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Devoutly to be wished

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Dana wasn’t one for speeches. She thought her earlier self hadn’t been either. Those kinds of personality traits were deep-seated.

That didn’t mean she didn’t think about what she would have said, if she’d made a speech to C.G.B. Spender.

Science fiction aside, she’d have said, you can’t extract memories from one person and give them to someone else. You can’t preserve them outside their original containers. Maybe someday, with sufficient neural network modeling, but not for a long time. And you people don’t do paranormal, so even if Mulder’s right about ghosts and echoes of people departed, you wouldn’t have saved anything of who I was before.

What you did was irrevocable. And so what I have done to you is as well.

Mulder’s brain was different than hers, which might have had something to do with why he’d recovered his memories all the way, not just dreams and flashes, and possibly also had something to do with the genetic experimentation to which a generation of helpless children had been subjected. That was the conspirators’ downfall, not corruption or alien abduction or anything difficult to understand. Playing God with the unborn was a topic capable of uniting politicians from both sides of the aisle.

Dana guessed she’d been too caught up in Mulder’s own view of the conspiracy to understand that, before. It was natural: people generally focused on the most personally relevant information. Unfortunately, however, Samantha Mulder’s disappearance was not the kind of thing that got cameras and microphones shoved in public officials’ faces. Melissa Scully’s death was just another dead single woman in the wrong place at the wrong time. Dissected babies, or close enough for government work: now there was a scandal.

As a scientist, Dana was aware that sunlight wasn’t in fact the best disinfectant. But for secrets such as these, it served well enough.

She gave interviews and held press conferences; once the story was out, her superiors couldn’t stop her and there was no denying that she’d made the Bureau look good, no longer J. Edgar’s weapon of harassment but a true watchman over the rest of the military-industrial complex. She even got a tentative overture from some congressional Republicans, a gentle suggestion that if she were interested in a political career the infrastructure was there to support her.

Dana was polite in her refusals. There was no reason to burn any bridges. But she still had work to do—pest control was how she thought of it.

She saw Mulder, at task force meetings and in the hallways. They spoke when necessary. She thought it probably hurt him more to look at her than the reverse. Sometimes she caught a question in his eyes, eternally unasked, not least because he wanted to ask it of his own Scully. Are you okay?

If she’d been the type to give speeches, she would have told him without prompting: Not really, she would have said. But I am avenged.