Virtual Season Two
  • Blood and Thoughtstalking
  • Psychodiagnostiks
  • 360 Maple Grove
  • Oestrus
  • Game Over
  • The Loyal Ones
  • Hypnagogia
  • Electioneering
  • Dreamscape
  • Callipso
  • Teporingo
  • The Jade Monkey Project
  • Bitter Revenge
  • Red Tide
  • Chi
  • Human Nature
  • Asthenopia
  • Ley of the Land
  • Everything To Live For
  • Warden
  • Grimm

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    5:42 P.M.

    Lori was sitting at her desk finishing up on a few things. There were only a few days before she would carry out her grand plan, and she needed to make sure everything was in place to do so. There were letters that she had to finish up, and there were some plans still needing to be finalized. There was also the question as to what extent she would go to in order to make her point. She had decided that Monday would be the big day.

    Lori had been working on this ever since she had devised the plan in her head. She didn't care much for life, and she knew others didn't care much for her life either. She just wanted to make sure that they all knew what they had done to her. She wanted to make sure that although it would be a final ending for her, it would linger in the minds of everyone else for the rest of their lives. And since they were all either 15 or 16, she knew it would linger for a very long time, or at least it would make for some very expensive psychiatric bills, she thought with a chuckle. The plan had been devised months ago; hell it had been brewing in her mind for years, ever since the first person made her life miserable. It was just luck, or fate or divine inspiration and maybe divine intervention that gave her the perfect means to get even with everyone. The letters would be mailed Saturday night and the plan would take place on Monday. But first she would carry out her life long dream of going to a Bruce Springsteen concert. That was Saturday night. She didn't have tickets, but if she camped out long enough she was pretty sure she would be able to get a ticket, and if not it didn't matter because it would all be over come Monday.

    There were only a few final details that needed to be carried out. The doors to the cafeteria had already been reversed on their hinges. They would open in instead of out. The windows had been jammed so they would not open, but it was getting a bit chilly out anyway, so she was fairly certain nobody would notice that detail. There was some question about whether anyone would notice the doors, but that didn't seem as though it would be a problem, that specific cafeteria was undergoing some construction, and would not open till Monday. The doors opening the wrong way would be blamed on the contractors who had to take the doors down to put in new flooring. They would be called to rectify the problem.

    When she first devised the plan a few months earlier, there was question as to how she could possibly get together everyone she wanted to seek revenge on at one time. She was worried about deciding whom she would exact revenge upon, but split sessions and a dual lab schedule took care of that for her. All of the smarter kids would need to have two lab periods, so on Fridays and Mondays they would have their lunch a period earlier, all together in this cafeteria, with only the jocks and athletes who needed to have their lunch earlier two days a week to accommodate for early games. It was too perfect, ironic, in fact, that the board of education that was comprised of the parents of her intended victims had made this all possible. She made friends with enough of the custodial staff that she pretty much had free run of the place. According to all of them she was one of the good kids. She was one of the people who they didn't have to worry about. She had been a victim of enough of what they were trying to protect the students against, that they never would have placed her as someone capable of what she was planning. She had managed to become friendly enough with the custodians that she knew where the door they kept open was. She was able to avoid the metal detectors that everyone else had to pass through whenever they entered the building. Whenever they would come by she was always in the same place, always in the guidance office lobby studying. No sir, they never had to worry about Lori. She was smart; she would get far in life.

    It was Friday afternoon when the call came in. At first Scully considered letting the voicemail answer it, as she was getting ready to leave for the weekend.

    "Scully" she answered the phone.

    "Is this Special Agent Dana Scully?" asked a somewhat familiar voice.

    "Yes, yes this is. Who is this?"

    "I didn't think my voice changed that much in 10 years," said the voice on the other end of the line.

    "Jen…. Jen Sandival? Is that you?"

    "Good guess Dana, how have you been?"

    "Good. How about you?"

    "I've been good too. How the heck did you end up in the FBI? Last I heard you were still in Med. School."

    "I decided to explore a slightly different path. What are you up to? When we last spoke, you were finishing up a psychology degree."

    "That's actually what I called to talk to you about. I'm a high school English teacher in Warington Falls, NJ, and I need a really big favor if you can swing it. Your Mom said that you were not real busy at work, and I need a guest lecturer."

    "A guest lecturer? My partner is more of an expert in that field than I am."

    "Unless your partner is a woman, and a doctor, and an FBI agent, I can't use him."

    "Actually no, he's a psychologist, and an FBI agent."

    "Nope, I need a strong woman to come in and lecture on an unorthodox profession. I thought you were a great candidate as a doctor, but when your mom told me that you were a federal agent, well, I thought you would be perfect."

    "OK… when do you need this lecture?" asked Scully as she looked at a calendar

    "That is the other problem, how's Monday for you… This coming Monday. My chemical engineer had to cancel out this afternoon. I want to make sure I expose these young ladies to as many career options as possible."

    "Well things have been slow here. I am sure that I can get the day off. What time do you need me?"

    "I was thinking that you could come up here maybe Sunday night, we could have dinner, you could stay at my place, and you could spend the day in school with me on Monday. I have some great kids that I would like to introduce you to, and we can catch up on old times."

    "That sounds good. Let me call you back from home. I have to let my partner know, and make sure that he doesn't have a case for us to investigate."

    Scully took out her notebook, took down Jen's number, and headed for home.

    Mulder was lying down on his couch and thinking. He had the TV on, but was not very interested in what was being broadcast. He considered putting a tape in, but instead, took out some old file folders and started to leaf through them.

    He was a little surprised when the phone rang. He looked at the clock, and figured there was only one group of people that would be calling him at dinnertime on a Friday night. He decided to let the machine get it, as he hated talking to telemarketers, and he was extremely happy with his current long distance service. Instead of the standard click he expected to hear, he was greeted by Scully's voice.

    "Mulder, its me, I need to…

    He reached over and picked up the phone. "Hi Scully, sorry, I was screening."

    "I need to talk to you about Monday," she continued.

    "Why? What's going on?" asked Mulder as he flipped through the channels on TV.

    "An old friend in New Jersey has asked me to lecture some of her students on careers as FBI field agents or as forensic pathologists."

    "Where in New Jersey?"

    "Northern New Jersey. Why?"

    "Well…" he said as he blew some dust off a particularly old and dog-eared file, "It wouldn't happen to be anywhere near the Swellington Reservoir, would it?"

    "I don't know." Said Scully, "Why?"

    "I have been wanting to look into that area for quite some time. It was a hotbed of UFO activity a few years ago. Now the sightings are fewer and further between, but you never know." Said Mulder with a smile. "Besides, then we could take turns driving the five or so hours, and I can meet your old High School friends."

    "Mulder, I just want to tell these kids about being a scientist and a federal agent. I think I would lose all credibility if you were there talking about UFO's and little gray men."

