?  Frohike got nothing but a few hundred 
extra miles on his car for his trouble.  The railroad is bigger than 
our resources right now.  The DNA search is manageable.  It 
might not help, but it's not going to do any harm." 
	Mulder regarded them both.  "All right," he said finally.  
"Let's do it."

5th Floor 
Federal Bureau of Investigation 
Washington, D.C. 
February 6, 1997

	There was a knock at the door.  "Come in," Scully 
called, not looking up from her computer. 
	A diminutive brunette entered pushing a small trolley.  
"Good morning, Agent Scully.  How are you?" 
	She raised her head then.  It was Amarette, the junior 
mail clerk.  Scully liked Amarette.  She was only seventeen, and 
her youthful enthusiasm was a nice change from the jaded 
cynicism of the more experienced officers.  Her occasional lapses 
in protocol were more amusing than anything. 
	"Hi, Amarette.  I'm well.  Yourself?" 
	The girl flashed a dazzling smile.  "Just great.  It's a 
lovely day."  She looked in her trolley.  "Not much for you today.  
But there was a courier just now."  She handed over a small pile 
of envelopes and packages. 
	Scully smiled, taking them.  "Thank you, Amarette." 
	"Well, see you later."  The younger woman moved on, 
the door clicking shut behind her. 
	Scully perused the envelopes.  Most of them were 
internal; results from pathology made up a large number of them.  
The important ones she already knew about; the remainder she 
set aside.  A few memoranda were similarly set aside, and a 
couple more went in the bin.  There was one from Personnel 
advising that pays from February 1 would not be processed until 
February 3  due to a computer error.  Considering it was now 
three days later, the warning was somewhat overdue.  Scully tore 
that one up with a wry grin.  It was inefficient, but it was typical. 
	She came to the courier parcel, and almost dropped it 
when she saw the GenTest Centre logo in the corner.  Her work 
forgotten, she tore it open and drew out the two reports - the 
analysis of the DNA of the genetic mother, with a number of 
sectors omitted; these, she knew, were the ones which had 
originally been labelled //Unidentified.//    The second contained 
those sectors with Fieldman's speculations as to their original 
composition.  Rising, Scully went to the door and opened it. 
	But then her hand fell away from the doorknob, her 
natural caution coming to the fore.  If she made an urgent request 
on this, it might come to the attention of those who would like to 
know about it.  She couldn't risk it.  It had to seem routine.  She 
returned to her desk, dug out another non-urgent DNA 
comparision, and clipped the three together with a //Request For 
Database Search//   form.  It pained her to do it, but she ticked 
the box marked //Routine,//   put it all into an internal envelope, 
and set it down in her //Out//   tray. 
	She tried to return to her work, but it was no good; her 
gaze kept drifting to the envelope as she waited impatiently for 
Amarette to return and pick it up.  She opened her e-mail, hoping 
Mulder had sent her something of interest to distract her.  
//D_Scully@FBI.gov,//   she typed in impatiently at the prompt, 
followed by her current password, //nursowen.// 
	//You have new mail,//   the screen declared with a 
chime as though it had done a rather special trick.  She scanned 
the twelve entries, dismissing most of them for the moment on 
the basis of their headings.   
	One of them intrigued her, however.  The sender panel 
was blank; the subject panel read, //Railroads.//    She clicked on 
the open button. 
	The message window contained just three words:  
//North Dakota.  SAM.// 
	Scully went to her preferences and selected, //Show 
Path.//    She returned to the message window, expecting to find 
the name of the server from which the message had originated; or 
at the very least her own server's name.  But the path panel, like 
the sender panel, was blank.  Frowning slightly, she exited e-
mail and telephoned computer support. 
	It took only a few seconds to confirm what she 
suspected:  such an error should not have occurred; but given 
that it had, the information didn't seem to be recoverable.  They 
could try, the technician said doubtfully.  Scully told them not to 
bother, and hung up.  Her brow creased, she sat back, wondering: 
	//Who is SAM?//

