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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Strange Encounter - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 04/26/2007 02:10:46 AM

Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Mulder pulled up to the curb at the address he’d been given exactly eighteen minutes after the man who’d given it to him had left. The address was a non-descript brownstone midway down a block of like buildings. The hour was not particularly late, so many of the windows were lit. As Mulder killed his engine, a couple walking their dog passed him without a glance.

Mulder studied the building for a moment from the sidewalk. A short flight of stairs led up to the door, which was decorated by a cheerful floral wreath. It wasn’t a place Mulder knew, and it certainly didn’t seem like the hidden base of operations for his mysterious new acquaintances. It was much too... homey. Then a low voice hissed his name, and he turned to see Scully gesturing to him from the shadows beside the stairs.

He went to her, and discovered Ororo and the purple-haired woman whose name he still didn’t know waiting there with her.

"Fancy meeting you here," he told Scully with a smile and nodded to the other two. Ororo returned a slim smile. The other woman ignored him. She was turned slightly away from the others, watching the darkness.

"So now what?" Mulder directed the question to Ororo. She was obviously the leader of this little group, and the man he’d met in the parking garage had pretty much confirmed it.

Ororo, too, was watching the darkness beyond Mulder. "We’re waiting for Remy," she said. Before Mulder could ask, a figure appeared from the shadows and sauntered toward them, hands in pockets. Mulder recognized him immediately as the man from the parking garage. He was surprised how comforting it was to have a name to attach to him. Perhaps because he’d taken Cancer Man with such flagrant ease. Mulder himself was more than a match for Cancer Man in physical terms, but this Remy oozed an arrogance that was somehow unnerving.

The man walked up to them. "We clear, Stormy."

Ororo’s glance at him was a strange mixture of affection and annoyance. It was the most personal emotion Mulder had yet seen from her. "Are you sure?" she asked.

"Yes." The purple-haired woman finally turned toward them. Even so, Mulder had the feeling that she was still only partly there.

"Very well." Ororo looked toward Mulder and Scully. "I cannot ask you to accompany us beyond this point. You have already put yourselves at considerable risk to help us, and for this we are grateful." Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. If they really thought they were going to leave the FBI agents behind, Mulder thought, they were in for a surprise.

"However," Ororo continued, to all appearances oblivious to his thoughts, "we would appreciate your help. You know the working of your government better than most."

Mulder could hardly suppress the excitement that set his nerves to jangling. "When do we leave?"

Ororo’s gaze was clear through the tendrils of hair that a sudden breeze blew across her face. "Now."

Remy pulled his hands out of his pockets. "Unfortunately, y’ both gon’ have t’ take a nap while we travel."

Mulder spun to face him, instincts screaming, but the man hadn’t moved other than that. There was nothing particularly threatening in his stance, yet Mulder was certain that they were about to be attacked. He blinked in confusion as brain and instincts collided.

He had only begun to open his mouth to ask what Remy had meant by that strange statement when a giant hand seemed to reach straight into his brain and squeezed. The world wavered, colors running, and then went black. Mulder was aware of himself falling, then being caught and lowered gently to the ground.

As if from a distance, he heard a female voice saying, "He is resisting me. He’s very sensitive. I don’t think I can put him all the way down without hurting him." But the words didn’t make much sense. Mulder felt like he was floating, awash in alternating currents of warm and cold. He wondered where Dana was and if she was all right, but he couldn’t seem to muster more than an idle curiosity.

"Do what you must," a different voice said.

Barely, he felt the touch of light fingers in his hair. "I’m sorry, Agent Mulder," the first voice said, "but this is going to hurt."

A spike of pain drove through him, blindingly intense. It was purple, he thought in surprise. Then everything went blank.

Dana woke violently as the last moments of her consciousness returned to her. Adrenaline filled her veins and she sat up, instinctively raising an arm to deflect the blow that had sent her into darkness. A hand reached out to steady her, and she slapped it away with a tiny cry of alarm. Still seated, she turned toward the source. Her fingers lit on the butt of her gun at the same time that she registered the man who crouched a few feet from her, expression unreadable through his sunglasses.

"Easy, petite." He made a placating gesture, but kept his hands well away from her.

Beside her, Mulder was stretched out on his back. He moaned, then began trying to roll over. Sudden fury swept through Dana, mixed with terror. She had been abducted once-- taken somewhere against her will. Hurt. Violated. Knowing that it had happened again filled her with a desperate desire to get as far away from these people as possible. And since they had left her the opportunity, she was determined to take it.

