Are Your Cases Always this Eerie?
by Kris Mashburn

An ATF Magnificent Seven - X-Files Crossover

Denver, Colorado      Tuesday

As Ezra Standish walked into a bar, located in a seedy part of town, he couldn’t help but wonder if this could be a trap. The last time he’d dealt with Ratchet, he’d been shot. He took a quick perusal about the barroom, the hairs on his neck stayed in place, so he just continued through to the back room. He spied Ratchet in the corner, fidgeting nervously. Ezra closed the door behind him and used a cough to get Ratchet’s attention.

Ratchet looked up, fear replacing the nervous look on his place. “Ah Ezra, thanks for coming.”

The words had no sooner left his mouth when he felt the air stir beside him and cold steel pressed against his face. Two, in fact. A gun muzzle was pressed into each ear. Ratchet froze.

Chris Larabee was at the end of one gun, Buck Willmington, the other. Chris leaned his face up close to Ratchet and said with stern menace in his voice, “individuals that get my agents shot don’t live long lives.”

Fear oozed from every pore, Ratchet figured he was a gonner. “I didn’t set him up, honest. That’s why I called. I’ve got info, I’m gonna give it to you for free….see, I wanna take care of you. Prove that I didna do nothin.”

“Don’t know that information will be enough. Our leader here, well he don’t forgive easy. And he takes gunshot wounds to his friends real serious.” Buck was hard pressed to keep the smile out of his voice.

The sound of cocking guns filled Ratchet’s ears, the fear overwhelmed him and he fell to the floor in a dead faint. The sound of Buck’s laughter followed his fall. Chris almost smiled himself. The two of them stepped back into the shadows, out of the line of Ratchet’s sight.

Ezra stood tapping his foot, waiting for his snitch to come to. Ratchet opened his eyes, surprised that he was still alive. He sat up, his eyes traveling the length of Ezra to his face. His eyes then widen at the annoyed expression displayed across his face.

“Okay, now let’s have it, what information could possibly even, your giving me away?” Ezra asked as he thought little, if any, information would prove useful.

“That heist of Army weapons, was partly an inside job. That’s the inside word, and the stuff is headed for a job here in the US. Jimmy, the day bartender is driving. I don’t think he really wants to, he just needs the money bad.”

Ezra tapped his open fingers against each other as he thought about what Ratchet told him. “Is this the heist that included 450 grenades, a grenade launcher, plastic explosives, rifles, 150 magazines for said rifles and approximately 5 Berettas and enough ammo for ten guys?”

Ratchet nodded eagerly, “the buyers are a Russian and a Middle-Easterner. But the really odd part is that they’re purchasing it for an American, to be delivered to a Virginia address.”

Ezra didn’t say anything, which left Ratchet unclear, so he added, “Jimmy really needs the money, but he doesn’t want to die. It’s rumored that these buyers don’t leave witnesses.”

Chris stepped into the light and nodded at Ezra. Chris turned and stared at Ratchet, who was squirming weasel-like, similar to the animal he’d been likened to. Chris remained motionless for a couple more seconds before turning to Ezra, “That matches some of the tid-bits we’ve collected.” Again, Chris looked at the snitch with that stern, hard stare that he was noted for. He directed his next words to him, “Will this Jimmy work with us?”

“That’s the whole point, this is helping you and him.” Ratchet finally stood, fidgeting from foot to foot.

“Ratchet,”  Ezra said with deadly intent, “if this is some kind of con your running to get into our good graces, and it turns out that you lied or mislead us……any action taken by Mr. Larabee will only be the beginning of what I’ll do to you.”

Ratchet stood absolutely still and solemnly nodded his head to Ezra.

Ezra changed postures and slapped his hands together as he said, “let’s go meet Jimmy!”

Severna Park, Maryland    Wednesday, 2:00pm

Abby Jenkins turned away from the grave site of her brothers, not wanting to talk with her parents just yet after the double funeral. They’d ask questions she had no answers for. How would she describe what had happened. Who would believe her.

Abby saw the two agents waiting for her, as she had arranged to talk with them here. She approached them slowly, noticing the calm air about them. She thought that the female had nice red hair, and didn’t really look like an FBI agent. The man had unusual eyes, as though they could see what others could not, well she hoped so.

FBI Agents, Dana Scully and Fox Mulder watched as their new assignment walked toward them.

Dana put out her hand, “hello, I’m Dana Scully.”

“Abby Jenkins,” she said as she accepted Dana’s hand

 “Fox  Mulder.” Mulder shook her hand after Scully. “Thank you for meeting with us today.”

Abby nodded, looking stricken as she remembered why she was here. Scully noted this and said, “we are sorry for your loss.” Abby again nodded.

The was a silence, like each was waiting for the other to begin. Mulder pushed ahead, “will you tell us why we’re here?”

Abby looked puzzled, “didn’t the original agents pass on the information I gave them?”

“No, they didn’t,” Mulder divulged.

“We came straight here from the airport. We’ve had no chance to speak with anyone.” Scully added to Mulder’s blunt statement. “Why don’t we sit over there,” making it more of a statement than a question as she pointed at the two benches located to the left of them.

The three of them walked over and sat down on the benches. The gray sky matching Abby’s mood.

Mulder leaned forward, resting his arms on his legs, and requested, “as we haven’t heard anything, start at the beginning. Include all you remember, sometimes the little details are important.”

Abby stared out at all the headstones, not really seeing them, but collecting her thoughts in order. “The three of us work at GovCorp, it’s a government sponsored research agency. My brothers actually work..worked in Research. I work in Translations and Linguistics. “ She turned and looked at both agents, “I’m not real clear on what they were working on. They weren’t allowed to talk about it.” Abby hesitated and lowered her voice, “but the last couple of weeks, Jason hinted that something wasn’t right. We set up a meeting in the lab. Jason was going to stop the project, he believed that someone had sold them out.”

