- Deslea's URL is now http://www.deslea.com or http://fiction.deslea.com.  
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This information supercedes all other information found in this file.

Offspring *R* 4/5
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 (4/5) 
Deslea R. Judd 
Copyright 1996 

Assistant Director's Office  
Federal Bureau of Investigation  
Washington, D.C.  
February 10, 1997
	Scully sat down in front of Skinner, awkwardly.  She 
moved with a decided waddle now, trenchcoat or not.  She was 
beginning to wonder if she should induce birth early.  She didn't 
think she was going to make it through her last months 
undetected, and she didn't want to draw attention to herself by 
taking leave.  
	"You're going to love this," she said.  
	Skinner looked at her, his face a question mark.  "Do I 
really want to hear this?"  
    	"We've got an I.D. on the genetic mother."  
    	He raised a querying eyebrow.  
	"Samantha Mulder."  
	Skinner rested his head in his hands with a groan.  "I 
definitely didn't want to hear that."  
	"It's something," she pointed out, her tone less than 
	"Not as much of a something as some housewife in 
downtown D.C. who we could locate and ask questions.  It's 
about as helpful, in fact, as the alien DNA hypothesis."  He 
paused.  "Does Mulder know?"  
	Scully nodded.  "He's practically beside himself.  God 
forbid she looks anything like Samantha.  He'll probably build 
her her very own castle and guard her around the clock."  
	"Not necessarily a bad idea, in the circumstances."  
	She became pensive.  "Walter, I honestly don't know 
where we go from here.  We can't afford to be too direct in our 
approach.  If we show our hand, they may figure out that I did, in 
fact, become pregnant.  If they suspected that, it wouldn't be that 
difficult for them to find out.  We could follow up the general 
abductions angle, but I still don't see how we can find out what 
we need to without showing our hand."  
    	Skinner frowned thoughtfully for a moment.  "What 
about the Samantha Mulder question?"  
	Scully shook her head decisively.  "No.  If there was 
anything there worth following up on, Mulder would have found 
it already."  She went on cautiously, "There is the railroad - 
presumably it went somewhere or came from somewhere that 
would shed light on things - but God only knows how long that 
thing is.  And it's not as though it's mapped.  We could spend 
years following up all the tracks, even if this e-mail checks out 
and we can limit this thing to North Dakota.  And if it doesn't, 
Mulder and I have found secret Government railroads all over the 
country.  If they all link up, as they may, we could be there 
forever."  She paused.  "There's something else to consider, too.  
Possibly everything we need is on the train itself - the one you 
found me on in the first place.  In that case, it might come down 
to finding that - and we have no way of identifying which one it 
was, assuming as seems likely that there are many.  It's probably 
not impossible, but it's an enormous task."  
	"There is one other possibility."  
	"Which is?"  
	Skinner met her gaze.  "Give it up."  
	//"What?"//    Scully demanded, appalled.  
	"Dana, it doesn't matter.  What happened to you can't be 
changed.  And we certainly can't stop it from happening again.  
It's bigger than any of us.  They'll kill us all before they'll let that 
happen.  What's the point?"  
	She regarded him for a moment.  She knew what he was 
saying.  As little as a year ago she would hve agreed with him.  
	"Walter, no.  I need to know what they're trying to do, 
and why.  I need some answers so that I know what future this 
child faces, and what I need to protect her from."  
	"We," he corrected.  "What //we//   need to protect her 
from.  I'm not convinced that knowing will help, but all right."  
He paused.  "Do we get Mulder in on this?"  
	Scully was puzzled.  "What do you mean?"  
	"Well, of course he knows what's going on," Skinner 
explained, "and we have used him as a sounding board; but do 
we get him in on the legwork?  Keep in mind, Dana, that this is 
strictly unofficial.  I can fudge your working times to some 
extent, but a lot of this will be done on our own time.  If your 
legitimate caseload drops, you risk drawing attention to yourself.  
You and I have an interest in this, but for Mulder - well, it's a lot 
to ask, that's all.  He'd say yes, I know that; but is it fair?"  
	Scully thought a moment.  "Walter, Mulder and I aren't 
on those terms.  We're a team.  If he needs help, I give it; and if I 
need help, he gives it.  That's just how it is."  She paused.  
"Besides, he's involved now, too.  Samantha's in it."  
	"//You're//   in it, Dana.  For Mulder, that would be 
3170 West 53 Rd, #35  
Annapolis, Maryland  
March 11, 1997 
	Scully flicked halfheartedly through the multitudes of 
options her television offered.  
	It was unfortunate that the choices, though plentiful, 
were so abysmal.  The price, she reflected, of unpredictable 
hours.  She didn't really know why she subscribed to cable at all.  
	Scully was in her seventh month of pregnancy - thirty 
weeks, to be precise.  She carried small, and she had gained only 
thirteen pounds; but she felt every one of them.  She felt heavy 
and lethargic and utterly apathetic.  Now, she sat indifferently 
before the weather channel with a small bucket of ice cream.  
Now and then Quiqueg came and whined for a little, and she 
gave him a taste from her finger with an indulgent smile, 
smirking at the knowledge that she would normally no more 
share her food with an animal than she would draw her own 
blood with a dirty syringe.  
	That thought reminded her that she hadn't noted the 
progress of her pregnancy for a while.  She set down the ice 
cream and stretched awkwardly over the side of the sofa.  She 
opened a drawer.  She withdrew a manila folder which served, in 
the absence of an obstetrician, for her antenatal record.  It had 
the name //Katherine A'Court//   emblazoned across it.  It was a 
code, and a flimsy one at that:  Katherine was her own middle 
name, A'Court her grandmother's maiden name.  But had she 
genuinely thought her home might be searched, she would not 
have kept it there at all.  She drew a pen and began to write.  
	//Patient, F, 30/52, shows signs of mild edema in the 
extremities.  Weight gain within normal limits (lower end of 
scale, see chart).  Ligament pain.  UTI has responsed to antibiotic 
	She flipped a page to her weight chart.  She thought a 
moment for the scale's reading that morning, then entered it.  She 
set the chart down and went to the hallway for her medical bag.  
	She brought it back and removed a sphygmomanometer, 
snapping the leather bag closed again.  Scully opened the grey 
metal casing, wrapped the gray cuff around her arm and inflated 
it with her other hand.  Taking her stethoscope, she placed it over 
the crook of her elbow and listened for the return of the blood 
flow through the artery as she awkwardly released the air from 
the cuff.  She watched the mercury column drop as she waited for 
the strange flowing sound.    
	It came sooner than she expected.  She glanced up at 
the mercury and automatically noted the reading.  Then she 
stopped and was utterly still.  
	After a long moment, she released the air from the cuff 
and repeated the process.  Nervously, she checked the reading.  
	Scully removed the cuff and set down the gray metal 
casing with a clatter on the coffee table.  She moved to the 
bathroom with a calm she didn't feel.  She mounted the scale.  
	//She had gained three pounds since that morning.//  
	Scully went back to her bag and fumbled around inside 
it.  She drew a specimen jar and a small cylindrical container.  
She went to the bathroom and returned to the loungeroom a 
couple of minutes later, the jar full.  She dipped a small 
cardboard stick from the container into the plastic recepticle.  
Her brow creased as she waited, her gaze fixed determinedly (if 
heedlessly) on the television.  
	After a minute, she looked down at the cardboard in her 
hand and matched it against the legend on the container.  Slowly, 
she set down the dipstick and the jar, took up her folder, and 
began to write.  
	//21:20:  Patient has gained three pounds since reading 
at 06:30.  Urine shows high concentration of protein.  BP 
165/110.  No noticeable change in edema.  No visual 
disturbances.  Severe acute toxemia is indicated.  BP at 03:30 to 
confirm diagnosis as per American Committee on Maternal 
Welfare guidelines.  Patient has no history of hypertensive 
	With deliberate slowness, Scully gathered together her 
chart, a pen, and the sphygmomanometer, turned off the 
television and the lights, and went to bed without undressing.  
