Thanksgiving by aka Jake

Title: Thanksgiving

Author: aka "Jake"

Rating: R (Language, Violence, Adult Themes, Sexual Situations)

Classification: X, MSR, Post Series

Summary: Scully’s family is coming for Thanksgiving 2023 and she’s hoping to make it a perfect holiday. When William shows up unexpectedly, asking for Mulder’s help, things don’t go as planned. But some nagging questions are answered: Why was Charlie estranged from the family? What’s the meaning behind Maggie’s mysterious quarter? Who is Jackson Van De Kamp’s real father?

Disclaimer: These characters belong to Chris Carter, FOX, and 1013 Productions. No copyright infringement intended. Fun, yes. Profit, no.

Authors Notes: “Thanksgiving” is a follow-up to my story “Reprise.” It’s not necessary to read that one but to catch you up: Scully is retired from the FBI, Skinner is Deputy Director, Mulder has a new partner named Matthew Somers, and Mulder and Scully have a 5-year-old daughter named Katie. Oh, and Mulder broke his left arm 8 weeks before Thanksgiving, during a fight with Eugene Victor Tooms. :)

Special thanks to Alicia for inspiring this story and for catching a few of my goofs and to xdksfan for beta!


Jackson had become quite adept at hiding his identity by clouding people’s perceptions and making them believe he was someone -- or something -- else. He’d been perfecting the skill for years. But he hadn’t found a way to fool security cameras. So to avoid arousing the suspicions of the watchdogs who surveilled the Merrypointe Institute of Genomics via its numerous remote cameras, he decided to disguise himself as a typical FBI Agent. Suit and tie, sidearm, sunglasses. His hair was cut short and neatly combed. His face was clean shaven.

As for the receptionist at the lobby desk, he would push his influence onto her so that, to her, he would look and sound exactly like Fox Mulder.

His father. Maybe.

Or maybe not.

That’s what he was here to find out. At least in part.      

Jackson entered the modern, multistory building and crossed the expansive lobby to a gleaming, semicircular reception desk at the center of the room. He walked with confidence, after all, he was expected. Or rather, Fox Mulder was expected. Jackson had phoned for an appointment two days ago, using a burner phone purchased specifically for that purpose.

A brunette in her mid-twenties greeted him with a friendly smile. According to the tag on her lapel, her name was Teresa.     

“I have an appointment with Dr. Helen Shaheen,” Jackson said.

“Your name, please?”

“Special Agent Fox Mulder, Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Teresa checked the daily calendar on her computer monitor. “Ah, yes, there you are. I’ll need to see some ID, please.”

Jackson pulled a fake ID from his pocket, a kids toy badge he picked up at Walmart. Would it fool her?

“Excellent. I’ll need to scan that.” She reached for it. When he didn’t pass it over, she continued, “I also need you to sign our non-disclosure agreement and leave any weapons here at the front desk. You’ll have to leave your phone or any other recording devices, too. Video and audio recording is strictly forbidden inside the building. Don’t worry, your belongings will be safe. We lock everything up until you’re ready to go.” She slid a digital tablet across the counter to him. “Sign here, please.”

“Why do you need to scan my badge?”

“Security is tight here, Agent Mulder, as you might imagine. Our system's AI will flag any IDs it deems fraudulent. You’d be surprised how many people try to use bogus credentials to gain access to our research, which, quite frankly, represents a significant dollar investment.”

Damn it, this wasn’t going to work. He could forge Mulder’s signature easily enough -- he’d practiced -- but he couldn’t chance using the fake ID.

“Hold on a second,” he said, pretending to have felt the vibration of his phone alerting him to an urgent text message. He reached into his pocket for his cell and glanced at its blank screen before tucking it away again. “My apologies. I’m going to have to meet with Dr. Shaheen another time. I’ll call later to set up a new appointment.”

He pocketed the toy badge and beelined for the exit.

“You have a nice day, Agent Mulder,” she called out to him just before he pushed through the doors.

Maybe he could steal a real FBI badge. Or get a more convincing fake? Something that would fool the scanner’s AI? Getting in to see Dr. Shaheen was supposed to have been the easy part of today’s mission. Now he’d have to come up with another plan.

11:12 PM

Mulder slowly climbed the porch steps. Dead tired. It had been a long day. Hell, it had been a long month. At the door, he stood for a moment as he often did, head tilted back, eyes closed, trying to let go of the day’s stress before stepping inside.

Scully had left the porch light on for him. Moths flitted around it, attracted to its brilliance, only to be caught in a spider’s web attached to the rafters above. They struggled but couldn’t break free. He felt like that sometimes. Not about life in general and certainly not about his life with Scully and Katie -- he loved them both with all his heart -- but some days work felt never-ending. No matter how many cases he solved, or didn’t solve, there were always more to investigate. Maybe he was getting old. Too old to be chasing monsters. A thought he’d been having a lot lately, it seemed.

The cast on his left arm itched and got him moving. He turned the doorknob and pushed through the front door.

Over the past few weeks, ever since Scully had decided to invite her family for Thanksgiving -- all of them, at least all that were left -- he was never quite certain what new thing would greet him at home. A colorful wool area rug replaced the old oval braided rug beneath the dining room table, which was also new, with leaves that could be added to seat more people. Admittedly, the old table had needed replacing after being shot through by Russian agents almost six years ago. (Was that really six years ago?) Apparently, Scully had decided the “temporary” plywood top they’d been using to cover the bullet holes wasn’t suitable for her upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. She’d also bought candlesticks and real cloth napkins, a linen tablecloth, matching silverware for twelve, and heavy pottery dishes. She replaced the couch, too, and bought side chairs to match. New lamps. Oh, and bedding for their room, Katie’s room, and the guest room. Plush towels for the two bathrooms. She even painted the kitchen!

He had to admit, it all looked nice. And it wasn’t like an upgrade wasn’t long overdue or they couldn’t afford it. But it seemed clear to him that the real reason behind this overhaul was that she was nervous about hosting Thanksgiving for her family. It would be the first time most of them were coming to the house for a visit. Or to meet Katie. Or to meet him, for that matter. Somehow, she’d managed to talk Charlie into coming. He was bringing his husband Kurt. Bill Jr. and Tara had accepted her invitation, too, as had their son Matthew and his wife Avery and two young boys, who were about Katie’s age. Bill Jr.’s daughter Becca...uh, correction, his son Braden since he transitioned three years ago...was out of the country with friends, so was unable to come.

The house was mostly dark when he stepped inside. Dim under-counter lights reflected off the kitchen sink. Scully sat in the living room with her legs folded up beneath her in one of the new chairs. Lit by the floor lamp beside her, she paged through recipes on her tablet. Mulder deposited his computer bag outside his closed office door. He didn’t have the energy to open the door and set it inside.

“You waited up.” He leaned down and kissed her lips, lingering there for a moment to show his appreciation.

“It’s not so late.” She clicked off her tablet and set it on the coffee table. “How was your day?”

“Ah, you know. Chased a mutant. Shut down a government conspiracy. Got a great photo of Elvis and Bigfoot beside an alien spaceship.”

“Same old, same old.” She smiled.

“I can’t believe you gave it all up.” He lowered himself onto the couch and relaxed into the cushions.

“I have other priorities now. Have you eaten?”

“Yes, I stole Agent Somers’s lunch before I left the office.” A lie, but he didn’t want to trouble her for dinner at this late hour. She'd already done enough food prep and cleaning for the holiday. She looked as tired as he felt. He’d scrounge something up later. Or not.

“So what’s Agent Somers going to eat?” she asked, maybe not believing his story.

“Somers is a big boy. He’ll figure something out.” Matthew Somers was young and green, but he was turning out to be a very capable agent. He’d never replace Scully, of course, but as a partner, he seemed up to the task. He had an open mind when it came to unexplainable phenomena, which Mulder appreciated. “Sorry I missed Katie’s bedtime.”

“Again,” she said, not unkindly. “She was hoping you’d tuck her in and tell her a ‘mewdant’ story.”

Katie never tired of hearing about his past adventures chasing mutants.

“Did she have a particular story in mind?”

“Eugene Tooms. Of course.”

“She does like that one.” She’d drawn a picture of Tooms’ yellow eyes on his cast with markers a few days ago after hearing the story for the millionth time. He’d be glad when the damn cast came off in two weeks. It itched like hell and was looking none too clean. But he’d probably save it anyway, store it away somewhere, since it was covered with Katie’s scribblings. How would Scully feel if he had it made into a lamp? “Did you give her your version?”

“She doesn’t like my version. It’s boring, apparently, compared to yours. You want something to drink?”

“I wouldn’t say no to a beer.”     

She wandered to the kitchen and brought back two bottles of pale ale. Rather than return to her chair, she sank down next to him. He took one of the beers and they clinked bottles. He loosened his tie.

“How are things going here at the home-front?” He took a swig and settled closer to her. Their arms pressed together from elbow to shoulder. The contact felt nice.

“Like a well-orchestrated military maneuver.”

“Are we about to go to war?”

“A war of emotions, maybe. I haven’t seen Charlie in more than thirty years. He’s been living in Washington State most of that time.”

“Do you know what caused him to become estranged from the family?”

“No, not really. I’m hoping to learn more. If he’s willing to share. By the way, only Charlie and Kurt are staying here at the house. Bill and the others have booked rooms at a hotel in town.”

“Thank you, Jesus.”

“Mulder!” She gave him a playful slap.    

He responded by nuzzling her neck. Despite all their years together, he still found her scent intoxicating and he felt himself begin to grow hard. Maybe he wasn’t so old after all. “Since Katie is asleep and this will be our last chance to be alone for a while, how about you give me my Thanksgiving present early?” He inched his fingers under the hem of her blouse.

