Pillar of Salt by Louise Jones
Title: Pillar of Salt
Author: Louise Jones
Rating: PG 13 for mild slash and violence.
Keywords: Slash, Mulder/Krycek
Archive: Yes, please ask
Summary: A post-colonisation story
Beta Thanks: Jennie and Debs. Further mistakes are all mine.
Disclaimer: CC+1013 own them.
Notes: Written for Pollyanna's Lyric Wheel.
Pillar of Salt
12 April 2005
So here we are, still occupying our idyllic earth. The sky is still blue, the trees in green leaf. The streets of the new city are clean and orderly. Birds still sing from the boughs of the elegant birch trees which line them...yeah, you get the picture. Everything's rosy in the garden. Apart from the scary aliens. Right. They're here now, and it looks like they want to stay for good.
We used to think the oil aliens were bad enough, but the new ones, the ones that arrived after, the very thought of them makes me shiver. People here call then 'whistlers', after the creepy high-pitched humming sound they use as a form of communication. We know very little else about them, except that they see us and our planet as a useful resource. We don't know why they came when they did.
From what I can piece together, it seems to me that after the first devastating blow of the invasion had weakened both the invaders and us, this race of interstellar parasites saw their chance and muscled in. Strange to think of one's planet and one's own destiny altered forever by a bunch of opportunistic creeps from outer space. But then that's nothing new for me.
Don't think I'm a coward, please. Life has changed for me so much. I would give anything to be free and to be fighting, but the truth is that I'm of more use here than anywhere else. I still manage to keep the secret from them, something I'll never tell them: my bright shining hope. Scully.
She's alive somewhere on this planet, her and some of the others. Our freedom fighters, God help us. The resistance. For some reason, I could never take Krycek seriously when he talked about them, but now wish he were here to fight with them again, to fight beside Scully.
When I think of her out there, resisting, it gives me such a warm flare of hope and love in my stomach that I don't think I could survive without it. That's why I keep my secret very well hidden. Even the people who deliver the supplies that keep them alive don't know about the resistance; nobody knows apart from a few very carefully chosen allies
I'm not reckless anymore. No one here knew me before, though a few may have heard in passing of Fox Mulder - FBI wild child. If only they knew, I've never been more careful, more secretive, or more paranoid than in my time spent here. Back in the old days, I always thought it was my personal quest, to discover the truth about the alien conspiracy. Rushing about, blindly trusting to my intuition, and to Scully, always near me: my guardian angel. My activities now are careful, slow. Agonizing.
I've managed to siphon off resources for them, to keep them alive and hidden. At a guess, I think they're in Alaska now, but part of me hopes they're nearer to me. They move around and it's hard to keep track of them. Our go-between was found dead last week, and I know that the whistlers suspect something. Another part of me prays with all the strength left in me that they don't know, haven't figured anything out. It's not as if they're all powerful, but it sure feels like it sometimes.
If I close my eyes I can see her in front of me. Her blue eyes: electric blue eyes that lit up with many things-most often disbelief, I have to admit. She was always so solid, but she always needed me: I need her. We held each other up, and both knew it. One without the other was an unfinished equation. Scully's the one person I don't have to regret and the sense of her nearness keeps me strong. Strong for all the ones that are gone, that I've lost.
I need her more than ever.
17 June 2005
Today I'm rostered to work in the central office with my fellow lucky brains. We sit and solve problems for them. After all, there are still a billion or so of us left, and we need looking after. The logistics are a nightmare: food, storage, transport, and medical care. We're farmed you see. Not for food, well not really, but for maintenance purposes. The wonderful irony of the human race - caretakers for our own planet, watching helplessly as our home is taken from us like a toy from the fingers of a child. We're like chimps compared to these.*things*. We have no power to stop them, or none that we've yet discovered.
We work to a strict plan, devised by people such as myself: the clever ones. Those not blessed with brains are used for labor, or breeding. If we don't work as they tell us, they punish us.
Many were punished at first, and to see them moving dumbly about the clean, bright streets is sometimes more than I can cope with. They pass me with faces slack and eyes empty. Yesterday I saw Thompson. He didn't know me, even though we worked together for a year or more in Violent Crimes. A dead man, walking the calm streets in the bright early summer sun.
Nobody really understands how the whistlers can do this to a person. Suffice to say that once punishment has been meted out, it's as the victim's essence has gone. Whatever made them think and laugh and feel has vanished. An alien lobotomy. The punished never survive for very long: they just sort of wither away, as if their bodies can't survive without their souls to spur them on.
There are just as many who, the aliens cleverly guessed, would never submit to this. To these people, as to me, memories are our last hope of hanging on to this world, and the world we remember.
Resist or serve, he said to me once. So easy: a simple choice, but my world isn't black or white, it's shades of gray. And I don't have much of a choice after all. I can only assume he'd made his decision at that point. After we killed him I started to regret, but regret kills even more, so I forced the memories away. Then the invasion started and so many were killed, it became hard to regret just one man, but I still do, as much as I regret all the others. All my memories of that time, the before time, are precious to me now.
Looking back I can see him so clearly, what he was, all the things that made him do what he did. He took on the responsibility, faced the threat, and knew it would be bad for us all.