“He never mentioned what type of research project they were working on?” Fox Mulder asked openly, but watched her intently for any indications that she did know what the project was.

Abby shook her head but kept her eyes down as she answered, “I think that Jason was going to explain some part of it, but the door shut……,” her voice quivered and tears sprang into her eyes, “and the fire started…it engulfed the lab so quickly…..” Her voice broke as she looked up at Mulder, “Eric’s last words to me indicated that he had hidden the whole project for me……but he never got to tell me where.”

Dana Scully tilted her head, wearing a baffled expression as she asked, “if the fire engulfed the entire lab and killed your brothers, how is it that you survived, and without any injury?”

Abby took a deep breath  and held it, covering her lips with her hand. She exhaled slowly, turning her head and focused her eyes directly at Mulder as she quietly answered. "As the fire drew close to us, Eric and Jason clasped hands with me inside the circle. They said…………..good bye, then closed their eyes and hummed ever so softly, hardly audible. As the two of them worked on the tone, it was like the heat lessened. Then…then when they matched tones completely, the heat of the fire disappeared and the air was easy to breathe.” Abby voice tone changed to reflect her words that followed, “the fire completely engulfed Eric and Jason. Even after they were dead, I never felt the effects of the fire. When the firefighters finally got the door down, and the fire was completely out…..the firefighters couldn’t touch me. It was like a clear shell surrounded me. It wasn’t until after I said aloud that I had to get out of there, that the shield or force field came down, allowing me to leave.”

Dana Scully looked askance at Mulder and Abby caught the look.

“That’s the same look the other FBI agents had and then one of them said with laughter in his voice, ‘this is a case for Spooky.’ “

Scully rolled her eyes in acknowledgment of Mulder’s nickname.

Mulder looked thoughtful, “can we get a look at the lab?”

“Yes. I have a copy of the fighter’s report and the security video.” Abby was hoping they’d take her seriously, she really needed somebody to believe her.

Incredulously,  Scully asked, “you have a video that shows what you described?” Scully’s tone changed as she added, “why didn’t you show the video to the other agents?”

“Edward, the security guard hadn’t given it to me yet. He really liked my brothers and wanted me to remember what they had done for me.” Tears ran unchecked down her face. Scully took some tissue from her bag and placed it silently into Abby’s hands.

Mulder looked around and didn’t see any vehicles, “do you need a ride?”

Abby nodded, “my car’s at the funeral home.”

On the ride Mulder arranged for them to meet her at GovCorp the next morning. “Till tomorrow Ms. Jenkins.”

As Mulder was about to roll up his window, she held up one finger, silently asking him to wait. She opened up the trunk of her car and extracted the video. “For your review, I’d just like it back. I haven’t watched it yet.” She handed the manila envelope to Mulder, then turned and unlocked her car.
Denver, Colorado           Wednesday 2:30pm

Ezra Standish and Chris Larabee stood beside Jimmy Grato waiting for the sign from Vin. Vin Tanner stepped out from behind the eighteen-wheeler and nodded to Chris, then disappearing from view just as quickly.

Chris looked over at Jimmy as he asked him, “You’re all set, any last minute worries?” Jimmy shook his head.

Ezra took a cell phone from his jacket pocket and handed it to Jimmy. “Keep this phone with you at all times. The number is on the earpiece is for you. At any time, should you feel that your life is in danger, call that number. It will work anywhere in the US.” He then pulled a colorful, embossed business card and handed it to Jimmy. “Give this to your contact. Tell him that number will always reach you. Let him know that he’ll be able to check in with you at all times. That way, he’ll be less likely to worry about you. Keeps you safer. Make sure you give it to him. This is very important.”

Jimmy accepted the card like it was fragile. He nodded and placed in his shirt pocket, “you got it, Mr. Standish. Thanks for letting me work with you. I didn’t want to go to jail and I don’t want to die.” Jimmy stepped up into the cab of his truck and left to meet with the  contact. The shipment was to leave this morning.

Vin and Buck joined Chris and Ezra after the truck was out of sight. Buck flipped open his cell phone and pressed seven numbers, into the mouthpiece he spoke, “you getting that? ‘K, fine, I’ll met up with you later.” Buck flipped the phone closed and spoke to the others, “the signal is coming loud and clear. Chris nodded.

Vin looked to Ezra, “what’s with the business card, Ez?” Vin was curious why Ezra had made such a big deal out of the card.

“Well, gentlemen, It’s a new process I’m trying out. The embossing ink contains a strong, but minuscule transmitter. So it should track us to the contact’s buyer. Nathan’ll be tracking that and JD and Josiah the truck.”

“Have you tested it?” Vin asked.

“Yes, indeed I have. I included one with my mother’s luggage and I successfully tracked her to New York, then on to Spain. I have high expectations for its capabilities.”

“Well, gosh darn, our Ezra’s an inventor too,” Buck quipped playfully.

Chris smiled, “should prove real useful, good job, Ezra.” Chris made direct eye contact as he smiled at Ezra.

“I’ll relieve Josiah later, and hit the road with JD.” Buck was getting ready to take off, and wanted to finalize plans.

Chris looked over at Buck, “make sure one of you check in every two hours.” Buck nodded and waved as he left them.

Vin grinned as he said, “guess it’s time to pack our bags and hit the road.”

Warehouse District, Virginia       6:30pm

Mulder knocked on the door and looked up into the security lens so he could be seen clearly. The electronic door opened and he walked in. Mulder headed straight for the computer room, knowing this was where he always found them. He threw the tape on the desk as he said, “I need to know if this is real.”

Frolicke looked up at Mulder, “what’s on it?”

Byers and Langly both paused waiting. Mulder looked at them as he answered, “possibly a secret government project.”

Frolicke rubbed his hands together and picked up the tape and inserted it. “Why didn’t you just say so.”

