Title: How Far Would He Go For The Truth?
Category: MA, X-File, Mytharc
Spoilers: Eve, earlier Mytharc episodes. Summary: Mulder and Scully follow a lead about "The Project" with an embarrassing consequence for Mulder.
Archive: Gossamer. I'll make arrangements. Feedback: Always welcomed Disclaimers: If these characters were mine, and I were making money from them, I would definitely be somewhere else. Don't you think?
Juan Restivo had wanted out of "The Project" for the past ten years. Today, he would definitely take his fate into his own hands, for a change. It had become a strange, strange world. He printed out his letter of resignation, signed it, and sighed. A tough decision and a stressful day. Just as he was about to muster the courage to hand the paper to his supervisor, he was jolted out of his meditative state by a loud knock on the door.
"Juan! Quality Control called. One of the tanks is leaking."
"In a minute, Jesse. I'll be down n a minute." Quality Control. "More like World Control," he groaned. But today was the day. Restivo picked up his cell phone and quickly dialed the number on the tattered card he'd been saving.
Fox Mulder had just pulled into the FBI parking garage as Scully was locking her door. He shut off the engine and shouted, "Early today, aren't we?"
"Yeah, Mulder. I thought I'd leave early today."
"Just get out of that car so we can get the rest of that Seaforth file finished up. Okay?"
"You do have a date." Mulder locked his car, smiling, and joined his partner on the way into the building. "Anyone I know?"
"Uh, no. Sorry. Just my hairdresser, Mulder."
"So he's gay?"
"No, Mulder. Lisa's married with three kids. So, we're both out of luck." Scully laughed.
"Well, I could arrange... " His cell phone beeped. "Remind me where I left off. Mulder."
As they entered the hallway to their office, Mulder stopped in his tracks. "Restivo? Where are you?"
"DuraLabs in Annapolis. Listen, I don't have much time. There are some things you need to know about this place," he nervously whispered. Restivo gasped when the door to his office opened.
Mulder heard a gunshot, and that was the last he heard of Juan Restivo. "Scully, maybe the Seaforth case will have to wait. One of my contacts in Annapolis has been killed."
"Who was that, Mulder?"
"That WAS my contact. Looks like we're taking the next flight out. C'mon."
Scully stopped him in his tracks. She raised her hands and stood between him and the door. "Hold on, Mulder. Just call the Annapolis P.D. and let them handle it."
Mulder's words flew quickly and tensely from his mouth. "Scully, I don't have time to explain, but I will call the cops, and we have to get out there. Now let's go."
Scully hurried down the hallway and back to the garage with her partner. "What's this all about? Why the hurry, Mulder?"
"Juan Restivo, 37 years old, worked at DuraLabs. He called me last Friday and said he was resigning. Get your overnight bag out of your trunk and let's get a move on. Restivo said they were working with glass tanks and some interesting clients."
"Yeah, Scully. More like inhabitants. They sure as hell weren't guppies or mollies."
By the time they reached their destination, seven long white and green trucks labelled "DuraLabs" were leaving the premises, and quickly at that. "No sense chasing them," Mulder reasoned.
Scully turned around watching the trucks. "Aren't you going to find out where they're going in such a hurry?
"I doubt they'd stop for us, Scully. I think we can gather a lot more evidence here."
"Okay." Somehow, Scully doubted they would succeed. Again, they would leave with no evidence, no proof, no big news flash.
Mulder stopped their rental car across the street from the DuarLabs building. "Scully, I'm not going to tell you anyone can just walk in there. I have a keycard, compliments of Juan Restivo, and it looks to me like they've already pronounced him. Took long enough." The EMS and the medical examiner's car were pulling out of the parking lot. "We can get the autopsy report later, but we know he was shot, and these people don't leave a trail."
Scully nodded, and replied in a monotone voice, "We're not going to be good little FBI Agents and introduce ourselves at the reception area. We're going to sneak around and see what's going on there without so much as a by your leave."