    "Come on Scully. It'll be fun. We can go look into some of these UFO sightings, have dinner with your friend, and you can go give your lecture and I'll spend the day following leads. I'll pick you up when you are done."

    It was a battle she knew that she wasn't going to win, so she finally agreed. She made hotel reservations for two, and started to outline her lecture.

    Lori sat in her seat at the Bruce Springsteen Concert. Fifth Row off the front right corner of the stage. As she sat and waited for the show to begin, she couldn't help but think how perfect this was. She was going to see her favorite performer in better seats than she had ever had for anything, everything else was taken care of, and all she had to do was do it. She could now die a happy person. Just a few more minor details that would be taken care of Sunday and Monday morning and it would all be done with.

    As the refrain of "No Surrender" came up she felt a few pangs of regret. Nothing was going to stop this though. Nothing could. The best part of the whole plan was that in the end nobody would care. She would have her moment, and then it would only be remembered as an awful anniversary, and maybe not even that. She would even let some folks be forever known as the hero, but in the end, none of it would matter. And the only memories anyone had of her would be bad ones.

    Throughout the concert there were more song lyrics that begged her not to go through with it. There were song lyrics that seemed to try and offer the same hope that they had offered her throughout her entire pain ridden life. But this time they would not offer her hope. This time those song lyrics that meant something different to every person in the arena were not going to dissuade her. They were not going to promise her better days beyond this span of her life. She was not going to let anything get in her way.

    It was an incredible concert. That she could not argue with. And she was sitting close enough to the stage, that when Bruce walked over to the corner of the stage that she was 15 feet away from, there were moments when it was like he was singing to her alone. There were moments when he hit on certain words and accentuated certain syllables that made it seem as though he was personally begging her not to do it. As much as it seemed like it, and as much as it seemed like the music begged her not to follow through with her plans, she knew better. She knew that Bruce could not see beyond the first few rows, especially not with the spotlights shining on him. It was only her mind. Her mind seemed to be rebelling against her during this moment of happiness and jubilation. Her mind, the same twisted and demented organ that devised this plan in the first place was now having second thoughts.

    As the last few bars of "Land of Hopes and Dreams" finished she knew that she had experienced the best concert of her short life. She knew that Bruce had spoken to her and 20,000 of her closest friends and fellow ticket holders. She knew that she would never experience this again. She also knew that she had to follow through on her plans for Monday. The only question was to what degree would she follow through.


    Scully had gotten to the school earlier than she had planned, they only had one car, and Mulder wanted to get an early start looking into the few reasonable leads that they had uncovered the day before. As Mulder dropped her off, and promised to pick her up at 3:00 she saw that the school was deserted.

    After knocking on the main door for a few minutes, a custodian let her in. After she explained who she was, the custodian knew of only one person who could help her until the office opened at 7:00 a.m.

    "Hey Lori." Said the custodian. "This is Special Agent Dana Scully with the FBI. She is Ms. Sandival's guest Lecturer for today. Can you take care of her till the office opens or Ms. Sandival gets here?"

    A brief moment of terror washed over Lori as she shook Agent Scully's hand. A moment of terror so vivid that she felt herself become extremely pale and almost faint. "Hi Agent Scully. I'm Lori Verbato. Can I get you some coffee or something?"

    "Are you alright Lori? You look extremely pale." Said Scully noticing the sudden loss of color in Lori's face.

    "I'm fine. I just forgot that there was a lecture today. I guess I was so busy studying for this biology exam that I forgot. I'm usually the person who makes some of the arrangements for the speakers. I thought that today's lecture was canceled."

    "The lecturer for today had to cancel. I was a last minute fill in. I am an old friend of Ms. Sandival's."

    "Well it's nice to meet you. Now how about some really bad coffee?" "Let me apologize for how bad this coffee is going to be. I was busy studying, so I didn't get the chance to make it. When the cafeteria opens at 6:45 we can get some better coffee, but this is what's available and this also happens to be free." Said Lori as she poured her a cup.

    Lori's face again noticeably blanched as Scully reached for the cup of coffee. It was Lori's first view of Scully's Glock 19, not unlike the one that Lori was concealing in her own backpack.

    "Are you sure you are OK?" asked Scully as she saw the unmistakable paleness. "I am a doctor," she said as she touched the back of her hand to Lori's cheek. "You feel a bit feverish."

    "I'm fine. It's probably just nerves for this stupid exam I have this morning." Said Lori as she pulled her jacket a little tighter around her. "I do still have some studying to do, so you can wait in the guidance office with me. Ms. Sandival should be checking in around a quarter to seven."

    "Thank you very much," said Scully as she looked again at Lori's face. Her color was not returning, and she noticed a general uneasiness about the girl. She was also starting to notice a few other oddities. There were physical oddities, the girl walked with a pronounced limp, and her nose was a bit misshapen. It was possible that those were birth defects though. Then there were other idiosyncrasies. When Lori took her to get coffee, she took her backpack with her, but she left the book she was studying from behind. Also, she kept her jacket on, even though Scully thought it was warm, and was carrying hers. There was also the fact that the school was deserted except for the custodians and this kid. And from the looks of it Lori had been there since long before 6.

    Scully sat there and watched Lori as she glanced at the notes she had made for her lecture. It was obvious that Lori was trying to study, but there was also something else distracting her. Maybe she really was sick, Scully thought. Maybe she was just unprepared for the exam she was studying for, or maybe these were just some of her quirks. Everyone had them, and in high school people had some really weird ones. She made a mental note to ask Ms Sandival about it, especially since Lori said that she was one of her students. There was something about this kid that fascinated Scully.

    Ms. Sandival walked in promptly at 6:45, and immediately walked over to Scully. "I see you are early, Dana. I hope you weren't waiting too long?"

    "My partner needed the car to look into something. He dropped me off early, but Lori was kind enough to get me some coffee and to let me know when you would be here." Said Scully as she looked at Lori still studying away.

    "I would have taken her for cafeteria coffee but I figured that you would like to do that Ms. Sandival." Said Lori as she briefly looked up from her studying.

    "Thanks Lori… Will I see you at lunch today?" asked Ms Sandival as she saw how diligently Lori was studying.

    "Yeah. I was told that I couldn't skip lunch anymore to spend it in the library or here. So I'll be there." Said Lori as she pulled her jacket around her a little tighter.

    "If you would like I can write you a pass when I get into the cafeteria. You don't have to stay in there if you don't want to." Said Ms. Sandival with a smile. Then she noticed the lack of color in Lori's face. "Are you all right?"

    "Yeah I'm fine. I just have some chills. I didn't want to miss this exam though." Said Lori as she pointed to the biology book open on the table.

    "You didn't want to miss my lecture either…. Right?"

    "That too Ms. Sandival."

    "OK. I'll see you at lunch. And make sure you see the nurse if you start to feel any worse. OK?"

    Lori waved them off as she turned the page of her biology book.

