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The Soft Embalmer

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Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.

- John Keats - To Sleep -

***

November 1994

Simon follows the stern, grey-haired man through four different levels. On the first one his guide uses a card, similar to the one he was given just this morning. The second door uses a thumbprint and the last one a retinal scan. He’s not sure he’s been authorized for these yet. He slides a finger around his collar as perspiration prickles the back of his neck. It’s not that he is claustrophobic but there is an... oppressiveness in the air; something that doesn’t feel quite right. They are quite deep underground, so it could have something to do with the air pressure. His reptilian brain tells him there is a whole lot of earth over his head.

They walk inside an airlock and stop while a cold blue light scans their entire body.

“Nearly there,” the man tells him while absentmindedly patting the three pens sticking out from the front pocket of his lab coat.

A Plexiglas door slides open at the other end and they both step into a place that looks very much like a NASA mission control room, with rows of people sitting at computer terminals, fingers flying over their keyboard. The walls around him are covered with various screens, data rolling out on them at a dizzying speed.

“Shit! Not another one!” exclaims a fat man at a nearby desk, making Simon start as he bangs his meaty fist on the wooden surface.

“Why do they keep doing this?" the man sighs. "It's like they've got lemming DNA or something.”

Simon is not sure to what the man is referring, and doesn’t feel comfortable enough to ask. He knows that this place works on a Need To Know basis and that there are many things here he doesn’t need to know.

In your line of work, information can and will kill. Make sure you only know what is necessary for the job.

His guide shows him an empty desk space three rows down. “This is going to be your station.”

“Thank you, Sir.” Simon takes a seat and promptly logs in.

“You know what you’re doing, don’t you?” the man asks him.

“Yes, Sir... except... ”

“Yes?” The man leans slightly over his shoulder. His lab coat smells of cordite.

Simon points out at the list on the interface. “The color coding?”

The man makes a dismissive gesture. “These are just subject statuses. Don’t worry about them, just stick to what you’ve been taught.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Good.” His guide walks away and disappears through a side door. Simon realizes he doesn’t even know his name. He figures out quickly what the colors stand for though: green for active, red for disconnected, black for lost. The majority of the list is green, but there are quite a lot of black and a few red among them as well.

The two techs sitting on either side of him greet him with a welcoming smile. He smiles back and opens his first file.

Yes, this is going to be a sweet deal, Simon thinks as he starts typing.

The coding comes easily to him, like a second language. He loves the beautiful logic and complexity of it. Not for the first time he wonders who invented this amazing and terrifying technology. The kind of mind required to devise something of the sort would have to be phenomenal.

But he bets that’s one question he’s definitely not supposed to ask.

****

April 1995

He’s well into his fifth month on the job when it happens. He’s spent the morning ragging on Tim – who, with 4 reds on his list, will be the one buying pizza tonight - when a subject name suddenly flashes blue.

He’s never seen one of those before. He calls Mike, his supervisor and points at his screen. “Sir?”

“Fuck! That didn’t take long,” Mike groans, running an annoyed hand through his shaggy blonde hair.

“What is it?” He’s gained confidence since he started. His clearance level is the same as everybody else's now. They trust him.

“It means this one needs a replacement,” Mike shoots him an odd look, like he’s weighing options in his head. “Right, come with me,” he finally tells him.

Simon follows him through a set of double doors to a wide elevator. They go down ten floors. “I thought we were at the deepest level,” Simon remarks.

Mike shakes his head and smiles. “Welcome to Mole City. All the virology labs are down here.”

“Where they do the vaccine research?” Simon asks.

“Yup.” Mike shoves his hands in his pockets and averts his gaze. They both know what goes on in the virology labs.

Simon can still hear in his head the echoes of the solemn speeches they were given when they enrolled. The one about saving the world: “Today, you are the unsung heroes of a new dawn.” The one about the need for drastic measures: “Yes, we will ask inhumane things from you in the name of humanity.

The doors slide open and they step outside the car. This is a very different environment from the cozy stuffiness of his work room. This place is much colder, and the neon on the ceiling produces an unpleasant white light that makes his skin tone cadaverous. It looks like the corridor of a very unfriendly hospital, or a mental institution. Simon suspects this place is used for both.

They stop in front of room 1002. His supervisor takes a peek through the small window before quickly typing numbers on a keypad. The door clicks open and Mike gestures to follow him inside.

