2005 Spooky Awards

Puzzle Piece

by Pattie

[Story Headers]

Title: Puzzle Piece

Author: Pattie

Rated: NC-13

Author's Note: Written because people were wondering what happened to all the Eves and Adams, and so was I. Thanks to Lisa, Erin, Mel, and the person at ATXC who was wondering. I dedicate this one to all of you!

2360 HEGAL PLACE,
ALEXANDRIA, VA.
10:36 PM

It had been a long day at the office. Mulder lay back on the couch watching the Knicks game, too tired really to hurl some well chosen words at the New York team. Anyway, his eyes were fighting to stay open, and that suited him fine. As he was about to slip into twilight sleep, he heard a knock at the door and a thud.

When he opened the door, there was no one in the hallway and a rather heavy brown envelope at his doorstep. It was marked "Puzzle Piece" and the sender had left it at that. Mulder took the envelope and quickly locked his apartment door. By this time, he knew better than to wait for shadows in the night to snatch anything like this from him.

When he opened the mysterious envelope, there was a note placed atop many sheets of paper. The writing was familiar. "Deep Throat," Mulder softly said. "Mail from a dead man?" He began to read the short letter.

"Dear Agent Mulder,

"By now, I am long dead. However it happened, I was protecting my country. I owe you an apology for not giving this information to you sooner, but circumstances necessitated the lies and deception. You will find these records useful, no doubt. Remember: Trust No One. If this timing finds your father alive, leave him with his solitude. Grant him some peace."

"Well, he didn't live to know I have these files, old friend." For a long time that night, Mulder sat on the couch with his head in his hands, pondering the extent to which the Lichfield project had progressed. Just what had they done by now? Nothing was beyond belief at this point. It had been five years since he and Scully had met two little girls, and several grown women who were known as "Eve".

OFFICE OF THE X-FILES
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUIDLING
WASHINGTON, DC.
8:10 AM

By the time Scully arrived at the office, Mulder had been there over an hour, going through the files on the girls, Cindy Reardon and Teena Simmons, Sally Kindrick, and their involvement in the deaths of one of the "Eve" clones, and the girls' fathers.

Mulder rubbed his eyes and yawned as Scully handed him a coffee.

"Late night, Mulder?"

"Uh, no. Actually, it was an early night. Well, until this was dropped on my doorstep."

Scully took the brown envelope from his hand and read the letter, then glanced at the pages of data on the Lichfield Project. What she read disturbed her. She took the lid from her coffee cup and had a sip. "Why weren't you told sooner, Mulder?"

"I don't know. Scully, I think this is why the case was only partly solved. We found out how the fathers died, and of course one of the Eves, but there was a lot more going on during that time and even now. We barely scratched the surface of that case. I'm sure Deep Throat had his reasons for sitting on the information."

"He was probably threatened, Mulder. So where are we going with this?"

"I've given it a lot of thought, Scully. Obviously, the Adams survived, and the Lichfield Project is continuing, and I think the government knows all about it."

"And you want to know, too? Mulder! Do you realize just how dangerous this could be?"

"Oh yeah, especially to me. But when have I ever refused a challenge?" Mulder was hoping for approval from his partner and received a frown of disapproval.

"Now. Because Mulder, this is bigger than you want to deal with and you know you will be in great danger. So, you're going to put these away, and drink your coffee, and continue writing up the Delaney file, right?" There was a long silence from Mulder. "Right?" Still no answer, and a very intense stare from Mulder. "When do we leave?"

"As soon as we can, Scully. Who wants an army with hundreds of identical soldiers, anyway?"

Scully wasn't even going to answer that one. "Who says Skinner's going to sign on this one?"

Mulder smiled and held up the form. "Skinner says."

"I assume you got the usual lecture?"

"Yes. It's out of his hands, and he has nothing to do with it. I promised him that. Let's just say we're tying up loose ends. You can read the rest of this on the plane, but I doubt you'll be finished when we land."


FIVE YEARS EARLIER...
WHITING INSTITUTE FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE

Eve 8 entered the cell block to greet Cindy Reardon and Teena Simmons, also known as Eve 9 and Eve 10. Eve 8 wanted to be sure that what she had heard about the girls' accelerated psychic development was true. After her question as to how they were aware she would seek them out, they replied they had been waiting. She asked again and they replied, "We just knew." Eve 8 smiled and remarked, "Excellent," as she made notes on a clipboard. "I think things are going as planned. The FBI Agents?"