    Scully smiled as she watched the comfortable banter between Jen and her student. She did feel the need to ask a few questions though as they walked to the cafeteria. "Lori seems like a nice kid."

    "Yes she is. Very intelligent. She will go far in life."

    "Why is she here so early?"

    "She has some problems at home. The custodians used to find her outside studying sometimes as early as 4 in the morning. They felt bad for her, so they told her how to get in. I've even seen her helping them out and sweeping the gym floors or cleaning windows."

    "Why did you say that she didn't have to stay in the cafeteria?"

    "She also has some social problems here at school. Most of the other kids pick on her, they make fun of her, and she has been beaten up pretty badly a few times. The other students are downright evil to her at times."

    "Poor girl. She seems like such a nice person. Isn't there anything anyone can do for her?"

    "Her and I have had a few long talks over the past three years. I make sure that she can study here when things get bad at home, and I try to help her out as much as I can when things get bad here. I have taken her to the hospital after a few of the beatings she has gotten."

    "Can't her parents do anything?"

    "They have enough of their own problems. Her Mom tries to help her but there isn't much she can do as far as the school problems go, and Lori refuses to transfer. The track coach and I try to do as much to help her as we can. He is trying to get her accepted, as a junior, to college with a scholarship. Hopefully this will be her last year here. I don't know if she will make it if she has to stay here another year. I remember the first time I met Lori, she was a freshman, and it was my first year teaching here. I was wondering why she had been out on a hall pass for almost half an hour. I found her in one of the showers soaking wet, with a bloody nose and a few broken ribs and fingers."

    "That's awful, and she still keeps coming back to school?"

    " Yes. To the best of my knowledge she has never missed a test or even a significant amount of school. She even struggled in the Monday after that first beating even though her nose was broken, and breathing was painful for her. Did you notice her limp? She was a county champion shot put and discus thrower, until she had her leg broken in three places right before last Christmas. After four surgeries, they still cannot return her leg to normal. But still she comes to school and does exceptionally well. She said something about if she didn't show up then they would win."

    "I can't say that I would have done that in high school."

    "That kid has been through a lot. There were times when we didn't think she would make it. There were beatings where if she wasn't found when she was she might have died, but still she would be back a few days later. Always with a smile on, and always willing to help out whomever. But Dana, you probably would have done the same thing. That girl has a goal and the kids that pick on her are not going to stop her from making it. By the way, when you met her, did you shake her hand?"

    "Yes. Why?"

    "She doesn't usually shake hands with people. Did you happen to see the scars on her wrist?"

    "No, she was wearing long sleeves and her jacket. Why? Self inflicted?"

    "I have to tell you, I really don't know. She came in one morning after a long weekend, with her right hand and wrist all bandaged up. When I asked her about it, she wouldn't talk about it. She is right handed so I think it would have been tough for her to do it herself, but I really don't know. I know that it didn't happen during school, but who knows what might have happened on the way home. Her parents will not talk about it either. I didn't want to push the point."

    "Is she abused at home?"

    "That depends how you define abuse. To the best of my knowledge her parents have never hit her or intentionally harmed her physically, but the mental abuse she suffers is intolerable. I witnessed it once when I brought her home after one of our sessions went late. It was so bad that I recommended she be taken from her family as a ward of the state but without evidence of physical abuse there was nothing that could be done. Not to mention the fact that she would not in any way implicate her family."

    "What about counseling? Doesn't this school system offer it? What about private counseling or family counseling?"

    "We only offer group counseling, and I am certain that some of the kids who are part of the problem are part of that group. I didn't want to force her to have to talk with them in a group setting about them. And for whatever reason, her family refused to go for counseling I think it had something with the exorbitant fees, but they would neither confirm nor deny that. I persuaded the School to allow me to act as her counselor, and her parents agreed to it. I do have a degree in Psychology, and a certificate in counseling."

    "Do you think she is suicidal?" asked Scully a little concerned for this girl that she just met.

    "I would have to say no. I don't think she is. She has always had this survival instinct, from the moment I met her, even after all that has happened. She will never give the names of the kids who beat her up, and she always has this never die attitude, no matter what she will not let them win. But I have to tell you, after some of what she has been through, and after all that I have seen, I would have killed myself a long time ago if I were her. Sometimes I have to wonder."

    “I will have to introduce her to Mulder when he picks me up after school. He is a psychologist in addition to his profiling abilities. He should be able to figure her out pretty quickly, and maybe give you some ideas as to how to help her. She reminds me a lot of him.”

    "I didn't know that Mulder was a Psychologist."

    "I'm sorry, I thought I had mentioned that. As it was the two of you got along very well last night. If he had known that you had a degree in psychology, he might have asked you to marry him," said Scully with a smirk

    "I really liked him, and I think you are lucky to have him as your partner, but I have to ask you how you get any work done. I would be too busy drooling to get anything done."

    "Trust me, he isn't all he is cracked up to be. I would be lying if I didn't agree that he is handsome, but we have to get past that. I need to trust him with my life, and he trusts me with his. We are so much closer than any other kind of relationship could ever be." Said Scully, hoping that the response did not sound too rehearsed. "But look I would rather not talk about this OK?"

    "OK, but I hope that I will get the chance to look at him, I mean say goodbye to him before the two of you drive off into the sunset, er um, I mean back to Washington." Said Jen as she mockingly wiped the drool from her chin.

    "I will make sure you get to when he picks me up at 3." Said Scully, laughing slightly, "Now about this lecture…"

    They talked about the lecture and the kinds of things that Jen hoped Scully would cover as they walked to Jen's first class.

    The day was moving by quickly. Scully had sat in and watched Jen teach during first period. They spent the next two periods catching up on old times. Before they knew it, it was lunchtime, and they were off to cafeteria K-5. This was the new cafeteria, some refurbishing had been done and it was just opening for the first time today. Aside from Fridays and Mondays when schedules were different for some of the students, this would be the faculty cafeteria. It was a very nice room with a great view of the biology department's botanical refuge. It was a quarter of the Rotunda that made up the central area of the school.

    As they walked up, they saw Lori sitting at a table near the door all by herself. Most of the other students were filtering in, and some were already in line to buy their lunch. Lori was sitting there, with a book open, but not really paying much attention to it.

    She was waiting for the late bell to ring. She was waiting for the moment when all 157 students would be in their place, many of them already starting the ritual of chastising her and throwing things at her. But she could not follow her plan until Ms Sandival closed one door, and Mr. Strin closed the other door. Then her moment would begin.

    Ms. Sandival walked up to Lori, and saw that it was already beginning. She again asked if she wanted a pass to go elsewhere, but Lori explained that she was really not feeling well, and that she wanted to get something to eat. Scully sat down with her as Jen went to close the door. Mr. Strin closed the other door, and Lori asked Scully a quick question.

    "Agent Scully," Lori began, pointing to the shoulder holster that was barely visible, and then only if you were looking for it. "What is that that you are carrying?"


    "In the holster. I saw it this morning when you reached for the coffee."