“Mulder, Thanksgiving isn’t a gift-giving occasion.”

“It’s not? Then I guess you don’t want this...” He sat back, dug into his suit coat pocket, and pulled out a small box, gift wrapped in silver and tied with a pale blue ribbon.

Her eyes went wide. “What’s this?”

“Open it.” He handed it to her.

She excitedly pulled off the ribbon and tore through the shiny wrapping. She paused only a moment before lifting the lid. Nestled in velvet was a sterling silver cuff bracelet, inlaid with lapis lazuli and bursts of color from coral, spiny oyster shell, turquoise, sugillite. It was a modern take on a traditional Native American design, made by Navaho jeweler Earl Plummer. Elegant and expensive. Its deep blue color and wave-like pattern reminded Mulder of ocean currents reflecting starlit skies, intense and infinite. Like his love for Scully.

“Oh, Mulder...” Tears shone in her eyes.

“You like it?”

“It’s quite a step up from my Apollo keyring.”

“Well, that was just a birthday gift. This is a *Thanksgiving* gift.”

“Of course.” She smiled as she stroked the inlay. “It’s beautiful. I love it.”

“There’s an inscription.”

She turned the inside of the bracelet toward the light.   


A tear slipped over her lower lashes and skidded down her cheek. “I’m not sure I deserve that particular endearment. I didn’t stick by you when--“ The words stalled in her throat. More tears fell.

“Aw, none of that.” He drew her to him and held on tight. “You came back to me. I’ll be forever grateful."  

“Oh, Mulder...” She pressed her lips to his and kissed him with such fervor, it took his breath away.

7:34 AM

“I’ll need your help today, Mulder,” Scully reminded him. She put the last of the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and pressed the on button.

Mulder liked the way the new bracelet looked on her wrist, catching the early morning light.

Katie sat at the table with paper and markers, tracing around her small hand to make a picture of a turkey, her thumb serving as the head and her splayed fingers as the tail feathers.

“At your service, as promised,” he said. “What can I do?”

He leaned over Katie and planted a kiss the crown of her head, making her giggle. He’d taken the day off specifically to run errands for Scully before her family arrived. Somers was holding down the fort at the Hoover Building for the next few days. Mulder didn’t even feel guilty about it. This was the first family holiday he’d taken in...well, maybe ever.

Scully eyed the cast on his arm. “Will you be able to split and haul wood to the fire pit?”

“Still have one good arm.” He waved it at her. “How much firewood do you need?”

“Enough for a four- or five-hour campfire, if you can manage it. The weather is supposed to be unusually nice tonight. And could you move some chairs from the shed down to the pond, too? Oh, and bail out the rowboat? Maybe dig out the fishing rods?”

“Can do. What time do the hordes arrive?”

Katie paused at her drawing. “What does hordes mean?”

Scully scowled at Mulder. He still hadn’t learned to watch what he said in front of their daughter. She’d been repeating the word “asshat” for at least six months.

“It means ‘crowds.’” Mulder affectionately palmed her head.

Katie nodded and returned to coloring her turkey feathers.

“Charlie and Kurt will be here by mid-afternoon,” Scully said. “The others are coming over for the cookout after they check into their hotel.”

“Then I’d better get started.” Mulder gave her a peck on the cheek and headed outside.

*     *     *

He worked up a sweat splitting wood for the campfire. It was awkward wielding the axe one-handed. But he managed to split a cartload full and wheeled it across the meadow to the pond, where the fire pit was located. Then he bailed out the boat and for a few minutes considered diving into the water to cool off. Unfortunately, he had nothing to wrap around his cast to keep it dry, so he gave up the idea. Which was just as well since he had plenty more tasks ahead of him.

Needing the cart to haul the chairs from the shed, he emptied it and stacked the wood a short distance from the fire pit. It took three trips to get all the chairs to the pond. They were a mismatched bunch, left behind by the home’s previous owner. Mulder was a bit surprised Scully hadn’t decided to replace them all with new ones for today’s cookout.

Next he wheeled the gas grill out of storage and gave it a thorough cleaning. It went to the pond, too, as did a couple of long folding tables. He wiped those down as well, once he’d set them in place.

He stood beside the pond and took a moment to survey his work. The only thing left to do was dig out the fishing gear from the back of the shed. If he hurried, he would have just enough time to get that done and then take a shower and change into clean clothes before Charlie and Kurt arrived.

He hiked back up to the shed and stepped inside. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust from the bright sunshine outside to the dim interior.

“Don’t be alarmed,” a man’s voice came from out of the dark, startling him. Mulder reached for a nearby shovel. “You won’t need that,” the voice said.

To his astonishment, his son stepped from the shadows, hands raised, palms out, to show he was unarmed.   


“Please, don’t call me that.”

“Sorry.” Mulder wanted so badly to reach out and embrace this young man who was somehow miraculously alive. His son -- though not according to Scully, who was told a horrifying narrative by Skinner. Who heard it from that lying cigarette-smoking bastard. Mulder wasn’t sure what to believe but he’d never put much credence in second- or third-hand information and he certainly didn’t trust CGB Spender to tell the truth. “I’ll try to remember to call you Jackson.”

“I’m not sure I want to be called that anymore either.”

“What should I call you?”


“Hm, I think that should be my name.” Mulder had witnessed Jackson, disguised as himself, shot in the head by his own father five years ago. How was it he was standing here now, clearly alive? “Not that I’m not glad to see you, but why aren’t you dead?”

“That’s a question I want answered, too. One of many. You wouldn’t happen to have any insight into it, would you?”

“Insight? Not so much. But I have plenty of niggling suspicions.”

“Well, I want more than suspicions. I want to know what I am. And how I came to be.”

“I’d like to know those things, too.” Mulder took a deep breath, trying to steady himself. Seeing William...Jackson...was a shock. Both wonderful and mysterious at the same time. And completely unexpected. “What can I do? I’ll help in any way I can.”

“Lend me your FBI ID.”

“Any way but that.”

“Then come with me and bring it with you.”

“To where?”

"Merrypointe Institute of Genomics.”

“What’s there?”

“Answers, I think.”

William...Jackson was no longer a baby-faced teen. He was a young man of twenty-two. And there was a hardness to him now. All trace of fear was gone. Yet he’d come here for help.

“Okay,” Mulder said.

“You’ll help me?”

“Of course. Just let me know when.”

“You have a 8:00 p.m. appointment tonight with a Dr. Shaheen, head of the institute.”

“Eight p.m. on the night before Thanksgiving? You don’t find that odd?”

“I find it fortuitous. The facility will be nearly empty, which will work in our favor.”

What did Will-- uh, Jackson have planned?

“Where’s this institute located?” Mulder asked.

“Tantamount Falls, Connecticut.”

“Connecticut? That's a nine hour drive. I don’t think we’re going to make that meeting.”

“We’re not driving. I have plane tickets for us both. Flight leaves in an hour.”

“Sounds like you’ve thought of everything,” Mulder said, doubting it was true. He glanced back at the house. He’d promised Scully he’d be here to meet her family, help her out. Thinking about her brought up another question. “How is it your mother doesn’t sense you’re here? I thought you two shared a connection of sorts.”

“I’ve blocked her.”

“That sounds like you’re unfriending someone on social media.”

“It would hurt her to know about me right now.”

“Hurt her? She’d be ecstatic to know you’re alive.”

“Would she? She’s been told I’m not your son. She believes that now. Maybe I believe it, too. To be honest, I'm not certain I'm actually *her* son.”

“No. She had DNA testing done, when she was pregnant with you and when you were a baby."

"Can you trust those results?"

Could he? He wasn't there at the time. Had Scully done the testing herself? Or was it done by Parenti or some other untrustworthy source?

"Jackson, she carried you in her womb. She gave birth to you, under trying circumstances, I might add. She fed you and cared for you and kept you safe for months. And when she couldn’t keep you safe any longer, she made a mother’s greatest sacrifice: she let you go so you would be safe. Not a day goes by when she doesn’t think of you, doesn’t wonder if she made the right decision, doesn’t wish things could’ve been different, and prays you’re okay. She loves you. She will always love you. Your DNA doesn't matter.”

“But it does. My inexplicable abilities...” Some of the old fear crept back into Jackson’s eyes. “She loved what she thought I was. But I’m likely something very different.”

Mulder felt his stomach roll uneasily. “What exactly do you expect to find at Merrypointe?”

“The truth. Which may be difficult for her to hear. Maybe for you, too.”

“Don’t worry about me. Nothing surprises me any more.” Now he did reach out. He clasped Jackson’s arm just above his wrist, in part to prove to himself that his son was real, not an apparition, but also to connect with him. It pleased him when Jackson didn’t pull away. “And just so you know, I’ll always think of you as my son, too, whether you carry my genes or not.”

The sound of a car driving up the driveway to the house caught both of their attentions. Charlie and Kurt, right on schedule. Mulder had to make a decision. Help Scully or help Jackson.

“Give me a few minutes to wash up and change,” he said without pause. “Meet you back here?”

“No, there’s an old farm stand down the road. Looks like it’s been closed for years,” Jackson said. “You know it?”


“I’ll be there, waiting out back. Meet me in thirty minutes.” Jackson stepped back into the shadows. “And don’t tell her about me.”

“I won’t.” Not yet.

Scully was not going to like this. Any of it. Mulder was willingly disappearing on her, ditching her family, lying by omission, keeping Jackson’s miraculous appearance to himself. But he so very badly wanted the answers Jackson was looking for, answers to questions Mulder had been seeking for decades. And how could he say no to helping his son after being absent most of the boy’s life? He yearned to make up for all the years he’d missed, in any way possible.