She set her alarm for 3:30am and settled down to wait.  
	It was a long time before she slept.
3170 West 53 Rd, #35  
Annapolis, Maryland  
March 12, 1997
	//3:45:  BP 170/110.  Diagnosis:  Severe acute toxemia 
(pre-eclampsia).  Patient's urinary output decreased.  Increased 
edema of hands and wrists.   Severe headache.  Clinician believes 
patient is progressing to eclampsia.  Treatment by magnesium 
sulfate to reduce BP.  Steriod therapy to maximise foetal lung 
development.  Induced delivery within twenty-four hours.  
Attempt will be made to deliver vaginally.  Patient accepts risks 
involved.  Cesarean section only if necessitated by foetal or 
maternal distress.//  
	Scully looked at what she had written for a moment.  
Then, she picked up the telephone.  She dialled a Baltimore 
	"St John's Hospital, can I help you?"  
	"Karen Koettig, please."  
    	The response was swift and annoyingly chirpy.  No-
one, Scully thought, had any business being so happy at ten to 
four in the morning.  "Dr Koettig is not on duty right now, can 
someone else help?"  
	Scully thought a moment.  She could try her home; but 
then, knowing Karen, she probably wouldn't be there.  "Could 
you page her?  It's an emergency.  My name is Dr Dana Scully.  
She has the number."  
	"I'll make sure she knows."  
	Scully rang off.
	It was about two hours later that Dr Karen Koettig 
arrived at Scully's apartment.  She took one look at Scully and 
said gently, "You should be in hospital."  
	Scully nodded.  "I know that."  She was silent a 
moment.  "Did you get everything?"  
	"I did, and all I can say is that you're lucky it was four 
in the morning.  Do you know how hard it is to sneak out a 
humidicrib?  I mean, we're not talking promo post-it pads, here."  
	She suddenly felt ashamed.  "I should have thought 
about the risks to you, Karen.  I'm sorry."  
	Karen snorted.  "Don't be silly.  How many essays of 
yours did I plagiarise, Dana?"  Suddenly serious, she said gently, 
"We've known each other too long to worry about that sort of 
thing - even if it has been ages since you've been in touch."  
	"It's been a rough year."  
	"So I gathered."  Her voice became serious.  "Are you 
going to tell me what's wrong?  Why you won't go to the 
hospital?  And what the big secrecy deal is?  Dana, you must 
know that giving birth prematurely with toxemia at home is 
tantamount to suicide."  
    	Scully hung her head, suddenly exhausted.  "Karen, 
wait until we have everything set up.  I'll tell you what I can 
	Karen Koettig was a tall, athletic woman with a mane of 
chestnut hair tied back severely in a no-nonsense ponytail.  She 
wore a sensible suit and sensible shoes, but her makeup was 
heavy and her jewellry abundant.    
    	As Scully had expected, she had interrupted Karen in a 
night out on the town.  Some things never changed.  In med 
school, it had been Karen who just scraped by after too many late 
nights and too little study, and Scully who had methodically 
planned her time, going out partying only at times which she had 
allocated for the purpose at the beginning of semester.  Scully 
had emerged valedictorian.  Karen had always joked that Scully 
could have lived as she did and she as Scully did, and the result 
would have been the same.  
	For all that, though, Karen was a fine doctor.  One of 
the most respected OBGYNs on the East coast, she taught and 
was often invited to speak at conferences.  She had shot to the 
head of the department at St John's at a young age.  Karen was 
not an academic.  She was something better than that:  she was 
an expert in the real thing.  And she wasn't afraid to take risks for 
real people.  For her baby's sake, Scully thought, that was just as 
    	About half an hour later, they were sitting in Scully's 
bedroom.  There were towels draped over the bed, and Scully 
was sitting up, an IV protruding from the back of her hand.  
Karen topped up the magnesium sulfate.  "We'll check on that in 
a couple of hours," she said.  "I'd like not to induce, in the 
circumstances, if at all possible; but if your blood pressure 
doesn't start to fall I'll give you some dinoprostone to start the 
ball rolling.  Oxytocin is contraindicated in pre-eclampsia.  
We've got the steriod treatment underway, so your baby will be 
in the best possible position for delivery if we need to do it."  
	Scully looked up at her friend, gratefully.  "Thank you, 
Karen.  I couldn't have done this alone, even if I'd had the 
equipment and the medication."  
	The other woman gave her a look which clearly read, 
I'm-doing-this-against-my-better-judgement.  "I don't like it, 
Dana.  And I like it even less that you won't tell me why."  
	Scully regarded her for a moment.  This woman, who 
she hadn't seen in over a year, had endangered her job and driven 
from Baltimore in the middle of the night on a moment's notice 
to help her.  She deserved - well, she deserved //something.//    
She was silent as she tried to think of the best way of 
approaching it.  
	Finally, she said slowly, "Karen, there's a limit to what I 
can tell you for your own safety.  I will tell you that it's to do 
with my work with the Bureau."  She paused, then went on 
cautiously,  "I was - well, I was involved in some medical 
experiments - and not altogether voluntarily.  I was also exposed 
to massive amounts of radiation three months ago in a separate 
incident - an accident at a nuclear power plant.  The Kuringai 
	"The DKS case," Karen murmured, referring to the 
initials by which her case had been referred to in the //Lancet.//    
"Dana Katherine Scully."  
	Scully nodded.  "There are people who would be very 
interested to know that I was having a child.  I can't afford for 
there to be any paperwork which might indicate that.  That's why 
I can't go into hospital.  I couldn't even go to antenatal visits - I've 
been monitoring myself."  She paused.  "There's something else."  
	Karen raised an eyebrow with a do-I-want-to-hear-this 
air.  "What?"  
    	"I had genetic tests.  There were certain - anomalies - 
which raise questions about the effects of the experiments on the 
baby."  Scully hesitated, searching for a way to convey the fears 
she harboured without expressing the panic she felt.  "Karen, I 
don't know what this child will look like.  If she's - different - 
then I don't want there to be people wandering about with that 
kind of knowledge."  Scully paused.  "Besides - I want to be 
alone when I see her for the first time...when I know.  I wouldn't 
have had anyone with me at all; but with the toxemia, I can't take 
the risk on going into convulsions or coma without backup."  
    	"So you've been hiding this pregnancy all along?" Karen 
demanded, appalled.  
    	Scully nodded.  "Thank God I'm small.  I've been on 
active duty all along.  I couldn't take the risk on drawing 
attention to myself by requesting a transfer to desk duty."  
	"No-one knows?"  
    	Scully stretched out a little.  "My partner, Mulder, and 
the Assistant Director, Walter - they know.  That's all."  
    	Karen's voice was penetrating, incredulous.  "Not even 
your mom?  Your brothers and sister?"  
    	"Not Mom or my brothers.  Melissa-" Scully broke off.  
"Melissa's dead.  They killed her.  They were trying to kill me."  
She looked away, blinking suddenly.  She still couldn't bear to 
think of Melissa, who had been killed for being mistaken for her.  
She still felt a heavy burden of guilt because she had been away 
from her apartment after arranging to meet Melissa there.  
Maybe, if she'd only been there-  
    	//Stop it, Dana!//  
	Karen touched her hand, careful to avoid the drip.  "I'm 
sorry, Dana.  It's bad, isn't it?"  
	Scully turned to face her.  "Yes, it's bad."  
	"Can your boss do anything?"  
	"Walter?  He would if he could.  But it goes a lot higher 
than that."  //How high?//    she suddenly wondered.  "The 
project, I would say, doesn't even exist on paper.  It would be 
paid for out of blind Congressional funds - funds that don't need 
to be accounted for, or which are allocated to a dummy project.  
Even the Bureau doesn't count for much when defense is 
involved.  I think that's what the experiments are about.  I think 
they're to do with biological warfare."  
	Karen frowned.  "What about your partner?  What does 
he do?  Could he do anything?"  