    "It's a Glock 19. I tried to keep it fairly concealed, but I am required to carry it whenever I am on duty."

    "Oh. Can you promise me something?"

    "Um, Yes I guess so. What is it?"

    "Can you promise me that you won't use that, no matter what happens here?"

    "Why? What are you talking about? Are you OK?" she asked as she reached over to touch Lori's forehead. "You really feel feverish."

    "I'm fine. Just promise me you won't use that because it will only make things worse."

    "Has somebody threatened you? Is somebody planning on hurting you? Ms. Sandival told me about some of the things that have happened. I can try and help you."

    "No, no you cant, just please promise me you won't use that." Said Lori as she got up to get something to eat.

    Scully turned to see Jen standing at her post at the door. She walked over to her and told her of the weird conversation she just had with Lori.

    "Maybe she is sick, I noticed that she doesn't look well at all. Or maybe someone said something to her. I will talk to her when she gets back."

    It was a conversation that would never happen.

    When Lori walked out off the food purchase area, the taunting hit a fever pitch. Food was thrown at the six-foot tall girl, and when a ketchup covered French fry hit her square in the face she had had it.

    She dropped her tray, dropped her backpack, and tore both her jacket and sweatshirt open to reveal a large amount of explosives taped to her chest. The other hand went for her backpack and came out with a Glock 19 and several cartridges of ammunition.

    "Barry," yelled Lori to a male student sitting at a corner table by the door "Lock that door. If you just do what I say you'll be OK. Ms Sandival, Could you please lock that other door? Thank you." She said as she heard both of the latches fall into place.

    Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Scully reach for her gun. "Agent Scully, I wouldn't do that if I were you. These explosives are on a unique detonator. I am not going to tell you what will cause it to detonate, but if anything happens to me, you have about 2 minutes… plus or minus thirty seconds to get everyone away. I am wearing enough explosives to level this entire room at the very least and probably the rest of the rotunda and maybe a few classrooms in the central wing."

    "Look Lori, you don't have to do this. It isn't worth it. Why don't you just put the gun away? Then we can all go back to eating lunch." Said Ms Sandival with terror in her voice.

    "You have nothing to worry about Ms Sandival, I don't have a problem with you. I am almost insulted that you would think I would hurt you. You have helped me too much to have anything to worry about, unless your friend Agent Scully tries to drop me."

    "Lori… Please…" begged Ms. Sandival

    "OK I am not stupid folks. I see all of the cell phones. Go ahead call 9-1-1. It won't do any good. In fact, Barry, Ms Sandival, do me a favor; first wedge some chairs up against those doors. I don't want anyone trying to come in. Second, go collect all of those damned cell phones. Like I said, do what I ask and you will be OK. I don't have a problem with either of you."

    As asked, Ms Sandival, and Barry collected all of the cell phones. At least all the ones they saw.

    "Everyone, Get off the floor. I don't want anyone under the tables. I want to see all of your smiling faces. There will be no crawling toward the doors. When that bell rings, nobody is to move. You got that? Nobody."

    For a few more minutes, everyone else was silent. Scully got up and started to walk very slowly towards Lori. "Easy, Lori, you don't need to do this. What do you hope to gain from it?"

    "Why don't you shut up and sit down?” Lori snarled.

    But Scully continued to approach her. "You are sick, maybe even delusional. Why don't you just give me the gun?"

    "Just shut up and sit down," she snapped as she pointed the gun at Scully.

    Then one of the jocks decided that this was some kind of a joke. "You don't have the guts Verbato. How do we even know that gun is real? You just want to scare us. You won't pull that trigger." Said Nick, the quarterback of the football team. "You have never had the guts to do anything."

    "Do you want to try me Nick? Do you? I think that is very stupid on your part."

    "I don't think you have the guts."

    "Nick, shut up," said Ms Sandival as she heard a shot fired.

    Skinner sat in his chair at the coffee shop waiting for his lunch, when a newsbrief flashed on the TV that was positioned at the far end of the counter. Figuring it was something having to do with the recent woes of the president or the presidential candidates, he ignored it. Instead he remained intent on his newspaper.

    "Isn't that terrible?" said the elderly waitress as she brought him his sandwich.

    "What?" he said as he folded his paper and prepared his napkin.

    "I can't believe that children could or would do that to each other." She said as she pointed to the TV Screen. "In my day, things like this never happened."

    Skinner looked up to the TV screen to see a black and white photo of a high school aged girl. The TV was saying something about her being the primary suspect in the current hostage situation at James Madison Regional High School in Warington Falls, NJ.

    "Yes, it is terrible." Said Skinner as he looked away from the screen and to his food.

    The next time he looked up, a few seconds later, as he was eating, he saw a news conference. In the background, off to the side, stood Mulder.

    "What the…." He said as he took out his cell phone, and began to dial.

    "What the hell is going on?" asked Skinner before giving Mulder a chance to say anything.

    "We are in New Jersey,"

    "I know."


    "Are you aware that you are on National Television?"

    "Excuse me, Sir," said Mulder

    "I just saw you in the background of a press conference."

    "Yes, Sir," said Mulder noticing that he must be in the camera angle and walking further away. "Scully has stumbled into a situation."

    "Stumbled into a situation, I don't have time for this Mulder. What is going on and how did you two get involved?"

    "There is a student holding the occupants of a cafeteria hostage. She apparently has at least one gun, and is not talking to us. Scully is one of the hostages."

    "How the hell did that happen?"

    "She was invited as a guest lecturer. She happened to be in the cafeteria when it started."

    "I will be there as soon as I can. Have you been in contact with her?"

    "As of this moment there has been no contact with either Scully or the suspect. At least one shot has been fired, and there was one small explosion, probably detonated from within the cafeteria. It appears the perimeter is encrusted with explosives. We cannot get in there. We are trying to rectify the situation."

    "Is anybody hurt?"

    "All we know is that shots have been fired, and there has been at least one small explosion."

    "Is Agent Scully armed?"

    "I believe so. She had her weapon with her this morning."

    "I am on my way. I will make the necessary calls for us to take over this situation. You will be in charge until I get there."

    "Sir, the situation is under control."

    "I am coming up there. Does the media know that a federal agent is inside?"

    "No, we have tried to keep that from the public. To them she does not even exist."

    "I will be there in a few hours. Keep me posted." Said Skinner as he put some money down on the counter and walked out of the shop.

    "Yes Sir." Said Mulder

    Mulder sat in his car, and reviewed the file of the student who was the primary suspect. Initially, he was shocked that it was a girl. Statistics show that males more commonly initiate this type of violence. But when he started to delve into the file, he started to understand. He saw a person whom he could instantly relate to. He didn't need to get into this person's head to create a profile, he only needed to get into his own. In this girl, or at least in her file, he saw reflections of his younger self.