"They've forgotten all about us," Eve 9 replied.

"Left them high and dry," Eve 10 added. "It's nice to be with our own kind."

Eve 6 peered at them from her dimly lit cell, and laughed hysterically, revealing her yellow teeth and unkempt hair. "Girls, you have no idea just what your own kind can do!"

Eve 8 smiled at the girls. "We have a lot of work to do, and I know you're perfectly capable of assisting in our program. It's going to be something quite unique. You will find the science of eugenics most fascinating!"

Eves 9 and 10 grinned.


PRESENT DAY
WHITING INSTITUTE FOR THE CRIMINALLY INSANE

Teena Simmons and Cindy Reardon, Eves 9 and 10 respectively, were by now age 13, and highly educated in the fine art of genetic engineering, as well as the human genome. Of course. they were not the only young Eves at the Institute. There were dozens more, and to add to the mix there were Eves of all ages.

Mulder and Scully were about to find out that the Adams had survived and thrived for several cloning generations. Some, of course, had suffered defects similar to those of the Eves.

SAN FRANCISCO FIELD OFFICE
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
3:33 PM

Mulder and Scully asked permission to use the web camera in a locked room.

"Mulder? Who are you calling?"

"The Gunmen. I have an idea. Since we won't likely be able to get into the Whiting Institute without someone of influence helping us, they're better than no way at all."

Frohike appeared on the screen, wearing his chef's hat. "Hey Mulder! Missin' some great ribs here. Hi, red! My heart's all a-flutter..."

Scully frowned and shook her head, hands on hips.

Mulder just smiled. "We need... "

"Yeah, yeah. A favor. What is it this time? I've got suicide sauce on the burner here. Langly! Put that ginger down."

"Fascist." Langly walked into view of the camera. "Hey, guys. There's a 'Space: Above and Beyond'* Marathon tonight... "

"Yeah, well, another time, fellas. We need you to get a live aerial view of the Whiting Institute For The Criminally Insane. Think you can manage that?"

Scully hadn't known Mulder was going to go that far. "Mulder," she hissed. "Mulder, that's spying."

"Scully, I'm just looking in on the Eves. Wanna see if they age gracefully."

"You never whisper in my ear like that," Frohike said in mock protest.

"Yeah, well... That doesn't mean you're not charming. So, can you do it? Like before sunset here?"

"No can do," Langly replied. "Byers won't be back till tonight, and he's the expert at satellite technology. How about tomorrow morning?"

"Early. And, thanks, fellas. Save me some ribs."

"Ribs for both of you, if you send Scully over to get them when you get back."

Mulder smiled.

"Not in a million years," Scully shot back.

"8:00 California time tomorrow. Guess you miss a couple of episodes. Thanks." Mulder terminated the connection to The Gunmen.

Scully squashed the paper coffee cup in her hand and tossed it into a wastebasket. "So what now, Mulder?"

"We check into a motel and review what Deep Throat and the others had been hiding all these years, maybe go for a drive past the asylum on the way."

"Mulder. You don't think... "

"Oh, yes I do. You'll find something in those records that proves the eugenics still continues, and is somehow linked to the hybrid clones. But I'm sure you'd love to read it all for yourself."


AIRPORT ROAD MOTEL
6:30 PM
MULDER's ROOM

Scully sat cross-legged on the bed as she read through the files Mulder had been given by an anonymous person. The amount of information was fascinating, astounding, and exhausted her. "I can't even imagine they knew all this about the human genome so long ago, Mulder. Some of this research goes back to the 1950's, and there was a way to single out the chromosome for psychosis, to take duplicated gene off of the chromosome and replace it with a gene to turn off the process of... Do you know what this means, Mulder?"

"It means Sally Kindrick, Eve 7, or which ever one she was had probably found this data and was going to turn things around for successive clones. Think about it, Scully. Where were Cindy Reardon and Teena Simmons dropped off?"

"The Whiting Institute for the Criminally Insane. And who says they couldn't still be breeding more soldiers? But why?"

"Maybe they can shoot straighter. I don't know. But we're the ones still in the dark right now, Scully. If they're part of the botched deal my father's associates dealt with, we should find out everything we can. Let's break for dinner, Scully. You look like you could use a break."

"Yeah. It's going to be a long evening. Better make it take-out. Someone should be here with these files." She continued to read.