There is a pale woman in the room, sitting on the bed, her short red hair contrasting sharply with her white scrubs. She would be pretty if she didn’t look so exhausted. The rest of the room is also entirely white – from the narrow bed to the side table and the metal cabinet. Simon notices that the table and bed are bolted to the floor. The woman starts as they enter and hurries to stand up. Her eyes are glaciers of disgust and hatred. There’s a fading bruise on her left cheek.

“I need your DNA, sweetheart,” Mike tells her, not unkindly.

The woman takes a few steps forward and spits in his face.

Mike retrieves a tissue from one of his pocket and wipes his cheek. “Yeah, that'll do.”

The woman turns her gaze to him, and Simon senses she’s trying to gauge what would be the best way to kill him. She’s small, but something tells him not to be fooled by this. His feet itch to step back a little. He’s never dealt with live subjects before. He’s just a tech-head for Christ's sake. Why on Earth did Mike feel the need to bring him down here?

His colleague retrieves a paper package from one of his pocket and bites the edge off to open it. He takes out a syringe. “We need a blood sample as well.”

The woman shakes her head and backs away. She hasn’t said a word since they arrived and Simon assumes she’s mute like the others.

Mike sighs. “Come on, you don't want to spend the day in restraints again now do you?”

The woman raises her chin and sneers. Come and get me, her brumal eyes say. She must have given them a run for their money the last time they tried.

But Mike remains unfazed. “Oh, yes, I’m sure you’re very proud of what you did to Vince. Go ahead and gloat, honey, but I’m still getting your blood.”

The woman doesn’t seem to be listening to his colleague any longer. Simon watches her move her bare left foot slightly back, her ankle turning to get better footing. He’s reminded of a cobra about to pounce.

Mike crosses his arms. “It’s Sunday, Dana,” he states firmly.

The woman’s countenance deflates instantly. She hesitates, her eyes darting to various corners of the room, then throws Mike a seething glare before sitting abruptly on the bed. She rolls up her sleeve and presents her thin arm.

Do not let your feelings get in the way. Abnormal situations make for abnormal behavior. Learn to be monsters.

Mike sits on the bed next to her and taps gently on her arm to find a vein. “You see Simon, our friend here doesn’t want to miss Nursery Day.” He rubs an antiseptic wipe in the crook of her elbow. “Isn’t that right Dana?”

Mike sticks the needle in her arm. “You wouldn’t want to be a bad mother and be tied up to that bed instead, now, would you? You know how much your daughters need you.”

The woman’s jaw clenches as she blinks quickly. Simon notices that her eyes are brighter than they were a minute ago and he feels a sudden pang of sympathy towards her, in spite of his better judgement. Her chest rises and falls rapidly, like a trapped bird’s. Her profile is quite stunning and Simon does his best to ignore the rounded swell of her breasts under the thin cotton of her scrubs. Her anxiety makes him hard and he doesn’t want to be that guy. The voice of his estranged brother scoffs in his head: oh please, you rape people’s mind for a living. You are that guy.

Mike removes the needle, pats her arm gently. “There. All done.” He caps the vial, stands up and starts heading for the door. “Come on, Si.”

Simon turns on his heels but can’t help throwing one last look at Dana over his shoulder. He finds her watching him intently. As she holds his gaze, Simon is reminded of that Egyptian mural he once saw in a museum, with Anubis weighing the hearts of men and judging their worth.

And it is clear to him that according to the subject in room 1002, he’s crocodile bait.

***

Next, Mike takes him to the birthing tanks room. Simon has heard about them by hearsay, but never been in one. The sight is both impressive and disturbing. Row after row of green glowing tanks, the extensive collection of an insane aquarist. He can make out human shapes floating in some of them.

They don’t stay here long. Mike gives his samples to a guy in a greyish lab coat, mumbles a few words and heads outside again. Simon is disappointed. He wanted to go and take a look at the clones they’re growing in there. This technology just seems so fantastic to him. He chances a step closer to the nearest tank, but Mike stops him.

“Come on, Si. We gotta go back up.”

Simon sighs and turns to follow his colleague. Some other time.

***

“Mike? Why did you take me along for that?” Simon asks as they make their way back towards the elevator.

“We always come down here in pairs, it’s safer. Some of our subjects are rather... agitated. Besides I was told to start your ‘immersion’.”