    Lori Verbato was a 16-year-old wonder kid. She had an IQ of 186, and had a perfect average every year since third grade. She had a nearly perfect attendance record with medical excuses for all of her absences, and had achieved varsity letters in 4 different sports. This kid should have been choosing which scholarship she was going to take instead of holding her classmates hostage. At first, and based on that part of her scholastic record, it made no sense. When he got to the part about her disciplinary record that too read as being immaculate. Never been suspended, never had detention, never did anything wrong. Still it seemed as though the wrong folder had been given to Mulder. He went to question this but decided to flip through the rest of the file first. That was when he saw the social record. This is what made the whole situation crystal clear.

    She was seeking Revenge.

    He was starting to read it, when his cell phone rang.

    "Mulder." He said into the phone

    "Mulder, its me." Came Scully's voice.

    "Are you alright?" he asked with concern.

    "I'm fine. I need you to do me a favor. I need you to talk to the people in charge of this situation. There are some things that Lori wants them to know. She wants to talk to you."

    "Skinner is in the process of transferring this to federal jurisdiction. I should be in charge shortly. Why does she want to talk to me instead of the folks in charge, local law enforcement?"

    "Because Lori trusts me with her life, and I trust you with mine. She does not trust them. She says there isn’t an officer out there who is not related to someone in this room."

    "OK. What is the information?"

    "Agent Mulder" said Lori into the phone.

    "Yes, this is Agent Mulder." He responded.

    "I want you to tell them that there is no way in here except through me. If anyone steps on the wrong floor tile, there could be a minor or a major explosion. If anyone grabs the handle of the door, they will complete a circuit that will send about 14,000 volts coursing through their body. If anyone tries to come in through the ceiling, the minute they break the plane of the ceiling, with anything, there will be an explosion that will take the ceiling off this entire room. So basically, again there is no way in here except through me, and I would rather not hurt anyone. Do you understand?"

    "Yes. Lori, I need to know what your demands are in order to end this."

    "First of all, I want your personal guarantee that the building has been evacuated. Can you give me that?"

    "Yes, the school has been evacuated of all other students, and staff."

    "That's good, I really don't want to hurt anyone else."

    "Anyone else? We heard shots, is anyone hurt? What else do you want or need from us?"

    "Nobody has been hurt yet. I will have to get back to you with my specific demands." Finished Lori, as she handed the phone back to Scully.

    "Mulder" said Scully

    "Scully, is everyone OK in there?"

    "Yes Mulder. I am going to try and talk to her, but you need to take her threats seriously. She…." Scully tried to finish, but Lori yanked the phone from her hand and hung it up.

    "Agent Scully, they are not to know under any circumstances that I am carrying explosives. Is that understood? And that goes for the rest of you. If they find out, then I will start shooting people." Said Lori as she turned to the groups at the tables. "And I am sure that you would not want to be indirectly responsible for the deaths of your classmates."

    "Scully… Scully? " Questioned Mulder into the phone that now sounded of only a dialtone. He tried to call Scully back but received no answer. He then put the phone in his pocket, hoping that they would call back and ran to the detective in charge.

    “Can I get a list, and the files of everyone being held?” Asked Mulder

    “What do you need that for?” asked Detective Cordon.

    “I would like to get an idea of who is in there, why our suspect is holding them, and if she might have any accomplices.” Said Mulder thinking it was a perfectly reasonable request.

    “I’m sorry Agent Mulder, was it, but I cannot give you that information. I don’t think it is necessary, and I don’t want to run the risk of that information being leaked to the press.”

    “You are kidding right? We are both on the same side here; I am not going to leak anything to the press. I need that information in order to get a better idea of what is going on in there and the best way to solve this.”

    "There isn’t time for that Agent Mulder,” he said as he went back to what he was doing before being interrupted. “We are working on a plan to take down the suspect," said the detective as he continued to pour over the blueprints that sat in front of him. "The quicker we resolve this, the quicker we can all go home."

    "I just spoke with the suspect. I assured her that the building has been evacuated. She has warned against any attempt at entry, saying that the place is rigged with explosives. Any attempt at entry will certainly lead to loss of life. We need to take her seriously."

    "You spoke to the suspect?"

    "Yes, Agent Scully called me."

    "In the future Agent Mulder, all calls go through me. If your phone rings, I am the one who will answer it. If anyone is going to call in, it will be me. Is that understood?"

    "With all due respect Sir, I don't think you appreciate the situation. A federal agent is a hostage, as well as 157 children. I am going to do what I can to make sure that no one is hurt. This is being transferred to federal jurisdiction. Has Assistant Director Skinner been in contact with you?"

    "No, no FBI bigwigs have contacted me or my Commanding Officer. And as long as this is still in my jurisdiction I am still in charge. You heard the rules. I expect your full cooperation. Is that understood?"

    "Yes Sir," said Mulder begrudgingly, not wanting to worsen the situation. “Now about those files?”

    "I already told you that I am not giving you that information. We are not going to discuss this further. Give me your phone."

    "Sir, have you read the file on Lori Verbato? Do you have any idea of whom you are dealing with?"

    "Yes, we are dealing with a girl who is trying to get some attention. I think all of her claims of explosives are overstated. The only reason we haven't gone in yet is because of the earlier explosion and evidence of perimeter explosives. I think that all we have to do is take her down and that will solve the immediate danger to the students still inside. Then they can just sit tight while we diffuse what is around the perimeter. She has a gun, and we believe that she will not hesitate to use it."

    "Is that the solution? To shoot a child? Have you even looked at the file? This kid is brilliant. She is more than capable of obtaining the resources and having the knowledge to do exactly what she claims to have done. Have you spoken to her parents, or to the school appointed counselor? So I ask again, do you have any idea of what you are dealing with?"

    "First of all Agent Mulder," said the detective getting extremely agitated, "I am more than willing to sacrifice one child to protect 156 others, the faculty inside and your federal agent partner. Second, there are metal detectors at every entry to this building. The only way she could have gotten a firearm inside is if she took your partner's. Third, after recent school fiascoes, no student is allowed in the building either before or after hours except in designated areas, of which this cafeteria is not one. Fourth, the counselor that you think we should talk to, she is a hostage, one Ms. Sandival. Finally, we have a sharp shooter positioned on the roof, so that if she gets even close to a window, we can take her down. I am not really worried about the situation other than that I don't want 156 innocent kids to have to see their classmate shot or killed, but if it will save their lives then I say pull the trigger."

    "I cannot believe that you are so willing to take her down. Oh I get it; you don't want to be accused of not learning from recent events? Is that it? It is really nice of you to be so willing to sacrifice this one kid, detective, but have you even tried negotiating with her?"

    "You don't know the history of this kid. From what we can tell, there will be no demands. The only way to end this situation will be to disable her, or we feel that she will harm the rest of the people involved. Lori Verbato has been mentioned in at least 10 police reports over the past 3 years. She makes claims of being beaten, but she never gave any names. We think that she has been looking for attention all along. There has never been any doubt that she has been beaten, but we think she might have staged at least some of the incidents."