Mulder grabbed his jacket. "Chinese?"

"Yeah. My God, if we'd known this openly in the scientific community... "

"Relax. Put it down till I get back. That's an order, Agent Scully."


MULDER'S ROOM
9:15 PM

Mulder and Scully were near the end of the extra files Mulder's former source had supplied. As Scully pushed yet another record aside and dug into a new one, there was a frantic knock at the door.

"Hang on! I'm coming!" Mulder shouted over the loud raps. "Oh God!" He could think of nothing else to say. There was a very nervous, reddish-haired girl outside, who very quickly ran into the room.

"Lock the door, please!" She quickly cried. "I know who you both are, and they don't know I'm here yet, so listen very carefully."

Scully was just as shocked as Mulder. "Cindy? Teena?"

"No cigar. Eve 37 as far as I know. Another product of the Lichfield Project. Fourth generation, and there are two more batches whose growth was accelerated. Look, I don't have much time. Most of us have been created with improved strength, even higher intelligence and more stable minds, but there are people who want to use the more sane Eves for the original purpose of creating a superior military. And there are Adams. They never went off of the radar. Is that Szechuan?"

"Uh, yes. It is." Mulder was almost at a loss for words, but he had a lot of questions. "Help yourself. How did you know who and where we were?"

"How can you talk at the speed of light?" Scully wondered aloud.

Eve 37, terrified and justifiably paranoid, grabbed a fork and wolfed down some food. "Everybody trusts the phone company and their ISPs, but I can tell you everything is being monitored these days. When I found out from the girls you know as 'Cindy' and 'Teena' that you were the ones who sent them to Whiting, and that 'Sally Kindrick' was trying to kill us all off, I tried to find you, and I did. They're going to use us for something that we were bred for, and a few of us have become independent thinkers."

Mulder eyed her rather sceptically. "Which means what? You want to go solo?"

"Not exactly. We shield our thoughts. As you know, we were all designed with heightened psychic abilities. What we want is what you want: No deal with the enemy." Eve peered out the window and drew the motel room curtains shut. "I'm sorry for the rapid-fire speech, but listen to me very carefully, because I haven't got much time: Everything you have in those folders tells the rest of the story except for a couple of details, and remember the words 'metallic vertebrae'." Eve 37 was beginning to sweat. "I've got to get out of here now. They know... " She dashed to the door and ran as quickly as she was able.

Mulder tried to match her pace, but she vanished into the darkness.

Scully had just left
the room when there was a gunshot.

"That sounded like it came from the off-ramp, Mulder. We've got to get to her, If she's still alive we can... " She ran with Mulder to a gully and took Eve 37's pulse. "She's dead. I'll call and have her body put on ice so I can do an autopsy."

Mulder shook his head at the irony of the situation. "I don't think you'll find anything but a bullet, Scully. You can send it to ballistics at the local PD, but if these people are that quick, we won't find a weapon. Just the make. And it's probably not registered, or registered to someone who doesn't exist in any records we can access. C'mon. We've got to get out of that motel. Someone knows we're here."

They ran back to the motel, grabbed files and luggage and checked out as quickly as they could.

The desk clerk smiled, and leered at Scully. "Short stay, huh?"

"Yeah, but the only afternoon delight was stale coffee," Mulder replied.


Mulder decided a better place to stay would be a motel closer to the San Francisco FBI Office, and he and Scully took rooms at the End of Journey Motel. While the street noise wouldn't exactly be condusive to sleep, it would just have to do. They were going to have an early morning.

Scully had being going over Eve 37's last words, and that phrase they were told to remember. "Mulder?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you know what the connection is to 'metallic vertebrae'?"

"No, I don't. But nothing surprises me much these days. Let's call it a night."

Scully shook her head as Mulder removed the ignition key. "If it's all the same to you, I want to finish reading the rest of those Lichfield files, and call in to let them know I want to go over the body tomorrow."

"Well, don't forget we have an appointment with The Gunmen."

"I think you can handle that one alone. The faster we get this done, the better."

They signed into the motel oblivious to the mysterious triangular craft that passed overhead the area.

As Scully was preparing for bed, she heard a shot. She pulled a robe around herself and ran out to find another guest yelling, "Call 911!"

The young man was all of twenty-five and was carrying a paper shopping bag full of junk food, standing at Mulder's doorway.