	Scully was puzzled.  "What does he- oh! I see.  Mulder 
isn't my boyfriend.  He's my partner at the Bureau.  Walter - I 
don't know how you'd describe Walter and I.  But he's the baby's 
	"He's the father and he isn't here?" Karen demanded, 
	Scully looked away guiltily.  "He doesn't know.  As far 
as anyone's concerned I'm working from home today."  
	"You don't want him here.  Why?"  
	"I told you.  I want to be alone when I know."  
	Karen became suddenly angry.  "And what if she isn't 
normal, Dana?  What are you going to do then - drown her?  
Being alone isn't going to change anything.  It's not like you to 
be superstitious."  
	"It isn't superstition!" Scully snapped defensively.  "If 
she isn't normal, I'll tell Walter and Mulder and we'll hide her, or 
get her surgery, or do whatever we have to do to protect her.  But 
I don't want to help anyone else cope until I've coped myself."  
Her anger died as quickly as it had arisen.  "That must sound very 
	Karen shook her head.  "No.  Not at all."  She added 
pointedly, "But it sounds lonely."  
	Scully bowed her head.  "Please don't, Karen.  Not 
	"All right."
	The phone rang.  
	She touched her side, reaching automatically for her 
cellular phone.  With her eyes, she acknowledged Karen's smirk 
as she mouthed, //Yuppie,//    and shamefacedly pulled the 
cordless phone from its cradle.  They had both become 
everything they had sworn at university they wouldn't.  "Scully."  
	"Scully?  It's Mulder.  Listen, I've had some news on the 
railroad question."  He was breathless with excitement.  
	Scully's voice was peremptory.  "Tell me."  
	"Frohike, it seemed, got a little bit intrigued after we 
got off the train that night.  Quite aside from our asking for help, 
he's been watching the railroad, at random moments, ever since - 
and tracking any discussions about Government territories on the 
Net, too.  Last night he hit paydirt.  He got a lead from one of his 
Internet buddies about a branch line.  He followed it cross-
country to a waste area north of Mercer, North Dakota.  He 
found a warehouse of some description.  He says he's found 
someone with some interesting information, but he won't tell me 
anything over the phone."  
	Scully looked up as Karen took her blood pressure.  
Her expression said it all.  She held up the tube of dinoprostone.  
Scully nodded, and took the applicator from her.  Dinoprostone 
was applied to the cervix intravaginally, and that was one job 
Scully intended to do herself.  Karen left the room.  
	"What, Mulder?" she asked, preoccupied.  
	"We've got to get over there.  I've booked us a flight."  
	"I can't go.  It's either going to have to wait or you'll 
have to go alone."  
	Mulder was stunned.  "Scully, you don't seem to 
	She snapped, "Mulder, I understand that it's got to wait.  
I'm sorry."  Her voice was strained.  God, it worked so quickly!  
She stiffened, trying to keep her voice steady.  "Just trust me," 
she said through gritted teeth.  
	He was silent for a moment.  "Something's wrong, isn't 
	"Nothing's wrong," she said, annoyed.  Damn him, how 
did he know these things?  
	"I'm coming over."  
	"Mulder, don't do that- dammit!"  
	She threw the phone across the room in uncharacteristic 
temper.  He'd hung up. 
3170 West 53 Rd, #35  
Annapolis, Maryland  
March 12, 1997 
	There was a knock at the door.  Scully shook her head 
at Karen.  
	"Scully?  I know you're in there.  Your car's still there.  
	Mulder rapped on the door again, this time more 
insistently.  "Damn it, Scully, what the hell's going on?  You 
never work at home."  There was a rattling of keys.  "I know you, 
Scully, and I know when something's-" the door burst open "-
    	He stopped short and looked through the open doorway 
to Scully's bedroom.  He took in the towels, the IV equipment, 
the humidicrib, and the brunette stranger.  He stared in 
comprehension at Scully, who was pacing the floor in a thin, old 
nightgown, which had damp patches of perspiration here and 
there.  "My God."  
	"I have days when I regret giving you keys to my 
apartment, Mulder," Scully said wearily.  She went on, her voice 
crisp and calm (far calmer than she felt),  "I have toxemia.  We 
have to deliver today or neither of us will survive.  This is Karen 
Koettig.  She's an old friend from med school.  She works at St 
John's, Baltimore.  I guess you could say she's paying the price 
for past transgressions."  
	"Pinching clothes, essays, and the odd boyfriend, to be 
precise.  The punishment hardly fits the crime," Karen rejoined, 
but her tone was absent as she administered something into the 
	"Fox Mulder, good to meet you," he said, just as 
absently.  He turned to Scully, who was still pacing with a 
monotony which for some reason annoyed him.  "How much 
does she know?"  
	"Enough to know to keep quiet; not enough to hurt 
her."  She stopped still and grimaced for agonising minutes; but 
she did not cry out.  Mulder watched her, helplessly; but when it 
was over, he went to her side and helped her to the bed.  Scully 
didn't protest, or say she was fine; and this more than anything 
frightened him.  
	Karen glanced at her watch.  "Long and close together," 
she said of Scully's contractions.  "It won't be long.  Mulder, did 
you say your name was?"  He nodded.  "Make yourself useful 
and get her some ice in a glass to suck on."  
	"I'm hungry," Scully said suddenly, impulsively, though 
she knew better.  
	Karen's tone was scornful.  "With that much medication 
in your system?  Not on your life.  You'd throw up immediately.  
Besides, I want an empty stomach in case we have to do a 
	Mulder groaned.  It was real, then.  He knew better than 
to consult Scully on this one.  Instead, he went to the living room 
and called Skinner.
	Skinner arrived at eleven thirty.  Mulder was sitting 
behind her, massaging her back.  When he arrived, he gave 
Scully a reproachful look.  "Dana, why didn't you let me know?"  
	She looked up at him, her face hot with shame, but she 
didn't offer an answer.  She didn't need to.  She'd never spoken of 
it, but he knew she was terribly frightened of what this child 
might be.  He relented and went to her side.  Mulder discreetly 
rose, saying he'd get some more ice, and left.  
	Their eyes locked for a long moment, then finally, 
Scully leaned forward against him.  He held her tightly.  "Are 
you okay?" he demanded gently, knowing even as he spoke that 
it was a stupid question.  
	She shook her head.  "I'm terrified," she admitted 
	"Of the birth, or of what you might find out?" he asked.  
He knew the answer, but he needed to hear her say it.  Mostly, 
selfishly, because he was terrified himself.  
	"Walter, what if Mulder's right?  What if she isn't 
human?  I'm as sceptical as you can be on the alien question, but 
that DNA - whatever it was, it wasn't human.  What if she's so 
//different//   that we can't hide her, or protect her?  At least 
while she's inside me, I know she's safe.  What if she isn't 
capable of relating to me as her mother?  How could we raise 
her?  What would happen to her?"  Scully's voice was shaking.  
"Dear God, Walter, what are we going to do?"  
	Skinner's voice broke.  "I don't know, Dana."  
	"I just don't know." 
	Scully gave birth an hour and a half later.  
	It was a much more social event than she had planned, 
in the circumstances.  For a while, Skinner sat behind her, his 
body supporting hers; but then Mulder got squeamish at the 
blood and had taken his place, massaging her back.  Scully bit 
back a smile at that.  
	Skinner, in the end, delivered their child under Karen's 
supervision.  Karen herself had respectfully averted her gaze as 
the infant was born, talking Skinner through the process.  
	Skinner lifted the baby onto Scully's stomach.  She 
took one look at her daughter and broke into tears, suddenly 
realising how resigned she had been to every possibility.  Mulder 
held her tightly.  
	Her daughter looked completely human.  
	Dana held out her arms, and Karen quickly cleared the 
baby's nose and mouth and delivered her to them.  She took the 
baby and held her against her breast, still crying.  