*     *     *

Charlie and Kurt’s arrival caused a serendipitous diversion and bought Mulder some time. While Scully and Katie greeted them out front, he slipped into the house through he back door and up the staircase. He took a quick shower, cursing the damn cast that needed to be wrapped in plastic so it wouldn’t get wet. He was dried off, dressed, and knotting his tie when Scully caught up with him in their bedroom.

“What are you doing, Mulder?” She glanced at his suit coat laid out on the bed.

“Going to work.”

“What do you mean you’re going to work?”

“I’ve been called in. Hopefully, it won’t take long.” It would take hours to get to Connecticut and back. And he had no idea how long he’d be there. “I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? Mulder, I’ve been planning this holiday for weeks. Charlie and Kurt are already here. They’re eager to meet you. Bill and the others are on their way.” She sounded desperate, panicked.

He felt like a bastard for leaving her. “I wouldn’t go if it wasn’t important.”

“Today is important, Mulder, to me. Very important. My family, the cookout--“

“I understand all that. All I can say is this wasn’t my idea.”

“I thought Agent Somers was covering for you.”

“Something came up. Something he can’t help with.”

“Can you at least tell me what it’s about? Where you'll be? How long you’ll be gone?”

“No. Sorry, Scully.” He holstered his gun, shrugged into his jacket, and tucked his badge into a pocket. In an effort to atone for his defection, he pulled her to him for a quick embrace and kissed the crown of her head. “Say hi to Bill Jr. for me,” he said before releasing her and heading for the door.

“Damn you, Mulder.”

Her anger stung. If she only knew the truth...but she couldn’t know, not yet. Not until he could be sure she wouldn’t be hurt by it.

He hurried down the stairs, past the questioning faces of Charlie, Kurt, and even Katie. “I’ll be back. Make yourselves at home,” he said and walked out the front door.

As he was about to get in his car, Scully shouted from the front porch. “Fox!” Her use of his first name was so rare, it never failed to catch and hold his attention. “Please, be safe. And come back as soon as you can.”

“As soon as I can,” he called back.

He slid into the driver’s seat, started the car, and peeled out of the driveway in a spray of gravel. He steered the car toward the old farm stand to rendezvous with Jackson.


The beverage cart rolled down the aisle past their seats and the flight attendant continued passing out snacks and drinks to the passengers in the rear of the plane. As soon as she was out of earshot, Mulder leaned toward Jackson and asked in a low voice, “Tell me what you know.”

“I know that ova from abductees were removed from the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Lehigh Furnace, Pennsylvania in ’97.”

After Mulder had found Scully’s ova there. " Yes, I went back there to check. The place was cleared out.”

Jackson nodded. “Same thing happened at the Harrow Convalescent Home in Boca Raton, Florida, where you learned experiments were being conducted on elderly women, who served as surrogates.”

“It’s surprising how fast those places can be shut down, cleaned out.”

“But maybe not at the Department of Defense Research Facility in Sethberg, Virginia, where you saw alien bodies, part of the hybridization program.”

“Maybe not. I couldn’t get back in there. How do you know all this, by the way?”

“I hacked your reports. The X-Files are all online now.”

“Yes, I’m aware.” Mulder ate the last pretzel from the small bag he’d been given. He was hungry after working all morning and was sorry to be missing the cookout. For lots of reasons. Scully and her family were likely grilling brats and steaks right now, enjoying each other’s company. Making Scully smile. “You must’ve read about Transgen Pharmaceuticals and the part Dr. Calderon played in creating alien-human hybrids.”

“I did. And Dr. Parenti later on.” If the topic bothered Jackson, he didn’t show it. “I know you and...she...tried to conceive via IVF.”

She. Not Mom. Not Scully. Would Jackson always tiptoe around her role in all this?

“The IVF didn’t work.” Mulder crumpled up the bag and stuffed it into the pocket of the seat-back in front of him.

“No, but your...donation gave them exactly what they wanted: your genetic material.”

“Like I haven’t thought about that every day since then.” The idea of possible progeny reminded Mulder of Katie, of course. Did Jackson know about her? “You have a sister now. Her name is Katie. She’s five years old.”

Jackson shook his head, dismissing the idea. “You and...and...she have a daughter together.” There was that unspecified pronoun again: she. "Me and your little girl? We may not be related, not in any normal way. You can't think there's anything natural about my conception.”

The plane shuddered when it encountered some turbulence. Jackson gripped the armrest, reminding Mulder of Scully. The fasten seatbelt light came on.

“Tell me what else you know and how Merrypointe fits into all this,” Mulder said, changing the subject.

“Several Naval ships were used in the early 2000s to house the hybridization program.”

“The USS Valor Victory, for one. It contained evidence that scientists had been secretly manipulating ova taken from abductees, readying those ova for transplantation into surrogates. Creating alien babies to serve as a slave race after colonization. The ship exploded at a Baltimore dock in 2001. Although I wasn’t around then, I read those reports, too.”

“There were several other ships as well,” Jackson said. “At least nine that I could find references to.”


“Yes. I was conceived as part of that effort, Project Crossroads, a secret government program to create human/alien hybrids. Some sources claim I’m the first successful hybrid. A miracle child.”

“You believe that?”

“No. Not entirely. There’s too much contradictory evidence.”

“Such as?”

“Evidence that leads to Merrypointe. I looked into Dr. Shaheen’s background. It took a lot of digging, but I found she was a part of a eugenics program herself, something called the Lichfield Experiment.”


“I think you knew her as Teena Simmons.”

“Eve 9.”

“Yes. Eve 8 released Eves 9 and 10 from the Whiting Institute for the Criminally Insane in December of ’93.”

“I hadn’t heard that.”

“The two girls killed Eve 8. Eve 6 took her own life a couple of years later. Chewed her own wrist until she bled to death.”

Mulder winced at the idea. “And the girls?”

“Disappeared for a couple of decades. Grew up. Joined the government hybridization project at some stage. As far as I’ve been able to find out, Eve 10 is dead. Eve 9 became Dr. Helen Shaheen.”

“How did you learn all this? It took me years to uncover just a few breadcrumbs.”

“It’s easy when you can make people think you’re somebody else.” Jackson relaxed as the plane leveled out. “Especially if they think you’re him.”


“Our alleged father.”

“That son-of-a-bitch is dead. I shot him. Emptied my clip into him and pushed him into the bay.”

“You can’t kill that man. Any more than he could kill me.”

“Ah. Of course. Why did I think any different?”

Mulder rubbed a palm over his face. Bad news on top of more bad news.

“There were some places I couldn’t go, couldn’t get into,” Jackson said. “The Department of Defense. The Pentagon. And Merrypointe. I didn’t have the appropriate credentials.”

“Which is why I’m here.”

“You could’ve just lent me your badge.” Jackson eyed the cast on Mulder’s arm. “What happened to you?”

“Got my ass kicked by a 130-year-old liver-eating mutant. But he’s dead now, so I guess I won.”

This made Jackson laugh, a delightfully hearty laugh, the first Mulder had ever heard from him. He hoped to hear it again one day. He hoped Scully could hear it, too.


With dinner over and the food picked up and put away, the men played cribbage beside the pond at one of the folding tables. They used two camp lanterns to light the board and their cards. The fire burned nearby, casting frantic shadows across their smiling faces. They had divided themselves into two teams: Charlie and Kurt versus Bill and Matty. From the howls and jeers, it sounded like Bill and his son had moved ahead.

Tara and Scully sat by the fire in the two most comfortable chairs. They sipped wine, their duties over for the day. Avery had excused herself to put her own two boys and Katie to bed. All three were bunking in Katie's room temporarily before Matt and Avery took the boys to the hotel later. Scully had expected Katie to beg to stay up with the adults but her daughter had made fast friends with her young cousins and wanted to do everything they did. She was excited to share her room with them and followed them and Avery to the house without complaint. 

“She’s pregnant again,” Tara confided.


“Yes. Hoping for a girl this time.”

“Congratulations! You’ll be a grandma times three!”

“Can you believe it? Where have the years gone?” Tara settled more comfortably into her chair and adjusted the blanket that covered her lap and legs. “Katie is a doll, by the way. I’m sorry it’s been so long since we last saw her. She was just a toddler then.”

“She changes every day.”

“Think you might have another?”

“A baby?” Scully nearly choked on her wine. “Tara!”


“I’m fifty-nine.”

“Have you gone through the change?”

In fact, she hadn’t experienced any symptoms of menopause or even perimenopause. But surely, her child-bearing years would end soon enough.

“Mulder and I have talked about it...about having more kids, but I don’t think so.”

“Well, don’t rule it out.” Tara reached over and squeezed her hand.

Scully squeezed back. “If nothing else, life with Mulder has taught me to keep an open mind.”

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a new addition to the family.” Tara chuckled, then suddenly turned serious. “Oh, Dana, I so wish she could be here. She would’ve loved this.”

She. “Mom?”

“Yes. She was so dear to me. Treated me like a daughter from day one. I miss her so much.”

“Me, too.”

Tara was right, Maggie would’ve been over the moon, surrounded by her family, serving up a big meal, everyone sitting around one table. Almost everyone. Memories -- of Ahab carving the turkey and Melissa challenging Scully to make a wish on the wishbone -- rose up like ghosts. The loss caused a terrible ache in Scully’s heart.  

“Maybe I shouldn’t bring this up,” Tara began tentatively. “But I want to say I’m very sorry about William. About his...death. And...before that.” She was tiptoeing around the subject of his adoption. “I wish I could’ve known him.”

Me, too, Scully thought. “It was difficult. All of it.”