Langly and Byers flanked Mulder as the image appeared on the screen. They watched as the fire consumed the room, and the girl remained untouched. All couldn’t help cringing as the fire burned the two males, but none wanted to close their eyes as it was hard to believe that the girl continued to remain untouched.

Six eyes fixed themselves on Mulder. “GovCorp research. That’s all I know right now.”

Frolicke ejected the tape but continued to hold it. “This film has not been sliced, but it will several hours to run the other tests.”

Mulder said, “fine, I’ll come back tomorrow, with Scully and the female in that tape. She lived it, but hasn’t seen the footage yet.”

Langly smiled.

Denver, Colorado           Thursday, 2:40am

Chris Larabee mumbled some uncomplimentary words at the caller that dared to break into his sleep. “Yeah, Larabee here, and this better be good!”

“I’d like to think so,” came Ezra’s disgustingly chipper voice. The tone changed as he said, “our quarry has just landed at an airport in Virginia.”

Chris awoke quickly at this news, “get the tickets, I’ll get Vin and meet you at the airport.”

“Already done. Nathan’s with me. Flight leaves at 3:50am.”

Fairfax Virginia               Thursday 10:00am

Mulder and Scully got out of their car as Abby Jenkins pulled into the GovCorp parking lot. Abby nodded at them as led them to the electronic entry door.

“Where is the public entrance located?” Mulder asked of her.

“There isn’t one.” Abby told him as she slide her card through the slot. “We don’t deal with the public, this is strictly government. Any visitor must be met by an employee in the parking lot. Then, at the security desk,” Abby said as they reached the round security area. More than a hundred video screens displayed corridors, elevators, stairwells, and labs. Abby procured their waiting security passes as she continued explaining the procedures. “A security pass is waiting for you. I called ahead for the passes as your identities had to be confirmed first. This procedure is the same for any visitors to the building. All employees are off till Monday, should make investigating easier. The CEO didn’t want the investigators interfered with.”

Mulder and Scully showed their I.D.s as they signed in. Mulder commented aloud as they left the security area, “our perpetrator is an employee.”

Abby slowly nodded in agreement, “that was my thought also.”

“The firemen’s report indicated that the line to the automatic sprinklers was blocked. It would have appeared as a malfunction, only, the intense heat of the fire melted the line and that didn’t let the blocking agent dissolve.” Dana looked up from the report and turned her stare to Abby, “but for the unusual circumstances in the aftermath of the fire, that might of gone unnoticed.”

“Does security have sound to all the viewed areas?” Mulder asked, completely off subject.

Abby shook her head as she said, “no.”

They stepped into the elevator as Abby pushed the knob for the seventh floor. Mulder didn’t need help to see which lab they were headed toward. The yellow caution tape roped off the entire area of the south end. A guard was posted by entrance, Dana and Mulder flashed their I.D.s. The officer carefully examined them before allowing them entrance. Abby had to show identification also.

Mulder walked about the charred lad. It was obvious where Abby had been kneeling, as that was the only unburned area in the entire lab. Scully checked out the computer and the surrounding area. Mulder stepped to and from areas, lost within his own mind workings.

Abby only had taken one step into the lad and had halted. The memories were too overwhelming to wander about. She closed her eyes, hoping they finish soon.

Mulder finally seem to notice that Abby had not really entered, “I’m sorry, this must be very difficult for you.”

Abby nodded, not opening her eyes.

“I hate to ask this, but could you indicate where your brothers were located in the room?” Mulder hoped she would remember more, thereby giving them a clue.

Abby opened her eyes and looked at the lab, recalling how she remembered it. “Jason was closer to the window, Eric was standing on the other side of me. As the fire erupted by the computer, Jason had hurried over. Eric whispered something about my computer, then they said goodbye and grasped hands.”

As Abby went silent, lost in the sadness, Dana motioned for Fox to come over by her. She pointed to a shinny new listening device. Mulder nodded and motioned for her to take Abby outside as he spoke aloud.

“So Jason walked over this way, and you didn’t realize that the fire had broken out yet.” Mulder stopped talking as he entered the hall.

Abby let Scully led her away, but she was baffled by their actions. Scully put her finger to her lips to silence any forthcoming questions. As they entered the elevator, Scully asked, “what floor is your office on?”

The eleventh.”

Mulder pushed that button, as he explained, “the lab had a newly placed listening device. Someone might already be on the way to your office.”

The elevator doors opened and Abby exited first, turning right and walked hurriedly down the corridor. She put out her hand to turn the knob after key carding it, then she hesitated. She looked over to the agents, “the door has been tampered with.”

Mulder pushed open the door with his pen, to the casual observer, the office seemed undisturbed. Abby shook her head right away, “someone has been in my desk.” She turned on her computer and waited for the opening wallpaper to show, but nothing came up. “It’s been wiped, completely.”

Scully and tried a few tricks she knew but to no avail. “Who worked on the same project with your brothers?”

Abby responded immediately, as though these names were on her mind. “Dick Howard, Brad Walters and Thelma Sisken. Thelma’s been in France for the last month, though, studying some innovative research.”

Mulder waved to the ladies, pointing to the telephone mouth piece. There, inside the mouth piece, was an identical bug to the one they’d found in the lab. He motioned them outside. Dana used her cell phone to ask for a team to check for fingerprints on the desk and computer in Abby’s office. Mulder spoke quietly into Abby’s ear, “let’s go to your brothers office.”

Abby nodded, and they went back down to the seventh floor. Abby produced the key card, explaining as it clicked, “my brothers made sure I had one.”

Mulder went in first and paused just inside the door, “did your brothers go for that messy office look?”

Despite Mulder’s weak attempt at humor, it wasn’t lost on Scully or Abby that the office had been ransacked. Mulder and Abby waited in the hallway as Dana went down to coordinate the FBI team when they arrived.

Mulder asked Abby, “why do you think their computer wasn’t wiped clean?”

