Title: Ascio Maximus
Summary: Mulder and Scully discover an unusual child, only to discover he has a special connection to Mulder no one would have ever guessed.
Two weeks exclusive with VS15.
Spoilers: Seasons 1-7
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Many of the characters in this fanfiction are based on real people. This fanfiction is loosely based on a true story.
MULDER & SCULLY TOWNHOUSE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2009
It hadn't started raining when Mulder went out for his run. It was actually clear, and looked like it was going to be a nice day. He'd started out at the usual jogging pace, gradually warming up and getting into his rhythm. Subconsciously, he counted the beat of his feet hitting the pavement in sync with his breathing, and had settled in pleasantly.
Running was the only way to clear his mind. It offered what nothing else could—not an escape from the constant stream of information bombarding his mind like spam email, but rather a way to sort it out, to think about it without distraction.
And this could only be accomplished outside. The thought had occurred to him at one time that inside might be better. Less distractions: just him and the treadmill. But after about ten minutes of that little exercise in the stuffy gym, he had not only decided the machine wasn't clocking his rate accurately, but that there was no way to clear his mind while thinking about that little band going around and around under his feet. After that day, he had vowed to only run outside, if he could help it.
Scully and he hadn't had much excitement in the last couple of weeks since their last case. There was more paperwork to fill out than there were X-files to investigate, and Mulder had become restless. The latest game in the office was to find the pencils with particularly squishy erasers, toss them into the ceiling, and then try to toss those super-sharp mechanical pencils into the squishy erasers. So far, Mulder had been largely unsuccessful.
So now he ran, hoping to get rid of some of the tension and restlessness that came with lack of meaningful work. It was beautiful—a cool morning, the sun comfortably hidden behind the slight cloud cover, a gentle breeze licking the sweat from his face and neck. And then all hell broke loose.
The wind picked up, and it started to sprinkle. Then, in true Monday fashion, Mulder experienced a ten minute downpour, followed by more sprinkling, then nothing.
He had headed home shortly after that, his run nearly completed anyway, when it had started downpouring again. And of course, seconds after he entered the house, it stopped.
Mulder looked outside, shook his head, and took off his soaked sweatshirt. He slipped his shoes off his feet and noticed the squeak of his soaked socks on their hardwood floor. Scully was in the kitchen, still in her pajamas, sipping coffee and watching the TV.
"Did you get caught in the rain?" she asked before she saw him.
Mulder rolled his eyes. "Only slightly," he answered. He tossed the sweatshirt into the washer, and then pulled off his Under Armor shirt as well. He tossed it into the washer and grabbed a clean towel from the pile on top of the dryer. He dried himself off slightly before dropping the towel into the washer also. Then he entered the kitchen, wearing only his still-soaked sweat pants.
"I'm gonna get a shower, then I'll be down for breakfast," he told Scully, on his way toward the stairs.
"Okay, but your towel's down here."
Mulder turned, frowning. "The one on the top of the washer?"
"Yeah, I ran the load last night."
"I'll grab one from the linen closet. I used the clean one."
"No, sorry," Scully said, absently, still watching the TV. Mulder wondered what was so interesting. "All the towels are dirty. Don't you remember? We used them to stop the leak."
The bathtub had leaked two days ago, and the problem had ended up being a broken pipe. What started as a little drip turned into a stream of brown water. By the time the repairman had gotten there, they had used all their towels to absorb the disaster.
"This could only happen on a Monday," Mulder muttered, and trudged back to the laundry room. He extracted his wet towel from the washer and headed back toward the stairs. But the streaks of water left behind by his soaked feet happened to be in his path, and his feet slipped out from under him. He landed hard, right on his ass.
"Mulder, are you okay?" Scully asked instantly, rushing over.
He chuckled, and got up. "Yeah, my—"
"Ass broke the fall," she finished, still looking concerned. "Are you sure you're okay?"
He nodded. "Yeah, Scully, it's just a Monday," he answered, picking up his wet towel from their floor and giving her a quick kiss. "Maybe I'll be able to get my shower without the pilot light going out."
"Be careful," she warned, half seriously and half in jest. Then she turned back to the TV.
"Hey, what's so interesting on there?" he asked, craning his neck to get a look at the picture.
"A scientist from Colorado just killed himself last night. The DEA was apparently closing in on him, for running some kind of drug ring. He was supplying drugs to teenage kids, to sell on the streets. They've been looking for him for years."
"Hm," Mulder said, not very interested.
"It just rang a bell, for some reason…"
"Maybe we can look into it when we get to the office."
"Maybe," Scully said thoughtfully, and turned back to the report.
Mulder lingered for a moment before he shrugged slightly, and headed up the stairs. Whatever it was about this scientist, he had certainly piqued Scully's interest. And at the moment, especially because it was a Monday, any interest was better than none.