    "I think you are wrong. She told me she would call me with her demands. I think we can negotiate with her. I think we can end this peacefully."

    "Look Agent Mulder, until I get an order that you are in charge, I don't want to hear another word out of you. You are only making the situation worse. I don't have time for this."

    "But no more shots have been fired. There is no evidence that she is hurting anyone, there is barely suspicion of it." Said Mulder as he walked away from the detective in charge.

    He wished he still had his phone, he needed to get in touch with Scully, he needed to let her know of the general ineptitude of the people running the situation.

    As he walked to his car, he was met by Skinner who had just arrived. "Agent Mulder, we came up by chopper. I would like you to meet Agent Avento. He is a FBI negotiator. I briefed him on the flight of the general details. I need you to get him up to speed. I will talk to the detective in Charge and inform him that we are taking over."

    "Sir, I need your phone." Said Mulder as he nodded to the negotiator.

    Skinner handed him the phone and walked over to where the flurry of commotion was centered.

    After four tries, somebody finally answered Scully's phone. "Scully" she said in a nervous voice.

    "Scully, Its me. I need you to know that the detective in charge of this operation is not willing to talk. He feels that the only way to resolve this issue is to take down the suspect. He also does not believe the claims of explosives. Skinner is trying to wrestle control from him as we speak. I do need to inform you that there are snipers posted on the roof with direct line of sight if the suspect gets near the window. They are being ordered to fire if they have any kind of a shot."

    "Mulder. Don't call me, we will call you. I will keep Lori away from the window. I am trying to get Lori to give herself up, but it is going to take time."

    "Don't call me on my phone. Call me on Skinner's phone. As long as you keep her away from the window, and no more shots are fired, you should have some time."

    "OK, said Scully as she put down the cell phone on the cafeteria table.

    Slowly Scully walked over to where Lori was sitting. They had been sitting in there for over three hours, and Lori was starting to get antsy. "Lori, you have to talk to them. We cannot end this until you tell them what you want."

    "Agent Scully, they cannot give me what I want. Only the people in this room can give me what I want."

    "If you tell them that, you are signing your own death warrant. They are already prepared to shoot you on sight. They will do it if you don't give them an idea of how to end this peacefully."

    "I think you know what I want. And if you don't, I am sure that Ms. Sandival can figure it out. She probably knows exactly what I want."

    "She wants revenge." Said Ms. Sandival in a quiet voice from her post by the door.

    "Revenge? Is that what this is all about?" Asked Scully, in a state of disbelief. "There are other ways of getting revenge. This is not the answer Lori." She said as she put a hand on Lori's shoulder. "Give us the names of the people who have hurt you, I will personally make sure they are punished."

    "The punishment you can offer will never be enough, Agent Scully, besides, these people will not be punished. They are above that.”

    “What do you mean they are above that?”

    “Nick is the Police Chief’s son, Audrey over there is the principal’s niece,” said Lori as she pointed to a girl sitting by the window with a smug grin. “Ed’s Brother is Detective Cordon. These people don’t get punished. They don’t even get their wrists slapped. There is no way to punish them other than this.”

    “Are they the people who have assaulted you?”

    “It doesn’t matter, nothing you could ever do to them would be enough, not for what they have done. These people didn’t just beat the crap out of me; some of them almost killed me. It wasn't enough that they picked on me and made fun of me, but they had to beat me up, they had to hurt my family, and hurt my family's belongings. They took part of me away. To them this was a game, now it is my turn to play."

    “What do you mean this was a game to them?”

    “Agent Scully, Ms. Sandival, why do you think I never named the people who beat me up? Why do you think I let them walk away? It wasn’t fear of worse beatings later on. It was because I knew they were untouchable. They wanted me to turn them in. They wanted me to see first hand that they would get away with it. By my not naming them, they never got that satisfaction.”

    “And then the beatings got worse.” Said Ms. Sandival.

    “It wasn’t always the same people, but they figured that eventually it would get so bad that either they would kill me or I would give them up. That isn’t going to happen though. Besides, all of the people who could have made a difference knew what was going on. They knew who was responsible but they looked the other way. Everyone knew, except you Ms. Sandival. At first I thought you were protecting them too, but I know in my heart that you wouldn’t do that to me. Didn’t you notice that there was never any kind of investigation into what happened? That’s because the folks at the top knew and they had no intention of doing anything about it. Why do you think they wanted me to transfer instead of trying to find the problem? It was just easier that way. It is always easier to sacrifice one in order to keep harmony than to try and find the bad kids involved, especially when they are related.”

    “You said it was your turn to play?” questioned Scully, “Are you going to finally name names?”

    “No I am not, because it doesn’t matter. This is a new game. Only now we are playing by my rules.

    "What does that mean? Not everyone in this room has hurt you, have they?"

    "There are some people in this room who will be spared my revenge. There are people in here who will never forget this experience, and there are people in this room who may not make it out alive. They know who they are."

    "If your intent is to kill any of the people in this room, I have no other choice but to try and stop you. I cannot allow you to hurt anyone." Said Scully with determination in her voice. "Why don't you let some of these kids go then. Let some of the ones you don't have a problem with go."

    "I plan to, but not just yet. I need to think first."

    "Lets talk about this," said Ms Sandival from her post by the door. "You need help."

    "No, Ms Sandival. You have already helped me as much as you could, and I thank you for that, but this has gone beyond anything that mere talking can solve."

    "Let me try to help you,” said Scully as she noticed tears in the corners of Lori's eyes.

    "I don't think you can help either Agent Scully. Just do your job, and try to keep anyone from getting hurt."

    "I can help you. I will help you. But we have been here for 5 hours, and I can't help you unless you give me something to work with. I need you to let some people go."

    Lori then walked to the far wall of the cafeteria. She took out a list of names from her backpack and a remote controller. She then walked over to Scully. "Call your partner. I am going to let everyone go, everyone except these 15 people."

    "Are these the people who assaulted you in the past? Are these the people who should be prosecuted? They can be tried as adults. We can get take legal action."

    "No Agent Scully, that isn't enough. That could never be enough." Said Lori as she flirted with looking out the window.

    Ms Sandival gathered up the 15 students that were not being released and sat back down at her post.

    "You are free to go too, Ms. Sandival. Like I said I didn't want to hurt anyone, other than these 15 people, least of all you. You have been a big help to me, I can never thank you enough for this, other than to not hurt you and to not make you see what is going to happen here."

    "No Lori. I am not going anywhere. I won't leave you here, not in this situation."

    Lori walked up to her and hugged her. "Yes you have to go. I need you to get everyone out safely and to take care of yourself. No matter what happens here just know that you did everything you possibly could have. And know that you helped me. I can never thank you enough for what you did for me, but there is only one way this can end, I don't want you to have to experience that."

    "Go, Jen." Said Scully.