“The research they were working wasn’t the only important work stored there. Anyone that knew them, knew there was no hard copy of their work until completed.”

“So, this someone wants what they were working on. But they didn’t want you to know, or get a message from them.”

A call from Scully had Mulder and Abby in the lobby to help escort the team to the appropriate areas. Abby went to her office, Scully to the brother’s office and Mulder to the lab. An hour later had the team leaving with little information discovered. Mulder and Scully turned in their security passes as they exited the building.

“Why don’t we grab something to eat before we view the tape?” surprised eyes met Mulder’s word as neither knew of the plans to do so.

Before an answer was rendered, two shots rang out, busting the windshield of the car they stood near. Mulder shoved Abby to the ground as he withdrew his gun and crept around back of the car.
Dana told the girl to roll under the car, as she too, withdrew her gun and crept toward the front of the car. A shot rang out to Scully’s right and Mulder answered the shot, surmising where the shot had come from.

Scully was about to inch forward, when a volley of shots ensued, oddly, their area was not included in the gunfire what so ever. Scully looked over to Mulder, who shrugged, looking as bewildered as she.

Fairfax, Virginia           10:30am

Vin Tanner watched as Nathan climbed back into the Bronco with the four coffees. This fourth trip was his turn. Vin took his eagerly as Nathan shook his head at the two sleeping in the back.

“I take it, there has been no movement?” Nathan asked.


From the back seat, “well, I for one, wish he would get going. I would dearly love to have a shower.” Ezra’s comment was not unexpected.

Chris’ rejoinder, “I also wish you could get one,” was unexpected.

Ezra turned his head quickly to see if he could gage if Chris was serious. But the smile hovering at the corer of his lips allowed Ezra to relax. Smelling poorly on a stakeout was not an attribute Ezra wanted connected with his name.

Nathan was passing the coffees back as Vin said, “we’ve got movement.” Vin passed the tracking unit over to Nathan as he started the vehicle. A gray Mercedes Benz exited the parking structure and turned left into traffic. Letting several cars come between them, Vin pulled out with Mercedes just barely in view.

They traveled on surface streets, sometimes with their quarry in view, sometimes not. Ezra checked the Thomas Guide, and he surmised, “we heading for the business district.”

Twenty minutes in the stop and go traffic was not getting on Chris’ good side. Finally they turned on a side road that had no outlet, and only had one business located there. Vin slowed, seeing his objective turn into the lot and park.

Vin asked of Nathan, “is he getting out of his vehicle?”

“No, seems to be sitting tight.” Nathan answered without taking his eyes off the unit.

“What’s the name of the company?” Ezra asked as he placed his brief case on his lap.

Vin pulled forward enough to read the building, “GovCorp….all one word.”

“uh huh…….here,” Ezra handed Vin a plug, “place it in the cigarette lighter, I’ll look it up on my laptop.” Ezra’s fingers were flying over the keys.

Chris rolled his eyes, “you give the man a present and he thinks he has to carry it around.” Chris smiled at the front seat.

“The man thinks himself a comedian.” Ezra clicked the mouse, scrolling to the part he wanted. “GovCorp, a government research agency. Does not accept outside work. Everything here is considered top secret.” Ezra paused, reading, then, “that’s curious, this agency was the site of a very recent double murder.”

“How recent?” Chris asked.

“Last Saturday.”

“Coincidental timing?” Vin asked quickly.

Nathan broke into the pondering, “someone’s leaving, not our guy. T-o-p-d-o-g . Virginia plate, black Audi.” Nathan read the information, knowing that Ezra would input it immediately.

“Vehicle is registered to Richard Howard. Has three outstanding parking tickets.” Ezra read straight off the DMV file.

Pulling the car ahead, Vin told them, “I’m just gonna park in the lot. We will be closer, and we might need the information.” He parked near the back, but with a view of their perp’s car.

They watched as four cars left, carrying what looked like to them, FBI agents. They usually weren’t that hard to spot. Only minutes after the four cars left, the tracking unit emitted a different beep and they saw a man emerge from the Mercedes. Ezra took his digital camera from his briefcase and snapped a picture of their quarry. Instead of walking up to the building, the man crouched behind the back of a large truck.

“Odd, unless he plans on perpetrating a crime of one sort or another.” Ezra commented aloud, echoing the others thoughts. “I believe we should vacate our own vehicle, and place ourselves in a more advantages position.”

Chris looked at Vin, “it’s really beginning to scare me that I can understand him now.” Ezra missed the answering smile from Vin as he exited the vehicle. The four of them moved stealthily into positions behind their quarry.

Three people exited the building, moving toward the closest car. They must of stood there all of thirty seconds before two shots rang out, busting the windshield of the car they stood near. They saw the man push the younger girl to the ground, then he withdrew a weapon. Vin said aloud, “standard FBI issue. They should be the good guys.”

Just after the female agent drew her gun, they received more shots fired at them. Chris nodded at his men, giving them the go-ahead to return fire. They sent a volley of shots toward the culprit.  At first he returned their fire, then must have thought better of it as he jumped into his vehicle and sped out of the lot backwards and continued that way till halfway down the block before he righted the car. They took a few more shots, but not really aiming, as they still needed him alive to lead them to his partners.

Chris turned with gun extended and watched the three others carefully. When the male and one female did not lower their weapons, Chris called out, “We’re with ATF, lower your weapons.” Chris whipped out and flipped open his badge. “I assume you’re FBI, show your badges.”

Scully looked over at Mulder, his eyebrows posed the question she was asking. Her eyes nodded, Mulder gave his head a slight nod. They both reached for their badges as they lowered their weapons.

Chris lowered his weapon, that action signaling the others to do the same as they stepped into view. The four of them approached the FBI agents. Chris kept his badge and ID in view as he walked up to the agents, “Larabee, Chris Larabee.” He extended his hand outward.