“Immersion?”

“You know, getting you used to the way stuff works around here,” he elbows Simon in the ribs playfully. “We gotta know early if you’re likely to flip.”

“I won’t flip.” Simon replies, a tad haughtily.

“I’ve heard that one before,” Mike says, something like regret clouding his voice.

Simon doesn’t like what lurks behind his words, so he hurries to change the subject. “Can’t you sedate them?”

“The subjects? No, not when we need blood samples.”

“Why are they so hostile?”

Mike smirks. “Try being deprived of your freedom and locked in a tiny room all day and we’ll see in what mood you’re in.”

“But they’re clones! They don’t know freedom. They were born here; they don’t know anything else before we jack them up.”

Mike stops and turns to face Simon, his face serious and sharp like a man about to show his hand with all the chips down. “Dude, the people in this corridor, they aren’t clones.”

Simon does a double take at that. “Huh? But that woman in 1002, she’s mute, like the drones.”

Mike laughs. “Dana is not mute; she just refuses to speak to us.”

Simon runs a hand over his mouth. “Shit. She’s an Original?”

“Yep.”

“So, the subject who turned blue this morning is... ”

“Her Insert, yes, who’s toast because like an idiot, she took her chip out this morning; and of course, once they’re jacked up they have no fucking clue what they really are - as well you know - since you work on the damn codes.”

“You sent an Insert outside? I thought we were nowhere near ready for that.”

Mike shrugs. “Well, we obviously aren’t since we’re about to lose this one, but who am I to argue the boss’s decisions? Let’s hope her replacement won’t go digging in her own neck any time soon again. The logistics for these things are a nightmare.”

Simon feels his gut clench unpleasantly. The woman’s pale face hovers in front of his eyes. Not a clone. A person, just like him.

Learn to be monsters.

Simon clears his throat. “How long has she been here?”

“August 1994. Hold on.” Mike stops briefly to tie up his shoe lace.

“That’s about 8 months,” Simon muses, “and she’s still giving you a hard time?”

“They usually settle down after a couple of months, but our Dana, she’s a fighter.” Mike grins. “Besides, she knows by now that we won’t deliberately hurt her, so she takes any shot she gets.”

“Why was she kept behind?” He’s curious about that. All the implanted subjects are usually released. They can’t do much with them while the chips gather data anyway. They’re less trouble outside. Plus, there are all the older ones who were released because one thing or the other didn’t work and there was nothing more they could have done. Those black names on his list often come from those early batches.

Mike stands back up and stretches his spine. “She gave us viable triplets, that’s why. And because her line of work is dangerous, we could not afford losing her. She’s an FBI agent,” Mike explained.

Which is why she can kick your asses so easily, Simon thinks.

“So you kept her here.”

“Yes, besides, the kids thrive better if the mother is around. That’s why we take her to them once a week.”

“Why not let her be with them all the time?”

His voice must have betrayed something because Mike stops to stare at him seriously. “Because this is not a good environment for these children to grow up in and as soon as they’re strong enough, they’ll be sent to foster families. So we can’t let them become too attached to their birth mother.”

Simon winces. “I see.”

Mike leans against the wall with a sigh. “I know it sounds terribly harsh, Si. We keep that woman prisoner, deprive her of her children... but there is no other way. You know the drill. For this to work, we have to learn to be monsters,” he quotes.

“I heard the speech. Desperate times calls for desperate measures.”

Mike nods. “Exactly.” He pushes his shoulders away from the wall. “Are you flipping yet?”

Simon takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. “No, I’m okay, I think.”

Mike smiles and punches his arm playfully. “Atta boy.”

They take a few steps in silence then Mikes says: “We let her pick the kids’ names though.”

As if that was going to make up for anything, Simon brother’s voice growls.

“What did she pick?”

“Emily, Sarah and Melissa.”

“Good names.”

“My daughter's named Sarah too," Mike says. “Of course. I didn’t tell Dana that. She hates me enough already,” he chuckles.

“I didn’t know you had kids.”

“Just the one.” They reach the elevator. “I know it sounds lame, but all this, I’m doing it for her,” he tells him earnestly.

Simon doesn’t feel like reassuring his colleague with words of understanding right now. Fuck you Mike. You and your lame-ass justifications. We’re monsters, deal with it. Don’t serve me some bullshit about your kid. You’re here for the thrill of the ride, just like me.