"I'm Dana Scully. Did you see anything?" She ran to take Mulder's vitals. Mulder was still in his street clothes except for the jacket and tie. He was bleeding from his left shoulder, but was still conscious.

"No, I just drove in and heard the shot. I didn't see anyone around."

"No cars going out?"

"No, Ma'am. Is he gonna be all right?"

"I think so." She grabbed Mulder's cell phone from the floor and called for an ambulance. "Stay down, Mulder. It's only a flesh wound."

"This was just a warning, Scully. Don't let the files out of your sight."

"What do you mean?"

"Think about the girl. We're treading on someone else's turf."

"We'll compare the bullet in ballisticss. Let's just get you to the hospital."

Police cars and an ambulance arrived.

"Where are you taking him?"

"Memorial." The paramedic slammed the door shut and Mulder was on his way to the Emergency Ward.

Scully went straight over to Mulder's bed and gathered the files and Mulder's laptop, explaining to the police that they had been there on FBI business and could not disclose any information on their assignment. She didn't want to lie, and truth would sound like a fantastic science fiction tale.

Police questioned the young man, but there was nothing he could tell them that he hadn't already told Scully. He had been in town to settle a business deal for an accounting firm. As he was being questioned, Scully dressed and drove to the San Francisco Bureau. The files would be safe there, she reasoned, and ready for the next day.


SAN FRANCISCO MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
EMERGENCY WARD
10:31 PM

Mulder had been bandaged up by the time Scully arrived to get the doctor's assessment of the damage to her partner. "Excuse me. I'm looking for an Agent Fox Mulder?"

The nurse at the station pointed to her left. "Cubicle 9. He's almost ready to be released.

"Thank you." As Scully made her way to Cubicle 9, she whispered to herself, "Cubicles? Must be a busy place."

"We get that a lot around here." The nurse had followed her down the hallway. "The place is full to capacity and needs upgrading. Dr. Meisner ordered an antibiotic, and your partner's free to go as long as he gets some rest and keeps the wound dry. He'll need a change of dressing every morning."

Scully nodded as they reached the cubicle. "Well, Mulder. It seems you'll live and if you get to sleep as soon as we get back to the motel, you can still have that net meeting with the guys."

Mulder got down from the examining table, and Scully helped him find the exit. "Antibiotics. Rest. I know. But this case is too important, and we've come too far. I take it the files are safe?"

"May as well be in Fort Knox." Scully was looking tired and cross.

"Scully. We can't stop now. Look at me. I think we both know this Lichfield Project is extremely important to somebody, and we're in danger whenever we're on a case -- "

"Mulder, you could have been killed. Get into the car. One inch closer and it would have been your heart, not your upper chest. Is your life really worth this 'Project'? I don't think so."

Scully helped her partner with his seatbelt, and walked around to the driver's side of the car. "Your bag's in the trunk. I suggest we sleep at the Bureau office if we have to."

That's exactly where they ended up. The superiors at the San Francisco Bureau allowed them to crash on a couple of couches in one of the larger offices, under guard.


7:15 AM

Scully awoke and decided to let Mulder sleep while she went to freshen up and change. The smell of fresh coffee wafted through the corridors, and she hoped it was strong. She had her work cut out for her, and perhaps today they would make some headway.

After she pronounced herself presentable, she woke Mulder at 7:45 with a mug of coffee and his antibiotic.

Mulder rubbed his stiff neck and popped the capsule into his mouth. "What time is it, Scully?"

"Almost 8:00. Better get cleaned up and arrange for that conference with The Gunmen."

"You still going to the morgue?"

"Yeah, and then ballistics might have something for me by noon. Think we'll come away with anything this time, Mulder?"

"I'm not so sure. Mmm. Who says the Bureau can't make decent coffee?"

"You said." Scully smiled and grabbed her jacket. "Make sure the files are locked away before you start the day. We can't afford to take any more chances. And Mulder?"

"I know. Keep the bandages dry, and I just know you're going to change my dressing when I get back. I just hope this works."


9:00 AM

The computers were set up, the web cameras on, and Mulder and The Gunmen were ready for the show.

"Since I'm a Federal Agent, I don't even want to know how you connected to the satellite. So, let's just see what's going on at Whiting."

Frohike and Byers pressed a few keys, waited, pressed a few more and waited.
"We're in, buddy. Now all we have to do is zoom in, and it'll be as good as being in the backyard," Frohike stated. "Kind of makes you wonder if they're monitoring us, right?"

