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"We have a train car problem," the Smoking Man stated.

Marita waited patiently.

Smoke was exhaled slowly, "Someone leaked video of an autopsy from one of the boxcar clinics. Agent Mulder is starting to ask questions. Marita, I would like you to investigate the leak."

"Me, Sir? I'm not familiar with the boxcar employees."

"That's exactly why I want you to investigate. Someone familiar with the employees, and the operation, may miss something. You'll be new to it, and you'll be more likely to spot any problems and clues."

"Yes, Sir."

"I'm going to ask X to put you in touch with one of my lead agents on Project Treehouse. Remember, everyone is suspect, including the project managers."

"I will, Sir."

"That is all. Come back to me with your findings - even if your investigation is not conclusive, any direction for my own investigation will be appreciated."

And the unspoken instruction - if she could find out exactly who was responsible, it would be a feather in her cap. "Is that all, Sir?"

"Yes. X should be in touch with you early this afternoon."

"Thank you, Sir."


"What do you know about the boxcar project?"

"The Syndicate conducts medical experiments in the traincars. Sometimes on humans, sometimes on colonists, sometimes on the abominations we've created with our own meddling in God's domain. It's an unpleasant business I've never had any reason to learn more about, and never wanted to." X's face seemed harder than usual. Angry, sad, disgusted. She couldn't quite make out which.

Marita considered his words for a minute, "Have you ever been in one of them? A traincar, I mean. Have you ever seen any of the "abominations”?"

X frowned, "I've seen things that haunt my dreams. Things I don't want to see, or think about, ever again."

Marita got the hint woven not so subtly through his tone, and let the topic of abominations drop. Judging by the look on his face, the things they did were horrific, and she didn't feel the need to press him for more information. Chances are, she wouldn't get any more out of him anyway.

X seemed so much more tense these days. Things were again heating up again at the Syndicate. Small fissures were starting to show in the Elders' solidarity as tempers bubbled over into full verbal assaults. Long held secrets were unshrouded, and work unraveled by curious agents and people who wanted "the truth" (whatever that was now) was uncovered for the public to see.

Sometimes Marita wondered who the real villains were in all of this. Would complete disclosure, and potential panic of the world's population, really be a good thing? Maybe some secrets were destined to remain hidden. Maybe not. One thing was certain, though: It was taking its toll on her, and X was starting to look as tired as she felt.

X set his hand on her leg, "Sort of on that same topic, I've had an idea."

"What's that?"

"Agent Mulder is an undeniable pain the the ass. But he's also undeniably stubborn. I think we can use him for our own purposes."

"How so?"

"Well, there are things we don't like going on..."

"Right..." Comprehension flashed in her eyes, and she nodded, "Oh, I see. We can use him to make the Syndicate back off of our least favorite projects."

He nodded, "And we can use him to drive interest in our own favorites. Really, I got the idea from Krycek - last time I saw him, he mentioned that anything can be made into a resource, if you think about it the right way."

"So...what are you thinking?"

"He's already onto the boxcar project, he just doesn't know it yet. I think we should drive him to pursue it, and heat things up even more."

Marita was silent for a minute, and he could tell that she was pondering all possible outcomes. Detailed and thorough to the brink of neurotic paranoia - she had learned at the knee of the master. He also knew that she felt the same way he did -- that some truths needed to be protected, while others begged to be exposed to all the right people.

The Syndicate had become something that Ronald had begun to loathe. Too much power in too few hands, he had once said. And his selfless quest to expose some of the inner-mechanisms of the shadow group was ultimately what caused his brutal end.

X was eager to have some Syndicate truths exposed, not so willing to wind up like Ronald because of it. No, the two of them, him and Marita...hell, even Krycek...would have to be cunning about this. Shrewd masterminds that merely worked the right puppet strings. He too had learned from his mentor.

Finally, Marita spoke, although her voice was much softer than her usual tone. This told X that she wasn't entirely convinced. "With some precautions, and a healthy amount of luck, I think we can make it work."

X scratched his head, "I know just how to confirm for him that he's onto something big."

"How do you plan to do that?"

"How else? I'll ransack his apartment. It won't take long, and it'll convince him to keep looking. I can find time for that after I see you to the current center of operations."

She smiled a little, "How do you find time for it all?"

With a quick wink, X turned, and Marita watched him walk out the door.

He moved through alleyways and shadows until he finally reached Mulder's apartment. The lights were off, so it was a pretty safe assumption that he wasn't home. With a deep breath he made his way up the back stairwell of the building.

Sometimes X really had to wonder why he hadn't gone into the gloriously peaceful candy making business like his family.

CSM: Nothing vanishes without a trace...burn it!

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