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Time passed. Tense time. Time that left Marita and X feeling on edge. Some mornings, most mornings, she awoke to feel the weight of the world on her shoulders. She wondered if X felt the same. Her heels clicked in time with her heart's pounds as she made her way down the hallway.

As she rounded the corner, still at a brisk pace, she stopped short nearly running into Xavier.  "Come with me," she said tersely, ducking into the room next to them - a storage closet.

He followed, his bulk blocking the doorway, "What is it, Ms. Covarrubias?"

"This investigation is not making me a happy woman.  Apparently the boys in the boxcar division have been at war with one another.  Trying to steal one another's work.  But there's a bigger problem."

"What's that?"

"Agent Mulder's trying to track down one of the boxcars.  But my review of the security footage shows me that Rival A planted a bomb on it."

"It would be a shame to lose all that work if Agent Mulder were to set it off."

"It would.  But it gets worse.  Rival B exposed the patient to the Ebola virus. To make sure that the good doctor won't be a rival anymore.  But he also planted strains of it in the medical equipment.  The breathing masks.  The gloves.  The surgical ventilation system."

"What are you telling me?"

"If that bomb goes off, the surgical ventilation system might not burn thoroughly enough to kill the virus.  An entire population could be infected if the powder that contains the virus were to be spread on the wind."

X's jaw set, "We have quarantine that boxcar."

"If no one enters the boxcar, it should remain safe until we can take custody of it."

"I'll get a message to Agent Mulder immediately."

********************

In the poorly lit hallway outside of Mulder's apartment, Scully shuffled through her keys, finally wrapping her fingers around the one she wanted. She made her way down the hallway, when a voice stopped her in her tracks.

"Agent Scully." A deep voice coming from the shadows. It was familiar, smooth, commanding. She whirled on her heel to see X standing down the hallway. He started to walk towards her.

"What are you doing here?" She tried to keep her voice steady, but something about this man jostled her - made the hairs on her arms stand on end.

"Have you spoken to Agent Mulder?" The cagey look on Scully's face was something he hadn't noticed until now. It wasn't anything like the calm, poised look that Marita often wore.

"No, why?" Scully practically spat.


X lowered his voice the slightest hint, "He's in danger."

Her brow furrowed for a fraction of a second, "How do you know?"

X moved closer, "He's tracking a train. You can't let him get on it."

"I don't know what you're talking about." The words came out harsh, almost panicked, as she flung the door to Mulder's apartment open. She rushed inside, and began to shut the door in his face. Damn, this little redhead could be a pain in the ass.

X's hand shot out and slammed against the door, forcing it open. "You've got to get word to him."


She was frowning now, but at least she wasn't trying to shut the door on his face again. "Why should I trust you? You've lied to us before."

X fought back an eye roll that would make a pre-teen jealous, and tried not to sigh. Why the hell didn't she understand the urgency of the situation? He was suddenly thankful for Marita's trust and knowledge of the Syndicate's inner workings. "You're wasting time. Do you understand?"

Scully stared at him.

"You know how to get in touch with him.  Do it."

There was an urgency in his voice that made Scully act.  She reached for her cell phone, hitting 3 buttons in quick succession.

X could hear the phone ringing.  He heard the beep as Mulder answered his phone.  He could barely hear Mulder's voice on the other end of the line, "Mulder."

There were no niceties exchanged - she got right to business. "Mulder, don't get on the train."

"Why not?"


"Because they know where you are," Scully paused as the connection cut out, "and they know what you're doing."

"Who told you that?"

"Look, Mulder, it's just too dangerous."

"Who told you, Scully?"

"It's coming, Scully."

"Let it go."

"I can't."

"Mulder, don't get on the train." Scully repeated imperatively.  She and X both heard rumbling through the phone's tiny speaker.  

"Mulder. Mulder!" the redhead did know how to up the volume.  X was a little surprised.

Mulder landed with a loud thump, and suppressed a yelp of pain as his legs compressed under the jarring drop of his body weight. The phone slipped out of his hand on impact, and he struggled to reach it as it slid over the side of the traincar. Aw, Damn it.

Arms outstretched, he began to make his way towards the other end of the car. His attempts to steady himself were not going as well as he had hoped, and his legs felt like jelly. It reminded him of the time his parents had taken him and Sam to the carnival, and they had let them both ride the Scrambler nine times in a row. It's funny how memories will crop up in your mind at the strangest times.

With small steps he inched forward, not knowing whether to be thrilled or terrified. He settled for both.

Back in Mulder's apartment, X knew with a sinking feeling that the agent had just made his life immensely more difficult.

"Mulder? Answer me!" Scully was sounding frazzled, but finally gave up, hitting the button on her phone. She turned a glare towards X, "I want to know what's on that train."

 

"It doesn't matter now."

"Our government is operating a secret railroad. They put something on that train in West Virginia, something living."

For a brief second X found her naivete charming. It must be nice to operate in the confines of society, knowing so little of the dark underbelly of the government, "What more is there to know?"

Scully was getting annoyed, he could see it on her face, "What the Japanese have to do with it. How a man named Ishimaru is involved."

There was only so much the FBI agent should know. Not everything could be up for discussion, "That I don't know."  X turned to leave, but found himself staring at a gun.

"Don't tell me you don't know, you smug son of a b..."  In one quick motion X's hand shot forward, snatching the gun from her grip. He had spent too long in the shadowy underworld to be caught off guard by a brandished gun held by a slightly hysterical federal agent. She stared at him in shock.

When he spoke, his voice was deadly calm, and full of warning, "There are limits to my knowledge." She didn't need to know that right now those limits were self-imposed.

"I don't have time for your convenient ignorance."

"What were you going to do? Shoot me? Just like the men that shot your sister?"

"You know them too?"

"You want to know what's on that train? Who killed your sister? You find out what they put in your neck."

"The implant," her voice held a wondrous quality, as though she hadn’t thought of evidence being under her own skin.  Perhaps she hadn’t.

X held her in his gaze for a few seconds before responding, "It holds more than I could ever tell you. Maybe everything you need to know."  With a turn of his wrist he faced the gun handle towards Scully, and handed her weapon back to her.  Scully took it gingerly from his hand, and he walked out, leaving her speechless.  

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

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