"Chermera" by Mary Ruth Keller Part 44 of 45

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"Chermera" by Mary Ruth Keller Part 44 of 45
E-mail: mrke...@eclipse.net, mrkel...@gmail.com
PG-13 X-File: Myth-arc Disclaimed in Part I
Already sent to Gossamer
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House Derwbryn
Llangollen, Denbighshire, Wales
Friday, August 7, 1998
11:21 am

Albert Hosteen laid down his pen. "That is all. If that White Man is still as clever as he was when I knew him, he would do well to be afraid. His secrets are in here, as there are of many others."

"Who are now dead, Albert." Scully eyed him soberly. "But, there was enough in there on the Europeans to give us a start."

The white-haired Dine was staring out the floor to ceiling windows. "Such green land. Why would anyone ever want to leave?"

Dafydd ap Gwinn, his gaze still on Scully, smiled from his perch in the corner. "It was not always thus. The coal did much damage to beautiful Cymru, the English before that-"

"And the Vikings before that." Mulder offered a small grin to Albert. "You son has been walking for miles and miles. We've barely seen him."

"Indeed. We have ancestors here, from a woman in our past, so he is searching for where they lived. I hope he finds what we are seeking." Albert eyed the dark-haired agent. "You have found your truth, then, FBI man?"

Mulder knew he could contribute next to nothing to the technical aspects of decryption and documentation. Instead, he had been leaning against the fireplace, watching his partner typing and reading, relieved she had been moving without pain for the past day or so, amused each time she pushed her lengthening auburn curls back under her knit cap to keep them off her forehead. "For some things. For others, these documents just revive questions we thought we had answered."

"We wouldn't want all the answers, Mulder, or else we would have no reason to keep looking." The partners exchanged a glance.

"But you, FBI Woman, you are still seeking your truth."

She sighed. "I am. But, it isn't here." She tapped the papers in front of her. "This verified some of my memories, but not all of them. I'm concerned about putting this information on the Web, Mulder."

He settled beside her. "Because there are living persons mentioned in it?"

She shook her head. "No, they have a right to know. But, what's here on the Europeans, that should be held back, or else they will just terminate the operations mentioned here and we won't have anything to follow." She lifted a page. "Look, here in the Orkneys, for instance."

Albert smiled as he nodded to someone behind her.

Mulder smirked. "Scully, it's your admirer. Ieuan's back."

She favored him with a quick eye-roll. "Mulder, I don't have admirers." She tapped the papers. "I think- What?" She swiveled in her chair. "Oh."

"Yes, you do, Riata." Ap Gwinn offered the silent form a wave.

"Now that spirit is at peace." Albert nodded. "He is going."

Mulder leaned into her gaze. "What did you see, Scully?"

Her forehead wrinkled. "There was something shimmering behind me. It must have been the light from the window interacting with airborne particulates."

"Must have been," the tall agent agreed amiably.

Frohike stepped into the room. "Guys, there's been a lot of traffic back and forth across the Pacific. The Osaka group is preparing some kind of shipment, but they're not giving out details on what and when."

Scully typed several commands on the laptop, then a separate X Window popped up on the screen. "Then, give me an encrypted file, and I'll pass it on in an e-mail to Nichols."

Frohike waved a gloved hand. "Already done, Agent Scully. I just wanted to let you guys know."

Ap Gwinn released a long sigh. "I'll miss this, Riata."

She turned to look up at him. "Oh, we'll be back. You've been a delightful host, Cymru, but there is much we still need to follow up on."

He was standing over her. "You must come to the Suola, you and the Atrebates. You have returned Brother Suebi to us, and we need to offer you our gratitude." He placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

She glanced at her partner, before shaking her head. "That will have to be in the future, Cymru. Right now, there is work we need to do back in the States." Her gaze shifted to the opening to the hallway at the soft sound of approaching feet.

A few moments later, a black-haired man stepped in. "I have found records, but that is all. I have no sense of her, in any of the places I have walked."

Albert nodded. "That is enough. We will leave this green land and take what we have learned home."

"After lunch," ap Gwinn protested. "We will make your travel plans after lunch."

--o-0-o--

Suola di Atene
Cambridge England, UK
Sunday, August 9, 1998
7:02 pm

"We are many, we are one!" The Pict raised his cane in triumph.

"We are many, we are one!" Thirty-eight voices returned.

Leaning on his lion, the Pict turned to the Brother on the other side of the dais. "Brother Cymru, how goes it with the Riata? Will she be joining us?"

Ap Gwinn bowed deeply, issued the incantation, then sighed. "She is with us in spirit, Brother Pict."

"But not in the flesh. Not visible." His green eyes closed. "She is always with us, in the Spirit."

"Shall we remove the chalk banner?" The Slav remained in her seat adjacent to the Riata's.

"We shall, Sister." The Suebi smiled at her suggestion. "She survived the initiation of Gradus Absoluta. She saved me. She will be with us in the flesh." He rose before bowing to the men on the dais. "Come, Brothers. Let us make her high seat ready." He stood behind the tall back, as the Cymru descended to wait by the front. Between them, they lifted the long white strip of satin draped from the floor in the back to in the front, folded it, then linked arms in a Roman handshake.