	She looked at her closely.  With a head of blonde hair 
and a fine covering of down not uncommon in premature babies, 
she had a delicately rounded mouth and big, round, dark eyes.  
Too round, too dark, she suddenly thought; but she pushed the 
thought aside.  //Not now.//    She ran her palm over the tiny 
smooth head and took one of the baby's tiny hands in hers.  
"Hello, Baby," she whispered in awe.  
	Reluctantly, but knowing their time was short, Dana 
relinquished the baby to Walter.  He held her, his face impassive 
as though he didn't quite understand who she was, but then his 
expression grew tender, and somehow amazed.  For long, long 
moments, he stared at this child of his, stunned by emotions 
which were outside of his experience.    
	He suddenly came to himself and gave her to Mulder, 
who swallowed hard.  Dana wondered how much of his sister 
and his father he saw in this child.  Mulder had just broken into 
a strange, almost sorrowful smile when Karen gently asked for 
her.  She took her and placed her in the humidicrib.  
	They sat in a sort of shocked silence for a time, while 
Karen tended to the child.  Dana reflected with sudden, stupid 
hilarity that they were about a minute away from breaking into 
floods of tears, all three of them - either that, or an encounter 
group session.  How strange, she thought, that such an ordinary, 
everday, //mundane//   experience - however intimate - should 
leave them all gasping for breath like a fish suddenly dumped out 
of its comfortable watery grave.  
	Eventually, they dispersed, and Karen tended to Scully's 
care.  Skinner gave a shaky sigh and went to the kitchen, 
supposedly to get some tea.  But Scully saw him lean heavily 
against the bench before she looked away.  When Karen had 
finished, Mulder returned and went to the humidicrib and stared 
at the tiny creature inside.  She watched him with the baby, and a 
shadow flitted across her face.  Mulder saw it.  "What's wrong?"  
	She gave a weak smile.  "It's nothing.  It's just-" she 
stopped, drawing the sheets closer around her with a sudden 
shiver.  At his querying look, however, she went on, "I knew she 
wouldn't, but somehow I just sort of expected her to have red 
hair.  Like me and my sister.  She doesn't.  She's blonde."  She 
added with difficulty, "Like Samantha."  
	He looked at her compassionately.  "Scully, don't.  She's 
your child, not Samantha's.  God help me for saying this, but if 
she's co-operating with these people, she doesn't deserve her.  
And even if she isn't helping them voluntarily, you're her mother.  
My sister...my sister isn't."  
	She favoured him with a smile, rose awkwardly, and left 
them alone.
	She touched his arm.  "Walter."  
	He turned to face her, then pulled her close.  "Dana," he 
breathed, holding her tightly.  
	They stayed that way for a long moment, and then broke 
apart.  "How are you?" he asked, smoothing back her hair.  
	"Tired, I guess.  I'm sort of on a high, though, too."  
	"I know what you mean."  He paused.  "I love you, 
Dana."  It seemed important to tell her.  
	She nodded in acknowledgement of this.  "I love you 
too, Walter."  She suddenly knew that that was true.  "I should 
have told you that much sooner."  
	Walter smiled at her with great tenderness.  "I knew.  
I've always known."  That wasn't strictly true, of course; in those 
first few months he had been terribly jealous of her bond with 
Mulder, insecure in her feelings for him.  But in later months, 
that had subsided.  He had never articulated it, even to himself; 
but somewhere along the line he had realised she loved him too, 
and always would.  And the fact that in her own way, she loved 
Mulder every bit as much, had ceased to matter.  The two could 
	He touched her cheek.  "So what now?"  
	Scully shook her head firmly.  "I'm not ready to make 
any decisions about the future right now, if that's what you're 
asking.  I need time.  Let's just go with the flow, okay?"  
	He let it go.  He felt as though the enormity of what had 
happened that day had erased all the frustrated impatience he'd 
held inside these last few months.  There was a sort of humility 
in it.  "All right."  Skinner paused.  "Have you thought of a 
name?" he asked, already knowing the answer.  
	Scully broke into a smile.  "I was thinking - maybe 
Melissa."  They had never dicussed names before.  If the truth 
were told, they had both been so frightened that she wouldn't live 
that they hadn't dared.  "Any thoughts on a middle name?"  
	Skinner nodded slowly.  He'd thought of suggesting 
Grace at one stage, but-  "I don't know how you'll feel about this, 
Dana, but did you see the look on Mulder's face when he held 
her for the first time?"  
	She caught his implication at once.  "You're thinking 
	Warily, not sure if he was overstepping the mark, he 
nodded.  "In a way, this baby belongs to all three of us."  
	But Scully's smile grew extraordinarily tender.  And she 
recognised his unspoken acceptance of the place Mulder had for 
her, would always have for her, and she loved him for it.  "He'd 
like that.  He's lost so much-" she broke off.  "All right."  
	"Melissa Samantha it is."
	Karen Koettig looked from Skinner to Mulder, and 
demanded, "So what now?"  
	Scully was showering, and then, God willing, she 
would sleep.  She looked terribly frail...drained.  Mulder glanced 
warningly at Skinner.  Skinner said slowly, "Well, there are 
pragmatic issues.  We need to find a cover story for the baby.  
Dana can't just show up one day with a baby from nowhere.  And 
she does have to be registered, if only from a point of view of 
social security.  But she can't be registered as a Scully.  
Unfortunately, it's the government we're dealing with, not just 
some small community or circle of friends.  If it were only that, 
we could just say she was the child of a distant relative who had 
died or something like that.  But of course, that won't do.  That's 
easy enough to check."  He paused.  "But there's time to worry 
about that later.  Karen, Dana and the baby - how are they, 
	Karen flicked a chestnut lock over her shoulder, 
impatiently.  "The baby should be fine.  She had an Apgar score 
of eight of out ten, which is fairly average for a term baby.  For a 
premmie, it's excellent.  The humidicrib is more of a precaution."  
She paused.  "People think of it as something which indicates 
something is wrong.  Often it doesn't.  It merely regulates the 
environment in which the baby lives - the temperature, which she 
just can't do for herself at this stage, and oxygen if necessary, 
which in her case isn't indicated."  She regarded them a moment, 
then went on, "Frankly, this child astounds me.  She has some of 
the characteristics of a premmie baby, such as down on her body, 
and her size; but her lung function and the like seem to be those 
of a term baby.  Just the same, we can't know for certain the 
extent of her survival capabilities in view of her prematurity - 
however promising the indications."  She paused.  "I'd really like 
to see her hospitalised; I'll tell you that frankly.  At the moment, 
she's fine; but if anything were to go wrong, which is not 
impossible, she might not survive without help.  I can get her into 
St John's under a false name if Dana will agree, but the two of 
you might need to work on her.  There would be no problem with 
one of you guarding her - I could say she was the child of a VIP, 
maybe a diplomat, and if anything that would eliminate the need 
for explanations.  Being a Catholic hospital, we don't have quite 
the same accountability concerns that go with being funded - at 
least not at that admin level."  
	Both men nodded.  Mulder asked, "And Scully?"  
    	"Dana's blood pressure is falling, as is the norm after 
birth in pregnancy-related hypertension - which is all toxemia is.  
The crisis is over on that level.  She is going to have to think 
about how she's going to handle the next few days.  She's going 
to be exhausted.  She could, theoretically, go in briefly to work 
tomorrow, as long as she took it easy, just so she could be seen 
to make an appearance; but I'd like to see her rest for a few days.  
She was dangerously close to eclampsia, which could easily have 
killed her.  She's going to be pretty drained for a while yet.  I'll 
stay with her until tonight, maybe tomorrow; but a few days and 
then three and six weeks after that I want to see her for a 
checkup.  There are some things which you really can't do 
properly yourself, no matter how skilled a doctor you are.  And 
Dana doesn't have the obstetric experience I have."  
	Just then, Scully emerged from her bedroom.  All three 
looked up, and were stunned to see that she was dressed in a 
navy suit and the inevitable trenchcoat.  Seemingly oblivious to 
their scrutiny, she went to the lamp table, opened the slim 
drawer, and drew her handgun.  