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2009
"Hey, Scully, check this out. On July 29th of this year, Bruce E. Ivins, the anthrax guy—remember him?"
"The FBI was after him for years and had finally built up a solid case when he committed suicide," Scully said absently, filing a piece of paper into a folder and setting it aside. "I remember him."
"Killed himself on July 29th. In a psychiatric hospital, where he was going to be evaluated. His psychiatrist described him as homicidal and sociopathic."
"How shocking for a man who decided to test his anthrax cure by releasing it to humans in 2001."
"But Scully, he was employed by the Army."
"And on September 21st, Justin LeRains, working for the Navy as a marine researcher, looking into cures for cancer found in the rare species at the bottom of the ocean, killed himself after being placed in a psychiatric hospital. He was under suspicion from the Navy and the FBI, for attempting a city-wide bioterrorism attack. Remember in 2003, the threats to the New York City subway system? They think LeRains was working with Al Qaeda to test Cyanide, and had been since 2001."
"Okay," Scully said, and turned around to face him. She recognized that tone, and in all reality, this paperwork was boring her to tears. "What else do you have?"
Mulder grinned. "Many of the chemicals he had threatened to use were originally found at the bottom of the ocean, in species no one had ever heard of. He used his research to attempt to test his own cure for this bioweapon, which was one of his other jobs. Besides cancer research, the Navy was interested in testing the same cures for bioweapons, such as cyanide."
"Wait…I heard about this. They suspected that a possible cure for certain kinds of cancer could also be used as an antidote for certain bioweapons. I don't think anything came of that research, though," Scully pondered. She stood up, and walked over to Mulder's computer screen.
"Then on October 18th, Cynthia Hassletuck committed suicide in a psychiatric facility after being removed from her job. The FBI suspected her of working with terrorists to arrange the 2004 Madrid Train bombing. Guess where Hassletuck worked."
"For the Army, developing robot technology to disarm bombs," Scully read.
"More than qualified to give the terrorists a nearly fool-proof cell phone detonation plan to use against Spain's train system, especially after eight years of research."
"And the FBI was closing in on her, just as the DEA was closing in on Peter Winfield, from Colorado. A scientist working on a successful detox program for a new kind of street drug that had just barely broken into the cities of America."
"And then yesterday, he kills himself as well, from a psychiatric hospital. This may be one of the first times I say it, Mulder, but it definitely has a certain scent to it."
Mulder smiled, and nodded. "I think it reeks like rotting Korean Kim chi, but that's just me."
"Not a fan of Kim chi, Mulder?"
"Rotting Kim chi, no. But anyway, I think there's a connection here, but I don't think it's the terrorist attacks."
Scully's eyebrow slowly went up. "Then what are you thinking?"
"These people were all in positions to work on more than one task, have access to more resources than your average scientist. And they all kill themselves now, eight years after they began their days of testing their research on human subjects."
"So you think they were working together on something else?"
"Possibly. I think a start would be collecting as much information on these people as we possibly can, and trying to squeeze answers out of whoever's in charge of the latest large scale attacks. The 7/7 London bus and underground attacks, the bridge collapse in Minnesota, hell, even the miners trapped last summer. Anything that made the national or international news."
Scully nodded. "I'll let Skinner know what we're doing."
"Another thing, Scully…think about each of these attacks. Every one of them was easy."
She paused a moment, and then nodded. "You're right. In every situation, the scientists had easy access to the weapons, and the weapons used were not difficult for them to deploy."
"Sending anthrax in an envelope would be easy for an anthrax researcher. Trying to test cyanide on the NYC subway system would be easy for someone who not only has the help of the terrorists but the access to cyanide deployment computer programs. Cell phone bombs would be like playing with Legos for a robotics researcher with access to government labs."
"And running a drug ring with teenagers as the prime customers would be a lot easier to set up for someone who works for the DEA."
"They were also all fragile people, Scully. I don't think they got together of their own volition."
"How do you know they weren't forced into those psychiatric hospitals, and then killed? We've seen that before, what makes you doubt the possibility now?"
"All of them had a history of homicidal threats. Each and every one of their psychiatrists described them as homicidal and sociopathic. Now if you have a brilliant scientist who can orchestrate a major attack in his spare time, has no moral qualms about killing and is easily convinced to do it for his own benefit, isn't that the kind of pawn you'd like to have on your team if you're into human experimentation?"
Scully nodded slowly. "The question becomes…who were they experimenting on? And for what purpose? None of these scientists were in the same field. You could make an argument for Ivins and LeRains, with bioweapons. But that's still a stretch."
"Either there's one unifying cause," Mulder said as he stood up and went to the filing cabinet to pull out a blank X-file folder, "Or the cause is completely unrelated."
"I'll go talk to Skinner."
"I'll start the paperwork."