"It is good we were not called to lay this on your seat, Brother. You bring much to the Fellowship."

The Suebi bowed his long head. "Now we have hope."

The Cymru carried the banner up the stairs before sliding it into the Pict's waiting hands. The older man placed a gentle kiss on the fabric, then the gleaming white disappeared behind a black granite lid, inscribed with a circle and forty wavy rays. A momentary reflection as the polished surface lowered cast out an image in reverse, the sun outline a dark inscription on blinding light. "The Riata has returned to us!"

"We are many, we are one!" The incantation echoed resoundingly off the paneled walls.

The Danaan rose. "Until our Sister joins us, there is much work we need to do." He held up a sheet, folded in thirds. "I have a request from Kilkee in Munster, for help rebuilding a sea-wall. Does the Ekklesia choose to offer their assistance? It is but a pittance."

"We shall." Thirty-eight voices were united in their reply.

--o-0-o--

Apartment 42
Arlington, VA
Sunday, 5:31 pm

As he sighed, Fox Mulder dumped the contents of his second load of laundry on his bed. He was unpacked, his clothes were done, but there were fifteen long hours before he could reasonably head in to work. He'd sleep five of those, if he was lucky, while the rest of the time would be spent desultorily considering which part of the MJ documents he would discuss with his partner when she arrived. He had internally debated calling her, several times, while he had idly watched his laundry spin in the basement of his apartment building, but, each time, had decided against it. She needed her rest, but would never ask for it, especially after how she and Albert had spent the flight across the Atlantic reviewing the contents of the tape. He had watched over her shoulder, as more unbelievable, frankly execrable, facts had appeared on her laptop screen. {The leper colonies were the least of it.}

He checked his watch. {Not quite fifteen hours.} He stared at the tangle of socks, then reached slowly into the pile, before he jumped back. {The phone. Finally.} He tugged the black unit out of his jeans pocket, checked the number, then grinned. "Mulder."

"Mulder, it's me."

He collapsed on the bed, bouncing most of the laundry onto the carpet. "Hey, me. What's up, Scully?"

"Ah, I was thinking about the specific countries in the European organization once I got unpacked. As crazy as it sounds, in sticky DC August, I'm still cold, Mulder, so I picked up the ingredients for a salad and lentil soup. The greens at House Derwbryn were just so delicious. Anyway, as I was drawing up diagrams of potential interactions, I accidentally made too much. Do you feel like a vegan dinner tonight? I'm sorry, I didn't put anything much in it. Or, have you already eaten?"

He chuckled. "My manliness will survive even if I don't rip apart raw steaks with my bare hands every night, Doctor." He sat upright. "You need anything else?"

"Not really. Some bread."

He was grinning broadly. "Yeah, sure. Whole wheat olive?"

"Of course. And, some balsamic vinegar. I haven’t enough for a good dressing. I was planning on picking up some on the way back from Dulles last month."

He let out as high a warble as he could manage. "See, now you've got me singing soprano, Doctor."

She suppressed a chuckle. "No Royal David's Citying for you, G-man."

He huffed. "Sheah. That's why I went to *Oxford*. The *other* university."

"You shan't let me forget it either, Mulder. Anyway, when you're here, you can look over my scribbles and see how much you can improve on them."

He left his bedroom without a backward glance. "So, what did you find so fascinating in your antiquarian researches into the Venetian Republic?"

A pause, then a lilt crept into the alto. "Over dinner, Mulder. We'll debate la Serenissima over beans and greens and stout brown bread. If we start this discussion over the phone, I'll end up dropping mine in the soup. Besides, I'm looking forward to discussing this face to face."

{As am I.} "Great, Scully. Thanks." He was stuffing his keys in his pocket as he walked toward the door. {Not fifteen hours, after all.}

--o-0-o--

X-Files East Offices
FBI Washington Field Office
Washington, DC
Monday, August 10, 1998
7:04 am

Dana Scully looked up from her keyboard at the tapping of heels on the tile. "Cyndie?"

Her brown hair in a ponytail, Cynthia stepped into the doorway between their offices. "Agent Scully? Are you okay now?"

The auburn-haired agent rose. "Yes, Cynthia, I am. The rib will take a bit more time to heal, but it's not holding me back." She held out her arms, smiling when the brunette settled gently against her. "See, doesn't hurt a bit."

The slight admin giggled. "That's good, Agent Scully. I was so worried."

"What?" The lilting tenor came from the doorway. "This is free hugs day and no one told me?" He trotted over to wrap his arms around the younger woman momentarily. "Good to see you, Cyndie."

She looked up at him with a broad grin. "Agent Mulder. You're such a card."

He stepped away. "Don't see how you stood the quiet around here, Ma'am."

She smiled at them both. "But, not anymore." She padded back to her front desk.

He turned to his partner. "So, what do we tell Skinner?"

"I'd rather think it was more what I needed to tell you, Agents." Walter Skinner was in the doorway, his hands on his hips. "Krycek is up to his usual tricks. When you have a moment, Mulder, Scully?"