    "You are leaving too Agent Scully. I don't want you here for this." Said Lori as she walked over to her backpack to get another remote control.

    "I can't go, I won't go. I am your only chance to get out of here." Said Scully as she looked at Lori.

    "You just don't get it Agent Scully. You just don't get it." Said Lori as she turned off the explosives and watched the rest of the group leave. "Nobody says a word about what is going on in here or what has gone on in here. Is that understood? Or, so help me god, I will kill everyone that is left in here."

    With those last words, 142 people vacated the building.

    Scully called Skinner's number, and put Lori on the phone with Mulder.

    "Agent Mulder, I am going to let some people go. I am turning off my traps so they can vacate the building. I am turning them back on when they are clear. In return I want you to be certain that nobody tries to come in here. Is that a deal?"

    "I need to know what your plans are. I need to know what it will take for you to release the rest of the hostages?"

    "I am sure my file is all over the parking lot. I am sure you already know what I want. Consider this as a sign of goodwill on my part."

    "I need something concrete. I have a negotiator here. He would like to talk to you."

    "No, I will only talk to you. If agent Scully trusts you with her life, then I will trust you, and remember I hold Agent Scully's life in my hands."

    "I understand."

    "I am letting all but 15 people go. I will call you later"

    Within moments there was a crowd approaching the front door.

    "Hold your fire! Hold your fire!" Screamed Mulder as the crowd rushed to the door.

    As Mulder was going to approach the students and the officers, he was met by Skinner.

    "Local Law enforcement is still in control. There is nothing I can do to stop their plans. Between you and Scully, you have to get this to end peacefully." Said Skinner

    "I know sir, Scully got her to release all but 15 students. I will try and talk to her about letting the rest go."

    Mulder picked up the cell phone and dialed Scully. The phone was answered almost immediately.

    "Scully" came the voice through the phone.

    "Scully, Its me, what is going on in there?" Said Mulder as he watched the group of students being questioned.

    "Lori is still holding 15 students and myself. I think these are the people she wants revenge on. I am trying to talk to her. Let me call you when I know more." Said Scully as she hung up the phone.

    Mulder continued to pace outside. This standoff had gone on long enough, and if this didn't end soon, he knew that the only end that the State of New Jersey was going for would culminate with the death of Lori Verbato. Scully was OK, or at least she was for the moment, but Mulder knew that might not last. With the release of the majority of the students the situation was only escalating. These were the 15 students who had probably inflicted the most pain on Lori's life. These were the students who she wanted revenge on.

    As Mulder watched the proceedings, he couldn't help but think about his own childhood. He was all too familiar with what this girl had gone through and was going through. He remembered getting picked on, especially after what had happened to his sister. He remembered being beat up in the schoolyard, and on his way home from school. He remembered the abuse he suffered from his parents when they blamed Samantha's abduction on him.

    As he remembered this, he also remembered how he escaped it, he dove head first into his studies. He got himself a scholarship to Oxford. He was able to get out. It seemed as though Lori had tried to do the same. She was doing everything right, she was setting herself up to be extremely successful later in life, but for her something went wrong. Something went very wrong.

    Often kids fantasize about getting even, about hurting everyone who hurt them, thought Mulder as he tried to figure out what to say to this girl that might help the situation. Usually though, those fantasies were never followed through with. Or in some cases they were and ended badly, with Columbine as the primary example. But this situation was different though; this kid was following through with the fantasy. This kid had made a plan and followed through with it. The question was of intent. This kid did not just go and kill or hurt people, she didn't act first and think later, there was something that was stopping her from following through with and finishing the act. The task was to find out what made this person snap, and to figure out how to stop it, how to stop it before it got worse. Unfortunately time was running out, and he knew it.

    In negotiations, you never want to let the suspect know that you sympathize with them. You never want to get pulled into their delusions, but in this case it would have been hard for Mulder not to sympathize with Lori. It was a good thing, Mulder thought, that Scully was inside. She would not have the problem he had. Scully could not directly sympathize with this kid, other than to feel bad for what had happened to her.

    Lori paced the room that now only held Scully, 15 students and herself. The plan had worked so far; everything was as she had wanted it, except for two things. Two things turned this into totally different situation. Agent Scully, and fear or regret or something like that, she thought as she looked at the group.

    "Well Folks, its just you and me now… I am sure you all know exactly why we are here together. I am sure you all think you know what I am going to do. But let me assure you that you have no idea." Said Lori as she reached into her backpack and took out some more ammunition.

    "Don't do it Lori." Said Scully as she watched and considered drawing her own firearm down on Lori.

    "Agent Scully, you can shoot me if you would like. I certainly cannot stop you, but if you shoot me you are killing everyone in this room, yourself included."

    Instead of drawing her weapon down on Lori, Scully instead took out the revolver, and placed it on the table. "I don't want to hurt you. I don't want you to hurt anyone."

    "Well now that I don't have to worry about Agent Scully, I think it's time to get this whole ordeal over with. Lets see, I have planned for each of you how you will suffer for what you have done." She said as she stared at the ceiling,

    She looked over the group when she heard the sound of one of her hostages crying. "You don't have to worry, I am not planning on killing anyone, but you will need to pay for what you did. You will all get to suffer like I have suffered."

    "No Lori, you can't do that. If you harm anyone in this room you will be prosecuted. I don't want to see that happen. If you give this up now, the penalty will be minimal. We can get you help." Said Scully as she saw that time was rapidly running out.

    "Now lets see," said Lori, ignoring Scully's last comments. "For those of who are of the intellectual type, first you will experience some of the pain that I suffered through, I thought about breaking all of your fingers, but I don’t have time for that, and I am not really all that thrilled about listening to you scream as I do it. I thought about blowing off your hands, but that would be cruel. Instead, I decided on shooting off your thumbs and a few fingers." Said Lori as she oriented the hands of several of the hostages on the table where they were seated.

    "You are making a big mistake Lori. If you hurt them, your life as you know it will be over."

    "Shut up, Agent Scully" said Lori as she walked over to the seven students whom she had not dealt with yet. "And for you, the athletes amongst the group, you are going to suffer immeasurably. What is one of the primary things you need in order to properly compete? What did some of you take away from me?… Well since you all seem to be so shy today, that's right, you need working legs. Since I don't have the time to beat each of you thoroughly with a baseball bat, I think a single bullet in each of your knees will do the trick." She said as she lined up the last students against the wall.

    "No" said Scully as she got up to block Lori's way. "If you do this your life is over. If you shoot any of these kids you could kill them. Do you want to do that?"

    "Each of them was willing to take the risk of almost killing me when they beat me up, now I am willing to take the risk."

    "No. You can't do this. You are not that kind of a person, Lori. You don't want to hurt these people. How will this get you your revenge? You will only be lowering yourself to their level if you do to them what they did to you. How will that help you? You will spend the rest of your life in Prison. How does that match up with the goals you set for yourself?" Said Scully as she continued to try and block Lori's path.