Mulder shook his hand as he said, “Fox Mulder, this is my partner Dana Scully.” She shook his hand, then reholstered her weapon. Mulder added, “this is Abby Jenkins, a GovCorp employee.” Mulder paused as the three other men came up behind Larabee.

Looking at Mulder, Chris introduced, “Vin Tanner, Nathan Jackson, and Ezra Standish, my partners.”

Dana Scully asked, “what brings Denver based ATF agents to Virginia?”

“A firearms case, most likely the contact buyer works here.”

Ezra asked, “does the double murder committed here involve the FBI?” His southern accent, in direct contrast to Chris’ even tones.

Mulder nodded, his thoughts jumping ahead, linking the ATF investigation with their own.

Ezra expression became guarded, “why the FBI, and not the local police?”

“We’re with the X-Files.” Mulder explained.

“Oh, the odd and bizarre,” Ezra mused.

“Sometimes,” Scully conceded.

“Our case might link with yours, are you up for exchanging information?” Chris tested the waters, seeing if these were typical FBI agents.

“Actually, that would be a good idea. For it seem that your perp was shooting at our witness. Let’s head for our motel.” Dana was firm in her summation of the past few minutes events.

Abby left her car in the lot and traveled with Mulder and Scully. The Bronco with the ATF agents followed behind. At the motel, Dana led them to her room, where they all scrambled to sit on the beds, chairs and Ezra sat on the edge of the dresser.

They shared information, each contributing what they knew. Looking for ways the two investigations overlapped. “Obviously, GovCorp and Ms. Jenkins here are connected to both.” Ezra summed aloud, theorizing, he continued, “if our informant said a US target was the destination for the stolen weapons, and a top secret research project is destroyed, along with it’s creators, it would not be a long shot to feel that these two are connected.”

Mulder nodded, seemingly lost in thought, so Dana answered, “yes, that would be my take on it.”

With a look from Chris, Ezra continued, “then, let us pool our resources.”

“We ain’t interested in the credit, just aiming to get those weapons off the street. We actually try to stay out of the papers.” Vin spoke for the first time.

Nathan put down the receiver and announced, “the truck is headed for Virginia. Big surprise. Should arrive tomorrow. The meeting place has not yet been set, Jimmy will call when it comes through. Also,” Nathan looked at the tracking unit, “our objective has returned to his hotel.”

Dana noted the device that Nathan held and asked, “what do you have there?”

Nathan walked over to Scully, handed her the tracking unit, and began a long explanation on its use. Chris almost smiled at Nathan’s enthusiasm for Ezra’s play toy.

Mulder shared, “we are on our way to view a video of the fire that caused her brother’s death. You can tag along,” Mulder smiled as he said the last part.

Chris looked over at Vin and Ezra, “why don’t the two of you go,” Chris turned to Mulder as he explained, “Ezra’s got his laptop and Vin’s got enough connections, that the two of them together can cover just about the whole US.” Chris directed his words back to Vin and Ezra, “Nathan and I will keep track of our shooter and link up with you by phone if there’s any action. You take the Bronco, we’ll get a cab and rent another vehicle.” Vin and Ezra both nodded agreement.

Vin and Ezra joined Abby in the back seat of the Audi sedan. Mulder took an indirect route to the Warehouse District. He wanted to be sure they weren’t being followed. As they pulled up to indescript abode of the Lone Gunmen, Mulder noticed a new security camera cleverly disguised in the outdoor light. The group of five climbed out of the sedan and headed for the entrance. Mulder waved as he passed the camera and the electronic door opened wide for them.

Mulder led them to the computer room and introduced Frolicke, Langly and Byers to Ezra, Vin and Abby. Frolicke wasted no time in discussing his findings, “ran it through every test, analyzed it with a new program and …’s real.” Frolicke paused, letting it sink in.

Mulder smiled, “play it for Scully and these ATF boys.”

“I may have lived it, but I never saw the tape,” Abby said quietly from behind Ezra.

“Well, step right here in front of me little lady,” Ezra used his killer smile eliciting an answering smile from Abby.

Byers placed it in the VCR, hitting play and immediately starting keying his keyboard. “I’ve set it up so that a tentative script will be produced based on the lip movement.”

“Interesting,” Ezra said as he came up and stood behind Byers.

Dana, Abby, Ezra and Vin watched as Abby and her brothers entered the lab, the shorter brother walked over to the window. It looked as though Jason had started to say something, but the fire erupted very quickly and he turned to contain it.

Abby and Eric turned to help when the fire ran crazily about the lab. All thought of containment gone Jason rushed over to his sister. Eric leans over and whispers something in her ear then the two brothers say goodbye aloud. They join hands about Abby and it looked as if they begin humming. Abby’s face was tightly contorted, then relaxed as she looked about her. Once she saw what was actually happening, her expression became one of horror. When the fire started burning her brothers, Abby screamed. It was hard for the viewers to tell if she ever stopped. The fire consumed the two men, but completely missed the girl in the middle. She knelt there, face in hands for many minutes as the last remnants of the fire died down. Then the door was batted in and firemen swarmed into the lab.

It was obvious that a firefighter tried to reach Abby, but it looked like he bounced away or was pushed away. Again he reached out to her, and to all eyes it was apparent that he slowly traced the bubble surrounding the girl. The firefighter’s expression was no less bewildered than Scully’s was as she watched it.

The Abby in the bubble moved her lips and suddenly the firefighter was able to reach down and pick her up. She was rushed out the room. The tape goes black at this point.

“My lord,” was Ezra’s only flabbergasted reply.

Vin wasn’t as bewildered as he was surprised. He made no outward comment though.

Abby sat stunned to watch the death of her brothers and their sacrifice to save her. Tears ran down her cheeks and sobs wracked her body as she mourned their loss again. Ezra, ever the gentleman went over and offered his shoulder in an attempt to comfort her.