She drew her gun and pointed it at the man. The muzzle was less than six inches from the end of his nose, but he didn’t even flinch. "Don’t move."

The corners of his mouth twitched upward. "Wouldn’ dream of it." Behind him, the two women turned to look. Ororo was seated on the ground, knees drawn up. She had been resting her forehead on her knees, but now raised her head. To Dana she looked suddenly exhausted, and Dana had to wonder why. The other two seemed fine.

The purple-haired woman was standing next to Ororo. She gave Ororo a questioning glance, as if seeking permission to interfere. Ororo shook her head.

"We have done you no harm, Agent Scully," Ororo said, and her voice, too, betrayed her weariness.

Scully glanced beyond the man for a moment. "You call hitting me over the back of the head and carting me off to wherever this is ’no harm’?" she demanded.

Mulder slowly sat up, cradling his head. Dana touched his arm. "Are you all right?" she asked without taking her eyes off of the three.

"Except for the hangover." He looked up, taking in the scene. His gaze flicked between the three women, then came to rest on Remy. "You hit me." He laid a hand on the back of his neck, probing carefully.

Remy grinned, an expression Dana was quickly coming to dislike. "Actually, Betsy hit ya. But don’ worry. Y’ won’ even have a bruise, neh?"

Dana reached behind her own head, exploring with her fingers. To her surprise, she could find no evidence of trauma. True, her head hurt, but the back of her skull and neck, where she felt like she’d been hit, was unharmed. No contusion or swelling. No blood. Nothing.

"Where are we?" Mulder asked mildly, and Dana was forced to suppress a sigh. As usual, Mulder skimmed over the potential for danger in the situation. Dana hadn’t yet decided if he simply didn’t realize how closely he often skirted disaster, or if he just didn’t care. Instinct told her that he didn’t care. He was willing to sacrifice his life for the truth he was looking for. However, he wasn’t stupid, and he didn’t seem to have any intention of dying for anything less that his elusive "truth". She clung to that thought as she lowered her gun. It was obvious that Mulder was going to stay with these people.

"Just outside Pensacola," Remy answered the question Dana had nearly forgotten.


He nodded.

"Why Florida?" Mulder struggled to his feet. Remy did not offer to help, and rose fluidly to face him.

"See dat over dere?" Dana followed his gesture as she, too, got to her feet. They were in a wooded area near a large field. The temperature was unseasonably warm for D.C., and the trees and general humidity made a strong case that they were, indeed, in Florida or some similar southern coastal area. Dana checked her watch. It was nearly two a.m., just over three hours since she and Mulder had met these people in the Arlington suburbs. If what Remy claimed was true, they’d traveled nearly a thousand miles in that time. Certainly possible with a private jet, but that left her wondering more than ever about their strange new acquaintances.

Through the trees, Dana could see a set of lights that illuminated a large compound in the middle of the field. She could see nothing but the roof of the single-story building above an apparently concrete wall that surrounded the entire facility. Coils of concertina wire glittered at the top of the wall. An unmarked road led up to a gate house, behind which was a gate of iron bars. The gate was ugly and looked to Dana to be very functional. That was the only entrance she could see.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Turing-Rocheland Medical Research Facility," Remy answered.

Dana glanced at him. "Looks more like a prison."

Something hardened in his expression. "’Spect it is, chere."

"Is that where you think your friend is?" Mulder had been studying the building, but now turned to look at Remy.


"But how do you know?" Dana could guess at his confusion. Only a few days ago, they had seemed to have no clues whatsoever as to the woman’s whereabouts.

The purple-haired woman-- Betsy-- stepped forward. "You provided us with reliable sources, Agent Mulder. She is there."

As if that were a cue, Ororo rose to her feet and the three began to work their way silently through the woods toward the back side of the compound. They had to be professionals, Dana thought, to move so quickly with so little noise. She and Mulder would be hard pressed to keep up with them.

"Any idea what that was about?" Mulder asked her in an undertone as they followed. Dana shook her head.

He continued, "The only ’resource’ I can think of is the Cancer Man, but all she did was walk up and look at him." He shook his head. "It’s like she read his mind."

Dana felt a sudden surge of annoyance. "Don’t start, Mulder."

"Start what?" he asked innocently.

"These people are weird enough without you trying to make them into telepaths. There is no scientific evidence that true mind-reading is possible."