They exchanged a glance before following him around to his desk. Once they were settled, the diminutive pathologist leaned forward. "What is he up to now, Sir?"

The bald Director flipped open a file. "First, Agent Scully, let me say how grateful I am to see you up on your feet. Leaving one of my best agents flat on her back on the other side of the Atlantic is not how I like to run my operations."

After sending a quick smile to her partner, she offered her superior a single nod. "I was in good hands, Sir, not that I'd recommend the experience to anyone else. But, thank you for your concern."

He sighed. "Perhaps you'll want to take a few more days, after I tell you what that weasel has cooked up now." He slid a folder across the desk.

Picking it up, she turned over the pages, then passed it to her partner.

After reading the contents, Mulder slapped the papers back on the desktop with a growl. "Suing the Bureau? Suing Agent Scully for physical mistreatment? Is he serious?"

Skinner leaned forward. "Unfortunately, yes. The judge at the preliminary took one look at our evidence and shipped Krycek back to prison without recourse to bond. This was his attorney's brilliant come-back." He shook his head. "Charles William-"

"Whittington the Third." The agents finished for him.

"We've had dealings with him before, Sir." Mulder rolled his eyes.

"As have I." The Director spoke without moving his jaw. "He's the ambulance chaser of choice for our friends on the dark side."

"Yes." The diminutive agent nodded. "We've gathered that. As for the lawsuit, I'm a Civil Servant - "

"But you can still be sued as an individual, Scully," Mulder shook his head. "That case has already been settled, not in our favor. We'll have to head to the Hoover Building this afternoon to talk to Legal. You're not facing this on your own." He leaned toward her from his seat. "Trust me on that."

Skinner opened another folder. "As for Krycek's trial, Whittington threatened to expose me as a former operative to the Smoker as a distraction for the jury, and to discredit the Bureau in their eyes. I'd like to derail that possibility today." He crossed his hands on the papers. "These are my recollections that we used to train Schiffeln. I want you to add them to your web-sites, Agents. All of them. Nip this in the bud for me."

The dark-haired section head turned. "Sir? Are you sure? This will have an impact on your life, professionally and personally. Are you ready for that?"

The bespectacled Director nodded. "I've discussed this with Sharon, Senator Matheson, Director Freeh, and the Attorney General, in that order. They've all said they'll back any decision I make." He pushed the folder over to them. "This is it."

Scully picked it up. "Okay. Then we'll get this to the Gunmen to add along with Marshal Tapping's document. We're taking them the portions of the MJ documents that pertain to the American organization as well. It's mostly of historical interest now, but, it needs to get out there, too."

Mulder arched his shoulders. "We're holding back the information on the Japanese and European organizations until we can put those portions to investigative use. It'll give us a head start in certain areas we didn't have before."

The auburn-haired pathologist glanced at her partner. "We're handling Mulder's Father's diaries the same way. We know they didn't know what was in them until we turned them over. But, we're keeping all sections on the Forty back. The Ekklesia has agreed to help us bring the Europeans to justice. This will keep them safely hidden so they can continue their work from their end."

Skinner eyed her carefully. "Agent Scully, I need to ask - "

She sighed, then tucked her chin. "I'm an agent and pathologist in the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Sir, nothing more. Not the Riata. Not the woman on the high seat." She studied her hands for a moment. "This wasn't something they asked of us. This was something we offered. We need allies. If the Senate turns over in the upcoming election, we'll need their help, more than ever. You know the Smoker has cultivated members of Congress in the other party, and they will be perfectly happy to deny Senator Matheson's requests for funds for us. That's how it works in DC." She looked up at him. "We need to continue to move forward, Sir, not let all the good efforts by so many, some of whom are no longer with us, be buried with no results."

The Director turned to the tall man sprawled beside her. "Agent Mulder? Do you agree with this?"

He straightened. "I do, Sir. It was hard making those contacts on the Hill so I could pursue the X-Files, connections that were almost lost." He nodded his thanks to Walter Skinner, who inclined his head once in return. After a pause, the partners exchanged a glance before the brown-haired agent finished for them both. "But, if we're careful and pay attention, we can advance the work. We can continue to expose the misuse of taxpayer funds for undemocratic ends. We're supposed to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people. We're just being intelligent about it, here."

Dark eyes narrowed behind round lenses. "Do you trust them?"

"No, Sir." The response from the partners was simultaneous.

Scully straightened in her chair. "But, for now, the Forty want what we want. As long as that is true, we will work cooperatively with them. If that ceases to be so, we will add the de-encrypted records of Mulder's father on them to the web-page. It's our insurance, Sir."

The metal creaked as the bald Director leaned back. "Then, you have my support. I'll schedule a meeting on your return from Legal with Senator Matheson, so he will be aware of your plans. Thank you, both." He handed the papers on the lawsuit to Scully, then opened another folder as they left, Mulder walking a polite half-step behind her.

Once the partners were around the corner, Walter Skinner quietly contemplated the entryway they had used to exit. {Not all Mondays are bad days. This will work.}

--o-0-o--

End – Chermera – Part 44 of 45

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