Federal Bureau of Investigation 
Washington, D.C. 
February 15, 1997

	The cellular phone rang. 
	Juggling her coffee mug precariously in the crook of her 
arm, Scully dug it out of her pocket and flipped it open.  She set 
down the mug as an afterthought.  "Scully." 
	The reception was rotten.  She moved to the window.  
The improvement was slight.  "Agent Scully, it's Agent Grbevski.  
How are you?" 
	The man's booming enthusiasm was annoying.  "I'm 
fine, Grbevski - very well.  Yourself?" she asked impatiently. 
	"Good, Scully, real good," he boomed.  "Listen, I ran 
that DNA you gave me against our records.  I didn't find a perfect 
match with anyone we've got, nor anyone we're cross-referenced 
    	Scully's heart sank.  "That's okay, Grbevski.  It was a 
long shot, anyway." 
    	Grbevski made a noncommittal sound.  "Maybe not 
such a long shot, Scully.  I did find one very close match with the 
incomplete readout you gave me, although it does have some 
points of dissimilarity with the full one.  It's not him - the DNA 
you sent was XX, female - but it's not impossible for your real 
match to be a close relative - a sister, I'd say.  The similarity is 
striking.  I doubt it would stand up in court without the actual 
match, but hell, it's a lead."  Mulder knocked, and she beckoned 
him in. 
	"Have you got an I.D. on this guy?" she was saying. 
	There was a shuffling of papers.  "Sure have.  He's one 
of ours, actually.  Got some perspiration and some blood from a 
murder scene a bit over a year ago - retired State Department guy 
called William Mulder.  The sample was from his son.  Fox 
Mulder.  Special Agent.  They call him Spooky - into paranormal 
cases and all kinds of weird stuff.  Based here in Washington.  
Know the one?" 
	Scully's heart was beating very fast.  "Yes," she said, her 
voice strained.  "I know."  She paused, thinking frantically.  "He 
was on the scene with a relative.  Bum steer.  But thanks for 
following up." 
	Grbevski boomed, "That's what I'm here for.  You sure I 
can't interest you in dinner?" 
	Scully grinned.  Some things never changed.  "Some 
other time, Grbevski." 
	"I'll hold you to that," he warned. 
	"Damn you, you will, too, won't you?" 
	Grbevski just laughed, and rang off. 
	The laughter in her voice died as soon as the phone 
clicked, and as she put it away, she sat down with a thud and 
stared up at Mulder. 
	//Samantha Ann Mulder.// 
	//Samantha Ann Mulder, Walter Skinner, and an alien, 
identity unknown.  What a merry little menage et trois.  And I'm 
carrying their combined child.  It just gets better and better.// 
	"So what did our infatuated Texan friend have to say for 
himself?" Mulder grinned.  "I'd love to see his face if he knew 
you were seeing the Assistant Director."  His emphasis on the 
word //seeing//   left no doubt as to the word he would have liked 
to substitute. 
	Scully snapped, "You could just as well tell him I'm 
pregnant to you, Mulder, or so I hear." 
	Mulder, understandably puzzled, gave her a quizzical 
look.  "Come again?" 
	Scully sighed and motioned for him to have a seat.  
"Grbevski found a close match on the DNA reading Fielding 
gave us."  She wasn't sure if she meant 'us' in the sense of her and 
Walter or her and Mulder or all three of them, but Mulder read it 
to mean her and him.  It was automatic.  They were a team. 
	Mulder's eyes widened.  "Thank God, we've got a break 
at last, Scully.  Who is it?" 
	Scully shook her head hopelessly.  "It just leads straight 
back to where we started, Mulder.  The abductions." 
	Scully leaned back in her chair, closing her eyes.  
"Meaning, Mulder, that the close match is you."  Not waiting for 
comment, she continued, "The actual match is almost certainly a 
close relative of yours.  A sister, most probably."  She paused.  
"Mulder, I'm sorry.  It seems like every time we have a case we 
get a lead on her - hell, we know more about what she's doing 
than she does, I think - but we never get close enough to find 
	Mulder had flopped down into the chair in front of her.  
"Samantha."  His voice was stunned.  He looked up at her, 
hopefully.  "Samantha was alive six months ago." 
    	Scully looked dubious.  "Not necessarily, Mulder.  
They can freeze ova." 
	"But they usually don't, do they?" 
	"No," Scully admitted, cautiously.  "You've got to be 
much more careful than with embryos.  An embryo can survive 
minor damage, but because an ovum is a single-cell organism, 
any damage at all will kill it."  She paused.  "You've also got to 
be sure that the chromosomes split into twenty six pairs before 
you do it, otherwise the resulting infant can have chromosomal 
disorders."  She looked at Mulder.  "But it can be done, and done 
for long periods.  These people are like mad scientists.  They 
probably would freeze them without concern for those sorts of 
	Mulder went on.  "Not with those sorts of risks, not 