“So, is Dana our oldest... what do you call them? Inmates?”

Mike pushes the button to call the elevator. “Guests. And no, there’s one woman, who apparently has been here since 1979.”

“Wow. What did she have? Octuplets?”

“No, that one is not even a breeder. She’s... ” his sentence is cut short when the elevator door opens and a cloud of smoke make the both of them take a step back.

A tall man in a dark suit exits and stops in front of them. He pulls the cigarette away from his lips and blows some more smoke in their direction. “Gentlemen.”

Mike straightens up, adjusting his lab coat with nervous fingers. “Mr. Spender.”

The man gives Simon the once over. “New recruit?” he asks Mike.

“Yes, Sir. This is Simon Fenig. A very promising young man. Coding division.”

Spender takes another drag from his cigarette. Something flashes over the man’s wrinkled face, like he’s being amused by his own private joke. “Ah, yes, I've heard about you. Good, good.” He catches the elevator door just in time before it shuts. He gestures politely to let the both of them inside the car. “ I hope you like it here Mr. Fenig. Keep up the good work.”

The doors shut and Simon just has time to see the man drop his cigarette butt on the floor and step on it.

Mike takes a deep breath and makes a disgusted face at the lingering smell. “I don’t know about you, but that guy gives me the willies.”

Simon nods “I know what you mean. As if he’s already danced on your grave.”

***

October 1997

The hospital parking lot smells like all the other car parks in the world, a mix of concrete dust, exhaust fumes and rubber. Simon blows some warm air into his cupped hands as he paces outside the ambulance. These paramedic uniforms are nowhere near as warm as they look, he thinks, pulling the zipper of his thin fleece as high as he can.

His walkie-talkie, crackles. “We’re coming down.” Mike’s distorted voice informs him.

“Copy that,” Simon answers. He uses the flat of his hand to bang on the ambulance’s back door. “It’s time,” he calls out, opening the double doors wide.

Doctor Scanlon is leaning over the new Insert who’s asleep on a stretcher - checking her heart rate with a frown on his face. Simon hauls himself inside the ambulance.

“All set?” he asks the doctor.

“She’s weak,” Scanlon says.

Of course she is, Simon thinks. They couldn’t just send a rosy cheeked clone in. They had to starve this one and make it sick so it looked the part. “I’m told they’re quite resilient.”

“Fortunately yes, they are. What about her memories? Did you sort that out? ” Scanlon asks.

“Mr. Spender provided an implant for the dying clone just in time. I retrieved the data this afternoon. Everything is up to date.”

Scanlon pockets his stethoscope. “And if there is memory loss, I’m sure it will be attributed to her condition.”

“Nothing to worry about then.” Simon agrees.

“Did Spender really get shot?” the man asks him.

“Doctor, you know better than to give credit to that kind of rumor,” he chides.

Scanlon throws him a wary look but doesn’t argue. They take the stretcher outside.

The sound of wheels echoing on the walls around them announces the arrival of Mike and Vince. “You could have parked closer.” Vince grumbles, pushing his cap further down over his bald head.

“Too risky.” Mike tells him. “All right people, let’s get this show on the road,” he says briskly, securing the wheel-locks with an impatient kick.

Simon looks at the two identical women lying asleep side by side on their respective stretchers. He’s been doing his job for two years now, but this is the first time he's seen two Inserts together. It is an unnerving sight and it makes something struggle and catch inside him, a hollow grinding telling him they’re bending fundamental laws that aren’t meant to be tampered with.

Mike removes the hospital bracelet from the dying clone and puts it onto the new. Then, digging a pair of scissors from his coat pocket, he carefully evens out the new Insert’s haircut, throwing occasional glances at the former one. “It’ll do,” he says after a while. Vince takes over. He pinches the crook of her left arm to make a needle bruise stand out more before going around the stretcher to examine her other arm and legs. Then the two men move to the other stretcher to lift up the dying Insert’s hospital gown, hunting down any mark that needs replicating. They work fast and efficiently. When they uncover her breasts, Simon clenches his teeth, waiting for lecherous comments, but to his surprise and relief, his colleagues remain quiet. There is something almost reverent in the way Mike and Vince handle both Inserts. Maybe it’s because clones are extremely expensive to produce or maybe it’s because none of them have gotten over their sense of wonder when confronted with this technology. Or maybe even it’s because they have developed a soft spot for the woman inside cell 1002 - their little enemy who, up until recently, kept giving them bruises and black eyes. In any case, Simon is grateful.

