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Happiness is a Warm Gun

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When the FBI finally breaks the Centre case, Dana is there. It's a courtesy to her and Mulder, who had discovered the place, kept meticulous records in the X-Files and painstakingly recreated them after the fire in 1998. It's a favor to A.D. Skinner, who had kept his ear to the rumor mill and, once he'd heard about the takedown, secured the two of them spots on the team.

She wishes Mulder could be here. He would be practically vibrating with excitement - the validation of all the legends and whispers that caught his ear in the first place:

People trained to become human chameleons, taking on skills that would otherwise take a lifetime to learn. A consortium in Delaware with their fingers in more pies than the Consortium. Child kidnapping and conditioning, scientific testing not seen since the Mengele experinments.

It's all true, and the raid uncovers even more. Dana and Skinner, along with a SWAT team, head for the Tower. All throughout the Centre, teams are raiding sub-level after sub-level, from 1 to 27. But the Centre's leaders are up in the Tower in a meeting, or so Jarod assures them.

She's never met Agent Hoover before, but he's good. Not only that, he's one of the children the Centre stole, and as he says in the elevator, it's different walking back in this time. They blow the doors, and Jarod points his gun right at a man with an oxygen tank (Raines, the former doctor, the one who started the Pretender program), smiling triumphantly as the SWAT guys take him into custody. One of the suits tries to make a break for it, sucker-punching Skinner in the face, but three shots ring out - Skinner's, Dana's, and a brunette in some killer Fendi pumps.

As the medics check on the man, the brunette shoots Dana a shark's grin and nods at her Sig. "What's yours, a P226?"

"P228, actually," Dana answers. "Small hands."

The woman nods. "Berettas are more my speed, but the first gun I ever shot was a Sig."

Dana waves off the SWAT team trying to cuff the woman, and holds out her hand. It'll go a lot better if the woman surrenders of her own free will. "I'm going to need your Beretta, though. Spin it around butt first and hand it to me."

She does, and Dana breathes a sigh of relief. She hands off the gun to an evidence tech and initials the bag so that it'll come back to her after processing. The woman holds out her hands while one of the SWAT team cuffs her, and looks over at Dana.

"I'd just about kill for a cigarette right now."

"Didn't you pay attention to your colleague over there? Smoking causes cancer. And emphysema. And chronic bronchitis. And-"

"Oh, what are you, a doctor?" the woman growls. "Raines deserves every disease he's got and a few he doesn't."

"I'm a medical doctor. Dana Scully."

The woman rolls her eyes. "Just what I need in my life. Another doctor. The name is Parker, and that's all you're getting. You can look up my full name in the Centre archives if you really want to know."

Dana doesn't need to - knows all about Angela Parker and her family. Her father, notorious Centre director William Parker, mother the mysterious and tragic Catherine Parker, and brother, currently lying dead on the floor, Lyle Parker. Jarod's given them all explicit instructions when it comes to Miss Parker; treat fairly, but with extreme caution. She's dangerous and what's worse, she's not entirely at fault.

"All right, then. Miss Parker. How about taking a ride with us back to DC?"

"I get a choice?" she drawls, every syllable dripping with scorn. It's a neat trick. "Don't you spooks just make people disappear?"

Dana shakes her head. "We're not the Centre. Jarod's made it clear you're to be fully debriefed at FBI headquarters. Depending on what you tell us, you could be done with this entire mess in less than two days."

Parker's face is unreadable, blank as a brick wall. She doesn't say anything, just stares past Dana to where Jarod is instructing the techs on how to hack the Centre's databases. There's a slight, balding man next to him, who smiles widely when Jarod gestures to him and yields the computer. She follows Parker's eyes to a man at the table, cuffed hands resting on the wood as he talks to Skinner. His voice is soothing, accented, and he nods at Parker when he notices her scrutiny.

SWAT is almost ready to take Parker away when the woman stops, turns to Dana and speaks in a low, steady voice.

"I've waited my whole life for this day to come, for it to finally be over. I'll tell you whatever you want to know, Agent Scully."