“I’m sure and I don’t mean to make you think about all that now, during the holiday. I just hadn’t said it before, so wanted you to know I’m thinking of him, too.”

“I appreciate that. It’s actually nice to hear his name spoken out loud.”

“I don’t know all the details, of course, and don’t expect you to tell me, but I do know what it’s like to lose a child.”

“I know you do.”

Tara had had multiple miscarriages and one stillbirth before Matthew was born. Losing a child under any circumstances was heartbreaking.

“Tell me about Braden. How is he doing?” Scully changed the subject.

“Better. You know he tried to commit suicide, right? Before he transitioned.”

“No, I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”

“His life wasn’t easy. Still isn’t really. Bill made it even harder for a while. But he came around, thank goodness. I think Braden will do okay, now that he has his father’s support.”

Who would’ve thought Bill could turn out to be so open minded?

A cheer went up from Bill and Matty, followed by the slap of high fives. Charlie groaned. Kurt just shook his head.

“Bill's going to be impossible to live with now,” Tara said with a laugh.

The men wandered over to the women.    

“Will Mulder be back in time for dinner tomorrow?” Bill asked.

There was an edge to his voice. Was he taunting Scully? Or just curious.

“I hope so.” She’d heard nothing from Mulder. Where was he? What was he doing? “He said he’d try to make it.”

“Work. It’s always work with that guy. Maybe you should talk him into retiring.”

That guy? That guy was her husband! Scully rose from her chair, anger heating her face and making her heart pound. But instead of escalating the situation, she gave Bill a hug, determined to keep things friendly.

“I think we both know I can’t talk Mulder into anything he doesn’t want to do,” she said. “But I love him anyway.”

There, she said it out loud. To Bill. To them all. If Bill wanted to challenge her--

“Of course you do,” Tara said, preserving the peace. “Come on, gentlemen and Dana, there’s lots to do in the morning. Let's call it a night.”

“Thank you,” Scully whispered to Tara. She’d never appreciated her sister-in-law more than right at that moment.

8:00 PM

“What’s the plan?” Mulder sat in the driver’s seat of their parked rental car about a mile south of the Merrypointe facility. He chewed on sunflower seeds he’d picked up at the Hartford airport.

“You’re going to go in and meet Dr. Shaheen. I’ll  create a diversion to give you time to find the files -- mine, yours, hers, any others describing the hybridization program -- and download them to this.” Jackson handed him a slim portable external hard drive. “It holds five terabytes.”

“Diversion? What sort of diversion?”

“Fire alarm, most likely.”

“Most likely?” Mulder removed a shell from the tip of his tongue. “Are there other choices?”

“I’m able to interrupt electric and magnetic systems, but turning off power to the facility would shut down the computers, too. Or just cause the backup generators to come on line.” Jackson relayed this information like it was commonplace, easy to accomplish. Apparently, he was able to do more than telepathically disguise himself or make people’s heads explode. Quite literally. Not to mention his inexplicable ability to come back to life after taking a bullet to the brain. “I could also blow out a brick wall, if you want something more dramatic.”

“No, drama isn’t necessary.” Mulder cracked another seed between his teeth.

“The password to access the files is MIRACLE CHILD.”

“You're kidding!” Mulder spit out another hull. It landed on the floor by his feet. “If you have the password, why didn’t you just hack into the system and steal the files from another location?” Times like this, Mulder really missed the Gunmen.

“I tried but the data was walled off. The only way to access it is locally, through terminals within the Merrypointe building.” Jackson checked his wristwatch, a hi-tech digital thing, unlike any Mulder had ever seen. “I’ll go on foot from here, head to the west side of the building. There’s more cover there than anywhere else. It’s almost 8:00. We should get started."  

Mulder had a million more questions but Jackson was right, it was time to go.

“Good luck,” Jackson said before exiting the car. Dressed all in black, he disappeared quickly into the night.

“Same to you, son,” Mulder murmured as he shifted the car into drive and steered toward Merrypointe.

When he arrived in the parking lot, the front lobby was brightly lit but the rest of the building appeared mostly deserted. All but two or three windows were dark. He parked beside the only other car in the lot, a blue and black Bugatti. What he wouldn’t give to drive that beauty. Genomics evidently paid well, at least at the executive level.

He exited the car and walked to the front entrance, two stories of glass with four 14-foot doors. Security cameras were mounted everywhere, at least the ones they didn’t try to hide. He pushed through one of the doors, only a little surprised to find it unlocked. It clicked shut behind him. He tested it and found it wouldn’t open. He was locked in.

No one waited at the registration desk. No one watched the bank of elevators.

“Hello?” he called out. “Anyone here?”

“I’ll be right down, Agent Mulder,” a disembodied female voice said from a sound speaker hidden somewhere high in the ceiling.

Mulder nodded in acknowledgment, certain he was being watched. He wandered over to the reception desk. The monitor at its midpoint was blank, the computer shut down. No papers or pens or anything at all cluttered the polished countertop.

Looking up, he saw several levels of offices with windows overlooking the lobby. Blinds were drawn on most of them. No light shone through the narrow slats. Several closed doors lined the back and side walls of the lobby. One, on the far right, was marked STAIRS.

The clack of high heels alerted him to a woman’s approach, presumably Dr. Helen Shaheen. He turned to find a familiar face looking back at him.

Dr. Sally Kendrick. Eve 7. Wearing a lab coat, looking much the same as the last time he’d seen her. Only, it couldn’t be her. She was dead. Poisoned decades ago by Cindy Reardon and Teena Simmons. More likely she was Teena: Eve 9, the lone survivor of the Lichfield Project.

If she recognized him, she didn’t give any indication. Then again, that case had been thirty years ago and she’d been just an 8-year-old girl at the time.

She extended her hand. “Agent Mulder. Nice of you to accommodate my schedule and come at this late hour. The evening before a holiday, too. What can I do for you? You said it was important. Made it sound urgent.”

He shook her hand. Her palms were warm and dry. Her grip firm but not lingering. No telltale signs of nervousness.

The best lie is hidden between two truths, Deep Throat once told him. He decided to take that advice now.

“I’m investigating a homicide. The death of my son. I was told I’d find some answers here.”

“That’s odd. We’re dedicated to saving lives at MIG, not ending them. Who told you to come here?”

In for a penny... “CGB Spender. You know him? Or maybe you know one of his colleagues at TransGen Pharmaceuticals? Or Titenpointe?”

Would she lie and say no, putting an end to this charade?

“I’ve heard of Spender. I also heard he was dead.”

“A persistent rumor. Did you know that I’m his son?”

Nothing he said seemed to ruffle her. Not a blink or a raised eyebrow or a sharp intake of breath.

“Come with me, Agent Mulder. I want to show you something.”

“You don’t want to check my ID first?” The reason he needed to come here, according to Jackson.

“No. I know who you are. But I will ask you to remove your weapons. Both the sidearm and the gun in your ankle holster.”

“You’ve done your homework.”

“I was told you visited here yesterday but declined to stay long enough to meet with me, so I checked the security videos. You’ve aged a lot in 24 hours.”

So she did know this was a ruse.

“Yes, well, they say it’s not the years, it’s the miles.” He withdrew his Glock. “I’d prefer to hang onto this.”

“No doubt, but it’s non-negotiable. If you want to see what you’ve come for, that stays behind. Place both guns on the counter, please.”

Reluctantly, he ejected the clip, and set it and the Glock on the reception desk. Bending, he removed the Walther PPK from his ankle holster and laid it next to his service weapon. She took the Glock and its clip and locked them away beneath the counter. The Walther she slipped into her lab coat pocket along with the key to the lockbox.

“Follow me,” she said and led him to the elevators. Once inside, she pressed the button to the fourth floor, the building’s uppermost level.

“Is Jackson Van De Kamp waiting outside?” she asked. “Does he plan to create a distraction of some sort? That’s who was on the video, wasn’t it? Trying to fool my receptionist with his parlor tricks.”

“How do you know Jackson?”

“I know a lot of things. That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To find out what I know?"

The elevator came to a stop. The doors slid opened. She stepped out and turned left. He trailed after her.

“What happened to Eve 10?” he asked, deciding to cut to the chase.

“Killed herself. I believe Eve 6 told you we’re prone to suicide.”

“And yet, here you are, walking these halls, sticking your fingers into other people’s pies.”

“No thanks to you. I didn’t much like spending time at the Whiting Institute for the Criminally Insane, by the way.”

“I heard you weren’t there very long. Eve 8 rescued you.”

“Rescued?” She glowered at him over her shoulder. “My life hasn’t exactly been a rollicking good time since leaving there.”     

“Am I supposed to feel sorry for you?”

They passed several intersecting corridors. Turned left again. Then right. He was beginning to feel like a mouse in a maze. And he was eager to get to the reward at the end.

She stopped at a door on their right and pressed her thumb to its security pad. “Here’s where we keep our best secrets, Agent Mulder.” She gave him a conspiratorial smile, opened the door, and ushered him inside.

The door closed as soon as they cleared the threshold. An audible click let him know that it had locked behind them, just like the front door downstairs.

The room was about 30 by 40 feet and contained several long tables set up in rows with four computer stations per table. Wheeled office chairs faced each terminal. The room’s outer wall was all glass. Eve 9 went to the window and looked out into the night. “This office faces west,” she said. “Is he out there? Waiting? The baby you gave away? Rock-a-bye, baby.” She crooned these last words in a sing-song voice. Her pretense of sanity appeared to be slipping.

Mulder ignored her question. “You have something to show me?”

“I do. The answers you’ve been looking for. How Jackson came to be. How *you* came to be.”