	Mulder rose, groaning mentally.  The others might not 
know what she was planning, but he knew her too well.  "Scully, 
	Her tone was warning, defiant.  "Frohike's waiting."  
	Skinner, taken aback, exclaimed, "Dana, please!  It's too 
	Scully looked at him, implacable.  "Frohike's waiting," 
she repeated.   "And I need to know."  She glanced over at the 
baby.  "I need to know - for her."  
	"What about the baby?"  
	Scully's response was crisp.  "The baby must be 
admitted to hospital.  There is nothing about her appearance to 
arouse suspicion, and to keep her here in that case is too risky.  I 
don't want to chance her having problems without intensive care 
facilities, not now that it's unnecessary for her to do so."  
	Karen spoke for the first time.  "I can arrange that.  I'd 
already raised the possibility."  
	"Of course you had.  Any doctor would."  Scully went 
to Skinner then.  "Walter, would you go with the baby to St 
John's?  I don't want her to be alone, and I just can't stay."  Her 
voice was tender - regretful.  
	Skinner started to protest, but Karen touched his arm.  
"Don't bother," she said gently.  "It's useless."  
	He looked at Scully.  "All right," he said quietly.  
	"Surely you don't approve of this?" Mulder demanded 
of Karen and Skinner, mutinously.  
	Karen snapped, "Of course I don't.  But Dana knows the 
risks.  You can't stand in the way of a mother who has to do 
what's right for her child.  Believe me, I have to try and do it 
almost every day.  Fortunately the stakes are not usually so 
	Scully looked on, suddenly amused.  "Are any of you 
going to talk about me as though I were in the room?"  
	Karen turned back to her and took her hands.  "Dana, if 
you start to hemmorrage, or you develop a fever, or //anything//   
untoward at all I want you to drop everything and come home.  
All right?"  
	Scully nodded.  "I promise."  
	"And you'll come for a checkup as soon as you get 
	"And you do know you're utterly insane?"  
	"All right."  She leaned forward and embraced her.  
Scully smiled at her, then turned to Mulder.  
	"Well, are you going to drive, or do I have to do that, 
	Mulder looked at the others with an expression of 
surrender, then followed her out the door. 
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit  
St John of God Hospital  
Baltimore, Maryland  
March 12, 1997
	Skinner and Karen Koettig arrived at St John's Hospital, 
Baltimore, at four in the afternoon.  
	No sooner had baby Melissa been settled into the 
neonatal intensive care unit and Skinner ensconsed at her side, 
when a nurse came rushing in.  "Dr Koettig," she said in quiet 
but urgent tones.  "You're needed in surgery.  It's Emily Trent."  
	"Surgery?  What the hell happened?"  
	"Emergency caesar.  They think they've lost the baby."  
	Karen motioned to another nurse.  "I'll fill out the 
paperwork on this admission when I get back.  She's premmie - 
thirty weeks - but seems fine.  She shouldn't need anything 
special."  Without waiting for an answer, she bustled out.  
	It was some time later that Skinner, who had been 
trying to read rather than lose himself in his child (and was 
losing the battle utterly), looked up at the sound of footsteps.  
Karen had returned.  
	"I might have a solution to your problem."  
	There was no joy or triumph in her voice, however.  
Karen Koettig sounded (and looked) defeated.  She pulled a 
chair up alongside Skinner's and slumped into it, dejectedly.  
    	He waited until she was ready to go on.  Finally, she 
said in a gravelly voice, "You never really get used to it."  She 
shivered a little.  "Losing patients, I mean.  I had a seventeen year 
old girl in there.  A runaway.  Homeless.  She was seven months 
pregnant when an oncologist friend of mine contacted me.  She'd 
been found collapsed and brought to his hospital, where she was 
diagnosed as suffering from uterine cancer.  It must have been 
hereditary for her to get it at that age.  It was exacerbated by the 
pregnancy, which wasn't picked up because she didn't seek 
antenatal care.  Wasn't in a position to, of course.  I brought her 
here when his hospital threw her out for not being able to pay.  
I'm not supposed to, because she's got no earthly way of paying.  
I don't care what she can and can't pay, Walter; I'm not throwing 
a homeless, terminally ill child out on the street."  
    	He bowed his head.  "She's dead?"  
	Karen shook her head.  "Not yet.  There was foetal 
distress and we did a caesar and hysterectomy.  The child's gone.  
She's doomed, but she insisted on carrying to term to give the 
child a chance."  Skinner shuddered.  This was too like Grace.  It 
cut too close to the bone.  "I would never say this to her, but it's 
just as well.  The child was half-caste.  There's no family to take 
it when she dies, and half-castes don't fare very well on the 
adoption market."  
	Skinner suddenly saw where she was headed.  "You 
haven't filled out the paperwork on the infant, have you?"  
	"Not yet.  I suggest you go and talk to her.  She's awake, 
though pretty cut up.  I'll stay with Melissa."  Skinner rose.  
    	"Walter?"  He turned.  
	"Be gentle with her." 
Route 47  
South-East Mercer, North Dakota  
March 12, 1997 
    	She pre-empted him.  "If this is going to be a protective 
speech of concern, Mulder, you can save it.  I know what I'm 
doing, and I know I'm going to pay for it later.  But it has to be 
    	"You look like you're paying for it now."  
	Scully looked pale and drawn.  Her face was deadly 
white and her normally brilliant emerald eyes were a dull, 
washed out sea-green.  She stopped him to go to the bathroom 
every half-hour (which she laughed off as normal after birth, and 
he supposed she'd know; but it still worried him), and spent most 
of the drive drowsing.  He thought being separated from her 
daughter so soon must be excruciating.  Her face whenever he 
mentioned the baby confirmed it.  
	She had wanted to fly all the way, but that Mulder had 
vetoed.  Frohike knew that they had been delayed and would 
wait as long as he had to.  Purchasing the plane tickets would 
have been difficult as they had no way of explaining the 
expenditure - not that Skinner would have questioned the 
purchase, of course.  These were the arguments which he had 
offered, but what it really came down to was that he didn't want 
her leaping into whatever was waiting for them in Mercer 
without so much as a sleep after a gruelling induced labour.  It 
wasn't so much out of concern for her delicate system (although 
she did look frail) as common sense:  if they got into a dangerous 
situation with her in her current condition, they might not get out 
again.  Scully had perhaps acknowledged the wisdom of this; for 
although she looked at him, frankly disbelieving, as he raised his 
admittedly weak objections, she had not argued.  
	So they had flown as far as Minneapolis, where a not-
particularly-interesting X-File which he had been shelving for 
weeks awaited them.  After reporting with the local authorities in 
a manner which was completely token, they had taken a room 
and a car, and driven north-west to Mercer.  They arrived shortly 
after nightfall.  
	Frohike met them in a greasy diner on the outskirts of 
the town.  He bustled towards them, all excitement.  He looked at 
Scully and his face fell.  "You look - as lovely as always, but you 
look like you've been through the wringer!"  
	Scully bit back a smile.  She looked anything but 
lovely, but she supposed that that was Frohike's awkward attempt 
at tact.  "It's been a rough day."  She paused.  "I'm fine, Frohike.  
What have you got?"  
    	"I don't know if this means anything to either of you, 
but I've got a woman who claims she's your sister, Mulder."  
Mulder's eyes widened.  "I didn't even know you had a sister, you 
secretive bastard.  Pretty, too."  
	Trying for levity, Mulder said, "Yeah, and that's exactly 
why I didn't tell you about her."  It didn't work.  His voice tight 
with anxiety, he said quietly, "Tell me."  