“There. All done. Let’s go.” Mike finally says, pulling the blanket back over the clone he’s been working on. Vince releases the wheel locks and begins to push the new Insert back towards the elevator.

“Wait!” Simon calls.

“What now?” Mike sighs stopping the stretcher with one hand on the rail.

“Her necklace.” Simon tells him. He reaches behind the clone’s warm, pale neck and delicately unclasps the little gold cross. He then goes to put it on the new Insert. This simple thing makes him feel better, just like he did when they gave him his brother’s broken watch. Something feels right about it. A kernel of order and rectitude within the entropy they’re ineluctably heading for.

“Is that all? Are you sure?” Mike asks.

“No, nothing else besides the tattoo we reproduced,” Simon replies.

Mike stares down at the sleeping woman. “I would never have pegged her for the type who gets inked.”

“Maybe it’s a clone thing, a deep seated need to assert one’s difference.” Simon suggests. The both of them have been debating many times whether or not Inserts develop their own particular personality traits after a while. He gives a small tap on the stretcher’s rail. “Anyway... off you go. See you back at the labs.”

Mike flicks him a vague military salute and the two men disappear in the half light of the parking lot.

Simon and the doctor load the stretcher carrying the dying woman into the ambulance, then Scanlon signals to the driver that they can go. They sit down on the narrow bench in the back and remain silent for a while as the ambulance takes them out of town.

“Right,” the doctor finally says, slapping his knees and standing up abruptly. “Time to put it out of its misery.” He rummages into his bag, searching for a dose of pancuronium bromide.

Simon notices the change in pronouns. Even monsters have a hard time with mercy killing. He stares at the clone sadly. Such a waste. There should be something he could do, something that wouldn’t make all this so harsh and hideous, leaving him feel like a huge chunk of humanity is being ripped out of his chest.

Dana’s face appears before him. In the end she did settle down, their little fighter. When they took the children away, all the fight went out of her. They tried to impregnate her again but it didn’t take this time. Simon thought they would let her go then - remove her Insert and put her back in her own life, her mind freshly wiped – but they didn’t. Spender didn’t give them any reason for this. Then again he hardly ever did.

So deep is Simon in his thoughts, that he almost lets Scanlon proceed with the lethal injection.

“No. Stop!” he shouts, springing to his feet and knocking the syringe out of the doctor’s hand.

“Are you crazy?” Scanlon glares at him. Simon can see how eager he is to get the job done so that he can put it behind him. Reluctant monsters the both of them.

“I think we should run some more tests on the C3 spinal implant before we dispose of it,” he suggests.

“I thought Spender had said not to bother.” Scanlon grunts.

“Any data is valuable. What does it matter to you, that she dies now or in a couple of hours?”

Scanlon narrows his eyes as he sits back down on the bench. “I don’t like unfinished business. What kind of tests?”

Simon serves him some technical jargon about implant reprocessing data.

“Fine. Have it your way,” Scanlon concedes eventually.

“Don’t worry, the business will be finished.” Simon tells him, leaning back and crossing his feet, trying to make himself comfortable for the rest of the journey.

The woman’s hand has slipped out of the stretcher and is gently swaying with the motion of the vehicle.

For some strange reason, something balks in him at the idea of terminating the Insert in the back of an ambulance. It seems... wasteful and rude, somehow.

Simon watches her hand sway until they reach the labs.

****

“It’s a goner.” Mike tells him, looking through the two way mirror at the Insert lying on a wide hospital bed in the next room. “I really don’t see why you didn’t let Scanlon put it down back there.”

“Did you talk to Spender?” Simon asks him.

Mike shakes his head. “Can’t reach him.” He runs a weary hand over his face. None of them have been getting much sleep lately. “Shit, Simon, I want to go home. We really don’t need to run more tests on this one.”

Simon types something on one of the many computer terminals taking up most of the space in the small control room.

“There are still many things we don’t understand about those Inserts. Monitoring this one’s death could give us answers to questions we haven’t even asked yet.” Simon explains calmly.

Mike yawns. “Oh, dear, I created a monster.”

Simon shrugs. “You were supposed to.”