Dana was also dumbfounded, knowing that the tape had not been altered did not help. “There should be a scientific explanation, but I can’t for the life of me come up with one.” She looked at Mulder as she said this.

Byers was still at his terminal, he took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, then replaced his glasses. “There wasn’t much dialog, the program got the words said to you as, ‘check homeworld.’ Does that mean something to you?”

Abby’s  voice quivered as she looked up from Ezra’s shoulder and said, “yes, that’s my name for my home computer.”

Mulder stood up and said, “lets go get it. We don’t want the culprit to think of your place.” Abby picked up her purse and left with Mulder.

Ezra turned to Scully, “you said this was a secret research project?”

Dana nodded, “a government sponsored project.”

Ezra opened his laptop and began fingering keys as he said to the group, “let’s see who’s footing the bill.” Ezra smiled as he cracked into a government database.

Vin quietly moved over to Byers and looked over his shoulder, “I know a couple of folks that have dealt with some uncommon occurrences.”

Byers rolled his chair aside and pointed his hand at the computer keyboard. “Please, have a go.”

Vin sat down and typed in a name and then hit enter. As he waited, Vin was once again pleased at the computer skills that Ezra had taught him. He didn’t expect to make his fingers fly about the board as Ezra’s did. He was just satisfied to know what key to hit.

Byers’ brows raised at what appeared on the screen. He looked up at Vin, “there’s seems to be unexpected sides to ATF agents.”

Vin just smiled, hit his pass word and said, “describe what happened in detail.” Byers did as Vin asked, and his fingers flew as he described what happened.

Ezra’s, “ah, ha,” had all eyes turning his way. “It seems that all the funds come from black ops within the CIA. How very interesting……it seems that’s its just one man putting up the money, using the black ops as a cover……….four million has been put up, but only one million was actually put in into the Shield Project. “

“We’ve got motive,” Langly said, “now if we cross reference the personal list from GovCorp with that of the CIA, we might get some red flags.” His fingers hit keys, entered a break code and set the program perimeters. “A couple of hours should bring us closer.”

Byers was about to share the information Vin had instigated but was interrupted by Mulder’s and Abby’s return. The pleased look on Mulder’s face told Scully that they had gotten what they wanted.

“The disk was in the slot but hadn’t been downloaded.” Abby handed the disk to Byers outstretched hand.

He placed the disk in and loaded it. The title of Shield Project appeared, but all that followed was obviously in code. Byers ran his decoding program. After a few minutes it came up with a resolution. “It’s not a know language, or a known code. Here….” Byers increased the font so all could read it easily.

Abby said, “oh, geez…..I know that language, it’s Minbari…….I know, I know,” holding up her hands to the bewildered looks. “My brothers and I watched a TV show, Babylon 5, a sci/fi program. With the ten to fifteen words of an alien language they provided we created a complete language. I can read this and I will give your program the breakdown sequence.” She input the sequence code then started reading the project.

“Wow, my brothers discovered that they could use sound harmonics to create energy fields. Originally they thought that the government wanted it for troop protection, then they came to realize it was to be used for assignation purposes. But before they had come to that realization, they had perfected the harmonics to such a degree that they could create any type of forcefield. Their voices were of such perfect tone, that by humming alone, the two of them were capable of creating the fields without the aid of electronics.” The impact of what she just said hit her, they were killed because they could do that unaided. She put her head into her hands.

The others were able to read the rest for themselves as the translation was complete. The brothers did believe that one of their team had sold them out. They team had been approached several times with offers of great sums of money. Jason and Eric had refused, but they believed that a team member had accepted an offer. But they hadn’t known who to go to with the information, they weren’t sure whom they could trust.

“Seems both Dick Howard and Brad Walters had tremendously large increases in their bank accounts recently. Coincidentally, a Richard Howard was leaving rather quickly this morning from the GovCorp parking lot.” Ezra announced with restrained excitement.

Mulder shared, “someone bugged the lab and office. Someone also wanted Ms. Jenkins out of the way. They must believe she has reverent information.”

“If Howard or Walters set up the fire, then the fingerprints from the lab won’t be helpful,” Scully had been hopeful that some of the clear prints would have been useful.

Since there seem to be a pause in the brainstorming, Byers interrupted, “Tanner’s lead here shows that there are at least three similar projects going on. Two are solely sponsored by  Terces 4, a holding company,…..that seems to lead to a larger company, Roush.”

“That’s the company that the FBI Section Chief was involved with. His betrayal was exposed last year.” Dana added, knowing this from personal experience.

“Tanner’s source also reveled that research in this same vein is being conducted in Sweden and Bulgaria. Although, the entire facility in Bulgaria was sabotaged. US Army issue hand grenades.”

“Could be the same buyers.” Vin said as he looked at Ezra.

Ezra nodded, “if we could just….ah, seems our Mr. Walters was in Bulgaria at that time, and ….. …..yes, he is scheduled for Sweden next Month. We have a link.” Ezra was pleased with Frolicke’s hardware enhancement. He looked over at Vin and raised his brows.

Vin understood the look and stepped back to put in a call to Chris.

“So now we have the question of what was Howard doing here today?” Scully asked aloud.

Vin interrupted as he closed his cell phone, “the truck has set up a meet with our shooter. The pick up is at the harbor at 4:30. Chris and Nathan are following the buyer.”

Ezra closed down his Internet use and disconnected his laptop. “Agents,” Ezra looked at Mulder and Scully, “would you like to join us, as your case is intertwined with ours?”

“Indeed,” Mulder said as he got up. He thanked his friends for their help. “For the moment, I think it would be best if you held onto the video and the disk. So that’s it’s not inadvertently lost or destroyed.” Frolicke nodded his understanding.

Scully said to Abby, “you’ll be going with us, as it’s still too dangerous for you to go home or to work. We don’t have time to arrange FBI protective custody.” Abby nodded and followed the agent, she wanted to see her brother’s killers caught.