after all the trouble they'd gone to to engineer the DNA in them.  
The ova must have been fresh." 
	Scully laughed suddenly.  "So to speak.  You may be 
right, Mulder, but don't forget, the ova - and presumably the 
sperm which we presume was implanted - had been genetically 
altered.  We can't be certain that the normal rules apply."  She 
paused, suddenly grave.  "I don't want you to get your hopes up, 
Mulder.  We just don't know.  And even if we did, we can't know 
where she is now, or whether she's still alive." 
	Mulder shook his head suddenly.  "She's not dead, 
Scully.  I'd know."  There was no response she could make to 
that, so she remained silent.  Suddenly, he grinned.  "Scully, I'm 
going to be an uncle." 
	To his surprise, Scully rose from her chair and walked 
to the window.  She put her hands absently over her swollen 
stomach.  Mulder glanced at the door, cautiously.  It was closed.  
"You know, Mulder, it's funny."  She bit her lip.  "It seems like 
everyone has a claim on this child except me.  Skinner's her 
father, you're her uncle, Samantha's her mother - hell, even those 
bastards who did this helped create her.  I'm carrying her in my 
body, and I feel her when she moves and kicks, and God help me, 
even when she has the hiccups - but what am I to her?  I'm 
nothing."  Her body suddenly slumped in defeat. 
	Mulder went to her then.  He touched her arm and 
turned her to face him.  "That's not true, Scully.  Samantha and 
those people-" (//and those creatures,//   he added mentally) "-
gave her cells.  You and Skinner gave her life.  They're donors, if 
you want to be kind about it, or witch-doctors if you don't.  
You're her mother."  He searched for words that would speak to 
her, mean something to her, and found them.  "They played God, 
but in continuing with this pregnancy, you've returned to God 
what is God's - the power over life and death.  Believe me, 
Scully.  You and Skinner are her parents in every way that 
counts.  She'll grow up to know that." 
    	"Assuming she lives to grow up," she said bitterly, 
looking away.  She looked back at him, her gloom gone as 
suddenly as it had arisen.  She gave him a smile.  "Thank you, 
    	"All part of the service." 
    	She gave him a gentle smile, and returned to her seat.  
Mulder did the same; then, remembering what it was he had 
wanted to discuss with her, handed her a file and began to speak. 
    	Scully listened, but there was something nagging at her 
in the back of her mind.  It revolved around the idea of 
Samantha.  //Samantha Ann Mulder, Samantha Ann Mulder,//   
her mind played over and over again - why was she so hung up 
on her full name?  //Samantha Ann-// 
	Scully sat bolt upright.  "I'm an idiot!" she cried, 
slamming her hand down on her desk. 
	Mulder started.  "What?" 
	Scully looked at him, reluctant to get his hopes up.  But 
she couldn't lie to Mulder.  "Samantha Ann Mulder," she said 
slowly.  "S-A-M." 
	They had argued about SAM before.  Scully, 
desperately clutching at straws, had wanted to believe in the 
mysterious e-mail.  Mulder had been sceptical - for once.  What 
if it was a trap?  Now, torn between logic and his own need to 
believe, his brow puckered.  "Why would Samantha conceal her 
whereabouts on the system?  Why would she be so cryptic - why 
not give us an exact location?  And why would she e-mail you, 
and not me?" 
	Scully considered.  "Maybe she was concealing her 
activities from people at her end, not ours.  Maybe that's why she 
contacted me instead of you.  Maybe she doesn't even know 
exactly where she is, or where the railroad is.  That territory isn't 
mapped, remember.  Mulder, if this was a trap, they'd give us 
more than this." 
	Mulder winced.  He had said almost exactly the same 
thing the last time they'd received a mysterious e-mail.  That had 
led to a group of mysterious women who appeared to be clones, 
women with green blood that corroded whatever it touched.  "I 
wish you wouldn't use my own arguments against me," he said 
crossly.  Scully grinned at him.  "Besides, I was wrong that time.  
It was  a trap." 
	Scully's grin faded.  "Touche.  All right, let's consider it 
suspect.  But we still have to check it out." 
	Mulder nodded.  "Okay.  But let me put Frohike on it, 
all right?  I don't think it's a good idea for you to go walking into 
what is quite possibly a trap." 
	"You're getting protective again," she reminded him 
	She was right, but Mulder shook his head.  "It's more 
practical than that.  What if you walk into this, and it is a trap, 
and you get taken again.  Do you want to risk them taking you 
and finding out that you're pregnant?" 
	Scully bit her lip.  "Of course not." 
	"Then you'll let me hand it over to Frohike and stay out 
of it?" 
	It was against the grain, but he was right.  The risk was 
too great.  Scully hesitated a final moment, then said softly, 

To be continued...