The smile Mulder gave her was positively smug.


"I never suggested that she might be a telepath, Scully. But now that you mention it... " He trailed off at her glare, but his smile didn’t change.

They circled the facility until they ran out of trees, but that put them on the side opposite the gate. The land sloped down slightly onto a plain of grass easily tall enough to hide them. Small hummocks of earth and dried grass were interspersed with pools of stagnant water that smelled of rot, even from a distance.

"See what I missed by not joining the Boy Scouts," Mulder commented, trying not to breathe too deeply.

Remy threw him an amused look as he prepared to step down into the morass. "Jus’ don’ go shootin’ de gators, non? Y’ wake up de whole neighborhood."

"Gators?" Scully queried from behind Mulder.

"I’m sure there won’t be any as large as the last one we ran into," he answered her.

"Mulder, the last alligator we ran into ate my dog." She was beginning to sound angry. Not that he blamed her. She’d been fond of the dog.

Ororo threw them a startled look, but motioned for them to follow as she stepped down into the muck after Betsy.

They didn’t run into any reptiles of any size, and approached the wall with relative ease. Mulder stared up at the twelve foot tall expanse of concrete and wondered how in the world they were going to get over it. He hadn’t seen any evidence of rope or grappling hooks or any other climbing devices.

"Remy?" Ororo asked the man who was staring up at the wall, hands on hips. "Can you make it?"

He glanced over at her, then scuffed the toe of his boot in the dried grass that topped the little mound on which he stood. "Rotten footing, chere. But, yeah, I c’n do it."

Do what? Mulder wanted to ask, but figured that he’d probably find out if he waited. To his surprise, Remy crouched down, almost like a runner getting set at the starting blocks. But then he exploded off the ground, leaping straight into the air. He cleared the top of the wall by more than a foot, and landed with all the aplomb of a cat in the midst of the concertina wire. Apparently unconcerned, he pulled a pair of wire cutters from an inside jacket pocket, and began cutting the wire, carefully winding it around himself and opening a space at the top of the wall.

"How...?" Scully breathed behind him, and Mulder silently echoed her. What he had just seen could only be accomplished by a very few of the world’s best acrobats.

Remy finished with the wire, then turned and leaned down, extending a hand. Betsy stepped up to the wall and made the same kind of crouching leap. Very close to the top of the wall, she caught his hand and with a little boost settled on top. Just as quickly, she disappeared over the other side.

"Agents." Ororo gestured toward the wall. Mulder looked at her then up at Remy.


It wasn’t as far as it seemed. He leapt up and caught Remy’s hand, and, with his assistance, walked up the wall. Betsy waited for him on the other side, all but invisible in the shadows. After a few moments, Scully joined them, then Ororo, and finally Remy. They were facing a well-lit lawn that led to the building itself. Mulder could see the security cameras mounted at the corners of the building. There were two at each corner, facing away from each other at an angle. Mulder could hear the mechanical hum of the servos as they swept the grounds independently. The lighting did not reach quite to the wall, giving them a small corridor of safety, but Mulder was certain they would be spotted the moment they stepped out of the darkness.

With a nod to Ororo, Betsy stepped further back into the shadows and simply... disappeared?

"Where did she go?" he hissed.

Ororo glanced at him. "To disable the cameras," she answered. They waited in silence for several minutes until an unmistakable form appeared on the roof of the building. It glided over to the cameras, whose sweeps did not include the building itself. After a moment, one camera stilled, then the other. Mulder noted that they were stopped facing almost directly away from each other, leaving a wide swath of the lawn unobserved.

Briefly, Mulder wondered if he should even bother asking how the woman had gotten to the roof. Especially so fast. Every time he turned around, these people did some subtly amazing thing. It was leading him to the only possible conclusion.

"Are all of you mutants?" he asked Ororo.

She whipped around to stare at him, blue eyes wide, and Mulder knew he was right. "You are." He wagged a finger between her and Remy. "But you’re not all the same."

To his chagrin, Remy began to chuckle quietly. "Got y’ dere, Stormy," he told Ororo.

"Do not call me that," she told him, sounding thoroughly annoyed. She turned to Mulder and Scully. "Let us go before someone comes to check on the cameras." She stepped out into the light and strode purposefully across the grass.

Mulder glanced at Remy, who shrugged. "Honestly, mon ami, de less y’ know ’bout us, de safer we all gon’ be." He turned and followed Ororo.


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