“How do I know these answers aren’t just more lies?”

“You don’t, but consider this. I’ve become obsolete and no longer of value to the project, an early model in a long line of experiments that have yielded results far surpassing the original objectives. As you know, the Adams and the Eves were given extra chromosomes, extra genes. Designed to have heightened strength. Heightened intelligence. IQs over 265. But these are trifling things now. Comparing us to today’s designs is like comparing an abacus to a supercomputer. My usefulness is at an end. My time here is nearly over. So why would I lie to you now?” She gestured to one of the computer stations. “Sit down. See what you’ve come to see.”

He pulled out a chair and sat. A tap on the touchpad brought the monitor to life. “You believe they plan to kill you?”

“Ha!” The laugh blasted from her throat, vicious and bitter. “Neither of us is getting out of here alive, Agent Mulder.” She had that look of madness he’d seen in Eve 6 all those years ago. Prone to suicide like all of the genetically controlled Lichfield children, she planned to kill them both, he was certain.

“Why bother showing me anything at all?” he asked.

“So you’ll see we’re not so different, you and I. And Jackson. We’re all part of the same experiment, a program that started decades ago, under different names, different masters. Oh, the changes I’ve seen! But one thing has remained the same through it all.”

“What’s that?”

“The goal. To create a superior soldier.”

Crossbreeding top scientists and athletes, that’s how Deep Throat had described the fledgling program, begun during the height of the Cold War. At some point after the Roswell crash, alien DNA was added to the mix.  

The computer monitor was prompting Mulder for a password.

“Go ahead,” Eve 9 said. “You know what it is.”

Mulder typed in MIRACLE CHILD.


Scully moved the glasses and mugs from the dishwasher to their rightful places in the cupboards. The coffeemaker was set to start brewing bright and early in the morning. The turkey, a giant 38-pounder, waited in the fridge, taking up the entire top shelf. Appetizers, side dishes, desserts -- everything was ready for tomorrow’s celebration. The only hiccup to the holiday: Mulder wasn’t home yet. He’d missed the cookout and now it was looking like he wouldn’t be returning home tonight. She knew not to call him. He would call or text her when he could. Fear for his safety nagged at her. She hoped like hell he didn’t come home with another broken arm. Or worse.

“Need any help?” Charlie crossed the unlit dining room to join Scully in the kitchen.

“Your timing is impeccable, baby brother. There’s nothing left to do.” She hung her dish towel neatly on the handle of the oven.

“It’s my superpower,” he said.

“Kurt gone to bed?”

“Yep. He’ll read a chapter or two before dropping off. He had a good time today. Thanks for including him, Dana.”

“Of course. I like him. A lot. You two seem very happy together. Glass of wine?”

“Sure, if you’re having one. And yes, we are happy together. We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary in May.”


“Yep, we flew to Massachusetts to tie the knot as soon as they legalized same-sex marriage in 2004. We had a second ceremony in Washington State eight years later when it finally became legal there.”

“I wish I could’ve attended. Either ceremony.” She poured two glasses of wine and handed him one.

“Me, too, though at the time...” He let his thoughts go unspoken. They both knew he was estranged from the family at that point. And she’d had her own problems to deal with.

“What’s this?” He fingered their mother’s mysterious pendant where Scully had hung it from one of the cupboard door handles as a way to keep her mother close during the family gathering. A silly idea but Maggie would’ve loved to have been here in the kitchen, cooking dinner with her family, spending time together, laughing and enjoying their conversations, even the barbs they launched at one another with all-too-much regularity.

“It was with Mom’s effects at the hospital when she died.” Scully leaned against the counter and sipped her wine. “I have no idea what it means.”

“I think I do.” Charlie lifted the chain from the door handle and tilted the coin to the light over the sink to get a better view. His face paled. “She kept this?”

“You know what it is? What in means?”

He nodded. “It was mine.”

“Yours? Are you sure?”

“Very sure. I used to flip this coin to make decisions, big and small, much to Mom’s dismay. Sometimes I did it on purpose, just to irritate her.”

“How can you tell it’s the same coin?”

“See this small nick on George Washington’s cheek? Looks like a tear?” He held it out for her to see. When she nodded, he continued, “Because it looked like Washington was crying, I figured heads was bad luck, tails was good.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Okay, let’s say I wanted to do something fun, like spend the night at my best friend Jimmy’s, I’d flip the coin. If it came up tails, I’d go. If it came up heads, I wouldn’t go. If I wanted to avoid doing something, like practicing the trumpet, same thing. I’d flip the coin. Tails, I’d skip practice; heads, I’d get out the ol’ trumpet.”

“Why would that make Mom mad?”

“She said I should look to God for answers, not a coin flip.”


Suddenly tears filled his eyes. He tried to blink them back but they kept coming.

“Charlie?” She set down her glass to embrace him but he stepped aside before she could reach him.

“Don’t...I don’t deserve...” He swiped at his cheeks.

“What is it? What happened?”

He shook his head. Looked miserable. “I don’t know why Mom would’ve kept this, but I remember the last time I used it.”

“Let’s sit down. Tell me.”

They moved to the living room with their wine. He took the quarter with him and sat on the couch. She settled in the chair beside him. She left the lights off, thinking it might help them both to open up. Neither of them were good at difficult conversations.

“It was right after Dad’s funeral. You’d gone back to work. Bill Jr. and Tara had left for the airport. Mom cornered me in the kitchen. She went on about me and Marybeth and the boys coming to visit more often. Life was short. Stuff like that.” He took a big gulp of wine, nearly emptying his glass. His fingers worried the quarter. “That’s when I told her.”

“That you’re gay.”

“Not only that, though that would’ve been difficult enough. I also told her I wanted to divorce Marybeth. We’d tried to make it work for years and we were both miserable. I was living a lie. We both were living a lie. And our constant bickering was hurting the boys. Aaron was acting out in school. Andrew had nightmares. Ugh, it was awful.”

“Mom objected?”

“Of course. She didn’t condoned divorce. Or my being gay. It went against the Church.” Now he did finish his wine. “You don’t know what it was like, Dana. Being a gay teenager in that house. You were off in med school. Melissa was traveling all the time. Bill Jr., well, he wouldn’t have helped me even if he’d been at home, but he’d already joined the Navy, making Dad proud, while I...didn’t. Dad and I fought whenever he was at home. Mom always backed him up. She didn’t fight *for* me, Dana, she fought *with* me. Go to church, go to confession, pray to change...these were her solutions to my...problems.”

“Oh, Charlie, I had no idea.”

“You honestly never suspected?”

She hadn’t, not back then, and felt ashamed she’d paid so little attention. She was too focused on her own life, her own future.

“So, where does the quarter fit into this?” she asked.

He cradled it in his palm. “In the kitchen that day, I told her I’d flip the coin. Tails, I’d file for divorce. Heads, I’d stay married to Marybeth.”

“It came up tails?”

“That’s the thing, it didn’t. Which just made me angrier. So I told Mom I was getting a divorce anyway. And I walked out, leaving the quarter behind on the counter.” He fingered it now, avoiding Scully’s eyes. “She tried calling me. Writing letters. Over and over again. For years. Not to tell me I’d made the right decision or she was sorry or even that she loved me. She was still trying to change my mind, like I could simply choose to be different, change who I was by wishing it away. Like I hadn’t already tried that. I was profoundly unhappy for years, Dana. In the end, I felt I had to move on with my life. For my own mental and emotional health. Even if that meant never seeing her again. The day we scattered Dad's ashes was the last time we laid eyes on each other. I’d always thought we’d eventually make amends, forgive if not forget. And honestly, I *do* forgive, when it’s too late.” He finally looked up at her. His cheeks were streaked with tears. His eyes red. “Why would she keep that quarter? Why would she want a reminder of that awful day?”   
Dana reached for it and he passed it over to her. She studied it for a minute.

“Charlie, if this had been the last thing I saw in William’s hand, I’d wear it around my neck, too, no matter what the circumstances.”

Charlie wiped his tears and nodded. Sniffed a few times. “May I keep it?”

“Of course.” She handed it back. “It was clearly special to her.”

He fondled it. “It’s special to me, too, I guess. It’s proof she accepted who I am in the end. Isn’t it?”

“I think so, Charlie. As a mother myself, I have to believe she loved all of her children. It’s impossible not to.”


Eve 9 paced the room while Mulder studied the computer screen.

“What am I looking at here?” he asked.

“The truth.” She cackled, seemingly delighted with the situation. “Everyone is there. You, your sister, your son, your beloved Agent Scully. All in this together. All part of the project, the great experiment. The grand plan. Some have longer histories than others but everyone is a learning experience, right?”

A file folder bearing the name ELIZABETH “TEENA” KUIPERS MULDER caught his eye, causing bile to slide up the back of his throat. He clicked on it, opening a spreadsheet of dates, events, linked documents. He scanned the dates. Stopped at January 12, 1961.

Eve 9 watched him, giggled at his shocked expression. “She and I shared the same name for a while. Your mother Teena. A coincidence, maybe. Or maybe not.”

“She was abducted? My mother was abducted?”

“It doesn’t really come as a surprise, does it?”

“What did they do to her?”

“Read on, see for yourself.”

Teena Mulder had been held at a facility outside of D.C. and returned to Martha's Vineyard six days later...pregnant.

“Check the genetic records. The test reports.” A laugh gurgled from Eve 9’s throat, sounding like water bubbling through a clogged drain.

The PCR results seemed to show Mulder was indeed the son of CSM, something he’d hoped beyond reason wasn’t true.

“Why artificial insemination? I was told they had an affair.”