“Yeah, yeah, even Dr. Frankensteins have got to go home sometimes. Plus it’s Sarah’s school play this afternoon and if I don’t show up looking vaguely sentient, I’m dead meat.”

There’s a beep on the Insert's heart monitor. The clone is about to wake up.

“It’ll only take a few more minutes, I promise.”

Mike sighs and drags a chair to one of the monitor. “Fine. Let’s do this.”

“Thanks.” Simon hesitates. “Someone should be by its side when it regains consciousness. There’s no need to let it panic.”

“Sure,” Mike agrees. “You go right ahead. I’ll take care of the recordings.”

****

He’s by her side when she wakes up. A flutter of eyelids as the blue ocean behind them glows with sudden awareness.

Simon smiles at the Insert. “Welcome back.” He hands her a glass of water.

The woman takes a few sips, weakly takes in her surroundings. “Where am I?” she asks, her voice thin as a shadow.

He takes her hand and pats it comfortingly with his gloved one, being careful not to disturb her IV line or the various electrodes stuck to her body. “You lost a lot of blood. We transferred you to a sterile environment to prevent any infection that might weaken you further.”

The Insert stares up at him with a frown. “Do I know you?”

“I don’t think so,” Simon replies.

“Your eyes... your eyes are familiar. You remind me of someone.”

People used to think Max and I were twins when we were younger.

“We might have crossed paths in the hospital corridors. Besides, these masks make us all look the same,” he tells her, pointing at the one covering half his face.

The Insert shrugs. “Maybe.” Her eyes follow the path of her IV line up to the morphine drip. “Where’s my doctor?”

Simon gives her a reassuring smile “Dr. Zuckerman will be here shortly. He’s busy bossing people around to push you at the front of the MRI schedule.”

The Insert coughs a little, winces in pain and sighs with resignation. “This is the end, isn’t it?” she rasps. “I can feel it.”

Keep lying to her. Tell her the chip is working, that she’s getting better. That she’ll be running on the beach within days. Go on! Give her hope.

“I’m so sorry,” Simon finally admits, his voice tight. “We’ll make you as comfortable as we can.”

Some lies are just too big.

She shoots him a wan smile. It’s a pretty, girly smile and Simon’s stomach feels like it’s squeezing a fistful of nails. “So now I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of that sentence,” she tells him. She lifts her hand to her neck and her eyes widen suddenly in panic. “My cross -”

“ – is safe. We had to remove it for the MRI and your partner insisted he should hold on to it.” Simon digs into his right pocket, fingers brushing the little packet he had the presence of mind to get from the vending machine earlier. He’d anticipated that one.

Her eyes lit up. “Mulder is here?”

“He was, but I’m afraid we can’t allow visitors at this time. Tomorrow, maybe, if you’re stronger.”

She pins him with a clear hard stare and he’s reminded of Dana, back in the days when she still fought. “I’m not going to get stronger,” she snaps.

Simon reaches out to lay a comforting hand over her shoulder. “Look, I’ll see if your partner can come after the scan, ok?”

She doesn’t answer him, just turns her head and looks at the wall sadly.

Simon retrieves the packet from his lab coat and opens it. “He said to give you this if you got hungry.” He takes her hand and drops a few sunflower seeds in her open palm.

The Insert stares at them. A slow smile spreads to her lips. “Oh, Mulder,” she whispers fondly before closing her eyes, her fingers curling over the seeds. “Thank you,” she breathes after a while.

Simon looks at his watch. He wants this to be over now.

What did you expect, brother? Absolution? Max’s voice rails him.

He throws a look towards the mirror on the back wall, makes a discreet sign to Mike. He picks the vial from his pocket and injects the pancuronium bromide into her IV line. He strokes her hair gently. “You’re tired. Get some rest now.”

The Insert doesn’t open her eyes, just produces a soft hum to let him know she’s heard him. Her closed fist, which contains the sunflower seeds, comes up to rest against her heart.

She drifts to sleep quickly. Simon then injects the sodium thiopental. He applies a stethoscope to her chest and waits for her heart to stop. It doesn’t take long either.

There.

It’s done.

He takes a few steps back and looks one last time at the woman that was Dana Scully for three years. She looks so peaceful now.

That’s what I wanted, Simon thinks, for her to die like a human being.

She’s not human.

Neither am I.

He pockets his stethoscope and leaves the room.

Not anymore.

 

The End.