"Precicely, Scully. You know the routine by now where these cases are concerned, and you're becoming more like me every day."
"Don't flatter yourself."
"I saved you from your money-grubbing hairdresser."
They walked from the car to the back of the building, behind which was a large warehouse and eight or nine eighteen wheelers. They made sure not to attract attention, walking purposefully to a side door. Mulder swiped the card and he and Scully carefully entered an area behind a partition, where there was a desk, several drafting charts, and some blueprints.
Scully whispered, "Mulder. I just saw them sweeping up some broken glass."
"Yeah. There's a lot of liquid going down that floor drain. The smell, I can't describe." He turned to explore the desk, as did Scully. "Someone's been making a lot of tanks. Look at the numbers for glass, silicone, filters, pumps, and who knows what else."
"Mulder, I heard about something like this in Germantown years ago on a case. Remember I told you when I got there, I saw broken glass, a greenish liquid, and what appeared to be a few embryos? I think what's here might be bigger than just embryos."
"That's what Juan wanted to tell me, Scully. See if you can find anything with the names Roush or Gentech. I'm going to look around."
While Scully went through the desk and file cabinets, Mulder walked through the warehouse, and was surprised by the absence of employees. The man who had been sweeping up the glass had left. There were three big tanks, about six feet by three feet by four feet, and they were empty. Quietly, he wandered through the warehouse, slowly making his way back to where he left Scully. Someone had done a thorough clean up. "Find anything?"
"Geez, Mulder! You scared me! All these tank, pump and tube orders go way back, Mulder. I suspect what your friend saw was just the tip of the iceberg."
"Cloning technology. Just like the Eves, just like with the Samantha clones, the red-haired men who were trying to put a stop to the cloning. They said it was because those women were their mothers, Scully. *After all, they are our mothers*. That's what they told me. But they were stopped. It kept going on all these years. We had better chances at grabbing actual evidence back then, Scully."
"But these tanks, the filters, tubing..."
"All just big aquariums, for any pet supplier or fish breeder. That's what they'll say this all proves, Scully."
"I could get a sample of the liquid on the floor. If I get enough of it into an evidence bag, we can have it analysed at Quantico."
"I think you've got something there. Maybe we can get... "
"Some cells, nucleotides, proteins... "
"Good. You bag it up. I'm going up into that loft over there. Maybe, just maybe there's something they forgot to pack."
"I'm on it, Mulder."
As Scully took swabs and a small bag of liquid, what there was left of it anyway, Mulder made his way up a crude stairway. There was another office, and a washroom. "Well, as long as I'm here... " he said to the walls. There was only a sink and toilet in the tiny lavatory. As Mulder prepared to go about his business, he noticed a key on the floor. There was a label strung to it. *The Project Files*. "Hmm. Go to the can and strike gold," he mused.
He could sense someone behind him. "You think so." A dark-haired man with a deep voice grabbed the hand that held the key, but Mulder was determined not to let go. Mulder tried to pry the man's hand off of his and kicked him in the thigh, pushing him backward, but not the least off-balance.
"What part are you playing in all this?"
"Drop the key and I'll tell you." The dark-haired man punched Mulder in the abdomen and twisted his right hand, prying the key loose, but not before Mulder struck him in the jaw. The key landed in the toilet.
Mulder threw another punch to the jaw, then another, and the man fell back, his head assaulted by the sink.
Mulder had to get the key. He reached down into the bowl, and his hand was stuck. He had the key, but his hand was stuck. "Damn!" His assailant would be of no help. He was out cold. He kept his fingers on the key, careful not to let go. He reasoned that if he let the muscles of his hand relax, he could free his hand. But then, he'd lose the key. "Scully would get a kick out of this," he mumbled.
Scully was busy taking samples from the warehouse floor. She hadn't heard the fight, however she did hear a sound back in the desk area. She put the bag in her trench coat and drew her gun, slowly walking toward the partition. "FBI! Hands behind your head and identify yourself!"
A blonde young woman walked out into the open. She was carrying a brief case. "FBI? I was just... what happened here?"