“We were all told lots of things that weren’t true, Agent Mulder. An affair would leave too much to chance and CGB Spender left nothing to chance.” She gave Mulder a stern look. “He needed to make a few modifications to your genes. Other-worldly adaptations, let’s say. Small ones to be sure, but still. Couldn’t do that without a little help from his scientist friends.”

“He was playing God.”

“He was always playing God! He believed he *was* God.”

“He’s the fucking Devil.”

“And you’re singing to the choir.”

“Is that why you want to kill me? To get back at him?”

“I want to get back at them all, Agent Mulder. Read on, you’ll want to get back at them, too.”

*     *     *

Jackson didn’t go to the west side of the building as he’d planned. Instead, he hid in the shrubs out front, watched Mulder enter the lobby, meet with Dr. Shaheen -- Eve 9 -- and give her his weapons. As soon as she and Mulder stepped into the elevator and its doors closed, Jackson ran from his hiding place to the emergency side exit.

It was locked, of course, but that was no problem. He quickly disengaged the alarm and the lock with a electromagnetic jolt summoned by his mind, much the way he used to turn red stoplights to green for kicks as a troubled teen. All that practice was finally paying off. He slipped inside.

Immediately, he used his powers to blow out the lights in the stairwell, plunging the three flights of stairs into darkness, making it more difficult for the security cameras to pick up his image. He considered going into the lobby and getting Mulder’s Glock, but he didn’t really need it and it would just waste time and maybe alert someone to his presence. Instead, he listened intently to pick out Mulder’s and Eve 9’s thoughts from among the incessant chatter of strangers playing through his head.

Yes, there, he could hear them. Like on a radio. Mulder and Eve 9. What they were saying. What they were thinking. He’d been practicing this skill, too, homing in on thoughts, picking specific voices out of billions of choices.

Mulder was upset. Angry. And wondering where Jackson was, if he was safe.

Eve 9’s thoughts were more frenetic. Bouncing from one subject to the next. All darkness and evil. Murder and madness. She planned to kill Mulder, then herself.

Jackson bounded up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

*     *     *

Mulder continued to search the computer’s file directory. He clicked on a folder labeled DANA KATHERINE SCULLY. It contained hundreds of files, including dozens titled with a number followed by the name EMILY, the implication of which made his stomach lurch, his pulse race.  

Another folder bore the filename WILLIAM MULDER/JACKSON VAN DE KAMP. Opening it, Mulder found additional folders. They contained photos, genetic information, descriptions of procedures, tests and their results, and much, much more. He viewed several of the files, selecting them at random. They were filled with scientific jargon. Scully would be able to make sense of them but to him they were as incomprehensible as a foreign language. However, he was struck by their sheer number. Clearly, Jackson’s conception and genetic makeup was complicated, far more complex than his own.

“I don’t know what most of this means,“ he admitted.

“Then let me explain it to you.” She came to peer over his shoulder. “See that, right there?” She jabbed the screen. “That’s the Miracle Child’s lineage. A Who’s Who of his family tree.”


“Meaning he’s not like other boys. Not like any other child on earth.”

Frustrated by her vague answers, he insisted through gritted teeth, “Say what you mean.”

“Why don’t you just ask me what you want to know?” Her gaze slid from the screen to his face. “Cat got your tongue?”

Fine. He’d ask outright. “Am I Jackson’s father?”

“Yes. And no. It’s a complicated question. But I’ll summarize for you. The egg came from Dana Scully.”

That brought some relief. Jackson was her son, confirming the DNA testing Scully'd had done on Jackson in the past.

“And...?” he prompted.

“Spender’s genes are there, too. See? Right there.” Again she poked the screen.

So it was true. The black-lunged bastard had raped and impregnated Scully during their road trip to Milford, Pennsylvania. Mulder felt like he was drowning. Like hate and heartbreak would swallow him whole.

“But never mind,” Eve 9 was saying. “It’s to be expected. Spender was your father, making him the boy’s grandfather. So, yes, yes, his genes are there. Your genes are there, too. But does that make the boy your son?”

“Does it?” Mulder prayed it did, in part because he wanted to be Jackson’s father but more than that, he wanted to know that the Smoker hadn’t--

“Well, don’t go passing out cigars just yet, Daddy,” Eve 9 said. “Ask yourself where Jackson got all of those superpowers. Moving objects, clouding people’s minds, blowing things up. My, how that boy likes to blow things up. Oh, and he can unlock doors, did you know that? He can unlock secrets, too. He reads minds. The way you could, briefly, before. He’s probably listening to us right now.” She tilted her head back and shouted to the ceiling, “Can you hear me, Miracle Boy? Do you know what I have planned for you?”

 *     *     *

“I hear you,” Jackson murmured.

He stood inside the stairwell on the fourth floor landing. Concentrating, he sent an electromagnetic pulse to the lights in the corridor beyond the door. When they flickered and went dark, he slipped out of the stairwell into the hall. He listened intently. Following Eve 9’s and Mulder’s thoughts, he navigated the various hallways. He made the turns they had made earlier, backtracked whenever the volume of their inner voices dwindled, and knew he was going in the right direction when they grew louder, clearer.    

Soon he stood outside the room where they were discussing his origins. He paused to listen, to their words and their thoughts.

“Where did he get his abilities?” Images of extraterrestrial fetuses flashed through Mulder’s mind.

“Alien DNA, but you already knew that. Some of it was stolen from Them, some given willingly in trade for other things. Snips and snails and puppy dog tails, isn’t that what little boys are made of? Mostly snips, in this case. Gene editing happened long before CRISPR, Agent Mulder. Snip, snip, snip!”

Her whirling thoughts made Jackson’s head spin, almost as much as the idea that he truly was part alien. An idea he had hoped was false even as he knew there could be no other explanation for his abilities.

He became aware that Eve 9 was reaching into her pocket, feeling the cool, stainless steel of a gun. Jackson could almost feel it on the tips of his own fingers, too, as hers closed around the grip.

“Why don’t you come in?” she called out to him through the closed door.

Why not? He focused on the lock. It disengaged with a click. He gave the door a shove with his mind and it slapped open, banging against the wall.

“Jackson!” Relief flooded Mulder’s thoughts, followed by a rush of fear...for Jackson, not for himself.

Eve 9 stepped close to Mulder, who was still seated at the computer. She drew the gun from her pocket and pressed it to his temple. “Welcome to the madhouse,” she said to Jackson.

“How did you know I was coming?” Jackson asked her.

He detected a chill run up Mulder’s spine when she said, “I just knew.”

“Jackson, get out of here,” Mulder urged. Jackson felt Mulder’s love for him, heard his concern. Even in his thoughts, Mulder called him “son.”

In Eve’s head, he could hear his own thoughts echoing back to him. So, she had the same mind-reading abilities he had. Not quite as adept at it as he was, but skilled enough. He quickly blocked her, just as he had blocked Dana Scully. His mother after all, it seemed.

Eve 9 sensed immediately when Jackson threw up his smoke screen, preventing her from hearing his thoughts. Her finger twitched on the trigger. Time was running out. He had to act.


The room trembled. A force gathered. Unseen but powerful, summoned by him.

“No!” Eve 9 cried out. “No, no, no!”

As her finger pressed the trigger, an ear-popping blast of energy struck her full on. The shock wave propelled her backward. The gun fired. Mulder raised an arm, tried to duck, yelped in pain. He fell from the chair. Eve 9 hurtled through the air. Smashed into the window. The glass gave way. Shards exploded outward, into the night. Eve 9 tumbled through the breach, screaming as she fell.

Jackson didn’t need to cross the room and look out the empty window frame to see that she was dead. He could feel it. He rushed to Mulder instead.

The bullet had passed through Mulder’s plaster cast and entered his arm. Blood flowed from the bullet hole. Jackson could feel Mulder struggling to ignore the searing pain. Jackson could feel the pain, too, through him. He could also feel Mulder’s relief that Eve 9 was gone and Jackson was okay.

“Let’s get you to a hospital,” Jackson said, helping him up.

“The files...” Mulder grunted. Using his good arm, he dug the portable drive from his pocket and handed it to Jackson. “There’s time. I promise not to die.”

Jackson nodded. He inserted the drive and began downloading.


The family was gathering at the table for their Thanksgiving feast. Scully and Tara ferried side dishes from the oven and refrigerator to the dining room. Charlie poured wine for the adults. Kurt filled the kids’ milk glasses. Bill stood at the head of the table, carving the turkey, which would’ve been Mulder’s job if he’d been there. Avery and Matty helped the boys straighten the knots in their ties. Everyone was dressed up for the occasion, even the kids.  

Back in the kitchen for another load, Tara said to Scully, “I’ve been meaning to tell you, I love your bracelet! Where did you get it?”

“It was a gift from Mulder.” To his ‘constant,’ according to the inscription. Well, she might be his constant but he was her constantly MIA partner. Dinner was about to start and she still hadn’t heard from him. Which was worrying her more than she liked to admit. So much so, she’d considered calling Skinner to demand information. But in the end, she decided to wait it out, at least for a while longer.

Tara grabbed the bowl of creamed onions and a basket of rolls. “Well, it’s lovely.”

“Thank you.”

Scully was about to gather the mashed potatoes and the gravy boat when her phone chirped, alerting her to a text.

“Maybe that’s Fox,” Tara said, looking hopeful. “I’ll finish bringing out the food.”

Scully nodded and yanked her cell from her pocket. Mulder’s name displayed on the screen. Thank God.

His message was frustratingly brief, lacking any detail: GOT DELAYED. BE HOME SOON.

How soon? And where was he? Was he okay? Damn him. She sent him a quick response: I LOVE YOU. Then tucked her phone away.