    "Get the hell out of my way. I really don't want to shoot you, but I will." Said Lori as she raised the gun to Scully's forehead.

    Scully did not budge, not until she fell to the ground with the sound of a single shot.

    The students, awaiting their own punishment, looked away, some of them screaming as the shot rang out.

    Mulder heard the shot fired.

    He also heard the yell of the detective in charge as screamed, "Get them on the phone… Now."

    Other commands were yelled and radioed simultaneously. Everyone was on high alert.

    This siege was coming to an end, and Mulder knew it. He dialed Scully's cell phone number.

    "I need to know what just happened" screamed Mulder into the phone as he tried to listen over the building excitement.

    "Agent Scully got in the way." Was all Lori told him as she hung up the phone.

    Mulder didn't know what to think. At first he sympathized with this kid. Now he hated her. If she shot Scully, then there was no getting out alive. There was no longer any room for negotiation. There was no room for anything other than full assault, including the fire order to anyone who got even a glimpse of her.

    “She shot Scully!” screamed Mulder to anyone who would listen.

    Skinner had rushed over to the base of operations with the lead detective. The snipers had reported the shot being fired. They saw the hole and spider web of cracks that now adorned the window, but they saw no blood. They also saw Agent Scully on the floor.

    "Is Agent Scully Down?" yelled Skinner into the radio. "Is she down?"

    "This is unit 8. I have a clear view of both Scully and the hole in the window. Agent Scully appears to be getting up. I do not see any blood." Crackled over the radio.

    "Thank You Unit 8" said Skinner. "If you get the shot at the suspect, take it. I repeat, if anyone gets a clear shot at the suspect, take it."

    Skinner ran over to Mulder who was desperately trying to get an answer on the cell phone. "The snipers are reporting that Scully is OK. The shot must have gone wild. The fire order has been reiterated. If anyone gets a shot this will end."

    Slowly Agent Scully got up off of the floor. She touched her forehead to feel that there was no damage. She looked at Lori, who was looking at her.

    "Trust me Agent Scully, I don't want to hurt you. But I want you to know I am serious." Said Lori as she took a long deep breath. "Now as for the rest of you I want to hurt you."

    Lori walked over to the table of people who were slated to lose their thumbs, and better positioned Audrey’s hand. “Well Audrey, How does it feel to be the first?” She said as she pointed the gun. Then she stared into the eyes of her victim.

    She pulled the trigger emptying the magazine into the floor instead of Audrey. She then turned her head. "I can't do this. I can't hurt you,” she said as tears started to freely fall from the corners of her eyes. "After all that you took from me, after all of it, after everything each of you did to me, I can't do this."

    Scully walked over to her, and put an arm around her. She took out her cell phone and called Mulder.

    "Everyone in here is OK, just a little scared. I think the end is near." She finished before hanging up the phone. She never even gave Mulder the chance to respond. All that was important was that he got the message.

    "Its OK Lori," Scully said as she held the explosive clad girl and let her cry.

    "Do you know what it is like Agent Scully, do you know what it was like to have been me? I really wanted to hurt them. I still do, but I cant." She continued to cry.

    "That's Ok Lori. We are going to get you out of here, and we are going to get you some help."

    "That's the problem Agent Scully, there is no getting out of here. My life is over, and I couldn't even make them pay."

    "No. No its not, we will get you some help. Now just let everyone go, and we can walk out of here."

    "I can't deal with them. I can't deal with all of the people outside. The minute I walk out of here, they will never let me get beyond this."

    "I will get you to a hospital. I will make sure that they give you a chance."

    "My life is over Agent Scully. There is nothing you can do about it."

    "I will take care of it. Just turn off the traps and let these people go."

    Scully picked up her cell phone and called Mulder.

    "Mulder, its me, Lori is letting everyone go. I want you to pull our car up front. Lori wants to get out of here. I will take her where she wants to go."

    "OK. Are you OK?"

    "I'm fine."

    "Where does she want to go?"

    "I don't know. But she assures me that she will let me go when we get there."

    When they arrived at the front door, the car was waiting, keys in the ignition, engine running.

    Lori walked out holding Scully in front of her, using her as a shield, with her empty gun pushed into Scully’s temple.

    "Its OK, we are going to get out of here." Repeated Scully as she was lead by Lori to the car.

    Mulder saw the two of them as they approached the car. Lori's face was riddled with fear, but Scully seemed unusually calm.

    The siege had just about ended. All of the students had been released. The only hostage left was Scully, and she was confident that she would be released shortly.

    Mulder had told the detective in Charge that they were coming out. He told them that Scully was going to drive the suspect somewhere and then she would be released. He told them everything they needed to know, and headed to where Skinner was standing.

    As Lori was pushing Scully into the car, a single shot rang out. Before anyone knew what had happened Lori lay on the ground face down bleeding from the center of her back.

    Scully jumped out of the car, and turned her over.

    "What… What … what happened?" said Lori as she struggled for breath.

    "You were shot. You are going to be OK though."

    "No. You have to go. Not… much time. The detonator… You have to go."

    "This is a curable wound. You are not going to die. Stop the detonator."

    "I can’t. It’s… too late. No way to… stop it."

    "No Lori, I am not going to let you die like this."

    "Clear out the area. Don't want to hurt anyone."

    “No Lori, there has to be something you can do to stop this. There has to be a way to stop the detonator.”

    “No Scully. Supposed to… Better … off dead…. supposed to end like this.”

    “No Lori, You aren’t going to die”

    “Yes. Clear away. Don’t want to hurt… anyone.” Said Lori as she continued to struggle for breath.

    "OK." Scully turned to see the paramedics rushing forward. "Get back!" she screamed. "Get everyone back."

    "Agent Scully," asked Lori as she reached for her arm, "Thank you."

    Scully smiled at the girl, and ran for cover to where Mulder and Skinner were standing.

    Just as she got around the car, she heard the explosion and saw the rental car jump into the air.

    "What the hell just happened?" asked Mulder as he looked at Scully who was now visibly crying.

    "She was wearing explosives. I was trying to take her to get help." Cried Scully into Mulder's embrace.

    "Who fired?" Yelled Skinner as he ran to the detective in charge. "Who fired the shot?"

    The detective was trying to figure out the same thing, when somebody looked over to the crowd of just released students. Standing in the middle was a girl who was holding a gun. The police ran over and grabbed her.

    As Scully looked up from Mulder's embrace, and saw the girl that was being cuffed, she immediately recognized her. It was the girl that Lori could not hurt. It was Audrey, The Principal’s niece.

    The sickly smell of burning flesh and sulfur wafted through the air. Many of the students who were still on the site were crying as they spoke to Police or rushed into the waiting arms of their parents.

    Audrey, the girl whom they had just cuffed wore a smile. As she was lead to a waiting Police car, the only words she would repeat were "Game Over. The game is over, and I won," she repeated as her smile stayed plastered to her face.