	Frohike shrugged.  "There's not much to tell.  I got a 
tipoff and came here to follow up on a branch line.  I found a 
train shed at the terminus with an adjacent old warehouse - that's 
what it looks like outside.  Inside there are labs, and a bunch of - 
well, you'd have to call them cells.  They're nice enough 
apartments, but there's no doorknobs on the inside.  There was 
only one train in the shed, and it was equipped with a full 
surgical setup - theatre, rudimentary intensive care and recovery, 
and nitrogen storage.  I thought they were into organs at first, but 
I looked in, and all I could see were petri dishes."  Mulder and 
Scully exchanged glances.  "I don't know what was in them.  
There was a computer which probably had a database of the 
contents - they were catalogued by number - but I heard voices 
and I had to get off.  Just as well, because it pulled out a few 
minutes later."  Frohike paused.  "I went back into the 
warehouse.  Security was fairly lax.  There are a lot of guards, 
mind you; but they're complacent.  It's too isolated for them to 
have much in the way of trouble, I suppose.  I went into one 
office and found a woman rifling through a filing cabinet, and 
she was as terrified as I was - she wasn't supposed to be there 
either.  I asked her name, and she said she was Samantha Mulder.  
That's when I told her I was working with you."  
	Mulder nodded slowly, not trusting himself to speak.  
Scully asked, "What else did she say?"  
    	Frohike shifted uneasily.  "She said she'd been in that 
facility, and others like it, for most of her life.  She knew how to 
get out of her cell, move around the warehouse and use the 
computers to find things out, but she didn't know enough about 
the area outside the warehouse to risk an escape attempt.  
Apparently she tried once elsewhere and paid pretty dearly for it.  
She said she did once manage to make some sort of arrangement 
with some women who needed to contact you themselves, but 
something went wrong and the women were killed."  Mulder 
bowed his head, remembering the woman who had claimed to be 
his sister.  She had been some sort of genetically engineered 
clone.  Once he had hated her for lying to him, but that had faded 
over time.  She had redeemed herself by willingly exchanging 
herself for Scully in a hostage situation, ultimately being killed 
herself.  And she had led him to the other clones, who would 
have helped him find her had they, too, not been killed.  
	Frohike continued.  "I tried to convince her to come 
with me to you, but she wouldn't.  She said there were others she 
wanted to get out and she wanted you to come to her - and maybe 
help her if it was safe to do so.  She's waiting now."  
	Mulder nodded.  "All right.  Let's go."  
	Scully took his arm.  "Mulder, what if it's a trap?"  
	He looked at her.  "Frohike got in and lived to tell the 
tale," he protested.  
	"And maybe Frohike isn't who they want," she 
countered.  "What if it's me?  Or you?"  
	Frohike cleared his throat.  "Miss Mulder said this 
might come up.  She said to tell you the two of you were playing 
Stratego the night she left."  
	"Anyone could have known that," Scully said.  "It's in 
your second lot of hypnotherapy notes, Mulder; and it was also 
posted as an addendum to her file."  
	"She said she was winning."  
	Mulder's eyes widened.  "Only she and I knew that," he 
said softly.  "No-one else - not even the hypnotherapist."  He 
turned to Scully.  "I have to do this, Scully, you know that."  
	She nodded, suddenly resigned.  "I know.  And I'm with 
you.  But for God's sake, promise me you won't do anything 
    	"I promise," he said readily.  
	"Liar," she accused.  "Come on, let's go." 
A Warehouse  
Unmapped U.S. Government Territory  
North Dakota  
March 13, 1997 
	They found her in a disused office in the bowels of the 
	Mulder drew in his breath when he saw her.  Scully 
took his hand for a moment, squeezed it gently.  
	She looked identical to the woman who had claimed to 
be his sister so long ago.  With a mane of wavy blonde hair and 
laughing blue eyes, she reminded Mulder of photographs of his 
mother when she was young, before his father had taken the light 
	He stepped towards her involuntarily, but Scully 
grabbed his arm, preventing him from going to her.  "How do we 
know you're not another clone?" she asked evenly, ignoring 
Frohike's confused glance.  Her tone was not so much 
confrontational as conversational.  
	The woman smiled indulgently.  "Thank God you've got 
someone looking after you, Fox," she laughed.  She picked up a 
letter opener from the desk and stabbed the back of her hand 
viciously.  She held it up.  
    	The blood dripping down it was red.  
	Mulder broke away then, and went to her, throwing his 
arms around her, laughing.  Scully held her breath, waiting for a 
shot to ring out or for him to drop to the floor from some evil 
injection, but it didn't happen.  Unbelievably, it didn't happen.  
The woman was laughing and crying and saying his name.  
	It was really her.  
	It was impossible to believe.  After all this time, all 
these trials, it was as simple as walking into a building and 
seeing her and calling her name.  Scully didn't know if she'd 
expected fireworks or a UFO launch, but somehow, the moment 
was too important, too special, to be so mundane.  It was the 
same feeling she'd had after she'd given birth to Melissa.  
    	Scully watched them in amazement for long, long 
moments.  It was only when Frohike turned to her in concern that 
she realised she was crying, too.  A little shaken at her own 
response, she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and went 
to them.  She barely noticed when Frohike said something about 
wanting to check out the area, and discreetly slipped away.  
	Automatically, she pulled off her scarf and bound 
Samantha's wounded hand.  Samantha gave her hand just as 
automatically, still staring at Mulder.  Mulder was cradling his 
sister's face in his hands, tears streaming unashamedly down his 
cheeks.  Scully was entranced at the whole dynamic of it, the 
love between the two of them.  The bond between her and 
Mulder was such that she felt his joy as acutely as he did, if that 
were possible.  
	Trying not to give way again (was this a postnatal 
hormonal thing? she wondered idly), she finished with 
Samantha's hand and started to move away.  
	Mulder seemed to come to himself then.  "Scully, come 
back.  Samantha, this is-"  
	She finished for him.  "Special Agent Dana Scully.  I 
know."  She turned to Scully.  "In case you hadn't guessed, I'm 
SAM."  The way she said it seemed to imply uppercase letters.  
	"I guessed," Scully replied, conveying her 
	Samantha broke away from Mulder then.  "Come," she 
said urgently.  "We have a lot to discuss." 
A Warehouse  
Unmapped U.S. Government Territory  
North Dakota  
March 13, 1997
	A few minutes later, they sat in Samantha's cell.  It was 
safe there, she explained; she had doctored the surveillance 
camera so that the security guards only ever saw a repetitive tape 
of her doing routine tasks.  Scully gathered that Samantha's years 
in custody had left her with more skills than winning at Patience.  
Frohike, she said, knew where to find them when he wanted to.  
	Mulder was breathless with excitement.  "Samantha, we 
have to get you out of here."  
	She gave him a gentle smile.  "Your friend told you it 
wasn't as simple as that, Fox.  There are others here, too.  I have 
to get them out.  I would prefer your help, but I will understand if 
you feel the risk is too great."  
	Mulder looked at her, incredulously.  "Don't be silly, 
Samantha.  Who are they?" he asked.  
	Samantha hesitated, shooting Scully a glance.  "They're 
abductees.  Like Dana."  
	"//How//   like Dana?" he asked, automatically repeating 
her words.  Scully reflected that she didn't think she'd ever heard 
him use her name - even about her, much less to her.  
	Samantha hesitated once more, but finally, she 
admitted, "They're pregnant.  All of them.  They  only bring them 
here if they get pregnant - otherwise they let them go."  She 
looked at Dana, piercingly.  "They wondered if you got pregnant, 
since you got away before they could find out.  They watched 
you for a while, and decided you didn't.  But I wondered."  She 
paused.  "I see by your face that you did."  
	Scully met the other woman's gaze for a long moment, 
trying to decide whether or not to trust her.  Finally, she nodded.  
"She was born this morning."  
	"She?  It was a girl?"  
	Wordlessly, she nodded, suddenly frightened.  She was 
sitting here with her baby's mother, and she was frightened.  
Finding her voice, she said tremorously, "Samantha, what do you 
know about all this?"  