"I think you know." Scully held her gun steady.
"No, I really don't. I just came by to drop off some files my father left in the kitchen this morning."
Scully shook her head, and let out a long breath. With her gun back where it belonged, she approached the woman. "You don't know what this place does, do you?"
"No. My Dad doesn't say much about work. Where is everybody? He says they're always so damn busy around here, coming and going like bats out of hell."
"That's what my partner and I are trying to figure out. I'm afraid the bats have all left the building. I think you should do the same. My partner and I are in the middle of an investigation. Leave the brief case here."
"Maybe your Dad will come back for it. Please. Let us do our jobs, okay?"
"Yeah. I have to get to class anyway. First year law."
"Bye." The young woman walked out not bothering to look back.
"I don't think you want to know what your father's up to," Scully muttered. "Mulder!!"
There was no answer. Mulder heard her, but he didn't answer. He wasn't going to give her the pleasure of seeing him with his hand stuck in the toilet. She had taken to joking lately, and this was one opportunity he was determined she'd miss.
"Mulder? Where are you?"
His best bet was to own up to his location. "I'm... I'm in the can. I'll be down in a minute."
Scully decided to take another walk around the warehouse. Perhaps there was something she missed. As she was giving the place another inspection, Mulder was trying desperately to get his hand, and the key, out of the toilet. He pulled so hard he actually did get away with the key, but quickly had to drop it to the floor, as he winced in agony. "Aghhh!" With his other hand, he retrieved the key and put it into his jacket pocket.
Scully was at the rear of the warehouse when she turned to see flames shooting out of the office area. "Omigod! The Files! Mulder!? Get down here!"
Mulder looked at the dark haired man and then decided to run down the stairs as Scully sounded very insistent. His hand was swelling rapidly and the pain was excruciating. "Scully! There's a man up here! Unconscious... Call the EMS!"
Scully was relieved to see her partner and horrified when he joined her at the front of the building. "Mulder! Your hand!"
"Yeah, but it was worth it. Scully, I think it's broken. Somebody didn't want me to have a key to *The Project Files.*"
"So, you slugged him and broke your hand. By the way--your fly's open." Scully gently looked at the hand as Mulder zipped up. "I think it's broken. You did this punching the guy?" Scully pulled out her cell phone and called for an EMS.
"Yeah. Sort of." How would he ever live this down? Never mind the open fly. That was old hat.
"Sort of? Mulder, he must have had one hard belly. So then what happened?"
"His head hit the sink and he was out like a light. Geesh this HURTS!"
Scully was becoming suspicious. "Mulder, I know your hand was in water, because your sleeve was wet when I examined it. The key was in the sink. Am I right?"
He couldn't lie because this partner of his knew him like the back of her hand, and he felt it extremely hard to concoct a lie. "It was in water, Scully."
Scully just stared at Mulder as the EMS pulled into the lot, with the fire trucks not far behind. "Man upstairs," Scully shouted to them. Then she turned back to Mulder. "It was in water, but you broke your wrist. I don't think your hand would go down a sink drain, Mulder." She could see Mulder's face getting redder, and his breaths quickening. "Mulder, you wouldn't be the first human being in history to get his hand stuck in a toilet."
"But I got the key," Mulder countered quickly. "Evidence. A key to files about The Project."
"Which are either burned to ashes or unreadable due to water danage. And even if they are on a computer somewhere, we wouldn't know where begin to look."
"Yeah, Scully, and we can't get the police to track down the DuraLabs trucks because they would never believe why we want them."
As the EMS brought the dead assailant down on a stretcher, Mulder and Scully followed them out to the vehicles.
"See you at the hospital, Mulder. Don't worry, I'll be right behind you."
"Not a word, Scully?"
"Oh, my lips are sealed. No one will need to know just how far you had to go for evidence this time."
Mulder's injury was not exactly explained as it had happened, when the report was written, and the agents never spoke of the incident again. Still, Mulder had to hope that as long as he was still alive, it would stay a secret.