Harbor, Southern Virginia       4:10pm

Josiah Sanchez, Buck Willmington, and JD Dunn had arrived before the truck they were tracking. Since they knew the spot, it was decided they would do the reconnoitering. Choosing several high points gave them a view of the entire area. Josiah knew that Vin would want one of these positions. From his high perch he saw Ezra and Vin arrive early to set up, bringing with them the two FBI agents they’d seemed to collect on the way.

JD had a warehouse bay door open for them, Ezra pulled right in, with Mulder’s car right behind. JD quickly shut and locked the door. He met up with Buck and they went in the side door. Ezra introduced the new players to Mulder and Scully.

Buck added after the nice to meet you, “Josiah’s at lookout, and found a couple spots for you Vin.”

Vin nodded, went to the trunk of their car and pulled out a high powered scope, along with the Remmington and box of magazines. He placed the head mic on, tipped his imagery hat to the group, then followed the directions he received from the headset.

Buck showed them the meet area and all decided how to cover it. They went to the trunk of the cars to fetch their weapons. Ezra offered additional ammo to Mulder and Scully. The both accepted gratefully.

JD then relayed, “Chris is on approach with the buyer. Josiah says that the truck has just entered the lot. We have about four minutes to get into place.” This news had all hurrying to their positions.

Mulder and Ezra headed in the same direction, taking Abby with them. Both believed that if you left a person behind for their own safety, they usually ended up caught by the bad-guy.

Jimmy drove the truck into the designated section, parked and turned off the engine. Buck came up the blind side and spoke to him, “leave the keys on the seat. Slowly, but steadily walk around back and disappear into the warehouse. This is the most likely spot that your contact would off you."

Jimmy nodded, Buck had gone over this on his drive out here. These agents seemed to be really trying to keep him safe. So he planned to do just as they asked.

Buck disappeared into the background just as the buyer’s car pulled into view. Via the headsets, the six ATF agents heard Josiah’s signal that an additional car pulled into the area. Both cars were parked before  Chris and Nathan arrived.

Two men exited the second, unexpected car. All eyes were watching, but the only one person reacted. Abby tapped Mulder on the arm, after getting his attention, she whispered, “the taller man is Brad Walters, one member of the research team. Mulder nodded, Ezra nodded also and quietly relayed that info to the group.

The man with Walters spoke with an apparent Middle-Eastern accent, “the truck ez here, but where ez dee driver?”

The solitary man, the man the team had followed spoke, “I saw him go round back, probably to take a leak. Let’s check the merchandise.” He walked to the truck, retrieved the keys from the seat and opened the rear doors. The inside was filled with crates of grenades, plastic explosives, rifles, ammo and hand guns. The three of them inspected the order.

When the three men stepped to the back of the truck, Chris gave his ATF agents the go-ahead for the capture. The men stealthily moved forward, Vin kept his high perch and the FBI agents worked right along side the ATF team.

Josiah held out his badge with one hand, his gun in the other as his voice boomed, “This is the ATF. Throw out your weapons. Come out with your hands up. We have you surrounded.” Josiah had his weapon on Walters and Buck kept his on the Middle-Easterner as he stepped up behind Josiah.

The Russian grabbed a hand grenade, pulled it’s pin and threw it Josiah’s feet. Before Josiah could even react, JD ran out, rolled in front of Josiah, grabbed the grenade and tossed it as far as he could to the opposite end of the alley way. The explosion was loud, but offered no real problem for them.

Nathan and Chris stepped up immediately following JD, Ezra, Mulder and Scully backed them up, and Vin had his scope’s red dot trained on the Russian. So the attempted distraction failed and the three men were apprehended without further problems.

As the men were handcuffed, Chris called for a transport team to haul them off. Buck reholstered his gun and immediately set his sights on JD. “What in hell were you thinking….Oh, that’s right you weren’t. You just wanted to play the boy hero. Well you coulda gotten yerself killed and the whole lot of us. What a damm fool thing to do….”

JD finally just jumped in caused it looked like Buck was never coming up for air. “Listen, Buck…… hey……shut up would ya!” The tone of JD’s voice musta gotten through, for Buck hesitated. “Buck, I knew what I was doing. I saw the guy go for the grenade and I timed the roll to the second. Just like I learned at the academy. I wasn’t playing no hero! Quit being a mother hen.”

Buck kinda unfluffed his feathers and stepped up to JD, saying in a quieter voice as they walked away, “look, I was jus kinda worried…..”

Mulder looked at Scully and the two of them burst out laughing. Ezra turned to them and with his crooked, half smile said, “after a few years, you just get used to it. Our Mr. Willmington does take his mentoring job rather seriously.” Then he too chuckled.

Mulder then rounded up Abby while Vin brought Jimmy with him so the group could decide their next moves. Ezra, Vin and Josiah decided to accompany Mulder, Scully and Abby back to GovCorp. Abby’s car was still parked there.

Chris and Buck were going to interview the culprits, while JD and Nathan inventoried and charted their haul.

GovCorp Parking Lot  6:45pm

Mulder pulled into the parking lot and Ezra pulled in right behind him. Cars doors opened and the six people got out the vehicles. Vin’s cell phone rang and he stepped back to answer.

Ezra came up along side Mulder and spoke quietly, “on the drive over, we couldn’t decipher the reason that this group targeted Ms. Jenkins.”

Mulder looked about him quickly as the sense of Ezra’s words took hold, to Abby and Scully he said, “hold up.”  Ezra and Mulder joined them and restated their concerns. Scully nodded, withdrew her weapon and headed for the building door.

At that moment Vin spoke up sharply, “Chris just informed us that the terrorists had no designs on that FBI witness…..they were after the FBI agents themselves……….”