“Was that Mulder?” Tara asked when Scully brought the last of the food to the table.

She set the squash at one end and the mashed turnip at the other. “Yes. He’s on his way.”

“Should we wait?” Charlie asked.

“No.” She took her seat to show they should get started. “He didn’t say how long he’d be.”

“He didn’t give you any idea, Dana?” Bill asked. There was that edge to his voice again. “He knows we’re all here. I swear, some things never change.”

True, she thought, including Bill’s attitude toward Mulder. But rather than say anything that would start an argument and make everyone uncomfortable, Scully suggested Bill lead them in saying grace. They joined hands.

“Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bountiful goodness--“

He was interrupted by the sound of the front door opening, followed by footsteps.

“Happy Thanksgiving, everyone," Mulder said as he walked through the kitchen into the dining room.

“Daddy!” Katie leapt from her seat and ran to him.

As he lifted her with his good arm, Scully noticed his old cast had been replaced with a new air-cast and his arm was now supported by a sling. Blood stained one leg of his trousers. His suit coat, tie, and dress shirt were gone. He wore only a t-shirt with his dress slacks, reminding her of the way he looked after their run-in with the dead-who-were-not-dead the night before the Millennium.

“Mulder, are you all right?” she asked, relieved to see him alive but concerned about the state he was in.

“,” he said, while Katie kissed his cheek and hugged his neck.

“Did you bring me something?” Katie asked.

“I did.” He smiled and kissed her nose.

“Yay! What is it?”

“Not a ‘what.’ A ‘who.’ I brought you a big brother.” Mulder glanced over his shoulder and gave a get-in-here jerk with his head.

To Scully’s astonishment, Jackson shuffled through the kitchen to stand beside Mulder.

“Oh my God!” Now it was Scully’s turn to leap from her seat.

She rushed to Jackson but stopped short of reaching out to embrace him. Would he want that? If their past encounters were any indication, the answer was no. But he was her son, her little boy. He would always be that to her. She’d held him with such joy when he was a baby. He wanted her then. Needed her. Now it was she who needed him. Tears sprang to her eyes. She tried to stop their flow, blinking rapidly, taking in great breaths of air, but it was a lost battle, so she let them run down her cheeks, drip from her chin. “William...” she said, the word no more than a whisper.

He saved her by stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her. He buried his face into her neck, bending down. He was so tall now. As tall as Mulder. A grown man but still her baby boy. She returned his embrace. “You’re here. I thought you were dead.”

“I’m okay.” His voice was deeper than the last time she’d heard it. “Everything’s okay.”

“That’s my brother?” Katie asked, still held in Mulder’s one-armed embrace.

“Sure is. His name is Jackson.” Mulder turned to the Scully clan, who sat around the table, shocked looks on their faces. “Everybody, this is Jackson, Dana’s and my son. You once knew him as William.”  

Everyone started talking at once, getting up from the table, stepping forward to introduce themselves, shake Jackson’s hand or give him a hug. To Scully’s relief, he allowed it all. He mostly nodded, didn’t say much. She hoped it wasn’t too overwhelming for him.

Katie grew restless. “Are we going to eat soon?”

This made everyone laugh. Mulder set her down in her chair. Matty carried two more chairs to the table. Room was made for more plates.

“You want to do the honors?” Bill Jr. indicated the partially carved turkey.

Mulder gestured at his injured arm. “You go ahead, Bill, thanks.”

“Sit next to me, Jackson,” Katie begged and patted the empty chair beside her. “I never had a brother before!”

“And I never had a sister,” Jackson said, sitting down.

“Oh, you’ll like it!” Katie assured him, again making the family laugh.

“Bill, you were going to lead us in grace,” Tara said.

Again Bill looked to Mulder. “Did you want--?”

“No, thank you. Less chance of a lightning strike if you do it.”

“Okay, join hands, everyone.” Bill reached for Tara on his left and Dana on his right.

Scully took his hand and fumbled for Mulder’s fingers, nearly buried inside his sling. She gave them a gentle squeeze.

“Lord, thank You for the food before us, the family beside us, and the love between us. Thanks, too, for bringing William...uh, Jackson home. Amen.”      

Amens went up all around. They passed the food, filled their plates. And Scully’s heart began to heal at last.

*     *     *

While Bill and Matthew cleared the table, scraped plates, and loaded the dishwasher, Charlie and Kurt scrubbed and dried the cooking dishes. Tara put leftovers into containers. Avery took the tablecloth and napkins to the clothes washer and started them washing. Mulder talked the boys into helping him put away the extra chairs, making it into a competition.

This was Scully’s opportunity to talk with Jackson alone.

“I want to show you something,” she said to him.

“Can I see, too?” Katie asked, having never left Jackson’s side all evening.

“Yes, it’s something you both should see.”

Scully led them upstairs into the master bedroom.

“Have a seat,” she pointed to the bed.

Katie jumped onto it like it was a trampoline. Jackson sat carefully on the very outer edge of the mattress. Scully went to the closet and, after a quick search, pulled a shoebox from a top shelf. She brought it to the bed and placed it next to Jackson.

“What’s this?” he asked, sounding wary.

“Everything I had left of you.” The small size of the box was sad proof she had very little beyond her memories and enduring love.  

“Can we open it?” Katie asked.

Scully nodded. “Jackson? Do you want to open it?”

He hesitated, looking unsure. “I don’t...I’m not sure if I...”

“I can do it,” Katie volunteered.

Jackson nodded. “Go ahead, Katie. You open it.”

“Yay!” She crawled over to the box and sat crosslegged beside Jackson. Scully stood nearby, watching them both. Her children. Under the same roof, in the same room, together with her. The joy she felt was immeasurable. A nightmare ended and a dream come true all in one.

Katie ceremoniously lifted the lid off the box and set it to one side. “Oh!” Her eyes widened when she saw the doll on top.

“That was a family keepsake,” Scully explained to them. “Your father gave it to me when I was pregnant with you, Jackson.”

Katie removed it from the box and hugged it to her chest. She then handed it to Jackson. “It’s yours.”

He nodded and took it. Ran a finger across the doll’s embroidered face, its tangled hair. What was he thinking, Scully wondered, as he looked at it. “Maybe you should keep it for me,” he said and passed it back to Katie.

“Can I?” Katie looked to Scully for permission. She clearly wanted the doll.

“It’s Jackson’s to keep or give away as he wishes.”

“I want her to have it,” he said.

Curiosity seemed to take hold of him then and he reached into the box while Katie rocked the doll in her arms like a newborn. Piece by piece, he removed the contents and studied each one: a Christening cap, a bib from the Gunmen decorated with a cartoon of Yoda and the words “Judge me by my size, do you?”, a lock of his hair, a copy of his birth certificate, and a few photos, including Scully’s favorite, the only picture of Mulder and their son together, taken the day after he was born.

“It’s not much, I know...,” Scully began.

“It’s amazing.” Jackson’s expression confirmed his appreciation. “I never expected you to keep anything.” He lingered over the picture of him as a newborn in Mulder’s arms. Mulder gazed at him in the photo, love and pride evident in his eyes. “May I keep this one?”

“Of course. You can keep whatever you want.”

“Just this. For now,” he said. “Save the rest for me, would you?”

Scully nodded. “Do you have any questions for me?”

“I do but nothing that needs answering today. Maybe next time.”

“You’re...coming back?”

“I will. Soon. Thank you. For everything. I know you did your best, given the circumstances.”

These were the words Scully had been longing to hear for more than twenty years. They filled an emptiness that had dogged her since the day she’d given William over to Jeffrey Spender, to hide him, to put him up for adoption and keep him from harm and a lifetime of fear. Her owns fears about her child’s wellbeing had never abated. Not until this moment, when relief settled over her like a baby’s favorite blanket. Her son had come home at last. He would be in her life again. In Katie’s life and Mulder’s. Her prayers had been answered. Her family was whole now.

“Uh, I do have one question,” Jackson said.


“What...what should I call you?”

“Whatever feels comfortable to you.” What would he choose? Scully? Surely not. Dana? Mrs. Mulder? Oh, God, no.

“I’d like to call you ‘Mom’ if that’s okay with you.”

Tears filled her eyes. A cry hitched in her chest, lodged in her throat.

“Yes,” she managed to say at last. “That would be my choice, too.“   

 *     *     *

Scully’s family stayed past midnight, loathe to break up the celebration. Jackson was the first to leave, saying he was beat after being up the previous night. Mulder felt equally exhausted. He’d managed a nap on the flight back to D.C., thanks in part to the pain medication he’d been given at the hospital where a doc pulled a bullet out of his left arm. But the run-in with Eve 9, the trip to the ER, a seemingly endless interview with the local PD, and the long adrenaline-filled hours were catching up to him.

The local PD had gone to check out his and Jackson’s story while Mulder was in surgery. They found nothing at Merrypointe. Not even Eve 9’s body outside. Of course. Someone had already cleaned up, cleared everything incriminating out. It never failed to unnerve Mulder how quickly evidence could disappear.   

“You look worn out,” Scully said when they were finally alone and in their bedroom.

“It’s been quite a day. Or two.”

“Tell me what happened.”

“If you help me get undressed.” He raised his useless left arm, playing on her sympathy.

“Kick off your shoes.”

He did and she moved them to the closet. When she returned she removed his belt and holsters, then helped him out of his trousers and socks.

When he was down to his t-shirt and boxers, she said, “I want to look at that arm.”

“I’ve already been seen by a doc.”

“Not this one. Sit.”

He did as she asked. Carefully, she removed his sling, then the air-cast.

“Your arm is badly swollen.”

“Well, I did get shot. In my already-broken arm.”