He was right - he just didn't guess *how* bad. He was brave man, and though he was never my friend, the hate I had for him has gone, to be replaced by a feeling I can't seem to identify. I'd like to have known him, known how his mind worked, what made him laugh. I miss everyone so much, it's hard to untangle my feelings for him. I feel his ghost with me, trailing behind me, telling me not to fail. I know I'm not alone in this: all the survivors carry the ghost of humanity around with them like a cloud of sickness.
Time to work again. I can see one of the guards from here, gliding over to my corner of the room. The way they move makes me want to vomit, but that would only draw attention to me, and I don't want that at any cost.
12 September 2005
Cooper came up to me today as I was working on the provisions charts for next spring. His pale face was taut with anxiety. The nylon suit he wore scraped and rustled as he leant over me.
"What the hell are you doing here Cooper?" I hissed, appalled at his behavior.
"They're moving on LA tonight", he muttered, sitting down next to me at my desk. I turned to him, stunned.
"But it's too early, they'll fail. Who authorised this?" I demanded, a sick sense of fear and excitement churning in my belly. My palms suddenly felt slick and cold. I forced my gaze back to my charts, hoping to avoid the gaze of the whistler guard as it hovered nearby. "Here, work on this with me," I said, shoving a sheaf of papers at him. We both bent our heads over the computer. I couldn't believe what I'd just heard. The plans we'd made were careering off course. If the attack on LA was indeed happening now, then we would have to move soon, tonight. If only I had heard from Scully. Shit!
"What if this is a lie Cooper, a set up?"
"No, Mulder, it can't be." His voice dropped to a desperate whisper. "All the contacts check out. Everyone's clean. Besides, the rebel leader over there sent specific word to tell you, said you knew it was the right time. They said that you needed some exercise." He looked at me questioningly, clearly not understanding. I didn't understand either, but a tiny worm of hope curled in my gut.
Block 12 Sleeping Quarters
I received more covert reports today from factions all over the country. They're ready to move against the aliens everywhere. I can't believe this is happening so fast, and I have no clue as to who set the ball rolling, only a pathetically hopeful guess. But, the sooner the better now. If I have to drag around after those dammed whistling monsters any longer I'm going to flip out. Somebody knew: it is the right time. I'm ready.
The rebels have been able to stockpile weapons, ferreted out of defunct depots. I've supplied them with detailed information on what I suspect to be the aliens weakest point: their power generators. I'm orchestrating a push from the inside, sabotaging the aliens life support systems. I believe we can escape from the city tonight.
The city. They like us to call it 'New Washington'. I suppose they thought it would help us get used to living in a compound. Admittedly, a very large compound with shops, bars and open parkland. Most of the things we had before in fact, except the streets are clean and empty of people.
As I hurry along them at night I am often struck by the intensity of memories. It's as though my imagination is compensating for all that's missing. I remember my apartment on hot summer nights in Alexandria: the noise, dirt, and smells of the city.
Sometimes I can picture faces so vividly it makes me stop walking and just stand still, the better to concentrate, to see them. Scully's face comes to me often. But, more and more often I see Krycek, and remember with the clarity of loss the funny, heartbreaking way in which his emotions would play across his face, like pictures on a cinema screen.
I can close my eyes right now and see him in detail. The curse or blessing of a photographic memory? I can see the smooth texture of the skin around his eyes. I always thought that his eyes were almost unnaturally bright, and used to find myself gazing into them, almost against my will. God, the emotion that used to pour out of them, it used to make me wonder if.
Enough, there's no way to go back to that time now. I have to stop writing: I have to get out of here, to find Scully out there somewhere.
I'm leaving this place tonight, and I'm taking as many people as I can with me. The only way for us is forward, to face the future, and carry on the fight. I know we can win. I have to accept that my old life is over now, as it is for everyone; all the points of light in the darkness are gone.
We can never look back.
Scully has blue eyes, and she's always protected Mulder. Maybe this can be about her death, and Mulder saviour -Krycek? 'I though you were dead', he whispered. Blank eyes took in the ragged figure that had crept nearer to where he lay. 'You're supposed to be dead Krycek', he repeated, voice cracking as he moved.
'I was never dead Mulder, only sleeping, a bit like you were. After the oil, I found I was immune to almost anything. Why do you think I just stood there? I knew one of you'd shoot me. Bang bang, for Alex and there I go, went. I was buried alive.' His voice tailed off. His shoulder sagged. Mulder saw him trembling in what little light there was. The only sound was the sound of Krycek's breathing, harsh and echoing against the cold walls.
Krycek's boots scuffed as he moved closer, peering 'Is Scully here too?'
He saw her, cradled in Mulder's arms, her bright hair matted and dirty, with blood in it.
Electric blue eyes, where did you come from?
Electric blue eyes, who sent you?
Electric blue eyes, always be near me,
Electric blue eyes, I need you
Domine, Domine, Deus
Domine, Adiuva Me
Domine, Domine, Deus
Domine, Adiu, Adiuma Me
Hey,eh, hey, eh
If you should go, you should know...I love you
If you should go, you should know..I'm here
Always be near me, guardian angel
Always be near me, there's no fear
Electric Blue by the Cranberries
Archived: November 02, 2001