"I'm not going to think about that. Right now, all I want to do is get this wrapped up and go home. So, is anything showing up yet?"

Byers stared at the monitor, then threw a switch. "See for yourself, Mulder."

The grounds at the Whiting Institute were still well-kept, and obviously someone was still operating there. Mulder's eyes grew wide when he saw a number of young men, all black-haired, tall and apparently very strong. They were running faster than anyone he'd seen in the Olympics. Another view showed about twenty young women lifting weights and many other younger people of both genders, and in several groups of people identical in appearance. Apparently, there weren't just Adams and Eves in the compound. Off to the side, several middle-aged Adams, Eves, and whoever were training and some cooling down from a run. "This goes way beyond what we were told five years ago."

"America could win every event in the games," Langly commented. "What's their purpose?"

"I have my suspicions. Someone's either building up a large army or a new society. Maybe they're the 'superior soldiers' I was warned about. The Lichfield Project has gone on as planned for almost sixty years."

Frohike smiled as a group of tall, blonde women ran around the edge of the grounds. "Hubba hubba! My kind of babes!"

"Obviously, this goes a lot deeper than you thought," Byers remarked. "So what are you planning to do, Mulder?"

"I'd like video and stills if you can do that for me, and of course we'll need shots of the staff coming and going -- "

The screen went snowy, and the images were gone.

"Looks like someone wanted to cover their asses. We're blocked out, dude."

Frohike worked furiously at the keyboard. "STFU, hippie! I'm trying to get the signal back. Dammit! You're in my light!!"

"STFU to you, too, Grandpa!"

The door to the office Mulder was slowly being opened. "Uh, guys. I'd
tame the language if I were you... "

"Good morning, lovely lady."

"Good morning, Frohike. Mulder? See anything?"

"Lots, Scully. Then we were cut off before we could get anything on tape or images. Anything in ballistics?"

Scully sat in the chair beside Mulder. "The bullets came from the same weapon, It was an AK-74 Assault rifle, but without the weapon we don't have anything to go on. We don't even have the shooter."

"I was expecting as much. Hey, guys, thanks for trying."

"Wanna try again later, dude?"

"Thanks, but I think we know what's going to happen. Snow right off the bat. Thanks again. I'm off."

Scully peered under Mulder's jacket. "Eve 37's body had been claimed when I got there. I don't know who claimed her or who went against my request to participate in the autopsy. Someone cancelled that, too. Just another Jane Doe. You'll need the dressing changed, Mulder, and it's almost time for your antibiotic. Do you want it an hour after lunch or now?"

"Whatever."

"Well, if you have it now, you'll have to wait an hour before lunch, and..."

"We were that close, Scully. That close to exposing the Lichfield Project. The file said they'd managed to remove the genes that were causing the suicides and psychoses, and I saw more than a hundred, and maybe there were nine hundred altogether, I really don't know. But these were stronger and better than any regular soldier, and I don't have an ounce of proof." Clearly, Mulder was tired, and leaned on the desk. Then he rallied and punched it. "DAMMIT! Even if we got in there, they'd probably be gone by then. This is the way they operate! They've done it to us again!"

Scully put her hand on Mulder's shoulder. "C'mon, Mulder. Let's just get out of here, have some lunch, then go home. At least you have the information Deep Throat had sent to you."

Mulder leaned back into the chair and sighed, shaking his head. "Without anything concrete, we don't have anything."

"We just have to keep trying, Mulder. Remember, you hadn't expected the envelope on your doorstep. You never know when something else might show up."

"I guess you're right. I still have this 'Puzzle Piece.' Let's get out of here."

What was showing up at that time was an unidentified craft over the Whiting Institute For The Criminally Insane, and they were being hastened away to another location. No one had reported having seen any unidentified flying objects that day.

In a dingy, run-down motel room overlooking San Francisco Bay, a grey-haired man sat with a cigarette in his mouth, cleaning his rifle as several cockroaches scurried through the room. "My work is never done. Never."

END

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Title: Puzzle Piece
Author: Pattie
Details: 24k  ·  PG-13  ·  Standalone  ·  08/13/05  ·   Email/Website    pending
Gossamer Category(Keywords): X-File   [Friendship, Angst]  
Characters: Mulder, Scully, The Lone Gunmen  
Pairings: Mulder.Scully
SPOILERS: Eve
SUMMARY: Indeed, whatever happened to the Eve clones?

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