“Hm.” She slowly unwrapped the elastic bandage and lifted the surgical dressing to expose his wound. “Stitches look good. Bullet didn’t go straight through?”

“No. My plaster cast must’ve gotten in the way. Ow!” He yelped when she poked at his arm.

“Sorry.” She reapplied the dressing. Fitted the air-cast around his forearm. She left off the sling, for which he was grateful. He’d sleep more comfortably without it. “I’ll put on a fresh bandage tomorrow,” she said.

“It’s already tomorrow.” Yawning, he stacked a couple of pillows against the headboard and stretched out on his back. “You know, that bullet was from my own gun. That’s not gonna look good in my report.”

“Like Skinner hasn’t heard worse.” She began to undress. “So, what happened, where have you been? How did you find Jackson?”

“He found me.”

As she stripped off her clothes, he gave her the details of their trip to Connecticut. Merrypointe, Eve 9, the files they’d recovered. His eyes never left her. Did she realize how stunningly sexy she was?

“I’d like to see those files,” she said, slipping into her pajamas and spoiling his view of her naked body.

He rather liked these particular pajamas, however. The top was a form-fitting camisole-type thing with thin straps and a bit of lace at her cleavage. The material hugged her breasts and showed off her hardened nipples, leaving almost nothing to his imagination. The bottoms were made of loose, colorful cotton with a drawstring waist, which he knew from experience was super easy to untie and get off her.

“Jackson took the original files but I have copies on a backup drive.” He stared openly at her, not even trying to hide his desire. “I’m hoping you can translate the science lingo so I can understand what it all means. But in a nutshell, Jackson is genetically your son.”

“I honestly never doubted that.” She squeezed lotion into one palm. “What...what did the DNA show regarding paternity?”

Her eyes clouded with anger, her jaw set, her lips became a tight line. She began vigorously rubbing the lotion onto her bare arms, so roughly he worried she might hurt herself. Gaze lowered, she seemed to be preparing herself for confirmation of the Smoker’s heinous claim.

“Jackson is my son, Scully. Spender lied, which should come as no surprise.”

Her hands stilled. Her eyes met his. Clearly, she was both taken aback and suddenly filled with hope.

“For certain?”

“Yes, I think so.”

She came to him then. Kissed his cheeks, his hair, his nose, and finally his lips. She was crying now and he tried to soothe her, patting her hair, taking her face between his palms. He hated what he needed to tell her next. “It’s not all good news.”

She swiped at her wet cheeks. “Jackson's abilities. They didn’t come from us.”

“No. As we suspected, he was part of the project to create a human-alien hybrid, a super soldier. You were part of that agenda. I was, too.” Anger ballooned inside him. Again. “I learned my mother was abducted and I was the product of that abduction.”

“Oh, Mulder.” Scully crawled onto the bed and stretched out beside him, taking the side of the bed to his right to avoid his injured arm.

They lay quietly for several minutes. His anger subsided. Hers seemed to as well. He closed his eyes, felt himself drift. Until her fingers wiggled their way up under his t-shirt. Her nails lightly scraped the hair on his chest.   

“Do you want your Thanksgiving present now?” she asked.

“Do I get a bracelet, too?”

“Only if you’re into handcuffs.”

“Well, I am, but what else did you have in mind?”

She tugged at the drawstring at her waist, then pushed her pajama bottoms down and off her legs. She kicked them to the foot of the bed. She kept her camisole top on and he watched her breasts bounce delightfully beneath the fabric as she rose to her knees and pulled his boxers down to his thighs.

“I’m a bit limited in regards to certain positions,” he reminded her.

“Not to worry.” She straddled his hips and ground her wet heat against his growing erection. “This position okay?”

He chuckled. “More than okay.” Not that he needed to tell her. He had no doubt she could feel the effect she was having on him.  

She rose up and positioned him at her entrance. Were those angels he heard singing when she slowly lowered herself onto him?

Oh, how he loved this woman.

The downstroke was glorious. The upstroke divine. She was just getting into an inordinately satisfying rhythm when a soft knock on the door stilled her movements.

“Daddy? Mommy? Can I come in?”

Fortuitously, they’d taught Katie to knock before barging in six months ago. That lesson was prompted by what could’ve ended in a premature talk about the birds and the bees. She’d burst in while Mulder was on top of Scully, in flagrante delicto. Covered by blankets that time, fortunately. She’d asked if they were playing a game.

“Yes, it’s called Squish,” he’d said, earning him a scowl from Scully.

“Can I play?”

“No, not until you’re older,” he said.

“How old?”

“Thirty. Maybe forty. Or sixty.”

“Okay,” she said, not sounding the least disappointed. Disappointment came soon after, however, his and Katie’s both, when Scully wriggled out from under him, put on her robe, and led Katie back to her own bedroom. When Scully returned to theirs, Mulder asked, “Is she scarred for life?”

“No, but we either have to put a lock on our door or teach her to knock first.”

They’d gone with the latter and so far, it was working.

“Just a minute, sweetheart,” Scully said now. The speed with which she pulled on her pajama bottoms and climbed out of bed was admirable. All those years of fast-paced chases, running after mutants and perps, had kept her nimble. Talk about “scoot in your boot”!

Mulder did the best he could to yank his undershorts up one-handed over his hips and swiftly-dwindling erection before Scully opened the door to their daughter. Nothing killed a romantic mood quite a quickly as being interrupted by your child.

“What’s the matter, honey?” she asked. “Did you have a nightmare?”

Katie shook her head and took a tentative step into the room. She was hugging Jackson’s doll and looked miserable.

“I can’t sleep. I’m worried about Jackson. Can I sleep with you?”

Scully shot Mulder a questioning look and he nodded. “C’mere, pipsqueak,” he said. “Tell us why you’re worried about Jackson.”

Katie climbed onto the bed and settled next to Mulder. Scully joined them, sandwiching Katie between them. Usually, nothing could make Katie happier than being allowed into bed with them, but she continued to look upset.

“What is it?” Scully prompted her.

“Does Jackson have any dolls?” She clutched hers to her chest.

“Jackson is a grown man,” Mulder said. “He probably doesn’t play with dolls any more.”

“He doesn’t?” Worry still peaked her small brows. “What about when he’s lonely? He might be lonely right now. Maybe I should give Lisa back.”

“Lisa?” Mulder asked.

She turned the doll to face him. “Lisa.”

Mulder gave Scully a where-did-that-come-from face. She shrugged in response.

“Jackson wanted you to have Lisa,” Scully said. “So *you* won’t get lonely.”

“I won’t get lonely. I have you and Daddy. But Jackson doesn’t have anyone. Does he?”

“He has us, too.” Mulder stroked her plump cheek. “He can visit us whenever he wants to. And text us.”

This seemed to satisfy her. She nestled against him and closed her eyes. In less than two minutes, she was fast asleep.

“Want me to carry her back to her room?” Scully asked.

“Nah. Leave her here. At least for a little while.”

He wanted to bask in the comfort of the moment, sharing his bed with the love of his life and their child.

“Am I forgiven for running out on the family barbecue?” he asked.

“You’re forgiven.” She reached over Katie to stroke his arm. “Mulder, this was the best Thanksgiving ever. I can’t believe it, actually. It’s beyond anything I expected or could’ve hoped for. Thank you for bringing our son home.”

“I’m not sure he would’ve come except I was in no condition to drive.”

“Well, thank you for getting shot then.”

“I’d do it again to keep Jackson in our lives. But hopefully, it won’t come to that.”

He and Jackson had agreed to touch base about the files. Sooner rather than later. He had no doubt they’d both see him again.
“Happy Thanksgiving, Mulder.” Scully fiddled with her bracelet, turning it on her wrist, clearly admiring it. “Sorry, I didn’t get to finish giving you your present.”

“You can give me a day-after-Thanksgiving present. Anyway, this,” -- he gestured with a wave of his good arm -- “is the best gift. Everything I want is right here. And out there, wherever Jackson’s gone for the time being.”

Mulder knew their troubles weren’t over. Far from it. There were dozens, possibly hundreds, of “Emilys” out there, if the files from Merrypointe were any indication. Jackson would always be pursued, due to his extraordinary abilities and unusual genetic makeup. Were there other children somewhere, progeny created from his and Scully’s DNA? Probably. But tonight he planned to rest. Take a much-needed break and simply be thankful for what he had right now. The search for new truths could wait until tomorrow.


Spender took a long drag on his cigarette and watched the surveillance video once more, pausing it at the point where Jackson shoved Eve 9 out the 4th story window. With nothing but his mind.

“Impressive, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Hm.” Marita stood behind him. Noncommittal as usual. Cowed by years as a test subject, no doubt.

Already his cigarette was down to its filter. He stubbed it out and lit another. “I’m proud of him, Marita. I made him who he is. And I have plans for him.”

“What plans?” She looked frightened. She always looked frightened these days. Like something the cat dragged in. Not the brilliant, stunning woman she’d been when they first met.

Well, he had no one but himself to blame for that, he supposed. He’d made her what she was, too.

“The boy is still the key to our survival.” *My* survival.

“What about Agent Mulder?” she asked.

“I have plans for him as well. Important plans. After all, he’s my oldest child. My first born.”

“And Dana Scully?”

“Oh, she’ll be all right. I’ve always taken care of her, haven’t I?” Of course, he had. Why would he stop now?

“You’re acting like you’re God.”

“No, Marita. Not God. Not even the architect of the Project. More like an engineer. I steer them all toward their genetic destiny. And mine.”

He drew on his cigarette, held the smoke in his lungs, let the nicotine do its work. When he exhaled, smoke steamed from his nostrils like fire from a dragon.


(Posted July 14, 2023)


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