	"I know most of it," Samantha replied.  "I'm something 
of a computer hacker, as you've seen.  As you probably realise, a 
number of projects are going on, all to do with alien genetic 
material.  There were the cloning experiments, which created 
alien clones of humans; and Fox, you came across the results of 
those.  There have also been human clones and alien-human 
hybrids, and a few experiments with the morphing aliens, as 
well."  She paused.  "I and a small number of others have been 
the basis of these experiments.  We have been lucky in that we 
have been well treated, because we are the centre of the 
experiments.  Others, such as the hybrids and the pregnant 
women, have often not been so lucky.  When an experiment does 
not work as planned, terminal force is often ordered."  Mulder 
winced, remembering a trainload of alien-human corpses he had 
once found.  They had been viciously executed.  
	Samantha went on.  "I have no doubt that other extra-
terrestrial related testing is occuring, but that is outside of my 
knowledge.  The various genetic tests and experiments have all 
been with a view to warfare, both nuclear and biological.  Their 
immune systems are different and they have a capacity to 
withstand radiation.  Their craft and other debris from their 
planet emit it, and they are capable of doing so themselves at 
will, I believe."  Her brow creased.  "I don't think they're trying to 
utilise the radioactive qualities themselves - more the capacity to 
withstand radiation.  The idea is twofold - one, to create a breed 
which are capable of fighting in nuclear or germ war conditions, 
and two (and I gather this has become the primary aim in the last 
decade) to create a breed which will survive such war, by 
engineering human genes to incorporate the survival 
characteristics of the aliens."  
	Mulder spoke.  "How long has this been going on?"  
	"Decades," Samantha responded.  "Understand, it's a 
long process.  First, they thought that to utilise these qualities, 
the hybrids and clones needed to be almost entirely alien.  And 
genetic engineering was in its most primitive stages."  She 
paused.  "They found that the early hybrids were too alien.  
Rebellion was a problem because they had those other, less 
desirable alien traits - such as high level psi, the ability to emit 
radiation, extraordinary intelligence, and so on.  Later, they tried 
cloning, then engineering in various ways to create more human 
hybrids."  She paused.  "The early hybrids, which were mostly 
alien, were incubated in alien mothers.  They found that human 
mothers miscarried.  They thought it was an immune response, 
but they could never correct it.  Later hybrids, who were 
increasingly human, were carried by humans.  Most of them also 
miscarried, but there have been a few successes.  The human 
mothers seem to have an increased complication rate - 
hypertension, placenta praevia, gestational diabetes, and the like.  
They don't know why.  As I presume you found, the gestation 
period is shorter, too; because the alien gestation period is only 
six to seven months."  Scully started in sudden comprehension.  
That was why Melissa's lung function was that of a term infant.  
It also explained her toxemia despite a lack of history of 
hypertension in herself or her family.  "The hybrids, who now 
tend to be 40-60% human, are usually alien in appearance.  Their 
immune qualities and so on are quite satisfactory, however; and 
ten years ago, that would have been enough.  But now that 
human survival in as complete a form as possible is the primary 
aim, they are attempting to reduce the alien content further, 
giving human appearance and as great a human DNA as possible 
- not to mention increasing the rate of successful pregnancy.  
Tests are ongoing."  
	She wasn't sure if she wanted to know, but she had to.  
"What do you know about the tests on me?" Scully demanded.  
	Samantha turned to face her.  "Human ova - mine - with 
alien splicing at a human-alien ratio of 3:1.  The sperm, I believe, 
came from one of the clones, with human-alien ratio of 2:3.  The 
resulting child should have been a little over 50% human.  They 
tried the clones for the alien content with the hope of overcoming 
the problem of human appearance.  They haven't succeeded 
previously with such a combination, however; the foetuses seem 
to have the same sort of blood as the clones - green and acidic, as 
you've seen.  The mothers miscarry - again, an immune response.  
One mother gave birth, but came in contact with the infant's 
blood in childbirth and died.  The child, in turn, had some sort of 
immune response to the mother's blood and also died."  
	Scully shuddered.  
	"But you survived," Samantha said, awed.  "And so did 
the baby - didn't she?" she added, hurriedly.  
	She nodded.  "I became pregnant with your ovum, but 
not the clone's sperm.  Walter, my partner-" she paused 
diplomatically (and how strange it was to call Walter her partner!  
Mulder was her partner.  Walter was - well, Walter) "-um, beat it 
there."  Mulder smirked.  //Adolescent,//   she reproached 
mentally.  "Melissa looks entirely human, and her blood seems 
normal.  DNA testing has shown the splicing you refer to.  She's 
about 87.5% human."  
	"DNA testing?" Samantha queried.  
	Mulder answered.  "That's the other interesting thing.  
Coincidentally, Scully was caught in an accident with nuclear 
waste at a power plant.  Everyone else died, but she and the baby 
were fine.  She knows more about it than me, but enzyme activity 
seems to have been responsible.  The DNA testing was done to 
see if there had been any mutations as a result."  
	Samantha's eyes widened.  She stared at them, stunned.  
"Well, I'll be- it actually works with that little alien input!" 
Recovering a little, she added, "That's incredible!" Noting their 
strange looks, she went on, "You must understand, you do 
acquire a certain scientific curiosity about these things when you 
live them.  I didn't mean to offend, Dana."  
	Scully shook her head.  "No, that's fine," she said 
absently.  Cautiously, she continued, "We knew you were the 
genetic mother, Samantha.  We ran a check on what we could 
construct of her from the DNA we got from Melissa.  Mulder 
was a very close match.  We knew it had to be you."  She met the 
older woman's gaze, suddenly very frightened, very protective of 
her daughter.  She resisted the urge to shout, //Damn you, 
Samantha, she's MINE!  Damn you to hell for being here and 
knowing about Melissa!  Damn you for coming back now!//  
	But Samantha took her hand.  "I'm not her mother, 
Dana.  You have no idea how many children of mine I've seen 
being carried by other women, how many I've seen miscarried, or 
born and died, or even murdered.  At some point you stop 
thinking they're yours.  Because no amount of pain you can 
suffer compares to the pain of the women who carried them."  
She looked away, tears in her eyes.  "There was one...he was a 
hybrid, and he looked - grotesque; there's no other way to say it.  
He was part morph, and they knew as soon as they saw him that 
he could pass on the retrovirus - it was the only part-morph they 
ever made."  She swallowed hard.  "They killed him, right there 
in front of me and the mother."  She paused.  "My heart broke 
that day, but I survived.  The mother didn't.  They hypnotised her 
to not remember, but even though she forgot the events, she never 
forgot the pain.  She suicided a week after they released her."  
	Scully bowed her head, ashamed of her thoughts.  
Moved, she drew Samantha close, her normal reserve forgotten.  
"I'm sorry," she whispered.  Mulder looked on helplessly.  
	After a long moment, Samantha drew away.  Composing 
herself, she repeated, "No, they aren't mine; but I do feel 
protective of them, just the same.  That's why I have to get them 
and the mothers out."  Mulder nodded wordlessly, his eyes 
	Scully spoke.  "Where are they?"  
	Samantha flicked her head downwards.  "There are 
more cells downstairs."  
	They were interrupted by a series of beeps outside the 
door as someone keyed in an access code.  Scully and Mulder 
each drew their guns, and Mulder moved in front of his sister; 
but Samantha pushed him aside.  
	The door burst open, and a young woman in her 
twenties burst in.  "Samantha!"  
	Samantha's tone was brisk and professional.  Clearly, 
Scully thought, Mulder's sister ran things among the prisoners - 
and the girl was her offsider.  "Hallie, what is it?"  
	The girl was in a state of panic.  "The security guards 
are clearing out, and the support staff are already gone.  I 
checked the chief of staff's desk.  It's pretty much cleared out, 
too; but there was a memo in the photocopier.  The order came 
through this morning."  
	Samantha's jaw dropped.  "So soon?  I thought we had 
at least another month!"  