The rest of his words were drowned out by the sound of gunfire. The shots were all aimed at Abby Jenkins. Mulder and Ezra pulled her down, but there was not adequate cover. The array of shots continued, but none seem to land about them. As Ezra tried to raise his head to ascertain why, he found that he could not, just as if there was someone restraining him. Mulder then tried to raise himself and found that like Ezra, he could not. Abby knelt there with her head down, doing nothing. Ezra put his hand out and actually encountered an invisible wall restraining him. He could see bullets land all about him. They just bounced off.

Dick Howard was beyond mad. He worked his way down, closer to his target. He stepped out, almost at point blank range and shot at Abby. The bullet bounced and ricocheted back at him. Striking him first, before the other bullets from Vin, Josiah and Scully’s guns struck him. He fell to the ground, dead.

As the life of Howard expired, the forcefield lifted. Ezra put his hand out to Abby to help her stand. Then to the group at large, “would someone be so kind as to explain what just happened here?”

“Well, I saw it, but I don’t rightly believe that I could explain it.” This was all Josiah would say.

Vin’s quiet, “I saw it,” was the only comment from him.

Ezra turned to Mulder and Abby, “well…..”

Mulder attempted to explain, “I believe that Abby’s brothers were so intent on saving her life that they placed their forcefield about her until her life was no longer in danger.”

“But, they’re deceased.”

“Even so.” Mulder looked convinced.

“My good man, are all your cases this eerie?” Ezra asked seriously.

“Many more so.”


Scully asked bewilderedly, “see what? What are you all talking about. Howard was just a bad shot.”

Mulder looked at her imploringly, “Dana, didn’t you see what went on right with us?”

“Mulder, I was doing my job, trying to capture the shooter. I didn’t stand around and watch you.”

Mulder shook his head, and under his breath, said to Ezra, “she never sees any of the good stuff.” Ezra smiled back.

The five agents were thanking each other for their help, when Vin commented, “our suspect ended up not being your suspect.”

“Well, I for one am pleased that our cases intersected, it was a pleasure working with truly competent FBI agents.” Ezra was ever gallant.

“I, too liked the bizarreness of it.” Vin stated.

Josiah said to Ezra and Vin, reminding them,  “Chris is gonna want some wrap up before we can get dinner.”

Josiah and Vin said good bye and headed to their vehicle. Ezra put out his hand to Mulder, “hope we can work together again.”

Mulder accepted his hand shake and added, “it’s possible.” Ezra nodded his head and turned to his vehicle. With a wave, they left the lot.

Abby asked Mulder, “do you think it would be okay if I went back to your friend’s house to retrieve the tape?”

Mulder looked over to Scully, she answered his silent question, “I’ll wait for the clean-up team. You get a copy of that tape for our report. Otherwise, Skinner’ll never believe us.”

 Mulder waved into the camera as they pulled up to the warehouse. The electronic door already open as they approached. Mulder filled the trio in on the events since that morning.

Frolicke seemed disappointed, “then our findings are unnecessary.”

“Never. What did you find out?” Mulder said emphatically.

Langly answered, “seems that Howard promised the Treces 4 that he could produce the shield. They paid him an additional six million on top of the three he already had. When the brother’s prepared to pull the plug, he panicked. He believed that they kept it in their computer. Then figured it was in the sister’s. He would have had to give back the money, so he tried to destroy the lad. But, due to the brother’s again, he failed.”

Abby silently thanked Jason and Eric. Mulder asked if he could have a copy of the tape. Adding, “I’m not including the disk or the information on it. No one can yet be trusted with that.”

As Byers duped the taped, Langley signaled to Abby that he wanted to talk with her. He walked her over to his terminal. He brought up the translation. “I, too watched Babylon 5. Those last two paragraphs are in Vorlon, aren’t they?”

Abby nodded, “ yeah, I was actually able to read it earlier. That information…..”

Langly cut in, “no one is ready for that information.” Abby turned big eyes at the blond haired man. He smiled as he nodded, “With my thoughts on that TV show, I recognized the writing, and used your same translation technique. I erased the translation from my hard drive, and I told no one.”

“Thank you, people aren’t ready for that knowledge.” Langley handed Abby back her disk. She smiled.
Fairfax, Virginia    10:30pm

Seven men were sitting kicked back in Chris’ hotel room. With cheese burgers in hand and fries, the team was having diner. Due to a convention, there were no other available rooms so the seven men had only the two rooms to sleep in. They were still arguing who had to sleep with Josiah and JD, “They both snore.” Buck did say it good naturally, but he meant it.

“Oh, and like you don’t?” JD came back with.

“Hey,” Chris said sternly, then smiled, ”before we digress into pillow fights, are we done with this case, but for the final paper work?”

Nathan asked of Chris, “are we gone include the…ah….the odd stuff?”

Six pairs of eyes looked over to Chris. “As the FBI case was only running parallel with ours, nothing pertinent will be missing if we don’t mention the….ah…..odd stuff.”

“We got a lot of weapons off the street and prevented two places from being blown up.” Vin seemed to sum it all up for them.

“Okay, case closed.” Chris ducked as Ezra threw the first pillow.
Kennedy Airport,  Friday 2:00am

Thelma Sisken was last to leave the airplane, she walked down the long corridor to the baggage claim. Her bag was already off the ramp waiting. She walked to the ramp edge and bent to pick up her bag when a man stepped out.

“You failed, and the project is lost.” He said to her.

Thelma stood and faced the man, “France looked most promising.”

“Not the caliber we had here.”

“Maybe not, but hopeful.”

Did you discover if there was a hard copy?”

“If there was, it was destroyed in the fire. I have found absolutely no information contrary to that.”
 “Mulder was there, he may have discovered something?”

“His report was thorough, and it mentioned nothing of the experiments or their findings.”

“Well see,” said the man as he threw his cigarette on the floor and ground it with his foot. The smoke swirled thickly about. When it cleared, he was gone. Thelma picked up her bag and left.