	Hallie shrugged.  "According to his e-mail, he knew 
there had been a security breach last night-"  //Frohike,//   Scully 
thought "-and he asked for instructions.  I gather that was the 
impetus for accelerating the order."  
	"What order?" Mulder asked.  "I'm her brother," he 
added, by way of an incomplete introduction.  
    	Hallie dismissed this.  "I know that ," she said 
	"News travels among the prisoners," Samantha said as 
an aside.  "The order is to terminate the project."  
	"The project?" Scully asked suspiciously.  "Or the 
project subjects?"  
	"They're one and the same thing," Samantha said 
	Mulder grabbed her by the arm.  "All right, let's get out 
of here."  
	But Samantha pulled away.  "How long?" she asked 
	"I don't know.  But with security gone, I'd say not long."  
	The older woman turned to Mulder.  "Fox, you and 
Dana go and find Frohike and get him out.  From the questions 
he was asking me, I'd say he was most interested in the computer 
systems room, just off the west door - the one you came in by.  
I'm going to warn the others.  It shouldn't take long."  
	Mulder's eyes blazed.  "No way, Samantha.  I'm not 
leaving you."  
	"You're an agent, Fox.  You know better.  You have to."  
	Samantha leaned forward and kissed him gently.  "Yes, 
Fox.  You must.  And you will.  Because you know it's the right 
way to do it."  She paused.  "When we get out, I'll meet you at the 
eastern door - or whatever remains of it.  Hopefully, I won't be 
	"And what if you don't?" he demanded of her.  
	She smiled then, sweetly, the way he remembered from 
when they were children.  "If I don't, then you'll go on.  You'll 
find the other women, if there are any, and you'll look after them 
and Scully and her baby, and you'll go on."  She took his hand.  
"But I will."  
    	It broke his heart to do it, but he nodded.  Taking 
Scully by the arm, he hurried out. 
	Ten minutes later, they were in the computer systems 
room in the building's western wing.  Scully wiped a bead of 
perspiration from her brow at the carefully controlled climate of 
the room.  
	Mulder was searching.  The building was empty; there 
was no need for discretion.  "Frohike!" he called, to no avail.  "I 
don't think he's here," he said, more annoyed than concerned 
right this minute.  Damn it, his sister was on a kamikaze rescue 
mission and he couldn't even help her because he was busy 
searching for an alcoholic paranoic!  "He's probably found the 
executive bar and is getting drunk right this minute," he 
    	"You don't mean that, Mulder."  
    	He shot her a look, then admitted, "No, I don't."  He 
sighed.  "Come on, let's keep looking."  
	But before they could leave the room, Scully's phone 
rang.  She flipped it open.  "Scully."  
	It was Samantha, and her voice was tinged with urgency 
- no, fright.  She was speaking quickly - too quickly.  "Scully, 
I've found it.  I've found the bomb.  I can't disable it, and we've 
got less time than I thought.  You have to get out."  
	"How long?"  
	"Fifteen seconds."  
	The words hadn't fully reached her when Scully's eyes 
widened.  She grabbed Mulder's arm and pulled him towards the 
door.  "Can you get out?" she demanded, her voice louder than 
usual with barely controlled panic.  
	Samantha's voice was resolute.  "I don't think so.  Tell 
Fox I love him.  And kiss the baby."  
	Scully yanked open the door and dragged Mulder out.  
He had some inkling, then, and he tried to tear away.  Scully held 
him with all her strengh.  "Mulder, no, you can't get to her in 
    	They struggled for precious seconds.  Incredibly, Scully 
was able to drag him a few feet from the building.  The phone 
flew a good few feet further still, and both of them screamed in 
its general direction, "Samantha!"  
	Mulder leaped for it, landed heavily on his stomach.  
He grabbed it.  "Samantha, I love you!"  
	Scully reached him a moment later.  She could hear 
Samantha, her voice high and clear and strong.  It was a voice of 
courage.  There were three beeps in rapid succession, then a 
second of silence in which she spoke.  "Don't mourn, Fox.  This 
is right."  
	And then the building blew.
	Scully opened her eyes.  
	She was conscious first of the tremendous heat 
emanating from behind her, then of the rough gravelly surface 
beneath her.  There was a howling, roaring sound.  She dragged 
herself to her knees and looked around.  
	It was an inferno.  
	There was nothing left of the warehouse, it seemed, 
except for a few sticks.  There was no way of knowing what 
remained behind the wall of flames,  but Scully suspected there 
wasn't much.  She turned to her left.  
	Mulder sat, cross-legged, staring dully into the blaze.  
He was bleeding from one shoulder, but seemed oblivious to the 
fact.  He was rocking, hugging himself.  Scully thought he 
looked like a wounded animal.  
	She went to him and put her hand on his shoulder.  
"Mulder," she yelled to be heard above the flames.  She squinted 
against the impossibly hot wind.  
	He turned to look at her.  "She's still in there!" he 
shouted.  "My sister's in there!"  
	"Mulder, no-one could have survived that!"  She tried to 
make her voice gentle, which was a ridiculous exercise, given the 
decibels with which she had to use it.  "She's gone!"  She took 
his arms and leaned closer, trying to convey with her face the 
sorrow for him that she couldn't convey with her voice.  "She's 
	He looked back at the raging warehouse.  
	This wasn't how she'd meant to tell him, shouting above 
a howling firestorm; but somehow, she knew it was right.  
"Mulder?" she cried.  There was no answer.  "Walter and I 
thought of a name!"  
	He turned to look at her.  "Melissa?" he yelled.  He 
showed no surprise, and no confusion at her statement, which 
she realised must seem utterly out of context.  
	"Melissa...Melissa Samantha."  
	Mulder stared at her for a moment, then crumpled.  He 
buried his head in his hands.  She held him tightly, and there in 
the heat and the noise, he wept in her arms.
	They found Frohike an hour later.  
	He was collapsed on the eastern side of the complex.  
He'd been outside when the explosion occurred, but had 
apparently found himself on the receiving end of flying 
schrapnel.  He was burned, bleeding, and concussed; but 
according to Scully, he would live.    
	They took him to Mercer General Hospital and stayed 
with him.  His burns were second degree and might scar.  They 
would certainly pain him for weeks to come.  Skin grafts were a 
possibility.  But Frohike was in reasonably good spirits.  Mulder 
had a feeling this was the sort of episode which kept him in the 
government surveillance game.  One of these days, he thought, 
Frohike's quest for the ultimate adrenaline rush would get him 
	Samantha, Frohike told them, had caught up with him 
and, distant and preoccupied, told him to get out.  She'd led him 
to an exit, but when he'd turned, she'd gone back into the 
building.  Less than a minute later - not enough time for her to 
reach any of the other doors - the warehouse had gone up.  She 
could not possibly have gotten out without him seeing.  He didn't 
have to tell them that she could not possibly have survived 
without his knowledge.  
	Mulder turned away at this, but his look was resigned.   
Scully asked him about the other women, but Frohike shook his 
head.  Samantha had not gotten any of the women out.  Any who 
had survived the blaze would not be capable of escaping the 
troops which he was sure would go in to kill any survivors.  The 
project was a failure, so they had decided to erase the evidence 
and start fresh.  Scully nodded in understanding...but 
understanding didn't help.  
	So many women, so many unborn.  So many hopeless, 
useless deaths.  And she had been allowed to survive to raise her 
daughter.  //Dear God, why?//  
	But she knew why.  This unholy experiment had had 
nothing to do with God, with the natural forces of creation.  And 
God had remained distant of it as a consequence.  But in seeking 
what was truthful and right, she had returned to God what was 
God's, as Mulder had put it.  
	And God had smiled on her child.  
	Even in the pain and the suffering and the darkness of 
that night through which she comforted her tortured partner, 
Dana Scully felt singularly blessed.  Somehow, she knew that 
everything was going to be all right.  
	And somewhere in the ruins of the warehouse, green 
acid bubbled and boiled like a witches' brew.  
	Like an omen.
To be concluded...